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Pope lauds Eusebius, model of Christian historian June 13, 2007

At his weekly public audience on Wednesday, June 13, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about Eusebius of Caesarea, the bishop and scholar whose "Christocentric approach to history" enriched his accounts of the early Church.

Speaking to about 30,000 people in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father said that Eusebius lived in an era of change; his life spanned the time from the last persecutions of Christians by the Roman empire through the Council of Nicea, in which he was an active participant.

Today, the Pope continued, Eusebius is remembered mostly for his historical writings, which "documented the first centuries of the Church’s life and preserved much precious evidence which would otherwise be lost."

Valuable as a record of the early Church, the work of Eusebius is also noteworthy because it set the standard for later works of Christian historical scholarship. The key to his approach, Pope Benedict said, was "the moral intention running through the account." As a chronicler of the past Eusebius was not a detached observer, but a believer convinced that in the history of the Church he could uncover "the signs of God's love and of the great works of salvation He has achieved."

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