Lives of Saints - St. Eustathios of Antioch Christianity - Books
“I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.                “You shall have no other gods before me.                “You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me, and showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.                “You shall not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.                “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. You shall labor six days, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates; for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy.                “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you.                “You shall not murder.                “You shall not commit adultery.                “You shall not steal.                “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.                “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
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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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