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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

The Trisagion 76 thrice holy


[Footnote

73: See Renaudot, (Hist. Patriarch. Alex. p. 123, 131, 145, 195, 247.) They were reconciled by the care of Mark I. (A.D. 799--819;) he promoted their chiefs to the bishoprics of Athribis and Talba, (perhaps Tava. See D'Anville, p. 82,) and supplied the sacraments, which had failed for want of an episcopal ordination.]

[Footnote 74: De his quos baptizavit, quos ordinavit Acacius, majorum traditione confectam et veram, praecipue religiosae solicitudini congruam praebemus sine difficultate medicinam, (Galacius, in epist. i. ad Euphemium, Concil. tom. v. 286.) The offer of a medicine proves the disease, and numbers must have perished before the arrival of the Roman physician. Tillemont himself (Mem. Eccles. tom. xvi. p. 372, 642, &c.) is shocked at the proud, uncharitable temper of the popes; they are now glad, says he, to invoke St. Flavian of Antioch, St. Elias of Jerusalem, &c., to whom they refused communion whilst upon earth. But Cardinal Baronius is firm and hard as the rock of St. Peter.]

[Footnote 75: Their names were erased from the diptych of the church: ex venerabili diptycho, in quo piae memoriae transitum ad coelum habentium episcoporum vocabula continentur, (Concil. tom. iv. p. 1846.) This ecclesiastical record was therefore equivalent to the book of life.]

In the fever of the times, the sense, or rather the sound of a syllable, was sufficient to disturb the peace

of an empire. The Trisagion [76] (thrice holy,) "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts!" is supposed, by the Greeks, to be the identical hymn which the angels and cherubim eternally repeat before the throne of God, and which, about the middle of the fifth century, was miraculously revealed to the church of Constantinople. The devotion of Antioch soon added, "who was crucified for us!" and this grateful address, either to Christ alone, or to the whole Trinity, may be justified by the rules of theology, and has been gradually adopted by the Catholics of the East and West. But it had been imagined by a Monophysite bishop; [77] the gift of an enemy was at first rejected as a dire and dangerous blasphemy, and the rash innovation had nearly cost the emperor Anastasius his throne and his life. [78] The people of Constantinople was devoid of any rational principles of freedom; but they held, as a lawful cause of rebellion, the color of a livery in the races, or the color of a mystery in the schools. The Trisagion, with and without this obnoxious addition, was chanted in the cathedral by two adverse choirs, and when their lungs were exhausted, they had recourse to the more solid arguments of sticks and stones; the aggressors were punished by the emperor, and defended by the patriarch; and the crown and mitre were staked on the event of this momentous quarrel. The streets were instantly crowded with innumerable swarms of men, women, and children; the legions of monks, in regular array, marched, and shouted, and fought at their head, "Christians! this is the day of martyrdom: let us not desert our spiritual father; anathema to the Manichaean tyrant! he is unworthy to reign." Such was the Catholic cry; and the galleys of Anastasius lay upon their oars before the palace, till the patriarch had pardoned his


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