All too often, a potent mix of murderous intent & overzealous religious fervor can be a catalyst for disaster: From the disastrous Crusades (Raging from 1095 - 1291 A.D), launched by the erstwhile Vatican, to the disastrous writings and execution of the religiously-influenced book, The Hammer of the Witches (Malleus Maleficarum), history has shown us that whenever religion is at the threshold of power, it never ceases to inculcate its doctrines and destructive teachings to the masses, who will then unwittingly execute the will of the powers-that-be.
Unfortunately, the unquestioning trait which the Church has advocated for much of two millennial works wonderfully like a charm: Faith, in its most unadulterated form, involves an unthinking belief and obedience to doctrine and whoever is in charge, and it is this terrible, deceitful trait, over-glorified by the powers that be, that caused the death of one of the most enlightened, enigmatic scholar in Alexandria, Egypt.
Hypatia of Alexandria
One of the most enchanting and enlightened philosophers of her time, Hypatia was born around the time of A.D 350. Hypatia was also the daughter of Theon, who was her teacher and the last fellow of the Museum of Alexandria. As a Neoplatonist philosopher, Hypatia became head of the Platonist school at Alexandria in about 400.
A Egyptian-born Greek, she was, quite unfortunately, born in a time where a complex brew of religious wrangling and secular learning were waging an underground war. The murderous hordes of pious Christians, under the leadership of the thug-like Patriarch Cyril of Alexandria, were plotting to drive the likes of Hypatia and her "heretic" lot out of the Roman Empire. Cyril's aim was to ultimately create a puritan society with Christianity as the sole, official religion of Alexandria, and ultimately the Roman Empire.
One of the earliest recorded woman in the field of mathematics, astrology and astronomy, Hypatia's extensive background in education, plus her connections with the Library of Alexandria, meant that she was always the subject of controversy.
In addition, Hypatia's somewhat open and vocal support for the Prefect Orestes further earned her the ire of Cyril. A secular man who scoffed at Cyril's tyrannic ways, Orestes did not take a liking to Christianity's encroachment of secular affairs and governance (Sounds familiar???).
& so it was, that events took a turn for the worst, and in tandem with the nature of Christianity, opposition is always dealt with the most barbaric, treacherous manner: Death.
Death of Hypatia, Decline of Alexandria
Cyril's disdain for Hypatia and her "pagan" teachings reached boiling point: In A.D 415, as Hypatia was taking a ride on her carriage from lecture hall to her home, she was waylaid, dragged to a nearby church, where mob-rule took control. She was stripped, beaten and hacked into pieces by a pious, loving crowd of Christians, who, in spite of their overzealousness, did not forget to burn all remains and traces of her dismembered body.
This terrible tragedy was chronicled by church historian Socrates Scholasticus, who wrote in his Ecclessiatical History:
Yet even she fell a victim to the political jealousy which at that time prevailed. For as she had frequent interviews with Orestes, it was calumniously reported among the Christian populace, that it was she who prevented Orestes from being reconciled to the bishop. Some of them therefore, hurried away by a fierce and bigoted zeal, whose ringleader was a reader named Peter, waylaid her returning home, and dragging her from her carriage, they took her to the church called Caesareum, where they completely stripped her, and then murdered her with tiles. After tearing her body in pieces, they took her mangled limbs to a place called Cinaron, and there burnt them. This affair brought not the least opprobrium, not only upon Cyril, but also upon the whole Alexandrian church. And surely nothing can be farther from the spirit of Christianity than the allowance of massacres, fights, and transactions of that sort. This happened in the month of March during Lent, in the fourth year of Cyril's episcopate, under the tenth consulate of Honorius, and the sixth of Theodosius [AD 415].
With the murder of Hypatia, Alexandria began to fall into a precipitous decline, as waves of scholars, fearful for themselves after witnessing the ignominious death of one of Alexandria's brightest, left Alexandria for fear of their own safety. Alexandria had, with the actions and jealous whims of one religion and a crazy cleric, lost her place as the chief center of learning.
For his part in the murder, Cyril was venerated by latter generations of pious Christians: He was declared a doctor of the Universal Church in 1882.
Religion: A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy???
With its rich history of book burning and murder, Christianity, like Islam, has an incredibly huge amount of unspeakable deeds to answer for: Unfortunately, the Church's victims are long dead, and they are allowed to run roughshod, scott free for much of two millennial.
As Jebus prophesies accurately, without ambiguity:
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." (Matthew 10:34)
Christianity and murder: Blood-brothers in arms. A chilling thought indeed.