Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jacobus the Syrian

Procopius of Cesarea [c. 527 A.D.], legal advisor and secretary to General Belasarius, the great General of Emperor Justinian [527-565 A.D.], recounts the following:

[Cabades, the Persian ruler, decides to invade Roman controlled Armenia and invests the town of Amida, which is ill prepared to defend itself]

Now there was among the Syrians a certain just man, Jacobus by name, who had trained himself with exactitude in matters pertaining to religion. This man had confined himself many years before in a place called Endielon, a day's journey from Amida [in Mesopotamia], in order that he might with more security devote himself to pious contemplation. The men of this place, assisting his purpose, had surrounded him with a kind of fencing, in which the stakes were not continuous, but set at intervals, so that those who approached could see and hold converse with him. And they had constructed for him a small roof over his head, sufficient to keep off the rain and snow. There this man had been sitting for a long time, never yielding either to heat or cold, and sustaining his life with certain seeds, which he was accustomed to eat, not indeed every day, but only at long intervals. Now some of the Ephthalitae who were overrunning the country thereabout saw this Jacobus and with great eagerness drew their bows with intent to shoot at him. But the hands of every one of them became motionless and utterly unable to manage the bow. When this was noised about through the army and came to the ears of Cabades, he desired to see the thing with his own eyes; and when he saw it, both he and the Persians who were with him were seized with great astonishment, and he entreated Jacobus to forgive the barbarians their crime. And he forgave them with a word, and the men were released from their distress. Cabades then bade the man ask for whatever he wished, supposing that he would ask for a great sum of money, and he also added with youthful recklessness that he would be refused nothing by him. But he requested Cabades to grant to him all the men who during that war should come to him as fugitives. This request Cabades granted, and gave him a written pledge of his personal safety. And great numbers of men, as might be expected, came flocking to him from all sides and found safety there; for the deed became widely known.


[Cabades attacked Armenia in ~502 A.D.]

1 Comments:

Blogger Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Astonishing! Thanks for posting this very edifying true story!

As we approach the holy season of Sarakostí (the Forty Days), I wish you and your family God's grace and help, and the joy of reaching "the place of safety" that He has prepared for us.

6:27 PM  

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