Click to View

Early Church Fathers
Click to ViewMaster Index
Click to ViewPower Search

 Click to View

317 On Irenaeus, see Bk. IV. chap. 21, note 9.

318 Eusebius, in chap. 15, informs us that both Blastus and Florinus drew manyaway from the church of Rome by their heretical innovations. He does not tell us either there or here the nature of the opinions which Blastus held, but from Pseudo-Tertullian's Adv. omnes Haer. chap. 8, we learn that Blastus was a Quartodeciman. ("In addition to all these, there is likewise Blastus, who would la-tently introduce Judaism. For he says the passover is not to be kept otherwise than according to the law of Moses, on the fourteenth of the month.") From Pacianus' Epistola ad Sympronian. de catholico nomine, chap. 2, we learn that he was a Montanist; and since the Montanists of Asia Minor were, like the other Christians of that region, Quartodecimans, it is not surprising that Blastus should be at the same time a Montanist and a Quartodeciman. Florinus, as will be shown in the next note, taught his heresies while Victor was bishop of Rome (189-198 or 199); and since Eusebius connects Blastus so closely with him, we may conclude that Blastus flourished at about the same time. Irenaeus' epistle to Blas-tus, On Schism, is no longer extant. A Syriac fragment of an epistle of Irenaeus, addressed to "an Alexandrian," on the paschal question (Fragment 27 in Harvey's edition) is possibly a part of this lost epistle. If the one referred to in this fragment be Blastus he was an Alexandrian, and in that case must have adopted the Quarto-deciman position under the influence of the Asiatic Montanists, for the paschal calendar of the Alexandrian church was the same as that of Rome (see the Dict. of Christ. Biog. III. p. 264). If Blastus was a Montanist, as stated by Pacianus, his heresy was quite different from that of Florinus (who was a Gnostic); and the fact that they were leaders of different heresies is confirmed by the words of Eusebius in chap. 15, above: "Each one striving to introduce his own innovations in respect to the truth." Whether Blastus, like Florinus, was a presbyter, and like him was deposed from his office, we do not know, but the words of Eusebius in chap. 15 seem to favor this supposition.

319 Florinus, as we learn from chap. 15, was for a time a presbyter of the Roman Church, but lost his office on account of heresy. From the fragment of this epistle of Irenaeus to Florinus quoted by Eusebius just below, we learn that Florinus was somewhat older than Irenaeus, but like him a disciple of Polycarp. The title of this epistle shows that Florinus was already a Gnostic, or at least inclined toward Gnostic views. Eusebius evidently had no direct knowledge of the opinions of Florinus on the origin of evil, for he says that he appeared to maintain (edokei proaspisein) the opinion that God was the author of evil. Eusebius' conclusion is accepted by most ancient and modern writers, but it is suggested by Salmon (Dict. af Christ. Biog. II. 544) that Eusebius was perhaps mistaken, "for, since the characteristic of dualism is not to make God the author of evil, but to clear him from the charge by ascribing evil to an independent origin, the title would lead us to think that the letter was directed, not against one who had himself held God to be the author of evil, but against one who had charged the doctrine of a single first principle with necessarily leading to this conclusion. And we should have supposed that the object of Irenaeus was to show that it was possible to assert God to be the sole origin and ruler of the universe, without holding evil to be his work." Since Eusebius had seen the epistle of Irenaeus to Florinus, it is difficult to understand how he can have misconceived Florinus' position. At the same time, he does not state it with positiveness; and the fact that Florinus, if not already, certainly was soon afterward a Valentinian, and hence a dualist, makes Salmon's supposition very plausible. Florinus is not mentioned in Irenaeus' great work against heresies, nor by Tertullian, Pseudo-Tertullian, Hippolytus, or Epiphanius. It is probable, therefore, that he was not named in Hippolytus' earlier work, nor in the lectures of Irenaeus which formed the groundwork (see Salmon, l.c.). The silence of Irenaeus is easily explained by supposing Florinus' fall into heresy to have taken place after the composition of his lectures against heresies and of his great work; and the silence of the later writers is probably due to the fact that Irenaeus' work makes no mention of him and that, whatever his influence may have been during his lifetime, it did not last, and hence his name attracted no particular attention after his death.

It has been maintained by some (e.g. Lightfoot in the Contemporary Review, 1875, p. 834) that this epistle to Florinus was one of the earliest of Irenaeus' writings but Lipsius (Dict. of Christ. Biog. III. 263) has given other and satisfactory reasons for thinking that Florinus' heresy, and therefore Irenaeus' epistle and his work On the Ogdoad, belonged to the time of Victor, and hence were later than the work Against Heresies. A Syriac fragment of an epistle concerning Florinus, addressed by Irenaeus to Victor (Harvey's edition, Fragm. 28), is extant, and supports Lipsius' conclusion. It would seem that Irenaeeus, subsequent to the writing of his great work, learning that Florinus was holding heretical opinions on the origin of evil, addressed him the epistle mentioned in this chapter. That afterward, Florinus having embraced Valentinianism, and having written "an abominable book" (as the fragment just referred to says), Irenaeus wrote his work On the Ogdoad, and subsequently addressed his epistle to Victor, calling upon him to take decisive measures against Florinus, now seen to be a regular heretic. What was the result of Irenaeus' epistles and book we do not know; we hear nothing more about the matter, nor do we know anything more about Florinus (for Augustine's mention of Florinus as the founder of a sect of Floriniani is a mistake; see Salmon, l.c.).

320 This treatise, On the Ogdoad, is no longer extant, though it is probable that we have a few fragments of it (see Harvey, I. clxvi.). The importance which Irenaeus attached to this work is seen from the solemn adjuration with which he closed it. It must have been largely identical in substance with the portions of his Adv. Haer. which deal with the aeons of the Valentinians. It may have been little more than an enlargement of those portions of the earlier work. The Ogdoad (Greek, ogdoaj, a word signifying primarily a thing in eight parts) occupied a prominent place in the speculations of the Gnostics. Valentinus taught eight primary aeons, in four pairs, as the root and origin of the other aeons and of all beings. These eight he called the first or primary Ogdoad; and hence a work upon the Ogdoad, written against a Valentinian, must, of course, be a general discussion of the Valentinian doctrine of the aeons. The word Ogdoad was not used by all the Gnostics in the same sense. It was quite commonly employed to denote the supercelestial region which lay above the seven planetary spheres (or Hebdomad), and hence above the control of the seven angels who severally presided over these spheres. In the Valentinian system a higher sphere, the Pleroma, the abode of the aeons, was added, and the supercelestial sphere, the Ogdoad of the other systems, was commonly called the Mesotes. or middle region. For further particulars in regard to the Ogdoad see Salmon's articles Hebdomad and Ogdoad in the Dict. of Christ. Biog.

321 Literally, "in which he shows that he himself had seized upon (kateilhfenai) the first succession diadoxhn) of the apostles." In order to emphasize the fact that he was teaching true doctrine, he pointed out, as he did so often elsewhere, the circumstance that he was personally acquainted with disciples of the apostles.

322 It was not at all uncommon for copyists, both by accident and by design, to make changes often serious, in copying books. We have an instance of intentional alterations mentioned in Bk. IV. chap. 23. It is not at all strange, therefore, that such an adjuration should be attached to a work which its author considered especially liable to corruption, or whose accurate transcription. be regarded as peculiarly important. Compare the warning given in Rev. xxii. 18, Rev. xxii. 19. The fragments from Irenaeus' works preserved in this chapter are translated in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, I. p. 568 sq.

323 The epistle On Monarchy mentioned at the beginning of this chapter.

324 en pn basilikh aulh. This expression is a little puzzling, as the word bosilikh implies the imperial court, and could not properly be used of the provincial court of the proconsul. No sojourn of an emperor in Asia Minor is known which will meet the chronology of the case; and hence Lightfoot (Contemporary Review May, 1875, p. 834) has offered the plausible suggestion that the words may have been loosely employed to denote the court of Titus Aurelius Fulvus, who was proconsul of Asia about 136 a.d., and afterward became the emperor Antoninus Pius.

325 1 John i. 1.

326 This would have been quite like Polycarp, who appears to have had a special horror of heretics. Compare his words to Marcion, quoted above, in Bk. IV. chap. 14. He seems to have inherited this horror from John the apostle, if Irenaeus' account is to be believed; see Adv. Haer. III. 3, 4, quoted by Eusebius in Bk. III. chap. 28, and in Bk. IV. chap. 14.

327 We know of only one epistle by Polycarp, that to the Philippians, which is still extant. Upon his life and epistle, see Bk. IV. chap. 14, notes 5 and 16.

328 Marcia, concubine of Commodus, and possessed of great influence over him, favored the Christians (according to Dion Cassius, LXII. 4), and as a consequence they enjoyed comparative peace during his reign.

329 Jerome (de vir. ill. chap. 42, and Epist. ad Magnum, 4) calls Apollonius a Roman senator. It is possible that this is only a natural conclusion drawn by Jerome from Eusebius' statement that he defended himself before the Senate; and this possibility might seem to be strengthened by the fact that Eusebius does not call him a senator here, as we should expect him to do if he knew him to be one. On the other hand, it is highly probable (as shown in the next note) that Jerome had read the fuller account of Apollonius' martyrdom included by Eusebius in his Collection of Martyrdoms, and hence it seems likely that that account contained the statement that Apollonius was a senator. Jerome makes Apollonius the author of an insigne volumen, which he read in the Senate in defense of his faith; but there seems to be no foundation for such a report. It is apparently the result simply of a misunderstanding of the words of Eusebius, who states that Apollonius delivered before the Senate a most eloquent defense of the faith, but does not imply that he wrote an apology. The words that Eusebius uses at the close of this chapter imply rather that the defense made by Apollonius was recorded after its delivery, and that it is this report of it which can be read in his Collection of Martyrdoms.

330 Jerome, followed by Sophronius, reports that the accusation against Apollonius was brought by a slave. Jerome gives the slave's name as Severus (a servo Severo proditus); while Sophronius makes Severus the name of the judge (para tou doulou para Sebhrw prodofeij xristianoj einai). The latter is impossible, however, as the name of the judge was Perennius according to Eusebius. Vallarsi states that some mss. of Jerome read sub Commodo principe ac Severo proditus, and supposes that ac Severo is a corruption for the words a servo (which he thinks may have stood alone in the original text), and that some student, perceiving the error, wrote upon the margin of his copy the words a servo, and that subsequently the note crept into the text, while the word Severo was still retained, thus producing our present reading a servo Severo. This is an ingenious suggestion, but the fact is overlooked that Sophronius undoubtedly read in the original translated by him the words a servo Severo, for we can explain his rendering only by supposing that he read thus, but understood the word Severo as the dative of the indirect object after proditus, instead of the ablative in apposition with servo. In the face of Sophronius' testimony to the original form of the text, no alteration of the common reading can be accepted. As to the source of Jerome's Severus, since there is nothing in the present chapter of Eusebius to suggest such an addition, and no reason can be imagined for the independent insertion of the name, the only legitimate conclusion seems to be, that the name occurred in the account of Apollonius' martyrdom referred to by Eusebius just below, and that Jerome took it thence. If this be so, then that martyrology must have been the authority also for Jerome's statement that Apollonius was accused by a slave; and hence the statement may be accepted as true, and not as the result of a misinterpretation of the reference of Eusebius' words (ena ge tina uij tauta epithdeiwn), as supposed by some. Since it is thus almost certain that Jerome had himself examined the fuller account of Apollonius' martyrdom referred to by Eusebius, a favorable light is thrown back upon his report that Apollonius was a senator, and it becomes probable that he obtained this statement from the same source (see the previous note).

331 M. de Mandajors, in his Histoire de l'Acad. des Inscript. tom. 18, p. 226 (according to Gieseler's Ch. Hist., Harper's edition, I. p. 127), "thinks that the slave was put to death as the betrayer of his master, according to an old law renewed by Trajan; but that the occurrence had been misunderstood by the Christians, and had given rise to the tradition, which is found in Tertullian and in the Edictum ad Comm. A siae, that an emperor at this period had decreed the punishment of death for denouncing a Christian." Such a law against the denunciation of masters by slaves was passed under Nerva; but Gieseler remarks that, in accordance with the principles of the laws upon this subject, "either Apollonius only, or his slave only, could have been put to death, but in no case both. Jerome does not say either that Severus was the slave of Apollonius, or that he was executed; and since Eusebius grounds this execution expressly on a supposititious law, it may have belonged only to the Oriental tradition, which may have adduced this instance in support of the alleged law." It is possible that Gieseler is right in this conclusion; but it is also quite possible that Eusebius' statement that the slave was executed is correct. The ground of the execution was, of course, not, as Eusebius thinks, the fact that he brought an accusation against a Christian, but, as remarked by de Mandajors, the fact that, being a slave, he betrayed his master. Had the informant been executed because he brought an accusation against a Christian, the subsequent execution of the latter would be inexplicable. But it is conceivable that the prefect Perennius may have sentenced the informant to death, in accordance with the old law mentioned by de Mandajors, and that then, Apollonius being a senator, he may have requested him to appear before that body, and make his defense to them, in order that he might pass judgment upon him in accordance with the decision of the Senate. It is quite conceivable that, the emperor being inclined to favor the Christians, Perennius may not have cared to pass judgment against Apollonius until he had learned the opinion of the Senate on the matter (cf. what Neander has to say on the subject, in his Ch. Hist.). As remarked by Valesius, the Senate was not a judicial court, and hence could not itself sentence Apollonius; but it could, of course, communicate to the prefect its opinion, and he could then pass judgment accordingly. It is significant that the Greek reads wsan apo dogmatoj sugklhtou, inserting the particle wsan, "as if"; i.e. "as if by decree of the Senate."

332 Valesius thinks the reference here is to Pliny's rescript to Trajan (see above, Bk. III. chap. 33). This is possible, though the language of Eusebius seems to imply a more general reference to all kinds of cases, not simply to the cases of Christians.

333 On Eusebius' great Collection of Martyrdoms, which is now lost, see above, p. 30.

334 The dates assigned to Victor's episcopate by the ancient authorities vary greatly. Eusebius here puts his accession in the tenth year of Commodus (i.e. 189 a.d.), and this is accepted by Lipsius as the correct date. Jerome's version of the Chron. puts his accession in the reign of Pertinax, or the first year of Septimius Severus (i.e. 193), while the Armenian version puts it in the seventh year of Commodus (186). Eusebius, in his History, does not state directly the duration of his episcopate, but in chap. 28 he says that Zephyrinus succeded him about the ninth year of Severus, i.e. according to his erroneous reckoning (see Bk. VI. chap. 21, note 3) about 200, which would give Victor an episcopate of about eleven years. Jerome, in his version of the Chron. and in his de vir. ill., assigns him ten years; the Armenian version of the Chron. twelve years. The berian Catalogue makes his episcopate something over nine years long; the Felician Catalogue something over ten. Lipsius, considering Victor in connection with his successors, concludes that he held office between nine and ten years, and therefore gives as his dates 189-198 or 199 (see p. 172 sq.). According to an anonymous writer quoted in chap. 28, Victor excommunicated Theodotus of Byzantium for teaching that Christ was a mere man. He is best known, however, on account of his action in connection with the great Quartodeciman controversy (see chap. 24). Jerome, in his version of the Chron., says of him cujus mediocria de religione extant volumina, and in his de vir. ill. chap. 34, he tells us that he wrote upon the passover, and also some other works (super quaestione Paschae, et alia quaedam scribens opuscula). Harnack believes that he has discovered one of these works (all of which have been supposed lost) in the Pseudo-Cyprianic de Aleatoribus. In his Texte und Unters. Bd. V. Heft 1, he has discussed the subject in a very learned and ingenious manner. The theory has much to commend it, but there are difficulties in its way which have not yet been removed; and I am inclined to think it a product of the first half of the third century, rather than of the last quarter of the second (see the writer's review of Harnack's discussion in the Presbyterian Review, Jan., 1889, p. 143 sqq.).

335 On Eleutherus, see the Introduction to this book, note 2. As remarked there, Eleutherus, according to the testimony of most of our sources, held office fifteen years. The "thirteen years" of this chapter are therefore an error, clearly caused by the possession on the part of Eusebius of a trustworthy tradition that he died in the tenth year of Commodus, which, since he incorrectly put his accession into the seventeenth year of Marcus Aurelius (or Antoninus Verus, as he calls him), made it necessary for him to draw the false conclusion that he held office only thirteen years.

336 On Julian, bishop of Alexandria, see chap. 9, note 2.

337 The date of the accession of Demetrius, the eleventh bishop of Alexandria, as given here and in the Chron., was 189 a.d. According to Bk. VI. chap. 26, below, confirmed by the Chron., he held office forty-three years. There is no reason for doubting the approximate accuracy of these dates. Demetrius is known to us chiefly because of his relations to Origen, which were at first friendly, but finally became hostile. He seems to have been a man of great energy, renowned as an administrator rather than as a literary character. He was greatly interested in the catechetical school at Alexandria, but does not seem to have taught in it, and he left no writings, so far as we know. His relations with Origen will come up frequently in the Sixth Book, where he is mentioned a number of times (see especially chap. 8, note 4).

338 On Serapion, bishop of Antioch, see above, chap. 19.

339 Theophilus, bishop of Caesarea, has gained prominence chiefly on account of his connection with the paschal controversy. He presided with Narcissus over the council mentioned in the next chapter, which was called to consider the paschal question, and in conjunction with the other bishops present composed an epistle, which was still extant in Eusebius' time (according to the next chapter), and of which he gives a fragment in chap. 25. Jerome, in his de vir. ill. c. 43, speaks very highly of this epistle (synodicam valde utilem composuit epistolam); but it seems to have been no longer extant in his time, for in mentioning it and the epistle of Bacchylus of Corinth and others in his Chron., he says that the memory of them still endured (quarum memoria ad nos usque perdurat). The dates of Theophilus' accession to office and of his death are not known to us.

340 On Narcissus, see above, chap. 12.

341 This Bacchylus is possibly identical with the Bacchylides who is mentioned in Bk. IV. chap. 23 as one of those who had urged Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, to write a certain epistle. Bacchylus also is prominent solely on account of his connection with the paschal controversy. According to the next chapter, he was himself the author of an epistle on the subject, which he wrote, according to Jerome (de vir. ill. c. 44), in the name of all the bishops of Achaia (ex omnium qui in Achaia erant episcoporum persona). But the words of Eusebius seem to imply that the epistle was an individual, not a synodical one, for he does not say, "an epistle of those in," &c., as he does in every other case. We must conclude, therefore, that Jerome, who had not seen the epistle, was mistaken in making it a synodical letter. Jerome characterizes it as an elegant composition (elegantem librum); but, like the epistle of Theophilus, mentioned in the preceding note, it seems not to have been extant in Jerome's time. The dates of Bacchylus' accession to office and of his death are not known to us.

342 Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus, is one of the most noted men connected with the paschal controversy, for the reason that he was the leader of the bishops of the province of Asia, in which province alone the Quartodeciman practice was uniformly observed. He was thus the leading opponent of Bishop Victor of Rome. His relation to the paschal controversy is brought out more fully in chap. 24. The dates of Polycrates' accession to office and of his death are not known to us; though, of course, with Theophilus, Narcissus, Bacchylus, and the other bishops concerned in the paschal controversy, he flourished during the reign of Septimius Severus, while Victor was bishop of Rome. The only writing of Polycrates of which we know is his epistle to Victor, a portion of which is quoted by Eusebius, in Bk. III. chap. 31, and a still larger portion in chap. 24 of this book.

Jerome, in his de vir. ill. c. 45 speaks in terms of the highest praise of Polycrates, and quotes from Eusebius the larger fragment, given in chap. 24, adding, Haec propterea posui, ut ingenium et auctoritatem viri ex parvo opusculo demonstrarem. The fact that he quotes only the passages given by Eusebius would be enough to show that he quoted from Eusebius, and not directly from Polycrates, even were it not plain from the statement in his Chron., referred to in note 6, that Polycrates' epistle was, so far as Jerome knew, no longer extant. Polycrates himself informs us, in the second fragment given in chap. 24, that he wrote his epistle with the consent and approval of all the bishops present at the council summoned by him to discuss the paschal question. The fact that both Eusebius and Jerome praise Polycrates so highly, and testify to his orthodoxy, shows how completely the paschal question had been buried before their time, and how little the Quartodeciman practice was feared.

343 The great question of dispute between the church of Asia Minor and the rest of Christendom was whether the paschal communion should be celebrated on the fourteenth of Nisan, or on the Sunday of the resurrection festival, without regard to Jewish chronology. The Christians of Asia Minor, appealing to the example of the apostles, John and Philip, and to the uniform practice of the Church, celebrated the Christian passover always on the fourteenth of Nisan, whatever day of the week that might be, by a solemn fast, and closed the day with the communion in commemoration of the last paschal supper of Christ. The Roman church, on the other hand, followed by all the rest of Christendom, celebrated the death of Christ always on Friday, and his resurrection on the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox, and continued their paschal fast until the latter day. It thus happened that the fast of the Asiatic Christians, terminating, as it did, with the fourteenth of Nisan, often closed some days before the fast of the other churches, and the lack of uniformity occasioned great scandal. As Schaff says: "The gist of the paschal controversy was whether the Jewish paschal day (be it a Friday or not) or the Christian Sunday should control the idea and time of the entire festival." The former practice emphasized Christ's death; the latter his resurrection. The first discussion of the question took place between Polycarp and Anicetus, bishop of Rome, when the former was on a visit to that city, between 150 and 155. Irenaeus gives an account of this which is quoted by Eusebius in chap. 25. Polycarp clung to the Asiatic practice of observing the 14th of Nisan, but could not persuade Anicetus to do the same, nor could Anicetus persuade him not to observe that day. They nevertheless communed together in Rome, and separated in peace. About 170 a.d. the controversy broke out again in Laodicea, the chief disputants being Melito of Sardis and Apolinarius of Hierapolis (see above, Bk. IV. chap. 26, note 1, and chap. 27, note 1). In this controversy Melito advocated the traditional Asiatic custom of observing the fourteenth day, while Apolinarius opposed it. To distinguish two parties of Quartodecimans,-a Judaizing and a more orthodox,-as must be done if Apolinarius is regarded, as he is by many, as a Quartodeciman, is, as Schaff shows entirely unwarranted. We know only of the one party, and Apolinarius did not belong to it. The third stage of the controversy, which took place while Victor was bishop of Rome, in the last decade of the second century, was much more bitter and important. The leaders of the two sides were Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus, and Victor, bishop of Rome,-the latter an overbearing man, who believed that he, as Bishop of Rome, had a right to demand of all other churches conformity to the practices of his own church. The controversy came to an open rupture between the churches of Asia and that of Rome, but other churches did not sympathize with the severe measures of Victor, and the breach was gradually healed-just how and when we do not know; but the Roman practice gradually prevailed over the Asiatic, and finally, at the Council of Nicaea (325), was declared binding upon the whole Church, while the old Asiatic practice was condemned. This decision was acquiesced in by the bishops of Asia, as well as by the rest of the world, and only scattered churches continued to cling to the practice of the earlier Asiatics, and they were branded as heretics, and called Quartodecimanians (from quarta decima), a name which we carry back and apply to all who observed the fourteenth day, even those of the second and third centuries. This brief summary will enable us better to understand the accounts of Eusebius, who is our chief authority on the subject. The paschal controversy has had an important bearing upon the question of the authenticity of the fourth Gospel, the Tübingen critics having drawn from this controversy one of their strongest arguments against its genuineness. This subject cannot be discussed here, but the reader is referred, for a brief statement of the case, to Schaff's Ch. Hist. II. 219. The Johannine controversy has given rise to an extensive literature on these paschal disputes. Among the most important' works are Hilgenfeld's Der Paschastreit der alien Kirche nach seiner Bedeutung fur die Kirchengesch. u. s. w.; and Schürer's Die Paschastreitigkeiten des zweiten Fahrhunderts, in the Zeitschrift für hist. Theologie, 1870, p. 182-284,-the latter perhaps the ablest extended discussion of the subject extant. The reader is also referred to the article Easter, in Smith's Dict. of Christ. Ant.; to Hefele's Conciliengesch. I. p. 86-101; and especially to the chapter on the paschal controversies in Schaff's Ch. Hist. Vol. II. p. 209-220. This chapter of Schaff's is the clearest, and, in the opinion of the writer, by far the most satisfactory, brief statement of the whole subject which we have.

344 Although other synods are mentioned by the Libellus synodicus (of the ninth century), the only ones which we have good reason for accepting are those mentioned by Eusebius in this chapter and the next; viz. one in Palestine (the Libellus synodicus gives two: one at Jerusalem, presided over by Narcissus, and another at Caesarea, presided over by Theophilus, but the report is too late to be of authority); one in Pontus, under the presidency of Palmas; one in Gaul, under Irenaeus; one in Osrhoëne in Mesopotamia; and one in Asia Minor, under Polycrates. Hefele (Conciliengesch. I. p. 101) adds one in Rome under Victor; and although Eusebius does not distinctly mention such a synod, we are undoubtedly to conclude that the epistle written by Victor was a synodical epistle and hence Hefele is, in all probability, correct in assuming that some kind of a synod, whether municipal or provincial, took place there at this time (see note 4). From the words of Eusebius at the close of the chapter, we may gather that still other synods than those mentioned by him were held on this subject. The date of all of these councils is commonly given as 198 a.d., but there is no particular authority for that year. Jerome's version of the Chron. assigns the composition of the various epistles to the fourth year of Septimius Severus (196-197); but it is clear that he is giving only an approximate date. We can say only that the synods took place sometime during Victor's episcopate. All the councils, as we learn from this chapter, except the one under Polycrates in Asia Minor, decided against the Quartodeciman practice. Athanasius, however (de Syn. c. 5), speaks of Christians of Syria, Cilicia, and Mesopotamia as celebrating the paschal feast on the fourteenth day; and Jerome (de vir. ill. c. 35) says that many bishops of Asia and of the Orient kept up this observance. It is possible that the practice was from the beginning more widely spread than Eusebius supposed, or, what is more probable, that line words of Athanasius and Jerome refer to individual churches and bishops, whose observance of the fourteenth day was not general enough to invalidate what Eusebius says of the common consent of the whole Church, outside of Asia Minor, against the Quartodeciman practice, and that this individual observance, not being officially recognized by any synod, did not seem to him to require mention.

345 On Theophilus and Narcissus, see the preceding chapter, notes 6 and 7.

346 episkopon biktora dhlousa. This and the following epistles are no longer extant, nor have we any fragments of them. They seem to have disappeared, even before Jerome's time; at least, he speaks only of the memory of them as remaining to his day (see chap. 22, note 6). Heinichen is certainly wrong in making this epistle an individual letter from Victor alone, for Eusebius expressly says that the epistle was from "those at Rome" (twn epi Rwmhj), which seems to imply a council, as in the other cases. The grammatical construction naturally leads us to supply with the twn the word used with it in the previous sentence, sugkekrothmenwn,-"those who were assembled." Valesius, Hefele, and others are, therefore, quite justified in assuming that, according to Eusebius, a synod met at Rome, also, at this time.

347 Palmas, bishop of Amastris, in Pontus, mentioned by Dionysius, in Bk. IV. chap. 23, above.

348 Osrhoëne was a region of country in northwestern Mesopotamia.

349 This epistle of Bacchylus is distinguished from the preceding ones by the fact that it is not a synodical or collective epistle but the independent production of one man, if Eusebius' report is correct (see the preceding chapter, note 8). The epistles "of many others," mentioned in the next sentence, may have been of the same kind.

350 Namely, against the observance of the fourteenth day.

351 For a general account of the paschal controversy, see the preceding chapter, note 1. On Polycrates, see chap. 22, note 9.

352 A part of this passage from Polycrates' epistle is quoted in Bk. III. chap. 31. The extract given there begins with the second sentence of the fragment ("For in Asia great lights," &c.), and extends to the report of John's burial at Ephesus. For comments upon this portion of the fragment, see the notes given there.

353 On Polycarp, see Bk. IV. chap. 14, note 5.

354 This Thraseas, said by Polycrates to have been bishop of Eumenia (a city in the southern part of Phrygia), was mentioned also by Apollonius in his work against the Montanists (according to Eusebius, chap. 18, §13, of this book). He is called by Polycrates a martyr, and by Eusebius, in reference to Apollonius' mention of him, "one of the martyrs of that time." There is no reason to doubt that he was a martyr, in the full sense, as Polycarp was; but upon the more general use of the word martuj as, e.g., in connection with John just above, see Bk. III. chap. 32, note 15. We know nothing more about this bishop Thraseas.

355 On Sagaris, see above, Bk. IV. chap. 26, note 22.

356 Polycrates does not call Papirius a bishop or a martyr, and we know nothing about him. Simeon Metaphrastes, upon whose reports little reliance can be placed, in his life of Polycarp (according to Valesius), makes Papirius a successor of Polycarp as bishop of Smyrna.

357 On Melito, see Bk. IV. chap. 26, note 1.

358 A careful exegesis of the passages in John's Gospel, which are supposed by some to contradict the synoptic account, and to put Christ's death on the fourteenth day of Nisan instead of on the fifteenth, shows that John agrees with the Synoptists in putting the passover meal on the fourteenth and the death of Christ on the fifteenth (see Schaff's Ch. Hist. Vol. I. p. 133 ff., and the authorities referred to by him). The Asiatic churches, in observing the fourteenth of Nisan, were commemorating the last passover feast and the death of the paschal Lamb. Their practice did not imply that they believed that Christ died on the fourteenth (as can be seen from fragments of Apolinarius' work quoted in the Chron. Paschale, and referred to above; see, also, Schaff, Vol. II. p. 214). They were in full agreement with all four Gospels in putting his death on the fifteenth. But the paschal controversy did not hinge on the day of the month on which Christ died,-in regard to which there was no widespread disagreement,-but on the question as to whether a particular day of the week or of the month was to be celebrated.

359 i.e. the Jews. The passover feast among the Jews took place on the evening of the fourteenth of Nisan, and was eaten with unleavened bread (Ex. xii. 6 et passim). It was on the fourteenth of Nisan, therefore, that the Jews "threw away" the leaven, and until the evening of the twenty-first, when the seven days' feast of unleavened bread closed, they used no leaven.

360 Acts v. 29.

361 According to this, the Asiatic Council was summoned at the request of Victor of Rome, and in all probability this was the case with all the councils referred to in the last chapter.

362 There has been considerable discussion as to whether Victor actually excommunicated the Asiatic churches or only threatened to do so. Socrates (H. E. V. 22) says directly that he excommunicated them, but many have thought that Eusebius does not say it. For my part, I cannot understand that Eusebius' words mean anything else than that he did actually cut off communion with them. The Greek reads akoinwnhtouj pantaj ardhn touj ekeise anakhrutitn adelfouj. This seems to me decisive.

363 This epistle is no longer extant, but in addition to the fragments given in this chapter by Eusebius, a few other extracts from it are found in other writers; thus, in the Pseudo-Justinian Quaestiones et responsa ad orthodoxos occurs a quotation from Irenaeus' work On Easter (peri tou pasxa), which is doubtless to be identified with this epistle to Victor (ed. Harvey, Graec. fragm. 7; Eng. translation in Ante-Nicene Fathers, I. p. 569). Maximus of Turin, also, in his Sermo VII. de Eleemos., gives a brief quotation from "The epistle to Victor" (Harvey, Graec. fragm. 5, trans. ibid.). It is possible that some other unnamed fragments given by Harvey are from this epistle. From Eusebius' words we learn that Irenaeus agreed with Victor as to the proper time of keeping the feast, and yet he did not agree with him in his desire to excommunicate those who followed the other practice.

364 The punctuation of this sentence is a disputed matter. Some editors omit the semicolon after the words "yet others more," translating. "For some think that they should fast one day, others two, yet others more, and some forty; and they count the hours of the day and night together as their day." The sense is thus materially changed, but the Greek seems to necessitate rather the punctuation which I have followed in my translation, and so that punctuation is adopted by Valesius, Zimmermann, Burton, Schwegler, Laemmer, Heinichen, Closs, Crusè, and others. We should expect, moreover, that the forty hours' fast should be mentioned in this connection by Irenaeus, as we learn from Tertullian that it was very common; whereas we have no other trace of the forty days' fast at so early a date (cf. the next note).

365 The fast preceding the celebration of the paschal supper, which has grown gradually into our Lent of forty days preceding Easter, is, we are told here by Irenaeus, much older than his day. It is thus carried back at least close to apostolic times, and there is no reason to think that it was not observed about as soon as the celebration of the paschal supper itself was established. Tertullian also mentions the fast, which continued, according to him (de Fejunio, chap. 2), during the period "in which the bridegroom was taken away," i.e. in which Jesus was under the power of death.

We learn from this passage of Irenaeus' epistle that the duration of the fast varied greatly. From Socrates (H. E. V. 22) and Sozomen (H. E. VII. 19) we learn that the variation was as great in their time. Some fasted three, some six, some seven weeks, and so on. Socrates (l.c.) informs us that the fast, whatever its duration, was always called tessarakosth (quadrigesima). He does not know why this is, but says that various reasons are given by others. The time between Jesus' death and his resurrection was very early computed as forty hours in length,-from noon of Friday to four o'clock Sunday morning. This may have lain at the basis of the number forty, which was so persistently used to designate the fast, for Tertullian tells us that the fast was intended to cover the period during which Jesus was dead. It is this idea which undoubtedly underlay the fast of forty hours which Irenaeus mentions. The fasts of Moses, of Elijah, and of Jesus in the desert would also of course have great influence in determining the length of this, the most important fast of the year. Already before the end of the third century the fast had extended itself in many quarters to cover a number of weeks, and in the time of Eusebius the forty days' fast had already become a common thing (see his de Pasch. chap. 5), and even Origen refers to it (Hom. in Lev. X. 2). The present duration of the fast-forty days exclusive of Sundays-was fixed in the seventh or eighth century. Cf. Sinker's article on Lent in Smith's Dict. of Christ. Ant. and Krieg's article Feste, in Kraus' Encyclop. der Christ. Alterthümer, I. p. 489.

366 i.e. the fourteenth day.

367 The Greek reads: kai toi mallon enantion hn to threin toij mh y0rousi. The meaning is, that the observance of the fourteenth day by these strangers in Rome itself, among those who did not observe that day, would be noticeable and more distasteful than the mere report that the day was so observed in Asia could be. If Victor's predecessor, therefore, allowed such persons to observe that day even in Rome, how much more should he allow the Asiatics to observe it in their own land.

368 Valesius, followed by others, interprets this sentence as meaning that the presbyters of Rome sent the eucharist to other parishes where the paschal festival was observed on the fourteenth of the month. The council of Laodicea (Can. 14) forbade the sending of the eucharist to other parishes, which shows that the custom must have been widespread before the end of the fourth century, and it is therefore quite possible that the bishops of Rome, even as early as the time of Irenaeus, pursued the same practice. But in regard to the statement made here by Irenaeus, it must be said that, so far as we are able to ascertain, only the churches of Asia Minor observed the fourteenth day at that early date, and it is difficult to imagine that the presbyters of Rome before Victor's time had been in the habit of sending the eucharist all the way from Rome to Asia Minor. Moreover, this is the only passage in which we have notice, before the fourth century, of the existence of the general practice condemned by the council of Laodicea. The Greek reads oi pro sou presbuteroi toij apo twn paroiklwn throusin epeuton euxaristia. These words taken by themselves can as well, if not better, be understood of persons (whether presbyters or others is not in any case distinctly stated) who had come to Rome from other parishes, and who continued to observe the fourteenth day. This transmission of the eucharist to communicants who were kept away from the service by illness or other adequate cause was a very old custom, being mentioned by Justin Martyr in his Apol. I. 65. It is true that it is difficult to understand why Irenaeus should speak in the present case of sending the eucharist to those persons who observed the fourteenth day, instead of merely mentioning the fact that the Roman church communed with them. In the face of the difficulties on both sides it must be admitted that neither of the interpretations mentioned can be insisted upon. On the practice of sending the eucharistic bread to persons not present at the service or to other parishes, see the article Eulogia, in Smith's Dict. of Christ. Ant.

Click Your Choice