Early Church documents

Excerpts from

“Readings in the

History of the Church.”

By Ray C. Petry (editor)



The Foundation, Organization, and Institutionalization of the Christian Church

I. Clement of Rome’s Letter to the Church at Corinth (c. 96/97). II. Ignatius calls for Unity Consolidated about the Bishopric (110/117). III. Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians (c. 110-135). IV. The "Shepherd" of Hermas: an Apocryphal Apocalypse (c. 115-140). V. The Didache: Purported Teachings of the Twelve Apostles (c. 120-150). VI. The Pseudo Clementine Second Letter: an Early Christian Sermon (c. 130-150). VII. The Epistle to Diognetus: a Christian Apologia (c. 130-180). VIII. Second-Century Christian Worship. IX. Clement of Alexandria (c. 215) and the Instruction of Christ, the True Pedagogue (c. 195, 208/11). X. Hippolytus and the Apostolic Tradition: a Order of Worship (c.217). XI. Origen the Confessor (c. 185-253/54) on Prayer (233/34).

Early Relations of Spiritual and ‘Temporal Powers,’ Persecution, Toleration, and Councils.

I. Reflections of Popular Hostility to Early Christianity. II. Early Governmental Policy and Sporadic Outbreaks Against Christians. III. Early Christian Martyrs and the Christian Witness. IV. Selected Apologists: The Spokesmen for Christianity in reply to typical charges against it. V. Attacks Against Christians Before the Great Persecutions. VI. The Decian-Valerian Persecution (c. 249-51, 257/59). VII. Persecutions under Diocletian, Galerius, and Maximian (c. 302/303-312). VIII. The Failure of Persecution and the Edicts of Toleration. IX. Constantine’s Favors to Christianity (313-337); Donatism and the Synod of Aries (314). X. The Arian Controversy and the Council of Nicaea (325). XI. Athanasius Combats the Arians, Contra Arianos. XII. Athanasius on Incarnation, Redemption and Deification (c. 318). XIII. Typical Decisions and Canons of Early Christian Councils. XIV. The Relation of Spiritual and Temporal Powers after Constantine.

The Catholic Church and Christian Tradition: Early Heretics, Fathers, Theologians, and Historians.

I. Early Heretics and the Challenge to Christian Catholicity. II. The Early Christian Fathers, and Their Confrontation of the Heresies with the Rule of Faith and Tradition. III. Church Historians, Social Critics, and Christian Literati.

Christian Worship and Contemplation: the Rise of Renunciatory Asceticism and Monasticism.

I. Worship and the Sacraments from c. 300-500. II. Examples of Music in the Worship of the Early Church. III. Renunciation, Asceticism, and the Beginnings of Monasticism in the East. IV. Monasticism as Spiritual Martyrdom. V. John Cassian (c. 360-c. 435) and the Desert Fathers of the East in Relation to the Cenobitic West. VI. The Rise and Development of Western Cenobitism: the Tradition of Spiritual Regularity and Stabilitas Loci. VII. Monastic Regulae and the Lives of Contemplation and Action in the Mystical Tradition. VIII. Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite: Celestial Hierarchies and Mystical Theology.

The Papacy, the barbarian Kingdoms, Islam, and the Carolingian Church.

I. The Rise of the Bishop of Rome.


The Foundation,

Organization, and Institutionalization

of the Christian Church

Jesus Christ founded the Church. This assertion cannot be contested. How the fact came to be, however, has frequently been the subject of debate. This process of founding and organizing has long fascinated both practicing Christians and secular historians. Quite basic concerns lie obscured beneath more obvious traditions and overt acts of establishment. But Christ was primary in the process, in a way that transcended the obvious statements attributed to him.

Jesus’ basic interest seems to have been the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ concern with the transition from a temporal society to an eternal community took precedence over any social consciousness. He was not committed to the perpetuation of the human social order as he found it. For him, the Kingdom of God came first. This was the primary community. It already existed, and it was revealed forthwith in his appearance as God’s herald, He announced and revealed the "constitution" of this eternal society in the name of God the Father, and it at once became mandatory for all the Son’s followers.

Perhaps the most mysterious thing about the Kingdom was that it was at once a secret to the uninitiated and an open fact to those instructed by its special vocation. This was the ministry to divine ends that was already devolving upon those who accepted Christ’s call to discipleship. Jesus taught a doctrine of last things (or last days, in the sense of the old order) and new times (in terms of the new age already being ushered in), in which the final community was held to be both immanent and actual. The Kingdom was historically present in the midst of men, though its full realization was future to their present comprehension and experience.

The Church arose as a community — a koinonia, or communio of penitents. These penitents freely accepted the divine gift of salvation, which they had in no way earned. The very recognition of unworthiness which all Christ’s followers confessed in common conferred upon them a new kind of justness or Tightness. Those alone were justified who had a full sense of their own unrighteousness. They therefore stood ready to accept redemption out of God’s graciousness. Their distinctive society was not esoteric in the sense of its being a privileged clique. They were simply a grateful people no longer blinded by human striving to the magnanimous operation of this divine action.

The community set up by God and revealed by Christ created from the most ordinary people a society that was an outpost of heaven. It was a koinonia, responding to the eternal fellowship. This community became a social reagent in humanity’s midst. It was engendered by, and answerable to, the will of the Kingdom. The new ecclesiastical community came to think of itself as the servant of the eternal Kingdom in the temporal world. This royal society swept through and beyond the time-span. It both transcended and transformed earthly history and the interim universe. These would finally be superseded and reborn into a new heaven and a new earth.

The nascent Church gradually sensed its dual consecration to eternity and time. It recorded, historically, its dedication to final purposes and the earthly genesis that served them. In a world attuned to Greek cycles (i.e., cycles of recurring, self-contained existence), the Church adopted an increasingly linear view of history. That is, the Church on earth, like humanity itself, had a beginning in time as it would have an end to its historical pilgrimage. Those in the Hebraic-Christian tradition moved from historical beginnings to destined religious ends because of such ends. They knew their way by faith only. They journeyed away from their human beginnings without affection for earthly origins. Unlike purely scientific origins that start from whatever has already been, their beginnings were informed with meaning and power by the ends that had preceded them. Christians had fully societal instincts. They knew the meaning of traditio. In living tradition one passed on to another’s hands what had been placed in his own. Hands joined hands from age to age in vital transmission of what hands must not merely hold, but hold out, or offer. The City of God was heavenly and future to their earthly hope. Yet, in its supreme corporateness, it begot social beings on earth. Its foundations were in heaven, but its citizens to be were commingled with all of humanity. This citizenry of the eternal city (civitas) was not deprived, in the interim, of a living bond with the heavenly koinonia. By faith and in love they passed to the Fatherland (patria) in the tradition of hand-to-hand community, or traditio.

Early in the Church’s record there emerged a common preoccupation with the "cure of souls" (cura animarum) and the "school of souls" (schola animarum). Earliest Christian life was a genuine koinonia or communio. It was a collegium in the sense of a close-knit, interpenetrating community. It was a mystical universitas of head and members. Before collegium and universitas meant academic institutions they referred to social vitalities and traditions. These were first pre-Christian, then Christian corporations. At the outset, Christian communities of souls implied associations of teaching and learning, as well as societies of divine worship. Long before Christians were academically self-conscious they were cast in seminars with the Great Teacher. "Master" and "Disciple" were sacred terms. Theirs was the urgency of breathless expectation, of genuinely Christian hope. The Christian collegium of worship and social response to brothers’ needs became also the koinonia of instruction, of teaching and learning. This tutelage of Kingdom men on earth, by the Kingdom’s servant community in time, registered a desperate need. It was imperative that they know the truth where right doctrine meant eternal beatitude, even as error spelled death to the presence of God and of his people.

Christian manuals of instruction were not marks of luxury, but of survival. Such was the teaching handbook, or enchiridion, called Matthew’s Gospel. Other examples were the evolving "Church Orders," or books of discipline, such as the Didache and the Apostolic Constitutions. The catechetical writings and disciplines of the Christian school at Alexandria were also part of this Didascalia. Preaching and teaching, like pastoral care and indoctrination, were solidly allied, though not identical preoccupations of the Church. Martyrs, confessors, and missionaries were developed only through instruction and catechesis. The Christian community was doomed without tradition or transmission. Augustine contended that Christian associations needed their seals as much as the merchant fraternity. The Christian Credo or Symbol was just such an oral badge or seal. In it the Christians’ confession of faith rose up out of memory and reflection. They registered their hearing and doing of the Word as it was preached, taught, and practiced in the community. The increasing spiritual prestige of the teaching authority was only in part an institutionalizing of the Church’s pneumatic life. Here was also a regularizing of spiritual respiration, a committing to the everyday, orderly routine of the living faith and Gospel. Profound instruction was essential to the preaching and teaching community of Origen. It was equally indispensable to the leveling of heresy and the validating of truth in the apostolic tradition of Irenaeus. The early Christian church was a witnessing to the Kingdom through the unity of worship and social ministry, through preaching and teaching. In it, daily work and fiery prophesying were combined; Kerygma (the proclamation of the gospel) and diaconate (a deacon’s official ministry) were mingled. Martyr suffering and going to school under the Master were part of it, too. For those challenged by the sophisticated world and the eclectic seekers after truth, Christ was the true Gnostic as he was the great Pedagogue.

The vicissitudes of Christian householding on earth were many. To be in the Christian tradition was to respond to the Rule of Faith. It was to minister in the "curacy of souls," to serve in the "school of souls." In Ignatius and in Cyprian, the divine hierarchy was held up as the eliciting pattern of Christian polity and ecclesiastical unity on earth. Likewise, in the early Church, the good pastor was the true teacher. The heavenly hierarchy was the solicitous School of Heaven instructing Christians of earth. Borne within it was the model for the analogue of earthly hierarchy. This applied to temporal government, faith, charity, and the hope of life eternal. The centuries themselves could not wholly denature this pristine Christian simplicity. Nothing could quite obliterate the symbols of the Master. Conveyed by them was the iconography of the Saviour, the image writing of his spiritual presence.

The documents of Chapter I confirm the idealistic bent of this early Christian orientation. They also reflect the rough awakening of those who superficially grasped the import of Jesus’ objectives without the full implications of his realistic foresightedness. These later writings, like the canonical literature, show how Christians tried to meet the ultimate demands of their rigorous faith; they also show how they adjusted themselves to daily exigencies among people of quite different views. Following Christ’s admonition to be in the world, but not of it, proved a bruising if exhilarating experience.

The first source reading, though actually anonymous, was early ascribed to one Clement, presumably third bishop of Rome. He was writing to the strife-torn Christians at Corinth. The pneumatic emphasis of early Pauline days was then being challenged by worldly bickerings and the practical demands of common-sense Christians. Already, Roman Christian officialdom was beginning to inject into its fraternal exchanges a tone of commiseration subtly charged with patronizing unction. Perhaps certain ministers had been expelled from their offices. Regularity in worship and the ordered church life so cherished at old Rome had been endangered. As a more sophisticated and well-organized Christian society, the ranking priesthood or hierarchy of the Roman community felt called upon to intervene. They pleaded for the larger Christian unity now being threatened by local schism.

No less impassioned in its plea for unity was the correspondence of Ignatius. This depicted the concern for his flock of a second-century bishop on his way to martyrdom. A brief, violent uprising against Christians in his Episcopal city of Antioch, in Syria, had broken out. He had been condemned to face wild beasts in the Roman arena. He made an expectant martyr’s triumphant tour of certain towns while receiving Christian delegations from others. His coveted crown of martyrdom was about to seal his Christian disciple-ship with sure victory. The unity he was thus about to serve in his death, as in his life, had been customarily aided on the local, congregational level of church organization by placing a bishop at the head. Supporting him was a council of presbyters, or priests, assisted by deacons. This council featured a planned hierarchy, culminating in the so-called monepiscopate. In this hierarchy, or graded priestly rule by earthly officials, the heavenly pattern was to be followed. The bishop, representing God himself, was administrator, liturgical leader, and prophetic teacher. The elders, moreover, represented the apostles. The deacons recalled Christ’s ministry of service. Out of this background Ignatius wrote his moving spiritual will and testament.

Polycarp, later to be encountered in the third section of Chapter II, also placed the daily perplexities of Christian life in relation to ultimate crises and the functions of ordered Christian officialdom. The strange, visionary writings of the "Shepherd" reveal the passionate convictions of one having proved worthy under testing. Fresh trials yet loomed for the Church before Christ’s return to judge mankind at the end of the world. The Church, arrayed as a matron in white, urged the apocalyptist to admonish his own family and all the churches to do penance. Good Christians would be built into that tower which was the Church. Untrue members would be cast aside.

The Didache, traditionally ascribed to the twelve apostles, was in fact a later compilation of pre-Christian and early Christian materials. It preserved the outlines of the Church’s gradual but sure transition from spiritual urgency under minimum organization to a more fixed institutional life of increasing complexity. Portions of the work reflect a time when the monepiscopate was not yet fully established and when gifts of prophecy were still reverenced as the mark of leadership. In the main, this manual of church order seems designed to guide rural churches through the growing perplexities of a more systematized corporate life. The layers of older and newer tradition, in their very syncretizing of disparate times and ideals, witness to the institutionalizing process well under way. The Church’s eschatological passions are forcefully, if not always realistically, coupled with its daily worship, its economic and social pressures, and its ethical demands. Called to mind are the comparably sobering problems and measures of the contemporary "Pastoral Epistles."

Another work attributed to Clement is actually an early Christian homily, or sermon. The ends and methods of indoctrination are instructively, if not always inspiringly, preserved in it. The need for moral purity and stability in the face of persecution is as marked as the emphasis on the coming Kingdom and the Last Judgment. Primitive enthusiasms had sometimes prompted grave irregularities. These were to be countered with disciplined Christian integrity. All must repent and make ready by means of the true spiritual church for the parousia, the imminent return of Christ.

The purported letter to Diognetus seems to have been an authentic Christian expression. It is basically apologetic in the true, positive sense of stating the case for an unaccepted position or group. The distinctive character of Christians in human society is stressed. Christianity is a mystery of transcendent origin. Through it, the fulfillment of the divine purpose is worked out in history. Those not indoctrinated in this salutary mystery cannot discern the divine operation. Christians alone apprehend the secret force generated by God in heaven and revealed by Christ on earth. Here its working goes forward in and through a commonwealth that is on earth, but not of its genius. Yet, the Church is to the world what soul is to the body. Its ultimate purposes bless temporal society.

Early examples of Christian worship are implicit in all these readings. The accounts of Justin and Tertullian, however, are justly famous. Justin was an apologist worthy of the name. He stated the Christian case and made a plea for its toleration. Even more, he pressed the claims of a converter who was, himself, a confessor of the faith and a martyr, or witness, to the true tradition. His Apology constitutes a valuable manual of Christian thought and life in the second century. A native of ancient Schechem and a Gentile, he was well acquainted with Jewish life and ideology. Greek by cultural background, he had been influenced by Platonism. He bowed before the Old Testament prophets as propounded by the Christian church. Herein was the true philosophy he had formerly sought elsewhere. A Christian teacher who had once worn the philosopher’s cloak and the professor’s toga, he described Christian practices in worship as he had participated in them.

Tertullian was born of a pagan centurion father at Carthage. Educated for the law, he was established in his profession before his conversion in 193. By 213 he had left the "great church" to join the company of ascetic Montanist spiritualizers. Their rigorism and pneumatic propensities rebuked the laxity he found all too current in the Christian profession. He lacked Justin’s penchant for philosophy. Actually he thought it the parent of gnostic error. Church and academy were, for him, enemies rather than the friends Clement and Origen of Alexandria held them to be. He is sometimes termed the father of Latin theology, though he was scarcely a speculative theologian. For him Christianity was a divine foolishness not to be reconciled with philosophical systems. Christianity he conceived to be a new law. He entertained a deep sense of sin and the condign need of grace. It was on grace that salvation was based. Tertullian transposed old Latin terms into new Christian meanings. Such words as sacramentum, substantia, traditio, corona, and satisfactio focused a new divine-human encounter, referring now to these concepts in a new social-eternal context. His Apologeticum is outstanding for its critique of pagan and Christian social antithesis. At the heart of this stood his description of the Christian cultus.

Clement and his student Origen grew out of Greek culture and maintained an irenic regard for it to the last. Where Tertullian was intransigent and harsh, Clement was flexible and mild. Modest regard for truth from all quarters and reverence for Christ as the epitome of all knowledge and true gnosis were characteristic of him. Probably born at Athens, he later went to Alexandria, the center of Hellenistic intellectualism. There, he became head of the catechetical school. This made converts ready, by instruction and examination in the Christian scriptures and tradition, for responsible places in the Christian community. He knew the Scriptures and Christian literature well. He was conversant with philosophical lore and classical letters, though not always at first hand. The Christian revelation was held relatable to all true knowledge and pre-Christian philosophy. The philosophy of the Greeks, like the law of the Jews, might lead to Christ. Contrary to the inflated and provincial wisdom of esoteric gnostics, the privilege of the true Christian gnostic was the free search for universal truth in Christ. In him was the epitome of all genuine gnosis, both in elevated thought and wise conduct.

Clement’s attempted harmonization of Christian faith and current philosophy held real dangers. His eulogies in classroom and via public and private example exalted Christ as the true pedagogue of the world and the only effective instructor of the redeemed. The life of natural man was not to be legalistically indicted and vilified. It was, rather, to be ennobled and enjoyed, with the disciplined Christian liberty properly accorded God’s gifts of creation. The Hymn to Christ is possibly the early doxology of the Alexandrian school. Evicted from Alexandria by the imminent persecution of Severus, Clement is traditionally accorded a martyr’s death.

Origen, whose work is to be represented in greater detail later, combined the scholarly catholicity of his teacher Clement with the exacting consecration, though not the censorious rigorism, of Tertullian. The life of prayer and martyrdom which he incited and elicited was the true teacher’s confession. Sought in it was the experience of spiritual perfection exemplified by the ever tutoring, patient, redeeming Christ.

The church order of Hippolytus is a precious deposit from early Christian worship. This good bishop was venerated for learning and eloquence. On one occasion he was supposedly deputized to preach before the erudite, dedicated Origen. Actually elevated at one time as a counter-pope to the Roman bishop, he opposed fearlessly what he regarded as a record of lax ineptitude in the Roman hierarchy. It has been said that in a unique sense he imparted to "the laws and the liturgy of the Eastern Church their permanent form."

I. Clement of Rome’s Letter to the Church at Corinth (c. 96/97).

1. The Corinthian Schism, a Blot on Christian Integrity (1:1-2)

This and the succeeding items in this section are in the translation of C. C. Richardson, et al., Early Christian Fathers [Library of Christian Classics, Vol. I] (Philadelphia: Westminster Press; London: Student Christian Movement Press, Ltd., 1953), pp. 43, 45-46, 62-64.

Due, dear friends, to the sudden and successive misfortunes and accidents we have encountered, we have, we admit, been rather long in turning our attention to your quarrels. We refer to the abominable and unholy schism, so alien and foreign to those whom God has chosen, which a few impetuous and headstrong fellows have fanned to such a pitch of insanity that your good name, once so famous and dear to us all, has fallen into the gravest ill repute. Has anyone, indeed, stayed with you without attesting the excellence and firmness of your faith? without admiring your sensible and considerate Christian piety? without broadcasting your spirit of unbounded hospitality? without praising your perfect and trustworthy knowledge?

2. Rivalry Responsible for Sufferings of Peter, Paul, and Others (5-6)

But passing from examples in antiquity, let us come to the heroes nearest our own times. Let us take the noble examples of our own generation. By reason of rivalry and envy the greatest and most righteous pillars [of the Church] were persecuted, and battled to the death. Let us set before our eyes the noble apostles: Peter, who by reason of wicked jealousy, not only once or twice but frequently endured suffering and thus, bearing his witness, went to the glorious place which he merited. By reason of rivalry and contention Paul showed how to win the prize for patient endurance. Seven times he was in chains; he was exiled, stoned, became a herald [of the gospel] in East and West, and won the noble renown which his faith merited. To the whole world he taught righteousness, and reaching the limits of the West he bore his witness before rulers. And so, released from this world, he was taken up into the holy place and became the greatest example of patient endurance.

To these men who lived such holy lives there was joined a great multitude of the elect who by reason of rivalry were the victims of many outrages and tortures and who became outstanding examples among us. By reason of rivalry women were persecuted in the roles of Danaids and Dircae. Victims of dreadful and blasphemous outrages, they ran with sureness the course of faith to the finish, and despite their physical weakness won a notable prize. It was rivalry that estranged wives from their husbands and annulled the saying of our father Adam, "This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh." Rivalry and contention have overthrown great cities and uprooted mighty nations.

3. The Master’s Injunctions Concerning the Role of Priests and Laymen in Worship (40)

Now that this is clear to us and we have peered into the depths of the divine knowledge, we are bound to do in an orderly fashion all that the Master has bidden us to do at the proper times he set. He ordered sacrifices and services to be performed; and required this to be done, not in a careless and disorderly way, but at the times and seasons he fixed. Where he wants them performed, and by whom, he himself fixed by his supreme will, so that everything should be done in a holy way and with his approval, and should be acceptable to his will. Those, therefore, who make their offerings at the time set win his approval and blessing. For they follow the Master’s orders and do no wrong. The high priest is given his particular duties: the priests are assigned their special place, while on the Levites particular tasks are imposed. The layman is bound by the layman’s code.

4. Rules Laid Down for the Ministry and the Order of Worship (41)

"Each of us," brothers, "in his own rank" must win God’s approval and have a clear conscience. We must not transgress the rules laid down for our ministry, but must perform it reverently. Not everywhere, brothers, are the different sacrifices — the daily ones, the freewill offerings, and those for sins and trespasses offered, but only in Jerusalem. And even there sacrifices are not made at any point, but only in front of the sanctuary, at the altar, after the high priest and the ministers mentioned have inspected the offering for blemishes. Those, therefore, who act in any way at variance with his will, suffer the penalty of death. You see, brothers, the more knowledge we are given, the greater risks we run.

5. The Apostolic Preaching, the Scriptures, Bishops, and Deacons (42)

The apostles received the gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus, the Christ, was sent from God. Thus Christ is from God and the apostles from Christ. In both instances the orderly procedure depends on God’s will. And so the apostles, after receiving their orders and being fully convinced by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and assured by God’s word, went out in the confidence of the Holy Spirit to preach the good news that God’s Kingdom was about to come. They preached in country and city, and appointed their first converts, after testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. Nor was this any novelty, for Scripture had mentioned bishops and deacons long before. For this is what Scripture says somewhere: "I will appoint their bishops in righteousness and their deacons in faith."

6. The Function of the Episcopacy and the Present Strife over It (44)

Now our apostles, thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ, knew that there was going to be strife over the title of bishop. It was for this reason and because they had been given an accurate knowledge of the future, that they appointed the officers we have mentioned. Furthermore, they later added a codicil to the effect that, should these die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry. In the light of this, we view it as a breach of justice to remove from their ministry those who were appointed either by them [i.e., the apostles] or later on and with the whole church’s consent, by others of the proper standing, and who, long enjoying everybody’s approval, have ministered to Christ’s flock faultlessly, humbly, quietly, and unassumingly. For we shall be guilty of no slight sin if we eject from the episcopate men who have offered the sacrifices with innocence and holiness. Happy, indeed, are those presbyters who have already passed on, and who ended a life of fruitfulness with their task complete. For they need not fear that anyone will remove them from their secure positions. But you, we observe, have removed a number of people, despite their good conduct, from a ministry they have fulfilled with honor and integrity.

II. Ignatius calls for Unity Consolidated about the Bishopric (110/117).

7. Unity and Harmony through Regarding the Bishop as the Lord, Himself

The translations in this and the succeeding items are those of Richardson, et al., Early Christian Fathers [LCC, Vol. I], pp. 89, 95, 98-99, 109-110, 114-15 — for the Letters to the Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, Philadelphians, and Smyrneans. Ep. Eph. 5:2-6:2.

If anyone is not inside the sanctuary, he lacks God’s bread. And if the prayer of one or two has great avail, how much more that of the bishop and the total Church. He who fails to join in your worship shows his arrogance by the very fact of becoming a schismatic. It is written, moreover, "God resists the proud." Let us, then, heartily avoid resisting the bishop so that we may be subject to God.

The more anyone sees the bishop modestly silent, the more he should revere him. For everyone the Master of the house sends on his business, we ought to receive as the One who sent him. It is clear, then, that we should regard the bishop as the Lord himself. Indeed, Onesimus spoke very highly of your godly conduct, that you were all living by the truth and harboring no sectarianism. Nay, you heed nobody beyond what he has to say truthfully about Jesus Christ.

8. The Bishop to Preside in God’s Place; the Presbyters to Take the Place of the Apostolic Council

Ep. Magn. 6:1.

I believed, then, that I saw your whole congregation in these people I have mentioned, and I loved you all. Hence I urge you to aim to do everything in godly agreement. Let the bishop preside in God’s place, and the presbyters take the place of the apostolic council, and let the deacons (my special favorites) be entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ who was with the Father from eternity and appeared at the end [of the world].

9. The Bishop to Be Obeyed as Christ; Presbyters as Ministers of Christ’s Mysteries; Deacons to Be Respected

Ep. Trail, 1:1-3:2.

Well do I realize what a character you have — above reproach and steady under strain. It is not just affected, but it comes naturally to you, as I gathered from Polybius, your bishop. By God’s will and that of Jesus Christ, he came to me in Smyrna, and so heartily congratulated me on being a prisoner for Jesus Christ that in him I saw your whole congregation. I welcomed, then, your godly good will, which reached me by him, and I gave thanks that I found you, as I heard, to be following God.

For when you obey the bishop as if he were Jesus Christ, you are (as I see it) living not in a merely human fashion but in Jesus Christ’s way, who for our sakes suffered death that you might believe in his death and so escape dying yourselves. It is essential, therefore, to act in no way without the bishop, just as you are doing. Rather submit even to the presbytery as to the apostles of Jesus Christ. He is our Hope, and if we live in union with him now, we shall gain eternal life. Those too who are deacons of Jesus Christ’s "mysteries" must give complete satisfaction to everyone. For they do not serve mere food and drink, but minister to God’s Church. They must therefore avoid leaving themselves open to criticism, as they would shun fire.

Correspondingly, everyone must show the deacons respect. They represent Jesus Christ, just as the bishop has the role of the Father, and the presbyters are like God’s council and an apostolic band. You cannot have a church without these. I am sure that you agree with me in this.

In your bishop I received the very model of your love, and I have him with me. His very bearing is a great lesson, while his gentleness is most forceful. I imagine even the godless respect him.

10. Ignatius in the Spirit Cries out for Unity about the Hierarchy

Ep. Phil, 7:1-2.

Some there may be who wanted in a human way to mislead me, but the Spirit is not misled, seeing it comes from God. For "it knows whence it comes and whither it goes," and exposes what is secret. When I was with you I cried out, raising my voice — it was God’s voice — "Pay heed to the bishop, the presbytery, and the deacons." Some, it is true, suspected that I spoke thus because I had been told in advance that some of you were schismatics. But I swear by Him for whose cause I am a prisoner, that from no human channels did I learn this. It was the Spirit that kept on preaching in these words: "Do nothing apart from the bishop; keep your bodies as if they were God’s temple; value unity; flee schism; imitate Jesus Christ as he imitated his Father."

11. Where the Bishop Is, There Is the Catholic Church; also a Valid Eucharist and Baptism

Ep. Smyr., 6-9.

Let no one be misled: heavenly beings, the splendor of angels, and principalities, visible and invisible, if they fail to believe in Christ’s blood, they too are doomed. "Let him accept it who can." Let no one’s position swell his head, for faith and love are everything — there is nothing preferable to them.

Pay close attention to those who have wrong notions about the grace of Jesus Christ, which has come to us, and note how at variance they are with God’s mind. They care nothing about love: they have no concern for widows or orphans, for the oppressed, for those in prison or released, for the hungry or the thirsty. They hold aloof from the Eucharist and from services of prayer, because they refuse to admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins and which, in his goodness, the Father raised [from the dead]. Consequently those who wrangle and dispute God’s gift face death. They would have done better to love and so share in the resurrection. The right thing to do, then, is to avoid such people and to talk about them neither in private nor in public. Rather pay attention to the prophets and above all to the gospel. There we get a clear picture of the Passion and see that the resurrection has really happened.

Flee from schism as the source of mischief. You should all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ did the Father. Follow, too, the presbytery as you would the apostles; and respect the deacons as you would God’s law. Nobody must do anything that has to do with the Church without the bishop’s approval. You should regard that Eucharist as valid which is celebrated either by the bishop or by someone he authorizes. Where the bishop is present, there let the congregation gather, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. Without the bishop’s supervision, no baptisms or love feasts are permitted. On the other hand, whatever he approves pleases God as well. In that way everything you do will be on the safe side and valid. It is well for us to come to our senses at last, while we still have a chance to repent and turn to God. It is a fine thing to acknowledge God and the bishop. He who pays the bishop honor has been honored by God. But he who acts without the bishop’s knowledge is in the devil’s service.

III. Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians (c. 110-135).

12. The Commandments of Righteousness; the Role of Wives, Widows, Deacons, Presbyters

Ep. 3-7, Richardson, et al., Early Christian Fathers [LCC, Vol. I], pp. 132-37.

I write these things about righteousness, brethren, not at my own instance, but because you first invited me to do so. Certainly, neither I nor anyone like me can follow the wisdom of the blessed and glorious Paul, who, when he was present among you face to face with the generation of his time, taught you accurately and firmly "the word of truth." Also when absent he wrote you letters that will enable you, if you study them carefully, to grow in the faith delivered to you — "which is a mother of us all," accompanied by hope, and led by love to God and Christ and our neighbor. For if anyone is occupied in these, he has fulfilled the commandment of righteousness; for he who possesses love is far from all sin. But "the love of money is the beginning of all evils." Knowing, therefore, that "we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out," let us arm ourselves "with the weapons of righteousness," and let us first of all teach ourselves to live by the commandment of the Lord.

Then you must teach your wives in the faith delivered to them and in love and purity — to cherish their own husbands in all fidelity, and to love all others equally in all chastity, and to educate their children in the fear of God. And the widows should be discreet in their faith pledged to the Lord, praying unceasingly on behalf of all, refraining from all slander, gossip, false witness, love of money — in fact, from evil of any kind — knowing that they are God’s altar, that everything is examined for blemishes, and nothing escapes him whether of thoughts or sentiments, or any of "the secrets of the heart." Knowing, then, that "God is not mocked," we ought to live worthily of his commandment and glory.

Likewise the deacons should be blameless before his righteousness, as servants of God and Christ and not of men; not slanderers, or double-tongued, not lovers of money, temperate in all matters, compassionate, careful, living according to the truth of the Lord, who became "a servant of all"; to whom, if we are pleasing in the present age, we shall also obtain the age to come, inasmuch as he promised to raise us from the dead. And if we bear our citizenship worthy of him, "we shall also reign with him" — provided, of course, that we have faith.

Similarly also the younger ones must be blameless in all things, especially taking thought of purity and bridling themselves from all evil. It is a fine thing to cut oneself off from the lusts that are in the world, for "every passion of the flesh wages war against the Spirit," and "neither fornicators nor the effeminate nor homosexuals will inherit the Kingdom of God," nor those who do perverse things. Wherefore it is necessary to refrain from all these things, and be obedient to the presbyters and deacons as unto God and Christ. And the young women must live with blameless and pure conscience.

Also the presbyters must be compassionate, merciful to all, turning back those who have gone astray, looking after the sick, not neglecting widow or orphan or one that is poor; but "always taking thought for what is honorable in the sight of God and of men," refraining from all anger, partiality, unjust judgment, keeping far from all love of money, not hastily believing evil of anyone, nor being severe in judgment, knowing that we all owe the debt of sin. If, then, we pray the Lord to forgive us, we ourselves ought also to forgive, for we are before the eyes of the Lord and God, and "everyone shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ and each of us shall give an account of himself." So then let us "serve him with fear and all reverence," as he himself has commanded, and also the apostles who preached the gospel to us and the prophets who foretold the coming of the Lord.

Let us be zealous for that which is good, refraining from occasions of scandal and from false brethren, and those who bear in hypocrisy the name of the Lord, who deceive empty-headed people. For "whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is antichrist"; and whosoever does not confess the testimony of the cross "is of the devil"; and whosoever perverts the sayings of the Lord to suit his own lusts and says there is neither resurrection nor judgment — such a one is the first-born of Satan. Let us, therefore, forsake the vanity of the crowd and their false teachings and turn back to the word delivered to us from the beginning, "watching unto prayer" and continuing steadfast in fasting, beseeching fervently the all-seeing God "to lead us not into temptation," even as the Lord said, "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

IV. The “Shepherd” of Hermas: an Apocryphal Apocalypse (c. 115-140).

13. Sin, Repentance, and the Church

Vis. 2:ii, trans. ANF, II, 11.

Fifteen days after, when I had fasted and prayed much to the Lord, the knowledge of the writing was revealed to me. Now the writing was to this effect: "Your seed, O Hermas, has sinned against God, and they have blasphemed against the Lord, and in their great wickedness they have betrayed their parents, and by their treachery did they not reap profit. And even now they have added to their sins lusts and iniquitous pollutions, and thus their iniquities have been filled up. But make known these words to all your children, and to your wife, who is to be your sister. For she does not restrain her tongue, with which she commits iniquity; but, on hearing these words, she will control herself, and will obtain mercy. For after you have made known to them these words which my Lord has commanded me to reveal to you, then shall they be forgiven all the sins which in former times they committed, and forgiveness will be granted to all the saints who have sinned even to the present day, if they repent with all their heart, and drive all doubts from their minds. For the Lord has sworn by His glory, in regard to His elect, that if any one of them sin after a certain day which has been fixed, he shall not be saved. For the repentance of the righteous has limits. Filled up are the days of repentance to all the saints; but to the heathen, repentance will be possible even to the last day. You will tell, therefore, those who preside over the Church, to direct their ways in righteousness, that they may receive in full the promises with great glory.

14. The Church and Her Presbyters

Vis. 2:iv, trans. ANF, II, 12.

Now a revelation was given to me, my brethren, while I slept, by a young man of comely appearance, who said to me, "Who do you think that old woman is from whom you received the book?" And I said, "The Sibyl." "You are in a mistake," says he; "it is not the Sibyl." "Who is it then?" say I. And he said, "It is the Church." And I said to him, "Why then is she an old woman?" "Because," said he, "she was created first of all On this account is she old. And for her sake was the world made." After that I saw a vision in my house, and that old woman came and asked me, if I had yet given the book to the presbyters. And I said that I had not. And then she said, "You have done well, for I have some words to add. But when I finish all the words, all the elect will then become acquainted with them through you. You will write therefore two books, and you will send the one to Clemens and the other to Grapte. And Clemens will send his to foreign countries, for permission has been granted to him to do so. And Grapte will admonish the widows and the orphans. But you will read the words in this city, along with the presbyters who preside over the Church.11

V. The Didache: Purported Teachings of the Twelve Apostles (c. 120-150).

The translations of sections 6-16 inclusive are those of Richardson, et ah, Early Christian Fathers [LCC, Vol. I], 174-79.

75. The Law of Perfection and Foods (6)

See "that no one leads you astray" from this way of the teaching, since such a one’s teaching is godless.

If you can bear the Lord’s full yoke, you will be perfect. But if you cannot, then do what you can.

Now about food: undertake what you can. But keep strictly away from what is offered to idols, for that implies worshiping dead gods.

16. Preparation for Baptism and Its Modes (7)

Now about baptism: this is how to baptize. Give public instruction on all these points, and then "baptize" in running water, ‘in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." If you do not have running water, baptize in some other. If you cannot in cold, then in warm. If you have neither, then pour water on the head three times "in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." Before the baptism, moreover, the one who baptizes and the one being baptized must fast, and any others who can. And you must tell the one being baptized to fast for one or two days beforehand.

17. Fasts and Prayers (8)

Your fasts must not be identical with those of the hypocrites. They fast on Mondays and Thursdays; but you should fast on Wednesdays and Fridays.

You must not pray like the hypocrites, but "pray as follows" as the Lord bid us in his gospel: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name; your Kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven; give us today our bread for the morrow; and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but save us from the evil one, for yours is the power and the glory forever."

You should pray in this way three times a day.

18. Eucharist, Church, and Kingdom of God (9-10)

Now about the Eucharist: This is how to give thanks: First in connection with the cup: "We thank you, our Father, for the holy vine of David, your child, which you have revealed through Jesus, your child. To you be glory forever."

Then in connection with the piece [broken off the loaf]:

"We thank you, our Father, for the life and knowledge which you have revealed through Jesus, your child. To you be glory forever.

"As this piece [of bread] was scattered over the hills and then was brought together and made one, so let your Church be brought together from the ends of the earth into your Kingdom. For yours is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ forever."

You must not let anyone eat or drink of your Eucharist except those baptized in the Lord’s name. For in reference to this the Lord said, "Do not give what is sacred to dogs."

After you have finished your meal, say grace in this way:

"We thank you, holy Father, for your sacred name which you have lodged in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which you have revealed through Jesus, your child. To you be glory forever.

"Almighty Master, you have created everything’ for the sake of your name, and have given men food and drink to enjoy that they may thank you. But to us you have given spiritual food and drink and eternal life through Jesus, your child.

"Above all, we thank you that you are mighty. To you be glory forever.

"Remember, Lord, your Church, to save it from all evil and to make it perfect by your love. Make it holy, ‘and gather’ it ‘together from the four winds’ into your Kingdom which you have made ready for it. For yours is the power and the glory forever."

"Let Grace come and let this world pass away."

"Hosanna to the God of David!"

"If anyone is holy, let him come. If not, let him repent."

"Our Lord, come!"


In the case of prophets, however, you should let them give thanks in their own way.

19. Traveling Evangelists; True and False Prophets (11-13)

Now, you should welcome anyone who comes your way and teaches you all we have been saying. But if the teacher proves himself a renegade and by teaching otherwise contradicts all this, pay no attention to him. But if his teaching furthers the Lord’s righteousness and knowledge, welcome him as the Lord.

Now about the apostles and prophets: Act in line with the gospel precept. Welcome every apostle on arriving, as if he were the Lord. But he must not stay beyond one day. In case of necessity, however, the next day too. If he stays three days, he is a false prophet. On departing, an apostle must not accept anything save sufficient food to carry him till his next lodging. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet.

While a prophet is making ecstatic utterances, you must not test or examine him. For "every sin will be forgiven," but this sin "will not be forgiven." However, not everybody making ecstatic utterances is a prophet, but only if he behaves like the Lord. It is by their conduct that the false prophet and the [true] prophet can be distinguished. For instance, if a prophet marks out a table in the Spirit, he must not eat from it. If he does, he is a false prophet. Again, every prophet who teaches the truth but fails to practice what he preaches is a false prophet. But every attested and genuine prophet who acts with a view to symbolizing the mystery of the Church, and does not teach you to do all he does, must not be judged by you. His judgment rests with God. For the ancient prophets too acted in this way. But if someone says in the Spirit, "Give me money, or something else," you must not heed him. However, if he tells you to give for others in need, no one must condemn him.

Everyone "who comes" to you "in the name of the Lord" must be welcomed. Afterward, when you have tested him, you will find out about him, for you have insight into right and wrong. If it is a traveler who arrives, help him all you can. But he must not stay with you more than two days, or, if necessary, three. If he wants to settle with you and is an artisan, he must work for his living. If, however, he has no trade, use your judgment in taking steps for him to live with you as a Christian without being idle. If he refuses to do this, he is trading on Christ. You must be on your guard against such people.

Every genuine prophet who wants to settle with you "has a right to his support." Similarly, a genuine teacher himself, just like a "workman, has a right to his support." Hence take all the first fruits of vintage and harvest, and of cattle and sheep, and give these first fruits to the prophets. For they are your high priests. If, however, you have no prophet, give them to the poor. If you make bread, take the first fruits and give in accordance with the precept. Similarly, when you open a jar of wine or oil, take the first fruits and give them to the prophets. Indeed, of money, clothes, and of all your possessions, take such first fruits as you think right, and give in accordance with the precept.

20. Worship on the Lord’s Day (14)

On every Lord’s Day — his special day- — come together and break bread and give thanks, first confessing your sins so that your sacrifice may be pure. Anyone at variance with his neighbor must not join you, until they are reconciled, lest your sacrifice be defiled. For it was of this sacrifice that the Lord said, "Always and everywhere offer me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is marveled at by the nations."

21. The Unity of Bishop and Deacons (15)

You must, then, elect for yourselves bishops and deacons who are a credit to the Lord, men who are gentle, generous, faithful, and well tried. For their ministry to you is identical with that of the prophets and teachers. You must not, therefore, despise them, for along with the prophets and teachers they enjoy a place of honor among you.

Furthermore, do not reprove each other angrily, but quietly, as you find it in the gospel. Moreover, if anyone has wronged his neighbor, nobody must speak to him, and he must not hear a word from you, until he repents. Say your prayers, give your charity, and do everything just as you find it in the gospel of our Lord.

22. Eschatology: Last Things and the Great Day of Christ’s Coming (16)

"Watch" over your life: do not let "your lamps" go out, and do not keep "your loins ungirded"; but "be ready," for "you do not know the hour when our Lord is coming."

Meet together frequently in your search for what is good for your souls, since "a lifetime of faith will be of no advantage" to you unless you prove perfect at the very last. For in the final days multitudes of false prophets and seducers will appear. Sheep will turn into wolves, and love into hatred. For with the increase of iniquity men will hate, persecute, and betray each other. And then the world deceiver will appear in the guise of God’s Son. He will work "signs and wonders" and the earth will fall into his hands and he will commit outrages such as have never occurred before. Then mankind will come to the fiery trial "and many will fall away" and perish, "but those who persevere" in their faith "will be saved" by the Curse himself. Then "there will appear the signs" of the Truth: first the sign of stretched-out [hands] in heaven, then the sign of "a trumpet’s blast," and thirdly the resurrection of the dead, though not of all the dead, but as it has been said: "The Lord will come and all his saints with him. Then the world will see the Lord coming on the clouds of the sky."

VI. The Pseudo Clementine Second Letter: an Early Christian Sermon (c. 130-150).

23. Righteousness and Purity as Preparation for the Kingdom (8-11)

The translations in this and the following items are those of Richardson, et ah, Early Christian Fathers [LCC, Vol. I], pp. 196-99, 201-2.

So while we are on earth, let us repent. For we are like clay in a workman’s hands. If a potter makes a vessel and it gets out of shape or breaks in his hands, he molds it over again; but if he has once thrown it into the flames of the furnace, he can do nothing more with it. Similarly, while we are in this world, let us too repent with our whole heart of the evil we have done in the flesh, so that we may be saved by the Lord while we have a chance to repent. For once we have departed this world we can no longer confess there or repent any more. Thus, brothers, by doing the Father’s will and by keeping the flesh pure and by abiding by the Lord’s commands, we shall obtain eternal life. For the Lord says in the Gospel: "If you fail to guard what is small, who will give you what is great? For I tell you that he who is faithful in a very little, is faithful also in much." This, then, is what he means: keep the flesh pure and the seal undefiled, so that we may obtain eternal life.

Moreover, let none of you say that this flesh will not be judged or rise again. Consider this: In what state were you saved? In what state did you regain your sight, if it was not while you were in this flesh? Therefore we should guard the flesh as God’s temple. For just as you were called in the flesh, you will come in the flesh. If Christ the Lord who saved us was made flesh though he was at first spirit, and called us in this way, in the same way we too in this very flesh will receive our reward. Let us, then, love one another, so that we may all come to God’s Kingdom. While we have an opportunity to be healed, let us give ourselves over to God, the physician, and pay him in return. How? By repenting with a sincere heart. For he foreknows everything, and realizes what is in our hearts. Let us then praise him, not with the mouth only, but from the heart, so that he may accept us as sons. For the Lord said, "My brothers are those who do the will of my Father."

So, my brothers, let us do the will of the Father who called us, so that we may have life; and let our preference be the pursuit of virtue. Let us give up vice as the forerunner of our sins, and let us flee impiety, lest evils overtake us. For if we are eager to do good, peace will pursue us. This is the reason men cannot find peace. They give way to human fears, and prefer the pleasures of the present to the promises of the future. For they do not realize what great torment the pleasures of the present bring, and what delight attaches to the promises of the future. If they did these things by themselves, it might be tolerable. But they persist in teaching evil to innocent souls, and do not realize that they and their followers will have their sentence doubled.

Let us therefore serve God with a pure heart and we shall be upright. But if, by not believing in God’s promises, we do not serve him, we shall be wretched. For the word of the prophet says, "Wretched are the double-minded, those who doubt in their soul and say, ‘We have heard these things long ago, even in our fathers’ times, and day after day we have waited and have seen none of them.’ You fools! Compare yourselves to a tree. Take a vine: first it sheds its leaves, then comes a bud, and after this a sour grape, then a ripe bunch. So my people too has had turmoils and troubles; but after that it will receive good things." So, my brothers, we must not be double-minded. Rather must we patiently hold out in hope so that we may also gain our reward. For "he can be trusted who promised" to pay each one the wages due for his work. If, then, we have done what is right in God’s eyes, we shall enter his Kingdom and receive the promises "which ear has not heard or eye seen, or which man’s heart has not entertained."

24. The True, Spiritual Church, the Body of Christ (14)

So, my brothers, by doing the will of God our Father we shall belong to the first Church, the spiritual one, which was created before the sun and the moon. But if we fail to do the Lord’s will, that passage of Scripture will apply to us which says, "My house has become a robber’s den." So, then, we must choose to belong to the Church of life in order to be saved. I do not suppose that you are ignorant that the living "Church is the body of Christ." For Scripture says, "God made man male and female." The male is Christ; the female is the Church. The Bible, moreover, and the Apostles say that the Church is not limited to the present, but existed from the beginning. For it was spiritual, as was our Jesus, and was made manifest in the last days to save us. Indeed, the Church which is spiritual was made manifest in the flesh of Christ, and so indicates to us that if any of us guard it in the flesh and do not corrupt it, he will get it in return by the Holy Spirit. For this flesh is the antitype of the spirit. Consequently, no one who has corrupted the antitype will share in the reality. This, then, is what it means, brothers: Guard the flesh so that you may share in the spirit. Now, if we say that the Church is the flesh and the Christ is the spirit, then he who does violence to the flesh, does violence to the Church. Such a person, then, will not share in the spirit, which is Christ. This flesh is able to share in so great a life and immortality, because the Holy Spirit cleaves to it. Nor can one express or tell "what things the Lord has prepared" for his chosen ones.

25. Repentance and Charity Befitting the Coming Judgment (16)

So, brothers, since we have been given no small opportunity to repent, let us take the occasion to turn to God who has called us, while we still have One to accept us. For if we renounce these pleasures and master our souls by avoiding their evil lusts, we shall share in Jesus’ mercy. Understand that "the day" of judgment is already "on its way like a furnace ablaze," and "the powers of heaven will dissolve" and the whole earth will be like lead melting in fire. Then men’s secret and overt actions will be made clear. Charity, then, like repentance from sin, is a good thing. But fasting is better than prayer, and charity than both. "Love covers a multitude of sins," and prayer, arising from a good conscience, "rescues from death." Blessed is everyone who abounds in these things, for charity lightens sin.

26. Training in the Present Life for the Eventual Laurels of the Future (19-20)

So my brothers and sisters, after God’s truth I am reading you an exhortation to heed what was there written, so that you may save yourselves and your reader. For compensation I beg you to repent with all your heart, granting yourselves salvation and life. By doing this we will set a goal for all the young who want to be active in the cause of religion and of God’s goodness. We should not, moreover, be so stupid as to be displeased and vexed when anyone admonishes us and converts us from wickedness to righteousness. There are times when we do wrong unconsciously because of the double-mindedness and unbelief in our hearts, and "our understanding is darkened" by empty desires. Let us, then, do what is right so that we may finally be saved. Blessed are they who observe these injunctions; though they suffer briefly in this world, they will gather the immortal fruit of the resurrection. A religious man must not be downcast if he is miserable in the present. A time of blessedness awaits him. He will live again in heaven with his forefathers, and will rejoice in an eternity that knows no sorrow.

But you must not be troubled in mind by the fact that we see the wicked in affluence while God’s slaves are in straitened circumstances. Brothers and sisters, we must have faith. We are engaged in the contest of the living God and are being trained by the present life in order to win laurels in the life to come. None of the upright has obtained his reward quickly, but he waits for it. For were God to give the righteous their reward at once, our training would straightway be in commerce and not in piety, since we would give an appearance of uprightness, when pursuing, not religion, but gain. That is why the divine judgment punishes a spirit which is not upright, and loads it with chains.

"To the only invisible God," the Father of truth, who dispatched to us the Saviour and prince of immortality, through whom he also disclosed to us the truth and the heavenly life — to him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

VII. The Epistle to Diognetus: a Christian Apologia (c. 130-180).

27. The Strange Story of a Mysterious "New" Race (1-2)

The translations, by sections, are those of Richardson, et ah, Early Christian Fathers [LCC, Vol. I], pp. 213-19.

To His Excellency, Diognetus: I understand, sir, that you are really interested in learning about the religion of the Christians, and that you are making an accurate and careful investigation of the subject. You want to know, for instance, what God they believe in and how they worship him, while at the same time they disregard the world and look down on death, and how it is that they do not treat the divinities of the Greeks as gods at all, although on the other hand they do not follow the superstition of the Jews. You would also like to know the source of the loving affection that they have for each other. You wonder, too, why this new race or way of life has appeared on earth now and not earlier. I certainly welcome this keen interest on your part, and I ask God, who gives us the power to speak and the power to listen, to let me speak in such a way that you may derive the greatest possible benefit from listening, and to enable you to listen to such good effect that I may never have a reason for regretting what I have said. Now, then, clear out all the thoughts that take up your attention, and pack away all the old ways of looking at things that keep deceiving you. You must become like a new man from the beginning, since, as you yourself admit, you are going to listen to a really new message.

The Stupidity of Idolatry

Look at the things that you proclaim and think of as gods. See with your outward eyes and with your mind what material they are made of and what form they happen to have. Is not one a stone, like the stones we walk on, and another bronze, no better than the utensils that have been forged for our use? Here is a wooden one, already rotting away, and one made of silver, that needs a watchman to protect it from being stolen.

Yet another one is made of iron, eaten by rust, and another of pottery, no more attractive than something provided for the most ignoble purpose. Were not all these things made out of perishable material? Were they not forged by iron and fire? Surely the stonemason made one of them, and the blacksmith another, the silversmith a third, and the potter a fourth! These things have been molded into their present shapes by the arts of these craftsmen. Before they were shaped, they could just as easily have been given a different form — and would this not be possible even now? Could not vessels like them be made out of the same material, if the same craftsmen happened to be available? Moreover, could not these things that you worship now be made by men into vessels like any others? They are all dumb, after all, and blind. They are without life or feeling or power of movement, all rotting away and decaying. These are the things you call gods, the things you serve. You Gentiles adore these things, and in the end you become like them. That is why you hate the Christians, because they do not believe that these objects are gods. But is it not you yourselves who, when in your own thoughts you suppose that you are praising the gods, are in reality despising them? Surely it is mockery and insult to worship your stone and earthenware gods without bothering to guard them, while you lock up your gods of silver and gold at night, and set guards over them during the day, to keep them from being stolen.

Moreover, if they are not lacking in sensation, you punish them by the very honors you try to pay them, while, if they are senseless, you show them up by the mere act of worshiping them with blood and sacrificial fat. Just picture one of yourselves enduring this kind of thing, or allowing it to be done to him! There is not one man who would willingly tolerate this sort of punishment, because he has feeling and intelligence, but the stone tolerates it, because it has no feeling. Do you not then really disprove its power of feeling? I could say a good deal more about the fact that Christians are not the slaves of gods like these, but if anyone cannot see the force of these arguments, I think that nothing is to be gained by arguing the matter further.

28. The Mystery of Christianity Not to Be Learned from Men (4:6)

All this being so, I think that you have learned enough to see that Christians are right in holding themselves aloof from the aimlessness and trickery of Greeks and Jews alike, and from the officiousness and noisy conceit of the Jews. But as far as the mystery of the Christians’ own religion is concerned, you cannot expect to learn that from man.

29. Christians in the World but Not of It; Social Obligations on Earth, Citizenship in Heaven (5)

For Christians cannot be distinguished from the rest of the human race by country or language or customs. They do not live in cities of their own; they do not use a peculiar form of speech; they do not follow an eccentric manner of life. This doctrine of theirs has not been discovered by the ingenuity or deep thought of inquisitive men, nor do they put forward a merely human teaching, as some people do. Yet, although they live in Greek and barbarian cities alike, as each man’s lot has been cast, and follow the customs of the country in clothing and food and other matters of daily living, at the same time they give proof of the remarkable and admittedly extraordinary constitution of their own commonwealth. They live in their own countries, but only as aliens. They have a share in everything as citizens, and endure everything as foreigners. Every foreign land is their fatherland, and yet for them every fatherland is a foreign land. They marry, like everyone else, and they beget children, but they do not cast out their offspring. They share their board with each other, but not their marriage bed. It is true that they are "in the flesh," but they do not live "according to the flesh." They busy themselves on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven. They obey the established laws, but in their own lives they go far beyond what the laws require. They love all men, and by all men are persecuted. They are unknown, and still they are condemned; they are put to death, and yet they are brought to life. They are poor, and yet they make many rich; they are completely destitute, and yet they enjoy complete abundance. They are dishonored, and in their very dishonor are glorified; they are defamed, and are vindicated. They are reviled, and yet they bless; when they are affronted, they still pay due respect. When they do good, they are punished as evildoers; undergoing punishment, they rejoice because they are brought to life. They are treated by the Jews as foreigners and enemies, and are hunted down by the Greeks; and all the time those who hate them find it impossible to justify their enmity.

30. What the Soul is to the Body, that Christians are to the World (6)

To put it simply: What the soul is in the body, that Christians are in the world. The soul is dispersed through all the members of the body, and Christians are scattered through all the cities of the world. The soul dwells in the body, but does not belong to the body, and Christians dwell in the world, but do not belong to the world. The soul, which is invisible, is kept under guard in the visible body; in the same way, Christians are recognized when they are in the world, but their religion remains unseen. The flesh hates the soul and treats it as an enemy, even though it has suffered no wrong, because it is prevented from enjoying its pleasures; so too the world hates Christians, even though it suffers no wrong at their hands, because they range themselves against its pleasures. The soul loves the flesh that hates it, and its members; in the same way, Christians love those who hate them. The soul is shut up in the body, and yet itself holds the body together; while Christians are restrained in the world as in a prison, and yet themselves hold the world together. The soul, which is immortal, is housed in a mortal dwelling; while Christians are settled among corruptible things, to wait for the incorruptibility that will be theirs in heaven. The soul, when faring badly as to food and drink, grows better; so too Christians, when punished, day by day, increase more and more. It is to no less a post than this that God has ordered them, and they must not try to evade it.

31. The Kings Son Sent to Men: the Christian Revelation (7)

As I have indicated, it is not an earthly discovery that was committed to them; it is not a mortal thought that they think of as worth guarding with such care, nor have they been entrusted with the stewardship of merely human mysteries. On the contrary, it was really the Ruler of all, the Creator of all, the invisible God himself, who from heaven established the truth and the holy, incomprehensible word among men, and fixed it firmly in their hearts. Nor, as one might suppose, did he do this by sending to men some subordinate — an angel, or principality, or one of those who administer earthly affairs, or perhaps one of those to whom the government of things in heaven is entrusted. Rather, he sent the Designer and Maker of the universe himself, by whom he created the heavens and confined the sea within its own bounds — him whose hidden purposes all the elements of the world faithfully carry out, him from whom the sun has received the measure of the daily rounds that it must keep, him whom the moon obeys when he commands her to shine by night, and whom the stars obey as they follow the course of the moon. He sent him by whom all things have been set in order and distinguished and placed in subjection — the heavens and the things that are in the heavens, the earth and the things in the earth, the sea and the things in the sea, fire, air, the unfathomed pit, the things in the heights and in the depths and in the realm between; God sent him to men.

Now, did he send him, as a human mind might assume, to rule by tyranny, fear, and terror? Far from it! He sent him out of kindness and gentleness, like a king sending his son who is himself a king. He sent him as God; he sent him as man to men. He willed to save man by persuasion, not by compulsion, for compulsion is not God’s way of working. In sending him, God called men. but did not pursue them; he sent him in love, not in judgment. Yet he will indeed send him someday as our Judge, and who shall stand when he appears? . . .

Do you not see how they are thrown to wild animals to make them deny the Lord, and how- they are not vanquished? Do you not see that the more of them are punished, the more do others increase? These things do not seem to come from a human power; they are a mighty act of God, they are proofs of his presence.

VIII. Second-Century Christian Worship.

A. According to Justin Apology I (c. 150/155)

32. Men Reborn for the Kingdom through Baptismal Washing, or Illumination (61)

Trans, of Chaps. 61, 65-67, Richardson, et al., Early Christian Fathers [LCC, Vol. I], pp. 282-83, 286-88.

How we dedicated ourselves to God when we were made new through Christ I will explain, since it might seem to be unfair if I left this out from my exposition. Those who are persuaded and believe that the things we teach and say are true, and promise that they can live accordingly, are instructed to pray and beseech God with fasting for the remission of their past sins, while we pray and fast along with them. Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are reborn by the same manner of rebirth by which we ourselves were reborn; for they are then washed in the water in the name of God the Father and Master of all, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit. For Christ said, "Unless you are born again you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven." Now it is clear to all that those who have once come into being cannot enter the wombs of those who bore them. But as I quoted before, it was said through the prophet Isaiah how those who have sinned and repent shall escape from their sins. He said this: "Wash yourselves, be clean, take away wickednesses from your souls, learn to do good, give judgment for the orphan and defend the cause of the widow, and come and let us reason together, says the Lord. And though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them as white as wool, and though they be as crimson, I will make them white as snow. If you will not listen to me, the sword will devour you; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken these things." And we learned from the apostles this reason for this [rite]. At our first birth we were born of necessity without our knowledge, from moist seed, by the intercourse of our parents with each other, and grew up in bad habits and wicked behavior. So that we should not remain children of necessity and ignorance, but [become sons] of free choice and knowledge, and obtain remission of the sins we have already committed, there is named at the water, over him who has chosen to be born again and has repented of his sinful acts, the name of God the Father and Master of all. Those who lead to the washing the one who is to be washed call on [God by] this term only. For no one may give a proper name to the ineffable God, and if anyone should dare to say that there is one, he is hopelessly insane. This washing is called illumination, since those who learn these things are illumined within. The illu-minand is also washed in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of the Holy Spirit, who through the prophets foretold everything about Jesus.

33. Post-Baptismal Assembly; Eucharistic Prayers; Distribution of Bread, Wine, and Water (65)

We, however, after thus washing the one who has been convinced and signified his assent, lead him to those who are called brethren, where they are assembled. They then earnestly offer common prayers for themselves and the one who has been illuminated and all others everywhere, that we may be made worthy, having learned the truth, to be found in deed good citizens and keepers of what is commanded, so that we may be saved with eternal salvation. On finishing the prayers we greet each other with a kiss. Then bread and a cup of water and mixed wine are brought to the president of the brethren and he, taking them, sends up praise and glory to the Father of the universe through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and offers thanksgiving at some length that we have been deemed worthy to receive these things from him. When he has finished the prayers and the thanksgiving, the whole congregation present assents, saying, "Amen" "Amen" in the Hebrew language means, "So be it." When the president has given thanks and the whole congregation has assented, those whom we call deacons give to each of those present a portion of the consecrated bread and wine and water, and they take it to the absent.

34. Participation of the Eucharistic Food; Communion of the Flesh and Blood of the Incarnate Jesus (66)

This food we call Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake except one who believes that the things we teach are true, and has received the washing for forgiveness of sins and for rebirth, and who lives as Christ handed down to us. For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Saviour being incarnate by God’s word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus. For the apostles in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, thus handed down what was commanded them: that Jesus, taking bread and having given thanks, said, "Do this for my memorial, this is my body"; and likewise taking the cup and giving thanks he said, "This is my blood"; and gave it to them alone. This also the wicked demons in imitation handed down as something to be done in the mysteries of Mithra; for bread and a cup of water are brought out in their secret rites of initiation, with certain invocations which you either know or can learn.

35. Eucharistic Communion and Social Cohesiveness at the Sunday Assembly (67)

After these [services] we constantly remind each other of these things. Those who have more come to the aid of those who lack, and we are constantly together. Over all that we receive we bless the Maker of all things through his Son Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit. And on the day called Sunday there is a meeting in one place of those who live in cities or the country, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read as long as time permits. When the reader has finished, the president in a discourse urges and invites [us] to the imitation of these noble things. Then we all stand up together and offer prayers. And, as said before, when we have finished the prayer, bread is brought, and wine and water, and the president similarly sends up prayers and thanksgivings to the best of his ability, and the congregation assents, saying the Amen; the distribution, and reception of the consecrated [elements] by each one, takes place and they are sent to the absent by the deacons. Those who prosper, and who so wish, contribute, each one as much as he chooses to. What is collected is deposited with the president, and he takes care of orphans and widows, and those who are in want on account of sickness or any other cause, and those who are in bonds, and the strangers who are sojourners among [us], and, briefly, he is the protector of all those in need. We all hold this common gathering on Sunday, since it is the first day, on which God transforming darkness and matter made the universe, and Jesus Christ our Saviour rose from the dead on the same day. For they crucified him on the day before Saturday, and on the day after Saturday, he appeared to his apostles and disciples and taught them these things which I have passed on to you also for your serious consideration.

B. From the Account in Tertullian’s Apology (c. 197)

36. The Assembly in Worship of the Christian Society; Prayers for Church and World; Sacred Readings, Exhortations, Discipline; Piety’s "Community Chest" Fund

Apologeticum, 39, trans. ANF, III, p. 46. See Tertullian’s, De Corona, 3, in Chap. Ill, No. 19 of this source book.

I shall at once go on, then, to exhibit the peculiarities of the Christian society, that, as I have refuted the evil charged against it, I may point out its positive good. We are a body knit together as such by a common religious profession, by unity of discipline, and by the bond of a common hope. We meet together as an assembly and congregation, that, offering up prayer to God as with united force, we may wrestle with Him in our supplications. This violence God delights in. We pray, too, for the emperors, for their ministers and for all in authority, for the welfare of the world, for the prevalence of peace, for the delay of the final consummation. We assemble to read our sacred writings, if any peculiarity of the times makes either forewarning or reminiscence needful. However it be in that respect, with the sacred words we nourish our faith, we animate our hope, we make our confidence more stedfast; and no less by inculcations of God’s precepts we confirm good habits. In the same place also exhortations are made, rebukes and sacred censures are administered. For with a great gravity is the work of judging carried on among us, as befits those who feel assured that they are in the sight of God; and you have the most notable example of judgment to come when any one has sinned so grievously as to require his severance from us in prayer, in the congregation and in all sacred intercourse. The tried men of our elders preside over us, obtaining that honour not by purchase, but by established character. There is no buying and selling of any sort in the things of God. Though we have our treasurechest, it is not made up of purchase-money, as of a religion that has its price. On the monthly day, if he likes, each puts in a small donation; but only if it be his pleasure, and only if he be able: for there is no compulsion; all is voluntary. These gifts are, as it were, piety’s deposit fund. For they are not taken thence and spent on feasts, and drinking-bouts, and eating-houses, but to support and bury poor people, to supply the wants of boys and girls destitute of means and parents, and of old persons confined now to the house; such, too, as have suffered shipwreck; and if there happen to be any in the mines, or banished to the islands, or shut up in the prisons, for nothing but their fidelity to the cause of God’s Church, they become the nurslings of their confession. But it is mainly the deeds of a love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. See, they say, how they love one another, for themselves are animated by mutual hatred; how they are ready even to die for one another, for they themselves will sooner put to death.

IX. Clement of Alexandria (c. 215) and the Instruction of Christ, the True Pedagogue (c. 195, 208/11).

37. The Character of the True Gnostic

Strom. 4:22, trans. ANF, II, p. 434.

The man of understanding and perspicacity is, then, a Gnostic. . . . But only the doing of good out of love, and for the sake of its own excellence, is to be the Gnostic’s choice. Now, in the person of God it is said to the Lord, "Ask of Me, and I will give the heathen for Thine inheritance;" teaching Him to ask a truly regal request — that is, the salvation of men without price, that we may inherit and possess the Lord. For, on the contrary, to desire knowledge about God for any practical purpose, that this may be done, or that may not be done, is not proper to the Gnostic; but the knowledge itself suffices as the reason for contemplation. For I will dare aver that it is not because he wishes to be saved that he, who devotes himself to knowledge for the sake of the divine science itself, chooses knowledge. For the exertion of the intellect by exercise is prolonged to a perpetual exertion. And the perpetual exertion of the intellect is the essence of an intelligent being, which results from an uninterrupted process of admixture, and remains eternal contemplation, a living substance. Could we, then, suppose any one proposing to the Gnostic whether he would choose the knowledge of God or everlasting salvation; and if these, which are entirely identical, were separable, he would without the least hesitation choose the knowledge of God, deeming that property of faith, which from love ascends to knowledge, desirable, for its own sake. This, then, is the perfect man’s first form of doing good, when it is done not for any advantage in what pertains to him, but because he judges it right to do good; and the energy being vigorously exerted in all things, in the very act becomes good; not, good in some things, and not good in others; but consisting in the habit of doing good, neither for glory, nor, as the philosophers say, for reputation, nor from reward either from men or God; but so as to pass life after the image and likeness of the Lord.

38. Christ the Instructor, Tutor of the Soul

Paed. 1:1, trans. ANF, II, p. 209.

When, then, the heavenly guide, the Word, was inviting men to salvation, the appellation of hortatory was properly applied to Him: his same word was called rousing (the whole from a part). For the whole of piety is hortatory, engendering in the kindred faculty of reason a yearning after true life now and to come. But now, being at once curative and preceptive, following in His own steps, He makes what had been prescribed the subject of persuasion, promising the cure of the passions within us. Let us then designate this Word appropriately by the one name Tutor (or Paedagogue, or Instructor). . . .

There is a wide difference between health and knowledge; for the latter is produced by learning, the former by healing. One, who is ill, will not therefore learn any branch of instruction till he is quite well. For neither to learners nor to the sick is each injunction invariably expressed similarly; but to the former in such a way as to lead to knowledge, and to the latter to health. As, then, for those of us who are diseased in body a physician is required, so also those who are diseased in soul require a paedagogue to cure our maladies; and then a teacher, to train and guide the soul to all requisite knowledge when it is made able to admit the revelation of the Word. Eagerly desiring, then, to perfect us by a gradation conducive to salvation, suited for efficacious discipline, a beautiful arrangement is observed by the all-benignant Word, who first exhorts, then trains, and finally teaches.

39. Prayer to the Paedagogue

Paed. 3:12, trans. ANF, II, p. 295.

Be gracious, O Instructor, to us Thy children, Father, Charioteer of Israel, Son and Father, both in One, O Lord. Grant to us who obey Thy precepts, that we may perfect the likeness of the image, and with all our power know Him who is the good God and not a harsh judge. And do Thou Thyself cause that all of us who have our conversation in Thy peace, who have been translated into Thy commonwealth, having sailed tranquilly over the billows of sin, may be wafted in calm by Thy Holy Spirit, by the ineffable wisdom, by night and day to the perfect day; and giving thanks may praise, and praising thank the Alone Father and Son, Son and Father, the Son, Instructor and Teacher, with the Holy Spirit, all in One, in whom is all, for whom all is One, for whom is eternity, whose members we all are, whose glory the aeons are; for the All-good, All-lovely, All-wise, All-just One. To whom be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

40. Hymn to Christ the Saviour in Praise of His Instruction

Paed. 3:12, trans. ANF, II, pp. 295-96.


Composed by St. Clement


Bridle of colts untamed,

Over our wills presiding;

Wing of unwandering birds,

Our flight securely guiding. Rudder of youth unbending,

Firm against adverse shock; Shepherd, with wisdom tending

Lambs of the royal flock: Thy simple children bring

In one, that they may sing In solemn lays

Their hymns of praise With guileless lips to Christ their King.


King of saints, almighty Word

Of the Father highest Lord;

Wisdom’s head and chief;

Assuagement of all grief;

Lord of all time and space,

Jesus, Saviour of our race;

Shepherd, who dost us keep;

Husbandman, who tillest,

Bit to restrain us, Rudder

To guide us as Thou wiliest;

Of the all-holy flock celestial wing;

Fisher of men, whom Thou to life dost bring;

From evil sea of sin,

And from the billowy strife,

Gathering pure fishes in,

Caught with sweet bait of life:

Lead us, Shepherd of the sheep,

Reason-gifted, holy One;

King of youths, whom Thou dost keep,

So that they pollution shun:

Steps of Christ, celestial Way;

Word eternal, Age unending;

Life that never can decay;

Fount of mercy, virtue-sending;

Life august of those who raise

Unto God their hymn of praise, Jesus Christ!


Nourished by the milk of heaven, To our tender palates given;

Milk of wisdom from the breast Of that bride of grace exprest;

By a dewy spirit filled From fair Reason’s breast distilled;

Let us sucklings join to raise With pure lips our hymns of praise

As our grateful offering, Clean and pure, to Christ our King.

Let us, with hearts undefiled, Celebrate the mighty Child.

We, Christ-born, the choir of peace;

We, the people of His love, Let us sing, nor ever cease,

To the God of peace above.

41. Baptism, Grace, and Illumination

Paed. 1:6, trans. ANF, II, p. 215.

But He is perfected by the washing — of baptism — alone, and is sanctified by the descent of the Spirit? Such is the case. The same also takes place in our case, whose exemplar Christ became. Being baptized, we are illuminated; illuminated, we become sons; being made sons, we are made perfect; being made perfect, we are made immortal. "I," says He, "have said that ye are gods, and all sons of the Highest/’ This work is variously called grace, and illumination, and perfection, and washing: washing, by which we cleanse away our sins; grace, by which the penalties accruing to transgressions are remitted; and illumination, by which that holy light of salvation is beheld, that is, by which we see God clearly.

42. The Church, the Virgin Mother, and the Eucharistic Milk

Paed. 5:6, trans. ANF, II, p. 220.

O mystic marvel! The universal Father is one, and one the universal Word; and the Holy Spirit is one and the same everywhere, and one is the only virgin mother. I love to call her the Church. This mother, when alone, had not milk, because alone she was not a woman. But she is once virgin and mother — pure as a virgin, loving as a mother. And calling her children to her, she nurses them with holy milk, viz., with the Word for childhood. Therefore she had not milk; for the milk was this child fair and comely, the body of Christ, which nourishes by the Word the young brood, which the Lord Himself brought forth in throes of the flesh, which the Lord Himself swathed in His precious blood. O amazing birth! O holy swaddling bands! The Word is all to the child, both father and mother, and tutor and nurse. "Eat ye my flesh," He says, "and drink my blood." Such is the suitable food which the Lord ministers, and He offers His flesh and pours forth His blood, and nothing is wanting for the children’s growth. O amazing mystery! We are enjoined to cast off the old and carnal corruption, as also the old nutriment, receiving in exchange another new regimen, that of Christ, receiving Him if we can, to hide Him within; and that, enshrining the Saviour in our souls, we may correct the affections of our flesh.

But you are not inclined to understand it thus, but perchance more generally. Hear it also in the following way. The flesh figuratively represents to us the Holy Spirit; for the flesh was created by Him. The blood points out to us the Word, for as rich blood

the Word has been infused into life; and the union of both is the Lord, the food of the babes — the Lord who is Spirit and Word. The food — that is, the Lord Jesus — that is, the Word of God, the Spirit made flesh, the heavenly flesh sanctified. The nutriment is the milk of the Father, by which alone we infants are nourished. The Word Himself, then, the beloved One, and our nourisher, hath shed His own blood for us, to save humanity; and by Him, we, believing on God, flee to the Word, "the care-soothing breast" of the Father. And He alone, as is befitting, supplies us children with the milk of love, and those only are truly blessed who suck this breast. Wherefore also Peter says: "Laying therefore aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisy, and envy, and evil speaking, as new-born babes, desire the milk of the word, that ye may grow by it to salvation; if ye have tasted that the Lord is Christ."

X. Hippolytus and the Apostolic Tradition: a Order of Worship (c.217).

43. Tradition our Teacher; the Ordination of Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons

1:1-15. The translation of this and the following item is that of B. S. Easton, The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1934), pp. 33-41.

1. We have duly completed what needed to be said about "Gifts," describing those gifts which God by His own counsel has bestowed on men, in offering to Himself His image which had gone astray. But now, moved by His love to all His saints, we pass on to our most important theme, "The Tradition," our teacher. And we address the churches, so that they who have been well trained, may, by our instruction, hold fast that tradition which has continued up to now and, knowing it well, may be strengthened. This is needful, because of that lapse or error which recently occurred through ignorance, and because of ignorant men. And [the] Holy Spirit will supply perfect grace to those who believe aright, that they may know how all things should be transmitted and kept by them who rule the church.

Part I

2. Let the bishop be ordained after he has been chosen by all the people. When he has been named and shall please all, let him, with the presbytery and such bishops as may be present, assemble with the people on a Sunday. While all give their consent, the bishops shall lay their hands upon him, and the presbytery shall stand by in silence. All indeed shall keep silent, praying in their heart for the descent of the Spirit. Then one of the bishops who are present shall at the request of all, lay his hand on him who is ordained bishop, and shall pray as follows, saying:

3. God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who dwellest on high yet hast respect to the lowly, who knowest all things before they come to pass. Thou hast appointed the borders of thy church by the word of thy grace, predestinating from the beginning the righteous race of Abraham. And making them princes and priests, and leaving not thy sanctuary without a ministry, thou hast from the beginning of the world been well pleased to be glorified among those whom thou hast chosen. Pour forth now that power, which is thine, of thy royal Spirit, which thou gavest to thy beloved Servant Jesus Christ, which he bestowed on his holy apostles, who established the church in every place, the church which thou hast sanctified unto unceasing glory and praise of thy name. Thou who knowest the hearts of all, grant to this thy servant, whom thou hast chosen to be bishop, [to feed thy holy flock] and to serve as thy high priest without blame, ministering night and day, to propitiate thy countenance without ceasing and to offer thee the gifts of thy holy church. And by the Spirit of high-priesthood to have authority to remit sins according to thy commandment, to assign the lots according to thy precept, to loose every bond according to the authority which thou gavest to thy apostles, and to please thee in meekness and purity of heart, offering to thee an odour of sweet savour. Through thy Servant Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom be to thee glory, might, honour, with [the] Holy Spirit in [the] holy church, both now and always and world without end. Amen.

4. And when he is made bishop, all shall offer him the kiss of peace, for he has been made worthy. To him then the deacons shall bring the offering, and he, laying his hand upon it, with all the presbytery, shall say as the thanksgiving:

The Lord be with you.

And all shall say

And with thy spirit.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them up unto the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord.

It is meet and right.

And then he shall proceed immediately:

We give thee thanks, O God, through thy beloved Servant Jesus Christ, whom at the end of time thou didst send to us a Saviour and Redeemer and the Messenger of thy counsel. Who is thy Word, inseparable from thee; through whom thou didst make all things and in whom thou art well pleased. Whom thou didst send from heaven into the womb of the Virgin, and who, dwelling within her, was made flesh, and was manifested as thy Son, being born of [the] Holy Spirit and the Virgin. Who, fulfilling thy will, and winning for himself a holy people, spread out his hands when he came to suffer, that by his death he might set free them who believed on thee. Who, when he was betrayed to his willing death, that he might bring to nought death, and break the bonds of the devil, and tread hell under foot, and give light to the righteous, and set up a boundary post, and manifest his resurrection, taking bread and giving thanks to thee said: Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you. And likewise also the cup, saying: This is my blood, which is shed for you. As often as ye perform this, perform my memorial.

Having in memory, therefore, his death and resurrection, we offer to thee the bread and the cup, yielding thee thanks, because thou hast counted us worthy to stand before thee and to minister to thee.

And we pray thee that thou wouldest send the Holy Spirit upon the offerings of thy holy church; that thou, gathering them into one, wouldest grant to all thy saints who partake to be filled with [the] Holy Spirit, that their faith may be confirmed in truth, that we may praise and glorify thee. Through the Servant Jesus Christ, through whom be to thee glory and honour, with [the] Holy Spirit in the holy church, both now and always and world without end.


5. If anyone offers oil, he shall give thanks as at the offering of the bread and wine, though not with the same words but in the same manner, saying:

That sanctifying this oil, O God, wherewith thou didst anoint kings, priests and prophets, thou wouldest grant health to them who use it and partake of it, so that it may bestow comfort on all who taste it and health on all who use it.

6. Likewise, if anyone offers cheese and olives, let him say thus:

Sanctify this milk that has been united into one mass, and unite us to thy love. Let thy loving kindness ever rest upon this fruit of the olive, which is a type of thy bounty, which thou didst cause to flow from the tree unto life for them who hope on thee.

But at every blessing shall be said:

Glory be to thee. with [the] Holy Spirit in the holy church, both now and always and world without end. [Amen.]

8. But when a presbyter is ordained, the bishop shall lay his hand upon his head, while the presbyters touch him, and he shall say according to those things that were said above, as we have prescribed above concerning the bishop, praying and saying:

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, look upon this thy servant, and grant to him the Spirit of grace and counsel of a presbyter, that he may sustain and govern thy people with a pure heart; as thou didst look upon thy chosen people and didst command Moses that he should choose presbyters, whom thou didst fill with thy Spirit, which thou gavest to thy servant. And now, O Lord, grant that there may be unfailingly preserved amongst us the Spirit of thy grace, and make us worthy that, believing, we may minister to thee in simplicity of heart, praising thee. Through thy Servant Jesus Christ, through whom be to thee glory and honour, with [the] Holy Spirit in the holy church, both now and always and world without end. Amen.

9. But the deacon, when he is ordained, is chosen according to those things that were said above, the bishop alone in like manner laying his hands upon him, as we have prescribed. When the deacon is ordained, this is the reason why the bishop alone shall lay his hands upon him: he is not ordained to the priesthood but to serve the bishop and to carry out the bishop’s commands. He does not take part in the council of the clergy; he is to attend to his own duties and to make known to the bishop such things as are needful. He does not receive that Spirit that is possessed by the presbytery, in which the presbyters share; he receives only what is confided in him under the bishop’s authority.

For this cause the bishop alone shall make a deacon. But on a presbyter, however, the presbyters shall lay their hands because of the common and like Spirit of the clergy. Yet the presbyter has only the power to receive; but he has no power to give. For this reason a presbyter does not ordain the clergy; but at the ordination of a presbyter he seals while the bishop ordains.

Over a deacon, then, he shall say as follows :

O God, who hast created all things and hast ordered them by thy Word, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom thou didst send to minister thy will and to manifest to us thy desire; grant [the] Holy Spirit of grace and care and diligence to this thy servant, whom thou hast chosen to serve the church and to offer in thy holy sanctuary the gifts that are offered to thee by thine appointed high priests, so that serving without blame and with a pure heart he may be counted worthy of this exalted office, by thy goodwill, praising thee continually. Through thy Servant Jesus Christ, through whom be to thee glory and honour, with [the] Holy Spirit, in the holy church, both now and always and world without end. Amen.

10. On a confessor, if he has been in bonds for the name of the Lord, hands shall not be laid for the diaconate or the presbyterate, for he has the honour of the presbyterate by his confession. But if he is to be ordained bishop, hands shall be laid upon him.

But if he is a confessor who was not brought before the authorities nor was punished with bonds nor was shut up in prison, but was insulted (?) casually or privately for the name of the Lord, even though he confessed, hands are to be laid upon him for every office of which he is worthy.

The bishop shall give thanks [in all ordinations] as we have prescribed. It is not, to be sure, necessary for anyone to recite the exact words that we have prescribed, by learning to say them by heart in his thanksgiving to God; but let each one pray according to his ability. If, indeed, he is able to pray competently with an elevated prayer, it is well. But even if he is only moderately able to pray and give praise, no one may forbid him; only let him pray sound in the faith.

11. When a widow is appointed, she shall not be ordained but she shall be appointed by the name. If her husband has been long dead, she may be appointed [without delay]. But if her husband has died recently, she shall not be trusted; even if she is aged she must be tested by time, for often the passions grow old in those who yield to them.

The widow shall be appointed by the word alone, and [so] she shall be associated with the other widows; hands shall not be laid upon her because she does not offer the oblation nor has she a sacred, ministry. Ordination is for the clergy on account of their ministry, but the widow is appointed for prayer, and prayer is the duty of all.

12. The reader is appointed by the bishop’s giving him the book, for he is not ordained.

13. Hands shall not be laid upon a virgin, for it is her purpose alone that makes her a virgin.

14. Hands shall not be laid upon a sub-deacon, but his name shall be mentioned that he may serve the deacon.

15. If anyone says, "I have received the

gift of healing," hands shall not be laid upon him: the deed shall make manifest if he speaks the truth.

44. The Examination and Instruction of New Converts; the Catechumenate and Baptism

Ibid., 2:16-20, trans. Easton, op. cit., pp. 41-45.

Part II

16. New converts to the faith, who are to be admitted as hearers of the word, shall first be brought to the teachers before the people assemble. And they shall be examined as to their reason for embracing the faith, and they who bring them shall testify that they are competent to hear the word. Inquiry shall then be made as to the nature of their life; whether a man has a wife or is a slave. If he is the slave of a believer and he has his master’s permission, then let him be received; but if his master does not give him a good character, let him be rejected. If his master is a heathen, let the slave be taught to please his master, that the word be not blasphemed. If a man has a wife or a woman a husband, let the man be instructed to content himself with his wife and the woman to content herself with her husband. But if a man is unmarried, let him be instructed to abstain from impurity, either by lawfully marrying a wife or else by remaining as he is. But if any man is possessed with demons, he shall not be admitted as a hearer until he is cleansed.

Inquiry shall likewise be made about the professions and trades of those who are brought to be admitted to the faith. If a man is a pander, he must desist or be rejected. If a man is a sculptor or painter, he must be charged not to make idols; if he does not desist he must be rejected. If a man is an actor or pantomimist, he must desist or be rejected. A teacher of young children had best desist, but if he has no other occupation, he may be permitted to continue. A charioteer, likewise, who races or frequents races, must desist or be rejected. A gladiator or a trainer of gladiators, or a huntsman [in the wild-beast shows], or anyone connected with these shows, or a public official in charge of gladiatorial exhibitions must desist or be rejected. A heathen priest or anyone who tends idols must desist or be rejected. A soldier of the civil authority must be taught not to kill men and to refuse to do so if he is commanded, and to refuse to take an oath; if he is unwilling to comply, he must be rejected. A military commander or civic magistrate that wears the purple must resign or be rejected. If a catechumen or a believer seeks to become a soldier, they must be rejected, for they have despised God. A harlot or licentious man or one who has castrated himself, or any other who does things not to be named, must be rejected, for they are defiled. A magician must not [even] be brought for examination. An enchanter, an astrologer, a diviner, a soothsayer, a user of magic verses, a juggler, a mountebank, an amulet-maker must desist or be rejected. A concubine, who is a slave and has reared her children and has been faithful to her master alone, may become a hearer; but if she has failed in these matters she must be rejected. If a man has a concubine, he must desist and marry legally; if he is unwilling, he must be rejected.

If, now, we have omitted anything (any trade?), the facts [as they occur] will instruct your mind; for we all have the Spirit of God.

17. Let catechumens spend three years as hearers of the word. But if a man is zealous and perseveres well in the work, it is not the time but his character that is decisive.

18. When the teacher finishes his instruction, the catechumens shall pray by themselves, apart from the believers. And [all] women, whether believers or catechumens, shall stand for their prayers by themselves in a separate part of the church.

And when [the catechumens] finish their prayers, they must not give the kiss of peace, for their kiss is not yet pure. Only believers shall salute one another, but men with men and women with women; a man shall not salute a woman.

And let all the women have their heads covered with an opaque cloth, not with a veil of thin linen, for this is not a true covering.

19. At the close of their prayer, when their instructor lays his hand upon the catechumens, he shall pray and dismiss them; whoever gives the instruction is to do this, whether a cleric or a layman.

If a catechumen should be arrested for the name of the Lord, let him not hesitate about bearing his testimony; for if it should happen that they treat him shamefully and kill him, he will be justified, for he has been baptized in his own blood.

20. They who are to be set apart for baptism shall be chosen after their lives have been examined: whether they have lived soberly, whether they have honoured the widows, whether they have visited the sick, whether they have been active in welldoing. When their sponsors have testified that they have done these things, then let them hear the Gospel. Then from the time that they are separated from the other catechumens, hands shall be laid upon them daily in exorcism and, as the day of their baptism draws near, the bishop himself shall exorcise each one of them that he may be personally assured of their purity. Then, if there is any of them who is not good or pure, he shall be put aside as not having heard the word in faith; for it is never possible for the alien to be concealed.

Then those who are set apart for baptism shall be instructed to bathe and free themselves from impurity and wash themselves on Thursday. If a woman is menstruous, she shall be set aside and baptized on some other day.

They who are to be baptized shall fast on Friday, and on Saturday the bishop shall assemble them and command them to kneel in prayer. And, laying his hand upon them, he shall exorcise all evil spirits to flee away and never to return; when he has done this he shall breathe in their faces, seal their foreheads, ears and noses, and then raise them up. They shall spend all that night in vigil, listening to reading and instruction.

They who are to be baptized shall bring with them no other vessels than the one each will bring for the eucharist; for it is fitting that he who is counted worthy of baptism should bring his offering at that time.

XI. Origen the Confessor (c. 185-253/54) on Prayer (233/34).

45. The Subjects of Prayer

Chap. 83, trans. J. E. L. Oulton and H. Chad-wick, Alexandrian Christianity [LCC, Vol. II] (Philadelphia: Westminster Press; London: Student Christian Movement Press, Ltd., 1954), pp. 327-29.

XXXIII, 1. Before bringing this treatise to an end, I think I ought to say something about the subjects of prayer. It seems to me that four subjects, which I have found here and there throughout the Scriptures, may be outlined, and that every one should form his prayer accordingly. The subjects are these. At the beginning and preamble of the prayer, so far as possible, God is to be glorified, through Christ glorified together with him, in the Holy Spirit hymned together with him. And next in order after this each one must offer general thanksgiving including blessings bestowed on many besides himself, together with those he has personally obtained from God. After thanksgiving, it seems to me that he ought to accuse himself bitterly before God of his own sins, and then ask God, first for healing that he may be delivered from the habit that causes him to sin, and secondly for forgiveness of the past. After confession, it seems to me that in the fourth place he should add his request for great and heavenly things, his own and general, and also for his family and his dearest. And finally he should bring his prayer to a close glorifying God through Christ in the Holy Spirit.

2. These subjects of prayer, as we said before, we found in one place or another of the Scriptures. The subject concerned with giving glory to God is thus expressed in the one hundred and third Psalm: "O Lord, my God, how greatly art thou magnified! Thou art clothed with praise and majesty; who coverest thyself with light as with a garment; who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain, who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters; who maketh the clouds a place for his feet, who walketh upon the wings of the winds; who maketh winds his messengers, his ministers a flame of fire: who layeth the foundations of the earth to remain stedfast; it shall not be removed for ever and ever. The deep is his covering as a vesture: the waters shall stand upon the mountains. At thy rebuke they shall flee: at the voice of thy thunder they shall be afraid." And the greater part of this Psalm contains a glorification of the Father. And each one can collect many other passages for himself, and he will thus see how widely the subject of glorification is dispersed.

3. As for thanksgiving, this example may be cited from the second [book] of the Kingdoms. After the promises made to David through Nathan, David was astonished at the gifts of God, and is reported to have given thanks for them in these words: "Who am I, O Lord my Lord, and what is my house, that thou lovedst me thus far? And I was made little in thy sight, my Lord, and thou hast spoken concerning the house of thy servant for a long time to come; but this is the law of man, O Lord my Lord. And what can David say more unto thee? And now thou knowest thy servant, O Lord. For thy servant’s sake thou hast done it, and according to thine heart hast thou wrought all this thy greatness to make it known unto thy servant, that he may magnify thee, O Lord my Lord."

4. An example of confession: "From all my transgressions deliver me"; and elsewhere: "My wounds stink and are corrupt, because of my foolishness. I am pained and bowed down to the uttermost: I go mourning all the day long."

5. Of requests, in the twenty-seventh Psalm: "Draw me not away with sinners, and with workers of iniquity destroy me not"; and like words.

6. And having begun by glorifying God it is fitting to conclude and bring the prayer to an end by glorifying him, hymning and glorifying the Father of the universe through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit, "to whom be the glory for ever."

Suggested Readings

Duchesne, L., Early History of the Christian

Church. 3 vols. New York: Longmans,

Green & Co, Inc., 1908-1924. Elliott-Binns, L. E, The Beginnings of Western

Christendom. London: Lutterworth Press,

1948. Flew, R. N, Jesus and His Church. Nashville,

Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 1938. Goodspeed, E. J, A History of Early Christian

Literature. Chicago: University of Chicago

Press, 1942. Kidd, B. J, A History of the Church to A. D.

461. 3 vols. New York: Oxford University

Press, Inc., 1922. Lietzmann, H, The Beginnings of the Christian

Church, trans. B. L. Woolf. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1937.

Petry, R. C, Christian Eschatology and Social Thought. Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 1956.

Quasten, J, Patrology, Vols. I — III. Westminster, Maryland: Newman Press, 1951, 1953, 1960.

Richardson, C.C,et al., Early Christian Fathers, Library of Christian Classics, Vol. I. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, and London: Student Christian Movement Press, Ltd, 1953.

Streeter, B. H, The Primitive Church. New York: The Macmillan Co, 1929.


30 b.c.-14a.d. The Augustan Age

c. 30/33 Crucifixion of Jesus

43/44 Herod Agrippa I executes St. James

c. 50-63 Missionary travels, letters, and career of St. Paul

64 Burning of Rome; Nero persecutes the Christians; death of St. Paul?

c. 69-110 The Gospels

70 Jerusalem taken; Temple burnt by Titus

79-81 Titus

81-96 Domitian

93-94 Josephus’ Antiquities

96-98 Nerva

96/97 Epistle of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians

98-117 Trajan, Tacitus (Journals, Annals, Histories)

c.110/117 Epistles of Ignatius of Antioch

c.110-135 Polycarp to the Philippians

112 Correspondence of Pliny with Trajan

c.115-140 ‘‘Shepherd" of Hermas

c.117-138 Hadrian

c.120-150 Didache

c. 130 Epistle of Barnabus

130-150 Pseudo-Clement

130-180 Epistle to Diognetus

132-135 Jewish Revolt under Bar Kokba

138-161 Antoninus Pius

c.150/155 Justin’s Apology

c. 150 Melito of Sardis’ Homily on the Passion

61-180 Marcus Aurelius

c. 185-253/54 Origen

c. 197 Tertullian’s Apology

c.215 Clement of Alexandria

c.217 Hippolytus’ Apostolic Tradition

c. 233/34 Origen on Prayer



Early Relations of Spiritual and ‘Temporal Powers,’

Persecution, Toleration, and Councils.

The earliest hostility to Christians came from the Jews, who had been blamed by many of them for Christ’s death. They resented the Christian deification of Jesus the man. These renegades were guilty of exorcism in his name. Furthermore, they expropriated sacred Jewish writings for their own nefarious ends. Indeed they claimed them for their own by original intent. The Jews were not infrequently charged with having diverted these writings to their intermediate purposes.

The first strong Roman opposition to Christianity did not stem from governmental policy. Popular suspicion and fear prompted it. The society of the time was most religious. Every possible placation of all conceivable divine powers was sought for the blessing of society. The Christians appeared bent on compromising the general welfare at the expense of their own eccentric customs. Their disparagement of all gods except their own threatened the popular cults and the well-being of the masses. From the Graeco-Roman perspective, Christians were atheists. They ruled out what at that time seemed to most men the chief sources of divine benevolence. As compensation, they offered the dubious blessing of their own jealous, provincial deity. The terms of his favor were set by Christian exclusivism. Theirs was a kill-joy aversion to all that normal people held dear.

These Christians were charged by other Jews with meddling in demonic operations. Tales were rife in Roman society that Christianity’s founder had himself visited Egypt when a boy. Everyone knew the Egyptian reputation for the black arts. The Christians themselves admitted a spiritual lineage running back to a certain prophet, Moses. He was no mean practitioner with staff and wand, having flaunted his Hebrew sorcery to the great embarrassment of delta magicians. It was to this area that the Christ had fled. Subsequently, the crude symbolism of his own shepherd’s crook revived associations with the necromancer’s wand.

On every hand Christians endangered normal commerce with society’s manifold deities, recklessly inviting divine reprisals on human society. They tampered at will with the usual operations of business and trade. Wherever they got a foothold, the traffic in idols and images fell off and bank deposits showed a decline. Christian views on marriage bonds, sex rights and family ethics seeped into the old order with dire effects for previous norms. Husbands having left pliant enough wives in the morning might return at night to marriage partners with strangely modified responses. Neighbors hinted that Christian missionaries who called during the day might have had something to do with this. Strange new values applied by the Christians to women, children, slaves, and even the dregs of society played havoc with existing mores. Above all, the Christians were feared as a class apart, a peculiar sort of beings, less than human, haters of the human race. Most of their more normal neighbors thought these Christians’ own morals shady at best.

Official Rome was at first indifferent to Christians as such. They were generally thought of as just another sect of the Jews — when they were considered at all. Jews might protest this, but then Jews protested everything. No Jew was satisfied, even with what another Jew did. In fact, all religious groups were tolerated by the Romans on principle as potential invokers of the divine graces upon state and society. But none was excused from the privileged duty of supporting the imperial cult. The Jews actually received special favors. This was partly because of the usual turmoil among the Jews caused by any incursions on their fancied rights as keepers of ancient laws and sacred writings. It was also in part because of the often demonstrated ability of the Jews to turn any rigorism on the part of their overlords to their own propaganda advantage.

The limits of Roman tolerance accorded other cults were also wide. Religious bodies, however, could not set themselves up to serve self-conscious ends divergent from those of state and society as a whole. They dared not snap the very elastic bonds defining public decency. Here, again, Christians managed, apparently without effort, to break all the rules at once. "Exclusivism" was their middle name. They held no one to be decent but themselves. They were a self-constituted, esoteric society judgmentally separate from all others. On occasion, they castigated with heaven’s special curse all customary perspectives and all practicing mores not their own. The dictates of their heavenly king, their Basileus, was what counted; not the will of the emperor or the timidities of earthlings bowing obsequiously before false gods. For a considerable time, however, the Roman government was unaware of, or affected a studied indifference to, all of this.

The Roman populace, out of growing fear, forced the Christian divergence from social and governmental practice upon the state’s attention. It is erroneous, however, to look for anything like a general policy of state persecution until the mid-third century. Admittedly, there was some vicious as well as much nondescript opposition throughout fairly wide areas well before this time. Varying degrees of local cultic agitation and provincial governmental nervousness were back of this. Such collisions, however, were almost invariably precipitated by a jittery populace, and were limited, with few exceptions, to the regional exercises of official policy. Cities and, after a time, provinces might be embroiled. The emperor’s rule was not for a long time — except in atypical instances like that of Nero.

Early Christian chroniclers were quite understandably inclined to exaggerate the severity as well as the extensiveness of this persecution. Later Christian historians read back into such occurrences a pervasiveness and an imperial persecution policy that did not exist in the earliest centuries. It is not too strange that the "worst" emperors were equated with the "sternest" persecutors. Actually, those rulers who best embodied the admirable Roman qualities of earlier days might in their very embodiment most conscientiously prosecute this unpleasant task. Reducing the Christian "state within a state" to the fuller loyalties called for by the commonwealth would constitute a vice or a virtue as viewed from different perspectives. Intermingled in the first 200 years were the paranoic reactions of a Nero, the slightly less marked abnormalities of a Domitian, the noble intent of a Trajan to preserve the Roman equilibrium, and the dedicated severities of a Marcus Aurelius. Nevertheless, a well-defined Roman policy was long in coming. When it did arrive, it was accompanied by considerable vacillation. Official actions reflected the vagaries of mounting social pressure at least as much as the cumulative wisdom of honest statesmanship.

Christian apologists tried increasingly to counteract the patently ludicrous indictments of popular opposition. More and more they pointed out the unfairness, as they saw it, of the state’s punishing Christians just because they were Christians, that is, merely because of their "name." Since Trajan, especially, the imperial tendency had been not to hunt Christians down, but to apprehend them only as they were pointed out and/or confessed to the "name." But even Tertullian himself could not sustain this as a complete illogicality for Romans — especially as Christians themselves made so much of loyalty to; and confession of, Christ’s name. It was Tertullian, by the way, who somehow managed to regard Marcus Aurelius as friendly to Christians, in spite of flagrant evidences to the contrary. The source-readings emanating from Lyons and Vienne in Gaul show the serious, if intermittent, measures taken by "good" Roman emperors against the Christian "menace."

Not until the time of Decius, however, may the historian speak of a concerted imperial persecution. By that time, a host of Christian martyrs had paid the price of confessing and witnessing to Christ’s name. Peter and Paul had suffered under Nero, Ignatius under Trajan, the blessed Polycarp under Antoninus Pius, and Justin and his companions in the time of Marcus Aurelius. These were merely a few of the more famous figures. With Decius, however, a different trend was discernible.

The year 249 — the thousandth anniversary of Rome’s legendary founding — touched off a painful review by historians, social critics, government officials, and the people themselves of Roman greatness that was no more. Surely the palliating of Christian dissidence in their very midst was in no small measure responsi*ble for the decline of the old Roman integrity. Roman tolerance and indifference had paid off in decadence. Motivating factors included sentimental nostalgia and hurt pride. Literary men did not fail to observe the conjunction of Christianity’s rising star with Rome’s waning fortunes. Rome had been great under the old gods. Her sun was setting in the false radiance of an upstart luminary.

Quite likely, as Allard suggests, the ancient Roman religion was confused by Decius with the Divinity of the Roman state. To separate from the one was to revolt against the other. He was scarcely one to remark the fine distinction between civil and religious order, between patriotism and belief. He could not see how anyone could serve Rome by serving any God other than the gods of Rome.

The course Decius settled upon was not that of fanatical annihilation of dissent. It was one far more dangerous to Christianity. This coldly calculated persecution emanated from what Allard calls an implacable theorician. Lactantius agrees. Decius was not out to kill Christians. This would compound the difficulty by robbing the state of its rightful potential in supplicants before the divine favor. He would, instead, subvert Christian prayers from their own ends to Roman needs. He would make apostates, not martyrs. Every means was to be used — even occasional violence — as required. The chief measures applied to subversion were, however, those of brainwashing and psychological warfare. The more subtle the threat required to shake Christian stubbornness and the less damage to the person of the apostate, the clearer the victory of Decius. The less required to prompt Christian rationalization of conscience the better the imperial purpose would be served. The diabolical ease with which a Christian could suborn himself and his Christ — while still sincerely believing that he was being loyal to his faith — was frightening.

This was, as Lactantius opined, the worst persecution of all. Overt sacrificing to the gods was desirable, but not mandatory. If a Christian would voluntarily submit to his name being entered behind his back on an official list, that sufficed. He need not "know" anything about it or be "responsible" for it. The dodges by which one could be enticed to self-deception with face-saving devices were innumerable. Some Christians were outright traditores, or traitors. They "lapsed" from their Christian profession with overt capitulation. They were the sacrificers (sac-riftcati). Others, the libellatici, bought their way or otherwise got on — or were, without overt objection, smuggled on — the official lists (libelli) of sacrificers. Within these larger classes of apostates or lapsi were subdivisions of self-deception. All such persons, however subtle or physically painful the pressure of their temptation, constituted the non-confessors. Their number, unlike that of "confessors dying as martyrs," was all too large. Still, the purposes of Decius were not achieved. In the main Christians stood firm, as confessors and martyrs, however painfully in evidence their lapsed brethren might be. Even the more rigorous measures of the Valerian persecution were not enough. Bishops and priests were required to worship the gods on penalty of death. Lay members were forbidden on like penalty to frequent cemeteries or hold assemblies for worship. A second set of edicts put even more cruel pressure on the hierarchy. Christians of noble birth were to lose their property. Graduated scales of severity affected every level of Christian life. Some stood to revert to slavery. Roman bishops and deacons confessed their Christ and won crowns of martyrdom. In Africa, bishop Cyprian won his reward after having once been argued into retirement for the good of the Church.

The Decian-Valerian persecution was severe, intermittent, and, in the main, short. Sporadic outbreaks characterized the later period, to the time of Diocletian. Then, the last great test was launched. There was little subtlety in his old-soldier’s attack. He had made sweeping administrative reforms. These involved the partition of the empire and the large-scale induction of barbarians into the army. Included were revisions of finance, together with a fateful debasement of the currency — in fact, an economic and social reorganization that struck at the root of old Roman customs. Personally simple in his tastes, he affected oriental pageantry for the boosting of imperial prestige. Diocletian had Christian friends. Some of these tried to excuse his ruthless anti-Christian measures by attributing them to the over-influence of his governmental associates and subordinates. This explanation may have had some basis in fact, although probably very little. He was honestly intent upon undoing the damage to Roman unity that he felt Christian growth had caused. His own measures were even more calculated to accelerate the Roman decline. Once started, however, his assault against Christianity rapidly attained furious momentum. In a series of edicts the way was prepared for churches to be destroyed, scriptures burnt, Christian hierarchs degraded, and humble Christians enslaved. Of course his main, pile-driving offensive was against official Christianity. Christians were compelled to sacrifice. Their lives as well as their prayers were to be conserved if possible. Both were to be surrendered if they did not yield.

The Christians suffered horribly. Yet they did not break. Diocletian admitted himself beaten and retired into obscurity. Persecution in the West fell off rapidly after 305. Galerius, in particular, increased the tempo of savagery in the East until 311. Then he granted tolerance to the Christians that he could not easily withhold. Constantine and Licinius followed with their edicts in 313. Constantine was soon to outdistance his competitor in imperial ambition and to look with increasing favor upon Christianity. His motives in embracing the new faith have been variously estimated. Some have seen in them the boldest opportunism. The legendary account of his conquering by the "Sign of the Cross" has been piously regarded and cynically ridiculed. Perhaps a genuine measure of religious conviction can no more be withheld from him than from countless others. Their nobler motives have, like his, been generously mixed with compromising concerns. The effect of his increasing kindnesses to Christianity has been endlessly debated. Whatever the complexity of his allied purposes, Constantine’s chief end was to unify the empire. The Christians who had resisted all Roman attacks could surely be counted upon to form the core of the new Roman unity. Eusebius saw in him the God-willed saviour of Christianity and its protector in history. Christianity found that its victory under the ‘new Cyrus" entailed fresh problems and mounting embarrassments, as well as rich opportunities heretofore unknown.

The exact relation of Christ to Caesar had puzzled the earliest disciples. The proper balance of due loyalty to earthly kings and prior regard for divine claims had precipitated unending agonies of spirit. Rendering to God the things belonging to God, and to Caesar the prerogatives rightly his, was no easy service. It was to prove as difficult under Christian rulers as it had been under hostile ones.

Constantine proposed by his favors to make Christianity’s rising star — which Rome could not bring down — the symbol of Rome’s hoped-for renaissance. The danger of being thus cast in a role of responsible privilege was a real one for the Church. But the "fall" of Christianity was not necessarily implicit in this crucial opportunity. When, however, the Christian emperor began to recast the role of doctrinal statement to accord with optimum political unity, a warning signal was called for. The early Christian Fathers attending the councils called at the imperial initiative did not apparently resent Constantine’s concern over Christian disunity. Church historians indicate that they were grateful, if anything. The Church’s stakes involved at Aries, Nicaea, and subsequent councils were certainly no less than the emperor’s. The source-texts from these councils and from men like Athanasius serve several purposes, at least. They document the growth in complexity of Christian dogma. The manner in which Christian doctrine is tied up with state prerogatives is most instructive. In all of this the precarious balance of Christian spiritual loyalties and temporal, social obligations is illuminated. Here again Athanasius deserves on all counts to be surveyed for the vigor of his orthodox Christian premises, as for the heroism with which he countered the undue manifestations of temporal power. Under Julian, the Church learned, if only briefly and partially, what a difference an emperor of non-Christian sympathies could make in its plans. The strain of keeping God’s rights and those of the emperor unconfused under Theodosius the Great proved acute, even for such a stalwart as Ambrose. Neither bishop nor emperor had his way entirely while learning to walk the tightrope of spiritual and temporal balancing. The discipline accepted by Theodosius at the hands of the Christian hierarch, Ambrose, did the secular ruler credit. So did the courage of Milan’s bishop redound to the Church’s spiritual prestige. Under Justinian the line of spiritual-temporal cooperation and independence was drawn tauter still. Much of the vain emperor’s theological dilettantism reflects what his administrative fiat and legislative arbitrariness also demonstrate. He could be a dictator to the Church on grounds of both spiritual and temporal precedence. He could and did dare to tell the Church what, and what not, to do. Yet he could, on occasion, put all of this down to his being a humble, responsible servant of the Christian cause. This riddle the Church could not solve then, nor has it since. There must have been those in 392 who viewed with alarm the denial to non-Christian consciences of the freedom Christians had died for earlier. How grateful could they afford to be for imperial piety such as this? Justinian did not ask and he did not care. Pagans and heretics had nothing coming to them but deprivation and death. As a Christian emperor he was prepared to give them both, regardless of the means he had to employ.

I. Reflections of Popular Hostility to Early Christianity.

1. Celsus True Word as Recapitulated in Origen

Con. Cels. 1:1, 4, 9, 38; 2:55, 63; 3:59. Translations for this and the following item are acknowledged as follows: Selections from A Source Book for Ancient Church History, pp. 56-58, 62-64, by Joseph Cullen Ayer are reprinted with the permission of Charles Scrib-ner’s Sons © 1913 Charles Scribner’s Sons; renewal © 1941 Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr.

I, 1. (MSG, 11:651.) Wishing to throw discredit upon Christianity, the first point Celsus brings forward is that the Christians have entered secretly into associations with each other which are forbidden by the laws; saying that "of associations some are public, others again secret; and the former are permitted by the laws; the latter are prohibited by the laws."

I, 4. (MSG, 11:661.) Let us notice, also, how he thinks to cast discredit upon our system of morals as neither venerable nor a new branch of instruction, inasmuch as it is common to other philosophers.

I, 9. (MSG, 11:672.) He says that "Certain of them do not wish either to give or to receive reasons for those things to which they hold; saying, ‘Do not examine, only believe and your faith will save you’/ "; and he alleges that such also say: "The wisdom of this life is bad, but foolishness is a good thing."

I, 38. (MSG, 11:733.) He admits somehow the miracles which Jesus wrought and by means of which He induced the multitude to follow Him as the Christ. He wishes to throw discredit on them, as having been done not by divine power, but by the help of magic, for he says: "That he [Jesus], having been brought up secretly and having served for hire in Egypt, and then coming to the knowledge of certain miraculous powers, returned from thence, and by means of those powers proclaimed himself a god."

II, 55. (MSG, 11:884.) "Come, now, let us grant to you that these things [the prediction made by Christ of His resurrection] were said. Yet how many others are there who have used such wonders to deceive their simple hearers, and who made gain of their deception? Such was the case, they say, with Zalmoxis in Scythia, the slave of Pythagoras; and with Pythagoras himself in Italy. . . . But the point to be considered is, whether any one who was really dead ever rose with a veritable body. Or do you imagine the statements of others not only are myths, but appear as such, but you have discovered a becoming and credible termination of your drama, the voice from the cross when he breathed his last, the earthquake and the darkness? that while living he was of no help to himself, but when dead he rose again, and showed the marks of his punishment and his hands as they had been. Who saw this? A frantic woman, as you state, and, if any other, perhaps one of those who were engaged in the same delusion, who, owing to a peculiar state of mind, had either dreamed so, or with a wandering fancy had imagined things in accordance with his own wishes, which has happened in the case of very many; or, which is most probable, there was some one who desired to impress the others with this portent, and by such a falsehood to furnish an occasion to other jugglers."

II, 63. (MSG, 11:896.) "If Jesus desired to show that his power was really divine, he ought to have appeared to those who had ill-treated him, and to him who had condemned him, and to all men universally."

III, 59. (MSG, 11:997.) "That I bring no heavier charge than what truth requires, let any one judge from the following. Those who invite to participation in other mysteries make proclamation as follows: ‘Every one who has clean hands and a prudent tongue’; others again thus: ‘He who is pure from every pollution, and whose soul is conscious of no evil, and who has lived well and justly/ Such is the proclamation made by those who promise purification from sins. But let us hear whom the Christians invite. ‘Whoever/ they say, ‘is a sinner, whoever is devoid of understanding, whoever is a child,’ and, to speak generally, ‘whoever is unfortunate, him will the kingdom of God receive/ Do you not call him a sinner, then, who is unjust and a thief and a housebreaker and a poisoner, a committer of sacrilege and a robber of the dead? Whom else would a man invite if he were issuing a proclamation for an assembly of robbers?"

2. Christians Charged with Immorality and Cultic Excesses by the Heathen Populace

Minucius Felix, Octavius, 8:9-10, trans., as acknowledged.

Ch. 9. And now, as wickeder things are advancing more successfully and abandoned manners are creeping on day by day, those foul shrines of an impious assembly are increasing throughout the whole world. Assuredly this confederacy should be rooted out and execrated. They know one another by secret marks and signs. They love one another almost before they know one another. Everywhere, also, there is mingled among them a certain religion of lust; and promiscuously they call one another brother and sister, so that even a not unusual debauchery might, by the employment of those sacred names, become incestuous. It is thus that their vain and insane superstition glories in crimes. Nor, concerning these matters, would intelligent report speak of things unless there was the highest degree of truth, and varied crimes of the worst character called, from a sense of decency, for an apology. I hear that they adore the head of an ass, that basest of creatures, consecrated by I know not what silly persuasion — a worthy and appropriate religion for such morals. Some say that they worship the genitalia of their pontiff and priest, and adore the nature, as it were, of their parent. I know not whether these things be false; certainly suspicion has place in the case of secret and nocturnal rites; and he who explains their ceremonies by reference to a man punished by extreme suffering for wickedness, and to the deadly wood of the cross, bestows fitting altars upon reprobate and wicked men, that they may worship what they deserve. Now the story of their initiation of young novices is as detestable as it is well known. An infant covered with meal, so as to deceive the unwary, is placed before him who is to be defiled with their rites; this infant is slain with dark and secret wounds by the young novice, who has been induced to strike harmless blows, as it were, on the surface of the meal. Thirstily — O horror! — they lick up its blood; eagerly they divide its limbs. By this victim they are confederated, with the consciousness of this wickedness they are pledged to a mutual silence. These sacred rites are more foul than any sort of sacrilege. And of their banqueting it is well known what is said everywhere; even the speech of our Cirtensian testifies to it. On a solemn day they assemble at a banquet with all their children, their sisters and mothers, people of every sex and age. There, after much feasting, when the sense of fellowship has waxed warm and the fervor of incestuous lust has grown hot with drunkenness, a dog that has been tied to a chandelier is provoked to rush and spring about by throwing a piece of offal beyond the length of the line by which he is bound; and thus the light, as if conscious, is overturned and extinguished in shameless darkness, while unions of abominable lust involve them by the uncertainty of chance. Although if all are not in fact, yet all are in their conscience, equally incestuous; since whatever might happen by the act of the individuals is sought for by the will of all.

Ch. 10. I purposely pass over many things, for there are too many, all of which, or the greater part of them, the obscurity of their vile religion declares to be true. For why do they endeavor with such pains to conceal and cloak whatever they worship, since honorable things always rejoice in publicity, but crimes are kept secret? Why have they no altars, no temples, no acknowledged images? Why do they never speak openly, never congregate freely, unless it be for the reason that what they adore and conceal is either worthy of punishment or is something to be ashamed of? Moreover, whence or who is he, or where is the one God, solitary and desolate, whom no free people, no kingdoms, and not even Roman superstition have known? The sole, miserable nationality of the Jews worshipped one God, and one peculiar to itself; but they worshipped him openly, with temples, with altars, with victims, and with ceremonies; and he has so little force or power that he is enslaved together with his own special nation to the Roman deities. But the Christians, moreover, what wonders, what monstrosities, do they feign, that he who is their God, whom they can neither show nor see, inquires diligently into the conduct of all, the acts of all, and even into their words and secret thoughts. They would have him running about everywhere, and everywhere present, troublesome, even shamelessly inquisitive, since he is present at everything that is done, and wanders about in all places. When he is occupied with the whole, he cannot give attention to particulars; or when occupied with particulars, he is not enough for the whole. Is it because they threaten the whole earth, the world itself and all its stars, with a conflagration, that they are meditating its destruction? As if either the natural and eternal order constituted by the divine laws would be disturbed, or, when the league of the elements has been broken up and the heavenly structure dissolved, that fabric in which it is contained and bound together would be overthrown!

II. Early Governmental Policy and Sporadic Outbreaks Against Christians.

3. The So-called "Persecution’ under Nero

Tacitus, Annales, 15:44, trans. ?TR, IV, 1 (ii), p. 4.

Therefore to check this rumor, those, who were called Christians by the mob and hated for their moral enormities, were substituted in his place as culprits by Nero and afflicted with the most exquisite punishments. Christ, from whom the name was given, was put to death during the reign of Tiberius, by the procurator Pontius Pilate. Although checked for the time, this pernicious superstition broke out again not only in Judea, where the evil originated, but throughout the City, in which the atrocities and shame from all parts of the world center and flourish. Therefore those who confessed were first seized, then on their information a great multitude were convicted, not so much of the crime of incendiarism, as of hatred of the human race. The victims who perished also suffered insults, for some were covered with the skins of wild beasts and torn to pieces by dogs, while others were fixed to crosses and burnt to light the night when daylight had failed. Nero had offered his gardens for the spectacle and was giving a circus show, mingling with the people in the dress of a driver, or speeding about in a chariot. Although they were criminals who deserved the most severe punishment, yet a feeling of pity arose, since they were put to death not for the public good but to satisfy the rage of an individual.

4. "Persecution" by Domitian (95)

Cassius Dio, Hist. Rom., 67:14, trans. ?TR, IV," 1 (iii), P. 7.

At this time [95 a.d.] the road leading from Sinuessa to Puteoli was paved with stones. And in the same year Domitian put to death, besides many others, his cousin Flavius Clemens, who was then consul, and the wife of Flavius, Flavia Domitilla, who was his own relative. The crime charged against both was sacrilege. On the same charge many others who had adopted Jewish customs were condemned. Some were put to death, others had their property confiscated. Domitilla was exiled alone on Pandataria.

5. Pliny, Governor of Bithynia, Queries the Emperor Trajan (98-117) Concerning the Imperial Policy Toward Christians 112

Ep. 10:96, trans. PTR, IV, 1 (iv), pp. 8-9.

It is my custom, my Lord, to refer to you all things concerning which I am in doubt. For who can better guide my indecision or enlighten my ignorance?

I have never taken part in the trials of Christians: hence I do not know for what crime nor to what extent it is customary to punish or investigate. I have been in no little doubt as to whether any discrimination is made for age, or whether the treatment of the weakest does not differ from that of the stronger; whether pardon is granted in case of repentance, or whether he who has ever been a Christian gains nothing by having ceased to be one; whether the name itself without the proof of crimes, or the crimes, inseparably connected with the name, are punished. Meanwhile, I have followed this procedure in the case of those who have been brought before me as Christians. I asked them whether they were Christians a second and a third time and with threats of punishment; I questioned those who confessed; I ordered those who were obstinate to be executed. For I did not doubt that, whatever it was that they confessed, their stubbornness and inflexible obstinacy ought certainly to be punished. There were others of similar madness, who because they were Roman citizens, I have noted for sending to the City. Soon, the crime spreading, as is usual when attention is called to it, more cases arose. An anonymous accusation containing many names was presented. Those who denied that they were or had been

Christians, ought, I thought, to be dismissed since they repeated after me a prayer to the gods and made supplication with incense and wine to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for the purpose together with the statues of the gods, and since besides they cursed Christ, not one of which things they say, those who are really Christians can be compelled to do. Others, accused by the informer, said that they were Christians and afterwards denied it; in fact they had been but had ceased to be, some many years ago, some even twenty years before. All both worshipped your image and the statues of the gods, and cursed Christ. They continued to maintain that this was the amount of their fault or error, that on a fixed day they were accustomed to come together before daylight and to sing by turns a hymn to Christ as a god, and that they bound themselves by oath, not for some crime but that they would not commit robbery, theft, or adultery, that they would not betray a trust nor deny a deposit when called upon. After this it was their custom to disperse and to come together again to partake of food, of an ordinary and harmless kind, however; even this they had ceased to do after the publication of my edict in which according to your command I had forbidden associations. Hence I believed it the more necessary to examine two female slaves, who were called deaconesses, in order to find out what was true, and to do it by torture. I found nothing but a vicious, extravagant superstition. Consequently I have postponed the examination and make haste to consult you. For it seemed to me that the subject would justify consultation, especially on account of the number of those in peril. For many of all ages, of every rank, and even of both sexes are and will be called into danger. The infection of this superstition has not only spread to the cities but even to the villages and country districts. It seems possible to stay it and bring about a reform. It is plain enough that the temples, which had been almost deserted, have begun to be frequented again, that the sacred rites, which had been neglected for a long time, have begun to be restored, and that fodder for victims, for which till now there was scarcely a purchaser, is sold. From which one may readily judge what a number of men can be reclaimed if repentance is permitted.

6. Trajan s Reply

Ep. 10:97, trans. PTR, IV, 1 (iv), pp. 9-10.

You have followed the correct procedure, my Secundus, in conducting the cases of those who were accused before you as Christians, for no general rule can be laid down as a set form. They ought not to be sought out; if they are brought before you and convicted they ought to be punished; provided that he who denies that he is a Christian, and proves this by making supplication to our gods, however much he may have been under suspicion in the past, shall secure pardon on repentance. In the case of no crime should attention be paid to anonymous charges, for they afford a bad precedent and are not worthy of our age.

III. Early Christian Martyrs and the Christian Witness.

7. The Sufferings of Polycarp (c. 155/156)

Martyr. S. Polycarpi, Introd. and 1, 9, 10, 11, trans. ANF, I, pp. 39, 41.

The Church of God which sojourns at Smyrna, to the Church of God sojourning in Philomelium, and to all the congregations of the Holy and Catholic Church in every place: Mercy, peace, and love from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, be multiplied.

Chap. I. Subject of Which we Write

We have written to you, brethren, as to what relates to the martyrs, and especially to the blessed Polycarp, who put an end to the persecution, having, as it were, set a seal upon it by his martyrdom. For almost all the events that happened previously [to this one], took place that the Lord might show us from above a martyrdom becoming the Gospel.

Now, as Polycarp was entering into the stadium, there came to him a voice from heaven, saying, "Be strong, and show thyself a man, O Polycarp!" No one saw who it was that spoke to him; but those of our brethren who were present heard the voice. And as he was brought forward, the tumult became great when they heard that Polycarp was taken. And when he came near, the proconsul asked him whether he was Polycarp. On his confessing that he was, [the proconsul] sought to persuade him to deny [Christ], saying, "Have respect to thy old age," and other similar things, according to their custom, [such as], "Swear by the fortune of Caesar; repent, and say, Away with the Atheists." But Polycarp, gazing with a stern countenance on all the multitude of the wicked heathen then in the stadium, and waving his hand towards them, while with groans he looked up to heaven, said, "Away with the Atheists." Then, the proconsul urging him, and saying, "Swear, and I will set thee at liberty, reproach Christ;" Polycarp declared, "Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?"

And when the proconsul yet again pressed him, and said, "Swear by the fortune of Caesar," he answered, "Since thou art vainly urgent that, as thou sayest, I should swear by the fortune of Caesar, and pretendest not to know who and what I am, hear me declare with boldness, I am a Christian. And if you wish to learn what the doctrines of Christianity are, appoint me a day, and thou shalt hear them." The proconsul replied, "Persuade the people." But Polycarp said, "To thee I have thought it right to offer an account [of my faith]; for we are taught to give all due honour (which entails no injury upon ourselves) to the powers and authorities which are ordained of God. But as for these, I do not deem them worthy of receiving any account from me.

The proconsul then said to him, "I have wild beasts at hand; to these will I cast thee, except thou repent." But he answered, "Call them then, for we are not accustomed to repent of what is good in order to adopt that which is evil; and it is well for me to be changed from what is evil to what is righteous." But again the proconsul said to him, "I will cause thee to be consumed by fire, seeing thou despisest the wild beasts, if thou wilt not repent." But Polycarp said, "Thou threatenest me with fire which burneth for an hour, and after a little is extinguished, but art ignorant of the fire of the coming judgment and of eternal punishment, reserved for the ungodly. But why tarriest thou? Bring forth what thou wilt."

8. The Witness of Justin (165)

Ada S. Justinii et sociorum, 1, 2, 45, trans. ANF, I, 305-6.

In the time of the lawless partisans of idolatry, wicked decrees were passed against the godly Christians in town and country, to force them to offer libations to vain idols; and accordingly the holy men, having been apprehended, were brought before the prefect of Rome, Rusticus by name. And when they had been brought before his judgment-seat, Rusticus the prefect said to Justin, "Obey the gods at once, and submit to the kings." Justin said, "To obey the commandments of our Saviour Jesus Christ is worthy neither of blame nor of condemnation." Rusticus the prefect said, "What kind of doctrines do you profess?" Justin said, "I have endeavoured to learn all doctrines; but I have acquiesced at last in the true doctrines, those namely of the Christians, even though they do not please those who hold false opinions." Rusticus the prefect said, "Are those the doctrines that please you, you utterly wretched man?" Justin said, "Yes, since I adhere to them with right dogma." Rusticus the prefect said, "What is the dogma?" Justin said, "That according to which we worship the God of the Christians, whom we reckon to be one from the beginning, the maker and fashioner of the whole creation, visible and invisible; and the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who had also been preached before hand by the prophets as about to be present with the race of men, the herald of salvation and teacher of good disciples. And I, being a man, think that what I can say is insignificant in comparison with His boundless divinity, acknowledging a certain prophetic power, since it was prophesied concerning Him of whom now I say that He is the Son of God. For I know that of old the prophets foretold His appearance among men."

Rusticus the prefect said, "Where do you assemble?" Justin said, "Where each one chooses and can: for do you fancy that we all meet in the very same place? Not so; because the God of the Christians is not circumscribed by place; but being invisible, fills heaven and earth, and everywhere is worshipped and glorified by the faithful." Rusticus the prefect said, "Tell me where you assemble, or into what place do you collect your followers?" Justin said, "I live above one Martinus, at the Timiotinian Bath; and during the whole time (and I am now living in Rome for the second time) I am unaware of any other meeting than his. And if any one wished to come to me, I communicated to him the doctrines of truth." Rusticus said, "Are you not, then, a Christian?" Justin said, "Yes, I am a Christian."

The prefect says to Justin, "Hearken, you who are called learned, and think that you know true doctrines; if you are scourged and beheaded, do you believe you will ascend into heaven?" Justin said, "I hope that, if I endure these things, I shall have His gifts. For I know that, to all who have thus lived, there abides the divine favour until the completion of the whole world." Rusticus the prefect said, "Do you suppose, then, that you will ascend into heaven to receive some recompense?" Justin said, "I do not suppose it, but I know and am fully persuaded of it." Rusticus the prefect said, "Let us, then, now come to the matter in hand, and which presses. Having come together, offer sacrifice with one accord to the gods." Justin said, "No right-thinking person falls away from piety to impiety." Rusticus the prefect said, "Unless ye obey, ye shall be mercilessly punished." Justin said, "Through prayer we can be saved on account of our Lord Jesus Christ, even when we have been punished, because this shall become to us salvation and confidence at the more fearful and universal judgment-seat of our Lord and Saviour." Thus also said the other martyrs: "Do what you will, for we are Christians, and do not sacrifice to idols."

Rusticus the prefect pronounced sentence, saying, "Let those who have refused to sacrifice to the gods and to yield to the command of the emperor be scourged, and led away to suffer the punishment of decapitation, according to the laws." The holy martyrs having glorified God, and having gone forth to the accustomed place, were beheaded, and perfected their testimony in the confession of the Saviour. And some of the faithful having secretly removed their bodies, laid them in a suitable place, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ having wrought along with them, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

9. Martyrdoms at Lyons and Vienne (c. 177/78) Under the "Good" Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180)

Eusebius, Hist. Ecc, 6:1, 3, trans. PTR, IV, 1 (v),pp. 11-13.

"The servants of Christ, living at Vienne and Lyons in Gaul, to the brethren throughout Asia and Phrygia who have the same faith and hope of redemption that we have, peace, grace and glory from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord."

Then after some other preliminary remarks they begin their account in the following words: "The magnitude of the tribulation here, the great fury of the heathen against the saints, and how much the blessed martyrs endured, we cannot fully recount, nor indeed is it possible to express these in writing. For with all his might the adversary broke loose upon us, showing even now how unrestrained his future coming would be. He tried every means of training and exercising his followers against the servants of God, so that not only were excluded from houses, baths and markets, but also forbidden, every one of us, to appear in any place whatsoever.

But the grace of God fought against the adversary, rescued the weak, and arrayed firm pillars, able through patience to withstand every attack of the Evil One. They engaged in conflict with him, suffering every kind of shame and injury, and, counting their great trials as small, they hastened to Christ, showing that ‘the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us ward.’

First, indeed, they endured nobly the sufferings heaped upon them by the general populace: clamors, blows, being dragged along, robberies, stonings, imprisonments, and all that an enraged mob loves to inflict on opponents and enemies. Then they were taken to the forum by the chiliarch and the ordained authorities of the city and were examined in the presence of the whole multitude. Having confessed, they were imprisoned until the arrival of the governor. When they were afterwards brought before him and he treated us with all manner of cruelty, Vettius Epagathus, one of the brethren, filled with love for God and his neighbor, interfered. His daily life was so consistent that, although young, he had a reputation like the elder Zacharias, for he ‘walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless’ and was untiring in every good office for his neighbor, filled with zeal for God and fervent in spirit. Such a man could not endure the unrighteous judgment against us, but was filled with indignation and demanded that he should be permitted to testify in behalf of the brethren, that there was no atheism nor impiety in us. Those about the tribunal cried out against him, and with reason, for he was a man of mark; and the governor denied his just request, but asked only this one question, if he also was a Christian; and on his confessing this most distinctly, placed him also in the number of the martyrs. He was called the advocate of the Christians, but he had the Advocate [***] in himself, the Spirit more fully than Zacharias. This he manifested by the fulness of his love, counting himself happy to lay down his own life in the defence of the brethren. For he was and is a true disciple of Christ, ‘following the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.’

After that the others were divided and the proto-martyrs were known and held in readiness. They with all eagerness finished the confession of martyrdom. But some appeared unprepared and untrained and still weak, unable to endure the strain of a great contest. Of these about ten became apostates, who caused us great pain and excessive sorrow, and weakened the zeal of the others who had not yet been seized, and who, although suffering all kinds of evil, were constantly with the martyrs and did not abandon them. Then indeed all were in great fear on account of the uncertainty of the confession, not fearing the sufferings to be endured, but looking to the end and fearing lest some one should apostatize. Yet those who were worthy were seized each day, filling up their number, so that all the zealous and those through whom especially our affairs had been managed were gathered together from the two churches. And some of our servants who were heathens were seized because the governor had ordered that we should all be examined in public.

These, by the wiles of Satan, fearing the tortures which they saw the saints suffering and urged by the soldiers to do this, accused us falsely of Thyestean banquets and Oedipodean incests and of deeds which it is not lawful for us to speak or think of, and which we do not believe men ever committed. When these accusations were reported all raged like wild beasts against us, so that even those who had previously restrained themselves on account of kinship, then became exceedingly enraged and gnashed their teeth against us. And the saying of our Lord was fulfilled that ‘the time will come when whosoever killeth you will think that he doth God’s service.’ Then finally the holy martyrs endured suffering beyond all description and Satan strove earnestly that some blasphemies might be uttered by them also.

But the whole rage of the people, governor and soldiers was aroused exceedingly against Sanctus, deacon from Vienne, and against Maturus, a recent convert but a noble combatant, and against Attalus, a native of Pergamus, who had always been a pillar and a foundation in that place, and against Blandina through whom Christ showed that what appears mean, deformed and contemptible to men is of great glory with God through love for Him, shown in power and not boasting in appearance. For while we all, together with her mistress on earth, who was herself also one of the combatants among the martyrs, feared lest in the strife she should be unable to make her confession on account of her bodily weakness, Blandina was filled with such power that she was delivered and raised above those who took turns in torturing her in every manner from dawn till evening; and they confessed that they were defeated and had nothing more which they could do to her. They marvelled at her endurance, for her whole body was mangled and broken; and they testified that one form of torture was sufficient to destroy life, to say nothing of so many and so great tortures. But the blessed one, like a noble athlete, renewed her strength in the confession; and her comfort, refreshment and relief from suffering was in saying, T am a Christian’ and ‘Nothing vile is done by us.’

IV. Selected Apologists: The Spokesmen for Christianity in reply to typical charges against it.

10. Aristides

Apologia (c. 140), 15-16, trans. ANF, X, pp. 276-78.

XV. But the Christians, O King, while they went about and made search, have found the truth; and as we learned from their writings, they have come nearer to truth and genuine knowledge than the rest of the nations. For they know and trust in God, the Creator of heaven and of earth, in whom and from whom are all things, to whom there is no other god as companion, from whom they received commandments which they engraved upon their minds and observe in hope and expectation of the world which is to come. Wherefore they do not commit adultery nor fornication, nor bear false witness, nor embezzle what is held in pledge, nor covet what is not theirs. They honour father and mother, and show kindness to those near to them; and whenever they are judges, they judge uprightly. They do not worship idols [made] in the image of man; and whatsoever they would not that others should do unto them, they do not to others; and of the food which is consecrated to idols they do not eat, for they are pure. And their oppressors they appease [lit: comfort] and make them their friends; they do good to their enemies; . . . And when they see a stranger, they take him in to their homes and rejoice over him as a very brother; for they do not call them brethren after the flesh, but brethren after the spirit and in God. And whenever one of their poor passes from the world, each one of them according to his ability gives heed to him and carefully sees to his burial. And if they hear that one of their number is imprisoned or afflicted on account of the name of their Messiah, all of them anxiously minister to his necessity, and if it is possible to redeem him they set him free. And if there is among them any that is poor and needy, and if they have no spare food, they fast two or three days in order to supply to the needy their lack of food. They observe the precepts of their Messiah with much care, living justly and soberly as the Lord their God commanded them. Every morning and every hour they give thanks and praise to God for His loving-kindnesses toward them; and for their food and their drink they offer thanksgiving to Him. And if any righteous man among them passes from the world, they rejoice and offer thanks to God; and they escort his body as if he were setting out from one place to another near. XVI . . . And as for their words and their precepts, O King, and their glorying in their worship, and the hope of earning according to the work of each one of them their recompense which they look for in another world, — you may learn about these from their writings. It is enough for us to have shortly informed your Majesty concerning the conduct and the truth of the Christians. For great indeed, and wonderful is their doctrine to him who will search into it and reflect upon it. And verily, this is a new people, and there is something divine [lit: a divine admixture] in the midst of them.

11. Justin

Apologia, I (c. 150/55), 9, 11, 13, trans., C. C. Richardson, et ah, Early Christian Fathers [LCC, Vol. I] (Philadelphia: Westminster Press; London: Student Christian Movement Press, Ltd.), pp. 246-47, 249.

Certainly we do not honor with many sacrifices and floral garlands the objects that men have fashioned, set up in temples, and called gods. We know that they are lifeless and dead and do not represent the form of God — for we do not think of God as having the kind of form which some claim that they imitate to be honored — but rather exhibit the names and shapes of the evil demons who have manifested themselves [to men]. You know well enough without our mentioning it how the craftsmen prepare their material, scraping and cutting and molding and beating. And often they make what they call gods out of vessels used for vile purposes, changing and transforming by art merely their appearance. We consider it not only irrational but an insult to God, whose glory and form are ineffable, to give his name to corruptible things which themselves need care. You are well aware that craftsmen in these [things] are impure and — not to go into details — given to all kinds of vice; they even corrupt their own slave girls who work along with them. What an absurdity, that dissolute men should be spoken of as fashioning or remaking gods for public veneration, and that you should appoint such people as guardians of the temples where they are set up — not considering that it is unlawful to think or speak of men as guardians of gods. . . .

When you hear that we look for a kingdom, you rashly suppose that we mean something merely human. But we speak of a Kingdom with God, as is clear from our confessing Christ when you bring us to trial, though we know that death is the penalty for this confession. For if we looked for a human kingdom we would deny it in order to save our lives, and would try to remain in hiding in order to obtain the things we look for. But since we do not place our hopes on the present [order], we are not troubled by being put to death, since we will have to die somehow in any case. . . .

What sound-minded man will not admit that we are not godless, since we worship the Fashioner of the universe, declaring him, as we have been taught, to have no need of blood and libations and incense, but praising him by the word of prayer and thanksgiving for all that he has given us? We have learned that the only honor worthy of him is, not to consume by fire the things he has made for our nourishment, but to devote them to our use and those in need, in thankfulness to him sending up solemn prayers and hymns for our creation and all the means of health, for the variety of creatures and the changes of the seasons, and sending up our petitions that we may live again in incorruption through our faith in him. It is Jesus Christ who has taught us these things, having been born for this purpose and crucified under Pontius Pilate, who was procurator in Judea in the time of Tiberius Caesar. We will show that we honor him in accordance with reason, having learned that he is the Son of the true God himself, and holding him to be in the second place and the prophetic Spirit in the third rank. It is for this that they charge us with madness, saying that we give the second place after the unchanging and ever-existing God and begetter of all things to a crucified man, not knowing the mystery involved in this, to which we ask you to give your attention as we expound it.

12. Athenagoras

Legatio pro Christianis (c. 177), 3, trans. ANF, II, p. 130.

Three things are alleged against us: atheism, Thyestean feasts, Oedipodean intercourse. But if these charges are true, spare no class: proceed at once against our crimes; destroy us root and branch, with our wives and children, if any Christian is found to live like the brutes. And yet even the brutes do not touch the flesh of their own kind; and they pair by a law of nature, and only at the regular season, not from simple wantonness; they also recognize those from whom they receive benefits. If any one, therefore, is more savage than the brutes, what punishment that he can endure shall be deemed adequate to such offences? But, if these things are only idle tales and empty slanders, originating in the fact that virtue is opposed by its very nature to vice, and that contraries war against one another by a divine law (and you are yourselves witnesses that no such iniquities are committed by us, for you forbid informations to be laid against us), it remains for you to make inquiry concerning our life, our opinions, our loyalty and obedience to you and your house and government, and thus at length to grant to us the same rights (we ask nothing more) as to those who persecute us. For we shall then conquer them, unhesitatingly surrendering, as we now do, our very lives for the truth’s sake.

V. Attacks Against Christians Before the Great Persecutions.

13. Under Septimius Severus (202)

Tert., Ad Scapulam, 4, and Eusebius, Hist. Ecc, 6:1, trans. PTR, IV, 1 (vi), pp. 20-21.

Under threat of severe punishment he forbade men to become Jews. Moreover, he decreed the same in the case of Christians. . . .

Even Severus himself, father of Antoninus, was mindful of the Christians. For the Christian Proculus, who was called Torpacion, procurator of Euhodias, and who had once wrought a cure for him with ointment, Severus sought out and kept in the palace until the time of his death. Antoninus, who was nourished on Christian milk, was very well acquainted with this man. The most noble women and men, whom Severus knew belonged to this sect, he not only did not harm, but he even set forth the truth by his own testimony and openly restored them to us from the raging populace. . . .

When Severus set in motion a persecution against the churches, brilliant testimonies were given everywhere by the athletes of religion. Especially did these abound in Alexandria, whither athletes of God were sent in accordance with their worth, from Egypt and all Thebais, as if to a very great contest, and where they obtained their crowns from God through their most patient endurance of various tortures and kinds of death. Among these was Leonides, who was called the father of Origen, and who was beheaded, leaving his son still a young boy. . . .

14. Under Maximinus Thrax

Eusebius, Hist. Ecc, 6:28, trans. PTR, IV, 1 (vi), p. 21.

Maximinus Caesar succeeded to Alexander, Emperor of the Romans, who had ruled thirteen years. On account of his hatred for the household of Alexander, which contained many believers, he began a persecution, but commanded that the rulers of the churches alone should be put to death, on the ground that they were the authors of the teaching of the Gospels. Then Origen composed his work "On Martyrdom," and dedicated the book to Ambrose and Protoctetus, who was presbyter of the parish in Caesarea, because both had incurred unusual peril in this persecution. The report is that in this peril these men were prominent in confession. Maximinus did not survive more than three years. Origen has marked this as the time of the persecution in the twenty-second book of his Commentaries on John and in different letters.

VI. The Decian-Valerian Persecution (c. 249-51, 257/59).

15. Lactantius on Decius

De Mort. Persecut. 4, trans. PTR, IV, 1 (vi), pp. 21-22.

For after many years the accursed beast, Decius, arose who harrassed the Church, — for who but an evil man can persecute righteousness? — And as if he had been raised to that high position for this purpose, he began at once to rage against God so that he immediately fell. For having proceeded against the Carpi, who had then occupied Dacia and Moesia, he was immediately surrounded by the barbarians and destroyed with a great part of his army. Nor could he be honored by burial, but, stripped and naked, he lay exposed as food to wild beasts and birds, as was becoming to an enemy of God.

16. Libelli from the Decian Persecution

Trans. J. R. Knipfing, Harvard Theological Review (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1923), XVI, pp. 346-47, 363-64. Reprinted by permission of the publishers.

[A complete, though hypothetical, text of such a libellus, the composite result of a combination of the data of our forty-one texts, would read somewhat as follows: ]

1st Hand. To the Commission of ... chosen to superintend the (sacred offerings and) sacrifices. From . . . son (or daughter) of ... (and of . . .) (together with his brother and their wives) (and his children), who comes from the village of ... (in the division of . . .), and is domiciled in the village of ... (or in the . . . quarter of the city) (or dwelling beyond the town gates), (aged . . . years with a scar on the right eyebrow) (and member of the household of . . ., who functioned as exegete in the famous city of Alexandria, not to mention the offices he now holds) (or priestess of the god Petesouchos the great, the mighty, the immortal, and priestess of the gods in the . . . quarter). I (or we) have always and (all [my] life) without interruption sacrificed and poured libations and manifested piety toward the gods (in accordance with the divine decree), and now (again) in your presence in accordance with the edict’s decree, I (or we) have made sacrifice and poured a libation (or poured a libation and sacrificed) and partaken of the sacred victims (in company with my wife and children) (acting through me). (Wherefore I present this petition and) I (or we) request you to certify this (for me, or for us) below. Farewell. I (or we) have presented this petition (aged . . . and injured) (or aged . . .) (and I ... wrote in his behalf, for he is illiterate) (or 2d hand, I ... presented this petition, I ... signed for him since he is illiterate).

2d Hand. I ... (prytanis) (and I . . .) saw you sacrificing (together with your son, or sons).

3d Hand. I ... have signed.

1st Hand. The year one of the emperor Caesar Gaius Messius Quintus Trajanus Decius Pius Felix Augustus, June 12 (or any date thereafter up to July 14). . . .

1st Hand. To the commission of the village of Alexandru Nesus, chosen to superintend the sacrifices. From Aurelius Diogenes, son of Satabous, of the village of Alexandru Nesus, aged 72 years, with a scar on the right eyebrow. I have always and without interruption sacrificed to the gods, and now in your presence in accordance with the edict’s decree I have made sacrifice, and poured a libation, and partaken of the sacred victims. I request you to certify this below. Farewell. I, Aurelius Diogenes, have presented this petition.

2d Hand. I, Aurelius Syrus, saw you and your son sacrificing.

3d Hand. . . . onos. . . .

1st Hand. The year one of the Emperor Caesar Gaius Messius Quintus Trajanus De-cius Pius Felix Augustus, Epeiph 2 (June 26, 250). . . .

1st Hand. To the commission of the village of Philadelphia, chosen to superintend the sacrifices. From Aurelius Syrus and Aurelius Pasbeius, his brother, and of Demetria and Sarapias, our wives, dwelling beyond the town gates. We have always and without interruption sacrificed to the gods, and now in your presence in accordance with the edict’s decree we have poured a libation, and partaken of the sacred victims. We request you to certify this for us below. Farewell.

2d Hand. We, Aurelius Syrus and Aurelius Pasbeius, presented this petition. I, Isidore, wrote in their behalf, for they are illiterate.

17. Origen (c. 185-253/54) a Confessor Calls for the Christian Witness

Exhortatio ad Martyrium, 30, 50. Selections from A Source Book for Ancient Church History, p. 213, by Joseph Cullen Ayer are reprinted with the permission of Charles Scrib-ner’s Sons © 1913 Charles Scribner’s Sons; renewal © 1941, Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr.

Ch. 30. We must remember that we have sinned and that it is impossible to obtain forgiveness of sins without baptism, and that according to the evangelical laws it is impossible to be baptized a second time with water and the Spirit for the forgiveness of sins, and therefore the baptism of martyrdom is given us. For thus it has been called, as may be clearly gathered from the passage: "Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" [Mark 10:38]. And in another place it is said: "But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straightened until it be accomplished!" [Luke 12:50]. For be sure that just as the expiation of the cross was for the whole world, it (the baptism of martyrdom) is for the cure of many who are thereby cleansed. For as according to the law of Moses those placed near the altar are seen to minister forgiveness of sins to others through the blood of bulls and goats, so the souls of those who have suffered on account of the testimony of Jesus are not in vain near that altar in heaven [cf. Rev. 6:9ff.], but minister forgiveness of sins to those who pray. And at the same time we know that just as the high priest, Jesus Christ, offered himself as a sacrifice, so the priests, of whom He is the high priest, offer themselves as sacrifices, and on account of this sacrifice they are at the altar as in their proper place.

Ch. 50. Just as we have been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, who received the name that is above every name, so by the precious blood of the martyrs will others be redeemed.

18. Cyprian (c. 200-258), the Bishop Becomes a Martyr (c. 258)

Ada Proconsularia, Cypriani, trans. PTR, IV, 1 (vi), pp. 24-26.

And thus on the next day, the eighteenth before the Kalends of October, early in the morning, a great crowd came to Sexti according to the order of Galerius Maximus, the proconsul. And accordingly Galerius Maximus, the proconsul, ordered Cyprian to be brought before him that day, while he was sitting in the Sauciolian court. And when he had been brought, Galerius Maximus, the proconsul, said to Bishop Cyprian: "You are Thascius Cyprian?" Bishop Cyprian replied: "I am." Galerius Maximus, the proconsul, said: "The most sacred Emperors have commanded you to sacrifice." Bishop Cyprian said: "I will not." Galerius Maximus said: "Reflect on it." Bishop Cyprian replied: "Do what you are ordered to do. In such a just case there is no need of reflection."

Galerius Maximus, having spoken with the council, pronounced the sentence weakly and reluctantly in the following words: "For a long time you have lived in sacrilege, you have gathered about you many associates in your impious conspiracy, you have put yourself in hostility to the Roman gods and to the sacred rites, nor could the pious and most sacred princes, Valerian and Gallienus, Emperors, and Valerian, the most noble Caesar, bring you back to the practice of their worship. And therefore, since you are found to be the author of the vilest crimes, and the standard bearer, you shall be a warning to those whom you have gathered about you in your crime; by your blood, discipline shall be established." And having said this he read out the decree from his tablet: "We command that Thascius Cyprian be executed by the sword." Bishop Cyprian said: "Thank God."

After this sentence the crowd of brethren kept saying: "And we will be beheaded with him." On account of this a commotion arose among the brethren and a great crowd followed him. And thus Cyprian was brought in to the country near Sexti; here he laid aside his red cloak, kneeled on the ground, and prostrated himself before the Lord in prayer. And when he had laid aside his priestly robe and given it to the deacons, he stood in his linen under-garments, and waited for the executioner. Moreover, when the executioner had come, he ordered his followers to give this executioner twenty-five pieces of gold. Indeed, linen cloths and handkerchiefs were being sent before him by the brethren. After this the blessed Cyprian covered his eyes with his hand. When he could not bind the handkerchiefs to himself, Julian, the presbyter, and Julian, the subdeacon, bound them. Thus the blessed Cyprian died, and his body was placed near at hand on account of the curiosity of the heathen. Hence, being borne away in the night with tapers and torches, it was brought with prayers and great triumph to the courts of the procurator Macrobius Candidianus, which are on the Via Mappalieosis, near the fish ponds. Moreover, after a few days, Galerius Maximus, the proconsul, died.

The blessed martyr Cyprian suffered on the eighteenth before the Kalends of October under the Emperors Valerian and Gallienus, Jesus Christ, the true God, reigning, to whom be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

VII. Persecutions under Diocletian, Galerius, and Maximian (c. 302/303-312).

19. Lactantius on the Persecution

De Mort. Persec, 7, 11-14, trans. ANF, VII, pp. 303, 305-6.

While Diocletian, that author of ill, and deviser of misery, was ruining all things, he could not withhold his insults, not even against God. This man, by avarice partly, and partly by timid counsels, overturned the Roman empire. For he made choice of three persons to share the government with him; and thus, the empire having been quartered, armies were multiplied, and each of the four princes strove to maintain a much more considerable military force than any sole emperor had done in times past. There began to be fewer men who paid taxes than there were who received wages; so that the means of the husbandmen being exhausted by enormous impositions, the farms were abandoned, cultivated grounds became woodland, and universal dismay prevailed. Besides, the provinces were divided into minute portions, and many presidents and a multitude of inferior officers lay heavy on each territory, and almost on each city. There were also many stewards of different degrees, and deputies of presidents. Very few civil causes came before them: but there were condemnations daily, and forfeitures frequently inflicted; taxes on numberless commodities, and those not only often repeated, but perpetual, and, in exacting them, intolerable wrongs.

The mother of Galerius, a woman exceedingly superstitious, was a votary of the gods of the mountains. Being of such a character, she made sacrifices almost every day, and she feasted her servants on the meat offered to idols: but the Christians of her family would not partake of those entertainments; and while she feasted with the Gentiles, they continued in fasting and prayer. On this account she conceived ill-will against the Christians, and by woman-like complaints instigated her son, no less superstitious than herself, to destroy them. So, during the whole winter, Diocletian and Galerius held councils together, at which no one else assisted; and it was the universal opinion that their conferences respected the most momentous affairs of the empire. The old man long opposed the fury of Galerius, and showed how pernicious it would be to raise disturbances throughout the world and to shed so much blood; that the Christians were wont with eagerness to meet death; and that it would be enough for him to exclude persons of that religion from the court and the army. Yet he could not restrain the madness of that obstinate man. He resolved, therefore, to take the opinion of his friends. Now this was a circumstance in the bad disposition of Diocletian, that whenever he determined to do good, he did it without advice, that the praise might be all his own; but whenever he determined to do ill, which he was sensible would be blamed, he called in many advisers, that his own fault might be imputed to other men: and therefore a few civil magistrates, and a few military commanders, were admitted to give their counsel; and the question was put to them according to priority of rank. Some, through personal ill-will towards the Christians, were of opinion that they ought to be cut off, as

enemies of the gods and adversaries of the established religious ceremonies. Others thought differently, but, having understood the will of Galerius, they, either from dread of displeasing or from a desire of gratifying him, concurred in the opinion given against the Christians. Yet not even then could the emperor be prevailed upon to yield his assent. He determined above all to consult his gods; and to that end he despatched a soothsayer to inquire of Apollo at Miletus, whose answer was such as might be expected from an enemy of the divine religion. So Diocletian was drawn over from his purpose. But although he could struggle no longer against his friends, and against Caesar and Apollo, yet still he attempted to observe such moderation as to command the business to be carried through without bloodshed; whereas Galerius would have had all persons burnt alive who refused to sacrifice.

A fit and auspicious day was sought out for the accomplishment of this undertaking; and the festival of the god Terminus, celebrated on the seventh of the kalends of March, was chosen, in preference to all others, to terminate, as it were, the Christian religion.

That day, the harbinger of death, arose,

First cause of ill, and long enduring woes;

of woes which befell not only the Christians, but the whole earth. When that day dawned, in the eighth consulship of Diocletian and seventh of Maximian, suddenly, while it was yet hardly light, the prefect, together with chief commanders, tribunes, and officers of the treasury, came to the church in Nicomedia, and the gates having been forced open, they searched everywhere for an image of the Divinity. The books of the Holy Scriptures were found, and they were committed to the flames; the utensils and furniture of the church were abandoned to pillage; all was rapine, confusion, tumult. That church, situated on rising ground, was within view of the palace; and Diocletian and Galerius stood, as if on a watchtower, disputing long whether it ought to be set on fire. The sentiment of Diocletian prevailed, who dreaded lest, so great a fire being once kindled, some part of the city might be burnt; for there were many and large buildings that surrounded the church. Then the Pretorian Guards came in battle array, with axes and other iron instruments, and having been let loose everywhere, they in a few hours levelled that very lofty edifice with the ground.

Next day an edict was published, depriving the Christians of all honours and dignities; ordaining also that, without any distinction of rank or degree, they should be subjected to tortures, and that every suit at law should be received against them; while, on the other hand, they were debarred from being plaintiffs in questions of wrong, adultery, or theft; and, finally, that they should neither be capable of freedom, nor have right of suffrage. A certain person tore down this edict, and cut it in pieces, improperly indeed, but with high spirit, saying in scorn, "These are the triumphs of Goths and Sarmatians." Having been instantly seized and brought to judgment, he was not only tortured, but burnt alive, in the forms of law; and having displayed admirable patience under sufferings, he was consumed to ashes.

But Galerius, not satisfied with the tenor of the edict, sought in another way to gain on the emperor. That he might urge him to excess of cruelty in persecution, he employed private emissaries to set the palace on fire; and some part of it having been burnt, the blame was laid on the Christians as public enemies; and the very appellation of Christian grew odious on account of that fire. It was said that the Christians, in concert with the eunuchs, had plotted to destroy the princes; and that both of the princes had well-nigh been burnt alive in their own palace. Diocletian, shrewd and intelligent as he always chose to appear, suspected nothing of the contrivance, but, inflamed with anger, immediately commanded that all his own domestics should be tortured to force a confession of the plot.

20. The Edicts of Diocletian Against the Christians

Eusebius, Hist. Ecc, 8:2, 6; Eusebius, De Mart. Palest., 3, 4, 9, trans. PTR, IV, 1 (vii), pp. 26-28.

(Hist. Ecc. viii 2.) This was the nineteenth year of the reign of Diocletian, in Dystrus (which the Romans call March), when the feast of the Saviour’s passion was near at hand, and royal edicts were published everywhere, commanding that the churches should be razed to the ground, the Scriptures destroyed by fire, those who held positions of honor degraded, and the household servants, if they persisted in the Christian profession, be deprived of their liberty.

And such was the first decree against us. But issuing other decrees not long after, the Emperor commanded that all the rulers of the churches in every place should be first put in prison and afterwards compelled by every device to offer sacrifice.

(Hist. Ecc. viii 6.) Then as the first decrees were followed by others commanding that those in prison should be set free, if they would offer sacrifice, but that those who refused should be tormented with countless tortures; who could again at that time count the multitude of martyrs throughout each province, and especially throughout Africa and among the race of the Moors, in Thebais and throughout Egypt, from which having already gone into other cities and provinces, they became illustrious in their martyrdoms!

(De Mart. Pal. ch. 3.) During the second year the war against us increased greatly. Urbanus was then governor of the province and imperial edicts were first issued to him, in which it was commanded that all the people throughout the city should sacrifice and pour out libations to the idols. . . .

(De Mart. Pal. ch. 4.) ... For in the second attack upon us by Maximinus, in the third year of the persecution against us, edicts of the tyrant were issued for the first time, that all the people should offer sacrifice and that the rulers of the city should see to this diligently and zealously. Heralds went through the whole city of Caesarea, by the orders of the governor, summoning men, women and children to the temples of the idols, and in addition the chiliarchs were calling upon each one by name from a roll.

(De Mart. Pal. ch. 9.) ... All at once decrees of Maximinus again got abroad against us everywhere throughout the province. The governors, and in addition the military prefects, incited by edicts, letters and public ordinances the magistrates, together with the generals and the city clerks in all the cities, to fulfill the imperial edicts which commanded that the altars of the idols should be rebuilt with all zeal; and that all the men, together with the women and children, even infants at the breast, should offer sacrifice and pour out libations; and these urged them anxiously, carefully to make the people taste of the sacrifices; and that the viands in the market should be polluted by the libations of the sacrifices; and that watches should be stationed before the baths, so as to defile those who washed in these with the all-abominable sacrifices. . . .

21. Christian Clergy Forced to Surrender Their Scriptures and Books

Gesta apud Zenophilium. Reprinted from Con-stantine and the Conversion of Europe by A. H. M. Jones, 1948, pp. 51-54. Used with permission of The Macmillan Company, New York, and The English Universities Press, Ltd., London.

"In the eighth and seventh consulships of Diocletian and Maximian, 19th May, from the records of Munatius Felix, high priests of the province for life, mayor of the colony of Cirta. Arrived at the house where the Christians used to meet, the Mayor said to Paul the bishop: ‘Bring out the writings of the law and anything else you have here, according to the order, so that you may obey the command.’"

The Bishop: "The readers have the scriptures, but we will give what we have here."

The Mayor: "Point out the readers or send for them."

The Bishop: "You all know them."

The Mayor: "We do not know them."

The Bishop: "The municipal office knows them, that is, the clerks Edusius and Junius."

The Mayor: "Leaving over the matter of the readers, whom the office will point out, produce what you have."

Then follows an inventory of the church plate and other property, including large stores of male and female clothes and shoes, produced in the presence of the clergy, who include three priests, two deacons, and four subdeacons, all named, and a number of "diggers."

The Mayor: "Bring out what you have."

Silvanus and Carosus (two of the subdeacons): "We have thrown out everything that was here."

The Mayor: "Your answer is entered on the record."

After some empty cupboards had been found in the library, Silvanus then produced a silver box and a silver lamp, which he said he had found behind a barrel.

Victor (the mayor’s clerk): "You would have been a dead man if you hadn’t found them."

The Mayor: "Look more carefully, in case there is anything left here."

Silvanus: "There is nothing left. We have thrown everything out."

And when the dining-room was opened, there were found there four bins and six barrels.

The Mayor: "Bring out the scriptures that you have so that we can obey the orders and command of the emperors."

Catullinus (another subdeacon) produced one very large volume.

The Mayor: "Why have you given one volume only? Produce the scriptures that you have."

Marcuclius and Catullinus (two subdeacons): "We haven’t any more, because we are subdeacons; the readers have the books."

The Mayor: "Show me the readers."

Marcuclius and Catullinus: "We don’t know where they live."

The Mayor: "If you don’t know where they live, tell me their names."

Marcuclius and Catullinus: "We are not traitors: here we are, order us to be killed."

The Mayor: "Put them under arrest."

They apparently weakened so far as to reveal one reader, for the Mayor now moved on to the house of Eugenius, who produced four books.

The Mayor now turned on the other two subdeacons, Silvanus and Carosus:

The Mayor: "Show me the other readers."

Silvanus and Carosus: "The bishop has already said that Edusius and Junius the clerks know them all: they will show you the way to their houses."

Edusius and Junius: "We will show them, sir."

The Mayor went on to visit the six remaining readers. Four produced their books without demur. One declared he had none, and the Mayor was content with entering his statement on the record. The last was out, but his wife produced his books; the Mayor had the house searched by the public slave to make sure that none had been overlooked. This task over, he addressed the subdeacons: "If there has been any omission, the responsibility is yours."

VIII. The Failure of Persecution and the Edicts of Toleration.

22. The Edict of Galerius (311)

Lact, De Mort. Persec, 34, 35, trans. PTR, IV, 1 (vii), pp. 28-29.

(ch. 34.) Among other arrangements which we are always accustomed to make for the prosperity and welfare of the republic, we had desired formerly to bring all things into harmony with the ancient laws and public order of the Romans, and to provide that even the Christians who had left the religion of their fathers should come back to reason; since, indeed, the Christians themselves, for some reason, had followed such a caprice and had fallen into such a folly that they would not obey the institutes of antiquity, which perchance their own ancestors had first established; but at their own will and pleasure, they would thus make laws unto themselves which they should observe and would collect various peoples in divers places in congregations. Finally, when our law had been promulgated to the effect that they should conform to the institutes of antiquity, many were subdued by the fear of danger, many even suffered death. And yet since most of them persevered in their determination, and we saw that they neither paid the reverence and awe due to the gods nor worshipped the God of the Christians, in view of our most mild clemency and the constant habit by which we are accustomed to grant indulgence to all, we thought that we ought to grant our most prompt indulgence also to these, so that they may again be Christians and may hold their conventicles, provided they do nothing contrary to good order. But we shall tell the magistrates in another letter what they ought to do.

Wherefore, for this our indulgence, they ought to pray to their God for our safety, for that of the republic, and for their own, that the republic may continue uninjured on every side, and that they may be able to live securely in their homes.

(ch. 35.) This edict is published at Nicomedia on the day before the Kalends of May, in our eighth consulship and the second of Maximinus.

23. The Edict of Constantine and Licinius (Milan, 313)

Lact., De Mort. Persec, 48, trans. PTR, IV, 1 (vii), pp. 29-30.

When I, Constantine Augustus, as well as I, Licinius Augustus, had fortunately met near Mediolanum (Milan), and were considering everything that pertained to the public welfare and security, we thought that, among other things which we saw would be for the good of many, those regulations pertaining to the reverence of the Divinity ought certainly to be made first, so that we might grant to the Christians and to all others full authority to observe that religion which each preferred; whence any Divinity whatsoever in the seat of the heavens may be propitious and kindly disposed to us and all who are placed under our rule. And thus by this wholesome counsel and most upright provision we thought to arrange that no one whatsoever should be denied the opportunity to give his heart to the observance of the Christian religion, or of that religion which he should think best for himself, so that the supreme Deity, to whose worship we freely yield our hearts, may show in all things His usual favor and benevolence. Therefore, your Worship should know that it has pleased us to remove all conditions whatsoever, which were in the rescripts formerly given to you officially, concerning the Christians, and now any one of these who wishes to observe the Christian religion may do so freely and openly, without any disturbance or molestation. We thought it fit to commend these things most fully to your care that you may know that we have given to those Christians free and unrestricted opportunity of religious worship. When you see that this has been granted to them by us, your Worship will know that we have also conceded to other religions the right of open and free observance of their worship for the sake of the peace of our times, that each one may have the free opportunity to worship as he pleases; this regulation is made that we may not seem to detract aught from any dignity or any religion. Moreover, in the case of the Christians especially, we esteemed it best to order that if it happens that anyone heretofore has bought from our treasury or from anyone whatsoever, those places where they were previously accustomed to assemble, concerning which a certain decree had been made and a letter sent to you officially, the same shall be restored to the Christians without payment or any claim of recompense and without any kind of fraud or deception. Those, moreover, who have obtained the same by gift, are likewise to return them at once to the Christians. Besides, both those who have purchased and those who have secured them by gift, are to appeal to the vicar if they seek any recompense from our bounty, that they may be cared for through our clemency. All this property ought to be delivered at once to the community of the Christians through your intercession, and without delay. And since these Christians are known to have possessed not only those places in which they were accustomed to assemble, but also other property, namely the churches, belonging to them as a corporation and not as individuals, all these things which we have included under the above law, you will order to be restored, without any hesitation or controversy at all, to these Christians, that is to say to the corporations and their conventicles: — providing, of course, that the above arrangements be followed so that those who return the same without payment, as we have said, may hope for an indemnity from our bounty. In all these circumstances you ought to tender your most efficacious intervention to the community of the Christians, that our command may be carried into effect as quickly as possible, whereby, moreover, through our clemency, public order may be secured. Let this be done so that, as we have said above, Divine favor towards us, which, under the most important circumstances we have already experienced, may, for all time, preserve and prosper our successes together with the good of the state. Moreover, in order that the statement of this decree of our good will may come to the notice of all, this rescript, published by your decree, shall be announced everywhere and brought to the knowledge of all, so that the decree of this, our benevolence, cannot be concealed.

IX. Constantine’s Favors to Christianity (313-337); Donatism and the Synod of Aries (314).

24. Grant of Financial Support to African Churches (c.313)

Ep. ad Caecilianum, Euseb. Hist. Ecc, 10:6, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., I, 382-83.

Constantine Augustus to Caecilianus, bishop of Carthage. Since it is our pleasure that something should be granted in all the provinces of Africa and Numidia and Mauritania to certain ministers of the legitimate and most holy catholic religion, to defray their expenses, I have written to Ursus, the illustrious finance minister of Africa, and have directed him to make provision to pay to thy firmness three thousand folles. Do thou therefore, when thou hast received the above sum of money, command that it be distributed among all those mentioned above, according to the brief sent to thee by Hosius. But if thou shouldst find that anything is wanting for the fulfillment of this purpose of mine in regard to all of them, thou shalt demand without hesitation from Heracleides, ovir treasurer, whatever thou findest to be necessary. For I commanded him when he was present that if thy firmness should ask him for any money, he should see to it that it be paid without delay. And since I have learned that some men of unsettled mind wish to turn the people from the most holy and catholic Church by a certain method of shameful corruption, do thou know that I gave command to Anulinus, the proconsul, and also to Patricius, vicar of the prefects, when they were present, that they should give proper attention not only to other matters but also above all to this, and that they should not overlook such a thing when it happened. Wherefore if thou shouldst see any such men continuing in this madness, do thou without delay go to the above-mentioned judges and report the matter to them; that they may correct them as I commanded them when they were present. The divinity of the great God preserve thee for many years.

25. Clergy to Be Exempt from Political Duties (313)

Ep. ad Anulinum, Euseb., Hist. Ecc, 10:7, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser, I, p. 383.

"Greeting to thee, our most esteemed Anulinus. Since it appears from many circumstances that when that religion is despised, in which is preserved the chief reverence for the most holy celestial Power, great dangers are brought upon public affairs; but that when legally adopted and observed it affords the most signal prosperity to the Roman name and remarkable felicity to all the affairs of men, through the divine beneficence, — it has seemed good to me, most esteemed Anulinus, that those men who give their services with due sanctity and with constant observance of this law, to the worship of the divine religion, should receive recompense for their labors. Wherefore it is my will that those within the province entrusted to thee, in the catholic Church, over which Caecilianus presides, who give their services to this holy religion, and who are commonly called clergymen, be entirely exempted from all public duties, that they may not by any error or sacrilegious negligence be drawn away from the service due to the Deity, but may devote themselves without any hindrance to their own law. For it seems that when they show greatest reverence to the Deity, the greatest benefits accrue to the state. Farewell, our most esteemed and beloved Anulinus."

26. The Emperor Convokes the Synod of Aries (314)

Euseb, Hist. Ecc, 10:v, 21-24, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser, pp. 381-82.

"Constantine Augustus to Chrestus, bishop of Syracuse. When some began wickedly and perversely to disagree among themselves in regard to the holy worship and celestial power and Catholic doctrine, wishing to put an end to such disputes among them, I formerly gave command that certain bishops should be sent from Gaul, and that the opposing parties who were contending persistently and incessantly with each other, should be summoned from Africa; that in their presence, and in the presence of the bishop of Rome, the matter which appeared to be causing the disturbance might be examined and decided with all care. But since, as it happens, some, forgetful both of their own salvation and of the reverence due to the most holy religion, do not even yet bring hostilities to an end, and are unwilling to conform to the judgment already passed, and assert that those who expressed their opinions and decisions were few, or that they had been too hasty and precipitate in giving judgment, before all the things which ought to have been accurately investigated had been examined, — on account of all this it has happened that those very ones who ought to hold brotherly and harmonious relations toward each other, are shamefully, or rather abominably, divided among themselves, and give occasion for ridicule to those men whose souls are aliens to this most holy religion. Wherefore it has seemed necessary to me to provide that this dissension, which ought to have ceased after the judgment had been already given by their own voluntary agreement, should now, if possible, be brought to an end by the presence of many. Since, therefore, we have commanded a number of bishops from a great many different places to assemble in the city of Aries, before the kalends of August, we have thought proper to write to thee also that thou shouldst secure from the most illustrious Latronianus, corrector of Sicily, a public vehicle, and that thou shouldst take with thee two others of the second rank, whom thou thyself shalt choose, together with three servants who may serve you on the way, and betake thyself to the above-mentioned place before the appointed day; that by thy firmness, and by the wise unanimity and harmony of the others present, this dispute, which has disgracefully continued until the present time, in consequence of certain shameful strifes, after all has been heard which those have to say who are now at variance with one another, and whom we have likewise commanded to be present, may be settled in accordance with the proper faith, and that brotherly harmony, though it be but gradually, may be restored. May the Almighty God preserve thee in health for many years."

27. Synodical Decrees of Aries Concerning Easter, Rebaptism and the "Lapsed"

Synod. Ep. to Sylvester, Bishop of Rome (Bruns II, 107). Selections from A Source Book for Ancient Church History, pp. 291-92, by Joseph Cullen Ayer, are reprinted with the permission of Charles Scribner’s Sons © 1913 Charles Scribner’s Sons; renewal © 1941 Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr.

Marinus and the assembly of bishops, who have come together in the town of Aries, to the most holy lord and brother Sylvester. What we have decreed with general consent we signify to your charity that all may know what ought to be observed in the future.

1. In the first place, concerning the observation of the Lord’s Easter, we have determined that it be observed on one day and at one time throughout the world by us, and that you send letters according to custom to all.

8. Concerning the Africans, because they make use of their own law, to the effect that they rebaptize, we have determined that if any one should come from heresy to the Church they should ask him the creed; and if they should perceive that he had been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, hands only should be laid upon him that he might receive the Holy Ghost. That if when asked he should not reply this Trinity, let him be baptized.

9. Concerning those who bring letters of the confessors, it pleased us that these letters having been taken away, they should receive other letters of communion.

13. Concerning those who are said to have given up the Holy Scriptures or the vessels of the Lord or the name of their brethren, it has pleased us whoever of them shall have been convicted by public documents and not by mere words, should be removed from the clerical order; though if the same have been found to have ordained any, and those whom they have ordained are worthy, it shall not render their ordination invalid. And because there are many who are seen to oppose the law of the Church and think that they ought to be admitted to bring accusation by hired witnesses, they are by no means to be admitted, except, as we have said above, they can prove their accusations by public documents.

X. The Arian Controversy and the Council of Nicaea (325).

28. The Outbreak of the Dispute

Socrates, Hist. Ecc, 1:5, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., II, p. 3.

He, [Alexander] in the fearless exercise of his functions for the instruction and government of the Church, attempted one day in the presence of the presbytery and the rest of his clergy, to explain, with perhaps too philosophical minuteness, that great theological mystery — the Unity of the Holy Trinity. A certain one of the presbyters under his jurisdiction, whose name was Arius, possessed of no inconsiderable logical acumen, imagining that the bishop was subtly teaching the same view of this subject as Sabellius the Libyan from love of controversy took the opposite opinion to that of the Libyan, and as he thought vigorously responded to what was said by the bishop. If,’ said he, ‘the Father begat the Son, he that was begotten had a beginning of existence: and from this it is evident, that there was a time when the Son was not. It therefore necessarily follows, that he had his subsistence [essence] from nothing.’

29. The Heresy of Arius

Sozomen, Hist. Ecc, 1:15, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., II, p. 251.

Although, as we have shown, religion was in a flourishing condition at this period, yet the churches were disturbed by sore contentions; for under the pretext of piety and of seeking the more perfect discovery of God, certain questions were agitated, which had not, till then, been examined. Arius was the originator of these disputations. He was a presbyter of the church at Alexandria in Egypt, and was at first a zealous thinker about doctrine, and upheld the innovations of Melitius. Eventually, however, he abandoned this latter opinion, and was ordained deacon by Peter, bishop of Alexandria, who afterwards cast him out of the church, because when Peter anathematized the zealots of Melitius and rejected their baptism, Arius assailed him for these acts and could not be restrained in quietness. After the martyrdom of Peter, Arius asked forgiveness of Achillas, and was restored to his office as deacon, and afterwards elevated to the presbytery. Afterwards Alexander, also, held him in high repute, since he was a most expert logician; for it was said that he was not lacking in such knowledge. He fell into absurd discourses, so that he had the audacity to preach in the church what no one before him had ever suggested; namely, that the Son of God was made out of that which had no prior existence, that there was a period of time in which he existed not; that, as possessing free will, he was capable of vice and virtue, and that he was created and made: to these, many other similar assertions were added as he went forward into the arguments and the details of inquiry. Those who heard these doctrines advanced, blamed Alexander for not opposing the innovations at variance with doctrine. But this bishop deemed it more advisable to leave each party to the free discussion of doubtful topics, so that by persuasion rather than by force, they might cease from contention; hence he sat down as a judge with some of his clergy, and led both sides into a discussion. But it happened on this occasion, as is generally the case in a strife of words, that each party claimed the victory. Arius defended his assertions, but the others contended that the Son is consubstantial and co-eternal with the Father. The council was convened a second time, and the same points contested, but they came to no agreement amongst themselves. During the debate, Alexander seemed to incline first to one party and then to the other; finally, however, he declared himself in favor of those who affirmed that the Son was consubstantial and co-eternal with the Father, and he commanded Arius to receive this doctrine, and to reject his former opinions.

30. Bishop Alexander of Alexandria and His Clergy Officially Anathematize Arius (c.319)

Socrates, Hist. Ecc, 1:6, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., II, p. 4.

The dogmas they have invented and assert, contrary to the Scriptures, are these: That God was not always the Father, but that there was a period when he was not the Father; that the Word of God was not from eternity, but was made out of nothing; for that the ever-existing God (‘the I AM’ — the eternal One) made him who did not previously exist, out of nothing; wherefore there was a time when he did not exist, inasmuch as the Son is a creature and a work. That he is neither like the Father as it regards his essence, nor is by nature either the Father’s true Word, or true Wisdom, but indeed one of his works and creatures, being erroneously called Word and Wisdom, since he was himself made by God’s own Word and the Wisdom which is in God, whereby God both made all things and him also. Wherefore he is as to his nature mutable and susceptible of change, as all other rational creatures are: hence the Word is alien to and other than the essence of God; and the Father is inexplicable by the Son, and invisible to him, for neither does the Word perfectly and accurately know the Father, neither can he distinctly see him. The Son knows not the nature of his own essence: for he was made on our account, in order that God might create us by him, as by an instrument; nor would he ever have existed, unless God had wished to create us.

Some one accordingly asked them whether the Word of God could be changed, as the devil has been? and they feared not to say, ‘Yes, he could; for being begotten, he is susceptible of change.’ We then, with the bishops of Egypt and Libya, being assembled together to the number of nearly a hundred, have anathematized Arius for his shameless avowal of these heresies, together with all such as have countenanced them.

31. Arius Curries Favor with Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia (c. 320)

Theodoret, Hist. Ecc, 1:4, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., Ill, p. 41.

"To his very dear lord, the man of God, the faithful and orthodox Eusebius, Arius, unjustly persecuted by Alexander the Pope, on account of that all-conquering truth of which you also are a champion, sendeth greeting in the Lord.

"Ammonius, my father, being about to depart for Nicomedia, I considered myself bound to salute you by him, and withal to inform that natural affection which you bear towards the brethren for the sake of God and His Christ, that the bishop greatly wastes and persecutes us, and leaves no stone unturned against us. He has driven us out of the city as atheists, because we do not concur in what he publicly preaches, namely, God always, the Son always; as the Father so the Son; the Son co-exists unbegotten with God; He is everlasting; neither by thought nor by any interval does God precede the Son; always God, always Son; he is begotten of the unbegotten; the Son is of God Himself. Eusebius, your brother bishop of Caesarea, Theodotus, Paulinus, Athanasius, Gregorius, Aetius, and all the bishops of the East, have been condemned because they say that God had an existence prior to that of His Son; except Philogonius, Hellanicus, and Macarius, who are unlearned men, and who have embraced heretical opinions. Some of them say that the Son is an eructation, others that He is a production, others that He is also unbegotten. These are impieties to which we cannot listen, even though the heretics threaten us with a thousand deaths. But we say and believe, and have taught, and do teach, that the Son is not unbegotten, nor in any way part of the unbegotten; and that He does not derive His subsistence from any matter; but that by His own will and counsel He has subsisted before time, and before ages, as perfect God, only begotten and unchangeable, and that before He was begotten, or created, or purposed, or established, He was not. For He was not unbegotten. We are persecuted, because we say that the Son has a beginning, but that God is without beginning. This is the cause of our persecution, and likewise, because we say that He is of the non-existent. 1 this we say, because He is neither part of God, nor of any essential being. For this are we persecuted; the rest you know. I bid thee farewell in the Lord, remembering our afflictions, my fellow-Lucianist, and true Eusebius."

32. The Letter of Arius to Bishop Alexander (c.320)

Athanasius, Ep. de Synodis Armini et Seleuciae habitis (359), 16, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., IV, p. 458.

And what they wrote by letter to the blessed Alexander, the Bishop, runs as follows: — To Our Blessed Pope and Bishop, Alexander, the Presbyters and Deacons send health in the Lord.

Our faith from our forefathers, which also we have learned from thee, Blessed Pope, is this: — We acknowledge One God, alone In-generate, alone Everlasting, alone Unbegun, alone True, alone having Immortality, alone Wise, alone Good, alone Sovereign; Judge, Governor, and Providence of all, unalterable and unchangeable, just and good, God of Law and Prophets and New Testament; who begat an Only-begotten Son before eternal times, through whom He has made both the ages and the universe; and begat Him, not in semblance, but in truth; and that He made Him subsist at His own will, unalterable and unchangeable; perfect creature of God, but not as one of things begotten; nor as Valentinus pronounced that the offspring of the Father was an issue; nor as Manichaeus taught that the offspring was a portion of the Father, one in essence; or as Sabellius, dividing the Monad, speaks of a Son-and-father; nor as Hieracas, of one torch from another, or as a lamp divided into two; nor that He who was before, was afterwards generated or new-created into a Son, as thou too thyself, Blessed Pope, in the midst of the Church and in session hast often condemned; but, as we say, at the will of God, created before times and before ages, and gaining life and being from the Father, who gave subsistence to His glories together with Him. For the Father did not, in giving to Him the inheritance of all things, deprive Himself of what He has ingenerately in Himself; for He is the Fountain of all things. Thus there are Three Subsistences. And God, being the cause of all things, is Unbegun and altogether Sole, but the Son being begotten apart from time by the Father, and being created and founded before ages, was not before His generation, but being begotten apart from time before all things, alone was made to subsist by the Father. For He is not eternal or co-eternal or co-unoriginate with the Father, nor has He His being together with the Father, as some speak of relations, introducing two ingenerate beginnings, but God is before all things as being Monad and Beginning of all. Wherefore also He is before the Son; as we have learned also from thy preaching in the midst of the Church. So far then as from God He has being, and glories, and life, and all things are delivered unto Him, in such sense is God His origin. For He is above Him, as being His God and before Him. But if the terms ‘from Him,’ and ‘from the womb,’ and ‘I came forth from the Father, and I am come’ (Rom. xi:36; Ps. ex. 3; John xvi:28), be understood by some to mean as if a part of Him, one in essence or as an issue, then the Father is according to them compounded and divisible and alterable and material, and, as far as their belief goes, has the circumstances of a body, Who is the Incorporeal God.

33. Fragmentary Quotations from Arius’ Thalia

Athanasius, Ep. ad syn. Arm. et Sel., 15, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., IV, pp. 457-58.

God Himself then, in His own nature, is ineffable by all men. Equal or like Himself He alone has none, or one in glory. And Ingenerate we call Him, because of Him who is generate by nature. We praise Him as without beginning because of Him who has a beginning. And adore Him as everlasting, because of Him who in time has come to be. The Unbegun made the Son a beginning of things originated; and advanced Him as a Son to Himself by adoption. He has nothing proper to God in proper subsistence. For He is not equal, no, nor one in essence with Him. Wise is God, for He is the teacher of Wisdom. There is full proof that God is invisible to all beings; both to things which are through the Son, and to the Son He is invisible. I will say it expressly, how by the Son t en the Invisible; by that power by which God sees, and in His own measure, the Son endures to see the Father, as is lawful. Thus there is a Triad, not in equal glories. Not intermingling with each other are their subsistences. One more glorious than the other in their glories unto immensity. Foreign from the Son in essence is the Father, for He is without beginning. Understand that the Monad was; but the Dyad was not, before it was in existence. It follows at once that, though the Son was not, the Father was God. Hence the Son, not being (for He existed at the will of the Father), is God Only-begotten, and He is alien from either. Wisdom existed as Wisdom by the will of the Wise God. Hence He is conceived in numberless conceptions: Spirit, Power, Wisdom, God’s glory, Truth, Image, and Word. Understand that He is conceived to be Radiance and Light. One equal to the Son, the Superior is able to beget; but one more excellent, or superior, or greater, He is not able. At God’s will the Son is what and whatsoever He is. And when and since He was, from that time He has subsisted from God. He, being a strong God, praises in His degree the Superior. To speak in brief, God is ineffable to His Son. For He is to Himself what He is, that is, unspeakable. So that nothing which is called comprehensible does the Son know to speak about; for it is impossible for Him to investigate the Father, who is by Himself. For the Son does not know His own essence, For, being Son, He really existed, at the will of the Father. What argument then allows, that He who is from the Father should know His own parent by comprehension? For it is plain that for that which hath a beginning to conceive how the Unbegun is, or to grasp the idea, is not possible.

34. Constantine’s Call for a Council at Nicaea (325)

Euseb., Vita Const., 3:6, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., I, p. 521.

Then as if to bring a divine array against this enemy, he convoked a general council, and invited the speedy attendance of bishops from all quarters, in letters expressive of the honorable estimation in which he held them. Nor was this merely the issuing of a bare command, but the emperor’s good will contributed much to its being carried into effect: for he allowed some the use of the public means of conveyance, while he afforded to others an ample supply of horses for their transport. The place, too, selected for the synod, the city Nicaea in Bithynia (named from "Victory"), was appropriate to the occasion. As soon then as the imperial injunction was generally made known, all with the utmost willingness hastened thither, as though they would outstrip one another in a race; for they were impelled by the anticipation of a happy result to the conference, by the hope of enjoying present peace, and the desire of beholding something new and strange in the person of so admirable an emperor.

35. The Creed of the Council of Nicaea (325)

Socrates, Hist. Ecc, 1:8. Selections from A Source Book for Ancient Church History, pp. 305-6, by Joseph Cullen Ayer are reprinted with the permission of Charles Scribner’s Sons © 1913 Charles Scribner’s Sons; renewal © 1941 Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr.

We believe in one God, Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of His Father, only begotten, that is of the ousia of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God; begotten, not made, of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made, both things in heaven and things in earth, who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven and was made [became] flesh and was made [became] man, suffered and rose again on the third day, ascended into the heavens and comes to judge living and dead.

But those who say there was when He was not, and before being begotten He was not, and He was made out of things that were not or those who say that the Son of God was from a different substance [hypostasis] or being [ousia] or a creature, or capable of change or alteration, these the Catholic Church anathematizes.

Emperor Reviews the Work of the Council of Nicaea and Calls for Unity

Socrates, Hist. Ecc, 1:9, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., II, pp. 13-14.

But in order that this might be done, by divine admonition I assembled at the city of Nicaea most of the bishops; with whom I myself also, who am but one of you, and who rejoice exceedingly in being your fellow-servant, undertook the investigation of the truth. Accordingly, all points which seemed in consequence of ambiguity to furnish any pretext for dissension, have been discussed and accurately examined. And may the Divine Majesty pardon the fearful enormity of the blasphemies which some were shamelessly uttering concerning the mighty Saviour, our life and hope; declaring and confessing that they believe things contrary to the divinely inspired Scriptures. While more than three hundred bishops remarkable for their moderation and intellectual keenness, were unanimous in their confirmation of one and the same faith, which according to the truth and legitimate construction of the law of God can only be the faith; Arius alone beguiled by the subtlety of the devil, was discovered to be the sole disseminator of this mischief, first among you, and afterwards with unhallowed purposes among others also. Let us therefore embrace that doctrine which the Almighty has presented to us: let us return to our beloved brethren from whom an irreverent servant of the devil has separated us: let us go with all speed to the common body and our own natural members. For this is becoming your penetration, faith and sanctity; that since the error has been proved to be due to him who is an enemy to the truth, ye should return to the divine favor. For that which has commended itself to the judgment of three hundred bishops cannot be other than the doctrine of God; seeing that the Holy Spirit dwelling in the minds of so many dignified persons has effectually enlightened them respecting the Divine will. Wherefore let no one vacillate or linger, but let all with alacrity return to the undoubted path of duty; that when I shall arrive among you, which will be as soon possible, I may with you return due thanks to God, the inspector of all things, for having revealed the pure faith, and restored to you that love for which ye have prayed.

XI. Athanasius Combats the Arians, Contra Arianos.

37. Co-eternity of Father and Son; the Fathers Eternity Implies the Eternity of That Radiance Which Is His Word

(1:25), trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., IV, p. 321.

. . . — whereas God is, He was eternally; since then the Father is ever, His Radiance ever is, which is His Word. And again, God who is, hath from Himself His Word who also is; and neither hath the Word been added, whereas He was not before, nor was the Father once without Reason. For this assault upon the Son makes the blasphemy recoil upon the Father; as if He desired for Himself a Wisdom, and Word, and Son from without; for whichever of these titles you use, you denote the offspring from the Father, as has been said. So that this their objection does not hold; and naturally; for denying the Logos they in consequence ask questions which are illogical. As then if a person saw the sun, and then inquired concerning its radiance, and said, ‘Did that which is make that which was, or that which was not/ he would be held not to reason sensibly, but to be utterly mazed, because he fancied what is from the Light to be external to it, and was raising questions, when and where and whether it were made; in like manner, thus to speculate concerning the Son and the Father and thus to inquire, is far greater madness, for it is to conceive of the Word of the Father as external to Him, and to idly call the natural offspring a work, with the avowal, ‘He was not before His generation.’

38. The Father Is in the Son as the Sun Is in Its Radiance (3:3)

Trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., IV, p. 395.

For the Son is in the Father, as it is allowed us to know, because the whole Being of the Son is proper to the Father’s essence, as radiance from light, and stream from fountain; so that whose sees the Son, sees what is proper to the Father, and knows that the Son’s Being, because from the Father, is therefore in the Father. For the Father is in the Son, since the Son is what is from the Father and proper to Him, as in the radiance the sun, and in the word the thought, and in the stream the fountain: for whose thus contemplates the Son, contemplates what is proper to the Father’s Essence, and knows that the Father is in the Son.

39. Father and Son Are Two; but the Nature Is One (Sun and Radiance Are Two; but the Light from the Sun Is One)

(3:4), trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., IV, p. 395.

For they are one, not as one thing divided into two parts, and these nothing but one, nor as one thing twice named, so that the Same becomes at one time Father, at another His own Son, for this Sabellius holding was judged an heretic. But They are two, because the Father is Father and is not also Son, and the Son is Son and not also Father; but the nature is one; (for the offspring is not unlike its parent, for it is his image), and all that is the Father’s, is the Son’s. Wherefore neither is the Son another God, for He was not procured from without, else were there many, if a godhead be procured foreign from the Father’s; for if the Son be other, as an Offspring, still He is the Same as God; and He and the Father are one in propriety and peculiarity of nature, and in the identity of the one Godhead, as has been said. For the radiance also is light, not second to the sun, nor a different light, nor from participation of it, but a whole and proper offspring of it. And such an offspring is necessarily one light; and no one would say that they are two lights, but sun and radiance two, yet one the light from the sun enlightening in its radiance all things. So also the Godhead of the Son is the Father’s; whence also it is indivisible; and thus there is one God and none other but He. And so, since they are one, and the Godhead itself one, the same things are said of the Son, which are said of the Father, except His being said to be Father: — for instance, that He is God, ‘And the Word was God;’ Almighty, ‘Thus saith He which was and is and is to come, the Almighty;’ Lord, ‘One Lord Jesus Christ;’ that He is Light, 1 am the Light;’ . ..

40. Whoever Worships the Son, Worships the Father in the Son

(3:6), trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., IV, pp. 396-97.

Wherefore also is He implied together with the Father. For, a son not being, one cannot say father; whereas when we call God a Maker, we do not of necessity intimate the things which have come to be; for a maker is before his works. But when we call God Father, at once with the Father we signify the Son’s existence. Therefore also he who believes in the Son, believes also in the Father: for he believes in what is proper to the Father’s Essence; and thus the faith is one in one God. And he who worships and honours the Son, in the Son worships and honours the Father; for one is the Godhead; and therefore one the honour and one the worship which is paid to the Father in and through the Son. And he who thus worships, worships one God; . . .

41. The Arians Strive to Separate the Son from the Father, the Brightness from the Light

Ad episcopos Aegypti (c. 356/61), 13, trans. LF, XIII, pp. 141-42.

. . . Infidelity is coming in through these men, or rather a Judaism beside the Scriptures, which has close upon it Gentile superstition; so that he who holds these opinions can no longer be called a Christian, for they are all contrary to the Scriptures.

John, for instance, saith, "In the beginning was the Word;" but these men say, "He was not before he was begotten." And again he has written, "And we are. in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ; this is the true God, and eternal life;" but these men, as if in contradiction to this, allege that Christ is not the true God, but that He is only called God, as are other creatures, in regard of His participation in the Divine nature. And the Apostle blames the Gentiles, because they worship creatures, saying, "They served the creature more than" God "the Creator." But if these men say that the Lord is a creature, and worship Him as a creature, how do they differ from the Gentiles? If they hold this opinion, is not this passage also against them; and does not the blessed Paul write as blaming them? The Lord also says, "I and my Father are one"; and "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father"; and the Apostle, who was sent by Him to preach, writes, "Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express Image of His Person." But these men dare to separate them, and to say that he is alien from the substance and eternity)of the Father; and impiously to represent Him as changeable, not perceiving that, by speaking thus, they make Him to be not one with the Father, but one with created things. Who does not see that the brightness cannot be separated from the light, but that it is by nature proper to it and coexistent with it, and is not produced after it?

XII. Athanasius on Incarnation, Redemption and Deification (c. 318).

42. Christ Was Incarnated so that the Law Involving Mans Ruin Might Be Undone

De Incar., 8, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., IV, p. 40.

For this purpose, then, the incorporeal and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God comes to our realm, howbeit he was not far from us before. For no part of Creation is left void of Him: He has filled all things everywhere, remaining present with His own Father. But He comes in condescension to shew loving-kindness upon us, and to visit us. ... He took pity on our race, and had mercy on our infirmity, and condescended to our corruption, and, unable to bear that death should have the mastery — lest the creature should perish, and His Father’s handiwork in men be spent for nought — He takes unto Himself a body, and that of no different sort from ours. . . . And thus taking from our bodies one of like nature, because all were under penalty of the corruption of death He gave it over to death in the stead of all, and offered it to the Father — doing this, moreover, of His loving-kindness, to the end that, firstly, all being held to have died in Him, the law involving the ruin of men might be undone (inasmuch as its power was fully spent in the Lord’s body, and had no longer holding-ground against men, his peers), and that, secondly, whereas men had turned toward corruption, He might turn them again toward incorruption, and quicken them from death by the appropriation of His body and by the grace of the Resurrection, banishing death from them like straw from the fire.

43. So that Mans Redemption and Deification Might Be Sure

Cont. Arian., 2:70, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., IV, p. 386.

For therefore did He assume the body originate and human, that having renewed it as its Framer, He might deify it in Himself, and thus might introduce us all into the kingdom of heaven after His likeness. For man had not been deified if joined to a creature, or unless the Son were very God; nor had man been brought into the Father’s presence, unless He had been His natural and true Word who had put on the body. And as we had not been delivered from sin and the curse, unless it had been by nature human flesh, which the Word put on (for we should have had nothing common with what was foreign), so also the man had not been deified, unless the Word who became flesh had been by nature from the Father and true and proper to Him. For therefore the union was of this kind, that He might unite what is man by nature to Him who is in the nature of the Godhead, and his salvation and deification might be sure.

XIII. Typical Decisions and Canons of Early Christian Councils.

A. arles (314)

44. Canon 14 (13): On Donatist Ordination

Trans. O. R. Vassall-Phillips, St. Optatus, App. IV. See IX, 27 on Easter, etc., in this chapter.

14(13) Concerning those who are said to have surrendered the Holy Scriptures or communion vessels, or the names of their brethren, we decree that whoever of them has been proved from public documents to have done these things shall be removed from the clergy. For if the same persons are found to have carried out ordinations, and a question has arisen about those whom they have ordained, such ordination should not be prejudicial to them. And seeing that there are many who seem to oppose the church, and through bribed witnesses think that they should be allowed to bring accusations, their plea is absolutely disallowed, unless, as we said above, they produce evidence from written documents.

B. Ancyra (314-319)

45. Canon 3: On Readmission of Those Having "Lapsed" under Persecution

Trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., XIV, p. 64.

Those who have fled and been apprehended, or have been betrayed by their servants; or those who have been otherwise despoiled of their goods, or have endured tortures, or have been imprisoned and abused, declaring themselves to be Christians; or who have been forced to receive something which their persecutors violently thrust into their hands, or meat [offered to idols], continually professing that they were Christians; and who, by their whole apparel, and demeanour, and humility of life, always give evidence of grief at what has happened; these persons, inasmuch as they are free from sin, are not to be repelled from the communion; and if, through an extreme strictness or ignorance of some things, they have been repelled, let them forthwith be re-admitted. This shall hold good alike of clergy and laity. It has also been considered whether laymen who have fallen under the same compulsion may be admitted to orders, and we have decreed that, since they have in no respect been guilty, they may be ordained; provided their past course of life be found to have been upright.

C. Nicaea (325)

46. Canon 6: All Sees to Retain Ancient Rights

Trans. PTR, IV, 2 (i), p. 6.

Let the ancient customs prevail which obtain in Egypt and Libya and Pentapolis, and which give the bishop of Alexandria jurisdiction over all these provinces, since there is a similar custom in the case of the bishop of Rome. And likewise also at Antioch, and in the other provinces, their prerogatives are to be preserved to the churches. Now it is perfectly plain that if any one has become a bishop without the consent of the metropolitan, the great Synod has decreed that such a one ought not to be a bishop, If, however, two or three, through their own contentiousness, antagonize the common vote of all the bishops, the same being reasonable and in accordance with church law, the vote of the majority must prevail.

47. Canon 10: Against Ordaining Those Having Lapsed

Trans. PTR, IV, 2 (i), p. 7.

If any from the number of the lapsed have been promoted to office, either in ignorance, or with the ordainers’ full knowledge, this shall not prejudice the church’s rule; for when the fact is discovered, they must be deposed.

48. Canon IS: Communion to Be Given the Dying

Trans. PTR, IV, 2 (i), p. 8.

With regard to those [penitents] who are departing this life, the old and regular law is still to be observed: viz. that if any one is at the point of death, he should not be deprived of the last and most necessary provision for the journey [*** — viaticum]. But if, after one’s life has been despaired of, and he has partaken of the communion, he is again restored to the number of the living, he shall be in the class of those who join in the prayers only.

And, in general, if any one whatsoever is departing, and begs to partake of the Eucharist, the bishop, after due examination of his fitness, shall give it to him.

49. Canon 17: Against Clerics Taking Usury

Trans. PTR, IV, 2 (i), p. 9.

Inasmuch as many enrolled among the clergy, in covetous pursuit of sordid gain, have forgotten the divine Scripture which says: "He put not his money out at interest" [Ps. 14:5 LXX]; and when they make loans, demand 1 per cent, a month; the holy and great Synod has deemed it just to decree that if, after the publication of this ordinance, any one is found taking interest by explicit contract, or seeking to accomplish the same result in another way, or exacting half as much again when the debt falls due, or, in fine, resorting to any other contrivance whatsoever for the sake of base gain, he shall be deposed from the clerical office, and his name erased from the list.

D. Constantinople (381)

50. Canon 3: The Bishop of Constantinople Next in Rank to the Bishop of Rome

Trans. PTR, IV, 2 (i), p. 13.

Next to the bishop of Rome, the bishop of Constantinople shall have priority of rank, because Constantinople is New Rome.

E. Chalcedon (451)

51. Definition of the Faith of Chalcedon

Trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., XIV, 264-65.

Following the holy Fathers we teach with one voice that the Son [of God] and our Lord Jesus Christ is to be confessed as one and the same [Person], that he is perfect in Godhead and perfect in manhood, very God and very man, of a reasonable soul and [human] body consisting, consubstantial with the Father as touching his Godhead, and consubstantial with us as touching his manhood; made in all things like unto us, sin only excepted; begotten of his Father before the worlds according to his Godhead; but in these last days for us men and for our salvation born [into the world] of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God according to his manhood. This one and the same Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son [of God] must be confessed to be in two natures, unconfusedly, immutably, indivisibly, inseparably [united], and that without the distinction of natures being taken away by such union, but rather the peculiar property of each nature being preserved and being united in one Person and subsistence, not separated or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son and only-begotten, God the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Prophets of old time have spoken concerning him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ hath taught us, and as the Creed of the Fathers hath delivered to us.

These things, therefore, having been expressed by us with the greatest accuracy and attention, the holy Ecumenical Synod defines that no one shall be suffered to bring forward a different faith [***], nor to write, nor to put together, nor to excogitate, nor to teach it to others. But such as dare either to put together another faith, or to bring forward or to teach or to deliver a different Creed [***] to such as wish to be converted to the knowledge of the truth from the Gentiles, or Jews or any heresy whatever, if they be Bishops or clerics let them be deposed, the Bishops from the Episcopate, and the clerics from the clergy; but if they be monks or laics: let them be anathematized.

52. Canon 3: Clerics Not to Undertake Secular Business

Trans. PTR, TV, 2 (iv), pp. 22-23.

It has come to the holy Synod that certain men who are registered among the clergy have become, through their love of base gain, farmers of other men’s estates, and managers of secular affairs, thus becoming remiss in the service of God; that they also insinuate themselves into the houses of worldly persons, and in covetousness accept the management of their property. Wherefore the holy and great Synod has decreed that in the future no bishop, or cleric, or monk shall either farm estates, or administer property, or busy himself with secular administrations, except when he is legally compelled to assume the guardianship of minors, or is entrusted by the bishop with the care ecclesiastical business, or of orphans, or widows not otherwise provided for, and in general of persons who most need help from the church, through fear of the Lord. Now if any one in the future attempts to transgress these decrees, he shall incur the ecclesiastical penalties.

53. Canon 10: Against Pluralists

Trans. PTR, IV, 2 (iv), p. 25.

A cleric is not permitted to be registered in two cities at once, that is in the church in which he was originally ordained, and in that to which, through love of vain glory, he has fled because it is larger; and those who do this must be restored to their own church in which they were first ordained and must there alone minister. If, however, a man has already been" transferred from one church to another, he shall have nothing more to do with the affairs of the former church, or with the martyries, or almshouses, or hospices under its jurisdiction. The holy Synod has therefore decreed, that those who are so bold as to do anything thus forbidden, after the publication of the ordinance of this great and ecumenical Synod, shall be deposed from their rank.

XIV. The Relation of Spiritual and Temporal Powers after Constantine.

A. Under Julian The Apostate (361-363)

54. Julian Reopens Pagan Temples

Sozomen, Hist. Ecc, 5:3, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., II, p. 328.

When Julian found himself sole possessor of the empire, he commanded that all the pagan temples should be reopened throughout the East; that those which had been neglected should be repaired; that those which had fallen into ruins should be rebuilt, and that the altars should be restored. He assigned considerable money for this purpose; he restored the customs of antiquity and the ancestral ceremonies in the cities, and the practice of offering sacrifice. He himself offered libations openly and publicly sacrificed; bestowed honors on those who were zealous in the performance of these ceremonies; restored the initiators and the priests, the hierophants and the servants of the images, to their old privileges; and confirmed the legislation of former emperors in their behalf; he conceded exemption from duties and from other burdens as was their previous right; he restored the provisions, which had been abolished, to the temple guardians, and commanded them to be pure from meats, and to abstain from whatever according to pagan saying was befitting him who had announced his purpose of leading a pure life.

55. Under the Guise of Tolerating Christianity he Seeks its Ruin

Sozomen, Hist. Ecc, 5:5, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser.; II, pp. 329-30.

It was from these motives that Julian recalled from exile all Christians who, during the reign of Constantius, had been banished on account of their religious sentiments, and restored to them their property that had been confiscated by law. He charged the people not to commit any act of injustice against the Christians, not to insult them, and not to constrain them to offer sacrifice unwillingly. . . . He deprived the clergy, however, of the immunities, honors, and provisions which Constantine had conferred; repealed the laws which had been enacted in their favor, and reinforced their statute liabilities. He even compelled the virgins and widows, who, on account of their poverty, were reckoned among the clergy, to refund the provision which had been assigned them from public sources, . . .

Nothing, however, could diminish the enmity of the ruler against religion. In the intensity of his hatred against the faith, he seized every opportunity to ruin the Church. He deprived it of its property, votives, and sacred vessels, and condemned those who had demolished temples during the reign of Constantine and Constantius, to rebuild them, or to defray the expenses of their re-erection. On this ground, since they were unable to pay the sums and also on account of the inquisition for sacred money, many of the priests, clergy, and the other Christians were cruelly tortured and cast into prison.

It may be concluded from what has t>een said, that if Julian shed less blood than preceding persecutors of the Church, and that if he devised fewer punishments for the torture of the body, yet that he was severer in other respects; for he appears as inflicting evil upon it in every way, except that he recalled the priests who had been condemned to banishment by the Emperor Constantius; . . .

B. Under Theodosius I (379-395) in Relation to Ambrose (340-397), Bishop of Milan

56. Tension During Holy Week at Milan (385)

Ambrose, Ep. 20:19, 22-28, trans. LF, XLV, p. l?8ff.

[19] At length came the command, "Deliver up the Basilica"; I reply, "It is not lawful for us to deliver it up, nor for your Majesty to receive it. By no law can you violate the house of a private man, and do you think that the house of God may be taken away? It is asserted that all things are lawful to the Emperor, that all things are his. But do not burden your conscience with the thought that you have any right as Emperor over sacred things. Exalt not yourself, but if you would reign the longer, be subject to God. It is written, God’s to God and Caesars to Caesar. The palace is the Emperor’s, the Churches are the Bishop’s. To you is committed jurisdiction over public, not over sacred buildings." Again the Emperor is said to have issued his command, "I also ought to have one Basilica"; I answered "It is not lawful for thee to have her. What hast thou to do with an adulteress who is not bound with Christ in lawful wedlock?"

[22] Thus I spoke, wondering that the Emperor’s mind could be softened by the zeal of the soldiers, by the entreaties of the Counts, by the prayers of the people. Meanwhile I am informed that a Secretary was come with the mandate. I retired a little, and he notified to me the mandate. "What has been your design," says he, "in acting against the Emperor’s orders?" I replied, "What has been ordered I know not, nor am I aware what is alleged to have been wrongly done." He says, "Why have you sent presbyters to the Basilica? If you are a tyrant I would fain know it, that I may know how to arm myself against you." I replied by saying that I had done nothing which assumed too much for the Church, but when I heard it was filled with soldiers, I only uttered deeper groans, and though many exhorted me to proceed thither, I replied, "I cannot give up the Basilica, yet I must not fight." That afterwards, when I was told that the Imperial hangings were removed, and that the people required me to go thither, I had directed the presbyters to do so, but that I was unwilling to go myself, saying, "I trust in Christ that the Emperor himself will espouse our cause."

[23] If this seems like domineering, I grant indeed that I have arms, but only in the name of Christ; I have the power of offering up my body. Why, I asked, did he delay to strike if he considered my power unlawful? By ancient right Priests have conferred sovereignty, never assumed it, and it is a common saying that Emperors have coveted the Priesthood more often than Priests sovereignty. Christ fled that He might not be made a king. We have a power of our own. The power of a Priest is his weakness; When I am weak, it is said, then am I strong. But let him against whom God has raised up no adversary beware lest he raise up a tyrant for himself. Maximus did not say that I domineered over Valentinian, though he complains that my embassage prevented his passing over into Italy. I added, that priests were never usurpers, but that they had often suffered from usurpers.

[24] The whole of that day was passed in this affliction; meanwhile the boys tore in derision the Imperial hangings. I could not return home, because the Church was surrounded by a guard of soldiers. We recited the Psalms with our brethren in the little Basilica belonging to the Church.

[25] On the following day, the book of Jonah was read in due course, after which, I began this discourse; We have read a book, my brethren, wherein it is foretold that sinners shall return again to repentance. They are accepted on this footing, that their present state is considered an earnest of the future. I added that this just man was even willing to incur blame, rather than behold or denounce destruction on the city; and, since that prophecy was mournful, that he was also grieved because the gourd had withered; that God had said to the prophet, Art thou greatly angry for the gourd? and Jonah had answered, 7 am greatly angry. Then the Lord said if the withering of the gourd was a grief to him, how much more ought he to care for the salvation of so many souls; and therefore that He had suspended the destruction which had been prepared for the whole city.

[26] Immediate tidings are brought to me that the Emperor had commanded the soldiers to retire from the Church; and that the fine which had been imposed on the merchants *on their condemnation should be restored. What joy then prevailed among the whole people, what applause, what congratulations! Now it was the day whereon the Lord delivered Himself up for us, the day whereon there is a relaxation of penance in the Church. The soldiers eagerly brought the tidings, running in to the altars, and giving the kiss, the emblem of peace. Then I perceived that God had smitten the worm which came when the morning rose, that the whole city might be preserved.

[27] These are the past events, and would that they were terminated, but the excited words of the Emperor show that heavier trials are awaiting us. I am called a tyrant, and even more than tyrant. For when the Counts besought the Emperor to go to the Church, and said that they did so at the request of the soldiers, he replied, "You would deliver me up to chains, if Ambrose bade you." I leave you to judge what awaits us after these words; all shuddered at hearing them, but there are those about him who exasperate him.

[28] Lastly Calligonus the Grand Chamberlain ventured to address himself specially to me. "Do you, while I live, despise Valentinian? I will have your head." I replied, "May God grant you to fulfil your threat: I shall suffer as becomes a Bishop, you will act as befits an eunuch." May God indeed turn them aside from the Church; may all their weapons be directed against me, may they satiate their thirst in my blood!

57. The Affair at Callinicum (388)

Ambrose, Ep. 41:26-28, trans. LF, XLV.

Seeing therefore, O Emperor (for I will now not only discourse of you but address myself to you) how severe the Lord’s censures are wont to be, you must take care, in proportion as you become more illustrious, to submit so much the more humbly to your Maker. For it is written: When the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into a foreign land, and thou shalt eat the fruits of others, say not, "By my own strength and righteousness I obtained these things," but, "The Lord God gave them to me, Christ in His mercy conferred them on me," and therefore by loving His body, that is, the Church, pour water on His feet and kiss His feet; thus shalt thou not only absolve those who have been taken in sin, but in giving to them peace you will bring them into concord and restore to them rest. Pour ointment on His feet, that the whole house wherein Christ sits at meat may be filled with the odour of thy ointment, and let all who sit at meat with Him rejoice in thy fragrance; that is to say, pay such regard even to the lowest, that in their absolution the Angels may rejoice, as they do over one sinner that repenteth, the Apostles may be glad, the Prophets may exult. For the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee, nor the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Since therefore each member is necessary, do thou protect the whole body of the Lord Jesus, that He also of His divine mercy may protect thy kingdom.

On my coming down he says to me, "You have been preaching at me to-day." I replied that in my discourse I had his benefit in view. He then said, "It is true, I did make too harsh a decree concerning the reparation of the synagogue by the Bishop, but this has been rectified. As for the monks, they commit many crimes." Then Timasius, one of the Generals-in-chief, began to be very vehement against the monks. I replied to him, "With the Emperor I deal as is fitting, because I know that he fears God, but with you, who speak so rudely, I shall deal differently."

After standing for some time, I said to the Emperor, "Enable me to offer for you with a safe conscience, set my mind at rest." The Emperor sat still, and nodded, but did not promise in plain words; then, seeing that I still remained standing, he said that he would amend the order. I said at once that he must quash the whole enquiry, for fear the Count should make it an opportunity for inflicting wrong on the Christians. He promised that it should be done. I said to him, "I act on your promise," and repeated the words again. "Do so," said he. Then I went to the altar; but I would not have gone, if he had not given me his distinct promise. And indeed so great was the grace attending the oblation, that I myself was sensible that this favour he had granted was very acceptable to our God, and that the divine Presence had not been withheld. Then all was done as I wished.

58. The Massacre at Thessalonika (390)

Ambrose, Ep. 51:4, 12, 13, trans. LF, XLV, pp. 325, 328.

Suffer me, gracious Emperor. You have a zeal for the faith, I own it, you have the fear of God, I confess it; but you have a vehemence of temper, which if soothed may readily be changed into compassion, but if inflamed becomes so violent that you can scarcely restrain it. If no one will allay it, let no one at least inflame it. To yourself I would willingly trust, for you are wont to exercise self-control, and by your love of mercy to conquer this violence of your nature.

I advise, I entreat, I exhort, I admonish; for I am grieved that you who were an example of singular piety, who stood so high for clemency, who would not suffer even single offenders to be put in jeopardy, should not mourn over the death of so many innocent persons. Successful as you have been in battle, and great in other respects, yet mercy was ever the crown of your actions. The devil has envied you your chief excellence: overcome him, while you still have the means. Add not sin to sin by acting in a manner which has injured so many.

For my part, debtor as I am to your clemency in all other things; grateful as I must ever be for this clemency, which I have found superior to that of many Emperors and equalled only by one, though I have no ground for charging you with contumacy, I have still reason for apprehension: if you purpose being present, I dare not offer the Sacrifice. That which may not be done when the blood of one innocent person has been shed, may it be done where many have been slain? I trow not.

59. The Emperor Prohibits Pagan Worship as a Crime (392)

Codex Theodosianus, 16:10, 12. Selections from A Source Book for Ancient Church History, pp. 346 — 48, by Joseph Cullen Ayer are reprinted with the permission of Charles Scribner’s Sons © 1913 Charles Scribner’s Sons; renewal © 1941 Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr.

Hereafter no one of whatever race of dignity, whether placed in office or discharged therefrom with honor, powerful by birth or humble in condition and fortune, shall in any place or in any city sacrifice an innocent victim to a senseless image, venerate with fire the household deity by a more private offering, as it were the genius of the house, or the Penates, and burn lights, place incense, or hang up garlands. If any one undertakes by way of sacrifice to slay a victim or to consult the smoking entrails, let him, as guilty of lese-majesty, receive the appropriate sentence, having been accused by a lawful indictment, even though he shall not have sought anything against the safety of the princes or concerning their welfare. It constitutes a crime of this nature to wish to repeal the laws, to spy into unlawful things, to reveal secrets, or to attempt things forbidden, to seek the end of another’s welfare, r to promise the hope of another’s ruin. If any one by placing incense venerates either images made by mortal labor, or those which enduring, or if any one in ridiculous fashion forthwith venerates what he has represented, either by a tree encircled with garlands or an altar of cut turfs, though the antage of such service is small, the injury to religion is complete, let him as guilty of sacrilege be punished by the loss of that house or possession in which he worshipped ording to the heathen superstition. For all places which shall smoke with incense, if they shall be proved to belong to those who burn the incense, shall be confiscated. But if in temples or public sanctuaries or buildings and fields belonging to another, any one wuld venture this sort of sacrifice, if it shall appear that the acts were performed without the knowledge of the owner, let him be compelled to pay a fine of twenty-five pounds of gold, and let the same penalty apply to those who connive at this crime as well as those who sacrifice. We will, also, that this command be observed by judges, defensors, and curials of each and every city, to the effect that those things noted by them be reported to the court, and by them the acts charged may be punished. But if they believe anything is to be overlooked by favor or allowed to pass through negligence, they will lie under a judicial warning. And when they have been warned, if by any negligence they fail to punish they will be fined thirty pounds of gold, and the members of their court are to be subjected to a like punishment.

C. Justinian (527-565) Consolidate Earlier Legislation Concerning Spiritual and Temporal Powers

60. Constantine on Church Properties and Privileges (321)

The Code, Bk. I, Tit. II, No. 1, trans. S. P. Scott, The Civil Law (Cincinnati: The Central Trust Co., 1932), XII, 15. Grateful acknowledgment of permission to reprint Items 60 — 65 is made to the Central Trust Company (Executor of the Estate of* Samuel P. Scott, deceased), The Estate of Elizabeth W. Scott, deceased, and the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, the copyright owners of The Civil Law.

1. The Emperor Constantine to the People

Let everyone, at the time of his death, have the liberty to leave any portion of his property that he chooses to a most holy and venerable Catholic congregation, and let his dispositions not be set aside; for there is nothing to which men are more entitled than to have free power to exert their last will, as afterwards they cannot do so, and let them be unrestrained, for the right exercised then does not return.

Given at Rome, on the fifth of the Nones of July during the Consulate of Crispus and Constantine-Caesar, each Consul for the second time, 321.

61. Honorius and Theodosius on the Relics of the Martyrs (386)

Ibid., I, ii, 3, trans. Scott, CL, XII, p. 16.

3. The Emperors Honorius And Theodosius

Let no one sell or purchase the relics of martyrs.

Given at Constantinople, on the fourth of the Kalends of March, during the Consulate of the Prince Honorius, and Evodius, 386.

62. The Same Concerning Churches and Church Property (423)

Ibid., I, ii, 7, trans. Scott, CL, XII, 17.

7. The Same To Asclepiodotus, Praetorian Prefect

We freely place the care of the Divine Houses and Venerable Churches in the same honorable class with that of highways and bridges, because these are not included among base employments.

Given at Constantinople, on the fifteenth of the Kalends of March, during the Consulate of Asclepiodotus and Marinian, 423.

63. Justinian on Donations for Pious Purposes (528)

Ibid., I, ii, 16, trans. Scott, CL, XII, p. 26.

16. The Emperor Justinian To Menna, Praetorian Prefect

The principle set forth in the ancient laws, although obscurely stated, that donations made for pious purposes were valid, even though they had not been inserted into written instruments, We plainly and clearly direct shall stand; just as in other cases, where ancient rights remain intact if they have reference to gifts of this description. When, however, anyone makes a donation of property up to the value of fifty solidi, either to a holy church, to a house for the entertainment of strangers, an infirmary, an orphan asylum, an establishment where indigent persons are sheltered, an old men’s home, a foundling hospital to the poor themselves or to some city; such donations shall be valid, if the necessary legal formalities have been complied with.

If, however, the donation should be for a larger sum than that above mentioned (except, of course, where one is made by the Emperor), it will be void unless it is set forth in a proper instrument, for no one shall have the right for any reason, and under the pretext of piety, to change the rules established by the ancients concerning such donations, with the exception of those which We have expressly mentioned.

Given 528.

64. Justinian on the Privileged State of Church Holdings

Ibid., I, ii, 18, trans. Scott, CL, XII, p. 27.

18. The Same, to Demosthenes, Praetorian Prefect

We order that property that comes into the hands of churches, hospitals, monasteries, orphan asylums, old men’s homes, foundling hospitals, insane asylums, or any other establishments of this kind, whether it is derived from the liberality of the people, or from donations inter vivos or mortis causa, or from a last will, or has been acquired by any other lucrative title, shall be free and immune from interference; for although the law enacted on this subject exerts all its force with reference to other persons, still, in consideration of piety, its vigor should be relaxed so far as the Church or any other institutions which have been set apart for pious uses are concerned. For why should we not make a distinction between Divine and human things? And why should not the privileges to which it is entitled be reserved in favor of Heaven?

(1) This law shall not only be observed in cases which may arise hereafter, but also in those which are at present pending, and which have not yet been determined, either by a judicial decision or by amicable compromise.

Published at the seventh milliary of this renowned City, in the new Consistory of the Palace of Justinian.

65. Priesthood and Empire According to Justinian

The Novels, Tit. VI, Sixth New Constitution. First Collection, Preface, trans. Scott CL XVI p. 30.

The priesthood and the Empire are the two greatest gifts which God, in His infinite clemency, has bestowed upon mortals; the former has reference to Divine matters, the latter presides over and directs human affairs, and both, proceeding from the same principle, adorn the life of mankind; hence nothing should be such a source of care to the emperors as the honor of the priests who constantly pray to God for their salvation. For if the priesthood is everywhere free from blame, and the Empire full of confidence in God is administered equitably and judiciously, general good will result, and whatever is beneficial will be bestowed upon the human race. Therefore We have the greatest solicitude for the observance of the divine rules and the preservation of the honor of the priesthood, which, if they are maintained, will result in the greatest advantages that can be conferred upon us by God, as well as in the confirmation of those which We already enjoy, and whatever We have not yet obtained We shall hereafter acquire. For all things terminate happily where the beginning is proper and agreeable to God. We think that this will take place if the sacred rules of the Church which the just, praiseworthy, and adorable Apostles, the inspectors and ministers of the Word of God, and the Holy Fathers have explained and preserved for Us, are obeyed.

Suggested Readings

Cadoux, C. J., The Early Church and the World. London: T. & T. Clark, 1925.

Canfield, L. H., The Early Persecutions of the Christians. New York: Columbia University Press, 1913.

Case, S. J., The Social Triumph of the Ancient Church. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1933.

Diehl, C, History of the Byzantine Empire. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1925.

---------, Byzantium: Greatness and Decline, trans. N. Walford, introduction and bibliography by P. Charanis. New Brunswick, N. J.: Rutgers University Press, 1957.

Dill, S., Roman Society in the Last Century of the Western Empire, rev. ed. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1960.

Hardy, E. C, Christianity and the Roman Government, 3rd ed. London: G. Allen & Un-win, 1925.

Harnack, A., Mission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries, 2nd ed., 3 vols., trans. J. Moffatt. London: Williams & Norgate, Ltd., 1908.

Hefele, C. J., A History of the Christian Councils, 4 vols. (to 680). London: T. & T. Clark, 1872-1895.

Jones, A. H., Constantine and the Conversion of Europe. London: English Universities Press, 1948.

Lietzmann, H., The Founding of the Church Universal, trans. B. L. Woolf. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1938.

---------, From Constantine to Julian, trans. B. L.

Woolf. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1950.

Mcllwain, C. H., The Growth of Political Thought in the West. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1933.

Mackinnon, J., From Christ to Constantine. New York: Longmans, Green & Co., Inc., 1936.

McNeill, J. T., et ah, Environmental Factors in Christian History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1939. Especially, articles by Colwell, Oborn, Laing, and Willoughby.

Phillips, C. S., The New Commandment. London: SPCK, 1930.

Riddle, D. W., The Martyrs: A Study in Social Control. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1931.

Vasiliev, A. A., History of the Byzantine Empire, 2 vols., 2nd ed. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1952.

Workman, H. B., Persecution in the Early Church. London: Epworth Press, 1923.


64 Persecution of Nero

95 Domitian’s Persecution

98-117 Trajan

112 Pliny’s correspondence with Trajan

117-138 Hadrian

138-161 Antoninus Pius

140 Aristides’ Apology

155/56 Martyrdom of Polycarp

165 Martyrdom of Justin

177/78 Martyrs of Lyons and Vienne; Athanagoras

249-251 Decius

257-259 Valerian Persecution

258 Cyprian martyred

284-305 Emperor Diocletian

285 Partition of the Empire

302/3-313 Persecution under Diocletian, Galerius, et cd.

306-337 Constantine the Great

311 Edict of Galerius

313 Edict of Milan

313-337 Constantine’s favors to Christianity

314 Council of Aries

314-319 Council of Ancyra

323 Constantine overthrows Licinius

325 Council of Nicaea

328 Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria

330 Constantinople made capital of Empire

342 Synod of Sardica

361-363 Emperor Julian (the Apostate)

378 Emperor Valens killed by Visigoths at Adrianople

379-395 Emperor Theodosius I

380 Theodosius Vs Edict on the Catholic Faith

381 Council of Constantinople

390 Ambrose disciplines Theodosius

392 Pagan worship proscribed

438 Theodosius II Code

451 Council of Chalcedon

527-565 Justinian Emperor

529, 534 Justinian’s Code

533 Institutes and Digests or Pandects

534 The Novels


The Catholic Church and Christian Tradition:

Early Heretics, Fathers, Theologians, and Historians.

The early Church came to self-consciousness amid a bewildering chorus of affirmations and counter-assertions. Its catholicity or universalizing character was partly shaped by self-authenticating ideas that it fully approved. Avowals of ecclesiastical integrity were likewise elicited by interpretations of the Church that it could not support. The Church was catholic by virtue of its comprising the whole body of the faithful. No simple reiteration of primitive beliefs could suffice indefinitely for all its members. Reinterpretation of early teachings was needed to stabilize new circumstances. The application of original ideals to both anticipated and unforeseen developments had constantly to be made.

Tradition was necessary, in the sense of a vital delivering up and carrying forward from one age to the next of teachings and ideals destined for later times and peoples. A living credo, or confession of belief, must be able to hark back receptively to voices out of the past and look forward expectantly to invitations from God’s future. The Rule of Faith was a true reincarnation of the pristine Christian commission and an unstereotyped reissuance of it for each succeeding age. Genuine catholicity required that total potentialities as well as formally registered statements of the faith be committed to ensuing generations of believers for living reinvestment. Tradition did not mean a dead-hand grip on an idea or ideal once espoused. The vital transferral or transmission of concepts and practices was the very genius of tradition. Present believers received from predecessors the heritage of pulsing life that was to be handed on to their successors. The faith delivered once and for all to the saints was not to be handed over once only, but constantly, in perpetuity. Nor was it to be given to all at once, but at once — forthwith and forever — until it reached all. The process demanded transmission by each to all, and by all to each.

Catholic or universal life put a premium on common heritage and a community of experience. Tradition was the cumulative acquisition and dispensation of the total inheritance for comprehensively shared existence. Consensus was less important as arbitrary foreclosure on dissent than as the transcending of sheer, cantankerous, individualistic whim. Herein, to be sure, lay a grave danger. Some things might seem precious enough to most people to warrant burying them like a single talent in a well-folded napkin. The sensitized, prophetic conscience of the individual bent on new, courageous investment might even be voted down by the masses, obsessed with caution.

Quite early, the word heresy tended to connote divergence from positions commonly held. Actually, heresy was not indictable on the grounds of individual difference of opinion. What was reprehensible in it was the selfish preoccupation with personal views and actions. These were often nurtured incherished immunity from the discerning judgment and possible rejection of the entire community. One who dissented from majority conclusions might not be a heretic at all. He could well be a misguided idealist, a professional negator, or even an indispensable prophet. Dangerous or unacceptable belief did not, in itself, constitute heresy. Stubborn persistence in having one’s way, regardless of everyone and everything, was an almost infallible clue to it.

In the very nature of human affairs, people — including Christians — were not always discriminating in their evaluation of motives and ideals. The source-readings on typical heresies are supplied for different reasons. They serve as much for the discernment of creative norms and ephemeral enthusiasms in Christian community life as to facilitate learning who, and what, heretics were. It was no easy thing for the Church to foster growth in genuine catholicity and tested Christian tradition, while according free reign to newly discovered truth and the prophetic spirit. The ecclesiastical institution did not always escape rigidifying influences and the stereotyping of earlier visions in the name of authoritative revelation. This need not be surprising. Frequently, the collective judgment by early Christians of what they held to be wholesome community standards and dissipating aberrations strikes the later observer as being singularly justified, or at least understandably tenable. This is the astonishing fact.

The chief heresies stigmatized by the official church were seldom the attacks of outsiders alone. Had they been, the concentration of counter-propaganda would have been much simpler than it actually was. Frequently, these shocking or insinuating divergences in doctrine came from inside the Christian community, itself. Departures might be introduced via shrewd manipulation or with naive convictions. Their proponents might champion them as original Christian teachings latterly neglected or distorted. Or perhaps they might insist on merely bringing out hitherto unrealized potentialities in the implicitness of the gospel. In any case such views and their propound-ers appeared, not so much to be enemies attacking, as friends challenging, the Church. Their fellow members were, after all, simply being proffered a further explication of the ever-resourceful gospel.

The necessity of disentangling original beliefs and transmissable, growing doctrines from an alarming accumulation of specious perversions was painful. The task often baffled the Christian community and its hierarchy. Short of relinquishing its heritage, the Church could not fail, however, to accept the wager of battle. In the process, it examined and rediscovered afresh, for itself and for its critics, much of what it had been, was then, and might hope to be. This was an essential part of the Church’s coming of age. To say that the heresies brought the Church to self-awareness and integrity would probably be an exaggeration. Looking honestly and critically at the heretical interpretation of what church life had presumably been, and should properly be, served a good purpose. The Church was goaded into an ever more positive reinterpretation of its true character and historic mission.

Certainly there were Christian thinkers of undoubtedly able loyalties who had entertained profound questions and sketched out positive systems before. The major heresies no doubt prompted vigorous counter-offensives. These threats alerted Christian Fathers, theologians, and historians increasingly to their task of penitential reinquiry and critical reinterpretation. Reiteration of choice phrases — even though they were the Master’s own — would not be enough to empower Christian ideals for an evangelizing confrontation of the world. Ultimately, though not without protest from many quarters, the whole current of philosophical and theological speculation that antedated and environed Christianity would have to be considered in relation to the gospel. The gospel would have to be restated and reissued out of a context correlated with this entire world view. The category of "Christian apologist" could not be limited to those who merely refuted non-Christian charges of immorality and lese-majesté while re-echoing scriptural passages. The total mind, body, and spirit of humanity was now in contention and under the claim of Christ. Included were not only the humble acquiescences of the naive but also the fullest cogitations of the fastidious intellect.

Christianity, of course, would not be forced off its own ground of kerygma, didascalia, and agape service into being just another philosophy or set of theosophical speculations. None of these would be ignored, however. All would be commandeered, countermanded, and exploited as the total Christian mission required. Those who helped bring all this about were rightly to be called the "Patristics," the veritable "Fathers" of the Church. Only in relation to such perspectives as theirs, as well as within the ken of historical theologians and under the scrutiny of Church historians, could the Church’s founders and functions be rightly appraised. There were discriminating stations to be filled by Christian social critics — even by those not wholly balanced in their historical purview. The Church could not truly exist, unless it maintained a practiced awareness of its shortcomings and a perennially reconsecrated vocation of reform. Historians must record and weigh the Church’s pilgrimage over against its human beginning and its ultimate ends. Men of letters were indispensable in the Church’s reinterpretation of itself, to itself — and to all the world.

"Gnosis" was held by the gnostic to be true teaching or dogma. As such, it was revealed doctrine referable to universal reality. The gnosticism of so-called heretics and that of Christian Alexandrians like Clement and Origen had at least one basic element in common. Both groups took seriously the Christian necessity of assessing and exemplifying the true wisdom of total revelation. The Church was vulnerable to a late date because of a false assumption. Naive commitment to Christ and oral tradition was supplemented, it is true, by canonical and other writings. These, however, were thought adequate for validating Christian doctrine without recourse to philosophy. Gnosticism, inside and outside the Church, deemed it dishonest to do less than speculate about total human destiny in relation to the whole universe. Christianity, to be what it claimed, must surely correlate its ends and intermediate purposes. These must be referable to all

that see-ers and doers throughout history had yearned for. This was germane to what apostles had testified to and died for.

The Alexandrians rightly divined that for Christianity to accept sub-Christian views of wisdom and esoteric philosophizings would be to lose the gospel. They were also convinced that to disparage all gnosticism, or the spiritual discernments of wisdom as such, would also entail a rejection of evangelical truth. What Clement and Origen really desired was to redefine Gnosis in its most Christian sense. They would do this while honoring the valid instincts recapturable from it for Christian catholicity. The cultic syncretisms and docetic affectations attached to non-Christian wisdom would thus be replaced with Christian realism.

In the classic gnostic systems of the Graeco-Roman world there was not one gnosticism but many. Generally recurrent emphases included certain tenets in highly individualized detail. Dualism in some form was usually present. This was no mere differentiation of mental and bodily functions. Customarily implied was a more or less rigid separation of flesh and spirit at the very heart of the cosmos. The universe was parcelled out as the creation of two coeval forces. One of these was good, the other evil. The spiritual world was the creation of the good God. The physical universe bore the stamp of its evil, creating deity. Pristine spirit, though created good, fell away into evil, to the degree that it became imprisoned in matter and flesh. Man, himself, in his spirit, inherited the patrimony of light and good. Through his fleshly existence, imparted to him by the evil creator, or a fumbling world-maker, he became mired in evil and darkness. His redemption must be secured from flesh for a return to spirit, from darkness back to light. This was effected by divine election with little or no volition on the part of the redeemed. He enjoyed an arbitrary selectness, an esoteric enrollment among the divinely favored. There was here no unmerited graciousness extended to all, out of divine generosity. Rather was this a cult of those judged worthy on the basis of superior gnosis and the "know-how" of the elite. Libion was by a series of gradations and intermediaries, themselves uniquely guarded from, yet in imminent danger of, contamination by the material world. What was implied was the very opposite of the Christian gospel. Gnosticism was no fellowship bound together by open avowal of unworthiness, and the laying hold upon free grace. Instead, gnostic coteries congratulated themselves upon being culled out for special favor, in terms of their speculative sensibilities. The accent was placed upon wisdom, revealed to a select few. Christ, Paul insisted, had held out the revealed secret of free salvation. The heart of universal mystery had been broken open by the Saviour for all men. In the gnostic systems, however, cliques of favored speculatives stressed their spiritual understanding to the exclusion of lesser insights and inferior, fleshly humanity.

For the gnostic, Revelation was central but Christ was not. He was only one, though admittedly an important, intermediary among subtly graduated forces deputized by the world of spirit. Together, they labored for sophistical liberation of the chosen from evil and darkness to good and light. In the world, pneumatic and material elements were intermingled. Stratifications of psychic, hylic, and pneumatic beings jostled each other in splendid syncretistic confusion. So the Valentinians were reported to have differentiated animal, material, and spiritual men. Only the latter were destined to final release. Between the good God and the material universe, which was no creation of his, countless middle-workers and heavenly Aeons were employed. Christ was sometimes declared to be one of these. His earthly manifestation was the historical Jesus. In the intricate cosmologies of different gnostic systems, Jesus’ earthly body might be conceived as possessing varying degrees of genuine humanity. From this temporary diversion his spirit must be brought back to realistic Christhood in the Celestial Aeon. Or, again, his body might be invested with all the vagaries of docetic imagery as being fleshly in appearance but not such in actuality. The physical universe itself was considered by many to be the creation of the Demiurge, the in-between worker or artificer.

Was there before, or has there been since, such a hopeless confusion of competing gods, wandering Aeons in the crowded Pleroma, and half-noble, half-ignoble World-Framers? Against all this, Irenaeus pitted the saving clarity of Gospel redemption centralized in Christ. Many gnostic systems were at once aristocratic and esoteric, fatalistic and presumptuous, ascetic and antinomian. The flesh might well be disciplined to the point of deiring the inherent dignity of the spirit, or disparaged by the obloquy of shameful excesses befitting the realm of matter. Jesus the

Christ would here bring no voluntary incarnation of the Godhead into the physical world of man’s own flesh. What had the God of righteousness, protected in haughty aloofness from all materiality, to do, at first hand, with earthlings? How could a Christ redeem flesh, who was himself a pallid go-between, his spirit veiled in bodily apparition? Irenaeus for one, would have none of this fanciful debasement of God’s universal creation and his redemptive catholicity. In the Christ who took on man’s flesh, God’s creative will touched his world and his children, hand to hand.

Out of opposition to dualistic propaganda and docetic slurs on Christian salvation, the Church was jolted into painful self-examination. What was its true nature and its distinctive role in a universe that could harbor such bizarre lucubrations? No longer could the hierarchy reiterate the simple assertions of the unlettered. The issue must be joined with cosmologists, however blase or naive, at all points involving the essence, character, and operation of the divine creativity. The soteriological intent of the Divinity and the agencies set up by it in the Church for saving humanity must be systematically conceived and publicly clarified. The Church’s teaching witness as well as the vicarious martyrdom of shed blood and monastic renunciation must be placed at the disposal of the entire Christian community. The Christian tradition was scrutinized and reactivated. The cultus, which was the living invocation of the divine graces and the offering of human praises to God, was reigorated and safeguarded. More and more recourse was had to those officials held responsible for mediating divine blessing and for preparing the doctrines received from the past for transmission to the future. Increasingly, the Church looked to the bishops in crucial areas. These were symbolic of teaching authority. At the same time, they were the divinely empowered protectors and propagators of worship. Pneumatic spontaneity and apostolic priority receded quickly before the authoritarian character of the teaching administrator. The trend was toward Christian universality as opposed to local independence. Captious self-interpretation and personal claims to unique witness in the spirit were subjected to hierarchical examination and collective judgment. The bishop and his graded associates, together with their specially commissioned teachers, were the interpreters of scriptural testimony and cumulative tradition. Out of the old apostolic consensus came The Rule of Faith, the appeal to universal authority, and the beginnings of catholic theology. Manuals of instruction multiplied. The systematic formulations of doctrinal synthesizers were joined to earlier Christian catechizing for the reinterpretation of the gospel.

Each of the heretical challenges evoked new apologies of authoritative faith and reliable teaching. Fathers like Irenaeus, Hippolytus, and Tertullian countered various assaults of dualistic and docetic character. Irenaeus, especially, sought their repudiation in an appeal to tradition. This he found exemplified in the authoritative unity of the Roman hierarchy. Hippolytus, no less than Irenaeus, stressed the ludicrous inadequacies of complicated gnostic cosmology and theogony when contrasted with the vicarious centrality of the all-saving Christ. Tertullian scornfully attacked Marcion. Though perhaps less given than some gnostics to speculative frenzy, this wily heretic clearly opposed the God of the Old Testament to that of the New, the Creator of Genesis to the Father of Christ. God and his Son were both denatured in the process, and the workings of the Holy Spirit were deformed. Yet, with the rigoristic demands of the Montanists, Tertullian showed definite sympathy. He even supported the pneumatic claims of certain prophetesses of theirs — at least by implication. He was to draw the ire of other Christian leaders in the "Great Church" for his own heterodoxy.

Gravely threatening tenets of dualism had long since been imported from ancient Zoroastrianism. These had been syncretistically mingled with non-Christian gnosticism and quasi-Christian doctrines. The grotesques born of such unions are strongly visible in Manichaean documents. No one can read them fairly, however, without sympathy for the honest searchings of soul there reflected. Nor can he be unimpressed by the febrile philosophizings there manifested. The subordination of Christ and the Church to the more precious cogitations of a non-Christian character cannot well be ignored. The fateful extension of such views was coupled with the importation of other resourceful syncretisms of the ancient world for the invasion of medieval civilization. The quandaries thus occasioned will come into later focus.

Out of sheer self-preservation, the Church sought heightened intellectual appeal with poignant urgency. A body of admissible interpretation was needed that could do more than refute unsound insinuations. The process of the Church’s clarifying its positive intent may have been accelerated by growing dissension. Actually, the propagandizing of Christian propositions soon outstripped mere collision with unorthodox points of view. The predominant involvement became that of locating the Church’s own center of being, and of reinterpreting this to herself and to the world at large. These were the positive preoccupations of the Church Fathers.

Here, many talented and devoted leaders served multiple callings. Irenaeus’ contribution was not limited to a virulent disparagement of heretics. He lodged in the Church’s growing self-consciousness an awareness of her need for unitive authority and a resourceful tradition of Christian teaching. Tertullian was not usually charitable in his excoriation of latitudinarian tendencies in fellow Christians. He pressed hard on the heels of those he deemed heretical. Apparently, he entertained no doubt of his own orthodoxy. He could find validity in the militant ecstasies of the primitive church and her recurrent prophets. At the same time he insisted on a reverent sense of the Church’s corporate dedication and expanding mission. The Rule of Faith and scriptural authority came to life in him. So did the uncompromising tenor of his rigorist ethics. The new vocabulary and literary usage demanded by a vitalizing Christian society were intensified by him.

Clement of Alexandria had never become so intrigued with gnostic cozenings as to forget the genuine heritage of the true gnostic, Christ. He and his even more perceptive student, Origen, left behind an immortal legacy of Christian instruction. Origen’s intellectual powers were joined to a consistent daily piety. He witnessed to the life of spiritual perfection, no less in his scholarly writings than in his example of prayer and martyrdom. Technically a confessor only because he did not die under torture, he was no less a martyr in both flesh and spirit.

Origen wrote, taught, and edited prodigiously. His reflections on the universe were centered in his praise of the educator-God. The manner in which the divine tutor leads the human learner from grade to grade was one of his cherished ligatures between the life of scholarship and that of devotion. The "school" of souls and the "cure" of souls were inseparable for him. His critical honesty in the study of Holy Scriptures was inspiring, if not always free from dangerous implications. Scripture should not — and in fact could not — be taken in a completely literal sense. The responsibility of the Church to breed critical, yet consecrated, interpreters of faith and devotion was as great as its ethical obligation to serve the Kingdom. Throughout, there was need of living the life both renounced and perfected under the gospel. This witness must be prosecuted daily in the midst of jealously demanding and conflicting loyalties. His own veracity in answering the captious cynicism of the Hellenistic temper is observable in his work Against Celsus. His support for a genuinely Christian, if not always currently acceptable, eschatology is fascinatingly broached in this writing. The subject is suggestively, though not exhaustively or satisfactorily, developed in his great book On the Principal Doctrines (or theological foundation stones of Christianity). Needless to say, his views did not always meet with the approval of later Fathers. His insights were often considerably more procreative than those of more cautious thinkers.

The Greek Fathers recall the Church’s early stake in the Greek language and in the traditions of the ancient and more contiguous East. In spite of the growing influence of the Latin tongue, the speech of Hellas would, nonetheless, continue to hold fascination for precise and communicative minds. Language eccentricities, fixities, and flexibilities would never cease to account in sizeable measure for the controversial encounters of Greek and Latin doctrine.

Basil, with all his versatile interests, stands forth as a representative of the Greek concern over the prescientific world in relation to the more scriptural Weltanschauung. His addiction to the monastic life, like his consecration to his episcopal task, was clearly marked. These vocations focalized the concentrations of his socially sensitized, Christian conscience. His explications of the social gospel have been essentially preserved in the currently exaggerated panegyrics of Gregory Nazianzen.

Chrysostom’s eminence as a preacher should not blind us to other expressions of his ethical perceptiveness. Nor should one ignore his significance as a courageous witness to spiritual prerogatives, however hard pressed he might be by temporal authorities. His liturgical influence is preserved in the readings of Chapter IV.

Jerome was noteworthy for his extravagant endorsements of the monastic life. He was not less distinguished as a biographer of early Christian leaders in the style of the Romans. His was one of the earliest passions for Jewish-Christian geography and topography. His Biblical scholarship and textual researches were to become classics of Western literature. No mean liturgical stimulation was traceable to him.

Cyprian, like another African, Tertullian, whom he regarded as his "master," demonstrated in his early career the civic concern of the professional rhetor, or teacher of rhetoric. The practical bearing of the gospel on the Church’s life is found both in his laudation of ecclesiastical unity and in his personal dedication as diocesan leader and martyr. Even under the strain of imperial persecution, his life was one prolonged search for Christian unification. He counseled and practiced fairness for the "lapsed." He also administered the Church’s disciplinary measures with firmness. Christian catholicity was, for him, the practicing universality of the Church’s unifying example to society. The episcopal dignity was a shared character and function. Perhaps no testimony bearing on the crucial Roman episcopacy has been more controverted than his. With Augustine, Western Christianity found a philosopher of history and a theologian of rare power. He was a profound yet facile commentator upon almost every aspect of human introspection and action. This man was to become for later centuries the recognized catholicizer of the Western Church, the universalizing re-creator of the ecclesiastical conscience in operation. Into his catholic spirit there debouched a confluence of intellectual and social currents, Christian and non-Christian. These included presentiments both Platonic and Ciceronian, Manichaean and Ambrosian, Biblical and aesthetic. From him flowed the fast coursing streams of the private, though no less universal Confessions and the Christian social energies of the City of God. Homilies, mu-sicological treatises, psychological studies, Biblical commentaries, tracts on human polity, and volumes of sacramental theology were shaped by his unwearying pen. Charlemagne and the medieval scholastics, the Jansenists and their Jesuit critics, the classical Protestant Reformers, and the twentieth-century neo-orthodox theologians — all found in him their inspiration to new revivals of the ancient Christian tradition.

I. Early Heretics and the Challenge to Christian Catholicity.

A. Basilides’ Gnostic System (c. 130)

1. The Ultimate Dualism of Light and Darkness

Ada Archelai, 55. Selections from A Source Book for Ancient Church History, pp. 83-84, by Joseph Cullen Ayer are reprinted with the permission of Charles Scribner’s Sons © 1913 Charles Scribner’s Sons; renewal © 1941 Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr.

Among the Persians there was also a certain preacher, one Basilides, of more ancient date, not long after the time of our Apostles. Since he was of a shrewd disposition himself, and observed that at that time all other subjects were preoccupied, he determined to affirm that dualism which was maintained also by Scythianus. And so, since he had nothing to advance which he might call his own, he brought the sayings of others before his adversaries. And all his books contain some matters difficult and extremely harsh. The thirteenth book of his Tractates, however, is still extant, which begins thus:

"In writing the thirteenth book of our Tractates, the word of salvation furnished us with the necessary and fruitful word. It illustrates under the figure of a rich [principle] and a poor [principle], a nature without root and without place and only supervenes upon things. This is the only topic which the book contains." Does it not, then, contain a strange word, as also certain persons think? Will ye not all be offended with the book itself, of which this is the beginning? But Basilides, returning to the subject, some five hundred lines intervening, more or less, says: "Give up this vain and curious variation, and let us rather find out what inquiries the Barbarians [i.e., the Persians] have instituted concerning good and evil, and to what opinions they have come on all these subjects. For certain among them have said that there are for all things two beginnings [or principles], to which they have referred good and evil, holding these principles are without beginning and ingenerate; that is to say, that in the origins of things there were light and darkness, which existed of themselves, and which were not declared to exist. When these subsisted by themselves, they each led its own proper mode of life as it willed to lead, and such as was competent to it. For in the case of all things, what is proper to it is in amity with it, and nothing seems evil to itself. But after they came to the knowledge of each other, and after the darkness contemplated the light, then, as if fired with a passion for something superior, the darkness rushed to have intercourse with the light."

2. The Docetic Principles of the System

Irenaeus, Adv. Haer., 1:24, trans. ANF, I, p. 349.

Basilides again, that he may appear to have discovered something more sublime and plausible, gives an immense development to his doctrines. He sets forth that Nous was first born of the unborn father, that from him, again, was born Logos, from Logos Phronesis, from Phronesis Sophia and Dynamis, and from Dynamis and Sophia the powers, and principalities, and angels, whom he also calls the first; and that by them the first heaven was made. Then other powers, being formed by emanation from these, created another heaven similar to the first; and in like manner, when others, again, had been formed by emanation from them, corresponding exactly to those above them, these, too, framed another third heaven; and then from this third, in downward order, there was a fourth succession of descendants; and so on, after the same fashion, they declare that more and more principalities and angels were formed, and three hundred and sixty-five heavens. Wherefore the year contains the same number of days in conformity with the number of the heavens.

Those angels who occupy the lowest heaven, that, namely, which is visible to us, formed all the things which are in the world, and made allotments among themselves of the earth and of those nations which are upon it. The chief of them is he who is thought to be the God of the Jews; and inasmuch as he desired to render the other nations subject to his own people, that is, the Jews, all the other princes resisted and opposed him. Wherefore all other nations were at enmity with his nation. But the father without birth and without name, perceiving that they would be destroyed, sent his own first-begotten Nous (he it is who is called Christ) to bestow deliverance on them that believe in him, from the power of those who made the world. He appeared, then, on earth as a man, to the nations of these powers, and wrought miracles. Wherefore he did not himself suffer death, but Simon, a certain man of Cyrene, being compelled, bore the cross in his stead; so that this latter being transfigured by him, that he might be thought to be Jesus, was crucified, through ignorance and error, while Jesus himself received the form of Simon, and standing by, laughed at them. For since he was an incorporeal power, and the Nous (mind) of the unborn father, he transfigured himself as he pleased, and thus ascended to him who had sent him, deriding them, inasmuch as he could not be laid hold of, and was invisible to all. Those, then, who know these things have been freed from the principalities who formed the world; so that it is not incumbent on us to confess him who was crucified, but him who came in the form of a man, and was thought to be crucified, and was called Jesus, and was sent by the father, that by this dispensation he might destroy the works of the makers of the world. If any one, therefore, he declares, confesses the crucified, that man is still a slave, and under the power of those who formed our bodies; but he who denies him has been freed from these beings, and is acquainted with the dispensation of the unborn father.

3. Cosmology, Creation, and Restitution

Hippolytus, Ref. Om. Haer., 7:15, trans. ANF, V, p. 108.

When, therefore, he says, the entire Sonship shall have come, and shall be above the conterminous spirit, then the creature will become the object of mercy. For (the creature) groans until now, and is tormented, and waits for the manifestation of the sons of God, in order that all who are men of the Sonship may ascend from thence. When this takes place, God, he says, will bring upon the whole world enormous ignorance, that all things may continue according to nature, and that nothing may inordinately desire anything of the things that are contrary to nature. But (far from it); for all the souls of this quarter of creation, as many as possess the nature of remaining immortal in this (region) only, continue (in it), aware of nothing superior or better (than their present state). And there will not prevail any rumour or knowledge in regions below, concerning beings whose dwelling is placed above, lest subjacent souls should be wrung with torture from longing after impossibilities. ... All things, therefore, that abide in (this) quarter are incorruptible, but corruptible if they are disposed to wander and cross over from the things that are according to nature. In this way the Archon of the Hebdomad will know nothing of superjacent entities. For enormous ignorance will lay hold on this one likewise, in order that sorrow, and grief, and groaning may depart from him; for he will not desire aught of impossible things, nor will he be visited with anguish. In like manner, however, the same ignorance will lay hold also on the Great Archon of the Ogdoad, and similarly on all the creatures that are subject unto him, in order that in no respect anything may desire aught of those things that are contrary to nature, and may not (thus) be overwhelmed with sorrow. And so there will be the restitution of all things which, in conformity with nature, have from the beginning a foundation in the seed of the universe, but will be restored at (their own) proper periods.

B. Valentinus’ Gnosticism (c. 135-165/70)

4. The Heart Purified by the Good, Alone

Clem. Alex., Strom,, 2:xx, 114, trans. R. M. Grant, Second-Century Christianity (London: SPCK, 1946), p. 25.

2. "There is one Good, whose presence is manifested by the Son. By him alone can the heart become pure, by the expulsion of every evil spirit from the heart; for the many spirits dwelling in it do not allow it to be pure, but each of them performs his own deeds, insulting it often with unseemly lusts. And the heart seems to me to be treated somewhat like an inn, for that has holes and ruts in it, and is often filled with dung by men who live filthily in it and take no care of the place since it belongs to others. So it happens with the heart as long as there is no thought taken for it; it remains unclean and the abode of many demons. But when the Father, who alone is good, visits it, it is sanctified and gleams with light. And he who possesses such a heart is so blessed that ‘he shall see God’ [Matt. 5:8]."

5. Theosophical Premises of a Valentinian Tractate

Epiphanius, Haer., 31:5f., trans. R. M. Grant, op. tit., pp. 27-29.

"Never-ceasing Nous to the never-ceasing ones, greeting.

"I am going to discuss with you nameless and unspeakable and superheavenly mysteries, which are subject neither to principalities nor to powers nor to subjects nor to anything which can be understood by the intelligence, but can be revealed only by the Thought of the Changeless. For when in the beginning the Father himself held all things in himself, which rested in him without consciousness — in him whom they call the never ageing, eternally young, male-female Aeon, who everywhere surrounds all things and yet is not surrounded by them — then Thought contained in him (that power whom some call Thought, others Grace — and to be sure quite rightly, for she has graciously relinquished treasures of Greatness to those who stem from Greatness — and others correctly call her Silence, because Greatness completed all things through thought without words) — then, as I was saying, immortal thought desired to break the eternal bonds, and aroused the tendency of Greatness toward marriage, from longing to lie with her. And when she had had intercourse with Greatness, she brought forth the Father of Truth to light, one whom the perfected rightly named Man because he was the type of the unbegotten-before-all-being yet to come. After this, Silence incited the physical union of Light with Man (their coming together existed by her will alone) and brought forth Truth. Truth is rightly so called by the perfected because in truth she was like her mother Silence, who desired lights to be divided equally into male and female, so that through the lights themselves the unity actually in them might be manifest in those of them who were [merely] lights visible to the senses. After this there was aroused in Truth the lustful tendency of her mother, and she attracted the attention of her father to herself, and they lived to-and in immortal intercourse and in Lieing fusion they brought forth the pneumatic male-female tetrad, the type of the pre-existent tetrad which is composed of Depth, Silence, Father, and Truth. This [former] tetrad descended from Father and Truth is composed of Man, Church, Logos, and Life. Then, by the will of all-surrounding Depth, Man and Church were united, mindful of the Father’s words, and brought forth the Dodecad of the productive male-female beings. The male beings are Helper, Paternal, Maternal, Eternal, Wilful (who is Light) and Ecclesiastical; the female are Faith, Hope, Love, Intelligence, Blessedness, Wisdom. After these come Logos and Life. They remodelled the gift of unity and had fellowship with each other (their fellowship is volition), and brought forth a decad of productive male-female beings. The male beings are Deep, Ageless, Self-Existent, Only-Begotten, Immovable (these took their names for the glory of the All-Surrounding). The female are Intercourse, Union, Blending, Unity, Pleasure (and these took their names for the glory of Silence). When then according to the will of the Father of Truth the Thirty was perfected, who is the Number that mortal men on earth count, without knowing anything about her, and with whom they turn round and begin to count again (when they have reached her and cannot count beyond [i.e., days of the month]) — she is composed of Depth, Silence, Father, Truth, Man, Church, Logos, Life, Helper, Paternal, Maternal, Eternal, Wilful, Ecclesiastical, Faith, Hope, Love, Intelligence, Blessedness, Wisdom, Deep, Ageless, Self-Existent, Only-Begotten, Immovable, Intercourse, Union, Blending, Unity, Pleasure — then the All-Surrounding resolved, in unsurpassable understanding, to call forth another Ogdoad opposite the authentic pre-existent one, though remaining within the number of Thirty, and he placed the male numbers opposite to the male beings — the One, the Three, the Five, the Seven; and the female opposite the female — the Two, the Four, the Six, the Eight. This then is the Ogdoad which was called forth from the pre-existent Ogdoad, that is, that composed of Depth, Father, Man, Logos, and Silence, Truth, Church, Life; and it was united with the lights. So arose the separated Thirty. The pre-existent Ogdoad, however, remained composed and at rest."

c. Marcion’s gnostic propensities (c. 140/144)

6. Separation of Law and Gospel; a Diversity of Gods

Tert., Adv. Marc, 1:19, trans. ANF, III, p. 285.

Marcion’s special and principal work is the separation of the law and the gospel; and his disciples will not deny that in this point they have their very best pretext for initiating and confirming themselves in his heresy. These are Marcion’s Antitheses, or contradictory propositions, which aim at committing the gospel to a variance with the law, in order that from the diversity of the two documents which contain them, they may contend for a diversity of gods also.

7. Marcions Good, Weak God

Ibid., 1:27, trans. ANF, III, pp. 292-93.

Listen, ye sinners; and ye who have not yet come to this, hear, that you may attain to such a pass! A better god has been discovered, who never takes offence, is never angry, never inflicts punishment, who has prepared no fire in hell, no gnashing of teeth in the outer darkness! He is purely and simply good. He indeed forbids all delinquency, but only in word. He is in you, if you are willing to pay him homage, for the sake of appearances, that you may seem to honour God; for your fear he does not want. And so satisfied are the Marcionites with such pretences, that they have no fear of their god at all. They say it is only a bad man who will be feared, a good man will be loved. Foolish man, do you say that he whom you call Lord ought not to be feared, whilst the very title you give him indicates a power which must itself be feared? . . . Come, then, if you do not fear God as being good, why do you not boil over into every kind of lust, and so realize that which is, I believe, the main enjoyment of life to all who fear not God? Why do you not frequent the customary pleasures of the maddening circus, the bloodthirsty arena, and the lascivious theatre? Why in persecutions also do you not, when the censer is presented, at once redeem your life by the denial of your faith? God forbid, you say with redoubled emphasis. So you do fear sin, and by your fear prove that He is an object of fear Who forbids the sin.

8. Docetism Denatures Christ’s Incarnation

Ibid., 3:8, trans. ANF, III, p. 327.

Now, the more firmly the antichrist Marcion had seized this assumption, the more prepared was he, of course, to reject the bodily substance of Christ, since he had introduced his very god to our notice as neither the author nor the restorer of the flesh; and for this very reason, to be sure, as pre-eminently good, and most remote from the deceits and fallacies of the Creator. His Christ, therefore, in order to avoid all such deceits and fallacies, and the imputation, if possible, of belonging to the Creator, was not what he appeared to be, and feigned himself to be what he was not — incarnate without being flesh, human without being man, and likewise a divine Christ without being God! But why should he not have propagated also the phantom of God? Can I believe him on the subject of the internal nature, who was all wrong touching the external substance? How will it be possible to believe him true on a mystery, when he has been found so false on a plain fact?

D. Montanism (c. 155/170) and the Revival of Pneumatism and Rigorism

9. Montanist Prophetesses, Priscilla and Maximilla

Hipp., Ref. Om. Haer., 8:12, trans. ANF, V, pp. 123-24.

But there are others who themselves are even more heretical in nature (than the foregoing), and are Phrygians by birth. These have been rendered victims of error from being previously captivated by (two) wretched women, called a certain Priscilla and Maximilla, whom they supposed (to be) prophetesses. And they assert that into these the Paraclete Spirit had departed; and antecedently to them, they in like manner consider Montanus as a prophet. And being in possession of an infinite number of their books, (the Phrygians) are overrun with delusion; and they do not judge whatever statements are made by them, according to (the criterion of) reason; nor do they give heed unto those who are competent to decide; but they are heedlessly swept onwards by the reliance which they place on these (impostors). And they allege that they have learned something more through these, than from law, and prophets, and the Gospels. But they magnify these wretched women above the Apostles and every gift of Grace, so that some of them presume to assert that there is in them a something superior to Christ. These acknowledge God to be the Father of the universe, and Creator of all things, similarly with the Church, and (receive) as many things as the Gospel testifies concerning Christ. They introduce, however, the novelties of fasts, and feasts, and meals of parched food, and repasts of radishes, alleging that they have been instructed by women. And some of these assent to the heresy of the Noetians, and affirm that the Father himself is the Son, and that this (one) came under generation, and suffering, and death.

10. Some Montanist Oracles from Representative Sources

Trans. R. M. Grant, op. cit., pp. 95-96.

Montanus: "I am the Lord God Omnipotent dwelling in man." (Epiphanius, Haer. xlviii. 11.)

Montanus: "I am neither an angel nor an envoy, but I the Lord God, the Father, have come." (Ibid.)

Montanus: "I am the Father and the Son and the Paraclete." (Didymus, De trinitate iii. 41. 1.)

Montanus: "Why do you say ‘the superman who is saved’? Because the righteous man will shine a hundred times brighter than the sun, and even the little ones among you who are saved, a hundred times brighter than the moon." (Epiphanius, Haer. xlviii. 10.)

Montanus: "Behold, man is as a lyre, and I hover over him as a plectrum; man sleeps but I watch; behold, the Lord is removing the hearts of men and giving them (new) hearts." (Ibid., xlviii. 4.)

Montanus: "You are exposed to public reproach? It is for your good. He who is not reproached by men is reproached by God. Do not be disconcerted; your righteousness has brought you into the midst (of all). Why are you disconcerted, since you are gaining praise? Your power arises when you are seen by men." (Tertullian, De fuga 9.)

Montanus: "Do not hope to die in bed nor in abortion nor in languishing fevers, but in martyrdom, that he who suffered for you may be glorified." (Ibid.)

Montanus: "For God brought forth the Word as a root brings forth a tree, and a spring a river, and the sun a ray." (Tertullian, Adv. Prax. 8.)

Montanus: "The Church is able to remit sins; but I will not do so, lest others also sin." (Tertullian, De pudic. 21.)

Maximilla: "After me there will be no more prophecy, but the End." (Epiphanius, Haer. xlviii. 11.)

Maximilla: "I am driven as a wolf from the sheep. I am not a wolf; I am word, spirit, and power." (Eusebius, H. E. v. 16. 17.)

Maximilla: "Do not listen to me, but listen to Christ/’ (Epiphanius, Haer. xlviii. 12.)

Maximilla: "The Lord sent me as a partisan of this task, a revealer of this covenant, an interpreter of this promise, forced, whether I will or not, to learn the knowledge of God." (Ibid, xlviii. 13.)

Prisca: "For continence brings harmony, and they see visions, and, bowing their heads, they also hear distinct voices, saving and mysterious." (Tertullian, De exh. cast. 10.)

Prisca: "They are flesh, yet they hate the flesh." (Tertullian, De res. cam. 11.)

Prisca: "Appearing as a woman clothed in a shining robe, Christ came to me [in sleep]; he put wisdom into me and revealed to me that this place is sacred and that here Jerusalem will come down from heaven." (Epiphanius, Haer. xlix. 1.)

E. Manichaean Light and Darkness


11. Traditional Writings on the Life of Mani

An Nadim, Fihrist. Selections from A Source Book for Ancient Church History, pp. 252-54, by Joseph Cullen Ayer are reprinted with the permission of Charles Scribner’s Sons. © 1913 Charles Scribner’s Sons; renewal © 1941 Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr.

Mohammed ibn Isak says: Mani was the son of Fatak, of the family of the Chaskanier. Ecbatana is said to have been the original home of his father, from which he emigrated to the province of Babylon. He took up his residence in Al Madain, in a portion of the city known as Ctesiphon. In that place was an idol’s temple, and Fatak was accustomed to go into it, as did also the other people of the place. It happened one day that a voice sounded forth from the sacred interior of the temple, saying to him: "Fatak, eat no flesh, drink no wine and refrain from carnal intercourse." This was repeated to him several times on three days. When Fatak perceived this, he joined a society of people in the neighborhood of Dastumaisan which were known under the name of Al-Mogtasilah, i.e., those who wash themselves, baptists, and of whom remnants are to be found in these parts and in the marshy districts at the present time. These belonged to that mode of life which Fatak had been commanded to follow. His wife was at that time pregnant with Mani, and when she had given him birth she had, as they say, glorious visions regarding him, and even when she was awake she saw him taken by some one unseen, who bore him aloft into the air, and then brought him down again; sometimes he remained even a day or two before he came down again. Thereupon his father sent for him and had him brought to the place where he was, and so he was brought up with him in his religion. Mani, in spite of his youthful age, spake words of wisdom. After he had completed his twelfth year there came to him, according to his statement, a revelation from the King of the Paradise of Light, who is God the Exalted, as he said. The angel which brought him the revelation was called Eltawan; this name means "the Companion." He spoke to Mani, and said: "Separate thyself from this sort of faith, for thou belongest not among its adherents, and it is obligatory upon you to practise continence and to forsake the fleshly desires, yet on account of thy youth the time has not come for thee to take up thy public work." But when he was twenty-four years old, Eltawan appeared to him and said: "Hail, Mani, from me and from the Lord who has sent me to thee and has chosen thee to be his prophet. He commands thee now to proclaim thy truth and on my announcement to proclaim the truth which is from him and to throw thyself into this calling with all thy zeal."

The Manichaeans say: He first openly entered upon his work on the day when Sapor, the son of Ardaschir, entered upon his reign, and placed the crown upon his head; and this was Sunday, the first day of Nisan (March 20, 241), when the sun stood in the sign Aries. He was accompanied by two men, who had already attached themselves to his religion; one was called Simeon, the other Zakwa; besides these, his father accompanied him, to see how his affairs would turn out.

Mani said he was the Paraclete, whom Jesus, of blessed memory, had previously announced. Mani took the elements of his doctrine from the religion of the Magi and Christianity. . . . Before he met Sapor Mani had spent about forty years in foreign lands. Afterward he converted Peroz, the brother of Sapor, and Peroz procured him an audience with his brother Sapor. The Manichaeans relate: He thereupon entered where he was and on his shoulders were shining, as it were, two candles. When Sapor perceived him, he was filled with reverence for him, and he appeared great in his eyes; although he previously had determined to seize him and put him to death. After he had met him, therefore, the fear of him filled him, he rejoiced over him and asked him why he had come and promised to become his disciple. Mani requested of him a number of things, among them that his followers might be unmolested in the capital and in the other territories of the Persian Empire, and that they might extend themselves whither they wished in the provinces. Sapor granted him all he asked.

Mani had already preached in India, China, and among the inhabitants of Turkestan, and in every land he left behind him disciples.

12. Doctrines of Light and Darkness

Psalms of the Bema, 223, ed. and trans, by C. R. C. Allberry, et al., A Manichaean Psalm-Book, Pt. II [Manichaean Manuscripts in the Chester Beatty Collection, Vol. II] (Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer, 1938), pp. 9-11.

Let us worship the Spirit of the Paraclete.

Let us bless our Lord Jesus who has sent to us the Spirit of Truth. He came and separated us from the Error (πλανη) of the world (κοσμος), he brought us a mirror, we looked, we saw the Universe in it.

When the Holy Spirit came he revealed to us the way of Truth and taught us that there are two Natures (φυσις), that of Light and that of Darkness, separate one from the other from the beginning.

The Kingdom of Light, on the one hand (μεν), consisted in five Greatnesses, and they are the Father and his twelve Aeons and the Aeons of the Aeons, the Living Air (αηρ), the Land of Light; the great Spirit breathing in them, nourishing them with his Light.

But the Kingdom of Darkness consists of five storehouses (ταμιειον), which are Smoke (καπνος) and Fire and Wind and Water and Darkness; their Counsel creeping in them, moving them and inciting (?) them to make war (πολεμος) with one another.

Now (ουν) as they were making war with one another they dared to make an attempt upon the Land of Light, thinking that they would be able to conquer it. But they know not that which they have thought to do they will bring down upon their own heads.

But (δε) there was a multitude of angels in the Land of the Light, having the power to go forth to subdue the enemy of the Father, whom it pleased that by his Word that he would send, he should subdue the rebels who desired to exalt themselves above that which was more exalted than they.

Like unto a shepherd that shall see a lion coming to destroy his sheep-fold: for he uses guile and takes a lamb and sets it as a snare that he may catch him by it (i.e. the lamb); for by a single lamb he saves his sheep-fold. After these things he heals the lamb that has been wounded by the lion:

This too is the way of the Father, who sent his strong son; and he produced from himself his Maiden equipped with five powers, that she might fight against the five abysses of the Dark.

When the Watcher (?) stood in the boundaries of light, he shewed to them his Maiden who is his soul; they bestirred themselves in their abyss, desiring to exalt themselves over her, they opened their mouth desiring to swallow her.

He held her power (αρχη) fast, he spread her over them, like nets over fishes, he made her rain down upon them like purified clouds of water, she thrust herself within them like piercing lightning. She crept in their inward parts, she bound them all, they not knowing it.

When the First Man had finished (?) his war (πολεμος), the Father sent his second son.

He came and helped his brother out of the abyss; he established this whole world (κοσμος) out of the mixture that took place of the Light and the Darkness.

He spread out all the powers of the abyss to ten heavens and eight earths, he shut them up into this world (κοσμος) once, he made it a prison too for all the powers of Darkness, it is also a place of purification for the Soul that was swallowed (?) in them.

The sun and moon he founded, he set them on high, to purify the Soul. Daily they take up the refined part to the height, but (δε) the dregs however they erase . . . mixed (?), they convey [it above and below.

This whole world (κοσμος) stands firm for (προς) a season, there being a great building which is being built outside this world (κοσμος). So soon as that builder shall finish, the whole world (κοσμος) will be dissolved and set on fire that the fire may smelt it away.

All life, the relic of Light wheresoever it be, he will gather to himself and of it depict (ζωγραφειν) an image (ανδριας). And the counsel of death too, all the Darkness, he will gather together and make a likeness (ζωγραφειν) of its very self, it and the] Ruler (αρχον).

In a moment the living Spirit will come . . . he will succour the Light. But the counsel of death and the Darkness he will shut up in the dwelling (ταμιειον) that was established for it, that it might be bound in it for ever.

There is no other means to bind the Enemy save this means; for he will not be received to the Light because he is a stranger to it; nor again can he be left in his land of Darkness, that he may not wage a war (πολεμος) greater than the first.

A new Aeon will be built in the place of the world (κοσμος) that shall dissolve, that in it the powers of the Light may reign, because they have performed and fulfilled the will of the Father entire, they have subdued the hated one, they have . . . over him for ever.

This is the Knowledge of Mani, let us worship him and bless him. Blessed is he every man that shall trust [in him, for he it is shall live with all the Righteous (δικαιος).

Glory and victory to our Lord Mani, the Spirit of Truth, that cometh from the Father, who has revealed to us the Beginning, the Middle and the End. Victory to the soul of the blessed (μακαρια) Mary, Theona, Pshaijmnoute.

13. Fragments on Christ, the Church, and Mary

Psalmoi Sarakoton, trans. Allberry, MPB, pp. 158-60. Observe the connection of these materials with those of the medieval period in Chapter VIII.

Taste and know that the Lord is sweet.

Christ is the word of Truth: he that hears it shall live,

I tasted a sweet taste, I found nothing sweeter than the word of Truth.


I tasted a sweet taste, I found nothing sweeter than the name of God.


I] tasted a sweet taste, I found nothing sweeter than Christ.

Where is there a kind mother like my mother, Love (αγαπη)?

Where is there a kind father like my father, Christ?

What honey is so sweet as this name, Church?

Wisdom (σοφια) invites (καλειν) you, that you may eat with your Spirit.

Lo, the new wine has been broached: lo, thecups have been brought in.

Drink what you shall drink, gladness surrounding you.

Eat that you may eat, being glad in your [Spirit.

. . . are they that preach, they that hear are ...

The Bride] is the Church, the Bridegroom is ...


The Bride] is the soul, the Bridegroom is Jesus.

[I. 4 illegible]

. . . the sons of the Light . . .

This is the] true joy [that will] endure with us.

. . . which does not change or pass.

. . . they rejoice, but (αλλα) . . . Taste.

. . . but (αλλα) . . . Taste.

. . . outside, they rejoicing . . . Taste.

[I. 14 fragmentary]

He that] humbleth himself shall be received, he that [exalteth himself] shall be humbled (?).

He that] dies lives, he that labours has his rest. . . . the labour is the rest, after . . . there is joy again.

Let us] rejoice in this joy from everlasting to everlasting.

Glory] and honour to Jesus, the King of the holy ones, and]

his holy Elect, and the soul of the blessed (μακαρια) Mary,

Put in me a holy heart, my God: let an upright Spirit be new within me.

The holy heart is Christ: if he rises in us, we also shall rise in him.

Christ has risen, the dead shall rise with him. If we believe in him, we shall pass beyond death and come to life.

The] sons of faith, — they shall see faith: lo, . . . come, let us put oil in our lamps (λαμπας).

Let us gather] in and become warm milk; this creature (?)... hope (ελπις) which has come from on high.

The creature] of the Darkness is this body (σωμα) which we wear (φορειν): the] soul which is in it is the First [Man.

The] First Man who was victorious in the Land of the Darkness, he also today will be victorious in the body (σωμα) of [death.

The Living Spirit that gave help to the First [Man, he also today is the Paraclete-Spirit.

One is the Mind (νους) that is to come, that reveals, gathering (?) in, choosing his holy Church.

Purify [me, my God], purify me within, without: purify (?) the [body (σωμα), the] soul and the Spirit.

Let ... be a holy body (σωμα) for me; the knowledge . . . Spirit and Mind (νους) for me.

Purify me, [my God,] ... me in (?) these three . . ., my mouth, . . ., and the purity of my virginity (παρθενια).

Jesus has risen: he has risen in three days, the Cross (σταυρος) of Light that rises in three powers.

The sun and the moon and the Perfect Man, — these three powers are the Church of the Great World (κοσμος).

Jesus, the Maiden, and the Mind (νους) which is in their midst, — [these three powers are the Church of the Little World (κοσμος).

The Kingdom of the heavens, — behold, it is within us, behold, it is outside us; if we believe in it we shall live in it for ever.

Glory, victory to every man [that] has heard these things and believed in them and fulfilled them in joy. Victory to the soul of the blessed (μακαρια) Mary.

II. The Early Christian Fathers, and Their Confrontation of the Heresies with the Rule of Faith and Tradition.

A. Irenaeus (c. 140-202) and the Christian Tradition

14. The Faith of the Church versus the Gnostic Demiurge, Aeons, Pleroma

Adv. Haer., 1:10, trans. Richardson, et at., Early Christian Fathers [LCC, Vol. I], pp. 360-62.

Now the Church, although scattered over the whole civilized world to the end of the earth, received from the apostles and their disciples its faith in one God, the Father Almighty, who made the heaven, and the earth, and the seas, and all that is in them, and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who was made flesh for our salvation, and in the Holy Spirit, who through the prophets proclaimed the dispensations of God — the comings, the birth of a virgin, the suffering, the resurrection from the dead, and the bodily reception into the heavens of the beloved, Christ Jesus our Lord, and his coming from the heavens in the glory of the Father to restore all things, and to raise up all flesh, that is, the whole human race, so that every knee may bow, of things in heaven and on earth and under the earth, to Christ Jesus our Lord and God and Saviour and King, according to the pleasure of the invisible Father, and every tongue may confess him, and that he may execute righteous judgment on all. The spiritual powers of wickedness, and the angels who transgressed and fell into apostasy, and the godless and wicked and lawless and blasphemers among men he will send into the eternal fire. But to the righteous and holy, and those who have kept his commandments and have remained in his love, some from the beginning [of life] and some since their repentance, he will by his grace give life incorrupt, and will clothe them with eternal glory.

Having received this preaching and this faith, as I have said, the Church, although scattered in the whole world, carefully preserves it, as if living in one house. She believes these things [everywhere] alike, as if she had but one heart and one soul, and preaches them harmoniously, teaches them, and hands them down, as if she had but one mouth. For the languages of the world are different, but the meaning of the [Christian] tradition is one and the same. Neither do the churches that have been established in Germany believe otherwise, or hand down any other tradition, nor those among the Iberians, nor those among the Celts, nor in Egypt, nor in Libya, nor those established in the middle parts of the world. But as God’s creature, the sun, is one and the same in the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shines everywhere, and illumines all men who wish to come to the knowledge of the truth. Neither will one of those who preside in the churches who is very powerful in speech say anything different from these things, for no one is above [his] teacher, nor will one who is weak in speech diminish the tradition. For since the faith is one and the same, he who can say much about it does not add to it, nor does he who can say little diminish it.

This matter of having more or less understanding does not mean that men change the basic idea, and imagine another God above the Demiurge and Maker and Nourisher of this universe, as if he were not enough for us, or another Christ or another Only-begotten. But it consists in working out the things that have been said in parables, and building them into the foundation of the faith: in expounding the activity and dispensation of God for the sake of mankind; in showing clearly how God was long-suffering over the apostasy of the angels who transgressed, and over the disobedience of men; in declaring why one and the same God made some things subject to time, others eternal, some heavenly, and some earthly; in understanding why God, being invisible, appeared to the prophets, not in one form, but differently to different ones; in showing why there were a number of covenants with mankind, and in teaching what is the character of each of the covenants; in searching out why God shut up all in disobedience that he might have mercy on all; in giving thanks that the Word of God was made flesh, and suffered; in declaring why the coming of the Son of God [was] in the last times, that is, the Beginning was made manifest at the end; in unfolding what is found in the prophets about the end and the things to come; in not being silent that God has made the despaired-of Gentiles fellow heirs and of the same body and partners with the saints; and in stating how this mortal and fleshly [body] will put on immortality, and this corruptible incorruption; and in proclaiming how he says, "What was not a people, is a people, and what was not beloved, is beloved," and, "Many more are the children of the desolate than of her who has a husband." With reference to these things and others like them the apostle exclaimed, "O depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God; how unsearchable are his judgments and his ways past finding out!" But [this greater skill] does not consist in imagining beyond the Creator and Demiurge the Mother of these things and of him, the Desire of a wandering Aeon, and coming to such a point of blasphemy, nor in falsely conceiving of the Pleroma above her, now with thirty, now with an innumerable crowd of Aeons, as these teachers who are indeed void of divine understanding say. But as I said before, the real Church has one and the same faith everywhere in the world.

15. The Heretics Attacked for Their Rejection of Scripture and Tradition

Adv. Haer., 3:2, trans. ANF, I, p. 415.

1. When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but viva voce: wherefore also Paul declared, "But we speak wisdom among those that are perfect, but not the wisdom of this world." And this wisdom each one of them alleges to be the fiction of his own inventing, forsooth; so that, according to their idea, the truth properly resides at one time in Valentinus, at another in Marcion, at another in Cerinthus, then afterwards in Basilides, or has even been indifferently in any other opponent, who could speak nothing pertaining to salvation. For every one of these men, being altogether of a perverse disposition, depraving the system of truth, is not ashamed to preach himself.

2. But, again, when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the successions of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition, saying that they themselves are wiser not merely than the presbyters, but even than the apostles, because they have discovered the unadulterated truth. For [they maintain] that the apostles intermingled the things of the law with the words of the Saviour; and that not the apostles alone, but even the Lord Himself, spoke as at one time from the Demiurge, at another from the intermediate place, and yet again from the Pleroma, but that they themselves, indubitably, unsulliedly, and purely, have knowledge of the hidden mystery: this is, indeed, to blaspheme their Creator after a most impudent manner! It comes to this, therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition.

3. Such are the adversaries with whom we have to deal, my very dear friend, endeavouring like slippery serpents to escape at all points. Wherefore they must be opposed at all points, if perchance, by cutting off their retreat, we may succeed in turning them back to the truth. For, though it is not an easy thing for a soul under the influence of error to repent, yet, on the other hand, it is not altogether impossible to escape from error when the truth is brought alongside it.

16. Irenaeus Doctrine of Recapitulation

Adv. Haer., 5:19-21, trans. Richardson, et al., Early Christian Fathers [LCC, Vol. I], pp. 389-90.

So the Lord now manifestly came to his own, and, born by his own created order which he himself bears, he by his obedience on the tree renewed [and reversed] what was done by disobedience in [connection with] a tree; and [the power of] that seduction by which the virgin Eve, already betrothed to a man, had been wickedly seduced was broken when the angel in truth brought good tidings to the Virgin Mary, who already [by her betrothal] belonged to a man. For as Eve was seduced by the word of an angel to flee from God, having rebelled against his Word, so Mary by the word of an angel received the glad tidings that she would bear God by obeying his Word. The former was seduced to disobey God [and so fell], but the latter was persuaded to obey God, so that the Virgin Mary might become the advocate of the virgin Eve. As the human race was subjected to death through [the act of] a virgin, so was it saved by a virgin, and thus the disobedience of one virgin was precisely balanced by the obedience of another. Then indeed the sin of the first-formed man was amended by the chastisement of the First-begotten, the wisdom of the serpent was conquered by the simplicity of the dove, and the chains were broken by which we were in bondage to death.

Therefore he renews these things in himself, uniting man to the Spirit; and placing the Spirit in man, he himself is made the head of the Spirit, and gives the Spirit to be the head of man, for by him we see and hear and speak.

He therefore completely renewed all things, both taking up the battle against our enemy, and crushing him who at the beginning had led us captive in Adam, trampling on his head, as you find in Genesis that God said to the serpent, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he will be on the watch for your head, and you will be on the watch for his heel." From then on it was proclaimed that he who was to be born of a virgin, after the likeness of Adam, would be on the watch for the serpent’s head — this is the seed of which the apostle says in the Letter to the Galatians, "The law of works was established until the seed should come to whom the promise was made/’ He shows this still more clearly in the same Epistle when he says, "But when the fullness of time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman." The enemy would not have been justly conquered unless it had been a man [made] of woman who conquered him. For it was by a woman that he had power over man from the beginning, setting himself up in opposition to man. Because of this the Lord also declares himself to be the Son of Man, so renewing in himself that primal man from whom the formation [of man] by woman began, that as our race went down to death by a man who was conquered we might ascend again to life by a man who overcame; and as death won the palm of victory over us by a man, so we might by a man receive the palm of victory over death.

B. Tertullian (c. 160-c. 220), the Catholic Intransigent and Later Defector to Montanism

17. His Summary of the Creed or Rule of Faith

De Praes. Haer., 13, trans. ANF, III, p. 249.

Now with regard to this rule of faith — that we may from this point acknowledge what it is which we defend — it is, you must know, that which prescribes the belief that there is one only God, and that He is none other than the Creator of the world, who produced all things out of nothing through His own Word, first of all sent forth; that this Word is called His Son, and, under the name of God, was seen "in diverse manners" by the patriarchs, heard at all times in the prophets, at last brought down by the Spirit and Power of the Father into the Virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and, being born of her, went forth as Jesus Christ; thenceforth He preached the new law and the new promise of the kingdom of heaven, worked miracles; having been crucified, He rose again the third day; (then) having ascended into the heavens, He sat at the right hand of the Father; sent instead of Himself the Power of the Holy Ghost to lead such as believe; will come with glory to take the saints to the enjoyment of everlasting life and of the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to everlasting fire, after the resurrection of both these classes shall have happened, together with the restoration of their flesh. This rule, as it will be proved, was taught by Christ, and raises amongst ourselves no other questions than those which heresies introduce, and which make men heretics.

18. Denial of the Heretics’ Right to the Scriptures

Ibid., 37, trans. ANF, III, p. 261.

Thus, not being Christians, they have acquired no right to the Christian Scriptures; and it may be very fairly said to them, "Who are you? When and whence did you come? As you are none of mine, what have you to do with that which is mine? Indeed, Marcion, by what right do you hew my wood? By whose permission, Valentinus, are you diverting the streams of my fountain? By what power, Apelles, are you removing my landmarks? This is my property. Why are you, the rest, sowing and feeding here at your own pleasure? This (I say) is my property. I have long possessed it; I possessed it before you. I hold sure title-deeds from the original owners themselves, to whom the estate belonged. I am the heir of the apostles. Just as they carefully prepared their will and testament, and committed it to a trust, and adjured (the trustees to be faithful to their charge), even so do I hold it. As for you, they have, it is certain, always held you as disinherited, and rejected you as strangers — as enemies."

19. The Christian Tradition on Baptism and Eucharist

De Corona, 3, trans. ANF, III, pp. 94-95. See Tertullian’s Apologeticum, 39, in Chap. I, Item 36 of this source book.

Let us inquire, therefore, whether tradition, unless it be written, should not be admitted. Certainly we shall say that it ought not be - be admitted, if no cases of other practices which, without any written instrument, we maintain on the ground of tradition alone, and the countenance thereafter of custom, affords us any precedent. To deal with this matter briefly, I shall begin with baptism. When we are going to enter the water, but a little before, in the presence of the congregation and under the hand of the president, we solemnly profess that we disown the devil, and his pomp, and his angels. Hereupon we are thrice immersed, making a somewhat ampler pledge than the Lord has appointed in the Gospel. Then, when we are taken up (as new-born children), we taste first of all a mixture of milk and honey, and from that day we refrain from the daily bath for a whole week. We take also, in congregations before daybreak, and from the hand of none but the presidents, the sacrament of the Eucharist, which the Lord both commanded to be eaten at meal-times, and enjoined to be taken by all alike. As often as the anniversary comes round, we make offerings for the dead as birthday honours. We count fasting or kneeling in worship on the Lord’s day to be unlawful. We rejoice in the same privilege also from Easter to Whitsunday. We feel pained should any wine or bread, even though our own, be cast upon the ground. At every forward step and movement, at every going in and out, when we put on our clothes and shoes, when we bathe, when we sit at table, when we light the lamps, on couch, on seat, in all the ordinary actions of daily life, we trace upon the forehead the sign.

20. His Account of an Ecstatic Vision by a Montanist Woman

De Anima, 9, trans. ANF, III, p. 188.

We have now amongst us a sister whose lot it has been to be favoured with sundry gifts of revelation, which she experiences in the Spirit by ecstatic vision amidst the sacred rites of the Lord’s day in the church: she converses with angels, and sometimes even with the Lord; she both sees and hears mysterious communications; some men’s hearts she understands, and to them who are in need she distributes remedies. Whether it be in the reading of Scriptures, or in the chanting of psalms, or in the preaching of sermons, or in the offering up of prayers, in all these religious services matter and opportunity are afforded to her of seeing visions. It may possibly have happened to us, whilst this sister of ours was rapt in the Spirit, that we had discoursed in some ineffable way about the soul. After the people are dismissed at the conclusion of the sacred services, she is in the regular habit of reporting to us whatever things she have seen in vision (for all her communications are examined with the most scrupulous care, in order that their truth may be probed). "Amongst other things," says she, "there has been shown to me a soul in bodily shape, and a spirit has been in the habit of appearing to me; not, however, a void and empty illusion, but such as would offer itself to be even grasped by the hand, soft and transparent and of an etherial colour, and in form resembling that of a human being in every respect." This was her vision, and for her witness there was God; and the apostle most assuredly foretold that there were to be "spiritual gifts" in the church.

21. Some of His Observations on Marriage

Ad Uxorem, 1:3; 2:8. Selections from A Source Book for Ancient Church History, p. 168, by Joseph Cullen Ayer are reprinted with the permission of Charles Scribner’s Sons © 1913 Charles Scribner’s Sons; renewal © 1941 Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr. See Item 34 of this chapter in this source book.

I, 3. There is no place at all where we read that marriages are prohibited; of course as a "good thing." What, however, is better than this "good," we learn from the Apostle in that he permits marriage, indeed, but prefers abstinence; the former on account of the insidiousness of temptations, the latter on account of the straits of the times (I Cor. 7:26). Now by examining the reason for each statement it is easily seen that the permission to marry is conceded us as a necessity; but whatever necessity grants, she herself deprecates. In fact, inasmuch as it is written, "It is better to marry than to burn" (I Cor. 7:9), what sort of "good" is this which is only commended by comparison with "evil," so that the reason why "marrying" is better is merely that "burning" is worse? Nay; but how much better is it neither to marry nor to burn?

II, 8. Whence are we to find adequate words to tell fully of the happiness of that marriage which the Church cements and the oblation confirms, and the benediction seals; which the angels announce, and the Father holds for ratified? For even on earth children do not rightly and lawfully wed without their father’s consent. What kind of yoke is that of two believers of one hope, one discipline, and the same service? The two are brethren, the two are fellow-servants; no difference of spirit or flesh; nay, truly, two in one flesh; where there is one flesh the spirit is one.

C. Origen of Alexandria (c. 185-C. 253/ 54), the Christian Teacher

22. His Early Life and Teaching

Eusebius, Hist. Ecc, 6:iii, 1, 3, 8-10, 13, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., I, pp. 251-52.

But while he was lecturing in the school, as he tells us himself, and there was no one at Alexandria to give instruction in the faith, as all were driven away by the threat of persecution, some of the heathen came to him to hear the word of God. . . .

He was in his eighteenth year when he took charge of the catechetical school. He was prominent also at this time, during the persecution under Aquila, the governor of Alexandria, when his name became celebrated among the leaders in the faith, through the kindness and goodwill which he manifested toward all the holy martyrs, whether known to him or strangers. . . .

But when he saw yet more coming to him for instruction, and the catechetical school had been entrusted to him alone by Demetrius, who presided over the church, he considered the teaching of grammatical science inconsistent with training in divine subjects, and forthwith he gave up his grammatical school as unprofitable and a hindrance to sacred learning. Then, with becoming consideration, that he might not need aid from others, he disposed of whatever valuable books of ancient literature he possessed, being satisfied with receiving from the purchaser four oboli a day. For many years he lived philosophically in this manner, putting away all the incentives of youthful desires. Through the entire day he endured no small amount of discipline; and for the greater part of the night he gave himself to the study of the Divine Scriptures. He restrained himself as much as possible by a most philosophic life; sometimes by the discipline of fasting, again by limited time for sleep. And in his zeal he never lay upon a bed, but upon the ground. Most of all, he thought that the words of the Saviour in the Gospel should be observed, in which he exhorts not to have two coats nor to use shoes, nor to occupy oneself with cares for the future. ... so that prominent men even of the unbelieving heathen and men that followed learning and philosophy were led to his instruction. Some of them having received from him into the depth of their souls faith in the Divine Word, became prominent in the persecution then prevailing; and some of them were seized and suffered martyrdom.

23. His Doctrine on Cycles of Existence

De Prin., 2: viii, 3, trans. G. W. Butterwortb, Origen on First Principles (London: SPCK, 1936), p. 128. Items 23-26 reprinted with the permission of the publisher, SPCK.

Those rational beings who sinned and on that account fell from the state in which they were, in proportion to their particular sins were enveloped in bodies as a punishment; and when they are purified they rise again to the state in which they formerly were, completely putting away their evil and their bodies. Then again a second or a third or many more times they are enveloped in different bodies for punishment. For it is probable that different worlds have existed and will exist, some in the past and some in the future ....

24. Speculations Concerning the School of Souls (Schola Animarum) and Universal Salvation

De Prin., 1:6, trans. Butterworth, OFP, pp. 56-57.***


But I think that, from But whether

among those among those that have orders that live under

been made subject to the the chieftainship of the

worse kind of rulers and devil and conform to

authorities and world- his wickedness there are

powers, in each world some who will one day

or in certain worlds, in the ages to come sue-

there are some who, by ceed in turning to goodness

reason of their good

deeds and their desire

to be transferred from these powers,

will speedily attain manhood

by reason of the power of free-will which is in them, or whether it be true that long-continued and deep-rooted wickedness turns at last from a habit into a kind of nature, you, reader, must judge; whether, that is, this portion of the creation shall be utterly and entirely out of harmony even with that final unity and concord, both in the ages that are ‘seen’ and ‘temporal’ and in those that are ‘not seen’ and eternal. But in the meantime, alike in these ages that are ‘seen’ and ‘temporal’ and in those that are ‘not seen’ and ‘eternal,’ all those beings are arranged in a definite order proportionate to the degree and excellence of their merits. And so it happens that some in the first, others in the second, and others even in the last times, through their endurance of greater and more severe punishments of long duration, extending, if I may say so, over many ages, are by these very stern methods of correction renewed and restored, first by the instruction of angels and afterwards by that of powers yet higher in rank, so that they advance through each grade to a higher one, until at length they reach the things that are ‘invisible’ and ‘eternal,’ having traversed in turn, by some form of instruction, every single office of the heavenly powers. It appears to follow from this, in my opinion, that every rational nature can, in the process of passing from one order to another, travel through each order to all the rest, and from all to each, while undergoing the various movements of progress or the reverse in accordance with its own actions and endeavours and with the use of its power of free will.

25. The Threefold Interpretation of the Scriptures

De Prin., 4:ii, 4, trans. Butterworth, OFP, pp. 275-76.

4. The right way, therefore, as it appears to us, of approaching the scriptures and gathering their meaning, is the follow-which is extracted from the writings themselves. We find some such rule as this 1 down by Solomon in the Proverbs concerning the divine doctrines written therein: thou pourtray them threefold in counsel and knowledge, that thou mayest answer words of truth to those who question thee.’

One must therefore pourtray the meaning of the sacred writings in a threefold way upon one’s own soul, so that the simple man may be edified by what we may call the flesh of the scripture, this name being given to the obvious interpretation; while the man who has made some progress may be edified by its soul, as it were; and the man who is perfect and like those mentioned by the apostle: ‘We speak wisdom among the perfect; yet a wisdom not of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, which are coming to nought; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, even the wisdom that hath been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds unto our glory" — this man may be edified by the spiritual law, which has ‘a shadow of the good things to come.’ For just as man consists of body, soul and spirit, so in the same way does the scripture, which has been prepared by God to be given for man’s salvation.

26. Limits to the Literal Interpretation of Scripture

De Prin., 4:iii, 1, trans. Butterworth, OFP, pp. 288-90.

1. Now what man of intelligence will believe that the first and the second and the third day, and the evening and the morning existed without the sun and moon and stars? And that the first day, if we may so call it, was even without a heaven? And who is so silly as to believe that God, after the manner of a farmer, ‘planted a paradise eastward in Eden,’ and set in it a visible and palpable ‘tree of life,’ of such a sort that anyone who tasted its fruit with his bodily teeth would gain life; and again that one could partake of ‘good and evil’ by masticating the fruit taken from the tree of that name? And when God is said to ‘walk in the paradise in the cool of the day’ and Adam to hide himself behind a tree, I do not think anyone will doubt that these are figurative expressions which indicate certain mysteries through a semblance of history and not through actual events.

Further, when Cain ‘goes out from the face of God’ it seems clear to thoughtful men that this statement impels the reader to inquire what the ‘face of God’ is and how anyone can ‘go out’ from it. And what more need I say, when those who are not altogether blind can collect thousands of such instances, recorded as actual events, but which did not happen literally?

Even the gospels are full of passages of this kind, as when the devil takes Jesus up into a ‘high mountain’ in order to show him from thence ‘the kingdoms of the whole world and the glory of them.’ For what man who does not read such passages carelessly would fail to condemn those who believe that with the eye of the flesh, which requires a great height to enable us to perceive what is below and at our feet, the kingdoms of the Persians, Scythians, Indians and Parthians were seen, and the manner in which their rulers are glorified by men? And the careful reader will detect thousands of other passages like this in the gospels, which will convince him that events which did not take place at all are woven into the records of what literally did happen.

27. The Church Warned Against "Stale" Teaching

In Levit. Horn. v. 8 (Lat.), trans. R. B. Tollin-ton, Selections from the Commentaries and Homilies of Origen (London: SPCK, 1929), pp. 177, 178-79.

The Law forbade the Israelites to eat yerday’s meat. So too should stale teaching be avoided in the Church. (In Levit. Hom. v. 8; Lomm. ix. 258-60; B. vi. 348-50. From the Latin.)

Hearken to this, all ye priests of the Lord; give ye careful attention to what is said. This flesh, which is allotted to the priests from the sacrifices, is the word of God, which they teach in the church. Thus they are warned in this passage, by forms which have mystic meaning, not to bring out sterday’s fare, when they set about to 1 dress the people; not to set forth stale doctrines according to the letter, but by God’s grace ever to bring forth new truth, ever to discover the spiritual lessons. If you produce to-day in the church what you learned yesterday from the Jews, this is just eating yesterday’s flesh in the sacrifice. If you remember, the Lawgiver also uses the same language in regard to the offering of firstfruits; they must, he says, be fresh and new. Everywhere, you see, what belongs to the praise of God — for this is what the sacrifice of praise means — must be new and fresh, so that there be no risk of your lips speaking but your mind being fruitless, while you produce old teaching in the church.

28. The Nature of Christian Citizenship

Contra Celsum, 8:73, trans. H. Ghadwick, Origen: Contra Celsum (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1953), p. 509.

73. Then Celsus next exhorts us to help the emperor with all our power, and cooperate with him in what is right, and fight for him, and be fellow-soldiers if he presses for this, and fellow-generals with him. We may reply to this that at appropriate times we render to the emperors divine help, if I may so say, by taking up even the whole armour of God. And this we do in obedience to the apostolic utterance which says: 1 exhort you, therefore, first to make prayers, supplications, intercessions, and thanksgivings for all men, for emperors, and all that are in authority.’ Indeed, the more pious a man is, the more effective he is in helping the emperors — more so than the soldiers who go out into the lines and kill all the enemy troops that they can.

We would also say this to those who are alien to our faith and ask us to fight for the community and to kill men: that it is also your opinion that the priests of certain images and wardens of the temples of the gods, as you think them to be, should keep their right hand undefiled for the sake of the sacrifices, that they may offer the customary sacrifices to those who you say are gods with hands unstained by blood and pure from murders. And in fact when war comes you do not enlist the priests. If, then, this is reasonable, how much more reasonable is it that, while others fight, Christians also should be fighting as priests and worshippers of God, keeping their right hands pure and by their prayers to God striving for those who fight in a righteous cause and for the emperor who reigns righteously, in order that everything which is opposed and hostile to those who act rightly may be destroyed? Moreover, we who by our prayers destroy all daemons which stir up wars, violate oaths, and disturb the peace, are of more help to the emperors than those who seem to be doing the fighting. We who offer prayers with righteousness, together with ascetic practices and exercises which teach us to despise pleasures and not to be led by them, are cooperating in the tasks of the community. Even more do we fight on behalf of the emperor. And though we do not become fellow-soldiers with him, even if he presses for this, yet we are fighting for him and composing a special army of piety through our intercessions to God.

29. An Apologia for Christian Views of the Present and the Future Life

Con. Cels., 4:10, trans. Chadwick, OCC, p. 190.

10. After this again Celsus as usual produces no argument or proof at all, and as though we babbled about God impiously and impurely says: It is quite clear that they babble about God impiously and impurely. And he thinks that we do this to arouse the amazement of the uneducated people, and that we do not speak the truth about the punishments which are necessary for those who have sinned. For this reason he compares us to those in the Bacchic mysteries who introduce phantoms and terrors. Now concerning the Bacchic mysteries it is for the Greeks to say whether there is a convincing interpretation of them, or if there is nothing of the kind; and Celsus and his associates may listen to them. But we defend our teaching by saying that we are concerned with the improvement of the human race, whether we use threats of punishments which, we have been persuaded, are necessary for the whole world, and probably also not unbeneficial to those who will suffer them, or whether we use promises of what is in store for those who have lived good lives, which include promises of the blessed life after death in the kingdom of God for those worthy to be under His rule.

3O. A Further Defense of Christian Eschatology

Con. Cels., 5:14, 15, trans. Chadwick, OCC, pp. 274-76. See Item 34 of this chapter of the source book.

14. This is what he says! It is foolish of them also to suppose that, when God applies the fire (like a cook!), all the rest of mankind will be thoroughly roasted and that they alone will survive, not merely those who are alive at the time but those also long dead who will rise up from the earth possessing the same bodies as before. . . .

15. See now, to start with, how he pours ridicule upon the idea of the conflagration of the world, which is a doctrine maintained also by some Greeks whose philosophy cannot be despised, and wants to make out that when we teach the doctrine of the world-conflagration we are making God like a cook. He has not realized that according to the opinion of some Greeks (probably borrowing from the very ancient nation of the Hebrews) the fire that is brought on the world is purifying, and it is probable that it is applied to each individual who needs judgment by fire together with healing. The fire burns but does not consume utterly those who have no matter which needs to be destroyed by it, while it burns and does utterly consume those who have built ‘wood, hay, or stubble’ on the building (as it is allegorically called) by their actions, words, and thoughts. The divine scriptures say that the Lord ‘like the fire of a smelting-furnace and like a cleaner’s herb’ will visit each individual who is in need, because they have been adulterated by the evil flood of matter, as it were, which results from sin; and I say that they need fire which, so to speak, refines those adulterated by copper, tin, and lead. Anyone who is interested may learn these things from the prophet Ezekiel.

That we do not say God applies fire like a cook, but that God is a benefactor of those who are in need of pain and fire, the prophet Isaiah will also bear witness, where he is recorded to have said to a sinful nation: ‘Because thou hast a coal-fire sit on it; it shall be a help to thee.’ The Logos, accommodating himself to what is appropriate to the masses who will read the Bible, wisely utters threatening words with a hidden meaning to frighten people who cannot in any other way turn from the flood of iniquities. Even so, however, the observant person will find an indication of the end for which the threats and pains are inflicted on those who suffer. At the present moment it is enough to quote from Isaiah, ‘For my name’s sake will I show mine anger, and I will bring my honours upon thee, so that I will not destroy thee.’ But we have been compelled to hint at truths which are not suitable for the simple-minded believers who need elementary words which come down to their own level, in order that we may not seem to allow Celsus’ attack to pass without refutation when he says When God applies the fire like a cook.

D. Cyprian (c. 200-258) the Martyr, Protagonist of Catholic Unity

31. An Apostrophe to the Church’s Unity

De Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitate (c. 251), 4-6, trans. ANF, V, pp. 422-23.

If any one consider and examine these things, there is no need for lengthened discussion and arguments. There is easy proof for faith in a short summary of the truth. The Lord speaks to Peter, saying, "I say unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." And again to the same He says, after His resurrection, "Feed my sheep." And although to all the apostles, after His resurrection, He gives an equal power, and says, "As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you: Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they shall be remitted unto him; and whose soever sins ye retain, they shall be retained;’’ yet, that He might set forth unity, He arranged by His authority the origin of that unity, as beginning from one. Assuredly the rest of the apostles were also the same as was Peter, endowed with a like partnership both of honour and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity. Which one Church, also, the Holy Spirit in the Song of Songs designated in the person of our Lord, and says, "My dove, my spotless one, is but one. She is the only one of her mother, elect of her that bare her." Does he who does not hold this unity of the Church think that he holds the faith? Does he who strives against and resists the Church trust that he is in the Church, when moreover the blessed Apostle Paul teaches the same thing, and sets forth the sacrament of unity, saying, "There is one body and one spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God?"

And this unity we ought firmly to hold and assert, especially those of us that are bishops who preside in the Church, that we may also prove the episcopate itself to be one and undivided. Let no one deceive the brotherhood by a falsehood: let no one corrupt the truth of the faith by perfidious prevarication. The episcopate is one, each part of which is held by each one for the whole. The Church also is one, which is spread abroad far and wide into a multitude by an increase of fruitfulness. As there are many rays of the sun, but one light; and many branches of a tree, but one strength based in its tenacious root; and since from one spring flow many streams, although the multiplicity seems diffused in the liberality of an overflowing abundance, yet the unity is still preserved in the source. Separate a ray of the sun from its body of light, its unity does not allow a division of light; break a branch from a tree, — when broken, it will not be able to bud; cut off the stream from its fountain, and that which is cut off dries up. Thus also the Church, shone over with the light of the Lord, sheds forth her rays over the whole world, yet it is one light which is everywhere diffused, nor is the unity of the body separated. Her fruitful abundance spreads her branches over the whole world. She broadly expands her rivers, liberally flowing, yet her head is one, her source one; and she is one mother, plentiful in the results of fruitfulness: from her womb we are born, by her milk we are nourished, by her spirit we are animated. The spouse of Christ cannot be adulterous; she is uncorrupted and pure. She knows one home; she guards with chaste modesty the sanctity of one couch. She keeps us for God. She appoints the sons whom she has born for the kingdom. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is a stranger; he is profane; he is an enemy. He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother.

E. Basil (c. 330-379) Catholic Bishop, Preacher, and Social Servant

32. Sermon on the Creation According to the Scriptures and Human Science

Horn. Hex., 1:2, 4, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., VIII, pp. 53-54.

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." I stop struck with admiration at this thought. What shall I first say? Where shall I begin my story? Shall I show forth the vanity of the Gentiles? Shall I exalt the truth of our faith? The philosophers of Greece have made much ado to explain nature, and not one of their systems has remained firm and unshaken, each being overturned by its successor. It is vain to refute them; they are sufficient in themselves to destroy one another. Those who were too ignorant to rise to a knowledge of a God, could not allow that an intelligent cause presided at the birth of the Universe; a primary error that involved them in sad consequences. Some had recourse to material principles and attributed the origin of the Universe to the elements of the world. Others imagined that atoms, and indivisible bodies, molecules and ducts, form, by their union, the nature of the visible world. Atoms reuniting or separating, produce births and deaths and the most durable bodies only owe their consistency to the strength of their mutual adhesion: a true spider’s web woven by these writers who give to heaven, to earth, and to sea so weak an origin and so little consistency! It is because they knew not how to say "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Deceived by their inherent atheism it appeared to them that nothing governed or ruled the universe, and that was all given up to chance. To guard us against this error the writer on the creation, from the very first words, enlightens our understanding with the name of God; "In the beginning God created." What a glorious order! He first establishes a beginning, so that it might not be supposed that the world never had a beginning. Then he adds "Created" to show that that which was made was a very small part of the power of the Creator. In the same way that the potter, after having made with equal pains a great number of vessels, has not exhausted either his art or his talent; thus the Maker of the Universe, whose creative power, far from being bounded by one world, could extend to the infinite, needed only the impulse of His will to bring the immensities of the visible world into being. If then the world has a beginning, and if it has been created, enquire who gave it this beginning, and who was the Creator: or rather, in the fear that human reasonings may make you wander from the truth, Moses has anticipated enquiry by engraving in our hearts, as a seal and a safeguard, the awful name of God: "In the beginning God created" — It is He, beneficent Nature, Goodness without measure, a worthy object of love for all beings endowed with reason, the beauty the most to be desired, the origin of all that exists, the source of life, intellectual light, impenetrable wisdom, it is He who "in the beginning created heaven and earth."

One day. doubtless, their terrible condemnation will be the greater for all this worldly wisdom, since, seeing so clearly into vain sciences, they have willfully shut their eyes to the knowledge of the truth. These men who measure the distances of the stars and describe them, both those of the North, always shining brilliantly in our view, and those of the southern pole visible to the inhabitants of the South, but unknown to us; who divide the Northern zone and the circle of the Zodiac into an infinity of parts, who observe with exactitude the course of the stars, their fixed places, their declensions, their return and the time that each takes to make its revolution; these men, I say, have discovered all except one thing: the fact that God is the Creator of the universe, and the just Judge who rewards all the actions of life according to their merit. They have not known how to raise themselves to the idea of the consummation of all things, the consequence of the doctrine of judgment, and to see that the world must change if souls pass from this life to a new life. In reality, as the nature of the present life presents an affinity to this world, so in the future life our souls will enjoy a lot conformable to their new condition. But they are so far from applying these truths, that they do but laugh when we announce to them the end of all things and the regeneration of the age. Since the beginning naturally precedes that which is derived from it, the writer, of necessity, when speaking to us of things which had their origin in time, puts at the head of his narrative these words — "In the beginning God created."

33. His Social Contributions, Especially, the New City, or Hospital at Constantinople, Evaluated in the Panegyric of Gregory Nazianzen

Orat., 63, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., VII, p. 416.

What more? A noble thing is philanthropy, and the support of the poor, and the assistance of human weakness. Go forth a little way from the city, and behold the new city, the storehouse of piety, the common treasury of the wealthy, in which the superfluities of their wealth, aye, and even their necessaries, are stored, in consequence of his exhortations, freed from the power of the moth, no longer gladdening the eyes of the thief, and escaping both the emulation of envy, and the corruption of time: where disease is regarded in a religious light, and disaster is thought a blessing, and sympathy is put to the test. . . . My subject is the most wonderful of all, the short road to salvation, the easiest ascent to heaven. There is no longer before our eyes that terrible and piteous spectacle of men who are living corpses, the greater part of whose limbs have mortified, driven away from their cities and homes and public places and fountains, aye, and from their own dearest ones, recognizable by their names rather than by their features: they are no longer brought before us at our gatherings and meetings, in our common intercourse and union, no longer the objects of hatred, instead of pity on account of their disease; composers of piteous songs, if any of them have their voice still left to them. Why should I try to express in tragic style all our experiences, when no language can be adequate to their hard lot? He however it was, who took the lead in pressing upon those who were men, that they ought not to despise their fellowmen, nor to dishonour Christ, the one Head of all, by their inhuman treatment of them; but to use the misfortunes of others as an opportunity of firmly establishing their own lot, and to lend to God that mercy of which they stand in need at His hands. . . . Basil’s care was for the sick, and the relief of their wounds, and the imitation of Christ, by cleansing leprosy, not by a word, but in deed.

F. Jerome (c. 340-420), Christian Scholar, Translator, and Interpreter

34. He Writes on Origen and Tertullian

De Inlustr. viri, 53 and 54, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., Ill, pp. 373-74.

Who is there, who does not also know that he [Origen] was so assiduous in the study of Holy Scriptures, that contrary to the spirit of his time, and of his people, he learned the Hebrew language, and taking the Septuagint translation, he gathered the other translations also in a single work, namely, that of Aquila, of Ponticus the Proselyte, and Theodotian the Ebonite, and Symmachus an adherent of the same sect who wrote commentaries also on the gospel according to Matthew, from which he tried to establish his doctrine. And besides these, a fifth, sixth, and seventh translation, which we also have from his library, he sought out with great diligence, and compared with other editions. And since I have given a list of his works, in the volumes of letters which I have written to Paula, in a letter which I wrote against the works of Varro, I pass this by now, not failing however, to make mention of his immortal genius, how that he understood dialectics, as well as geometry, arithmetic, music, grammar, and rhetoric, and taught all the schools of philosophers, in such wise that he had also diligent students in secular literature, and lectured to them daily, and the crowds which flocked to him were marvellous. These, he received in the hope that through the instrumentality of this secular literature, he might establish them in the faith of Christ.

Tertullian the presbyter, now regarded as chief of the Latin writers after Victor and Apollonius, was from the city of Carthage in the province of Africa, and was the son of a proconsul or Centurion, a man of keen and vigorous character, he flourished chiefly in the reign of the emperor Severus and Antoninus Caracalla and wrote many volumes which we pass by because they are well known to most. I myself have seen a certain Paul an old man of Concordia, a town of Italy, who, while he himself was a very young man had been secretary to the blessed Cyprian who was already advanced in age. He said that he himself had seen how Cyprian was accustomed never to pass a day without reading Tertullian, and that he frequently said to him, "Give me the master," meaning by this, Tertullian. He was presbyter of the church until middle life, afterwards driven by the envy and abuse of the clergy of the Roman church, he lapsed to the doctrine of Montanus, and mentions the new prophecy in many of his books.

He composed, moreover, directly against the church, volumes: On modesty, On persecution, On fasts, On monogamy, six books On ecstasy, and a seventh which he wrote Against Apollonius. He is said to have lived to a decrepit old age, and to have composed many small works, which are not extant.

35. His Diffidence at Revising the Old Latin, and Supplying the New Vulgate, Version of the Gospels

Ep. ad Damasum, Praef. (383), trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., VI, pp. 487-88.

You urge me to revise the old Latin version, and, as it were, to sit in judgment on the copies of the Scriptures which are now scattered throughout the whole world; and, inasmuch as they differ from one another, you would have me decide which of them agree with the Greek original. The labour is one of love, but at the same time both perilous and presumptuous; for in judging others I must be content to be judged by all; and how can I dare to change the language of the world in its hoary old age, and carry it back to the early days of its infancy? Is there a man, learned or unlearned, who will not, when he takes the volume into his hands, and perceives that what he reads does not suit his settled tastes, break out immediately into violent language, and call me a forger and a profane person for having the audacity to add anything to the ancient books, or to make any changes or corrections therein? Now there are two consoling reflections which enable me to bear the odium — in the first place, the command is given by you who are the supreme bishop; and secondly, even on the showing of those who revile us, readings at variance with the early copies cannot be right. For if we are to pin our faith to the Latin U for our opponents to tell us which: for there are almost as many forms of texts as there are copies. If, on the other hand, we are to glean the truth from a comparison of many, why not go back to the original Greek and correct the mistakes introduced by inaccurate translators, and the blundering alterations of confident but ignorant critics, and, further, all that has been inserted or changed by copyists more asleep than awake? I am not discussing the Old Testament, which was turned into Greek by the Seventy elders, and has reached us by a descent of three steps. I do not ask what Aquila and Symmachus think, or why Theodotion takes a middle course between the ancients and the moderns. I am willing to let that be the true translation which had apostolic approval. I am now speaking of the New Testament. This was undoubtedly composed in Greek, with the exception of the work of Matthew the Apostle, who was the first to commit to writing the Gospel of Christ, and who published his work in Judaea in Hebrew characters. We must confess that as we have it in our language it is marked by discrepancies, and now that the stream is distributed into different channels we must go back to the fountainhead. I pass over those manuscripts which are associated with the names of Lucian and Hesychius, and the authority of which is perversely maintained by a handful of disputatious persons. It is obvious that these writers could not amend anything in the Old Testament after the labours of the Seventy; and it was useless to correct the New, for versions of Scripture which already exist in the languages of many nations show that their additions are false. I therefore promise in this short Preface the four Gospels only, which are to be taken in the following order, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, as they have been revised by a comparison of the Greek manuscripts. Only early ones have been used. But to avoid any great divergences from the Latin which we are accustomed to read, I have used my pen with some restraint, and while I have corrected only such passages as seemed to convey a different meaning, I have allowed the rest to remain as they are.

G. John of Antioch (Chrysostom, c. 344/ 45-c. 407), the "golden mouthed" Preacher and Social Sensitizer

36. He Preaches on Christian Ethics Befitting Kingdom Citizens

Ad pop. Antioch., de Statuis (387), Horn. 16: 17, trans. NPNF, 1st ser., IX, pp. 451-52.

This homily was delivered on the occasion of the prefect entering the church, for the purpose of pacifying the minds of the people, in consequence of a rumour of an intended sack having been announced to him, when all were meditating flight. It treats also on the subject of avoiding oaths, and on the words of the Apostle, "Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ." Philem. 1:1 Homily XVI Concerning the Statues)

17. And now, it is time that you should be teachers and guides of others; that friends should undertake to instruct and lead on their neighbours; servants their fellow-servants; and youths those of their own age. What if any one had promised thee a single piece of gold for every man who was reformed, wouldest thou not then have used every exertion, and been all day long sitting by them, persuading and exhorting? Yet now God promises thee not one piece of gold, nor ten, or twenty, or a hundred, or a thousand; no, nor the whole earth, for thy labours, but He gives thee that which is greater than all the world, the kingdom of heaven; and not only this, but also another thing besides it. And what kind of thing is that? He who taketh forth the precious from the vile, saith He, shall be as my mouth (Jer. 15:19). What can be equal to this in point of honour or security? What kind of excuse or pardon can be left to those, who after so great a promise neglect their neighbour’s safety? Now if you see a blind man falling into a pit, you stretch forth a hand, and think it a disgraceful thing to overlook one who is about to perish. But daily beholding all thy brethren precipitated into the wicked custom of oaths, dost thou not dare even to utter a word? Thou hast spoken once, perhaps, and he hath not heard. Speak therefore twice, and thrice, and as often as it may be, till thou hast persuaded him. Every day God is addressing us, and we do not hear; and yet He does not leave off speaking. Do thou, therefore, imitate this tender care towards thy neighbour. For this reason it is that we are placed with one another; that we inhabit cities, and that we meet together in churches, in order that we may bear one another’s burdens, that we may correct one another’s sins. And in the same manner as persons inhabiting the same shop, carry on a separate traffic, yet put all afterwards into the common fund, so also let us act. Whatever advantages each man is able to confer upon his neighbour, let him not grudge, nor shrink from doing it, but let there be some such kind of spiritual commerce, and reciprocity; in order that having deposited every thing in the common store, and obtained great riches, and procured a large treasure, we may be all together partakers of the kingdom of heaven; through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom and with Whom, to the Father, and the Holy Ghost, be glory, both now and ever, and world without end. Amen.

37. His Sermon on Christian Example to the Greeks

Ibid., Horn. 43:7, trans. NPNF, 1st ser., X, pp. 277-78.

"Then certain of the scribes and pharisees answered him, saying, Master, we would see a sign from Thee. But He answered and said, an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the Prophet Jonas." (Homily XLIII. On Matt. 12:38,39)

Let us show forth then a new kind of life. Let us make earth, heaven; let us hereby show the Greeks, of how great blessings they are deprived. For when they behold in us good conversation, they will look upon the very face of the kingdom of Heaven. Yea, when they see us gentle, pure from wrath, from evil desire, from envy, from covetousness, rightly fulfilling all our other duties, they will say, "If the Christians are become angels here, what will they be after their departure hence? if where they are strangers they shine so bright, how great will they become when they shall have won their native land!" Thus they too will be reformed, and the word of godliness "will have free course," not less than in the apostles’ times. For if they, being twelve, converted entire cities and countries; were we all to become teachers by our careful conduct, imagine how high our cause will be exalted. For not even a dead man raised so powerfully attracts the Greek, as a person practising self-denial. At that indeed he will be amazed, but by this he will be profited. That is done, and is past away; but this abides, and is constant culture to his soul.

II. Augustine (354-430), The Catholicizer of Christian Doctrine

38. The Catholicity of the Church

Serm. 283:3. The translations of items 38-41, 43-44, 47-48, abbreviated as Prz., AS by number and page, are reprinted with the kind permission of the publishers. From An Augustine Synthesis by Erich Przywara, published by Sheed & Ward, Inc., New York (1939); also Sheed & Ward, Ltd., London. This item Prz. AS No. 377, pp. 223-24.

The Church is spread throughout the whole world: all nations have the Church. Let no one deceive you; it is the true, it is the Catholic Church. Christ we have not seen, but we have her; let us believe as regards Him. The Apostles on the contrary saw Him, they believed as regards her. . . . They saw Christ, they believed in the Church which they did not see; and we who see the Church, let us believe in Christ, whom we do not yet see.

39. The Holy Spirit as Soul of the Church

Serm., 267:iv, 4, trans. Prz., AS, No. 440, p. 255.

If you wish to have the Holy Spirit, mark this well, my brethren. Our spirit by which man is a living being is called the soul, . . . so you see what the soul does in the body. It gives life to all the members; it sees through the eyes, it hears through the ears, it smells through the nostrils, it talks through the tongue, it works through the hands, it walks through the feet; it is present at one and the same time to all the members so that they may live; to each it gives life, to each it assigns its duty. The eye does not hear, nor the ear see, nor the tongue see, nor does the ear or eye talk; but yet it lives, the ear lives, the tongue lives; their duties are diverse, life they share in common. So is the Church of God: in some saints she works miracles, in other saints she preaches the truth, in others she protects virginity, in yet others she preserves conjugal chastity, in some she does one thing, in others another; all do that which is severally proper to them, but all share life in an equal degree. Now what the soul is to the body of man, that the Holy Spirit is in the body of Christ, which is the Church. The Holy Spirit does that in the whole Church, which the soul does in all the members of a single body. ... If therefore you wish to live by the Holy Spirit, hold fast to charity, love truth, long for unity, so that you may attain to eternity.

40. Behold the Mediator

Serm., 47:xii, 21, trans. Prz., AS, No. 296, p. 185.

‘The prince in the midst of them’ (Ezech. 34:24). And therefore Mediator of God and Man; since He is God with the Father, man with men: not a man-mediator without a divine nature, nor a God-Mediator without a human nature. Behold the mediator! Divinity without humanity is not a mediator; humanity without divinity is not a Mediator; but between divinity alone and humanity alone there is as mediator the human divinity and the divine humanity of Christ.

41. Lost Man, God-Man, and Grace

Serm. (de Script 188-89.

Man was lost by free-will; the God-Man came by liberating grace. Dost thou ask what power for evil free-will hath? Call to mind man sunning. Dost thou ask what power to aid He who is God and Man hath? Mark in Him the liberating grace. In no way could it be so shewn what is the power of man’s will, if unaided by God, in avoiding evil; it could not be better shewn than in the case of the first man. . . . Verily, in no way doth the benevolence of God’s grace and the bounty of His omnipotence so plainly appear as in the Man who is the ‘mediator of God and men, the Man Christ Jesus’ (I Tim. 2:5).

42. Christ as Mediator, Priest, and Sacrifice

De Civ. Dei, 10:6, trans. NPNF, 1st ser., II, p. 184.

... it follows that the whole redeemed city, that is to say, the congregation or community of the saints, is offered to God as our sacrifice through the great High Priest, who offered Himself to God in His passion for us, that we might be members of this glorious head, according to the form of a servant. For it was this form He offered, in this He was offered, because it is according to it He is Mediator, in this He is our Priest, in this the Sacrifice.

43. The Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ

In Joan. Evang., 26:15, 17, trans. Prz., AS, No. 400, p. 233.

He would have, then, this meat and drink to be understood as being the fellowship of His body and members, which is the holy Church, in His predestinated and called and justified and glorified saints and His faithful. Of these the first is already effected, namely predestination; the second and third, that is vocation and justification, have taken place, are taking place, and will take place; but the fourth, namely the glorifying, is now in hope, while in the reality it is of the future. The Sacrament of this thing, that is of the unity of the body and blood of Christ, is prepared on the Lord’s Table in some places every day, in some places at certain intervals of days, and from the Lord’s Table it is taken by some to life, by some to destruction. But the thing itself, of which it is the Sacrament, is for every man to life, for none to destruction, whosoever shall have been partaker thereof. . . . For whilst by meat and drink men seek to attain to this, neither to hunger nor to thirst, there is nothing that truly affords this save only this meat and drink which maketh them by whom it is taken immortal and incorruptible, namely the very fellowship of the saints, where shall be peace and unity full and perfect. For to this end, as men of God before us have also understood, did Our Lord Jesus Christ betoken His body and blood in things which from being many are reduced to some one thing. For out of many grains several are made into one thing and out of many grapes several flow together into one thing.

44. Bread, Wine, Divine Mystery, and Unity

Serm. 272. Prz., AS, No. 403, p. 235.

If then you wish to understand the body of Christ, hear what the Apostle says to believers: ‘Now you are the body of Christ and members’ (1 Cor. 12:27). If therefore you are the body of Christ and members, your divine mystery is set on the table of the Lord; you receive your mystery. To that which you are, you answer Amen, and by so answering give your assent. For thou hearest, the Body of Christ, that thy Amen may be true. Why then in bread? . . . Let us again and again hear what the Apostle himself says, when speaking of this Sacrament: We, being many, are one bread, one body’ (id. 10:17). Understand and rejoice: unity, truth, piety, charity. One bread, who is this one bread? Being many, one body. Remember that bread is not made of one Brain but of many. When you were exorcized, it was as if you were ground in the mill; when you were baptized, it was as if you were moistened with water; when you received the fire of the Holy Spirit, it was as if you were baked. Be what you see and e what you are. This the Apostle has said about the bread. And what we should stand about the Chalice, though not actually expressed, he sufficiently shows. For just as, in order that the visible shape of I may exist, many grains are moistened together into one mass, as in the case of the ers, of whom Holy Scripture says, ‘they had but one soul and one heart unto God’ (Acts 4:32), so it is with the wine, ethre. Brethren, remember from what the wine is made. Many grapes hang on the vine, but the juice of the grapes is mingled into a unity. Thus also has Christ the Lord designed us. He willed that we should belong Him, and consecrated the mystery of our peace and of our unity on His table.

45. Law, Grace, and Free Will

De correp. et gratia, 2, trans. NPNF, 1st ser., 472.

Now the Lord Himself not only shows us what evil we should shun, and what good we should do, which is all that the letter of the law is able to effect; but He moreover helps us that we may shun evil and do good, which none can do without the Spirit of grace; and if this be wanting, the law comes in merely to make us guilty and to slay us. It is on this account that the apostle says, "The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life." He, then, who lawfully uses the law learns therein evil and good, and, not trusting in his own strength, flees to grace, by the help of which he may shun evil and do good. But who is there who flees to grace except when "the steps of a man are ordered by the Lord, and He shall determine his way"? And thus also to desire the help of grace is the beginning of grace; of which, says he, "And I said, Now I have begun; this is the change of the right hand of the Most High." It is to be confessed, therefore, that we have free choice to do both evil and good; but in doing evil every one is free from righteousness and a servant of sin, while in doing good no one can be free, unless he have been made free by Him who said, "If the Son shall make you free, then you shall be free indeed." Neither is it thus, that when any one has been made free from the dominion of sin, he no longer needs the help of his Deliverer; but rather thus, that hearing from Him, "Without me ye can do nothing," he himself also says to Him, "Be thou my helper! Forsake me not."

46. The Nature and Number of the Predestinated

De correp. et gratia, 23, 39, trans. NPNF, 1st ser., V, pp. 481, 487-88.

Whosoever, therefore, in God’s most providential ordering, are foreknown, predestinated, called, justified, glorified, — I say not, even although not yet born again, but even although not yet born at all, are already children of God, and absolutely cannot perish. . . . From Him, therefore, is given also perseverance in good even to the end; for it is not given save to those who shall not perish, since they who do not persevere shall perish. . . .

I speak thus of those who are predestinated to the kingdom of God, whose number is so certain that one can neither be added to them nor taken from them; not of those who, when He had announced and spoken, were multiplied beyond number. For they may be said to be called but not chosen, because they are not called according to the purpose.

47. Two Kingdoms, Celestial and Terrestrial

In Ps. 51:4, trans., Prz., AS, No. 464, p. 271.

There is to-day, in this age, a terrestrial kingdom where dwells also the celestial kingdom. Each kingdom — the terrestrial kingdom and the celestial, the kingdom to be rooted up and that to be planted for eternity — has its various citizens. Only in this world the citizens of each kingdom are mingled; the body of the terrestrial kingdom and the body of the celestial kingdom are commingled. The celestial kingdom groans amid the citizens of the terrestrial kingdom, and sometimes (for this too must not be hushed) the terrestrial kingdom doth in some manner exact service from the citizens of the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of heaven doth exact service from the citizens of the terrestrial kingdom.

48. Two Cities, Two Loves, Selfish and Social

De Gen. ad Litt., ll:xv, 20, trans. Prz., AS, No. 456, p. 266.

There are two kinds of love; of these the one is holy, the other impure; the one is social, the other selfish; the one consults the common good for the sake of the supernal fellowship, the other reducing the affairs of the commonality to their own power for the sake of arrogant domination; the one subject to God, the other endeavouring to equal Him; the one tranquil, the other turbulent; the one working for peace, the other seditious; the one preferring truth to the praise of those who are in error, the other greedy for praise however got; the one friendly, the other envious; the one wishing for the neighbour what it would wish for itself, the other wishing to subject the very neighbour to itself; the one guiding the neighbour in the interest of the neighbour’s good, the other in that of its own. . . . These two kinds of love distinguish the two cities established in the human race, ... in the so to speak commingling of which the ages are passed.

49. The Origins and Destinies of the Two Cities

De Civ. Dei, 14:28, 15:1, trans. NPNF, 1st ser., II, pp. 282-83, 284-85.

Accordingly, two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self. The former, in a word, glories in itself, the latter in the Lord. For the one seeks glory from men; but the greatest glory of the other is God, the witness of conscience. The one lifts up its head in its own glory; the other says to its God, "Thou art my glory, and the lifter up of mine head." In the one, the princes and the nations it subdues are ruled by the love of ruling; in the other, the princes and the subjects serve one another in love, the latter obeying, while the former take thought for all. The one delights in its own strength, represented in the persons of its rulers; the other says to its God, "I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength." And therefore the wise men of the one city, living according to man, have sought for profit to their own bodies or souls, or both, and those who have known God "glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened; professing themselves to be wise," — that is, glorying in their own wisdom, and being possessed by pride, — "they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things." For they were either leaders or followers of the people in adoring images, "and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever." But in the other city there is no human wisdom, but only godliness, which offers due worship to the true God, and looks for its reward in the society of the saints, of holy angels as well as holy men, "that God may be all in all.." . . Yet I trust we have already done justice to these great and difficult questions regarding the beginning of the world, or of the soul, or of the human race itself. This race we have distributed into two parts, the one consisting of those who live according to man, the other of those who live according to God. And these we also mystically call the two cities, or the two communities of men, of which the one is presdestined to reign eternally with God, and the other to suffer eternal punishment with the devil. . . . When these two cities began to run their course by a series of deaths and births, the citizen of this world was the first-born, and after him the stranger in this world, the citizen of the city of God, predestinated by grace, elected by grace, by grace a stranger below, and by grace a citizen above. By grace, — for so far as regards himself he is sprung from the same mass, all of which is condemned in its origin: but God, like a potter (for this comparison is introduced by apostle judiciously, and not without thought), of the same lump made one vessel to honor, another to dishonor.

50. The City of God Begets Citizens Below

De Civ. Dei, 15:1, trans. NPNF, 1st ser., II, p. 285.

For the city of the saints is above, although here below it begets citizens, in whom it sojourns till the time of its reign arrives, when it shall gather together all in the day of the resurrection; and then shall Be promised kingdom be given to them, in which they shall reign with their Prince, the King of the ages, time without end.

51. Co-Citizenship with the Angels in the City of God

De Civ. Dei, 10:25, trans. NPNF, 1st ser., II, p. 196.

This is the most glorious city of God; this is the city which knows and worships one God: she is celebrated by the holy angels, who invite us to their society, and desire us to become fellow-citizens with them in this city; for they do not wish us to worship them as our gods, but to join them in worshipping their God and ours; nor to sacrifice to them, but, together with them, to become a sacrifice to God.

52. The Character of the Citizenry in the City of God

De Civ. Dei, 15:3, trans. NPNF, 1st ser., II, p. 286.

Fitly, therefore, does Isaac, the child of promise, typify the children of grace, the citizens of the free city, who dwell together in everlasting peace, in which self-love and self-will have no place, but a ministering love that rejoices in the common joy of all, of man\- hearts makes one, that is to say, secures a perfect concord.

53. The Life in the City of God, a Social Life

De Civ. Dei, 19:5, trans. NPNF, 1st ser., II pp. 403-4.

We give a much more unlimited approval to their idea that the life of the wise man must be social. For how could the city of God (concerning which we are already writing no less than the nineteenth book of this work) either take a beginning or be developed, or attain its proper destiny, if the life of the saints were not a social life?

54. The Customs of War Tempered by Christian Influence

De Civ. Dei, 1:7, trans. NPNF, 1st ser., II, p. 5.

All the spoiling, then, which Rome was exposed to in the recent calamity — all the slaughter, plundering, burning, and misery — was the result of the custom of war. But what was novel, was that savage barbarians showed themselves in so gentle a guise, that the largest churches were chosen and set apart for the purpose of being filled with the people to whom quarter was given, and that in them none were slain, from them none forcibly dragged; that into them many were led by their relenting enemies to be set at liberty, and that from them none were led into slavery by merciless foes. Whoever does not see that this is to be attributed to the name of Christ, and to the Christian temper, is blind; whoever sees this, and gives no praise, is ungrateful; whoever hinders any one from praising it, is mad. Far be it from any prudent man to impute this clemency to the barbarians. Their fierce and bloody minds were awed, and bridled, and marvellously tempered by Him who so long before said by His prophet, "I will visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquities with stripes; nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from them."

55. The Misery of War, Even Just War

De Civ. Dei, 19:7, trans. NPNF, 1st ser., II, p. 405.

But the imperial city has endeavored to impose on subject nations not only her yoke, but her language, as a bond of peace, so that interpreters, far from being scarce, are numberless. This is true; but how many great wars, how much slaughter and bloodshed, have provided this unity! And though these are past, the end of these miseries has not yet come. For though there have never been wanting, nor are yet wanting, hostile nations beyond the empire, against whom wars have been and are waged, yet, supposing there were no such nations, the very extent of the empire itself has produced wars of a more obnoxious description — social and civil wars — and with these the whole race has been agitated, either by the actual conflict or the fear of a renewed outbreak. If I attempted to give an adequate description of these manifold disasters, these stern and lasting necessities, though I am quite unequal to the task, what limit could I set? But, say they, the wise man will wage just wars. As if he would not all the rather lament the necessity of just wars, if he remembers that he is a man; for if they were not just he would not wage them, and would therefore be delivered from all wars. For it is the wrong-doing of the opposing party which compels the wise man to wage just wars; and this wrong-doing, even though it gave rise to no war, would still be matter of grief to man because it is man’s wrongdoing. Let every one, then, who thinks with pain on all these great evils, so horrible, so ruthless, acknowledge that this is misery. And if any one either endures or thinks of them without mental pain, this is a more miserable plight still, for he thinks himself happy because he has lost human feeling.

56. The Character of Peace and Order

De Civ. Dei, 19:13, trans. NPNF, 1st ser., II, p. 409.

The peace of the body then consists in the duly proportioned arrangement of its parts. The peace of the irrational soul is the harmonious repose of the appetites, and that of the rational soul the harmony of knowledge and action. The peace of body and soul is the well-ordered and harmonious life and health of the living creature. Peace between man and God is the well-ordered obedience of faith to eternal law. Peace between man and man is well-ordered concord. Domestic peace is the well-ordered concord between those of the family who rule and those who obey. Civil peace is a similar concord among the citizens. The peace of the celestial city is the perfectly ordered and harmonious enjoyment of God, and of one another in God. The peace of all things is the tranquillity of order.

57. Peace, and the Social Life of the Heavenly City

De Civ. Dei, 19:17, trans. NPNF, 1st ser., II, p. 413.

When we shall have reached that peace, this mortal life shall give place to one that is eternal, and our body shall be no more this animal body which by its corruption weighs down the soul, but a spiritual body feeling no want, and in all its members subjected to the will. In its pilgrim state the heavenly city possesses this peace by faith; and by this faith it lives righteously when it refers to the attainment of that peace every good action towards God and man; for the life of the city is a social life.

I. Vincent Of Lerins (+C. 450), Critic Of St. Augustine And Protagonist Of The Faith

58. The Rule for Distinguishing the Truth of the Catholic Faith and Scriptures from

Heretical Assumptions

Commonitorium (c. 434), 2:5-6, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., XI, p. 132.

But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church’s interpretation? For this reason, — because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters. For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another. Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation.

Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and in the strictest sense "Catholic," which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally. This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity itself we adhere to the consentient definitions and determinations of all, or at the least of almost all priests and doctors.

59. What to Do in Case of Dissent

Comm., 3:7-8, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., XI, pp. 132-33.

What then will a Catholic Christian do, if a small portion of the Church have cut itself off from the communion of the universal faith? What, surely, but prefer the soundness of the whole body to the unsoundness of a pestilent and corrupt member? What, if some novel contagion seek to infect not merely an insignificant portion of the Church, but the whole? Then it will be his care to cleave to antiquity, which at this day cannot possibly be seduced by any fraud of novelty.

But what, if in antiquity itself there be found error on the part of two or three men, or at any rate of a city or even of a province? Then it will be his care by all means, to prefer the decrees, if such there be, of an ancient General Council to the rashness and ignorance of a few. But what, if some error should spring up on which no such decree is found to bear? Then he must collate and consult and interrogate the opinions of the ancients, of those, namely, who, though living in divers times and places, yet continuing in the communion and faith of the one Catholic Church, stand forth acknowledged and approved authorities: and whatsoever he shall ascertain to have been held, written, taught, not by one or two of these only, but by all, equally, with one consent, openly, frequently, persistently, that he must understand that he himself also is to believe without any doubt or hesitation.

60. Communion with the Universal Church; This the Only Protection Against the Evils Resulting from the Novel Doctrines of the Donatists

Comm., 4:9, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., XI, p. 133.

But that we may make what we say more intelligible, we must illustrate it by individual examples, and enlarge upon it somewhat more fully, lest by aiming at too great brevity important matters be hurried over and lost sight of.

In the time of Donatus, from whom his followers were called Donatists, when great numbers in Africa were rushing headlong into their own mad error, and unmindful of their name, their religion, their profession, were preferring the sacrilegious temerity of one man before the Church of Christ, then they alone throughout Africa were safe within the sacred precincts of the Catholic faith, who, detesting the profane schism, continued in communion with the universal Church, leaving to posterity an illustrious example, how, and how well in future the soundness of the whole body should be preferred before the madness of one, or at most of a few.

61. Children of the Faith to Defend It to the Death

Comm., 33:86, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., XI, p. 156.

Whoever then gainsays these Apostolic and Catholic determinations, first of all necessarily insults the memory of holy Celestine, who decreed that novelty should cease to assail antiquity; and in the next place sets at naught the decision of holy Sixtus, whose sentence was, "Let no license be allowed to novelty, since it is not fit that any addition be made to antiquity;" moreover, he contemns the determination of blessed Cyril, who extolled with high praise the zeal of the venerable Capreolus, in that he would fain have the ancient doctrines of the faith confirmed, and novel inventions condemned; yet more, he tramples upon the Council of Ephesus, that is, on the decisions of the holy bishops of almost the whole East, who decreed, under divine guidance, that nothing ought to be believed by posterity save what the sacred antiquity of the holy Fathers, consentient in Christ, had held, who with one voice, and with loud acclaim, testified that these were the words of all, this was the wish of all, this was the sentence of all, that as almost all heretics before Nestorius, despising antiquity and upholding novelty, had been condemned, so the author of novelty and the assailant of antiquity, should be condemned also. Whose consentient determination, inspired by the gift of sacred and celestial grace, whoever disapproves must needs hold the profaneness of Nestorius to have been condemned unjustly; finally, he despises as vile and worthless the whole Church of Christ, and its doctors, apostles, and prophets, and especially the blessed Apostle Paul: he despises the Church, in that she hath never failed in loyalty to the duty of cherishing and preserving the faith once for all delivered to her; he despises St. Paul, who wrote, "O Timothy, guard the deposit intrusted to thee, shunning profane novelties of words;’ and again, "If any man preach unto you other than ye have received, let him be accursed." But if neither apostolical injunctions nor ecclesiastical decrees may be violated, by which, in accordance with the sacred consent of universality and antiquity, all heretics always, and, last of all, Pelagius, Coelestius, and Nestorius have been rightly and deservedly condemned, then assuredly it is incumbent on all Catholics who are anxious to approve themselves genuine sons of Mother Church, to adhere henceforward to the holy faith of the holy Fathers, to be wedded to it, to die in it; but as to the profane novelties of profane men — to detest them, abhor them, oppose them, give them no quarter.

III. Church Historians, Social Critics, and Christian Literati.

A. Eusebius Of Caesarea (c. 263/65-340), Church Historian And Adulator Of The Emperor

62. Constantine Elevated to the Empire by God

Vita Const., 1:24, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., I, p. 489.

Thus then the God of all, the Supreme Governor of the whole universe, by his own will appointed Constantine, the descendant of so renowned a parent, to be prince and sovereign: so that, while others have been raised to this distinction by the election of their fellow-men, he is the only one to whose elevation no mortal may boast of having contributed.

63. Constantine, Pilot of the Ship of Empire

Orat. Const., 2:1-5, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., I, p. 583.

This only begotten Word of God reigns, from ages which had no beginning, to infinite and endless ages, the partner of his Father’s kingdom. And [our emperor] ever beloved by him, who derives the source of imperial authority from above, and is strong in the power of his sacred title, has controlled the empire of the world for a long period of years. Again, that Preserver of the universe orders these heavens and earth, and the celestial kingdom, consistently with his Father’s will. Even so our emperor whom he loves, by bringing those whom he rules on earth to the only begotten Word and Saviour renders them fit subjects of his kingdom. And as he who is the common Saviour of mankind, by his invisible and Divine power as the good shepherd, drives far away from his flock, like savage beasts, those apostate spirits which once flew through the airy tracts above this earth, and fastened on the souls of men; so this his friend, graced by his heavenly favor with victory over all his foes, subdues and chastens the open adversaries of the truth in accordance with the usages of war. He who is the pre-existent Word, the Preserver of all things, imparts to his disciples the seeds of true wisdom and salvation, and at once enlightens and gives them understanding in the knowledge of his Father’s kingdom. Our emperor, his friend, acting as interpreter to the Word of God, aims at recalling the whole human race to the knowledge of God; proclaiming clearly in the ears of all, and declaring with powerful voice the laws of truth and godliness to all who dwell on the earth. Once more, the universal Saviour opens the heavenly gates of his Father’s kingdom to those whose course is thitherward from this world. Our emperor, emulous of his Divine example, having purged his earthly dominion from every stain of impious error, invites each holy and pious worshiper within his imperial mansions, earnestly desiring to save with all its crew that mighty vessel of which he is the appointed pilot.

B. Salvian (c. 400-C. 480/85), Bishop And Exaggerated Social Critic

64. Roman-Christian Social Life Compared Unfavorably with That of the Barbarians

De Gub. Dei, 5:4, trans. J. H. Robinson, Readings in European History (New York: Ginn & Co., 1904), I, pp. 28-30.

In what respects can our customs be preferred to those of the Goths and Vandals, or even compared with them? And first, to speak of affection and mutual charity (which, our Lord teaches, is the chief virtue, saying, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another"), almost all barbarians, at least those who are of one race and kin, love each other, while the Romans persecute each other. For what citizen does not envy his fellow-citizen? What citizen shows to his neighbor full charity?

[The Romans oppress each other with exactions] nay, not each other: it would be quite tolerable, if each suffered what he inflicted. It is worse than that; for the many are oppressed by the few, who regard public exactions as their own peculiar right, who carry on private traffic under the guise of collecting the taxes. And this is done not only by nobles, but by men of lowest rank; not by judges only, but by judges’ subordinates. For where is the city — even the town or village — which has not as many tyrants as it has curials? . . . What place is there, therefore, as I have said, where the substance of widows and orphans, nay even of the saints, is not devoured by the chief citizens? . . . None but the great is secure from the devastations of these plundering brigands, except those who are themselves robbers.

[Nay, the state has fallen upon such evil days that a man cannot be safe unless he is wicked] Even those in a position to protest against the iniquity which they see about them dare not speak lest they make matters worse than before. So the poor are despoiled, the widows sigh, the orphans are oppressed, until many of them, born of families not obscure, and liberally educated, flee to our enemies that they may no longer suffer the oppression of public persecution. They doubtless seek Roman humanity among the barbarians, because they cannot bear barbarian inhumanity among the Romans. . . .

. . . All the barbarians, as we have already said, are pagans or heretics. The Saxon race is cruel, the Franks are faithless, the Gepidae are inhuman, the Huns are unchaste, — in short, there is vice in the life all the barbarian peoples. But are their offenses as serious as ours? Is the unchastity of the Hun so criminal as ours? Is the faithlessness of the Frank so blameworthy as ours? Is the intemperance of the Alemanni so base as the intemperance of the Christians? Does the greed of the Alani so merit condemnation as the greed of the Christians? If the Hun or the Gepid cheat, what is there to wonder at, since he does not know that cheating is a crime? If a Frank perjures himself, does he do anything strange, he who regards perjury as a way of speaking, not as a crime?

65. Christians Charged with Preferring Theaters to Churches

De Gub. Dei, 6:vii, 35-36, trans. R. T., London, 1700, pp. 171-73.

I cannot forbear, therefore, to return to what I have said often before. What is there like this among the barbarians? Where are there any Cirque-Games among them? Where are their theatres? Where is the abomination of all kinds of impurities, that is, the destruction of our hopes and salvation? And although they, as pagans, did make use of all these, yet their error would be much less culpable in the sight of God; because, although there would be unclean-ness in the seeing of them, yet would there be no breach of a sacred obligation.

But as to us, what can we answer for ourselves? We hold the Creed — and yet destroy it; we confess the gift of salvation, and at the same time deny it. And where is our Christianity this while, who have received the sacrament of salvation to no other purpose but that we might transgress afterward with greater sin and wickedness? We prefer plays before the churches of God. We despise the altars, and honour the theatres. We love them all. We respect them all. ‘Tis only God Almighty who seems little to us in comparison of them all.

C. Cassiodorus Senator (c. 480/85-573), Statesman And Christian Man Of Letters

66. Some Christian Historians and Their Works Evaluated

Institutiones, 1:17, trans. L. W. Jones. An Introduction to Divine and Human Readings by Cassiodorus Senator. ‘The Records of Civilization — Sources and Studies," XL, ed. A. P. Evans (New York Columbia University Press, 1946), pp. 115-19.

1. In addition to the various writers of treatises Christian studies also possess narrators of history, who. calm in their ecclesiastical gravity, recount the shifting movements of events and the unstable history of kingdoms with eloquent but very cautious splendor. Because they narrate ecclesiastical matters and describe changes which occur at various times, they must always of necessity instruct the minds of readers in heavenly affairs, since they strive to assign nothing to chance, nothing to the weak power of gods, as pagans have done, but to assign all things truly to the will of the Creator. Such is Josephus, almost a second Livy, who is very diffuse in his Jewish Antiquities, a prolix work which, in a letter to Lucinus Betticus, Father Jerome says he himself could not translate because of its great size. We, however, have had it laboriously translated into Latin in twenty-two books by our friends, since it is exceedingly subtle and extensive. Josephus has also written with remarkable grace seven other books entitled The Jewish Captivity, the translation of which is ascribed by some to Jerome, by others to Ambrose, and by still others to Rufinus; and since the translation is ascribed to men of this sort, its extraordinary merits are explicitly shown. The next work to be read is the history written by Eusebius in Greek in ten books, but translated and completed in eleven books by Rufinus, who has added subsequent events. Among the Greek writers Socrates, Sozomenus, and Theodoretus have written on events subsequent to Eusebius’ history; with God’s help we have had the work of these men translated and placed in a single codex in twelve books by the very fluent Epiphanius, lest eloquent Greece boast that it has something essential which it judges you do not possess. Orosius, who compares Christian times with pagan, is also at hand, if you desire to read him. Marcellinus too has traversed his journey’s path in laudable fashion, completing four books on the nature of events and the location of places with most decorous propriety; I have likewise left his work for you.

2. Eusebius has written chronicles, which are the mere shadows of history and very brief reminders of the times, in Greek; and Jerome has translated this work into Latin and extended it to his own time in excellent manner. Eusebius has been followed in turn by the aforesaid Marcellinus the Illyrian, who is said to have acted first as secretary of the patrician Justinian, but who later, with the Lord’s help, upon the improvement of his employer’s civil status, faithfully guided his work from the time of the emperor Theodosius to the beginning of the triumphant rule of the emperor Justinian, in order that he who had first been grateful in the service of his employer might later appear to be most devoted during his imperial rule. St. Prosper has also written chronicles which extend from Adam to the time of Genseric and the plundering of the City. Perhaps you will find other later writers, inasmuch as there is no dearth of chroniclers despite the continual succession of one age after another. But when, O diligent reader, you are filled with these works and your mind gleams with divine light, read St. Jerome’s book On Famous Men, a work whose brief discussion has honored the various Fathers and their works; then read a second book, by Gennadius of Marseilles, who has very faithfully treated and carefully examined the writers on divine law. I have left you these two books joined in a single volume, lest delay in learning the matter be caused by the need of using various codices.

3. The authors of many venerable texts follow. These most learned authors either compose books with divine inspiration, or comfort each other with the easy elegance of letters, or describe the people in a very charming sermon, or strive in an exceedingly lively contest with heretics in such a way that certain ones of their number enter controversies with unusual zeal and contend in the midst of judges with glorious disputation. Thus, with the Lord’s help the faithful are strengthened by the destruction of the faithless. You will, then, be able to choose for yourself amid this most holy and most eloquent multitude of Fathers the one with whom you converse most pleasantly. It is, moreover, difficult to state how frequently they effectually reveal the Sacred Scriptures at most suitable points, so that, as you read along, you unexpectedly become acquainted with that which you realize you have carelessly neglected. These most learned authors are extraordinary witnesses because of their various merits, and the ecclesiastical sky shines with them as if with glittering stars.

XVIII. On St. Hilary

1. Among their number St. Hilary, bishop of Poitiers, a profoundly subtle and cautious disputant, walks majestically and, reverently bringing the deep mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures before us, with God’s help causes the things which were previously veiled in dark parables to be seen clearly.

XIX. On St. Cyprian

1. It is impossible to explain completely how useful, among other writers, the very blessed Cyprian is (except in the matter of repetition of baptism, which the practice and theory of the Church have rejected); a remarkably skillful declaimer and a wonderful teacher, he is like the ointment that runs down to make all things pleasant. How many doubters he has saved from apostasy!

How many apostates he has restored to spiritual health with his very powerful preaching! How many martyrs he has led all the way to martyrdom! And, lest he fail to attain the ideal described in his preaching, he too, with the Lord’s aid, was adorned with the crown of martyrdom. Among the other famous monuments of his erudition which he has left us is a little book written with rhetorical charm to explain the Lord’s Prayer, which is ever setups an invincible shield against the deceitful vices.

XX. On St. Ambrose

1. St. Ambrose, too, utterer of eloquent speech, impassioned, but dignified, very agreeable in his calm persuasion, a man whose teaching was like his own life, since the divine grace indicated its approval of him by no small miracles. . . .

Suggested Readings

Altaner, B., Patrology, trans. H. C. Graef. New York: Herder & Herder, Inc., 1960.

Battenhouse, R. W., ed., A Companion to the Study of St. Augustine. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 1955.

Bethune-Baker, J. F., Mtroduction to the Early History of Christian Doctrine, 5th ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1933.

Bigg, Charles, The Christian Platonists of Alexandria, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 1913.

Blackman, E. C, Marcion and His Influence. London: SPCK, 1948.

Case, S. J., Makers of Christianity. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc., 1934.

Chadwick, O., and J. E. L. Oulton, Alexandrian Christianity, Library of Christian Classics, Vol. II. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1954.

Cochrane, C. N., Christianity and Classical Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 1940.

Greenslade, S. L., Early Latin Theology, Library of Christian Classics, Vol. V. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1956.

Kelly, J. W. D., Early Christian Creeds. New York: Longmans, Green & Co., Inc., 1950.

---------, Early Christian Doctrines. New York:

Harper & Brothers, 1959.

Lietzmann, H., The Founding of the Church Universal. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1938.

McGiffert, A. C, A History of Christian Thought, Vol. I. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1932.

van der Meer, F. and C. Morhmann, Atlas of the Early Christian World, trans, and ed. by M. F. Hedlund and H. H. Rowley. New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1958.

Quasten, J., Patrology, 3 vols. Westminster, Maryland: The Newman Press, 1951-1960.

Runciman, S., The Medieval Manichee: A Study of the Christian Dualist Heresy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1947.

Seeberg, R., Text-Book of the History of Doctrines, 2 vols., trans. C. E. Hay. Philadelphia: United Lutheran Publication House, 1905.


c. 130 Basilides

c. 135-165/70 Valentinus

140/44 Marcionite Heresy

c. 140-202 Irenaeus

150/200 Muratorian Canon

155/70 Montanism

c. 160-c. 220 Tertullian

182/85-253/54 Origen

c. 200-258 Cyprian

c. 207/13 Tertullian becomes a Montanist

c. 250 Manichaeism

c. 250-325 Lactantius

c. 250 Novation On the Trinity

c. 263/65-339/40 Eusebius of Caesarea

268 Paul of Samosata

c. 295-373 Athanasius

306-337 Constantine the Great

c. 329/30-c. 390 Gregory Nazianzen

c. 330-379 Basil of Caesarea

340-397 Ambrose of Milan

c. 340-420 Jerome

c. 344/45-407 John of Antioch (Chrysostom)

354-430 Augustine of Hippo

c. 363-c. 424 Palladius

380-450 Socrates

386 Cyril of Jerusalem’s death

c. 390-457 Theodoret

394 Gregory of Nyssa’s death

c. 395 Augustine Bishop of Hippo

c. 400-c. 480/85 Salvian

408-450 Theodosius II

410 Rufinus’ death

c. 412-426 Augustine’s City of God

444 Cyril of Alexandria’s death

450 Sozomen

c. 450 Vincent of Lerins dies

480-524 Boethius

c.480/85-573 Cassiodorus

c.480-543 Benedict of Nursia

c.500 Dionysius the Areopagite

529-565 Justinian’s Corpus Juris Civilis

538-593 Gregory of Tours

540-604 Gregory I {Pope 590-604)

560-636 Isidore of Seville


Christian Worship and Contemplation:

the Rise of Renunciatory Asceticism and Monasticism.

The Church began as a community of worshipers. The word ecclesia denoted those called into assembly to pay divine honors. This connotation preceded any suggestion of a constitutionally approved body administering a human organization. Organization at first was virtually nonexistent. The Church in its earliest self-analysis and in its avowed teachings described itself as a koinonia, or fellowship, set up on earth from a pre-existent, heavenly world. Its temporal pilgrimage would lead back to its original homeland. Primary loyalty during its sojourn was to the community of heaven, with services to fellow human beings en route. Such organization as was found indispensable naturally elicited a leadership for service. This followed the pattern of the eternal companionship revealed by the Church’s founder.

Inevitably, the Church became conscious of itself and of its stake in the human order. It succumbed to the growing demands of social complexity and organizational functions. Officials slowly became consolidated in form and procedure. They continued, however, to project their service in terms of far-off ends. Their activities focused a growing body of interim preoccupations, as well.

Nevertheless, the Church proceeded through the centuries to restate its primary obligation as a worshiping society. Paramount was the voluntary proffering of confession, praise, thanks, and petitions. These were presented to the Eternal Basileus, the Great King, the God and Father of Jesus Christ, and of his brethren in the world. Such community in worship did not prevent an ever-widening separation between the people and their clergy. The hierarchy, or rule of priests, soon came to be accepted by the laity as a reflection on earth of the ordered gradations of heavenly administration. Bishops, priests, deacons, and a body of minor officials gradually replaced the more spontaneously evoked prophets, evangelists, and teachers of earlier days.

Basic in this development was the rise of the episcopal office. Almost everything associated with the more pneumatically disparate activities of the old community now came to be grouped under the systematic exercise of the bishop’s power. Primitive charismatic gifts and the administrative responsibilities of a more sophisticated pastorate were allocated to him. The teaching authority of one increasingly appealed to as the final arbiter of doctrine and cultic integrity was also granted him. He was looked upon as the successor of the apostles, the vicar of Christ, the representative of God Himself. He was the guarantor of the apostolic tradition, the intermediary between God and man, and the mystagogic indoctrinator for those being initiated into heavenly secrets. Above all, the bishop was the chief hierarch, the great high priest, the offerer on the altar of the eucharistic Body and Blood of Christ. Overseer of things both spiritual and temporal, he was preceptor and judge of the community. He was also the bearer and transmitter of that binding and loosing which activated on earth the mandates of the celestial ordering.

Comparison of the present sources with those in Chapter I reveals a heightened level of worldly wisdom and theological expression. A measure of uneasiness and strain may be detected in the balancing of worship and everyday routines. No compromising of eternal loyalties under temporal pressures is, however, admitted. The increasing difficulty of maintaining proper equilibrium between the love of God and the love of man may be conceded. Yet the worship of Christians and the way in which they regulate their devotional existence still takes precedence over every other activity.

A premium was thus placed upon discipline and regularity in the early church. This applied to the eminent leader borne down with practical decisions. It also governed the specialist courting divine visitations in contemplative retreats. The claims of the habitual, disciplined response were also placed upon the lowliest worshiper in the most secular activities of the workaday world.

The accommodation, however grudging, of the worshiping Christian to his demanding environment was already beginning to be reflected in the Didache, in the primitive homilists, and in the more tutored Alexandrians, for example, studied at the outset. The tortuous strains of the world visited upon fourth-century worshipers are clearly evident in the later selections. Still, the avowed foci are much the same. Practical realities, to be sure, are always more excruciatingly balanced against the exactions of non-Christian society.

The leaders of the cult from 300-500 a.d, were able thinkers and active participants in the world scene. They knew the necessity of systematic instruction and habitual worship if the distinctive Christian testimony were to be maintained. Bishop Cyril of Jerusalem realized that spontaneity was a good thing, but that it could not suffice against the bludgeoning routines of everyday life. A deep layer of regular suggestion and habitual response woven into daily experience seemed to him the only safe counter against the insidiousness of subordinate, competing concerns. The Christian community was born and nurtured in catechesis. These exercises did not provide set answers for stilted queries. They did stress the quick-witted fitting of understanding to procreative questioning and answering as these were exemplified in the sententious interplay of Jesus’ conversation with his disciples. Worship was not to be guaranteed at the price of hard questions avoided. Nor was it to overlook the painful exigencies of life in conflict with a demanding society. Cyril held Christian experience to be as real and as earnest — if not as spiced with subtle humor — as it had been for the Master. Faith and practice for both were not two things but one profession. Christian action was not forthcoming where there was no established reserve of Christian doctrine and reflection. These placed the distinctive worth of the individual judgment and decision within the supporting motivations of the spiritually disciplining group. Cyril’s catechetical lectures were not exactly syllogisms from a professor’s notebook. They were a manual of hard-bitten instructions for survival in a seductive world. The Christian credo he held to be the basis of a Christian’s participation in reality. It had to be inculcated until it became a habit, not parroted like set questions for an examination.

Similarly, the early Christian preoccupation with eucharistic food was more than a figure of speech. Talk about the nutriment of the sacraments referred to the edification of soul by nourishment on spiritual reality. This true being could be sustained only by the genuine food of Christians — the Lord’s Body and Blood.

The extended passages drawn from fourth- and fifth-century liturgy are chosen for their representative qualities. They depict the deepening, versatile expansion of the tradition of worship. These resources document the means taken to habituate both ordinary and unusual personalities to the daily life of devotion. The assumption throughout is that one does not truly learn without professing. Confessing the faith is not possible without the learning that comes from reading, reflecting, repeating, questioning, answering, reconsidering, testing, and applying. The Christian needed the Creed as the wayfarer required food. These thanksgiving morsels of the eucharistic banquet were the hungry soul’s "journey bread." The viaticum was the sandwich of the viator, or pilgrim. His survival called for spiritual and bodily sustenance as well as the "know-how" of heart and mind. Indoctrination for neophytes was practiced to be sure. Societies bent on continuation in hostile or ingratiating surroundings pool their shrewdest experience for replenishing and propagating their group resources.

The Body and Blood of Christ were not eaten in any crass sense. They were the spiritual nourishment of those being recruited and matured into an eternal corporation. Early Church orders permit an intimate glimpse into the objectives and procedures of faithful worshipers. They show how Christians shared their sense of purpose, where they succumbed to hypocrisy, and to what extent they balanced innovation and conservation.

These orders of Christian worship reveal the gathering of a core of tradition that was to be transmitted through the generations. They indicate the inseparability of symbolic expression and realistic faith. The close connection between places of worship and the times and rituals of public prayer are established. The shifting emphases as well as the cumulative habits of worship are put into living connection. Rites, special observances, scripture readings, architectural objectives, aesthetic principles, and the gradations of instruction conducing to group solidarity are all observable. Some of these liturgical collections depict the Eastern, some the Western, usages of the Christian cult. The Egyptian Sacramentary, or prayer book, of Bishop Sarapion is a priceless treasure from a scholar and saint whose name suggests Egyptian mythology but whose friendships were with Athanasius and Anthony. The Apostolic Constitutions, called by Easton "the most ambitious of all the Church Orders," collated an entire treasury of earlier legal and liturgical sources to provide a practical manual of church life. The Didache, Didascalia, Christian prayers with Jewish models, and a version of Hippolytus’ Apostolic Tradition are among those freshly edited. They are reset from older Judaeo-Christian experience into the late, fourth-century vitality of an ongoing tradition. These pages are a vivid, if closely edited, documentary on the seasons and liturgical regularity of that day and past eras.

Similarly, the eucharistic treatises of Ambrose, the liturgy of St. Martin, the Psalters of Jerome’s Vulgate and the Augustinian quandary over hymnody described in the Confessions mine rich deposits of Western liturgy. There was a far-ranging diversity within the Greek tradition. It is suggested by a comparison of the emphases in the Liturgy of St. Chrysostom with that of the Pseudo-Dionysius. The musical innovations developed in the West, most significantly at Milan, provide a commentary on the emergence of St. Augustine from Christian tutelage under St. Ambrose. More dramatically still they provide an example of Christian indoctrination and maturation under a leadership and community participation that was both conserving of old values and brilliantly innovating as needs dictated. Within this liturgical experiment at Milan a rich tradition was being developed. It included scripture reading, preaching, teaching, catechizing, praying, and singing — all with a maximum of community expression. The living history of the Church cannot be assessed apart from such documents.

Ambrose’s hymn, "On Cock Crow," may seem naive to the twentieth-century layman and student. One may smile at Augustine’s qualms over the possibly deleterious effects of musical joys. Who may safely deride these, however, without a twinge of fellow-feeling? Who, especially, in an age that provides lush harmony and heroically planned discord in such a welter of confusion as ours? Again, Dionysius may not be discussed as a merely irritating antiquarian without doing violence to his great historical influence throughout the Middle Ages. His is an intricate, but nonetheless cogent, analysis of how the sacred gradations of the heavenly world become the pattern for priestly ministrations by the earthly church. In the paraphrases and commentaries of John Scotus Eriugena, especially, this Dionysian recapitulation of the heavenly in relation to the earthly hierarchy became a major inspiration of medieval scholars and churchmen.

There is no intention in this chapter of setting worship over against monasticism. Nor is there a desire either to equate these with mystical experience or to sever them from it. Each of these had historically distinctive connotations. Together they focused the life of prayer and Christian devotion. The renunciants here referred to were far from being negativists or repudiators of a full human existence. Renunciation in its proper gospel context was no minus quantity, no merely negative concept or action. For the worshiper — whether in a parish church, a monastic community, or in mystic solitariness — to renounce was not to seek the obliteration of his true selfhood or to disparage his true humanity. It was, positively, to remove himself from the position of eminence that belongs to God. It was to surrender his selfish preoccupations that mutilated human commerce with the divine. In so doing one placed himself in reverential subordination to the divine will for the divinely ordered end of unobstructed communion with God. Such was the avowed purpose of Christian worship. It was the unifying propensity and the major end of monastic association. For this, one placed himself under discipline (ascesis) for the proper structuring of every human thought and action in a hierarchy of positive evaluations and actions. This was the offering of the self without prudential reservations to the divine will, and for divine-human companionship. Such might be forthcoming, out of the bewildering complexities of the usual existence in the world. Again it might grow out of the "common life," that is, the distinctively community vocation of the monastic household. Here and elsewhere one might yearn for, and, if it were God’s will, be granted an intimate communion with Divinity. This constituted the contemplative life and the mystic vision, the visio Dei.

In Eastern Christianity, ascetic prescriptions sometimes went to individualized extremes. On occasion these approximated a metaphysical dualism of flesh and spirit that recalled gnostic aberrations. The eremitic or hermit life had its special and often legitimate appeal to men like St. Anthony. Pachomius and Basil, however, showed a clear sympathy for the rigors of personal discipline balanced and stabilized within the corporate life of a worshiping community. This was the cenobitic existence, literally that of the common life (koinos bios). To this Benedict gave his practicing approval. In so doing he paid tribute to his own experienced regard for eremitic instincts as tutored and sublimated by the more disciplined, communal living. He levied upon the desert Fathers and Western experience as well, with a special affection for the spiritual leadership of Cassian and Basil. Selections drawn from these shrewd Christian practitioners may help explain why.

Benedict placed special emphasis upon the Rule (Regula) to be subscribed to by every individual within the disciplining liberation of the monastic community. Here the primary obligations and opportunities were those of the Opus Dei, the habitual participation in the Liturgy (leitourgia) or divine service, with recurring cycles of prayer, reading, meditation, and manual labor. These regularized activities of mind, body, and spirit were coordinated by an abbot to whom all owed explicit obedience and implicit deference as to God himself. Here the worship of God was central. This was no bureau for the dissemination of humanitarian social service. Specifically, it was a Christian family regulated by its hours of devotion. To worship God was primary. To serve men became as valid a by-product as the second commandment derived from the first. The monastery became, with Benedict, the prime example of the well-regulated family of vocational renunciants. The old Roman genius had stressed unifying principles set to simple practicing virtues. These were at once methodical and moderate. Benedict gave new application under Christian monitoring to these Roman instincts for organizational stability and productive routines.

For Cassian, Basil, and Benedict, as for Gregory the Great and Columban, an orderly life was one that was voluntarily subordinated to God. In the monastic community a well-disciplined society was primarily a community habituated to divine worship. The derivative benefits to the world at large from Columban’s monastic missions and from Gregory’s also was a dividend from the larger investment. Through the earlier Christian centuries this was understood fairly well, though it has long since tended toward increasing distortions. The chief role of the monk was to set up a research institute for specialized service. Its distinctive specialism was prayer to God. When no instrumental considerations obtruded themselves, this community of spiritual researchers benefited all mankind by intercessory prayers and vicarious efforts arising from it. They did not have to prove the validity for the world of their "monastic withdrawal." Their validation was in their dedicated community of service to God — first, last, and always. Outer ministries simply footnoted that dedication.

The perusal of Rules such as Benedict’s and Columban’s will show how different, yet how alike, are the conditionings of the monastic habit. The little and even picayune considerations of daily institutional rigor help to make understandable the more dramatic dedications of Benedictine and Irish missions.

In a sense, the early centuries had a point in seeking within monasticism a substitute for the old martyr testimony. This witness, normally "one without blood," was one where blood told. Only the graduated renunciant, one habituated to spiritual routines under inspiring dedications, might be depended upon to preserve the true hierarchy of human values. He, alone, who was bred in the sublimation of lesser desires for the service of uncalculating devotion, might be expected to "witness" for others, also, in the service of God.

There was a real danger in earlier Christian tendencies to think of humanity as divided into workers, fighters, and prayers; just as there was certainly peril in classifying them later as top-priority scientists, day-laborers, and professional men. Officially at least, the Church did not declare monks to be truer worshipers than ordinary mortals, any more than it called virginity good and marriage bad. These were thought of as specialized functions and vocations that were intended to safeguard the necessary integrity of all Christians. Inevitably, the popular mind did deduce, without serious official rebuke, that special rewards followed the higher life of vocational renunciation.

Regularity in worship has produced distinctive Christian fruitage throughout Christian history. This has by no means been limited to monastics. A goodly proportion of spiritual leaders has, quite understandably, emanated from these outstanding centers of devotional regularity. It is certainly no accident that many, though by no means all, practicing contemplatives have come from the regulated devotions of monastic life. Still, one did not have to be a monk to be a mystic; nor would being a monk guarantee contemplative attainments. Contemplation was a gift of God, not an earned reward. Significantly enough, however, monastic habitude was held to be an excellent training for mystic receptivity to the divinely initiated graces.

Some early Eastern fathers stressed the theoretical purity of the contemplative summit (theoria) in conjunction with moral purity and the renounced life of the virtues (apatheia). In pure, perpetual prayer as the monastic life knew it, theoria and apatheia were united. Action and contemplation were joined in true Christian practice. Outside the monastery and beyond any particular contemplative retreat, the genuine Christian might be given the divine vocation. God might choose whom he would to walk alone with him in silent communion and to praise him in the company of the righteous.

Unfortunately, good words with clearly delimited usage have a way of slipping out of historical focus. Recent generations have some quite oversimplified connotations in et and classroom for Christian terms that deserve a better fate. Thus "theory," "practice," "monastic retreat," "normal" activities, social "apathy," "mystical visionaries," "humanitarian concern," and a host of other built-in value judgments are rife. Too often these are united to current usages as if others from Stoic, early Christian, and medieval times had never been. "Mysticism," especially, needs rescuing from its contemporary morass of meanings. "Contemplation" fares scarcely better. The sources at the end of this chapter seek to familiarize the reader with terminologies in living historical contexts. Sometimes this is the only feasible corrective for unduly pre-empted meanings. In resume, however, the honest inquirer into Christian history must be prepared to know the inflections given specific words and concepts, not only by his own era but by others who used them with equally good right. This chapter requires that words like worship, liturgy, Opus Dei, sacrament, hierarchy, contemplation, mysticism, Regula, asceticism, and evangelical poverty be put in historical perspective. Latin and Greek words are not injected artificially, but neither are they withdrawn because their current English use is patronizingly reserved for our own special ends. In the process, it may be well to remember that the drab work of the world as well as the exciting liberation of new lands to conversion, civilization, and commercial exploitation were not always, or even mainly, the contributions of the worldly-wise. Predominantly, the most realistic confrontation of crucial events with solid principles in the Middle Ages was the work of graduates "regulated" by the cenobium. They had been conditioned by habit to improvise feasible action in a skeptical or even hostile world. How much their "contemplation" resulted in "action," and why their "action" so often led back to "contemplation," the sources themselves must help to clarify.

I. Worship and the Sacraments from c. 300-500.

A. Cyril Of Jerusalem (c. 315-386)

1. On Learning and Professing the Faith

Catechizes (c. 398), 5:12, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., VII, p. 32.

But in learning the Faith and in professing it, acquire and keep that only, which is now delivered to thee by the Church, and which has been built up strongly out of all the Scriptures. For since all cannot read the Scriptures, some being hindered as to the knowledge of them by want of learning, and others by a want of leisure, in order that the soul may not perish from ignorance, we comprise the whole doctrine of the Faith in a few lines. This summary I wish you both to commit to memory when I recite it, and to rehearse it with all diligence among yourselves, not writing it out on paper, but engraving it by the memory upon your heart, taking care while you rehearse it that no Catechumen chance to overhear the things which have been delivered to you. I wish you also to keep this as a provision through the whole course of your life, and beside this to receive no other, neither if we ourselves should change and contradict our present teaching, nor if an adverse angel, transformed into an angel of light, should wish to lead you astray. For though we or an angel from heaven preach to you any other gospel than that ye have received, let him be to you anathema. So for the present listen while I simply say the Creed, and commit it to memory; but at the proper season expect the confirmation out of Holy Scripture of each part of the contents.

2. On the Eucharistic Food

Myst. Cat. 4:1-9, trans. R. W. Church, LF (1838).

I Cor. 11:23

I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread, *c.

1. This teaching of the Blessed Paul is alone sufficient to give you a full assurance concerning those Divine Mysteries, which when ye are vouchsafed, ye are of the same body and blood with Christ. For he has just distinctly said, That our Lord Jesus Christ the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks He brake it, and said, Take, eat, this is My Body: and having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, Take, drink, this is My Blood. Since then He Himself has declared and said of the Bread, This is My Body, who shall dare to doubt any longer? And since He has affirmed and said, This is My Blood, who shall ever hesitate, saying, that it is not His blood?

2. He once turned water into wine, in Cana of Galilee, at His own will, and is it incredible that He should have turned wine into blood? That wonderful work He miraculously wrought, when called to an earthly marriage; and shall He not much rather be acknowledged to have bestowed the fruition of His Body and Blood on the children of the bridechamber?

3. Therefore with fullest assurance let us partake as of the Body and Blood of Christ: for in the figure of Bread is given to thee His Body, and in the figure of Wine His Blood; that thou by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, mightest be made of the same body and the same blood with Him. For thus we come to bear Christ in us, because His Body and Blood are diffused through our members; thus it is that, according to the blessed Peter, we become partakers of the divine nature.

4. Christ on a certain occasion discoursing with the Jews said, Except ye eat My flesh and drink My blood, ye have no life in you. They not receiving His saying spiritually were offended, and went backward, supposing that He was inviting them to eat flesh.

5. Even under the Old Testament there was shew-bread; but this as it belonged to the Old Testament, came to an end; but in the New Testament there is the Bread of heaven, and the Cup of salvation, sanctifying soul and body; for as the Bread has respect to our body, so is the Word appropriate to our soul.

6. Contemplate therefore the Bread and Wine not as bare elements, for they are, according to the Lord’s declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ; for though sense suggests this to thee, let faith stablish thee. Judge not the matter from taste, but from faith be fully assured without misgiving, that thou hast been vouchsafed the Body and Blood of Christ.

7. The blessed David also shall advise thee the meaning of this, saying, Thou hast prepared a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. What he says, is to this effect. Before Thy coming, evil spirits prepared a table for men, foul and polluted and full of all devilish influence; but since Thy coming, O Lord, Thou hast prepared a table before me. When the man says to God, Thou hast prepared before me a table, what other does he mean but that mystical and spiritual Table, which God hath prepared over against, that is, contrary and in opposition to the evil spirits? And very truly; for that had fellowship with devils, but this, with God. Thou has anointed my head with oil. With oil He anointed thine head upon thy forehead, by the seal which thou hast of God; that thou mayest be made the impression of the seal, Holiness of God. And my cup runneth over. Thou seest that cup here spoken of, which Jesus took in His hands, and gave thanks, and said, This is My blood, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

8. Therefore Solomon also, pointing at this grace, says in Ecclesiastes, Come hither, eat thy bread with joy, (that is, the spiritual bread; Come hither, calling with words of salvation and blessing,) and drink thy wine with a merry heart; (that is, the spiritual wine;) and let thy head lack no ointment, (thou seest he alludes even to the mystic Chrism;) and let thy garments be always white, for God now accepteth thy works; for before thou earnest to Baptism, thy works were vanity of vanities. But now, having put off thy old garments, and put on those which are spiritually white, thou must be continually robed in white; we mean not this, that thou must always wear white raiment; but with truly white and glistering and spiritual attire, thou must be clothed withal, that thou mayest say with the blessed Esaias, My soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of gladness.

9. These things having learnt, and being fully persuaded that what seems bread is not bread, though bread by taste, but the Body of Christ; and that what seems wine is not wine, though the taste will have it so, but the Blood of Christ; and that of this David sung of old, saying, And bread which strengtheneth mans heart, and oil to make his face to shine, ‘strengthen thine heart,’ partaking thereof as spiritual, and ‘make the face of thy soul to shine.’ And so having it unveiled by a pure conscience, mayest thou behold as in a glass the glory of the Lord, and proceed from glory to glory, in Christ Jesus our Lord: — To whom be honour, and might, and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

B. Ambrose Of Milan (c. 339/40-397)

3. Concerning the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood

De Sacram., 4, v, 21-23; 4, vi, 26-27, trans, and ed. T. Thompson and J. H. Srawley, St. Ambrose On the Sacraments and On the Mysteries (London: SPCK, 1950), pp. 90-91, 92-93.

21. Wilt thou know that it is consecrated by heavenly words? Hear what the words are. The priest speaks. "Make for us," he says, "this oblation approved, ratified, reasonable, acceptable, seeing that it is the figure of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who the day before he suffered took bread in his holy hands, and looked up to heaven to thee, holy Father, almighty, everlasting God, and giving thanks, he blessed, brake, and having broken, delivered it to his apostles and to his disciples, saying, Take, and eat ye all of this; for this is my body, which shall be broken for many.

22. "Likewise also after supper, the day before he suffered he took the cup, looked up to heaven to thee, holy Father, almighty, everlasting God, and giving thanks, blessed it and delivered it to his apostles and to his disciples, saying, Take, and drink ye all of this; for this is my blood." Observe all those expressions. Those words are the Evangelists’ up to Take, whether the body or the blood. After that they are the words of Christ: Take, and drink ye all of this; for this is my blood. And observe them in detail.

23. Who the day before he suffered, he says, in his holy hands took bread. Before it is consecrated, it is bread, but when the words of Christ have been added, it is the body of Christ. Therefore hear him saying: Take and eat ye all of it; for this is my body. And before the words of Christ it is a cup full of wine and water. When the words of Christ have operated, then and there it is made to be the blood of Christ which redeemed the people. Therefore, see in how many ways the word of Christ is mighty to change all things. There the Lord Jesus himself testifies to us that we receive his body and blood. Ought we to doubt of his trustworthiness and testimony? . . . .

26. But that thou mayest know that this is a sacrament, it was prefigured beforehand. Then learn how great is the sacrament. See what he says: As often as ye do this, so often will ye make a memorial of me until I come again.

27. And the priest says: "Therefore having in remembrance his most glorious passion and resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven, we offer to thee this spotless offering, reasonable offering, unbloody offering, this holy bread and cup of eternal life: and we ask and pray that thou wouldst receive this oblation on thy altar on high by the hands of thy angels, as thou didst vouchsafe to receive the presents of thy righteous servant Abel, and the sacrifice of our patriarch Abraham, and that which the high priest Melchizedek offered to thee."

C. Bishop Sarapion Of Thmuis (Fc. 362)

4. Eucharistic Anaphora

Sacramentary (c. 350-356), I, 1-4, trans. J. Wordsworth, Bishop Sarapions Prayer Book (London: SPCK, 1923), pp. 60-66.

1. Offertory Prayer of Bishop Sarapion. [a. preface]

It is meet and right to praise, to hymn, to glorify thee the uncreated Father of the only-begotten Jesus Christ. We praise thee, O uncreated God, who art unsearchable, ineffable, incomprehensible by any created substance. We praise thee who are known of thy Son (St. Matt. 11: 27; St. John 10:14-15), the only-begotten, who through him art spoken of and interpreted and made known to created nature. We praise thee who knowest the Son and revealest to the Saints the glories that are about him: who art known of thy begotten Word, and art brought "to the sight and interpreted to the understanding of the Saints. We praise thee, O unseen Father, provider of immortality. Thou art the fount of life, the fount of light, the fount of all grace and all truth, O lover of men, O lover of the poor, who reconcilest thyself to all, and drawest all to thyself through the advent (**) of thy beloved Son. We beseech thee make us living men. Give us a spirit of light, that "we may know thee the true [God] and him whom thou didst send, (even) Jesus Christ" (St. John 17:3). Give us holy Spirit, that we may be able to tell forth and to enuntiate thy unspeakable mysteries. May the Lord Jesus speak in us and holy Spirit, and hymn thee through us.

For thou art "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come" (Eph. 1:21). Beside thee stand thousand thousands and myriad myriads of angels (Dan. 7:10; Heb. 12:22), archangels, thrones, dominions, principalities, powers (lit. rules, authorities): by thee stand the two most honourable six-winged seraphim, with two wings covering the face, and with two the feet, and with two flying and crying holy (**, cp. Isa. 6:2-3), with whom receive also our cry of "holy" (**) as we say: Holy, holy, holy, Lord of Sabaoth, full is the heaven and the earth of thy glory.

[b. oblation and recital of the institution]

Full is the heaven, full also is the earth of thy excellent glory. Lord of Hosts (lit. powers), fill also this sacrifice with thy power and thy participation (**): for to thee have we offered this living sacrifice Rom. 12:1), this bloodless oblation (cp. Eph. 5:2). To thee we have offered this bread the likeness (**) of the body of the only-begotten. This bread is the likeness of the holy body, because the Lord Jesus Christ in the night in which he was betrayed took bread and broke and gave to his disciples saying, "Take ye and eat, this is my body which is being broken for you for remission of sins" (cp. Lit. of St. Mark, etc.). Wherefore we also making the likeness of the death have offered the bread, and beseech thee through this sacrifice, be reconciled to all of us and be merciful, O God of truth: and as this bread had been scattered on the top of the mountains and gathered together came to be one, so also gather thy holy Church out of every nation and every country and every city and village and house and make one living catholic church. We have offered also the cup, the likeness of the blood, because the Lord Jesus Christ, taking a cup after supper (Luc. 22:20; I Cor. 11:25), said to his own disciples, "Take ye, drink, this is the new covenant, which (**) is my blood, which is being shed for you for remission of sins (**)." Wherefore we have also offered the cup, presenting a likeness of the blood.

[C. Invocation Of The Logos]

O God of truth, let thy holy Word come upon this bread (**) that the bread may become body of the id, and upon this cup that the cup may become blood of the Truth; and make all who communicate to receive a medicine of life for the healing of every sickness and for the strengthening of all advancement and virtue, not for condemnation, O God of truth, and not for censure and reproach. For we have invoked thee, the uncreated, through the only-begotten in holy Spirit.

[d. intercession for the living]

Let this people receive mercy, let it be counted worthy of advancement, let angels be sent forth as companions to the people for bringing to naught of the evil one and for establishment of the Church.

[e. intercession for the departed]

We intercede also on behalf of all who have been laid to rest, whose memorial we are making.

After the recitation (**) of the names: Sanctify these souls: for thou knowest all. Sanctify all (souls) laid to rest in the Lord. And number them with all thy holy powers and give to them a place and a mansion in thy kingdom.

[f. prayer for those who have offered]

Receive also the thanksgiving (eucharist) of the people, and bless those who have offered the offerings (**) and the thanksgivings, and grant health and soundness and cheerfulness and all advancement of soul and body to this whole people through the only-begotten Jesus Christ in holy Spirit; as it was and is and shall be to generations of generations and to all the ages of the ages. Amen.

[g. the lord’s prayer?] [the manual acts and communion]

2. After the [Lord’s?] prayer (comes) the fraction, and in the fraction a prayer.

Count us worthy of this communion also, O God of truth, and make our bodies to contain purity (**) and our souls prudence and knowledge. And make us wise, O God of compassions, by the participation of the body and the blood, because through thy only-begotten to thee (is) the glory and the strength in holy Spirit, now and to all the ages of the ages. Amen.

[the inclination]

3. After giving the fraction (i.e. the broken bread) to the clerics, imposition of hands (i.e. Benediction) of the people.

I stretch out the hand upon this people and pray that the hand of the truth may be stretched out and blessing given to this people on account of thy loving kindness (**), O God of compassions, and the mysteries that are present. May a hand of piety and power and sound discipline (**) and cleanness and all holiness bless this people, and continually preserve it to advancement and improvement through thy only-begotten Jesus Christ in holy Spirit both now and to all (the) ages of the ages. Amen.

[post communion prayer]

4. After the distribution of (i.e. to) the people (is this) prayer.

We thank thee, Master, that thou hast called those who have erred, and hast taken to thy self those who have sinned, and hast set aside the threat that was against us, giving indulgence by thy loving kindness, and wiping; it away by repentance, and casting it off by the knowledge that regards thyself (**). We give thanks to thee, that thou hast given us communion of (the) body and blood. Bless us, bless this people, make us to have a part with the body and the blood through thy only-begotten Son, through whom to thee (is) the glory and the strength in holy Spirit both now and ever and to all the ages of the ages. Amen.

D. St. Martin of Tours (316-400) and his Liturgy (c. 370-378)

5. His Catechumenate and Baptism

Vincent of Lerins, Vita Martini, 3, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., XI, p. 5. See sources in Chap. IX.

Accordingly, at a certain period, when he had nothing except his arms and his simple military dress, in the middle of winter, a winter which had shown itself more severe than ordinary, so that the extreme cold was proving fatal to many, he happened to meet at the gate of the city of Amiens a poor man destitute of clothing. He was entreating those that passed by to have compassion upon him, but all passed the wretched man without notice, when Martin, that man full of God, recognized that a being to whom others showed no pity, was, in that respect, left to him. Yet, what should he do? He had nothing except the cloak in which he was clad, for he had already parted with the rest of his garments for similar purposes. Taking, therefore, his sword with which he was girt, he divided his cloak into two equal parts, and gave one part to the poor man, while he again clothed himself with the remainder. Upon this, some of the by-standers laughed, because he was now an unsightly object, and stood out as but partly dressed. Many, however, who were of sounder understanding, groaned deeply because they themselves had done nothing similar. They especially felt this, because, being possessed of more than Martin, they could have clothed the poor man without reducing themselves to nakedness. In the following night, when Martin had resigned himself to sleep, he had a vision of Christ arrayed in that part of his cloak with which he had clothed the poor man. He contemplated the Lord with the greatest attention, and was told to own as his the robe which he had given. Ere long, he heard Jesus saying with a clear voice to the multitude of angels standing round — "Martin, who is still but a catechumen, clothed me with this robe." The Lord, truly mindful of his own words (who had said when on earth — "Inasmuch as ye have done these things to one of the least of these, ye have done them unto me"), declared that he himself had been clothed in that poor man; and to confirm the testimony he bore to so good a deed, he condescended to show him himself in that very dress which the poor man had received. After this vision the sainted man was not puffed up with human glory, but, acknowledging the goodness of God in what had been done, and being now of the age of twenty years, he hastened to receive baptism. He did not, however, all at once, retire from military service, yielding to the entreaties of his tribune, whom he admitted to be his familiar tent-companion. For the tribune promised that, after the period of his office had expired, he too would retire from the world. Martin, kept back by the expectation of this event, continued, although but in name, to act the part of a soldier, for nearly two years after he had received baptism.

E. Constitutions of the Holy Apostles (c.375/400)

6. The Church, the Clergy, and the Assembly for Worship

Constit. Apost., 2, vii, 57, trans. ANF, VII pp. 421-22.

But be thou, O bishop, holy, unblameable, no striker, not soon angry, not cruel; but a builder up, a converter, apt to teach, forbearing of evil, of a gentle mind, meek, long-suffering, ready to exhort, ready to comfort, as a man of God.

When thou callest an assembly of the Church as one that is the commander of a great ship, appoint the assemblies to be made with all possible skill, charging the deacons as mariners to prepare places for the brethren as for passengers, with all due care and decency. And first, let the building be long, with its head to the east, with its vestries on both sides at the east end, and so it will be like a ship. In the middle let the bishop’s throne be placed, and on each side of him let the presbytery sit down; and let the deacons stand near at hand, in close and small girt garments, for they are like the mariners and managers of the ship: with regard to these, let the laity sit on the other side, with all quietness and good order. And let the women sit by themselves, they also keeping silence. In the middle, let the reader stand upon some high place: let him read the books of Moses, of Joshua the son of Nun, of the Judges, and of the Kings and of the Chronicles, and those written after the return from the captivity; and besides these, the books of Job and of Solomon, and of the sixteen prophets. But when there have been two lessons severally read, let some other person sing the hymns of David, and let the people join at the conclusions of the verses. Afterwards let our Acts be read, and the Epistles of Paul our fellow-worker, which he sent to the churches under the conduct of the Holy Spirit; and afterwards let a deacon or a presbyter read the Gospels, both those which I Matthew and John have delivered to you, and those which the fellow-workers of Paul received and left to you, Luke and Mark. And while the Gospel is read, let all the presbyters and deacons, and all the people, stand up in great silence; for it is written: "Be silent, and hear, O Israel/’ And again: "But do thou stand there, and hear/’ In the next place, let the presbyters one by one, not all together, exhort the people, and the bishop in the last place, as being the commander. Let the porters stand at the entries of the men, and observe them. Let the deaconesses also stand at those of the women, like shipmen. For the same description and pattern was both in the tabernacle of the testimony and in the temple of God. But if any one be found sitting out of his place, let him be rebuked by the deacon, as a manager of the foreship, and be removed into the place proper for him; for the Church is not only like a ship, but also like a sheepfold. For as the shepherds place all the brute creatures distinctly, I mean goats and sheep, according to their kind and age, and still every one runs together, like to his like; so is it to be in the Church. Let the young persons sit by themselves, if there be a place for them; if not, let them stand upright. But let those that are already stricken in years sit in order. For the children which stand, let their fathers and mothers take them to them. Let the younger women also sit by themselves, if there be a place for them; but if there be not, let them stand behind the women. Let those women which are married, and have children, be placed by themselves; but let the virgins, and the widows, and the elder women, stand or sit before all the rest; and let the deacon be the disposer of the places, that every one of those that comes in may go to his proper place, and may not sit at the entrance. In like manner, let the deacon oversee the people, that nobody may whisper, nor slumber, nor laugh, nor nod; for all ought in the church to stand wisely, and soberly, and attentively, having their attention fixed upon the word of the Lord. After this, let all rise up with one consent, and looking towards the east, after the catechumens and penitents are gone out, pray to God eastward, who ascended up to the heaven of heavens to the east; remembering also the ancient situation of paradise in the east, from whence the first man, when he had yielded to the persuasion of the serpent, and disobeyed the command of God, was expelled. As to the deacons, after the prayer is over, let some of them attend upon the oblation of the Eucharist, ministering to the Lord’s body with fear. Let others of them watch the multitude, and keep them silent. But let that deacon who is at the high priest’s hand say to the people, Let no one have any quarrel against another; let no one come in hypocrisy. Then let the men give the men, and the women give the women, the Lord’s kiss. But let no one do it with deceit, as Judas betrayed the Lord with a kiss. After this let the deacon pray for the whole Church, for the whole world, and the several parts of it, and the fruits of it; for the priests and the rulers, for the high priest and the king, and the peace of the universe. After this let the high priest pray for peace upon the people, and bless them, as Moses commanded the priests to bless the people, in these words: "The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and give thee peace." Let the bishop pray for the people, and say: "Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thine inheritance, which Thou hast obtained with the precious blood of Thy Christ, and hast called a royal priesthood, and an holy nation." After this let the sacrifice follow, the people standing, and praying silently; and when the oblation has been made, let every rank by itself partake of the Lord’s body and precious blood in order, and approach with reverence and holy fear, as to the body of their king. Let the women approach with their heads covered, as is becoming the order of women; but let the door be watched, lest any unbeliever, or one not yet initiated, come in.

F. Jerome (c. 340/47-420) and the Vulgate

7. The Roman Psalter (c.383) and the Callican (c. 387-388)

Praef. in Lib. Ps., trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., VI, p. 494.

Long ago, when I was living at Rome, I revised the Psalter, and corrected it in a great measure, though but cursorily, in accordance with the Septuagint version. You now find it, Paula and Eustochium, again corrupted through the fault of copyists, and realise the fact that ancient error is more powerful than modern correction; and you therefore urge me, as it were, to crossplough the land which has already been broken up, and, by means of the transverse furrows, to root out the thorns which are beginning to spring again; it is only right, j that rank and noxious growths should be cut down as often as they appear. And so I issue my customary admonition by way of preface both to you, for whom it happens that I am undertaking the labour, and to those persons who desire to have copies such as I describe. Pray see that what I have carefully revised be transcribed with similar painstaking care. Every reader can observe for himself where there is placed either a horizontal line or mark issuing from the centre, that is, either an obelus (+) or an asterisk (*). And wherever he sees the former, he is to understand that between this mark and the two stops (:) which I have introduced, the Septuagint translation contains superfluous matter. But where he sees the asterisk (*), an addition to the Hebrew books is indicated, which also goes as far as the two stops.

G. Gregory of Nyssa (F 394)

8. The Purpose and Method of Catechetical Instruction

Orat. Cat. (c. 390), Praef., trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., V, pp. 473-74.

The presiding ministers of the "mystery of godliness" have need of a system in their instructions, in order that the Church may be replenished by the accession of such as should be saved, through the teaching of the word of Faith being brought home to the hearing of unbelievers. Not that the same method of instruction will be suitable in the case of all who approach the word. The catechism must be adapted to the diversities of their religious worship; with an eye, indeed, to the one aim and end of the system, but not using the same method of preparation in each individual case. The Judaizer has been preoccupied with one set of notions, one conversant with Hellenism, with others; while the Anomoean, and the Manichee, with the followers of Marcion, Valentinus, and Basilides, and the rest on the list of those who have wandered into heresy, each of them being prepossessed with their peculiar notions, necessitate a special controversy with their several opinions. The method of recovery must be adapted to the form of the disease. You will not by the same means cure the polytheism of the Greek, and the unbelief of the Jew as to the Only-begotten God: nor as regards those who have wandered into heresy will you, by the same arguments in each case, upset their misleading romances as to the tenets of the Faith. No one could set Sabellius right by the same instruction as would benefit the Anomoean. The controversy with the Manichee is profitless against the Jew. It is necessary, therefore, as I have said, to regard the opinions which the persons have taken up, and to frame your argument in accordance with the error into which each has fallen, by advancing in each discussion certain principles and reasonable propositions, that thus, through what is agreed upon on both sides, the truth may conclusively be brought to light. When, then, a discussion is held with one of those who favour Greek ideas, it would be well to make the ascertaining of this the commencement of the reasoning, i.e. whether he presupposes the existence of a God, or concurs with the atheistic view. Should he say there is no God, then, from the consideration of the skilful and wise economy of the Universe he will be brought to acknowledge that there is a certain overmastering power manifested through these channels. If, on the other hand, he should have no doubt as to the existence of Deity, but should be inclined to entertain the presumption of a plurality of Gods, then we will adopt against him some such train of reasoning as this: "does he think Deity is perfect or defective?" and if, as is likely, he bears testimony to the perfection in the Divine nature, then we will demand of him to grant a perfection throughout in everything that is observable in that divinity, in order that Deity may not be regarded as a mixture of opposites, defect and perfection.

H. Sunday Offices: Pilgrimage of Etheria (c. 390)

9. Lord’s Day Vigil and Eucharist

S. Silviae Peregrinatio, 24:8, trans, and ed. by M. L. McClure and C. L. Feltoe, The Pilgrimage of Etheria (London: SPCK, 1920), pp. 49-51.

But on the seventh day, that is on the Lord’s Day, the whole multitude assembles before cockcrow, in as great numbers as the place can hold, as at Easter, in the basilica which is near the Anastasis, but outside the doors, where lights are hanging for the purpose. And for fear that they should not be there at cockcrow they come beforehand and sit down there. Hymns as well as antiphons are said, and prayers are made between the several hymns and antiphons, for at the vigils there are always both priests and deacons ready there for the assembling of the multitude, the custom being that the holy places are not opened before cockcrow. Now as soon as the first cock has crowed, the bishop arrives and enters the cave at the Anastasis; all the doors are opened and the whole multitude enters the Anastasis, where countless lights are already burning. And when the people have entered, one of the priests says a psalm to which all respond, and afterwards prayer is made; then one of the deacons says a psalm and prayer is again made, a third psalm is said by one of the clergy, prayer is made for a third time and there is a commemoration of all. After these three psalms and three prayers are ended, Io! censers are brought into the cave of the Anastasis so that the whole basilica of the Anastasis is filled with odours. And then the bishop, standing within the rails, takes the book of the Gospel, and proceeding to the door, himself reads the (narrative of the) Resurrection of the Lord. And when the reading is begun, there is so great a moaning and groaning among all, with so many tears, that the hardest of hearts might be moved to tears for that the Lord had borne such things for us. After the reading of the Gospel the bishop goes out, and is accompanied to the Cross by all the people with hymns, there again a psalm is said and prayer is made, after which he blesses the faithful and the dismissal takes place, and as he comes out all approach to his hand. And forthwith the bishop betakes himself to his house, and from that hour all the monks return to the Anastasis, where psalms and antiphons, with prayer after each psalm or antiphon, are said until daylight; the priests and deacons also keep watch in turn daily at the Anastasis with the people, but of the lay people, whether men or women, those who are so minded, remain in the place until daybreak, and those who are not, return to their houses and betake themselves to sleep.

2. Morning Services

Now at daybreak because it is the Lord’s Day every one proceeds to the greater church, built by Constantine, which is situated in Golgotha behind the Cross, where all things are done which are customary everywhere on the Lord’s Day. But the custom here is that of all the priests who take their seats, as many as are willing, preach, and after them all the bishop preaches, and these sermons are always on the Lord’s Day, in order that the people may always be instructed in the Scriptures and in the love of God. The delivery of these sermons greatly delays the dismissal from the church, so that the dismissal does [not] take place before the fourth or perhaps the fifth hour.

I. The (Divine) Liturgy of St. Chrysostom (c. 344/45-407)

10. The Great Entrance and the Communion

Trans. J. M. Neale & R. F. Littledale, The Liturgies of SS. Mark, James, Clement, Chry-sostom, and The Church of Malabar (London: J. T. Hayes, 1859), pp. 107-8, 120-23.

And the Priest raising the Air [veil over paten and chalice], puts it on the left shoulder of the Deacon, saying,

Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord.

Then, taking the holy disk [paten], he puts it with all care and reverence on the Deacons head, the Deacon also holding the censer with one of his fingers. And the Priest himself taking the holy chalice in his hands, they go through the north part, preceded by tapers, and make

The Great Entrance.

both praying for all and saying, The Lord God remember us all in His kingdom, always, now and ever, and to ages of ages.

And the Deacon, going within the holy doors, stands on the right hand; and when the Priest is about to enter in, he saith to him,

The Lord God remember thy Priesthood in His kingdom.

Priest. The Lord God remember thy Diaconate in His kingdom, always, now and ever, and to ages of ages.

And the Priest sets down the chalice on the holy Table, and taking the holy disk from the head of the Deacon, he places it there also, . . .

The Deacon then girds his Orarion [stole] crosswise, and goes into the holy Bema [Chancel], and standing on the right hand, (the Priest grasping the holy Bread,) saith,

Sir, break the holy Bread.

And the Priest, dividing It into four parts with care and reverence, places It on the holy disk in the form of a Cross in this fashion:




saying, The Lamb of God is broken and distributed; He That is broken and not divided in sunder; ever eaten and never consumed, but sanctifying the communicants.

And the Deacon, pointing with his Orarion to the holy Cup, saith,

Sir, fill the holy Cup.

And the Priest taking the upper portion, (that is, the **,) makes with It a Cross above the holy Cup, saying, The fulness of the cup, of faith, of the Holy Ghost: and thus puts It into the holy Cup.

Deacon. Amen.

And taking the warm water, he saith to the Priest,

Sir, bless the warm water.

And the Priest blesseth, saying,

Blessed is the fervour of Thy Saints, always, now and ever, and to ages of ages. Amen.

And the Deacon pours forth a sufficiency into the holy Cup, in the form of a Cross, saying,

The fervour of faith, full of the Holy Ghost. Amen. (Thrice.)

Then, setting down the warm water, he stands a little way off. And the Priest, taking a particle of the holy Bread, saith,

The blessed and most holy Body of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, is communicated to me, N., Priest, for the remission of my sins, and for everlasting life. I believe, Lord, and confess.

Of Thy Mystic Supper to-day.

Let not, O Lord, the communion of Thy holy mysteries be to my judgment or condemnation, but to the healing of my soul and body.

And thus he partakes of that which is in his hands with fear and all caution. Then he saith,

Deacon, approach.

And the Deacon approaches, and reverently makes an obeisance, asking forgiveness. And the Priest, taking the holy Bread, gives it to the Deacon; and the Deacon, kissing the hand that gives it, saith,

Sir, make me partaker of the precious and

holy Body of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Priest. N. the holy Deacon is made partaker of the precious and holy and spotless Body of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, for the remission of his sins, and for eternal life.

And the Deacon going behind the holy Table, boweth his head and prayeth, and so doth the Priest.

Then the Priest standing up, takes the holy Chalice with its covering in both hands, and drinks three times, saying, I, N., Priest, partake of the pure and holy Blood of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, for the remission of my sins, and for eternal life.

And then he wipes the holy Cup and his own lips with the covering he has in his hands, and saith,

Behold, this hath touched my lips, and shall take away my transgressions, and purge my sins.

Then he calls the Deacon, saying, Deacon approach. The Deacon comes, and adores once, saying,

Behold, I approach the Immortal King.

I believe, Lord, and confess.

Priest. N. the Deacon and servant of God is made partaker of the precious and holy Blood of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and for eternal life.

And when the Deacon hath communicated, the Priest saith,

Behold, this hath touched thy lips.

Then the Deacon, taking the holy disk, and holding it over the holy Chalice, wipes it thoroughly with the holy sponge; and with care and reverence covers it with the veil. In like manner he covers the disk with the asterisk, [or star: a framework securing the veil over the paten] and that with its veil.

The Priest saith the prayer of Thanksgiving.

We yield Thee thanks, O Lord and Lover of men, Benefactor of our souls, that Thou hast this day thought us worthy of Thy heavenly and immortal mysteries. Rightly divide our path, confirm us all in Thy fear, guard our life, make safe our goings: through the prayers and supplications of the glorious Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary, and all Thy Saints.

And thus they open the doors of the holy Bema; and the Deacon, having made one adoration, takes the Chalice with reverence, and goes to the door, and raising the holy Chalice, shews it to the people, saying, Approach with the fear of God, faith and love.

They who are to communicate draw near h all reverence, and hold their arms crossed on their breast; and the Priest, as he distributes the mysteries to each, saith,

N. the servant of God is made partaker of the pure and holy Body and Blood of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, for the remission of his sins, and life everlasting.

Then the Priest blesseth the people, saying aloud,

O God, save Thy people, and bless Thine heritage.

J. Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite and the Earthly Hierarchies, Deification, Eucharistic Sacrament (c. 500)

11. The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy: Initiation, Deification, Participation in the one Salvation

De ecclesiastica hierarchies, 1:1-5, trans. T. L. Campbell, Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite: The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy Translated and Annotated (Washington, D. C: Catholic University of America Press, 1955), pp. 1-5.

1. We must show, most pious of sons, that our hierarchy is inspired by God and that it implies a divine and deifying science, activity, and perfection. We shall show this from our most sacred and supramundane Scriptures, for the benefit of those who have been initiated by the consecration of sacred initiation in hierarchical mysteries and traditions. However, take care not to reveal indiscretely these most sacred things. Be prudent and respect the hidden things of God by using spiritual and obscure notions. Keep these things undefiled, inaccessible to the uninitiated, reverently communicating sacred things only to holy persons in a holy illumination.

Theology has taught us worshippers that Jesus Himself is the transcendentally divine and supra-essential mind, the source and essence of all hierarchy, holiness, and divine operation, the divinely sovereign power who illumines the blessed beings superior to us in a manner at once more spiritual and clear, assimilating them to His own light as far as possible. As for us, because of our love of the beautiful which attracts us to Him, and by which we are raised up to Him, He folds together our multiple differences and perfects us into a unified divine life, habit, and activity, and grants us the sacred power of the divine priesthood. By our approach to the sacred function of the priesthood, we come nearer to the beings above us through imitating as much as we can the constancy and unchangeableness of their steadfastness in holy things, and by looking upon the constancy of the supremely divine and blessed Jesus. Reverently contemplating whatever we are permitted to see, enlightened by the knowledge of visions, we shall be able to be consecrated and to consecrate others in this mystical knowledge. We shall become images of light and co-workers with God. perfected and making others perfect.

2. What, then, is the hierarchy of the angels and archangels, supramundane principalities and powers, virtues and dominations, divine thrones, or beings of the same rank as thrones which the word of God describes as being perpetually near God, always about Him and with Him, those beings in Hebrew called cherubim and seraphim? These things you are likely to find in our treatise on the orders and sacred divisions of their ranks and hierarchies. You will note that we have praised that hierarchy according to the theology of the most holy Scriptures, not worthily to be sure, but to the best of our ability. Nevertheless, we must recall here that both that hierarchy and every other hierarchy we are now praising has but the one same power throughout the whole of its hierarchical functions, and that the chief of each sacred order himself receives an initiation in divine things according to his nature, aptitude, and rank. He is himself deified, and makes his subjects, according to the merits of each, participants in the holy deification he has received from God Himself. Inferiors follow their superiors, who urge them to advance, and some go forward and lead others on as far as possible. Through this divine hierarchical harmony, each order can participate as much as possible in Him who is truly beautiful, wise, and good.

The beings and orders above us, of whom I have already made pious mention, are incorporeal, and their hierarchy is spiritual and supramundane. We observe that our own human hierarchy, conformably to our nature, abounds in a manifold variety of sensible symbols which raise us hierarchically, in proportion to our capacity, to the oneness of deification, to God and divine virtue. Since they are spirits, they know according to laws proper to them, but we are raised up to divine contemplations through sensible images as much as we can be. To speak truly, there is one to whom all the godlike aspire, but they do not partake of Him who is one and the same in the same manner, but as the divine ordinance assigns to each according to his merits.

These things have been treated more systematically in the treatise, On Things Spiritual and Sensible. Right now I will only attempt to describe the principle and essence of our own hierarchy as best I can, calling upon Jesus, the principle and perfection of every hierarchy.

3. According to our august tradition, every hierarchy gives full account of every sacred reality falling under it, and a most general summary of the rites that pertain to this or that particular hierarchy. Our hierarchy is called, and is, that function embracing all the sacred rites proper to it, and in

accordance with which the divine bishop, once he is consecrated, can participate in all the sacred rites which pertain to him, because he takes his name from "hierarchy." He who speaks of hierarchy speaks at the same time of the orderly arrangement of all sacred things taken together. Likewise, he who says "hierarch" means a man divinely inspired and godlike, one learned in all sacred knowledge, and in whom the whole hierarchy is plainly perfected and recognized.

The source of this hierarchy is the Trinity, the fountain of life, the essence of goodness, the one cause of things that are. From its goodness comes both the being and the well-being of things that exist. This beatitude that divinely transcends all things is the truly existing triune Unity who willed, in a manner incomprehensible to us but most clear to itself, the salvation of rational creatures, both ourselves and the beings above us. This salvation is possible in no other way than by the deification of the saved. This deification is a certain assimilation and unification with God in so far as possible. The common end of every hierarchy is the continued love of God and divine things, a love divinely sanctified into oneness with Him. However, for this there must be an absolute 1 unswerving flight from whatever is contrary, a knowledge of beings as they are in themselves, a vision and understanding of sacred truth, a divine participation in the One itself as much as possible, and an enjoyment of open vision that nourishes spiritually and deifies every man who is raised up to it.

4. Let us say, then, that the divine Beatitude, the being divine by nature, the principle of deification, whose divine goodness deifies those who are deified, has granted to all rational and spiritual beings the gift of the hierarchy for their salvation. This gift has been given in a manner more spiritual and immaterial to the supramundane and those enjoying a blessed repose, for it is not from without that God moves them to divine things, but spiritually, by illuminating them from within by means of a pure and immaterial light regarding His most divine will. This gift offered to them simply and compactly is given to us through a variety and multiplicity of divisible symbols out of the God-given Scriptures, in so far as it is fitting. The very essence of our hierarchy is the divinely transmitted Scriptures. We deem most venerable these oracles which our divinely inspired initiators have given us in sacred writings and theological books, and further, such as our leaders have revealed to us from these same holy men by a more immaterial initiation that is very similar to the heavenly hierarchy since it is from mind to mind. It is corporeal because it comes through the medium of speech, and yet quite immaterial because it is unwritten. The divinely inspired bishops did not transmit these teachings in undisguised formulas for the common usage of sacred ceremony, but in sacred symbols, because not everyone is holy, nor, as Scripture says, does knowledge belong to all.

5. Necessarily, therefore, after they themselves had been filled with the sacred gift by the supra-essential Deity, they were sent forth by His supremely divine goodness to proclaim this gift to posterity. Ardently desiring its elevation and deification with their own, like gods, the first leaders of our hierarchy transmitted to us the supracelestial in sensible figures in accordance with the sacred ordinances. They transmitted the unified in variety and multiplicity, the divine in the human, the immaterial in the material, the super-essential on our own level, making use of both written and oral instructions. They did this not merely on account of the unholy, for whom it is sacrilegious even to approach the symbols, but, as I said, because our hierarchy is something symbolic, proportioned to our nature that needs material things for our more divine elevation from them to the spiritual. However, to the divine initiators in sacred things, the reasons behind the symbols have been revealed, and they are not to be explained to those still being initiated. It is known that those who make laws concerning what is sacred and divinely handed-down arranged the hierarchy in well-ft and distinct ranks of orders, and in proportional, sacred distributions of what is proper for each according to its deserts.

Therefore, I have confided this divin gift to you along with other hierarchical matters, trusting in your sacred promises (for it is well to recall them), that you will not commit to everyone all the holy doctrines of the sublime episcopal order, but only to the godlike teachers of sacred things of the same rank as yourself, whom, according to the hierarchical precept, you will persuade to promise to treat pure things purely, to communicate the works of God only to godly men, things that perfect to those becoming perfect, and most holy things to the holy.

12. Union with Super-essential Deity Surpassing the Intelligible; Each Creature Illumined by Divine Graciousness in Accordance with the Principle of Analogia

De Divinis Nominibus 1:1-2. Freely rendered by the editor from Dom Chevallier et al.y Dionysiaca (Paris, 1937), I and M. de Gandillac, Oeuvres Completes du Pseudo-Denys L’Areopagite (Paris: Aubier, 1943), pp. 66-69.

Our rule in accordance with the sacred texts is to enumerate no truth of the divine word in terms of human wisdom, but rather by a revelation of that power which invested the Holy Writers. This enables us to adhere, in a Union without word and without knowledge, to realities both unspeakable and unknowable. . . . No word or thought may be entertained with regard to the hidden Super-Essential Godhead beyond that divinely revealed to us by Holy Writ. Only a super-essential knowledge befits the Unknowing of this same Super-essentiality which transcends reason, thought, and being. We may lift our eyes to lofty things only as we strive to ascend with the aid of those effulgent Rays emanating from the Divine Scriptures. . . . Created intelligences receive a manifestation of Divine secrets that is according to the measure of those powers within each. The Divine Goodness out of its saving concern for humanity reveals itself with an immeasurable graciousness tempered to the clearly measurable limits of human comprehension. . . .

. . . The Scriptures themselves teach us that no being may take in the meaning of this Super-Essence that transcends all Essences, this Good defying the description of all words, this Mind that eludes every mind, this Word beyond Experience, Insight, Name and Category, this Cause of all being that does not itself exist, this Super-Essence that is beyond all Being and all Revelation save its own self-manifestation. Though in its intimate nature perfectly inaccessible to every being, the Good in Itself does not remain wholly incommunicable. Out of Its Divine isolation it sends forth illumination from its Super-Essential Ray. Each creature, according to the measure of its individual powers receives the loving self-revelation of this Divine Goodness. It draws holy souls toward itself for such contemplation of, communion with, and resemblance of Itself as may be in harmony with the Divine plan and each human condition.

13. The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy: Holy Liturgies; Sacrament of Assembly (Synaxis); Sacrament of Union (Koinonia); Communion in the Mysteries; Rites and Symbols

Ecc. Hier., 3, iii, 12. Trans, by the editor from B. Geyer & J. Zellinger, Florilegium Patristicum . . . Fasc. VII: Monumenta eucharistica et liturgica. . . . Pars VI, ed. J. Quasten (Bonnae: Sumpt. Petri Hanstein, 1937), pp. 311-12, compared with Gandillac, Oeuvres, pp. 277-79.

But how indeed could we realize this divine imitation except by the continuous renewal in memory of the most holy working of the divine favor mediated through hierarchical proclamation and priestly ministries? This, then, we do, as the Scriptures say, in commemoration of the Master and of the divine graces (Luke 22:19). That is why the godly hierarch, standing erect before the Holy Altar, extols the divine working that is herein recalled and that Jesus divinely brought to pass. Doing so, he consummated in our behalf the workings of divine providence for the salvation of our race by the good pleasure of the Most Holy Father and in the Holy Spirit, according to the testimony of the Oracle, or Holy Sayings.

Having thus chanted his veneration of the awesome mysteries, and having perceived them by that theoria or contemplative insight with which he spiritually regarded them, the godly hierarch proceeds, then, to their symbolic consecration, as handed down by Divinity, Himself. He prays, therefore, that he may be worthy of bringing about the divine working in imitation of God, of consecrating the divine mysteries, and of distributing them devotedly out of resemblance with Christ. He makes supplication, likewise, for all those about to participate in the divine mysteries that they may communicate worthily in holy things. Then he celebrates and consecrates the most divine mysteries, bringing to the view of every one the mysteries that he will shortly achieve under the species symbolically present. The bread has, heretofore, remained covered and undivided. He now uncovers it and breaks it up into a number of pieces. He likewise shares among all the assistants the single chalice, thus symbolically multiplying 1 distributing the One. With this, the holiest act of the entire liturgy is consummated.

For the Unique, the Uncompounded, the Hidden of Jesus, the Thearchic (or Super-Essential, God-Principled) Word has taken on our humanity in both composition and appearance. He has generously admitted us to His unifying communion, thereby joining what is lowest in us to His most divine eminence. This remains true only so long as we adhere to it like members articulated in a common body. ... If we wish to share in his communion, we must contemplate the most divine life of God incarnate and emulate his holy sinlessness, thus tending toward the perfect purity of a lasting deification.

II. Examples of Music in the Worship of the Early Church.

A. St. Ambrose (c. 340-397)

14. He Comments on His Hymns (386)

Sermo c. Auxentium, 34, trans. LF, XLV, p. 156.

Moreover they assert that the people have been beguiled by the strains of my hymns. I deny not this either. It is a lofty strain, than which nothing is more powerful. For what can be more powerful than the confession of the Trinity, which is daily celebrated by the mouth of the whole people? All zealously desire to make profession of their faith, they know how to confess in verse the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Thus all are become teachers who re scarcely able to be disciples.

15. One of His Hymns: At Cock-Crowing

Hymnus ad Galli Cantum, Stanzas 1-8, trans. E. Caswell, Hymns and Poems, 1849.

At Cock-Crowing

1 Dread framer of the earth and sky!

Who dost the circling seasons give!

And all the cheerful change supply

Of alternating morn and eve!

2 Loud crows the herald of the dawn,

Awake amid the gloom of night,

And guides the lonely traveller on,

With call prophetic of the light.

3 Forthwith at this, the darkness chill

Retreats before the star of morn;

And from their busy schemes of ill,

The vagrant crews of night return.

4 Fresh hope, at this, the sailor cheers;

The waves their stormy strife allay;

The Church’s Rock, at this, in tears,

Hastens to wash his guilt away.

5 Arise ye, then, with one accord!

Nor longer wrapt in slumber lie;

The cock rebukes all who their Lord

By sloth neglect, by sin deny.

6 At his clear cry joy springs afresh;

Health courses through the sick man’s veins;

The dagger glides into its sheath;

The fallen soul her faith regains.

7 Jesu! look on us when we fall;

One momentary glance of thine

Can from her guilt the soul recall

To tears of penitence divine.

8 Awake us from false sleep profound,

And through our senses pour thy light;

Be thy blest name the first we sound

At early morn, the last at night.

B. St. Augustine (354-430)

26. On Ambrose and the Singing at Milan

Confess., 10:33; 9:6, 7, trans. NPNF, 1st ser., I, pp. 156, 134.

(10:33) The delights of the ear had more powerfully inveigled and conquered me, but Thou didst unbind and liberate me. Now, in those airs which Thy words breathe soul into, when sung with a sweet and trained voice, do I somewhat repose; yet not so as to cling to them, but so as to free myself when I wish. But with the words which are their life do they, that they may gain admission into me, strive after a place of some honour in my heart; and I can hardly assign them a fitting one. Sometimes I appear to myself to give them more respect than is fitting, as I perceive that our minds are more devoutly and earnestly elevated into a flame of piety by the holy words themselves when they are thus sung, than when they are not; and that all affections of our spirit, by their own diversity, have their appropriate measures in the voice and singing, wherewith by I know not what secret relationship they are stimulated. But the gratification of my flesh, to which the mind ought never to be given over to be enervated, often beguiles me, while the sense does not so attend on reason as to follow her patiently; but having gained admission merely for her sake, it strives even to run on before her, and be her leader. Thus in these things do I sin unknowing, but afterwards do I know it.

Sometimes, again, avoiding very earnestly this same deception, I err out of too great preciseness; and sometimes so much as to desire that every air of the pleasant songs to which David’s Psalter is often used, be banished both from my ears and those of the Church itself; and that way seemed unto me safer which I remembered to have been often related to me of Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, who obliged the reader of the psalm to give utterance to it with so slight an inflection of voice, that it was more like speaking than singing. Notwithstanding, when I call to mind the tears I shed at the songs of Thy Church, at the set of my recovered faith, and how even I am moved not by the singing but by what is sung, when they are sung with a clear and skilfully modulated voice, I then acknowledge the great utility of this custom. Thus vacillate I between dangerous pleasure and tried soundness; being inclined rather (though I pronounce no irrevocable opinion upon the subject) to approve of the use of singing in the church, that so by the delights of the ear the weaker minds may be stimulated to a devotional frame. Yet when it happens to me to be more moved by the singing than by what is sung, I confess my-to have sinned criminally, and then I Id rather not have heard the singing.

(9:6) Nor was I satiated in those days with the wondrous sweetness of considering the depth of Thy counsels concerning the salvation of the human race. How greatly did I weep in Thy hymns and canticles, deeply moved by the voices of Thy sweet-speaking Church! The voices flowed into mine ears, and the truth was poured forth into my heart, whence the agitation of my piety overflowed, and my tears ran over, and blessed was I therein.

(9:7) Not lone had the Church of Milan : in to employ this kind of consolation and exhortation, the brethren singing together with great earnestness of voice and heart. For it was about a year, or not much more, since Justina, the mother of the boy-Emperor Valentinian, persecuted Thy servant Ambrose in the interest of her heresy, to which she had been seduced by the Arians. The pious people kept guard in the church, prepared to die with their bishop, Thy servant. There my mother, Thy handmaid, bearing a chief part of those cares and watchings, lived in prayer. We, still unmelted by the heat of Thy Spirit, were yet moved by the astonished and disturbed city. At this time it was instituted that, after the manner of the Eastern Church, hymns and psalms should be sung, lest the people should pine away in the tediousness of sorrow; which custom, retained from then till now, is imitated by many, yea, by almost all of Thy congregations throughout the rest of the world.

III. Renunciation, Asceticism, and the Beginnings of Monasticism in the East.

A. St. Anthony (c. 251-356) and Eremitic Beginnings

17. Athanasius (295-373) on St. Anthony

Vita. S. Ant., 3, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., IV, p. 196.

And again as he went into the church, hearing the Lord say in the Gospel, ‘be not anxious for the morrow,’ he could stay no longer, but went out and gave those things also to the poor. Having committed his sister to known and faithful virgins, and put her into a convent to be brought up, he henceforth devoted himself outside his house to discipline, taking heed to himself and training himself with patience. For there were not yet so many monasteries in Egypt, and no monk at all knew of the distant desert; but all who wished to give heed to themselves practised the discipline in solitude near their own village. Now there was then in the next village an old man who had lived the life of a hermit from his youth up. Antony, after he had seen this man, imitated him in piety. And at first he began to abide in places outside the village; then if he heard of a good man anywhere, like the prudent bee, he went forth and sought him, nor turned back to his own place until he had seen him; and he returned, having got from the good man as it were supplies for his journey in the way of virtue. So dwelling there at first, he confirmed his purpose not to return to the abode of his fathers nor to the remembrance of his kinsfolk; but to keep all his desire and energy for perfecting his discipline. He worked, however, with his hands, having heard, ‘he who is idle let him not eat/ and part he spent on bread and part he gave to the needy. And he was constant in prayer, knowing that a man ought to pray in secret unceasingly. For he had given such heed to what was read that none of the things that were written fell from him to the ground, but he remembered all, and afterwards his memory served him for books.

B. Pachomius (c. 286/92-346) and cenobitic Outlines

18. Sozomen (c. 450) on Pachomius’ Call to Community Life

Hist. Ecc, 3:14, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., II, p. 292.

It is said that Pachomius at first practiced philosophy alone in a cave, but that a holy angel appeared to him, and commanded him to call together some young monks, and live with them, for he had succeeded well in pursuing philosophy by himself, and to train them by the laws which were about to be delivered to him, and now he was to possess and benefit many as a leader of communities.

19. Palladius (c. 363-c. 424) on Pachomius

Historia Lausiaca (c. 419/20), 38. Selections from A Source Book for Ancient Church History, pp. 402-6, by Joseph Cullen Ayer are reprinted with the permission of Charles Scribner’s Sons © 1913 Charles Scribner’s Sons; renewal © 1941 Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr. This passage, pp. 402-5.

There is a place in the Thebaid called Tabenna, in which lived a certain monk Pachomius, one of those men who have attained the highest form of life, so that he was granted predictions of the future and angelic visions. He was a great lover of the poor, and had great love to men. When, therefore, he was sitting in a cave an angel of the Lord came in and appeared to him and said: Pachomius you have done well those things which pertain to your own affairs; therefore sit no longer idle in this cave. Up, therefore, go forth and gather all the younger monks and dwell with them and give them laws according to the form which I give thee. And he gave him a brass tablet on which the following things were written:

1. Give to each to eat and drink according to his strength; and give labors according to the powers of those eating, and forbid neither fasting nor eating. Thus appoint difficult labors to the stronger and those who eat, but the lighter and easy tasks to those who discipline themselves more and are weaker.

2. Make separate cells in the same place; and let three remain in a cell. But let the food of all be prepared in one house.

3. They may not sleep lying down, but having made seats built inclining backward let them place their bedding on them and sleep seated.

4. But by night let them wear linen tunics, being girded about. Let each of them have a shaggy goatskin, made white. Without this let them neither eat nor sleep. When they go in unto the communion of the mysteries of Christ every Sabbath and Lord’s Day, let them loose their girdles and put off the goatskin, and enter with only their cuculla. . . . But he made the cuculla for them without any fleece, as for boys; and he commanded to place upon them certain branding marks of a purple cross.

5. He commanded that there be twenty-four groups of the brethren, according to the number of the twenty-four letters. And he prescribed that to each group should be en as a name a letter of the Greek alphabet, from Alpha and Beta, one after another, to Omega, in order that when the archimandrite asked for any one in so great a company, that one may be asked who is the second in each, how group Alpha is, or how the group Beta; again let him salute the group Rho; the name of the letters following its own proper sign. And upon the simpler and more guileless place the name Iota; and upon those who are more ill-tempered and less righteous the letter XI. And thus in harmony with the principles and the life and manners of them arrange the names of the letters, only the spiritual understanding the meaning.

6. There was written on the tablet that if there come a stranger of another monastery, having a different form of life, he shall not eat nor drink with them, nor go in with them into the monastery, unless he shall be found in the way outside of the monastery.

7. But do not receive for three years into the contest of proficients him who has entered once for all to remain with them; but when he has performed the more difficult tasks, then let him after a period of three years enter the stadium.

8. When they eat let them veil their faces, that one brother may not see another brother eating. They are not to speak while they eat; nor outside of their dish or off the table shall they turn their eyes toward anything else.

9. And he made it a rule that during the whole day they should offer twelve prayers; and at the time of lighting the lamps, twelve; and in the course of the night, twelve; and at the ninth hour, three; but when it seemed good for the whole company to eat, he directed that each group should first sing a psalm at each prayer.

But when the great Pachomius replied to the angel that the prayers were few, the angel said to him: I have appointed these that the little ones may advance and fulfil the law and not be distressed; but the perfect do not need to have laws given to them. For being by themselves in their cells, they have dedicated their entire life to contemplation on God. But to these, as many as do not have an intelligent mind, I will give a law that as saucy servants out of fear for the Master they may fulfil the whole order of life and direct it properly. When the angel had given these directions and fulfilled his ministry he departed from the great Pachomius. There are monasteries observing this rule, composed of seven thousand men, but the first and great monastery, wherein the blessed Pachomius dwelt, and which gave birth to the other places of asceticism has one thousand three hundred men.

C. Basil (330-379) and his Preference for Cenobitic Life (Rule, C 370)

20. Edification Through Community Life and Responsibility

Regula fusuis tractata, Q. 7., trans. Ayer, A Source Book, pp. 405-6, as acknowledged in Item 19, above.

Questio VII. Since your words have given us full assurance that the life [i.e., the cenobitic life] is dangerous with those who despise the commandments of the Lord, we wish accordingly to learn whether it is necessary that he who withdraws should remain alone or live with brothers of like mind who have placed before themselves the same goal of piety.

Responsio 1. I think that the life of several in the same place is much more profitable. First, because for bodily wants no one of us is sufficient for himself, but we need each other in providing what is necessary. For just as the foot has one ability, but is wanting another, and without the help of the other members it would find neither its own power strong nor sufficient of itself to continue, nor any supply for what it lacks, so it is in the case of the solitary life: what is of use to us and what is wanting we cannot provide for ourselves, for God who created the world has so ordered all things that we are dependent upon each other, as it is written that we may join ourselves to one another [cf. Wis. 13:20]. But in addition to this, reverence to the love of Christ does not permit each one to have regard only to his own affairs, for love, he says, seeks not her own [I Cor. 13:5]. The solitary life has only one goal, the service of its own interests. That clearly is opposed to the law of love, which the Apostle fulfilled, when he did not in his eyes seek his own advantage but the advantage of many, that they might be saved [cf. I Cor. 10:33]. Further, no one in solitude recognizes his own defects, since he has no one to correct him and in gentleness and mercy direct him on his way. For even if correction is from an enemy, it may often in the case of those who are well disposed rouse the desire for healing; but the healing of sin by him who sincerely loves is wisely accomplished. . . . Also the commands may be better fulfilled by a larger community, but not by one alone; for while this thing is being done another will be neglected; for example, by attendance upon the sick the reception of strangers is neglected; and in the bestowal and distribution of the necessities of life (especially when in these services much time is consumed) the care of the work is neglected, so that by this the greatest commandment and the one most helpful to salvation is neglected; neither the hungry are fed nor the naked clothed. Who would therefore value higher the idle, useless life than the fruitful which fulfils the commandments of God?

3. ... Also in the preservation of the gifts bestowed by God the cenobitic life is preferable. . . . For him who falls into sin, the recovery of the right path is so much easier, for he is ashamed at the blame expressed by so many in common, so that it happens to him as it is written: It is enough that the same therefore be punished by many [II Cor. 2:6]. . . . There are still other dangers which we say accompany the solitary life, the first and greatest is that of self-satisfaction. For he who has no one to test his work easily believes that he has completely fulfilled the commandments. . . .

4. For how shall he manifest his humility, when he has no one to whom he can show himself the inferior? How shall he manifest compassion cut off from the society of many? How will he exercise himself in patience, if no one opposes his wishes?

IV. Monasticism as Spiritual Martyrdom.

A. Pachomius

21. On the Monk as Another Kind of Martyr

Syriac Text of Anan-Isho, trans. E. Budge, The Paradise or Garden of the Holy Fathers (London: Chatto & Windus, 1907), I, p. 301.

And there was also (there) among those who were very famous a certain brother who cultivated the ascetic life by himself, and when he heard of the divine rule of our holy Father Pachomius he entreated him to receive him in the monastery; and when Rabba had received him, and he had passed a little (time) with the brethren, he desired greatly to bear witness (i.e., to become a martyr), although the world was in a state of peace, and the Church was flourishing and was, by the grace of God, at peace, and the blessed Constantine, who had put on Christ, was at that time reigning. And this brother was continually entreating the blessed man Pachomius, and saying, "Pray for me, O Father, that I may become a martyr"; but Rabba admonished him that he should not permit this thought to enter his mind again, and said unto him, "Brother, endure the strife of the monks mightily and blamelessly, and make straight thy life in the way which will please Christ, and thou shalt have companionship with the martyrs in heaven."

B. Martin of Tours

22. As Martyr by Intent, His Glory that of Martyrdom

Sulpicius Severus (fc. 420), Ep. 2 ad Aurel., trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., XI, p. 20.

For although the character of our times could not ensure him the honor of martyrdom, yet he will not remain destitute of the glory of a martyr, because both by vow and virtues he was alike able and willing to be a martyr. But if he had been permitted, in the times of Nero and of Decius, to take part in the struggle which then went on, I take to witness the God of heaven and earth that he would freely have submitted to the rack of torture, and readily surrendered himself to the flames: yea, worthy of being compared to the illustrious Hebrew youths, amid the circling flames, and though in the very midst of the furnace, he would have sung a hymn of the Lord.

C. Jerome

23. Paula’s Bloodless Martyrdom of the Devout Mind

Ep. 108:32 (31), trans, NPNF, 2nd ser., VI, p. 211.

Be not fearful, Eustochium: you are endowed with a splendid heritage. The Lord s your portion; and, to increase your joy, .our mother has now after a long martyrdom won her crown. It is not only the shedding of blood that is accounted a confession: the spotless service of a devout mind is itself a daily martyrdom. Both alike are crowned; with roses and violets in the one case, with lilies in the other. Thus in the Song of Songs t is written: "my beloved is white and ruddy;" for, whether the victory be won in peace or in war, God gives the same guerdon to those who win it. Like Abraham your mother heard the words: "get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, unto a land that I will shew thee;" and not only that but the Lord’s command given through Jeremiah: "flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul/’ To the day of her death she never returned to Chaldaea, or regretted the fleshpots of Egypt or its strong-smelling meats. Accompanied by her virgin bands she became a fellow-citizen of the Saviour; and now that she has ascended from her little Bethlehem to the heavenly realms she can say to the true Naomi: "thy people shall be my people and thy God my God."

V. John Cassian (c. 360-c. 435) and the Desert Fathers of the East in Relation to the Cenobitic West.

24. On Ennui and the Spirit of Accidia

De Institutis coenobiorum et de octo principalium vitiorum remediis (c. 419-426), 10:1-5, trans. NPNF; 2nd ser.. XL pp. 266-68.

Chapter I

Our sixth combat is with what the Greeks call ακηδια, which we may term weariness or distress of heart. This is akin to dejection, and is especially trying to solitaries, and a dangerous and frequent foe to dwellers in the desert; and especially disturbing to a monk about the sixth hour, like some fever which seizes him at stated times, bringing the burning heat of its attacks on the sick man at usual and regular hours. Lastly, there are some of the elders who declare that this is the "midday demon" spoken of in the ninetieth Psalm.

Chapter II

And when this has taken possession of some unhappy soul, it produces dislike of the place, disgust with the cell, and disdain and contempt of the brethren who dwell with him or at a little distance, as if they were careless or unspiritual. It also makes the man lazy and sluggish about all manner of work which has to be done within the enclosure of his dormitory. It does not suffer him to stay in his cell, or to take any pains about reading, and he often groans because he can do no good while he stays there, and complains and sighs because he can bear no spiritual fruit so long as he is joined to that society; and he complains that he is cut off from spiritual gain, and is of no use in the place, as if he were one who, though he could govern others and be useful to a great number of people, yet was edifying none, nor profiting any one by his teaching and doctrine. He cries up distant monasteries and those which are a long way off, and describes such places as more profitable and better suited for salvation; and besides this he paints the intercourse with the brethren there as sweet and full of spiritual life. On the other hand, he says that everything about him is rough, and not only that there is nothing edifying among the brethren who are stopping there, but also that even food for the body cannot be procured without great difficulty. Lastly he fancies that he will never be well while he stays in that place, unless he leaves his cell (in which he is sure to die if he stops in it any longer) and takes himself off from thence as quickly as possible. Then the fifth or sixth hour brings him such bodily weariness and longing for food that he seems to himself worn out and wearied as if with a long journey, or some very heavy work, or as if he had put off taking food during a fast of two or three days. Then besides this he looks about anxiously this way and that, and sighs that none of the brethren come to see him, and often goes in and out of his cell, and frequently gazes up at the sun, as if it was too slow in setting, and so a kind of unreasonable confusion of mind takes possession of him like some foul darkness, and makes him idle and useless for every spiritual work, so that he imagines that no cure for so terrible an attack can be found in anything except visiting some one of the brethren, or in the solace of sleep alone. Then the disease suggests that he ought to show courteous and friendly hospitalities to the brethren, and pay visits to the sick, whether near at hand or far off. He talks too about some dutiful and religious offices; that those kinsfolk ought to be inquired after, and that he ought to go and see them oftener; that it would be a real work of piety to go more frequently to visit that religious woman, devoted to the service of God, who is deprived of all support of kindred; and that it would be a most excellent thing to get what is needful for her who is neglected and despised by her own kinsfolk; and that he ought piously to devote his time to these things instead of staying uselessly and with no profit in his cell.

Chapter III

And so the wretched soul, embarrassed by such contrivances of the enemy, is disturbed, until, worn out by the spirit of accidie, as by some strong battering ram, it either learns to sink into slumber, or, driven out from the confinement of its cell, accustoms itself to seek for consolation under these attacks in visiting some brother, only to be afterwards weakened the more by this remedy which it seeks for the present. For more frequently and more severely will the enemy attack one who, when the battle is joined, will as he well knows immediately turn his back, and whom he sees to look for safety neither in victory nor in fighting but in flight: until little by little he is drawn away from his cell, and begins to forget the object of his profession, which is nothing but meditation and contemplation of that divine purity which excels all things, and which can only be gained by silence and continually remaining in the cell, and by meditation, and so the soldier of Christ becomes a runaway from His service, and a deserter, and "entangles himself in secular business," without at all pleasing Him to whom he engaged himself.

Chapter IV

All the inconveniences of this disease are admirably expressed by David in a sin-verse, where he says, "My soul slept from weariness," that is, from accidie. Quite rightly does he say, not that his body, but that his soul slept. For in truth the soul which is wounded by the shaft of this passion does sleep, as regards all contemplation of the virtues and insight of the spiritual senses.

Chapter V

And so the true Christian athlete who desires to strive lawfully in the lists of perfection, should hasten to expel this disease also from the recesses of his soul; and should strive against this most evil spirit of accidie in both directions, so that he may neither fall stricken through by the shaft of slumber, nor be driven out from the monastic cloister, n though under some pious excuse or pretext, and depart as a runaway.

25. Faith, Divine Grace, the Virtues, and the Way of Perfection

De Instit., 12:15; trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., XI, p. 284.

And so, if we wish in very deed and truth to attain to the crown of virtues, we ought to listen to those teachers and guides who, not dreaming with pompous declamations, but learning by act and experience, are able to teach us as well, and direct us likewise, and show road by which we may arrive at it by a most sure pathway; and who also testify that they have themselves reached it by faith rather than by any merits of their efforts. And further, the purity of heart that they have acquired has taught them this above all; viz., to recognize more and more that they are burdened with sin (for their compunction for their faults increases day by day in proportion as their purity of soul advances), and to sigh continually from the bottom of their heart because they see that they cannot possibly avoid the spots and blemishes of those faults which are ingrained in them through the countless triflings of the thoughts. And therefore they declared that they looked for the reward of the future life, not from the merits of their works, but from the mercy of the Lord, taking no credit to themselves for their great circumspection of heart in comparison with others, since they ascribed this not to their own exertions, but to divine grace; and without flattering themselves on account of the carelessness of those who are cold, and worse than they themselves are, they rather aimed at a lasting humility by fixing their gaze on those whom they knew to be really free from sin and already in the enjoyment of eternal bliss in the kingdom of heaven, and so by this consideration they avoided the downfall of pride, and at the same time always saw both what they were aiming at and what they had to grieve over: as they knew that they could not attain that purity of heart for which they yearned while weighed down by the burden of the flesh.

26. The Nature and Practice of Pure Prayer

I Conference of Abbot Isaac, Collationes Patrum (c. 420-429), 3, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., XII, p. 388.

And therefore in order that prayer may be offered up with that earnestness and purity with which it ought to be, we must by all means observe these rules. First all anxiety about carnal things must be entirely got rid of; next we must leave no room for not merely the care but even the recollection of any business affairs, and in like manner also must lay aside all backbitings, vain and incessant chattering, and buffoonery; anger above all, and disturbing moroseness must be entirely destroyed, and the deadly taint of carnal lust and covetousness be torn up by the roots. And so when these and such like faults which are also visible to the eyes of men, are entirely removed and cut off, and when such a purification and cleansing, as we spoke of, has first taken place, which is brought about by pure simplicity and innocence, then first there must be laid the secure foundations of a deep humility, which may be able to support a tower that shall reach the sky; and next the spiritual structure of the virtues must be built up upon them, and the soul kept free from all conversation and from roving thoughts that thus it may by little and little begin to rise to the contemplation of God and to spiritual insight. For whatever our mind has been thinking of before the hour of prayer, is sure to occur to us while we are praying through the activity of the memory. Wherefore what we want to find ourselves like while we are praying, that we ought to prepare ourselves to be before the time for prayer. For the mind in prayer is formed by its previous condition, and when are applying ourselves to prayer the images of the same actions and words and thoughts will dance before our eyes, and make us either angry, as in our previous condition, or gloomy, or recall our former lust and business, or make us shake with foolish laughter (which I am ashamed to speak of) at some silly joke, or smile at some action, or fly back to our previous conversation. And therefore if we do not want anything to haunt us while we are praying, we should be careful before our prayer, to exclude it from the shrine of our heart, that we may thus fulfill the Apostle’s injunction: "Pray without ceasing;" and: "In every place lifting up holy hands without wrath or disputing." For otherwise we shall not be able to carry out that charge unless our mind, purified from all stains of sin, and given over to virtue as to its natural good, feed on the continual contemplation of Almighty God.

VI. The Rise and Development of Western Cenobitism: the Tradition of Spiritual Regularity and Stabilitas Loci.

A. Benedict of Nursia (c. 480/84-543/47/55)

27. The Benedictine Rule (c. 543/47)

Regula Monachorum (ed. E. Woelfflin), trans. ThM, No. 251, pp. 434-59.

Ch. 1. The kinds of monks. — There are four kinds of monks. The first kind is that of the cenobites [that is, those living in common], those who live in a monastery according to a rule, and under the government of an abbot. The second is that of the anchorites, or hermits, who have learned how to conduct the war against the devil by their long service in the monastery and their association with many brothers, and so, being well trained, have separated themselves from the troop, in order to wage single combat, being able with the aid of God to carry on the fight alone against the sins of the flesh. The third kind (and a most abominable kind it is) is that of the sarabites, who have not been tested and proved by obedience to the rule and by the teaching of experience, as gold is tried in the furnace, and so are soft and pliable like a base metal; who in assuming the tonsure are false to God, because they still serve the world in their lives. They do not congregate in the Master’s fold, but dwell apart without a shepherd, by twos and threes, or even alone. Their law is their own desires, since they call that holy which they like, and that unlawful which they do not like. The fourth kind is composed of those who are called gyrovagi (wanderers), who spend their whole lives wandering about through different regions and living three or four days at a time in the cells of different monks. They are always wandering about and never remain long in one place, and they are governed by their own appetites and desires. They are in every way worse even than the sarabites. But it is better to pass over in silence than to mention their manner of life. Let us, therefore, leaving these aside, proceed, with the aid of God, to the consideration of the cenobites, the highest type of monks.

Ch. 8. Divine worship at night [vigils]. — During the winter; that is, from the first of November to Easter, the monks should rise at the eighth hour of the night; a reasonable arrangement, since by that time the monks will have rested a little more than half the night and will have digested their food. Those brothers who failed in the psalms or the readings shall spend the rest of the time after vigils (before the beginning of matins) in pious meditation. From Easter to the first of November matins shall begin immediately after daybreak, allowing the brothers a little time for attending to the necessities of nature.

Ch. 9. The psalms to be said at night. — During the winter time, the order of service shall be as follows: first shall be recited the verse ["Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O God," Ps. 70:1]; then this verse three times: "O Lord, open thou my lips and my mouth shall show forth thy praise" [Ps. 51:15]; then the third psalm and the Gloria, the 94th Psalm responsively or in unison, a hymn, and six psalms responsively. After this the abbot shall give the benediction with the aforesaid verse, and the brothers shall sit down. Three lessons from the gospels with three responses shall then be read from the lecturn by the brothers in turn. The first two responses shall be sung without the Gloria, but in the third response which follows the last reading the cantor shall sing the Gloria, the monks rising from their seats at the beginning of it to show honor and reverence to the holy Trinity. Passages are to be read from the Old and New Testaments in the vigils, and also the expositions of these passages left by the accepted orthodox Catholic fathers. After the three readings and the responses, six psalms with the Halleluia shall follow, then a reading from the epistles re-d from memory, and the usual verses, the Is concluding with the supplication of the litany, "Kyrie eleison."

Ch. 16. The order of divine worship during the day. — The prophet says: "Seven times a day do I praise thee" [Ps. 119:164]; and we observe this sacred number in the seven services of the day; that is, matins, prime, terce, sext, nones, vespers, and completorium; for the hours of the daytime are plainly intended here, since the same prophet provides for the nocturnal vigils, when he says in another place: "At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee" [Ps. 119:62]. We should therefore praise the Creator for his righteous judgments at the aforesaid times: matins, prime, terce, sext, nones, vespers, and completorium; and at night we should rise to give thanks unto Him.

Ch. 20. The reverence to be shown in prayer. — When we have any request to make of powerful persons, we proffer it humbly and reverently; with how much greater humility and devotion, then, should we offer our supplications unto God, the Lord of all. We should realize, too, that we are not heard for our much speaking, but for the purity and the contrition of our hearts. So when we pray, our prayer should be simple and brief, unless we are moved to speak by the inspiration of the spirit. The prayer offered before the congregation also should be brief, and all the brothers should rise at the signal of the superior.

Ch. 22. How the monks should sleep. — The monks shall sleep separately in individual beds, and the abbot shall assign them their beds according to their conduct. If possible all the monks shall sleep in the same dormitory, but if their number is too large to admit of this, they are to be divided into tens or twenties and placed under the control of some of the older monks. A candle shall be kept burning in the dormitory all night until daybreak. The monks shall go to bed clothed and girt with girdles and cords, but shall not have their knives at their sides, lest in their dreams they injure one of the sleepers. They should be always in readiness, rising immediately upon the signal and hastening to the service, but appearing there gravely and modestly. The beds of the younger brothers should not be placed together, but should be scattered among those of the older monks. When the brothers arise they should gently exhort one another to hasten to the service, so that the sleepy ones may have no excuse for coming late.

Ch. 30. The manner of correction for the young. — The forms of punishment should be adapted to every age and to every order of intelligence. So if children or youths, or those who are unable to appreciate the meaning of excommunication, are found guilty, they should be given heavy fasts and sharp blows for their correction.

Ch. 33. Monks should not have personal property. — The sin of owning private property should be entirely eradicated from the monastery. No one shall presume to give or receive anything except by the order of the abbot; no one shall possess anything of his own, books, paper, pens, or anything else; for monks are not to own even their own bodies and wills to be used at their own desire, but are to look to the father [abbot] of the monastery for everything. So they shall have nothing that has not been given or allowed to them by the abbot; all things are to be had in common according to the command of the Scriptures, and no one shall consider anything as his own property. If anyone has been found guilty of this most grievous sin, he shall be admonished for the first and second offence, and then if he does not mend his ways he shall be punished.

Ch. 38. The weekly reader. — There should always be reading during the common meal, but it shall not be left to chance, so that anyone may take up the book and read. On Sunday one of the brothers shall be appointed to read during the following week. He shall enter on his office after the mass and communion, and shall ask for the prayers of all, that God may keep him from the spirit of pride; then he shall say this verse three times, all the brethren uniting with him: "O Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise;" then after receiving the benediction he enters upon his office. At the common meal, the strictest silence shall be kept, that no whispering or speaking may be heard except the voice of the reader. The brethren shall mutually wait upon one another by passing the articles of food and drink, so that no one shall have to ask for anything; but if this is necessary, it shall be done by a sign rather than by words, if possible. In order to avoid too much talking no one shall interrupt the reader with a question about the reading or in any other way, unless perchance the prior may wish to say something in the way of explanation. The brother who is appointed to read shall be given the bread and wine before he begins, on account of the holy communion which he has received, and lest so long a fast should be injurious; he shall have his regular meal later with the cooks and other weekly servants. The brothers shall not be chosen to read or chant by order of rotation, but according to their ability to edify their hearers.

Ch. 48. The daily labor of the monks. — Idleness is the great enemy of the soul, therefore the monks should always be occupied, either in manual labor or in holy reading. The hours for these occupations should be arranged according to the seasons, as follows; From Easter to the first of October, the monks shall go to work at the first hour and labor until the fourth hour, and the time from the fourth to the sixth hour shall be spent in reading. After dinner, which comes at the sixth hour, they shall lie down and rest in silence; but anyone who wishes may read, if he does it so as not to disturb anyone else. Nones shall be observed a little earlier, about the middle of the eighth hour, and the monks shall go back to work, laboring until vespers. But if the conditions of the locality or the needs of the monastery, such as may occur at harvest time, should make it necessary to labor longer hours, they shall not feel themselves ill-used, for true monks should live by the labor of their own hands, as did the apostles and the holy fathers. But the weakness of human nature must be taken into account in making these arrangements. From the first of October to the beginning of Lent, the monks shall have until the full second hour for reading, at which hour the service of terce shall be held. After terce, they shall work at their respective tasks until the ninth hour. When the ninth hour sounds they shall cease from labor and be ready for the service at the second bell. After dinner they shall spend the time in reading the lessons and the psalms. During Lent the time from daybreak to the third hour shall be devoted to reading, and then they shall work at their appointed tasks until the tenth hour. At the beginning of Lent each of the monks shall be given a book from the library of the monastery which he shall read entirely through. One or two of the older monks shall be appointed to go about through the monastery during the hours set apart for reading, to see that none of the monks are idling away the time, instead of reading, and so not only wasting their own time but perhaps disturbing others as well. Anyone found doing this shall be rebuked for the first or second offence, and after that he shall be severely punished, that he may serve as a warning and an example to others. Moreover, the brothers are not to meet together at unseasonable hours. Sunday is to l>e spent by all the brothers in holy reading, except by such as have regular duties assigned to them for that day. And if any brother is negligent or lazy, refusing or being unable profitably to read or meditate at the time assigned for that, let him be made to work, so that he shall at any rate not be idle. The abbot shall have consideration for the weak and the sick, giving them tasks suited to their strength, so that they may neither be idle nor yet be distressed by too heavy labor.

Ch. 58. The way in which new members are to be received. — Entrance into the monastery should not be made too easy, for the apostle says: "Try the spirits, whether they are of God" [1 John 4:1]. So when anyone applies at the monastery, asking to be accepted as a monk, he should first be proved by every test. He shall be made to wait outside four or five days, continually knocking at the door and begging to be admitted; and then he shall be taken in as a guest and allowed to stay in the guest chamber a few days. If he satisfies these preliminary tests, he shall then be made to serve a novitiate of at least one year, during which he shall be placed under the charge of one of the older and wiser brothers, who shall examine him and prove, by every possible means, his sincerity, his zeal, his obedience, and his ability to endure shame. And he shall be told in the plainest manner all the hardships and difficulties of the life which he has chosen. If he promises never to leave the monastery [stabilitas loci] the rule shall be read to him after the first two months of his novitiate, and again at the end of six more months, and finally, four months later, at the end of his year. Each time he shall be told that this is the guide which he must follow as a monk, the reader saying to him at the end of the reading: "This is the law under which you have expressed a desire to live; if you are able to obey it, enter; if not, depart in peace." Thus he shall have been given every chance for mature deliberation and every opportunity to refuse the yoke of service. But if he still persists in asserting his eagerness to enter and his willingness to obey the rule and the commands of his superiors, he shall then be received into the congregation, with the understanding that from that day forth he shall never be permitted to draw back from the service or to leave the monastery. The ceremony of receiving a new brother into the monastery shall be as follows: first he shall give a solemn pledge, in the name of God and his holy saints, of constancy, conversion of life, and obedience (stabilitas loci, conversio morura, obedientia); this promise shall be in writing drawn up by his own hand (or, if he cannot write, it may be drawn up by another at his request, and signed with his own mark), and shall be placed by him upon the altar in the presence of the abbot, in the name of the saints whose relics are in the monastery. Then he shall say: "Receive me, O Lord, according to thy word, and I shall live; let me not be cast down from mine expectation" [Ps. 119:116]; which shall be repeated by the whole congregation three times, ending with the "Gloria Patri." Then he shall prostrate himself at the feet of all the brothers in turn, begging them to pray for him, and therewith he becomes a member of the congregation. If he has any property he shall either sell it all and give to the poor before he enters the monastery, or else he shall turn it over to the monastery in due form, reserving nothing at all for himself; for from that day forth he owns nothing, not even his own body and will. Then he shall take off his own garments there in the oratory and put on the garments provided by the monastery. And those garments which he put off shall be stored away in the vestiary, so that if he should ever yield to the promptings of the devil and leave the monastery, he shall be made to put off the garments of a monk, and to put on his own worldly clothes, in which he shall be cast forth. But the written promise which the abbot took from the altar where he placed it shall not be given back to him, but shall be preserved in the monastery.

Ch. 73. This rule does not contain all the measures necessary for righteousness. — The purpose of this rule is to furnish a guide to the monastic life. Those who observe it will have at least entered on the way of salvation and will attain at least some degree of holiness. But he who aims at the perfect life must study and observe the teachings of all the holy fathers, who have pointed out in their writings the way of perfection. For every page and every word of the Bible, both the New and the Old Testament, is a perfect rule for this earthly life; and every work of the holy catholic fathers teaches us how we may direct our steps to God. The Collations, the Institutes, the Lives of the Saints, and the rule of our father, St. Basil, all serve as valuable instructions for monks who desire to live rightly and to obey the will of God. Their examples and their teachings should make us ashamed of our sloth, our evil lives, and our negligence. Thou who art striving to reach the heavenly land, first perfect thyself with the aid of Christ in this little rule, which is but the beginning of holiness, and then thou mayst under the favor of God advance to higher grades of virtue and knowledge through the teaching of these greater works. Amen.

b. Cassiodorus (c. 480/85-573)

28. His Monastic Foundation at Vivarium (c. 555)

lnstit., 1, xxix, 1-2, trans. L. W. Jones, An Introduction to Divine and Human Readings by Cassiodorus Senator (New York: Columbia University Press, 1946), pp. 131-32.

1. The site of the monastery of Vivarium invites you to prepare many things for strangers and those in need, since you have well-irrigated gardens and, close beside them, the waters of the River Pellena, which abounds in fish — a river which should not be considered dangerous because of the greatness of its waves or contemptible because of their smallness. It flows into your grounds, skillfully directed wherever it is considered necessary, adequate for your gardens and your mills alike. It is indeed present when it is wanted, and when it has satisfied your wishes it goes far away; thus, being dedicated to a definite service, neither is it dangerously rough nor can it be lacking when it is sought. Seas too are so near you that they are accessible for various kinds of fishing, and, when it pleases you, a fish once caught may be shut up in the fish ponds. For there, with the help of the Lord, we have made pleasant ponds, where a multitude of fish may drift beneath the faithful monastery; the situation so much resembles the caves in mountains that the fish in no way realizes that it is a captive, and it is free to acquire food and to hide itself in the solitary caverns. We have also ordered baths to be built of a sort suitable for sick bodies in a place where fitly flows limpid water, which is most pleasant for drinking and for bathing. Consequently, in all justice your monastery is sought by other people rather than other places by you. But these matters, as you see, are delights in present affairs, not a future hope of the faithful. The former are transitory; the latter will abide without end. But, situated in the monastery as we are, let us be conveyed rather to the desires which make us reign with Christ.

2. Carefully read and willingly hear the priest Cassian, who has written about the instruction of faithful monks; he states in the very beginning of his holy argument that eight cardinal sins are to be avoided. He penetrates so competently into the harmful disturbances of minds that he makes men practically see their excesses in physical form and avoid them, though through confused and dull perception they had no previous knowledge of them. In the matter of free will, however, he has been rightly blamed by the blessed Prosper, and we therefore admonish you that you ought to exercise caution in reading a man who oversteps the mark in topics of this sort. Victor Mattaritanus, bishop of Africa, has with the Lord’s help corrected what Cassian has said and added what was lacking with such skill as to be justly awarded the palm in these matters; and we believe that we ought promptly to make this same Cassian, among others, comform to orthodox beliefs about the beginnings of monasticism in Africa. He violently arraigns other kinds of monks. But, dearest brothers, with God’s aid choose those parts which Victor Mattaritanus has soundly praised.

29. On Monastic Reading of the Scriptures

Ibid., i, xxxii, 3, trans. Jones, DHR, p. 137.

3. You have therefore been given a city of your own, O pious citizens, and if with the help of the Lord you spend your time concordantly and spiritually, you already enjoy a prefiguration of the heavenly home. Do not delight in slothfulness, which you know is hateful to the Lord. The authentic documents of the Sacred Scriptures together with their interpreters attend you, and they are truly the flowery fields, the sweet fruits of the heavenly paradise, with which faithful souls are imbued to their salvation and by which your tongues are instructed in a diction not destined to die but to bear fruit. Therefore enter ardently upon the mysteries of the Lord, in order that you may be able to point out the way to those who follow, since it is a great shame to have books to read and to be unable to teach their meaning through ignorance.

C. Pope Gregory I (590-604) and the Panegyric on Benedict

30. Benedict’s Life and Miraculous Deeds

Dialogi de vita et miraadis patrum Italicorum, Lib. 2: Praef., trans. O. J. Zimmerman and B. R. Avery, Life and Miracles of St. Benedict (Collegeville, Minn.: St. Johns Abbey Press, 1949), pp. 1-2.

Some years ago there lived a man who was revered for the holiness of his life. Blessed Benedict was his name, and he was blessed also with God’s grace. During his boyhood he showed mature understanding, and a strength of character far beyond his years kept his heart detached from every pleasure. Even while still living in the world, free to enjoy all it had to offer, he saw how empty it was and turned from it without regret.

He was born in Norcia of distinguished parents, who sent him to Rome for a liberal education. When he found many of the students there abandoning themselves to vice, he decided to withdraw from the world he had been preparing to enter; for he was afraid that if he acquired any of its learning he would be drawn down with them to his eternal ruin. In his desire to please God alone, he turned his back on further studies, gave up home and inheritance and resolved to embrace the religious life. He took this step, fully aware of his ignorance; yet he was truly wise, uneducated though he may have been.

31. His Conquest over Temptations of the Flesh

Dial., 2:2, trans. Zimmerman, LMB, pp. 7-8.

I One day while the saint was alone, the tempter came in the form of a little blackbird, which began to flutter in front of face. It kept so close that he could easily e caught it in his hand. Instead he made the sign of the Cross and the bird flew away. The moment it left, he was seized with an unusually violent temptation. The evil spirit recalled to his mind a woman he had once seen, and before he realized it his emotions were carrying him away. Almost overcome in the struggle, he was on the point of abandoning the lonely wilderness, when suddenly with the help of God’s grace he came to himself.

Just then he noticed a thick patch of nettles and briers next to him. Throwing his garment aside, he flung himself naked into the sharp thorns and stinging nettles. There he rolled and tossed until his whole body was in pain and covered with blood. Yet once he had conquered pleasure through suffering, his torn and bleeding skin served to drain off the poison of temptation from his body. Before long the pain that was burning his whole body had put out the fires of evil in his heart. It was by exchanging these two fires that he gained the victory over sin. So complete was his triumph that from then on, as he later told his disciples, he never experienced another temptation of kind.

32. The Miracle of the Poisoned Loaf

Dial, 2:8, trans. Zimmerman, LMB, pp. 22-23.

The progress of the saint’s work, how could not be stopped. His reputation for holiness kept on growing and with it the number of vocations to a more perfect state of life. This only infuriated Florentius all the more. He still longed to enjoy the praise tint was receiving, yet he was unwilling o lead a praiseworthy life himself. At length soul became so blind with jealousy that decided to poison a loaf of bread and d it to the servant of God as a sign of Christian fellowship. Though aware at once If the deadly poison it contained, Benedict thanked him for the gift.

At mealtime a raven used to come out of e nearby woods to receive food from the saint’s hands. On this occasion he set the poisoned loaf in front of it and said, ‘In thie name of our Lord Jesus Christ, take this bread and carry it to a place where no one will be able to find it.’ The raven started to caw and circled around the loaf of bread with open beak and flapping wings as if to indicate that it was willing to obey but found it impossible to do so. Several times the saint repeated the command. ‘Take the bread,’ he said, ‘and do not be afraid! Take it away from here and leave it where no one can find it.’ After hesitating for a long while the raven finally took the loaf in its beak and flew away. About three hours later, when it had disposed of the bread, it returned and received its usual meal from the hands of the man of God.

33. Benedict’s Life as Abbot and as Author of the Rule

Dial, 2:36, trans. Zimmerman, LMB, p. 74.

(36) I should like to tell you much more about this saintly abbot, but I am purposely passing over some of his miraculous deeds in my eagerness to take up those of others. There is one more point, however, I want to call to your attention. With all the renown he gained by his numerous miracles, the holy man was no less outstanding for the wisdom of his teaching. He wrote a Rule for Monks that is remarkable for its discretion and its clarity of language. Anyone who wishes to know more about his life and character can discover in his Rule exactly what he was like as an abbot, for his life could not have differed from his teaching.

D. Columban (c. 543-615) and his Rule

34. Of Poverty and of Overcoming Greed

Monks’ Rule (Regula Monachorum), 4, trans. G. S. M. Walker, Sancti Columbani Opera [Scriptores Latini Hiberniae, II] (Dublin: The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1957), p. 127.

By monks, to whom for Christ’s sake the world is crucified and they to the world, greed must be avoided, when indeed it is reprehensible for them not only to have superfluities, but even to want them. In their case not property but will is required; and they, leaving all things and daily following the Lord Christ with the cross of fear, have treasures in heaven. Therefore, while they will have much in heaven, on earth they should be satisfied with the small possessions of utter need, knowing that greed is a leprosy for monks who copy the sons of the prophets, and for the disciple of Christ it is revolt and ruin, for the uncertain followers of the apostles also it is death. Thus then nakedness and disdain of riches are the first perfection of monks, but the second is the purging of vices, the third the most perfect and perpetual love of God and unceasing affection for things divine, which follows on the forgetfulness of earthly things. Since this is so, we have need of few things, according to the word of the Lord, or even of one. For few things are true necessities without which life cannot be led, or even one thing, like food according to the letter. But we require purity of feeling by the grace of God, that we may understand spiritually what are those few gifts of love which are offered to Martha by the Lord.

35. Perfection Through Community Discipline

Reg. Mon., 10, trans. Walker, SCO, pp. 141, 143.

Let the monk live in a community under the discipline of one father and in company with many, so that from one he may learn lowliness, from another patience. For one may teach him silence and another meekness. Let him not do as he wishes, let him eat what he is bidden, keep as much as he has received, complete the tale of his work, be subject to whom he does not like. Let him come weary to his bed and sleep walking, and let him be forced to rise while his sleep is not yet finished. Let him keep silence when he has suffered wrong, let him fear the superior of his community as a lord, love him as a father, believe that whatever he commands is healthful for himself, and let him not pass judgement on the opinion of an elder, to whose duty it belongs to obey and fulfil what he is bidden, as Moses says, Hear, O Israel, and the rest.

36. Monastic Offenses and Punishments

Communal Rule (Regula Coenobialis), 4, trans. Walker, SCO, pp. 149, 151.

IV. Him who through a cough has not chanted well at the beginning of a psalm, it is ordained to correct with six blows. Likewise him who has bitten the cup of salvation with his teeth, with six blows. Him who has not followed the order for the sacrifice [for celebrating], with six blows. [A priest when celebrating who has not trimmed his nails, and a deacon, whose beard has not been shaved, him who receives the sacrifice, approaches the chalice, straight from farm-work, with six blows.] And him who is smiling at the synaxis, that is, at the office of prayers, with six blows; if his laughter has broken out aloud, with an imposition, unless it has happened pardonably. [A priest, when celebrating, and a deacon, who are holding the sacrifice, should beware lest they wander with roving eyes; and if they neglect this, they must be corrected with six blows. He who has forgotten his chrismal when hurrying out to some work, with five times five blows; if he has dropped it on the ground in a field, and found it at once, with five times ten blows; if he has hung it on a tree, with thrice ten, if it remains there overnight, with an imposition]. He who with unclean hands receives the blessed bread, with twelve blows. He who forgets to make the oblation right until they go to Mass, with a hundred blows.

He who tells idle tales to another, if he censures himself at once, with a mere pardon; but if he has not censured himself [but has declined the way in which he ought to excuse them] with an imposition of silence or fifty blows. He who brings forward an excuse honestly, when examination is made of something, and does not at once say in begging pardon, It is my fault, I am sorry, with fifty blows. He who honestly sets counsel against counsel, with fifty blows. He who has struck the altar, with fifty blows.

E. Pope Gregory, The Benedictine Rule, And The Mission To The Angles, According To The Venerable Bede (673735)

37. Gregory Dispatches Augustine (Prior of St. Andrew) to the English Nation

Hist. Ecc, 1:23, trans. J. E. Giles, Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of England (London: J. Bohn, 1847), pp. 34-35.

In the year of our Lord 582, Maurice, the fifty-fourth from Augustus, ascended the throne, and reigned twenty-one years. In the tenth year of his reign, Gregory, a man renowned for learning and behaviour, was promoted to the apostolical see of Rome, and presided over it thirteen years, six months and ten days. He, being moved by Divine inspiration, in the fourteenth year of the same emperor, and about the one hundred and fiftieth after the coming of the English into Britain, sent the servant of God, Augustine, and with him several other monks, who feared the Lord, to preach the word of God to the English nation. They having, in obedience to the pope’s commands, undertaken that work, were, on their journey, seized with a sudden fear, and began to think of returning home, rather than proceed to a barbarous, fierce, and unbelieving nation, to whose very language they were strangers; and this they unanimously agreed was the safest course. In short, they sent back Augustine, who had been appointed to be consecrated bishop in case they were received by the English, that he might, by humble entreaty, obtain of the holy Gregory, that they should not be compelled to undertake so dangerous, toilsome, and uncertain a journey. The pope, in reply, sent them a hortatory epistle, persuading them to proceed in the work of the Divine word, and rely on the assistance of the Almighty. The purport of which letter was as follows: —

"Gregory, the servant of the servants of God, to the servants of our Lord. Forasmuch as it had been better not to begin a good work, than to think of desisting from that which has been begun, it behoves you, my beloved sons, to fulfil the good work, which, by the help of our Lord, you have undertaken. Let not, therefore, the toil of the journey, nor the tongues of evil speaking men, deter you; but with all possible earnestness and zeal perform that which, by God’s direction, you have undertaken; being assured, that much labour is followed by an eternal reward. When Augustine, your chief, returns, whom we also constitute your abbat, humbly obey him in all things; knowing, that whatsoever you shall do by his direction, will, in all respects, be available to your souls. Almighty God protect you with his grace, and grant that I may, in the heavenly country, see the fruits of your labour. Inasmuch as, though I cannot labour with you, I shall partake in the joy of the reward, because I am willing to labour. God keep you in safety, my most beloved sons. Dated the 23rd of July, in the fourteenth year of the reign of our pious and most august lord, Mauritius Tiberius, the thirteenth year after the consulship of our said lord. The fourteenth indiction."

38. Augustine Evangelizes King Ethelbert of Kent (c. 596/97)

Hist. Ecc, 1:25, Giles, BEHE, pp. 36-38.

Augustine, thus strengthened by the confirmation of the blessed Father Gregory, returned to the work of the word of God, with the servants of Christ, and arrived in Britain. The powerful Ethelbert was at that time king of Kent; he had extended his dominions as far as the great river Humber, by which the Southern Saxons are divided from the Northern. On the east of Kent is the large Isle of Thanet containing according to the English way of reckoning, 600 families, divided from the other land by the river Wantsum, which is about three furlongs over, and fordable only in two places, for both ends of it run into the sea. In this island landed the servant of our Lord, Augustine, and his companions, being, as is reported, nearly forty men. They had, by order of the blessed Pope Gregory, taken interpreters of the nation of the Franks, and sending to Ethelbert, signified that they were come from Rome, and brought a joyful message, which most undoubtedly assured to all that took advantage of it everlasting joys in heaven, and a kingdom that would never end, with the living and true God. The king having heard this, ordered them to stay in that island where they had landed, and that they should be furnished with all necessaries, till he should consider what to do with them. For he had before heard of the Christian religion, having a Christian wife of the royal family of the Franks, called Bertha; whom he had received from her parents, upon condition that she should be permitted to practise her religion with the Bishop Luidhard, who was sent with her to preserve her faith. Some days after, the king came into the island, and sitting in the open air, ordered Augustine and his companions to be brought into his presence. For he had taken precautions that they should not come to him in any house, lest, according to an ancient superstition, if they practised any magical arts, they might impose upon him, and so get the better of him. But they came furnished with Divine, not with magic virtue, bearing a silver cross for their banner, and the image of our Lord and Saviour painted on a board; and singing the litany, they offered up their prayers to the Lord for the eternal salvation both of themselves and of those to whom they were come. When he had sat down, pursuant to the king’s commands, and preached to him and his attendants there present, the word of life, the king answered thus: — "Your words and promises are very fair, but as they are new to us, and of uncertain import, I cannot approve of them so far as to forsake that which I have so long followed with the whole English nation. But because you are come from far into my kingdom, and, as I conceive, are desirous to impart to us those things which you believe to be true, and most beneficial, we will not molest you, but give you favourable entertainment, and take care to supply you with your necessary sustenance; nor do we forbid you to preach and gain as many as you can to your religion." Accordingly he permitted them to reside in the city of Canterbury, which was the metropolis of all his dominions, and, pursuant to his promise, besides allowing them sustenance, did not refuse them liberty to preach. It is reported that, as they drew near to the city, after their manner, with the holy cross, and the image of our sovereign Lord and King, Jesus Christ, they, in concert, sung this litany: "We beseech thee, O Lord, in all thy mercy, that thy anger and wrath be turned away from this city, and from thy holy house, because we have sinned. Hallelujah."

39. Augustine Establishes His Episcopal See (c.602)

Hist. Ecc, 1:26, trans. Giles, BEHE, pp. 39-40.

As soon as they entered the dwelling-place assigned them, they began to imitate the course of life practised in the primitive church; applying themselves to frequent prayer, watching and fasting; preaching the word of life to as many as they could; despising all worldly things, as not belonging to them; receiving only their necessary food from those they taught; living themselves in all respects conformably to what they prescribed to others, and being always disposed to suffer any adversity, and even to die for that truth which they preached. In short, several believed and were baptized, admiring the simplicity of their innocent life, and the sweetness of their heavenly doctrine. There was on the east side of the city, a church dedicated to the honour of St. Martin, built whilst the Romans were still in the island, wherein the queen, who, as has been 1 before, was a Christian, used to pray. In this they first began to meet, to sing, to pray, to say mass, to preach, and to baptize, till the king, being converted to the faith, allowed them to preach openly, and build or repair churches in all places.

When he, among the rest, induced by the unspotted life of these holy men, and their delightful promises, which, by many miracles, they proved to be most certain, believed and was baptized, greater numbers began daily to flock together to hear the word, and, forsaking their heathen rites, to associate themselves, by believing, to the unity of the church of Christ. Their conversion the king so far encouraged, as that he compelled none to embrace Christianity, but only showed more affection to the believers, as to his fellow citizens in the heavenly kingdom. For he had learned from his instructors and leaders to salvation, that the service of Christ ought to be voluntary, not by compulsion. Nor was it long before he gave his teachers a settled residence in his metropolis of Canterbury, with such possessions of different kinds as were necessary for their subsistence.

VII. Monastic Regulae and the Lives of Contemplation and Action in the Mystical Tradition.

A. Augustine, Neo-Platonism, And Contemplation

40. Experience with His Mother, of the "Vision" at Ostia

Confess., 9, X, 23-25, trans. NPNF, 1st ser., I, pp. 137-38.

At the day now aproached on which she was to depart this life (which day Thou knewest, we did not), it fell out — Thou, as I believe, by Thy secret ways arranging it — that she and I stood alone, leaning in a certain window, from which the garden of the house we occupied at Ostia could be seen; at which place, removed from the crowd, we were resting ourselves for the voyage, after the fatigues of a long journey. We then were conversing alone very pleasantly; and, "forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before," we were seeking between ourselves in the presence of the Truth, which Thou art, of what nature the eternal life of the saints would be, which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man. But yet we opened wide the mouth of our heart, after those supernal streams of Thy fountain, "the fountain of life," which is "with Thee;" that being sprinkled with it according to our capacity, we might in some measure weigh so high a mystery.

And when our conversation had arrived at that point, that the very highest pleasure of the carnal senses, and that in the very brightest material light, seemed by reason of the sweetness of that life not only not worthy of comparison, but not even of mention, we, lifting ourselves with a more ardent affection towards "the Self-same," did gradually pass through all corporeal things, and even the heaven itself, whence sun, and moon, and stars shine upon the earth; yea, we soared higher yet by inward musing, and discoursing, and admiring Thy works; and we came to our own minds, and went beyond them, that we might advance as high as that region of unfailing plenty, where Thou feedest Israel for ever with the food of truth, and where life is that Wisdom by whom all these things are made. . . .

We were saying, then, If to any man the tumult of the flesh were silenced, — silenced the phantasies of earth, waters, and air, — silenced, too, the poles; yea, the very soul be silenced to herself, and go beyond herself by not thinking of herself, — silenced fancies and imaginary revelations, every tongue, and every sign, and whatsoever exists by passing away, since, if any could hearken, all these say, "We created not ourselves, but were created by Him who abideth for ever:" If, having uttered this, they now should be silenced, having only quickened our ears to Him who created them, and He alone speak not by them, but by Himself, that we may hear His word, not by fleshly tongue, nor angelic voice, nor sound of thunder, nor the obscurity of a similitude, but might hear Him — Him whom in these we love — without these, like as we two now strained ourselves, and with rapid thought touched on that Eternal Wisdom which remaineth over all. If this could be sustained, and other visions of a far different kind be withdrawn, and this one ravish, and absorb, and envelope its beholder amid these inward joys, so that his life might be eternally like that one moment of knowledge which we now sighed after, were not this "Enter thou into the joy of Thy Lord’? And when shall that be? When we shall all rise again; but all shall not be changed.

41. Contemplation and Action Allegorized in Rachel and Leah

Contra Faustum Manichaeum, 22:52, trans. NPNF, 1st ser., IV, pp. 291-92.

Supposing that the two free wives point to the New Testament, by which we are called to liberty, what is the meaning of there being two? Perhaps because in Scripture, as the attentive reader will find, we are said to have two lives in the body of Christ, — one temporal, in which we suffer pain, and one eternal, in which we shall behold the blessedness of God. We see the one in the Lord’s passion, and the other in His resurrection. The names of the women point to this meaning: It is said that Leah means Suffering, and Rachel the First Principle made visible, or the Word which makes the First Principle visible. The action, then, of our mortal human life, in which we live by faith, doing many painful tasks without knowing what benefit may result from them to those in whom we are interested, is Leah, Jacob’s first wife. And thus she is said to have had weak eyes. For the purposes of mortals are timid, and our plans uncertain. Again, the hope of the eternal contemplation of God, accompanied with a sure and delightful perception of truth, is Rachel. And on this account she is described as fair and well-formed. This is the beloved of every pious student, and for this he serves the grace of God, by which our sins, though like scarlet, are made white as snow. For Laban means making white; and we read that Jacob served Laban for Rachel. No man turns to serve righteousness, in subjection to the grace of forgiveness, but that he may live in peace in the Word which makes visible the First Principle, or God; that is, he serves for Rachel, not for Leah. For what a man loves in the works of righteousness is not the toil of doing and suffering. No one desires this life for its own sake; as Jacob desired not Leah, who yet was brought to him, and became his wife, and the mother of children. Though she could not be loved of herself, the Lord made her be borne with as a step to Rachel; and then she came to be approved of on account of her children. Thus every useful servant of God, brought into His grace by which his sins are made white, has in his mind, and heart, and affection, when he thus turns to God, nothing but the knowledge of wisdom. This we often expect to attain as a reward for practising the seven precepts of the law which concern the love of our neighbor, that we injure no one: namely, Honor thy father and mother; Thou shalt not commit adultery; Thou shalt not kill; Thou shalt not steal; Thou shalt not bear false witness; Thou shalt not desire thy neighbor’s wife; Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s property. When a man has obeyed these to the best of his ability, and, instead of the bright joys of truth which he desired and hoped for, finds in the darkness of the manifold trials of this world that he is bound to painful endurance, or has embraced Leah instead of Rachel, if there is perseverance in his love, he bears with the one in order to attain the other; and as if it were said to him, Serve seven other years for Rachel, he hears seven new commands, — to be poor in spirit, to be meek, to be a mourner, to hunger and thirst after righteousness, to be merciful, pure, and a peacemaker. A man would desire, if it were possible, to obtain at once the joys of lovely and perfect wisdom, without the endurance of toil in action and suffering; but this is impossible in mortal life. This seems to be meant, when it is said to Jacob: "It is not the custom in our country to marry the younger before the elder." The elder may very well mean the first in order of time. So, in the discipline of man, the toil of doing the work of righteousness precedes the delight of understanding the truth.

B. Gregory And The "Mixed Life" Of Contemplation And Action

42. Christ as the Example of United Contemplation and Action

Moralia in Job, 6:56, trans. LF, Vol. I, Pt. 2, pp. 355-56.

And whosoever opens his mind in holy works, has over and above to extend it to the secret pursuits of inward contemplation. For he is no perfect preacher, who either, from devotion to contemplation, neglects works that ought to be done, or, from urgency in business, puts aside the duties of contemplation. ... It is hence that the Redeemer of mankind in the day time exhibits His ‘miracles in cities, and spends the night in devotion to prayer upon the mountain, namely, that He may teach all perfect preachers, that they should neither entirely leave the active life, from love of the speculative, nor wholly slight the joys of contemplation from excess in working, but in quiet imbibe by contemplation, what in employment they may pour back to their neighbours by word of mouth. For by contemplation they rise into the love of God, but by preaching they return back to the service of their neighbour. ... In the sight of the internal Judge our charity may be coloured with the love both of God and of our neighbour, that the converted soul may neither so delight in repose for the sake of the love of God, as to put aside the care and service of our neighbour, nor busying itself for the love of our neighbour, be so wedded thereto, that entirely forsaking quiet, it extinguish in itself the fire of love of the Most High. Whosoever then has already offered himself as a sacrifice to God, if he desires perfection, must needs take care that he not only stretch himself out to breadth of practice, but likewise up to the heights of contemplation.

43. Reverberation, Light, and Recoil

Mor., 5:57, 58, trans. LF, I, 2, pp. 286-87.

But when the mind is suspended in contemplation, when, exceeding the narrow limits of the flesh, with all the power of her ken, she strains to find something of the freedom of interior security, she cannot for long rest standing above herself, because though the spirit carries her on high, yet the flesh sinks her down below by the yet remaining weight of her corruption. . . . For not even in the sweetness of inward contemplation does the mind remain fixed for long, in that being made to recoil by the very immensity of the light it is called back to itself. And when it tastes that inward sweetness, it is on fire with love, it longs to mount above itself, yet it falls back in broken state to the darkness of its frailty.

44. Contemplation, Light, and the Darkness of Natural Infirmity

Mor., 4:45, trans. LF, I, 1, p. 212.

. . . and when we lift up the eye of the mind to that beam of light above, we grow dark with the mere dimness of our natural infirmity. And indeed many in this feeble condition of the flesh have been made strong by so great a force of virtue, that they could shine like stars in the world. Many in the darkness of this present life, while they shew forth in themselves examples above our reach, shine upon us from on high after the manner of stars; but with whatsoever brilliancy of practice they shine, with whatever fire of compunction they enkindle their hearts, it is plain that while they still bear the load of this corruptible flesh, they are unable to behold the light of eternity such as it is.

45. Contemplation, and Light Beheld as in a Mist or Fog

Mor., 31:101, trans. LF, III, 2, p. 500.

Because, therefore, holy men raise themselves up to lofty contemplation, and yet cannot behold God as He is, it is well said of this eagle; Her eyes behold afar off. As if He were saying; They resolutely direct the keenness of their intention, but they cannot, as yet, behold Him nigh, the greatness of Whose brightness they are not at all able to penetrate. For the mist of our corruption darkens us from the incorruptible light, and when the light can both be seen in a measure, and yet cannot be seen as it is, it shews how distant it is. But if the mind were not to see it in any way, it would not see that it was far off. But if it were already to behold it perfectly, it would not in truth see it through a mist [fog].

VIII. Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite: Celestial Hierarchies and Mystical


46. Hierarchies, Illumination, Deification, Symbols, Analogia

De coelesti hierarchia, trans, by the editors of the Shrine of Wisdom, The Mystical Theology and the Celestial Hierarchies of Dionysius the Areopagite (Fintry, Brook, Godalming, Surrey, England: The Shrine of Wisdom, 1949), pp. 29-30.

To My Fellow-Presbyter Timothy. Dionysius The Presbyter

That every Divine Illumination, whilst going forth with love in various ways to the objects of its forethought, remains one. Nor is this all: it also unifies the things illuminated.

‘Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of Lights.’

Moreover, every Divine procession of radiance from the Father, whilst constantly and bounteously flowing unto us, fills us anew, as though with a unifying power, by recalling us to things above, and leads us again to the unity of the Shepherding Father and to the Divine ONE. For from Him and into Him are all things, as saith the holy Word.

Calling, then, upon Jesus, the Light of the Father, the Real, the True, ‘Which lighteth every man that cometh into the world, by Whom we have access to the Father/ the Origin of Light, let us raise our thought, according to our power, to the illuminations of the most sacred doctrines handed down by the Fathers, and also, as far as we may, let us contemplate the Hierarchies of the Celestial Intelligences revealed to us by them in symbols for our upliftment: and admitting through the spiritual and unwavering eyes of the mind the original and super-original gift of Light of the Father Who is the Source of Divinity, which shows to us images of the all-blessed Hierarchies the Angels in figurative symbols, let us through them again strive upwards towards Its Primal Ray. For this Light can never be deprived of Its own intrinsic unity, and although in goodness, as is fitting, It becomes a manyness and proceeds into manifestation for the upliftment and unification of those creatures which are governed by Its Providence, yet It abides eternally within If in changeless sameness, firmly established in Its own unity, and elevates to Itself, according to their capacity, those who turn towards It, as is meet, uniting them in accordance with Its own unity. For by that first Divine Ray we can be enlightened only in so far as It is hidden by all-various holy veils for our upliftment, and fittingly tempered to our natures by the Providence of the Father.

Wherefore that first institution of the sacred rites, judging it worthy of a supermundane copy of the Celestial Hierarchies, gave us our most holy hierarchy, and described that spiritual Hierarchy in material terms and in various compositions of forms so that we might be led, each according to capacity, from the most holy imagery to formless, unific, elevative principles and assimilations. For the mind can by no means be directed to the spiritual presentation and contemplation of the Celestial Hierarchies unless it use the material guidance suited to it, accounting those beauties which are seen to be images of the hidden beauty, the sweet incense a symbol of spiritual dispensations, and the earthly lights a figure of the immaterial enlightenment. Similarly the details of the sacred teaching correspond to the feast of contemplation in the soul, while the ranks of order on earth reflect the Divine Concord and the disposition of the Heavenly Orders. The receiving of the most holy Eucharist symbolizes our participation of Jesus; and everything else delivered in a supermundane manner to Celestial Natures is given to us in symbols.

To further, then, the attainment of our due measure of deification, the loving Source of all mysteries, in showing to us the Celestial Hierarchies, and consecrating our hierarchy as fellow-ministers, according to our capacity, in the likeness of their Divine ministry, depicted those supercelestial Intelligences in material images in the inspired writings of the sacred Word so that we might be guided through the sensible to the intelligible, and from sacred symbols to the Primal Source of the Celestial Hierarchies.

47. Renunciation; the Darkness of Unknowing; and the Radiance of the Divine Darkness

De Mystica theologia, 1, trans. Shrine of Wisdom, MTCH, pp. 9, 11.

What Is The Divine Darkness?

Supernal Triad, Deity above all essence, knowledge, and goodness; Guide of Christians to Divine Wisdom; direct our path to the ultimate summit of Thy mystical Lord, most incomprehensible, most luminous, and most exalted, where the pure, absolute, and immutable mysteries of theology are veiled in the dazzling obscurity of the secret Silence, outshining all brilliance with the intensity of their Darkness, and surcharging our blinded intellects with the utterly impalpable and invisible fairness of glories surpassing all beauty.

Let this be my prayer; but do thou, dear Timothy, in the diligent exercise of mystical contemplation, leave behind the senses and the operations of the intellect, and all things sensible and intellectual, and all things in the world of being and non-being, that thou mayest arise, by unknowing (Comment 1) towards the union, as far as is attainable, with Him Who transcends all being and all knowledge. For by the unceasing and absolute renunciation of thyself and of all things, thou mayest be borne on high, through pure and entire self-abnegation, into the super-essential Radiance of the Divine Darkness (Comment 2).

It was not without reason that the blessed Moses was commanded first to undergo purification himself and then to separate himself from those who had not undergone it; and after the entire purification heard many-voiced trumpets and saw many lights streaming forth with pure and manifold rays; and that he was thereafter separated from the multitude, with the elect priests, and pressed forward to the summit of the divine ascent (Comment 5). Nevertheless, he did not attain to the Presence of God Himself; he saw not Him (for He cannot be looked upon), but the Place where He dwells. And this I take to signify that the divinest and highest things seen by the eyes or contemplated by the mind are but the symbolical expressions of those that are immediately beneath Him Who is above all. Through these, His incomprehensible Presence is manifested upon those heights of His Holy Places; that then It breaks forth, even from that which is seen and that which sees, and plunges the mystic into the Darkness of Unknowing, whence all perfection of understanding is excluded, and he is enwrapped in that which is altogether intangible and noumenal, being wholly absorbed in Him Who is beyond all, and in none else (whether himself or another); and through the inactivity of all his reasoning powers is united by his highest faculty to Him Who is wholly unknowable; thus by knowing nothing he knows That Which is beyond his knowledge (Comment 6).

48. Affirmative and Negative Theology

Myst. theol, 3, trans. Shrine of Wisdom, MTCH, pp. L5-17.

What Are The Affirmations And The Negations Concerning God?

In the Theological Outlines (Comment 9) we have set forth the principal affirmative expressions concerning God, and have shown in what sense God’s Holy Nature is One, and in what sense Three; what is within It which is called Paternity, and what Filiation, and what is signified by the name Spirit; how from the uncreated and indivisible Good, the blessed and perfect Rays of Its Goodness proceed, and yet abide immutably one both within Their Origin and within Themselves and each other, co-eternal with the act by which They spring from It (Comment 10); how the superessential Jesus enters an essential state in which the truths of human nature meet; and other matters made known by the Oracles are expounded in the same place.

Again, in the treatise on Divine Names, we have considered the meaning, as concerning God, of the titles of Good, of Being, of Life, of Wisdom, of Power, and of such other names as are applied to Him; further, in Symbolical Theology, we have considered what are the metaphorical titles drawn from the world of sense and applied to the nature of God; what is meant by the material and intellectual images we form of Him, or the functions and instruments of activity attributed to Him; what are the places where He dwells and the raiment in which He is adorned; what is meant by God’s anger, grief, and indignation, or the divine inebriation; what is meant by God’s oaths and threats, by His slumber and waking; and all sacred and symbolical representations (Comment 11). And it will be observed how far more copious and diffused are the last terms than the first, for the theological doctrine and the exposition of the Divine Names are necessarily more brief than the Symbolical Theology.

For the higher we soar in contemplation the more limited become our expressions of that which is purely intelligible; even as now, when plunging into the Darkness which is above the intellect, we pass not merely into brevity of speech, but even into absolute silence, of thoughts as well as of words. Thus, in the former discourse, our contemplations descended from the highest to the lowest, embracing an ever-widening number of conceptions, which increased at each stage of the descent; but in the present discourse we mount upwards from below to that which is the highest, and, according to the degree of transcendence, so our speech is restrained, until, the entire ascent being accomplished, we become wholly voiceless, inasmuch as we are absorbed in Him Who is totally ineffable (Comment 12). ‘But why,’ you will ask, ‘does the affirmative method begin from the highest attributions, and the negative method with the lowest abstractions?’ The reason is because, when affirming the subsistence of That Which transcends all affirmation, we necessarily start from the attributes most closely related to It and upon which the remaining affirmations depend; but when pursuing the negative method to reach That Which is beyond all abstraction, we must begin by applying our negations to things which are most remote from It (Comment 13).

For is it not more true to affirm that God is Life and Goodness than that He is air or stone; and must we not deny to Him more emphatically the attributes of inebriation and wrath than the applications of human speech and thought?


Suggested Readings

Butler, E. C, Western Mysticism, 2nd ed. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1926. Chadwick, O., Western Asceticism, Library ofChristian Classics, Vol. XII. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1958.

Clarke, W. K. L., St. Basil the Great. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1913.

Davies, J. G., The Origin and Development of Early Christian Architecture. New York:

Philosophical Library, Inc., 1952.

Dix, C, The Shape of the Liturgy. London: The Dacre Press, 1945.

Duchesne, L., Christian Worship, Its Origin and Evolution, trans. M. L. McClure. London: SPCK, 1931.

Kirk, K. E., ed., The Apostolic Ministry. New York: Morehouse-Barlow Co., Inc., 1946. Lietzmann, H., The Founding of the Church Universal. New York: Charles Scribner’s

Sons, 1938.

Mackean, W. H., Christian Monasticism in Egypt to the Close of the Fourth Century.

London: SPCK, 1920.

Manson, T. W., The Church’s Ministry. Naper-ville, Illinois: Allec R. Allenson, Inc., 1956.

McNeill, J. T., A History of the Cure of Souls. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1951.

Pourrat, P., Christian Spirituality . . ., Vol. I, trans. W. H. Mitchell and S. P. Jacques. London: Burns and Oates, Ltd., 1922.

Raby, F. J. E., A History of Christian-Latin Poetry. . . . New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 1927.

Rolt, C. E., Dionysius the Areopagite on the Divine Names and the Mystical Theology. London: SPCK, 1920.

Srawley, J. H., The Early History of the Liturgy, 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1947.

Waddell, H., The Desert Fathers. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Inc., 1936.

Workman, H. B., The Evolution of the Monastic Ideal. . . . London: The Epworth Press, Publishers, 1913.


c. 251-356 Anthony

295-373 Athanasius

316-400 Martin of Tours

323 Pachomius founds a monastery

330 Macarius of Egypt retires to desert

330-379 Basil of Caesarea

c. 334/35 Birth of Schenoudi

335 Macarius of Alexandria establishes himself

c. 340-397 Ambrose of Milan

340/47-420 Jerome

c.341 Athanasius at Rome

c. 345-365 Eusebius of Vercelli com bines monastic and episcopal life

354-430 Augustine of Hippo

357 Athanasius’ Life of Anthony

c. 360-c. 435 Cassian

362 Death of Serapion

c. 363-c. 424 Palladius

370 Basil’s Rules

375/400 Constitutions of the Holy Apostles

386-389 Paula at Bethlehem

390 Death of Macarius of Egypt

394 Death of Gregory of Nyssa

404 Jerome translates Rule of Pachomius

415 Cassian founds convents at Marseilles

419-420 Palladius publishes Lausiac History

420 Cassian’s Institutes

424 Augustine’s "Rule" (Letter 211)

425-450 Monastic development in Great Britain and Ireland

426-429 Cassian completes Collations

435 Death of Cassian

459 Death of Simeon Stylites

460 Death of Schenoudi

c. 480-543 Benedict of Nursia

503 Caesarius, Bishop of Aries

538 Cassiodorus becomes a monk

543 Death of Caesarius of Aries

543/47 Benedict’s Rule

563 Columba at Iona

612 Columban founds Bobbio

615 Death of Columban

657 Whitby founded

668/69-690/91 Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury

673-735 Bede the Venerable

674-678 Wearmouth and Jarrow founded

724 Reichenau founded

741 Fulda established

760 Rule of St. Chrodegang

817-821 Benedict of Aniane’s Reform


The Papacy, the barbarian Kingdoms,

Islam, and the Carolingian Church.

In the course of five hundred years the bishops of Rome ascended from a position of relative obscurity to claim episcopal pre-eminence throughout the Christian world. The basis of their contention rested, in historical retrospect, upon the "Petrine Theory." According to this assertion, grounded in Matthew 16:19, Peter as prince of the apostles had received from Christ himself supreme power over the entire Church. The keys to the Kingdom of Heaven were uniquely committed to him. This commission entailed the binding in heaven of what Peter chose to bind on earth and the loosing in heaven of what he chose to loose on earth. His primacy was thus held to have been established with attendant superiority over the other apostles. This precedence in rank Peter in turn transmitted to his successors, the bishops of Rome. As such, they were to be granted the same primacy over the Church and other bishops that Peter had exercised over his fellow apostles.

By the fifth century, the theories of Petrine eminence and apostolic succession had been coordinated in a steadily rising crescendo of insistence upon papal priority. With the passages reproduced in this chapter from Leo I, the claims to papal headship over all other bishops reached a high peak. Conceivably, they represented neither the uncontested concessions from earliest times of all leading ecclesiasts nor even the primitive conception of the earliest Roman bishops themselves. Presumably, these contentions read back into early documents the implications for Roman primacy ascribable to these documents from the vantage point of cumulative pontifical influence.

According to Leo’s assertions, Christ had committed the duty of promulgating his truth to all the apostles. But St. Peter had been constituted their head. Separated from him, one might have no share in the divine blessing. Constantinople, for example, had developed its own kind of royal glory, but this could not compete with Rome’s apostolicity. Rome had been founded by Peter, the rock, on which foundation in Christ she rested secure. Out of the whole world, Peter had been uniquely chosen by Christ. Subsequently, he presided over the apostles and assembled church Fathers. In the midst of many priests and shepherds ruling God’s people, Peter governed supremely with the full authority I all-inclusiveness that Christ had Originally exercised. The stability of divine graciousness thus specifically conferred upon Peter was by him then conveyed to the other apostles. Leo seconded his legates’ designation of himself as the head of the universal Church. He was endowed with the dignity of St. Peter who was the foundation of the Church, the rock of the faith, and the porter of heaven. From his seat at Rome, Leo exercised the care and headship of all the churches, with direct responsibility to Christ who had conferred this princedom on Peter. Leo, speaking humbly out of a sense of his own unworthiness, nevertheless invited others to see in him the successor to St. Peter. His was thus the episcopal dignity and precedence inherited immediately from the prince of all the apostles.

The rise of the Roman bishops to claim this primacy on earth and to fulfill these heavenly functions was not a simple process. They were certainly hot accorded any such priority either quickly or spontaneously. Their own claims to this eminence were slow in coming to full self-consciousness, let alone to self-expression. No widespread unanimity marked the views of early Christian leaders toward them and their special status. Centuries went by before the tradition of their distinct calling achieved sufficient background in demonstrated leadership for them to rationalize their purportedly original commission into its fullest pretensions. Meanwhile, the testimonies of the Christian Fathers traced the existential pattern of varying circumstances, giving rise to the shifting interpretations of the ages.

A variety of factors served to place the Roman bishop in the foreground for those who scrutinized the gathering tradition of the Church’s unity and ultimate destiny. Rome with all her vicissitudes had long been the mistress of the world. An almost indefinable prestige clung, even after her decline, to any administrator of reasonable distinction within her walls. Moreover, early tradition — such as that of Clement’s letter to the Corinthians — associated the leadership and martyrdom of both Peter and Paul with this one-time capital of civilization. Then, too, the shift of imperial administration to Constantinople in the East left the bishop of Rome the one major continuing force in the eternal city. Through the centuries, Roman bishops exemplified much of the old Roman genius for adapting the principles of law and order to the surmounting of fluid circumstance. Notably, one penchant of Roman bishops was clearly marked. They had a propensity for avoiding social and theological eccentricities in the interest of spiritual unity.

For example, the mediating efforts credited to Leo I at the council of Chalcedon were entered by later ecclesiastical officials and proponents of the papacy as having been a strong assist to papal prestige in subsequent tradition. Clearly outrunning any verifiable influence upon Attila was Leo’s mounting prestige, traditionally ascribed to that episode. More important still for the accretion in papal influence was the role of bishops like Gregory I as they met the onslaught of the Lombards and other barbarians upon Roman-Christian society. This growing reputation was also attributable in no small part to the initiative displayed by the popes in their missions to Britain and Germany. This was significant for the simultaneous recouping of Roman leadership and Christian unity within a society newly formed from older social ingredients. With power and popular deference on the rise for services rendered under public pressures such as these, the Petrine claims of Rome gained at least a respectful hearing throughout Western society. Here was a credible theoretical basis for positions already taken and leadership already exercised. One can with difficulty envisage Roman episcopal headship as being derivable alone from doctrinal claims, however vigorous and apposite. The Roman bishops, however, gave cumulative support by their own aggressive actions to these historic papal contentions.

Actually, as buttresses to the latent claims of the earliest centuries, the later Roman bishops could point to their being head of the only apostolic church in the West. They could stand forth as sole bearers of Roman administrative elan. Their public image grew as the sober guardians of orthodoxy and spiritual conservation in the midst of babbling philosophies and disunifying theologies. They directed attention to themselves as the authorized leaders of that congregation to which Peter had committed his ver in all its solidarity. To them Paul had surrendered his missionary vocation with its universalizing proclamation.

The historical variations and the traditional convergence of the Fathers, both Western and Eastern, apropos the Roman episcopal leadership receive large attention in the readings of this chapter. No attempt is made to give them a unity they never exhibited. However dangerous it may be to offer such a scant collection from so vast a field, diversified suggestion is infinitely preferable to generalized, safe conclusions from any single quarter. The directions which further reading may explore are fairly evident.

The logic of following the documents on the rising papacy with those of the barbarian peoples should be apparent. Roman unity had been threatened alike by the exclusivism of Christianity and the pressure of rude Gothic tribesmen. Yet both forces were to help create a new Roman unity out of their common affection for, as well as their distinct aversions to, the old Roman ideal. Roman historians and social critics had observed the fateful Christian capacity for unifying their own exclusivist claims at the expense of Roman tolerance and solidarity. The more sophisticated Roman analysts realized that the Germanic peoples were not seeking to destroy Rome. They were merely trying to huddle in suffocating proximity to her orderly security and pacific bounty. The old Pax Romana receded before the Christian triumph over imperial persecution. It succumbed to centuries of Gothic infiltration. This came about more through the crossing of elastic frontiers of barter and trade and the influx of barbarians into the imperial armies than it did by intermittent military skirmishes. Ironically enough the "New Roman Peace" would arise from a collaboration of Roman Christians and Christian barbarians in the erection of a new Roman-Christian society. Strictly speaking, it would not be Roman, or barbarian, or Christian. Its component laws, institutional ideals, religious assumptions, and social flexibility were to reflect the merging of all these cultural forces.

The sources provided here suffice to indicate the odd blend of forces that came to be so misleadingly called "The Barbarian Invasions." These factors were compounded quite naturally of population explosion, tribal frenzy in the face of invading Asiatic hordes, and rapacious Germanic ambitions excited by an indeterminate Roman policy.

Here, actually, was an interpenetration of customs, survival pressures, and latent idealisms that touched every aspect of Germanic as well as Roman and Christian life. This investment of vital new energies profoundly agitated the old Roman society. The high potentiality of a Christian ethos that had often threatened to become effete was gradually joined to the generally untutored, but by no means wholly savage, impulses of the galvanic German peoples.

With all their uncritical description of the Gothic surge into the Roman orbit, Procopius, Jordanes, and others like them exhibit the stuff from which historical significance is deducible. They portray a melee of Teutonic passion and Eastern imperial calculation. These intersected a Roman decadence that was challenged by a renewed sense of Christian destiny. The rash vigor of the Goths was capitalized by Christian missionaries with pacific, if highly Arian. convictions. The muddled viciousness of the Eastern-Western entente — from which Theodoric arose to found an Ostrogothic state — set the stage for new rivalries and alliances. These embroiled Rome and Constantinople in further duplicities of policy toward the Germans. New battles and compromised purposes marked the course of relations between orthodox Christians and Arian Ostrogoths. Some of these, like the self-cultivated Theodoric, were genuine if heterodox admirers of the old Roman culture. They were, at the same time, mid-wives to a new Christian society.

Theodoric had in his youth been a hostage at Constantinople. When, out of weltering intrigue and barbarian violence, he rose to kingship over Italy, he did not presume to imperial ambitions. His policies were often devious but his admiration for the glories of old Rome was real. The orthodox faithful never forgave his abominable Arianism. Despite his arbitrary cruelties, he ruled Christian Italy with a fairness that seemed justice itself by contrast with later exactions from Justinian’s orthodox exarchs. With the aid of men like Cassiodorus and Boethius he effected a cultural renaissance of large proportions centered at Ravenna.

Increasingly, Italian Christians turned to the bishop of Rome as their natural protector against Eastern imperial exploitation as well as Arian-Gothic statecraft. The popes looked wistfully to an alliance with newly evangelized Frankish orthodoxy. Unlike his Ostrogothic brother-in-law Theodoric, Clovis the Frank, upon his dramatic conversion in 496, had accepted orthodox Christianity. Following the urgings of his wife, and after a battlefield vision strongly reminiscent of Constantine’s own, Clovis had accepted Christianity. He had previously fallen under the influence of miracles traceable to the orthodox St. Martin of Tours. Now he underwent baptism by Bishop Remy of Rheims. The picture drawn of him by his admirer Gregory of Tours depicts a character as strong as it was willful and cruel: one who was, for Gregory, the anointed of God even as he was the virile progenitor of the all-too-soon decadent Merovingian line. The Roman hierarchy watched with approval the Frankish rise to pre-eminence among their Arian neighbors. They were safely outside the range of Justinian’s reconquest. The Franks, however much a travesty upon Roman ideals, grew steadily in their assumption of orthodox Christian ambitions. In due time it was to be their star which would rise in conjunction with that of the papacy. Together they would beat off Islamic threats and help lay the foundation of a New Christian-Roman unity.

In the meantime, the bishops of Rome had, with the aid of Benedictine monasticism, been "regularizing" their relations with Britain and Germany. In the last chapter, apropos of monastic missions, the work of Gregory in evangelizing Kent was noted. The present chapter accents his part in the rise of papal primacy. Gregory was of patrician Roman stock. He was for a time a monastic contemplative. He served for a while as prefect of Rome, the city’s highest secular officer. In his unsuccessful mission to Constantinople to secure aid against the Lombards, Gregory developed an animus for Greek — the language and all it entailed. He never lost his predilection for contemplative retreat and himself endowed a monastery. This was St. Andrew, over which he was at one time abbot. Its rule was Benedictine. From it, Augustine was sent on the mission to Kent, by way of Frankish Gaul.

Gregory came to the papacy at a most inopportune hour — at least from the perspective of individual ambition. The Lombards were at the gates of Rome. Famine and plague seized the entire city. Economic resources were throttled. Virtually forced into the pontificate, he had resisted manfully but in vain. He wrote as if the end of all things had come. He acted as if the whole divine program depended upon him. The plague was stayed. Gregory tried armed intervention against the Lombards and later negotiated a truce with them to free the beleaguered city. Social service to the entire populace with sagacious administration of things both small and great fell to his harried lot. This was a man ruling out of the cumulative wisdom of his versatile past. He demonstrated an astute balancing of the most diverse factors potential for the future. He wrote books of homily and hagiographical narrative. His volumes of Bible commentary vied with a stream of letters on rural economy and ecclesiastical diplomacy. He earned the gratitude of succeeding centuries with the homely wisdom of his Pastoral Rule. In this he addressed bishops in particular, but all who had ever had a flock as well. Long afterward, King Alfred translated this and other works of Gregory for those governing Christian souls in Britain. In such a man the might of the papacy stood more erect than any claims to Petrine singularity could ever have predicted.

At the outset of the eighth century the tide of papal fortunes, the promise of Benetine missions, the vigor of rising Islam, and the Reorienting of Frankish ambitions were all moving toward a dramatic climax. Popes like Gregory II (712/15-731), Gregory III (731-741), Zacharias (741-752), and Stephens I (752) and II (752-757) played key roles. For long years Winfred, later called Boniface, carried the combined influences of Benedictinism and the Roman hierarchy even more deeply into the heart of the German apostolate. Next to his dependence on papal Rome and the Benedictine Rule was his cherished alliance with the Austrasian and Neustrian mayors of the palace. These were fast moving to ascendancy over the "do-nothing" kings, as the effete later Merovingians were called. By 687 Pepin of Heristal had established himself in virtual dominance over the whole Frankish realm. Pepin died in 714 without legitimate heirs. His functions as "mayor of the palace" devolved upon his illegitimate son, Charles Martel (714/15-741). While re-consolidating his claims over Aquitaine he ran head-on into the rising tide of the Moors at the battle of Poitiers (732). The pieces of a vast jigsaw puzzle were now ready for arrangement: papacy, monasticism, German missionaries, Frankish mayors, and Islam.

The rise of Islam had marked the transition from the shrewd visions of a crude prophet and social legislator, Mohammed (632), to the corporate rebirth of the Arabic world. The new movement stemmed from the simultaneous fusion and rejection of Judaism and Christianity, alike. It exhilarated the warlike propensities and economic necessities of countless Bedouin and other Arab peoples. Even more, it ennobled conquest and death as the fitting response to Islam. This was obedience to the fateful will of Allah. Entire submission to one true God involved fasting, frequent prayers, regular almsgiving, abstention from alcohol, and other moderately ascetic disciplines. Moslem contempt blazed out against Jewish perversions and the recreant Christian compromising, with Trinitarism, of true Semitic monotheism. Islam surmounted what it deemed to be Jewish and Christian rebellion against the divine unity, with its own Credo of divinely revealed destiny. Periodically, from the days of the early Franks through the agonies of medieval crusading, the hierarchy of the papal West and the sultanates of the East engaged each other to the death.

One hundred years after the Hegira (622), Pope Gregory II sent a letter recommending Boniface to Charles Martel (722). This prelate had been instructed by the papacy in apostolic doctrine and the traditions of the Holy See. He was on a mission from God Himself, and the Holy Father — an apostolate to the Gentiles dwelling on the eastern side of the Rhine. Gregory appealed to Charles’s "religious spirit" to support this Boniface, a bishop by papal appointment (722). At the time, Charles’s response was scarcely more than lukewarm. Within ten years (732) Boniface would set up a ring of German bishoprics. He would be installed as archbishop by Gregory III. Charles would have new reason to look respectfully toward Rome. Gregory III would, out of his pressing vexations with the Lombards, look ever more hopefully to the rising power of the Carolingian Franks. Sealing the common concern of pope and mayor was Boniface, whose work in the next twenty years would bear rich fruit in an alliance of pregnant possibilities (751). Upon his death in 741, Charles’s sons — Carloman and Pepin — carried forward private enterprises coupled with national ambitions. These saw an increasing deference to Boniface’s influence and the Church’s ideals. Much of it was, perhaps, subconscious and indirect. One may assess variously the constituent elements of state initiative, national ecclesiastical assemblies, and the influence of Boniface’s broadening missionary episcopacy. In no case, however, ought the significance of 751/752 to be underrated. Boniface’s work was woven deeply into it. Temporal and spiritual powers found mutual re-enforcement and common outgrowths in this necessary alliance. The promises and donations of Pepin and the role of Pope Stephen in guaranteeing the emergence of the Carolingian mayors into full Christian kingship were a downpayment on a new unity. The papacy had its protector against the Lombards. The Christian Franks had coronation at papal hands.

Pepin died in 768. His sons Charles and Carloman ruled jointly until 771. Upon Carloman’s death Charles forced his claims over minor heirs into uncontested hegemony. The court biographer Einhard paints a highly congratulatory but not wholly distorted picture of this Charlemagne, the great Charles. He emerges from this and similar sources as a worthy successor to Charles Martel, his grandfather. He was egotistical, lusty, shrewd, and loyal to his lights. He was a fighter born, a hard rider, hunter, and ruthless enemy. His personal morals he held to be his sole concern. He forced discussions with learned men on the nature of the virtues and their relation to Christian ethics and the Kingdom of God. The morals of churchmen and of the Christian populace he regarded as his rightful, royal preoccupation. He was ignorant, perhaps, of the more subtle bouquet of Christian idealism and ethical vicariousness. He was bent, nevertheless, on discerning the solid contributions as well as the cherished vagaries of scholars and theologians. He put their theories to the proof in his own imperially enforced laws, the capitularies.

Early in his reign and until a late date, he ruthlessly fought the Saxons. He finally gave them the choice of conversion or of extinction. If he brought the Church to them, they also brought much of paganism into the Church. Charles organized his whole government around carefully prepared yet somewhat improvised field trips by his imperial messengers, the missi dominici. They were the investigators, interpreters, and guarantors of royal justice. They were also the people’s indoctrinators in the imperial will and the kingly plan of education.

Religious instruction became an imperial passion with Charlemagne. The pope was informed quite early of his spiritual functions in relation to the military, missionizing responsibilities of the emperor. Charles saw no contradiction of the papal prerogative and no repudiation of his own secular limitations in thus playing the Christian benevolent despot. He made the entire realm a training ground for Christian ecclesiasts — under strictly imperial aegis, of course. He schooled them, even as he controlled them, in the administration of episcopal, parish, and monastic duties. He was a caesaropapist in all the basic meanings of that term. He conceived his secular calling under God as a defining and delimiting of the spiritual vocations of churchmen, the pope included.

Charlemagne scrutinized the activities of ecclesiasts in all their liturgical and administrative aspects. He punished and rewarded laymen and churchmen in terms of landholding, land-dispensing, and a set of near-feudal contracts. He doled out lands and offices in tantalizing balance to bishops and abbots, to ecclesiastical and secular princes. In the so-called palace school at Aachen his was the most voracious inquiry of all into the bearing upon Christian life of the Bible and the Fathers. He avidly sought the implications of Augustine’s City of God for all Christian sovereigns — and for himself, particularly. He thought of himself as the apotheosis of Augustine’s "good king." Likewise, he tried to ferret out the tradition of the liberal arts, the secrets of Roman and Canon Law, the esoterics of symbol and icon, and the potentialities for reform in architecture, liturgy, and manuscript calligraphy. A tyro in contrast with a dilettante theologian like Justinian, he had a rare capacity for rescuing practicable suggestions from academic hair-splitting.

In the process of keeping churchmen, like all others, under careful surveillance and undisguised dominance, Charles disciplined them in the experimental school of social influence and temporal policy. In his very parceling out of the imperial fisc, as in his shrewd playing off of one noble against another, he girded the Church and the papacy itself for the day of weakened empire and augmented feudal powers. Under apprenticeship to Charles the Great as from few others, the hierarchy learned how ecclesiastical society might play at imperial games; how it might realign the power pressures of landholding and legislative fiat into a new economic-social unity.

In retrospect, the arts, laws and Christian manipulation of another caesaropapist, Justinian, seem full of eclat and polish. Against their background of brilliant codification and theological sophistication, Charles’s vigor often appears crudely amusing. Yet these very contrasts put in relief all the more the zestful idealism that was implicit in his heady, hardy propagandizing for a Christian commonwealth.

I. The Rise of the Bishop of Rome.

A. Clement of Rome

1. Peter and Paul Placed in the Roman Context.

B. Irenaeus Recapitulates the Church’s Tradition and the Episcopal Lists

2. The Roman Church

Adv. Haer., 3, iii, 2, trans. ANF, I, pp. 415-16.

2. Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church.

3. The Catalogue of Early Popes, the Ecclesiastical Tradition, and Episcopal Succession

Adv. Haer., 3, iii, 3, trans. A\F, I, p. 416.

3. The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric. This man, as he had seen the blessed apostles, and had been conversant with them, might be said to have the preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes. Nor was he alone [in this], for there were many still remaining who had received instructions from the apostles. In the time of this Clement, no small dissension having occurred among the brethren at Corinth, the Church in Rome despatched a most powerful letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace, renewing their faith, and declaring the tradition which it had lately received from the apostles, proclaiming the one God, omnipotent, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Creator of man, who brought on the deluge, and called Abraham, who led the people from the land of Egypt, spake with Moses, set forth the law, sent the prophets, and who has prepared fire for the devil and his angels. From this document, whosoever chooses to do so, may learn that He, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was preached by the Churches, and may also understand the apostolical tradition of the Church, since this Epistle is of older date than these men who are now propagating falsehood, and who conjure into existence another god beyond the Creator and the Maker of all existing things. To this Clement there succeeded Evaristus. Alexander followed Evaristus; then, sixth from the apostles, Sixtus was appointed; after him, Telephones, who was gloriously martyred; then Hyginus; after him, Pius; then after him. Anicetus. Soter having succeeded Anicetus, Eleutherius does now, in the twelfth place from the apostles, hold the inheritance of the episcopate. In this order, and by this succession, the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles, and the preaching of the truth, have come down to us. And this is most abundant proof that there is one and the same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the Church from the apostles until now, and handed down in truth.

C. Tertullian Statement; an Enigmatic Utterance from his "Montanist" Phase

4. How Happy the Church of Rome!

De Praes. Uaer. (c. 200), 36, trans. ANF, III, p. 260.

How happy is its church, on which apostles poured forth all their doctrine along with their blood! where Peter endures a passion like his Lord’s! where Paul wins his crown in a death like John’s! where the Apostle John was first plunged, unhurt, into boiling oil, and thence remitted to his island-exile! See what she has learned, what taught, what fellowship has had with even (our) churches in Africa!

5. An Anonymous Bishop

De Pudicitia (c. 220), 1, 21, trans. ANF, IV, p. 99.

6. The Promise to Peter Meant for all Disciples Like Him

Comm. in Matt., 12:11, trans. ANF, IX, p. 456.

But if you suppose that upon that one Peter only the whole church is built by God, what would you say about John the son of thunder or each one of the Apostles? Shall we otherwise dare to say, that against Peter in particular the gates of Hades shall not prevail, but that they shall prevail against the other Apostles and the perfect? Does not the saying previously made, "The gates of Hades shall not prevail against it," hold in regard to all and in the case of each of them? And also the saying, "Upon this rock I will build My church"? Are the keys of the kingdom of heaven given by the Lord to Peter only, and will no other of the blessed receive them? But if this promise, "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven," be common to the others, how shall not all the things previously spoken of, and the things which are subjoined as having been addressed to Peter, be common to them? For in this place these words seem to be addressed as to Peter only, "Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven," etc.; but in the Gospel of John the Saviour having given the Holy Spirit unto the disciples by breathing upon them said, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit," etc. Many then will say to the Saviour, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God;" but all who say this will say it to Him, as not at all having learned it by the revelation of flesh and blood but by the Father in heaven Himself taking away the veil that lay upon their heart, in order that after this "with unveiled face reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord" they may speak through the Spirit of God saying concerning Him, "Lord Jesus," and to Him, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." And if any one says this to Him, not by flesh and blood revealing it unto Him but through the Father in heaven, he will obtain the things that were spoken according to the letter of the Gospel to that Peter, but, as the spirit of the Gospel teaches, to every one who becomes such as that Peter was. For all bear the surname of "rock" who are the imitators of Christ, that)f the spiritual rock which followed those who are being saved, that they may drink from it the spiritual draught. But these bear the surname of the rock just as Christ does. But also as members of Christ deriving their surname from Him they are called Christians, and from the rock, Peters.

E. Cyprian and the Shared Episcopate; Appeal to Individual Pastors — not to Rome Only

7. The Episcopacy, Peter, and Ecclesiastical Unity

De Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitate (c. 251), 4-6 [Texts already reproduced in Chap. Ill, No. 31].

8. Appeals to Rome Not to Compromise the Prerogatives of Other Bishops

Ep. 59 (54): 14 (252), trans. Robinson, Readings in European History, II, p. 66.

They dare to appeal to the throne of Peter, and to the chief church whence priestly unity takes its source. . . . But we have all agreed — as is both fair and just — that every case should be heard there where the crime has been committed; and a portion of the flock has been assigned to each individual pastor, which he is to rule and govern, having to give an account of his deeds to the Lord. It certainly behooves those over whom we are placed not to run about, nor to break up the harmonious agreement of the bishops with their crafty and deceitful rashness, but there to plead their cause, where they may be able to have both accusers and witnesses to their crime.

F. The Council of Arles

9. The Pope as Leader and Rallying Point of the Western Church

To Silvester (314), trans. O. R. Vassall-Phillips, St. Optatus (London: SPCK, 1917), p. 389.

To the most beloved Pope Silvester: Marinus . . . [33 names], eternal life in the Lord.

Being united by the common tie of charity, and by that unity which is the bond of our mother, the Catholic Church, we have been brought to the city of Arles by the wish of the most pious emperor and we salute you with due reverence, most glorious Pope. Here we have suffered from troublesome men, dangerous to our law and tradition — men of undisciplined mind, whom both the authority of our God, which is with us, and our tradition and the rule of truth reject, because they have neither reason in their argument, nor any moderation in their accusations, nor was their manner of proof to the point. Therefore by the judgement of God and of Mother Church, who knows and approves her own, they have been either condemned or rejected. Would, most beloved brother, that you had thought it well to be present at this great spectacle! We believe surely that in that case a more severe sentence would have been passed against them; and our assembly would have rejoiced with a greater joy, had you passed judgement together with us; but since you were by no means able to leave that region where the apostles daily sit, and their blood without ceasing bears witness to the glory of God, ... it did not seem to us, most well-beloved brother, that we ought to deal exclusively with those matters on account of which we had been summoned, but we judged that we also should take counsel on our own affairs; because, as the countries from which we have come are different, so events of various kinds will happen which we think that we ought to watch and regulate. Accordingly, we thought well, in the presence of the Holy Ghost and his angels, that concerning the various matters which occurred to each of us, we should make some decrees to provide for the present state of peace. We also agreed to write first to you who hold the greater dioceses that by you especially they should be brought to the knowledge of all. What it is that we have determined on, we have appended to this poor letter of ours.

In the first place we were bound to discuss a matter that concerned the usefulness of our life. Now since One died and rose again for many, the same season should be observed with a religious mind by all at the same time, lest divisions or dissensions arise in so great a service of devotion. We judge therefore that the Easter of the Lord should be observed throughout the world upon the same day.

G. Jerome nn Episcopal Equality

10. Wherever there are Bishops, there Dignity and Priesthood are one (356)

Ep. 146:1, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., VI, p. 289.

It is not the case that there is one church at Rome and another in all the world beside. Gaul and Britain, Africa and Persia, India and the East worship one Christ and observe one rule of truth. If you ask for authority, the world outweighs its capital. Wherever there is a bishop, whether it be at Rome or at Engubium, whether it be at Constantinople or at Rhegium, whether it be at Alexandria or at Zoan, his dignity is one arid his priesthood is one. Neither the command of wealth nor the lowliness of poverty makes him more a bishop or less a bishop. All alike are successors of the apostles.

H. The Council of Sardica (342)

11. The Bishopric of Rome as Court of Appeal

Canon 3 (Lat.), trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., XIV, p. 417.

Bishop Hosius said: . . . But if judgment have gone against a bishop in any cause, and he think that he has a good case, in order that the question may be reopened, let us, if it be your pleasure, honour the memory of St. Peter the Apostle, and let those who tried the case write to Julius, the bishop of Rome, and if he shall judge that the case should be retried, let that be done, and let him appoint judges; but if he shall find that the case is of such a sort that the former decision need not be disturbed, what he has decreed shall be confirmed.

Is this the pleasure of all? The synod answered, It is our pleasure.

I. Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 348/50)

12. Peter

Catecheses, 2:19, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., VII, p. 13.

Let no man therefore despair of his own salvation. Peter, the foremost of the Apostles, denied the Lord thrice before a little maid: but he repented himself, and wept bitterly. Now weeping shews the repentance of the heart: and therefore he not only received forgiveness for his denial, but also held his Apostolic dignity unforfeited.

13. Peter and Paul

Cat., 6:15, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser, VII, p. 38.

As the delusion was extending, Peter and Paul, a noble pair, chief rulers of the Church, arrived and set the error right; . . .

14. Peter, Foremost of the Apostles

Cat., 11:3, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., VII, p. 64.

And when they all became silent (for the matter was too high for man to learn), Peter neither aided by cunning invention, nor persuaded by human reasoning, but enlightened in his mind from the Father, says to Him, Thou art the Christ, not only so, but the Son of the living Cod.

J. Optatus of Mileve and the Period of Pope Damasus (385)

15. Peters Unique Episcopal Chair

De Schismate Donatistorum, 2:2, trans. Vassall-Phillips, O, p. 64.

2. So we have proved that the Catholic Church is the Church which is diffused throughout the world. We must now mention its ornaments. . . . For one who knows, to err is sin; those who do not know y sometimes be pardoned. You cannot deny that you know that upon Peter first the city of Rome was conferred the episcopal chair, on which sat Peter, the head of all the apostles, whence he was called Cephas, that in this one chair unity should be preserved by all, lest the other apostles might uphold each for himself separate chairs, so that he who should set up a second chair, against the unique chair, would already be a schismatic and a sinner.

16. Peter Preferred for the Sake of Unity

De Schism. Don., 7:3, trans. Vassall-Phillips, O, p. 283.

3. ... You have not wished to bring forward the examples to be found in the gospel, as for instance what has been written concerning the person of the most blessed Peter, where we may read a description of the way in which unity is to be obtained or procured. Without doubt it is evil to do anything against a prohibition, but it is worse not to have unity when you can. We see that this unity was preferred to punishment by Christ himself, who chose that all his disciples should be in unity, rather than punish a sin against himself. For, as he did not wish to be denied, he declared that whosoever should deny him before men would he deny before his Father. And though this has been thus written, nevertheless for the good of unity blessed Peter, for whom it would have been enough if after his denial he had obtained pardon only, deserved to be placed before all the apostles, and alone received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, to be communicated to the rest. So from this example it is given us to understand that for the sake of unity sins should be buried, since the most blessed apostle Paul says that charity can cover a multitude of sins.

K. Ambrose on Peter (c.397)

17. Peter Tempted, Forgiven, and Set Over the Church

Enarratio in Psalmum, 43:40, trans. E. Giles, Documents Illustrating Papal Authority (London: SPCK, 1952), p. 145.

II. Assertions of Primacy and Demonstrations of Leadership from the Popes Themselves

A. Julius I (337-352)

18. The Eusebians at Antioch Rebuked for Bypassing Rome (340)

Athanasius, Apologia Contra Arianos, 2:35, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., IV, p. 118.

And why was nothing said to us concerning the Church of the Alexandrians in particular? Are you ignorant that the custom has been for word to be written first to us, and then for a just decision to be passed from this place? If then any such suspicion rested upon the Bishop there, notice thereof ought to have been sent to the Church of this place; whereas, after neglecting to inform us, and proceeding on their own authority as they pleased, now they desire to obtain our concurrence in their decisions, though we never condemned him. Not so have the constitutions of Paul, not so have the traditions of the Fathers directed; this is another form of procedure, a novel practice. I beseech you, readily bear with me: what I write is for the common good. For what we have received from the blessed Apostle Peter, that I signify to you; and I should not have written this, as deeming that these things were manifest unto all men, had not these proceedings so disturbed us.

B. Damasus (366-384)

19. Opinions of Rome to be Sought First

Theodoret, Hist. Ecc, 2:17, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., Ill, p. 83.

"The bishops assembled at Rome in sacred synod, Damasus and Valerianus and the rest, to their beloved brethren the bishops of Illyria, send greeting in God. . . .

"When first the wickedness of the heretics began to flourish, and when, as now, the blasphemy of the Arians was crawling to the front, our fathers, three hundred and eighteen bishops, the holiest prelates in the Roman Empire, deliberated at Nicaea. The wall which they set up against the weapons of the devil, and the antidote wherewith they repelled his deadly poisons, was their confession that the Father and the Son are of one substance, one godhead, one virtue, one power, one likeness, and that the Holy Ghost is of the same essence and substance. Whoever did not thus think was judged separate from our communion. Their deliberation was worthy of all respect, and their definition sound. But certain men have intended by other later discussions to corrupt and befoul it. Yet, at the very outset, error was so far set right by the bishops on whom the attempt was made at Ariminum to compel them to manipulate or innovate on the faith, that they confessed themselves seduced by opposite arguments, or owned that they had not perceived any contradiction to the opinion of the Fathers delivered at Nicaea. No prejudice could arise from the number of bishops gathered at Ariminum, since it is well known that neither the bishop of the Romans, whose opinion ought before all others to have been waited for, nor Vincentius, whose stainless episcopate had lasted so many years, nor the rest, gave in their adhesion to such doctrines."

C. Siricius (384-399)

20. The Bishop of Rome (385)

Ep. 1:1, trans. E. Giles, Documents Illustrating Papal Authority (London: SPCK, 1952), p. 142.

D. Innocent I (401-417)

21. Claims Authority Throughout the West (416)

Ep. 25:2, trans. Giles, DIP A (London: SPCK, 1952), p. 194.

E. Zosimus (417-418)


F. Leo The Great (440-461


25. Leo, Chalcedon (451) and the "Tome" (Letter to Flavian, Ep. 28)

Liber Pontificalis, 47, trans. L. R. Loomis, The Book of the Popes (Liber Pontificalis), I, to the Pontificate of Gregory I, "Records of Civilization and Studies, I," ed. J. T. Shotwell rk: Columbia University Press, 1916), 98.

He, by his own authority, issued precepts and he sent to Marcian Augustus, the orthodox,

catholic prince, and an assemblage was called and the bishops were gathered together with the prince and the holy council of the bishops was held at Chalcedon in the confession chapel of the holy Euphemia; and 256 priests were met together, beside 408 bishops who sent their autographs, and they were assembled together with the Tome, that contained the declaration of faith of the apostolic, Roman church and the autograph of the holy bishop Leo. Then in the presence of the catholic prince Marcian Augustus the assembled council of bishops, in number 1200, in company with Marcian Augustus set forth the catholic faith, two natures in one Christ, God and man.

26. Passages from Leo’s Tome

Epistola (28) Dogmatica ad Flavianum, 3-4, trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., XII, p. 40.

Without detriment therefore to the properties of either nature and substance which then came together in one person, majesty took on humility, strength weakness, eternity mortality: and for the paying off of the debt belonging to our condition inviolable nature was united with passible nature, so that, as suited the needs of our case, one and the same Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, could both die with the one and not die with the other. Thus in the whole and perfect nature of true man was true God born, complete in what was His own, complete in what was ours. And by "ours" we mean what the Creator formed in us from the beginning and what He undertook to repair. For what the Deceiver brought in and man deceived committed, had no trace in the Saviour. Nor, because He partook of man’s weaknesses, did He therefore share our faults. He took the form of a slave without stain of sin, increasing the human and not diminishing the divine: because that emptying of Himself whereby the Invisible made Himself visible and, Creator and Lord of all things though He be, wished to be a mortal, was the bending down of pity, not the failing of power. Accordingly He who while remaining in the form of God made man, was also made man in the form of a slave. For both natures retain their own proper character without loss: and as the form of God did not do away with the form of a slave, so the form of a slave did not impair the form of God. The Lord assumed His mother’s nature without her faultiness: nor in the Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin’s womb, does the wonder-fullness of His birth make His nature unlike ours. For He who is true God is also true man: and in this union there is no lie, since the humility of manhood and the loftiness of the Godhead both meet there.

G. Gelasius (492-496)

27. The Priestly Power Predominant over the Royal

Ad Anastasium Imperatorem, 2, trans. Robinson, REH, I, pp. 72-73.

. . . There are two powers, august Emperor, by which this world is chiefly ruled, namely, the sacred authority of the priests and the royal power. Of these, that of the priests is the more weighty, since they have to render an account for even the kings of men in the divine judgment. You are also aware, dear son, that while you are permitted honorably to rule over human kind, yet in things divine you bow your head humbly before the leaders of the clergy and await from their hands the means of your salvation. In the reception and proper disposition of the heavenly mysteries you recognize that you should be subordinate rather than superior to the religious order, and that in these matters you depend on their judgment rather than wish to force them to follow your will.

If the ministers of religion, recognizing the supremacy granted you from heaven in matters affecting the public order, obey your laws, lest otherwise they might obstruct the course of secular affairs by irrelevant considerations, with what readiness should you not yield them obedience to whom is assigned the dispensing of the sacred mysteries of religion. Accordingly, just as there is no slight danger in the case of the priests if they refrain from speaking when the service of the divinity requires, so there is no little risk for those who disdain — which God forbid — when they should obey. And if it is fitting that the hearts of the faithful should submit to all priests in general who properly administer divine affairs, how much the more is obedience due to the bishop of that see which the Most High ordained to be above all others, and which is consequently dutifully honored by the devotion of the whole Church.

H. Gregory The Great (590-604)

28. Gregory’s Career Summarized from the Book of the Popes

Liber Pont., 66, trans, by the editor from Gestorum Pontificum Romanorum I, ed. Th. Mommsen, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, I (Berlin: Weidmann, 1898), pp. 161-62.

Gregory who belonged to the Roman nation had Gordian for his father. He ruled thirteen years, six months, and ten days. He wrote forty homilies on the Gospels, others on James and Ezekiel. He likewise composed the Pastoral Rule, The Dialogues and other works too numerous to mention. This was the time when Romanus, patrician and exarch, came to Rome. And when he returned to Ravenna, he recaptured certain cities formerly occupied by the Lombards. ... At the same period, the blessed Gregory sent the servants of God, Mellitus, Augustine, and John on a mission accompanied by several other god-fearing monks. He dispatched them on a preaching mission to the peoples of the Angles in order that they might be converted to the Lord Jesus Christ. He added to the recitation of the canon the prayer, Diesque nostros in tua pace disponere, and several others.

29. The Forbidding Outset of Gregory’s Pontificate

Mor. (Ep. I), trans. LF, I, i, pp. 1-5.

To the Most Devout and Holy Brother, my fellow Bishop Leander, Gregory, the servant of God’s servants.

1. When I knew you long since at Constantinople, my most blessed brother, at the time that I was kept there by the affairs of the Apostolical See, and that you had been brought thither by an embassage, with which you were charged, on counts touching the faith of the Wisigoths, I then detailed in your ears all that displeased me in myself, since for late and long I declined the grace of conversion, and after that I had been inspired with an heavenly affection I thought it better to be still shrouded in the secular habit. For though I had now disclosed to me what I should seek of the love of things eternal, yet long-established custom had so cast its chains upon me, that I could not change my outward habit: and while my purpose 1 compelled me to engage in the service of this world as it were in semblance only, many influences began to spring up against me from caring for this same world, so that the tie which kept me to it was now no longer in semblance only, but what is more serious, in my own mind. At length being anxious to avoid all these inconveniences, I sought the haven of the monastery, and having left all that is of the world, as at that time I vainly believed, I came out naked from the shipwreck of human life. For as the vessel that is negligently moored, is very often (when the storm waxes violent) tossed by the water out of its shelter on the safest shore, so under the cloak of the Ecclesiastical office, I found myself plunged on a sudden in a sea of secular matters, and because I had not held fast the tranquillity of the monastery when in possession, I learnt by losing it, how closely it should have been held. For whereas the virtue of obedience was set against my own inclination to make me take the charge of ministering at the holy Altar, I was led to undertake that upon the grounds of the Church requiring it, which, if it might be done with impunity, I should get quit of by a second time withdrawing myself; and subsequently notwithstanding my unwillingness and reluctance, at the very time when the ministry of the Altar was a heavy weight, the further burden of the Pastoral charge was fastened on me, which I now find so much the more difficulty in bearing, as I feel myself to be unequal to it, and as I cannot take breath in any comfortable assurance in myself. For because, now that the end of the world is at hand, the times are disturbed by reason of the multiplied evils thereof, and we ourselves, who are supposed to be devoted to the inner mysteries, are thus become involved in outward cares; just as it happened then also when I was brought to the ministry of the Altar, this was brought about for me without my knowledge, viz. that I should receive the mighty charge of the Holy Order, to the end that I might be quartered under less restraint in an earthly palace, whither indeed I was followed by many of my brethren from the monastery, who were attached to me by a kindred affection. Which happened, I perceive, by Divine dispensation, in order that by their example, as by an anchored cable, I might ever be kept fast to the tranquil shore of prayer, whenever I should be tossed by the ceaseless waves of secular affairs. For to their society I fled as to the bosom of the safest port from the rolling swell, and from the waves of earthly occupation; and though that office which withdrew me from the monastery had with the point of its employments stabbed me to death as to my former tranquillity of life, yet in their society, by means of the appeals of diligent reading, I was animated with the yearnings of daily renewed compunction. It was then that it seemed good to those same brethren, you too adding your influence, as you yourself remember, to oblige me by the importunity of their requests to set forth the book of blessed Job; and as far as the Truth should inspire me with powers, to lay open to them those mysteries of such depth; and they made this too an additional burden which their petition laid upon me, that I would not only unravel the words of the history in allegorical senses, but that I would go on to give to the allegorical senses the turn of a moral exercise, with the addition of somewhat yet harder, that I would crown the several meanings with testimonies, and that the testimonies, which I brought forward, should they chance to appear involved, should be disentangled by the aid of additional explanation.

30. Gregory, the Pastoral Rule, and the Cure of Souls

Liber Regulae Fastoralis, 1:1; 2:1; 3, Prolog., trans. NPNF, 2nd ser., XII, pp. 1-2, 9, 24.

No one presumes to teach an art till he has first, with intent meditation, learnt it. What rashness is it, then, for the unskilful to assume pastoral authority, since the government of souls is the art of arts! For who can be ignorant that the sores of the thoughts of men are more occult than the sores of the bowels? And yet how often do men who have no knowledge whatever of spiritual precepts fearlessly profess themselves physicians of the heart, though those who are ignorant of the effect of drugs blush to appear as physicians of the flesh! But because, through the ordering of God, all the highest in rank of this present age are inclined to reverence religion, there are some who, through the outward show of rule within the holy Church, affect the glory of distinction. They desire to appear as teachers, they covet superiority to others, and, as the Truth attests, they seek the first salutations in the market-place, the first rooms at feasts, the first seats in assemblies (Matth. 23:6-7), being all the less able to administer worthily the office they have undertaken of pastoral care, as they have reached the magisterial position of humility out of elation only. For, indeed, in a magisterial position language itself is confounded when one thing is learnt and another taught. . . .

The conduct of a prelate ought so far to transcend the conduct of the people as the life of a shepherd is wont to exalt him above the flock. For one whose estimation is such that the people are called his flock is bound anxiously to consider what great necessity is laid upon him to maintain rectitude. It is necessary, then, that in thought he should be pure, in action chief; discreet in keeping silence, profitable in speech; a near neighbour to every one in sympathy, exalted above all in contemplation; a familiar friend of good livers through humility, unbending against the vices of evil-doers through zeal for righteousness; not relaxing in his care for what is inward from being occupied in outward things, nor neglecting to provide for outward things in his solicitude for what is inward. . . .

Since, then, we have shewn what manner of man the pastor ought to be, let us now set forth after what manner he should teach. For, as long before us Gregory Nazianzen of reverend memory has taught, one and the same exhortation does not suit all, inasmuch as neither are all bound together by similarity of character. For the things that profit some often hurt others; seeing that also for the most part herbs which nourish some animals are fatal to others; and the gentle hissing that quiets horses incites whelps; and the medicine which abates one disease aggravates another; and the bread which invigorates the life of the strong kills little children. Therefore according to the quality of the hearers ought the discourse of teachers to be fashioned, so as to suit all and each for their several needs, and yet never deviate from the art of common edification. For what are the intent minds of hearers but, so to speak, a kind of tight tensions of strings in a harp, which the skilful player, that he may produce a tune not at variance with itself, strikes variously? And for this reason the strings render back a consonant modulation, that they are struck indeed with one quill, but not with one kind of stroke. Whence every teacher also, that he may edify all in the one virtue of charity, ought to touch the hearts of his hearers out of one doctrine, but not with one and the same exhortation.