Chapter IX.—The Miracles of Narcissus.
1. The citizens of that parish mention many other miracles of Narcissus, on the tradition of the brethren who succeeded him; among which they relate the following wonder as performed by him.
2. They say that the oil once failed while the deacons were watching through the night at the great paschal vigil. Thereupon the whole multitude being dismayed, Narcissus directed those who attended to the lights, to draw water and bring it to him.
3. This being immediately done he prayed over the water, and with firm faith in the Lord, commanded them to pour it into the lamps. And when they had done so, contrary to all expectation by a wonderful and divine power, the nature of the water was changed into that of oil. A small portion of it has been preserved even to our day by many of the brethren there as a memento of the wonder. 1816
4. They tell many other things worthy to be noted of the life of this man, among which is this. Certain base men being unable to endure the strength and firmness of his life, and fearing punishment for the many evil deeds of which they were conscious, sought by plotting to anticipate him, and circulated a terrible slander against him.
5. And to persuade those who heard of it, they confirmed their accusations with oaths: one invoked upon himself destruction by fire; another the wasting of his body by a foul disease; the third the loss of p. 256 his eyes. But though they swore in this manner, they could not affect the mind of the believers; because the continence and virtuous life of Narcissus were well known to all.
6. But he could not in any wise endure the wickedness of these men; and as he had followed a philosophic 1817 life for a long time, he fled from the whole body of the Church, and hid himself in desert and secret places, and remained there many years. 1818
7. But the great eye of judgment was not unmoved by these things, but soon looked down upon these impious men, and brought on them the curses with which they had bound themselves. The residence of the first, from nothing but a little spark falling upon it, was entirely consumed by night, and he perished with all his family. The second was speedily covered with the disease which he had imprecated upon himself, from the sole of his feet to his head.
8. But the third, perceiving what had happened to the others, and fearing the inevitable judgment of God, the ruler of all, confessed publicly what they had plotted together. And in his repentance he became so wasted by his great lamentations, and continued weeping to such an extent, that both his eyes were destroyed. Such were the punishments which these men received for their falsehood.
This miracle is related by Eusebius upon the testimony, not of documents, but of those who had shown him the oil, which was preserved in Jerusalem down to that time; οἱ τῆς παροικίας πολίται…ἱστοροῦσι, he says. His travels had evidently not taught him to disbelieve every wonderful tale that was told him.256:1817
See above, chap. 3, note 9.256:1818
The date of Narcissus retirement we have no means of ascertaining.