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Church Moves Ahead Part 24

Persecutions Under the Arian Heretics

G’day and welcome to Partakers and our series Church Moves Ahead, where we look together at the history of the early church, and in particular its persecution. We are taking brief excerpts from an ancient book, Foxes Book of Martyrs. This excerpt is the Persecutions Under the Arian Heretics.

The author of the Arian heresy was Arius, a native of Libya, and a priest of Alexandria, who, in A.D. 318, began to publish his errors. He was condemned by a council of Libyan and Egyptian bishops, and that sentence was confirmed by the Council of Nice, A.D. 325. After the death of Constantine the Great, the Arians found means to ingratiate themselves into the favour of the emperor Constantinus, his son and successor in the east; and hence a persecution was raised against the orthodox bishops and clergy. The celebrated Athanasius, and other bishops, were banished, and their sees filled with Arians.

In Egypt and Libya, thirty bishops were martyred, and many other Christians cruelly tormented; and, A.D. 386, George, the Arian bishop of Alexandria, under the authority of the emperor, began a persecution in that city and its environs, and carried it on with the most infernal severity. He was assisted in his diabolical malice by Catophonius, governor of Egypt; Sebastian, general of the Egyptian forces; Faustinus, the treasurer; and Heraclius, a Roman officer.

The persecutions now raged in such a manner that the clergy were driven from Alexandria, their churches were shut, and severities practiced by the Arian heretics, were as great as those that had been practiced by the pagan idolaters. If a man, accused of being a Christian, made his escape, then his whole family were massacred, and his effects confiscated.

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