Chapter III.—While Constantine favors the Christians, Licinius, his Colleague, persecutes them.
Now Constantine, the emperor, having thus embraced Christianity, conducted himself as a Christian of his profession, rebuilding the churches, and enriching them with splendid offerings: he also either closed or destroyed the temples of the pagans, 117 and exposed the images which were in them to popular contempt. But his colleague Licinius, holding his pagan tenets, hated Christians; and although from fear of the emperor Constantine he avoided exciting open persecution, yet he managed to plot against them covertly, and at length proceeded to harass them without disguise. This persecution, however, was local, extending only to those districts where Licinius himself was: but as these and other public outrages did not long remain concealed from Constantine, finding out that the latter was indignant at his conduct, Licinius had recourse to an apology. Having thus propitiated him, he entered into a feigned league of friendship, pledging himself by many oaths not to act again tyrannically. But no sooner did he pledge himself than he committed perjury; for he neither changed his tyrannical mood nor ceased persecuting Christians. Indeed, he even prohibited the bishops by law from visiting the uncoverted pagans, lest it should be made a pretext for proselyting them to the Christian faith. And the persecution was thus at the same time well known and secret. It was conceded in name but manifest in fact; for those who were exposed to his persecution suffered most severely both in their persons and property.
῾Ελλήνων: the word is used without the sense of nationality. So also in the New Testament often: Mark 7:26, Gal. 2:3, Gal. 3:28, where the Syriac (Peschitto) version renders, more according to sense than according to the letter, an Aramæan.