Ante-nicene fathers



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Martyrdom of our apostles.

After the death of Abgar, the kingdom of Armenia was divided between two: Ananoun, Abgar’s son, reigned at Edessa, and sister’s son, Sanadroug, in Armenia. What took place in their time has been previously told by others: the apostle’s arrival in Armenia, the conversion of Sanadroug and his apostasy for fear of the Armenian satraps, and the martyrdom of the apostle and his companions in the canton of Chavarchan, now called Ardaz, and the stone opening to receive the body of the apostle, and the removal of this body by his disciples, his burial in the plain, and the martyrdom of the king’s daughter, Santoukhd, near the road, and the apparition of the remains of the two saints, and their removal to the rocks—all circumstances related by others, as we have said, a long time before us: we have not thought it important. to repeat them here. In the same way also what is related of the martyrdom at Edessa of Attaeus, a disciple of the apostle, a martyrdom ordered by Abgar’s son, has been told by others before us.

The prince who reigned after the death of his father, did not inherit his father’s virtues: he opened the temples of the idols, and embraced the religion of the heathen. He sent word to Attaeus: “Make me a head-dress of cloth interwoven with gold, like those you formerly used to make for my father.” He received this answer from Attaeus: “My hands shall not make a head-dress for an unworthy prince, who does not worship Christ the living God.”

Immediately the king ordered one of his armed men to cut off Attaeus’ feet. The soldier went, and, seeing the holy man seated in the chair of the teacher, cut off his legs with his sword, and immediately the saint gave up the ghost. We mention this cursorily, as a fact related by others a long while ago. There came then into Armenia the Apostle Bartholomew, who suffered martyrdom among us in the town of Arepan. As to Simon, who was sent unto Persia, I cannot relate with certainty what he did, nor where he suffered martyrdom. It is said that one Simon, an apostle, was martyred at Veriospore. Is this true, or why did the saint come to this place? I do not know; I have only mentioned this circumstance that you may know I spare no pains to tell you all that is necessary.

X.11

Reign of Sanadroug; Murder of Abgar’s children; The princess Helena.

Sanadroug, being on the throne, raises troops with the help of the brave Pacradouni and Ardzrouni, who had exalted him, and goes to wage war upon the children of Abgar, to make him self master of the whole kingdom. Whilst Sanadroug was occupied with these affairs, as if by an effect of divine providence vengeance was taken for the death of Attaeus; for a marble column which the son of Abgar was having erected at Edessa, on the summit of his palace, while he was underneath to direct the work, escaped from the hands of the workmen, fell upon him and crushed his feet.

Immediately there came a message from the inhabitants of the town, asking Sanadroug for a treaty by which he should engage not to disturb them in the exercise of the Christian religion, in consideration of which, they would give up the town and the king’s treasures. Sanadroug promised, but in the end violated his oath. Sanadroug put all the children of the house of Abgar to the edge of the sword, with the exception of the daughters, whom he withdrew from the town to place them in the canton of Hachdiank. As to the first of Abgar’s wives, named Helena, he sent her to his town at Kharan, and left to her the sovereignty of the whole of Mesopotamia, in remembrance of the benefits he had received from Abgar by Helena’s means.

Helena, pious like her husband Abgar, did not wish to live in the midst of idolaters; she went away to Jerusalem in the time of Claudius, during the famine which Agabus had predicted; with all her treasures she bought in Egypt an immense quantity of corn, which she distributed amongst the poor, a fact to which Josephus testifies. Helena’s tomb, a truly remarkable one, is still to be seen before the gate of Jerusalem.

XI.12



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