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A. M. D. G.

A. M. D. G. Introduction to Patrology and Christian Archeology TP 1011 Dispensa for Internal Use

Introduction to Patrology and Christian Archeology

TP 1011

Dispensa for Internal Use

PNAC 3rd English Edition (2013) for Accompaniment to the Italian

Undicesima Edizione






Section 1: Patrology, Patristics and Ancient Christian Literature; the Study of the Fathers in Theology: significance and method. Section 2: The Bible: Canonization of the New Testament, apocryphal gospels and the Proto-gospel of James. Section 3: The Letters of the Apostolic Fathers: 1 Clement to the Corinthians, The Didache, The Epistle of Barnabas, The Letter to Diognetus and The Shepherd of Hermas Section 4: Ignatius of Antioch and his letters. Section 5: The Greek Apologists and Justin Martyr Section 6: Irenaeus of Lyons: Christology, Mariology, Anthropology, the Rule of Faith, the Apostolic Tradition and anti-Gnosticism. Section 7: Gnosticism: The Threat of Gnosticism, Marcion and Valentinus. Section 8: The Atmosphere of Alexandria between the 2nd and 3rd Centuries:

Clement and Origen. The main terms for the “search” of Origenist theology (Trinitarian reflection, Anthropology). Alexandria in the 4th century and Athanasius. Section 9: Patristic Exegesis: The approach to the word of God, the spiritual exegesis of Origen, allegory and typology Section 10: Reflection of the Cappadocian Fathers in the Christological and Trinitarian Controversies of the Fourth Century: Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa Section 11: The development of Theology in North Africa from the 2nd and 3rd Centuries:

Tertullian and Cyprian. Section 12: Augustine: Theological Elaboration Meets Pastoral Service Section 13. The School of Antioch Section 14. The Council of Chalcedon: Nestorius, Cyril of Alexandria and Leo the Great.


1. Recommended Texts for Study: G. BOSIO, E. DAL COVOLO, M. MARITANO, Introduzione ai Padri della Chiesa, 5 voll., SEI Torino 1990-1996; H. DROBNER, Patrologia (German, French, Italian, English, Korean, Portuguese), Piemme, Casale Monferrato 1998; J. QUASTEN, Patrologia (English, Spanish, Italian). The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature, ed. F. YOUNG, L. AYRES & A. LOUTH, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies, S. A. HARVEY – D. G. HUNTER, edd., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

2. Working Resource for Consultation:

Nuovo Dizionario Patristico e di Antichità Cristiane, A. DI BERARDINO, ed., 3 v., Milano 2006-2008.



3. Church History: HENRY CHADWICK, The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001); JEAN DANIÉLOU & HENRI MARROU, The First Six Hundred Years, The Christian Centuries vol. 1 (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1964) (Original Language: French).

Section 1: Patrology, Patristics and Ancient Christian Literature; the study of the Fathers in Theology: significance and method.

I. 1) Patrology patήρ = father lόγοϛ = communication, scientia, teaching 2) Patristics 3) Ancient Christian Literature

II. The presentation of the Fathers (Congregation for Catholic Education: Lo studio dei padri della chiesa nella formazione sacerdotale) 3) How the Fathers can help (or are relevant for) us today:

1) “Guidance and light to overcome certain difficulties in that can be found in theology.” [The return to scripture “should be accompanied by a return to the attested Tradition of the patristic writings, if one would want to produce the fruit that one hoped for” (Instr. 29)] 2) “They are safe, useful tools for discernment, doctrinally and morally, as one experiences transformations in culture and society.” 3) “A form of sustenance for the various types/movements of spiritualities that are emerging amongst the laity and animating pastoral life.”

III. The 4 Characteristics of the Fathers [Petrus Annatus 1638-




1) Antiquity From the letter of Clement to the Corinthians (ca. 96 A.D.) Pope Gregory the Great (604)/ West Emperor Justinian (527)/ East or a bit later Isidore of Seville (ca. 636)/ West John Damascene (ca. 750)/ East 2) Orthodoxy 3) Sanctity 4) Ecclesiastical approval

IV. Church Writers and Doctors 1) The Latin Fathers:

(1) Ambrose (2) Jerome (3) Augustine (4) Gregory the Great

2) The Greek Fathers:

(1) Athanasius (2) Basil the Great (3) Gregory of Nazianzus (4) John Chrysostom

V. Patristic Theological Method 1) Sacred Scripture 2) Enculturation 3) Defense of the Faith 4) The ‘sense’ of the Mystery and the ‘experience’ of the divine 5) The Unitive Reality of Theology

VI. St. Ignatius of Loyola: The Spiritual Exercises




  • 1.1 The Second Vatican Council

“Dogmatic theology should be so arranged that these biblical themes are proposed first of all. Next there should be opened up to the students what the Fathers of the Eastern and Western Church have contributed to the faithful transmission and development of the individual truths of revelation. The further history of dogma should also be presented, account being taken of its relation to the general history of the Church” (Optatam Totius 16).

  • 1.2 Something of a Singularity in the Fathers

“In the Fathers there is something of a singularity, something unrepeatable and perpetually valid, that continues to thrive and resist the pressures of time” (Congregation for Catholic Education,

Istruzione sullo Studio dei Padri della Chiesa nella formazione sacerdotale, 2).

  • 1.3 Separation of Ecclesial Tradition

“The days following the council, the confrontation between/of the Fathers created/provided a tepid climate of little




the tendencies, sometimes too risqué, which

they favored a separation from ecclesiastical tradition” (Congregation for Catholic Education, Istruzione sullo Studio dei Padri della Chiesa nella formazione sacerdotale, 2).

  • 1.4 Paolo VI and the Study of the Fathers

“The study of the Fathers, useful for all, is of great necessity to all who, in their heart, wish to renew that which is theological, pastoral or spiritual. They should cooperate with and promote that which is contained in their counsel. In the Fathers one can find the base for all authentic renewals” (Letter to Michele Cardinal Pellegrino on the centenary of the death of J. P. Migne (5/10/1975):

AAS 67 (1975) 471).

  • 1.5 St. Vincent of Lerin’s definition

The Fathers are “those wise men who lived “saintly” lives, taught, and remain steadfast in their faith and in catholic



communion, and died faithfully for Christ or suffered martyrdom with great joy for the same Christ” (Il Commonitorio 28.6).

1.6 Joseph Ratzinger and the Patristic Age

“We would have to say, then, that the patristic age ended with the changed intellectual climate marked by the Migrations and by the hostile spread of Islam; as an outward sign of the latter, we can point to the pope’s turning to the Carolinian Empire, by which the old ecumenism was finally destroyed and—together with the creation of the church-state—the new self-understanding of the West, the fundamental constellation of the Middle Ages, was created” (Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology: Building Stones for a Fundamental Theology, 146).

1.7 The Testimony from Irenaeus about Polycarp

  • 1.7.1 “But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and

conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, glorious and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true” (Adversus Haereses


  • 1.7.2 EUSEBIUS cites a letter from IRENAEUS to Florinus: “I

remember the events of that time more clearly than those of recent

years. For what boys learn,

growing with their mind, becomes joined with it; so that I am able to describe the very place in which the blessed Polycarp sat as he discoursed, and his goings out and his comings in, and the manner of his life, and his physical appearance, and his discourses to the people, and the accounts which he gave of his intercourse with John and with the others who had seen the Lord. And as he remembered their words, and what he heard from them concerning



the Lord, and concerning his miracles and his teaching, having received them from eyewitnesses of the ‘Word of life,’ 1 John 1:1 Polycarp related all things in harmony with the Scriptures” (Historia Ecclesiastica 5.20.5-6).

1.8 The Patristic Theological Method and Sacred Scripture

“The Fathers have given, in such a way, the first conscious

and reflective response to Sacred Scripture, developing it not only in an abstract theory, but as an everyday pastoral praxis of hope and of a teaching, which speaks to the heart of the liturgical assembly united to profess the faith and to celebrate the belief in the resurrected Lord” (Congregation for Catholic Education,

Istruzione sullo Studio dei Padri della Chiesa nella formazione sacerdotale, 20).

1.9 Defense of the Faith: Deepening the Understanding of the Content of Revelation

“St. Augustine’s response to the increase of heretics: God has allowed their diffusion, so that we do not just feed on milk alone and so that we don’t remain in an infantile state (Io. eu. tr. 36.6), as many questions regarding the faith when, with sly restlessness, they come to be examined very diligently, understood quite clearly, continue to preach adamantly in such a way that the questions from the adversaries become occasions of learning (ciu. 16.2.1)” (Congregation for Catholic Education, Istruzione sullo Studio dei Padri della Chiesa nella formazione sacerdotale, 33).

1.10 The Ineffability of God

St. Gregory of Nazianzus: “It is difficult to conceive God but to define Him in words is an impossibility, as one of the Greek teachers of Divinity taught, not unskillfully, as it appears to me; with the intention that he might be thought to have apprehended Him; in that he says it is a hard thing to do; and yet may escape being convicted of ignorance because of the impossibility of giving expression to the apprehension. But in my opinion it is impossible to express Him, and yet more impossible to conceive Him. For that which may be conceived may perhaps be made clear by language, if not fairly well, at any rate imperfectly, to anyone who is not quite deprived of his hearing, or slothful of understanding. But to comprehend the whole of so great a Subject as this is quite impossible and impracticable, not merely to the utterly careless and ignorant, but even to those who are highly exalted, and who love God, and in like manner to every created nature; seeing that



the darkness of this world and the thick covering of the flesh is an obstacle

to the full understanding of the truth” (Oration 28.4).

  • 1.11 The Theologians

St. Gregory of Nazianzus: “Not to everyone, my friends, does it belong to philosophize about God; not to everyone; the Subject is not so cheap and low; and I will add, not before every audience, nor at all times, nor on all points; but on certain occasions, and before certain persons, and within certain limits. Not to all men, because it is permitted only to those who have been examined, and are passed masters in meditation, and who have been previously purified in soul and body, or at the very least are being purified” (Oration 27.3).

  • 1.12 The Need for Prayer

“FIRST, with your permission, let us examine the all-perfect Name of Goodness, which is indicative of the whole progressions of Almighty God, having invoked the supremely good, and super-good Triad—the Name which indicates Its whole best Providences. For, we must first be raised up to It, as Source of good, by our prayers; and by a nearer approach to It, be initiated as to the all good gifts which are established around It” (Dionysius of Areopagite, Divine Names 3.1).

  • 1.13 Being Purified from Sin

If then I am asked, in what manner either words or sensible forms and appearances were wrought before the incarnation of the Word of God, which should prefigure it as about to come, I reply that God wrought those things by the angels; and this I have also shown sufficiently, as I think, by testimonies of the Holy Scriptures. And if I am asked how the incarnation itself was brought to pass, I reply that the Word of God itself was made flesh, that is, was made man, yet not turned and changed into that which was made; but so made, that there should be there not only the Word of God and the flesh of man, but also the rational soul of man, and that this whole should both be called God on account of God, and man on account of man. And if this is understood with difficulty, the mind must be purged by faith, by more and more abstaining from sins, and by



doing good works, and by praying with the groaning of holy desires; that by profiting through the divine help, it may both understand and love” (Augustine, De Trinitate 4.21.31).

  • 1.14 The Study of the Fathers and the Grace from

Contemplation (Contemplatio) of the Spiritual Exercises

  • 1.14.1 11.a rule. Eleventh. “To praise positive and scholastic

learning. Because, as it is more proper to the Positive Doctors, as St. Jerome, St. Augustine and St. Gregory, etc., to move the heart to love and serve God our Lord in everything; so it is more proper

to the Scholastics, as St. Thomas, St. Bonaventure, and to the Master of the Sentences, etc., to define or explain for our times the things necessary for eternal salvation; and to combat and explain better all errors and all fallacies. b. For the Scholastic Doctors, as they are more modern, not only help themselves with the true understanding of the Sacred Scripture and of the Positive and holy Doctors, but also, they being enlightened and clarified by the Divine virtue, help themselves by the Councils, Canons and Constitutions of our holy Mother the Church” (Eleventh Rule from, The Rules To Have the True Sentiment Which We Ought to Have in the Church Militant: The Spiritual Exercises §363).

  • 1.14.2 The Grace of Contemplation: “







can love and serve your divine majesty” (The Spiritual Exercises


  • 1.15 The Whole Tradition

“The study of the fathers facilitates a solid understanding of the history of the Church that makes it possible to have a unitary vision of many problems; of events, of experiences, of doctrinal development, spirituality, pastoral and social in various ages. In this way one realizes the fact that Christian thought, if it begins with the fathers, does not end with the fathers. It follows that the study of patristics and of patrology cannot be left behind from the posterior tradition, including the scholastic tradition, particularly those traditions that reference the fathers. Only in this way can we see the unity and the development that has come from it and also understand the sense of recourse to the past. It will in fact appear, not like a useless archaeology, but like a creative study that helps to understand better the present day and prepare us for the future” (Congregation for Catholic Education, Istruzione sullo Studio dei Padri della Chiesa nella formazione sacerdotale, 60).



Section 2: The Apocryphal Books: Canonization of the New Testament, the apocryphal gospels and the Proto-gospel of James.


  • 1. Canonical Writings (1) Letters (2) Gospels (3) Acts (4) The Apocalypse

  • 2. Writings of the Apostolic Fathers read as Scripture:

(1) I & II Clement (2) The Didaché (3) The Shepherd of Hermas (4) The Letter of Barnabas

  • 3. Gnostic Writings * Marcion κανων = measure, criterion


  • 4. The three operating criteria in the canonization of the NT:

(1) Apostolic Origin



(2) The role of local churches in receiving and welcoming the book (3) Regula Fidei = the norm for deciding what is and what is not Christian truth

5. Testimony Documentation concerning the Canon (1) The Muratorian Canon (ca. 200 A.D.) lacking only:

Hebrews, I & II Peter, James & a letter of John

(2) Complete List East: The Paschal Letter of Athanasius of Alexandria (Ep. 39) 367 A.D. West: Decretum Gelasianum de libris recipiendis et non recipiendis (chapters 1-3) 382 A.D.


1. αποκρυφοϛ = secret

2. The Apocryphal Gospels of the Infancy Derived from these:

(1) The names of the parents of Mary (2) The presentation of Mary in the Temple (3) The cave/grotto at Bethlehem (4) The bull and the ass near the crib of Jesus (5) The number and the names of the Magi


P. Guillaume Postel, S.J. ca. 1549-1550

The Birth of Mary and the Apocalypse of James


2.1 The Canonicity of Letter to the Hebrews

“Although the authority of the Epistle to the Hebrews is doubted by some, nevertheless, as I find it sometimes thought by persons, who oppose our opinion touching the baptism of infants,



to contain evidence in favor of their own views, we shall notice the pointed testimony it bears in our behalf; and I quote it the more confidently, because of the authority of the Eastern Churches, which expressly place it among the canonical Scriptures” (Augustine, De peccatorum meritis et remissione et de baptismo parvulorum 1.27.50).

  • 2.2 Hebrews 6:4-6

“For it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened and tasted the heavenly gift and shared in the Holy Spirit and tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to bring them to repentance again, since they are re-crucifying the Son of God for themselves and holding him up to contempt.”

  • 2.3 Hebrews 10:26-31

“If we sin deliberately after receiving knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains sacrifice for sins but a fearful prospect of judgment and a flaming fire that is going to consume the adversaries. Anyone who rejects the law of Moses is put to death without pity on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

Do you not think that a much worse punishment is due the one who has contempt for the Son of God, considers unclean the covenant- blood by which he was consecrated, and insults the spirit of grace? We know the one who said: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay,” and again: “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

  • 2.4 The Regula Fidei and the Symbols

“It must be recognized that many of the consulted writers give great importance to the orthodox creed, and all of them are convinced that in the Catholic Church exists a unique system of doctrine, universally accepted, called also the rule of faith. But this



is never connected without uncertainties to a stable verbal formula, not even by theologians such as Saint Irenaeus and Tertullian. Although, they frequently cite the rule of faith, it is clear that their citations are not in themselves of the formulas, and not even presuppose under intended formulas. If their summaries of faith present a concrete structure and a distinctive note, that is ought to the fact that these give expression to a corpus of common doctrine clearly articulated, and to the inevitable tendency to adopt conventional forms of language. At the beginning of the 3 rd century, this tendency was naturally well developed; but even if the summaries in use in the Church, especially the shorter ones, were closed to the creed, is important to be wary in the comparisons of a too quick application to those of such terms” (J. N. D. Kelly, The Symbols of Faith in the Ancient Church: Birth, Evolution, and use in the Creed, 94-95).

2.5 Origen: The apocrypha & the canonical scriptures

“It would be toilsome and irrelevant to the matter in hand for us to enquire how many books are mentioned in the Divine Scriptures, of which nothing whatever has been handed down to us to read. Nor do we find that the Jews made use of lections of this kind; for either the Holy Spirit saw fit to remove them from our midst, because they contained some matters beyond human understanding; or else – in the case of those scriptures that are called apocrypha – because many things were found in them that were corrupt and contrary to the true faith, our predecessors did not see fit for them to be given a place, or admitted among those reckoned as authoritative. It is beyond us to pass judgment on such matters. But it is common knowledge that the apostles and evangelists borrowed and put into the New Testament many things that we read nowhere in the Scriptures that we account canonical, but that are found nonetheless in the apocryphal writings, and are quite obviously taken from them. Not that apocryphal writings are to be given a place in this way: we must not overpass the everlasting limits which our fathers have set. But it may be that the apostles and evangelists, being filled with the Holy Spirit, knew what was to be taken out of those writings and what must be rejected;



whereas we, who have not such abundance of the Spirit, cannot without danger presume so to select” (Origen, Commentary on the Song of Songs, preface).

  • 2.6 The Letter of Jude (Canonical) vv. 14-15 cites Enoch 1:9

(Apocryphal book)

“It was with them in mind that Enoch, the seventh patriarch from Adam, made his prophecy when he said, ‘I tell you, the Lord will come with his saints in their tens of thousands, to pronounce judgment on all mankind and to sentence the wicked for all the wicked things they have done, and for all the defiant things said against him by irreligious sinners.’”

  • 2.7 The Proto-gospel of James

    • 2.7.1 The presentation of Mary at the temple: VII. “But the girl

grew, and when she was two years old, Joachim said to Anna, “Let us lead her to the temple of the Lord, that we may perform our vow, which we have vowed to the Lord God, for fear that he should be angry with us, and our offering be unacceptable.” But Anna said: “Let’s wait until the third year, so that she will not seek her father or mother.” And Joachim said, “Let us then wait.”

And when the child was three years old, Joachim said, “Let us invite the daughters of the Hebrews, who are undefiled, and let them take each a lamp, and let them be lighted, that the child may not turn back again, and her mind be set against the temple of the Lord.” And they did thus till they ascended into the temple of the Lord. And the high priest received her, and said, “Mary, the Lord God has magnified your name to all generations, and to the very end of time the Lord will show by you his redemption to the children of Israel.” And he placed her upon the third step of the altar, and the Lord gave grace to her, and she danced, and all the house of Israel loved.”

  • 2.7.2 The miraculous birth of Jesus: XIX. And the midwife went

away with him [Joseph]. And they stood in the place of the cave, and behold a luminous cloud overshadowed the cave. And the midwife said: ‘My soul has been magnified this day (cf. Lk1, 46), because mine eyes have seen strange things -- because salvation has been brought forth to Israel’ (cf. Lk 2, 30. And immediately the cloud disappeared out of the cave, and a great light shone in the cave, so that the eyes could not bear it. And in a little that light gradually decreased, until the infant appeared, and went and took the breast from His mother Mary. And the midwife cried out, and



said: This is a great day to me, because I have seen this strange sight. And the midwife went forth out of the cave, and Salome met her. And she said to her: Salome, Salome, I have a strange sight to relate to thee: a virgin has brought forth -- a thing which her nature admits not of. Then said Salome:

As the Lord my God liveth, unless I thrust in my finger, and search the parts, I will not believe that a virgin has brought forth.”

2.8 The Infancy Gospel of Thomas

2.8.1 He dwelt in the body in the city of Nazareth, going in the fifth year of His age. On one of the days, there being a rainstorm, He went out of the house where His mother was, and played on the ground where the waters were flowing. And He made pools, and brought in the waters, and the pools were filled with water. Then He says: It is my will that you become clear and excellent waters. And they became so directly. And a certain boy, the son of Annas the scribe, came past, and with a willow branch which he was carrying threw down the pools, and the water flowed out. And Jesus turning, said to him: O impious and wicked, how have the pools wronged thee, that thou hast emptied them? Thou shall not go on thy way, and thou shalt be dried up like the branch which thou art carrying. And as he went along, in a short time he fell down and died. And when the children that were playing with him saw this, they wondered, and went away and told the father of the dead boy. And he ran and found his child dead, and he went away and reproached Joseph. And Jesus made of that clay twelve sparrows, and it was the Sabbath. And a child ran and told Joseph, saying: Behold, thy child is playing about the stream, and of the clay he has made sparrows, which is not lawful. And when he heard this, he went, and said to the child: Why dost thou do this, profaning the Sabbath? But Jesus gave him no answer, but looked upon the sparrows, and said: Go away, fly, and live, and remember me. And at this word they flew, and went up into the air. And when Joseph saw it, he wondered.



2.8.2 After that again he went through the village, and a child ran and dashed against his shoulder. And Jesus was provoked and said unto him: “Thou shall not finish thy course” (lit. go all thy way). And immediately he fell down and died. But certain when they saw what was done said: “Whence was this young child born, for that every word of his is an accomplished work?” And the parents of him that was dead came unto Joseph, and blamed him, saying:

“Thou that hast such a child canst not dwell with us in the village:

or do thou teach him to bless and not to curse: for he is killing our children.” And Joseph called the young child apart and admonished him, saying: “Wherefore doest thou such things, that these suffer and hate us and persecute us?” But Jesus said: “I know that these thy words are not thine: nevertheless for thy sake I will hold my peace:

but they shall bear their punishment.” And straightway they that accused him were smitten with blindness.”

2.9 The Arabic Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus

Jesus lay down in his crib and said to Mary: “I am Jesus, the Son of God, and The Word to which you have given the light.”

Section 3: The Letters of the Apostolic Fathers:

1 Clement to the Corinthians, The Didache, The Epistle of Barnabas, The Letter to Diognetus and The Shepherd of Hermas

THE APOSTOLIC FATHERS: EARLY CHURCH WRITINGS (90- 160 A.D.) 1. Jean-Baptiste Cotelier in Paris published the first edition of these Fathers in 1672: Patres aevi apostolic

2. The Literature (1) The Epistle of Barnabas, Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch,

Polycarp of Smyrna and the Shepherd of Hermas (2) Fragments of Papias of Hierapolis and The Letter to Diognetus

(3) The Didache (rediscovered in the 19 th century)

3. Various characteristics of Early Church Writings



(1) Ecclesiastical Obedience (2) Against Heresies and Schisms (3) Eschatological Meaning (4) A Vivid Memory of Christ (5) A more or less uniform Christology (6) It is not a Scientific Exposition of the Faith


  • 1. The most ancient letter next to biblical writings

  • 2. He was attested in the letter of Dionysius of Corinth to

Pope Soter (116-175):

We passed this holy Lord’s day, in which we read your letter, from the constant reading of which we shall be able to draw admonition, even as from the reading of the former one you sent us written through Clement. (Ch. 2)

  • 3. ca. 96 A.D.

  • 4. Author = Clement

Who was he? According to Irenaeus, the third successor of




A Collaborator of Paul? Philippians 4:3: “Yes, and I ask you also, my true yokemate, to help them, for they have struggled at my side in promoting the gospel, along with Clement and my other co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.”

Any family relationship with the Consul Flavius Clemens, cousin of Domitian? * The authoritative and authorized spokesman of the council


  • 5. Various points on the content and on the significance of the

Letter of Clement (1) Testimony in the presence of Peter and Paul in Rome (2) The order and harmony of the cosmos (3) Apostolic Succession (4) Intervention of Rome: testimony to the supremacy?


Rome = informed of the situation in Corinth; he feels involved.





Was this only an expression of fraternal solidarity, or the primacy of Rome in jurisdiction?

3.1 Address and Greeting of the Letter (of St. Clement of Rome) to the Corinthians

“The Church of God which sojourneth in Rome to the Church of God which sojourneth in Corinth, to them which are called and sanctified by the will of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to you and peace from Almighty God through Jesus Christ be multiplied” (I Clement).

3.2 The Apostolic Succession in Rome according to Saint Irenaeus

“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 dispatched 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, spoke 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 apostolic 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” (Adversus Haereses 3.3.3).

  • 3.3 The Identity of Clement according to Eusebius

“In the twelfth year of the same reign Clement succeeded Anacletus after the latter had been bishop of the Church of Rome for twelve years. The apostle in his Epistle to the Philippians informs us that this Clement was his fellow-worker. His words are as follows: With Clement and the rest of my fellow-laborers whose names are in the book of life” (Historia Ecclesiastica 3.15).

  • 3.4 Clement in the Shepherd of Hermas

“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” (Shepherd of Hermas Vis 2.4.3).

  • 3.5 Praise of the Corinthians

“Owing, dear brethren, to the sudden and successive calamitous events which have happened to ourselves, we feel that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the points respecting which you consulted us; and especially to that shameful and detestable sedition, utterly abhorrent to the elect of God, which a few rash and self-confident persons have kindled to such a pitch of frenzy, that your venerable and illustrious name, worthy to be universally loved, has suffered grievous injury. 2. For who ever dwelt even for a short time among you, and did not find your faith to be as fruitful of virtue as it was firmly established? Who did not admire the sobriety and moderation of your godliness in Christ? Who did not proclaim the magnificence of your habitual hospitality? And who did not rejoice over your perfect and well- grounded knowledge? 3.For ye did all things without respect of persons, and walked in the commandments of God, being obedient to those who had the rule over you, and giving all fitting honor to the presbyters among you. You enjoined young men to be of a sober and serious mind; ye instructed your wives to do all things with a blameless, becoming, and pure conscience, loving their husbands as in duty bound; and you taught them that, living in the



rule of obedience, they should manage their household affairs becomingly, and be in every respect marked by discretion” (I Clement 1.1).

3.6 Testimony to the Presence the Martyrdom of Peter and Paul in Rome

“But not to dwell upon ancient examples, let us come to the most recent spiritual heroes. Let us take the noble examples furnished in our own generation. Through envy and jealousy the greatest and most righteous pillars [of the church] have been persecuted and put to death.

Let us set before our eyes the illustrious apostles. Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labors; and when he had at length suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him. Owing to envy, Paul also obtained the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity, compelled to flee, and stoned. After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having taught righteousness to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west, and suffered martyrdom under the prefects. Thus was he removed from the world, and went into the holy place, having proved himself a striking example of patience” (I Clement 5.1-7).

3.7 The Fixed Times “1.These things therefore being manifest to us, and since we look into the depths of the divine knowledge, it behooves us to do all things in [their proper] order, which the Lord has commanded us to perform at stated times. 2.He has enjoined offerings [to be presented] and service to be performed [to Him], and that not thoughtlessly or irregularly, but at the appointed times and hours. 3.Where and by whom He desires these things to be done, He Himself has fixed by His own supreme will, in order that all things being piously done according to His good pleasure, may be acceptable unto Him. 4.Those, therefore, who present their offerings at the appointed times, are accepted and blessed; for inasmuch as they follow the laws of the Lord, they sin not. 5.For his own peculiar services are assigned to the high priest, and their own proper place is prescribed to the priests, and their own special ministrations devolve on the Levites. The layman is bound by the laws that pertain to laymen” (I Clement 40.1-5) [cf. 3.11].



  • 3.8 Pleasing to God

“Let every one of you, brethren, give thanks to God in his own order, living in all good conscience, with becoming gravity, and not going beyond the rule of the ministry prescribed to him” (I Clement 41.1).

  • 3.9 Apostolic Succession

    • 3.9.1 “The apostles have preached the gospel to us from the Lord

Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first fruits [of their labors], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus says the Scripture in a certain place, I will appoint their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith (Is 60:7)” (I Clement 42.1-5).

  • 3.9.2 “Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that

there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect foreknowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ, in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest anyone deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that you have removed some men of excellent behavior from the



ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honor” (I Clement 44.1-6).

  • 3.10 The Dispute

“1.Take up the epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul. 2.What did he write to you at the time when the Gospel first began to be preached? 3.Truly, under the inspiration of the Spirit, he wrote to you concerning himself, and Cephas, and Apollos, because even then parties had been formed among you. 4.But that inclination for one above another entailed less guilt upon you, inasmuch as your partialities were then shown towards apostles, already of high reputation, and towards a man whom they had approved. 5.But now reflect who those are that have perverted you, and lessened the renown of your far-famed brotherly love. 6.It is disgraceful, beloved, yea, highly disgraceful, and unworthy of your Christian profession, that such a thing should be heard of as that the most steadfast and ancient Church of the Corinthians should, on account of one or two persons, engage in sedition against its presbyters. 7.And this rumor has reached not only us, but those also who are unconnected with us; so that, through your infatuation, the name of the Lord is blasphemed, while danger is also brought upon yourselves” (I Clement 47:1-7).

  • 3.11 Laicus (J. CAROLA, S.J., Augustinus-Lexikon Fasc. 3, 5/6 (Basel,

2008), pp. 897 – 901.)

1. Origins of the laity – 2. L. according to A. – 3. Seniores laici – 4. The laity’s sacerdotal-regal mission

1. Origins of the laity. – In his Letter to the Corinthians, Clement of Rome employs the word λαικοϛ (from λαοϛ meaning ‘people’) for the first time in Christian literature. Clement

distinguishes between the cultic roles proper to ερευϛ and λαικοϛ 1 harmoniously arranged in the λειτουργια 2 . While acknowledging

ministerial functions hierarchically ordered within the Church, Christian literature of the first two centuries especially indicates the fundamental Christian identity of all the baptized as full

members of the one ecclesial body under Christ’s headship 3 . Only at the turn of the 3 rd century do the laity emerge as a distinct



ecclesial category. Tertullian acknowledges the distinction between ordo and plebs, insisting polemically upon its ecclesiastical rather than divine origin 4 . While generally distinguishing clerus from

plebs 5 , Cyprian employs the latter term to indicate not only the laity but also the clergy of a local diocese under the rule of a

bishop 6 . Nonetheless, explicitly seeking the laity’s consent in decisions of greater import affecting the community, Cyprian

attests to the laity’s distinct identity within the Church 7 . In the Christian centuries prior to A., l. came to define the baptized Christian who performed no function in the ecclesiastical

hierarchy 8 . In such terms does A. himself report the Donatist Cresconius’ lay status: “quamuis nulla functione clericatui

astrictus” 9 .

  • 1 Clem. ad Cor. 40.5

  • 2 ib. 41.1

  • 3 SINISCALCO 91-94, GROSSI Rilettura 284-288, DAL COVOLO 30-33 4 Tert. castit. 7,2; bapt. 17,2; praescr. 41,8; fug. 11,1; monog. 11.4

  • 5 Cypr. epp. 45.2; 52,1

  • 6 DUVAL plebs 1, 278-280

  • 7 Cypr. epp. 5,1; 14,4; 16,4; 19,2; 28,3

  • 8 SPINELLI 1891.

  • 9 Cresc. 2.5.7

3.12 Peter in Rome

Rome was evangelized between 43-49 A.D.

3.12.1 Acts 12:17 “He [Peter] motioned to them with his hand to be quiet and explained (to them) how the Lord had led him out of the prison, and said, ‘Report this to James and the brothers.’ Then he left and went to another place.”

3.12.2 Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, V.25 “The Emperor Claudius expels the Jews from Rome for continuous tumultuous instigations of Christ” [Iudaeos impulsore Chresto assiduae tumultuantis Roma expulit.]

N.B. Claudius (10 B.C. – 54 A.D.) was the emperor from 41 to 54 A.D. His second wife, Agrippina, was the mother of Nero.



3.12.3 Eusebius of Caesarea, Church History

Chapter Fourteen

The Preaching of the Apostle Peter in Rome

[1] The evil power, who hates all that is good and plots against the salvation of men, constituted Simon at that time the father and author of such wickedness, as if to make him a mighty antagonist of the great, inspired apostles of our Savior. [2] For that divine and celestial grace which co-operates with its ministers, by their appearance and presence, quickly extinguished the kindled flame of evil, and humbled and cast down through them “every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor 10:5). [3] Wherefore neither the conspiracy of Simon nor that of any of the others who arose at that period could accomplish anything in those apostolic times. For everything was conquered and subdued by the splendors of the truth and by the divine word itself which had but lately begun to shine from heaven upon men, and which was then flourishing upon earth, and dwelling in the apostles themselves. [4] Immediately the above-mentioned impostor was smitten in the eyes of his mind by a divine and miraculous flash, and after the evil deeds done by him had been first detected by the apostle Peter in Judea (cf At 8:18-23), he fled and made a great journey across the sea from the East to the West, thinking that only thus could he live according to his mind. [5] And coming to the city of Rome, by the mighty co-operation of that power which was lying in wait there, he was in a short time so successful in his undertaking that those who dwelt there honored him as a god by the erection of a statue. [6] But this did not last long. For immediately, during the reign of Claudius, the all-good and gracious Providence, which watches over all things, led Peter, that strongest and greatest of the apostles, and the one who on account of his virtue was the speaker for all the others, to Rome against this great corrupter of life. He like a noble commander of God, clad in divine armor (cf Ef 6:14-17; 1 Ts 5:8), carried the costly merchandise of the light of the understanding from the East to those who dwelt in the West, proclaiming the light itself, and the word which brings salvation to souls (cf Jn 1:9), and preaching the kingdom of heaven.

Chapter Fifteen

The Gospel according to Mark



[1] And thus when the divine word had made its home among them, the power of Simon was quenched and immediately destroyed, together with the man himself. And so greatly did the splendor of piety illumine the minds of Peter’s hearers that they were not satisfied with hearing once only, and were not content with the unwritten teaching of the divine Gospel, but with all sorts of entreaties they besought Mark, a follower of Peter, and the one whose Gospel is extant, that he would leave them a written monument of the doctrine which had been orally communicated to them.

Nor did they cease until they had prevailed with the man, and had thus become the occasion of the written Gospel which bears the name of Mark.


1. The Doctrine (Teaching) of the Twelve Apostles:

Διδαχη του κυριου δια των δωδεκα αποστολων τοιϛ εθνεσιν

ca. 50–150 A.D.; probably of the last decade of the

first century In 1873, in Constantinople, rediscovered by Philoteos Bryennios

2. Teaching of the community in regards to:

Morals (Chapters 1 – 6)

Liturgy (Chapters 7 – 10)

The Relationship between itinerant prophets and

travelling Christians (Chapters 11-13) Community Life(Chapters 14–15)

Eschatology (Chapter 16)




3.13 The Two Ways

I. 1 There are two ways, one of life and one of death; but a great difference between the two ways. 2 The way of life, then, is this:

First, you shall love God who made you; second, your neighbor as yourself; and all things whatsoever you would should not occur to you, do not also do to another. 3 And of these sayings the teaching is this: Bless them that curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for them that persecute you. For what thank is there, if you love them that love you? Do not also the Gentiles do the same? But do ye love them that hate you;

and you shall not have an enemy. 4 Abstain from fleshly and worldly lusts. If one give you a blow upon your right cheek, turn to him the other also; and you shall be perfect. If one impress you for one mile, go with him two. If one take away your cloak, give him also your coat. If one take from you your own, ask it not back, for indeed you are not able. 5 Give to every one that asks you, and ask it not back; for the Father wills that to all should be given of our own blessings (free gifts). Happy is he that gives according to the commandment; for he is guiltless. Woe to him that receives; for if one having need receives, he is guiltless; but he that receives not having need, shall pay the penalty, why he received and for what, and, coming into straits (confinement), he shall be examined concerning the things which he has done, and he shall not escape thence until he pay back the last farthing. Matthew 5:26 6 But also now concerning this, it has been said, Let your alms sweat in your hands, until you know to whom you should give.

II. 1 And the second commandment of the Teaching; 2 You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, Exodus20:13-14 you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, Exodus 20:15 you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by



abortion nor kill that which is begotten. You shall not covet the things of your neighbor, Exodus 20:17 3 you shall not forswear yourself, Matthew 5:34 you shall not bear false witness, Exodus 20:16 you shall not speak evil, you shall bear no grudge. 4 You shall not be double-minded nor double-tongued; for to be double- tongued is a snare of death. 5 Your speech shall not be false, nor empty, but fulfilled by deed. 6 You shall not be covetous, nor rapacious, nor a hypocrite, nor evil disposed, nor haughty. You shall not take evil counsel against your neighbor. 7 You shall not hate any man; but some you shall reprove, and concerning some you shall pray, and some you shall love more than your own life.

V. 1 And the way of death is this: First of all it is evil and full of curse: murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, magic arts, witchcrafts, rapines, false witnessings, hypocrisies, double-heartedness, deceit, haughtiness, depravity, self-will, greediness, filthy talking, jealousy, over-confidence, loftiness, boastfulness; 2 persecutors of the good, hating truth, loving a lie, not knowing a reward for righteousness, not cleaving to good nor to righteous judgment, watching not for that which is good, but for that which is evil; from whom meekness and endurance are far, loving vanities, pursuing requital, not pitying a poor man, not laboring for the afflicted, not knowing Him that made them, murderers of children, destroyers of the handiwork of God, turning away from him that is in want, afflicting him that is distressed, advocates of the rich, lawless judges of the poor, utter sinners. Be delivered, children, from all these.

3.14 The Stable Hierarchy

“Appoint, therefore, for yourselves [that is for the celebration of the Eucharist, of which was said in the preceding chapter], bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men meek, and not lovers of money, and truthful and proved; for they also render to you the service of prophets and teachers. 2 Despise them not therefore, for they are your honored ones, together with the prophets and teachers” (Didache 15.1-2).




Eucharistic Ecclesiology: Catholicity

“Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let Your Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Your kingdom; for Yours is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ forever” (Didache 9.4).


Date: 130–132 A.D. before the Bar-Kochba revolt.

Origin = Egypt (Alexandria) or Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine.

A pseudepigraphic writing (one of those which places itself

under the name of an Apostle) Often included within the canonical books of the NT in the


Early Church


The Perfect Knowledge

“Considering this, therefore, that if I should take the trouble to communicate to you some portion of what I have myself received, it will prove to me a sufficient reward that I minister to such spirits, I have hastened briefly to write unto you, in order that, along with your faith, you might have perfect knowledge” (Epistle of Barnabas 1.5).


The Final Exhortation

“And may God, who ruleth over all the world, give to you wisdom, intelligence, understanding, knowledge of His judgments, with patience. 6.And be docile students of God, inquiring diligently what the Lord asks from you; and do it that you maybe safe in the day of judgment” (Epistle of Barnabas 21.5).



  • 3.18 The two ways, of light and of darkness ουν δόϛ του φωτόϛ Ἡ δτου μλανοϛ ὁδὸϛ

  • 3.19 The Two Ways

The two ways (Chapter 18)

But let us now pass to another sort of knowledge and doctrine. There are two ways of doctrine and authority, the one of light, and the other of darkness. But there is a great difference between these two ways. For over one are stationed the light-bringing angels of God, but over the other the angels of Satan. And He indeed (i.e., God) is Lord forever and ever, but he (i.e., Satan) is prince of the time of iniquity.

The way of light (Chapter 19)

The way of light, then, is as follows. If anyone desires to travel to the appointed place, he must be zealous in his works. The knowledge, therefore, which is given to us for the purpose of walking in this way, is the following. You shall love Him that created you: you shall glorify Him that redeemed you from death. You shall be simple in heart, and rich in spirit. You shall not join yourself to those who walk in the way of death. You shall hate doing what is unpleasing to God: you shall hate all hypocrisy. You shall not forsake the commandments of the Lord. You shall not exalt yourself, but shall be of a lowly mind. You shall not take glory to yourself. You shall not take evil counsel against your neighbor. You shall not allow over-boldness to enter into your soul. You shall not commit fornication: you shall not commit adultery: you shall not be a corrupter of youth. You shall not let the word of God issue from your lips with any kind of impurity. You shall not accept persons when you reprove any one for transgression. You shall be meek: you shall be peaceable. You shall tremble at the words which you hear. You shall not be mindful of evil against your brother. You shall not be of doubtful mind (Jas 1:8) as to whether a thing shall be or not. You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain. You shall love your neighbor more than your own soul. You shall not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shall you destroy it after it is born. You shall not withdraw your hand from your son, or from



your daughter, but from their infancy you shall teach them the fear of the Lord. You shall not covet what is your neighbor’s, nor shall you be avaricious. You shall not be joined in soul with the haughty, but you shall be reckoned with the righteous and lowly. Receive as good things the trials which come upon you. You shall not be of double mind or of double tongue, for a double tongue is a snare of death. You shall be subject to the Lord and to [other] masters as the image of God, with modesty and fear. You shall not issue orders with bitterness to your maidservant or your man- servant, who trust in the same [God ], lest you should not reverence that God who is above both; for He came to call men not according to their outward appearance (Ep 6:9)

but according as the Spirit had prepared them (Rom 8:29-30). You shall communicate in all things with your neighbor; you shall not call things your own; for if you are partakers in common of things which are incorruptible, how much more [should you be] of those things which are corruptible! You shall not be hasty with your tongue, for the mouth is a snare of death. As far as possible, you shall be pure in your soul. Do not be ready to stretch forth your hands to take, while you contract them to give. You shall love, as the apple of your eye, every one that speaks to you the word of the Lord. You shall remember the Day of Judgment, night and day. You shall seek out every day the faces of the saints, either by word examining them, and going to exhort them, and meditating how to save a soul by the word or by your hands you shall labor for the redemption of your sins. You shall not hesitate to give, nor murmur when you give. Give to everyone that asks you, and you shall know who is the good Recompenser of the reward. You shall preserve what you have received [in charge], neither adding to it nor taking from it. To the last you shall hate the wicked [one]. You shall judge righteously. You shall not make a schism, but you shall pacify those that contend by bringing them together. You shall confess your sins. You shall not go to prayer with an evil conscience.

The way of darkness (Chapter 20)

But the way of darkness is crooked, and full of cursing; for it is the way of eternal death with punishment, in which way are the things that destroy the soul, viz., idolatry, over-confidence, the arrogance of power, hypocrisy, double-heartedness, adultery, murder, rapine, haughtiness, transgression, deceit, malice, self-sufficiency, poisoning, magic, avarice, want of the fear of God. [In this way, too,] are those who persecute the good, those who hate truth, those who love falsehood, those who know not the reward of righteousness, those who cleave not to that which is good, those



who attend not with just judgment to the widow and orphan, those who watch not to the fear of God, [but incline] to wickedness, from whom meekness and patience are far off; persons who love vanity, follow after a reward, pity not the needy, labor not in aid of him who is overcome with toil; who are prone to evil-speaking, who know not Him that made them, who are murderers of children, destroyers of the workmanship of God; who turn away him that is in want, who oppress the afflicted, who are advocates of the rich, who are unjust judges of the poor, and who are in every respect transgressors.


  • 1. An apocalyptic apocryphal work

  • 2. Written in Rome between 130–140 A.D.

  • 3. Hermas= (1) Freed slave (2) Married with children 3) Brother of Pope Pius I?

  • 4. Two Celestial Figures

(1) An old woman (the symbolic incarnation of the Church) that

begs for penitence (2) An angel in the form of a shepherd, so it is the name of the work, that is the patron and director of the penitential mission

  • 5. A vast examination of conscience of the Roman church

  • 6. According to repentance after Baptism (1) Universal Character: nobody and no one’s sins are excluded (2) The one limit to the pardoning of God is the refusal of the sinner to repentance. (3) 


3.20 The Shepherd of Hermas: The Second Penance “And I said to him, ‘I should like to continue my questions’. ‘Speak on’, said he. And I said, ‘I heard, sir, some teachers maintain that there is no other repentance than that which takes



place, when we descended into the water and received remission of our former sins.’ He said to me, ‘That was sound doctrine which you heard; for that is really the case. For he who has received remission of his sins ought not to sin any more, but to live in purity. Since, however, you inquire diligently into all things, I will point this also out to you, not as giving occasion for error to those who are to believe, or have lately believed, in the Lord. For those who have now believed, and those who are to believe, have not repentance for their sins; but they have remission of their previous sins. For to those who have been called before these days, the Lord has set repentance. For the Lord, knowing the heart, and foreknowing all things, knew the weakness of men and the manifold wiles of the devil, that he would inflict some evil on the servants of God, and would act wickedly towards them. The Lord, therefore, being merciful, has had mercy on the work of His hand, and has set repentance for them; and He has entrusted to me power over this repentance. And therefore I say to you, that if any one is tempted by the devil, and sins after that great and holy calling in which the Lord has called His people to everlasting life, he has opportunity to repent but once. But if he should sin frequently after this, and then repent, to such a man his repentance will be of no avail; for with difficulty will he live.’ And I said, ‘Sir, I feel that life has come back to me in listening attentively to these commandments; for I know that I shall be saved, if in future I sin no more.’ And he said, ‘You will be saved, you and all who keep these commandments’” (The Shepherd of Hermas Commandments 4.3.1-7).

3.21 The need of repentance

But those which fell into the fire and were burned are those who have departed for ever from the living God; nor does the thought of repentance ever come into their hearts” (Shepherd Vis.





The period around 200 or before the Marcionist controversy

around 140 Place of origin = Alexandria

Many points in common with Aristides, but without direct

dependence Utilizes the works of Irenaeus and Hippolytus


  • 3.22 Observation of J. Quasten

“The epistle merits to be collected amongst the most brilliant and the most beautiful of Greek Christian literature. The writer is a master of rhetoric. The rhythm of his sentences is very pleasant, and well balanced, a clear style. The content reveals a man of ardent faith, extensive knowledge, a spirit completely imbued in the principles of Christianity, that express themes selves with vivacity and warmth” (Quasten, p. 222).

  • 3.23 The Paradox of the Life of the Christians

“For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass



their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonored, and yet in their very dishonor are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay the insult with honor; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred” (Epistle to Diognetus 5.1 – 17).



Section 4: Ignatius of Antioch and his letters.

  • 1. Person and Work * Second successor of Peter at Antioch (1) Peter (2) Evodius (3) Ignatius


He wrote 7 letters * Written from Smyrna (1) to the Ephesians (bishop = Onesimus) (2) to the Magnesians (bishop = Damas) (3) to the Trallians (bishop = Polybius) (4) to the Romans


Written from Troas (5) to the Philadelphians (a bishop, whose name is not mentioned) (6) to the Smyrnaeans (bishop = Polycarp) (7) to Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna

  • 2. Three Principal Themes

(1) On his guard against heretical doctrines *


Against Jewish tendencies Against Docetism

δοκειν = to seem, to appear (2) Theological unity and ecclesiology *


Mono-episcopate η καθολικη εκκλησια (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 8.2)

(3) Theology and the longing for martyrdom *


The following of Christ Eucharistic connotation



3. Rome (1) “that/which in Rome presides” ητιϛ και προκάθηται εν τόπω χωρίου Ρωμαίων Literally = “that/which presides in the place of the region of the Romans.” (2) “that/which presides in charity” προκάθημένη τηϛ αγάπηϛ


4.1 The Old Testament Theophanies according to Leo the Great

“But it is of no avail to say that our LORD, the Son of the blessed Virgin Mary, was true and perfect man, if He is not believed to be Man of that stock which is attributed to Him in the Gospel. For Matthew says, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham (Mt 1:1): “and follows the order of His human origin, so as to bring the lines of His ancestry down to Joseph to whom the LORD’S mother was espoused. Whereas Luke going backwards step by step traces His succession to the first of the human race himself, to show that the first Adam and the last Adam were of the same nature. No doubt the Almighty Son of GOD could have appeared for the purpose of teaching, and justifying men in exactly the same way that He appeared both to patriarchs and prophets in the semblance of flesh; for instance, when He engaged in a struggle, and entered into conversation (with Jacob), or when He refused not hospitable entertainment, and even partook of the food set before Him. But these appearances were indications of that Man whose reality it was announced by mystic predictions would be assumed from the stock of preceding patriarchs. And the fulfillment of the mystery of our atonement, which was ordained from all eternity, was not assisted by any figures because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon the Virgin,



and the power of the Most High had not over-shadowed her: so that “Wisdom building herself a houses” within her undefiled body, “the Word became flesh;” and the form of GOD and the form of a slave coming together into one person, the Creator of times was born in time; and He Himself through whom all things were made, was brought forth in the midst of all things. For if the New Man had not been made in the likeness of sinful flesh, and taken on Him our old nature, and being consubstantial with the Father, had deigned to be consubstantial with His mother also, and being alone free from sin, had united our nature to Him the whole human race would be held in bondage beneath the Devil’s yoke, and we should not be able to make use of the Conqueror’s victory, if it had been won outside our nature” (Leo the Great, ep. 31.2).

4.2 Ecclesiastical Hierarchy

  • 4.2.1 “As therefore the Lord did nothing without the Father, being

united to Him, neither by Himself nor by the apostles, so neither do

ye anything without the bishop and presbyters” (Letter to the Magnesians 7).

  • 4.2.2 “Study, therefore, to make use of the Eucharist itself, because

one is the flesh of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, and one is the Chalice in the union of His Blood, one alone is the altar, as one alone is the

bishop with the college of priests and deacons. And do all of this in this order; do it according to God” (Letter to the Magnesians 13).

  • 4.2.3 “Since therefore I have, in the persons before mentioned,

beheld the whole multitude of you in faith and love, I exhort you to

study to do all things with a divine harmony, while your bishop presides in the place of God, and your presbyters in the place of the assembly of the apostles, along with your deacons, who are most dear to me, and are entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ, who was with the Father before the beginning of time, and in the end was revealed. Do ye all then, imitating the same divine conduct, pay respect to one another, and let no one look upon his neighbor after the flesh, but do ye continually love each other in Jesus Christ. Let nothing exist among you that may divide you; but



be ye united with your bishop, and those that preside over you, as a type and evidence of your immortality” (Letter to the Magnesians


  • 4.3 Ecclesiology and the Eucharist

“Take ye heed, then, to have but one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup to [show forth] the unity of His blood; one altar; as there is one bishop, along with the presbytery and deacons, my fellow-servants: that so, whatsoever ye do, ye may do it according to God” (Letter to the Philadelphians 4).

  • 4.4 Martyrdom and the True Disciple

“For, I hope, trusting through your prayers to be permitted to fight with beasts at Rome, that so by martyrdom I may indeed become a true disciple of Him” (Letter to the Ephesians 1).

  • 4.5 Martyrdom and the Eucharist

“Leave me to become [the prey of] the beasts, that by their means I may be accounted worthy of God. I am the wheat of God, and by the teeth of the beasts I shall be ground, that I may be found the pure bread of Christ” (Letter to the Romans 4.1).

  • 4.6 The Letter to the Romans: Address and Salutation

“Ignatius, also called Theophorus, to the Church which has received grace through the greatness of the Father Most High;

to her who presideth [προκάθηται] in the place of the region of the Romans, who is worthy of God, and worthy of life, and happiness, and praise, and remembrance, and is worthy of prosperity, and presideth in love [προκάθημένη τηϛ αγάπηϛ], and is perfected in the law of Christ unblameable: [wishes] abundance of peace” (Letter to the Romans praef.).

  • 4.7 To Preside [προκάθηται] as an Exercise of Oversight

“Since therefore I have, in the persons before mentioned, beheld the whole multitude of you in faith and love, I exhort you to study to do all things with a divine harmony, while your bishop presides in the place of God [προκαθημενου του επισκοπου ειϛ τοπον Θεου] and your presbyters in the place of the assembly of the apostles, along with your deacons, who are most dear to me, and are



entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ, who was with the Father before the beginning of time, and in the end was revealed” (Letter to the Magnesians 6.1). In Plato: προκαθημαι τηϛ πολεωϛ to preside in the city, thus, to govern.

Ignatius’ salutation highlighting Rome’s presidency in love is well known. But what exactly does it mean (1) to preside and (2) in love? Firstly, the Greek verb to preside, , has a juridical meaning. Plato uses the verb to identify the activities of the sovereign municipal body which convokes and dissolves institutional assembles (cf. Plato, Laws, VI.758d).

Found in Aristotle’s Politics (VI.1322 b 14) the verb refers to the administrative oversight of municipal goods. This municipal supervision is exercised by “a body which convenes the supreme authority in the State”;

its members hold “the chief political offices” (Aristotle, Politics VI.1322 b 15- 17). Writing to the Magnesians, Ignatius employs this same Greek verb to describe the role of the bishop who presides in the place of God over the local church (Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Magnesians, 6.1). As for the Greek word , that is, love, it denotes in ancient Christian usage much more than mere affection or charitable giving. It stands as a synonym for the Eucharist and the ecclesial communion which the Sacrament effects (cf. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Romans, 7.3). Hence, the Church of Rome solicitously oversees or governs the ecclesial communion which unites all the Christian faithful together in love. (JOSEPH CAROLA, S.J., Sermon for the Second Monday of Lent 2010, La Chiesa di San Clemente di Roma, 1 March 2010.)

4.8 Rome and its teaching

4.8.1 Concerning Martyrdom: “Ye have never envied any man. Ye have taught others” (Rom. 3.1).



4.8.2 “I do not, like Peter and Paul, issue orders unto you. They are apostles, but I am one condemned; they indeed are free, but I am a slave, even until now” (Rom. 4.3).

4.9 The ignorance of the Prince of this world

“There was concealed from the ruler of this world the virginity of Mary and the birth of our Lord, and the three renowned mysteries which were done in the tranquility of God from the star. And here, at the manifestation of the Son, magic began to be destroyed, and all bonds were loosed; and the ancient kingdom and the error of evil was destroyed. Henceforward all things were moved together, and the destruction of death was devised, and there was the commencement of that which was perfected in God” (Letter to the Ephesians 19).

4.10 The Virginal Conception of Mary in the CCC

“People are sometimes troubled by the silence of St. Mark’s Gospel and the New Testament Epistles about Jesus’ virginal conception. Some might wonder if we were merely dealing with legends or theological constructs not claiming to be history. To this we must respond: Faith in the virginal conception of Jesus met with the lively opposition, mockery or incomprehension of non-believers, Jews and pagans alike; so it could hardly have been motivated by pagan mythology or by some adaptation to the ideas of the age. The meaning of this event is accessible only to faith, which understands in it the “connection of these mysteries with one another” in the totality of Christ’s mysteries, from his Incarnation to his Passover. St. Ignatius of Antioch already bears witness to this connection: ‘Mary’s virginity and giving birth, and even the Lord’s death escaped the notice of the prince of this world: these three mysteries worthy of proclamation were accomplished in God’s silence’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church § 498).



4.11 Discourse on the Lord 3-4, 9 of St. Ephrem the Deacon


“For in that very thing by which Death had slain Him [i.e., the body], in that as armor He bore off the victory over Death. But the Godhead concealed itself in the manhood and fought against Death, Death slew and was slain. Death slew the natural life; and the supernatural life slew Him. And because Death was not able to devour Him without the body, nor Sheol to swallow Him up without the flesh, He came unto the Virgin, that from thence He might obtain that which should bear Him to Sheol; as from beside the ass they brought for Him the colt whereon He entered Jerusalem, and proclaimed concealing her overthrow and the destruction of her children. With the body then that [was] from the Virgin, He entered Sheol and plundered its storehouses and emptied its treasures.

“Christ then came to Eve the Mother of all living. She is the vineyard whose fence was opened to Death by her own hands and tasted of fruits of Death.

“So Eve the Mother of all living became the source of death to all living.

“But Mary budded forth, a new shoot from Eve the ancient vine; and new life dwelt in her (Christ), that when Death should come confidently after his custom to feed upon mortal fruits, the life that is slayer of death might be stored up [therein] against him; that when Death should have swallowed [the fruits] without fear, he might free them and with them many” (Ephraim, Discourse on the Lord 3-4, 9).



4.12 The Letter to the Smyrnaeans 1.1 - 9.2

Address and Salutation

Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church of God the Father, and of the beloved Jesus Christ, which has through mercy obtained every kind of gift, which is filled with faith and love, and is deficient in no gift, most worthy of God, and adorned with holiness: the Church which is at Smyrna, in Asia, wishes abundance of happiness, through the immaculate Spirit and word of God.

I give glory to Jesus Christ for your unshakable faith

1.1 I glorify God, even Jesus Christ, who has given you such wisdom. For I have observed that ye are perfected in an immoveable faith, as if ye were nailed to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, both in the flesh and in the spirit, and are established in love through the blood of Christ, being fully persuaded with respect to our Lord, that He was truly of the seed of David according to the flesh, and the Son of God according to the will and power of God; that He was truly born of a virgin, was baptized by John, in order that all righteousness might be fulfilled by Him; 2. and was truly, under Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch, nailed [to the cross] for us in His flesh. Of this fruit we are by His divinely-blessed passion, that He might set up a standard for all ages, through His resurrection, to all His holy and faithful [followers], whether among Jews or Gentiles, in the one body of His Church.

Christ really suffered, not only in appearance



2. Now, He suffered all these things for our sakes, that we might be saved. And He suffered truly, even as also He truly raised up Himself, not, as certain unbelievers maintain, that He only seemed to suffer, as they themselves only seem to be [Christians]. And as they believe, so shall it happen unto them, when they shall be divested of their bodies, and be mere evil spirits.

Christ after the resurrection was also really in the flesh

  • 3.1 For I know that after His resurrection also He was still

possessed of flesh, and I believe that He is so now. 2. When, for instance, He came to those who were with Peter, He said to them, Lay hold, handle Me, and see that I am not an incorporeal spirit. And immediately they touched Him, and believed, being convinced both by His flesh and spirit. For this cause also they despised death, and were found its conquerors. 3. And after his resurrection He did eat and drink with them, as being possessed of flesh, although spiritually He was united to the Father.

If Christ had not suffered, why should I confront death?

  • 4.1 I give you these instructions, beloved, assured that ye also

hold the same opinions [as I do]. But I guard you beforehand from

those beasts in the shape of men, whom you must not only not receive,

but, if it be possible, not even meet with; only you must pray to God for them, if by any means they may be brought to repentance, which, however, will be very difficult. Yet Jesus Christ, who is our true life, has the power of [effecting] this. 2. But if these things were done by our Lord only in appearance, then am I also only in appearance bound. And why have I also surrendered myself to death, to fire, to the sword, to the wild beasts? But, [in fact,] he who is near to the sword is near to God; he that is among the wild beasts is in company with God; provided only he be so in the name of Jesus Christ. I undergo all these things that I may suffer together with Him, He who became a perfect man inwardly strengthening me.

The Dangerous Errors of the Docetists

5. 1. Some ignorantly deny Him, or rather have been denied by Him, being the advocates of death rather than of the truth. These persons neither have the prophets persuaded, nor the law of Moses, nor the Gospel even to this day, nor the sufferings we have individually endured. 2. For they think also the same thing



regarding us. For what does anyone profit me, if he commends me, but blasphemes my Lord, not confessing that He was [truly] possessed of a body? But he who does not acknowledge this, has in fact altogether denied Him, being enveloped in death. 3. I have not, however, thought good to write the names of such persons, inasmuch as they are unbelievers. Yea, far be it from me to make any mention of them, until they repent and return to [a true belief in] Christ’s passion, which is our resurrection.

Unbelievers in the blood of Christ shall be condemned

6.1. Let no man deceive himself. Both the things which are in heaven, and the glorious angels, and rulers, both visible and invisible, if they believe not in the blood of Christ, shall, in consequence, incur condemnation. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it! Let not [high] place puff any one up: for that which is worth all is faith and love, to which nothing is to be preferred. 2. But consider those who are of a different opinion with respect to the grace of Christ which has come unto us, how opposed they are to the will of God. They have no regard for love; no care for the widow, or the orphan, or the oppressed; of the bond, or of the free; of the hungry, or of the thirsty.

These heretics do not participate in the Eucharist, because they say it is not the flesh of Jesus Christ. Stay away from them.

7.1. They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again. Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death in the midst of their disputes. But it were better for them to treat it with respect, that they also might rise again. 2. It is fitting, therefore, that ye should keep aloof from such persons, and not to speak of them either in private or in public, but to give heed to the prophets, and above all, to the Gospel, in which the passion [of Christ] has been revealed to us, and the resurrection has been fully proved. But avoid all divisions, as the beginning of


Let nothing be done without the bishop



  • 8.1 See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does

the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. 2. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.

Honor the Bishop.

  • 9.1 Moreover, it is in accordance with reason that we should

return to soberness [of conduct], and, while yet we have opportunity, exercise repentance towards God. It is well to reverence both God and the bishop. He who honors the bishop has been honored by God; he who does anything without the knowledge of the bishop, does [in reality] serve the devil. 2. Let all things, then, abound to you through grace, for ye are worthy. Ye have refreshed me in all things, and Jesus Christ [shall refresh] you. Ye have loved me when absent as well as when present. May God recompense you, for whose sake, while ye endure all things, ye shall attain unto him.



Section 5: Apologetic Literature and Justin Martyr: an experience of encounter between Christianity and Greek Philosophy; the Logos spermatikos.


  • 1. απολογειν = to defend

  • 2. Two adversaries:

(1) the Jews (2) the Pagans: for example, Celsus, Il Discorso Vero (178


  • 3. The three-fold task of Apologists (1) Confront Accusations (2) Debate Pagan Religion and Philosophy (3) Explain the Christian Doctrine

  • 4. Apologetics = the beginning of theology

  • 5. Christianity and philosophy: Two attitudes (1) Opposed (e.g., Tertullian) (2) Conciliatory dialectical tension, a love-hate relationship


  • 1. Born in Flavia Neapoli (of antiquity Sichem, today Nablus)

  • 2. Philosophical Road The Stoics The Peripatetic The Pythagoreans

Neo-Platonic Philosophy



  • 4. Rome:

Arrived ca. 140 when the Emperor was Antoninus Pius

Debated with Crescenzo

Beheaded ca. 165 when the Emperor was Marcus Aurelius

  • 5. Three Existing Works (1) First Apology ca. 153 A.D. (2) Second Apology between 155 and 160 (3) Dialogue with Tryphon ca. 160 A.D.

  • 6. Points of contact between Greek philosophy and Christianity:

three approaches or theories

  • 1. The Theory of the Logos spermatikos (Λόγοϛ σπερματικόϛ)

    • a. σπερμα του Λογου (seed of the Logos) in all men

    • b. Λόγοϛ σπερματικόϛ =/= σπερμα του Λογου

    • c. δυναμιϛ (capacity) ↔ χαριϛ (grace)

    • d. Matthew 13: 3-23. “Behold, the sower went out to sow the .... word of the Kingdom ... sown beside the road.”


is the one on whom seed was

  • 2. Borrowing (Plagiarism) from Philosophy

    • a. The immortality of the soul

    • b. Punishment after death

    • c. Contemplation of the Heavenly Things

  • 3. The demons

    • 7. Other Important Themes (1) Parallel between Eve-Mary (2) Baptism o illumination and regeneration (3) Eucharist o the Body and Blood of Christ


    a spiritual sacrifice (λογικη θυσια)





    • 5.1 Description

    “The apologists were pagans, generally, who when comparing the different

    systems of philosophy with the doctrine of Christianity, found the superiority of Christianity and converted to Christianity and now felt the need to explain their religious experience to others to clear up the ideas of the authority (about Christians) and of the Christian people, to communicate the dazzling light that shone in their eyes, and to defend a society of men, many admirable and many with a bad reputation. Their writings are full of life and enthusiasm, often they were written of battle” (Bosio-Dal Covolo-Maritano, Introduzione, vol. I, p. 157).


    • 5.2 Reason, Justice, Truth and Martyrdom

    “Reason directs those who are truly pious and philosophical to honor and love only what is true, declining to follow traditional opinions, if these be worthless. For not only does sound reason direct us to refuse the guidance of those who did or taught anything wrong, but it is incumbent on the lover of truth, by all means, and if death be threatened, even before his own life, to choose to do and say what is right” (1 Apologia 2.1).

    • 5.3 The heroic attitude of the Martyrs

    “For I myself, too, when I was delighting in the doctrines of Plato, and heard the Christians slandered, and saw them fearless of death, and of all other things which are counted fearful, perceived that it was impossible that they could be living in wickedness and pleasure. For what sensual or intemperate man, or who that counts it good to feast on human flesh, could welcome death that he might be deprived of his enjoyments, and would not rather continue always the present life, and attempt to escape the observation of the rulers; and much less would he denounce



    himself when the consequence would be death?” (2 Apologia 12.1-


    • 5.4 “Christians” among the Pagans

    “We have been taught that Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above that He is the Word of whom every race of men were partakers; and those who lived reasonably are Christians, even though they have been thought atheists; as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and men like them; and among the barbarians, Abraham, and Ananias, and Azarias, and Mishael, and Elias, and many others whose actions and names we now decline to recount, because we know it would be tedious. So that even they who lived before Christ, did not live according to the Logos, were anti-Christs (= improbi), and slew those who lived reasonably. But who, through the power of the Word, according to the will of God the Father and Lord of all, He was born of a virgin as a man, and was named Jesus, and was crucified, and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, an intelligent man will be able to comprehend from what has been already so largely said. And we, since the proof of this subject is less needful now,

    will pass for the present to the proof of those things which are urgent” (1 Apologia 46. 2-4).

    • 5.5 The Seed of the Logos born in Every Man

    “And those of the Stoic school—since, so far as their moral teaching went, they were admirable, as were also the poets in some particulars, on account of the seed of Logos implanted in every race of men—were, we know, hated and put to death (Heraclitus for instance, and, among those of our own time, Musonius and others). For, as we intimated, the devils have always effected, that all those who anyhow live the Logos and shun vice, be hated. And it is nothing wonderful; if the devils are proved to cause those to be much worse hated who live not according to a part only of the seminal Logos [κατα σπερματικου λογου μεροϛ], but by the knowledge and contemplation of the whole Logos, which is Christ [κατα την του παντοϛ λογου, ο εστι Χριστου]” (2 Apologia 8.1-3).

    • 5.6 The Truth Belongs to the Christians

    “Whatever things were rightly said among all men, belong to us Christians. For next to God, we worship and love the Logos who



    is from the unbegotten and ineffable God, since also He became man for our sakes, that, becoming a partaker of our sufferings, He might also bring us healing. For all the writers were able to see realities darkly through the sowing of the implanted Logos that was in them. For the seed and imitation imparted according to capacity [δυναμιϛ] is one thing, and quite another is the thing itself [= the Logos], of which there is the participation and imitation according to the grace [χαριϛ] which is from Him” (2 Apologia 13. 4-


    5.7 The Christians Posses the Entire Truth and the Example of Socrates

    “Our doctrines, then, appear to be greater than all human teaching; because Christ, who appeared for our sakes, became the whole rational being, both body, and reason, and soul. For whatever either lawgivers or philosophers uttered well, they elaborated by finding and contemplating some part of the Word. But since they did not know the whole of the Word, which is Christ, they often contradicted themselves. And those who by human birth were more ancient than Christ, when they attempted to consider and prove things by reason, were brought before the tribunals as impious persons and busybodies. And Socrates, who was more zealous in this direction than all of them, was accused of the very same crimes as ourselves. For they said that he was introducing new divinities, and did not consider those to be gods whom the state recognized.

    But he cast out from the state both Homer and the rest of the poets, and taught men to reject the wicked demons and those who did the things which the poets related; and he exhorted them to become acquainted with the God who was to them unknown, by means of the investigation of reason, saying, That it is neither easy to find the Father and Maker of all, nor, having found Him, is it

    safe to declare Him to all. But these things our Christ did through His own power. For no one trusted in Socrates so as to die for this doctrine, but in Christ, who was partially known even by Socrates (for He was and is the Word who is in every man, and who foretold the things that were to come to pass both through the prophets and in His own person when He was made of like passions, and



    taught these things), not only philosophers and scholars believed,

    but also artisans and people entirely uneducated, despising both glory, and fear, and death; since He is a power of the ineffable Father, and not the mere instrument of human nature” (2 Apologia

    • 10. 1-8).

    • 5.8 The Prophets Prior to the Greek Writers

    “And whatever both philosophers and poets have said concerning the immortality of the soul, or punishments after death, or contemplation of things heavenly, or doctrines of the like kind, they have received such suggestions from the prophets as have enabled them to understand and interpret these things. And hence there seem to be seeds of truth among all men; but they are charged with not accurately understanding [the truth] when they assert contradictories” (1 Apologia 44.9).

    • 5.9 Parallel of Eve and Mary

    “He became man by the Virgin, in order that the disobedience which proceeded from the serpent might receive its destruction in the same manner in which it derived its origin. For Eve, who was a virgin and undefiled, having conceived the word of the serpent, brought forth disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy, when the angel Gabriel announced the good tidings to her that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her, and the power of the Highest would overshadow her: wherefore also the Holy Thing begotten of her is the Son of God; and she replied, ‘Be it unto me according to thy word.’ And by her has He been born, to whom we have proved so many Scriptures refer, and by whom God destroys both the serpent and those angels and men who are like him; but works deliverance from death to those who repent of their wickedness and believe upon Him” (Dialogue with Tryphon 100. 4- 5).



    5.10 Eucharist

    “And this food is called among us ‘Eucharist’ of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the Memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body; and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, This is My blood” (1 Apologia 66 1-3).



    Section 6: Irenaeus of Lyons: Christology, Mariology, anthropology, the Rule of Faith, the apostolic tradition and anti-Gnosticism.


    • 1. Born ca. 135 – 140 in Asia Minor

    • 2. Polycarp of Smyrna

    • 3. He arrives in Gaul

    • 4. Pope Eleutherius (ca. 174 – 189)

    • 5. The martyrdom of bishop Pontine

    • 6. Peacemaker (ειρηνοποιοϛ): The Letter to Pope Victor

    • 7. The Quartodeciman Controversy

    • 8. Died ca. 200

    • 9. Two principle works:

    De detectione et eversione falso cognominatae agnitionis

    The Detection and Overthrow of Knowledge Called


    Adversus haereses, libri quinque

    Demonstratio apostolicae praedicationis

    10. Apostolic Work: a triple direction (1) works for the spread of Christianity along the Rhone (2) opposes Gnosticism (3) resolves the paschal question with Pope Victor (189 –



    • 1. The Trinity The Creator = the Father of the Logos

    Son and Holy Spirit = the hands of the Father in the work of creation

    • 2. Christology/Recapitulation → ανακεφαλαιωσιϛ

    • 3. Mariology

    Advocata Evae

    Causa salutis



    • 4. Eucharist

    • 5. Anthropology

    Salus carnis

    Gloria enim Dei vivens homo, vita autem hominis visio Dei. AH. 4.20.7

    • 6. Soteriology

    Partecipare gloriae Dei

    From imago Dei to similitudo Dei

    Christological Divinization

    • 7. Regula Fidei Canon veritatis, regula fidei

    (1) The message contained in the Scriptures (2) The baptismal faith (3) Profession of faith in communion with the Church of Rome

    NT = γραφη

    The living Magisterium of the Church

    The successors of the Apostles the sure gift of truth

    • 8. Rome



    6.1 Mary: the new Eve

    6.1.1 Immediately after he has spoken of the Pauline Adam-Christ parallelism, Irenaeus continues: “In accordance with this design, Mary the Virgin is found obedient, saying, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to your word. But Eve was disobedient; for she did not obey when as yet she was a virgin. And even as she, having indeed a husband, Adam, but being nevertheless as yet a virgin (for in Paradise they were both naked, and were not ashamed, inasmuch as they, having been created a



    short time previously, had no understanding of the procreation of children: for it was necessary that they should first come to adult age, and then multiply from that time onward), having become disobedient, was made the cause of death, both to herself and to the entire human race; so also did Mary, having a man betrothed [to her], and being nevertheless a virgin, by yielding obedience, become the cause of salvation, both to herself and the whole human race. And on this account does the law term a woman betrothed to a man, the wife of him who had betrothed her, although she was as yet a virgin; thus indicating the back- reference from Mary to Eve, because what is joined together could not otherwise be put asunder than by inversion of the process by which these bonds of union had arisen; so that the former ties be cancelled by the latter, that the latter may set the former again at liberty. And it has, in fact, happened that the first compact looses from the second tie, but that the second tie takes the position of the first ....

    And thus also it was that the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith” (Adversus haereses 3.22.4).

    6.1.2 “That the Lord then was manifestly coming to His own things, and was sustaining them by means of that creation which is supported by Himself, and was making a recapitulation of that disobedience which had occurred in connection with a tree, through the obedience which was [exhibited by Himself when He hung] upon a tree, [the effects] also of that deception being done away with, by which that virgin Eve, who was already espoused to a man, was unhappily misled—was happily announced, through means of the truth [spoken] by the angel to the Virgin Mary, who was [also espoused] to a man. For just as the former was led astray by the word of an angel, so that she fled from God when she had transgressed His word; so did the latter, by an angelic communication, receive the glad tidings that she should sustain God, being obedient to His word. And if the former did disobey God, yet the latter was persuaded to be obedient to God, in order that the Virgin Mary might become the patroness of the virgin Eve. And thus, as the human race fell into bondage to death by means of a virgin, so is it rescued by a virgin; virginal disobedience having been balanced in the opposite scale by virginal obedience” (Adversus haereses 5.19.1).



    6.1.3 Christ is “a pure being that opens with purity that pure womb which regenerates men into God” ( Adversus haereses 4.33.11).

    6.2 The Eucharist and the resurrection of the body

    “But vain in every respect are they who despise the entire dispensation of God, and disallow the salvation of the flesh, and treat with contempt its regeneration, maintaining that it is not capable of incorruption. But if this indeed do not attain salvation, then neither did the Lord redeem us with His blood, nor is the cup of the Eucharist the communion of His blood, nor the bread which we break the communion of His body. For blood can only come from veins and flesh, and whatsoever else makes up the substance of man, such as the Word of God was actually made. By His own blood he redeemed us, as also His apostle declares, In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the remission of sins. And as we are His members, we are also nourished by means of the creation (and He Himself grants the creation to us, for He causes His sun to rise, and sends rain when He wills). He has acknowledged the cup (which is a part of the creation) as His own blood, from which He bedews our blood; and the bread (also a part of the creation) He has established as His own body, from which He gives increase to our bodies. “When, therefore, the mingled cup and the manufactured bread receives the Word of God, and the Eucharist of the blood and the body of Christ is made, from which things the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they affirm that the flesh is incapable

    of receiving the gift of God, which is life eternal, which [flesh] is nourished from the body and blood of the Lord, and is a member of Him?— even as the blessed Paul declares in his Epistle to the Ephesians, that we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. He does not speak these words of some spiritual and invisible man, for a spirit has not bones nor flesh; but [he refers to] that dispensation [by which the Lord became] an actual man, consisting of flesh, and nerves, and bones—that [flesh] which is nourished by the cup which is His blood, and receives increase from the bread which is His body. And just as a cutting from the vine planted in the ground fructifies in its season, or as a corn of wheat falling into the earth and becoming decomposed, rises with manifold increase by the Spirit of God, who contains all things, and



    then, through the wisdom of God, serves for the use of men, and having received the Word of God, becomes the Eucharist, which is the body and blood of Christ; so also our bodies, being nourished by it, and deposited in the earth, and suffering decomposition there, shall rise at their appointed time, the Word of God granting them resurrection to the glory of God, even the Father, who freely gives to this mortal immortality, and to this corruptible incorruption, because the strength of God is made perfect in weakness, in order that we may never become puffed up, as if we had life from ourselves, and exalted against God, our minds becoming ungrateful; but learning by experience that we possess eternal duration from the excelling power of this Being, not from our own nature, we may neither undervalue that glory which surrounds God as He is, nor be ignorant of our own nature, but that we may know what God can effect, and what benefits man receives, and thus never wander from the true comprehension of things as they are, that is, both with regard to God and with regard to man. And might it not be the case, perhaps, as I have already observed, that for this purpose God permitted our resolution into the common dust of mortality, that we, being instructed by every mode, may be accurate in all things for the future, being ignorant neither of God nor of ourselves?” (Adversus haereses 5.2.2-3)

    6.3 The sure charism of truth

    “Wherefore it is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church— those who, as I have shown, possess the succession from the apostles; those who, together with the succession of the episcopate, have received the sure charism of truth, according to the good pleasure of the Father. But [it is also incumbent] to hold in suspicion others who depart from the primitive succession, and assemble themselves together in any place whatsoever, [looking upon them] either as heretics of perverse minds, or as schismatics puffed up and self-pleasing, or again as hypocrites, acting thus for the sake of lucre and vainglory” (Adversus haereses 4.26.2).

    6.4 The gospel comes from the Apostles

    “We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us,



    which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith. For it is unlawful to assert that they preached before they possessed perfect knowledge, as some do even venture to say, boasting themselves as improvers of the apostles. For, after our Lord rose from the dead, [the apostles] were invested with power from on high when the Holy Spirit came down [upon them], were filled from all [His gifts], and had perfect knowledge: they departed to the ends of the earth, preaching the glad tidings of the good things [sent] from God to us, and proclaiming the peace of heaven to men, who indeed do all equally and individually possess the Gospel of God” (Adversus haereses


    6.5 The Apostolic Tradition of the Church

    “It is within the power of all, therefore, in every Church, who may wish to see the truth, to contemplate clearly the tradition of the apostles manifested throughout the whole world; and we are in a position to reckon up those who were by the apostles instituted bishops in the Churches, and [to demonstrate] the succession of these men to our own times; those who neither taught nor knew of anything like what these [heretics] rave about. For if the apostles had known hidden mysteries, which they were in the habit of imparting to the perfect apart and privily from the rest, they would have delivered them especially to those to whom they were also committing the Churches themselves. For they were desirous that these men should be very perfect and blameless in all things, whom also they were leaving behind as their successors, delivering up their own place of government to these men; which men, if they discharged their functions honestly, would be a great boon [to the Church], but if they should fall away, the direst calamity” (Adversus haereses 3.3.1).

    6.6 Rome: the principle witness of apostolic tradition

    6.6.1 “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. In fact, with this Church, by reason of its more excellent origin, every Church must necessarily be in accord, that is the faithful who come from every part—inasmuch as the apostolic tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere” (Adversus haereses 3.3.2).

    6.6.2 “Sed quoniam ualde longum est in hoc tali uolumine omnium Ecclesiarum enumerare successione, maximae et antiquissimae et omnibus cognitae, a gloriosissimis duobus apostolis Petro et Paulo Romae fundatae et constitutae

    Ecclesiae, eam quam habet ab apostolis traditionem et adnuntiatam hominibus fidem per successiones episcoporum peruenientem usque ad nos indicantes, confundimus omnes eos qui quoquo modo, uel per sibiplacentiam uel uanam gloriam uel per caecitatem et sententiam malam, praeterquam oportet colligunt:

    ad hanc enim ecclesiam, propter potentiorem principalitatem, necesse est omnem convenire Ecclesiam, hoc est eos qui sunt undique fideles, in qua sempre, ab his qui sunt undique, conseruata est ea quae est ab apostolis traditio” (Sources Chrétiennes 211).

    6.7 The Succession at Rome

    “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 dispatched 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, spoke 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 apostolic 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, Telephorus, 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” (Adversus haereses


    6.8 The Apostolic Mother-Churches

    “For how stands the case? Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary, [in that case,] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches?” (Adversus haereses 3.4.1).

    6.9 The Oral Tradition

    “To which course many nations of those barbarians who believe in Christ do assent, having salvation written in their hearts by the Spirit, without paper or ink, and, carefully preserving the



    ancient tradition, believing in one God, the Creator of heaven and



    (Adversus haereses 3.4.2).

    • 6.10 Universality of the Tradition

    “The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world,

    even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and

    their disciples this faith in one God

    As I have already observed,

    .... the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. She also believes these points [of doctrine] just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth. For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same. For the Churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world [=the churches of Rome and Italy]. But as the sun, that creature of God, is one and the same throughout the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shines everywhere, and enlightens all men that are willing to come to a knowledge of the truth. Nor will any one of the rulers in the Churches, however highly gifted he may be in point of eloquence, teach doctrines different from these (for no one is greater than the Master); nor, on the other hand, will he who is deficient in power of expression inflict injury on the tradition. For the faith being ever one and the same, neither does one who is able at great length to discourse regarding it, make any addition to it, nor does one, who can say but little diminish it” (Adversus haereses 1.10.1 – 2).

    • 6.11 The See of Rome: The Historical Development until


    “Ecclesiological research has always put more emphasis on the Communio (koinonia) between the Churches than on the function of the Petrine service in such a context. The expansion of Christianity led to the creation and founding of a new community. This established a felt and vital relationship between mother churches and son churches. Apostolicity was transmitted through generations of the faith and made all the churches to be apostolic and catholic. Those churches that conserved a stronger memory of their foundation by an apostle, also for their strategic situation in the roman political system, enjoyed the greater authority. Thus there developed the great sedes apostolicae, with esteem and mutual respect for each other.

    The Council of Nicaea did not intend to establish a precise order of rank, but it did recognize Rome, Alexandria and Antioch (can. 6). Their rank was recognized also in the civil order. Such a decision gave place to the theory of the three apostolic Petrine



    sees; Peter was the founder of the Church of Antioch and of Rome, and in his name Mark, called discipulus or filius Petri, founded the Church of Alexandria (cf. PL 13, 374D - 376A; PL 54, 1007). In other words, the preeminence of the three sees came from the importance of Peter and therefore they were important for apostolic and not political reasons. “In the Council of Constantinople of 381 there was inserted into the Petrine Triarchy the imperial see, “because such a city is the New Rome” (can. 3). The Council brought the organization up to date to the new political and ecclesiastical situation. From now on, in the hierarchical ordering of these sees, Rome was always placed in the first spot; thus was constituted for the first time the “Pentarchy”, which was concretely affirmed in the Council of Chalcedon. The bishop of Rome, from this point of view, if even the first, was nonetheless one of the five patriarchs, (cf. Gregorio Magno, Ep. II, 50, Registrum Ep., MGH vol. I, p. 154; in CCL 140, p. 136 e la II, 44), the patriarch of the west: praesidens occidentalis Ecclesiae (Augustine, C. M. VI, 1,4, 13: PL 44, 648). The conviction of the ancient church assigned a preeminent place to the criterion of historical apostolicity, as an indispensible and necessary criterion for the unity and ecclesial communion of the one Church of Christ. All the Churches had to apostolic, but the mother churches had the greater responsibility, for their organization, to “be and to appear [apostolic] in a way more evident than the other apostolic thrones”. Apostolicity was a historical phenomenon and could be demonstrated by the episcopal succession list of an individual Church. Such lists were a trustworthy chain of transmission of the original “deposit” and permitted the verification of the given church’s authenticity. “The preceding paragraph introduces us to the historical role of mediation and ecclesial unity that had devolved upon the bishop of Rome even from the first centuries. This role had developed in the first decades of the Christian expansion of the mother community in Jerusalem. But then the Jerusalem community went into decline. The first Jewish war in AD 70 was partly responsible for this. But also, the Jerusalem community defended too rigidly the Jewish tradition. Many among the Jerusalem community accused Peter of too much openness to the pagan world and of laxity with regards to the Jewish Law. Thus Peter’s position within the early Church changed. He came to be presented along with Paul as the representative of the mission to the Jews of the Diaspora of the Greek language. Then the disappearance of the “pillars” and of the other great missionaries brought the danger of the fracturing of the Christian community, also because in the greater cities there perhaps were a multiplicity of groups which would tend towards causing division. With the mother church gone, the apostles and the places of their missions came to be the points of reference, Rome in particular, that received the inheritance of Peter and Paul and also of Jerusalem. Apostolic, political, commercial, economic and social reasons conferred upon the Church of Rome, center of the world, a privileged position. Rome was a place of meeting and contact among the communities (cf. the salutations in Rm 16; 1 Pt 5:13; Col 4:16). Thus the Roman community developed a recognized and accepted role of unity and mediation; the Churches communicated amongst themselves already from the second century via the action of Rome (cf. Eusebius, Stor. Ecc. 5, 25; 6, 43, 3). The Roman Church enjoyed a great prestige from the beginning of Christianity; Paul writes to it a letter full of respect, though not being a community founded by him, and praises its faith “that has spread throughout all the world” (Rm 1: 8). The first letter of Peter, directed to some Christians of the provinces of Asia Minor, comes from the Roman Church. In continuity with this, at the end of the first century 1 Clement is an authoritative intervention of the Roman community on the occasion of the discord that had broken out at Corinth; it is written in a mood of solidarity to offer help to a sister Church in a difficulty. Also around AD 170 Rome writes again to the Corinthians (Eusebius, Stor. Ecc. 4, 23, 11). In the letter of Clement the reference to the martyrdom of Peter and Paul (cap. 5) and to the apostolic succession as guarantee of the order of the community already anticipates the doctrine of the Roman solicitude for all the Churches. The prologue of the letter of Ignatius to the Romans and the mention of Peter and Paul (cap. 4) sets in relief the Roman Church’s primacy in faith and charity. He also refers to the Church of Rome’s habit of writing letters: “You taught others” (3, 1). Irenaeus of Lyons, already cited,



    affirmed the need to be in harmony with the doctrine of the Roman Church; Tertullian (De praescr. 32 e 36:”If you reach Italy, there you will find Rome from which also to us comes authority”) and Origen (Eusebius, Stor. Ecc. 6,14,10) indirectly speak of the same thing. To have close relationship with the Roman Church, even from the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire, testifies to her great authority; to inform it of what was happening elsewhere was an act of trust. Her authoritative doctrinal interventions in different directions, to the east as well as to the west, came unsolicited. The influx of Christians from everywhere was making Rome a center of good information on what was happening elsewhere and in what way intervention should take place in the distant communities. The Roman sollicitudo was realized also in the area of welfare. “In the following centuries the Roman Church considers as its prerogative the guarding fidei et disciplinae (cf. Leone Magno, Ep. 115, 1). With Pope Damasus (366- 384) the Roman See reinforces its idea of centralization also with the use of the text of Matthew 16:18 ff.; Pope Siricius (384 - 399) considers the sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum (2 Cor 11:28) a prerogative of the Roman See. From the end of the fourth century, the term sollicitudo becomes usual in the Pontifical Chancellery. She came to exercise influence over Latin countries also through the decretals, authoritative pontifical letters which were inserted into canon law, for the causae maiores. Leo the Great, who affirmed with vigor the primatial role of the sedes apostolica in the service of the faith of all the Churches, respected the decisions of the local synods, the constitutions and the laws of the other bishops who constituted together with him the collegium caritatis (Epp. 5, 2; 6, 1; 12, 2). In any case, the primacy and the influence of the Roman Church varied from Church to Church, from region to region and according to the times.

    In antiquity, every bishop in some way felt involved in the sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum. If on the one hand, this brought about mutual help and reciprocal support, on the other, it was the cause of transgressions and interferences in other episcopal sees. The decisions of the ecumenical councils on the extent of the Churches’ governmental jurisdiction, had the aim of preserving the jurisdiction of each Church. The historian Socrates affirmed that the decisions of the Counsel of Constantinople of 381 were laid down to the end that interferences in other dioceses and eparchies might be avoided (Storia ecc. V, 8). These were made independent of posterior theological reflection, but were born from the consciousness that the unity of the one Church also involved collegiality. Any such role of mediation that Rome had came almost exclusively between the East and West, direct contact between the Eastern and Western Churches were decreasing in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, both as a result of political separation and language difficulties. Only Rome, in the high Middle Ages was able to conduct this mediation through placing a permanent Roman delegate in Constantinople (apocrisarius) from the time of Leo the Great, and had resulted in the presence of the Greek monastic community in Rome. Several apocrisarius became bishop of Rome, and thus were able to understand the Church in Constantinople. The eastern regions beyond the borders of the empire had more autonomy with respect to the patriarchs, which slowly became split after the Council of Chalcedon in 451” (Angelo di Bernardino, “the Development of Patristic Studies”, La Teologia del XX Secolo: un bilancio, vol. I, 335- 338).



    Section 7: Gnosticism: The Threat of Gnosticism, Marcion and Valentinus.


    • 1. General Elements (1) A product of subsequent Hellenistic syncretism from the conquest of Alexander the Great. (2) Parasitic (3) A mythology created as a result of foreign influence. (4) A ‘confirmation’ of primordial revelation.

    • 2. Sources (1) Anti-heretical writings of the Fathers (2) The library of Nag Hammadi (discovered in 1945)



    (1) The object of understanding/knowing (the divine nature). (2) The means of understanding/knowing (the salvific gnosis). (3) The one himself is the one that knows.

    • 4. The basic summation of Gnosticism (1) A divine spark in man (2) Proceeds from the divine world (3) Guided by destiny, birth and death (4) You should be re-awakened (5) Therefore, a downward development from the divine (6) Sophia should strive to recover the divine spark

    • 5. Anti-cosmic

    • 6. Freedom comes from self-knowledge/awareness

    • 7. The Gnostic figures of the redeemer

    • 8. Docetism (1) Basil (2) Cerinthus


    • 1. He comes from Sinope in Asia Minor

    • 2. Repudiated at Rome in 144

    • 3. Antithesis between the Creator God of the Law and the God of


    • 4. The first New Testament canon




    7.1 Salvific Knowledge

    7.1.1 “These hold that the knowledge of the unspeakable Greatness is itself perfect redemption. For since both defect and passion flowed from ignorance, the whole substance of what was thus formed is destroyed by knowledge; and therefore knowledge is the redemption of the inner man. This, however, is not of a corporeal



    nature, for the body is corruptible; nor is it animal, since the animal soul is the fruit of a defect, and is, as it were, the abode of the spirit. The redemption must therefore be of a spiritual nature; for they affirm that the inner and spiritual man is redeemed by means of knowledge, and that they, having acquired the knowledge of all things, stand thenceforth in need of nothing else. This, then, is the true redemption” (Adversus Haereses 1.12.4).

    7.1.2 “When man comes to know himself, he also comes to know that it is God who is behind the truth; he will be saved, and he will be crowned with the crown of incorruptibility” (Nag Hammadi IX, 3: The Testimony of Truth 45).

    7.2 The Passion of Christ According to Basilides

    “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 anyone, 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 ingenerated father” (Adversus Haereses 1.24.4).

    7.3 The Christology of Cerinthus

    “Cerinthus, again, a man who was educated in the wisdom of the Egyptians, taught that the world was not made by the primary God, but by a certain Power far separated from him, and at a distance from that Principality who is supreme over the universe, and ignorant of him who is above all. He represented Jesus as having not been born of a virgin, but as being the son of Joseph and Mary according to the ordinary course of human generation, while he nevertheless was more righteous, prudent, and wise than other men. Moreover, after his baptism, Christ descended upon him in the form of a dove from the Supreme Ruler, and that then he proclaimed the unknown Father, and performed miracles. But at last Christ departed from Jesus, and that then Jesus suffered and rose again, while Christ remained impassible, inasmuch as he was a spiritual being” (Adversus Haereses 1.26.1).

    7.4 A Positive Gnostic Exegesis of the Serpent in Eden: The Testimony of Truth from the Nag Hammadi Library

    It is written in the Law concerning this, when God gave [a command] to Adam, “From every [tree] you may eat, [but] from the tree which is in the midst of Paradise do not eat, for on the day that you eat from it, you will surely die.” But the serpent was wiser 46 than all the animals that were in Paradise, and he persuaded Eve, saying, “On the day when you eat from the tree which is in the midst of Paradise, the eyes of your mind will be opened.” And Eve obeyed, and she stretched forth her hand; she took from the tree and ate; she also gave to her husband with her. And immediately they knew that they were naked, and they took some fig-leaves and put them on as girdles. But [God] came at the time of evening, walking in the midst of Paradise. When Adam saw him, he hid himself. And he said, “Adam, where are you?” He answered [and] said, “I have come under the fig tree.” And at that very moment, God knew that he had eaten from the tree of which he had commanded him, “Do not eat of it.” And he said to him, “Who is it 47 who has instructed you?” And Adam answered, “The woman whom you have given me.” And the woman said, “It is the serpent who instructed me.” And he cursed the serpent, and called him “devil.” And he said, “Behold, Adam has become like one of us, knowing evil and good.” Then he said, “Let us cast him out of paradise, lest he take from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.”



    But what sort is this God? First he maliciously refused Adam from eating of the tree of knowledge, and, secondly, he said “Adam, where are you?” God does not have foreknowledge? Would he not know from the beginning? [And] afterwards, he said, “Let us cast him out of this place, lest he eat of the tree of life

    and live forever.” Surely, he has shown himself to be a malicious

    grudger! And 48 what kind of God is this? For great is the blindness of those who read, and they did not know him. And he said, “I am the jealous God; I will bring the sins of the fathers upon the children until three (and) four generations.” And he said, “I will make their heart thick, and I will cause their mind to become blind, that they might not know nor comprehend the things that are said.” But these things he has said to those who believe in him and serve him! And in one place, Moses writes, “[He] made the devil a serpent for [those] whom he has in his generation.” Also, in the book which is called “Exodus,” it is written thus: “He contended against [magicians], when the place was full [of serpents] according to their [iniquity; and the rod] which was in the hand of Moses became a serpent, (and) it swallowed the serpents of the magicians.” Again it is written (Nm 21:9), ‘He made a serpent of bronze

    (and) hung it upon a pole 49 [



    that [ ...


    in such a manner that

    [for the one who might gaze upon this serpent] of bronze, nobody [would have been able to destroy it], and the one who [will believe

    in] this bronze serpent [will be saved].’ For this is Christ; [those who] believe in him [will have received life]. Those who do not believe [will die]” (Nag Hammadi IX, 3: The Testimony of Truth 45-49).

    7.5 A Summation of Valentinus Gnosticism by J. N. D. Kelly

    “According to Valentino, above and beyond the universe dwells the supreme Father, Bythos, the unbegotten Monad and perfect Aeon, and by His side Sige (Silence), who is His Ennoia (Thought). From these proceed, by successive emanations, three pairs of aeons, Nous (or Monogenes) and Aletheia (Truth), Logos and Zoe (Life), Anthropos (Man) and Ecclesia (Church), thus completing the Ogdoad. From Logos and Zoe proceed five (the Decad), and from Anthropos and Ecclesia six (the Dodecad),



    further pairs of aeons. These thirty form the Pleroma, or fullness of the Godhead, but the only-begotten Nous alone possesses the possibility of knowing and revealing the Father. The lowest of the thirty aeons, however, Sophia, yielded to an ungovernable desire to apprehend His nature. She travailed with the guilty yearning she had conceived (Enthymesis), and would have been dissolved into the All had not Horos (Limit: also called Stauros, or Cross), appointed as guardian of the Pleroma, convinced her that the Father is incomprehensible. So Sophia cast away her passion and was allowed to remain within the Pleroma. Nous and Aletheia meanwhile, at the Father’s behest, produce a new pair of aeons, Christ and the Holy Spirit, to instruct the aeons in their true relation to Him. Order having been thus restored, they sing the praises of the Father and produce the Savior Jesus as the perfect fruit of the Pleroma. But what of Sophia’s monstrous birth, Enthymesis, exiled from the Pleroma and now known as a lower Sophia, or Achamoth?

    As she wanders about the still lifeless void, her anguish brings matter to birth, while out of her yearning for Christ she produces the ‘psychic’ (ψυχικον) or soul-element. Then Christ has pity on her formlessness. As a result of this she gives birth to spiritual, or ‘pneumatic’, substance. Out of these three elements - matter, psyche and pneuma - the world then came into being. First, Sophia formed a Creator, or Demiurge, out of psychic substance as an image of the supreme Father. The Demiurge, who is in fact the God of the Old Testament, then create heaven and earth and the creatures inhabiting it. When he made man, he first made ‘the earthy man’, and then breathed his own psychic substance into him; but without his knowledge Achamoth planted pneuma, or spirit, born from herself, in the souls of certain men. This spiritual element yearns for God, and salvation consists in its liberation from the lower elements with which it is united. This is the task which the Savior Jesus accomplishes. According to their constitution, there are three classes of men – the carnal or material, the psychic and the pneumatic. Those who are carnal cannot in any case be saved, while in order to attain redemption the pneumatic only need to apprehend the teaching of Jesus. The psychic class can be saved, though with difficulty, through the knowledge and imitation of Jesus” (J. N. D.



    Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, 23-24; Revised Edition).

    7.6 The Gnostic Schema of Valentinus

    The Pleroma (30 aeons in 15 pairs)

    The Father Supreme [Bythos]

    Silence [Sige] / Thought [Ennoia]

    Monogenes [Nous]

    Truth [Aletheia]

    ( Christ and the Holy Spirit)

    Word [Logos] aeons)

    Life [Zoe]

    The Decad (5 pairs of successive

    Man [Anthropos] successive aeons)

    Ecclesia [Church]

    The Dodecad (6 pairs of


    The Ogdoad

    The last aeon = Sophia

    Jesus = the perfect creation of the Pleroma


    (the limit of the

    Pleroma) _________________________________________________

    Inferior Sophia/ Achamoth [Enthymesis] give birth to matter

    The Material of the OT



    (Ignorance and arrogance: “I am the only God!”)

    Earthy and psychic man 1) Created in the image of the Anthropos, therefore they are superior to their creator 2) In the soul of some men Achamoth has placed the pneuma that clings

    to God

    Section 8: The atmosphere of Alexandria between the 2nd and 3rd centuries: Clement and Origen. Principle themes for the “search” of Origenist theology (Trinitarian reflection, anthropology). Alexandria in the 4th century and Athanasius.




    • 1. Alexandria founded in 331 B.C. by Alexander the great

    • 2. Jewish Tradition (1) Philo the Jew (20 B.C.-50 A.D) (2) Septuagint (LXX) (3) Allegorical method

    • 3. The Alexandrian School (1) For more cultured converts (2) Researching the metaphysics of the faith (3) (Middle)Neo Platonic Philosophy (4) Allegorical exegesis (5) The first leaders of the so called school

      • 1. Pantaenus = the founder

      • 2. Clement of Alexandria

      • 3. Origen Heraclas = disciple of Origen


    • 1. Titus Flavius Clemens = born between 140 and 150 in Athens (or Alexandria)

    • 2. Pagan parents; he himself = convert

    • 3. An “itinerate philosopher” Greater Greece Middle East Egypt Alexandria–Pantaenus

    • 4. 20 years in Alexandria during the reign of Comodus and Septimus Severus

    • 5. The anti-Christian persecution of Septimus Severus (202/203)

    • 6. Death in Palestine or Cappadocia in 215/216

    • 7. The true “gnostic” = Christian perfection



    o Cf. Origen, Contra Celsum I.48 o Protreptico VI.71.1: επιπνοια = inspiration o Cf. Justin, Apologia I.60.3 o Cf. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata I.21.135.3

    9. Three principle works

    • a. The Protreptico


    • b. The Pedagogo


    • c. The Stromati





    • 8.1 Greek Philosophy (cf. 8.26)

    “Accordingly, before the advent of the Lord, philosophy was necessary to the Greeks for righteousness. And now it becomes conducive to piety; being a kind of preparatory training to those who attain to faith through demonstration. For your foot, it is said, will not stumble, if you refer what is good, whether belonging to the Greeks or to us, to Providence. For God is the cause of all good things; but of some primarily, as of the Old and the New Testament; and of others by consequence, as philosophy. Perchance, too, philosophy was given to the Greeks directly and primarily, till the Lord should call the Greeks. For this was a schoolmaster to bring the Hellenic mind, as the law, the Hebrews, to Christ. Philosophy, therefore, was a preparation, paving the way for him who is perfected in Christ” (Stromata I.5.28.1-3).

    • 8.2 The Superiority of the Christian Faith (cf. 8.18,19)

    “And if philosophy contributes remotely to the discovery of truth, by reaching, by diverse essays, after the knowledge which touches close on the truth, the knowledge possessed by us, it aids him who aims at



    grasping the “gnosis.” But the Hellenic truth is distinct from that held by us, although it has got the same name, both in respect of [our] extent of knowledge, certainly of demonstration, divine power, and the like. For we are “taught of God”, being instructed in the truly sacred letters by the Son of God: Whence [the Greeks], to whom we refer, influence souls not in the way we do, but by different teaching” (Stromata I.20.98.3-4). [Cf. 8.18, 8.26, 8.38-40,


    • 8.3 Biblical Wisdom

    “And is not the demonstration, which we possess, that alone which is true, as being supplied out of the divine Scriptures, the sacred writings, and out of the ‘God- taught’ wisdom, according to the apostle? Learning, then, is also obedience to the commandments, which is faith in God. And faith is a power of God, being the strength of the truth” (Stromata II.11.48.3-4).

    • 8.4 The Spiritual Gifts of the “gnosis”

    “Faith, therefore, and the ‘gnosis’ of the truth, render the soul, which makes them its choice, always uniform and equable. For congenial to the man of falsehood is shifting, and change, and turning away, as to the ‘Gnostic’ are calmness, and rest, and peace” (Stromata II.11.52.3-4).

    • 8.5 Imago Dei

    8.5.1: “He is the ‘Gnostic’, who is after the image and likeness of God, who imitates God as far as possible, deficient in none of the things which contribute to the likeness as far as compatible, practicing self-restraint and endurance, living righteously, reigning over the passions, bestowing of what he has as far as possible, and doing good both by word and deed” (Stromata II.19.97.1).

    8.5.2: “For conformity with the image and likeness is not meant of the body (for it were wrong for what is mortal to be made like what is immortal), but in mind and reason” (Stromata II.19.102.6).



    “And assimilation as far as possible in accordance with right Logos is the end, and restoration to perfect adoption by the Son” (Stromata II.22.134.2).

    • 8.7 The Task of man (cf. 8.16)

    “For if there is one function belonging to the peculiar nature of each creature, alike of the ox, and horse, and dog, what shall we say is the peculiar function of man? He is like, it appears to me, the Centaur, a Thessalian figment, compounded of a rational and irrational part, of soul and body. Well, the body tills the ground, and hastens to it; but the soul is raised to God: trained in the true philosophy, it speeds to its kindred above, turning away from the lusts of the body, and besides these, from toil and fear, although we have shown that patience and fear belong to the good man” (Stromata IV.3.9.4-5).

    • 8.8 The Martyr

    “I say martyrdom perfection, not because [the martyr] comes to the end of his life as others, but because he has exhibited the perfect work of love” (Stromata IV .4.14.3).

    • 8.9 The “gnosis”

    “In fact, the knowledge of the name [of Christ] and the understanding of the Gospel point out the ‘gnosis’ and not the bare appellation [of God], so as to leave his worldly kindred, and wealth, and every possession, in order to lead a life free from passion” (Stromata IV.4.15.5).

    8.10 To know oneself

    “He therefore, who, in accordance with the word of repentance, knows his life to be sinful will lose it -- losing it from sin, from which it is wrenched; but losing it, will find it, according to the obedience which lives again to faith, but dies to sin. This,



    then, is what it is to find one’s life: to know oneself” (Stromata


    • 8.11 Contemplation

    “When, therefore, he who lives in contemplation, in the pure

    communing with the divine, he who participates in a ‘gnostic’ way

    to the holy quality [of such life] enters more nearly into the Identity

    without passions, so as no longer to have science, no longer to

    possess ‘gnosis’, but ‘is’ science and ‘gnosis’” (Stromata IV.6.40.1).

    • 8.12 The justice of the ‘gnostic’

    “And how much more does one, behaving with justice, become


    much nearer to him is that luminous spirit” (Stromata IV.17.107.6).

    • 8.13 The ‘gnostic’ and the simple believer

    “For the ‘gnostic’ [the Lord] has prepared what eye hath not

    seen, nor ear heard, nor hath entered into the heart of man, while

    to the simple believer He has promised a hundredfold in return for

    what he has left: a promise that can be understood by human

    intelligence” (Stromata IV.18.114.1).

    • 8.14 The ‘gnostic’ life

    “The man of understanding and perspicacity [of the meaning

    of Scriptures] is, then, a ‘gnostic’. And his business is not

    abstinence from what is evil (for this is a step to the highest

    perfection), or the doing of good out of fear



    any more [will

    the ‘gnostic’ do the good] for the hope of promised




    the doing of good out of love, that which one

    does for the good in se and per se, must be the choice of the

    ‘gnostic’” (Stromata IV.22.135.1-4).



    “In conclusion, in the contemplative life, one in worshipping

    God attends to himself, and through his own spotless purification,

    he holily contemplates God, who is holy” (Stromata IV.23.152.3).

    • 8.16 The moral life of the ‘gnostic’

    “Therefore the good actions, as better, attach to the better

    and ruling spirit; and voluptuous and sinful actions are attributed

    to the worse, the sinful one. Now the soul of the wise man and

    ‘gnostic’, as sojourning in the body, conducts itself towards it

    gravely and respectfully, not with inordinate affections


    (Stromata IV.26.165.2).

    • 8.17 To the knowledge of the Father

    “For from faith to ‘gnosis’ by the Son is the Father: and the

    ‘gnosis’ of the Son and of the Father, which is according to the

    ‘gnostic canon’—that which truly is ‘gnostic’—is the attainment and

    comprehension of the truth by the truth” (Stromata V.1.1.4).

    • 8.18 The partial comprehension of the Greeks

    “Some [of the Greeks] have borrowed, and others they have

    misunderstood. And in the case of others, what they have spoken,

    in consequence of being moved, they have not yet perfectly worked

    out; and others by human conjecture and reasoning, in which also

    they stumble. And they think that they have hit the truth perfectly;

    but as we understand them, only partially” (Stromata VI.7.55.4).

    • 8.19 The Scriptures and the true philosophy

    “But those of them who believed the Lord’s advent and the

    plain teaching of the Scriptures, attain to the knowledge of the

    law; as also those addicted to philosophy, by the teaching of the

    Lord, are introduced into the knowledge of the true philosophy”

    (Stromata VI.7.59.3).



    • 8.20 The purification of the soul and the body



    doctrine which has been proved, and is wise, is to be

    praised and received, whenever it is amply tried by the earth: that

    is, when the ‘gnostic’ soul is in manifold ways sanctified, through

    withdrawal from earthy fires. And the body in which it dwells is

    purified, being appropriated to the pureness of a holy temple. But

    the first purification which takes place in the body, the soul being

    first, is abstinence from evil things, which some consider

    perfection, and is, in truth, the perfection of the common believer --

    Jew and Greek. But in the case of the ‘gnostic’, after that which is

    reckoned perfection in others, his righteousness advances to

    activity in well-doing. And in whomsoever the increased force of

    righteousness advances to the doing of good, in his case perfection

    abides in the fixed habit of well-doing after the likeness of God. For

    those who are the seed of Abraham, and besides servants of God,

    are “the called;” and the sons of Jacob are the elect -- they who

    have tripped up the energy of wickedness. If; then, we assert that

    Christ Himself is Wisdom, and that it was His working which

    showed itself in the prophets, by which the ‘gnostic’ tradition may

    be learned, as He Himself taught the apostles during His presence;

    then it follows that the grinds, which is the knowledge and

    apprehension of things present, future, and past, which is sure and

    reliable, as being imparted and revealed by the Son of God, is

    wisdom. And if, too, the end of the wise man is contemplation, that

    of those who are still philosophers aims at it, but never attains it,

    unless by the process of learning it receives the prophetic

    utterance which has been made known, by which it grasps both the

    present, the future, and the past -- how they are, were, and shall

    be. And the gnosis itself is that which has descended by

    transmission to a few, having been imparted unwritten by the

    apostles. Hence, then, knowledge or wisdom ought to be exercised

    up to the eternal and unchangeable habit of contemplation”

    (Stromata VI.7.60.1—61.3).

    • 8.21 The true Christian



    ‘gnostic’ alone is truly religious



    the true


    (Stromata VII.1.1.1).



    • 8.22 Worship of God

    “Worship of God, then, for the ‘gnostic’, is his soul’s continual

    study and occupation, bestowed on the Deity in ceaseless love”

    (Stromata VII.1.3.1-2).

    • 8.23 The life of devotion

    “This is the function of the ‘gnostic’, who has been perfected,

    to have convene with God through the great High Priest, being

    made like the Lord, up to the measure of his capacity, in the whole

    service of God, which tends to the salvation of men, through care

    of the beneficence which has us for its object; and on the other side

    through worship, through teaching and through beneficence in

    deeds. The ‘gnostic’ even forms and creates himself; and besides

    also, he, like to God, adorns those who hear him; assimilating as

    far as possible the moderation which, arising from practice, tends

    to impossibility, to Him who by nature possesses impossibility: and

    this one [attains] to the uniting of himself and the feasting with the

    Lord without distractions. Mildness, philanthropy, and

    magnanimous piety are the rules of ‘gnostic’ assimilation”

    (Stromata VII.3.13.2-3).

    • 8.24 Study



    ‘gnostic’ becomes superior, as if to conquer the wild

    beasts [that is, the passions] through study” (Stromata VII.3.16.3).

    • 8.25 Comprehension of the divine science

    “Ruling, then, over himself and what belongs to him, and

    possessing a sure grasp, of divine science, [the ‘gnostic’] makes a

    genuine approach to the truth” (Stromata VII.3.17.1).

    • 8.26 Greek philosophy: a preparation towards ‘gnosis’

    “ ...Greek

    it beforehand

    philosophy, as it were, purges the soul, and prepares



    for the reception of faith, on which the Truth builds up the edifice

    of ‘gnosis’” (Stromata VII.3.20.2).

    • 8.27 The prayer of the ‘gnostic’

    “But if, by nature needing nothing, he delights to be honored,

    it is not without reason that we honor God in prayer; and thus the

    best and holiest sacrifice with righteousness we bring, presenting

    it as an offering to the most righteous Word, by whom we receive

    knowledge, giving glory by Him for what we have learned. The

    altar, then, that is with us here, the terrestrial one, is the

    congregation of those who devote themselves to prayers, having as

    it were one common voice and one mind” (Stromata VII.6.31.7-8).

    • 8.28 Seriousness and joy

    “The ‘gnostic’, then, is very closely allied to God, being at

    once grave and cheerful in all things, -- grave on account of the

    bent of his soul towards the Divinity, and cheerful on account of his

    consideration of the blessings of humanity which God hath given

    us” (Stromata VII.7.35.7).

    • 8.29 Prayer: Communication with God

    “Prayer is, then, to speak more boldly, converse with God.

    Though whispering, consequently, and not opening the lips, we

    speak in silence, yet we cry inwardly. For God hears continually all

    the inward converse. So also we raise the head and lift the hands

    to heaven, and set the feet in motion at the closing utterance of the

    prayer, following the eagerness of the spirit directed towards the

    intellectual essence; and endeavoring to abstract the body from the

    earth, along with the discourse, raising the soul aloft, winged with

    longing for better things, we compel it to advance to the region of

    holiness, magnanimously despising the chain of the flesh. For we

    know right well, that the Gnostic willingly passes over the whole

    world, as the Jews certainly did over Egypt, showing clearly, above

    all, that he will be as near as possible to God. Now, if some assign

    definite hours for prayer -- as, for example, the third, and sixth, and

    ninth -- yet the Gnostic prays throughout his whole life,

    endeavoring by prayer to have fellowship with God. And, briefly,

    having reached to this, he leaves behind him all that is of no



    service, as having now received the perfection of the man that acts

    by love” (Stromata VII.7.39.6—40.1-4).

    • 8.30 Prayer towards the East

    “And since the East is an image of the day of birth, and from

    that point the light ‘which has shone forth at first from the

    shadows’ increases, there has also dawned on those involved in

    darkness a day of the true ‘gnosis’ of truth, like the sun, prayers

    are made towards the East at dawn” (Stromata VII.7.43.6).

    • 8.31 The life of prayer

    “Wherefore also he who holds converse with God must have

    his soul immaculate uncontaminated, and clean, it being essential

    to have made himself perfectly good. But also it becomes him to

    make all his prayers gently with the good. For it is a dangerous

    thing to take part in others’ sins. Accordingly the ‘gnostic’ will pray

    along with those who have more recently believed, for those things

    in respect of which it is their duty to act together. And his whole

    life is a holy festival. His sacrifices are prayers, and praises, and

    readings in the Scriptures before meals, and psalms and hymns

    during meals and before bed, and prayers also again during night.

    By these he unites himself to the divine choir, from continual

    recollection, engaged in contemplation which has everlasting

    remembrance. And what? Does he not also know the other kind of

    sacrifice, which consists in the giving both of doctrines and of

    money to those who need? Assuredly. But he does not use wordy

    prayer by his mouth; having learned to ask of the Lord what is

    requisite. In every place, therefore, but not ostensibly and visibly

    to the multitude, he will pray. But while engaged in walking, in

    conversation, while in silence, while engaged in reading and in

    works according to reason, he in every mood prays. If he but form



    the thought in the secret chamber of his soul, and call on the

    Father “with unspoken groanings,” behold, He is near and while

    still speaking is already present” (Stromata VII.7.49.1-7).

    8.32 The Catholic Church

    “Those, then, that adhere to impious words, and dictate them

    to others, inasmuch as they do not make a right but a perverse use

    of the divine words, neither themselves enter into the kingdom of

    heaven, nor permit those whom they have deluded to attain the

    truth. But not having the key of entrance, but a false (and as the

    common phrase expresses it), a counterfeit key, by which they do

    not enter in as we enter in, through the tradition of the Lord, by

    drawing aside the curtain; but bursting through the side-door, and

    digging clandestinely through the wall of the Church, and stepping

    over the truth, they constitute themselves the Mystagogues of the

    soul of the impious.

    For that the human assemblies which they held were posterior to

    the Catholic Church requires not many words to show. For the

    teaching of our Lord at His advent, beginning with Augustus and

    Tiberius, was completed in the middle of the times of Tiberius. And

    that of the apostles, embracing the ministry of Paul, ends with

    Nero. It was later, in the times of Adrian the king, that those who

    invented the heresies arose; and they extended to the age of

    Antoninus the elder, as, for instance, Basilides, though he claims

    (as they boast) for his master, Glaucias, the interpreter of Peter.

    Likewise they allege that Valentinus was a hearer of Theudas. And

    he was the pupil of Paul. For Marcion, who arose in the same age

    with them, lived as an old man with the younger [heretics]. And

    after him Simon heard for a little the preaching of Peter. Such

    being the case, it is evident, from the high antiquity and perfect

    truth of the Church, that these later heresies, and those yet

    subsequent to them in time, were new inventions falsified [from the

    truth]. From what has been said, then, it is my opinion that the

    true Church, that which is really ancient, is one, and that in it

    those who according to God’s purpose are just, are enrolled. For

    from the very reason that God is one, and the Lord one, that which

    is in the highest degree honorable is lauded in consequence of its



    singleness, being an imitation of the one first principle. In the

    nature of the One, then, is associated in a joint heritage the one

    Church, which they strive to cut asunder into many sects.

    Therefore in substance and idea, in origin, in pre-eminence, we say

    that the ancient and Catholic Church is alone, collecting as it does

    into the unity of the one faith— which results from the peculiar

    Testaments, or rather the one Testament in different times by the

    will of the one God, through one Lord— those already ordained,

    whom God predestinated, knowing before the foundation of the

    world that they would be righteous. But the pre-eminence of the

    Church, as the principle of union, is, in its oneness, in this

    surpassing all things else, and having nothing like or equal to itself.

    “But of this afterwards. Of the heresies, some receive their

    appellation from a [person’s] name, as that which is called after

    Valentinus, and that after Marcion, and that after Basilides,

    although they boast of adducing the opinion of Matthew [without

    truth]; for as the teaching, so also the tradition of the apostles was

    one. Some take their designation from a place, as the Peratici;

    some from a nation, as the [heresy] of the Phrygians; some from an

    action, as that of the Encratites; and some from peculiar dogmas,

    as that of the Docetists;, and that of the Hærmatites; and some

    from suppositions, and from individuals they have honored, as

    those called Cainists, and the Ophians; and some from nefarious

    practices and enormities, as those of the Simonians called

    Entychites” (Stromata VII.17).


    8.33 A spark of wisdom from the Greeks

    “For if they did not arrive at the knowledge of the truth, they

    certainly suspected the error of the common opinion; which

    suspicion is no insignificant seed, and becomes the germ of true

    wisdom” (II.24.2).



    • 8.34 The innate ancient communion of man with heaven

    “There was an innate original communion between men and

    heaven, obscured through ignorance, but which now at length has

    leapt forth instantaneously from the darkness, and shines

    resplendent; as has been expressed by one in the following lines:

    See’st thou this lofty, this boundless ether, Holding the earth in the

    embrace of its humid arms? [attributed to Euripides] and in these:

    or Thou, who makest the earth Thy chariot, and in the earth hast

    Thy seat, Whoever Thou be, baffling our efforts to behold Thee

    [Euripides, Troad., 884]” (II.25.3).

    • 8.35 To adore the Creator God

    “How great is the power of God! His bare volition was the

    creation of the universe. For God alone made it, because He alone

    is truly God. By the bare exercise of volition He creates; His mere

    willing was followed by the springing into being of what He willed.

    Consequently the choir of philosophers are in error, who indeed

    most nobly confess that man was made for the contemplation of

    the heavens, but who worship the objects that appear in the

    heavens and are apprehended by sight. For if the heavenly bodies

    are not the works of men, they were certainly created for man. Let

    none of you worship the sun, but set his desires on the Maker of

    the sun; nor deify the universe, but seek after the Creator of the

    universe. The only refuge, then, which remains for him who would

    reach the portals of salvation is divine wisdom. From this, as from

    a sacred asylum, the man who presses after salvation, can be

    dragged by no demon” (IV.63.2-5).

    • 8.36 Worshipers of material things

    “Atheists surely these are to be reckoned, who through an

    unwise wisdom worshipped matter, who did not indeed pay

    religious honor to stocks and stones, but deified earth, the mother

    of these,— who did not make an image of Poseidon, but revered

    water itself” (V.64.3).

    • 8.37 The better philosophers

    “And of the rest of the philosophers who, passing over the

    elements, have eagerly sought after something higher and nobler,

    some have discoursed on the Infinite, of whom were Anaximander

    of Miletus,



    Anaxagoras of Clazomenæ, and the Athenian Archelaus” (V.66.1).

    • 8.38 The superiority of Plato

    “It is the Lord of the spirits, the Lord of the fire, the Maker of

    the universe, Him who lighted up the sun, that I long for. I seek

    after God, not the works of God. Whom shall I take as a helper in

    my inquiry? We do not, if you have no objection, wholly disown

    Plato. How, then, is God to be searched out, O Plato? For both to

    find the Father and Maker of this universe is a work of difficulty;

    and having found Him, to declare Him fully, is impossible. Why so?

    by Himself, I beseech you! For He can by no means be expressed.

    Well done, Plato! You have touched on the truth. But do not flag.

    Undertake with me the inquiry respecting the Good. For into all

    men whatever, especially those who are occupied with intellectual

    pursuits, a certain divine effluence [απορροια] has been instilled;

    wherefore, though reluctantly, they confess that God is one,

    indestructible, unbegotten, and that somewhere above in the tracts

    of heaven, in His own peculiar appropriate eminence, whence He

    surveys all things, He has an existence true and eternal” (VI.67.2-


    • 8.39 Not only Plato

    “And let it not be this one man alone— Plato, still hasten to

    produce many others also [Antisthenes



    virtue of his being a

    disciple of Socrates, the Athenian Xenophon, Cleanthes Pisadeus]

    who declare the only true God that they knew as such through His

    inspiration [κατ’επιπνοιαν αυτου], if in any measure they have grasped

    the truth” (VI.71.1).

    • 8.40 Regarding the poets

    “For if, at the most, the Greeks, having received certain

    scintillations of the divine word, have given forth some utterances

    of truth, they bear indeed witness that the force of truth is not

    hidden, and at the same time expose their own weakness in not

    having arrived at the end” (VII.74.7).

    • 8.41 Divinization

    “But piety, that makes man as far as can be like God,

    designates God as our suitable teacher, who alone can worthily

    assimilate man to God” (IX.86.2).



    • 8.42 Theological Anthropology

    “For the image of God is His Word (the genuine Son of Mind,

    the archetypal light of light), image of the Word is the true man,

    the mind which is in man, who is therefore said to have been made

    ‘in the image and likeness’ of God, assimilated to the Divine Word

    in the affections of the soul, and therefore rational; but effigies

    sculptured in human form, the earthly image of that part of man

    which is visible and earth-born, are but a perishable impress of

    humanity, manifestly wide of the truth.



    has been otherwise constituted by nature, so as to

    have fellowship with God. As, then, we do not compel the horse to

    plough, or the bull to hunt, but set each animal to that for which it

    is by nature fitted; so, placing our finger on what is man’s peculiar

    and distinguishing characteristic above other creatures, we invite

    him— born, as he is, for the contemplation of heaven, and being, as

    he is, a truly heavenly plant— to the knowledge of God, counseling

    him to furnish himself with what is his sufficient provision for

    eternity, namely piety” (X.98.4, 100.2-3).

    • 8.43 The Christians and true wisdom



    [Christians] who have become the disciples of God have

    received the only true wisdom; and that which the chiefs of

    philosophy only guessed at, the disciples of Christ have both

    apprehended and proclaimed” (XI.111.2).


    • 1. Born in 185 in Alexandria

    • 2. His father = Leonides



    • 4. The Bishop Demetrius and the catechumens

    • 5. Ammonius Saccas = the founder of Neo-Platonism; teacher of Plotinus and Origen

    • 6. Heraclas = the student of Origen and director of the secondary school

    • 7. Travels

    Rome: Pope Zephyrinus; Hippolytus


    Caesarea of Palestine

    Antioch: Julia Mamaea = mother of the emperor

    Alexander Severus (222-235).

    • 8. In 231 ordained by Theoctistus of Caesarea with the blessing of Alexander of Jerusalem

    • 9. New school at Caesarea of Palestine: Saint Gregory the Wonderworker = student

      • 10. Persecution of Decius (250-251)

      • 11. Dies ca. 254 in Caesarea


    • 1. Hexapla

    (1) Original Hebrew text

    (2) The same text transliterated into Greek characters

    (3) The Greek translation of Aquila

    (4) The Greek translation of Symmachus

    (5) The version of the Septuagint

    (6) The Greek translation of Theodotion

    • 2. De Principis / Περι Αρχων

    (1) A theology “in search”

    (2) The Latin translation of Rufinus

    • 3. Contra Celsus (ca. 245-248): a rebuttal of the True Discourse

    by Celsus




    • 1. A theology “in search”

    • 2. Anthropology and exegesis (three senses of Scripture)

    Spirit (πνευμα)


    Soul (ψυχη)


    Nous (νουϛ)

    Flesh (σαρξ)



    (σωμα) Literal/physical

    (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

    • 3. Man = image of the Image of God

    • 4. Preexistence of souls

    Overabundance “cooled” in love


    Second creation

    • 5. Eschatological purification

    • 6. Apocatastasis = the restoration at the end of time

    1 Corinthians 15:23-28 God will be all in all

    Unity and initial harmony

    • 7. Devil redeemed? No! C.f. the Letter to the Friends of Alexandria

    • 8. Universal Salvation = a great hope However, hope =/= certainty

    • 9. The Trinity and Christology

    10.Prayer towards the East

    11. Elements of Origenism

    Subordinationism of the Trinity

    Preexistence of souls

    Apocatastasis (understanding the demon)

    Excessive allegories

    12. Intervention of Justinian in the 5 th ecumenical council of the


    Origenist Isochristi



    Evagrius Ponticus (ca. 345-399)

    Kephalaia Gnostica of Evagrius Ponticus



    8.44 De Principiis: The ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition

    “Since many, however, of those who profess to believe in

    Christ differ from each other, not only in small and trifling matters,

    but also on subjects of the highest importance, as, e.g., regarding

    God, or the Lord Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit; and not only

    regarding these, but also regarding others which are created

    existences, viz., the powers and the holy virtues; it seems on that

    account necessary first of all to fix a definite limit and to lay down

    an unmistakable rule regarding each one of these, and then to pass

    to the investigation of other points. For as we ceased to seek for

    truth (notwithstanding the professions of many among Greeks and

    Barbarians to make it known) among all who claimed it for

    erroneous opinions, after we had come to believe that Christ was

    the Son of God, and we were

    convinced that we must learn it from Himself; so, seeing there are

    many who think they hold the opinions of Christ, and yet some of

    these think differently from their predecessors, yet as the teaching

    of the Church, transmitted in orderly succession from the apostles,

    and remaining in the Churches to the present day, is still

    preserved, that alone is to be accepted as truth which differs in no

    respect from ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition” (preface, 2).

    8.45 Saint Augustine on the preexistence of the soul

    according to Origen

    “Why should we return to the error which has already been

    won and repudiated: the soul, after having sinned in their heavenly

    dwelling, gradually and slowly descended into bodies which were

    merited and were afflicted more or less by corporeal pain



    according to the life lived before?” (De peccatorum meritis et

    remissione et de baptismo parvulorum 1.22.31-33).

    • 8.46 The Impossibility of Salvation for the Demon

    “It is to be noted, however, that Paul cites “to stumble” and

    “to commit an offence” as one thing, but “to fall” as another. And

    he records a remedy for stumbling or offending, but he does not

    promise this for those who have fallen, as if this be some hopeless

    situation in this. For he says, “Have they stumbled so as to fall? By

    no means! But by their offence salvation has come to the Gentiles.”



    in the present section, as if the Apostle knows that if they

    would have fallen, they would not be able to rise again at all, he

    thus denies that they had fallen and he vigorously excuses in that

    by which he says, “Have they stumbled so as to fall? By no means!”

    lest then the Apostle, looking back on the another fall, should

    excuse Israel and deny that they have fallen, possibly that [fall] of

    which our Lord and Savior was speaking, “For I saw that Satan had

    fallen like lightning from heaven”; and that fall of which Isaiah

    says, “How has Lucifer fallen from heaven, who was rising in the

    morning?” He is denying, then, that Israel had fallen by this kind of

    fall. For indeed there will be a conversion for them at the end of

    the age, at that time when the fullness of the Gentiles comes in,

    and all Israel will be saved; but for that one who is said to have

    fallen from heaven, there will not be any conversion at the end of

    the age” (Commentary on Romans, VIII.9).

    • 8.47 The soul of Christ

    “This substance of a soul, then, being intermediate between

    God and the flesh— it being impossible for the nature of God to

    intermingle with a body without an intermediate instrument— the

    God-man [Θεανθρωποϛ] is born, as we have said, that substance

    being the intermediary to whose nature it was not contrary to

    assume a body. But neither, on the other hand,

    was it opposed to the nature of that soul, as a rational existence, to

    receive God, into whom, as stated above, as into the Word, and the

    Wisdom, and the Truth, it had already wholly entered. And

    therefore deservedly is it also called, along with the flesh which it

    had assumed, the Son of God, and the Power of God, the Christ,



    and the Wisdom of God, either because it was wholly in the Son of

    God, or because it received the Son of God wholly into itself” (De

    principiis 2.6.3).

    • 8.48 Prayer to God alone

    “If we understand what prayer really is, we shall know that

    we may never pray to anything generated-not even to Christ- but

    only to God and the Father of all, to whom even Our Savior Himself

    prayed, as we have already said, and teaches us to pray. For when

    He is asked, ‘Teach us to pray’, he does not teach how to pray to

    Himself, but to the Father, and to say: ‘Our Father, who art in

    heaven’ etc.” (Prayer 15.1).

    • 8.49 Prayer towards the East

      • 8.49.1 “And now I must add a few remarks on the direction in

    which we should face while praying. There are four cardinal points-

    north, south, east, and west. It should be immediately clear that

    the direction of the ring sun obviously indicates that we ought to

    pray inclining in that direction, and act which symbolizes the soul

    looking towards where the true light rises. But a man may prefer to

    offer his petitions while facing in the direction in which his house

    faces, whichever way the doors of the house open. He argues that

    where the house does not happen to have an opening to the east,

    the view to the sky is something far more inviting to prayer than to

    see blank walls. We reply that the direction in which men’s houses

    face is a mater of convention, while it is by nature that he east

    takes precedence over the other cardinal points, and that one

    should choose nature before convention. Moreover, following this

    argument why should a man who wishes to pray in the open face

    the east rather than the west? And if in that case it is in accord

    with reason to prefer the east, should we not do so everywhere? So

    much, then, for this subject” (Prayer 32).

    • 8.49.2 “Therefore, the divine declaration says, “And he will place

    the incense upon the fire in the sight of the Lord, and the smoke of

    the incense will cover the mercy seat which is upon the [ark of the]

    covenant and he will not die. And he will take from the blood of the

    calf and will sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat to the

    East” (cf. Lev 16:13-14) .

    Indeed, how the rite of atonement for men, which was done to

    God, should be celebrated was taught among the ancients. But you

    who came to Christ, the true high priest, who made atonement for

    you to God



    by his blood and reconciled you to the Father, do not hold fast to

    the blood of the flesh. Learn rather the blood of the Word and hear

    him saying to you, This is my blood which will be poured out for

    you for the forgiveness of sins”. He who is inspired by the

    mysteries knows both the flesh and the blood of the Word of God.

    Therefore, let us not remain in these which are known to the wise

    and cannot be laid open to the ignorant.

    But do not take the statement that he sprinkles to the East as

    superfluous. From the East came atonement for you; for from there

    is the man whose name is East, who became a mediator between

    God and man. Therefore, you are invited by this to look always to

    the East whence the Sun of Righteousness arises for you, whence a

    light is born for you; that you never walk in darkness and that the

    last day does not seize you in darkness; that the night and fog of

    ignorance not come upon you unawares, but that you always be

    found in the light of knowledge, always have the day of faith, and

    always preserve the light of love and peace” (Homily on Leviticus


    • 8.49.3 “Moreover, in the ecclesiastical observances there are some

    things of this sort, which everyone is obliged to do, and yet not

    everyone understands the reason for them. For the fact that we

    kneel to pray, for instance, and that of all the quarters of the

    heavens, the east is the only direction we turn to when we pour out

    prayer, the reasons for this, I think, are not easily discovered by

    anyone. Moreover, who would readily explain the reasons for the

    way we receive the Eucharist, or for the rite of explanation by

    which it is celebrated, or for the things that are done in Baptism,

    the words, actions, sequences, questions and answers?” (Homily

    on Numbers 5.1).

    8.50 Council of Constantinople II (533)

    • 8.50.1 Condemnations against the ‘Three Capitals’

    Canon 11: “If anyone does not anathematize Arius, Eunomius,


    Apollinarius, Nestorius, Eutyches, and Origen, as well as their

    heretical books, and also all other heretics who have already been

    condemned and anathematized by the holy, catholic, and apostolic

    church and by the four holy synods which have already been



    mentioned, and also all those who have thought or now think in the

    same way as the aforesaid heretics and who persist in their error

    even to death: let him be anathema” (DS 433)

    8.50.2 Anathemas against Origen: Edict from the Emperor

    Justinian to the Patriarch Menas of Constantinople, published at

    the Synod of Constantinople, a. 543

    • 1. Whoever says or thinks that human souls pre-existed, i.e.,

    that they had previously been spirits and holy powers, but that,

    satiated with the vision of God, they had turned to evil, and in this

    way the divine love in them had died out (ψυχω) and they had

    therefore become souls (ψυχη) and had been condemned to

    punishment in bodies, shall be anathema.

    • 2. If anyone says or thinks that the soul of the Lord pre-

    existed and was united with God the Word before the Incarnation

    and Conception of the Virgin, let him be anathema.

    • 3. If anyone says or thinks that the body of our Lord Jesus

    Christ was first formed in the womb of the holy Virgin and that

    afterwards there was united with it God the Word and the pre-

    existing soul, let him be anathema.

    • 4. If anyone says or thinks that the Word of God has become

    like to all heavenly orders, so that for the cherubim he was a

    cherub, for the seraphim a seraph: in short, like all the superior

    powers, let him be anathema.

    • 5. If anyone says or thinks that, at the resurrection, human

    bodies will rise

    spherical in form and unlike our present form, let him be


    • 6. If anyone says that the heaven, the sun, the moon, the

    stars, and the waters

    that are above heavens, have souls, and are reasonable beings, let

    him be anathema.

    • 7. If anyone says or thinks that Christ the Lord in a future

    time will be

    crucified for demons as he was for men, let him be anathema.

    • 8. If anyone says or thinks that the power of God is limited,

    and that he

    created as much as could with his hand and to think that creatures

    are coeternal to God [-!], let him be anathema.



    9. If anyone says or thinks that the punishment of demons and

    of impious

    men is only temporary, and will one day have an end, and that a

    restoration (apocatastasis) will take place of demons and of

    impious men, let him be anathema.

    “These directly affect the ‘Isochristi’ and only indirectly

    Origen, insofar as he is believed to be the inspiration” BCM, vol. 2,

    p. 391.

    “Reproduced excerpts from the Kephalaia Gnostica of

    Evagrius Ponticus” ibid.


    • 1. Born in Alexandria in ca. 295

    • 2. Deacon of Alexandria at Nicaea

    • 3. Consecrated bishop 8 June 328

    • 4. Difficulty with the Meletian schism and the Arians

    • 5. Constantine and Arius

    • 6. Five (5) exiles: More than 17 years in exile

    1 st 7 November 335—23 November 337 to Trier

    Emperor Constantine

    2 nd 18 March 339—21 October 346 to Rome

    Upon returning, emperor = Constans

    3 rd 8 February 356—24 February 362from the monks

    Emperor = Constantius

    4 th 24 October 362—ca. 26 June 363

    Emperor = Julian the Apostate

    After, Jovian

    5 th 5 October 365—1 February 366

    Emperor = Valens

    • 7. Died (age of 78) 2 May 373




    • 2. Paschal Letter # 39 (367 A.D.)

    • 3. Vita Antonii (357 A.D.)