Kriminalgeschichte, 28

Below, abridged translation from the first
volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte
des Christentums
(Criminal History of Christianity)

 

The Catholic clergy, increasingly favoured

Obviously, an earthly paradise was inaugurated at least for the Constantinian ‘court bishops’, and for the Catholic hierarchy whose servility before the emperor assumed, like Eusebius in his writings, ‘the psalmist’s tone when he speaks of the Lord’ (Kühner). Others sang in chorus, like the Fathers of the Church: Ambrose, Chrysostom, Jerome, Cyril of Alexandria. And they did not lack motives. The Christian religion, once persecuted, became recognized and official. Moreover, the Catholic Church and its prelates enjoyed growing privileges that were worthy of power and wealth.

The emperor made donations to the clergy of large estates in Syria, in Egypt, as well as in Tarsus, Antioch, Alexandria and other great cities. We must bear in mind that Oriental donations meant, in addition to income, import operations especially in the market of spices and essences of the East, much appreciated by the Romans. In a word, the famous Patrimonium Petri began to accumulate, of which we will have occasion to occupy ourselves very often later on.

In Constantine’s time begins the metonymy (both in Latin and in Greek) of the word ‘church’ to mean both the community of believers and the building, formerly also called templum, aedes and other names. Constantine continued to erect churches in Ostia, Alba, Naples, and also in Asia Minor and Palestine. As he himself wrote to Eusebius, ‘all of them must be worthy of our love for the splendour’ and monuments to their victories.

Now, all these churches—the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome, the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, inaugurated by the emperor in person (335), whose pomp should be superior to that of all others, that of the Nativity in Bethlehem, that of the Apostles and that of Peace (Irene) in Constantinople, the great basilica of Antioch, those of Tire and Nicomedia, endowed with ‘truly imperial’ splendour, ‘decorated with many and rich votive offerings of gold, silver and precious stones’—they consumed immense sums. All the more so because the construction mania of the emperor was emulated by other members of the imperial family, and especially by his mother, Helena. Eusebius, as chronicler of the court, never tires of praising ‘the inexhaustible generosity of imperial donations’.

The clergy, in particular, received from Constantine ‘the greatest honours and distinctions, as men consecrated to the service of the Lord’. Again and again Eusebius reiterates that ‘they were honoured and envied in the eyes of all’, ‘he increased their prestige through laws and decrees’, ‘the imperial generosity opened wide the coffers of the treasure and distributed its riches with a generous hand’. And there were many bishops who were able to emulate the grandeur and splendour of the imperial court itself. They received special titles and incense cleansings; honours were given to them on their knees, they were seated on thrones conceived in the image and likeness of the throne of God.

Others recommend humility in their sermons!

So many and such were the signs of Constantine’s favours that the influence and economic power of the bishops increased rapidly. They participated in the free distribution of wheat. In their favour only for them, the emperor annulled the laws that disadvantaged the single people or without children. He equated them with the highest officials, those who were not obliged to genuflect in the presence of the sovereign.

In 321, the churches were authorized to receive inheritances, a right that pagan temples had never enjoyed, except in very special cases. On the other hand, for the Church this privilege was so lucrative that only two generations later the State was forced to issue a decree ‘against the plundering of the most gullible devotees, especially women’ (Caspar). This was not an obstacle to the fact that, only a century later, the ecclesiastical patrimony had reached gigantic proportions, as there were more and more Christians who ‘for the salvation of their souls’ made donations to the Church, or left whole fortunes. That custom became a kind of epidemic during the Middle Ages, seizing the Church a third of the extension of all Europe.

Constantine trusted so much the prelates that he even delegated to them part of the powers of the State.

In the trials, the testimony of a bishop had more strength than that of the ‘distinguished citizens’ (honoratiores) and was unassailable. But there was more, the bishoprics acquired their own jurisdiction in civil cases (audientia episcopalis). That is, anyone who had litigation could go to the bishopric, whose sentence would be ‘holy and venerable’, as decreed by Constantine. The bishop was authorized to sentence even against the express wish of one of the parties, and in addition the ruling was unappealable; the State being limited to the execution of the sentence with the power of the secular arm.

‘Soon the Church became a State within the State’ (Kornemann).

Kriminalgeschichte, 27

Below, abridged translation from the first
volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte
des Christentums
(Criminal History of Christianity)

Partial bust of Licinius


War against Licinius

Two emperors had disappeared; ‘Two men beloved of God’, according to Eusebius, remained. It must have been around 316 (and not 314 as it is said) when Constantine broke hostilities against Licinius in the Balkans, since the highest divinity, according to himself, ‘in his heavenly designs’ had entrusted him ‘the direction of all earthly affairs’.

The battle took place on October 8 next to Cibalae, on the banks of the Save, where Constantine, ‘a luminous beacon of Christianity’ (writes the Catholic Stockmeier) annihilated more than twenty thousand of his enemies.

This was followed, in Philippolis, of one of the most frightful massacres of the time, which did not decide the final result, but in any case Constantine had managed to snatch from his brother-in-law almost all European provinces (the current Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Dalmatia, Macedonia and Greece). Then he made peace with him, although Licinius was no longer a ‘beloved man of God’ but a ‘treacherous enemy’ (according to Eusebius).

Constantine dedicated ten years to rearmament and propaganda in favour of Christianity as in the East, for example in Asia Minor, half of the population was already Christian in some areas. After those ten years he rose again in search of the ‘final solution’.

The ‘saviour and benefactor’ had prepared the decisive battle through a series of political-religious measures; the Christians worked for Constantine and discredited Licinius as an ‘enemy of the civilised world’. In addition, Constantine encircled Licinius with a pact with the Armenians, by then already converted to Christianity (see the next chapter), and prepared the future war as a crusade and ‘war of religion’ (as the Catholic Franzen has said) with its regimental chaplains, its banners with the initials of Jesus Christ as an emblem of the imperial guard, and with a campaign of ‘holy enthusiasm’.

On the other side, Licinius revitalised paganism and persecuted the Church by forbidding synods, dismissing Christians from the army and the civil service, putting obstacles to the public celebration of the cult and promulgating various punishments and destructions. At the same time, Licinius celebrated other cults and oracles and put on his banners the images of various gods ‘against the false foreign god’ and ‘his dishonourable flag’. In reality, what mattered to one and the other was the exclusive power of universal monarchy.

In the summer of 324 two armies of enormous size for the time faced each other: 130,000 men, allegedly, with 200 warships and more than two thousand transport ships by Constantine, and 165,000 men (including a strong Gothic contingent) with 350 warships on the part of Licinius: figures that imply the most ruinous looting of all the resources of the empire.

On July 3, Licinius’ army was defeated on land, and so was his fleet in the Hellespont; On September 18 he lost the last and definitive battle of Chrysopolis (the current Skutari), in front of the Golden Horn, on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus.

After the defeat of Chrysopolis, Licinius retained about thirty thousand followers. At the request of Constantia, Constantine swore to respect his life, but a year later and while Licinius was in Thessalonica, where he was conspiring with the Goths according to accounts, he was strangled along with his top general.

In all the cities of the East began the extermination of the most notable supporters of Licinius, with or without judgment. So after ten years of civil war and constant campaigns of aggression on the part of Constantine, this ‘victorious general of all nations’ and ‘leader of the whole world’, a titular he made of himself, remained—and with him, Christianity—as the definitive winner and owner of the Roman Empire.

Published in: on November 3, 2017 at 1:10 pm  Comments Off on Kriminalgeschichte, 27  

Kriminalgeschichte, 21

Editor’s note: Volume 3 of Deschner’s opus deals with forgery and brainwashing in the Ancient Church.

But since Volume 1 we get a taste of the flavour of how the early Christians grossly exaggerated the ‘gentile’ sins (see my hatnote on the previous instalment of this series), just as presently the fate of the Jews in World War II has been grossly exaggerated.

In the hostile takeover of Aryan civilisation, be the Ancient World or today, the art of making whitey feel guilty has been a formidable weapon. No wonder why Hitler called Christianity ‘the Bolshevism of the Ancient World’.
 

A Christian Dirce, by Henryk Siemiradzki. A Christian woman is martyred under Nero in this re-enactment of the myth of Dirce.

 

______ 卐 ______

 

Below, abridged translation from the first volume of Karlheinz
Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums

(Criminal History of Christianity)

 
The persecutions against Christians in the mirror of ecclesiastical historiography

The accusations against the pagans began, precisely because of these persecutions, presented with enormous exaggeration. And in that vein we have followed well into the 20th century, when it is still written that during the 1st century Christianity was ‘bathed in its own blood’, ‘innumerable hosts of heroic characters’ are weighed, and ‘the second century is recalled by the procession of those bearing on the forehead the bloody mark of martyrdom’ (Daniel Rops); although, at times, it must be confessed that ‘they were not millions’ (Ziegler).

The most serious and undisputed investigations estimate the number of Christian victims sometimes at 3,000, others at 1,500 for the total of three centuries of persecution. A Christian as worthy of respect as Origen, who died in 254 and whose father was a martyr, and who suffered torture himself, says that the number of witnesses of blood of Christianity was ‘small and easily re-countable’.

In effect, it happens that most of the ‘martyrs’ acts are forgeries, that many pagan emperors never persecuted Christianity, and that the State did not meddle with Christians because of their religion. In fact, the civil service of the old regime treated them with enough tolerance. They granted them deferrals, they ignored the edicts; tolerated deceptions, set them free, or taught them the legal arguments with which they could free themselves from persecution without abjuring their faith. Those who denounced themselves were sent home, and even often they indifferently endured the provocations.

In the first half of the 4th century, however, Bishop Eusebius, ‘father of ecclesial historiography’, is inexhaustible in inventing stories about the wicked pagans, the terrible persecutors of Christianity. To this theme he devotes the whole eighth book of his Ecclesiastical History, from which surely one can affirm what a scholar of the 9th and 10th volumes of this work said (which is almost the only available source on the history of the Church in the antiquity): ‘Emphasis, periphrasis, omissions, half truths, and even falsification of the originals replace the scientific interpretation of reliable documents’ (Morreau).

We see there how, again and again, the wicked pagans—actually our bishop Eusebius—torture Christians with lashes, ‘those really admirable fighters’; they rip their flesh out, break their legs, cut their noses, ears, hands and other members. Eusebius throws vinegar and salt in the wounds, heaves sharpened reeds under the nails, burns backs with molten lead, fries the martyrs in grills ‘to prolong the torment’. In all these situations and many more, the victims retain their integrity, even their good humour: ‘They sang praises to the God of heaven and gave thanks to their torturers, to the last breath.’

Other believers, Eusebius informs us, were drowned in the sea ‘by order of the servants of the devil’, or crucified, or beheaded ‘sometimes in number of up to a hundred men, young children [!] and women in a single day… The executioner’s sword mended, and the tired executioners were forced to relieve themselves’.

Others were thrown ‘at the anthropophagous beasts’, to be devoured by wild boars, bears, panthers. ‘We have been eyewitnesses [!] and we have seen how, by the divine grace of our Redeemer Jesus Christ, of whom they bear witness, when the beast was ready to leap it receded again and again, as repulsed by a supernatural force’.

The bishop tells of the Christians (five in all) who were to be ‘shattered by an enraged bull’: ‘As much as he dug with its hooves and delivered goring from one side to the other, spurred by red irons, snorting with rage, the Divine Providence did not allow any harm on them’.

Christian historiography!

In one passage, Eusebius mentions ‘a whole village of Phrygia inhabited by Christians’, whose inhabitants, ‘including women and children’, were burned alive… but unfortunately he forgot to tell us the name of the village in question.

It is a habitual feature of Eusebius to get by without the details despite having been, as he says, an eyewitness. He prefers to speak of ‘innumerable legions’, of ‘great masses’ exterminated partly by the sword, sometimes by fire, ‘countless men and women and children’ who died ‘in various ways by the doctrine of our Redeemer’. ‘Their display of heroism defy description’.

During the persecution of 177 in Gaul under Marcus Aurelius (161-180), the philosopher-emperor whose Meditations Frederick II of Prussia admired, Eusebius tells us that there were ‘tens of thousands of martyrs’. However, the martyrology of the Gallic persecution under Marcus Aurelius totals… 48 victims. Of all these, the so-quoted Lexikonfür Theologie und Kirche only recounts eight, ‘St Blandina with Bishop Photinus and six of his followers’. On the contrary, the number of pagan victims in Gaul was, in later centuries, ‘far superior’ (C. Schneider).

On the persecution by Diocletian, the bloodiest (against the express will of this remarkable emperor), Eusebius could not regret—or perhaps it would be better to say to celebrate, since the leaders of the Church always considered providential the persecutions, and popes of our 20th century have affirmed it—that the victims would have counted by tens of thousands, since many eyewitnesses still lived. Persecutions are a stimulus. They foster the unity of the persecuted and are the best propaganda imaginable of all time. Eusebius, author of a chronicle ‘on the martyrs of Palestine’ wrote in his Ecclesiastical History: ‘We know the names of those who stood out in Palestine’ and cites a total of 91 martyrs, and not ‘tens of thousands’.

In 1954, De Ste Croix reviewed for the Harvard Theological Review the figures of the ‘father of Christian historiography’ and only sixteen Palestinian martyrs were found, and that for the worst of the persecutions, which lasted there ten years, bringing the average not even two victims a year. In spite of all this, one of Eusebius’s modern panegyrists rejects the conclusion that Eusebius lacked ‘scientific scrupulousness’ (Wallace-Hadrill).

Published in: on October 19, 2017 at 8:16 am  Comments Off on Kriminalgeschichte, 21  

Kriminalgeschichte, 16

Below, translated excerpts from the first volume of Karlheinz
Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums

(“Criminal History of Christianity”)

 
The ‘God of peace’ and the ‘children of Satan’ in the fourth century (Pachomius, Epiphanius, Basil, Eusebius, John Chrysostom, Ephraim, Hilary)

During the fourth century as divisions and sects grew, the schisms and the heresies developed with increasing boldness. The anti-heretic shouting also became more strident, more aggressive. At the same time, the struggle against non-Catholics sought judicial support. It was time of agitation and almost pathological actions: a true ‘spiritual disease’ (Kaphan).
 
St Pachomius

Saint Pachomius, the first founder of Christian monasteries (from 320 onwards) and author of the first monastic rule (of Coptic rite), hated the ‘heretics’ like the plague. This ‘abbot-general’ who wrote in code part of his epistles, considers himself capable of discovering heretics by smell and affirms that ‘those who read Origen will go to the lowest circle of hell’. The complete works of this great pre-Constantinian theologian (who was defended and appreciated even by great fanatics like Athanasius) was thrown by Pachomius to the Nile.
 
Epiphanius

In the fourth century Epiphanius of Salamis, a Jewish apostate and antisemitic fanatic and viper, writes his Apothecary’s Drawer (Panarion), where he warns his contemporaries against no less than eighty ‘heresies’, among which he even considers twenty pre-Christian sects! This does not prevent a coreligionist such as St. Jerome from praising him as patrem paene omnium episcoporum et antiquae reliquias sanctitatis, nor that the second Council of Nicaea (787) honoured Epiphanius with the title of ‘patriarch of orthodoxy’.

In his Apothecary’s Drawer, as confusing as long-winded, the fanatical bishop exhausts the reader’s patience with the pretence of supplying massive doses of ‘antidote’ to those who have been bitten by these snakes of different species, who are precisely ‘heretics’ for which the ‘patriarch of orthodoxy’ not only ‘asserts as certain the most extravagant and unbelievable hoaxes, even pledging his word as a personal witness’ (Kraft), but also invents the names of ‘heretics’ and pulls out of thin air new and nonexistent ‘heresies’.

Christian historiography!
 
St Basil

In the fourth century, Basil the Great, doctor of the Church, considers that the so-called heretics are full of ‘malice’, ‘slander’ and of ‘naked and brazen defamation’. ‘Heretics’ like to ‘take all things on the evil side’, provoke ‘diabolical wars’, have ‘heavy heads for wine’. They are ‘clouded by drunkenness’, ‘frenetic’, ‘abysses of hypocrisy’ and ‘of impiety’. The saint is convinced that ‘a person educated in the life of error cannot abandon the vices of heresy, just as a Negro cannot change the colour of his skin or a panther its spots’, so heresy must be ‘branded by fire’ and ‘eradicated’.
 
Eusebius

Eusebius of Caesarea, ‘father of ecclesiastical history’, born between 260 and 264 and the future favourite of the Emperor Constantine, offers us a complete list of horrible ‘heresies’. The celebrated bishop, now little esteemed by the theologians who judge him ‘scarce in ideas’ (Ricken S.J.), ‘of diminished theological capacity’ (Larrimore), beats a large number of false and deceitful men: Simon the Magician, Satorrinus of Alexandria, Basilides of Alexandria and Carpocrates as schools of ‘heretics who are enemies of God’ who operate with ‘deceit’ and incur in ‘the most abhorrent abominations’.
 
St John Chrysostom

Nor does John Chrysostom, the great enemy of the Jews, see in heretics anything other than ‘children of the devil’ and ‘dogs that bark’. Incidentally, the comparisons with animals are a very used argument in the controversies against the heretics.

In his commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, Chrysostom stands beside Paul, ‘that spiritual trumpet’ to fight against all non-Catholic Christians, and quotes him with satisfaction when he says: ‘The God of peace [!] shall crush Satan under his feet’. Note that he does not say to ‘subdue’ them but ‘crush’ them; more concretely, ‘under your feet’. In a sermon to the Christians, Chrysostom invites the public blasphemers (who in those days already included Jews, idolaters, and heretics often called ‘antichrists’) to be questioned in the streets and, if necessary, receive the proper beating.
 
St Ephrem

For Ephrem, a doctor of the Church and a person who professed a deep hatred for the Jews, his Christian enemies were ‘abominable renegades’, ‘bloodthirsty wolves’ and ‘unclean pigs’. Of Marcion, the first founder of Christian churches (and also the creator of the first New Testament, and more radical than anyone in the condemnation of the Old Testament) says that he is devoid of reason and that his only weapon is ‘slander’. He is a ‘blind’, ‘a frenetic’, ‘a shameless harlot of conduct’; his ‘apostles’ are nothing but ‘wolves’…

It is evident that whoever wants to learn to hate, to insult, to slander without deceit, must seek as an example the holy fathers of the Church, the great founders of Christianity. Thus they proceeded against all those who did not think like them, Christians, Jews, or pagans: ‘Have no contemplations with idolatrous filthiness’ (Ephrem). For them, paganism was nothing more than ‘foolishness and deceit in all respects’ and the pagans ‘people who have lied’, ‘devour corpses’ and are ‘like pigs’.
 
St Hilary

[For] Hilary, a doctor of the Church who, apart from his special displeasure of the Jews… he also had as main enemies the ‘heretics’. Born in Gaul at the beginning of the fourth century, he attacked the Arians and fought, as the Catholic Hümmeler testifies despite that 1,500 years have passed, ‘the last breath of that plague.’

Admired by Jerome to the extent that he took pains to copy a work of Hilary; praised by Augustine as a formidable defender, and proclaimed by Pius IX, in 1851, Doctor of the Church, after long debates on baptism, the Trinity and the eternal combat of Satan against Jesus Christ, Saint Hilary charges against ‘perfidy and folly’, ‘the viscous and twisted path of the serpent’, ‘the poison of falsehood’, ‘ the ‘venom hidden’, ‘the insanity of the doctors of error’, their ‘feverish deliriums’; the ‘epidemic’, ‘illness’, ‘deadly inventions’, ‘traps for the unwary’, ‘tricks’, ‘endless madness’, the ‘pile of lies of their words’, etcetera, etcetera.

With these litanies, Hilary fills twelve books of his De Trinitate, ‘the best treatise against the Arians’ (Anwander). The monotonous flow of hatred is interrupted only to elucidate, or perhaps better to say to obscure, the question of the Trinity.

Published in: on October 10, 2017 at 4:49 pm  Comments Off on Kriminalgeschichte, 16