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Antiochus of Palestine

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A monk of the seventh century, said to have been born near Ancyra ( Asia Minor ), lived first as a solitary, then became a monk and Abbot of the famous laura or monastery of St. Saba near Jerusalem. He witnessed the Persian invasion of Palestine in 614, and the massacre of forty-four of his companions by the Bedouins. Five years after the conquest of the Holy Land by Chosroes, Ancyra was taken (619) and destroyed by the Persians, which compelled the monks of the neighbouring monastery of Attaline to leave their home, and to move from place to place. As they were, naturally, unable to carry many books with them, the Abbot Eustathius asked his friend Antiochus to compile an abridgment of Holy Scripture for their use, and also a short account of the martyrdom of the forty-four monks of St. Sabbas . In compliance with this request he wrote a work known as "Pandects of Holy Scripture " (in 130 chapters, mistaken by the Latin translator for as many homilies ). It is a collection of moral sentences, drawn from Scripture and from early ecclesiastical writers. He also wrote an "Exomologesis" or prayer, in which he relates the miseries that had befallen Jerusalem since the Persian invasion, and begs the divine mercy to heal the Holy City's many ills (P.L., LXXXIX, 1422-1856). These works seem to have been written in the period between the conquest of Palestine by Chosroes and its reconquest by the Emperor Heraclius (628). The introductory chapter of the "Pandects" tells of the martyrdom referred to; its last chapter contains a list of heretics from Simon Magus to the Monophysite followers of Severus of Antioch. The book is of special value for its extracts of works no longer existing; the writer had an interest, then uncommon, in early Christian literature.


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