Translation – The Plerophories – 1-9

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The Plerophories

That is, the testimonies and revelations that God made to the Saints, concerning the heresy of the two natures and the prevarication that took place in Chalcedon; they were written by one of the disciples of St. Peter the Iberian, namely the priest John of Beth-Rufin, of Antioch, bishop of Maiouma of Gaza.

1. Our father and bishop, the venerable Abba Peter the Iberian, told us – that when he was still in Constantinople, before giving up the world, when Nestorius was still living and was bishop: As he was finishing the commemoration of the Forty Holy Martyrs in the church of Mary, he rose to explain the Scriptures before all the people in my presence – he had a feminine and clear voice. He began to blaspheme and say before me in the middle of his address: “You will not be glorified, Mary, as if you had borne God; because, O excellent one, you have not borne God, but the man, the instrument of God.” As soon as he had said this, he was possessed by a demon even at the pulpit, so that together with his face, his right hand was twisted upside down as well; as he was distorted and about to fall, servants and deacons grabbed him quickly, carried him, and put him in the sacristy. And since then most of the inhabitants of the city separated from his communion, especially the people of the palace and even me, before all the others, although he loved me greatly.

2. This father told us again about the well-beloved Pelagius of Edessa, that he led a perfect life. He was a monk and a prophet; and when he had heard the blasphemies of lbas, bishop of Edessa, and had resumed them openly, he had much to suffer from him; finding himself persecuted, he came to a certain locality in Palestine and remained there in peace during the lifetime of Juvenal, before the council (of Chalcedon) and the perversion of the faith. In this way grace lived in him; he was filled with the spirit of prophecy and he deserved frequent visions. He went very often to visit the Abba Peter, who was then at peace in the Lavra of Maiouma of Gaza – (these saints) had, indeed, a great affection for each other; in one of these meetings, as Pelagius was walking with (our) father in the sandy places of the laure and that he had with him a discussion on the thoughts and the perfections which are in God, he said, seven years before the council that he had been delighted (in ecstasy) and had seen the perversion to be held at Chalcedon by the bishops; he even pronounced the name of the unholy emperor Marcian, at the time and by whose power this perversion was to occur, as well as the other later events, and he said: “This time will take hold of me and you too, Abba, and when we will be persecuted with all the saints who will not consent to acquiesce in this perversion of the faith, we will die during this persecution.”And finally, that is also what happened.

3. It was of this same Abba Pelagius who was a prophet, that our father told us when he went with other saints to find this old man: He had another vision before the council (Chalcedon) and he began to say crying, “Woe to Pulcheria! Woe to Pulcheria! Woe to Pulcheria “And when we asked him with great insistence to reveal to us what his words meant, he said:” Pulcheria, who promised her virginity to God, who hunted Nestorius and is represented by all the saints of all countries as a saint and a virgin, she who stood at the head of orthodoxy, is on the point of becoming unfaithful to her faith and her virginity, and to mistreat the saints.” This is also what happened: she renounced the promises of purity she had made to Christ, she married Marcian and she became the heiress of his empire, his impiety and the penalties reserved for him.

4. Again the same priest Pelagius, as Pamphile recounts, a deacon of the Church of Jerusalem and his friend, who once was with him in the holy place of Golgotha, intending to pray, while it was still dark – as was indeed his habit – as he prayed upright, he had a vision, and, under the weight of sadness and tears, he began to say: “Juvenal! Juvenal! Juvenal!” When the vision was finally finished, the deacon Pamphile threw himself on his knees and asked him what was the object of this vision and why he had ceaselessly cried out: Juvenal! Pelagius replied: “This Juvenal, you will see, if you live (still), carried in triumph by the Romans and the demons, as you see now, this Juvenal, carried in triumph by the monks and the clerics.”

5. The latter (Pelagius), seeing in spirit what was to happen, said to our holy father and to blessed John the Eunuch: “Meditate on the divine Scripture, my sons, and when Christ entrusts to you his churches, pray for me.” He predicted to them the imposition of the hands which they were to receive, and so, as the blessed Abba Peter was in astonishment and he did not find it pleasing to hear what had just been said, because he fled from the laying on of hands, he said to the old man, “You do not know what you’re saying, old man.” But Pelagius, maintaining his serenity, replied: “I know what I say, and whoever is distressed by it, let him be distressed!”

6. The latter (Pelagius), at the time of the perversion of the faith, constantly made this prayer: “Lord my God, preserve me until the end of the transgressing of the orthodox faith, and from passing to the communion of those who oppressed the faith in Chalcedon. Receive my spirit where you want and how you want, even in a hotel and or at an inn. Just keep me from becoming a renegade.” This is also what happened to him in Ascalon, at the home of a certain Cyril, an Orthodox Hotelier, who had been chased out of Maiouma because of orthodoxy, and who had retired to Ascalon, where he had a hotel business; as the blessed Pelagius was on the run and was hiding in his house, he died there a certain night, according to what he had asked and predicted. When some of the zealous brothers of Maiouma heard of his death, they came at night, carried away his body and buried it in the Lavra, at the monastery of a friend of the Messiah, Hairoun, a wheat merchant.

The same night of the death of Pelagius – as the orthodox bishops were then persecuted, the bishop Abba Peter departed – he was at Oxyrynchos in the Thebaid and at this distance he saw in a dream the blessed Pelagius approach him with a joyful face, greeting him and saying: “Father, pray for me and recommend me to God, because I am going to the Lord.” (Our) father noted in writing the day he had this vision, and he later found that it was the day on which the great confessor Pelagius died.

The mother of this one, fasting during the week, conceived him, gave him birth, and raised him in holiness; he was a became a man and had reached the age of maturity, when one of the most honorable men of the city died; when he saw him carried to the earth, he was overcome with sadness, and immediately after this procession he fled to the monastery, for he understood the vanity of this world, and so it became a chosen vessel.

7. Blessed John, priest of Alexandria, called Beit Tatianna, known and honorable, told us: When I was young, I had the desire to give up the world, and as I used to go to Abba Elladius, the prophet of the Cells, I would run to him to make known my purpose to him, to learn from him if the Lord approved my desire and my zeal, and to ask him to pray for me. He answered me: “Wait a little, for I do not see tranquility now; but go, have peace, taking care to progress in the works of perfection; in some time. indeed, a persecution will reach the Church; then flee, come here and be a monk.” And as I said to Abba Elladius: When will this persecution be? Will paganism gain new strength? He said to me,” No; but there will be an impious emperor, named Marcian, who will lead the bishops to affirm in writing that he who has been crucified is not God; and, while all will obey him and share his opinion, there will be only the bishop of Alexandria, I mean Dioscorus, who will not obey him; but because of that he will be persecuted and condemned to exile, where he will die.” And I said to him, “The people of Alexandria will let him go into exile?” He said to me,”Yes, he will be forced into exile and, in his place, another bishop will be placed, who will be a renegade.” And as these words made me suffer, he added,”But God will raise up at that time a priest who will fulfill his will” – he announced Blessed Timothy – “and his predecessor who behaved like a tyrant will be killed” – he designated the impious Proterius – “but Timothy, after being bishop for a little while, will be thrown into exile.” When this old man had said this and was silent, I was in great anguish, and said to him, “Lord (my) father, this orthodox bishop, will he remain in exile, and will the city (of Alexandria) and all Egypt perish and be possessed by impiety? He was silent; but as I persisted in my request, he said to me, “If he has time, he will return, and after a short time he will die in the true faith.” After these words, he was silent; I threw myself on his knees, wanting to hear from him what was going to happen, but he said to me, “It suffices for you to know only until this moment, because immediately after that, the time of the Antichrist will come.”

8. The blessed Abba Zenon, the beggar and prophet of Kefar Sc’arta – this is the city that bears this name in Palestine – predicted the same, before the Council of Chalcedon, to the Abba Etienne who was a monk and who became at the end deacon of Jerusalem. The latter, in fact, wanted to go abroad for the sake of God and to participate in the perfection of exile; and for this reason he went to Abba Zenon, and after asking him if God approved of his zeal, he received the following answer: “For the moment go and stay quiet; for a persecution and a revolt of heretics will reach the Church because of the orthodox faith; and then, even if you do not want to, you will go to foreign countries and, if you love orthodoxy, you will stay (in this condition of pilgrimage)” This is also what happened to him, when, at the end he had to go to foreign lands and die in this state because of the Council of Chalcedon.

Blessed Zenon used to receive all the monks everywhere, to listen to the thoughts of each of them and to tell them what could be good for them. In the end, when he foresaw the evils that were about to come upon the earth, as a result of the apostasy that would take place at Chalcedon, he shut himself up a year before that apostasy and, from that moment, he did not receive anyone. He died in mourning and death, a year before the council of renegades.

9. The Abba Innocent of Pamphilia, a pure man and chief of the brethren, addressed us, saying that there is in Pamphilia a large and deep valley where one of the holy ascetics once lived, before the council of Chalcedon, the tempter came to him and said, “Fall to my feet and worship me.” And as the saint, filled with anger, insulted him, the impure demon came away and said, “Why do not you want to adore me? Behold, I will gather all the bishops and make a council, and all the bishops will adore me.”

 

 

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