Chapter II.—Demolition of Churches, and Butchery of the Bishops.
For in that city some of the churches, for the second time since the commencement of the persecutions, were leveled with the ground, and others were closed by the governors of the several districts, in order to prevent any who frequented them from assembling together, or rendering due worship to God. For he by whose orders these outrages were committed was too conscious of his own crimes to expect that these services were performed with any view to his benefit, and was convinced that all we did, and all our endeavors to obtain the favor of God, were on Constantines behalf.
These servile governors 3160 then, feeling assured that such a course would be pleasing to the impious tyrant, subjected the most distinguished prelates of the churches to capital punishment. Accordingly, men who had been guilty of no crime were led away, without cause 3161 punished like murderers: and some suffered a new kind of death, having their bodies cut piecemeal; and, after this cruel punishment, more horrible than any named in tragedy, being cast, as a food to fishes, into the depths of the sea. The result of these horrors was again, as before, the flight of pious men, and once more the fields and deserts received the worshipers of God. The tyrant, having thus far succeeded in his object, he farther determined to raise a general persecution of the Christians: 3162 and he would have accomplished his purpose, nor could anything have hindered him from carrying his resolution into effect, had not he who defends his own anticipated the coming evil, and by his special guidance conducted his servant Constantine to this part of the empire, causing him to shine forth as a brilliant light in the midst of the darkness and gloomy night.
Literally, “the flatterers and time-servers about him.”500:3161
[The reading in the text is τούτων, but should be π€ντων, of all Christians, as it is in Hist. Eccles. Bk. 10, c. 8, from which this passage is almost verbally taken.—Bag.]