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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