Ulfila by Faye Huntington
Long, long ago, about two centuries after
our Saviour ascended into Heaven from
the midst of the wondering disciples, a calamity
befell a Christian family living in Cappadocia.
You will find if you turn to the second chapter
of Acts, that among those who listened to Peter's
first sermon were men who dwelt in Cappadocia;
and again Peter addresses his first epistle to the
Christians in Cappadocia, or, as the revision has
it, "To the elect who are sojourners" in various
places, this one among others.
So you will see that the Christian religion
had already, even in Peter's time, spread thus
Upon the occasion of an invasion of the Goths,
the family of which I write was carried away
into captivity. Among these pagans our hero
Ulfila was born, in the year 313. His early
home was upon the northern bank of the Danube.
Belonging to a Christian family he was educated
in the principles of the Christian religion, and
became a bishop. He taught the Goths the
truths of the Bible, and many embraced Christianity.
Indeed, so successful were the good
bishop's labors among the people, that their
chief showed his displeasure by persecuting the
Christians. Then Ulfila and many of his followers,
those whom he had shown the way of
life, left the Goths, and, securing the permission
of the Roman emperor, they settled upon Roman
These were afterwards called Moesogoths,
from the name of the district in which they
settled—Moesia. They gave up their warlike
life, and became an agricultural people.
And the colony increased through the immigration
of others of their own people. For it seems
that though Ulfila had left, the influence of his
preaching did not cease, and others embraced
Christianity, and as the persecutions continued
these determined to join Ulfila, so it came
about that through the efforts of this one man
large numbers were taught the truths of the
Bible. He translated the Bible into the language
of the Goths. This was an immense
labor, for he was obliged to invent a new alphabet.
In a public library in Upsal, Sweden, there is
a curious volume known as the Codex Argenteus,
or, silvered book. It is a translation of the four
Gospels, and its letters are in silver, on leaves of
purple vellum. This is a fragment of Ulfila's
translation. The whole work was lost for about
five centuries, but was discovered, at least parts
of it found, by a man named Mercator, in an old
abbey of Werden, in the sixteenth century.
Other parts of the New Testament have been
found, but only some fragments of Ezra and
Nehemiah have been discovered of the Old Testament.
We have had handed down to us very few
particulars of Ulfila's life. He died at Constantinople,