lence vnknowē. And no doubt but a great number they were, and mo should haue bene, had not the prouident mercy of God shortened hys dayes, and bridled hys tyranny: for he raygned but. iij. yeres. MarginaliaGordianus Emperour.
An. 240After whom succeeded Gordianus, an. 240. a man no lesse studious for the vtilitie of the cōmon wealth, as milde & gentle to þe christiās. This Gordian after he had gouerned with muche peace & tranquilitie the Monarchy of Rome the space of vj. yeares, he was slayn of Philip Emperour after him.
MarginaliaPontianus byshop of Rome.In the dayes of these Emperours aboue recited, was Pontianus bishop of Rome, who succeeded next after Vrbanus aboue rehearsed, about the yeare of our Lord 236. in the. xij. yere of Alexander, as Eusebius lib. 6. cap. 28 noteth: declaring him to syt. vj. yeares. MarginaliaDiuersitye betwene Damasus & Eusebius Pontianus banished.Contrarye Damasus and Platina write, that he was bishop. ix. yeres and a halfe. And that in the time of Alexander, he wyth Philippus his priest was banished into Sardina, and there died. But it semeth more credible that he was banished rather vnder Maximinus, and died in the beginning of the raigne of Gordianus. In his Epistles decretal (which seme likewyse to be fained) he appeareth very deuout, after the common example of other Byshops to vphold the dignitie of Priestes, and of Clergie men, saying: MarginaliaThys doctryne seemeth derogatory to christ & blasphemousthat God hath them so familiar with him, that by them he accepteth the offeringes and oblacions of other, and forgeueth their sinnes, and reconcileth thē vnto him. Also, that they do make the body of the Lorde with their own mouth, and geue it to other. &c. Whiche doctrine how it standeth with the testament of god, and glory of Christ, let the reader vse his own iudgement.[Back to Top]
Other notable fathers also in the same time wer raysed vp in the Churche, as Philetus bishop of Antioche, which succeeded after Asclepiades afore mencioned, an. 220. & after him Zebēnus bishop of þe same place. an. 231.
MarginaliaAmmonius a Christiā writerTo these also may be added Ammonius the Scholemaister of Origen, as Suidas supposeth, also the kynsman of Porphyry the great enemy of Christ. Notwithstanding this Ammonius endued with better grace, as he left diuers bookes in defence of Christes religion: so he did constantlye perseuer (as Eusebius reporteth) in the doctrine of Christ, whych he had in the beginning receaued, who was about the daies of Alexander.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaIulius Aphricanus wryter.Iulius Aphrican9 also about the tyme of Gordianus aforesayde, is numbred among the olde and auncient writers, of whom Nicephorus writeth, to be scholer of Origen, and a great writer of histories of that time.
Ex Euseb. lib 5. cap. 28.Vnto these Doctors and Confessors may be adioyned the storye of Natalius, mencioned in the fifte booke of Eusebius. This Natalius ahd suffered persecution before like a constant Confessor, who being seduced and persuaded by Asclepiodotus & Theodorus (which were the Disciples of Theodocus) to take vpon him to be byshop of their sect, promising to geue him euerye moneth an hundreth and fifty peces of siluer, and so he ioyning himselfe to them, was admonished by vision and reuelation from the Lord. For such was the great mercy of God, and of our Lord Christ Iesu, that he woulde not hys Martyr, which had suffered so muche for his name before, now to perish out of his church. MarginaliaThe Lord wyl not loose them whiche haue done or suffered anye thyng for hym.For the whyche cause (sayth Eusebius) God by certayne visions dyd admonish him. But he not taking great heede therunto, being blinded partly with lucre, partlye wyth honour, was at length al the night long scourged of the angels: In so much that he being made thereby verye sore, and early on the morow putting on sackecloth, with muche weeping and lamentacion went to Zephyrinus the bishop aboue mencioned, where hee falling downe before him, and al the Christian Congregation, shewed them the stripes of his body, and prayed them for the mercies of Christ, that he might be receiued into their communion agayne, from which he had sequestred himself before. And so was admitted according as he desired.
MarginaliaAnterius bishop of Rome and Martyr.After the decease of Pōtianus bishop of Rome afore mēcioned, succeded next in that place Anterius, of whō Isuardus writeth, that Pontianus departing awaye, did substitute him in hys roume. But Eusebius writeth that he succeded immediatlye after him. Damasus sayth, that because he caused the actes and deathes of the Martyrs to be written, therefore hee was put to martyrdome himself, by Maximus the Iudge. MarginaliaAutors disagree.Concerning the time of this bishop, our writers do greatly iar. Eusebius and Marianus Scotus affirme that he was bishop but one moneth. Sabellicus sayth that not to be so. Damasus assigneth to him. xij. yeares & one moneth. Volateranus, Bergomensis, and Henricus Erforde, geue to hym three yeares and one moneth. Nauclerus writeth that he sat one yeare and one moneth. Al which are so far discrepant one frō an other, that which of thē most agreeth wt truth, it lyeth in doubt. Next to this bishop was Fabian9, of whō more is to be said hereafter.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaHyppolitis byshop and martyr.Of Hippolitus, also both Eusebius and Hieronimus maketh mencion, that he was a bishop, but where, they make no relation. And so likewyse doth Theodoretus wytnes hym to be a bishop, and also a Martyr, but naming no place. Gelasius contra Eutichen sayth, he dyed a martyr, and that he was bishop of an heade Citye in Arabie. Nicephorus writeth, that he was byshop of Ostia, a port towne nere to Rome. Certayne it is, he was a great writer, and left many woorkes in the Churche, which Eusebius and Hierome do recite: by the supputatiō of Eusebius, he was about þe yeare of our lord. 230[Back to Top]
MarginaliaPurdentius peristepha.Prudentius in his Peristephanon, making mencion of great heapes of Martyrs buried by. lx. together, speaketh also of Hyppolitus, and sayth that he was drawen with wilde horses through fieldes, dales, and bushes, & describeth therof a pitiful story.
Philippus the fyrste Christian Emperour.After the Emperour Gordianus, the empire fell to Philippus, who with Philip his sonne gouerned about the space of. vj. yeares, an. 246. This Philippus wyth hys sonne and all hys familye was Christned and conuerted by Fabianus, and Origene, who by letters exhorted hym and Seuera his wyfe to be baptised, beyng the first of al the Emperours that brought in Christianitie into the emperial seate. Howe soeuer Pomponius Letus reporteth of him to be a dissembling prince, thys is certayne, that for his christianitie, he with hys sonne was slayne of Decius one of his captaynes. Sabellicus and Bergomensis lib. 8. sheweth this hatred of Decius agaynst Philippus to be cōceaued, for that the Emperour Philip both the father and the sonne had cōmitted their treasures vnto Fabianus thē bishop of Rome.
The seuenth persecution.
The causes and occasiō of thys persecution.THus Philippus being slayne, after him Decius inuaded the crowne, about the yere of our Lord. 250. by whom was moued a terrible persecution against the Christians, which Orosius noteth to be the seuenth persecution. The first occasion of this hatred & persecution of this tyraunt conceiued against the Christians, was chiefly, as is before touched, because of þe treasures of þe Emperour which wer cōmitted to Fabian the bishop.
MarginaliaFabianus byshop of Rome.This Fabian first being a maryed man, as Platina writeth, was made byshop of Rome after Anterius aboue mencioned, by the myraculous apoyntment of God, which Eusebius doth thus describe in hys syxte booke: When the brethren (sayth he) were together in the Congregation, aboute the election of their Byshop, and had purposed among themselues vpon the nomination of some noble and woorthy personage of Rome, it chaunced that Fabianus among other was there present, who of late before was newly come out of the coūtry to inhabite in the city. MarginaliaThe myraculous election of Fabianus.This Fabian, as is sayde, being and thinking nothing lesse then of any such matter, sodēly commeth a Doue fleing from aboue, and sitteth vpon his head, not muche vnlike after the maner of the[Back to Top]