Chapter VII.—Concerning Eutropius, Chief of the Eunuchs, and the Law enacted by him. On being turned from the Church, he was put to Death. Murmurs against John.
Eutropius was originally the chief of the eunuchs, and was the first and only person of that rank of whom we have known or heard who attained the consular and patrician digp. 404 nity. 1593 When he was raised to present power, he thought not of the future, nor of the instability of human affairs, but caused those who sought an asylum in churches to be thrust out. He treated Pentadia, the wife of Timasius, in this manner. Timasius was a general in the army, capable and much feared; but Eutropius procured an edict for his banishment to Pasis in Egypt, under the pretext that he aspired to tyranny. I have been informed that Timasius fell a victim to thirst, or dreading lest anything worse might be in store, he was caught in the sands there, and was found dead. Eutropius issued a law, enacting that no one should seek refuge in churches, and that those who had already fled thither should be driven out. He was, however, the first to transgress this law; for not long after its enactment, he offended the empress, and immediately left the palace, and fled to the Church as a suppliant. While he was lying beneath the table, John pronounced a discourse, in which he reprehended the pride of power, and directed the attention of the people to the instability of human greatness. The enemies of John hence took occasion to cast reproach on him, because he had rebuked instead of compassionating, one who was suffering under the calamities of adverse fortunes. Eutropius soon after paid the penalty of his impious plan, and was beheaded; and the law which he had enacted was effaced from the public inscriptions. The wrath of God having been thus promptly visited on the injustice that had been perpetrated against the Church, prosperity was restored to it, and there was an increase in the Divine worship. The people of Constantinople were more sedulous then than before, in attendance at the singing of the morning and evening hymns.
Independent chapter. Cf. Soc. vi. 5; Philost. xi. 4–6; Chrys. Homilia in Eutropium eunuchum patricium; homilia de capto Eutropio et de divitiarum vanitate; Claudianus in Eutropium, i. ii.; Eunap. Fragm. ii. 53–56; Fragm. iii. 16; Fragm. iv. 20–23; Fragm. v. 3; Zos. v. 3, 8–18.