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Select Works And Letters Or Athanasius by Athanasius

6. Outrages of George upon the Alexandrians.

After this they again fastened themselves upon Alexandria, seeking anew to put us to death: and their proceedings were now worse than before. For on a sudden the Church was surrounded by soldiers, and sounds of war took the place of prayers. Then George of Cappadocia who was sent by them, having arrived during the season of Lent , brought an increase of evils which they had taught him. For after Easter week, Virgins were thrown into prison; Bishops were led away in chains by soldiers; houses of orphans and widows were plundered, and their loaves taken away; attacks were made upon houses, and Christians thrust forth in the night, and their dwellings sealed up: brothers of clergymen were in danger of their lives on account of their brethren. These outrages were sufficiently dreadful, but more dreadful than these followed. For on the week that succeeded the Holy Pentecost [May 11], when the people after their fast had gone out to the cemetery to pray, because that all refused communion with George, that abandoned person, on learning this, stirred up against them the commander Sebastian, a Manichee; who straightway with a multitude of soldiers with arms, drawn swords, bows, and spears, proceeded to attack the people, though it was the Lord's day : and finding a few praying (for the greater part had already retired on account of the lateness of the hour), he committed such outrages as became a disciple of these men. Having lighted a pile, he placed certain virgins near the fire, and endeavoured to force them to say that they were of the Arian faith: and when he saw that they were getting the mastery, and cared not for the fire, he immediately stripped them naked, and beat them in the face in such a manner, that for some time they could hardly be recognised.
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