Early Church Fathers
1 proswpou: but see also Newman's note 2 on de Decr. §14.
2 See Epiphanius, Hoer. lxviii. x. The arrangement is recognised as one of old standing in the sixth canon of Nicaea, `Let the old customs which exist in Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis remain in force, namely that the Bishop of Alexandria should have authority over all these regions; since this is also customary for the Bishop of Rome. Likewise also at Antioch and in the other prefectures (it is decreed) that their prerogatives should be maintained to those churches.' The canon points to the natural explanation of the arrangement: the bishops of the capitals began from a very early date to exercise a loosely defined but gradually strengthening supervision over those of the rest of the province. In particular, they came to exercise a veto (and latterly more than a veto) upon the appointments to the provincial sees (ei tij xwrij gnwmhj, ib.). The bishops of Alexandria as well as Rome had even at this date acquired something of the rank of secular potentates (dunasteia, Socr. vii. 11, hdh palai), but not to the extent to which it went later on (ib. 7. and supr. Apol. Ar. §9).
3 qerapeuein. For the word, cf. Hatch, Hibb. Lect. p. 80 note.
4 kat' oikonomian, as below §24. Cf. de Decr. §25, note 5. The word oikonomia has two main senses in Athanasius, both derived from the classical sense of management or dispensation, the adapting of means toward an end. (1) As in the present passage (cf. Origen in Migne XI. p. 17 b, oikonomikwj): a use which is the lineal ancestor of the ill-sounding word `economy' as a term in casuistry; (2) as applied to the Incarnation of our Lord, regarded as the Dispensation, the Divine Method for the salvation of mankind. This use is very frequent in St. Athanasius (compare Ep. Aeg. 2. and Orat. ii. 11), and in earlier Fathers from Ignatius (Eph. 18 ekuoforhqh upo Mariaj kat' oikonomian, where Lightfoot refers to a more detailed history of the word in his unpublished note on Eph. i. 10) downwards (references in Soph. Lex. s.v.).
5 See Westcott, Introduction to the Gospels, Appendix C, 5.
6 Cf. Orat. i. 48, note 7, and ii. 56, note 5.
7 This passage is somewhat differently rendered by Dr. Pusey in his letter on the Filioque (1876), p. 112.
8 The pantelwj somewhat qualifies the repudiation. Dionysius expressly maintained three Hypostases in the Holy Trinity, in contrast to the language of Rome (de Decr. 26 note 7a) and the later use of Athanasius himself. But see the Tom. ad Antioch. of 362, below, and supra p. 90, note 2. Dionysius of Rome repudiates treij memerismenaj upostaseij, while Dionysius of Alexandria (in Bas. de Sp. S.) maintains that unless three Hypostases be recognised, the divine Triad is denied.
9 As pointed out by Newman on De Decr. 25, note 9, Triaj and Monaj are concrete, Trinitas and Unitas abstract terms; so that while Trinitas (and Monaj) lend themselves to a Sabellian, Triaj and Unitas may be pressed into an Arian sense: but each pair of terms (Greek and Latin) holds the balance evenly between the opposite misinterpretations.
10 `To you' is omitted in the extract de Decr. 25.
11 It should be noted that Dionysius while assenting to this word, does not use it as his own.
12 Possibly to other bishops who had questioned his teaching (Routh, Rell. iii. p. 380).
13 See Orat. ii. 37. note 7.