Chapter XIII.—The Peace under Gallienus.
1. Shortly after this Valerian was reduced to slavery by the barbarians, 2267 and his son having become sole ruler, conducted the government more prudently. He immediately restrained the persecution against us by public proclamations, 2268 and directed the bishops to perform in freedom their customary duties, in a rescript 2269 which ran as follows:
2. “The Emperor Cæsar Publius Licinius Gallienus, Pius, Felix, Augustus, 2270 to Dionysius, Pinnas, Demetrius, 2271 and the other bishops. I have ordered the bounty of my gift to be declared through all the world, that they may depart from the places of religious worship. 2272 And for this purpose you may use this copy of my rescript, that no one may molest you. And this which you are now enabled lawfully to do, has already for a long time been conceded by me. 2273 Therefore Aurelius Cyrenius, 2274 who is the chief administrator of affairs, 2275 will observe this ordinance which I have given.”
p. 303 3. I have given this in a translation from the Latin, that it may be more readily understood. Another decree of his is extant addressed to other bishops, permitting them to take possession again of the so-called cemeteries. 2276
Valerian was taken captive by Sapor, king of Persia, probably late in the year 260 (the date is somewhat uncertain) and died in captivity. His son Gallienus, already associated with him in the empire, became sole emperor when his father fell into the Persians hands.302:2268
Eusebius has not preserved the text of these edicts (προγρ€μματα, which were public proclamations, and thus differed from the rescripts, which were private instructions), but the rescript to the bishops which he quotes shows that they did more than simply put a stop to the persecution,—that they in fact made Christianity a religio licita, and that for the first time. The right of the Christians as a body (the corpus Christianorum) to hold property is recognized in this rescript, and this involves the legal recognition of that body. Moreover, the rescript is addressed to the “bishops,” which implies a recognition of the organization of the Church. See the article of Görres, Die Toleranzedicte des Kaisers Gallienus, in the Jahrb. für prot. Theol., 1877, p. 606 sq.302:2269
ἀντιγραφή: the technical term for an epistle containing private instructions, in distinction from an edict or public proclamation. This rescript was addressed to the bishops of the province of Egypt (including Dionysius of Alexandria). It was evidently issued some time after the publication of the edicts themselves. Its exact date is uncertain, but it was probably written immediately after the fall of the usurper Macrianus (i.e. late in 261 or early in 262), during the time of whose usurpation the benefits of Gallienus edicts of toleration could of course not have been felt in Egypt and the Orient.302:2270
Εὐσεβὴς, Εὐτυχὴς, Σεβαστός.302:2271
Of Pinnas and Demetrius we know nothing. The identification of Demetrius with the presbyter mentioned in chap. 11, §24, might be suggested as possible. There is nothing to prevent such an identification, nor, on the other hand, is there anything to be urged in its favor beyond mere agreement in a name which was not an uncommon one in Egypt.302:2272
ὅπως ἀπὸ τῶν τόπων τῶν θρησκευσίμων ἀποχωρήσωσι. This is commonly taken to mean that the “Christians may come forth from their religious retreats,” which, however, does not seem to be the sense of the original. I prefer to read, with Closs, “that the heathen may depart from the Christians places of worship,” from those, namely, which they had taken possession of during the persecution.302:2273
The reference is doubtless to the edicts, referred to above, which he had issued immediately after his accession, but which had not been sooner put in force in Egypt because of the usurper Macrianus (see above, note 3).302:2274
So far as I am aware, this man is known to us only from this passage.302:2275
ὁ τοῦ μεγίστου πρ€γματος προστατεύων. Heinichen, following Valesius, identifies this office with the ὁ ἐπὶ τῶν καθόλου λόγων (mentioned in chap. 10, §5), with the ὁ τῶν καθόλου λόγων žπαρχος (mentioned in Bk. IX. chap. 11, §4), &c. For the nature of that office, see chap. 10, note 8. The phrase used in this passage seems to suggest the identification, and yet I am inclined to think, inasmuch as the rescript has to do specifically with the Church in Egypt, that Aurelius Cyrenius was not (as Macrianus was under Valerian) the emperors general finance minister, in charge of the affairs of the empire, but simply the supreme finance minister or administrator of Egypt (cf. Mommsens Provinces of the Roman Empire, Scribners ed., II. p. 268).303:2276
The use of their cemeteries, both as places of burial and as meeting-places for religious worship, had been denied to the Christians by Valerian. On the origin of the word κοιμητήρια, see chap. 11, note 14.