The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 17 (part 4)

The Origenist disputes of the time of Justinian now make an appearance in the chronicle.  But was the bishop of “Manbig” (Arabic) / Mabbug (Syriac) / Hierapolis (Greek) really named Origen?  The Persian chronicle records plots against a weak king by the Zoroastrian priests.

10. In the time of king Justinian lived Origen, Bishop of Manbiğ, who argued for the doctrine of transmigration of souls and denied the resurrection [of the body].  With him were Iniya, Bishop of ar-Ruha, Thaddeus, bishop of al-Masīsah and Theodoret, bishop of the city of Ankara.  These bishops claimed that the body of Christ, our Lord, was a “fantasiya”, that is a shadow without any reality.  On learning of their doctrine, the king sent to them to say to present themselves in Constantinople, and Eutychius, Patriarch of Constantinople arranged a meeting with them.  The patriarch said to them: “If the body of Christ, our Lord, was, as you assert, a”fantasiya”, then his actions were a ‘fantasiya” too, his words were a “fantasiya” as well.  The same would be true of the body, the actions or words of any [other] man.”  Addressing the Bishop of Manbiğ he said: “Christ our Lord, is truly risen from the dead and has taught us that in the same way we will be resurrected from the dead on the day of judgment.  In fact, he told us in his holy gospel that will be a time when all those lying in tombs will live when they hear the voice of the Son of God.  How then can you say that there is no resurrection?”.  Therefore he interdicted them, and excommunicated them.  The king, in turn, ordered that a council should be held against them at which they could be publicly excommunicated.  Then the king wrote to the four patriarchs summoning them to the council, i.e. to Apollinaris, Patriarch of Alexandria, Domnus, patriarch of Antioch, to Eutychius, Patriarch of Jerusalem and Vigilius, patriarch of Rome, telling them to go to Constantinople, so that they were present at the excommunication of the bishops.  They presented themselves.  At that council Eutychius, Patriarch of Constantinople, personally took part.  The Patriarch of Jerusalem was not personally present but sent some of his legates.  So too the Patriarch of Rome was not present, who did not send any legate but who agreed with them, and accepted the judgment.  The number of bishops who gathered in the Fifth Council was one hundred and sixty.  They excommunicated the bishops and all those who professed the doctrine, i.e. Origen, Bishop of Manbiğ, Thaddeus, bishop of al-Masīsah, Iniya, Bishop of ar-Ruha and Theodoret, bishop of Ankara.  They established that the Body of our Lord was a real body and not a shadow, and that He is perfect God and perfect man, with two natures, two wills and two operations, and only one person.  They also confirmed the doctrine of the four councils that were held before them, that life on earth is transient, that without doubt there will be the resurrection and that Christ, our Lord, will come with great glory to judge the living and the dead, as already the three hundred and eighteen had said.  Then the honoured ones returned, each to his own home.

11. From the fourth council of six hundred who gathered at Chalcedon and had excommunicated the Jacobites, to this fifth council of one hundred and sixty bishops who gathered in Constantinople, there passed one hundred and three years.  This happened in the twenty-seventh year of the reign of Justinian, king of Rum.

12. As for Qabād, son of Firuz, king of the Persians, he incurred the disapproval of his people and they decided to kill him, but refrained from doing so for fear of his minister Suwākhar.  So they did their best to bring Suwākhar into disgrace in the eyes of the king, in order to kill him.  After the killing, a man named Marzīq and his followers confronted him and said, “God has distributed his blessings on earth equally among men, so that no one has more than another.  But men act unjustly to each other and each one puts his own interests ahead of those of his brother.  In view of this, we will take what belongs to the rich and give it to the poor, we will remove from those who have a lot and we will return to those who have little, and those with more assets, more women, more servants and furnishings than others, we will remove them, and distribute them equally between him and the others, so that no one has more goods than another of a certain thing.”  So they began to seize the houses, women and the goods of the people and their position was strengthened.  Then they kidnapped Qabād, son of Firuz, hid him in an inaccessible place and put in place his uncle, named Mārāsf.  On seeing this Bzarmihr rose up against them with a group of Persian noblemen, killed a large number of the men of Marzīq, put Qabād, son of Firuz, back in his place, restoring the kingdom, and drove away Mārāsf.  The Mazdeans who remained started to stir up Qabād  against Bzarmihr until he was killed.  His reign was convulsed and in every part rebels rose up against him.  Seeing the state to which he was reduced Qabād repented that he had killed Sūkhar and his son.

One thought on “The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 17 (part 4)

  1. Marziq is an Arabic misspelling for Mazdaq. Eutychius’s text is rife with this.

    Michael Jackson Bonner says that “Mazdakism” was not a coherent sect, and that much of this stuff is slander cooked up – after the fact – by Khusro I who wanted Kobad’s reign discredited. This “sect” went unnoticed by Procopius and also by his successor Agathius, who – says Bonner – delighted in correcting Procopius’s mistakes and omissions.

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