About the same time, the emperor erased Cæsarea, the large and wealthy metropolis of Cappadocia, situated near Mount Argeus, from the catalogue of cities, and even deprived it of the name of Cæsarea, which had been conferred upon it during the reign of Claudius Cæsar, its former name having been Mazaca. He had long regarded the inhabitants of this city with extreme aversion, because they were zealously attached to Christianity, and had formerly destroyed the temple of the ancestral Apollo and that of Jupiter, the tutelar deity of the city. The temple dedicated to Fortune, the only one remaining in the city, was overturned by the Christians after his accession; and on hearing of the deed, he hated the entire city intensely and could scarce endure it. He also blamed the pagans, who were few in number, but who ought, he said, to have hastened to the temple, and, if necessary, to have suffered cheerfully for Fortune. He caused all possessions and money belonging to the churches of the city and suburbs of Cæsarea to be rigorously sought out and carried away; about three hundred pounds of gold, obtained from this source, were conveyed to the public treasury. He also commanded that all the clergy should be enrolled among the troops under the governor of the province, which is accounted the most arduous and least honorable service among the Romans.
He ordered the Christian populace to be numbered, women and children inclusive, and imposed taxes upon them as onerous as those to which villages are subjected.
He further threatened that, unless their temples were speedily re-erected, his wrath would not be appeased, but would be visited on the city, until none of the Galileans remained in existence; for this was the name which, in derision, he was wont to give to the Christians. There is no doubt but that his menaces would have been fully executed had not death quickly intervened.
It was not from any feeling of compassion towards the Christians that he treated them at first with greater humanity than had been evinced by former persecutors, but because he had discovered that paganism had derived no advantage from their tortures, while Christianity had been especially increased, and had become more honored by the fortitude of those who died in defense of the faith.
It was simply from envy of their glory, that instead of employing fire and the sword against them, and maltreating their bodies like former persecutors, and instead of casting them into the sea, or burying them alive in order to compel them to a change of sentiment, he had recourse to argument and persuasion, and sought by these means to reduce them to paganism; he expected to gain his ends more easily by abandoning all violent measures, and by the manifestation of unexpected benevolence. It is said that on one occasion, when he was sacrificing in the temple of Fortune at Constantinople, Maris, bishop of Chalcedon, presented himself before him, and publicly rebuked him as an irreligous man, an atheist, and an apostate. Julian had nothing in return to reproach him with except his blindness, for his sight was impaired by old age, and he was led by a child. According to his usual custom of uttering blasphemies against Christ, Julian afterward added in derision, |The Galilean, thy God, will not cure thee.| Maris replied, I thank God for my blindness, since it prevents me from beholding one who has fallen away from our religion.' Julian passed on without giving a reply, for he considered that paganism would be more advanced by a personal and unexpected exhibition of patience and mildness towards Christians.