The most recent iterations of the podcast are up, namely Episode 44 on the beginning of the Great Persecution, and Episode 45 on the question of whether Constantine converted the Church, or the Church converted the empire. Below are the notes and items for each of them.
I will also have another post later today on things I am working on.
Eusebius on the Constraint and Coercion of Christians at Rome
Thus, in the case of one man, others held him fast by both hands, brought him to the altar, and let fall on it out of his right hand the polluted and accursed sacrifice: then he was dismissed as if he had been sacrificed …. When yet another cried out and testified that he was not yielding, he was struck on the mouth and silenced by a large body of persons appointed for that purpose, and forcibly driven away even though he had not sacrificed. So much store did they set on seeming by any means to have accomplished their purpose. From The Martyrs of Palestine, 1.4.[S], tr. Lawlor and Oulton.
Lactantius on the Pillaging of the Chruch of Nicomedia
The next day, the edict was published. lt commanded that throughout the whole Empire churches were to be destroyed, and sacred books handed over to be burnt. Christians in the public service were to be removed from their offices: in civil life the honestiores were to lose their important privileges of birth and status, and no Christian might act as accuser in cases of personal injury, adultery and theft. Christian slaves might no longer be freed. Only the lives of the sectaries were spared; otherwise they were to be outlaws.
Lactantius on Constantine’s Dream
Constantine was directed in a dream to have the heavenly sign delineated on the shields of his soldiers, and so to proceed to battle. He did as he had been commanded, and he marked on their shields the letter Χ, with a perpendicular line drawn through it and turned round thus at the top, being the cipher of Christ. Having this sign (ΧР), his troops stood to arms. From On the Death of the Persecutors, 44.5
The Conversion of St. Pachomius
As he was being carried off with others on board ship to foreign parts, they docked one evening in a certain port where the citizens, on seeing how strictly the raw recruits were being guarded, enquired what their situation was, and motivated by the commandments of Christ, took great pity on their miserable plight and brought them some refreshments. Pachomius was very surprised at what they were doing and asked who these men were who were so eager and willing to perform such humble acts of mercy.
He was told they were Christians, who were in the habit of doing acts of kindness to everyone, but especially towards travellers. He learned also what it meant to be called a Christian. For he was told that they were godly people, followers of a genuine religion, who believed in the name of Jesus Christ the only begotten son of God, who were well disposed to all people, and hoped that God would reward them for all their good works in the life to come. Pachomius’ heart was stirred on hearing this, and, illumined by the light of God, he felt a great attraction towards the Christian faith. The fear of God was ignited in him, and drawing aside a little from his companions he lifted up his hands to the heavens.
“O Almighty God who made heaven and earth,” he said, “if you will hearken to my prayer and show me how to order my life according to your holy name, and free me from my oppressive shackles, then I pledge myself to your service all the days of my life. I will turn my back on the world and cleave only to you.” by Abbot of Tabennisi, an unknown Greek Author, translated into Latin from the Greek by Dionysius Exiguus, Abbot of Rome.