Select Works And Letters Or Athanasius by Athanasius
25. The irruption of Syrianus.
All demanded that the letters of your Piety should be exhibited. For although the bare word of a King is of equal weight and authority with his written command, especially if he who reports it, boldly affirms in writing that it has been given him; yet when they neither openly declared that they had received any command, nor, as they were requested to do, gave me assurance of it in writing, but acted altogether as by their own authority; I confess, I say it boldly, I was suspicious of them. For there were many Arians about them, who were their companions at table, and their counsellors; and while they attempted nothing openly, they were preparing to assail me by stratagem and treachery. Nor did they act at all as under the authority of a royal command, but, as their conduct betrayed, at the solicitation of enemies. This made me demand more urgently that they should produce letters from you, seeing that all their undertakings and designs were of a suspicious nature; and because it was unseemly that after I had entered the Church, under the authority of so many letters from you, I should retire from it without such a sanction. When however Syrianus gave his promise, all the people assembled together in the Churches with feelings of joyfulness and security. But three and twenty days after , he burst into the Church with his soldiers, while we were engaged in our usual services, as those who entered in there witnessed; for it was a vigil, preparatory to a communion on the morrow. And such things were done that night as the Arians desired and had beforehand denounced against us. For the General brought them with him; and they were the instigators and advisers of the attack. This is no incredible story of mine, most religious Augustus; for it was not done in secret, but was noised abroad everywhere. When therefore I saw the assault begun, I first exhorted the people to retire, and then withdrew myself after them, God hiding and guiding me, as those who were with me at the time witness. Since then, I have remained by myself, though I have all confidence to answer for my conduct, in the first place before God, and also before your Piety, for that I did not flee and desert my people, but can point to the attack of the General upon us, as a proof of persecution. His proceedings have caused the greatest astonishment among all men; for either he ought not to have made a promise, or not to have broken it after he had made it.