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Terrible Persecution of the Christians by the King of Persia

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    The king of Persia then issued an edict that all who confessed themselves Christians should be put to death. This order caused the destruction of multitudes, who were tortured and slain in many horrible ways. A circumstance which at this time increased the hatred against the Christians, was the strange illness of the queen. This was said by some to be caused by poison, and the sisters of Simeon, the archbishop, were accused. After a hasty trial they were adjudged guilty, sentenced to be sawn asunder, and their mangles remains were fixed upon poles, between which the sick queen was carried by her physicians, as a means of curing her.

    Acepsimus, a leader among the Christians of Persia, and many other persons were seized, and commanded to worship the sun. Refusing to do this, they were scourged, and tormented to death, or kept in prison till they died. Athalas, a missionary, though not put to death, was so cruelly racked that his arms were made useless, and during the rest of his life he had to be fed like a child.

Constatine Appeals to the King of Persia

    When Constantine heard of the persecutions in Persia, he was much concerned, and began to consider how he could help the Christians. Just at this time an ambassador arrived from the persian emperor upon some business of state; Constantine received him courteously, granted his requests, and when he departed sent a letter by him to the Persian monarch asking favor for the Christians.In this he pointed out that misfortune had always overtaken their persecutors in former days, while success and prosperity had attended those who refrained from harming them.

    Speaking of his victories over rival emperors of his own time, he said, "I subdued these solely by faith in Christ; for which God was my helper, who gave me victory in battle, and made me triumph over my enemies. He hath likewise so enlarged to me the bounds of the Roman empire, that it extends from the Western Ocean almost to the uttermost parts of the East: for this domain I neither offered sacrifices to the ancient deities, nor made use of charm or divination; but only offered up prayers to the Almighty God, and followed the cross of Christ. Rejoiced should I be if the throne of Persia found glory also, by embracing the Christians: that so you with me, and, they with you, may enjoy all happiness."

    In consequence of this appeal, the persecution ended for the time, but it was renewed in later years when another king succeeded to the throne of Persia.




















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