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Dionysius of Alexandria (St Dionysius)

(d. 265) [Gams]

Patriarch of Alexandria (247 - 265); church father

Dionysius succeeded Heraclas as head of the school in Alexandria and then as bishop. 1570, p. 87; 1576, p. 61; 1583, p. 60.

Dionysius sent a letter to Fabius of Antioch describing the uprisings against the Christians in Alexandria. 1570, p. 88; 1576, p. 62; 1583, p. 61.

In his letter, Dionysius recounted how a number of the faithful lapsed under torture or through terror. 1570, p. 92; 1576, p. 64; 1583, p. 64.

Dionysius gave an account of his and his followers' rescue from the persecutors. 1570, p. 90; 1576, p. 63; 1583, pp. 62-63.

In a letter to Hierax, a bishop in Egypt, Dionysius described the effects of a plague that had afflicted Alexandria after the death of Decius. 1570, p. 94; 1576, p. 66; 1583, p. 66.

Dionysius refused to sacrifice to the gods and was banished by Aemilianus, prefect of Egypt. 1570, p. 102; 1576, p. 72; 1583, p. 72.

Dionysius outlived Valerian and died an old man. 1570, p. 103; 1576, p. 73; 1583, p. 73.

 
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Eusebius of Caesarea

(263 - 339) [Catholic Encyclopedia]

Christian scholar, presbyter at the church at Caesarea; wrote History of the Church

Eusebius said that he himself had known the martyrs in Palestine who died during Diocletian's persecution. 1570, p. 110; 1576, p. 78; 1583, p. 77.

He personally witnessed the persecutions in the Thebiade. 1570, p. 113; 1576, p. 80; 1583, p. 80.

He was present at the martyrdom of Philoromus at Alexandria. 1570, p. 128; 1576, p. 93; 1583, p. 92.

Eusebius received a letter from Constantine, instructing him to build and repair churches in Caesarea. 1570, p. 141; 1576, p. 104; 1583, p. 103.

Foxe uses Eusebius extensively as a source throughout Book 1.

 
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Herennius Etruscus

(220x230 - 251) [Christopher J. Fuhrmann www.roman-emperors.org]

Son of Decius; co-emperor with his father 251; killed in battle while on campaign against the Goths with his father

He is mentioned by Foxe: 1570, p. 94; 1576, p. 66; 1583, p. 66.

 
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Hierax

C3 Egyptian bishop; recipient of letter from Dionysius of Alexandria

In his letter to Hierax, Dionysius describes the effects of a plague that afflicted Alexandria after the death of Decius. 1570, p. 94; 1576, p. 66; 1583, p. 66.

 
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Julius Pomponius Lætus (Giulio Pomponio Leto)

(1425 - 1497) [Catholic Encyclopedia]

Italian humanist; founder of the academy at Rome; imprisoned, tortured on suspicion of heresy, released; continued to teach in Rome

He is mentioned by Foxe as a source: 1570, pp. 86, 94, 105; 1576, pp. 60, 66, 75; 1583, pp. 59, 66, 74.

 
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Nemesianus, Felix and Lucius

C3 Christian bishops or priests condemned to the mines

They received a letter from Cyprian of Carthage. 1570, p. 95; 1576, p. 66; 1583, p. 66.

 
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Paul Orosius

(c. 385 - c. 420) [Catholic Encyclopedia]

Historian, theologian; disciple of Augustine at Hippo; assisted Jerome against Pelagius in Palestine. Wrote a history of the world.

Orosius attended the Council of Carthage in 420, along with Augustine and Prosper. 1570, p. 12; 1576, p. 10; 1583, p. 10.

He is mentioned by Foxe: 1563, p. , 1570, pp. 19, 54 -, 86, 94, 107, 113; 1576, pp. 15, 34 - , 60, 66, 76, 81; 1583, pp. 15, 34 - , 60, 66, 75, 80, 452.

 
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Philip

(c. 237 - 249) [M. L. Meckler and C. Koerner www.roman-emperors.org]

Co-emperor with his father Philip the Arab (247 - 49); murdered after his father's death in 249

Philip was converted with his father and the rest of his family by Pope Fabian and Origen. 1570, p. 86; 1576, p. 60; 1583, p. 59.

 
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Philip the Arab

(d. 249) [M. L. Meckler and C. Koerner www.roman-emperors.org]

Roman emperor (244 - 49); killed during mutiny

Philip and his family were converted to Christianity by Pope Fabian and Origen. 1570, p. 86; 1576, p. 60; 1583, p. 59.

He was said to have been converted by the Roman Christian priest Portius. 1570, p. 91; 1576, p. 64; 1583, p. 63.

Philip and his son were killed by Trajan Decius because they were Christians. 1570, p. 86; 1576, p. 60; 1583, p. 59.

 
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Rogationus and Seagrius

C3 Christians imprisoned

Seagrius and Rogationus were sent a letter of comfort by Cyprian of Carthage. 1570, p. 95; 1576, p. 67; 1583, p. 66.

 
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Trajan Decius

(d. 251) [G. Nathan and R. McMahon www.roman-emperors.org]

Consul, commander under Philip the Arab

Roman emperor (249 - 51); killed in battle against the Goths

Decius killed Emperor Philip the Arab and his son Philip because they were Christians. 1570, p. 86; 1576, p. 60; 1583, p. 59.

Great persecution of Christians took place during his reign. 1570, pp. 86-93; 1576, pp. 60-66; 1583, pp. 59-65.

Pomponius Laetus said that, when Decius was overcome by the Goths, rather than fall into their hands, he threw himself into a whirlpool and drowned. 1570, p. 94; 1576, p. 66; 1583, p. 66.

 
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Trebonianus Gallus

(c. 206 - 253) [R. S. Moore www.roman-emperors.org]

Senator; consul; governor of Upper Moesia

Roman emperor (251 - 53) with his son Volusianus; murdered with his son by mutinous troops

A great plaque raged during the reign of Gallus, so although he issued edicts for the persecution of Christians, the only effect was the exile of bishops 1570, p. 95; 1576, p. 66; 1583, p. 66.

 
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Vibius Volusianus

(d. 253) [R. S. Moore www.roman-emperors.org]

Roman emperor (251 - 53) with his father Gallus; murdered with him by mutinous troops

There was no persecution of Christians during the reign of Volusianus and his father. 1570, p. 97; 1576, p. 68; 1583, p. 67.

 
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Alexandria

Egypt

Coordinates: 31° 11' 5" N, 29° 55' 9" E

89 [66]

The first Booke conteyning the X. first persecutions, of the Primitiue Churche.

MarginaliaThe death and destruction of Decius. And thus much of the tyrannie of this wicked Decius agaynst God his Saintes, 

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Divine punishmrent of Decius and reign of Gallus

The Foxe Project was not able to complete the commentary on this section of text by the date by which this online edition was compiled (23 September 2008).

now to touch also the power of God his vengeance and punishment against him, like as we see commonly a tempest that is vehement, not long to continue: so it happened with this tyrannicall tormenter, who raigning but two yeares as sayth Eusebius, or three at most, as writeth Orosius MarginaliaOrosius. Lib. 7. Cap. 14. among the middle of the Barbarians with whom he did warre, was there slayne with his sonne, like as he had slayn Philippus, and his sonne his predecessours before, so was he with his sonne slayne by the righteous iudgement of God himselfe. MarginaliaThe iust reuenge of God agaynst persecutours. Euseb. Lib. 7. cap. 1. Platin. Pomponius affirmeth that he warryng agaynst the Gotthians, and beyng by them ouercome, lest he should fall into their handes, ranne into a whurlepyt, where he was drouned, and his body neuer found after.

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MarginaliaThe iust punishment of God vpon the Heathen multitude, for persecuting his people. Neither did the iust hand of God plague the Emperor onely, but also reuenged as well the heathen Gentils and persecutors of hys word, throughout all prouinces & dominions of the Romain Monarchie, amongst whom the lord immediatly after the death of Decius, sent such a plage and pestilence, lastyng for the space of x. yeares together, that horrible it is to heare, and almost incredible to beleue. Of this plague or pestilence, testifieth Dionysius to Hierax a bishop in Egypt, Euseb. Lib. 7 cap. 21. 22. MarginaliaThe plague and hand of God. Where he declareth the mortalitie of this plague to bee so great in Alexandria, where he was bishop, that there was no house in þe whole Citie free. And although the greatnes of the plague touched also the Christians somwhat, yet it scourged the heathen Idolaters much more: beside that the order of their behauiour in the one, and in the other was much diuers. MarginaliaThe brotherly loue and piety among the christians, shewed in the time of plague. For, as the foresayd Dionysius doth recorde, the Christians through brotherly loue and pietie, did not refuse one to visit and comfort an other, and to minister to him, what need required. Notwithstanding it was to them great danger: for diuers there were, who in closing vp their eyes, in washyng their bodies, & interryng them in the ground, were next themselues which folowed them to their graues. Yet all this stayed not them frō doyng their duetie, and shewyng mercy one to another. Where as the Gentils contrarily, beyng extremely visited by the hand of God, felt the plague, but considered not the striker, neyther yet considered they their neighbour, but euery man shifting for himselfe, neither cared one for an other: but such as were infected, some they would cast out of the doores halfe dead, to be deuoured of dogges and wilde beasts, some they let dye within theyr houses without all succour, some they suffred to lye vnburied, for that no mā durst come neare him. And yet notwithstandyng, for all their voyding and shiftyng, the pestilence followed them whether soeuer they went, & miserably consumed them. MarginaliaA terrible pestilence raygning through all the Romaine Monarchy. In so much, that Dionysius bishop þe same tyme of Alexandria, thus reporteth of his owne City: that such a great mortalitie was then among them, that the sayd City of Alexandria had not in number of all together, both old and yong, as it was woont to contayn before of the old men onely from the age of 60. to 70. such as were found in tyme past commonly almost in that Citie. Pomponius Lætus, and other Latine writers also makyng mention of the sayd pestilitie, declare how the beginnyng therof first came (as they thinke) out of Ethiope, and from the hote countreys, and so inuading and wastyng first the South partes, from thence spread into the East, & so further running and increasing into all other quarters of the world, especialy, wheresoeuer the Edicts of the Emperor went agaynst the Christians, it followed after, and consumed the most part of the inhabitauntes, whereby manye places became desolate and voyde of all concourse, and so continued the terme of x. yeares together.

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This pestiferous mortalitie (by the occasion whereof Cyprian tooke the ground to write hys booke De mortalitate MarginaliaCyprianus Lib. de mortalitate. ) began as is sayd, immediately after the death of Decius the persecutor, in the beginning of the raigne of Vibias Gallus, and Volusianus hys sonne: MarginaliaGallus and Volusianus Emperours. who succeeded through treason, next vnto Decius, about the yeare of our Lord. 255. MarginaliaAnno. 255. and continued their raygne but two yeares.

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This Gallus although the first beginning of the raygne was some thing quiet, yet shortly after following the steps of Decius, by whō rather he should haue taken better heed, set forth Edictes in like maner, for þe persecution of Christians, albeit in this Edict we finde no number of Martyrs to haue suffered, but only all this persecution to rest onely in the exilement of bishops or guides of the flock. Of other suffrings or executions we do not read: for the terrible pestilence following immediatly, kept the barbarous heathē otherwise occupied. Vnto this tyme of Gallus, rather then to the tyme of Decius, I referre the banishment of Cyprian, MarginaliaThe first banishment of Cyprian. who was then bishop of Carthage. Of the which banishment, he himselfe testifieth in diuers of his epistles, decla-ryng the cause therof to rise vpon a commotion or sedition among the people, out of the which he withdrew himselfe, lest the sedition should grow greater. Notwithstāding the sayd Cyprian, though beyng absent, yet had no lesse care of his flocke and of the whole church, then if he had bene present with them. And therfore neuer ceased in his Epistles continually to exhort and call vpon them to be constant in their profession, and pacient in theyr afflictions. Amongst diuers other, whom he doth comfort in his banishmēt, although he was in that case to be comforted himselfe, writing to certayne that were condemned to minyng for metals, whose names were Nemesianus, Felix, Lucius, with other bishops, Priestes and Deacons, MarginaliaThe Byshops and Priestes condemned to metals. Nemesianus. Felix. Lucius. Byshops condemned for the name of Christ. declareth vnto them, how it is no shame but a glory not to be feared, but to be reioyced at, to suffer banishment or other paynes for Christ. And confirming them in the same, or rather commending them, signifieth, how worthily they do shew themselues to be as valiant captaines of vertue, prouoking both by the confessions of their mouth, and by the suffring of their body, the hartes of the brethren to Christian Martyrdome, whose example was and is, a great confirmation to many, both maydes and children to follow the like. As for punishment and sufferyng, it is (sayth he) a thing not execrable to a Christian. For a Christian mans brest, whose hope doth wholy consist in the * Marginalia* That is, in the passion of hym that dyed on the tree. tree, dreadeth neyther batte nor club, woundes and skarres of the body be ornaments to a Christian man, such as bring no shame nor dishonestie to the partie, but rather preferreth and freeth him with the Lord. And although in the mines where the mettals be digged there be no beds for Christian mens bodies to take their rest, yet they haue their rest in Christ. And though their wearie bones lye vpon the cold ground, yet it is no payne to lye with Christ. Their feete haue bene fettered with bandes and chaynes, but happily he is bound of man, whome the Lord Christ doth loose: happily doth he lye tyed in the stockes, whose feete therby are made swifter to runne to heauen. MarginaliaS. syprian exhorteth and confirmeth the Christian Martyrs. Cypr. lib. 3. Epist. vlt. Neither can any man tye a Christian so fast, but he runneth so much the faster for his garland of life. They haue no garmentes to saue them from colde, but he that putteth on Christ, is sufficiently coated. Doth bread lacke to their hungry bodies? But man liueth not onely by bread, but by euery worde proceedyng from the mouth of God. Your deformitie (sayth he) shall be turned to honour, your mourning to ioy, your payne to pleasure, and felicitie infinite. And if this doe grieue you, that ye cannot now employ your sacrifices and oblations after your wonted maner: yet your sacrifice daily ceaseth not, which is a contrite and humble hart, as when you offer vp daily your bodies a liuely and a glorious sacrifice vnto the Lorde, which is the sacrifice that pleaseth God. MarginaliaThe Christian mans sacrifice. And though your trauaile be great, yet is the rewarde greater, which is most certaine to follow. For God beholding and looking downe vpon them that confesse his name, in their willyng mynd approoueth them, in their striuyng helpeth them, in their victory crowneth them, rewarding that in vs, which he hath performed, and crowning that which he hath in vs perfected. With these and such like comfortable wordes he doth animate his brethren, admonishing them, that they are now in a ioyfull iourney, hasting apace to the mansions of the Martyrs, there to eniuoy after this darknes a stable light, and brightnes greater then all their passions, according to the Apostles saying: These sufferings of this present tyme be nothing like comparable to the brightnesse of the glory that shall be reuealed in vs, &c.

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MarginaliaCypr. lib. 4. Epist. 1. Seagrius. Rogatianus. Martyrs. And after the like wordes of sweete comfort and consolation writing to Seagrius, and Rogatianus, which were in prison and bondes for the testimony of truth, doth encourage them to continue stedfast and patient in the way, wherein they haue begun to runne, for that they haue the Lord with them their helper and defender, who promiseth to bee with vs to the worldes ende: and therfore willeth them to set before their eyes in their death immortalitie, in their payne euerlasting glory, of the which it is written: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his Saintes. Item, although before men they suffred torments, yet their hope is full of immortalitie, and beyng vexed in small things, they shall be well requited in great matters. For the Lord hath tried them as gold in the fire. MarginaliaSapien. 3. And writeth moreouer, admonishing them, that it is so appoynted from the beginnyng of the world, that righteousnes here should suffer in secular conflicts, for so iust Abell was slayne in the beginnyng of the world, and after him all iust and good men, the Prophets also and the Apostles sent of the Lord himselfe, vnto whome all, the Lorde first gaue an example in himselfe, teachyng that there is no comming to his kingdome, but by that way which he entred himselfe, saying by these wordes: he that loueth his lyfe in this worlde, shall loose it, &c. And agayne, feare ye not them, that slay the body, but haue no power to slay the soule. And S. Paule likewise admonishing all them, whosoeuer couete to be pertakers of the promises of the Lord, to follow the Lord sayth: if we suffer together with him, we shall raigne together, &c.

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Furthermore, as the same Cyprian doth encourage here the holy Martyrs, which were in captiuitie: to persist: so likewyse

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