Translation – The Plerophories – 10


X. The facts which are about to be reported will perhaps seem incredible and stupendous to some, but, if I am telling them, it is because pure, old and trustworthy men, as well as holy monks have told them to me and to those who were then hidden in the monastery of the Abba Romanus, when they had met for his commemoration.

The Abba Atarbius, a sincere man, the Abba Pragmius, the Abba Thomas the deaf, principal disciple of the Abba Romanus, and many other old men with a right conscience, did not hide the sign which took place in Palestine to announce in advance the apostasy of the bishops. At the time when the irregular council was about to take place, the sky suddenly became dark and was filled with darkness and dark clouds, and there were, in the holy city, in all the surrounding villages and in many places in Palestine, a shower of stones which, from the point of view of form, were absolutely similar and resembled those which are manufactured. There were various and strange marks on them, so many people picked them up. But when some used them indiscriminately, they became blind. And it was said that Hesychius, the orator of Jerusalem, picked up many of them, showed them to the Empress Eudocia and sent them to Constantinople, as a demonstration of this miracle which announced the blindness, which was going to strike the world, as a result of the apostasy of the bishops, according to the word of the prophet Isaiah: The servants of God are blinded. There was also a lot of fine dust found under some of these stones, which showed that they came from above, and some of those who had witnessed this miracle said that a basket full of these stones is still kept in the village of Gatta. Blessed Peter, our father, testified to this fact by saying thus: that he had heard it clearly said – at that very time and to those who had seen him – that this sign had taken place, while he was found in peace in the monastery of Maïouma.

The Abba Andrew, his disciple, affirmed that he too had seen with his own eyes three signs: the sign of the stones, the Samaritan who was once blind and who recovered his sight by putting on his eyes some of the blood of the holy monks who were killed near Neapolis at the time of the apostasy, and the Eucharist which was changed noticeably to body and blood in the Church of the Apostles in Caesarea. The holy fathers, in fact, went to meet the renegade Juvenal, on his return from the council, to reprimand him or persuade him to repent and return to Orthodoxy; but the governor forbade them to enter Caesarea because they were numerous, and many people came to join them. He persuaded them to celebrate the Eucharist in the Church of the Apostles which is outside the city. Now many of the faithful took the Eucharist from there, they kept it in their homes and then found it changed into flesh and real blood. The Abba Maxos, priest and a sincere man, also testified to this miracle, saying that he had seen such a miracle.

And if anyone refused to believe that a sign as great as the miracle of the stones had taken place, let him receive confirmation, by learning of a similar fact that happened then, which is known to everyone and which is attested by a public writing. On the day when the ungodly Marcian was proclaimed emperor and girded the crown, thick darkness suddenly covered all the earth and sand came from above; the darkness was like that which covered Egypt. In fact they darkened the atmosphere so that all the inhabitants of the imperial city were all in great fear and anguish, in all places, that they were in sadness, that they uttered loud cries and that they were in mourning, as if the end of the world would suddenly come. This was a prophecy of darkness which would cover all the earth by the act of this tyrant, as well as blindness and darkness far from the fear of God. Likewise the whole creation was, so to speak, in indescribable mourning, and it announced in advance the infidelity to God that was about to occur and the rejection of the Orthodox faith which was to be fulfilled by the impious emperor and the immense crowd of the bishops of the universe. This darkness remained thus until evening. And the demonstration, the testimony and the peremptory confirmation of these facts do not result from outside, but from the writings which were public, sent by the tyrant who was struggling with God. When he indeed saw the anguish and the sadness of the soldiers and of the whole city and he realized that all of them augured badly for his empire, as if he were to be the author of great evils for all world, he was frightened and plunged into great anguish. He began, therefore, by composing public writings, to use cunning in the face of the wrath of God, in the hope of deceiving the people. For he said, on the contrary, as this writing teaches those who meet him: “An abundance of many goods must be expected from my reign by everyone, for the darkness which came from the emperor, my predecessor, are dissipated, while my supreme government is marked by a brilliant light.” This was quite the first of his ordinances. This writing, spread throughout the universe, was for those who have ears to hear, eyes to see and a heart to understand, a proof, a sure demonstration and a written argument, which, thanks to the care of this tyrant, made known immediately and without delay the prevarication and the estrangement from God, which took place by the bishops of Chalcedon.

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