116 Christophorsonus refers this to Valerian. But evidently the ou[toj de/ introduces a different subject in Macrianus; and besides, Valerian could not be said to have been originally unworthy of the power which he aspired to.
122 Eusebius introduces the extract thus: He (Dionysius) addressed also an epistle to Hermammon and the brethren in Egypt; and after giving an account of the wickedness of Decius and his successors, he states many other circumstances, and also mentions the peace of Gallienus. And it is best to hear his own relation as follows.
123 This is rightly understood of Macrianus, by whose treachery Valerian came under the power of the Persians. Aurelius Victor, Syncellus, and others, testify that Valerian was overtaken by that calamity through the treachery of his generals.
127 [Rom xiii. 4, 6. St. Paul's strong expressions in this place must explain these expressions. A prince was, quoad hoc, comparatively speaking, godly and pious, as he "attended continually to this very thing." So, "most religious," In the Anglican Liturgy.]
128 Who ever expressed himself thus,-that one after his seven years was passing his ninth year? 'I'his septennium (eptaethri/j) must designate something peculiar, and different from the time following it. It is therefore the septennium of imperial power which he had held along with his father. In the eighth year of that empire, Macrianus possessed himself of the imperial honour specially in Egypt. After his assumption of the purple, however, Gallienus had still much authority in Egypt. At length, in the ninth year of Gallienus, that is, in 261, Macrianus the father and the two sons being slain, the sovereignty of Gallienus was recognised also among the Egyptians. And then Gallienus gave a rescript to Dionysius, Pinna, and Demetrius, bishops of Egypt, to re-establish the sacred places,-a boon which he had granted in the former year. The ninth year of Gallienus, moreover, began about the midsummer of this year; and the time at which this letter was written by Dionysius, as Eusebius observes, may be gathered from that, and falls consequently before the Paschal season of 262 A.D.-Pearson, p. 72. Gall.
129 Eusebius, Hist. Eccles., vii. 22. Eusebius prefaces the 21st chapter of his seventh book thus: "When peace had scarcely yet been established, he (Dionysius) returned to Alexandria. But when sedition and war again broke out, and made it impossible for him to have access to all the brethren in that city, divided as they then were into different parties, he addressed them again by an epistle at the Passover, as if he were still an exile from Alexandria." Then he inserts the epistle to Hierax; and thereafter, in ch. xxii., introduces the present excerpt thus: "After these events, the pestilence succeeding the war, and the festival being now at hand, he again addressed the brethren by letters, in which he gave the following description of the great troubles connected with that calamity."
131 The text gives, a0ll' ou0d' ei/ tij perixarh\j o@n oi/nqei=en ma/lista, which is put probably for the mere regular construction, o@n oi@ointo a0n ma/lista perixarh=. Nicephorus reads, ei@ tij perixarh\j w@n oihqei/h. The idea is, that the heathen could have no real festal time. All seasons, those apparently most joyous, no less than those evidently sorrowful, must be times void of all real rejoicing to them, until they learn the grace of God.
133 Dionysius is giving a sort of summary of all the calamities which befell the Alexandrian church from the commencement of his episcopal rule: namely, first, persecution, referring to that which began in the last year of the reign of Philip; then war, meaning the civil war of which he speaks in his Epistle to Fabius; then pestilence, alluding to the sickness which began in the time of Decius, and traversed the land under Gallus and Volusianus.-Vales.
134 a0namasso/menoi ta0j a0lghdo/naj. Some make this equivalent to mitigantes. It means properly to "wipe off," and so to become "responsible" for. Here it is used apparently to express much the same idea as the two preceding clauses.
136 The phrase periyhma pa/ntwn refers to 1 Cor. iv. 13. Valesius supposes that among the Alexandrians it may have been a humble and complimentary form of salutation, e0gw/ eimi periyhma/ sou; or that the expression periyhma pa/ntwn had come to be habitually applied to the Christians by the heathen.
141 Eusebius, Hist. Eccles., vii. 21. The preface to this extract in Eusebius is as follows: "After this he (Dionysius) wrote also another Paschal epistle to Hierax, a bishop in Egypt, in which he makes the following statement about the sedition then prevailing at Alexandria."
143 mesaita/th th=j po/lewj. Codex Regius gives tw= po/lewn. The sedition referred to as thus dividing Alexandria is probably that which broke out when Aemilianus seized the sovereignty in Alexandria. See Pollio's Thirty Tyrants.
150 e0k th=j d' e9ortastikh=j e0pistolh=j. From the Sacred Parallels of John of Damascus, Works, ii. p. 753 C, edit. Paris, 1712. In his Ecclesiastical History, book vii. ch. 20, Eusebius says: "In addition to these epistles, the same Dionysius also composed others about this time, designated his Festival Epistles, and in these he says much in commendation of the Paschal feast. One of these he addressed to Flavius, and another to Domitius and Didymus, in which he gives the canon for eight years, and shows that the Paschal feast ought not to be kept until the passing of the vernal equinox. And besides these, he wrote another epistle to his co-presbyters at Alexandria."