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No Tongue?  No Problem!  Arians Can't Silence the Trinity Believers  (Approx 484 A.D.)

              In North Africa towards the end of the 5th Century A.D. a very unique deed of God occurred  which might seem like some sort of an ancient wives tale except that it was attested to by such a wide variety of people, and in a fair number of surviving ancient writings. 

              A confrontation then existed between Arian Christians (who believe that Jesus was created rather than pre-existent with God) and those who believed that Jesus was of God and was a true son of God, like God in form and substance.  This second group believed in a God-trinity composed, in some manner, of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

              Typasa (Tipasa) was an ancient Phoenician city on the coast of present-day Algeria, and in around 484 A.D. a king of the Vandals named Huneric appointed an Arian bishop (a former Secretary of Cirila) over the Typasa church.  Many trinity believers objected and migrated across the water to what is present day Spain,which was close by.  But others decided to stay or had to stay. 

              Objecting to the Arian viewpoint that Jesus was not truly as God, this group began to meet in private homes to worship as they believed was right.  The new Bishop objected to this, as it was basically denying his authority over them as Christians.  He complained to King Huneric.

              Huneric was sometimes quite harsh, and certainly was in this case.  He had the 'Trinity' believers rounded up, and made an example of them in the public market place, cutting off their right hands and having their tongues removed by the roots.  I am not sure what method was employed to remove the people's tongues, but all later eyewitnesses said that their tongues weren't slightly cut off - they were removed!  Huneric allowed them to leave and relocate to Constantinople (Byzantium).

              But contrary to the intended result, God caused a quite strange phenomenum:  the aproximately 60 bishops were very shortly able to speak as well as they ever had before, though they had no tongue.  It was stated that they had no noticable speech impediment whatsoever.  They continued to speak of Jesus, proclaiming him to be a full Son of God and not something lesser.  An early church historian named Milner was one person that attested to the veracity of this story. 

              Also, the Eastern Emperor Justinian was an eye witness to some of these persecuted tongueless Christian witnesses speaking during his time, and a Platonic philosopher and writer named Aeneas of Gaza wrote of them, saying that he even insisted that one of them open his mouth so Aeneas could look.  His remark upon seeing it with his own eyes was that the man's tongue was completely gone and that he was actually left feeling surprised the man could live, let alone talk. 

              One of the disfigured Christians, named Reparatus, became a sub-deacon in the church in Constantinople, and was held in high esteem there by the Emperor Zeno and his Empress because of what had happened to him, and how he could still speak well and without noticable affect.

              God apparently used this great deed at least partly to weigh in with His feelings concerning those who would seek to marginalize His son Jesus.  God was apparently not of the Arian persuasion.   Though the scriptures often mention the tongue as an organ that can do great harm with respect to its small size when used incorrectly, calling it hard to tame, it is none the less true that faith comes by hearing.  And what is more indispensable to the spreading of the gospel than speech?  Small wonder then that God did not allow the silencing of His witnesses.


  Here is an excerpt from that mentions some ancient sources attesting to this incident:


{369} 220. ARIANISM, though speedily exterminated from the Roman Empire, had taken refuge among the Barbarians of the North, who were then hanging over it, and soon to overwhelm it. Among these nations were the Vandals, who in the early part of the fifth century took possession of the Roman provinces on the African coast. Genseric forthwith commenced, and his successors continued, a terrible persecution of the Catholic Church, which they found there. Hunneric his son, to whose reign the miracle which is to be related belongs, began his series of cruelties by stationing officers violently to assault and drag off all Vandals whom they found attending the Churches, and by sending off the dependents of his court who were Catholics to work in the country as agricultural labourers. Others he deprived of their civil functions, stripped of their property, and banished {370} to Sicily and Sardinia. Next he summoned the nuns out of their convents, accused them of the vilest crimes, and submitted them to the most miserable indignities. Further, he caused them to be hung up without clothes, with weights to their feet, and to be tortured with red-hot irons in various parts of the body, in order to make them admit the charges he brought against them. His next measure was the wholesale cruelty of banishing a number of bishops, priests, deacons, and others, as many as four thousand nine hundred and sixty-one [Note 1], to the desert. He began by assembling them in the two towns of Sicca and Laribus; and in one or other of these places Victor, who has preserved the history of the transaction, saw them. His account is too horrible to be translated. They had been shut up, how long does not appear, in a small prison, and when Victor entered he sank up to his knees in the filth of the place. At length they set forth for the desert, with their faces and clothes in this defiled condition, chaunting the words, "Such glory have all His saints." They journeyed chiefly by night, on account of the heat of the days; when they flagged, their conductors goaded them and pelted them, or if this did not quicken them, they tied them by the feet, and dragged them after them along the rocky roads. {371} Those who survived the journey found themselves in places abounding in venomous reptiles, and the food given them was the barley provided for the beasts of burden.
221. In the beginning of 484 Hunneric convened four hundred and sixty-six Catholic Bishops at Carthage, for the purpose of holding a disputation on the faith of Nicæa; and, to intimidate them, he began by burning Lætus alive, who was one of their most learned members. This not succeeding, he dismissed them again to their homes, allowing them neither the beasts of burden on which they had come, nor their servants, nor their clothes, and forbidding all persons to lodge or feed them; when they remonstrated, he set his cavalry to charge them. Jealous of their orthodoxy as a bond of union with the Catholic world, he next proposed to them to swear allegiance to his son and successor, and abstention from all ecclesiastical correspondence beyond sea. Forty-six refused it on the plea of our Lord's prohibition in the Sermon on the Mount; three hundred and two, on the stipulation that their flocks and themselves should be restored to their churches, took it. The latter he distributed as serfs up and down the country, as having broken the Gospel precept against swearing; the former he transported to Corsica to cut timber for his navy. Of the rest, twenty-eight had succeeded in escaping from Carthage, and eighty-eight conformed. A general {372} persecution followed, in which neither sex nor age was pitied, nor torture, mutilation, nor death was spared.
222. These particulars, which form but a portion of the atrocities which this savage was permitted to perpetrate, have here been mentioned, because they form a suitable antecedent, and (if the word may be used) a justification of the miracle which followed. It was no common occasion that called forth what was no common manifestation of the wonderful power of God. The facts, as stated by one who in such a case cannot be called a too favourable witness, were as follows: "Tipasa," says Gibbon, "a maritime colony of Mauritania, sixteen miles to the east of Cæsarea, had been distinguished in every age by the orthodox zeal of its inhabitants. They had braved the fury of the Donatists; they resisted, or eluded, the tyranny of the Arians. The town was deserted on the approach of an heretical Bishop; most of the inhabitants who could procure ships passed over to the coast of Spain; and the unhappy remnant, refusing all communion with the usurper, still presumed to hold their pious, but illegal, assemblies. Their disobedience exasperated the cruelty of Hunneric. A military Count was despatched from Carthage to Tipasa; he collected the Catholics in the Forum, and, in the presence of the whole province, deprived the guilty of their right hands and their tongues. But the holy Confessors continued {373} to speak without tongues." [Note 2] "The gift continued through their lives. Their number is not mentioned by any of the original witnesses; but is fixed by an old Menology at sixty." [Note 3] Such was the miracle; the evidence on which it rests shall next be stated.
223. Victor, Bishop of Vite, who has been already mentioned, published in Africa his history of the persecution only two years after it took place. He says, "The King in wrath sent a certain Count with directions to hold a meeting in the forum of the whole province, and there to cut out their tongues by the roots, and their right hands. When this was done, by the gift of the Holy Ghost, they so spoke and speak, as they used to speak before. If however any one will be incredulous, let him now go to Constantinople, and there he will find one of them, a sub-deacon, by name Reparatus, speaking like an educated man without any impediment. On which account he is regarded with exceeding veneration in the court of the Emperor Zeno, and especially by the Empress." [Note 4] It has been asked why Victor refers his readers to Constantinople, instead of pointing out instances of the miracle in the country in which it is said to have taken place [Note 5]. But {374} persecution scattered the Catholics far and wide, as St. Gregory observes in a passage which is to follow; many fled the country; others concealed themselves. Under such circumstances, a writer would not know even where his nearest friends were to be found; and in this case Victor specified one of the Confessors who had been welcomed by an orthodox capital and court, and had the opportunity of exhibiting in security the miraculous gift wrought in him.
224. Æneas of Gaza was the contemporary of Victor. When a Gentile, he had been a philosopher and rhetorician, and did not altogether throw off his profession of Platonism when he became a Christian. He wrote a Dialogue on the Immortality of the Soul and the Resurrection of the Body; and in it, after giving various instances of miracles, he proceeds, in the character of Axitheus, to speak of the miracle of the African Confessors: "Other such things have been and will be; but what took place the other day, I suppose you have seen yourself. A bitter tyranny is oppressing the greater Africa; and humanity and orthodoxy have no influence over tyranny. Accordingly this tyrant takes offence at the piety of his subjects, and commands the priests to deny their glorious dogma. When they refuse, O the impiety! he cuts {375} out that religious tongue, as Tereus in the fable. But the damsel wove the deed upon the robe, and divulged it by her skill, when nature no longer gave her power to speak; they, on the other hand, needing neither robe nor skill, call upon nature's Maker, who vouchsafes to them a new nature on the third day, not giving them another tongue, but the faculty to discourse without a tongue more plainly than before. I had thought it was impossible for a piper to show his skill without his pipes, or harper to play his music without his harp; but now this novel sight forces me to change my mind, and to account nothing fixed that is seen, if it be God's will to alter it. I myself saw the men, and heard them speak; and wondering at the articulateness of the sound, I began to inquire what its organ was; and distrusting my ears, I committed the decision to my eyes. And opening their mouth, I perceived the tongue entirely gone from the roots. And astounded I fell to wonder, not how they could talk, but how they had not died." He saw them at Constantinople.
225. Procopius of Cæsarea was secretary to Belisarius, whom he accompanied into Africa, Sicily, and Italy, and to Constantinople, in the years between 527 and 542. By Belisarius he was employed in various political matters of great moment, and was at one time at the head of the commissariat and the fleet. He seems to have conformed to Christianity, {376} but Cave observes, from his tone of writing, that he was no real believer in it, nay, preferred the old Paganism, though he despised its rites and fables [Note 6]. He wrote the History of the Persian, Vandalic, and Gothic War, of which Gibbon speaks in the following terms: "His facts are collected from the personal experience and free conversation of a soldier, a statesman, and a traveller; his style continually aspires, and often attains, to the merit of strength and elegance; his reflections, more especially in the speeches which he too frequently inserts, contain a rich fund of political knowledge; and the historian, excited by the generous ambition of pleasing and instructing posterity, appears to disdain the prejudices of the people and the flattery of courts." [Note 7] Such is Procopius, and thus he speaks on the subject of this stupendous miracle: "Hunneric became the most savage and iniquitous of men towards the African Christians. For, forcing them to Arianize, whomever he found unwilling to comply, he burnt and otherwise put to death. And of many he cut out the tongue as low down as the throat [Note 8], who, even as late as my time, were alive in Byzantium, and talked without any impediment, feeling no effects whatever of the punishment. But two of them, having allowed themselves to hold converse with abandoned women, ceased to speak." [Note 9] {377}
226. Our next witness, and of the same date, is the Emperor Justinian, who, in an edict addressed to Archelaus, Prætorian Prefect of Africa, on the subject of his office, after Belisarius had recovered the country to the Roman Empire, writes as follows: "The present mercy, which Almighty God has deigned to manifest through us for His praise and His Name's sake, exceeds all the wonderful works which have happened in the world; viz., that Africa should through us recover in so short a time its liberty, after being in captivity under the Vandals for ninety-five years, those enemies alike of soul and body. For such souls as could not sustain their various tortures and punishments, by rebaptizing they translated into their own misbelief; and the bodies of free men they subjected to the hardships of a barbaric yoke. Nay, the very churches sacred to God did they defile with their deeds of misbelief; some they turned into stables. We have seen the venerable men, who, when their tongues had been cut off at the roots, yet piteously recounted their pains. Others after diverse tortures were dispersed through diverse provinces, and ended their days in exile." [Note 10]
227. Count Marcellinus, Chancellor to Justinian before he came to the throne, is the fourth layman to whose testimony we are able to appeal. He too, as two of the former, speaks as an eye-witness, and the {378} additional circumstances, with which he commences seem to throw light upon Æneas's singular account that the Confessors spoke "more plainly than before." "Through the whole of Africa," he says in his Chronicon, under the date 484, "the cruel persecution of Hunneric, King of the Vandals, was inflicted upon our Catholics. For after the expulsion and dispersion of more than 334 Bishops of the orthodox, and the shutting of their churches, the flocks of the faithful, afflicted by various punishments, consummated their blessed conflict. Then it was that the same King Hunneric ordered the tongue to be cut out of a Catholic youth, who from his birth had lived without speech at all; soon after he spoke, and gave glory to God with the first sounds of his voice. In short, I myself have seen at Byzantium a few out of this company of the faithful, religious men, with their tongues cut off, and their hands amputated, speaking with perfect voice."
228. Victor, Bishop of Tonno in Africa Proconsularis, another contemporary, and a strenuous defender of the Tria Capitula, which were condemned in the Fifth Ecumenical Council, has left behind him a Chronicon also; which at the same date runs as follows: "Hunneric, King of the Vandals, urging a furious persecution through the whole of Africa, banishes to Tubunnæ, Macrinippi, and other parts of the desert, not only Catholic Clerks of every order, {379} but even Monks and laymen, to the number of about four thousand; and makes Confessors and Martyrs; and cuts off the tongues of the Confessors. As to which Confessors, the royal city, where their bodies lie, attests that after their tongues were cut out they spoke perfectly even to the end. Then Lætus, Bishop of the Church of Nepte, is crowned with Martyrdom, etc." It is observable from this statement that the miracle was recorded for the instruction of posterity at the place of their burial.
229. Lastly, Pope Gregory the First thus speaks in his Dialogues: "In the time of Justinian Augustus [Note 11], when the Arian persecution raised by the Vandals against the faith of Catholics was raging violently in Africa, some Bishops, courageously persisting in the defence of the truth, were brought under notice whom the King of the Vandals, failing to persuade to his misbelief with words and offers, thought he could break with torture. For when, in the midst of their defence of the truth, he bade them be silent, but they would not bear the misbelief quietly, lest it might be interpreted as assent, breaking out into rage he had their tongues cut off from the roots. A wonderful thing, and known to many senior persons; for afterwards, even without tongue, they spoke for the defence of the truth, just as they had been accustomed {380} before to speak by means of it ... These then, being fugitives at that time, came to Constantinople. At the time, moreover, that I was myself sent to the Emperor to conduct the business of the Church, I fell in with a certain senior, a Bishop, who attested that he had seen their mouths speaking, though without tongues, so that with open mouths they cried out, 'Behold and see; for we have not tongues, and we speak.' And it appeared to those who inspected, as it was said, as if, their tongues being cut off from the roots, there was a sort of open depth in their throat, and yet in that empty mouth the words were formed full and perfect. Of whom one, having fallen into licentiousness, was soon after deprived of the gift of miracle




King Clovis Heeds Wife - (There are no atheists in foxholes!) approx. 496 A.D.

              Clovis was a king of the Franks who lived from about 466 A.D. to 511 A.D.  and he began as a king of the Salian Franks (there were several divisions) taking over after his father Childeric in 481 A.D..  Clovis is today largely regarded as the Father of France, he was the first great king of the combined Franks, and he founded the Merovingian dynasty of Kings.  He was big news for what would one day be France, and by the time he died the borders of his kingdom were a lot like modern France's.  He also had the good fortune (from our present perspective) of being married to a fairly devout young Queen named Chlotilde in 493 A.D., when he was about 27 years old.

              Chlotilde was of Bergundian royal stock - a princess - and a neice of the joint kings of Bergundy named Godesil and Gundobald.  More importantly to history perhaps, she was a Catholic and not an Arian.  In that day of Christianity a debate raged which had been sparked off about 175 years earlier by a Christian named Arius.  Arius was apparently from Libya and eventuall died in 336 A.D. after a long life of being a bishop in various states of poor standing with the churches power figures. The bone of contention was whether Jesus was a created being - Arius's view - or pre-existent as was God His father, such as is described in the Gospel of John and a view supported then as now by the Catholic church. 

              Various peoples were vying for power in those days with the last fading glimmers of the old Roman Empire, and many of them were Christians who were Arian in their beliefs.  Ostrogoths and Visigoths (meaning 'East Goths' and 'West Goths' respectively), the Vandaals, the Herulii, and the Almanni were all tearing apart the Roman's decaying empire in those centuries, and fighting each other or allying with each other as oportunity presented itself.

              Clovis was a bit pagan in his religeous beliefs, but had tended towards Arianism it is thought, with respect to his thoughts concerning Christianity.  From the time of their marriage, however, Chlotilde tried to influence him in the Catholic direction, both in speech and by her noteworthy example of Christian womanhood.  And Clovis did allow his children to be baptized Catholic.  But he remained uncommitted himself.

              There came a time in 496 A.D., the 15th year of Clovis's reign, however, when he was forced off the fence on this issue.  He was locked in a fierce fight with the Teutonic Almanni tribe's army in a battle referred to as the Battle of Tubiac.  It was fought about 30 miles east of the German Belgian border of today.

              History records that the battle was going very poorly for Clovis, and the outcome looked grim.  Attributing the fault in his mind to having prayed to his own pagan gods, he had a moment of fear and doubt in this battle, and he cried out to heaven.  He told Jesus that -  as the trusted Lord of his good wife Chlotilde - he, Clovis, would worship Him only from that point on if only the Lord would give him victory in this battle and be with him thereafter.  The prayer was no more spoken than some sort of irrational fear seemed to sweep through the Almanni forces, and they turned in fear from the battle. 

              Clovis's forces took the battle, and he was as good as his word, becoming baptized into the Catholic church in a ceremony at Rheims in 496 A.D. on Christmas Day.  St. Remy, the first bishop of Rheims, performed the ceremony.  It is said that King Clovis, after his baptism, was the first of the European Kings to exhibit the "King's Touch" - the ability to heal his subjects of certain diseases by the laying on of the hands.  Many kings descended from Clovis and some related kings later, of England, were said to retain this gift and to have healed tens of thousands all together, up until the time of the French Revoluton ending their run!

              Clovis - as a Catholic King - was absolutely essential to the Roman Catholic Church as an ardent (though politically astute) supporter of theirs with great military prowess and respect among the many pagan and Arian leaning peoples then raiding and conquering in Europe.  Had God not raised him when he did to be what he became, there is little doubt that the faces, churche, and languages of Europe would be very much altered today.   And n$oone can argue that the Frank's did not play a key role in the Crusades which came 500 years later.  Clovis was absolutely pivotal to his point in history and to what lay downstream in time.  I suppose the rest of the world already knows this, but I have recently read that 'Louis' is merely the name 'Clovis' changed in pronunciation by small degrees throughout the years.  Louis is the name of choice for Kings of France!     

              Clovis and his Queen ended their days buried by each other in a church they had cofounded together in Paris (Sainte Genevieve).  He preceeded her in death, and she spent her last days well known for her many pious works.

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