Saturday, October 10, 2020

Eusebius, EH.10.1-3: The Triumph of Christianity


This is an occasional series of readings from and brief notes and commentary upon Eusebius of Caesarea’s The Ecclesiastical History: Book 10, chapters 1-3.

Notes and Commentary:

Chapter 1 of book 10 begins with an expression of thanksgiving to God for bringing an end to the persecution against the church and the restoration of peace.

Eusebius dedicates the entire Ecclesiastical History to Paulinus, bishop of Tyre. Oulton notes that he also dedicated his work Onamasticon to Paulinus, whom he admired greatly.

He expresses his intention to lift up a panegyric (discourse of praise) to God in this closing book, in light of the removal of enemies of the churches of Christ.

Chapter 2 notes that whereas all men had reason to rejoice at the fall of the tyrants, the Christians had even more cause for rejoicing. They were revived after a time of destruction and were able to build temples to boundless heights.

The emperors issued enactments on behalf of the Christians and the bishops received personal letters and gifts (including money).

Chapter 3 begins by noting in particular the dedications of new houses of prayer and the free assemblages of bishops coming together from many lands that were now able to take place. The Christians enjoyed great unity as they came together in worship and the leaders offered “panegyrical orations.”


The tone of these opening chapters of book 10 is indeed celebratory as Eusebius notes the fall of the tyrants Maxentius and Maximin at the hands of Constantine and Licinius. These chapters anticipate Eusebius’s own extended panegyric, dedicated to Paulinus, which will follow in the next chapter.


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