Comments to: David Woods
Last Updated: January 1999
F.C. Conybeare, The Armenian Apology and Acts of Apollonius and Other Monuments of Early Christianity (London, 1896), 289-336, translates the Armenian passion of St. Callistratus found in Vitae et Passiones Sanctorum Selectae ex Eclogariis, 2 vols. (Venice, 1874), vol. I, 656-86.
1. In the times when Diocletian was emperor, there was much fury on the part of the heathen; and not only did they, because they knew not God, work destruction to their own selves, but they tried to seduce all men to conform to their unholy cult. And those who did so conform, especially those who were in high places, not only received honours from the Emperor, but also made much parade of themselves in the great army. But those who avowed their faith in Almighty God, and in His word, and in the Holy Spirit, were subjected to interrogatories, and to torture, and so received the speedy crown and the honour of the glory; but, humanly speaking, their flesh was consumed with evil and cruel tortures.
2. In that time, first and alone, the brave athlete of Christ, whose name was Callistratus, in the city of Rome, took unto himself the crown of victory; and in solemn and sturdy combat he raised the standard of victory for them who had believed in the Lord. For this Callistratus was a soldier of the band which was called Chalcedon; because these came after the band of the [p. 290] Acombiti, which was in Chalcedon, men whom they brought against their will to Rome, according to the law of conscripts. But Callisatratus was of the district of Chalcedon, of free family, and of one that was benevolent and was filled with divine wisdom; and his great-grandfather, Okorus, had been in Jerusalem in the days of our Lord Jesus Christ, under Pilate the judge. This Okorus had [p. 291] seen the Saviour on the cross, had witnessed His death and burial in the tomb, and His resurrection from the dead, and he believed and was baptized on the day of the holy Pentecost, at the descent of the Holy Spirit on the holy Apostles, and he had believed with the Galileans; and he had come to his city and there taught his children and their grandchildren to put their hope in the Lord Jesus Christ; and they learned one from the other and kept up the lore in which their great-grandfather instructed them, right on to the blessed Callisatratus. He alone was a Christian in his band; and at every hour he would glorify the Lord by means of the words of the Holy Spirit.
3. Now on a certain night Callistratus arose and offered prayers to God; but certain of his fellow-soldiers noticed this, and began to say to him: "It is not fitting that thou alone shouldst be childish among us all; be persuaded therefore, and come to the image of Zeus, and take frankincense and blood, and sprinkle them upon it, and become along with us dear to the gods. But if thou wilt not, then blame us not, because we must needs inform our captain of all that thou doest." But the holy Callistratus made answer and said: "My brethren, why hath Satan filled your minds ? I have not harmed any one of you, nor have I oppressed any one of you; in war I am along with you; in the register of names I am perhaps classed before you, but on parade I do not [p. 292] separate myself from you, nor in the squadron do I pass you by. What reason then have ye now to speak evil of me, this I know not; but this I know that ye have not power to cut me off from the unspeakable benevolence of Jesus my Saviour and from His orthodox worship; not only have ye no power to do so, but not even many more like unto you can do so. Let Christ who bore witness before Pontius Pilate, and of whom my great-grandfather Okorus was an eye-witness, testify unto this for me."
When they heard this, they rose at dawn and informed Presentinus the captain, saying: "One of the number of thy soldiers who are under thy control, rebels against the worship of the gods, and calls a certain one who is named Christ His King and God, and he acknowledges Him crucified; but he also takes upon himself to pray and fast, and all his rations of pork and of good bread he gives to them that need it, and he himself once a day eats dry bread, dipping it in water; but lest he should inspire many of thy soldiers to revolt with him, therefore we have laid information before thy serene Majesty." But Presentinus said: "Who is he, and what is his name ?" And they said: "Bonus Miles," which is, being translated, Callistratus. And the captain ordered them to bring him before them; and he said to him in the Roman tongue, for the captain did not talk Greek, for the Romans cannot at once talk Greek, because of the richness of the tongue. And he said to him: "Quid dicunt [p. 293] socii tui, propter te, celerius dic." Which, being translated, is: "What do thy comrades say concerning thee, quickly tell us." This history was written in the Roman tongue, and thus it is that they pronounced the words, who knew the language and translated them, and gave them to us; and we, without altering them, sent them on to all places, which have Christ before their eyes in faith and holiness.
Callistratus made answer and said: "Let them say, O my Lord, what more they have to say concerning me; for I know of nothing wrong to impute to myself." Presentinus said to the slanderers: "What do ye know concerning Callistratus, boni militis ?" But they said: "Nay, rather let your serene Majesty command him to sacrifice to the great god Zeus, and thou shalt know then his perverse disposition." So the captain said: "Sacrifice, O Callistratus, to the god Zeus." Callistratus said: "I offer the sacrifice of praise to the great God who made heaven and earth and everthing in His wisdom; who fashioned man out of dust, and fixed his destiny eternal and inviolable; for I know not the gods made by hand, but I walk as I have learned. For it is written: "All the idols of the heathens are demons, but the Lord made the heavens;" and this also: "The idols of the heathens are gold and silvermade by the hands of the sons of men." I therefore, O lord Count, do not worship or pay homage to the work of men's [p. 294] hands; but since I am thy enlisted soldier, and am under thy hand, I have obeyed thee in war and in drill and in all service; surely thou hast not authority over my soul also, that it should serve thee ? God forbid !" 4. Presentinus said: "Here, O Callistratus, there is no need for rhetoric, but we have to talk about obedience; wherefore comply and sacrifice, that thou mayst not compel me to destroy thee in a cruel manner. But I think that thou knowest , that when I arrest any man by force, before torturing him, I consume him with my roarings." Callistratus said: "Thy roaring and thy threatening is but transient: but the wailing and the gnashing of teeth is eternal. For if I deny my Lord Jesus Christ before men, He will shut me out, He the Master of the house, and there shall be weeping of eyes and gnashing of teeth."
Then the captain ordered that he should be pinioned and beaten with clubs, until eight men had taken their turn at it. And as they beat him, the holy Callistratus said: "I have sworn and have resolved to keep the judgements of thy righteousness, O Lord. We were very faint, but do thou revive me, aacording to Thy word, nor suffer the destroyer and the many-headed beast to rejoice over me; but strengthen me, Christ, and be unto me a tongue, in order that I may answer, and a physician, in order that my wounds may be healed; [p. 295] for many pangs have I in my flesh because of these torments."
But when the captain saw his blood gushing out in rivulets upon the earth, he ordered them to cease from beating him; and he said to him: "Sacrifice, O Callistratus, to the gods, in order that thou mayest be saved from instant tortures; for I swear by Artemis, crowned with rays, and by all the company of the gods, unless thou obeyest me, I will cut thee into bits, and the dogs shall devour thy flesh and the lions lick up thy blood." Callistratus said: "I hope in the King of Heaven, in God, that He will bring me out of the mouth of the lions, and save my helplessness from the hands of the dogs, in order that not I alone of this thy band may praise Him; for I have expectation that by opposing him, and going out against him, I shall raise the standard of victory over the Devil, who incites thee against me. 5. Then the captain ordered them to pound up potsherds and to scatter them beneath him, and to stretch the saint on his back, so that the potsherds might lacerate his back and his wounds. And they placed a funnel in his mouth, and he ordered them to pour water with a jug into his mouth. But the brave champion of Christ suffered these tortures woith courage. And when he had risen up, he said: "O God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, give me strength to meet the artifices of the devil; and save me from him, lest he destroy me, and lest he find a vantage-ground against me."
The captain said: "Sacrifice, O Callistratus, to [p. 296] the gods; otherwise I will take away thy life, that others of this band be not also lost through thee." The holy Callistratus said: "Unworthy man, and shameless, thou art eager to do combat for the flock of Satan, thy master, not knowing that this flock belongs to my Christ. But I hope in the King of Heaven, in my Lord Jesus Christ, that however much thou mayest struggle in behalf of the Devil, yet I shall take him captive, and shall snatch them from the number of thy forces, and illuminate them, and establish the Church of Christ in the middle of this city." But the captain said: "Out on thee, unholy one, and thrice miserable; behold my command is urgent before thine eyes. This instant my government orders me to cast thee into a sack, and to seal up its mouth, and to take and throw thee into the middle of the sea. How then canst thou establish the Church of Christ, or when wilt thou illuminate any of the number of the bands of my soldiers ?" And he ordered them to bring a linen sack, and to throw him into it, and he sealed the mouth of the sack with lead, and he gave it into the hands of the crew, and the crew bore it into the middle of the sea, about forty furlongs, and threw it into the sea. And the captain stood on the shore of the sea, until the sailors came. But the sack went down and was caught in a hollow of the rocks; and even while he was under the sea Callistratus offered up prayers, saying: "O God, invisible and unsearchable, unattainable and unutterable, whose throne of glory cannot be declared, before whom [p. 297] all things tremble and quail, whose threats consume the mountains, and whose name and title cleaves asunder the abysses, before whom the sea shrinks abashed along with the rivers and the whales, who didst search out the heart of Jonas and didst receive his prayers when he came forth on the land, even though he was imprisoned as it were in everlasting bonds, and didst rescue his life from destruction; now also receive the prayers of me, who am a sinner, and in distress, and let my prayers come to the temple of thy holy glory; save me from this present oppression, for thou hast known my works even from my childhood. Thou knowest, O Lord, that I desired to establish Thy Church in the midst of this city; be my fellowworker for good, because Holy is Thy name forever."
And after he had offered his prayer, the sack chanced upon a narrow passage between rocks, and was torn asunder, and a certain fish of the dolphin tribe took him and bore him upwards from the depths to the shore of the sea, and laid him down upon the sands, and then it turned round and fled back into the sea. But when the soldiers and their captain beheld him, they were much dismayed. But Callistratus began to sing a psalm and said, "I descended into the depths of the sea, and the cataracts engulphed me; but I was not disquieted, and cried out, for Thou hast heard the voice of my prayer; Thou hast [p. 298] torn asunder my sack, and hast established me in gladness." 6. Then forty and nine of the soldiers fell down before the blessed Callistratus, saying: "We pray thee, servant of God on High, save us from the vanity of this world, for we also are Christians; for great indeed is the God of the Christians, who hath brought thee out of such an abyss; He is able also to help in battle whomsoever He will, for He alone is God." The holy Callistratus said, "My Lord Jesus Christ shall deliver you, and henceforth ye shall see the King of Heaven."
And he prayed thus: "Lord, who hast Thy dwelling for ever in unapproachable light, look upon this Thy flock which is in Thee, and preserve them, because Thou art merciful, continually, and for ever." 7. But Presentinus said, "I swear by the sun, by the Emperor, this fellow is full of exceeding wizardry, for he hath cloven asunder the sea, and hath tricked these men." And he said to him: "I will oppose this wizardry of thine; grant me a little while, and thou shalt know who is Presentinus, and who is the God whom thou servest." And he sat down upon his judgement-seat, and ordered them to bring rods, and he caused the forty and nine men to be scourged one after the other. But they said, "Lord Jesus, this torture we endure for Thy sake; help us, O God, the Saviour, and give us strength to bear it; preserve also our shepherd, [p. 299] Callistratus, in order that he may teach us perfectly, for we are as it were dumb animals, and have not the knowledge of Thy will. Look graciously upon our salvation, for blessed is Thy name for ever."
8.But thereupon the unholy captain ordered them to be put in prison, in order that he might think about them: for he was very grieved at having lost fifty men out of the number of his soldiers. And when they came into the prison, the holy Callistratus began to establish with prayer the forty and nine men, whose names are the following: Acacius, Domnasius, Bibianus, Basiliscus, Bemarchus, Dorotheus, Gerontes, Alpius, Anthimus, Aragseos, Anictus, Bitalius, Grigorius, Georgius, Gigandius, Genadius, Domninus, Dulcimius, Dometianus, Dedalius, Dalmatius, Eusebius, Evagrius, Elsiidius, Eutolius, Evarestus, Evagrius, Tharasimides, Theodorus, Therasius, Lysimachus, Lambliricus, Liminus, Constantinus, Canditianus, Heliages, Hysicus, heliodorus, Memnus, Milinus, Madrinus, Marcianus, Nicatius, Nicolaius, Olombrius, Utripeus, Olipeus, Xanthius. All these fell down before the holy Callistratus, and sought of him the knowledge of Christ. But the holy martyr of Christ spread out his hands to heaven, and spoke thus: "O God, who hast made everything, who art the all-wise Lord of all, who art praised by the numberless hosts of angels, who art perfect Creator; O God of our [p. 300] fathers, look down upon this Thy flock; come unto us, and be among us; fulfil, O Lord, Thy faithful promise, that where two or three are gathered together in My Name, I am there in the midst of them. Hear us, O King of eternity, scatter, O Lord, the flame of the devil. Remove, O Lord, the furnace of fire, that it may not rise higher than forty and nine cubits; in order that all the heathens may see Thy glory, and may glorify Thee, O King of eternity. Vouchsafe unto me, O Lord, wisdom and knowledge, in order that I may cause Thy servants to believe, and bring them before Thee; for blessed is Thy Name for ever."
And they all with one accord uttered the Amen; and one of them, whose name was Dalmatius, arose, and said to the holy Callistratus: "I pray thee, my lord Callistratus, make us Christians, and teach us the word of God, that we may not be ecer in doubt. Show us our hope and our future help. Recount to us all the wisdom of God, in order that we too may, by the grace of Christ, be glorifiers of Him along with Thee. For our fathers did not ever teach us the paths of righteousness." Then said unto them the holy Callistratus, "Children mine, and dear brothers, may the Lord give you grace and pity, and may my God bring to light your desire. May the God of [p. 301] heaven and earth fill you all with goodness; for I know that ye have an exceeding desire to hear the commandment of God. Now, therefore, since ye are athirst for righteousness, may the Lord fill you and intoxicate you and satiate you with the all-good and sufficing grace of the Holy Spirit, and with all the hope which ye have in the Lord Christ. But yet, my friends, I am unworthy and weak to tell of the unapproachable depths of the thoughts of God, but let each of you ask what he will, and make prayer for me; because I hope in the Lord Jesus Christ that, through your prayers, the Lord may give me speech to open my mouth boldly, and to speak clearly as an interpreter the plan of the economy of Christ." Then Bemarchus fell down before him and asked him, and said: "I pray thee, sir, tell me, how God is understood and known, and in what way He begot Christ, or for what reason and why the Jews crucified Him and slew Him."
9.The holy Callistratus said, "God is light without shadow, invisible and unapproachable; He hath neither beginning nor end; life without term, eternity without change, this is He. He has neither limits nor place, but in all things He is everywhere, and there is nowhere a place in which He is not,. No one is before Him, nor after Him, nor yet beside Him. He is an unknowable, an unintelligible nature. But for our weakness He is called light and life, reality, immortality, eternity, might, wisdom, mind, and whatsoever other names are heard in the holy [p. 302] books. Father and Son, spotless birth and unsearchable; the Word from the heart of the Father, and indivisible from the Father, Offspring inseparable, as is the light from the sun; Son, but not created, nor yet fashioned, and not in a lower degree, nor subservient, but sharer in reality and in being, and sharing in His quality of being without beginning. For ever in the bosom of the Father, according to the holy John, the evangelist, who saith, "From the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God; He was from the beginning with God. Everything was through Him, and without Him was nothing which has been made. Through Him was life, and the life was light unto men, and the light was ashine there in the darkness, and the darkness apprehended Him not." And again, "God hath no one seen at any time, except the Only Born, who is in the bosom of the Father," and the Holy Spirit, who emanated and proceeded from the Father; though not born, as is the Word, but an emanation and an effulgence of the eternal light; not made, nor yet lower than Father and Son, but coequal with them, and sharing their substance and partaking equally with the Father and Son. All substance of the Father is of the Son, except that He is not begetter, but begotten; and all substance of the Son is of the Holy Spirit; except that this is not begotten, but emanation; yet not that which sends forth the emanation, but that which has emanated; and through unity, by reason of His Godhead, He is equal in honour [p. 303] with Father and with Son, and there is one glory and one Godhead of the Trinity, one beginningless eternity of Father and Son and Holy Spirit; three Persons in their completeness, one self-hood and rule, one will and one counsel. It is wholly vision, it is wholly light, it is wholly hearing, wholly life, all this and whatsoever name and title else, by which we who are made of clay, call Him according to our weak understanding. One they are and equal, and on a level; except that there is Father, and there is His Offspring, the Word, and the emanation likewise of Him, the Holy Spirit, in three perfect persons.
"Therefore the holy and co-equal Trinity willed and established everything. The Father, by means of the Word, through the Holy Spirit, made heaven and earth, and divided the heavens with fire and the earth with water; He made also the light, according to which He also created the heavenly host; and parted waters from waters, and shot out the foam-flakes of His firmament. And the earth He adorned with things which blossom and grow, and the firmament with the sun and moon and stars; the earth, too, with four-footed animals and creeping things and with fishes did he fill, and the air with birds, according to the command which He gave to earth and waters to bring forth the breath of life.
"And when He had established all things by the power of His awful Godhead, which hung the heavens from nothing, and laid the earth upon nothing, and made all the elements real out of [p. 304 nothing; then at last He fashioned man out of dust, according to the image of His own Immortality, and gave Him free will to rule withal over all creatures which are below heaven. And He gave him a dwelling in the sinlessness of the garden of delight, and promised to advance him to yet greater glory, if he would be obedient to His law in a little thing. But Satan was an angel formed first, and created in the heavens; and because he was full of pride, and rose up in spiritual revolt against the Omnipresent God, therefore he fell from his glory. And he was jealous of man, and in his guile he sowed polytheism by making him taste of a fruit; and because man desired to be equal to God, God deprived him of his glory, and cast him out of the paradise where he was cherished by God. But forasmuch as he was the image of immortal God, Satan was not able nor had the strength to efface him, and utterly destroy him; but, by reason of his free will and of his craft, he fought against the race of men, and polluted them with all kinds of evils, with murder of their brothers, and with lawless unions. And the first race who did not obey the preaching of the just Noah, were therefore destroyed by a flood; and there only remained Noah and his children, eight souls. After that, by reason of their building the tower, their tongues were separated one from the other, and race by race, so that they were seventy and two races in number over the whole earth. And after that, Satan prompted them to worship idols, and to pollute [p. 305] themselves with the worship of everything, as you now behold - worship which the Lord will remove and destroy from among us. And thus he sowed the first seeds, and made the beginning of polytheism, when he said to Eve, "Ye shall be gods"; so leading men to vain worship; and the whole earth was in great sin.
"And the great God was moved to pity them, and He chose the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and their seed He took to Himself as His chosen people. And them He brought out of Egypt by the hand of Moses, and gave them laws, which laws also Satan destroyed, for they made a calf in the desert, and polluted themselves with abominations. And the second time in pity He gave them priests and prophets; but they believed not in them either, because of the promptings of Satan; neither were they schooled or corrected by tribulation or slavery, or invocation by name of the angels; and the whole earth with one accord was perverted, and followed after Satan, seeking from him the fulfillment of their evil wishes. But God, in His noble pity, had compassion on the race of men, and sent His only-begotten Word into the world, who hallowed the virgin Miriam, and dwelt in her, and (she) conceived inviolate without the seed of man, and without concupiscence, of herself fashioned an incorruptible body, according to the leader of the [p. 306] angels, Gabriel, who said, "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; for that which shall be born of thee is holy, and a Son of God; and they shall call his name Jesus, because He shall save His people from their sins." And He was conceived incorruptible, and was born incorruptible, yet was wrapped in swaddling clothes, and was laid in the manger of the brutes as if He were man; by the magi he was honoured with sacramental gifts, by the shepherds He was glorified, who sang with the angels; "Glory in the highest to God, and on earth peace, good will to men." He was circumcised as man, He was presented in the temple as man, but the aged Simeon besought Him as from God. He was driven by persecution into Egypt, and there He turned the city of idol-worshippers to a knowledge of God. Thence He returned, and dwelt in Galilee in the city of Nazareth.
[p. 307] "But let not one of you stumble and say that Christ took His origin from the Virgin; for, according to the flesh, He appeared from the Virgin, but according to His Godhead, He is equal to the Father, as I said above. And let not one of you say that He brought His flesh and body from heaven, for He derived it from the Virgin. Nor let any one of you say that He was merely God or merely man, but rather that He is God and man, God in the flesh, and man in His Godhead, not confounded nor changed. For He says in the Proverbs: "The Lord acquired Me the beginning of all paths in His works, before that the abysses were, before the fountains of the waters, before all the hills He hath begotten Me; when He made ready His throne, I was with him. I it was with whom He was rejoicing." But with regard to the flesh, He says that the mystery of the incarnation of Christ was, before the world came into being. However, He was fashioned incorruptible from the Virgin. This same only-begotten Word of the Father, who was incarnate by the holy Virgin, was silent for thirty years; but after that He was baptized by John in the river Jordan. And as He went up out of the water, the heaven was opened to Him, and the [p. 308] Holy Spirit descended in the visible form of a dove upon Him; and the Father from on high bore witness to His body that could be seen, saying: "He is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." This John saw and marvelled, and hesitated to baptize Him; but the Lord said to Him: "Grant this now, for thus it is meet that we should fulfil all righteousness." As the sinless John, son of the high priest Zachariah, bore witness to Christ, and said: "Behold, Christ, the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world." For He was named Jesus from His birth, whom the angel heralded to Mary, but Christ from the anointing of the Holy Spirit, which came down into the Jordan in the likeness of a dove. And after this, He was tempted by Satan, but vanquished the tempter in a threefold manner; for He was for forty days without food, and the God who was united and joined in Him with man, enabled the man to triumph over vain glory and pride, and avarice and love of wealth. He walked among us yet another three years, and preached the good tidings of the kingdom of heaven. On the blind He bestowed sight, the lame He made to walk, the lepers He cleansed, demons He cast out, the legion He gave to the deep sea, the dead He raised, and healed all other pains and diseases; and many other works of power and greatness He wrought. But they did not receive Him, neither did they believe in Him, as saith the holy evangelist John, namely: "He came to His own, but His own received [p. 309] Him not," and in all ways mankind went out after nothing and found nothing.
"But our Lord Jesus Christ for this reason came to suffer, in order that He might break the power of Satan. Sitting upon a young ass, He entered into Jerusalem, after He had summoned from the grave, where he had lain for four days, His loved Lazarus. He preached beforehand the destruction of hell, and therefore also the young men of the Jews went before Him with branches of palm and sang: "Hosanna in the highest, blessing to the son of David, peace upon earth and glory in the highest." And He, even before this, had upon Mount Tabor, given a foretype of the mystery of His resurrection, with the testimony of Moses and Elias. And He came to Jerusalem on the great day of the Passover, an old and lawful festival, and on that day He also washed the feet of the disciples, and made them sharers of the holy mystery, and dispensed to His disciples His body and His blood. And having come to the cross, He was nailed upon it by the lawless Jews, and confirmed the words of the prophets who foretold concerning Him in their preachings. But at His crucifixion the sun was darkened and the rocks were riven, the earth was shaken, and the veil of the temple rent in twain. And at the same hour in which Adam went forth from the garden, in that same hour He gave the robber entrance into the garden, saying to him: "This day shalt thou be with Me in the garden." He went down into hell alone, but went forth [p. 310] thence with a great multitude; He loosed them that were bound by Satan, but him He bound in darkness with bonds that shall never be loosed, and He brought to light the treasures of darkness. He rose from the dead on the third day. With the same incorruptible body He ascended into heaven, and with the same body He sat down on the right hand of the Father; and He cometh with the same body to judge all creatures.
"But then, O my brethren, those who were taken in madness were miserable; but now, by means of the cross of Christ, they have been raised to ineffable glory. But he who shall deny Him before men, is given over into the hands of hell. But think ye not that they are few who believe in Christ, but many those who worship the work of men's hands; for I hope in our Lord Jesus Christ that this faith of ours will be so multiplied, that it will be rather spread abundantly [p. 311] over the face of the whole earth. But do ye, my friends, stand strong in this faith, which I have taught unto you, with candid heart, as to genuine brethren."
10. And when the saint had finished the summary of his argument, Heladorus rose and asked him and said: "I pray thee, my lord Callistratus, when a man dies, what becomes of his soul, where does it go, or what does it do, or where does it dwell, whether in torment or in repose ?" The holy Callistratus said: "As Christ rose from the dead, so also must we rise and stand before His judgement-seat; and each of us will have to give answer according to his works, according as they are good or bad, in the day of reckoning. But the garden is made ready for them that are worthy of Him. Now when his last day comes upon a man, angels come to him; and when they see the soul of the man, if he is just, they rejoice, and they take it with psalms and hymns, and carry it eastwards, and they carry it past six [p. 312] spheres (or circles), past the storehouse of hail and snow, past the streams of rain, and past all the regions of storehouses, and past the spirits of wickedness which there are in the air; and they carry it in to the seventh circle, and set it down full opposite the glory of God, and he adores God in the seventh circle below the firmament; according to the preacher, who saith, that the flesh shall return to the dust whence it was created, but the spirit shall return to God who gave it. And the spirit, having returned by means of the providence of the angels of God, beholds the garden and the reward apportioned to its good works, and is glad with the hope of what is to come. However, without the body the spirit cannot receive its reward; but remains there and glorifies God in silence. But the places of their abode are below the firmament, above the sun. For when Christ died and descended into hell, He veiled His Godhead with His spirit; for His Godhead remained inseparable and undivided of body and soul. But when He had robbed hell, and liberated the spirits which were in prison, and given them over into the hands of the Father, then He gave them a dwelling-place in the air, below the firmament, in a place which was put [p. 313] high and lifted out of reach of the power of Satan, and of the wickedness of the air. For the evil powers of the air fight for our spirits, and for that reason our spirits are transmitted by means of angels and issue forth into regions high above the dwelling-place of the devil and of his host. But just as a good spirit is conveyed by means of good angels, so also an evil spirit is conveyed by means of bad angels; not that angels are bad, for the devil alone is bad, and the demons who comply with his bad wishes; but because men are evil doers and because of their impure courses, their angels also are in name called bad. Thus let us understand it: one soldier is sent by the king, to praise and do honour to the good and virtuous, but to slay and torment the evil-doers. Now in one and the same way, the angels of some men are good, and of others bad, because of their respective actions. Thus the angels are good and fond of man, and minister to the complete fulfilment of the will of the benevolent God, being holy and pure. When therefore the sinner dies, the angel takes this spirit, and bears it away in sorrow and grief, being ashamed of its works. Then at once there come upon him the demons of the air dancing, and they raise a war, and they name him as their own, and they clap their hands and leap. But the angel drives them back and murmurs fiercely against them, and so passes by them, and brings the spirit up to the seventh circle, underneath the water-borne firmament, and stations it there full opposite the [p. 314] glory of God, and then does homage in reverence before God. As it is written also in the psalm: "All the races which Thou hast made shall come and prostrate themselves before Thee, they shall make Thy name glorious for ever." And by means of the angel the spirit beholds the place of judgement and the reward of his works, and he is grieved and perpetually laments the destruction of his soul. For when the spirit is separated from the body, it comprehends and beholds the future more clearly than if it were before its eyes. But until the judgement comes, the spirits receive not their rewards nor their torments; however, they know from their own deeds what they are going to receive, and apart by themselves they rejoice or sorrow, and with still voice they praise God in security. But the just are filled with desire to see the day of requital; but the sinners look at the deeds they have done, and they sorrow and lament, knowing full well what torments they are going to suffer in the day of judgement. But by the Divine goodness, patience and rest is bestowed on both sides until the day of reckoning. But to the Christians there is great hope even after death; for if there are anywhere parents or brothers, or children, or relatives, or anyone at all who is a Christian and who is compassionate, and who offers up prayers or consecrates oblations and alms, so gaining the intercession of the saints, they can thus consign to this great place of rest him who looked forward to torments. For God is propitiated and remits [p. 315] the sins of them who have fallen asleep by means of the offerings of Christ, which is sacrificed upon the holy table for the salvation and for the life and for the pardon of the living and the dead. But, my brethren, deceive yourselves not in your hearts, nor suppose that at the time of death the just man has received the rewards of his righteousness, or the sinner the sentence of his requital. For how can this be ? For our bodies remain here, but the soul passes alone and by itself into the afore-mentioned place. For if there be no resurrection, and if our bodies do not rise from the tombs and stand before the awful tribunal, and receive each according to its works, how would it be possible for the sinful flesh to be destroyed, and the soul alone judged. Perhaps a man might string together reasons, putting upon the body the harm of a man's sins. The just therefore cannot receive their reward, nor the sinners their torments, until the coming of that day, concerning which Paul saith: "The trumpet sounds and the dead shall arise in the twinkling of an eye." For, as Christ died, so He also arose with the same incorruptible body; not that it became incorruptible after His resurrection, God forbid ! for rather He put on Himself incorruptible from the Virgin, the sinful body of Adam, and absorbed and sunk its corruptibility in His Godhead, and with the same body thus made Divine, He died and rose. Even as my great-grandfather Okorus accurately heard and learnt in Jerusalem from the holy apostles, who, with their [p. 316] own eyes, saw Him upon the Cross, saw Him laid in the sepulchre, saw Him risen from the sepulchre; and when He came to His disciples in the upper chamber, wherein He made good the deficiencies in faith of Thomas, my great-grandfather Okorus saw him; and when the Holy Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost he believed and was baptized by the holy apostles. I therefore learnt this from his tradition, and from the holy evangelists, and from the apostles, and from the prophets before them. But that which I teach you I say truly in Christ, and lie not, that as Christ rose, so we shall rise with the same body incorruptible, and shall stand before the tribunal of Christ, and shall enjoy the fruits of our respective works, according to the just and impartial award of Christ.
"But this also I teach you, brethren, that when they rise from the dead, after that there is not any expiation or remission of their sins, nor any intercession, for the door of the kingdom is shut to them who have not entered here in the body. As therefore ye henceforth know all this, my brethren, be ye zealous in good works, and hasten to enter before the door be shut."
11. Domitianus made answer and said: "What dost thou say, my lord Callistratus ? Surely, then, those who sin are not judged at all in this world, and receive not here their requital, but for [p. 317] all the day of judgement is reserved to the other world ?" The holy Callistratus replied: "God is long-suffering and very compassionate, He desires not the death of a sinner who repents of his sins, and who is conscious of his transgressions, and acknowledges them, and falls down in prayer before God, lamenting, and saying from the bottom of his heart: "O God, expiate my sins," and who thenceforth does righteousness. Though his sins be many, he is able to wipe them out by means of prayer, and fasting, and almsgiving; to him God remits them, God who is benign and not revengeful, and who desires that every man should live, and come to a knowledge of the truth. But if any one pollute himself for a long time in many sins, and blaspheme God, if he shall rob and stint the orphans, and oppress the widows, swearing falsely, and ridiculing them, adding extortion to extortion, and usury to usury, and if he grow rich out of his injustice, and treasure up his own damnation; if, in addition to all this, he should also soil himself with adultery, and with the abomination of all kinds of fornication, then the benevolent God looks upon him to see if he lingers and tarries over his evildoings, and after that He will apportion unto him in remembrance of his evil deeds, when he can no more be turned away from evil. And the life of such a one shall be destroyed, and his goods shall be plundered, and his body shall be destroyed, and taking with him his evil deeds alone, he shall pass miserably out of life, unburied in his own land; his orphans shall [p. 318] be plundered, and his life shall leave to trace of itself. This is the portion of them that are puffed up by their riches which they have gained by injustice, and who have not walked according to the commandments of God. But if a man be poor, and walk in the like evil path, he is troubled with miserable woes, being full of sin during his life, and the might of God is in no way a help to him; for God hates evil-doers, who return not from their evil paths. And such a one is found to have lost his riches, and to have forfeited all the good things of life, and even his bare wants of the body are not supplied to him. And if his life be prolonged, it is still more pitiable; and unless he devote himself to prayer, and do righteousness, he is miserable beyond all men. For straightway there come upon him tribulations and afflictions from which there is no escape, anguish that is intolerable, and all the means of life fail him. And frenzy, and care, and many other troubles befall him, and consume his flesh like a viper, and like a basilisk suck his blood; and he is the prey of detestable woes, leprosy and scurvy, and he shall desire only his daily fare, and shall not find it, and he shall be hateful and despicable to all, a laughing-stock, and source of scoffing, an eyesore, and a butt to all beholders; ambushes shall come on him whence he knows not, and he shall be smitten with unforeseen accidents. Yea, and many such take their own lives, and mercilessly massacre themselves on account of the woes that they cannot endure, and their memory is miserably [p. 319] effaced from their life. So it is for the poor man who soils himself with many sins, and regards not the commandments of God. But there is also another fate which may befall both classes, both those who live in evil doing and are rich, and also those who are poor. For God is merciful, and may grant them on earth long spell of health, and to suit His ends, even bestows unbroken prosperity in all directions; bodily health, fruitfulness of lands, fecundity of animals, respect and honour from great and little alike, life altogether without care, and long and glorious, an old age of pomp and honour, glory and praise, and a blessed death, and a great and famous funeral. And yet one who lives such a life as this, and does not walk in the commandments of God, which are light, and give light to the eyes; who rather contaminates himself all his time with savagery and cruel actions, and does not thank God nor glorify Him with good actions, nor recognise Him as the Giver of good things, fearing Him as is right and lawful to do, but who is ungrateful to God, and when he has good things vouchsafed to him by God's grace, reckons it to his own merit; let not such a one have any rejoicing, for all the more will he be tortured in Gehenna, like the rich man who heard Abraham say, "Thou hast received thy good things in thy lifetime, and a great gulf is between me and thee." But David also says, "Requite to my neighbours sevenfold into their bosoms their insults with which they have insulted Thee, O Lord;" and again, "I saw the impious [p. 320] man growing up and overtopping all like the cedars of Lebanon; I passed, and he was not; I sought, and his place was not found;" for their end is seen in the bottom of the pit, according to Him who talks in parables. This is the lot of every sinful man, whether he be rich or poor, who enjoys the good things of God, but doeth not His will. And, moreover, because of them there is tribulation upon the earth, either the onset of enemies, or sudden death, or famine, or hail, or any other of the afflictions on account of sin which befall all men at once, like the flood or the fire which consumed Sodom. For when a sinner inflames the wrath of his Creator, then the Divine anger descends upon him, like an involuntary repentance of sin.
"And now, since ye are new in the faith, and have not read the holy books; for it is written in the Book of Kings about Achab and Jezebel, because they inflamed the wrath of God, the Creator of all, by their idolatry, and extortions, and robbery; they slew His prophets, they destroyed His altars; one prophet alone was left, Elias by name, who was consumed with the zeal of the Almighty God, and he, by his prayers, curbed the clouds that they should not give rain, and hindered the dew from heaven, that no shoot might rise from earth according to its nature; for the word went forth from Elias, and shup up and closed the boundaries of the eternal, so that for three years and six months there was no rain, neither did the fountains play and spring up, [p. 321] because they were dried up. All creeping things also dwindled, the four-footed animals and the birds, for the Lord was wroth; and all blossoms and plants which were upon the earth were dried up. All the beauty of the earth was consumed, the earth was rent asunder to its depths by the drought, and all the kings and mighty ones of the earth staggered. The heavens rang like brass, and the earth roared like a heifer, and all living things repented against their wills because of the exceeding famine. But the word of a single prophet had command over all this, who built an altar to God, and brought down water from heaven, and cut off the false prophets of Baal, eight hundred and fifty men, and so appeased God's wrath, that after that the door of His pity was opened upon the earth. Such were the afflictions which happened because of the sins of men; for they are chastised, even though they do not understand; for God acquits not the impious, because He is just and powerful. But He does not destroy them at once, because He is pitiful and long-suffering, and He is indulgent to the wickedness of men, in the hope that they will return to repentance. But if they continue in their sins without turning, He destroys them utterly, as He did Rehoboam and Bassa and Achab, the princes of Israel, who with their families were effaced with dishonour. But those who turn from their wickedness and repent, to them He vouchsafes remission of their sins, as He did to Manasses, King of Judea, and to Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of Babylon. But him [p. 322] who insults God, God destroys; as He did Senecherim and Antiochus, the kings of Assyria. Thus, then, it is that God chastises some of us here, and some of us in the future. Therefore, my brethren, let us follow after virtue, in order that we may be glorified with Christ, both here and in the future."
Then Evarestos made answer, and said: "My lord Callistratus, is it according to the number of days that God terminates the world, or is it according to chance ? Otherwise, how is it that men die unexpectedly, either by hunger or thirst, or on the sea, or in rivers, or in the fire, or by any other of the accidents which may bring about dissolution of the lives of men; or it may be that one comrade slays another, or a man dies by the agency of a demon, or suddenly ? But when a man dies either in his youth or in old age, is the tale of his days fulfilled ? And so, too, with those who fall in war, for, behold, many of our host fell in the war with the Persians ?" The holy Callistratus said: "Learn ye also concerning this, my brethren; for at the beginning God said to Adam, "Dust thou wast, and to dust shalt thou return." And at same time the edict of death went forth upon men from their birth, even to their old age. And not only is death ordained unerringly by nature, like other things that are weighed and calculated; but the knowledge thereof is in the hands of God alone, who is the Lord of life and death. Not that it is ordained that all should reach to old age; for many a time a father has [p. 323] died in his youth, but his sons have reached an extreme old age; and the sons have died in youth before their fathers, as happened in the very beginning, for Adam lived nine hundred and thirty years, and Seth, his son, nine hundred and twelve, but his other son had not yet arrived at even a hundred years when he was slain by Cain his brother. But death is appointed for all; not but what there are some who are given a long life because of their just works, while to others God shortens life because of the excess of their sins; and in the case of some He pities their tears, and adds to their life, as in the case of Hezekiah, and for others He lengthens life because of the prayers of widows and orphans, and sometimes parents because of the tears of children, and children because of their parents' tears, have been brought back from death. And there are many requirements of the world, on account of which He adds to the life of men, both adds and takes away. But the blow of death also falls upon men because of their sins, sometimes by the sword, sometimes by fire, sometimes by water, or some other way of those in which the blow can fall. But a man may contend against us in argument, and say that he will not die because his day has not yet come, and for that reason he will boldly venture to go upon the sea when it is stormy, or into a river that is in flood, or on a snowy mountain, or [p. 324] on a scorched plain, or among wild beasts, or he will take harmful food; in such cases death comes not as a surprise and ambush, nor is it accidental, but it is a wilful dissolution of life, and they who so act are reckoned with those who die by their own sin. But there are also other forms of death, from the temperament of the body, from cold, or bile, or blood, or some other of the accidents by which life is dissolved. But as I said before, death is appointed to that life in man which he shares with the plants, and therefore, the Lord said, "Pray that ye be not led into temptation," for ye must at all times pray diligently, and say, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One." For many are the snares which are set by the Evil One; for throughout our lives he lays deadly ambushes in rivers, in fields, in mountains, on the plains, in the fire, at the hands of a wicked man, by a man's own act in strangling himself through his irascibility, as in the case of Judas and Achitophel; and in many other ways he lays deadly snares, and death is fated for him that is caught. But we must pray to God continually to preserve us from evil accidents, and in His grace bestow upon us a good end. There are also other forms of death, as when a stone should fall from a wall through ignorance, or the branch of a tree may fall upon us, or we may be butted by an ox, or thrown from a horse, or we may tread upon a sword, or meet a wild beast, or be bitten by a viper; all these are evil accidents, and they occur because man is puffed up with his strength, so [p. 325] that God remits His aid, and then man becomes ridiculous, and falls into all kinds of deadly snares; wherefore it is necessary that ye should be watchful, and pray to God, for he who prays to God with all his heart, to him the very snares become a source of good, as Paul said: "He will with the temptation also make the way of escape, in order that we may be able to suffer it." But there is not allotted to Satan any foreknowledge, but he knows very little of the time of man's death. However, he abides continually in the evil man, and if the pity of God did not prevent him in the case of each man, he would destroy all men together. And on account of this the Lord says, "Be careful, lest your hearts be weighed down with dissoluteness, or drunkenness, or worldly cares, and that day come suddenly upon you, as an ambush is sprung upon all men who dwell over the whole face of the earth. Be watchful, and for ever make prayers, that ye be accounted worthy to escape from all that which is to come, and to stand before the Son of man;" but death in war is open and not secret, for every one who takes a sword in his hand and goes into war, either slays another or himself dies; but if he survives and is left whole, the providence of God has intervened. All the time of man's life, therefore, is destined, but all sort of snares beset him during his life. But if a man humble himself, and prostrates himself before God, he is delivered from [p. 326] them; for although even his body be exacted of him, yet his spirit goes rejoicing to its Creator, in the way in which I before described.
"But let us, brethren, stand firm, for I trust in Christ, that by His hope we shall all overcome the machinations of the devil, and receive the emblem of victory. Listen to me, my brethren, in case it befall me to die before you. Forasmuch as ye are intimate with me, I would have you know that many a time Satan fought with me in my youth; but I hope in my Lord that now he will be worsted by me; for much alms have I given, and was proud as if I had won the whole realm. For when a man gives alms, he saith not, "I have proffered but of that which God gave me", but rather, is puffed up, as if he had given what was his own, and declareth that he hath done something great. Nay, rather have we received the command to minister to the poor, and we ought so to give, that what our left hand doeth our right hand should not know. That is to say, let not the devil on the left hand steal away the grace that the better hand wrought. But do ye, my dear friends, be on your guard, because all this is of the devil, for he opposeth everything that is good. For many a time hath he been able to filch away my mind, when he saw that I was praying with tears to God my Helper. At such times he would distract my mind, and would agitate all kinds of earthly cares, and intrude them on my soul, and would prompt me to gape and yawn. But I spurned him, and thus the adversary was not able [p. 327] to steal me away. For God takes account, not only of those who sing hymns and pray in the churches, but also of the very steps and foot-prints of those who, with sincere faith, enter into the temple of God. And whatsoever a man wishes to ask he knows beforehand, and vouchsafes the prayers which are according to His will; and whersoever there is a man who bends the knee, and prays with his whole heart, unto him God hearkens, and will give all that he needs with free grace. For if thou sayest, "Have pity upon me, O God," He knows thy meaning, and understands that which thy words represent. Therefore, dear friends, it profits the adversary nothing when he desires to snatch away our understanding, and intrudes all sorts of thoughts among our prayers. But who is there of men who knows not this: that man is prompt to sin, and wearies not therefrom, and is eager to transgress; but in prayer he is weak and idle, and remiss, and is faint and drowsy, and thinks that all this is a nautral affection, instead of being an invention of the devil ? But understand this, my brethren, that all these things are inspirations of the evil one, from which we must flee, and with faithful diligence, glorify God, who made the heavens and earth, the sea, and all that is in them."
Lysimachus made answer, and said: "My lord Callistratus, did God really make the heavens and earth, the sea, the moon, and the stars ?"
The holy Callistratus said: "Did I not tell you that, even while ye learn or pray, ye slumber ? Did ye not apprehend what I said before, in [p. 328] answer to the question of our brother Bemarchus ? But come, do you tell me, then; How did you learn about them from your fathers ? or how did ye reverence those things made with hands which ye used to call God ?" They made answer all at once, and said: "We learnt thus, that the heavens came into being of themselves, and so also the earth, and that the sun is the god of gods, because he gives light, and that the stars are the images of the gods."
The holy Callistraus replied, "Learn also concerning this, my brethren, lest Satan trip you up. All this world which is visible is the creation of the heavenly and single and beginningless and increate Holy Trinity, and of the single Godhead. For it founded heaven and earth. It drew the heavens across like a tent, and stretched them out like curtains, and by its word, fixed and made sure the watery firmament, and vaulted it, so that it was round like a ball; and established the earth above the waters, and the waters upon nothing at all. And the earth trembles and is afraid at His presence; for He made rifts in the firmament and above the illimitable expanse of the torrents of ocean, which has under itself all the elements, the upper and the nether ones. Likewise He made also the stars, and set them in the vault-like firmament to illumine the darkness. But the sun, by a law which never ceases, runs his courses; for he goes forth from the region of the portals of the east, and he travels along the south, revolving like a wheel, till he comes home to the west, and there [p. 329] he enters the portals of the west; and then forthwith darkness covers all things as the night is drawn over them.
"But when he has entered, and sunk below the vast prison bars of the south, in the nether firmament, he runs in the direction of the right hand, until he reaches once more the portals of the East, and masks the darkness with his light. So, also, the moon fulfils her courses according to the same law, waxing and waning as she approaches the sun, or goes away therefrom in her period of thirty days. And how can your teaching be true that the sun is God ? If he were God, how would he obey the law, and be enslaved by it ? How could he suffer, and be subject to affections, as when he is sometimes covered with clouds, and sometimes darkened ? In the same way, also, the moon and the stars likewise fulfil their courses according to command. In one and the same manner, they all leap up from the east, and they travel to the setting of the sun, and they return to the right of the north without entering the gates of heaven; but they revolve themselves in the firmament, and fulfil their entire courses by day according to the order of each of them, until they reach the east by way of the south, wherein are seen by us the vestiges of their paths. But many concoct fables, and say that the heavens revolve, whose words are vain; for the firmament is immovable. But many of the stars run in a circular path, and some of them are fixed, and have the rest of the stars to turn round themselves; as is the case with the [p. 330] northern stars, which are, by some, called Arcturus, but by some Hephtasagiron; but by the farmers, it is called the Wain, and by sailors Bazmojth, for these stars do not alter from their path, but revolve where they are. But other stars have a period of their own, in which they fulfil their courses, as, for example, Aruseak (Venus) and Mazaroth, and the Alosounk (? The Pleiades), and Haik (Orion). Each of these obeys its period, according as it was appointed to do; as it was also written: "The moon and the stars which Thou hast established." But the prophet, in speaking of the firmament, does not mean that it is immovable, and in that sense speak of its immovability; but he alludes to its strength, because they are subservient to an invincible and unerring command before their God. And now, my brethren, cast away the vain preaching; for God made all creation, but He honoured man alone with His image, and made everything subservient under his feet. And it is meet for man to know Him, because, for his sake, all creation was established out of nothing; for his sake the sun fulfils his unerring command, and the moon her course, according to her command; for his sake all the most ancient stars were set in order, which men of vain understanding called gods, giving them the names of animals, as for example, of the Ram, and the Bull, of Capricorn, and the Virgin, and the Yoke, and so forth. And they go on thence to conduct researches of a kind, and profess to derive from them seasons of plenty and famines; and they also [p. 331] declare that the fortunes and the terms of men's lives are ordered by them, in order that they may deceive men with empty words. But these constellations are appointed to make clear to us the various seasons, and to indicate to sailors their path over the sea. For man's sake were made the rivers and the mountains, and every blade of grass, and every plant. By the word were they manifested upon the earth; but man alone, on the earth, was honoured with the image of the immortal and benevolent God who made him. But he yielded to deceit, and fell into sin, and became mortal, and was ensnared by the outward appearance of the evil one, and by his false and empty flattery. And now, brethren, it is a great task all over this earth for man to save his soul. But let us labour to receive the token of victory in war, wherever there is contention with the devil, and let us boldly defy the evil warrior, and let us be found to have conquered his lawless pride, and he shall be worsted by us, and fall, never to rise again; but we, having escaped from the delusions of life, shall receive the crown of undying glory from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to whom is glory for ever and ever, Amen."
12. And when he had said this, he was silent for a while, for it was late even-tide; and the whole night long he remained in prayer until the dawn. But there was a certain scribe of the [p. 332] law-court, who was near to the prison, and he listened to the discourse of the holy Callistratus, and wrote it down in shorthand on paper, and gave it to us; and we set in order with all accuracy the record and outline of his thought. But at dawn the captain Presentinus took his seat upon the throne of judgement, and commanded them to be brought before him. And they brought them into the great court in which were set up many images of idols. There were mustered together not only the captains of the force, but the whole number of the soldiers. The captain said: "How is it, O Callistratus, hast thy schooled thyself and those of the king's soldiers that were inveigled by thee ? Hast thou instructed them to sacrifice to the gods, and save themselves from torture ?" The holy Callistratus said: "As to myself, I have given this answer and adhere to it, that nothing shall persuade me to forsake Christ my hope; but as to them, they are themselves grown up, and of full age, so ask them." The captain said: "What do ye say, who have been deceived, and have assented to this babbler ?" They made answer and said: "O unworthy man, and shameless, if thou wilt still keep us on the list of thy band, we shall not resist; but as to our worship and religion, we believe in the King of heaven and earth, in the God of all, and in His Offspring Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit, for He is [p. 333] God in three persons, a Trinity, but one Godhead, and one power; without flaw is He, and full of wisdom, which is and was and abides for ever, as our teacher Callistratus taught us." 13. But the captain commanded that they should be scourged with green switches; and after the scourging he ordered them to be bound hand and foot and dragged all of them to the edge of a lake, and said to them: "Sacrifice to the gods, for if not, ye shall be drowned in the waters." But they said: "We believe in the true God, do thou what thou wilt." But when they were about to be thrown into the great lake, which was called Oceanus, the holy Callistratus fell to praying and said: "God eternal, who art unapproachable and all-powerful, who didst establish the heavens by Thy might to be Thy throne immoveable for ever, and the earth to be Thy footstool; look upon this Thy flock, and be among us and save us from destruction, and grant that these waters be unto these men for the baptism of regeneration. Make them worthy to be washed with the eternal and pure baptism, unto the casting away of the vanity of the old man, and unto their participation with those who labour for Thy cross. Grant us, O Lord, to come unto Thy treasuries, by means of this washing, in order that we may be fellow-workers with Thy Holy Spirit in these waters. For glorious is the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen."
[p. 334] But when they had said with one accord Amen, they threw them bound into the water; and in the same moment the bonds of the saints were loosed, and they came to the top of the water and passed on to dry land, resplendent with the grace of the Holy Spirit. And as they came out of the water, there went forth a voice from Heaven saying: "Be of good cheer, My loved ones, for I am with you; be ye glad, for, behold, I have made ready for you a place in My kingdom. Rejoice, for I have written your names in My record in the Book of Life." And there was terrible thunder and a great earthquake, so that the images of the idols fell down and were broken. But when we saw the light which shot forth over the heads of the saints, and heard the blissful voice along with the earthquake and the breaking of the idols, we believed, - we, the soldiers, a hundred and five of us. Then the lawless Presentinus was taken with great fear, and he ordered them to be led into prison. And when they had entered into prison, the holy Callistratus again taught them, and said: "Men and brothers, behold the Lord hath summoned us to Himself. For I received baptism from my very youth, but now He has called you also; arise, therfore, and let us pray." So they raised their hands and he began to say: "Lord, Lord, how wonderful is Thy name for ever, who, before all things didst with Thy infinite word establish all things; who [p. 335] art the Lord of indestructible and invisible and flawless treasures; preserve this Thy flock, and deliver it from the mouth of the lion, and lead it into eternal salvation. And make us worthy to die in Thy confession. Save us spotless and pure from the sin-loving life. Bring us in at the narrow gate into the royal temple, that we may praise with holy and unresting voices the all-blessed name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and for ever."
14. But the lawless and impious captain, Presentinus, took counsel with a vir ducenarius, and sent into prison and beheaded them, for the soldiers of Christ were fifty in number. And the saints died in the month Hori, on the twenty-seventh day thereof. But we soldiers who believed when we saw the vision of the wonders, and were baptized in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we came privily in the night, and we took up the relics of the saints, and laid them in a proper place. Wherefore the Lord [p. 336] made us worthy to establish His church in Rome in the name of the saints, and we built in the name of the holy Callistratus a place of expiation for sinners, and a meeting-house of union for angels and men; for the glory and worship of the All-holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Copyright © 1999, David Woods. This file may be copied for the purpose of private research only.