The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 11 (part 7 and end)

This seems to wind up the stories about the Arian controversy, and we then continue with the death of Constantine, and events in the Sassanid realm.  An apocryphal and rather awful story about Constantine persecuting the Jews appears in this section, which gives a rather nasty impression of the attitude of the Melkites in the 10th century towards religious persecution.

16. Eumenius said: “Arius did not say that Christ created all things.  But he said: “Through him all things were created”, because He is the Word of God through whom were created the heavens and the earth. For God simply created things through His Word, but the Word did not create, as is clear from what the Lord Christ said in his Gospel: “All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made of anything that was made” (50).  And he also said: “In him was life, and the life was the light of the world” (51). And he also said:  “He was in the world and through him the world was made” (52). So saying, he wanted to express that all things were made through Him, and did not intend to say that it was He who created them.” He concluded by saying: “This was the doctrine of Arius, but the three hundred and eighteen bishops were unjust to him and have unjustly and wrongly excommunicated him.”

17. Athanasius, patriarch of Alexandria, responded by saying: “The three hundred and eighteen bishops have not condemned Arius speaking with falsehood nor acted unfairly against him because he simply said: “The Son has created things without the Father.”  Now if all things were created only through the Son without the [also] the Father to create them, He [i.e. the Father], would not have created even one thing.  But in this regard we have the gospel as evidence that belies his words, such as the passage that reads: “The Father creates, and I create” (53).  And also it is said: “If I do not do the works of my Father, do not believe in me” (54). And again: “As the Father creates and gives life to those he wants, and takes it away, so also the Son gives life to those he wants and takes it away” (55).  With these words he means that He gives life, makes die, and creates.  In light of these words anyone must be considered a liar, who dares to say that He is not the creator and that things have simply been created through Him without being Himself the creator.  As for your saying “all things were made through him,” well we have no doubt in believing that the action in which they were made was by Christ himself, saying “Let there be…”, and they were made, as can be deduced precisely from the passage in which he says: “I create and give life.” If then your saying “through him all things were made” is to be understood simply in the sense that he has made them, then it is through him that they were made.  If it were not so, the two statements are contradictory.”

18. Then Athanasius replied further to Eumenius saying: “As for the assertion of the followers of Arius that the Father wills something and then the Son creates it, as if will was of the Father and creation of the Son, this is also false, as the idea that the Son created so would mean that the function of the one doing the creating would be greater than those of the creator, if he [i.e., the Son] willed and did it, while he [i.e. the Father], willed and did not do it.  The functions of the first, therefore, in what he did, are more extensive than those of the second.  And from this we should infer that the first in doing what the second wills, is in the same condition as any other agent of creation in the face of what the creator wants from him, namely that he do the same with respect to compulsion and free will.  But if he acted because he was coerced, he had no participation in the action; if he was free, he could obey or disobey, and therefore is deserving of reward or punishment. But to say such a thing [of Christ] would be absurd.”

19. Athanasius replied again to Eumenius saying: “If the Creator created the world by means of a created being, [the Son], this created being is certainly different from the Creator. You have in fact argued that the Creator works through another. Now the one that operates by means of another needs to be complementary to this acting through him, since he can not take any action if not through him. But he who needs another is imperfect, and the Creator is far from that!”  When Athanasius, patriarch of Alexandria, had thus refuted the arguments of his opponents and showed all the defendants the falsity of their doctrine, they were dumbfounded, they were ashamed of themselves and they attacked Athanasius, patriarch of Alexandria, covering him with a barrel so as to almost kill him. He was saved from their hands by Dalmatinus, son of the king’s sister.  Athanasius fled, went to Jerusalem, prepared the chrism without any bishop present, and consecrated the churches by the anointing of the [sacred] chrism. He then went to the king and informed him of what had happened.  The king sent him back with honors to Alexandria and was angry with Eusebius, patriarch of Constantinople, repenting of having made him patriarch.  Then the bishops who had gathered in the city of Tyre went to Jerusalem, and found that Athanasius, patriarch of Alesandria, had preceded them and had consecrated the churches.  They celebrated a big party for the dedication of the churches, with great joy, and returned each to his own see.  This happened in the thirtieth year of the reign of Constantine (56).

Eusebius, patriarch of Constantinople, died excommunicate, having held the office for two years.  After him Paul was made patriarch of Constantinople, in his place (57).  He held the office for four years and King Constantine deposed him.

20. The King Constantine gave orders that no Jew should live in Jerusalem or pass through it, and he also ordered to put to death all those who refused to become Christians (58). Many pagans and Jews then embraced the Christian faith and Christianity took root everywhere.  It was then told to king Constantine that the Jews had become Christians for fear of being killed but that they continued to follow their religion.  The king said: “How will we know?” Paul, the patriarch of Constantinople, said: “The Torah forbids [eating] pork and it is for this reason that the Jews do not eat meat. Order that the throats of pigs be cut, that the meat should be cooked, and fed to the members of this community.  In this way you will find that all those who refuse to eat are still tied to their religion.” King Constantine replied. “But if the Torah forbids the pig, why is lawful for us to eat its flesh and make others eat it?”. Patriarch Paul replied: “You must know that Christ our Lord, repealed all provisions of the Torah and gave us a new law which is the Gospel. He said in the Holy Gospel: “Not everything that enters the mouth defiles a man (and he meant any food). What defiles a man is just what comes out of his mouth” (59), i.e. folly and wickedness, and all that is similar to this. The apostle Paul said so in his first letter to the Corinthians: “Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will destroy both” (60). And it is also written in the Acts: “Peter, chief of the Apostles, was in the city of Jaffa (61) in the house of a tanner named Simon. At the sixth hour of the day he went out on the terrace of the house to pray, but a deep sleep fell upon him and saw the sky open. From the sky he saw a mantle descend to earth in which there was every kind of quadruped, wild beasts, flying things and birds of the air, and he heard a voice saying: ‘O Peter, get up, kill and eat.’ Peter replied: ‘O Lord, I have never eaten anything unclean.’ But a second time the voice said: ‘Eat, what God has cleansed you must not consider unclean.’ The voice repeated it three times. Then the mantle was taken back into heaven.” (62) Peter was amazed and wondered what it meant. Because of that vision and because of what Christ our Lord said in the Holy Gospel, Peter and Paul ordered us to eat the flesh of every quadruped and therefore it is not wrong to eat pork or any other animal.”  The king then ordered him to kill the pigs, cook the meat and put it at the doors of the churches in all his kingdom on Easter Sunday.  To everyone coming out of the church a bite of pork was given, and those who refused to eat it were killed.  Thus it was that many Jews were killed in that circumstance.  Constantine erected a wall around Byzantium and called Constantinople.  This was in his thirtieth year of the reign.  Helena, mother of Constantine, died at the age of eighty years. Constantine reigned for thirty-two years and died.  He lived in all for sixty-five years. He left three children.  The first was given his name, Constantine, he had called the second with the name of his father, Constantius, and the third was called Constans (63).  To Constantine he gave the city of Constantinople, to Constantius Antioch, Syria and Egypt, and Rome to Constans.

21. As for Sabur, son of Hurmuz, king of the Persians, he founded near Susa a city called Khuwwat-Sabar (64), and he founded another in the region of as-Sawad called Firūz-Sabur (65) and he founded many others in Sind (66) and in Sigistān (67).  He also had many streams dug out and built many bridges and viaducts.  Growing old, his strength failed him, his vision blurred and his eyelids drooped over his eyes.  So he sent his messenger to the king of India because he was searching for a good doctor and the king of India sent him a doctor named George who treated him in a way that let him regain his sight and enable him to ride.  As a sign of gratitude the king ordered him to choose a city to live in, and he chose Khuwwat-Sabur, also known as al-Karkh (68), which is near the city of Susa, and he lived there until he died.


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