Julian the Apostate: Death

The Persians launched a surprise assault on the Romans, including in their own force a detachment of Indian elephants. Julian himself rode into the battle, carrying nothing but a sword and shield, wearing no armor. Sometimes this has been interpreted as overconfidence or contempt for the Persians; more likely Julian was simply caught up in the heat of the moment as he tried to rally his beleaguered troops. There is also a tradition, preserved especially by Gregory of Nazianzus, that Julian was looking for death.

Whatever the explanation, Julian’s refusal to don his armor was a fatal misjudgment. He was stabbed with a spear (apparently a kontos - heavy cavalry lance), the weapon piercing his side and rupturing his intestines. Julian was carried away from the battle, and was examined by his personal physician, Oribasius. Initially it looked as though the Emperor would survive, but late in the evening the wound began to bleed profusely, and Julian died.

Several legends surround the death of Julian. Ammianus tells us that he knew he was dying, but, a philosopher to the end, gave a discourse to his attendants. Another, almost certainly bogus tradition claims that Julian’s last words were ‘you have won, Galilean!’ This was, of course, a reference to Jesus Christ, and his belief that the hopes of Greco-Roman paganism would die with him.

Controversy surrounded the issue of just who killed Julian. Theories abounded almost from the moment the Emperor died - possibly suspects included a Persian horseman, a ‘Saracen’ auxiliary in either Roman or Persian service, or a Roman legionary who was disgusted with the retreat from Ctesiphon, or with Julian’s paganism. Ammianus largely avoids the issue, whereas Libanius describes the murderer as a Taienos, a Greco-Syrian word denoting an Arab. The church historian Philostorgius blames a ‘Saracen’ lancer in the Persian army, who was vengefully cut down by Julian’s companions immediately after striking the blow.

The question of who killed Julian - and why he fought unarmored in the first place - will remain one of history’s mysteries. What cannot be denied, is that Julian made the last great, and ultimately doomed, effort to redeem pre-Christian classical religion and philosophy.

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Libanius to Priscus                                Antioch, March [AD] 380

Yesterday morning as I was about to enter the lecture hall I was stopped by a Christian student who asked me in a voice eager with malice, “Have you heard about the Emperor Theodosius?”

— Gore Vidal: Julian (1962)

St. John Chrysostom

Feastday: September 13

Birth: 344

Death: 407

St. John, named Chrysostom (golden-mouthed) on account of his eloquence, came into the world of Christian parents, about the year 344, in the city of Antioch. His mother, at the age of 20, was a model of virtue. He studied rhetoric under Libanius, a pagan, the most famous orator of the age.In the midst of his sufferings, like the apostle, St. Paul, whom he so greatly admired, he found the greatest peace and happiness. He had the consolation of knowing that the Pope remained his friend, and did for him what lay in his power. His enemies were not satisfied with the sufferings he had already endured, and they banished him still further, to Pythius, at the very extremity of the Empire. He died on his way there on September 14, 407.

Read More About St. John Chrysostom Here

13 de septiembre….San Juan Crisóstomo. Obispo de Constantinopla y Doctor de la Iglesia.

Santo Patrón de los predicadores. Llamado “boca de oro” por su gran elocuencia.

Nació en Antioquía, de padres cristianos, hacia el año 349. Su madre era un modelo de virtud. Estudió retórica bajo Libanius, el mas famoso orador de su época y en el 374 comenzó una vida de anacoreta en las montañas. En el 386, su mala salud le forzó a regresar a Antioquia. Allí fue ordenado sacerdote. Ejerció, con gran provecho, el ministerio de la predicación.

El año 397 fue elegido obispo de Constantinopla, cargo en el que se comportó como un pastor ejemplar, esforzándose por llevar a cabo una estricta reforma de las costumbres del clero y de los fieles.

Su rectitud en proclamar y defender la verdad le ganó muchos enemigos. La oposición de la corte imperial y de los envidiosos maquinaron acusasiones contra el y lo llevaron dos veces al destierro y eventualmente a Pythius en la periferia del imperio. Uno de sus enemigos, Theophilus, Patriarca de Alejandría, se arrepintió antes de su muerte. Otro enemigo era la emperadora Eudoxia.

Tuvo el consuelo de contar siempre con el apoyo del Papa y llevó todas las tribulaciones con gran valentía y fe.

Acabado por tantas miserias, murió en Comana, en el Ponto, el día 14 de septiembre del año 407. Contribuyó en gran manera, por su palabra y escritos, al enriquecimiento de la doctrina cristiana, mereciendo el apelativo de Crisóstomo, es decir, «Boca de oro».

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