Life of Mar Aba – chapter 13

13.  When the chief magian and his companions saw that he was not afraid of their threats, they marvelled at the courage of the champion of Christ and released him the same day without asking him anything.  The chief magian did the same on the second and third days.   On the fourth day they clamoured violently against him, shouting, “Whoever is against our religion will be swept off the earth.”  Then two noble magians got up; one was Shahrdawer, named Adorpareh; the other was the Rad of Pars, and they accused him, “When this one came down into the region of Pars, he caused many magians of the religion (dên) of Hormizd to alienate and he made them Christians.  Many Christians in Pars, who ate the flesh of the murmurings[1] now consider it anathema to eat.  When the magians heard this, they clamoured more violently still and said, “This man shall be killed, because he is an opponent of magianism.”  Although it was the duty of the chief magian as judge to evaluate the words, and to ask the accused about the accusation, and then to pronounce judgement (ἀπόφασις) as the legal code  (κανών) and case-law require, he did not do so because he was an enemy of truth.  Instead, as if overcome with horror, he also howled and screamed, “If this man had a hundred heads, they would have to be cut off.”

Then the soldier of Christ made the sign of the cross on his forehead, raised his voice and said, “In everything wherein I am accused by the magians concerning the true faith of Christ, O Môpêtân Môpêt, I am full of great joy that I have been honoured to defend it in your assembly.  But only by the order of the King of Kings, when others are joined with you — then I will answer.”

Here we return to something like history.  Mar Aba is clearly aware that the “trial” is a political event, and is maneouvering accordingly.  The magians don’t dare do anything to him, unless the Persian King approves.  This is a time of war.  The King will be pretty angry if they do something outrageous to the head of a very large minority — something liable to provoke a revolt — while he’s leading his troops into battle.  And they know it, and he knows it.  Thus the attempts at intimidation; thus the serenity of Mar Aba, and his refusal to submit to the authority of the Grand Mobed.

Bet he was nervous, tho!

  1. [1]Flesh of animals offered in sacrifice.

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