Eusebius of Laodicea
An Alexandrian deacon who had some fame as a confessor and became bishop of
Laodicea in Syria, date of birth uncertain: d. about 268. His story is told by
Eusebius of Cæsarea (Hist. Eccl., VII, xi and xxxii). As a deacon at Alexandria
he had accompanied his bishop, Dionysius (with a priest, two other deacons and
two Romans who were then in Egypt) before the tribunal of Æmilian, Prefect of
Egypt, at the time of Emperor Valerianus (253-260). Dionysius tells the story of
their trials in a letter to a certain bishop Germanus (Eus., Hist. Eccl., VII
xi). They were all sentenced to banishment, but Eusebius managed to remain in
the city in hiding,
zealously served the confessors in prison and buried the
bodies of the dead and the blessed martyrs, not without danger to his own life
(ibid.) In 260 there broke out a rebellion at Alexandria and at the same time a
plague ravaged the city. Eusebius again risked his life continually by nursing
the sick and the wounded (ibid, VII, xxxii). The Romans besieged a part of the
town (Bruchium, Pyroucheion, Prouchion). Anatolius, Eusebius' friend, was among
the besieged, Eusebius himself outside. Eusebius went to the Roman general and
asked him to allow any who would to leave Bruchium. His petition was granted and
Anatolius, with whom he managed to communicate, explained the matter to the
leaders of the rebellion and implored them to capitulate. They refused but
eventually allowed the women children and old men to profit by the Romans' mercy.
A great crowd then came to surrender at the Roman camp.
Eusebius there nursed
all who were exhausted by the long siege with every care and attention as a
father and physician. (ibid., xxxii). In 264 Dionysius (who seems to have come
back from banishment) sent Eusebius as his delegate to Syria to represent hinm
at the discussions that were taking place concerning the affair of Paul of
Samosata. Anatolius accompanied his friend. The Syrians were so impressed by
these two Egyptians that they kept them both and made Eusebius Bishop of
Laodices as successor to Socrates. Not long afterwards he died and was succeeded
by Anatolius. The date of his death is uncertain. Harnack thinks it was before
the great Synod of Antioich in 268 (Chron. Der altchrist, Litt., I, 43). Another
theory is that the seige of Alexandria was in 269, that the friends went to
Syria at the end of that year, and that Eusebius's death was not until 279 (so W.
Reading in the Variorum notes to his edition of Eusebius Pammph., Cambridge 1720,
I 367), Gams puts his death in 270 (Kirschenlexikon, s.v. Eusebius con Laodicea).
Eucebius's name does not occur in the acts of the synod in 268.
EUSEBIUS, Hist. Eccl., VII, xi and xxxii; BARONIUS, Annales eccl., ad av. 263, 8-11; HARNACK, Chron. Der altchristl, Litt., I, 34, 37, 41, etc.; DUCHESNES, Hist. Ancienne de l'eglise (Paris, 1906), I, 488-489.
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