Monday, May 28, 2018

"Chaplain Ironsides" ~ Naval Chaplain Fr. William Henry Reaney (1863-1915)

Fr. Reaney in 1905.
Those who have died defending the country are worthy of remembrance. Those who died wearing the nation's uniform while at the same time serving Almighty God deserve special notice. Though he did not die in combat but of a stomach ailment, here is one such man who spent his whole life serving God while serving in the US Navy:

Father William Henry "Ironsides" Reaney was born in 1863, the son of a naval commander. He obtained the name "Ironsides" either because he was born aboard a steamer of that name, or because his father served on that ship -- the records are unclear. He was raised in Detroit, but heeding the call of the priesthood, he trained at Saint Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, MD. He was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1888.

Fr. Reaney's most noteworthy assignment was as chaplain aboard the USS Olympia, Dewey's flagship at the Battle of Manila Bay. The men aboard ship soon came to love him, as reported in the ship's newspaper, The Bounding Billow:
"The evening concerts inaugurated by Father Reaney of the OLYMPIA are a series of roaring successes (no pun is meant) and are working wonders on passing away the time, making everybody happy and the Father himself more popular if it is possible to do so. He has won the hearts of this crew as well as of all others with whom he has come in contact."
In Three Years Behind the Guns, a memoir of a sailor's life aboard Olympia during those years, John B. Tisdale describes an incident involving Fr. Reaney (whom he mistakenly calls Reamy):
Think of sailors taking a piano and carrying it for three miles after hoisting it over a stone wall! When we had landed it in shipshape at the water's edge, one of our officers came along and said, "Good! We will have it in our ward-room." 
In the ward-room! Not on your life! He was no sooner out of sight than the souvenir battle-axes were were bearing were wielded with a vim that reduced an upright Steinway to a condition that Frank May would have scorned as kindling for the galley-fire....
But back to the piano: its destruction engendered much feeling, but as the real name of its acquisition could only be spelled l-o-o-t, there was no complaint entered by the officer who would have appropriated it, and the sailormen's disappointment was solaced by Chaplain Father Reamy, who bought a piano and presented it to the gun-deck. That priest is truly paving himself a path to heaven by deeds of generosity. Every year he spends more than his pay on amusement for the boys.
Fr. Reaney between Lt. T. D. Griffin and Lt. Jr. Grade W. P. White
aboard USS Charleston ca. 1895.  
But Fr. Reaney wasn't merely a philanthropist or a social worker. He truly knew how to connect with the men, even if that meant occasionally connecting with a right upper-cut:
First and last, Chaplain Reaney was a priest. Therefore he took considerable umbrage when a sailor, Tom Sharkey, created a disturbance while he was saying Mass. After Mass, Father Reaney challenged the man to put on the boxing gloves with him, although he knew that Sharkey, who would have a distinguished career as a boxer, was formidable in the ring. Before a packed audience of sailors, Father Reaney, who was a great amateur boxer, defeated Sharkey. Ever afterwards he was known as “The Fighting Chaplain”, alongside his more regular nickname of Chaplain Ironsides. Throughout his career he organized boxing clubs for the sailors, and among his sparring partners was President Theodore Roosevelt, a personal friend of the Chaplain. [Taken from: The Fighting Chaplain.]
Father Reaney served aboard several other ships during his career, including the battleships Utah, Connecticut and Vermont. He was chaplain of the New York Navy Yard when he was rushed to the hospital suddenly in October of 1915. He passed a month later. An excerpt from his obituary, published in the New York Times, is offered below:
HISTORY REVEALED IN PRIEST'S EULOGY
—————
How Father Reaney's Diplomacy Served Admiral Dewey Made Known at His Funeral.
—————
THRONGS AT THE SERVICES
—————
Marines and Sailors as Guard of Honor for the Dead Chaplain of the Navy.
Thousands of the personal friends and associates of Rev. Father William Henry Ironsides Reaney, who was the son of the commander of the USS Ironsides, and Chaplain in the navy for twenty years, attended his funeral services yesterday morning in St. Patrick's Cathedral. There were many who could not get into the crowded church, but stood in the throngs of people on Fifth Avenue during the ceremony, where companies of marines and sailors from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, with arms draped, were posted as an honor guard.
The Rev. Father Lopez, a cousin of the late Chaplain, was celebrant of the mass, assisted by Rev. Thomas Duffy and the Rev. John J. Brady, Chaplain of the battleship Arkansas. Among the clergymen within the chancel were the rector of the cathedral, Monsignor M. J. Lavelle, Monsignors Mooney, Connolly, and McNichol, and Chaplain Vincent McGean of the Fire Department. A special choir was composed of thirty young priests from the Dunwoodie Seminary. Chaplain John Chidwick of the battleship Maine, in a eulogy of Fr. Reaney, said:
"The public does not know that this man brought together in the Bay of Manila the Commander in Chief of the American fleet, Admiral Dewey, and the Archbishop of Manila at a time when such an occurrence seemed impossible. Nor has the public ever heard the story of the night on the Pacific when, with a typhoon raging, the carpenter of the Charleston went overboard and Fr. Reaney was seen sneaking to the rear of the battleship to plunge into the water to save him from the furious sea. 
"There are some folk who would tear from the soldier or sailor the uniform they wear, who would demolish the statues of heroes, because that is their idea of peace. Those men may not look on Chaplain Reaney as you and I, but can there be anything more glorious, more eloquent, than a man who has two objects in life—one to work for God, and other for his country. For twenty-three years, Father Reaney did that."

Monday, May 21, 2018

Constantine's Execution of Crispus and Fausta

A cameo on the ornate cover of the Ada Gospels believed to show the family
of Constantine. A possible identification is, from left: Fausta, Constantine,
Constantius II, Crispus, Constantine II. [From Pohlsander, p. 95]
As the emperor who brought Christianity out of the catacombs and into the palace, Constantine had many admirers in his own time. However, he had just as many detractors. The same holds true in our own time: for every plaudit Constantine receives from a modern commentator, one can expect to see an equal number of condemnations.

The event most commonly brought up by Constantine’s detractors when attacking his character are the scandalous executions of his second wife, Fausta, and his eldest son, Crispus. It is noteworthy that most of Constantine’s contemporary Christian biographers exclude this incident completely when recounting his life. Constantine’s detractors, however, are not so shy. Here are some examples.

The Arian Christian historian Philostorgius, writing in the early 5th century AD, asserts that “Constantine was induced by the fraudulent artifices of his step-mother to put his son Crispus to death.” [Epitome of Philostorgius's Ecclesiastical History, Book II, Chapter 4, ]

Crispus was the product of Constantine’s first marriage to a woman named Minervina about whom little is known. Constantine’s second wife, Fausta, was Crispus’s step-mother. It should also be noted that Fausta was the daughter of the western emperor, Maximian Herculius, and the sister of the Maxentius, self-proclaimed Augustus at Rome. Both Maximian (via suicide following an abortive attempt to reclaim imperial power) and Maxentius (via death in battle) met their ends due to the actions of Constantine.

The early 6th century pagan historian, Zosimus, fills in some more details, “His son Crispus, who had been honored with the rank of Caesar…came under the suspicion of being involved with his stepmother Fausta; Constantine destroyed him without any regard to the laws of nature.” [Zosimus, Historia Nea, 2.29, as translated by Hans A. Pohlsander.]

As a hostile critic of Constantine, one would expect Zosimus to put the scandal in the worst possible light. That said, a Christian chronicler, Zonaras, writing much later in the 12th century, basically corroborates him, adding additional detail either from his own speculation or sources unknown to us: 
“His (Crispus’s) stepmother Fausta was madly in love with him but did not easily get him to go along. She then announced to his father that he (Crispus) loved her and had often attempted to do violence to her. Therefore, Crispus was condemned to death by his father, who believed his wife.” [Zonaras, Epitome, 13.2, as translated by Hans A. Pohlsander.]
Given the above accounts and what we know about the dynastic situation in Constantine’s household, along with the moral legislation put into effect by Constantine at about the same time, it is possible to conjecture what the actual course of events might have looked like.

In AD 324, Constantine was able to vanquish the last of his rivals, Licinius, for complete control of the Roman Empire. During this campaign, the young Crispus played a signal role having defeated the naval forces of the Licinians in two major battles. These victories formed the vital prelude to the climactic Battle of Chrysopolis where Licinius was decisively defeated by Constantine. It is no surprise, then, that following the victories, Crispus—already named a Caesar or junior emperor—was at the height of his power and well-positioned to be Constantine’s heir apparent.

A medallion showing Crispus as Caesar.
Fausta, however, had borne three sons of her own by Constantine. All of them were too young to take up the purple in the year 326, the eldest, Constantine II, being only 10. In order for Fausta’s sons to succeed to the imperial throne and not be subject to their illustrious older brother, something would have to happen to Crispus. Perhaps unsurprisingly, something did. If we combine the claims of Philostorgius, Zosimus and Zonaras, it is relatively straightforward to conclude that Fausta conspired to accuse Crispus of rape. The credibility of the accusation might be enhanced if young Crispus (himself a married man with a child) actually allowed himself to be seduced by the empress.

In April of AD 320, Constantine had promulgated a law with regard to rape and the various parties involved. This new law, "added the voice of imperial authority to the cause of private morality, which was thus translated into the realm of public concern. Adultery and elopement, like rape, were species of theft from husband and father but also offenses against morality which husband and father had no business to ignore, whatever their personal inclinations.” [Dixon: Reading Roman Women, page 52]

The punishment for rape under Constantine was very severe—it was actually softened in AD 349 by Constantius II to capital punishment. According to Judith Evans Grubbs, “The original penalty may have been summum supplicium (‘the supreme penalty’), a particularly atrocious and degrading form of death such as condemnation ad bestias [that is, to be torn apart by wild beasts] or burning.” [Grubbs: Law and Family in Late Antiquity, page 186]

Events came to a head sometime in AD 326. Perhaps Fausta accused Crispus directly to her husband of attempting to rape her. Perhaps Crispus, knowing himself guilty of adultery and incest, could not convincingly refute the charge. In any event, Constantine evidently believed the accusation and found himself forced to inflict the penalty of his own laws upon his beloved son. Anything less would have been supremely un-Roman, hearkening back to stories such as the rape of Lucretia by Sextus Tarquin—an event which led to the overthrow of the last Roman king—and the pitiless but legendary resolution of Manlius Torquatus, who enforced Roman law even to the point of executing his own son.

Compared to an ignominious death by fire or in the arena, Constantine’s supposed mandate of death by poison to his first-born appears almost merciful, though details are lacking.

A gold solidus showing the bust of Fausta on the obverse. The reverse shows
Fausta holding two of her children, probably Constantine II and Constantius II.
What then happened to Fausta is equally mysterious. On April 25, AD 326 at Nicomedia, Constantine amended the historical Julian Law on Adultery. Within this law, is the following statement:
“The husband above all ought to be the avenger of the marriage bed, since to him the former Emperors of olden time granted the right to accuse his wife even on suspicion and not be bound by the bond of inscription within the statutory time limits.” [Pharr: The Theodosian Code, Book IX, Title 7.2]
Whether this law was promulgated before or after Fausta met her fate is unknown. What is known is that Constantine’s mother, Helena, who had herself raised Crispus, severely rebuked her son for his precipitate action. Charles Odahl describes the circumstance as follows:
“When Constantine entered the city [of Rome], Helena approached him in mourning, and reproached him for the death of her grandson. With her imperial resources, she may have been able to gain some damnatory evidence that Fausta had deceived him; or, at the very least, she convinced Constantine that he had acted too swiftly and needed to investigate the case more deeply.” [Odahl: Constantine and the Christian Empire, p. 183]
It seems that Constantine did receive some sort of evidence implicating his wife. But Fausta’s crime had been more than conspiracy, seduction or adultery—it was treason. According to another of Constantine’s laws, “since a person convicted in a case of this kind is not protected by the privilege of any high rank from a very severe inquisition, he also must be subject to torture if he should not be able to prove his accusation by other clear evidence.” [Pharr: The Theodosian Code, Book IX, Title 5.1]  Thus, Fausta would have been subject to torture if credibly accused.

Perhaps the evidence was so strong that Fausta admitted her scheme before torture could be applied. Once convicted, there could be only one possible punishment for such a crime—death by the sword—and as before, Constantine could not exempt even his own wife from the just penalty lest he be accused of holding his own family above the law. Perhaps any desire Constantine had to save his wife dissipated once he recalled that Fausta had previously betrayed both her father and her brother, and had now played him for a fool and had her stepson judicially murdered. As in the case of Crispus, however, it seems that Constantine chose not to expose the mother of his sons to death by beheading. Instead, according to Zosimus, he had Fausta placed in a superheated sauna where she perished of hyperthermia.

But Fausta had achieved her ends. She had very effectively removed Crispus, clearing the path to imperial power for her own sons, while at the same time insulating them from implication in the crime. The names of both Crispus and Fausta were effectively erased from Roman biographies, historical works, coins and inscriptions after AD 326. Rumors were bandied about that the reason Constantine became a Christian was because Christian bishops promised that he could be cleansed from his sins via baptism. Sozomen effectively refutes this gossip as “the invention of persons who desired to vilify the Christian religion.” [Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, Book I, Chapter 5].

The depth of grief felt by Constantine and Helena at this horrific family tragedy can only be guessed. As Odahl posits, there may be clues in that Helena began her epochal pilgrimage to the Holy Land shortly thereafter, and Constantine himself redoubled his munificence toward building and enhancing Christian shrines and churches throughout the empire after these events.

An excellent brief biography of Crispus may be found in Hans Pohlsander’s article entitled: Crispus: Brilliant Career and Tragic End.

An equally excellent survey of Roman laws on rape may be found in Nghiem L. Nguyen's article, Roman Rape: An Overview of Roman Rape Lawsfrom the Republican Period to Justinian's Reign.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

"He excluded from the altar all who had perpetrated crime or formed evil resolutions" — A 5th century account of participation in Holy Communion

Last Communion of St. Mary of Egypt by Sebastiano Ricci, ca. 1695.
There is an interesting passage in the Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen, written about AD 445, regarding two priest-monks in Egypt. These two, Dioscorus and Eulogius, appear as part of a list of holy men who flourished during the reign of the emperor Valens (AD 364-378) who “devoted themselves to a life of philosophy.” (Note that when Sozomen says, “philosophy”, he means ascetic Christian theology.)

For each holy man on the list, Sozomen provides a brief anecdote detailing his most notable virtue. For Dioscorus, Sozomen says:
Click for more info.
Dioscorus had not more than a hundred disciples. He was a presbyter, and applied himself with great exactness to the duties of his priesthood. He examined and carefully questioned those who presented themselves as candidates for participation in the holy mysteries, so that they might purify their minds and not be without a consciousness of any evil they might have committed.
It is fairly clear that Sozomen is talking here about candidates for Holy Communion, given that those being considered as catechumens would be purified by the waters of Baptism. The reference to the Eucharist is even more obvious in the next passage which follows immediately afterward:
The presbyter Eulogius was still more scrupulous in the dispensation of the Divine mysteries. It is said that, when he was officiating in the priestly office, he could discern what was in the minds of those who came to him, so that he could clearly detect sin, and the secret thoughts of each one of his audience. He excluded from the altar all who had perpetrated crime or formed evil resolutions, and publicly convicted them of sin, but, on their purifying themselves by repentance, he again received them into communion. 
Eulogius seems to possess the mystical charism known as the ability to read hearts. In more modern times, this gift was famously granted to Saint Jean Vianney (aka, the Curé of Ars) and Saint Padre Pio. It is worth noting that both of these great saints also had a deep and abiding love for the Holy Eucharist. Saint Jean Vianney, in his Eucharistic Meditations, warned:
"How many there are who have the temerity to come to the Holy Table with sins unconfessed or disguised in Confession. How many have not the contrition that the good God demands of them, and keep a secret will to commit sin again and not to make every effort to correct themselves. How many do not avoid the occasions of sin when they could do so, and bring to the Holy Table enmities in their heart! If ever you have been in these dispositions when going to Holy Communion, you have been guilty of sacrilege." [Eucharistic Meditations, page 20]
We moderns would do well to heed these warnings. Indeed, in our time we do not suffer from an abundance of scrupulosity, but quite the opposite. We suffer from an unwillingness to properly form our consciences and a subsequent inability to discern and condemn our own faults.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The 21st Century Parable of the Rigid Son

The Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt, ca. 1669.
When the Left gets around to re-writing Sacred Scripture in their own image, the parable of the Prodigal Son will probably get a pretty thorough re-boot. I suspect it will end up reading something like this. 

(Note, before you read this, make sure you read the authentic Parable of the Prodigal Son from the Gospel of Saint Luke which reflects the true teaching and intention of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, rather than the revised gospel which attempts to reconcile His teaching with the demands of the prince of this world. My additions below are in blue.)
A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father: "Father, give me the portion of substance that falleth to me." And he divided unto them his substance. 
And not many days after, the younger son, gathering all together, went abroad into a far country: and there wasted his substance, living riotously. And after he had spent all, there came a mighty famine in that country; and he began to be in want. And he went and cleaved to one of the citizens of that country. And he sent him into his farm to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks the swine did eat; and no man gave unto him.  
And returning to himself, he said: "How many hired servants in my father's house abound with bread, and I here perish with hunger? I will arise, and will go to my father, and say to him: 'Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee: I am not worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.'"
And rising up he came to his father. And when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and running to him fell upon his neck, and kissed him.
And the son said to him: "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, I am not now worthy to be called thy son."
And the father said to his servants: "Bring forth quickly the first robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat and make merry: Because this my son was dead, and is come to life again: was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry."
And then the father gave unto him more money and said to him, "Son, thy lifestyle among the harlots is not chosen but is of an unexplained psychological genesis. Inviteth therefore, the harlots to come and live among us that we may welcome them, learn from them, and allow them to enjoy our table. Continue to do as you please with them and I shall support thee with joy."  
And struck with wonder, the son sayeth unto his father, "Verily? I shall do as you have proposed at once."
Now his elder son was in the field, and when he came and drew nigh to the house, he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
And he said to him: "Thy brother is come, and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe. And he hath also decided that he is incapable of ajudging your brother's lifestyle as wicked, and hath turned over more money to him so that he may continue to live riotously as seems well to him. 
And the elder son was angry, and would not go in. His father therefore coming out began to entreat him.
And he answering, said to his father: "Behold, for so many years do I serve thee, and I have never transgressed thy commandment, and yet thou hast never given me a kid to make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son is come, who hath devoured his substance with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And more, thou hast encouraged him to continue enriching the harlots, thinking that it would be judgmental and intolerant to condemn his evil lifestyle choices."
But his father sayth unto him: "Son, thy brother hast formed his conscience and adjudged his situation to be without grave sin even though he hath transgressed moral law on several points and knows it. Clearly, reforming his life would do him greater harm than continuing to live as he does. Who am I to judge? But I can see that thou art a self-absorbed promethean neo-Pelagian. Get thee from my house, for thou art rigid and can not abide with thy brother and his new companions whom we are welcoming. Your portion shall be the outer darkness where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
I have always loved the true parable with its focus on repentance and mercy, and am dismayed to see its meaning distorted by too many Catholics, both lay and religious, who ought to know better. One can not separate the Father's mercy from the vital humility and repentance on the part of the son. Though infinitely merciful, the Father is not an enabler of wickedness.

It is also worth noting that in the true parable, the father shows equal understanding and mercy to the virtuous elder son even though he is initially envious, saying to him: "Thou art always with me, and all that I have is thine."

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

"Did you not see a white-haired man with torn clothing come this way?" Martyrdom of Saint Victor the Moor, May 8

Mosaic of Saint Victor the Moor
from the dome of the Sacello di
San Vittore in Ciel d'Oro. 
Today, May 8, is the feast day of the early Christian martyr, Saint Victor the Moor. He is also known as Saint Victor of Milan and has long been considered one of the patron saints of that city. It is believed that he was martyred there in the 4th century AD after having refused to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods at the command of the persecuting emperor Maximianus Herculius, the colleague of Diocletian who ruled in the west from AD 285 to about AD 310. His story was well-known in his day and he is the subject of a Latin hymn by Saint Ambrose (along with two soldier-martyr companions) written less than a century after his martyrdom. They hymn is rendered as follows in English by Brian Dunkle in Enchantment and Creed in the Hymns of Ambrose of Milan:
Devoted Victor, Nabor, Felix
the martyrs of Milan,
guests on our soil, Moorish born,
and foreigners in our lands,

The scorching sand gave them to us,
Sand that pants from the solar heat,
The farthest limit of the earth
And an exile from our name.

The Po received them as its guests
with the steep price of their blood,
the faith of the church their mother
filled them with the Holy Spirit,

And she crowned herself
By three martyrs’ holy blood,
and consecrated them soldiers to Christ
who were snatched from godless camps.

Their effort helped them in their faith,
Trained in the wartime arms
to give their life for the king,
it befit them to suffer for Christ.

The soldiers of Christ sought
no iron spears nor weapons;
he who claims the true faith
walks about defended by arms.

His faith is a shield for the man
And death is his triumph, whom the tyrant
hostile to us sent as martyrs
to the town of Lodi.

But they have returned our victims;
their bodies borne on chariots,
returned to the gazes of the princes
in the manner of triumphal chariot.
The mosaic portrait of Saint Victor above crowns the interior of the dome of Sachello di San Vittore in Ciel d'Oro, and may be seen to this day in Milan. The mosaic was created in the 6th century, about 200 years after his martyrdom. At about this same time, the Passion of Saint Victor was written, probably with considerable ornament and interpolation. Following is an excerpt from near the end of this work:
Then the emperor Maximianus ordered that [Victor] be led to the Vercelline Gate: and while they awaited the emperor's commands they paused there. Then the soldiers who were guarding Saint Victor fell asleep, and rising Victor fled and hid himself in a stable in front of the theater. Then the soldiers rose and pursued him, and finding a lone woman they questioned her, asking "Did you not see a white-haired man with torn clothing come this way?"
The woman replied, and said, "I did see a white-haired man with torn clothing flee this way."
Then the soldiers continued their pursuit along the road which was named after the stables, and they arrived in front of the theater; and entering the stables they found Saint Victor hidden in front of the horses. Then the soldiers assaulted him and brought him outside. When Maximianus heard that Victor had fled he was furious with his soldiers, and he ordered other soldiers to take them outside the city to a place called the Garden of Philippus. The emperor himself strolled about in the hippodrome of the circus, and sent runners to Victor, saying "Go and tell Victor, 'You have despaired for your life, and you are not willing to offer sacrifice: by the gods, if you do not sacrifice I will sentence you to capital punishment.'"
To these Victor replied, "Go and tell your emperor, 'Do quickly what you are about to do because I want to receive my reward from God, the reward for which I suffer these things, and because it is time: if it should please him who has given me my soul and spirit.'"
Then the emperor Maximianus ordered his servants to be called, and he told them that Victor was to be led to a small wood named The Elms, where he the emperor had a garden, and that he was to be beheaded there. And when Saint Victor was being brought there, he said to the soldiers who were bringing him, "Tell the emperor Maximianus that he will die this year, and that when he is dead no grave will accept him unless his legs are broken." When he had said these things they reached the place, and Victor made a speech, saying, "I thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, that you have not separated me from your saints, my fellow citizens, Nabor and Felix. I bless and thank you forever. Amen." When the speech was complete his head was cut off by a servant.
The remainder of this Passio may be read here. Though it is believed that several details of this account are fanciful, one can detect bits and pieces that ring authentic. Of particular note is one small item which is mentioned at the very end of the Passio — the burning of the official record of the execution by the court officials:
Then Anolinus the consiliarius ordered all the exceptores in the palace to be seized, and made them swear by their gods that if any of them had any written record no one would conceal it. Then they all swore by the gods and by the safety of the emperor that no one would conceal such, and all the papers were brought forward, and Anolinus had them burned before him by a servant. This greatly pleased the emperor.
The burning of Christian literature and records was, apparently, a common practice during the persecution of Diocletian. For more on this topic, see: "The Scriptures Destroyed by Fire" ~ An official Roman transcript from the Great Persecution of AD 304.