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Roman Empire (Byzantine Era) (330 - 1453)
A Battle of Wills : Two strong and determined men refused to back down.
A Battle of Wills

Based on an account in ‘A Book of Golden Deeds’, by Charlotte Mary Yonge (1823-1901).

In 390, angry fans in Thessalonica killed the local governor for jailing a celebrity sportsman. The Emperor Theodosius (r. 379-395) responded by having seven thousand of them rounded up and butchered in a theatre.

WHEN the Emperor came to the Sunday service that week (he was staying in Milan), Bishop Ambrose refused to let him in.

Theodosius reminded him that King David was a murderer and an adulterer, yet still attended the Temple in Jerusalem. 'If you have sinned like him’ replied Ambrose, ‘repent like him’.

This the proud Emperor would not do, for in those days such penance must be done in public. Eight months he spent in tearful defiance; Christmas came, but for him who had had no goodwill toward men there was no peace on earth.

But in the end, the Emperor’s defiance broke.

Uncrowned and in plain robes, every Sunday he humbly occupied a cold corner of the church where common penitents stood, until Easter came.

Moreover, he agreed to sign an order that thirty days must pass from sentence of death to its execution, so that no more innocent people should die while an Emperor’s wrath was hot.

Based on an account in ‘A Book of Golden Deeds’, by Charlotte Mary Yonge (1823-1901).

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Picture: © Ωριγένης, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC-BY-SA 3.0. View original
Talk about defiance... the 14th century Byzantine chapel of the Transfiguration of the Saviour in Thessaloniki, compassed about by the high-rise flats of post-war Greece. It was in this city that Theodosius’s dreadful crime was committed, a thousand years before this chapel was built.
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