Lives of Saints - St. Eustathios of Antioch Christianity - Books
You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery;'                but I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.                If your right eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna.                If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off, and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna.                'It was also said, 'Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce,'                but I tell you that whoever puts away his wife, except for the cause of sexual immorality, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries her when she is put away commits adultery.                'Again you have heard that it was said to them of old time, 'You shall not make false vows, but shall perform to the Lord your vows,'                but I tell you, don't swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God;                nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.                Neither shall you swear by your head, for you can't make one hair white or black.                But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No' be 'No.' Whatever is more than these is of the evil one.                'You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.'*                But I tell you, don't resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.                If anyone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your cloak also.                Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.                Give to him who asks you, and don't turn away him who desires to borrow from you.                'You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor,* and hate your enemy.*'                But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you,                that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven.               
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St. Eustathios of Antioch

The early church of Jesus Christ was composed of five Episcopal sees, each supreme in its own sphere of influence and collectively answerable to the Kings of Kings. The five centres of Christianity were in the cities of Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Rome, the last of which, because it was the political centre of the empire, had a bishop, as did all the others, who was honoured with the title of "first among equals."

St. Eustathios of Antioch is a little-known saint, not because of his small contribution, but because his stature has diminished over the years because Antioch is scarcely more than a memory. The assertiveness of Rome in 1054 AD split the East and West in a 900-year rift.

Many heresies dogged the early Christian Church. A Council was called by the Emperor Constantine in 325 AD to put an end to the internal strife caused by the Arian and other heresies of the time. Among the champions of tradition called upon to discredit Arianism was the venerable Patriarch of Antioch, Eustathios, who joined other clerics of distinction in a condemnation of the wily Arius, excommunicated in a document with such a conciliatory tone that allowed his followers in the Middle East to continue to influence thought after the Council had adjourned. Each of the dignitaries returned to his respective community convinced that peace and order had been restored, but that was hardly the case. The Arians were stubborn fanatics, as subsequent events were to prove.

While yet discredited they sought to fight back by bringing about a denunciation by devious means of those who had been in the ban at the council which had been so nobly conducted, only to be attached later on. The prime target for the malcontents who refused to concede to the truth was Bishop Eustathios, whose downfall was carefully plotted and relentlessly pursued. They set false rumours into circulation, nursing these vile innuendos until they assumed serious proportions which they were clever enough to make appear credible. With mounting howls of protests for the bishop of Antioch to step down, the detractors of Eustathios sent a delegation to the emperor with documents tailored to their claims of the holy man's guilt, the clamour being capped by a sworn statement of a bribed prostitute that the aging bishop had fathered her illegitimate child. When Constantine hesitated to act even with this contrived evidence, Eustathios was then falsely accused of having deliberately insulted the sister of the emperor. With ever mounting criticism assuming the proportions of a storm of protest never before to reach the royal household, Constantine finally gave in to the Arians in Thrace.

The woman's confession on her deathbed that she had lied after accepting a bribe to falsely accuse the bishop came late. Eustathios died in exile on March 5, but his earthly remains were brought back to Antioch for an apologetic funeral service at which he was eulogised by the greatest orator of all time, St John Chrysostom.


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