SELECTIONS FROM EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITERS: ILLUSTRATIVE OF CHURCH HISTORY TO THE TIME OF CONSTANTINE by Henry Melvill Gwatkin, M.A. First Edition, Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 1893. Reprinted with additions and corrections, 1897, 1902, 1905. Prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram, 2013.
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XLXXII. EUSEBIUS, Vita Const.i.28,29.


Constantine's Cross


Εεὐχομένῳ δὲ ταῦτα καὶ λιπαρῶς ἱκετεύοντι τῷ βασιλεῖ, θεοσημεία τις ἐπιφαίνεται παραδοξοτάτη· ἣν τάχα μὲν ἄλλου λέγοντος οὐ ῥᾴδιον ἦν ἀποδέξασθαι, αὐτοῦ δὲ τοῦ νικητοῦ βασιλέως, τοῖς τὴν γραφὴν διηγουμένοις ἡμῖν μακροῖς ὕστερον χρόνοις, ὅτε ἠξιώθημεν τῆς αὐτοῦ γνώσεώς τε καὶ ὁμιλίας, ἐξαγγείλαντος, ὅρκοις τε πιστωσαμένου τὸν λόγον, τίς ἂν ἀμφιβάλοι μὴ οὐχὶ πιστεῦσαι τῷ διηγήματι; μάλισθ' ὅτε καὶ ὁ μετὰ ταῦτα χρόνος ἀληθῆ τῷ λόγῳ παρέσχε τὴν μαρτυρίαν. ἀμφὶ μεσημβρινὰς ἡλίου ὥρας, ἤδη τῆς ἡμέρας ἀποκλινούσης, αὐτοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἰδεῖν ἔφη ἐν αὐτῷ οὐρανῷ ὑπερκείμενον τοῦ ἡλίου σταυροῦ τρόπαιον, ἐκ φωτὸς συνιστάμενον, γραφήν τε αὐτῷ συνῆφθαι, λέγουσαν· Τούτῳ νίκα. θάμβος δ' ἐπὶ τῷ θεάματι κρατῆσαι αὐτόν τε καὶ τὸ στρατιωτικὸν ἅπαν, ὃ δὴ στελλομένῳ ποι πορείαν συνείπετό τε καὶ θεωρὸν ἐγίνετο τοῦ θαύματος.

Καὶ δὴ διαπορεῖν πρὸς ἑαυτὸν ἔλεγε, τί ποτε εἴη τὸ φάσμα. ἐνθυμουμένῳ δ ' αὐτῷ καὶ ἐπὶ πολὺ λογιζομένῳ νὺξ ἐπῄει καταλαβοῦσα· ἔνταῦθα δὴ ὑπνοῦντι αὐτῷ τὸν Χριστὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ σὺν τῷ φανέντι κατ' οὐρανὸν σημείῳ ὀφθῆναί τε καὶ παρακελεύσασθαι, μίμημα ποιησάμενον τοῦ καθ' οὐρανὸν ὀφθέντος σημείου τούτῳ πρὸς τὰς τῶν πολεμίων συμβολὰς ἀλεξήματι χρῆσθαι.

[Accordingly he called on him with earnest prayer and supplications that he would reveal to him who he was, and stretch forth his right hand to help him in his present difficulties.] And while he was thus praying with fervent entreaty, a most marvellous sign appeared to him from heaven, the account of which it might have been hard to believe had it been related by any other person. But since the victorious emperor himself long afterwards declared it to the writer of this history, when he was honoured with his acquaintance and society, and confirmed his statement by an oath, who could hesitate to accredit the relation, especially since the testimony of after-time has established its truth? He said that about noon, when the day was already beginning to decline, he saw with his own eyes the trophy of a cross of light in the heavens, above the sun, and bearing the inscription, Conquer by this. At this sight he himself was Struck with amazement, and his whole army also, which followed him on this expédition, and witnessed the miracle.

He said, moreover, that he doubted within himself what the import of this apparition could be. And while he continued to ponder and reason on its meaning, night came on; then in his sleep the Christ of God appeared to him with the same sign which he had seen in the heavens, and commanded him to make a likeness of that sign which he had seen in the heavens, and to use it as a safeguard in all engagements with his enemies.

N.L.


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