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Church History by Eusebius Pamphilius

Chapter XLIV.--Dionysius' Account of Serapion.

1. To this same Fabius, who seemed to lean somewhat toward this schism, Dionysius of Alexandria also wrote an epistle. He writes in this many other things concerning repentance, and relates the conflicts of those who had lately suffered martyrdom at Alexandria. After the other account he mentions a certain wonderful fact, which deserves a place in this work. It is as follows:

2. |I will give thee this one example which occurred among us. There was with us a certain Serapion, an aged believer who had lived for a long time blamelessly, but had fallen in the trial. He besought often, but no one gave heed to him, because he had sacrificed. But he became sick, and for three successive days continued speechless and senseless.

3. Having recovered somewhat on the fourth day he sent for his daughter's son, and said, How long do you detain me, my child? I beseech you, make haste, and absolve me speedily. Call one of the presbyters to me. And when he had said this, he became again speechless. And the boy ran to the presbyter. But it was night and he was sick, and therefore unable to come.

4. But as I had commanded that persons at the point of death, if they requested it, and especially if they had asked for it previously, should receive remission, that they might depart with a good hope, he gave the boy a small portion of the eucharist, telling him to soak it and let the drops fall into the old man's mouth.

5. The boy returned with it, and as he drew near, before he entered, Serapion again arousing, said, Thou art come, my child, and the presbyter could not come; but do quickly what he directed, and let me depart.' Then the boy soaked it and dropped it into his mouth. And when he had swallowed a little, immediately he gave up the ghost.

6. Is it not evident that he was preserved and his life continued till he was absolved, and, his sin having been blotted out, he could be acknowledged for the many good deeds which he had done?|

Dionysius relates these things.

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