The Earthquake
Ktupese men Zeus chthonios, hai de parthenoi

rhigesan hos ekousan. -- Sophocles, OEd. Col.1606.

Philip had been permitted to accompany his beloved father and master when he was conveyed by the Count of the Palace across the Bosporus; and his heart was full of an anguish too deep for tears. All the long future seemed for him to be not only uncertain, but smitten with a blight. What would come of this banishment? Would Chrysostom ever be recalled? Where would be his future? He could never desert the Patriarch while his services were so indispensable; but thoughts of Miriam, and doubts whether he should ever see her again, mingled with his more unselfish grief.

He was amazed at the cheerfulness of the Patriarch. Here he was, hurled from his high estate, defeated by his enemies, an exile, horribly calumniated, not knowing what a day might bring forth, and yet he uttered no word of lamentation, and could speak to Philip with a smile.

But Philip was aware that what supported his master was the strong-siding champion, conscience.' He might have made, he had made, many errors of judgment; he had yielded to occasional impatience and irritability, caused chiefly by his severe bodily self-denial, both in the past and in the present; but of any sins such as those with which he had been charged by the foul Synod of Theophilus and its hired assassins of the truth he was wholly innocent. He felt that but for his magnanimity and self-repression nothing would have been more inevitable than a massacre in the capital, a revolution in the Empire, a schism in the Church. This had only been averted by his voluntary surrender.

They were landed at a place called The Shrine,' not far from Chalcedon. The Count remained; the guards went back across the Bosporus. When they were alone, Chrysostom said to Philip, My son, I do not like to remain in this place. It is too near Chalcedon. In the neighbourhood of Cyrinus and Severian I do not feel my life secure. If you will go and hire me a boat, dark as it is, we can sail at once to Proenetus, on the Gulf of Astacus, opposite Nicomedia. There my friend Palladius has two relatives who own a little farm, and there we shall be safe.'

Not a moment was to be lost. Philip found a boat. Wind and current were favourable, and before midnight they found themselves hospitably sheltered in the farm, and treated by the relatives of Palladius with the utmost courtesy and reverence.

But Philip's heart was heavy. My father,' he asked, what will Kallias do, and poor Eutyches, and old Phlegon, and your servants? Will the Emperor and the clergy appoint a new Patriarch? Where will you live?'

My boy,' said Chrysostom, when you have reached my age you will learn to say with all your heart, "

Be not over-anxious about to-morrow. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." As for you, and Kallias, and Eutyches, and my old servants, perhaps -- who knows? -- we may all be allowed to go back to Antioch, and live in Singon Street. I cannot tell. God will provide.'

Oh! that will be like heaven after that horrible, guilty city,' said Philip; and then he became sad and silent.

Now, Philip,' said the Patriarch, cheerfully, 'turn your attention for the moment to this excellent supper which our friends have provided. It is much better than you would have had at the Patriarcheion, and a young appetite like yours should be ready for it, since it is long since you broke your fast.'

I am thinking,' said Philip, that you will no longer be the great Patriarch of Constantinople.'

Nay, Philip, grieve not for my sake on that account. There can never be real greatness for anyone except such as is inherent in himself. Honours and titles cannot make a little man great, nor can the deprivation of them make a great man little. And what are we at the best but dust and ashes? Can gilding add to their true value? If it be so, God will have relieved me of an enormous burden. My elevation was the worst misfortune which ever befell me. And what are rank or wealth to one whose chosen home was once a damp cavern? Tell me, Philip, don't you think we were much happier in the little house at Antioch?'

Yes, father, I look back to those blessed days. There you were not surrounded by the hatred of the bad and the lies of the contemptible. Whenever I think of Constantinople, it seems to me like that monster, composed of hissing serpents, which Hannibal saw crashing after him in his dreams.'

Well, then, let us kneel down, my boy, and I will pray for you, and myself, and our beloved Desposyni, and Eutyches, and all of us; and then we will sleep as peacefully as happy children who have laid all their cares on God.'

They knelt. He poured out his soul aloud in simple prayer. Then they retired to rest, and slept long and soundly -- the youth sleeping at his father's feet.

It was high dawn when they awoke refreshed, and prepared for whatever the day might bring forth.

How differently had been the night spent by their enemies! Theophilus, sick in body and sick in heart, was tossing on the stormy waves with his twenty-eight creatures, feeling foiled and humiliated for all his semblable victory, and still hearing in his dreams the howls of the angry populace, emphasising the unrest of his own conscience, which barked within him like a furious Cerberus. Severian, as he tossed on his sleepless couch, farther (it seemed) than ever from the accomplishment of his personal ambitions, felt, with agony of mind, that he was a mean and degraded impostor. Cyrinus lay sick, body and soul, nigh unto death, with the anguish of his amputation, which was beginning to gangrene afresh. Qualms of conscience disturbed the slumbers of Antiochus of Ptolemais. The old Acacius of Beroea wished, with a sigh, that his long white hair and venerable aspect could gain from himself the reverence which it won from others. All were troubled; but none of them repented. And in the palace of the Emperor and Empress all night long there was tumult and wild affright.

For about the time that they retired to rest they heard from the Hebdomon the first moaning rumblings of an earthquake, and felt that first, indescribable shivering of the ground which, more than any other power of Nature, reduces man to imbecility and paralyses him with terror. The shocks increased in violence as they moved towards the centre of the city, and at last, again and again, the Palace was shaken as though its walls were smitten with palsy. To Eudoxia the bodily alarm was tenfold intensified by superstitious horror. Was it not obvious, she thought, that this earthquake was sent by God in vengeance upon her for the wrongs which she had inflicted on His servant, the Patriarch? The violence of the earthquake, which reduced their Imperial Eternities to the level of the humblest slaves in their palace, seemed to concentrate itself in the bedchamber of Eudoxia. She lay pale and palpitating, too agitated even to pray, suffering in her terror a thousand deaths, till at last, at a shock more violent than those before, she heard the wall of her chamber crack terrifically, her bed was tilted over, and she fell shrieking on the floor.

Her attendants, pale and horror-stricken as herself, came rushing in to her assistance.

Throw my upper robes over me,' she gasped. Take me, take me to the Emperor!'

Arcadius had also been roused from his slumbers by the earthquake, and was sitting by his bedside limp and abject, with some of his trembling chamberlains around him, when Eudoxia burst in, half-dressed, with streaming hair, and, wildly clasping his knees, entreated him at once to recall the Patriarch. It is for our wickedness to him,' she cried and sobbed, that God has sent this earthquake to swallow us up quick like Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, who plotted against God's High Priest.'

Our wickedness?' said the Emperor with intense pettishness. 'I never had any quarrel with John. He has always been loyal to me. I believe him to be a holy man. I respect him more than the whole crew of hypocrites. But for you, and your Korahs, Dathans, and Abirams like Severian and this dark-browed Egyptian meddler, the Patriarch and I would have been the best of friends. I never really supposed that he called you Jezebel, and so on. All that was the malignant nonsense of your widows and your priestly satellites.'

Oh, recall him! recall him!' cried Eudoxia, or we shall all perish. This very moment let us send.'

Another rumble and shock, which seemed to make the Palace quiver to its foundations, left her shrieking and sobbing at the Emperor's feet.

How can we send this very moment?' he answered, irritably. 'It is the dead of night; you hear outside the crash of falling buildings.'

Well, then,' she said, by earliest dawn. Perhaps by that time the earthquake will have ceased. It may only have been meant to warn us.'

There seemed to be a pause in the shocks, and Eudoxia, a dishevelled and pitiable object, returned, not to her half-dismantled chamber, but to another which seemed to promise more security. No sooner had she gone than Arcadius angrily muttered to himself words which, had she heard them, might have cost him his life by poison or the dagger.

This woman worries me,' he muttered. She gives me no rest; she keeps me in a ferment and a turmoil. I was never half so much worried in the days of Eutropius. With her one has no peace for a day at a time. Tumults and riots by day, earthquakes by night. She banishes the good Patriarch with curses one day, and recalls him with entreaties the next. I wish I had married Rufinus's daughter after all.'

And with such reflexions the miserable ruler of the world flung himself back upon his bed -- but to sleep no more.

At earliest dawn the Empress despatched a messenger to the Patriarch at the Hieron with a letter in which, with sublime self-deceit and disregard of facts, she wrote: Let not your Sanctity think that I am responsible for what has happened to you. I am innocent of your blood. Bishops and wicked men have devised this plot against you. God, whom I serve, is the witness of the tears I shed for you. I forget not that by your hands my children have been baptised.'

But the messenger did not return, for he searched the Hieron for Chrysostom in vain. Then she sent another, and neither did he return. Then she despatched a third; and at last, in despair, she sent her Chamberlain Briso himself, who would, she knew, be welcome to Chrysostom as one of his personal friends. Briso was lucky enough to light on the boatman who had conveyed Chrysostom so quietly to Proenetus, and he set sail to the Gulf of Astacus to find him.

Meanwhile the populace, wild with joy, heard that their beloved Patriarch was to be recalled, and that messengers had been sent to find him. They were disturbed and rendered suspicious by the non-return of the messengers, and determined to search for the Patriarch themselves. They hired every boat they could find, and, hearing that be was no longer at the Hieron, sailed to port after port in the neighbourhood.

There had been no earthquake at Proenetus. Philip had awaked in a less gloomy mood from a refreshing sleep, and, as he dressed himself, he saw Chrysostom still placidly slumbering, with a smile upon his face. '

Thou shalt keep him in peace -- peace,' he murmured, '

whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusteth in Thee.'

Going into the open air, he saw the waters of the Propontis sparkling in the morning sunlight, and white with unnumbered sails. He was perplexed. Something had evidently happened, though he could not conjecture what it was; but that they were searching for someone was evident, for they steered into one after another the ports which abounded on that populous shore. Was it for good or for evil? Who could say?

At last he saw a sail making all speed for Proenetus. 'Now,' he thought, we shall know,' and he hurried in to tell his master.

Look,' he said, Father, at all those sails! I cannot make out the cause of the excitement, but something must have occurred at Constantinople. We shall know in a few minutes, for a boat is even now pushing its beak into the port.'

Go and meet it, Philip. Use your own judgment as to what is best to say or do, to make known or to conceal. I am prepared for whatever God may send.'

Philip went down to the shore, and gave a shout of joy, for on the prow of the boat stood Briso, waving an olive-branch. The kind-hearted eunuch recognised him with smiles which could betoken nothing but good-fortune.

Briso told the good news to Philip, who took him straight to the little farm. He handed to Chrysostom the letter of the Empress, and, barely waiting to snatch a hurried breakfast with them, insisted that Chrysostom should at once accompany him. He had already despatched messengers on every side to say that the Patriarch was found. Boats came flocking into the port, and when the Chamberlain and the Patriarch embarked, it was in the midst of an attendant flotilla of hundreds of shallops, of which the little crews burst into cheers as he passed. He was fully determined not to enter Constantinople itself, for there was the canon of a Council -- though only an Arian Council, held at Antioch in 341 -- which forbade a bishop who had been deposed from entering his see until he was absolved by another Council. He therefore stopped in one of the suburbs named Mariana, where the Empress had a palace, which she placed at his disposal. The multitude was not, however, content with this, and being still in a state of excitement, continued to shout invectives against the Emperor and Empress. Eudoxia therefore sent him a most humbly earnest entreaty to lay aside his scruples; and Briso represented to him that the Antiochene canon could not in any case apply to the decision of a trumpery and violently irregular synod of intruders like the Synod of the Oak; that, even if it did, a larger number of bishops had absolved him; and that, in any case, the Imperial fiat was, under the circumstances, sufficient. Philip indignantly took the same view. 'Condemned by a Council, indeed!' he said. 'Begging your Beatitude's pardon -- rubbish!' Philip always addressed his master as your Beatitude' when he was in bright spirits, and he laughed at the forefinger which Chrysostom shook at him in reproof.

The people settled the question by carrying off the Patriarch almost by force. By this time it was evening. They flocked out in myriads to escort him, and as every hand carried a torch, the procession looked like a river of fire. At their head was the Empress herself. She not only welcomed the Patriarch with effusion, but almost seemed to be joining in the festive dances and cries of joy; and, strange to say, in the sight of all the people, she actually flung her arms round his neck! His return was splendid triumph. The Emperor was represented by his chief secretary. Hymns were sung which had been hastily written or adapted for the occasion. The general feeling towards the clergy who had betrayed and tried to ruin him was shown by the shouts of 'Bishop, purge thy clergy! Chase away the traitors.' No less than thirty bishops were among those who formed his escort. He was swept along by the rejoicing throng until they had entered the vast nave of St. Sophia. There, kneeling, and actually prostrate on the marble floor, they entreated him to give them his episcopal blessing. At last he did so, and promised to address them on the following morning. That evening his triumph seemed to be completed by his receipt of another letter from the Empress, in which she wrote in her impassioned way, My prayer is fulfilled; I have attained my purpose. It is to me a richer ornament than my diadem. I have brought back the priest. I have restored to the body its head, the pilot to the ship, the bridegroom to the bridal chamber.'

But, amid all this intoxication of enthusiasm, nothing more deeply moved the tender heart of the Archbishop than the unspeakable joy which his return caused in his own home and among his dearest friends. Most of these had been unable to get near him amid the dense and surging crowds. But now, in the Thomaites, stood old Phlegon and his dear, familiar servants, who dropped on their knees for his blessing; and Serapion, and Tigrius, and Germanus, and Proclus, and Cassian, and Bishop Palladius embraced him in their arms; and the youths who, like Philip, would have died for him -- Kallias and Eutyches -- kneeled down, took possession of either hand, covered them with kisses, and bathed them in tears, until he raised them up, and gave them with a full heart the kiss of peace.

On the following morning he addressed to a vast congregation the still-extant Homily after Return.' He spoke very sternly, yet not intemperately, of the brutal intrusion and violences of Theophilus. Of his many other enemies he took no notice, but passed them over in complete silence. Entirely deceived in the simplicity of his heart by the frantic simulation and dissimulation of Eudoxia, he spoke of her in terms of high eulogy. To his own faithful people he poured forth his soul in warmest gratitude.

After his sermon Eutyches, who was now an ordained 'reader,' took off the Archbishop's pallium, and hung it, as was the custom, round the neck of one of the statues of the Apostles. It was a band woven of the finest lambswool, three fingers broad, at the end of which hung thin flakes of lead, covered with black silk, on which were woven four crosses in red. It was fastened on each shoulder by three golden pins.

Two days ago,' said the Patriarch, with a smile, 'I little deemed that I should ever again wear the episcopal pallium in this place. God has been very good to me.'

I hope that I may help many a time to robe and disrobe your Dignity,' said the young reader.

In truth, at that moment the Emperor himself was hardly so powerful in his own capital as was the Patriarch. He at once resumed with all his accustomed strenuousness his manifold episcopal duties. To purge his clergy of scoundrels and traitors was an immediate necessity, and he did so with a firm hand; while at the same time he rewarded the true and faithful. The Deacon Tigrius was raised to the priesthood. Serapion was elavated to the Bishopric of Heraclea, vacant by the flight or deposition of Paul, whom, with a crocodile semblance of impartiality, Theophilus had nominally appointed president of the Synod of the Oak on the day when Chrysostom had been deposed.

chapter xlv episcopal conspirators
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