Early Church Fathers
`tamen, et hoc cure illis.'
1 See Migne xxvi. 1169, sqq.; Prolegg. ch. ii, §7. Amun, probably the Nitrian monk (supr. p. 212, and D.C.B. i. 102 init.). At any rate, Athanasius addresses his correspondent as `elder' and `father,' which accords well with the language of Vit. Ant. ubi supr. The letter states clearly Athanasius' opinion as to the relative value of the celibate and married state. It also shews the healthy good sense of the great bishop in dealing with the morbid scrupulosity which even at that early date had begun to characterise certain circles in the Monastic world.
2 2 Cor. ii. 15
3 Tit. i. 15.
4 Acts xvii. 28.
5 Matt. xv. 11.
6 2 Pet. iii. 16.
7 1 Cor. viii. 8.
8 Gen. i. 28.
9 Heb. xiii. 4.
10 Heb. xiii. 4.
11 See Mark iv. 20, &c.
12 This is a clear reference to the Monastic Societies which had now long existed in the Nitrian desert.
13 Ps. cxix. 107.
14 Ps. li. 10.
15 Ib. 12.
16 Ib. li. 13.
1 Dracontius, Bishop of Hermupolis Parva, was one of the bishops expelled from their sees, 356-7. His place of exile was the desert near `Clysma,' i.e. the gulf of Suez (Hist. Ar. 75, cf. Hieron. Vit. Hilar. 30). We find him in 362 at the Council of Alexandria. The present letter, written to urge Dracontius not to refuse the Episcopate, was written just before Easter (§10), when persecution was expected (§3), and after the mission of Serapion, Ammonius and others to Constantius, a.d. 353. It was probably written, therefore, early either in 354 or 355. The letter is one of the masterpieces of Athanasius: its unforced warmth, vigour, and affection can fail to touch no one who reads it. It is, like the letter to Amun, one of our most important documents for the history of Egyptian Monasticism. (Migne xxv. 524 sqq.)
2 Cf. Joh. iii. 2; Joh xix. 38.
3 Matt. xviii. 6.
4 Hermupolis Parva was in the nome, or department, of Alexandria (anciently called the nome of Hermupolis in the Delta), and lay on a canal 44 miles east of the Capital; it is identified with Damanhur. Agathammon, a Meletian bishop of this `district,' is mentioned in the list, Apol. Ar. 71, where the district of `Sais' seems to include a much wider area than the ancient Saite nome (Maspero. Hist. Anc. 4, p. 24).
5 Jer xv. 5.
6 Cf. Ezek. xxxiv. 2.
7 See Matt. xxv. 27, and Luke xix. 23. It is not clear whether by the `money' received by Drac. is meant his actual consecration, or merely his election.
8 Rom. viii. 37.
9 Rom. xii. 11, and Westcott and Hort on various reading.
10 It should be observed that the fear of Dracontius was, not that he would suffer in dignity by becoming a bishop, but lest he should deteriorate spiritually (§8, init.). Cf. the dying soliloquy of Pope Eugenius IV.: `Gabriele, hadst thou never been Pope nor Cardinal it had been better for thy salvation.' See also S. Bernard, de Consideratione.
11 1 Tim. iv. 14.
12 Luke ii. 61.
13 Gal. i. 16.
14 1 Cor. xv. 9.
15 Ib. ix. 16.
16 1 Th. ii. 19.
17 Reading tw agiw as proposed by Montf.
18 Rom. i. 15.
19 Ib. xv. 19, 28.
20 2 Tim. iv. 7, 2 Tim. iv. 8.
21 Jer. xx. 9.
22 Gen. iii. 12.
23 In 353, see Fest. Ind. xxv.; Sozom. iv. 9.
24 Perhaps the `Muis' of the Sardican subscriptions (Apol. Ar.) and the `Move' of Vit. Pachom. c. 72.
25 Paulus, perhaps identical with the `Philo' of Sard. subsc. and Vit. Pach. ubi supr. A `Philo' and `Muius' also occur close together in Apol. Fug. 7 (note 9).
26 Phil. iii. 14.
27 Matt. iv. 19.
28 Phil. iv. 12.
29 1 Tim. v. 23.
30 2 Cor. xi. 27.
31 shmeia. At the end of §7 this word can only be rendered `wonders.' But here it appears at least probable that it has the different sense of `miracles.'
32 Probably the reference is to married men who had subsequently become monks. Or else, as monks at this time lived in many cases in the world, not in communities, it may refer to married men leading an ascetic life.
33 ez oloklhrou genouj.
34 This is not our earliest notice of ordained persons in monastic societies. see Apol. Ar. 67.
1 Lucifer, bishop of Calaris (Cagliari) in Sardinia, exiled by Constantius after the Council of Milan (Prolegg. ch. ii. §7), first to Germanicia, then to Eleutheropolis in Palestine, at both of which places he was subjected to harsh treatment, lastly to the Thebaid. The violence of his advocacy of the Nicene faith, coupled with extreme personal abusiveness, may have aggravated his sufferings. On his part in the events of 362, see Prolegg. ch. ii. §9. The present letters exist only in Latin (Migne xxvi. 1181), and are probably a translation from the Greek. Athan. may have known Latin, but there is no evidence that he ever wrote in that language. The play on the name Lucifer in Letter 51 proves nothing to the contrary. Dr. Bright (in D.C.B. i. 198, note) expresses a doubt as to the genuineness of our letters which is I think unsupported by internal evidence. The main difficulty is in the reconciliation of the apparent references (51 init.) to the events of 356 as recent with the clear references to the de Athanasio and Moriendum pro Filio Dei of Lucifer, neither of which works were penned before 358, while the latter in its final form mentions the translation of Eudoxius to CP., and therefore falls as late as 360 (for proof of this, see Krüger, Lucifer, pp. 102-109). But on close examination, the language of Letter 51 is satisfied by the events of 359, the vindictive commission of Paul Catena and the search for Athanasius among the Monasteries (cf. Letter 53, note 1). The respectful reference to Constantius in Letter 50 is of a purely formal character. The reference to the parents of Athanasius as still living is of great interest as one of the very few notices of the family of the great bishop (Prolegg. ch. ii. §1). The agitated tone of the Epistles reminds us of the Arian History, and they may be set down to about the year 359. On Lucifer, the monograph of Krüger is the standard authority.
2 An exact description of George in 357 and 358.
1 Ps. xiv. 1.
2 Isa. i. 4.
3 1 Cor. iv. 4.
4 Lucifer had written among other books one called `Moriendum pro Dei Filio.' His two books `pro sancto Athanasio' are referred to below.
5 Lucifer's two books pro Athanasio.
6 `Parentes quos habeo.' Can this refer to literal parents? (1) he was now over 60 years old; (2) some 6 years later, under Valens, he hid, according to the tale in Socr. iv. 13, for four months in his father's tomb (see Prolegg. ch. ii. §9).
1 This beautiful and striking Letter (Migne xxv. 691) formed the introduction to a work, which the Author, as he says in the course of it, thought unworthy of being preserved for posterity. Some critics have supposed it to be the Orations against the Arians; but this opinion can hardly be maintained (supr. p. 267). The Epistle was written in 358, or later, before the Epistle to Serapion. On its relation to the `Arian History,' see above, pp. 267, 268.