THE time now calls upon us to describe that grand spectacle which was displayed of the all-holy martyr Pamphilus, and of those p. who together with him were consummated by martyrdom; men admirable and brave, who exhibited, under many forms, contests for the sake of the worship of God. For indeed there are many whom we know to have been victorious in this persecution; but in none altogether like these whom we have just mentioned did we behold so completely all kinds of bodily stature, and of moral qualities of soul and education, and of deaths by different tortures, receiving the glory of the consummation of martyrdom by various triumphs. For all of the Egyptians who were with them appeared to be youths and boys; others Were young men in the prime of life, among whom was Porphyrius; others again were in the full vigour both of mind and body, namely, those who were of the house of Pamphilus, that name dearly beloved by me; and Paulus, who came from Iamna; and Seleucus and Julianus, both of whom came from the country of Cappadocia. There were also among them some venerable seniors who were bent down with deep old age, as Vales, a deacon of the church of Jerusalem, and that other, whose conduct was conformable to his name, 7 Theodulus. There was, likewise, a variety of bodily stature : and they differed too in their mental acquirements, for some of them were very simple-minded and ordinary like children, while others were possessed of profound understandings and courageous habits. There were also some among them who were also instructed in theology, and in all of them was their praiseworthy courage remarkable. But like the sun which giveth light to the day among the stars, so in the midst of them all shone forth the excellency of My Lord Pamphilus--for it is not meet that I should mention the name of that holy and blessed Pamphilus without styling him My Lord, for he indeed had no slight acquaintance with that learning which those among the Greeks admire; while there was no one in our time who was p. so well instructed in those scriptures which proceed from the Spirit of God, and also in the whole range of theology. And what is even greater than these acquirements, he was possessed of natural wisdom and discernment, that is, he received them by the gift of God. Moreover, Pamphilus was by birth of an illustrious family, and his mode of living in his own country was as that of the noble. Seleucus also had held a place of authority in the army. Some of them again were of the middle rank of life, and one also, who was called to this honour together with the rest, was a slave of the governor. Porphyrius too was reckoned the slave of Pamphilus, but in his love towards God and in his admirable confession he was his brother; and by Pamphilus himself he was considered rather as a beloved son; and, indeed, in every thing he closely resembled him who had brought him up. And were any one to say of this company of them all that they were a perfect representation of a congregation of the church, I should say that he did not go beyond the truth. For among them Pamphilus had been honoured with the presbytery, and Vales was in the orders of the diaconate, and others among them had the rank of readers; and Seleucus, even before the consummation of his confession, had been honoured as a confessor by the suffering of cruel scourgings, and had endured with patience his dismissal from his command in the army. And 8 the remainder of the others who came after these were hearers and receivers (catechumens). And thus, under a small form, they completed the representation of a perfect church of many persons. And so this admirable selection of all these martyrs and such as these, while we looked upon them, although they were not many in number, lo ! they still bore the semblance of a many-stringed harp, which consists of chords that do not resemble each other--the tenor and base, and flat, and sharp, and medial, all of which are well arranged together by the art of music. Like this resemblance, also, there were among them young men and old men together, and slaves and free, p. and clever and simple, and noble and common, and believers together with hearers (catechumens), and deacons with presbyters: all of which were variously harmonized together by one all-skilful--the Word--the only (begotten) of God. And they displayed each individually the excellency of the power within them by the endurance of tortures, and at the place of judgment produced the melody of a glorious confession.
It is also worthy of our admiration, when we look to their number, how they were twelve like the prophets and the apostles. Nor is it fit that we should omit the all-patient readiness of every one of them, each in his own part; the combs on their sides, and their incurable scourgings, and their tortures of every kind, and how they forced by violence these martyrs to do that which was abominated by them. And what necessity is there for our telling of the divine sayings which they uttered, as though stripes were reckoned by them as nothing, while with a cheerful and joyous countenance they answered the interrogatories of the judge, and jested with readiness under the very tortures themselves. And when he asked them over again whence they came, they avoided speaking of the city to which they belonged on earth, and spake of the city which in truth is theirs, and said that they were from Jerusalem which is above in heaven, confessing that they were hastening to go thither. And because of these things the judge became the more enraged at them, and prepared himself against them with cruel scourgings, in order that he might 9 accomplish his will upon them; but when he failed in his expectations, he gave command that one of them should receive the crown of victory.
Moreover, the modes of their deaths also were of all kinds; for two of them were hearers (catechumens), and they were baptized at their deaths with the baptism of fire only, while others of them were delivered up to be crucified like our Saviour.
But Pamphilus, that name so especially dear to me--one who was a lover of God in truth, and a peacemaker among all men-- p. received a triumph different from these. He was the ornament of the church of Caesarea, because he also sat in the chair of the presbytery, both adorning it and being himself adorned thereby during his ministry in that place. In all his conduct too he was truly godly, being at all times in communion with the Spirit of God; for he was eminently virtuous in his mode of life, shunning wealth and honours, despising and rejecting them, and devoting himself entirely to the word of God. For every thing that he possessed from his parents he sold and distributed to the naked, and the sick, and the poor, and continued in private life without any possessions, and passed his time in the patient study of divine philosophy. He therefore quitted Beyrout, the city in which he had grown up in stature and learning together; and for the sake of his knowledge and understanding he attached himself to men seeking perfection. Human wisdom he abandoned, and loved the word of God. He also adopted the heavenly habit of the prophets, and was crowned with martyrdom.
The next after him that was brought to the conflict was Vales, a man venerable for his comely grey hairs, being in appearance a pure and respectable old man. Nor was he worthy of honour on this account only, but also for his great knowledge of the holy scriptures; for his memory was completely stored with the scriptures, so that he could repeat God's scriptures by rote like one in whose memory the whole scriptures were deposited. Moreover, he was a deacon of God's church.
And he that was reckoned third among them was named Paul,; a man who was fervent in the Spirit of God; and he came from 0 the city Iamna. And he also had previously to this his confession contended with the suffering p. of the cautery of confession.
And when they had endured affliction in prison for about two years, the immediate cause of their martyrdom was the arrival of those Egyptians who were also consummated in martyrdom at the same time together with them. For having accompanied those men who had been sent to suffer affliction in the mines of Cilicia, and being then on their way back to return to their own country, as they entered in at the gate of Caesarea, they were questioned as to who they were and whence they came; and when they made no concealment of the truth, but said, We are Christians, they were at once seized, just as if they had been malefactors. And they were in number five. So when they were carried before the judge, and spake in his presence with openness of speech, they were forthwith committed to prison; and on the next day--the sixteenth of the month Shebat--they, together with those who appertained to Pamphilus, were brought before Firmillianus. First of all, then, the governor tried the Egyptians, and proved them by every kind of torture; and he brought forward the first of them into the midst, and asked him what was his name; but instead of his real name he heard from them the name of a prophet. Also the rest of the Egyptians who were with him, instead of those names which their fathers had given them after the name of some idol, had taken for themselves the names of the prophets, such as these-- Elias, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Samuel, Daniel. And when the judge heard from the same martyrs some such name as these, he did not perceive the force of what they said, and asked them again what was the city to which they belonged. He then gave a reply similar to the former, and said, Jerusalem is my city; for he was acquainted with that city of which St. Paul spake, Jerusalem which is above is free, and our mother in whom we confess is the holy church. And the governor inquired diligently about this. Then he brought against them the combs and cauteries of fire. But he, when his hands had been bound 1 behind him, and his feet were twisted in the stocks, sealed what he had said before, p. 4and spake the truth. And again, when he questioned him many times as to what city and in what country was that Jerusalem which was said to belong to the Christians only, he replied, It is in the east, and on the side of the light of the sun, again making use of this artifice as it were in his own mind, while those who surrounded him continued to torture him with combs. Nor was he at all changed, but seemed as one who had no body. Then the judge grew furious in his mind, and imagined that perchance the Christians had built in some place a city for themselves; and so he became much more instant with tortures against them, making inquiries respecting this city, and the country in the east. When, therefore, he had punished this young man with scourging, and perceived that he varied not at all from what he had said to him at the first, he gave sentence of death against him that he should be beheaded. The rest then of the Egyptians he tried with tortures similar to his, and they likewise agreed in their confession with him who had preceded them.
And then, after these things he turned to those of the house of Pamphilus; and when he learned that they had been previously tried by many tortures, he thought that it would be folly in him to apply to them the same tortures again, and so labour in vain. He therefore only put to them the question whether they would now comply; and when he heard from them one after another the words of confession, he condemned them in the same manner as those who had preceded them, and gave sentence against them that they should be beheaded. And before the whole of the sentence was uttered, a youth from among the men, who was a slave of Pamphilus, cried out from the midst of the crowd which was standing round about the place of judgment; and then came forward into the midst, and cried out again with a loud voice to persuade the governor to grant permission for the bodies of the confessors to be buried. And he was no other than the blessed Porphyrius, the beloved disciple of Pamphilus, the mighty man of valour, p. 4But Porphyrius himself was not yet eighteen years old; and he had been 2 instructed in literature and writing, and for his modesty and manners was deserving of all praise. This youth then, who had been brought up by such a man, when he was informed of the sentence which had been issued against his master, cried out from the middle of the crowd, and begged the bodies of the confessors. Then that wretch, who is not worthy to be called a man, but rather a savage brute, not only refused to grant this becoming request, but also neither spared nor had pity upon one who in years was but a youth; and having learnt this one thing only, that he was a Christian, gave orders to those who applied the tortures to tear him with all their might: and after this, having commanded the blessed youth to sacrifice, and experiencing a refusal, he now applied the torture upon him, not as if it were upon a human body, but rather as if it were upon lifeless wood or stone, and commanded him to be torn even till they came to his bones and entrails. And when he had done this for a long while, he perceived that he was labouring to no purpose; and thus having exhibited his own cruelty and brutality upon this youth, he condemned him to be given up to a slow and lingering fire. Now, he was brought to the conflict before Pamphilus was consummated, and so departed from the body before his master who had brought him up. And thus Porphyrius exhibited himself as a warrior who was crowned with victory in all his conflicts; and although he was weak in body, he was of a cheerful countenance and courageous mind, and trod along the path of death without fear, and in truth he was full of the Holy Ghost. And when he arrived at the place where he was put to death, having put on his cloak like a philosopher, with his shoulder uncovered, he looked with his eyes up towards heaven, and in his mind looked down upon all the life of man, and approached the fire with a soul unmoved, like one who had no harm near him, and with a watchful mind, and undisturbed, he gave charge to his friends respecting his human affairs, and then was anxious to go speedily p. to the presence of God. When, therefore, the fire had been kindled at a distance around him, he caught at the flames here and there with his mouth, and his soul hastened to 3 the journey which lay before him. Such was the conflict of Porphyrius.
Then Seleucus carried to Pamphilus a report of all these things which had been done to Porphyrius, and as the reward for this intelligence it was granted of God to Seleucus that he should become a martyr with Pamphilus. For immediately after he had given information to Pamphilus respecting the struggle and conflict of Porphyrius, as he saluted one of the martyrs with a kiss, the soldiers laid hold upon him and took him before the governor; and as Seleucus himself was anxious to go in company with the confessors, commandment was given for him to be beheaded. And this Seleucus came from the country of Cappadocia, and had acquired a glorious reputation by his military service, having held an important command in the ranks of the army. And not only this, but he also surpassed most men in stature by the size of his person and his prowess. His appearance, too, was very handsome. Moreover, at the commencement of the persecution he had been famous for his endurance of scourgings in confession; and after he had been dismissed from his military service on account of his religion, his zeal suffered not him to abstain from doing good, and so he was anxious to serve in the beloved ranks of Christ. As a visitor, therefore, of lonely orphans, and of destitute widows, and of those who were afflicted with poverty and sickness, he became a visitor and supporter of these, and, like a tender father, endeavoured to heal their afflictions. And after all these things, in which God delighteth more than sacrifices, and burnt-offerings, and incense, he was counted worthy of being consummated by confession. And this was the tenth combatant of those who have been mentioned above as having received all together on the same day their consummation and crown. And it seemed as if a great door of the kingdom of heaven had been opened by the confession of Pamphilus p. 4and an abundant entrance been effected for others as well as himself into the paradise of God.
The next that was brought forward after Seleucus was the pure and pious Theodulus; and he was one of the slaves of the governor, and the oldest of them all, and was much respected by 4 them all, both on account of his manners and his years; and although he was the father of three generations, and had served his master with fidelity, still he had no mercy on him when he heard that he had saluted the martyrs in the same way as Seleucus. For after this had been told to his master, he was excited with fury against him much more than against the rest; and gave command that he should be put to death by the same mode of suffering as our Saviour, and suffer martyrdom on the cross.
But there was still one wanted after these to complete the number twelve; and so Julianus arrived from a journey, and, as if it were on purpose to make up the number of martyrs twelve, the moment he arrived, before he was yet entered into the city, immediately on the way he was told by some one respecting the matter of the confessors, and ran to have a sight of the confessors; and when he beheld the bodies of the saints lying upon the ground, he was filled with joy, and embraced them one after another with heavenly love, and saluted them all with a kiss. And while he was still visiting them, and lamenting that he himself had not suffered martyrdom with them, the officers seized him, and took him before the judge; and that judge commanded what his evil heart conceived, and delivered him also to a slow fire. So this Julianus, also, with joy and gladness praised God with a loud voice for having counted him worthy of this; and his soul ascended to his Lord with the company of the confessors. And this man was by family of Cappadocia, and in his soul he was filled with the fear of God, being a quiet and religious man, and diligent in the practice of every virtue. There was also in him a glorious savour of the Holy Spirit; and he was counted worthy to be associated with the company of these who received the consummation of confession together with the blessed Pamphilus. p. 48.
Four days and nights then were the bodies of the all-holy martyrs of God exposed to be devoured by wild beasts, by the command of the governor Firmillianus. When, therefore, nothing had touched them, not even the wild beasts, they were taken up whole without the permission of the governor, and with due 5 reverence committed to an honourable burial; and were laid in the interior of the churches, and so consigned to a never-to-be-forgotten memorial in the temples of the house of prayer, that they might be honoured of their brethren who are with God.