European Pagan Memory Day

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LIFE OF HYPATIA

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The life, but above all the death, of Hypatia in the late tale of the bishop of Nikiu, John. Differently from the two versions we presented before, this is a fierce justification of the murder of Hypatia; the tale is mixed with episodes of the harsh battle between Christian and Jews, that are not mentioned in other sources about the death of the philosopher. The Chronicle by John of Nikiu has been written in the 10th century. English translation based on the Italian version found in the site Maat, we would like to thank.

In those days a female philosopher appeared in Alexandria, a pagan named Hypatia, and she was completely devoted to magic, astrolabes and music instruments, and she deceived many people through (her) Satanic wiles.

The governor of the city honoured her too much; because she had beguiled him through her magic art. He ceased attending church as he had been used to. But he went once in dangerous circumstances. And he not only did this, but he drew many believers to her, and he received the unbelievers at his house.

On a certain day when they were making merry over a theatrical exhibition connected with dancers, the governor of the city published an edict regarding the public exhibitions in the city of Alexandria. All the inhabitants of the city had assembled in the theater.

Now Cyril, who had been appointed patriarch after Theophilus, was eager to understand exactly what the edict told.

There was also a man named Hierax, a Christian possessing understanding and intelligence who used to mock the pagans. He was a devoted adherent of the illustrious Father the patriarch and was obedient to his monitions. He was also well versed in the Christian faith.

Now, this man attended the theater to learn the nature of this edict. But when the Jews saw him in the theater they cried out and said: "This man didnít come with any good purpose, but only to provoke an uproar."

So Orestes the prefect was displeased with the children of the holy church, and Hierax was seized and subjected to punishment publicly in the theater, although he was completely guiltless.

And Cyril got angry with the governor of the city for so doing, and also because Orestes put to death Ammonius, who was an illustrious monk of the convent of Pernodj, and other monks with him.

When the chief magistrate of the city heard this, he sent word to the Jews as follows: "Cease your hostilities against the Christians." But they refused to obey to what they heard; they gloried in the support of the prefect who was with them, and so they added outrage to outrage and plotted a massacre through a treacherous device.

They posted certain men in all the streets of the city at night, while others cried out and said: "The church of the apostolic Athanasius is on fire: come to its succour, all ye Christians." And the Christians on hearing their cry came fourth totally ignorant of the treachery of the Jews. And when the Christians came forth, the Jews arose and wickedly massacred the Christians and shed the blood of many, even though they were guiltless.

They expelled the Jewish assassins from the city, and pillaged all their possessions and drove them forth wholly despoiled. Orestes the prefect was unable to render them any help.

Then a multitude of believers in God arose under the guidance of Peter the magistrate, who was a perfect believer in all respects in Jesus Christ, and they seeked for the pagan woman who had beguiled the people of the city and the prefect through her enchantments.

When they found where she was, they proceeded to her and found her seated on a high chair. Having made her descend they dragged her along till they brought her to the great church, named Caesarion. This was in the days of the fast.

They tore off her clothing and dragged her through the streets of the city until she died. And they carried her to a place named Cinaron, and they burned her body with fire. And all the people surrounded the patriarch Cyril and named him "the new Theophilus" because he had destroyed the last remains of idolatry in the city.

 

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