Chapter V.—John swayed the People by his Teachings. Concerning the Woman, a Follower of Macedonius, on account of whom the Bread was turned into a Stone.
John governed the church of Constantinople with exemplary prudence, and induced many of the pagans and of the heretics to unite themselves with him. 1591 Crowds of people daily resorted to him; some for the purpose of being edified by listening to his discourses, and others with the intention of tempting him. He, however, pleased and attracted all classes, and led them to embrace the same religious sentiments as himself. As the people pressed around him, and could not get enough of his words, so that when they were pushed hither and yon, and were pressing one another, they incurred danger; and each one was forcing his way to go farther, so that by standing near, he might hear more accurately what John was saying, he placed himself in the midst of them upon the platform of the readers, and, having taken a seat, taught the multitude. It seems to me that this is a suitable place in my history for the insertion of the account of a miracle which was performed during the life of John. A certain man of the Macedonian heresy, lived with a wife of the same belief; he chanced to hear John discoursing concerning the opinion one ought to hold about the Divine nature; he was convinced by the argument he heard advanced, and strove to persuade his wife to embrace the same sentiments. Her previous habits of mind, and the conversation of other women of her acquaintance, deterred her from complying with his wishes; and, when he found that all his efforts to convince her were futile, he told her that, unless she would be of one mind with him on Divine subjects, she should not continue to live with him. The woman, therefore, promised to do as she was required; but, at the same time, p. 403 she made known the matter to one of her servant maids, in whose fidelity she confided, and used her as an instrument in deceiving her husband. At the season of the celebration of the mysteries (the initiated will understand what I mean), this woman kept what was given to her and held down her head as if engaged in prayer. Her servant, who was standing behind her, placed in her hand a bit of bread which she had brought with her; but, as soon as she had placed it between her teeth, it was converted into stone. Since such a divine affair had happened to her, she was very fearful lest any further calamity should befall her, and ran to the bishop, and confessed on herself. She showed him the stone, which bore the marks of her teeth; it was composed of some unknown substance, and was marked by a very strange color. She implored forgiveness with tears, and continued ever after to hold the same religious tenets as her husband. If any person should consider this narrative incredible, he can inspect the stone in question; for it is still preserved in the treasury of the church of Constantinople.