Persecution Of The Christians By The Goths And Vandals
Many Scythian Goths having embraced Christianity about the time of
Constantine the Great, the light of the gospel spread itself
considerably in Scythia, though the two kings who ruled that country,
and the majority of the people continued pagans. Fritegern, king of the
West Goths, was an ally to the Romans, but Athanarick, king of the East
Goths, was at war with them. The christians, in the dominions of the
former, lived unmolested, but the latter, having been defeated by the
Romans, wreaked his vengeance on his christian subjects, commencing his
pagan injunctions in the year 370.
Eusebius, bishop of Samosata, makes a most distinguished figure in the
ecclesiastical history, and was one of the most eminent champions of
Christ against the Arian heresy. Eusebius, after being driven from his
church, and wandering about through Syria and Palestine, encouraging the
orthodox, was restored with other orthodox prelates to his see, which
however he did not long enjoy, for an Arian woman threw a tile at him
from the top of a house, which fractured his skull, and terminated his
life in the year 380.
The Vandals passing from Spain to Africa in the fifth century, under
their leader Genseric, committed the most unheard-of cruelties. They
persecuted the christians wherever they came, and even laid waste the
country as they passed, that the christians left behind, who had escaped
them, might not be able to subsist. Sometimes they freighted a vessel
with martyrs, let it drift out to sea, or set fire to it, with the
sufferers shackled on the decks.
Having seized and plundered the city of Carthage, they put the bishop,
and the clergy, into a leaky ship, and committed it to the mercy of the
waves, thinking that they must all perish of course; but providentially
the vessel arrived safe at Naples. Innumerable orthodox christians were
beaten, scourged, and banished to Capsur, where it pleased God to make
them the means of converting many of the Moors to christianity; but this
coming to the ears of Genseric, he sent orders that they and their new
converts should be tied by the feet to chariots, and dragged about until
they were dashed to pieces Pampinian, the bishop of Mansuetes, was
tortured to death with plates of hot iron; the bishop of Urice was
burnt, and the bishop of Habensa was banished, for refusing to deliver
up the sacred books which were in his possession.
The Vandalian tyrant Genseric, having made an expedition into Italy, and
plundered the city of Rome, returned to Africa, flushed with the success
of his arms. The Arians took this occasion to persuade him to persecute
the orthodox christians, as they assured him that they were friends to
the people of Rome.
After the decease of Huneric, his successor recalled him, and the rest
of the orthodox clergy; the Arians, taking the alarm, persuaded him to
banish them again, which he complied with, when Eugenius, exiled to
Languedoc in France, died there of the hardships he underwent on the 6th
of September, A. D. 305.
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