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Preparation for the Church Introduction: The Philosophy of History I Preparation for the Church INTRODUCTION: THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY A. Advent of the Renaissance (1) MEANING OF PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY Theme: "To emerge from that dust of detail in which special histories are as it were enwrapped, and to soar up to the primary law which governs the movement of human destiny, to contemplate from that eminence the catastrophes of falling realms, the ebb and flow of peoples who come and go, and to regard these as mere incidents in the general view of the universe; to pursue with an eagle's eye the course of humanity across the centuries, and to show the general causes of those great upheavals which stand out from afar as steps marked in the kingdom of time- this is what one calls the philosophy of history" (Alfred Nettement). Philosophic bases. Mere recording of facts, laborious and necessary though it may be, gives nothing but the flesh of history. Arrangement into chronological sequence affords some insight into its skeletal structure. Yet if the historian pauses here, he has missed the soul of history, he has failed to perceive its inner meaning. He has not plumbed the nature and potentialities of historical factors. Though he may have amassed a formidable array of facts, even if he may have welded these together by apt physical and psychological explanations, he has at most made but an isolated contribution to human science. He has failed to integrate his science with that synthesis of human knowledge afforded by the study of metaphysics. As Allies has said, "it may be termed a necessity of modern history that it should be Philosophic. It must give not only the course of things, but their results; not only the facts, but their reasons." Or as Chevalier has remarked, "neither sociology, nor economics, nor even psychology can provide history with its principle; it is metaphysics alone, and in a metaphysics based on facts, that history can find it. And it is because history is the most metaphysical that it is the most real of sciences, that science which introduces us the most directly to the very heart of the facts." Theological import. Perhaps such enthusiasm should be tempered with the observation that history also owes a debt to theology. And in some respects, indeed, every Catholic philosophy of history verges on becoming a "theology of history." For as Pope Leo XIII pointed out in his encyclical on historical studies, Saepenumero, "All history in a way shouts out that it is God whose providence governs the varied and continual changes of mortal affairs, and adapts them, even in spite of human opposition, to the growth of His Church." And to perceive the theologicalphilosophical overtones of history, the Sovereign Pontiff bade historians take St. Augustine as their guide; we shall see that the latter's De Civitate Dei ("The City of God") affords the clue for a "Tale of Two Cities" told and retold by men through centuries of history. Pope Pius XII returned to this idea in his allocution to historians during 1955: "As the great St. Augustine said with classical precision: what God proposes, 'that comes about, that happens, even though it happens slowly, it happens ceaselessly.' God is truly the Lord of history." (2) THE FACTORS OF HISTORY The created factor. History, as social memory and experience, is properly of the past, though pertinent for present and future. Alzog, a pioneer of modern Church history, has said: "History represents the development of the human mind as it is manifested in the organization
and public functions of the state. Considered as a science, it is a knowledge of the various facts of this development and their relations to each other, and, as an art, it is the application to current events of the lessons furnished by scientific investigation." But even when history is considered as a science, it is ever difficult to define its postulates exactly, or to lay down for it permanent canons, for history implies change. History primarily has to do with man, a rational animal endowed with a free will that escapes exact statistical measurement. In one sense men change because they can and do react to environment, to education, to truth, and to error. Yet in another respect they do not inasmuch as their adaptation to their surroundings and their reaction to training are not capable of infinite progress, but are limited by an unchanging human essence. Still it cannot be denied that what is most in evidence in history is mutation. This should not be surprising to a philosophic historian, for he has to do with dynamic progress toward realization of an end. Esse est propter operari, and that essence which would not operate and develop toward a goal would convict itself of inutility and accuse nature of frustration. The uncreated factor. Yet amid this constant movement revealed by history, there is at least one immutable phenomenon. In religion, once careful distinction has been made between dogma and discipline, between revealed truth and its human expression and explication, it becomes evident that before, and especially after the lifetime of Jesus Christ there has been a permanent body of dogmas and morals successively presented by the Mosaic Law and Society, and through the New Testament as vitally continued in the Catholic Church. Something emerges as certain, then, not merely with the inductive certitude of history itself, but with a deductive certitude borrowed from philosophy and theology: there is an immutable factor as well as mutable ones in history. The former is God; the latter, His creatures. It is often difficult to determine precisely when God acts; indeed, His intervention in human events ought not to be asserted apodictically in the absence of revelation. St. Thomas has indicated this in regard to the most important historical event, the Incarnation: "Those things which proceed from the divine will alone above all natural exigence cannot become known to us except insofar as they are revealed in Holy Scripture through which the divine will is revealed to us" (Summa theol., IIIa, q. 1, a. 3). It is not easy, then, to ascertain when and how far God acts directly, or when man operates with His inspiration or permission. But long observation of events should make clear that if a good thing has permanence, it is of God; if it changes, it is of man. History, however, deals with succession, not with simultaneity. Since God is the uncaused, eternal, immutable Pure Act, there can be no history of God. He will be a factor in human history but will Himself be without "change or shadow of alteration." (3) OPERATION OF HISTORICAL FACTORS Divine intervention. History is compounded of potency and act, of latent potentialities resident in man which cannot be realized except through some being already in act. Such reduction by way of causality belongs primarily by priority of nature and time to the First Cause uncaused, who in creating men capable of successive, rational, free acts, created history. God has been pleased not to board His causality; He deigned to grant creatures a secondary, subordinate causality. Yet He reserved to Himself the execution through these second causes of His, and none but His, ultimate designs. Bossuet has eloquently described this divine influence; "From heavenly heights God holds the reins of all kingdoms; He has all hearts in His bands; now He restrains their passions; now He loosens the bit; and thus directs the entire human race. Would He have conquerors? He creates consternation before them and inspires them and their soldiers with invincible courage. Would He have legislators? He causes them to foresee the evils menacing states, and to Jay the foundations of public tranquillity. He knows human wisdom, ever short-sighted in every respect: He enlightens it, He broadens its views, and then He abandons it to its own ignorance. He blinds it, He hurries it on, He confounds it by itself; it becomes entangled, embarrassed by its own subtlety; and its own precautions form a trap for it. By these means God executes His awesome judgments, according to the rules of His ever infallible justice. He it is who prepares effects in the remotest causes, and strikes those great blows, whose rebound carries so far."
Human co-operation. God's ultimate design we know. It is the salvation of the human race. His particular part in each act and every event related to this end we may not understand. But we need not thereby despair of a relatively adequate formulation of causes and effects in history. God acts within His own eternal order while man proceeds on his temporal plane, in such wise that the effect is wholly from the First Cause and wholly from the second cause, but in a different manner. Since human freedom survives, and is even caused by this intimate relationship, we can hope by human science to examine a total cause of events, the human, even if comprehension of the divine exceeds our capacity. History considered actively. "Objectively, history is the development of the human spirit and life in their various relationships, presented in a succession of events and deeds" (Hergenroether). History, then, considered actively is a created participation in God's causality. Such is the making of history. Insofar as the second cause ordinates his causality in obedience to that of the First Cause, in that degree does he make the more lasting history. He who alone adequately approximated the divine causality, Jesus Christ, the God-man, made history for all eternity. Those whose limited activity approaches the more His causality, will also partake of its permanence. Though of their reputations it may be true that "the evil men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones," yet of their works it is the good that longest endures, and the evil that perishes. The work of Athanasius survives, that of Arius is dead; Borromeo's influence continues while Luther's wanes; unheralded seeds of Catholic Action today will in future bear fruit unmatched by Communist dynamics, for the apostle confesses: "I have planted, Apollos watered, but God has given the growth" (1 Cor. 3:6). Tale of Two Cities. But do all created factors thus identify their causality with the divine? Obviously not. Contrast between human reactions has produced two divergent streams of history which will reach their destination only on judgment day. St. Augustine's penetrating analysis of these mainsprings of created activity is that "two loves have created two cities: namely, the earthly love of self pushed to the contempt of God, and the heavenly love of God exalted to the contempt of self. The former glories in itself; the latter in God. The former seeks glory from man; God, witness of the latter's conscience, is its greatest glory" (The City of God, XIV, 28). The founder of the first of these cities is Lucifer, whose craving for autonomy has found human imitators in every century. The cornerstone of this city is an inordinate desire for the imitation of God; we can sum it up in the word: Mi-ka-el: "who is like God?"- horrified retort of the leader of God's legions against this first blasphemous revolt. The second city was established by Christ, who because He was both God and man, could satisfy man's ordinate aspiration to be like God. His followers have sought and are seeking that imitation on the model He sketched for them and with means He merited for them. The basis of this city, then, is an ordinate desire to be like God; its standard is E-ma-nu-el: "God with us." To sum up, the key to human activity is the concept of its ends, and of the latter the most influential will be the ultimate end. Men can have only one legitimate ultimate end, the eternal contemplation of God, anticipated through temporal knowledge, love, and service. To the degree they comprehend and desire effectively its attainment, they will order all their activity to conform to it, or at least so as not to contradict it. Men, however, can reject this ultimate end and abuse their gift of efficiency. This constitutes them but deficient causes, incapable indeed of entitative concreation, but proficient by default in erecting themselves into the moral monstrosity of their own ultimate end. Thus the reward for true making of history will be an inexhaustible object for man's highest faculties; the penalty for a definitive refusal will be a lasting ban on purposeful activity. (4) OBJECTS OF HISTORICAL SCIENCE History considered passively. "Subjectively, history is the presentation of this development" (Hergenroether). Passively considered, history is a created participation in God's
eternity. Such is the learning of history. The more one acquires historical knowledge, the more can he view mankind from God's vantage point, the more he can climb toward the peak whence God views human progress from Creation to judgment. It is not from the valley that one gains perspective; only by ascending toward God can the historian detect the silver thread of divine causality and finality running through the motley quilt of human history. Without such perception history is but social "marking time," for unless a man see in the record lessons, warnings, inspirations, analogies, for the guidance of his own life and that of others, he studies history in vain when study is weighed on eternal scales. Historical utility. According to Pere De Smedt, "history has for its special object contingent facts which we cannot perceive by direct observation of the senses, and especially those which refer to the moral and social life of humanity." History, then, properly concerns mankind rather than man in particular. It is clearly a moral and social science, but subalternate to philosophy whence it receives its principles. To the taunts of those impugning its scientific dignity on the score of inexactitude, historians may reply by paraphrasing Aquinas's defense of theology: "The least that one can have of the knowledge of highest subjects is more desirable than the most certain understanding which is had of the least subjects" (Summa theol., Ia, q. 1, a. 5, ad 1). Theology, indeed, in treating of God affords knowledge of the loftiest Being, but second to God alone are His intellectual creatures who are the object of history. Historians, therefore, need not be ashamed if the contribution which their science makes to the understanding of man be less precise than the information that other sciences supply about bugs and stones and stars- if, indeed, they do expound it with such exactitude that the next century does not relegate them to some "Dark Ages." Definition of history. History consequently may be said to have for its material object, human acts as social. Its formal object quod will be the temporal causes of social human acts, that is, the view and comparison in time of such acts as directed to happiness, real or apparent. its formal object quo-conformable to its etymology of historein: "to inquire"-will involve an investigation of evidence susceptible of meaning. "To sum up, history, the most inclusive and many-sided of all the social sciences, may be defined as the science which first investigates and then records, in their causal relations and development, such past human activities as are: (a) definite in time and space; (b) social in nature; and (c) socially significant." In a sense history is composed of the Aristotelian causes: material, events or facts; formal, motivation; efficient, God primarily, man secondarily; final, realization in time of God's eternal plan for manifesting His glory and saving mankind, despite a multiplicity of human intermediate ends, political, social, economic, cultural, or scientific. These may be pursued to further or obstruct the divine master plan, though ultimately all must yield to: The Providence that governs the world; In depth of counsel every created view therein, Is overcome ere it plumbs the depths. (Paradiso, xi, 28) Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 A.D.) I. Preparation for the Church 1. Divine Preparation: Revealed Religion I Preparation for the Church 1. DIVINE PREPARATION: REVEALED RELIGION
Theme: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all in these days has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the world; who, being the brightness of His glory and the image of His substance, and upholding all things by the word of His power, has effected man's purgation from sin and taken His seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high." (Heb. 1:1). A. Origin of Religious History (1) THE CREATOR Intrinsic plenitude. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God; and the Word was God" (John 1:1). Alone in a void of nothingness there existed from all eternity God, the Supreme Being, completely and self-sufficiently subsisting in three divine Persons. His being was and is and will be not static, but dynamic. His is a true life of perpetual act wherein it is eternally true that the Father generates the Son, the Word or personal enunciation of divine intelligence, and the Father and the Son spirate the Holy Ghost, the Spirit or personal sigh of divine love, who by passive spiration returns this immanent relation to the spirating co-principle. In all this there is no cause, for the Father is not properly the cause of the Son, nor the Father and the Son of the Holy Ghost. In all this there is no succession of acts, no change, no time, no history. Instead there is but one simultaneous perfect "now" existing throughout eternity. External benevolence. This all-sufficing God needed nothing outside of Himself; thus in solitary grandeur might He have lived forever. Yet in order that this dazzling brilliance of life and of activity might in some manner be reflected to His external, but nonessential glory, "this one true God by His goodness and omnipotent power, not to increase His beatitude nor to acquire it, but to manifest His perfection through the goods which He imparts to creatures, by a most free counsel, at the same time from the beginning of time created out of nothing creatures, spiritual and corporeal, that is angelic and earthly, and then human, as it were constituted alike of spirit and body" (Vatican Council, iii, 1: D. 1783). This was the beginning of change and of time; this was the origin of history. (2) THE CREATURES Human beginnings. History deals primarily with mankind. Hence after affirming the creation of the irrational world by God, the historian need not be concerned prior to man's arrival. The Biblical Commission sanctions interpretation of the "days" of creation as ages of indefinite duration. If geology and paleontology can afford any confirmation of the work and order of the first five "days," well and good; it is not the business of history in a strict sense. But on the sixth "day" God created man and had this fact recorded in inspired history. Though God thus condescended to write the first chapter of human history, He has not supplied the date. Biblical genealogies are not statistical, and vary considerably in the Hebrew, Samaritan, and Greek texts. Probably they are schematic: arbitrarily fixed according to some norm unknown to us and chosen for mnemonic purposes. "No proof has as yet been advanced for the origin of man during the Tertiary Age; nevertheless estimates which placed European Paleolithic man at 20,000 B.C. are now abandoned. Neanderthal man has been conservatively dated to about 100,000 B.C., with Sianthropus, Peking man, Protanthropus Heidelbergensis, etc., about 200,000. These figures apply primarily to Europe where man appeared after he had existed in other parts of the world." The place of man's origin would seem to be suggested by the reference in Genesis to the Mesopotamian rivers of Tigris and Euphrates; as equivalents for the unidentifiable Pishon and Gihon, St. Augustine suggested the Ganges and the Nile (Gen. ad Lit., viii, 7). At least within this area lies the traditional cradle of civilization. Origin of man's soul by creation is not open for question on solid grounds of faith and
reason. Nor can true science adduce the slightest evidence of any evolution of man's mental powers from lower forms. Rather the earliest human remains thus far discovered give unmistakable indications of rationality in the use of tools and the custom of burial. Measured by material standards, primitive man may not have been a genius, but there is no ground for supposing that his spiritual nature was intrinsically inferior in any way to that of modern man; extrinsically these protopioneers faced titanic obstacles that retarded progress. Origin of man's body has been the subject of much dispute. The traditional, literal interpretation that man's body was immediately created by God from inorganic matter obviously presents no problem for religious history. It would also seem the more easily harmonized with the descent of all men from Adam and the formation of Eve from Adam (D. 2123). Some Catholic evolutionists, however, offer hypotheses not contradicted by faith or science for the infusion of a rational soul into an animal body perfected by evolution in such wise that it could still constitute a peculiaris creatio required by the Biblical Commission. Father Schmidt, for one, inclines to the theory that today's Pygmy most closely approximates primordial man, and regards favorably the theory that man's evolution is recapitulated in the womb. Some evolutionists point out that Neanderthal man, whose unprepossessing appearance has been exaggerated, was not an original but a secondary type. In any event gradual evolution of the human body would seem no more repugnant to human dignity than each individual's embryonic development. Yet however plausible their arguments, no evolutionist has thus far brought forward incontestable proofs. Pius XII warned that, "those go too far and transgress this liberty of discussion who act as if the origin of the human body from pre-existing and living matter were already fully demonstrated by the facts up to now discovered . . ." (Humani generis: 1950 A.D.). B. Progress of Religious History (1) PRIMITIVE REVELATION Created fallibility. Intellectual creatures were made to God's image in mind and will. But no created will is impeccable, for He alone is such whose will coincides with the supreme rule of morality. Hence creatures were rather deficient than efficient causes. Left to themselves, they can do nothing, but they could sin. Each class in turn succumbed to an inordinate desire of imitating God. But for the angels, "I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will be like the Most High," was followed by: "How art thou fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning?" (Isa. 14:12, 14) Again for men, the lure, "God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Gen. 3:4-5), produced only: "In the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, since out of it you were taken; for dust you are and unto dust you shall return" (ibid. 3:19). The angels, pure intelligences, were incapable of repentance because unable to reverse their deliberate, unimpeded, intuitive judgments. Hence they went immediately to heaven or hell. Throughout human history they will reappear in supporting roles, but of them there is no further chronicle. Man, laboriously deducing conclusions from premises themselves with difficulty abstracted from matter, could be deceived. He was capable of pardon because he could reverse his decision and repent. Man was capable of pardon but not entitled to it. Through a primitive revelation he had been raised to a supernatural state. He had been given sufficient knowledge of the existence and nature of God and of man's subjection to Him in virtue of creation and government. In Eve had been indicated the spiritual affinity of the race to be propagated by these protoparents. God offered Himself to Adam and Eve as their ultimate end to be attained through knowledge and love, provided that they would heed God's warning against an inordinate curiosity about good and evil. But such a command seemed excessive to Adam and Eve, and they were induced to defy it by an envious angel. Thereby they obtained a knowledge of good and evil, indeed, but only to become aware of their physical and moral nakedness. In this wholly destitute condition they and their descendants were worthy of eternal damnation.
Prospect of redemption. All history hung in the balance, therefore, as the shamefaced Adam and Eve cowered before their Creator. Then came reprieve: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; He shall crush your head, and you shall he in wait for His heel" (Gen. 3:15). God's designs for humanity would not be frustrated by a defeated rebel. God will give mankind divine assistance to resist their tormentor. This assistance will be not merely the supernatural accident of grace, but also substantial, incarnate Holiness, the Godman, Jesus Christ. He will be a "Second Adam," chief-designate of redeemed humanity. The full implication of these promises was doubtless unknown to the first parents, but they did understand that they had received another chance to work out their salvation, this time with physical and spiritual pain, and that their only hope lay in the mysterious Messiah to come. (2) PATRIARCHAL REVELATION Rise of the Two Cities. Sorrowful, but not despairing, Adam and Eve set out upon a new life. It was their business alike to propagate the human race and to band on primitive revelation with its obscure but glorious promise. One of their children, Abel, dutifully accepted instruction and honored his Creator with the sacrifice of first fruits incidentally the same used by primitive tribes long afterwards. Abel was laying the foundations of a City of God. But another son, Cain, envied this building, slew its architect, and began the rival City of Self which in time assumed the proportions of a Tower of Babel. Once again God intervened by giving Adam and Eve another obedient son, Seth, who continued the line of the "children of God." Henoch. From Cain, however, had gone forth a generation of "sons and daughters of men" in whom the primitive revelation was progressively blunted. Accordingly God at certain intervals raised up among the patriarchs men who would preserve the true religion, and gradually enhance it by divine inspiration. Tradition regards Henoch as the first of such patriarchal religious leaders. Noah. The second was Noah, who was preserved from a cataclysm to continue the true religion. To him after the Deluge God renewed the primitive revelation with some additional precepts, and restricted the fulfillment of the protoevangelion to Sem's descendants: "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Sem" (Gen. 9:26). And all Semites seem at least to have preserved a primitive name of the true God: "El." Abraham. As time progressed and mankind was again in danger of losing sight of primitive revelation, God called a new spokesman from Ur of the Chaldees. This Abram, renamed Abraham, "father of a multitude," successfully passed a test of fidelity greater than that imposed on Adam. Only after he had displayed his willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac to God, was he assured that, "in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed Me" (Gen. 22:18). This paragon of divine faith is regarded as the founder of God's chosen nation, the Hebrews, to whom the Messianic Redeemer was promised anew. Similar assurance was given to Isaac and Jacob, Abraham's son and grandson, and the latter was inspired to predict which of the twelve Hebrew tribes would produce the Messiah: "The sceptre shall not depart from Juda, nor the staff from between his feet, until He comes to whom it belongs. To Him shall be the obedience of nations" (Gen. 49:10). (3) OLD TESTAMENT REVELATION Egyptian bondage. As these revelations receded into memory, the City of God was again overgrown with the weeds of surrounding infidelity. This was especially the case when the chosen dynasty sojourned for some four hundred years in Egypt, land of bondage symbolic of mankind's slavery to Satan. Here the remembrance of the divine promises faded as the Hebrews', despite their hardships, became reconciled to the easy morality of the Worldly City-as is clear from their frequent backward glances during their journey to the Promised Land of Palestine. It was indeed against their perverted inclinations that God intervened to raise them
above themselves, to lead them out of bondage, and rebuild the City of God. Mosaic covenant. This time, however, God gave them a detailed code with an elaborate ceremonial. Since the world at large had not yet sufficiently experienced its own religious incapacity, God chose to manifest this new revelation to a single nation until the time when the Messiah would make a yet more perfect revelation available to all. Accordingly through His proxy, Moses, God deigned to sign with this insignificant Semitic people a formal contract, the first or old Testament: "Therefore, if you hearken to My voice and keep My covenant., you shall be My special possession, dearer to Me than all other people. . . . So shall the Israelites observe the Sabbath, keeping it throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. Between Me and the Israelites it is to be an everlasting token" (Exod. 19:5; 31:16). Davidic dynasty. To this people God eventually permitted a king, and promised that his dynasty would be eternal in the person of the Messiah (2 Kings 7:11). Thus did the protoevangelion receive its final determination in the family of David, whence would come in due time Christ, "Son of David." But even the citizens of the City of God have ever proved themselves of a vitiated stock. Neither memory of revelation past nor hope of redemption to come sufficed to keep them faithful. Repeatedly they broke the Covenant, were chastised, repented, only to fall again. Yet by means of a series of fearless prophets God kept at least a nucleus, a "faithful remnant," loyal until the date when the Old Covenant would expire and a new one would be sealed in the blood of Christ. Under the prophets' inspired gaze the figure of the Messiah, the "Servant of Yahweh," the "Son of man," was more clearly delineated: His birthplace at Bethlehem, His Virgin Mother, His Galilean headquarters, His capital at Sion, His preaching career, and its still mysterious tragi-glorious close. Perhaps even the exact time was predicted. Though many exegetes would refer the sixty-nine weeks of Daniel (9:25) to the Maccabean era, a literal interpretation is possible which would compute 483 years from 453 B.C. to 30 A.D. Fullness of time. Whatever the validity of this estimate, many eminent scholars agree on 30 A.D. as the most likely year for the Crucifixion, and pending precise certainty, this date will be adopted as tentative. According to this chronology, Christ, Savior of mankind, died at the ninth hour on the fourteenth Nisan of the year 783 A.U.C.; or at three o'clock in the afternoon of April 7, 30 A.D. This was that "fullness of time" when "the veil of the Temple was rent in two from top even to the bottom," suggesting dissolution of the Old Covenant and the beginning of the New; dividing history into ancient and modern; closing the restricted milieu of the synagogue, and opening the doors of the "world-wide Catholic Church." Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 A.D.) I. Preparation for the Church 2. Human Preparation: Natural Religion I Preparation for the Church 2. HUMAN PREPARATION: NATURAL RELIGION A. Disfiguration of Primitive Religion Theme: "While professing to be wise, they have become fools, and they have changed the glory of the incorruptible God for an image made like to corruptible man and to birds and fourfooted beasts and creeping things. Therefore God has given them up in the lustful desires of their heart to uncleanness, so that they dishonor their own bodies among themselves-they who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator" (Rom. 1:22). Introduction: In the preceding topic, God as efficient cause was seen preparing for the
perfect Christian revelation through a series of providential dispositions. But man as deficient cause also prepared for the Church in a negative way by the errors in which he involved himself. These were of such magnitude and their consequences so shameful, that man, at last disillusioned about his own natural religious capacity, was better disposed to heed the Christian supernatural message when delivered "in the fullness of time." Here, after a survey of the process of disfiguration of primitive religion, attention will be confined to those peoples that first came into contact with the Church by reason of their absorption into the Graeco-Roman Empire. (1) CAUSES OF DISFIGURATION Primitive dependence on God. "A strong feeling of dependence on the Creator characterizes the religion of primitive peoples and is shown especially in the first-fruits sacrifice. The cause of this is certainly not unrelated to the peculiarity of the collecting stage, which is the economic condition of these peoples: they rely for their food entirely on what nature brings forth of herself, and nature is evidently ruled by a Creator. This feeling was only intensified by the fact that the majority of these peoples made no provision for the future and thus had to go out each day for their means of subsistence; thus each day their dependence on the Creator was borne in on them anew." Economic independence. "This idea only underwent a radical change when, in the primary culture, man began to take in band the active production from nature, and by horticulture, by the higher hunting, or by raising cattle, to increase and to assure its products firmly. The accumulation of provisions through their own work and skill naturally had the effect of lessening their sense of dependence on nature and its Creator, and of increasing their own selfconsciousness. These twin results were not propitious for the development of religion, using the word to signify the sense of dependence of man on the Supreme Being, and so we must be prepared to find religion declining in primary cultures. The more the external possessions of man increase, through richer and more lasting vegetable produce, and through more advanced methods of hunting and raising cattle, so much the more increases the danger to religion. While this development gives rise to further self-consciousness on the one hand, on the other it fills time, takes energy, occupies thoughts, creates desires, and to a great extent at the expense of religion." Social inequality. "With the increase of his possessions comes also man's egotism, and he runs further and further away from the altruistic laws and rites which filled primitive culture and which attributed all things to the Supreme Being, the ultimate Possessor of all earthly things. This is shown in the family especially; those who are strong physically or who have become economically powerful assert their superiority, and the weaker are robbed of their rights, thus upsetting that organic equilibrium which had previously obtained as between man and woman, and parents and children, so that now the balance is tilted either in favor of the man, or of the woman, or of the elders. And this displacement and distortion of the natural family, which had been in the first place set up by the Supreme Being Himself, has a deteriorating effect on religion." (2) TYPES OF DISFIGURATION Father Wilhelm Schmidt, whose theory we are here following, contends that during the primary culture-the interval between primitive and secondary, i.e., historical, civilizations-socialeconomic-religious development occurred in three main directions. Matriarchal-agrarian culture evolved from woman's economic predominance in societies featuring horticulture. Female religiosity tended toward moon worship, passive magic, dread of ghosts, hysteria, convulsion, and possession. It provoked the socially inferior male to resort to secret societies, head-bunting, human sacrifice, and cannibalism.
Patriarchal-totemist culture, on the other hand, evolved from male economic preponderance through skill in higher hunting. This pursuit prompted men to try to promote animal fertility by magic or totems; thence a perverted religious trend passed on to human sexual orgies, sun-worship, active magic, medicine men, etc. The mixture of the foregoing two cultures, Schmidt believes, produced the city-state in historic times, e.g., in Greece and Italy. Patriarchal-nomad culture developed from the domestication of cattle. This large-scale capitalistic venture fostered the formation of large Patriarchal families with great economic, and if need be, military power. Yet this sort of life was compatible with preservation of a relatively superior type of religion, e.g., among the Hebrews, since the feeling of dependence on God was maintained by the close ties with nature. Societies of this type developed a gift for domination and a love of travel. Eventually they created the great kingdoms of antiquity, e.g., Egypt and Babylonia, by invading and conquering other cultures. In this process of amalgamation, however, they took on certain religious elements from baser cultures. The foregoing reconstruction is based on Schmidt's brilliant hypotheses; it must be remembered, however, that it does not wholly transcend the realm of conjecture. B. Aberrations of Secondary Cultures (1) EGYPTIAN RELIGION Polytheistic naturalism. Though Egyptians did not adore the sun, moon, heaven, earth, or the Nile, yet all their religious symbols were borrowed from the visible world. These images came to be identified with the gods they represented, and during the last centuries before Christ were scarcely distinguishable from them. Political union of the country seems to have promoted the fusion of civic and tribal gods into national pantheon. Amon-Ra, the sun-god, though worshipped under variety of names, was clearly supreme. No creator, he made all gods and men out of preexisting chaos. Several divine attributes were well understood, but were divided among inferior gods and goddesses generated from Ra. Of these, Isis, goddess of earth, was wedded to and made fertile by Osiris, god of water, the Nile. The most celebrated myth represents Osiris as slain by an envious Set, god of the desert, but revived by Ra at the pious grief of Isis, and made judge of afterlife. Piety toward the gods distinguished the better days of Egyptian culture and inspired their great buildings. Morality. Egyptians firmly believed in the soul's immortality, and accordingly paid great attention to burial. Belief in judgment after death had a salutary effect on morality. According to the Book of the Dead, the just were rewarded by a life similar to the present, though free from suffering: Ra, the sun, spent the night with them in Amenti, the underworld. Degeneration of the Egyptian religion progressed during the six centuries before Christ. Images of men were placed in tombs to be animated and enslaved in place of the dead for performance of the labor deemed necessary in afterlife. Animals were now regarded as sacred, permitted to roam the streets-one might not resist a sacred crocodile-and finally embalmed in vast cemeteries. The educated classes abandoned the national religion for Greek philosophy, but all Egyptians relinquished pagan beliefs with comparative alacrity once the Christian religion was made known to them. (2) MESOPOTAMIAN RELIGION Frank polytheism prevailed, a result of the fusion of civic gods under Marduk, god of Babylon, the dominant city. Parodies of the Creation and Deluge were either disfigurations of primitive revelation or borrowings from a biblical source. "No student of Babylonian history can fail to be struck by the many expressions betraying a mentality and a tradition common to both Sumer and Israel. . . . Christian apologists, curiously enough, have hitherto shamefacedly tried to explain them away, instead of seeing in them the divine design of a praeparatio evangelica, conceded so readily to Greek and Latin paganism . . ." All the Babylonian gods were given female consorts, but only Ishtar, goddess of love and fecundity, had an enthusiastic cult. Often she was mistakenly honored by sexual perversions.
Magic. Much of Babylonian and Assyrian attitude to divinity can be summed up in magic. The gods were to be coerced rather than entreated. oracles and magicians professed to reveal the divine will through incantations or observations of the stars. Everything had ominous significance: "If an ewe gives birth to a lion with a pig's eye, the princess will die." Insofar as this is religion, Babylonians were religious: the gods appear in their own names and their letters mention prayers for one another. But the afterlife was gloomy for all but the great; lack of proper burial might transform the dead into vampires. Hence Mesopotamians were chiefly interested in long life in this world. The Code of Hammurabi stresses secular motives of punishment rather than religious sanctions for retribution. (3) SEMITIC RELIGIONS Polytheism was again the rule among the Semitic peoples of Syria, Palestine, Arabia, Phoenicia, and Carthage. Prevalence of "El" as a name for deity has been taken as a remembrance of primitive revelation, but the divine attributes came to be subdivided among many local Baalim and Astartes. Baal under the name of Moloch often received human sacrifices, and Astarte-which corresponded to Ishtar-was the object of the foulest of sexual prostitutions. Morality was permeated with the notion of legal uncleanness, though without the Hebraic safeguards. Springs, trees, stones, and seasons were sacred. Sacrifices resembled those of the Hebrews, though little is known of their belief in afterlife. Semites especially needed Christ's admonition to worship God "in spirit and in truth." (4) GREEK RELIGION Mythology. Greek Mythology may be a corruption of primitive revelation. Perhaps the initial Golden Age during which men lived at ease under a beneficent Chronos was a sensual and warped view of Eden. Titans and Cyclops, spirits of darkness, who rebelled against heaven and were deposed, resemble demons. Pandora curiously opening her box of God-given treasures could be a memory of Eve, for from this box, prematurely opened, escaped all diseases and evils of the world, leaving only hope. Finally, Zeus, Dis, and Poseidon, sons of Chronos, succeeded to dominion, punished the Titans by a deluge, and peopled the world with gods of human characteristics and morality. Heroic men were occasionally promoted to semi-divine rank, but for the mass of men the next life was to be an unpleasant, shadowy existence. The gods were supposed to dwell on Mt. Olympus, and give their orders through the Oracle at Delphi. Yet somewhere in the mythological background were the Fates who could lay down the law even to Zeus, "father of gods and men." Mysteries acquired a prominent part in Greek religion when these fables lost their hold on men's feelings. In the indigenous or imported Orphic cults special revelations were supposed to be imparted, enabling initiates to strive for special intimacy with the gods and assuring them of happy afterlife through ablutions, fasts, dramas, etc. From the North came the god Dionysus as symbol of ecstasy: during the Bacchanalia, feasts of inebriation, wine was supposed to "liberate the god" within men. Other rites were held at night and produced a high emotional frenzy. Thrillseekers or philosophers, such were the Greeks, "always seeking some new thing." Cult. "We can safely say that the characteristic of the Greek and of his religion was vitality. In a sense this is universally true; but for the Greek it remained so. His cult was full of vegetation festivals and women had a remarkable series of festivals of their own"-to implore fertility. Another feature was the Pharmakos, the symbolic purgation from sin through an animal or slave deputed somewhat after the manner of the Hebrew emissary goat. Greek heroes were "so to say, Saints minus holiness ."
C. Roman Synthesis of Paganism (1) EARLY ROMAN RELIGION Animism, not excluding belief in the gods Jupiter, Mars, and Janus, was the earliest Roman religion. "The Roman's world was populated with what he called numina. . . . These nonmaterial existences knew what was happening and disliked being interfered with. . . . But the Roman, unlike the Greek, made no myths about them. . . . What was being sought was the pax deorum--the active harmonious good will between all concerned: 'I have paid my vow with right good will' said the Roman, 'as was fitting.' There was no emotion, ecstasy, wild superlatives; everything was done fittingly, but with good will, almost genially. 'A sober cult,' says the Christian Tertullian approvingly. A men's religion rather than a woman's?" Degeneration began during the Punic Wars when the desperate Romans sought out foreign gods and cults. Once an entry had been made, alien religions increased with the spread of Roman territory. Greek mythology invaded Rome. But while the Greek could mock the gods and yet believe in them, the Roman could not. Indifferentism ensued and personal religion at Rome declined with the Republic. (2) IMPERIAL RELIGION Emperor-worship. Alarmed at this trend, Emperor Augustus planned a religious revival. The temples, colleges of pontiffs and augurs, and traditional rites were given external magnificence. By becoming pontifex maximus himself, Augustus became head of the religious revival. Cautiously he allowed the hero-worship of his remarkable career to evolve into emperorworship, a development not fantastic to pagans who failed to distinguish precisely between heroes and gods. Orientals had long been accustomed to worship their rulers, and the cult fostered imperial unity. Hence worship of imperial authority proceeded so rapidly throughout the Empire that by 79 A.D. even the hardheaded, cynical Vespasian said on his deathbed: "I think that I am becoming a god" though a few years before Seneca had in satire turned Claudius into a pumpkin! Worship of the goddess Roma and of the emperor merged to constitute an official religion for the Empire and to become identified with imperial patriotism. It was an earthly, businesslike, utilitarian religion appealing to all who appreciated that the Pax Romana was the best rule the world had experienced. Deficiencies. Of course this merely formal official cult failed to satisfy true religious yearnings. In consequence the Romans once again turned toward the mystery cults for "private religion," and to Stoic philosophy. These substitutes were far from satisfactory, but Romans of the Augustan Age were still hoping that something would turn up from the East, traditional source of religion. As from an abyss, bewildered Roman pagans groped with Vergil for a Savior: "Chaste Lucina, be propitious to the Child now born by whom the Iron Age shall cease, and the Golden Age arrive for all the world" (Ecologues, 4). Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 A.D.) I. Preparation for the Church 3. Greek Preparation: Intellectual Environment I Preparation for the Church 3. GREEK PREPARATION: INTELLECTUAL ENVIRONMENT A. Introduction (1) GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Theme: "Pilate wrote an inscription and had it put on the cross. And there was written, 'Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.' Many of the Jews therefore read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin" (John 19:19). Three cultures. After the consideration of the religious condition of the Mediterranean lands before Christ, it will be well to survey the environment in which Christ lived and in which He established His Church. This background was threefold, for three civilizations were expressed by the inscription placed over the Cross, three cultures joined in Christ's death, and yet among these same three environments, with their advantages and their disadvantages, the Christian Church would inaugurate the preaching of His Gospel. These three cultural settings were the Greek, predominantly philosophical; the Roman, chiefly political; and the Jewish, providentially religious. (2) SPECIAL INTRODUCTION Greek cultural characteristics. "Despite the turn of Hellenistic philosophy toward the moral and religious, and despite the profound change in its structure brought about by the influx of Oriental culture, the Greek spirit even in the Christian centuries, remained, above all, the spirit of science, philosophy, and culture. The problems which arise from contact with Christianity will be primarily philosophical in nature. The Greeks will seek to harmonize the teaching of the new religion with their own forms and habits of thought, they will attempt in some way to grasp religion philosophically. Hence, precisely in this setting arises the fundamental problem of faith and science and the connected problem of the philosophical foundation and defense of the faith-in other words, the problem of theology. in this sphere arise doctrinal speculation and dogmatic controversies. And though it is the sphere of philosophical independence and error, it is also the sphere of the elaboration and formulation of dogma. Throughout the entire history of the ancient Church this problem of faith and reason is bound up with the Greek setting." Lortz's analysis discovers three advantages for Christianity in this Greek setting: (1) in its best philosophies were elements capable of predisposing men for Christianity and capable of utilization in her theology; (2) polytheism had been undermined and monotheism at least suggested; (3) Greek intellectual power was adaptable to Christian truths. Yet there was also one danger--"the urge to know by its very nature tends to exaggerate the right of reason and leads to heresy" (Ibid.). B. Political Survey (1) HELLENIC BACKGROUND The city-state. Greek political life centered about the polis, or city-state. This cherished invention of Greek genius survived the attack of Persian monarchy. But city-states, restricted democracies except for Spartan totalitarianism, were so jealous of their independence that they proved unwilling to acquiesce permanently in the leadership of Athens, Sparta, or Thebes, which successively aspired to the rule of Greece. Neither could they unite in time in any effective federation. Hence eventually they succumbed to the superior might of Macedonia. Hellenic culture, thereby cheapened and diluted, was nonetheless rendered accessible to all of the Levant, and ultimately to Rome and the West as well. (2) PROCESS OF HELLENIZATION Philip of Macedon. The Macedonians, uncivilized but Greeks, were welded into a national monarchy by the fourth century before Christ. King Philip II (359-336) applied lessons which he had learned as a Greek hostage. His efforts to give Macedonia the military leadership of Greece brought him into conflict with Athens which controlled the Chalcidice, the natural seaport for Macedon. After defeating Athens, Philip posed as champion of Greek religion by chastising Phocis for absconding with the Delphic treasury. Phocis was outlawed; Macedonia succeeded to its membership in the Delphic Amphyctony, and thus entered the Greek cultural
circle. Athens, stirred by Demosthenes to regard this intrusion as a barbarian usurpation, organized a league of cities against Philip. But by a decisive victory at Chaeronea (338) the latter emerged as the arbiter of Greek politics and acknowledged commander for a proposed war of vengeance against Persia. Alexander the Great. When his father was assassinated before he had a chance to carry out the latter design, Alexander III (336-323) transformed the war into one of conquest. In three years of campaigns culminating in the battle of Arbela (331), he subdued Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. Less permanent conquests followed in Persia and Upper India. Early in his reign Alexander conceived the idea of fusing Greek and Oriental civilizations into a cosmopolitan culture. By founding or colonizing cities with Greeks, by ordering intermarriage, by promoting interchange of customs, he achieved a large measure of success even though political unity barely survived him. The Hellenistic culture thus begun became truly ecumenical: rapidly embracing the Levant, it eventually passed on to Rome. To a considerable degree this Hellenistic civilization survived until the capture Of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453 A.D. Thus Alexander the Great is first of the world's imperial statesmen. In the political preparation for the Church he ranks second only to Caesar. Alexander gave the original impulse to the Hellenization of the Western world just as Caesar ensured its Romanization. In the Hellenistic environment founded by Alexander, the Church made its first advance outside Palestine; it was in its "koiné" Greek that the New Testament and the earliest Christian theology were composed. (3) ABSORPTION INTO ROME Division of Hellas. Wars for the succession to Alexander's vast domain followed his premature death. Even while his son Alexander IV (323-310) nominally ruled, Alexander's generals were transforming regencies into separate kingdoms. In 310 Cassander deposed the boy king and assumed the Macedonian crown; his example was followed by Seleucus in Syria and Ptolemy in Egypt, as well as by lesser potentates. In spite of intermittent warfare, the leading states of Macedonia, Syria, and Egypt maintained an uneasy balance of power for a century. Rise of Rome. Presently fear of what the Aetolian League had termed the "cloud in the West" induced Philip V of Macedon and Antiochus III of Syria to favor Carthage in her contest with Rome. Though she was powerless until she had defeated Hannibal, no sooner had she done so than she acceded to frantic appeals from Pergamum, Rhodes, Athens, and Egypt, whose independence was imperiled by the predatory royal pair. At Cynoscephalae (197) and Magnesia (190) Rome defeated Macedon and Syria respectively. Though left independent, they ceased to be great powers. Greece was ostentatiously freed, but continued Macedonian intrigues for its control and renewed discord among the city-states led to Roman intervention, annexation of Macedonia, and erection of a protectorate over Greece by 146 B.C. In 133 the will of Attalus of Pergamum gave Rome a foothold in Asia. Despite the ambitions of Mithridates of Pontus, this control was extended and finally rounded out by Pompey's annexation of a much reduced Syria in 63 B.C. Egypt, already a protectorate, was annexed in 31 B.C. and Alexander's heritage fell to Rome. C. Social and Economic Conditions (1) GOVERNMENTAL ABSOLUTISM Statolatry. Except for a few city-states surviving in dependence, Hellenistic governments followed the immemorial Oriental model of the bureaucratic monarchy. Eastern peoples took such regimes as a matter of course, and to them the Greeks gradually and reluctantly conformed, at least in central government. The Roman conquest was merely to substitute a world emperor for rival kings, and a single set of officials for several bureaucracies. This system of deified absolute monarchs finally triumphed in the West also, if not with Augustus, at least with
Diocletian. (2) URBAN COSMOPOLITANISM Alexandria was the largest of the Hellenistic cities. Nearly a million people dwelt in this Eastern metropolis of broad avenues, imposing multistoried buildings, and busy docks dominated by the Pharos lighthouse. Alexandria had a half million papyri rolls in its library, which attracted academies of scholars and scientists. It is not surprising, therefore, that this city should become the chief see of early Eastern Christendom, that here a famous catechetical school should be established, and that thence would emanate the most learned works of the primitive Church, works, however, often contaminated by philosophies of the pagan vicinity. Antioch on the Orontes was the Syrian metropolis. Though but half the size of Alexandria, it was also an influential city. It had a cosmopolitan population which included many Jews. Antioch was only a secondary center of learning, but a leading mart. Easy of access to Jerusalem, it can readily be seen how at Antioch "the disciples were first called Christians"; how here also a patriarchal see and catechetical academy would emerge; and how these latter would be prone to continue in ecclesiastical affairs and theology the old secular rivalry with Alexandria. Athens had lost its commercial supremacy to Ephesus, Miletus, Corinth, and boom towns of the Hellenistic Age, but had retained its fame as an intellectual center. All the educated, leisured, and business classes of these cities adopted a common language, outlook, customs, and pastimes; through these urban centers a veneer of Hellenism was laid on the Near East. "Trade and finance are stimulated by an enlarged area of the market, while the release of a great hoard of gold taken from the Persian emperor, aids the development of money and credit. Postal roads are available, highway maps are drawn. Boats are bigger, harbors are better, and Egypt or Rhodes sweeps the pirates off the sea for a time." Industry did exist in the large cities, but the competition of slaves prevented the free workmen from doing more than eke out a living. The riots and strikes of the latter were frequent, but seldom improved matters; the Hellenistic was a rich man's world. (3) RURAL CONSERVATISM Oriental peasants continued to live in their villages but slightly influenced by Hellenism. Many, especially in Egypt and Pergamum, were slaves on the domains of the magnates. For a century or more up to the time of Christ, these peasants were hounded by the publicans or taxfarmers from whom the Roman Empire belatedly freed them. The rural folk of these Oriental nations long remained averse to Christian as well as to Greek influence, and this unconverted national element would eventually take its revenge on both in the Monophysite and Mohammedan movements. D. Intellectual Contributions (1) HELLENIC PHILOSOPHY Early philosophers, as Maritain has pointed out, at first impressed by what strikes the senses, sought to determine the constitutive principles of the world. Unable to conceive of invisible principles, they began by assigning some sensible element, such as water, air, fire, as a universal material out of which all things were formed. Heraclitus, over-impressed by becoming, imagined everything in flux; Parmenides, concentrating upon stability, declared that everything was immutable being-thus were set the extreme limits of speculation. Pythagoras, however, rose to mathematical abstraction, and Anaxagoras suggested a ruling mind. Socrates recalled philosophy from the blind alley of Sophistry. By insisting on definition
of the essence, he directed speculation to a search for metaphysical truth. He pioneered in ethics, though his doctrine that knowledge begets virtue contains a fallacy. Socrates taught men bow to think, but did not himself construct a complete system of philosophy. Plato erected a brilliant but unsubstantial metaphysical world with the clues given him by Socrates. He attained to an Idea of the Supreme Good which all men should imitate. It was this achievement that recommended him to the Christian fathers, who found him easiest to adapt to Christian theology. Yet Platonism was erected on a false foundation of eternally subsisting real ideas, of which all sensible things are but the shadow. Purified later by St. Thomas as divine exemplars, these Platonic ideas would be of service, but first they contributed to the Origenist error of pre-existence of souls. St. Augustine's illuminist psychology is also traceable to a Platonic source. Platonic Ethics developed the Socratic; in sociology it commended absolute communism. If Platonism had unsubstantial foundations, it yet represented helpful progress toward a philosophia perennis. Aristotle successfully refuted most of the Platonic mistakes. A realistic metaphysician and experimental scientist, he supplied the profound concepts of pure act, the prime mover, potentiality and act, matter and form, the categories, the transcendentals, the four causes. in place of Platonic ideas he proposed a theory of universals gained by abstraction from the world of sense. In politics he criticized absolute communism and made an acute analysis of the types of government. Errors there were in Aristotle, but in essentials he built a philosophic basis for Thomistic theology. Yet for centuries the chief Aristotelian doctrines would be ignored or disfigured; only in the thirteenth century after Christ would he be styled "the Philosopher." (2) HELLENISTIC PHILOSOPHY Pragmatism. Hellenistic philosophers turned from speculative to practical philosophies more in keeping with the needs of their sensate, busy, and fatalistic age. The Stoics reverted to sensism, materialism, and pantheism. With some affinity for Oriental thought, Stoic ethics inculcated a morality aiming at insensibility or apathy to external surroundings. This did furnish a code of decency for a life terminable at death, and gave some hints for the philosophical expression of Christian morality, but more and more it degenerated into quietism and fatalism. The Epicureans, after explaining all things by chance concurrence of atoms, after relegating the gods to insouciance, after firmly denying an afterlife, bade men concentrate on making themselves happy. Though Epicurean theory enjoined a certain moderation in this, its practice tended to license. Scepticism. Sceptics, finally, by adopting an agnostic attitude toward everything, precluded genuine philosophy with their pose of bored indifference. With scepticism pre-Christian research turned full circle to the point where the ancients had begun. Latter day dilettantes asked of Christ: "What is truth?"
Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 A.D.) I. Preparation for the Church 4. Roman Preparation: Political Environment I Preparation for the Church 4. ROMAN PREPARATION: POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT A. Political Survey
(1) GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS Predominance of politics. In things of the mind Hellenistic civilization was paramount, and its influence was still alive when the Church was founded. But in political affairs the environment had changed. The Greek state was gone, incorporated into the Roman Empire. Adequate understanding of the Christian environment, therefore, demands examination of another secular culture, the Roman. "The Roman world is not so much theoretical or philosophical as practical. More specifically it is by nature political and finds its expression in the Roman State; in fact, one might say it is the Roman State. The Roman world is the world of the state, of administration, of politics. It is also the world of self-assurance and esteem for positive law and consequently possesses a strong sense of order and obedience to law. It possesses likewise a great appreciation for broad and comprehensive unity and for colonization." (2) THE ROMAN REPUBLIC Military expansion. The Italian tribes who invaded the Italian peninsula some thousand years before Christ were of the same race as the Hellenes. But Italy, in contrast to Greece, offered good prospects for agriculture, and but mediocre facilities for commerce. Early Italians became farmers, sober and conservative. Among them, the Roman city-state rose to leadership. Unlike Greek city-states, Rome gained willing subjects by bestowing on them in varying degrees the chief privileges of her citizenship. Then, provoked by the Carthaginian contention that the Mediterranean was a closed sea, Rome overthrew this power in a century of war to become mistress of the West. Shortly thereafter, as already outlined, circumstances invited intervention in the East. By 133 B.C. Rome had become the chief Mediterranean power. Social crises. But this constant acquisition of provinces overtaxed the digestive powers of republican government. The senatorial aristocracy and equestrian plutocracy, hitherto publicspirited, now exploited Roman dominions for their own advantage. A senatorial clique farmed out provinces and public lands to financeers and exploiters of the equestrian order, while their own large-scale Italian farms were worked by slaves taken in war. Thereby was created a class of landless and impoverished citizens who degenerated into city mobs to be cajoled by "bread and circuses." Further extension of Roman citizenship ceased, and subjects were governed for Rome's benefit. The Gracchi, indeed, tried to effect social reforms on behalf of the common people by resuming colonization. But their effort to convert the tribunate into a prime ministership provoked senatorial hostility: the privileged classes succeeded in blinding the fickle and selfish masses into repudiating their champions. Yet the cleavage between a wealthy oligarchy and an impotent democracy continued. Constitutional reform having failed, the stage was set for generals and demagogues to essay redress through dictatorship. For a half century or more, Marius, Sulla, and Pompey plunged Rome into civil war in reaching for power. Though unsuccessful, they prepared for the Empire founded by Julius Caesar and Octavian Augustus. (3) FOUNDATION OF THE EMPIRE First triumvirate. About 60 B.C., three political bosses formed an unofficial entente. Pompey belonged to the senatorial aristocracy but was temporarily at odds with it in his search for pensions for his troops for the civil wars were producing mercenaries. Crassus, a Roman Croesus, sought profitable contracts for himself and the equestrian order. Julius Caesar, impoverished aristocrat but persuasive demagogue, aspired to a military career. By pooling their resources this trio elected Caesar consul for 59. In office he paid his political debts and secured for himself the Gallic proconsulship. His genius used this for the conquest of all of Gaul, a feat that won him prestige and willing clients. Crassus, on the other hand, met death in a Parthian campaign in 53, thereby dissolving the triumvirate. Caesar's rise. The Senate, more in fear of Caesar than of Pompey, made overtures to
the latter to protect the status quo. Consul in Caesar's absence, he circumvented the latter's aspirations to a second consulship in 48 by revoking a previous exemption permitting him to campaign while still in office. If Caesar could be reduced to private life during his campaign it would be easy to indict him or assassinate him. Caesar proposed mutual renunciation of armies and office by Pompey and himself. When this offer was rejected, Caesar was not minded to avert civil war at the sacrifice of his career and life. To lead troops over the Rubicon from Gaul into Italy was tantamount to rebellion. Caesar argued with some plausibility that a senatorial clique was unconstitutionally thwarting the popular will; in any event, on the night of January 11, 49 B.C., he exclaimed: Alea jacta est, and crossed the Rubicon at the head of a legion. Brilliant, whirlwind campaigns culminated in a decisive victory over Pompey at Pharsalia, Greece, August, 48, though,'mopping up" operations required three more years. Caesar's achievement. From 49 to 44 B.C., Caesar ruled Rome by a variety of titles: dictator, consul, pontifex maximus, tribune, etc. But his real power lay in the fact that he was imperator: commander-in-chief of the legions. Popular intuition penetrated to the fact of the military dictatorship, and thus imperator or emperor became the distinctive title of the rulers of the new regime. Julius Caesar was in name and fact the first emperor: he sketched the constitution which his heir Augustus put into effect. The Republican magistrates continued to exist, but as subordinate and eventually honorary officials. The Senate, "packed" with leading provincials, remained an imperial council to advise but not to consent. The urban mob was reduced by colonization; unfortunately this course was not continued by Caesar's successors. Discharged veterans were also settled in the provinces, and citizenship increased from one to four millions. The Lex Julia Municipalis prepared the basis for a healthy local community life. Provincial governors were all named by the emperor and held to strict accountability. Tax farming was abolished and a census of imperial resources planned: Rome would henceforth consider the good of her provinces as well as her own. Mercenaries became an imperial standing army, well remunerated. Caesar's calendar would endure fifteen centuries. As pontifex maximus, Caesar united religious to secular authority; by sanctioning the statue of Venus Genetrix (Caesaris) he hinted 'that he aspired to divinity, But his "five year plan' was too rapid, too openly scornful of cherished traditions. Stubborn but narrow-minded reactionaries like Brutus and Cato slew him on the Ides of March, 44 B.C. (4) CONSOLIDATION OF THE EMPIRE Second triumvirate. Caesar's assassination did not bring back the Republic, but led to a second triumvirate of Caesar's heir, Octavius; his deputy, Mark Antony, and an opportune ally, Governor Lepidus. These avenged Caesar's murder by drastic executions. As the second-rate Lepidus was pushed into the background, friction loomed between the sober, calculating Octavius and the brilliant but unstable Antony. Octavius publicized the contest as one between West and East, between old Roman virtues and foreign innovations, represented by Antony's ally Cleopatra. Actium (31 B.C. favored the West, and Octavius, voted the cognomen Augustus in 27, regained his uncle's supreme and sole rule. Augustus now mellowed into a benevolent despot. During his long reign (31 B.c.-14 A.D. he put most of Caesar's ideas into execution, but profited by the Ides of March in that he cloaked dictatorship with constitutional forms. Instead of the title of rex to which Caesar had reputedly aspired, Augustus styled himself princeps: first citizen. The upper classes were given showy offices but an imperial bureaucracy run by freedmen grew in importance. With an army of 150,000 Augustus advanced and strengthened the frontiers. In this he met with but one check: in 9 A.D. Hermann annihilated the Roman general Varus at Teutoberg and thereby permanently withdrew the German lands from Roman conquest and culture. Administration, taxation, colonization, and extension of citizenship followed Caesar's plans, but more slowly. Augustus permitted divine honors to himself, thus deifying patriotism and making religious dissent high treason. In 9 B.C. this Princeps Augustus dedicated the Ara Pacis at Rome to symbolize restoration of public order; soon he would unwittingly command the register at Bethlehem of the
heavenly Princeps Pacis. The Julio-Claudians, inferior scions of Julius and Augustus, held the throne from 14 to 68, at least proving the imperial regime solid enough to survive bad rulers. Tiberius (14-37) was at first able and just, but degenerated into a suspicious, disillusioned misanthrope. Pontius Pilate preferred to deliver an innocent Victim to death rather than risk denunciation to such a master. Gaius Caligula (37-41) was a megalomaniac who threatened the Jews for sacrificing "for" rather than "to" him. Claudius (41-54) succeeded on Caligula's assassination. His mediocre reign yet saw bureaucratic advance and the conquest of Britain. in 49 he exiled Jews from Rome for rioting about a certain "Chrestus." Nero (54-68) ruled well for seven years under Seneca's guidance, but then became a brutal tyrant who yet courted popularity. To divert blame for the burning of Rome he made Christians, among them Sts. Peter and Paul, the scapegoats. Yet this did not save him from revolts during which he committed suicide. The Flavians restored order after a year of anarchy. Vespasian (69-79) reorganized administration and finances. He had begun the siege of Jerusalem (68-70) which his son Titus (79-81) completed. The latter's brother Domitian (81-96), at first up to Flavian standards of ability, developed morbid suspicions to which some Christians, including a cousin, Clemens, were sacrificed. Vigilance did not save him from assassination. The Antonines who succeeded in 96 gave the Empire a century of excellent rule, far beyond the period of Christian foundations. Here it suffices to note that the second Antonine, Trajan (98-117), seems to have been the first emperor to adopt a fixed policy of repression toward Christianity. B. Economic Conditions (1) AGRICULTURE Agrarian predominance. The Empire remained basically agrarian. Gradually, however, the independent farmers of Italy were forced out again by the great estates, the latifundia worked by slaves. The more enterprising freemen emigrated to the provinces where, along with native provincials, they survived as a hardy peasantry for two more centuries. Then, however, the latifundia, together with an oppressive rural regimentation and taxation, extended their economy throughout the Empire. When this occurred in the fourth and following centuries, medieval serfdom was at hand. Less energetic displaced persons continued to reinforce the city mob, fed at public expense. Sicily was Rome's public granary; when the capital was subsequently moved to Constantinople, Egypt took over this role. Egypt, administered on Ptolemaic lines, prepared the way for the Byzantine servile state. (2) INDUSTRY Manufacturing in the etymological sense was still the general rule. Most artisans worked in small shops, though there were some brick and pottery factories run by slaves. The abundance of slave labor and the lack of machinery prevented modern industrial mass production of specialized articles. The artisans had their guilds or collegia, but more for convivial and social purposes than to defend their rights. By organizing externally similar collegia, Christians could gain quasi-legal status which afforded them partial concealment and assured them decent burial. Skilled artisans organized, indeed, for purposes of monopoly, but in the declining days of the Empire their guilds were forced into a rigid, heavily taxed caste system. (3) COMMERCE The Pax Romana made roads and sea lanes secure. The Mediterranean hummed with traffic, though this avoided Rome itself. Puteoli, near Naples, where St. Paul landed, was Rome's
chief port. Romans had now entered trade, though it was chiefly administered through freedmen or slaves. Italian ports were less favored by merchants since they did not provide return cargoes for the luxuries imported from the East, Money was thus drained to the Orient, Parthia and Persia serving as middlemen between Rome and India and China. This unfavorable balance of trade may in part account for subsequent Roman debasement of coinage and partial substitution of barter. (4) FINANCE Partnership with personal and unlimited liability was the standard business unit. Capital was necessarily limited, for corporations or joint stock companies were allowed only for public works. There were no large banking concerns, but banks discounted notes, paid interest, made loans to provinces and foreign states. Their chief concern would be with real estate, for the Roman invested any surplus capital in land; even merchants who became wealthy aspired to retire to a country villa. C. Social and Moral Condition (1) DOMESTIC LIFE Marital laxity. Marriage had fallen from the strict ancient Roman connubium to a mockery. "Lack of sympathy," like modern "incompatibility," sufficed to terminate almost any marriage by divorce. Roman matrimony had been based on patriarchal institutions, not on religious conviction. When the old conventions deteriorated no curb to license remained. Adultery, concubinage, and unnatural crimes for which St. Paul took the Romans to task were rampant. Birth prevention and infanticide were alarmingly prevalent, and few wealthy families survived beyond three generations. What children there were, were entrusted to slaves for education. But slave morality, subject to a master's lust, was likely to be depraved, so that perversion in childhood might follow. In vain Augustus legislated against immorality and offered privileges to families of three children; he had to banish his own daughter and granddaughter for violation of his edicts. (2) PUBLIC LIFE Pleasure-seeking. A welter of obscenity was the rule in baths, theaters, stadia, and imperial and noble courts. "A prodigious contest in wickedness goes on; the greater the daily avidity of sinning, the less shame. Respect for better and more reasonable things cast aside, wherever one looks Just vaunts itself. Crimes are no longer furtive, but obvious, and evil is so much in public and so prevails in all hearts, that innocence is not rare, but nil." This pessimistic view of Seneca may have been but slightly exaggerated for the upper classes, though it is unlikely that the poor either could or would be guilty in equal measure. Slavery. The admitted grandeur of Rome rested on foundations of slavery. Slaves had no legal place in society: they were but chattels, things. Their souls and bodies, talents and chastity were at a master's disposal. Public authority need not be invoked to beat or slay them at home, or expose them for gladiatorial combat, or crucify them, And these slaves were undifferentiated from their masters by culture; in fact, they were often of superior education. Small wonder that the despair of the slave and the boredom of the freeman alike often terminated in suicide. In a moral sense, the whole Roman world seemed to be rushing to suicide in 42 A.D. when an unknown, lowly traveler trudged into the capital. It was Simon Peter of Bethsaida in Palestine, arrived to take possession of Rome as Christ's Vicar. Catholic Church History
Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 A.D.) I. Preparation for the Church 5. The Jewish Preparation: Religious Environment I Preparation for the Church 5. THE JEWISH PREPARATION: RELIGIOUS ENVIRONMENT A. Introduction (1) RELIGIOUS PREDOMINANCE Transitional note. Within this Graeco-Roman secular civilization, but not of it, was Judaism. Even before the Church encountered Greek philosophy and Roman politics, she had been established on a Jewish social and religious structure. Especially during the first generation of her existence the Christian Church lived in a predominantly Jewish environment. In truth, this Jewish influence was primarily religious, but the Jews made their contribution not in virtue of any intrinsic genius, but by reason of their choice by Providence as the vehicle for preserving the true religion until Christ's coming. God's part in this religious preparation has already been treated. Here, then, we are chiefly concerned with the instrumental role of the Jews themselves in preparing for the Church, that is, with those human characteristics used by God in making known His "good news" to men. Religious characteristics. "A prior two circumstances characterize the situation: First, Christianity did not come from Judaism from without, but sprang from its bosom; second, Judaism like Christianity was a purely religious system. It was not a monarchy or oligarchy purely, but rather a theocracy. God was the ruler of a chosen people, governing them through His law. For this reason the problems of Church history in the Jewish world are expressly religious in nature. The advantages which favored the rise of Christianity in the Jewish world as well as the disadvantages which threatened its existence and retarded its growth have their source in the strictly religious sphere." (2) ESTIMATE OF JEWISH INFLUENCE Advantages. "The main points of advantage are the following: (1) In Judaism religion was not a mere official appendage to the political system as in other ancient states but the mainspring of all political and popular activity. It was the end and purpose of every field and department of life. . . . Christianity too has this same end and aim. . . . 2) The entire teaching of Jesus centers in a claim that was intimately bound up with the whole history and religion of the Jews. In Rome His claim to be the Messiah foretold by the prophets would have been simply incomprehensible. . . . (3) In spite of every tendency toward monotheism among the non-Jewish peoples in ancient times, the Jews alone professed a moral monotheism that was pure and free from error, clearly expressed and free from vacillation. . . . Disadvantage. "Judaism, especially Palestinian Judaism, proved an obstacle to Christianity, because of its bigoted racial narrowness and its legalistic piety expressed through external works. . . . Divergence between Christianity and Judaism was reduced to one question: Is Christianity for all men or only for Jews with their works of the Law?" B. Racial History (1) HEBREW ORIGINS Abraham was called by God into Palestine from Ur to become ancestor of the Hebrews, themselves presumably named from Heber, Sem's grandson. Abraham's vocation, which probably took place about 2000 B.C., was confirmed in Palestine where "God made a covenant
with Abram" (Gen. 15:18). His descendants, nomadic herders, went to Egypt to escape famine, apparently during the domination of that land by their kindred, the Bedouin Hyksos (1800-1500). The native Theban dynasty which began to regain Egyptian independence about 1580 Naturally "knew not Joseph." Pharaoh Ikhanaton's unpopular solar monotheism may have owed something to Hebrew religion, so that reaction against it might have embraced the Hebrews, presently persecuted as fifth columnists. Moses received a divine commission to lead the Hebrews from Egypt. The pharaoh of the Exodus was probably Rameses II (1301-1234), According to a more recent dating of it at 1300-1290. For forty years of nomad existence in Arabia, Moses initiated his people into an augmented code and cult. But it was Josue bar Nun who finally led them into Canaan or Palestine which, with divine assistance, the united nation conquered from petty city-states. During several centuries the Hebrews lacked centralized government except that occasionally supplied by the judges, tribal chieftains sent by God to free them from oppression by their neighbors. Samuel, last of these judges, anointed Saul bar Cis as king. Then under three able monarchs, Saul, David, and Solomon (c. 1020-926) the Hebrews enjoyed a prosperous independence while their Egyptian and Babylonian neighbors were weak. Tribal schism, however, wrested ten tribes from the Davidic dynasty about 926. Thenceforth the Hebrews were divided among the rival principalities of Judea and Israel. Though Providence repeatedly preserved them from enemies, frequent religious apostasy at length delivered them into the hands of their foes. In 721 B.C., King Sargon of Assyria subdued Israel, deported many of its inhabitants, and colonized the land with aliens. The resulting Samaritans, mixed alike in blood and religion, were henceforth regarded by the Hebrews of Judea as heretical. But the latter themselves fell before King Nabuchodonosor of Babylonia in 586. Another deportation took place, but when the Persians in turn conquered Babylon in 539, they permitted some of the captives to return. The homecoming Hebrews, thereafter known as Jews, rebuilt their city and temple, and restored religious observances. To avoid future falls they rigidly separated themselves from alien influence by insistence on circumcision, Sabbath repose, and distinction of foods. Palestinian Jewry, therefore, became extremely nationalistic and exclusive. Many Hebrews, however, never returned to Palestine from these repeated deportations, while others were induced to migrate by over-population or commercial opportunities in the Hellenistic world. They and their descendants constituted the diaspora, estimated at four to five millions by the time of Christ. Though faithful to the essentials of Mosaic religion, these "dispersed" Jews became socially Hellenized and tended to be more broad-minded than their Palestinian brethren. (2) PALESTINIAN JEWRY The Hellenistic regime, unlike tolerant Persian rule, menaced Jewish institutions. It is true that the Egyptian Ptolemies, to whom Palestine was subject until 198, allowed autonomy under high priests. But Hebrew became so incomprehensible to the majority of Jews that the Septuagint version of the Bible was made into Greek at Alexandria, while Aramaic became the vernacular tongue in the homeland. The Syrian rulers to whom Judea fell in 198 were ardent Hellenizers. Antiochus IV Epiphanies (174-164) used traitors in the priesthood to introduce pagan cult into the Temple itself. Jewish home rule was declared by the Assideans, pious Jews, and their military leaders of the Asmonean family. A revolt was begun by Mathathias in 167, and continued by his sons, Judas Machabeus (166-161), Jonathan (161-143), and Simon (143-136). Judas rescued the Temple; Jonathan restored the high-priesthood in his family, and Simon secured recognition as autonomous prince-priest of Judea. He and his descendants gave Palestine a brief period of prosperity. Herodians. The last of these Asmoneans, John Hyrcanus II (77-40), survived only by
becoming Rome's client, He named the Idumean Antipater his prime minister, and the latter's son, Herod the Great, supplanted the Asmoneans by shrewd diplomacy. Then at last did the " sceptre pass from Juda" to a descendant of Esau, a sign that "He who was to be sent" was at hand. Though Herod enlarged the Temple, he never gained his subjects' love. Ever in fear of plots, he killed three of his sons and finally the Innocents of Bethlehem. Augustus confirmed Herod's will dividing his dominions among three sons: Archelaus (4 B.C.-6 A.D.) in Judea-Samaria; Herod Antipas in Galilee-Perea till 39; and Philip in Iturea until 34. With the last Christ did not come into contact; Herod Antipas was the Baptist's murderer and would-be judge of Christ. Archelaus was deposed by Augustus on Jewish complaints of despotism. Roman rule then appeared undisguised in a series of procurators, lieutenant-governors under the Syrian proconsuls. They reserved capital punishment to themselves, but delegated jurisdiction over religious questions to the high priests. The office of the latter became political, and Annas (6-15) even after his retirement dominated five sons and a son-in-law, Caiphas (2637), whom he placed in the high priesthood. Procurator Pontius Pilate (26-36) was a ruler of good intentions, vacillating between bungling benevolence and hasty violence. Already fearful of denunciation to the dread Tiberius for mismanagement, he yielded Christ to Jewish demands. Another blunder in 36 led to his recall in disgrace; legend has him commit suicide in Vienne, Gaul. It is likely that Stephen was stoned during the vacancy before his successor's arrival. A grandson of Herod the Great, Herod Agrippa won the Jewish throne through Claudius's favor, but after his brief reign (41-44) the procuratorial system was restored, though Agrippa's son of the same name was conceded custody of the Temple. Fall of Jerusalem. Rapacious Roman governors provoked the Jewish nationalists, the "Zealots," until Roman intolerance and Pharasaic fanaticism clashed in a Great Revolt (66-70) which ended in the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple. Josephus attests the fulfillment of Christ's prophecy, for the Temple was "so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited" (Wars, VII, 1). By 73 the last Palestinian stronghold had surrendered and Titus could carry the seven-branch candlestick in triumph through Rome, where the scene remains depicted on the Arch of Titus. Martial law imposed on Palestine provoked another futile revolt (132-35) under BarKochba which provoked terrible reprisals. Jerusalem was converted into the Roman colony of Aelia Capitolina, a temple to Jupiter erected on the site of the Temple, and the Palestinian Jew, denied access to the Holy City, followed his brethren of the Diaspora as a wanderer on the face of the earth. C. Social-Religious Institutions (1) PALESTINIAN CHARACTERISTICS Palestinian Jewry numbered about a million adherents at the time of Christ. The Sanhedrin was the supreme council which theoretically had jurisdiction over Jews everywhere, but in practice ruled only in Palestine. Once composed of priests and elders, it later included some doctors of the Law. Its total membership was seventy-one, including the high priest who normally presided. Only the Roman procurators could override the decisions of the Sanhedrin which ordinarily settled all legal and religious questions. It pronounced Christ's condemnation, but had to obtain authorization from Roman authority for the desired capital punishment. The priests were numerous and took turns in serving the Temple. As sole ministers of sacrifice, they continued to have influence and prestige. The scribes, however, had come to share their position by undertaking the interpretation of the Law. It was their function to expound the Mosaic Code and apply it to current conditions. Either rigorists of the school of Schammai, or milder exegetes of Hillel's viewpoint, their casuistry and formalism were notorious, stigmatized for all time by Christ's reproaches.
The Pharisees, though only a minority, had the greatest popular following. They were a religious party, successors of the Assidean patriots. They prided themselves on knowing the Law more exactly than anyone else both in its texts and traditions. The Pharisees were adamant in preserving Judaism from any pagan stain. Hence they exaggerated rules of legal impurity and all precepts setting the Jew apart from the Gentile. Though substantially orthodox, they tended to become formalists and even hypocrites whenever their code of minute prescriptions could not be observed. Provided religious liberty was safe, they professed indifference to politics. Those of the party--increasingly numerous after Christ--who championed national independence were known as the Zealots; the Pharisee himself was a pious idealist. The Sadducees, on the contrary, were aristocratic "realists." These disciples of the High Priest Sadoc comprised a majority of the priests, especially the high priests, but the scribes were usually Pharisees. joined with the religious leaders were those wealthy classes who sought favor with the foreigner for business or social reasons. The Sadducees were influenced by this fraternization, for they at least minimized providence, denied the existence of angels and the resurrection of the dead, and rejected the prophets. Though they scorned pharisaic exegesis, on what they regarded as the essentials of the Law they could be severe. Those Sadducees who frankly and actively co-operated with the Idumeans seem to have been called Herodians. The Essenes, not mentioned in the New Testament, were a sort of religious order. These "silent ones" retired from the world to the borders of the Dead Sea to practice rigid asceticism. Their oath of secrecy still binders complete knowledge of their practices. They or a similar sect have recently received posthumous notoriety as conservators of scriptural manuscripts contained in the Dead Sea Scrolls. (3) THE DIASPORA Social condition. The four or five million Jews of the dispersion throughout the Roman Empire maintained their connection with Jerusalem by pilgrimages and contributions. Though they might enjoy special privileges, imperial authority still regarded them as aliens. Their presence in most imperial cities, however, attracted some sincere seekers of religious truth. A few of these became proselytes observing the whole Law, but more often "those who feared God" confined themselves to the Jewish moral code. In any event, these links with the Gentile world would be of immense service to the apostles when they sought to spread the Gospel beyond the chosen people. Synagogue organization. Deprived of ready access to the Temple, the Dispersed resorted to synagogues, places of prayer. Here they assembled not only for prayer, but for readings from the Bible and homilies pronounced by leaders of the synagogue or some distinguished visiting scribe, like St. Paul. Scribes, if any were present, conducted the services. Officers were the archisynagogus or leader, and the hyperetes or server. The synagogue became the center of Jewish religious and social life, and St. Paul frequently made his opening address there. Foreign influences were naturally greater among the Dispersed, but throughout Judaism there had been no essential change in the Mosaic religion. Whatever social or linguistic concessions he might make to Hellenism, the Jew was still devoted to the Law. Only a few, like Josephus and Philo, took liberties with the traditional cult. The latter tried to blend Platonism and Stoicism with the Mosaic Law, or more exactly, to expound the Law for pagans in their philosophical terms. (3) MESSIANIC EXPECTATION Belief in the coming of a Messiah was general throughout Jewish communities. But though a minority expected a spiritual regeneration, the majority had colored the prophetic portrait
of the Messiah with worldly lineaments. His functions were represented in an apocalyptic or even materialistic sense. He was to be the conqueror who would free Jewry and make the Gentiles subject to a new Jewish kingdom. Few, if any, understood the expiatory role of the "Servant of Yahweh." And so, for the most part, "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not" (John 1:11).
Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 A.D.) II. Foundation of the Church (27-107)
6. King of the Church: Jesus Christ (27-30) II Foundation of the Church 6. KING OF THE CHURCH: JESUS CHRIST A. Prologue: The King's Coming Theme: "When the fullness of time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons" (Gal. 4:4). Introduction: Divine Providence, then, chose for the Incarnation that fullness of time when mankind had been sufficiently prepared to profit by the complete revelation through Christ. In this case, as St. Thomas says, the imperfect preceded the perfect that men might be able to appreciate the latter; it would not have been well, however, to postpone Christ's coming until the end of the world, for if mankind were left entirely to itself, "the knowledge and reverence of God and moral righteousness would have been effaced from the earth" (Summa theol., IIIa, q. 1, a. 6). Therefore, "Jesus came in the fullness of time. The profound philosophical and historical meaning of this sublime thought of St. Paul becomes evident only if we bear in mind that this fullness had been attained in every field of culture." The Nativity. "A decree went forth from Caesar Augustus that a census of the whole world should be taken. This first census took place while Cyrinus was governor of Syria. And all were going, each to his own town, to register. And Joseph also went from Galilee out of the town of Nazareth into Judea to the town of David . . . to register, together with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child. And it came to pass while they were there, that the days for her to be delivered were fulfilled, and she brought forth her first born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn" (Luke 2:1-7). Chronology. The date of this central event of history is assigned tentatively with La Grange to December 25, 749 A.U.C., or 5 B.C. It is certain that Herod the Great died in 750 A.U.C.; Christ's birth, according to the Gospels, must have taken place previously. For the month and day, there is almost no evidence save St. Augustine's vague allusion to an "ancient tradition" in favor of the present liturgical date. As to the year, the census of Cyrinus-for which La Grange proposed a legitimate alternate, "this census was made before that of Cyrinus, the governor of Syria"-could have been between 8 and 4 B.C. But the years 5 or 6 B.C. best fit in with St. Luke's information that Christ was "about thirty years old" when He began His public ministry. As the "fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar" remains ambiguous-for it can be dated from coregency or sole rule-this date also remains approximate. Most scholars assign the opening of the public ministry to the autumn of 27 or 28, depending on their estimates of two or three years for Christ's preaching. St. John's clue of 46 years of Temple construction (John 2:20), going back to
Herod's eighteenth year (20-18 B.C.) would suggest the earlier of these dates. Finally, as already noted, we have adopted April 7, 30 A.D. as a tentative working date for the fulfillment of Christ's sacerdotal sacrifice. B. The King's Mission (1) ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE KINGDOM The Herald. "In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was procurator of Judea, and Herod tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip his brother tetrarch of the district of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zachary, in the desert. . . . In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the desert of Judea, and saying: 'Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at band"' (Luke 3:1-3; Matt. 3:1-2). The Savior. With this solemn announcement, Church history proper opens, for "Kingdom of Heaven" will be Christ's term for His Church. Christ began by setting His followers an example of baptism; not to sanctify Himself, but as St. Ignatius says (Ephesians, 18), to bless water that it might be instrumental in cleansing sin. Then did God the Father attest Christ's royal commission: "This is My beloved Son; bear ye Him." Then also did the New Adam retire to the desert to challenge Satan, the "prince of this world," who had usurped rule over men since the first Adam's fall. Victorious, Christ was hailed by John the Baptist: "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). Pioneer disciples. Two of John's own disciples, Andrew bar Jona and John bar Zebedee, left him to follow the Messias-it may be appropriate, then, that the Church begins her liturgical year near the feast of St. Andrew, proto-disciple. But if first in time, he was not to be first in dignity; the next day be brought his brother Simon to Christ. The Lord looked this ignorant fisherman full in the face, and said with prophetic play on words: "Thou art Simon, the son of John; thou shalt be called Cephas, which interpreted is Peter [Rock]" (John 1:42). The Church's elements were at hand. (2) PREACHING OF THE KINGDOM Christ outlined His Kingdom in parables, lest premature plain speech might excite Jews expecting a militant Messias to a perversion of His spiritual mission. These parables, now seen to be profound in meaning, were even then intellectually stimulating. They afforded all men of good will the incentive to further inquiry which would obtain from Jesus or His apostles the saving knowledge of the Kingdom. At the same time they allowed the ill-disposed a pretext for rejection and opposition, for it was never God's plan to force men's free will. in fact, in making known the New Testament of charity God forsook the awesome height of Sinai for the gentle slopes of the mount of the Beatitudes. Christ's word is like a seed sown on different kinds of soil by Himself and His disciples. The seed is free; its growth depends on human correspondence with God's grace. Some men will be robbed of it by the devil; others will hear with joy but faint at the sacrifices required; some will hear only to stop their ears again with the cares, riches, and pleasures of life; others, at length, will both hear and bring forth fruit to eternal life: thirtyfold, sixtyfold, or a hundredfold according to the mysteries of grace and free will (Matt. 13). Christ's Church is like a seed cast into the earth and forgotten. Yet unsuspected by men, this seed will germinate, for the King can make use even of bad or indifferent instruments to spread it unwittingly. Not even the faithful disciple will fully comprehend the divine dynamite in the Good News of the Kingdom: the sermon be thought a failure will touch some heart; the time in the confessional he believed wasted will reclaim some soul. For it is not his seed, but the King's.
The Church is like a seed growing up among cockle sown by Antichrist: the devil and his minions. Nor will this cockle be eradicated in this life: the Church will always exist in a world more or less alien to her, one with which some of her weaker members will sympathize. The Church is like a mustard seed, small in the beginning, but growing beyond men's expectation: stretching out its branches in all walks of life, all provinces of knowledge, all lands of the earth, so that rulers, philosophers, scientists, reformers will dwell under its shade. The Church is like leaven put into dough. The yeast is not swallowed up by the heavy mixture, but when allowed, raises it up above itself and pervades it with its efficacy, keeping alive the image of God in man. The Church is like a treasure hidden in the field of human lore. Men not given faith from birth will find it, and appreciating its surpassing worth, will preserve it though they have to sacrifice for it all they have of wealth, power, and reputation. The Church is like a net, cast into the sea of human beings, catching alike good, bad, and indifferent. She will do her best for them; bear with them, be calumniated on account of them, until the day of final separation, the day of the King's second coming in judgment. The Church is like a householder, then, bringing forth dogmas and morals, both new with Christ's charity, and old according to the irrevocable moral code of Yahweh. (Matt., chap. 13; Mark, chap. 4) (3) DOCTRINAL SKETCH OF THE KINGDOM Christ's Theology: Christ is God: "For from God I came forth and have come . . . before Abraham came to be, I am" (John 8:42, 58). He is a member of a homogeneous Trinity, commanding baptism "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19). He declared that I and the Father are one" (John 10:30); hence, "no one knows the Son except the Father, nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and him to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him" (Matt. 11:27). Equally intimate are Christ's relations with the Holy Spirit: "When the Advocate has come, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness concerning Me. . . . He will glorify Me, because He will receive of what is mine and declare it to you" (John 15:26; 16:14). All three Persons, however, constitute but one God, and this "God is spirit, and they who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). Christ's Economy: Christ, Son of God, but also "Son of Man came to save what was lost . . . not . . . to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many" (Matt. 18:11; 20:28). The great effect of redemption will be the prospect of eternal life for mankind: I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me, even if be die, shall live, and whoever lives and believes in Me, shall never die" (John 11:25-26). The fruits of redemption are to be applied to men through the sacraments: "Unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God" (John 3:5); "except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has life everlasting and I will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:54-55). These sacraments are administered by men endowed with Christ's powers: "Do this in remembrance of Me" (Luke 22:19). "Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them, and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained" (John 20:23). In short, all human salvation requires an infused supernatural principle of grace: "I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). Christ's Law: "Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (Matt. 5:17). Greater perfection, however, is now demanded: "A new commandment I give you, that you love one another: that as I have loved you, you also love one another. By this will all men know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another"
(John 13:34-35). But the test of this love is always obedience: "He who does the will of My Father in heaven shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matt. 7:21). "In this manner therefore shall you pray: 'Our Father, who art in heaven"' (Matt. 6:9). Christ's challenge is to humility and suffering: "Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart. . . . If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matt. 11:29; 16:24). Christian destiny: "The hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs shall hear the voice of the Son of God. And they who have done good shall come forth unto resurrection of life; but they who have done evil unto resurrection of judgment" (John 5:28-29). Finally, "heaven and earth will pass, but My words will not pass away" (Mark 13:31). (4) ORGANIZATION OF THE KINGDOM Christ is King of the Church, the permanent, though later the invisible head of His mystic body which is the Catholic Church. He is the vine and His followers are the branches; without Him they can effect nothing. Though these members are spiritually inadequate of themselves, as was repeatedly demonstrated during the public ministry and the Passion, Christ will infuse into this embryo a soul, the Holy Spirit, who will teach them all things and lead them into all truth (John, chap. 16). Christ's Viceroy will be Peter. This Church will be built on Simon bar Jona, supernaturally reconstituted as Peter, that Rock against which rains will come and floods surge, and winds blow, and the very powers of hell will beat-but in vain, for this Rock is a man and an institution strengthened by Christ (Matt., chap. 16; cf., chap. 7). Simon the man will yet give proof of personal weakness, but "once converted" by Christ's grace, Peter the viceroy will "confirm his brethren" with infallible teaching (Luke, chap. 22). Finally this Peter, having atoned for a threefold denial by a threefold profession of loving allegiance to his King and Master, will be given the keys of the Kingdom: be and his successors will be custodians of the sheepfold of the Good Shepherd (John, chap. 21; cf., chap. 10). Christ's legates a latere, His apostles, will be authentic teachers and rulers of the Church under Peter. They will be the light shining in the darkness of error, the salt giving heavenly savor against the putrefaction of vice (Matt., chap. 5). Under Peter, they, too, will bind and loose from sin and censure, and if anyone will not hear them, he should be regarded as the Jews esteemed the heathen and publican (Matt., chap. 18); yes, "be who hears you, hears Me, and he who rejects you, rejects Me; and he who rejects Me, rejects Him who sent Me" (Luke 10:16). The Church is one, despite these hierarchical distinctions, as God the Father and God the Son are one, for "one is your Master, and you are all brothers." The Church will remain one with Christ that the world may know that God has truly sent His divine Son; for of themselves men will always disagree and separate, while God alone can bestow that unity and peace that the world cannot give. The Church will so be one with Christ that He will accept her trials as His own: "Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute Me?" (Acts 9:4). The world, indeed, will hate the Church because it hated Christ for opposing its selfish maxims, but let this Church, this relatively "little flock," have confidence, for Christ has overcome the world; and, as Christ defeated sin and death, so shall the Church (John, chap. 17). (5) PROCLAMATI0N OF THE KINGDOM Christ's divine legation. Throughout His public ministry, Christ spoke with increasing clearness of His divine commission, reaching a climax in His last sermon on Tuesday before His Passion: "I have not spoken on my own authority, but He who sent Me, the Father, has commanded me what I should say and what I should declare . . ." (John 12:49). Finally it was during His Passion that Christ published His claims to divinity with unmistakeable plainness and
authority: His was the unimpeachable sincerity of a "martyr," that is, a "witness" to the truth. Declaration to the Jews. Caiphas, chief of Judaism, high priest of the old and dying Covenant, interrogated Jesus Christ, high priest of the New and perfect Testament: "I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us if thou art the Christ, the Son of God?" Jesus replied with utmost clarity: "I am" (Matt. 26:63; Mark 14:62). This was received with the scandalized comment, still the view of many Jews, "He has blasphemed." Declaration to the Gentiles. Pilate, Roman governor, representative of imperial authority, spokesman for paganism, in turn demanded of Christ, the coming Lord of the world, acknowledgment of His claim: "Thou art a king then?" For men of all ages came the calm reply: "Thou sayest it; I am a king. This was why I was born, and why I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice." And this was greeted with the cynical retort, still the opinion of many Gentiles, "What is truth?" (John 18:37-38). For all men of good will, however, there remain historical facts which no "higher criticism" can erase: testimony sealed in death, confirmed by resurrection from the tomb, banded down by witnesses who wrote in blood, demonstrated by miracles, whether exceptions from physical laws, or those superhuman "moral miracles" which cannot be denied in the aggregate without repudiating history and all human testimony. Redemptive Passion. Outside Jerusalem, at Golgotha, "place of the Skull"-of Adam perhaps, of fallen mankind surely-the evangelists relate with stark simplicity: "They crucified Him there. . . . From the sixth hour there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. . . . He said: 'It is consummated' . . . and crying with a loud voice, said: 'Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit' . . . and bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. . . . And behold the curtain of the Temple was rent in two from top to bottom . . . and the centurion said, 'Truly He was the Son of God."' Then the Jewish leaders, "departing, made the sepulchre sure"-well termed by Bishop Sheen the most ironical sentence written (cf. John, chap. 19; Luke, chap. 23; Matt., chap. 27). (6) FOUNDATION OF THE KINGDOM Victorious Resurrection. "Now when He had risen from the dead early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene" (Mark 16:9). Christ Himself implanted unshakable conviction in His apostles: "'Peace be to you! It is I, do not be afraid . . . for a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have"' (Luke 24:36, 39). At length even doubting Thomas shared the conviction of the apostles who would dare assert to the Jews and the Sanhedrin itself: "But God raised Him on the third day and caused Him to be plainly seen . . . by witnesses designated beforehand by God, that is, by us" (Acts 10:40-41). St. Paul could stake all on Christ's resurrection: "If Christ has not risen, vain then is our preaching, vain too is your faith. . . . But Christ has risen from the dead" (1 Cor. 15:14, 20). Impressed by such unimpeachable testimony, St. Ignatius could argue on the eve of martyrdom; "If, then, as some atheists--infidels-say, He suffered only in appearance . . . why am I bound? why do I long to be thrown to the beasts? Do I die in vain? Have I testified falsely to the Lord?" (Smyrneans, 1-7.) Final delegation. The risen Christ fulfilled the organizational plan already sketched. He created His hierarchy in the Cenacle: "As the Father has sent me, I also send you. . . . Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them . . ." (John 20:21-23). Within forty days of the Resurrection, one morning after breakfast on the shore of the Galilean Lake, Christ exacted of Peter his threefold pledge of love, rewarding Him with a triple commission to care for His flock: lambs, little sheep, adult sheep-all without exception. At length, in the Galilean region, "Jesus drew near and spoke to them saying, 'All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them . . . teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world.' . . . And it came to pass as He blessed them, that He parted from them and was carried up into heaven" (Matt. 28:18-20; Luke 24:51).
C. Epilogue: The King's Abiding Christ's Mystic Body. "'Behold I am with you all days even unto the consummation of the world.' If you ask the Catholic Church to tell us, according to her own notion of herself, what constitutes her essential nature and what is the substance of her self-consciousness, she answers us through the mouth of the greatest of her teachers, that the Church is the realization on earth of the kingdom of God. 'The Church of today, of the present, is the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of heaven' such is the emphatic assertion of St. Augustine. The 'kingdom of heaven' and 'kingdom of God' taken up from the prophecy of Daniel and proclaimed by Christ, that kingdom which grows great like the mustard seed, and like leaven permeates the world, and which like a field of corn shelters both wheat and cockle until the harvest, this 'kingdom of heaven,' is, so the Church believes, implanted in her own being and there manifested. The Church believes that she is the manifestation of that newness, that supernature, and that divinity which come in with the kingdom of God, the manifestation of holiness. She is the new supernatural reality brought by Christ into the world and arrayed in the garment of the transitory; she is the divine attesting itself under earthly veils. . . Christ the Lord is the real self of the Church." Conclusion: When, accordingly, we leave this feeble and abbreviated recapitulation of Christ's own mission-the thorough treatment of Karl Adam, Spirit of Catholicism, trans. Justin McCann (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1929), pp. 14-30. which is the proper subject of scriptural manuals-in order to pursue the history of the Catholic Church, it will merely be to leave Christ for Christ. In His mystical body which is the Church Christ continues His mission in the world, and here in all essentials, "Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, and today, yes, and forever" (Heb. 13:8). Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 A.D.) II. Foundation of the Church 7. The King's Viceroy: Petrine Primacy (30-67) II Foundation of the Church 7. THE KING'S VICEROY: PETRINE PRIMACY A. Petrine Primacy at Jerusalem (30-50) (1)CHRISTIAN BEGINNINGS (30-36) Church of the Cenacle. According to the chronology adopted, the date of Christ's Ascension would be May 18, 30. On this day the Church numbered some 620 members: about 500 in Galilee and 120 in Jerusalem. With Christ's visible departure, ecclesiastical leadership fell to His viceroy and legates. "All these with one mind continued steadfastly in prayer with the women and Mary, the Mother of Jesus" (Acts 1:14). Mary would be mother of Christ's mystic body as well as of His physical. The first disciplinary act of the apostolic college under Peter's presidency was to provide for its perpetuation: the disciple Matthias was promoted to the apostolic office vacated by the treason and death of Judas of Kerioth (Acts 1:15). Pentecostal initiative. Pentecost, May 28, galvanized the Church and her hierarchy into action. Though she already had her invisible bead, Christ, and a visible bead in Peter, she remained lifeless until the Holy Spirit, soul of the mystic body, descended on the Cenacle. At once Peter preached the first sermon of the Church to a group of Pentecostal pilgrims from the Diaspora. He recalled the Messianic prophecies fulfilled in Christ, and his words were accorded a divine unction, for on that very day the Christian membership was increased by 3,000. For
continued stress on the Lord's resurrection, several apostles were arrested. But the Sanhedrin eventually dismissed them, first with an admonition, and then with corporeal punishment. The Jewish leaders feared to provoke both Rome and the people by another tumult, and the conscientious Gamaliel was advising caution. But miracles brought human calculations to naught, and the Church increased rapidly. Clerical recruitment. In consequence, the apostles became so occupied with preaching and the ministration of sacraments, that they could not easily attend to the details of temporal administration. Christian converts, for the most part poor and disowned, had pooled their resources. But disputes arose between Palestinian Jews and those of the Diaspora about distribution of the common property. Accordingly the apostles conferred a portion of the sacrament of holy orders on seven men nominated by the community; these became diaconoi: deacons or servants of the poor, and apostolic assistants in temporal affairs (Acts, chap. 6). When it became necessary to delegate sacerdotal powers as well, the apostles ordained priests as their spiritual aides; before long we hear of presbyteroi other than the apostles (Acts 11:30; 15:4). Missions. St. Stephen, one of the new deacons from the Diaspora, was less considerate than the apostles of Palestinian traditions and an irate mob, possibly taking advantage of an interregnum between Pilate and Marcellus, made him the Church's first martyr. Persecution dispersed some Christians to Samaria where Peter and John are found confirming those baptized by Deacon Philip, and rejecting simony incarnate (Acts, chaps. 7-8). This missionary expansion prompted the Sanhedrin's agent, Saul of Tarsus, to extend the dragnet to Damascus. But on the way this fiery Pharisee met the King in person, and accepted a divine commission to become the Apostle Paul. After presenting his credentials to Peter, be retired to mystic communion with Jesus pending his own hour. The apostolic college was complete; the patriarchs of the New Testament had all been chosen to provide the foundation of the Church upon Christ as cornerstone (Acts, chap. 9). (2) EPIPHANY OF CATHOLICITY (36-42) Gentile conversion. De jure, the Church had been instituted for all men; de facto, up to this time all its members were Jews. Now the Christian Church, potentially universal, actually manifested its catholicity, though not without discussion and argument. About 40, St. Peter set out upon an episcopal visitation. At Caesarea be received the request of the centurion Cornelius for admission to the Church. Reminded by vision of the Church's universality, St. Peter baptized Cornelius. Some Jewish Christians made some demur at this, but were silenced by Peter's detailed explanation. Yet many probably considered this an exceptional case, and there is no indication, moreover, that Cornelius did not adopt Mosaic practices. Thus a misunderstanding remained latent in the Palestinian community: Gentiles might be converted to the Church, but this ought likewise involve embracing Judaism. Herodian persecution. The persecution begun with St. Stephen's martyrdom seems to have subsided, perhaps because the Jews were distracted by Emperor Gaius's threat to erect his statue in the Temple. But Herod III Agrippa (41-44), client prince of Judea by Claudius's favor, sought to ingratiate himself with his new subjects by launching another persecution against Christians. In this James bar Zebedee became the first apostle to suffer martyrdom, and St. Peter himself was rescued only by angelic intervention. This persecution died out with Herod and the restoration of Roman procurators (Acts, chap. 12). Once again adversity had but spread the Christians more widely, this time among the Gentiles. Dispersal of the apostles to their worldwide missions took place about this time, if we credit Clement of Alexandria's statement that Christ had instructed them: "After twelve years you shall go forth into the world lest anyone say: 'We have not heard'" (Stromata,VI, 5). Antiochian Catholicity. In any event many Christians had gone to Antioch to escape
persecution so that the Church's horizon had widened. This Gentile environment called Paul from retirement and he and Barnabas made many converts from paganism. The entry of the latter into the Church necessitated a distinctive name for members of the new religion, hitherto confounded with Judaism in Gentile minds. Thus it came about that "in Antioch . . . the disciples were first called Christians" (Acts 11:26). This pagan nickname was gladly accepted by Christ's viceroy (1 Peter 4:16) and so became general. Hitherto Jerusalem had been St. Peter's headquarters. According to the Liber Pontificalis, he then held the see of Antioch for seven years. If St. Peter went to Rome in 42, his Antiochian episcopate would seem to date from 35. This accords with the chronology of the Acts, nor is the seven years' stay at all certain. It is sufficient to state that at some time prior to or contemporaneous with his Roman episcopate, St. Peter also supervised the see of Antioch. It would seem likely that with Christian expansion from the Palestinian cradle, St. Peter may have transferred his headquarters first from Jerusalem to Antioch, a Hellenistic metropolis, and finally to Rome itself. He certainly supervised the organization of the church at Antioch as apostle and primate, but need not be termed its bishop -- Eusebius's exact words are: "On the death of Evodius, who was the first bishop of Antioch, Ignatius was appointed the second" (History, 111, 22). St. Peter could have founded the Antiochian hierarchy and then gone on to Rome, leaving Evodius as his vicar. (3) JUDAIZING CRISIS (42-50) Origin of dispute. During his first missionary journey, St. Paul had been hampered by the Mosaic persuasions of Jewish Christians; when be returned to Antioch, he found Judaizers active there. Silenced for a time by Cornelius's admission, they were now alarmed at multiplication of Gentile conversions. These converted Pharisees not only continued to observe the entire Mosaic ceremonial themselves, but insisted that: "Unless you be circumcised after the manner of Moses, you cannot be saved" (Acts 15:1). The dogmatic issue was serious. Did Christ's Redemption suffice for salvation, or must all become Jews before embracing Christianity? Apostolic council. Fully aware of the importance of the question, St. Paul beaded a delegation from Antioch to Jerusalem. Here about 50 A.D. he found St. James bar Alpheus, now bishop of the Holy City, and St. Peter, who had possibly left Rome upon Claudius's expulsion of Jews in 49. These apostles at least, and probably St. John, constituted the Council of Jerusalem, pattern of all succeeding ecclesiastical assemblies. Both parties to the dispute presented their views and discussion became heated. Were the Church but a democratic congregation, the difference could have dissolved it into warring factions. But "when there had been much disputing," St. Peter delivered an ex cathedra decision: "We believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus." And then, the Acts add significantly, "the whole meeting quieted down." All that remained was to put the decision into execution. St. James made an address, not to confirm Peter's decision, but to propose prudent formulas for implementing it without undue shock to Jewish conservatism. Accordingly four disciplinary canons were drawn up, enjoining that all Christians abstain from: (1) "things sacrificed to idols"; (2) "blood"; (3) "what is strangled"; and (4) "immorality." The first three were temporary prohibitions, regulations of the Mosaic Law applicable even to strangers dwelling among the Jews; hence the propriety of retaining them as long as Jew and Gentile intermingled in the new Christian communities. The fourth canon, Prat opines, refers to marriage with blood relatives. If so, it marks a beginning of ecclesiastical matrimonial impediments. The Council communicated both dogmatic decision and disciplinary prescriptions authoritatively: "For the Holy Spirit and we have decided." For all of docile disposition, the Judaizing crisis was over; obstinate Judaizers gathered into a sect denounced by St. John (Rev; chaps. 2, 3) and St. Ignatius of Antioch (Magnesians, 8). Antiochian echo. Apparently soon after the Apostolic Council, Sts. Peter and Paul met at Antioch. St. Peter followed the conciliar decrees in practice by dining with Gentile converts, but when some Palestinian extremists appeared he withdrew from contact with the Gentile to avoid scandalizing the Palestinians. St. Paul, quick to appreciate Gentile mentality, and realizing the force of St. Peter's example, " withstood him to his face" (Gal. 2:11). St. Paul's action is no
objection to papal primacy, but rather confirms it. St. Peter was guilty merely of trying too hard to please everybody. Even so, St. Paul cites this incident to the Galatians as proof of his courageous defense of their interests; evidently this Peter is formidable even for St. Paul. B. Petrine Primacy at Rome (42-67) (1) ROMAN EPISCOPATE Petrine assertion. That St. Peter was the first bishop of Rome is historically certain. He himself sent greetings from "the church which is at Babylon" (1 Peter 5:13). Since the Babylonian captivity, this term in Jewish circles indicated a persecutor of their nation. Besides St. John the Apostle noted below, other writers confirm the identification with Rome in this instance. Clement of Alexandria says explicitly: "Peter mentions Mark in his first epistle which they say he also wrote in Rome, as be indicates where be calls the city figuratively Babylon" (Eusebius, History, II, 15). Apostolic recognition. Writing to the Romans about 57 or 58, St. Paul assured them of his desire to visit them, though he has not been in a hurry to do so as "I have not preached this Gospel where Christ has already been named, lest I might build on another man's foundation" (Rom. 15:20). This "other man," all tradition affirms, must have been Peter. St. John, moreover, writing after the martyrdom of Sts. Peter and Paul at Rome, after an allusion to Rome a "Babylon the great . . . on seven mountains," exclaims: "Make merry over her, O heaven, and you the saints and apostles and the prophets, for God has judged your cause upon her" (Apoc. 17:5, 9; 18:20). Patristic confirmation. St. Clement of Rome, writing about 96 regarding the Neronian persecution, asserted that "Peter by reason of unrighteous envy endured not one or two, but many trials, and so, having borne testimony, passed to his appointed place of glory." This took place "among us"; i.e., at Rome (2 Corinthians 5). St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, the only see that might plausibly challenge Roman primacy, yet assures the Romans that: "I do not command you as Peter and Paul did," and enthusiastically salutes that church "which presides in the region of the Romans" (Romans, 1, 4). St. Denis of Corinth about 170 attested that Peter and Paul "taught together in Italy and suffered martyrdom at the same time" (Eusebius, History, II, 25). St. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, St. John's "grand-disciple," and visitor to Rome, wrote of "the very great, very ancient, and universally known church founded and organized at Rome by the two glorious apostles, Peter and Paul" (Against Heresies, III, 3). Incidentally, Sts. Peter and Paul should not be regarded as cofounders or coadjutor bishops of Rome (D. 1091). Tertullian of Carthage clearly implies that Rome is an apostolic church founded by St. Peter, that his episcopal chair is still preserved there, and that after baptizing converts in the Tiber, he was crucified at Rome (Prescriptions, 32, 36; Baptism, 4). All these testimonies induced the first Church historian to conclude: "Peter the Apostle, having first founded the Church at Antioch, goes to the city of Rome, and there preaches the Gospel and there abides as head of the Church" (Eusebius, Chronicle: Olympiad 204). (2) ROMAN ACTIVITY The chronology of St. Peter's Roman episcopate is less certainly known. In his first edition of his Chronicle, Eusebius suggested an implausible 39 to 64 A.D.; in his History (II, 14; III, 13) he assigns St. Peter a stay from 42 to 67. The Liber Pontificalis would have Peter .enter Rome under Nero Caesar and occupy the episcopal see for 25 years, 1 month, and 8 days." Such exactitude is suspicious, but the quarter-century pontificate is not without basis in tradition, if it be not interpreted as a continuous uninterrupted sojourn. The date of St. Peter's martyrdom must fall within Nero's persecution (64-68) and remains in dispute, but the traditional date, June 29, 67, seems as reliable as any. Hypothetical reconstruction. Tradition is elusive and vague regarding St. Peter's Roman
activity, but the following account tries to blend the more reliable legends. Whatever instructions Christ may have given St. Peter about the choice of Rome as his see, legend assigns the need of confuting Simon Magus as the immediate occasion of the Apostle's coming to Rome. On his arrival, St. Peter would plausibly at first have settled in the Jewish quarter in Trastevere. Since he was not a learned scribe like St. Paul, be probably was not invited to speak in the synagogues, and had to make converts by private contacts. Later legend locates him in the house of St. Paul's friends, Aquila and Priscilla, on the Aventine, and at the Ostrian Villa of the Acilii, where he is known to have baptized. There as well as in a subsequent legendary abode in the house of Senator Pudens episcopal chairs were set up. These were well known to antiquity. One survived into the sixth century; the remains of the other are today in St. Peter's Basilica. At Rome, St. Peter sanctioned St. Mark's rendition of his oral catechesis as the Second Gospel, and himself composed two canonical epistles. The Liber Pontificalis and the Apostolic Constitutions (VII, 46) may preserve some facts in stating that St. Peter consecrated Linus, Cletus, and Clement, who served as his vicars during his absences, and in turn succeeded him in the papacy. One of St. Peter's absences certainly took him to the Council of Jerusalem; the same or another journey saw him evangelizing Pontus and other Asiatic provinces saluted in his First Epistle. At Rome also be made converts of such distinction that their "faith is proclaimed all over the world" (Rom. 1:8). Doubtless most of the faithful saluted by St. Paul (ibid., chap. 16) were St. Peter's converts. Tradition or archaeology would add the names of Priscilla, Acilius Glabrio, Pomponia Graecina, wife of General Plautius, and Senator Cornelius Pudens. (3) ROMAN MARTYRDOM Neronian persecution. On July 19, 64, a fire of unknown origin broke out among shops near the Circus Maximus. It raged for five days before halted by demolition squads directed by Emperor Nero. Though the emperor befriended the homeless, be may have expressed some heartless exultation over the opportunity of realizing his scheme of rebuilding Rome. Unsubstantiated rumor spread among the desperate masses that Nero himself had instigated the fire. To divert suspicion the emperor held an investigation, during which blame was laid on the Christians. The latter were now accused of "hatred for the human race"; in modern terms, they were branded as anarchists sworn to arson and massacre. To placate the mob and satisfy their love of the spectacular, the executions were public. During August the accused were crucified, thrown to the beasts, or used as human torches to light Nero's gardens. Eventually, however, Nero overplayed his band. The number of victims exceeded the likelihood of a secret arson plot, while their intense tortures, Tacitus says (Annales, XV, 39-40), excited compassion even among bloodthirsty Romans. When this sentiment became common, the persecution boomeranged and hastened Nero's fall. The persecution seems to have extended beyond the city, but to what extent it is difficult to estimate. Martyrdom of Sts. Peter and Paul. Christian loyalty would have done everything to protect St. Peter, and the legendary Quo Vadis incident of Peter's encounter with Christ while in flight from Rome may have a basis in this (St. Ambrose, Against Auxentius, 13). St. Paul, who had left Rome after release from his first captivity, was arrested in the East and sent to Rome for trial. This time he anticipated an unfavorable sentence (2 Tim. 4:6). St. Peter was eventually apprehended as well and shared similar anticipations (2 Peter 1:14). Eusebius links the apostles in death, though St. Peter by crucifixion on Vatican Hill, and St. Paul by beheading on the Ostian Way (History, II, 25). St. Peter's tomb on the Vatican was already well known to Father Caius in the second century: "I can show you the trophies (ornamented tombs) of the apostles. For if you will go to the Vatican or to the Ostian Way, you will find the trophies of those who laid the foundation of this church" (Eusebius, History, II, 25). Thereafter a wealth of historical and archaeological evidence, recently checked by Pope Pius XII, leaves no doubt that St. Peter's body was buried on Vatican Hill, within the area of the present basilica; whether his actual remains can be identified is another question. The apocryphal Acts of Peter probably contain a true tradition in affirming that the Apostle was
crucified and buried " near the obelisk between the goal posts" of the Neronian Circus. The same obelisk that cast its shadow over the dying apostle today overlooks millions who come to venerate the tomb of Christ's first viceroy. Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 A.D.) II. Foundation of the Church 8. The King's Legates: Apostolic Missions (42-67) II Foundation of the Church 8. THE KING'S LEGATES: APOSTOLIC MISSIONS A. The Apostolic College (1)PERSONAL APOSTOLIC PREROGATIVES Immediate testimony to Christ was the primary personal prerogative of the apostle: he was sent a latere Christi, His personally chosen representative. Christ selected the original twelve; Judas's replacement, St. Matthias, though nominated by the apostles, was left to the providential cast of lots. St. Paul was called by Christ in an extraordinary manner, and it is doubtful if be actually exercised his apostolic office before the martyrdom of St. James bar Zebedee. But even if for a time there were thirteen apostles, the numerical parallel with the Old Testament patriarchs holds, for Jacob adopted Joseph's sons: "Ephraim and Manasses shall be mine even as Reuben and Simeon" (Gen. 48:5). These legates of the New Testament were sent to testify to Christ's divinity to those persons who had not themselves seen the Master. Since the chief proof of this claim was Christ's resurrection, apt fulfillment of this mission called for personal vocation by Christ and the direct evidence from sight of the risen Savior. Personal infallibility was a corollary of the legatine commission. The apostles were to promulgate Christian revelation: "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:20). Such an essential ministry required freedom from error; hence Christ promised: "The Spirit of truth . . . will teach you all the truth" (John 16:13). This is why St. Paul could say: "If anyone preach a gospel to you other than that which you have received, let him be anathema" (Gal. 1:9); and St. John could insist: "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into the house" (II John 10). But this individual apostolic infallibility, unlike St. Peter's official inerrancy, did not descend to the apostles' individual successors, for St. Paul warns the prelates of Ephesus: "From among your own selves men will rise speaking perverse things" (Acts 20:30). Christ's legates, therefore, were preserved from error in promulgating revelation; with the death of the last apostle, official Christian revelation was closed. The apostles' successors, the bishops, would be corporately infallible, but not as individuals. Confirmation in grace is another personal privilege generally attributed to the apostles by theologians. Extensive missionary jurisdiction was an apostolic prerogative. St. Paul claims anxiety for "the care of all the churches" (2 Cor. 11:28); whether this special apostolic jurisdiction was truly universal or extended merely to all churches founded by each apostle is controverted. It would seem more probable to conclude with Billot (De Ecclesia, III, 26) that the apostles, while enjoying an extraordinarily extensive jurisdiction, did not as individuals share St. Peter's exclusive prerogative of universal rule. From Christ through Peter they derived broad missionary powers to rule many but not all Christian communities. A natural division of labor would seem to have called for each apostle to rule under Peter those churches founded by himself. (2) MISSIONARY EPISCOPATE
The Apostles were the first bishops. As a rule, they did not reside permanently in one place, but continually traveled to found new churches and confirm others in the Faith. During the apostolic period, then, the residential episcopate does not seem to have been the general rule. St. Peter, indeed, was bishop of Rome, but besides his universal primacy, continued to exercise direct missionary rule over Antioch, Pontus, etc. St. James bar Alpheus also appears as residential bishop of Jerusalem as early as the Apostolic Council, though his canonical epistle indicates a broad solicitude for all Christian converts from Judaism among "the twelve tribes that are in the Dispersion" (James 1:1). St. Paul's is the classic example of the missionary episcopate, over the Gentiles of the Hellenistic East. Probably the other apostles exercised similar missions outside the Roman Empire. During their lifetime these apostles remained the sole ordinaries of the sees founded by them; that is, though they may have had auxiliaries possessing episcopal orders, such as Sts. Titus and Timothy, they themselves retained jurisdiction over all their foundations. Whether or no they collectively composed the Apostles' Creed-and at least there is good reason to attribute its nucleus to Sts. Peter and Paul-the apostles personally took care that there should be everywhere "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph. 4:5). The presbyteroi-episkopoi were the apostles' assistants in their missionary labors, but the exact modern equivalent of this class of ministers is in doubt. The following theory for the most part follows Prat. There can be no doubt that during the first century the terms, presbyteros, and episkopos, were interchangeable: St. Paul applies both to the same men (Acts 20:18, 28). The question remains whether these terms meant the same as they do today. Probably the term presbyteros or "elder" was originally applied to Christian priests in Jewish communities to distinguish them from the Jewish hiereus. On the other hand, in Gentile communities, the same Christian priests were designated episkopoi or "overseers" from a term familiar to pagan administration. As the exclusiveness of the Jewish and Gentile elements in the Church broke down, the names became interchangeable. Hence unless otherwise stated the presbyteroiepiskopoi of the Acts and Epistles are simple priests; only Titus and Timothy and other chosen disciples had the plenitude of the priesthood, or episcopal consecration. Colleges of such priests were residential supervisors of missionary churches founded and governed by the apostles. Only subsequently did it become customary to restrict the term episkopos to those priests who had received the fullness of episcopal consecration. By analogy, several American states at first entitled their chief executives "presidents," e.g., Benjamin Franklin was "president of Pennsylvania." Later this term was reserved to the chief executive of the federal government and state executives were known as governors. We can only conjecture why episkopos was used to designate the higher office in the Christian hierarchy. Its meaning of overseer or superintendent seems better to connote a chief ruler than presbyteros or elder or senator. Perhaps also the term gained prestige by St. Peter's application of it to Christ: the "shepherd and [episkopon] of your souls" (1 Peter 2:25). B. The Individual Apostles (1) APOSTOLIC DELEGATION TO THE JEWS St. James bar Alpheus seems to have been designated as bishop of Jerusalem by St. Peter before the latter's departure for Antioch and Rome: St. Peter bade the Christians report his escape "to James and to the brethren" (Acts 12:17). St. James was prominent at the Apostolic Council, and is saluted by St. Paul on his return to the Holy City (Acts, chap. 15; 21:18). Eusebius places St. James at the head of the list of bishops of Jerusalem (History, II, 23). Besides his care for Jerusalem, St. James seems to have been assigned supervision over all converts from Judaism: he appears as their "cardinal protector" in his canonical epistle. While St. Peter exercised general supervision over both Jews and Gentiles, their special interests in the Roman Empire would seem to have been committed respectively to Sts. James and Paul. In keeping with his charge, St. James strove to conciliate the Jews by strict personal observance of the Mosaic precepts. A man of severe asceticism, he was respected by Jews as well as
Christians. But though the Pharisees tolerated him, the Sadducees, led by the high priest Annas the Younger, stirred up a mob to stone St. James after his courageous confession of Christ (Josephus, Antiquities, xx, 4). His martyrdom seems to have occurred about 62, during a procuratorial interregnum between Festus's death and Albinus's arrival. St. John bar Zebedee remained in the background at Jerusalem during these same years, probably because his protective role in regard to the Blessed Virgin prompted a contemplative life. The apocryphal Dormitio Virginis implies that Mary died at Jerusalem about 48. Though this testimony is far from certain, it is more plausible than the rival legend that the Blessed Virgin accompanied St. John to Ephesus and died there after 67. Juvenal, bishop of Jerusalem in the fifth century, informed Empress St. Pulcheria that Mary had died at Jerusalem in the presence of all the apostles save Thomas. She had been buried in Gethsemane, but when her tomb was opened three days later for Thomas's benefit, it was found empty. From this and certain miraculous signs the apostles concluded to Mary's assumption. While the latter dogma is now beyond question, the foregoing details are but legendary: neither certain tradition nor proven myth. After St. Paul's death, Eusebius informs us (History, III, 18, 23-24) that St. John went to Ephesus where he may have succeeded the Apostle of the Gentiles in a general supervision of the churches of Asia Minor; the Apocalypse and Johannine epistles seem to confirm this. As will be seen, he opposed Judaizers and other heretics. He is said to have rejected Cerinthus the Gnostic at the baths (St. Irenaeus, A. H., III, 3). Other anecdotes report his pursuit and conversion of a Christian relapsed into brigandage (Clement, Quis Dives, 42); his continual exhortation to fraternal charity (St. Jerome, Galatians, vi, 10), his pet pheasant (Cassian, Conferences, xxiv). About 95, during Domitian's persecution, he escaped miraculously from burning oil at Rome (Tertullian, Prescriptions, 36). Exiled to Patmos, he wrote the Apocalypse (St. Irenaeus, A. H., V, 30). Afterwards he returned to Ephesus, where he wrote his Gospel at the request of disciples, among whom were St. Polycarp, St. Ignatius, and possibly St. Papias. St. John, last survivor of the apostles, died at Ephesus, probably about 100 A.D. (Eusebius, History, V, 24). (2) APOSTOLIC DELEGATION TO THE GENTILES St. Paul of Tarsus, whose conversion has already been recounted, also spent his early apostolate in contemplative waiting on Providence. About 42, however, he was summoned to his life work by St. Barnabas, overburdened with Gentile converts at Antioch. Antioch, however, was to be but St. Paul's base of operations; he was soon on a mission to Asia Minor (Acts, chap. 13). First Mission (45-49). With Sts. Barnabas and Mark and other members of the Antiochian Church, St. Paul proceeded to Cyprus where they converted the proconsul Sergius Paulus. Thence they entered the mainland to preach at Antioch in Pisidia. Here the stubborn resistance of the Jews prompted St. Paul to turn to the Gentiles, in some instances dispensing his converts from the Mosaic law. His subsequent missionary journey took him to Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. In each city, despite opposition, be set up Christian communities and ordained priests to minister to them. The missionaries retraced their steps, including Perge on the return. Second Mission (50-52). After the Apostolic Council had absolved Gentile converts from Mosaic prescriptions, St. Paul set out with the conciliar decrees to revisit Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia. Traveling by land and led on by divine inspiration, he rapidly passed through Phrygia, Galatia, and Mysia, to arrive at Troas. Here the vision of the "man from Macedonia" invited him to Europe. In spite of a scourging at Philippi, he succeeded in establishing a flourishing church. Then his route took him through Salonika, Beroea, and Athens, where he addressed the Areopagite Academy. Stoics and Epicureans interrupted his discourse on the resurrection, though Denis the Areopagite and several others were won over (Acts, chap. 17). In all these places converts were won, and at the port of Corinth he founded a large and
polyglot community which was to give him many trials. Here be had to write letters to the Thessalonians to prevent working-class converts from laying down their tools in expectation of an imminent parousia: second coming of Christ. Then after a brief visit to Ephesus, St. Paul returned to Jerusalem to fulfill the Nazarite vow. Third Mission (53-58). According to promise, St. Paul returned to Ephesus and en route revisited many Asiatic churches. From Ephesus he directed other communities by letter, and thence may have sent deputies to regulate serious internal disputes at Corinth. At Ephesus the tumult of the silversmiths made it prudent for him to return to supervise the Christian communities in Macedonia and Greece. Having collected alms for Jerusalem, he set out on his return. Still avoiding Ephesus, be summoned its priests to Miletus for a farewell exhortation. Last days. At Jerusalem, St. Paul was arrested for alleged violation of Mosaic prescriptions. During the following years he defended himself from Jewish plots to kill him by pleading his Roman citizenship and remaining in imperial custody. His case dragged on for two years under the venal procurator Felix, but the latter's successor Festus promptly granted his appeal to the imperial supreme court. After suffering shipwreck at Malta, Paul arrived at Rome about 61. Though the Acts cease their account at this point, we have sound tradition in favor of his liberation by 63. Thereafter the Muratorian Canon reports a mission to Spain, while his later Epistles seem to presume a final journey to Syria, Asia Minor, and Greece. Ultimately, as already mentioned, be came to Rome and perished with St. Peter in the Neronian persecution. His tomb is outside the city on the Ostian Way; his epitaph might be: "Be imitators of me as I am of Christ." (3) THE OTHER APOSTLES St. Matthew, according to Rufinus (History, III, 1), preached the Gospel in Ethiopia, and a copy of his Gospel was found in Arabia. Later testimonies, which have not the same reliability, assign him a mission in India. St. Thomas, according to Eusebius and Rufinus, preached the word of Christ to the Parthians, which designation may include Medes and Persians. St. Nathanael bar Tholmai, according to the same authorities, preached in Upper India; later and unsubstantiated legends assign him other mission fields. St. Andrew, according to Eusebius, preached to the Scythians, presumably in Thrace and the Ukraine. Constantinople subsequently invented a claim to him as its first bishop. Though St. Andrew is revered as a martyr, his Acts are not authentic. St. Philip and his virgin daughter labored and died at Hierapolis in Phrygia, according to Eusebius (History, III, 32), who, however, may have confused him with Deacon Philip. St. Jude bar Alpheus preached at Edessa. Though he could have converted Prince Agbar of Edessa, the latter's letter to Christ is deemed apocryphal (Eusebius, History, III, 19; cf. 1, 13). St. James bar Zebedee died at Jerusalem as already noted (Acts 12). Late legends giving him a mission in Spain cannot be substantiated, though Compostella claims his body. St. Simon Zelotes is not mentioned in early tradition; later legends, deemed probable by the Bollandists, assign him Persia and Babylonia. St. Matthias is the subject of many contradictory legends emanating from the apocrypha. The common denominator of these tales is that he labored somewhere in the East and was crucified. The Evangelists, Sts. Mark and Luke, are assigned sees at Alexandria and Greece respectively by Eusebius (History, II, 16; III, 4). Conclusion: "There were many others . . . who held the first rank in the apostolic succession. These, as holy disciples of such men, also built up the churches whose foundations
had previously been laid in every place by the apostles. They augmented the means of promulgating the Gospel more and more, and spread the seeds of salvation and of the heavenly Kingdom throughout the world" (Eusebius, History, III, 37). Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 A.D.) II. Foundation of the Church 9. Legatine Overseer: Episcopal Successions (67-107) II Foundation of the Church 9. LEGATINE OVERSEERS: EPISCOPAL SUCCESSION A. The Episcopal College (1)APOSTOLIC VICARIATE Residential sees. In thoroughly evangelized Christian communities, the transition from the missionary to the residential episcopate seems to have been completed by the first decade of the second century. In other words, instead of the primitive organization of colleges of presbyteroi-episkopoi ruling local churches under the higher jurisdiction of an apostle or apostolic vicar, the familiar modern system of the monarchical episcopate appears. Single "overseers" or bishops in the modern sense presided over dioceses with fixed territorial limits, as contrasted with the more indefinite missionary jurisdiction still enjoyed today by vicars and prefects apostolic. This residential episcopate, already anticipated in St. James's special status at Jerusalem, is common in Asia Minor by the second century. It is probable that the "angels" of the churches of Asia Minor saluted by St. John are their bishops (Apoc., chaps. 1-3). In any event it is clear from the letters of St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch at the opening of the second century, that the monarchical episcopate had been established at Smyrna, Magnesia, Philippi, Ephesus, Trallis, and Philadelphia. In these communities, priests and deacons must be subject to the bishop; in brief, "apart from the bishop, let no one perform any of the functions pertaining to the church" (Smyrneans, 8). The bishop so personifies ecclesiastical unity, that St. Ignatius says, in the first recorded use of the term: "Where the bishop is, there is the Catholic Church" (ibid.). In the case of four sees, Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, Eusebius has furnished unbroken lists of bishops back to the apostles. There can be no doubt, then, that the episcopal college has succeeded to all the essential powers of the apostolic college; collectively the bishops are truly the " successors of the apostles." B. The Individual Overseers (1) THE ROMAN SEE Pontifical catalogue. Patristic testimony is not unanimous about the order of succession to St. Peter as Bishop of Rome. The old list of the popes, hitherto based on the Liber Pontificalis, gave the papal succession as: Linus, Cletus, Clement, Anacletus (Loomis, Book of Popes). Tertullian implied that Clement was the second pope (Prescriptions, 32); and St. Optatus listed: Linus, Cletus, Anacletus, Clement, while the Poem Against Marcion gave: Linus, Cletus, Anacletus, Clement. But in 1947 the quasi-official list of the Annuario Pontificio was changed in accord with the testimony of St. Irenaeus of Lyons: "The blessed apostles founded and reared this church and afterwards committed unto Linus the office of the episcopate. This same Lyons is mentioned by Paul in his Epistles to Timothy. His successor was Anacletus, after whom, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was elected to the bishopric" (Against Heresies, III, 3). This is both the earliest and most reliable evidence. Modern historians now practically agree that Cletus and Anacletus were two names of the same man-like Saul and Paul -and that earlier annalists made two popes out of one. Eusebius, after weighing the early evidence, accepted St.
Irenaeus's list, to which he supplied dates. Eusebius's chronology, which can be only approximately accurate, would give: St. Linus (67-79), St. Anacletus (79-91), St. Clement (91100), and St. Evaristus (100-108). The details supplied by the Liber Pontificalis about these first successors of St. Peter are quite legendary. For what they are worth, they inform us that St. Linus ordered women to veil their heads in church; St. Anacletus built the tombs of the apostles, St. Clement divided the city into seven districts, and St. Evaristus organized Roman parishes. Primatial assertion. On the other hand, no uncertainty shrouds Pope St. Clement's authentic Letter to the Corinthians, aptly termed the .,epiphany of the Roman primacy." About 96, during the lifetime of St. John the Apostle, St. Clement took it upon himself to rebuke the Corinthians for insubordination to their local clergy. As one charged with their salvation, and in God's name he commanded prompt cessation of schism, and sent legates to enforce his decision (Cor., 1, 57, 59, 63). St. Denis of Corinth assures us that the Corinthians obeyed (Eusebius, History, II, 25). Primatial recognition. About a decade later (107?), St. Ignatius, who as bishop of Antioch might conceivably have laid claim to be St. Peter's successor, wrote his Letter to the Romans. Far from "commanding them as Peter and Paul," be besought them; be saluted their church as "presiding over the whole brotherhood of charity"; he acknowledged that once his see was vacated by his anticipated martyrdom, "only Jesus Christ and your charity shall exercise episcopal power there" (Rom., 1, 9-10). During the lifetime of men who knew the apostles, then, Roman primatial authority was unquestioned; there is no chance of a usurpation. (2) THE WEST Italy. Besides Rome, the only other Italian Christian congregation certainly known to have existed during the first century is that of Puteoli (Acts 28:14). Many Italian sees claim associates of the apostles as their founders. While none of these claims is beyond question, there seems to be some probability for the foundation of Lucca by St. Paulinus; of Fiesole by St. Romulus; of Ravenna by St. Apollinaris; of Milan by St. Anathalon; of Aquileia by St. Mark; of Bologna by St. Zamas, of Bari by St. Maurus, and of Naples by St. Aspren. Gaul. Eusebius (History, III, 4) asserts that Gaul was evangelized by Crescens, a disciple mentioned by St. Paul (2 Tim. 4:10); but Theodoret (On Timothy, iv) interprets this as Galatia. Legend, not necessarily false, has it that Lazarus of Bethany was the first bishop of Marseilles, where he resided with his sisters, Sts. Martha and Mary Magdalen. Arles claims as her first bishop St. Paul's disciple Trophimus (2 Tim. 4:20). Nevertheless, it is suspected that many alleged apostolic foundations of Gallic sees are subsequent inventions to bolster claims to hierarchical precedence. Abelard's denial of the foundation of Paris by St. Denis the Areopagite, however imprudent for his own career, seems justified. Spain. The Muratorian Canon confirms the fulfillment of St. Paul's plan of going to Spain (Romans, 15:29; Canon, vi, 39). But that St. James bar Zebedee preached in Spain prior to his martyrdom in Jerusalem about 42 seems unlikely; even the possession of his body at Compostella is challenged on the ground that the apostolicity of that see is a tenth century invention. Otherwise the history of Spain's Christianity in the first century remains unknown. Northern Africa, excluding here the oriental see of Alexandria, also remains in obscurity during this period. Tertullian says that African Christianity was derived from Rome, and geographical proximity would have made early evangelization feasible. Domitian's persecution, though it reached St. John in Asia (Apoc. 1:9), and Christ's relatives in Palestine (Eusebius, History, III, 19), for the most part affected the West. During the years 95-96 the persecution claimed the lives of the emperor's cousin Flavius Clemens, of Flavia Domitilla, M. Acilius Glabrio, and "many other citizens who had adopted Jewish customs" (Dio Cassius, lxvii, 13). Tertullian described the persecution (Apologeticus, 5; Prescriptions, 36), and
Blessed Melito confirms the usual assumption that Nero and Domitian were the only imperial persecutors in the first century. Pope St. Clement informed the Corinthians that "men who had led holy lives were joined by a great multitude of the elect that suffered numerous indignities and tortures"; e.g., Christian women were forced to enact the roles of Dirce and the Danaids in Greek mythology. These were sobering events, for the pope reminds them: "We are in the same arena and face the same conflict" (2Cor., 1). (3) THE EAST Greece. The European portion of St. Paul's missionary territory has several authentic notices during this period. Tertullian reminded would-be heretics: "Recall the various apostolic churches in which the actual chairs of the apostles are still standing in their places, in which their own authentic letters are read, repeating the voice and calling up the face of each of them severally. Achaea is very near to you, where you have Corinth. If you are not far from Macedonia, you have Philippi. If you can travel into Asia, you have Ephesus" (Prescriptions, 36). Eusebius, moreover, asserts that St. Denis the Areopagite became the first bishop of Athens. St. Titus became bishop in Crete, while Bishop Denis of Corinth had two predecessors in near apostolic times, Publius and Quadratus (History, III, 4; IV, 23). Asia Minor. St. John the Apostle has already been mentioned as exercising patriarchal authority at Ephesus in succession to St. Paul. His Apocalypse mentions the seven churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamus, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, -and Laodicea. The uncertain evidence of the Apostolic Constitutions (VII, 46) would supply the names of Sts. Timothy and John as bishops of Ephesus; of Gaius of Pergamus, of Zoticus of Sardis, of Demetrius of Philadelphia, and of Archippus of Laodicea. At the opening of the second century, St. Ignatius's letters mention the bishops, St. Polycarp of Smyrna, Onesimus of Ephesus, Dames of Magnesia, and Polybius of Trallis. It is not surprising that Pliny the Younger would soon (111) be alarmed by Christian numbers in Asia Minor (Eusebius, History, III, 18, 23, 24). Palestine. St. James bar Alpheus, apostolic bishop of Jerusalem (42-62), was succeeded by St. Simeon, a cousin of Christ, who ruled until 107. During the siege of Jerusalem be led the Christians to a refuge in Pella. After the destruction of the Temple the Christian community lost its Jewish character to a considerable degree. Domitian meditated the death of St. Simeon and other relatives of Christ, but desisted at the report of their poverty. St. Simeon was opposed by the Ebionites or "poor men," impenitent Judaizers, who eventually formed a distinct sect which held to the apocryphal Gospel of the Hebrews. They vanished by the fourth century. With the martyrdom of St. Simeon under Trajan, the apostolic age closed at Jerusalem (Eusebius, History, III). Syria. The first bishop so styled by Eusebius was Evodius, apparently named to Antioch by St. Peter himself. About 98 he was succeeded by Ignatius Theophorus, whom legend makes the child presented to the apostles by Christ as an object lesson of humility. Arrested about 107, be was condemned to be thrown to the beasts at Rome. On the way to martyrdom, he wrote seven letters which, lyric in their vibrant and lofty spirituality, bring the apostolic age at Antioch to a brilliant close (Eusebius, History, III, 22, 36). Egypt. Eusebius terms Alexandria's founder and the first bishop St. Mark, sent there by St. Peter. St. Mark had previously acted as St. Peter's secretary, and in this capacity wrote his Gospel which, according to St. Papias, faithfully reproduced St. Peter's oral catechesis. Dying about 63, St. Mark was succeeded in turn by Annianus (63-85), Abilius (85-98), and Cerdon (98109), all of whom were said to have been either ordained or consecrated by him. With the death of the last of these, the apostolic age terminates at Alexandria (Eusebius, History, II, 16, 24; III, 1, 21). Patriarchal germs. Though there is no evidence that any of three foregoing sees,
Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, claimed patriarchal rank during these years, subsequent assertions of precedence will be based on the apostolic foundation of their sees. The Council of Nicea in 325 formally recognized the patriarchal status of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch as of ancient custom, and the Council of Chalcedon (451) gave Jerusalem special honor. The Holy See, however, preferred to derive patriarchal status from St. Peter's connection with a see. Thus Pope Gelasius later declared that "the first see of Peter the Apostle is that of the Roman Church; . . . the second see was instituted at Alexandria in the name of Blessed Peter by Mark, his disciple and evangelist; . .. . the third see of the most Blessed Apostle Peter is honored at Antioch . . ." (Decretals: D. 163). In any event, these nascent patriarchates would play an important part in the early Church. Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 A.D.) 10. Primitive Christian Life and Liturgy II Foundation of the Church 10. PRIMITIVE CHRISTIAN LIFE AND LITURGY A. Jurisdiction: The Ruling Power (1)THE PAPACY Papal primacy. The history of the papacy is not a record of gradual usurpation by the bishops of Rome, but exhibits from the first a divinely appointed primatial government. Yet the details of universal supervision evolved slowly. Habitual and minute regulation of local churches necessarily had to await improved means of communication. Centralization of ecclesiastical government in Rome was in part conditioned by thee means: it will be farther advanced during the Christian Roman Empire than during the Dark Ages. Primitive Christian communities, ardent in pristine charity, generally required little coercion. The apostolic period accordingly had no need for titles of "Your Holiness, tiaras, consistorial etiquette, and special technical formulas. These were accidental trappings of the papacy, added when it became a temporal world power. Yet it is well to note that even at this early date there was veneration for the material chair of Peter at Rome and feasts in its honor appear with the earliest liturgical calendars. St. Peter's First Epistle, of unchallenged authenticity, is alike the first papal encyclical. Therein are found none of the modern titles, for Peter was ever mindful of his threefold denial which he even published to the whole Church through St. Mark's Gospel. Yet his own writings lay particular stress on obedience: to the king, to governors, to masters, to priests. These exhortations come with special fitness from the chief ecclesiastical authority who, however, did not forget Christ's words: "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them. . . . Not so is it among you . . . whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant" (Matt. 20:25, 26). Roman curia. During the apostolic period it would seem to be premature to speak of a formally organized papal curia: we hear nothing of cardinals and congregations. Yet, if we can put any reliance on the Liber Pontificalis and Apostolic Constitutions, St. Peter employed Sts. Linus, Anacletus, and Clement as vicars and auxiliaries. St. Clement certainly sent legates to Corinth. Both he and St. Evaristus are described as establishing administrative subdivisions in Rome, and early popes are represented as ordaining bishops, priests, and deacons. The early lives of the Liber Pontificalis are believed to be a somewhat arbitrary reconstruction and compilation made at a later date from sources both authentic and inauthentic. While therefore untrustworthy in details, these accounts may preserve an underlying substance of truth. (2) THE EPISCOPACY
II. Foundation of the Church
Episcopal hierarchy. The period marks the transition from the missionary to the residential episcopate which may be regarded as virtually complete by the first decade of the second era when St. Ignatius refers to bishops "to the ends of the earth" (Ephesians, 3). Each see now had a single bishop, named by the apostles or their vicars, and ruling over priests and deacons as well as laymen. Except in case of a challenge to their authority or a sudden vacancy, such sees had little occasion to appeal to Rome; presumably in each see the clergy and people chose their pastor (Didache, xv) and presented him to the hierarchical superior for confirmation and ordination. Bishoprics are confined to the civitates, for the country districts are still largely pagan. Multiplication of Christian communities at first usually entailed the choice of another bishop. Daughter churches, however, would exhibit a certain deference to the bishop of the mother church, this, combined with the civic prominence of the metropolis, would in time evolve the archepiscopal rank. Sees founded directly by the apostles, moreover, enjoyed special prestige; this when joined to secular influence gave rise to patriarchal dignities. Already bishops had important social duties: supervision of virgins, widows, and orphans, and care for the needs of the poor and slaves (St. Ignatius, To Polycarp). (3) THE CLERGY The clergy were either missionaries or subordinate ministers of the bishop in the cities. They were marked off from the laity by their own discipline (St. Clement, Cor., 41-42). Though there was no obligation of clerical celibacy, the practice was recommended by St. Paul. It was understood, in any event, that a cleric ought to marry but once, and before his ordination. Priests were the bishops' spiritual assistants. They were not yet pastors, for the bishop still ruled directly the city church. They administered the sacraments only with him or in his stead: usually they concelebrated Mass. They assisted the bishop at baptism and confirmation, though on missions both priests and deacons baptized (Acts, chap. 8). From the beginning priests were probably the ordinary ministers of penance and extreme unction. Holy orders has always been the bishop's exclusive prerogative. In governing the church, the priests constituted the bishop's advisory council. They were, therefore, rather ratione episcopi than sui juris. But all other classes, including the deacons, were to be subject to priests "as to Jesus Christ" (St. Ignatius, Magnesians, 2). Deacons were temporal aides of the bishops. At this time they seem to have been the only ministers below the rank of priest, and are undoubtedly of divine institution. The primitive diaconate was not a mere preparation for the priesthood. Now and long afterwards Christians regarded the diaconate as a career in itself so that many chose to remain deacons throughout life. Though the deacons were chiefly charged with the immediate care of the poor and the community finances, they actually exercised their spiritual functions of preaching and baptizing on missions, and it was already or soon became their special duty to distribute Holy Communion to the sick who could not come to church. B. Magisterium: The Teaching Power (1) THE ORAL CATECHESIS Instruction in tie primitive Church was chiefly oral. The apostles' oral catecheses, though basically the same, varied with their personalities and the needs of their converts. Sometimes requests for written versions of these catecheses produced, under divine inspiration, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the latter two depending on the preaching of tie leading apostles, Sts. Peter and Paul. All essential teaching, whether so written or transmitted orally, constituted a sacred doctrinal trust, a 'deposit of faith," and St. Irenaeus will later use the apt simile of the apostles depositing these precious truths as in a bank (A. H., III, 4). Complete with the death of St. John the Apostle, this deposit has never suffered essential addition, though its contents have gradually been defined more explicitly as circumstances required.
(2) WRITTEN TESTIMONY Tradition, whether written or unwritten, and not the Bible alone has always been the adequate font of ecclesiastical doctrine, for "even if the apostles had not left us certain writings, would not one be obliged to follow the order of tradition which they delivered to those to whom they committed the churches?" (St. Irenaeus, A. H., III, 4.) As long as the words of Christ or of His apostles remained in the living memory of Christians, they tended to rely on those remembrances rather than on the Scriptures. Thus writers of this period, the compilers of the Didache, St. Clement, St. Ignatius, St. Polycarp, often seem to make use of implicit rather than explicit citations of the New Testament. The patristic writings of the apostolic age may not be profound theological dissertations, but they are the convinced affirmations of tradition by holy and courageous men. So great was the esteem which some of these writings enjoyed that in some Christian communities they were temporarily confused with the canonical inspired writings. (3) EARLY HERESIES Heresy, however, was also appearing in various forms to elicit the strictures of St. John, St. Ignatius, and St. Polycarp. The Nicolaites are condemned in the Apocalypse (chaps. 2, 3). Their reputed founder was Nicholas of Antioch. According to some he was a Judas among the first seven deacons; others believe that he was an innocent man whose name was usurped by the sect. The group were indifferent to food sacrificed to idols, and guilty of gross immorality. Cerinthians taught Millenarianism: after Christ's second coming an earthly paradise would endure for a thousand years. This misconception was derived from a too literal interpretation of the Apocalypse (20:2). Cerinthus, organizer of the sect, seems to have added alien elements. He taught that Christ was the son of Mary and Joseph upon whom the Holy Ghost descended at his baptism. If this be correct we can understand St. John's urging all to leave the public baths when Cerinthus entered lest the structure collapse with such an enemy of truth within (Eusebius, History, III, 28). Docetae, finally, taught that Christ had merely the semblance of a body in such wise that He only seemed-dokein: appear-to live, suffer, and die. Their error is believed to have occasioned St. John's insistence in his Gospel on Christ's true divinity and humanity. St. Ignatius and St. Polycarp also refuted the Docetae (Smyrneans, 2; Trallians, 9). C. Liturgy: The Sanctifying Power (1) THE SACRAMENTS Baptism. In primitive times as well as now, baptism constituted an indispensable initiation to Christianity. It was preceded by instruction in the truths of faith, though the elaborate course of the catechumenate had not yet developed. Proximate preparation for baptism involved a one day fast for candidate and minister. The ordinary method was by immersion in the running waters of a stream, but in case of need, standing water, heated water, could be used, or water might be poured on the candidate's head in the modern method of infusion. The form demanded an explicit invocation of the Trinity: "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost" (Acts, chaps. 2, 16, 19; Didache, 7). Confirmation. The only evidence afforded of the bestowal of this sacrament is found in the Acts (chap. 8) during this period: Sts. Peter and John confirm in Samaria. The form included an imposition of bands, and was intended to confer the Holy Ghost in a special manner. During the primitive period the administration of this sacrament was often accompanied by miraculous
signs (Acts, chaps. 10, 19). For long it was conferred immediately after baptism. Penance. While Scripture testifies to Christ's institution of the power to forgive sins (John, chap. 20), it is the Didache which gives details of its exercise (4, 14). This Christian handbook presumes that the faithful normally attend Mass on Sundays, and that before assisting at it they should, if necessary, "confess your sins in order that your sacrifice may be pure." No sins were excluded from the power of absolution, nor does there seem to have been any limit to the frequency of its exercise, since weekly confession seems to be contemplated. Christian repentance was not merely internal, but required "union with God and the counsel of the bishop" (St. Ignatius, Philadelphians, 8). And St. Polycarp may have this sacrament in mind when be urges priests to be "prone to sympathy, merciful to all, bringing [the strayed] back from wandering" (Philippians, 6). The Holy Eucharist. Christ's Real Presence is sufficiently clear from the scriptural evidence of its promise and institution (John, chap. 6; Matt., chap. 26; Luke, chap. 22). The literal interpretation of the Lord's words was upheld not only by St. Paul (1 Cor. 11:27), but by the immediate successors of the Apostles. For one, St. Ignatius exclaims: "I desire the Bread of God, the heavenly Bread, the Bread of life, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became afterwards of the seed of David and Abraham; I wish the drink of God, namely His blood, which is incorruptible love and eternal life" (Romans, 7). The Mass. The Last Supper already included the fundamental parts of the Mass: the oblation, consecration, and communion. In addition there were accompanying rites, a lavabo, the breaking of the host, and a concluding hymn of praise and thanksgiving. The apostolic Mass was usually designated under the expression, "breaking of bread" (Acts, chaps. 3, 20). it is clear from early testimony that Mass was regularly celebrated at least on Sunday. At first it usually took place in the evening in memory of the Last Supper, but already there appeared abuses which eventually imposed a Eucharistic fast and transferred celebration to the morning (Acts, chap. 20; 1 Cor, chap. 11). The Didache (9-10; 14-15) gives evidence of additional prayers, not yet standardized. There is the Pater with a liturgical response: "For Thine is the power and the glory forever"; the rudiments of a Preface, and Communion under both species with appropriate prayers. A graffito recently discovered in the ruins of the Domus Flavia in the Roman Forum records the reception of Viaticum and appears to date from the consulships of Commodus and Priscus, 78 A.D. It reads: Panis accept. in luce chrestos susceptus pr. K.M. Com. Pris. CSS. Extreme Unction, insinuated by St. Mark's reference to apostolic "anointing with oil" (6:12), is referred to but once in extant documents of the primitive period: St. James declares that it was intended for the sick, had a spiritual and sometimes a corporeal effect, and was to be administered by priests (5:14). Probably by analogy with the deacons' administration of Communion to the sick, the priests rather than the bishop administered this sacrament from the beginning. Holy Orders. The Acts and Pauline Epistles make it clear that episcopal consecration and priestly and diaconal ordination were conferred through imposition of hands (Acts, chaps. 6, 13, 14; 2 Tim., chap. 1). The presbyteroi-episkopoi problem makes it difficult to distinguish between the first two rites. At first the apostles alone appointed the three orders; later they provided for the transmission of these essential powers through their episcopal successors (St. Clement, Con, 42, 44). The Didache (15) indicates that the people were allowed to nominate their local clergy as in the Acts (chap. 6), though apparently the apostles themselves chose the first bishops in the modern sense of the term. Matrimony, according to St. Paul, typified the espousal of Christ with His Church. It was a sacramentum, though less in the later technical sense, than the more generic meaning of "mystery" (Eph., chap. 5). it should be contracted before or at least with the consent of the bishop (St. Ignatius, To Polycarp, 5). Second marriages were permitted to the laity, though they were deemed less in accord with the symbolism of Christ's espousal with a unique Church.
(2) LITURGICAL DISCIPLINE A disciplina arcani, according to some scholars, characterized primitive liturgical practice: Christian mysteries, especially the Eucharist, were to be guarded from pagan ridicule and profanation. Hence liturgical meetings were usually held privately, and no publicity given to Christian practices. When there was danger of misrepresentation or betrayal, Christians observed silence or spoke in symbolic terms. Converts were initiated into Christian mysteries but gradually. Indications of such a discipline are seen in the Didache (9), Tertullian (Prescriptions, 41), and Origen (Against Celsus, 1, 7). Liturgical services were simple and not yet standardized. Mass was said in private houses, though later the villas of the wealthier Christians would sometimes be placed at the disposal of the community. Altars were as yet of wood. Liturgical prayer was an adaptation of Jewish psalmody, directed toward the Holy Eucharist and sacramental rites. (3) CHRISTIAN PRACTICES Domestic asceticism. The first Christians at Jerusalem were voluntary communists: all property was held in common to be administered by the apostles and later their deputies, the deacons. This practice, however, seems to have been dictated by the special needs of the Palestinian community whose extreme poverty required alms from Greece (1 Cor, chap. 16). But if in other Christian churches private property was retained, its use was supposed to be common. In liturgical services and civic neighborliness, early Christian life tended to be a common life. Though living in their own houses, they gathered often, if not daily, for religious observances. They were acutely conscious of their separation from their pagan environment, especially when persecution brought them to common hiding places. Fraternal charity was externally manifested in the pax and the agape. But if the average primitive Christian was fervent, quite a few made particular profession of the evangelical counsels of chastity and poverty. As yet these domestic ascetics, virgins and widows, lived a retired life with their families. The laity were distinct from the clergy and bound by their own precepts (St. Clement, Cor., 42). They were subject to all orders of the hierarchy (St. Ignatius, Trallians, 3). Though the charismatikoi or possessors of miraculous or prophetic graces were doubtless in some cases laymen, this privilege did not exempt them from submission to the clergy (1 Cor., chaps. 12, 14; Didache, 11;13). Such extraordinary graces were granted or at least displayed more abundantly in the early Church to convince a pagan world. They have never ceased among mystics of all eras, but now the Church itself by its "admirable propagation, distinguished sanctity, inexhaustible fecundity, Catholic unity, and unconquered stability" is a sufficient motive of credibility (Vatican Council: D. 1794). Besides the charismatikoi there were teachers, some of whom were probably lay catechists (Didache, II, 13). Law-abiding, the Christian citizens prayed: Da concordiam ac pacem et nobis et omnibus habitantibus terram (St. Clement, Corinthians, 60: K. 15).
Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 A.D.) III. Growth of the Church (107-248) 11. Pagan Environment: Christian Rivals III Growth of the Church
11. PAGAN ENVIRONMENT: CHRISTIAN RIVALS A. Introduction: Religious Contrasts (1) PAGAN SURROUNDINGS Christianity was but one of the oriental religions competing for Roman favor during the first three centuries of our era. For behind the facade of official emperor-worship, a great number of pagan cults catered to the emotions of the masses, all promising intimacy with the deity and future happiness after initiation into certain mysterious rites. The more prominent and better known of these cults will be surveyed presently. in addition to these, a number of philosophies, ancient or revived, offered the more intellectual a program for human conduct. A melange of the latter philosophies temporarily obtained official backing as Syncretism. Finally, though treated as heresies in the present work, Gnosticism and Manichaeism will be noted as incorporating many pagan elements. To all these rivals of Christianity, history has long since applied Gamaliel's criterion: "If this plan or work is of men, it will be overthrown," while the Church survives. (2) ALLEGED CHRISTIAN BORROWING Certain ritual resemblances between pagan cults and Christian practices have led to claims by religious evolutionists that the Christian religion is nothing else than a clever eclecticism from Jewish and pagan sources. A priori, this hypothesis is unlikely: it would appear far more probable that a bankrupt paganism would borrow from or imitate Christianity. A posteriori, there is no proof of any essential dependence of Christianity upon these pagan cults; rather, the whole trend of modern research is to reverse the borrowing. As to certain surviving similarities these are doubtless to be attributed to that natural religious sentiment common to all men, a sentiment which grace does not destroy but perfects. Contrasts in essentials, moreover, exist. For instance, as Father Martindale observes, "Mithra, like all these eastern gods, was not an historical person and nobody thought he was." These cults were but a .glamorizing" of ancient mythologies; no matter how attractive their ceremonial or how lofty the speculation now added to the primitive myths, the core of the religion remained human invention and wishful thinking. Second, the moral codes of these pagan religions were in greater or less degree at variance with natural law. If Mithraism was originally purer than the rest in sexual morality, its eclecticism absorbed aberrations. Its worship was in large part magical. Yet Reinach claimed that Mithra was mediator between God and man, and pointed out that his cult involved baptism, fasts, communion, and brotherhood. To this La Grange has replied: "The fasts and brotherhood we can admit . . . and they are found in every religion that ever was. Everything else is incorrect. Mithra is called 'Mediator' once . . . in Plutarch, and he is mediator between the God of Goodness and the God of Evil, We have no knowledge of any direct relation between the sacrifice of the bull and salvation. Nor is Mithra ever sacrificed as was Jesus. The Mithraist baptism is a simple ablution in no way different from all the rest; the communion is nothing more than an offering of bread and water, nor can anyone say that it was even intended to represent Mithra." B. Pagan Religious Cults (1) CYBELE OF PHRYGIA During the critical days of the Second Punic War, the Romans imported from Pessinus in Phrygia, Cybele, the Magna Mater. The object of this cult was a black stone, representing the goddess Cybele, whose saga revolved about the premature death of her beloved, Atys. In the spring her devotees celebrated a festival to commemorate Atys' revival. Even before his conversion, St. Augustine was shocked by the indecent words and acts of this feast. Neophytes dedicated themselves to the goddess by castration, and they and other cultists participated in a tumultuous procession with symbols of the goddess. This involved self-flagellation, slashing of flesh with knives, frenzied yells, playing of cymbals, flutes, etc., followed by unrestrained feasting.
The initiation often involved the blood-bath of taurobollium: the candidate took a shower in the blood of oxen butchered above his head. the authorities of Republican Rome, once the menace from Hannibal had been removed, tried in vain to ban this cult. Finally Emperor Claudius (41-54) sanctioned its spring festival, March 15 to 27. Truly it was a bizarre and bloody fortnight. (2) SYRIAN ASTARTE From Syria came Astarte, Dea Syra par excellence, with various Baals, This cult in many ways resembled the foregoing. Perhaps more than any other it was a sort of traveling circus. "We are shown a beastly old eunuch, his bald head fringed with grizzled curls; a crew of effeminate, painted young men, wearing turbans and robes of saffron crossed with purple stripes, and an ass, which carried the sacred image covered with a silken veil, When it came to a village or to some nobleman's country seat, the sorry procession halted. Then the fanatics, brandishing swords and axes and emitting discordant howls, would whirl round and round to the accompaniment of Syrian flutes till their long ringlets stood out. . . . At the conclusion of the crazy performance, a collection was made among the spectators." (3) EGYPTIAN ISIS The Egyptian goddess Isis arrived from Alexandria and her cult was legalized by Emperor Gains Caligula (37-41). The myth of the Nile was now surrounded with magnificent ritual. In November was commemorated the murder of Isis's love, Osiris, whom Isis seeks and finds. Loss and reunion provoked the cultists' frantic lamentations and these were followed by crazy glee. On March 25, the boat of Isis, decorated and blessed, inaugurated the year's navigation. Daily, morning and evening services were held in her temples: the statue was decorated and cultists sprinkled with Nile water. Initiation followed a ten day abstinence; apparently pseudo-mystic lore was imparted in a melodramatic setting: semidarkness pierced by rays of colored light against a background of weird music and oppressive perfumes: "the thrill of a lifetime." (4) PERSIAN MITHRAISM Mitra, a light-god, is mentioned in the Indo-European Vedas. He reappeared as a fighting satellite of Ahura-Mazda in Persian religion. King Mithridates of Pontus (120-63) spread the cult, Though his soldiers were defeated by Pompey, captives communicated the cult in the Roman army, and by 70 A.D. Mithra shrines appear in Europe. Mithraism was eclectic and adaptable: it became in Roman times a sort of solar worship and exaltation of fighting courage. Above all it was a soldier's religion; women were not admitted. Seven degrees of initiates are traced: Crow, Gryphon, Soldier, Lion, Persian, Sun-Racer, Father. Some scholars think that the seventh degree Mithraists were beaded by a Pater patrum who dwelt on Vatican Hill, for a shrine has been found there. These shrines were narrow crypts in which worshipers had seats along the wall; beyond the railing at the far end was an image of Mithra killing a bull; under it sacrifice to musical tunes took place. Daily services were held in honor of the "planet of the day," while the great festival of the sun-god was set for December 25. Bread and water seem to have been the sacrificial matter, while the moral code stressed loyalty, fraternity, and obedience, to be rewarded at Mithra's second coming. C. Pagan Religious Philosophy (1) STOICISM Seneca, Nero's mentor, was one of the nobler Romans who refused to give themselves over to mere emotionalism. Neither would he abandon himself to the hedonistic cynicism of "eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die"-a sentiment expressed on surviving banquet goblets
ornamented by skeletons. To men of Seneca's disposition, Stoicism offered a stern code of duty. For Seneca, the world was animated by a force which might be termed a soul. Man himself was but part of this leviathan. Man's ills arose from his lack of harmony with the universe, and he must achieve peace and happiness by self-repression, indifference, even insensibility toward passions. Though such a doctrine was basically atheistic and fatalistic, Seneca sometimes speaks metaphorically of the deity as a person in such wise as to lead medieval Christians to assume that he had become a Christian. The pantheistic fatherhood of god rendered easier a universal brotherhood of man: "Man to his fellow man is sacred; slaves are our humbler friends." Yet Seneca, though seemingly sincere in his beliefs, remained somewhat inconsistent in his life. Instead of detachment from material goods, he lived a comfortable existence. That Seneca's view of Roman society was pessimistic is clear from the estimate already quoted from him. He willingly became his own executioner in 65. Stoic luminaries were Maximus of Tyre, a broad-minded philanthropist, Dio Chrysostom (d. 117), a poor philosophical missionary, Marcus Aurelius, the imperial sage, author of the Meditations, and the slave moralist Epictetus. The latter once exclaimed: "What can I do, a lame old man, save sing God's praise and call on all men to join me in my song?" But of them all Martindale concludes: "Such noble exclamations are but few in their Stoic self -revelation; theirs was a stunned acquiescence in life rather than an enthusiastic acceptance of a loved and living Master and His Cross, such as you see in À-Kempis. Yet social conscience was waking up. Both private and public charities were becoming an institution characteristic of this age ." (2) NEOPLATONISM Plotinus was the chief exponent of the Neoplatonic philosophic school organized at Alexandria by Ammonius Saccas at the beginning of the third century. If Stoicism stressed moral activity, Neoplatonism tended toward speculation. Plotinus (d. 270) lectured at Rome for some twenty years and numbered Emperor Gallienus and the Roman nobility among his scholars. His system was a new theodicy, probably indebted to Philo the Jew and perhaps to Christianity. The Plotinian deity has a sort of trinity, though its members are unequal: Being in Itself, "The One," is alike the source of and above being; its image is Nous or Intelligence, which alone is knowable; then follows a sort of psyche or world-soul from which human souls emanate. These, unfortunately enclosed in matter, must free themselves before they can achieve union with deity. The process of liberation requires asceticism, illumination, and ecstatic contemplation, the bases, once Christianized, of the mystic "three ways." Elements of Neoplatonism were utilized by St. Augustine and other fathers, despite the fact that Plotinus and his disciple Porphyry had issued anti-Christian polemics. (3) SYNCRETISM Empress Julia Domna, and her Syrian relatives labored to fuse the foregoing pagan elements into a revitalized religious system. To give the new paganism a counterpart of Christ, she commissioned Philostratus to write a biography of Apollonius of Tyana (d. 100 A.D.). Though his contemporaries described Apollonius as an unprincipled impostor, Philostratus embroidered the data to produce a fictitious hero of the same name who would be an ideal philosopher. While never mentioning Christ explicitly, Philostratus seems to have borrowed such details from His life and teaching as suited his aim. Apollonius of Tyana, according to this retouched account, was born about the beginning of the Christian era, his advent heralded by singing of swans. After education at Tarsus, be retired to the temple of Aesculapius to lead an ascetical life. Fruit and vegetables constituted his food; he went barefoot and was clothed in linen; he gave up his inheritance and vowed celibacy. After five years of self-imposed silence, he began a tour of temples. Everywhere he inquired into rites, suggesting improvements and gathering disciples. All were astonished at his wisdom and
gift of tongues. "Do not wonder if I know all men's languages, for I also know their secret thoughts," was his explanation. Thereupon one Damis adored him as god. His tour took Apollonius to the sages of Babylon, the Magi of Persia, and the Indian Brahmans; it revealed that all tenets and rites are essentially the same. On his return to Ephesus, be detected a demon; he then began to perform prodigies to save men from demons. At Athens be delivered a discourse. Then, warned by a dream, he went to Rome where Nero was persecuting philosophers. He braved the tyrant, who became abashed and dismissed him. After raising a girl to life, he journeyed to Spain and Africa. Domitian cited him to Rome where be was imprisoned. Insulted by association with malefactors, he comforted his followers. When condemned to death, he still promised to meet Damis at Puteoli. "What, alive?" asks Damis. "Alive in my opinion, but in yours raised from the dead," is his reply. Later he convinced Damis of the reality of his escape from Rome by having Damis feel him. At Ephesus they had a vision of Domitian's assassination. Nerva now requested advice and Damis was sent back with a message. This was only a ruse of Apollonius who advised: "Conceal your life, but if you cannot do that, conceal your death." Damis never saw him again, and no one knows if Apollinius died. Some say that be finally disappeared in a temple as virgins sang: "Leave earth and come to heaven." Thomas Allies from whom this summary is derived, comments: "If the manifold resemblances before noted assure us that Apollonius was intended to be a heathen Christ, the contrast here shown goes to the very bottom of the fundamental antagonism between philosophical heathenism in what we may certainly call its highest form, and the Christian faith. Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 A.D.) 12. The Growth of Missions III Growth of the Church 12. THE GROWTH OF MISSIONS A. Introduction: Causes of Christian Growth (1) THEOLOGICAL CAUSE The only adequate cause of the rapid propagation of Christianity amid a hostile and physically superior pagan environment is divine providence which effected through feeble human instruments a stupendous moral miracle. The obstacles hindering Christian growth were naturally insuperable. Christ's human nationality, shameful death, and seeming failure repelled the haughty Graeco-Roman intelligentsia. His doctrine, however attractive, demanded sacrifice of intellectual pride by belief in mysteries, and of deeply rooted vices by the acceptance of a strict moral code. Christ, moreover, demanded man's exclusive religious loyalty: no compromise with other religions, official or private, was allowed. Prejudices and jealous Messianic dreams deterred Jews, while even welldisposed pagans were antagonized by calumnies against Christian practices. Finally, for the masses oppressed with temporal ills, a persecuted Church could offer no material gain, but only a distant eternal recompense. (2) HISTORICAL CAUSES Dispositive instrumental causes employed by Providence are listed by Cardinal Hergenroether: (1) The spotless life of the average primitive Christian; (2) the invincible courage of martyrs, especially women and children; (3) the zeal of converts to share their faith with acquaintances; (4) the international outlook of a Church growing amid a "melting-pot" of peoples; (5) the sublimity of her teachings, as contrasted with: (6) the empty worn-out misery of paganism;
III. Growth of the Church (107-248)
(7) the undermining of pagan polytheism both by the better philosophies and by agnosticism; (8) the intrepid zeal of apologists and controversialists; (9) the leniency of certain emperors, Antonine, Alexander; and (10) the promise of liberty and dignity for women and slaves. Conclusion: The terminus ad quem chosen for this period is 248 A.D., when Rome celebrated her thousandth anniversary with great pomp. At the helm of the world empire on this occasion was Emperor Philip, an Arabian Christian. To be sure, be does not seem to have been a very exemplary Christian, but that any member of this despised minority religion should mount the imperial throne within two centuries was startling enough. The mustard seed had indeed grown rapidly to bring the imperial eagles to rest in its branches. Yet this triumph was but the early Church's Palm Sunday; in 249 the reactionary Emperor Decius was to inaugurate an unlimited persecution which would submit the Church to her Passion, and ordeal of great suffering. B. The Western Patriarchate (1) THE ROMAN SEE (108-250) Liturgical pioneers. The following survey will summarize the known activity of the early popes; certain pontificates will have more detailed treatment elsewhere in regard to specialized topics. Practically all details concerning the popes of the first half of the second century are derived from the Liber Pontificalis. This dubiously reliable source ascribes to them the following liturgical innovations. St. Alexander (108-18) could have introduced the venerable qui pridie into the Mass, as well as instituting holy water. St. Sixtus I (118-28) may have added the Sanctus. St. Telesphorus (128-38) is said to have sanctioned the Gloria at Christmas, though it was not yet permitted at other times. Pope Hyginus (138-41) is assigned a vaguely described regulation Of clerical discipline. The same is said of St. Pius I (141-55), best known as brother of the patristic writer Hermas. Primatial assertors. St. Anicetus (155-67) gently but firmly rejected St. Polycarp's effort to extend the Asiatic computation of Easter. When the holy Bishop of Smyrna claimed that he had been instructed by St. John the Apostle to celebrate Easter on the 14th, no matter what day of the week, St. Anicetus opposed a Roman tradition from St. Peter which fixed the Paschal celebration for the Sunday nearest the 14th. The contestants parted amicably without convincing one another. During the same pontificate St. Hegesippus came to Rome from Syria and compiled a list of bishops. St. Soter (167-76) wrote a letter to Corinth which was respectfully acknowledged by St. Denis, bishop of Corinth. St. Eleutherus (176-89) received an appeal regarding the Montanist heresy, and apparently aided in its condemnation. Rome was visited by St. Irenaeus of Lyons, who rendered classic testimony to papal primacy, Finally, Pope St. Victor (189-99) insisted on the definitive settlement of the Easter controversy in favor of the Roman tradition; when Bishop Polycrates of Ephesus resisted, he and the Asiatic hierarchy were threatened with censure. The details of the settlement are unknown. St. Irenaeus seems to have intervened as peacemaker, but in any event the Roman tradition had definitely triumphed by the time of the Nicene Council in 325. Defenders of penance. St. Hippolytus, a Roman priest, aided Pope St. Zepherinus (199217), who appears to have been a kindly pontiff somewhat imposed upon by heretics. When St. Calixtus (217-22), St. Zepherinus's deacon and successor, opposed penitential rigorism, St. Hippolytus became the first antipope, with Tertullian's support. St. Urban (222-30) is said to have converted St. Cecilia's spouse, Valerian. St. Pontian (230-35) had the consolation of reconciling St. Hippolytus before their joint martyrdom. St. Anther (235-36) promptly followed them to the martyr's crown. The period ends with Pope St. Fabian (236-50) who definitively organized Roman parishes; in his pontificate also mention is made of subdeaconship and minor orders. From the pontificate of St. Anicetus, comparatively reliable information is supplied by Eusebius, though it is only with St. Urban that the duration of, papal pontificates can be dated with exactitude.
(2) ITALY Suburban sees. During this period Rome seems to have remained the sole metropolitan see throughout the Italian peninsula. By the end of the period it is estimated that there were 40,000 Christians in Rome and vicinity. At this time some of the suburban sees, which later gave titles to cardinal-bishops, made their appearance. Both the Liber Pontificalis and St. Augustine assert the antiquity of the Ostian see whose bishop acquired the privilege of consecrating the bishop of Rome. Possibly Porto, Albano, and Tibur also became sees before the end of the period, for in 251 Pope St. Cornelius held a council at Rome attended by sixty bishops (St. Cyprian, Letter 13; Eusebius, History, VI, 43). Peninsular sees. The only bishoprics which certainly appear during this period in lower Italy are those of Puteoli, Pompeii, and Naples. Probably these churches were founded from Rome, for some of their legends claim missionaries dispatched by St. Peter. But here Christianity-as indeed throughout the West-still remained chiefly an urban religion; the country districts were tenaciously rooted in pagan superstitions. Lombard sees. Milan, Ravenna, and Aquileia were certainly sees by this time, though their foundation by apostolic men cannot be established. But episcopal lists are preserved, and the titulars are often mentioned in councils. The church at Ravenna seems to have been centered at the port of Classe, and the presence of Orientals at this port may indicate the point of departure for the evangelization of upper Italy, Christianity also had certainly reached Verona and Brescia. (3) GAUL Provence. The ancient Roman provincia may well have been the first part of Gaul to be evangelized. Before 250 there seem to have been sees at Narbonne, Arles, and Toulouse. It is to that year that St. Gregory of Tours assigns the coming of seven missionaries from Rome: Trophimus to Arles, Paul to Narbonne, Saturninus to Toulouse, Gatian to Tours, Denis to Paris, Martial for Limoges, and Austremonius to Clermont. St. Gregory appears mistaken about the date, though not necessarily in regard to the substance of the facts. Gallic episcopal lists remain fragmentary and unreliable during this period. Lyons is the principal, and the only certainly established see before the third century. Its first known bishop was St. Pothinus, who with many of his flock was martyred in 177. Hence Christianity along the Rhone must date from at least the middle of the second century. St. Irenaeus succeeded St. Pothinus and before his death in 202 extended the Gallic mission to Tours, Chalons, and Autun, and perhaps the Rhine. Lyons seems to have retained supervision of the newer communities for a time, for Eusebius refers to the "various Christian communities of Gaul of which Irenaeus was bishop" (History, V, 23). Roman Germany. The flourishing Christianity of the Rhineland at the beginning of the fourth century argues to early third century origins. The area was evangelized from Gaul (St. Irenaeus, A. H., 1, 10) and patristic writers refer to it as the Christian frontier (Arnobius, Against Gentiles, 1, 16). St. Maternus, first known bishop of Cologne, was a contemporary of Constantine the Great, and a delegate to the Council of Arles in 314. (4) SPAIN Fragmentary data about Christian churches in Spain are gained from allusions by St. Irenaeus (A. H., 1, 4) and Tertullian (Against Jews, 7) about the beginning of the third century. About fifty years later, St. Cyprian of Carthage (Letter 77) was consulted about Bishops Basilides
of Leon and Martial of Merida. Other correspondence of St. Cyprian pertaining to the baptismal controversy reveals sees at Saragossa, Tarragona, Galicia, and Lusitania. Reports of various councils would suggest that the Spanish hierarchy was already numerous, though it is not easy to identify the sees in the vague ancient references. Long before the middle of the third century, then, Spain must have been widely evangelized. (5) BRITAIN General references to Christians in Britain appear in the works of Tertullian (A. J., 7) and Origen (On Ezechial, IV, 1). It seems clear that the Britons, kinsmen of the Gauls, received their Christianity from Gaul, and that the development of British communities must have therefore been subsequent to those on the Continent. Probably Christianity, like Romanization, was less firmly rooted in Britain than in Gaul, since it was almost overwhelmed by the Anglo-Saxon invasions. There can be no doubt, however, that the Faith had been planted in Britain long before her bishops came to the Council of Arles in 314. (6) NORTH AFRICA Christian origins. The first historical notice of the presence of Christians in proconsular Africa occurs about 180 when a dozen citizens of the little town of Scillium were martyred at Carthage (Kirch, 78-90). This circumstance would indicate that Christianity had already made some progress into rural areas. Certainly Tertullian's writings reveal a flourishing Christian community at the end of the second century, though his suggestion that the Christians outnumbered pagans is certainly rhetorical exaggeration (Apologeticum, 37; Against Jews, 7). Carthage emerges as the chief see. It exercised a sort of primatial jurisdiction over all of proconsular Africa, though it was not formally accorded metropolitan rank until much later. St. Cyprian states that already in 200 Bishop Agrippinus, the first ordinary known by name, presided over a council of 70 bishops, but neither date nor numbers can be otherwise checked. Bishop Donatus of Carthage is said to have presided over a council of 90 bishops between 236 and 248. He was succeeded by the famous St. Cyprian who convened a like number in 256. Certainly the subsequent sacramental controversies reveal that the African Church was already one of the largest and most influential of Christendom, and even disposed to question Rome's lead in the heat of controversy (St. Cyprian, Letters 55, 71, 73). C. Oriental Patriarchates (1) ALEXANDRIA Hierarchical organization. Beginning with St. Mark, Eusebius (History, I-V) enumerated eleven bishops of Alexandria between 50 and 190, of whom we know little more than the names. Yet by the opening of the third century nearly every Egyptian district had a Christian congregation, and the bishop of Alexandria had many sees subject to his jurisdiction. Thus Bishop Demetrius (190-233) is virtually a patriarch, and his see will become the second in the Catholic world, to be formally recognized as such at Nicea in 325. Evangelization continued to advance rapidly so that at the close of the third century even villages had been converted. Catechetical school. Alexandria had become a center of profane learning, and it is natural that the Stoic philosopher Pantaenus, once fired with Christian zeal, would think of erecting a school in that city. About 180 be laid the foundations of a school which became almost a Christian university under his successors as rector, Clement and Origen. The latter was the most learned of Christian exegetes before St. Jerome, and exercised widespread influence, not wholly confined to Christian circles. His successors as head of the academy, Heraclas and Dionysius, eventually succeeded to the Alexandrian patriarchate. Alexandria furnished the first
summa theologica in Origen's Peri Archon, though it would also nourish the heresiarch Arius who pushed the latter's subordinationism to a denial of Christ's divinity. (2) ANTIOCH Patriarchal evolution. In regard to Antioch also, Eusebius furnishes little more than the names of St. Ignatius's early successors from 107 to 171. But St. Theophilus (171-83) was a distinguished apologist, and his second successor Serapion (190-203) was also an ecclesiastical writer engaged in combating Marcionitism. By this time Antioch had supplanted Jerusalem as the chief see of the Syrian littoral. Missionaries from Antioch founded many churches so that its bishop began to achieve patriarchal status, a position formally recognized at Nicea. Before that the career of Bishop Paul of Samosata (260-70) would indicate the social prominence of the Antiochian prelate, not wholly for good. Edessa became one of Antioch's chief suffragan sees. It was the capital of the client principality of Osrohoene whose ruler Agbar IX (179-214) became a Christian and promoted the Gospel. During this reign Patriarch Serapion consecrated the Syrian bishop Palout. After Roman annexation of the principality in 214 ties with Antioch became stronger. Edessa in turn sent missionaries beyond the imperial frontiers to Armenia and Parthia. Asia Minor had been evangelized by St. Paul from Antioch, ecclesiastical control passed to Ephesus and Neo-Caesarea in Pontus; these sees were recognized as metropolitan at Nicea. Cyprus, the see of St. Barnabas, also vindicated jurisdictional autonomy. St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, graduate of Origen's school in 238, became a great missionary in Asia Minor. (3) JERUSALEM Gentile predominance. After the suppression of the last Jewish rising of Bar-Kochba in 135, Gentile leadership prevailed in Judea. The Christian community seems to have become largely Gentile, and Caesarea began to claim metropolitan rights over the apostolic see of Jerusalem thereby beginning disputes not settled until 451. Little is known of the 27 bishops who succeeded St. Simeon until we come to St. Narcissus (189-97; 210-12), a great wonder worker. Calumniated, be resigned to become a hermit, but after his accusers had been signally punished, returned to his see. He was one of the Palestinian hierarchy that attended a council regarding the Paschal question about 190 (Eusebius History, V, 23-25). (4) GREECE Extra-patriarchal status seems to have prevailed in St. Paul's European foundations, though Rome claimed them as part of the Latin patriarchate. Eventually they would be embraced in the Byzantine patriarchate, but during this period Byzantium, the Constantinople of the future, was not yet a see. Corinth and Thessalonia became metropolitan sees, and Nicopolis came to the fore in Epirus. St. Paul's apostolic foundations in Greece, Thrace, and Macedonia would seem to be flourishing at this time, though details of their growth are lacking. Illyricum remains in obscurity before Diocletian's persecution at the opening of the fourth century, but the number of martyrs at that time argues to its evangelization during the third century. Conclusion: Though statistics are not available, it would seem certain that Christian missions proceeded more rapidly and successfully in the East than in the West. In the latter area few communities had been established outside the urban civitas, while in the Orient whole country districts had become Christian. But where results were not yet AP-parent, the Christian yeast was already working: the mass conversions of later times were being prepared by the patient labors of anonymous missionaries.
Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 A.D.) III. Growth of the Church (107-248) 13. Growth of Opposition: Early Persecutions III Growth of the Church 13. GROWTH OF OPPOSITION: EARLY PERSECUTION A. Persecution by Western Imperialism Introduction: During the second century the legal gens of Emperor Nerva gave the Empire its Golden Age. These "Good emperors," Romanized provincials, combined appreciation of Roman legal traditions with solicitude for the general good of the world empire. Cultured agnostics, they regarded the state paganism chiefly as an instrument of promoting imperial unity. Their opposition to Christianity, then, was motivated more by political than religious concerns: they seem more interested in curbing it as an alien ideology than in exterminating it as religion. It may be remarked that St. Augustine's enumeration of "Ten Persecutions" is merely conventional; local prosecution was intermittent. (1) EMPEROR TRAJAN (98-117) Marcus Ulpius Trajanus succeeded his adopted father Nerva. Under this great general and able administrator the Empire reached its widest extent with the conquest of Dacia, modern Romania. Though Nero's edict remained imperial policy, its execution depended largely on provincial governors and local conditions. Pliny the Younger, governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor, reported about 111 what he considered a serious, if not critical problem: "This is the course that I have adopted in the case of those brought to me as Christians. I ask them if they are Christians. If they admit it, I repeat the question a second and a third time, threatening capital punishment; if they persist, I sentence them to death, for I do not doubt that, whatever crime it may be to which they have confessed, their pertinacity and inflexible obstinacy should certainly be punished....... An anonymous pamphlet was issued, containing many names....... All who denied that they were or had been Christians I considered should be discharged, . . . especially because they cursed Christ, a thing which, it is said, genuine Christians cannot be induced to do. But I found nothing but a depraved and extravagant superstition, and therefore I postponed my examination and had recourse to you for consultation" (Correspondence, X, 96). Trajan's rescript reflects the opportunism of a secure ruler: "You have taken the right line, my dear Pliny, in examining the cases of those denounced to you as Christians, for no hard and fast rule of universal application can be laid down. They are not to be sought out; if they are informed against, and the charge is proved, they are to be punished with this reservation, that if anyone denies he is a Christian and actually proves it, that is by worshipping the gods, be shall be pardoned as a result of his recantation, however suspect be may have been in regard to the past. Pamphlets published anonymously should carry no weight in any charge whatsoever. They constitute a very bad precedent and are also out of keeping with this age." Hence Christians were to be held in check without unduly disturbing public order in their pursuit: shrewd politics but moral inconsistency later flayed by Tertullian's sarcasm. Martyrs reported by name during the persecution of Trajan are St. Clement of Rome, said to have been exiled to the Crimea, St. Ignatius of Antioch, thrown to the beasts, and St. Simeon of Jerusalem, crucified by Prefect Atticus.
(2) EMPEROR ADRIAN (117-38) Publius Aelius Hadrianus, Trajan's adopted son, was also a competent administrator, though opposed to military expansion. He was a great traveler and in his wake appeared throughout the Empire better government, more sumptuous buildings, and greater interest in the arts. In substance, be continued his predecessor's policy toward the Christians. About 125 his rescript to Minucius Fundanus, proconsul of Asia, confirmed the ban upon anonymous letters as evidence, though account was to be taken of proven indictments. Rash denunciations were discouraged by a penalty to the plaintiff in case of failure to prove his charge (Eusebius, History, IV, 9). Popular indignation against Christians, consequently, proved more dangerous than imperial prosecution during this reign. The atrocious calumnies circulated against them were ignored by conscientious governors, but malicious or weak administrators in sympathy with the accusers could circumvent the imperial rescripts, or ignore murders perpetrated during riots. Symphorosa and her seven sons are said to have suffered martyrdom at this time. Christian apologists tried to defend the Christians against these calumnies by memorials to the emperor or the senate. The first of these champions, Quadratus and Aristides, wrote during Adrian's reign. The latter compared barbarian, Greek, Jewish, and Christian religions to conclude to the superiority of Christianity. Hence, he argued, Christians, far from being persecuted, ought to be taken as models (Eusebius, History, IV, 3). (3) EMPEROR ANTONINE I (138-61) Titus Aurelius Antoninus Pius was perhaps the best of the pagan emperors in moral character. Likewise an able ruler, he guided the Empire in peaceful and prosperous times. According to Blessed Melito of Sardis, be sent a rescript to the Asiatic proconsular assembly in response to Christian apologies, urging forbearance toward the Christians who should be punished, if at all, by the gods they had offended (Eusebius,,History, IV, 13). The authenticity of this document has been seriously questioned; perhaps Christian interpolations have overlaid a basic truth. Local administrators in any event made use of the anti-Christian laws still unrepealed. St. Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, was the victim of a popular riot before which Proconsul Quadratus yielded. With eleven of his diocesans, the bishop was executed after the immortal response: "Eighty-six years have I served Christ, and He has never done me evil; how could I blaspheme my King and Savior?" Prefect Urbicus of Rome executed the catechist Ptolemy and two other Christians, and Popes Hyginus and Pius are reported as martyrs during the reign. At Jerusalem, Bishop Mark is also said to have suffered. (4) EMPEROR MARK (161-80) Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was Antonine's adopted successor. He strove to rule in accord with enlightened Stoic philosophy, but this more positive view toward religion made him less tolerant of Christians. He took a personal interest in their repression, and issued a new edict: "Whoever introduces new sects or religions whose true nature is unknown and thereby excites the people, shall be banished if he be of noble birth, and killed by the sword if he be of mean extraction" (Kirch, 77). The alarming Teutonic inroads on the northern frontier may also have made the emperor more apprehensive of internal religious dissent. The Thundering Legion episode, pronounced legendary by Zeiller, is reported by Tertullian (Apologeticus, 15) and Eusebius (V, 5). During a Marcomanian campaign, it is said, the Roman army was weakened by thirst in face of the enemy. At the prayers of the Melitine Legion, largely Christian, a storm arose bringing rain to thirsty Romans and lightning to terrified Teutons.
The emperor attributed the incident to Jupiter Pluvius. The Martyrs of Lyons in 177 have acta of unquestioned reliability. During the governor's absence popular fury vented itself on the Christians, and survivors were denounced to him on his return. Despite Momentary wavering, all the accused eventually suffered heroically, from the nonagenarian Bishop Pothinus to the slave girl Blandina (Eusebius, History, V, 24). Other martyrs known by name are Bishops Publius of Athens, Sagaris of Laodicea, and Thraseas of Eumenia; St. Cecilia and her companions at Rome, and St. Justin the Apologist, together with six companions. St. Justin, according to his authentic acta, closed his apologetical career by a courageous defense of the Faith before the urban prefect (Eusebius, History, IV, 16). (5) RELAPSE INTO ANARCHY (180-97) Marcus Aurelius Commodus (180-92), Emperor Mark's own son, broke the record of "good emperors," for this careless libertine neglected imperial affairs. From 182, plots in the senate and mutinies in the army were frequent until the mentally unbalanced ruler was killed. During his reign Senator Apollonius was executed following a defense of Christianity in the senate itself (Eusebius, History, V, 21). At Carthage, about 180, Sparatus and eleven companions were executed by Proconsul Saturninus (Kirch, 78). Yet the emperor's fondness for his Christian concubine Marcia induced him to heed pleas for the pardon of some confessors condemned to the Sardinian mines. Anarchy became complete while the senate strove to name successors to Commodus in Pertinax (192-93) and Julian (193), and the leading generals vied for possession of the capital. Of these rivals, Pescenius Niger of the Syrian corps, Clodius Albinus of the British occupation forces, and Septimius Severus of the Pannonian legions, the last emerged as undisputed ruler by 197. Hitherto a senatorial and equestrian aristocracy had co-operated with enlightened rulers; henceforth the army emerged in control of a sheer military despotism. B. Persecution by Oriental Syncretism Introduction: During the second century the Roman melting pot had diluted Roman with Oriental blood. In the third century many of the emperors themselves were Orientals with but a veneer of Roman culture. With slight appreciation of Roman political and religious traditions, they were more concerned with introducing native religious ideas or fusing them into the philosophic synthesis called Syncretism. When Christians refused invitation to the new pantheon, they were pursued with the bigotry of thwarted Rotarianism. Legal forms were now less respected; significantly, the jurist Papinian coined the maxim, quidquid placuit principi legis habet vigorem. (1) THE SYRIAN DYNASTY (193-235) Lucius Septimius Severus (193-211), a native of Africa, secured Rome and senatorial recognition in 193, but was not without rivals until 197. Perhaps by reason of a cure by a Christian physician, Severus did not at once persecute the Church. But increasingly he came under the influence of his wife, the Syrian Julia Domna, devotee of the Oriental mystery cults. Toward the end of the second century be reapplied the persecuting edicts. With scant respect for his predecessors' legal scruples, he abandoned the norm of conquirendi non sunt for governmental prosecution. In 202 be forbade conversions to Judaism and Christianity and admitted the testimony of informers. Severe persecution continued to the end of his reign, provoking Tertullian's defiance: Semen est sanguis Christianorum. The School of Alexandria was temporarily dispersed, and Origen's father Leonidas martyred. Other Egyptian martyrs were Basilides, the virgin Potamaeia and her mother. At Carthage, Sts. Felicitas and Perpetua beaded
a great number of victims. Syncretism became Julia Domna's cherished dream. She sought to unite Oriental paganism and Christian heresies into a latitudinarian religion. All cults were sanctioned and temples erected to all gods as diverse manifestations of a single pantheistic deity. About this time Philostratus produced his Apollonius of Tyana, and Ammonius Saccas began to impart Neoplatonism at Alexandria, for a time numbering Origen among his students. Emperor Antonine II (211-17), nicknamed Caracalla, followed his father Severus. Chiefly in order to increase income from taxes, he extended citizenship to all freemen of the Empire in 212. He seems to have been indifferent to Christianity, for there are but few notices of martyrdom in his reign, and these chiefly from the jurisdiction of Proconsul Scapula in Africa (211-13). Macrinus (217-18), formerly a Moorish officer, gained the throne by assassinating Caracalla. But his pusillanimous policy and his parsimony in paying his troops convinced the latter of the advantage of returning to the old dynasty. They proclaimed a grandson of Julia Moesa, sister of Julia Domna, as emperor, and slew Macrinus. The latter, then, had little chance to persecute. Antonine III (218-22), better known by his priestly title of Heliogabalus, left politics largely to his grandmother Moesa. Formerly votary of the sun-god at Emesa, he tried to promote its cult at Rome itself. His immoral and fantastic antics threatened the ancient Roman gods more than Christianity. There were still enough old-fashioned Romans to assassinate him. Alexander (222-35), a cousin of the preceding, was then raised to the throne. He was dominated by his mother, Julia Mammaea, who sought to persuade the Christians into the syncretist fold. To this end she held discussions with Origen and had a statue of Christ placed in the Pantheon. Alexander himself was mild and benevolent, but his payment of tribute to barbarians outraged his troops who killed him (Eusebius, History, VI, 28). (2) PHANTOM EMPERORS (235-49) Maximin the Thracian was the chief beneficiary of Alexander's murder. Though never officially recognized by the senate this giant barbarian was for three years ruler de facto of much of the empire. Intent on exterminating his predecessor's partisans, among whom he naturally reckoned the Christians, the usurper promptly issued an edict of persecution which in quick succession struck down Popes Pontian and Anther, and St. Hippolytus. The storm was violent but brief, for Maximin had to contend with rivals who at length triumphed over him. Gordian III (238-44), an ancient Roman whose father and grandfather had been imperial contenders before him, was something of a " constitutional monarch." But the senate's attempt to exclude the army from politics proved a failure, for presently the praetorian prefect, Philip the Arabian, murdered Gordian and took his throne. Philip (244-49) is reputed to have been a Christian of some sort. At any rate peace descended on the Church so that church edifices were openly built or rebuilt. But Philip's reign, reaching its climax in the Roman millenary festival of 248, was but a brief calm before the "Ordeal of the Church." Conclusion: This roster of known and anonymous witnesses to Christ, impressive as it is, yields in importance to their dispositions. This idea is brought out in the response of St. Felicitas, moaning in prison during the pangs of childbirth. Asked by the jailer how she would ever be able to face the greater pain of the beasts, she replied: "Now I suffer what I suffer, but then Another shall be in me who will suffer for me, because I too am ready to suffer for Him." Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 A.D.)
III. Growth of the Church (107-248)
14. Growth of "Superior Knowledge": Gnosticism III Growth of the Church 14. GROWTH OF "SUPERIOR KNOWLEDGE": GNOSTICISM A. Gnostic Origins (1) REMOTE PAGAN SOURCES Learned speculation in religion and philosophy did not always have happy results. In religion there was the danger that morbid emotionalism would degenerate into a mere sexual cult. Philosophic conceit in lofty speculation, on the other band, could beget a contempt for the masses, and pedants were tempted to construct an esoteric gnosis, a supposedly "superior knowledge" not communicated to the common herd. Christianity, with its restrained religious sentiment and lofty yet simple dogmas, would not long satisfy such dabblers in the occult. They refused to admit that Christian revelation had settled once and for all questions of the divine nature, of the origin of the universe, of the meaning of evil. Not content with orthodox Christianity, they proceeded to elaborate on it. But Christianity had given them new terms and opened vistas which had already achieved popularity. Gnostics, like later "Modernists," did not scruple to employ traditional Catholic terminology in a secret, perverted sense that threatened to trap the unwary pious soul. Hellenistic background. "Recent investigations have proved that ever since Alexander the Great inaugurated the Hellenistic period with his triumphal conquests of the Orient there developed this strange mixture of Oriental religion and Greek philosophy which we call Gnosticism. From the Oriental religions Gnosticism inherited the belief in an absolute dualism between God and the world, between soul and body, the derivation of good and bad from two fundamentally different principles and substances, and the longing for redemption and immortality. From Greek philosophy Gnosticism received its speculative element. Thus the speculations concerning mediators between God and the world were incorporated from Neoplatonism; a naturalistic kind of mysticism from Neopythagoreanism; and the appreciation of the individual and his ethical task from Neostoicism ." (2) PROXIMATE JEWISH ORIGINS Simon Magus, according to St. Irenaeus (A. H., 1, 23), was father of all Gnostic systems. Repulsed by St. Peter, be proceeded to fashion his own cult in which he was not only prophet and priest, but god as well. on his tours he exhibited Helena, a slave prostitute, as his divine consort. Legend relates that Simon Magus perished in the failure of an acrobatic feat before Nero. Menander, another Samaritan, was able to continue the sect with the use of new magical tricks. Saturninus, a Syrian, made a distinction between Yahweh and an unseen, ineffable god who sent Christ to free men from the supposed tyranny of the Jewish deity; thus arose the idea of opposition between the Old and New Testaments. Cerdon, another Syrian, combined the foregoing notions with other features of Docetism. This primitive Gnostic taught Marcion at Rome, and thus influenced this half-Gnostic, half-rigorist sect founded by Marcion (St. Irenaeus, A. H., I, 27). B. Gnostic Doctrines (1) BASILIDEAN DUALISM Basilides flourished at Alexandria during the reigns of Adrian and Antonine. He is said to
have been a disciple of Menander at Antioch or Smyrna. His system is known chiefly through the descriptions of Sts. Irenaeus and Hippolytus, which vary in certain details, probably because the Basilidean speculation was ever fluid. The following composite account, then, cannot pretend to meticulous accuracy. Cosmology. All things begin with nothing, or the god that is not probably what is meant is that the first deity is an abstraction. From this emanates a threefold being. Its first part, spiritual, flies up and is joined with the nonbeing. The second, less spiritual, fails in a like attempt, but eventually achieves its aim with the aid of an emanation, Holy Breath. The third part, still less spiritual, completely fails in attempting reunion. In vain does it seek to imitate the second part by generating Great Archon. The latter, remaining in ignorance of the primordial nonbeing, generates Second Archon, which produces the upper heaven or ether. A series of generations result in 365 archons and 365 heavens, each more perfect than the foregoing. Our world, unworthy of archons, is either self-produced, or according to St. Irenaeus, fashioned by the lowest archon. Soteriology. The third filiation of nonbeing still must be reunited with the primordial being. Salvation is the task of achieving this reunion. Great Archon ruled the world until Moses, when he was replaced by Second Archon. Only at the appearance of the Christian Gospel did Great Archon realize that be was not the supreme divine being. This revelation descended down the archons and reached mankind when Holy Breath descends on the man Savior, a composite of elements from all the archons. Then the account of the Christian Gospel is followed until the Savior ascends into heaven where he is successively purified of the material archon-elements, and thereby rendered capable of reinstating the third filiation into the primordial nonbeing. Morality. Human morality consists in working out an analogous purification in men. This is effected by taking out their appendices: by this term Basilides designates material passions and sins which all have, some from a previous existence. The appendices are pictured in archaeological remains as small wolves, monkeys, lions, snakes, etc. They seem to have a sort of independent existence, and must be expelled, if not in this life, at least in another: metempsychosis is a feature of the Basilidean system. Basilides and his son Isidore recommended ordinary morality, but their successors perverted this into an immoral cult. When self-purification is complete, the primordial nonbeing will emit an ignorance-gas so that every category, filiations, archons, and men will be unaware of the ranks above. Each order, believing itself highest, will then live happily ever after. (2) VALENTINIAN NUPTIAL GNOSTICISM Valentinus is the other indispensable name in Gnostic evolution. This individual was also born in Egypt. it would be gratuitous to describe him as a disciple of Basilides, though be seems to have learned of the previous system and tried to improve on it. Valentinus came to Rome where he tried to convince Pope Hyginus to adopt his theories. After the pontiff had rejected him, Valentinus retired to Cyprus where be died about 160. Valentinianism, here Presented in some detail, is regarded by St. Irenaeus as Gnosticism par excellence. This system as portrayed by the Catholic polemicist, incorporates certain developments of Valentinus's disciples. Fantastic as this system seems, its pseudo-mystic lore reappears in different degrees in later historic sects: Albigensianism, Cabalism, Red Masonry, etc. Theology. All begins with Bythus alias Proarche alias Propator, whom Gnostics identified with God the Father. For this and subsequent eons, literal English renditions will be used where possible. Father had a cognate eon, known as Silence. Valentinus adds to Basilidean progression nuptial pairs. Thus Father and Silence generate Mind. Though Mind is the Father's sole begotten, from somewhere comes a consort, Truth, with whom be generates Word and Life. These now generate Man and Assembly, demigods not to be confused with earthly denizens. These first eight eons constitute the Ogdoad, first grade of the Pleroma, or ring of gods. Word
and Life beget a Decade: ten eons named Deep, Mingling, Undecaying, Union, Self-Existent, and Pleasure; Immovable, Blending, Only-Begotten II, and Happiness. Then Man and Assembly generate the Duodecade: Advocate and Faith, Ancestral and Hope, Metrical and Love, Praise and Understanding, Churchman and Felicity, Desired and Wisdom. The fifteen pairs of eons, male and female, seem to be concrete expressions of Valentinus's concept of abstract divine attributes. It is clear, therefore, that Christ lived a hidden life of thirty years in honor of the thirty eons of the Pleroma. Ethereal friction. Wisdom, lowest eon, tried to understand the Father. Her vain attempt to share this exclusive prerogative of Mind threw her into a passion; in her bewilderment she generated Acamoth, a formless substance at once cast out of the Pleroma. To avert a repetition of such an incident, Mind produced Anointed (Christ) and Holy Spirit, who purified the Pleroma by teaching the eons that Mind alone could know the Father. In gratitude for this enlightenment, the eons produced Savior. The Christian phrase, "for all aeons of aeons," Valentinus points out, is obviously in honor of these thirty-three eons. Cosmology. Acamoth lacked form and understanding. The first it received from Anointed, the second from Holy Spirit. Thereupon it tried to enter the Pleroma, but Horos frightened it away with "Iao" -a deeply significant term. In despair Acamoth now generated earthly elements. From her desire of returning to the Pleroma came Demiurge; from her tears, water-aside by Irenaeus: this will do for salt water, but fresh water must have come from her perspiration. From her smile emanated light, and from her grief all the sorrows of this world. The Pleroma, Moved to pity at her state, sent Savior to separate her into two elements: matter which is wholly evil, and animal, which is mixed. Acamoth was so delighted that new generations produced angels and men. Her son Demiurge fashioned "right-handed" and "left-handed" men. Men have matter and an animal soul from Demiurge, but also a spiritual principle from the angels. By reason of these composite elements, men may be classified into spiritual, the Gnostics who are saved whatever they may do; material, Gnostic foes and pagans who are entirely evil and inevitably damned; and animal men, ordinary Catholics, who have a chance of salvation by conversion to Gnosticism. Soteriology is concerned with returning Acamoth and her brood to the Pleroma. Demiurge eventually produces the man Christ into whom the eon Savior descended at the baptism in the Jordan. The eon Savior left the man Christ in Gethsemane, changing with Simon Cyrene, who died on the cross while the eon Savior stood to one side mocking the Jews. Demiurge remained ignorant of all this inside information about Christ until he appeared in the guise of the centurion and was instructed. Then the eon Savior returned to the Pleroma. Morality. Gnostic spiritual men, who are above morality, are urged to imitate the sexual relations of the Pleroma. They make converts, preferably women, and impart some of the Gnostic lore at the price of their money and virtue. Animal men, however, must strive by good works, continence, mortification, to get rid of their material element in order to become spiritual like the Gnostics. According to St. Irenaeus, Gnostic teachers thus constituted an inner circle for whom all the practices of Christian asceticism are a preparation. All of the Old and New Testament were adapted in weird fashion to confirm this teaching; e.g., the daughter of Jairus is a type of Acamoth; Christ's Passion is a type of that of Wisdom, etc. Eschatology. Finally at the end of the world Acamoth will be taken into the Pleroma as the bride of Savior, thus making an even number of thirty-four eons. Demiurge will be promoted to the intermediate state outside the Pleroma vacated by Acamoth, and all animal men will go with him, for Silence will put invisibility caps on all who weed out matter before judgment day. Spiritual men, divested of their bodies, will be assumed into the Pleroma. Fire will descend on the material men, destroy them, and then annihilate itself-a tidy conclusion to the Gnostic panorama.
C. Decline of Gnosticism (1) GNOSTIC SCHISMS The Western School, which continued Valentinianism in Italy and Gaul, was led by Ptolemy and Heracleon, known to St. Irenaeus. They carried on the perverse interpretation of Scripture with fantastic allegories, and it is believed that Origen's meticulous care in setting forth the literal text of all biblical versions in his Hexaplar was intended to offset this abuse. The Eastern School of Valentinianism was carried on by Axionikos and Bardesanes (d. 222) in Egypt and Syria. They intermingled some elements of Persian magic and reduced the cult to pure charlatanry. (2) GNOSTIC REFUTATION St. Irenaeus (d. 202) was Gnosticism's greatest foe. Though he began his refutation with a flippant parody-"in the beginning was Proarche and Melon-Rind and Utter Emptiness, and the latter produced Cucumber to which was given as consort Melon, whence came all the little melons"-yet be did not neglect careful refutation. In his Against Heresies he challenged the very basis of this arbitrary gnosis by tracing the whole course and content of the Catholic tradition. If the Gnostics claim to have "superior inside information," let them prove it by traditions going back to the apostles; let them name the succession of their bishops going to ordination by one of the apostles; let them show that their teachings are in accord with the Roman Church, "that very great and very ancient church, with whom all the faithful must agree because of its more eminent principality" (III, 3). By the time of St. Irenaeus's death, Gnosticism had been driven into retreat; at least it had been so exposed that no Christian would be deceived by its parody of Christianity. St. Hippolytus (d. 235) carried the fight against Gnosticism into the next century with his Refutation of All Heresies. Though he sometimes disagrees with St. Irenaeus on details, this is explicable by the rapid fluidity of Gnostic variations under each new teacher. As late as the fifth century St. Epiphanius still attacked Gnosticism in his Medicine Chest, but by that time it had abandoned all pretensions at being Christian. (3) PERENNIAL GNOSTICISM A Gnostic attitude seems perennial in certain members of fallen humanity; for instance it reappears in this twentieth-century Rosicrucian advertisement: "What were these communications which for generations could only be transmitted from mouth to ear? It was the rare wisdom of the ancients; age-old truths which tyrants and selfish rulers sought to suppress; knowledge which they knew would give man power, independence, mastery of life, and the ability to attain his highest ideals. Today, these secret principles once withheld from the masses are available to the sincere, to you, if you seek the fullness of life. Send for free book. . . ." Conclusion: Nevertheless in combating Gnosticism, the first wide-spread threat to Christian orthodoxy, St. Irenaeus had outlined the response that the Catholic Church would make to all future heresies: not so is it contained in the "deposit of faith" which we have from historical popes and bishops, who received it from Peter and the apostles, who were sent by Christ, who is the Eternal Son of God, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 A.D.) III. Growth of the Church (107-248) 15. Reaction to Simplification: Monarchianism
III Growth of the Church 15. REACTION TO SIMPLIFICATION: MONARCHIANISM A. Introduction: Speculative Reaction Gnosticism had peopled the theological world with a confusing horde of eons. Despite its Christian terms, practically it amounted to a relapse into polytheism. Then during the latter part of the second century, just when Gnosticism was at its height, there appeared a severe monotheism which virtually denied the Trinity. Dearth of documents prevents categorical affirmation of a link between these two religious trends. Yet it can safely be presumed, by analogy with subsequent theological controversies, that deviation from the Catholic via media in one direction is ever apt to prompt a reaction which will veer to the opposite extreme. Thus against Nestorianism arose Monophysitism; and Fideism attacked Rationalism. It seems legitimate to assume, then, that the ultramonotheism of Monarchianism was to a degree a speculative reaction to Gnostic polytheism; that its rationalizing tendency represented surfeit of "superior knowledge." Monarchianism is the term applied to these heresies which tried to simplify" the divine Trinity into a Unitarian monarchy, either by denying or subordinating two of the Persons. This general tendency is sometimes subdivided into Dynamic Monarchianism or Adoptionism, and Modalistic Monarchianism or Modalism. The first form, which contemporaries, indeed, did not term Monarchianism, considered the Son as the dynamis or power of the Father, and Christ as but an adopted son of God. The second group held that the Son and the Holy Ghost were only modes or phases of the Father. The system of Paul of Samosata, finally, may be considered as a composite of various elements of the foregoing systems. B. Adoptionism (1) ORIGIN Theodotus the Tanner. According to St. Epiphanius (Panarion, LIV, 1) the founder of Adoptionism was Theodotus, a rich tanner of Byzantium, who enjoyed a reputation for learning and piety among his fellows. During persecution, however, he had the weakness to deny the Faith. Unable to endure the loss of prestige, he moved to Rome. Even here a Byzantine visitor reproached him for his apostasy. Theodotus made excuse by saying: "It is not God I have denied, but a man." This assertion be tried to justify by the text, "If anyone blasphemes the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him, but be who blasphemes the Holy Spirit, it will never be forgiven." From these efforts at self-justification, the first version of Adoptionism seems to have arisen. Theodotus claimed that Jesus was but a just man, born of a Virgin, upon whom "Christ" descended in the form of a dove. This divine descent, attributed to the Holy Ghost, made Jesus the adopted Son of God. Theodotus, then, certainly denied the divinity of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity; whether be held that the Holy Ghost was distinct from the Father is not entirely clear (Eusebius, History, V, 28). (2) HISTORY OF ADOPTIONISM Pope St. Victor excommunicated Theodotus the Tanner about 190, but the latter organized disciples into a church of his own. Hellenic philosophy was mustered to the defense of Adoptionist doctrines; in particular, the heretics are said to have made use of the Stoic development of Aristotelian disjunctive and conjunctive propositions. St. Hippolytus flatly accused them of rationalism. Natalis, a Roman cleric, presently appeared to act as bishop of the sect at the reported salary of 150 denarii a month. But St. Hippolytus says that Natalis eventually perceived his error, deserted the sect, and after much difficulty was reconciled to the Church under Pope Zepherinus
(199-217) (Eusebius, History, V, 28). Theodotus the Younger, sometimes called the banker, is said to have been a disciple of the founder of Adoptionism. To his master's errors he added the assertion that Melchisidech was greater than Christ, because whereas Christ was priest merely "according to the order of Melchisidech" and mediator between God and men, Melchisidech was "heavenly power of the chief grace" and mediator between God and angels. Theodotus's Melchisidechites went so far as to address prayers to Melchisidech. Asclepiades and others introduced new variations on this theme. Some identified Melchisidech with the Holy Spirit, thus reconciling the views of the two Theodoti. At any rate, all Adoptionist sects denied at least one of the Persons of the Trinity. The original sectaries were combated at Rome by St. Hippolytus, though the latter's writings seem to have been chiefly directed against a later member, Artemon. Artemon is the last Adoptionist known to history. Apparently he taught at Rome between 225 and 235. All that is known of him is that he also denied Christ's divinity, probably with a different explanation. His chief importance lies in the fact that he links the earlier form of Adoptionism with the composite variation elaborated by Paul of Samosata, for the Council of Antioch condemned the latter for following Artemon. Thereafter Artemon disappears from history, but Adoptionism seems not so much to have ceased as to have evolved into new forms. C. Modalistic Monarchianism (1) PATRIPASSIANISM Noahtus of Smyrna is designated by St. Hippolytus as founder of the "Patripassian" form of Monarchianism. In contrast to Theodotus, Noahtus began by affirming Christ's divinity. This, however, did not prevent him from identifying Christ with the Father. For Noahtus, St. John's Prologue is a mere allegory: the Word is but another name for the Father, who at first unseen, unknowable, and uncreated, became the Son of Mary and as such seen, known, and created. Noahtus asserted: "The Father is Christ; He is the Son; He was born; He suffered; He rose again." Noahtus defended his doctrine by accusing St. Justin and his disciple Tatian of Gnosticism, a charge not without truth in regard to the latter. Twice Noahtus expounded his views to the clergy of Smyrna. Upon his refusal to recant, he was excommunicated, Apparently he continued to enlist disciples at Smyrna. Praxeas, according to Tertullian (Against Praxeas, 3), was the first Noahtan disciple to appear at Rome. Apparently be remained undetected during Pope Victor's pontificate, or was guilty of material rather than formal heresy. When Praxeas appeared at Carthage, Tertullian was instrumental in having him sign a retraction. Tertullian's testimony is not in entire accord with that of St. Hippolytus, and it has been suggested that Praxeas was in reality an anti-Montanist, vilified by Tertullian, himself on the verge of embracing Montanism. Epigonus and Cleomenes, according to St. Hippolytus (Refutation, IX, 7-12) were the real propagators of Patripassianism at Rome. But neither is the testimony of the first antipope above reproach. St. Hippolytus claims that Epigonus and Cleomenes deceived Pope Zepherinus, ill advised by his deacon, Calixtus. What clouds this testimony is the suspicion that Hippolytus and Calixtus were rivals for the pope's favor and for the next papal election; when Calixtus was actually chosen to succeed Zepherinus, Hippolytus went into schism. Even then the latter admits that Calixtus did condemn some heretics, the Sabellians to be noted presently, but he implies that this was done out of fear of his, Hippolytus's criticisms. But no precise heretical expressions are cited from Epigonus and Cleomenes, and we have no proof that they actually taught the doctrine of Noahtus, or if they did teach it, did not retract at papal command. Certainly if Zepherinus and Calixtus opposed the Sabellian type of Monarchianism, as Hippolytus admits, it is not reasonable to accuse them of countenancing Patripassianism. It is suspected that Hippolytus, however
sincere, became something of a heresy hunter, and that his judgment may have been warped in the severe clash of personalities between himself and Calixtus. Patripassianism seems to have merged with the ensuing form of Sabellianism. (2) SABELLIAN MODALISM Sabellius was a Libyan from the Pentapolis in North Africa. During St. Zepherinus's pontificate, be is said to have appeared at Rome and become involved in the suspicions attaching to Epigonus and Cleomenes. According to St. Epiphanius, there was no basic doctrinal difference between Noahtus and Sabellius, but the latter used a greater felicity of expression. After the pope had tried in vain to convert Sabellius to orthodoxy, about 220, Calixtus excommunicated him-" fearing me," Hippolytus must needs add. Ten years later Sabellius is reported still at Rome, but is supposed to have subsequently traveled through Asia Minor and Egypt, dying some time before 260. Though the Sabellians became extinct in the fourth century, the Arians would attach the stigma of their heresy to Catholic defenders of the Nicene Creed. Modalism, in brief, asserted that the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity were but three modes or phases: "The Father is identical with the Son, and the Son is identical with the Holy Ghost; these three terms are but three different names of one hypostasis person." Sabellius himself used the word monad for these modes: according to him, God was in the beginning the hidden and unrevealed monad. When He revealed Himself at creation He took on the modality of a father; when He worked out redemption by union with the man Christ, He assumed the modality of Son; now that He continues the work of sanctification and enlightenment in the Church, He exercises the modality of Holy Spirit. Sabellius, therefore, reduces the three Persons to a single person with three offices or functions. By using the term hypostasis to designate his Unitarian divinity with three modalities Sabellius rendered this word suspect for a long time in Catholic circles. St. Denis of Alexandria opposed Sabellianism in his own diocese but was in turn denounced to Rome as guilty of subordinationism. It is true that in good faith be expressed himself somewhat incorrectly, relying on Origen's faulty theology. When this was brought to the attention of his namesake, Pope St. Denis, Sabellian teaching was re-examined. About 262 the pope issued the following condemnation: "We must neither divide the wonderful and divine Monad into three divinities, nor destroy the dignity and exceeding greatness of the Lord by thinking him a creature; but must have faith in God the Father Almighty, and in Christ Jesus His Son, and in the Holy Spirit, and in the union of the Word with the God of the universe, for He says, 'I and the Father are one,' and, 'I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me.' Thus both the divine trinity and the holy preaching of the monarchy will be safeguarded." This remarkable papal definition, which used the controverted terms in a legitimate sense, was loyally accepted by St. Denis of Alexandria. D. Composite Monarchianism (1) PAULIANIST ADOPTIONISM Paul, surnamed from his native city of Samosata in Syria, appears about 260 as bishop of Antioch. Following Emperor Valerian's defeat by the Persians, the Arabian chief Odenathus of Palmyra occupied northern Syria. His wife and successor, Zenobia, named Paul city treasurer. As civil prefect of the Syrian capital, Paul assumed unprecedented pomp, while his proximity to court life led to relaxation of clerical discipline: women not above suspicion were admitted to the episcopal residence. Paulianism, as his theology was later called, declared that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost constituted but a single person: prosypon. The Son was only the reason (logos) or wisdom
(sophia) of God, just as man's intellect is not a separate person. The Son may be said to be consubstantial (homoöusios) with the Father in the sense that He is but a faculty of a Unitarian deity. Through this faculty God spoke by the prophets and at length through the man Christ. Mary brought forth merely a man, with whom at the baptism in the Jordan was united this " reason" of God, though qualitatively, not essentially. Though Father and Son are essentially one person, in Christ there are two persons: the Word or rational divine faculty, and the human individual derived from Mary. This Word dwells in the man Christ as in a temple, making him sinless and giving him miraculous powers. After death, Christ as judge of men is so closely identified with God, so adopted as his son, that he can be called what be is not-god. (2) PAULIANIST CONDEMNATION Conciliar censure. After remonstrance from his suffragans failed to alter Paul's views, seventy bishops met in provincial council (268 A.D.). They agreed to anathematize Paul's theology including his use of the term homoöusios. Paul himself was declared deposed, Domnus chosen in his place, and a report of the conciliar acts sent the Holy See. Though the homoöusios was correctly censured in the meaning given it by Paul, Rome would later impose it in an orthodox sense at Nicea some sixty years later-to the perturbation of many eastern theologians. Imperial expulsion. Secure in Zenobia's protection, Paul of Samosata defied the conciliar verdict. But when Emperor Aurelian had reconquered Syria in 272, he rightly regarded Paul as a collaborationist with Rome's foes. The emperor accordingly awarded the church property in Antioch to that ecclesiastical authority deemed legitimate by "the Roman bishop and Italian prelates." Imperial troops expelled Paul from the episcopal residence, and he disappears in exile (Eusebius, History, VII, 30). Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 A.D.) III. Growth of the Church (107-248) 16. Growth of "Superior Virtue": Montanism, Encratism III Growth of the Church 16. GROWTH OF "SUPERIOR VIRTUE ": MONTANISM ENCRATISM A. Introduction: Pragmatic Reaction Gnosticism may perhaps be accused of provoking yet another reaction. Besides reversing the trend toward one of dogmatic simplification, it may have contributed to the growth of moral rigorism. Against the excessive philosophical speculation of Gnostics, in any event, there appeared a movement which sought a "superior teaching" not so much for enlightenment of the intellect by abstruse speculation, as for inspiration of the will toward practical asceticism. What the varying forms of this movement had in common was the proclamation of a rigoristic code of morality, supposedly superior to that of the Catholic Christian Church. They would put Catholics to shame by commanding those evangelical counsels left to the option of orthodox Christians. In one important respect, however, these new sects were akin to Gnosticism. They as well as the Gnostics claimed revelations directly obtained from superior powers. Both appealed to the spirit of emulation in men; both enticed converts under the specious pretext of placing them on a pedestal whence they might look down on their fellows as either less intelligent or less virtuous than themselves. Species of Rigorism. Rigorism is here applied as a common denominator for the essentially different systems of Marcionitism, Montanism, and Encratism. The first has a Gnostic
origin; indeed, it could justifiably be rated as a species of Gnosticism. The second would seem to have been an adaptation of a pagan doctrine to Christianity. The third appears less a sect than an attitude within the Church. Marcionitism had some of the bizarre attractiveness of Gnosticism, combined with careful organization. The Montanist heresy succeeded in drawing from the Church the most learned theologian for that day, the austere Tertullian. Encratism is closely linked with the problems of primitive penitential discipline, treated in the next topic. B. Marcionitism (1) ORIGINS Marcion of Sinope (c. 110-60) was the son of the bishop of Sinope in Pontus. Rhodon (Eusebius, V, 13) and Tertullian (Against Marcion, IV, 4) describe him as a wealthy ship owner who gained a reputation for asceticism before becoming involved in a scandal. It has been suggested that Marcion was his father's auxiliary, a circumstance which would explain the severity of the bishop's sentence: excommunication without prospect of pardon. Marcion fled to Rome where he made a donation of 200,000 sesterces to Pope Hyginus. For a time he kept in the background while attending the lectures of the Gnostic Cerdon. Then be sounded out the Roman priestly college, probably during the sede vacante following St. Hyginus's death. At first he was merely refuted, but when Pope Pius I refused to accept him, he left the Church in July, 144, designated as the beginning of a new era by Marcionites. The Roman pontiff-after refunding his money-excommunicated him. (2) MARCIONITE TEACHING Antitheses, title of Marcion's chief work, suggest the basic dogmas of his system, for Marcion introduced opposition between the Old and New Testaments. According to him, the God of the Jews was not the God of the Christians. By forced interpretation and deliberate deletion of biblical texts, Marcion presented the creator of the visible world as Demiurge. Ignorantly believing himself the supreme being, Demiurge tyrannized over the Jews during the Old Testament. Though he had given man a spiritual soul, this had been mixed with and degraded by matter. Envious of his deficient creature, Demiurge denied him knowledge of good and evil, turned him out of Eden, and kept him in slavery by means of the Mosaic precepts. Finally the invisible, sovereign Good God, hitherto a "Stranger God," sent His Son, distinct from Himself only in name, to descend to earth in the synagogue at Capharnaum. According to Docetist notions, this Son had no human birth and no material body; he merely seemed to die. But when he came to Sheol, the just of the Old Testament, deceived by Demiurge, refused his call; only Cain and the wicked were liberated. Similarly all the apostles save St. Paul mistook the Savior for a prophet of Demiurge. Marcion therefore rejected the whole New Testament except ten selected Pauline Epistles and a truncated version of St. Luke's Gospel. Morality. On the principle that matter is essentially evil, Marcion professed to erect an austere asceticism. Men should abstain from pleasure and practice mortification: they ought to avoid certain foods and lead a celibate life. Those who do so will constitute a moral elite according to Marcion's dictum: "Demiurge is with the crowd; the Lord is only with the chosen ones." It is only this Marcionite elite which shall enjoy immortality in company of the Good God; as for the majority of men, they will fall back into Demiurge's power when he destroys the world by fire. Some indication of the severity of Marcionite penitential discipline is gained from the fact that it was ridiculed by Tertullian, himself excessively rigorous. To evade this penitential burden, many Marcionites remained neophytes most of their lives. (3) MARCIONITE HISTORY Apelles, Marcion's disciple, reduced Marcion's dualism to monism, and mitigated his
asceticism. Syneros and Lucanus, other disciples, altered Marcion's teaching by introducing an evil deity. Gradually the concept of Demiurge was lost sight of in favor of Manichaean opposition between good and evil deities. Marcion had been a careful organizer, and St. Justin describes his sect as already widespread by the middle of the second century. At the close of the fourth century St. Epiphanius (Panarion, XLII, 1) still regarded it as important. But by this time it had already begun to lose some of its members to the Manichees. It is not beard of as a distinct organization after the seventh century; presumably it merged with the Manichaean sect. C. Montanism (1) MONTANIST ORIGINS Montanism, unlike Marcionitism, was at first merely a movement of religious enthusiasm within the Church: a sort of revival that professed to retain the entire Christian doctrine. Montanist votaries harked back to the charismata of the apostolic age. Presently they became interested in an imminent parousia or second coming of Christ. Once Montanist prophets began to compute accurately the time of an event that Christ had refused to give, they were tempted to imagine or invent visions which led the way to heresy. In its developed form, Montanism professed to introduce a Third Testament of the Holy Ghost, which would supplant the New Testament of the Son, just as the latter had superseded the Old Testament of the Father. Montanism took its rise in a pagan Phrygian environment where the natives were predisposed to acceptance by their cult of Cybele. Pagan priests of Cybele reported her oracles in states of ecstasy or reverie. Montanus, founder of the sect, had perhaps been one of these pagan priests. He was converted to Christianity but was still under instruction when he came into prominence during the proconsulship of Gratus. This is dated 157 by St. Epiphanius, but Eusebius's Chronicle seems more plausible in giving the year 172. Then Montanus began to "prophesy" in the remote village of Ardabou on the border of Mysia and Phrygia. At first be merely claimed to be a prophet promised by Christ; later he admitted that he was the Paraclete Himself. It was his duty, he asserted, to announce terrible chastisements, attendant upon Christ's imminent return. Moments of ecstasy began to seize him; whereupon he excused himself: "It is the Holy Ghost who speaks; I must take leave of my senses. Montanist disciples. After Montanus began a tour of Phrygia, he won disciples, notably in Pepusa. Maximilla and Prisca, two rich ladies who deserted their husbands to join the new prophet, soon began to experience similar ecstasies. While most, if not all, of the Gnostic prodigies may be attributed to chicanery, some of the phenomena accompanying Montanism bear close resemblance to cases of demoniacal possession. The sect made rapid progress throughout Phrygia and spread to other provinces of Asia Minor. Millenarianism or Chiliism in some instances had prepared the way for Montanism by claiming that Christ's second coming would bring about a thousand year reign of the just in an earthly Eden. This residue of exaggerated Jewish Messianism was sometimes given a spiritual meaning by certain fathers, such as Sts. Justin and Irenaeus; more commonly, however, it was interpreted in a grossly sensual fashion. (2) MONTANIST DOCTRINE The teaching presented by Montanus and his prophetesses professed to be a supplement to Christianity. Maximilla claimed: "After me the end will come." But she proved less of a prophet than Louis XV with his, apres moi, le deluge, for she died before 180. Yet if the end were at band, other Montanists argued, there was no time for worldly occupations: marriage was
discouraged, second marriages forbidden, all goods were to be held in common. Montanists should fast on bread, water, and dried meat. All study was to be forsaken-here a reaction to Gnosticism seems manifest. Under persecution Montanists should never flee; rather they ought to offer themselves to the officials Anyone who committed a single grievous sin after baptism was forever denied pardon. The practice of the sect, however, soon revealed a caste, if not a racket." Montanist illuminati were styled "pneumatic"-from the Spirit -and Catholics contemptuously dismissed as merely "psychic." Soon booths were set up to which converts might bring their worldly goods in keeping with their profession of the common life. Malicious psychics began to remark that soon after the leading prophets appeared in fine clothes, amused themselves at dice, and lent money at interest. But pneumatics ignored such innuendoes to continue gazing serenely at the sky in expectation of the second coming; sometimes they went part of the way by levitations. (3) MONTANIST OVERTHROW Ecclesiastical condemnation. The bishops of the East were not slow in censuring Montanism, but their action failed to check the progress of the heresy. Thyatira went over entirely to the sect, despite St. John's warning (Apocalypse, 2:20). The oriental hierarchy accordingly sent warnings to Pope Eleutherus (176-89) and the bishops of the West. We learn that the church of Lyons sent St. Irenaeus, then a priest, to inform the pope personally. Later as bishop of Lyons, St. Irenaeus succeeded in averting the spread of Montanism in Gaul. At first the Holy See seems to have left the repression of the heresy to diocesan initiative, but when Montanist leaders appeared in Rome itself, Pope Zepherinus condemned the sect about 200. Montanist schisms completed the destruction begun by episcopal censure. Tertullian, indeed, bowed himself out of the Church, but his haughty spirit refused to take a subordinate position in Montanism. Hence Montanists of Carthage separated from the parent body to become the Tertullianist sect. Surviving members of this group were reconciled by St. Augustine two centuries later. Elsewhere schism disrupted Montanist unity, for the trend to private inspiration became irresistible. The Alogi denied the divinity of the Word; the Artotritae insisted on cheese and bread as the Eucharistic matter; the Tasco-drungitae called for attention at liturgical services by placing their forefinger to their nose. These and kindred sects played themselves out by the sixth century. As in the case of Marcionitism, many devotees were absorbed by Manichaeism during the third century. D. Encratism (1) NATURE Tatian of Syria, a disciple of St. Justin, is associated with Encratism by St. Irenaeus (A. H., 1, 28), but he does not say whether he founded the movement. Eusebius (History, IV, 28) does add this assertion. We know from Clement of Alexandria (Stromata, III, 13) that Tatian condemned marriage and is believed to have mingled some Gnostic elements in his later teaching. Encratism means continence; Encratites so exalted virginity as virtually to deny the liceity of matrimony. The aversion to marriage may have been derived from Tatian's Gnostic tenet that matter is evil, though Tixeront would seek the source of this attitude in a misinterpretation of St. Paul's teaching on virginity. One of their maxims is reported as: "There is no resurrection but for such as preserve their virginity." Baptism would accordingly involve a vow of chastity. Meat was a forbidden food for the Encratites, and they are also represented as the first prohibitionists, some going so far as to substitute water for wine in the Mass. Encratites also are believed to have stressed good works over theological speculation. They tried to support their views by composing apocryphal Acts which they attributed to Paul, John, Peter, and Andrew.
(2) INFLUENCE Encratite rigorism left its impress on Christian discipline from the second to fourth centuries. Though the Encratites themselves may have been a small group within the Church, their rigoristic attitude, like that of the Janenists centuries later, unconsciously influenced the practice of many Catholics who repudiated their teachings. The restriction of the exercise of the sacrament of penance seems to be associated with Encratism in much the same way as abstention from Holy Communion accompanied Jansenist influence. Hermas, Tertullian, and St. Hippolytus all manifested certain Encratite tendencies in this broad sense of a mental attitude. Encratite Puritanism constrained other Catholics to unwonted severity. Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 A.D.) 17. Penitential Discipline III Growth of the Church 17. PENITENTIAL DISCIPLINE A. The Penitential System (1) GENERAL SCOPE Exomologesis, etymologically confession, came to designate the primitive penitential system which seems to have been in full observance between the second and fifth centuries. Those who were undergoing this discipline formed a class of public penitents, debarred in varying degrees from participation in the liturgy. The condition of public penance involved exclusion from Holy Communion, although this abstention did not itself constitute the penance, as Sts. Ambrose and Augustine pointed out. The exomologesis was normally required for all,,capital sins." Now all capital sins were mortal sins, but all mortal sins were not necessarily capital. They were specially reserved crimes and their number seems to have varied with different dioceses. St. Pacian of Barcelona restricted the capital sins to idolatry, murder, and fornication; St. Augustine would suggest that they included all major sins against the Decalogue, especially those listed by St. Paul as excluding the sinner from heaven. But St. Pacian's enumeration seems to have been the one more commonly received, perhaps amounting to a general norm (Paranaesis, 4-5). (2) ELEMENTS OF THE EXOMOLOGESIS Confession was necessarily required. This we know from the Tridentine canon anathematizing those denying the divine institution of "the mode of secret confession to a priest alone which the Catholic Church has observed from the beginning" (xiv, 6: D. 916). The existence of confession is also clear from the fathers. From their testimony it suffices to select two references. St. Cyprian says: "I entreat you, beloved brethren, that each one confess his own sin while be who has sinned is still in this world, while his confession may be received, while the satisfaction and remission made by the priests are pleasing to the Lord" (On the Lapsed, 26-29). St. Augustine, moreover, argued: "Let none say: I do penance secretly, I perform it in God's sight and He who is to pardon me knows that I repent in my heart. . . . Was it then said to no purpose: 'What you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven?' Was it for nothing that the keys are given to the Church?" (Sermon 392:3.) Public confession, however, would seem to be indicated in some patristic documents.
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Care must be taken, however, to distinguish public declaration of sins from public satisfaction: the normal procedure was to confess secretly, but to make satisfaction in public. Even where public declaration for sins is certainly meant, it must be remembered that the practice was optional. Sometimes, it is true, pressure may have been brought by the clergy or the community to enjoin public confession, but this was an abuse, severely castigated by Pope St. Leo I in a letter to the bishops of Campania: "That presumption against the apostolic rule, which I recently learned is committed by some with illegitimate usurpation, I decree must be by all means removed. . . . It suffices that the guilt of conscience be manifested to the priests alone in secret confession" (Letter 168:2). Satisfaction consisted in the fulfillment of the penance imposed by the bishop or priest at the time of the confession. Normally it preceded absolution, and for its duration placed the sinner in a class of penitents denied the society of the faithful to a certain degree. The penitent was not, however, excommunicated in the strict or modern sense; indeed, if he had been so censured in punishment for his crime, this ceased with the inception of the exomologesis. In the West, we have no indication of degrees among penitents. All were excluded from communion. They seem to have been assigned a special place at the entrance of the church, and periodically came forward for imposition of hands and prayers for their repentance. Tertullian's description gives the procedure at Carthage about 200: "Exomologesis is the discipline which obliges a man to prostrate and humiliate himself and adopt a manner of life that will draw down mercy. As regards dress and food, it prescribes that he shall lie in sackcloth and ashes, clothe his body in rags, plunge his soul in sorrow, correct his faults by harsh treatment of himself, use the plainest meat and drink for the sake of his soul and not of his stomach; usually he shall nourish prayer by fasting, whole days and nights together shall be moan, weep, and wail to the Lord his God, casting himself at the priests' feet, and failing on his knees before those dear to God beseech them to plead in his behalf" (On Penance, ix). In the East, especially in Asia Minor, four parts of this public penance are distinguished by St. Basil, bishop of Neo-Caesarea. St. Basil mentions four "stations" or degrees of penitents: weepers, hearers, kneelers, and co-standers. He gives an estimate of the duration of the exomologesis for various crimes: "An intentional homicide, who afterwards repented, will be excommunicated from the sacrament twenty years. These twenty years will be appointed for him as follows: for four he ought to weep, standing outside the door of the house of prayer, beseeching the faithful as they enter to offer prayer in his behalf, and confessing his own sin. After four years he will be admitted among the hearers, and during five years will go out with them. During seven years he will go out with the kneelers, praying. During four years he will only stand with the faithful and will not take part in the oblation. On the completion of this period he will be admitted to participation in the sacrament" (Letter 217). Reconciliation, then, terminated the exomologesis. If general absolution from censure was imparted, it was the Roman custom that this take place on Holy Thursday before Mass, after recitation of penitential psalms, litanies, and prayers. Then after an exhortation the bishop would give absolution. But no ironclad rule was to be kept to the detriment of the penitent, as we may learn from Pope Innocent 1 (401-17): "it is the business of the priest to judge the gravity of crimes so that he should attend to the penitent's confession and to the weeping and tears of the one corrected, and then order remission when he sees that satisfaction is fitting. But if anyone becomes sick and is despaired of, be is to be absolved before paschal time, lest be depart this world without communion" (Letter 25). Gradually "more urgent cases" sanctioning the advance of absolution multiplied until it came to be normally imparted before satisfaction. B. Penitential Problems (1) THE UNIQUE EXOMOLOGESIS Public penance, it would seem, could be performed but once. Already in 150 Hermas asserted: "If after that great and holy vocation (baptism), anyone should be tempted by the devil
and sin, he has penance once. if, however, he sins again and does penance, such penance will not profit him" (Shepherd: Precepts, iv, 3). Tertullian also concedes repentance after baptism, "but now once for all . . . for is not even this once enough?" (On Penance, vii.) "In graver faults," says Origen (On Leviticus, xv) "opportunity for penance is conceded but once." These do not seem to be the warped views of rigorists, for St. Ambrose says: "As there is but one baptism so there is but one course of penance: I mean that which is performed in public" (On Penance, ii). Only once, then, might one guilty of capital sins perform the exomologesis; did this mean also that he could be absolved but once? If be sinned a second time was be left without other recourse than an act of perfect contrition? Absolution for the dying, surely, was always available. St. Cyprian assures us of this even in rigoristic Africa (Letter 12/17). It is unnecessary, however, to survey the Christian churches, for in 325 we have the Nicene Ecumenical Council: "With regard to those dying, the ancient canon law shall continue to be observed; namely, that if anyone be near death, let him not be deprived of the last and most necessary Viaticum. But if he recovers after having been absolved and admitted to communion, be is to be placed among those permitted to take part in the prayers only. In general, and in the case of anyone dying who wishes to receive the Eucharist, let the bishop give it to him after due investigation" (Canon 13). It is clear, then, that in danger of death sacramental absolution was always obtainable to reconcile a penitent in the internal forum of conscience; yet in the external forum of legal discipline he remained subject to the penalties of the exomologesis in case of recovery. Private penance of some sort, moreover, must have existed even if dearth of documents makes it difficult to determine its precise scope. But it certainly existed for noncapital sins; that is, for all but the customary reserved crimes of idolatry, murder, and adultery. Origen would seem to confirm this in a passage immediately after the one cited from him above: "But the common (faults) which we incur often always receive penance and are remitted without intermission" (On Leviticus, xv). In the case of more serious, even capital, sins, there always existed a sacerdotal discretion which could temper the severity of the general norm, at least in regard to the forum of conscience. To pass over a few earlier testimonies, Pope St. Leo's instruction should suffice: "The length of penance, with due regard to moderation, is left to your judgment, as you shall see the penitents' minds disposed; you must not forget to consider old age, illness, and other risks" (Letter 159). It may be argued that if the priest ought always to take cognizance of the penitent's needs, even by exemption from public penance, he could at least absolve in the internal forum a relapsed but truly contrite sinner who found it hard to remain in the state of mortal sin. (2) THE "IRREMISSIBLE SINS" Tertullian accused a Roman pontiff, probably St. Calixtus (217-222) Of presumption in absolving from serious sexual sins: "The Pontifex Maximus-that is the bishop of bishops-issues an edict: 'I remit to such as have performed penance sins both of adultery and of fornication.' 0 edict on which it cannot be inscribed: approved." Tertullian then proceeds to declare that the Church could not forgive the "irremissible sins" of adultery, idolatry, and murder (De Pudicitia, 1, 2, 5, 21). St. Hippolytus, moreover, objects that "during Callistus's episcopate they have for the first time presumptuously administered second baptism" (Refutation of Heresies, ix, 7). "Second baptism" here seems to mean penance, Tertullian's "second plank after shipwreck." Catholic tradition nonetheless rejects the biased statements of Tertullian, then a Montanist rigorist, and of Hippolytus, temporarily estranged as antipope. As a Catholic, Tertullian had admitted universal pardon: "To all sins, then, whether committed by flesh or spirit, whether by deed or will, the same God who has destined penalty by means of judgment has also engaged to concede pardon by means of penance" (De Paenitentia, iii). Nor does be deny that he changed this opinion: "I blush not at an error that I have ceased to hold" (De Pudicitia, i). What Tertullian the Montanist pronounces error, be should well have known to be Catholic tradition. St. Paul had absolved the incestuous man (II Cor. 2:5). Pope St. Clement declared that "in every generation
God gave place of penance to all those who wished to be converted to him" (Corinthians, 7, 8). St. Ignatius of Antioch stated that: "God forgives all penitents if they are converted to the unity of God and the council of the bishop" (Philadelphians, 8). Hermas had announced "penance for all," including apostates (Similitudes, 8). St. Irenaeus recorded the admission to the exomologesis of Cerdon the Gnostic and women who had sinned carnally with the Gnostic Mark (A. H., I, 13; III, 4). We need not fear, then, to conclude with St. Augustine: "Let us not listen to those who deny that the Church of God has power to forgive all sins" (De Agone Christi, 4). (3) NONSACERDOTAL ABSOLUTION Martyrs' certificates, libelli pacis, often mention that penitents have been absolved by Christians under sentence of death, though these were by no means always priests (Eusebius, History, V, 2; VI, 42). But these certificates, examined more accurately, are but recommendations by the Martyrs to the hierarchy that the penitents be duly absolved. Despite abuses, the bishops usually honored these by way of indulgence. Confession to deacons, to martyrs, to the simple faithful in the absence of priests, mentioned in certain documents, were optional practices lasting far into the Middle Ages: "So great is the power of confession that if a priest be not at band, let him confess to his neighbor. Although be to whom confession is made has no power to absolve, yet be who confesses to his fellow becomes worthy of pardon by his desire of confessing to a priest" (Pseudo-Augustine, De Vera et Falsa Paenitentia). (4) COMMENTARY ON PRIMITIVE SEVERITY Historical perspective is required to appreciate the exomologesis. Though it may appear harsh to Catholics of the twentieth century, neither was the environment the same as that of today. The world was pagan, not even leavened by the residue of Christian convention in modern secularism. Christian converts had often contracted lax views of morality and habits of sin from pagan upbringing. The pagan world still surrounded them, threatening to overwhelm them. If converts were permitted great indulgence, they would quickly relapse into their old habits and the morality of the whole Christian community would be threatened. The gravity of relapse had to be impressed on them by painful and humiliating penance; for the good of the general body, then on war footing, repeated backsliding could not be tolerated. If this fell heavily on individuals, the severity was necessary in the interests of public morality. Some analogy may be drawn from the Church's determined stand regarding contraceptives today in the face of general laxity outside her fold. Extraordinary motives, moreover, tended to inspire Christians of primitive times to strictness of life. The standard of holiness was high, The memory of Christ, His apostles, and of men who had spoken with the latter had not yet become dim. At the same time Christians lived hourly in danger of torture and death from the hands of the state. Serious sins, at least those designated as capital, were probably a rare occurrence at -first. If primitive discipline was severe, it was imposed on an austere generation. It is true that with the accession of fair-weather Christians during lulls in the persecutions and the passage of time this discipline came to be regarded as relatively severe. Encratite mentality then demanded that no concessions be made to pleas of "modern weaklings." But the vicars of the Good Shepherd thought otherwise, and they braved Encratite sneers to mitigate primitive discipline. This process, begun with the decree of St. Calixtus, proceeded gradually during the imperial period, more rapidly under the changed conditions of the feudal era when Teutonic neoconverts and turbulent missionary conditions dictated further relaxation. In substantiation of the reasons for this trend to mitigation, we may conclude with Pope Innocent I's explanation to Bishop Exuperius of Toulouse regarding absolution of penitents at the hour of death: "Regarding these, earlier practice was more severe, the latter more tempered with mercy. The former custom was that penance should be granted but Communion denied; for in those days persecutions were frequent. Hence lest easy admission to Communion should fail to bring back from their evil ways men who were sure of reconciliation,
rightly Communion was refused, but penance was granted that refusal might not be total: the condition of the time rendered remission more difficult. But after our Lord had restored peace to His churches and terror had ceased, it was judged well that Communion should be given the dying lest we should seem to follow the harshness and sternness of the heretic Novatian in denying pardon. Communion, therefore, shall be given at the last, along with penance" (Letter vi, 6). Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 A.D.) 18. Crystallizing Christian Life III Growth of the Church 18. CRYSTALLIZING CHRISTIAN LIFE A. Jurisdiction (1) PAPAL POWER Papal primacy had been manifested during the apostolic or primitive period of ecclesiastical history; now incidents of its exercise multiply. Subsequent documents indicate that recourse to Rome in matters of faith was of immemorial institution, but disciplinary matters were left more to episcopal supervision than now. Yet even on this score there is evidence that variance from later practice was one of degree rather than of kind. St. Clement's classic instruction to the Corinthians had set a precedent for future intervention in case of need. Ordinary details may have been entrusted to the patriarchs, but the popes held their intervention in reserve for extraordinary circumstances. Various controversies brought this to light. About 155 St. Anicetus had not seen fit to insist upon St. Polycarp's abandonment of the Oriental tradition in regard to the date of Easter. But within forty years Pope St. Victor had insisted upon universal observance of the Roman tradition despite the opposition of Bishop Polycrates of the apostolic see of Ephesus, together with many other prelates of Asia Minor. Even excommunication was threatened or used to enforce papal demands, which eventually were met, at least by the fourth century. The Penitential Controversies also revealed papal leadership. Pope Calixtus persisted in sanctioning absolution from the capital sin of immorality despite the criticism of the Church's foremost theologians, Tertullian and Hippolytus. Neither schism nor apostasy swayed the determination of the Holy See to uphold a moderate penitential discipline. At the end of the period St. Cyprian, despite his independent attitude, continually consults the Holy See which continues to steer a middle way between the laxism of Novatus and the rigorism of Novatian. Nor can it fail to be noted bow various heresiarchs, Valentinian, Marcion, Sabellius, tried to secure the sanction of Rome for their doctrinal innovations. The Roman curia remains in obscurity, though there is increasing evidence that the popes delegated many important matters. St. Hippolytus appears as archpriest and St. Calixtus as archdeacon under Pope Zepherinus at the beginning of the third century. At this time there is evidence that at Rome priests still concelebrated with the pope, receiving Communion before distributing it to the laity. But by the middle of the century chapels of ease had developed into a permanent parochial system. The earliest of these subordinate chapels were known as tituli, and their rectors occupied the "cardinal" or "binge" posts in pontifical administration; in modern parlance, these cardinals were the pope's key men. Even after cessation of persecution permitted the erection of many new churches, these rectors of the titular churches retained a
III. Growth of the Church (107-248)
privileged position among the Roman clergy and evolved into the college of cardinals, senate of the Holy Roman See. (2) EPISCOPAL POWER The hierarchy. What is the case at Rome continues to be the practice of other churches. Each has its bishop. Though at first confined to Roman civitates, the bishops eventually followed the evangelization into the countryside. It is not entirely certain whether these chor-episkopi, .country bishops," had the plenitude of the priesthood, but they certainly had considerable autonomy. In some places rural needs were met by periodeutai, apparently itinerant missionary priests. Lest the episcopal dignity be lessened by excessive multiplication of the office and its attachment to insignificant hamlets, the parochial and deanery system eventually developed. The better to preserve ecclesiastical unity despite this multiplication of prelacies, the offices and prerogatives of patriarchs and metropolitans seem to have been enhanced during this period. Since the Holy See did not normally concern herself with the choice of bishops outside the Latin patriarchate, these patriarchs, primates, and metropolitans had important functions in the selection, consecration, and supervision of suffragan bishops. Local councils also appear within this period. Aside from the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem, the first known provincial council was held by Bishop Apollinaris of Hierapolis and 26 other bishops against Montanism about 172. Toward the end of the second century the Easter controversy evoked other councils in the East, while provincial councils seem to have been a regular feature in Northern Africa during the third century. At least in the case of the Council of Antioch in 268 we know that a report of the decrees was forwarded to Rome. About 250, moreover, a considerable number of Italian bishops rallied around the Roman See during the second Penitential Controversy, and declared: "We are not ignorant that in the Catholic Church there ought to be one God, and one Lord Jesus Christ whom we have confessed, and one Holy Spirit, and one bishop" (D. 44). The clergy. Priests and deacons now came into greater prominence. The former are no longer merely assistants at the cathedral, but are placed in charge of local churches. At first they do not seem to have possessed full pastoral jurisdiction, but by the middle of the third century real parishes appear. About 259 Pope St. Denis declared: "We have given over the charge of individual churches to individual priests and have entrusted to them the church buildings and rectories so that each shall have his rights and no one may overstep the boundaries of his parish." The deacons' administration of funds and charities required help, and Pope St. Fabian (236-50) named seven subdeacons to assist the seven regionary deacons of Rome. The next pope, St. Cornelius (251-53) states that the Roman clergy included 46 priests, 7 deacons, 7 subdeacons, 42 acolytes, and 52 exorcists, lectors, and porters. Lay assistants were chanters, sextons, diggers, and deaconesses. The latter, the Apostolic Constitutions later affirmed (VIII, 28), "does not bless"; she merely "guards the doors and ministers to the priests when women are baptized for sake of decorum." B. Magisterium: Early Patristic Teaching (1) WITNESSES OF TRADITION The Apostolic Fathers of the first century from the life of Christ have special importance as witnesses to the faithful transmission of the Master's doctrine to His Catholic Church. They are in a pre-eminent degree the "fathers" of Christian theology. Their writings resemble the New Testament in simplicity of style, and they rank next to the inspired writings in ardor of faith, longing for the second coming of Christ, and charity. Individual witnesses. In this category, allusion has often been made already to the Apostolic Creed and the Didache, which are resumes of apostolic teaching; to St. Clement's
Letter to the Corinthians on hierarchy and obedience; and to the hortatory letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch, acknowledging Roman primacy and stressing obedience to the hierarchy, while warning against Judaizers, Docetae, and other heretics. St. Polycarp of Smyrna, addressee of one of St. Ignatius's letters and echo of his thought, has also been mentioned. He survived until the middle of the second century to confirm the testimony of his Philippian letter-or letters-by martyrdom. The Epistle of Pseudo-Barnabas is in part probably copied from the Didache; written before the Jewish Revolt of 132, it contains a severe indictment of Jewish obstinacy. St. Papias of Hierapolis, who may have written between 130 and 150, gave valuable testimony on the composition of the Gospels and the transmission of apostolic tradition, though be entertained misconceptions about a millennium. Hermas, brother of Pope Pius I (141-55), wrote an exhortation to penance on the basis of alleged visions delivered by an angel under guise of a Shepherd-whence the title of his treatise. The work of an earnest Christian, it contains amid certain exaggerations and inaccuracies, valuable evidence of the penitential discipline in the second century. About the name of St. Clement are grouped a number of works: a Second Corinthians, certainly not by St. Clement but conceivably the letter of Pope St. Soter alluded to by St. Denis of Corinth; and two Letters to Virgins, second or third century ascetical treatises. The foregoing treatises are to be distinguished from the apocryphal Pseudo-Clementines, composed either by ancient heretics or medieval canonists. Finally the precious teaching of the canonical Scriptures and authentic patristic writings is illustrated more clearly in contrast to a host of apocryphal "Gospels," "Acts," "Epistles," and even "Apocalypses." At best these are pious but fantastic tales; at worst they are crass or insidious heresy. (2) THE APOLOGISTS The Apologists argued legal issues, exposed the absurdities of pagan mythologies, appealed to truths of natural philosophies, and expounded the less recondite Christian tenets in an effort to exculpate the faithful from calumnies and obtain from them governmental toleration. All these writers experienced difficulty in expressing Christian truths in terms understandable to their pagan audience. Thus they occasionally used some theologically inaccurate expressions, but for the most part gave an effective case for the Church. Chief defenders. Of the score or so of men known as apologists, only a few are known from complete extant works. This is the case of the first known apologist, St. Quadratus of Athens, who presented his Apology to Emperor Adrian in 124; his work has been lost-unless it survives as the anonymous Letter to Diognetus. The competent Apologies of two other Athenians, St. Aristides and Athenagoras, do survive, however, and the latter includes a forceful defense of the resurrection. Greatest of apologists for his testimony to Christian Faith, if not for his technique, is St. Justin, who wrote both against Jews and Pagans, and gave a valuable exposition of mid-second century liturgy at Rome. In his adaptation of Platonic philosophy to Christology, however, this writer, apparently a layman, was somewhat obscure, and his disciple Tatian fell into Gnostic and Encratite errors. On the other band, the bishops, St. Theophilus of Antioch and Blessed Melito of Sardis, were original but more accurate writers on the basis of surviving fragments. Probably the most technically perfect of the apologies is the Octavius of Marcus Minucius Felix, who, staying largely within the natural order, vindicated Christianity in literary debate. Whether this work preceded or followed Tertullian's Apologeticus (197 A.D.) remains a disputed point. Tertullian, who, indeed, is more than an apologist, presented a learned legal case for Christians. Written in forceful, if intricate, style, his Apologeticus is another Christian classic. Here the fiery Tertullian is at best in the most legitimate of his pleas. He exposed the fallacies of inconsistent imperial policy toward Christianity, and demanded for it "freedom of religion," since there was already the utmost license for irreligion and caricatures of religion. Christians are loyal citizens; not "enemies of the human race." Theirs is a sober, virtuous, patriotic, law-abiding society which elicits even from pagans the exclamation: "Look, bow they love one another; how they are ready to die for each other." True, Tertullian seems rather pessimistic of averting further persecution, but he has no doubts as to its outcome. Rather, he throws down to Roman magistrates an immortal ringing challenge: "Nothing is achieved by your
cruelties, one more severe than the last. They serve as bait to attract men to our camp. Whenever we are mown down by you we multiply; the blood of Christians is seed" (Apologeticus, 29, 50). (3) PIONEER THEOLOGIANS Polemicists of note against the heresies of the second and third centuries include St. Hegesippus of Palestine, most of whose writings have perished, and the redoubtable Sts. Irenaeus and Hippolytus, already frequently cited. In Against Heresies, the former does more than provide an arsenal against the Gnostics; be gives an outstanding exposition of the doctrine on the Church, and a primitive Christology. Characteristic of him is his thesis of the "recapitulation" of all things truly human in Christ that what was wounded in Adam might be healed in Jesus. St. Hippolytus's Refutation of Heresies is little more than that, but the author made a more positive contribution to tradition in his valuable Apostolic Tradition with its liturgical data, subsequently elaborated in a variety of works. Perhaps he also compiled the famous "Muratorian Canon" of the Scriptures. The African School contributed the mighty Tertullian, the heroic St. Cyprian of Carthage, and the lay defenders, Arnobius and Lactantius. It was individualistic and original, if not always excelling in prudence and submission. Tertullian contributed enduring terminology to the Latin theology of the Blessed Trinity, the Incarnation, and the sacraments, but unfortunately his haughty sarcasm, impatience, and puritanical rigorism paved the way for his defection to Montanism. St. Cyprian, indeed, remained true to the Church unto martyrdom, but his obstinacy in defending a speculatively erroneous practice of baptizing heretics anew brought him into clashes with the Holy See. But he gave the Church valuable writings, especially De Unitate Ecclesiae, with its maxim: "He cannot have God for a father who has not the Church for a mother." As for Arnobius and Lactantius, they had more zeal than theological accuracy. The Alexandrian School as a whole was incontestably superior in pure speculation and learned research. The founder, Pantaenus, left no writings, but his successor Clement was a voluminous compiler. Though be never had the time to put his works into a completed synthesis, he prepared for that undertaken by his disciple Origen. Clement composed a classic treatise on Christ the Teacher and made an original analysis of the ascetical-mystical life, laying a basis for the familiar "three ways." Unfortunately his excessively intellectual tradition of the "true Gnostic" and his overly allegorical use of Scripture were but accentuated in Origen. This most learned of ante-Nicene writers was a voluminous author and brilliant, if rash speculator. His prodigious labors on the text of Holy Scripture rendered valuable aid to his successor, St. Jerome. Origen's Peri Archon, On Principles, is a first essay at a Christian summa theologica. This attempt to express Christian revelation in philosophic terms anticipated some of the questions treated by medieval Scholastics, but also included rash errors and material heresy. In his later and wiser years, Origen put his talents to good use by composing a very effective and "modern" treatise on apologetics, Against Celsus. Connected with the Alexandrian Academy were Origen's disciples, Sts. Denis of Alexandria and Gregory Thaumaturgus, both important, if not outstanding writers. A series of rectors of the catechetical school continued down to Didymus the Blind, who died at the end of the fourth century. Theology as a technical science had gotten under way. C. Liturgy (1) SACRAMENTAL LITURGY In baptism nothing is changed from the apostolic period, save that the catechumenate became more elaborate. The Council of Carthage in 252 directed that infants be baptized within eight days of birth, and Tertullian affirmed that laymen could baptize in case of necessity. St. Justin described the Roman baptismal rite about 150, and testimonies multiply to the use of sponsors, imposition of a white garment, and anointing with oil. In the West, public baptism of
converts was eventually confined to Easter and Pentecost, whence the ceremonies accompanying the vigils of these feasts. In the East, the rite was attached to Epiphany. Confirmation is mentioned both by St. Theophilus of Antioch and Tertullian, and the latter mentions unction with chrism and signing with the cross (De Baptismo, 7, 8). Usually the sacrament was administered immediately after baptism so that it is difficult to distinguish descriptions of the combined rites. Penance has been treated at length in the preceding topic. Holy Eucharist. Tertullian, St. Justin, and St. Irenaeus leave no doubt as to the Real Presence and the sacrificial character of the Mass. From St. Justin we can reconstruct some of the Mass of the second century at Rome. It began with a reading from Scripture, taking certain books in succession. Then came the Gospels according to a fixed cycle. Long prayers or collects were followed by the bishop's sermon. "Then bread and a chalice with water and wine are brought to the president of the brethren," and the canon proceeded. St. Justin mentions a Eucharistic canticle or preface, at first composed ad libitum by the "president of the brethren." Communion was distributed by priests and deacons. About 200 St. Hippolytus adds the details of a kiss of peace and mentions that the congregation recited the preamble to the preface with the celebrant: " and with thy spirit . . . we have unto the Lord . . . it is worthy and just." Communion is distributed with the words, "the heavenly Bread in Christ Jesus." There is breaking of the Host and an Eucharistic fast. Extreme Unction is seldom distinguished by patristic writers from penance. Origen, however, cited the words of St. James (v, 14) in his Second Homily on Leviticus (J. 495). Holy Orders are conferred by imposition of hands and recitation of a prayer in form of a preface. St. Hippolytus gives detailed formularies for the ordinations of bishops, priests, and deacons; all performed by the bishop alone (Apostolic Tradition). Matrimony, according to Tertullian (Ad Uxorem, ii, 9) ought to be blessed by the Church. In case of adultery, there is separation but no divorce. Second marriages were prohibited by the Montanists, but not by the Catholic Church (De Monogamia, 7). Mixed marriage, Tertullian warned, had many dangers: a pagan spouse will become suspicious when the Christian arises at night to pray; takes the Eucharist, conserved at home, before other meals; makes the Sign of the Cross (Ad Uxorem, ii, 9). (2) LITURGICAL DEVELOPMENT Festivals were already observed by Christians. Sunday was to be free from labor and from fasting. Wednesday and Friday were fast days, the meal being delayed until three o'clock in the afternoon. At Rome, Saturday was later added to the days of penance. Lent at first comprised merely Holy Week, and was only subsequently extended to forty days. In the West, Sundays were excluded from Lenten observance; in the East they were included. Except on Sundays, the primitive fast was rigorous, but there were many exemptions, and the laity were usually unable to observe the strict fast except on a few days. Mass was universally celebrated on Sunday, and usually included the communion of the entire congregation present, with the deacons seeing to the sick who were absent. Daily Mass and Communion, if the custom in apostolic times, seem generally to have been impossible during days of persecution. Only Sunday Mass is clearly mentioned at Rome, though there is evidence of celebration on various fast days at Carthage and Jerusalem, Churches or chapels were built during intervals between the persecutions. At first these were not elaborate, though late in the third century Eusebius speaks of what he terms sumptuous buildings. Probably there was no standard style, though a common feature would be an elevated sanctuary at one end. The altar stood at the center of the sanctuary, and behind it was placed the bishop's chair, flanked by seats for the priests. Deacons are described as standing during divine services. Separate sections for men and women in the congregation are indicated.
(3) DISCIPLINARY STANDARDIZATION Liturgical formulas began to be standardized during this period. St. Justin allows the celebrant to improvise, but St. Hippolytus, while not suppressing all initiative, gives defined formulas for consecration of bishops, ordination of priests, deacons, subdeacons, and lectors; blessings of confessors, virgins, and widows; for administration of baptism, for blessing oil, cheese, olives. A standard doxology is enjoined for each blessing: "To Thee be glory, Father and Son, with the Holy Spirit, in the Holy Church, now and always through ages of ages" (Apostolic Tradition). Catechumenate. During the first century no formal course of instruction seems to have been required: Christian numbers were small and prospective converts were introduced by proven sponsors. But as membership increased and persecution exposed the congregations to informers and spies, it became necessary to adopt safeguards. A species of disciplina arcani appeared to prevent exposure of Christian mysteries to the profane, and a definite course of instruction and probation was imposed upon prospective converts. These were assigned a special place in the church and dismissed before the principal part of the Mass. Tertullian knew of such discipline about 200 (Prescriptions, 41), and a little later the "Canons of Hippolytus" prescribe that catechumens shall spend three years in learning the doctrine; however if a candidate is docile and well behaved, one need not oblige him to a fixed duration, but decision can be made according to his conduct. A biblical canon also begins to be drawn up. The Muratorian Canon seems to have been a quasi-official list of the Roman Church, not inconceivably compiled by St. Hippolytus at the beginning of the third century. Its language is apodictic, though there seems to have been as yet no intention of imposing a uniform canon upon all of the churches. The penitential system, elsewhere described, also began to take organized form during this period. (4) CHRISTIAN LIFE Civil communication with pagans continued; indeed, it was a necessity. Christians frequented the market place, the baths, even some shows and festivals for which Tertullian upbraids them. They continued to care for the poor, and pagans often admired their mutual charity. St. Lawrence, Roman deacon, is remembered as a martyr to his service of the poor. Converts were made from all classes of the population, and from all walks of life, as diversified penalties in the persecuting edicts and inscriptions of the catacombs reveal. Though there were conscientious objectors, most Christians served in the army, even as volunteers. The Church was growing in all respects, in numbers, in organization, in extent; both good and bad members would soon be revealed under persecution.
Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 A.D.) IV. Ordeal of the Church (249-313) 19. Persecution by Roman Renaissance IV Ordeal of the Church
19. PERSECUTION BY ROMAN RENAISSANCE A. Revival of Persecution (1) CAUSES Roman Renaissance was imperatively demanded in 248 when the city celebrated its millenary anniversary. On the north the Germans attacked, while from the east the new Persian kingdom which had replaced decadent Parthia was a constant threat. Within, ancient Roman traditions of public service were disappearing with the incorporation of alien and servile elements, and government by law was threatened by military insubordination and feudal self-sufficiency. In 249 the supposedly Christian emperor, Philip the Arab, was succeeded by Gaius Messius Trajanus Decius, the first Roman aristocrat for a century. He was prone to lay the blame for imperial decline to neglect of ancient traditions, and set out to re-Romanize by a return to the old ways. This involved, in his view, renewed insistence on the official paganism. Christians, who alone opposed the state religion, must accordingly be dealt with severely, and no longer according to Trajan's opportunist policy. The Empire was fighting for its life and nothing short of total prosecution and extermination of all its foes could be contemplated. Thus was inaugurated a new imperial attitude toward Christianity which, with one notable respite, endured for 65 years. The issue was no longer whether the Church was to grow or not; now her very survival was at stake. On the other band, should she emerge victorious from this ordeal, should imperial resources fail to crush her, she was likely to capture Roman society on the rebound. (2) TECHNIQUE Methodical procedure, corresponding to a modern police "dragnet," characterized the new persecutions. For the first time prosecution was to be universal in enforcement as well as law. Not only every Christian, but every person whose paganism was in any way suspect was directed to perform a "patriotic test," that is, signify his allegiance to the state religion by offering worship to the recognized pagan deities. As in the past, the objective was less to punish individuals for adherence to Christianity than to secure abjurations. Torture was freely applied to this end, and records of the official inquest were to be preserved. One of these has survived: "To the Commissioners of Sacrifice of the village of Alexander's Island, from Aurelius Diogenes, the son of Satabus, of the Village of Alexander's Island, aged 72 years, scar on eyebrow: 'I have always sacrificed to the gods, and now in your presence in accordance with the edict, I have sacrificed and poured the drink offering, and tasted of the sacrifices, and I request you to certify the same. Farewell! Handed in by me, Aurelius Diogenes.' 'I, Aurelius Syrus, certify that I saw Diogenes sacrificing. Done in the first year of the Emperor, Caesar Gaius Messius Quintus Trajanus Decius."' The Church, then, faced an ordeal that would sift wheat from chaff, revealing heroes and apostates. B. Military Prosecution (249-61) (1) THE DECIAN PHASE (249-51) Emperor Decius set to work promptly after his accession. He had two assistants, General Gallus Trebonian and Senator Valerian, who were to continue his policy after his death. The persecution raged methodically and fiercely throughout Decius's reign, but a certain relaxation became necessary when the emperor began preparations in 251 for the defense of Dacia against the Goths. His death in the summer campaign brought respite. Martyrs at Rome suffered almost at once. Pope St. Fabian was executed on January 20, 250, and the rigor of imperial surveillance prevented election of a successor for over a year. Decius is reported to have remarked that "he would rather hear of a rival to his throne than of the choice of a new bishop of Rome." During the vacancy of the Holy See it was administered by the priests, with Novatian apparently acting as archpriest or camerlengo. Other martyrs reported by name at Rome were Moises, Calocerius, Parthenius, Abdon, Sennen, and possibly St. Agatha.
In the West persecution extended widely though few precise details are given. St. Saturninus of Toulouse was put to death, and two bishops in Spain apostasized. St. Cyprian of Carthage was able to escape by flight, though he continued to direct his flock by letter from a place of refuge. In the East St. Denis of Alexandria reports that persecution was particularly thorough. He himself escaped only because he was rescued against his will by some of the militant members of his flock. Origen, director of the catechetical school, first at Alexandria and later at Caesarea, was imprisoned and died later of his hardships. St. Babylas, bishop of Antioch, beaded a number of episcopal martyrs in Asia and Syria: Carpus of Pergamus, Alexander of Jerusalem; St. Gregory Thaumaturgus of Neo-Caesarea survived. At Smyrna, the priest Pionius redeemed his bishop's apostasy by a glorious martyrdom. These are of course but a few of the vast number of victims; St. Denis declares that "there were others, firm and blessed pillars of the Church and strong in the strength of the Lord, who became glorious witnesses of His Kingdom." Apostates, however, also appeared in unusual numbers, for the preceding period of comparative calm had witnessed relaxation of primitive fervor among many, and accession of converts with mixed motives. The same St. Denis reported that "many of the most distinguished, losing courage, presented themselves before the judge. Some were either summoned or waited upon, and others who were well known were obliged to come forward, and when bidden to do so, took part in the impure and impious sacrifices. . . . Many held out until frightened by sight of chains and prison; others, after having endured a few days' confinement, abjured Christianity when about to enter the tribunal, and still others did not renounce their faith until they had borne torture a length of time" (Eusebius, History, VI, 41; VII, 1). (2) RENEWAL UNDER GALLUS (251-53) Emperor Gallus found that the persecution had practically ceased by the time that he assumed charge of the administration after Decius's death. During the autumn of 251, however, an extensive plague excited popular superstitions and Gallus yielded to the demand for a scapegoat by renewing the persecution of the Christians. Persecution, however, found Christian courage aroused by the martyrs' fortitude and stiffened by the apostates' defection. When St. Fabian's successor, Pope Cornelius, was arrested, so many of his flock appeared in his defense that Gallus deemed it prudent to commute the pope's death sentence to exile at Civita Vecchia. After St. Cornelius's death, his successor, St. Lucius, was also exiled, If the object of the persecution was to secure apostates, it seems to have been less successful than the preceding. It was brought to an end by Aemilian's usurpation of the imperial throne during 253. (3) RENEWAL UNDER VALERIAN (253-60) Valerian, though he soon gained control of the government from the usurper, did not at first return to a persecuting policy. But in his council Macrinus, devotee of Oriental syncretism, urged renewal of the edicts of persecution, and, to re-enforce his demands, he used the renewed invasions by Goths, Berbers, and Persians. Valerian's first edict of August, 257, was directed against the clergy and the public exercise of Christian worship. Possibly the imperial court entertained some hope of converting the laity to syncretism once they had been deprived of their leaders. Both St. Denis of Alexandria and St. Cyprian of Carthage were arrested, and the latter was subsequently executed. In 258 a second edict was directed against the laity, threatening them with confiscation of goods, forced labor, exile, and death. Access to Christian cemeteries was prohibited. Martyrs were again numerous. Pope St. Stephen was put to death in 257 and during the following year his successor, Sixtus 11, suffered together with his famous deacon, St. Lawrence,
whose sense of humor lasted until death. Other martyrs known by name were St. Fructuosus of Tarragona and the clerics, James and Marienus of Cirta. Patroclus of Troyes and Denis of Paris are said to have been martyred in the same persecution. But it was impossible for Christians to complete records of their martyrs: at Utica some 153 victims were thrown into a lime kiln; since their relics were indistinguishable, they were venerated as the "White Mass." Cessation of actual persecution came about through foreign difficulties. Emperor Valerian, who had gone to the East to lead the campaign against the Persians, was defeated, captured, and died in captivity. His son and successor, Gallienus, threatened by foreign foes and domestic rivals, could not have continued the persecution had he desired. C. Relaxation of Persecution (260-85) (1) DECLINING IMPERIAL FORTUNES Emperor Gallienus (260-68) broke with the policy of his father's advisor Macrinus, Not content with ceasing to enforce the edicts, he issued in 261 a formal Rescript of Toleration, probably the first official document of its kind. Addressing himself to Patriarch St. Denis of Alexandria and his suffragans, the emperor declared that: I have enjoined that the benefit of my bounty be put into execution throughout the world, that they may keep away from places of worship; therefore you may act upon the order contained in my rescript so that no one shall molest you. What you are now legally permitted to do has already for a long time been conceded by me. Therefore Aulus Cyrenius, the chief administrator, will observe this order that I have given" (Eusebius, History, VII, 13). Apparently this rescript authorized restoration of confiscated Christian property, at least in part. Despite the official toleration, Macrinus and other pretenders continued to persecute. The lull in persecution inaugurated by the rescript of 261 lasted without serious interruption until the first edict of Diocletian in 303. During this long period the Church prospered. Eusebius remarked: "In all the cities large and great churches began to rise from the soil. No hatred intervened to prevent us from progressing with the times, and each day saw an increase in our numbers." Many apostates returned to communion and new converts were made, though once again worldliness began to infiltrate Christian ranks. The shadow of persecution faded as churches were openly erected, parishes established, and imperial officials began to recognize the bishops' social functions (History, VIII, 1). Emperor Claudius 11 (268-70) momentarily halted the anarchy besetting the Roman world during the mid-third century. Though there were certain instances of mob violence against Christians, no edict seems to have been issued. Emperor Aurelian (270-75) also ruled ably and succeeded in restoring imperial frontiers. His syncretist designs failed to enlist Christian support, and he was preparing a new edict of persecution when he was assassinated. Mediocre rulers continued for a decade the apparently hopeless struggle for law and order against military revolts and barbarian invasions. Tacitus (275-76), a senatorial nominee, was murdered by his troops, and his successor Probus (276-82) perished in a mutiny. Carus (282-83) and his sons, Carinus and Numerian, also contended with continual revolts and inroads. The whole fabric of imperial administration began to break down; the principate of Augustus had failed, and it remained to be seen whether anything could be found to replace it. Emperors during this time of "thirty tyrants" had little time to persecute, though popular chagrin at disasters occasionally vented itself in riots against the Christians. (2) RESULTS OF THE FIRST ORDEAL Apostasy during this unparalleled series of persecutions reached unprecedented proportions. Those who gave up the Faith completely were called lapsi; those who sacrificed or offered incense were termed sacrificati or thurificati respectively; those fraudulently procuring
certificates of sacrifice were branded as libellatici; still others who registered in obedience to the edicts were called acta facientes; finally those who delivered the Sacred Scriptures to pagan desecration were known as traditores. The reconciliation of these classes of apostates would presently produce a grave disciplinary problem. The attempt to formulate a norm for their rehabilitation led to the Sacramental Controversies treated in the next topic. Relaxation in persecution and growth of Christian corporate and private wealth posed new difficulties for penitential discipline and maintenance of supernatural standards. As the ascetical ideal of the community was lowered, those aspiring to observance of the evangelical counsels were attracted to monastic retirement, where they reinforced those who had fled from the persecutions. Finally, Diocletian's persecution would be the more difficult to sustain in that it followed upon a lengthy period of comparative peace and relaxation. Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 A.D.) 20. The Sacramental Controversies IV Ordeal of the Church 20. THE SACRAMENTAL CONTROVERSIES A. Theological Background (1) THE PROBLEM OF RECONCILIATION Reconciliation of apostates in the foregoing persecution posed a problem for bishops both during and after the storm. On what conditions, if any, were those apostates entitled to readmission to communion? The issue was complicated, both at Alexandria and Carthage, by the practice of the libelli pacis. Those who had weakened under the persecution sought the good offices of those who had confessed the Faith and lay under sentence of death. These "martyrs by anticipation" often "received those of the brethren who fell away and had been convicted of sacrificing; and when they saw their conversion and repentance . . . having proved them, received and met with them, communing with them in prayer and at their feasts" (St. Denis, cited by Eusebius, History, VI, 42). Abuses often resulted from this indulgence by the martyrs, many of whom must have been laymen ill informed of penitential norms. Penitents either acted as if they had already been dispensed from the exomologesis, or they tried to stampede the hierarchy into issuing blanket ratifications of these libelli pacis given by the martyrs. This was a challenge to the power of the keys given to the bishops and priests; what attitude ought the hierarchy to adopt? Reconciliation of heretics was an analogous problem which came increasingly to the fore as the sects already noted went into their second or third generation. Whereas earlier heretics seeking reconciliation were originally baptized in the Catholic Church, now persons sought admission who had been born and baptized in some heretical sect. Formerly it had been enough to "impose hands in penance," but could the baptism of these newer converts be trusted? A considerable number of bishops under St. Cyprian's leadership responded in the negative and insisted that they must be rebaptized. Validity of ordination conferred by an alleged traditor, one species of apostate, was later challenged in Africa when opponents of Bishop Caecilian of Carthage denied his consecration on this ground. Though the ensuing Donatist controversy lies outside the present period, it is mentioned here as a remote by-product of the persecutions and as involving a similar dogmatic principle. (2) COMMON THEOLOGICAL TRAITS
IV. Ordeal of the Church (249-313)
Sacramental validity. Though the controversies arising from the three foregoing historical problems concerned different sacraments, they seem to have a common theological denominator not clearly perceived by all the participants. For if the sanctity of martyrs could substitute for penitential absolution; if the validity of baptism depended on the baptizer's faith; if the valid reception of holy orders depended on the sanctity of the ordaining prelate, then the sacraments operated ex opere operantis, and the Church was essentially invisible since dependent on an invisible state of grace. Papal authority rejected such erroneous solutions, though the explicit definition of the ex opere operato efficacy of the sacraments would await the Council of Trent. B. The Penitential Controversy (1) LAXISM OF NOVATUS Carthaginian apostasy. When the Decian persecution reached Africa in 250, St. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, went into biding and remained outside his cathedral until relaxation of the edicts before Easter, 251. Though he continued to administer his see by letter, rigorists: condemned his flight and denounced him to Rome. St. Cyprian defended himself successfully, but experienced greater trouble in readmitting apostates during the persecution. Many of these secured the good offices of sturdier confessors in prison. The latter's charity was not always enlightened, for they often issued libelli pacis indiscriminately. The apostates, with the connivance of certain lax members of the Carthaginian clergy, assumed the confessors' declaration to be equivalent to reconciliation. St. Cyprian, forced to formulate a provisional policy during the persecution, decreed that libelli pacis would be accorded purely intercessory value and would require, in urgent cases, ratification by himself or one of his delegates. Apostates in good health must await the decisions of a council. Laxist schism. Novatus, one of the Carthaginian priests, probably belonged to a faction which had opposed St. Cyprian's episcopal election in 249. Against the bishop's express orders, Novatus and Deacon Felicissimus honored the libelli pacis as virtual certificates of absolution, and indiscriminately reconciled all apostates who brought them. Against Novatus and his party, St. Cyprian convened a provincial council at Carthage in the spring of 251. Though the acts are lacking, it is clear that St. Cyprian's policy was substantially upheld. Apostates must confess and perform the exomologesis before obtaining reconciliation; libelli pacis, tolerated during the persecution, were no longer to be honored. Apostate clerics should be deposed; the libellatici might obtain absolution after relatively short penance, but thurificati were obliged to lengthy, sometimes lifelong, exomologesis. Laxist merger. Novatus responded neither to this legislation nor to St. Cyprian's arguments in De Unitate Ecclesiae, though St. Cyprian's stand was endorsed by the Roman clergy, sede vacante, and eventually by the next pope, St. Cornelius. Thereupon Novatus placed politics before principle. Though Novatian of Rome who now opposed St. Cornelius as antipope was an extreme rigorist, Novatus joined him in his opposition to the legitimate hierarchy. Novatus and Felicissimus supported Maximus, named antibishop of Carthage by Novatian, but St. Cyprian rallied the majority of African Christians to his own authority, (2) RIGORISM OF NOVATIAN Novatian had been administering the Roman See since St. Fabian's martyrdom in January, 250. He enjoyed the prestige of his authorship of a creditable treatise, De Trinitate, and the reputation of great austerity. Presumably he concealed his rigoristic views in joining the Roman clergy in endorsing St. Cyprian's stand, but when St. Cornelius was elected pope on March 5, 251, the disappointment proved more than Novatian could bear. He connived with certain disaffected Italian bishops to procure episcopal consecration in opposition to the legitimate pope. "Suddenly," the latter wrote St. Cyprian, "he appeared as a bishop as if shot
forth from some machine." Once in opposition, Novatian developed his rigorism to the extent of excluding all apostates from any hope of reconciliation forever. Contest for the East. Though Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian foiled Novatian's ambitions in the West, he made efforts to win over eastern prelates. Bishop Fabius of Antioch was disposed to listen to him, but St. Denis of Alexandria would have nothing to do with rigorism. At Alexandria also apostates were seeking readmission by the aid of the libelli pacis. Whereas Novatian would refuse them reconciliation, and St. Cyprian proved severe, St. Denis was more lenient. Absolution was to be granted in danger of death, but not restricted to that case. St. Denis pleaded: "If we listen to Novatian . . . we shall do the contrary of what was done by Christ. He was good, He went out to the mountains to seek the lost sheep; if the sheep fled away, He called it; if He found it, He brought it back with difficulty on His shoulders. We would see the sheep coming and harshly repel it with kicks" (Eusebius, History, VI, 42, 45). St. Denis, then, was disposed to accept the martyrs' recommendations by way of indulgence. He expostulated with Fabius of Antioch for some inclination toward Novatianism: "These martyrs of God who were among us and are now seated with Christ share His royalty, judge with Him, and pronounce sentence with Him. They have taken under their protection some of our fallen brethren, guilty of having offered sacrifice. . . . Let us observe their judgment and charity; let us receive kindly those whom they treated with such compassion" (ibid., VI, 42). Repulse of Novatianism. Evidently St. Denis was successful in uniting most of the Orient against Novatianism, for he presently informed St. Cornelius's successor, Stephen I (254-57): "Know that all these churches of the East and of more distant countries, which were formerly divided, are now united; all their beads are unanimous and greatly rejoice at the peace which is established" (Eusebius, History, VII, 5). The Novatian Schism, nourished by Encratism, continued nonetheless to exist for some two centuries; Pope Innocent I mentions it at the beginning of the fourth century. C. The Baptismal Controversy (1) CARTHAGINIAN PHASE Episcopal question. In 254 St. Cyprian strained his relations with the new Pope St. Stephen I (254-57). Consulted by the communities of Leon and Merida in Spain, he sustained them in their deposition of their bishops, Basilides and Martial, for defection during the recent persecution. When he learned that Basilides' appeal had been sustained by the pope, St. Cyprian not only pronounced the bishop's plea subreptitious, but approved the electors' action in deposing unworthy prelates. Here St. Cyprian almost anticipated Donatism in seeming to make episcopal order depend on sanctity. This interpretation is not certain, however, for when similarly consulted by the people of Arles regarding their Novatianizing Bishop Marcian, St. Cyprian advised recourse to Rome. Though the precise outcome of these disputes is not known, Pope St. Stephen can hardly have been pleased. Rebaptism crisis. St. Cyprian may thus already have been out of papal favor when he replied on three occasions during 255 that converts from Marcionism and Montanism should be rebaptized. On the authority of Tertullian and a Carthaginian synod about 220, St. Cyprian argued that heretical baptism must be regarded as null, and hence ought to be repeated in the Catholic Church. Though this seems to have been the prevalent opinion in North Africa, more than one bishop in Mauretania followed the Roman usage of noniteration. To determine a general norm, St. Cyprian convened a provincial council during May, 256. Here some 71 bishops upheld his views, which he reported confidently to the pope. In keeping with his mistaken notion that only a disciplinary question was involved, St. Cyprian termed the conciliar verdict merely advisory, and allowed each bishop, even St. Stephen, to follow his conscience (Letter 72). Roman intervention. What survives of St. Stephen's reply is a categorical repudiation of St. Cyprian's opinion: "If any persons come to you from any heresy whatsoever, let there be no
innovation beyond the rule that has been handed down; namely, that hands be laid on them in penance." Invoking the power of the keys, the pope directed the bishop of Carthage to communicate the Roman decision to the African Church. St. Cyprian obeyed, but appended his own refutation and bitter criticism of St. Stephen's view. Another provincial council in September, 256, moreover, gained the votes of 87 bishops for St. Cyprian's stand. This time his envoys to Rome were repulsed and we know from a letter of Bishop Firmilian of Caesarea that the pope talked of excommunication. There is no certainty, however, that St. Stephen put his threat into execution before his death in August, 257. St. Cyprian's biographer Pontius relates that subsequently "a messenger came to him from Sixtus, the good and peace-making priest." This allusion may be taken as evidence that whatever his previous status, St. Cyprian was in communion with St. Stephen's successor, Pope Sixtus II, at the time of his own martyrdom, September, 258. (2) ORIENTAL PHASE Firmilian of Neo-Caesarea, a disciple of Origen, sustained the bishop of Carthage in his dispute and surpassed him in violence of language. Defying the pope's claim to Peter's power and likening St. Stephen to Judas, Firmilian railed against him: "What quarrels and dissensions you have provoked in the churches of the whole world! What great sin you have committed in withdrawing yourself from so many flocks! . . . You thought you could excommunicate the whole world; you have merely excommunicated yourself" (Letter 75 in St. Cyprian's Correspondence). St. Denis of Alexandria, rather than Firmilian, spoke for the East. He interposed as peacemaker and it is probably his intervention that brought about St. Cyprian's reconciliation. St. Denis, when asked to rebaptize one baptized among heretics, "did not dare perform the rite and told him that his long communion would suffice." Alexandrian tradition was in accord with Roman practice, and so also, it seems, was the case at Jerusalem (Eusebius, History, VII, 5, 7). Conclusion: The immediate outcome of the controversies is shrouded in obscurity, but in 314 the Plenary Council of Arles in canons ratified by the Holy See upheld St. Stephen against St. Cyprian. The eighth canon explicitly revoked the African custom of Rebaptism in favor of the Roman tradition of penance, except in case of defect of the Trinitarian form. And the thirteenth canon vindicated the same principle in regard to ordination against the Donatists. In 325 the Nicene General Council directed that Novatianist converts be reconciled by penance (canon 8), though Paulianist Adoptionists should be baptized (canon 19) because of their error on the Trinity. With the development of more precise theological terminology the basic issues involved in these sacramental controversies were perceived more clearly.
Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 AD) 21. Reaction of Despair: Manichaeism IV Ordeal of the Church
IV. Ordeal of the Church (249-313)
21. REACTION OF DESPAIR: MANICHAEISM A. Introduction: Background for Manichaeism (1) IMPERIAL DISASTERS War dominated the Roman Empire during the third century. Pressure on the northern
and eastern frontiers made the army all-important. During the first two centuries military service had been an honorable, well paid, and not unduly onerous career. The army had been composed of citizen volunteers or ambitious noncitizens who aspired to the civil rights generally accorded with honorable discharge. But by the third century all this had changed. Citizens dodged service; drafted, they deserted in large numbers. Resort was now had to barbarian troops for the first time on a large scale, and as imperial resources dwindled it became customary to quarter the mercenaries on the populace and support them by extensive requisitioning. Such troops would be unruly and easily rallied to ambitious military leaders who kept the Empire in almost continuous civil war by their bids for the throne. Regimentation recast Roman society into new classes. The ideal of public service, expressed in the unpaid "liturgies," broke down utterly. Men had to be obliged by law to assume public office, especially in local communities, and such officials were made responsible for the financial needs of the government at the expense of their own fortunes. Wealthy townsmen became refugees in other parts of the Empire, or even outside its boundaries. Their communication by code with friends reminded Dr. Rostovtzeff of the guarded missives of Russian aristocrats and kulaks under threat of Communism. "Force and compulsion were applied both to the city bourgeoisie and to the lower classes, and the embittered each against the other. The result was the collapse of citycapitalism and the acute economic crisis of the third century which brought about the rapid decline of business activity in general, the resuscitation of primitive forms of economy, and the growth of statecapitalism. . . . These were the salient features of life in the fourth and following centuries." (2) PSYCHOLOGICAL REACTION Despair and pessimism, needless to say, were fostered by these repeated blows. Pagans would blame fate; weak Christians were led to question Providence; all would be induced to examine the problem of evil. Such prolonged affliction, weariness, and satiety of trouble could not, many felt, be regarded as mere accidents of human life. Rather evil must have a more positive cause: there was some evil principle involved in the composition of the world which in turn would be ultimately derived from some malign deity. Pagans would be more susceptible to a homeless surrender to religious pessimism, but lukewarm and fair-weather Christians would also be worn out if not by one, at least by a succession of persecutions. Manichaeism offered an explanation of the problem of evil. It was both a philosophy and a religion; and modern research has confirmed what was long questioned, that it was also a Christian heresy. Hence it may be regarded as a reaction to the disasters, secular and religious, afflicting the Roman Empire during the third century. B. Manichaean History (1) ORIGINS Problem of sources. "Down to the first years of the twentieth century, the history of early Manichaeism remained very obscure: the writings of Mani and his disciples had been numerous and widely distributed, but everywhere proscribed and destroyed by Catholics, by Mohammedans, by Buddhists, by Chinese officials. Toward the end of the last century, numerous fragments which had escaped destruction were found in Turkestan. . . . These documents were certainly of value, but they were of comparatively late date and difficult to interpret. . . . We are, however, already able to establish some points which determine the general lines of the history of Mani, his preaching, and his doctrine . . ." Mani is the most commonly used name among Orientals for the founder of the sect. He is said to have been born at Ekbatana, Persia, about 215. His early history is obscure. Various legends make him the son of a pagan priest, the slave of the widow of a Buddhist sage, and a Christian convert and cleric. He seems to have elaborated upon the national Zoroastrianism by
borrowings from Indian and Syrian religions. About 240, in the reign of King Ardaschir (224-41), he appeared as a preacher in India. In the reign of Shapur (241-72) he transferred his energies to his native country, where he obtained great prestige at court. Manichaeism, then, seems to have been spread shortly after the Persian conquest of the Parthian kingdom in 227. The new Persian monarchy promoted a revival of the native Zoroastrianism. Mani evidently participated in this movement, though he treated the tenets of Zoroaster in an eclectic spirit by mingling Christian, Buddhist, Mithraist, and Gnostic elements. His, then, was a "bigger and better" syncretism. if his account can be accepted, he became a sort of royal chaplain and toured the realm up to the Roman frontier. Though he does not seem to have come into the Empire, he is said to have disputed with the Christian Bishop Archelaus of Cascar. But Mani's views antagonized the Persian Magi who denounced him to the court, already annoyed at his failure to cure one of the royal family. Bahram I, Shapur's successor, took the side of the Magi, and had him put to death. We are told that his skin was flayed and put on exhibition, perhaps in the same museum with the later Emperor Valerian. The date would be between 272 and 275. (2) DOCTRINES Dualism of good and evil principles was the basis of Mani's teaching. Even more definitely than Marcion, whose disciples he eventually absorbed, Mani held that there are two supreme deities, Hridzai or Light, and Archai or Darkness. The former, like his prototype the Zoroastrian Ormuzd, was a good principle, represented by the sun. The latter, derived from the Persian Ahriman, was an evil genius, author of matter and darkness. Hridzai had formed out of his own essence a First Man, corresponding to Philo's Logos. This Man, about to be vanquished by material and therefore evil elements infused by Archai, was saved by Pneuma or Spirit, another emanation from Hridzai. All concrete worldly beings are a mixture of mind and matter. Adam is begotten of Archai, but composed of elements from Hridzai as well. This gives him two souls: one, the logike, is formed of luminous particles; the other, alogos, is fashioned of a superior type of matter. Adam's evil instincts were evoked by Eve, sent for this purpose by Archai. Christian elements were mingled by Mani who styled himself apostle of Jesus Christ." According to Mani, Christ was son of Hridzai and took a merely apparent body to free the spiritual element in man from matter. Christ's passion in this conception was not real; its chief purpose was to instruct mankind in the Manichaean soteriology. The Manichees, then, were to be purged by a diminution of the material element in the course of a series of trans-migrations through bodies successively less material. Like the Marcionites, Mani claimed to have exclusive knowledge of Christ's real mission, information hidden from the apostles. Like Montanus, he associated himself with the Holy Spirit, and finally asserted his identity with this emanation from Hridzai. For Mani, then, Christianity was but another religion to be incorporated into his personal synthesis. Morality was to be conditioned by classes. Naturally the Manichaean teachers were "the perfect ones," distributed among apostles, bishops, priests, and deacons. The "perfected" were supposed to observe three seals; signaculum oris, manuum et sinus. The first forbade blasphemy and enjoined abstinence from wine and meat; the second banned handling of certain objects, and especially slaying of animals and plants which might be souls in migration; the last prohibited sexual intercourse as ordinated to reproduce matter. But an inferior group of "bearers" was not obliged by this rigorous code. They might marry, though forbidden to have children. "They were bound to keep the ten commandments of Mani: to avoid idolatry, lying, greed, murder, adultery, theft, bad teachings, witchcraft, religious doubt, and laziness. On the whole, their life resembled that of all men; therefore after their death they had to undergo a whole series of cleansings, before joining the Elect in the place appointed for their rest. As for unbelievers and sinful Manicheans, they were condemned after their death to wander until the end of time, then to be cast into hell. In any hypothesis . . . there was no salvation for the body."
(3) MANICHAEAN SURVIVAL Manichaean organization prevented dissipation of the heresy into rival sects. In St. Augustine's day their hierarchy was headed by twelve doctors, one of whom was the leader. Next in rank were 72 "sons of knowledge" or administrators; the elders or presbyteroi, and finally the deacons or missionaries. These grades are in obvious imitation of the primitive hierarchy of the Christian Church. Manichaean worship was at first simple, for internal cult was at first exalted almost to a denial of external. They had no temples, altars, images, or sacrifices. But beginning with the feast of the Bema (chair) to commemorate Mani's death, festivals were introduced or adapted from Christianity. A baptism with oil and a Eucharist with water were developed. Prayers and readings from Mani's letters in time formed a part of the liturgy. Far Eastern expansion. Mani himself had supervised his sect's organization in Persia and personally chosen Sisinnios as his successor. But the Persians served him the same way as his predecessor and Manichees were forced to flee. Some went to the Orient, to India, Armenia, Turkestan, and eventually as far as Tibet and China. They were readmitted to Persia after the Saracen conquest, and enjoyed toleration under the caliphate of Bagdad. But there is no probability that the Manichees ever constituted a majority in any of the eastern lands. Western Manichaeism. The Manichees appeared within the Roman Empire as early as 280. Their antisocial tenets incurred prosecution quickly: on March 31, 296, Emperor Diocletian ordered the African pronconsul to prosecute them, not sparing the death penalty. But the sect survived underground to reappear in imperial favor under Julian (361-63). Valentinian I renewed the edicts against Manichaeism in 372, and these were repeated by Theodosius (381) and Honorius (407), and Valentinian III (445). Yet Faustus and Felix could circulate with comparative freedom in St. Augustine's time. African Manichaeism survived both Roman and Vandal persecution into the more favorable Mohammedan regime. Colonies of Armenian Manichees were deported by the iconoclast emperors of the eighth century to the Balkans, where they reemerged under the name of Bogomiles. Violent persecution during the tenth and eleventh centuries drove the latter into Lombardy and Languedoc. In the latter area they came to be known as Albigenses or Cathari, and provoked large scale missions, a military crusade, and finally the Holy Inquisition. The friars seem at long last to have converted the rank and file, one weighty friar meditating deeply on his arguments "to fix the Manichees." C. Appendix on Priscillianism Introduction: Though it lies somewhat outside the present period, an alleged Manichaean survival, Spanish Priscillianism, may be conveniently surveyed here. "Priscillian . . . was a restless, excitable man, endowed with brilliant gifts of wit and eloquence, but too much addicted to unprofitable studies. He interested himself in Manichean and Gnostic literature, prosecuted researches in astrology, and was a diligent reader of apocryphal writings. Yet though somewhat puffed up with his intellectual attainments, Priscillian bore a stainless character and was, indeed, a person of sincere and austere piety. . . . The society which he founded was undeniably eccentric. Its members aspired to a perfection beyond that attained by ordinary members of the Church, from whom they accordingly tended to separate. They were rigidly ascetic. They practiced continence, subsisted on a vegetarian diet, and perhaps fasted on Sundays. Lent and the three weeks before Epiphany they observed with special strictness, absenting themselves from public worship and shutting themselves up at home or in hermitages among the mountains. It was their custom to bold meetings by night in private dwellings, whereat apocryphal books were read and instruction was given by unlicensed teachers; to these conventicles women were admitted. . . . They preserved a mysterious silence about their practices and doctrine . . ."
Prosecution. If Priscillianists were not Manichees, the Christian authorities could hardly be blamed for their suspicions. The Spanish hierarchy condemned Priscillianism at Saragossa in 380. When the sectaries failed to obey, the bishop of Merida denounced them as Manichees to the imperial government. Though Emperor Gratian contented himself with imposing sentence of exile, the Gallic pretender Maximus advertised his orthodoxy by torturing and executing Priscillian and several disciples in 385. Pope St. Damasus had rejected an apology of Priscillian, but neither he nor St. Ambrose of Milan had sanctioned the imperial penalty. In fact, St. Ambrose and St. Martin of Tours sharply criticized those members of the Spanish hierarchy who had prosecuted the Priscillianists unto death. Quite possibly the punishment had been unnecessarily severe, but the West would yet revise its judgments on the expediency of capital punishment against the Catharist version of Manichaeism. Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 AD) 22. Reaction of Flight: Monasticism IV Ordeal of the Church 22. REACTION OF FLIGHT: MONASTICISM A. Introduction: Background of Monasticism (1) DOMESTIC ASCETICISM Ascetic comes from the Greek asketes, "one who practices"; that is, one who does not merely admire the evangelical counsels, but tries to live according to them as much as possible. Since holiness is a mark of the Church, it is to be expected that no Christian generation would be devoid of those devoting themselves without reserve to Christ. The origin of monasticism during the third century does not imply an access of fervor in the Church; rather, it denotes the addition of a new means of attaining an old objective. During the first two centuries asceticism had been practiced at home, in the environment of the family and the Christian community. Large numbers of Christians of both sexes vowed themselves to virginity the better to embrace a permanent state of fidelity to Christian asceticism; St. Justin about 150 says that "many men and women from sixty to seventy years of age, brought up from childhood in the law of Christ, have kept pure" (Apology I, xv, 6). Community life in the strict sense did not exist, but already domestic ascetics tended to gather for mutual encouragement. The ascetics usually had a special position in the church; virgins and widows were accorded a distinctive state. The Christian fathers wrote treatises for their instruction, and the hierarchy watched over their conduct and reputation. When abuses appeared in the institution, various bishops, such as Sts. Ambrose and Augustine, began to lay down certain standards and rules of life which provided the basis for regular convents. (2) MOTIVES FOR MONASTICISM Flight from persecution is perhaps with justice enumerated last by Pourrat among motives giving rise to the evolution of monasticism during the third century. Certainly this arbitrary title is not intended to represent the whole course of the movement; at most it was the occasion of the vocation of the first hermit, St. Paul of Thebes. But in a larger sense the monastic movement was flight, flight from the world and from mediocrity. Domestic asceticism has not ceased today, but it is ever difficult to observe it, for its success demands a "mental hermitage" and at least a minimum of physical retirement. It was not long before domestic ascetics tried to
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remove obstacles by living on the outskirts of towns. But when such habitations became renowned for virtue, visitors threatened anew the ascetics' peace; moreover, it was difficult to escape the pagan atmosphere. It is not surprising, then, that eventually some of the ascetics, reflecting on the examples of the prophets down to St. John the Baptist, resolved to fly the haunts of men entirely. B. Monastic Beginnings (1) THE EASTERN ANCHORITES St. Paul of Thebes (c. 228-340) is traditionally designated as the pioneer of the eremitical life. Paul was still young when about 250 he fled from the Decian persecution to a grotto on a remote mountain in Egypt. Here he became an anchorite, one "living apart," amid a palm grove which furnished his elementary food and clothing. St. Paul had lived some ninety years in his chosen solitude before he was discovered by St. Anthony the Abbot, as the result of a private revelation made to cure him of a momentary complacency. Shortly after their encounter, St. Paul died at the reputed age of 113. He was to have many imitators throughout the Middle Ages. St. Anthony (250-356), however, was the publicist of the eremitical life. From youth he was retiring and for a number of years he lived as a hermit near his village. About 285 he fled such limited society to the wasteland of Pispir. Here he led a mortified existence at the expense of violent temptations. But he could not reject persistent disciples and before long his solitude was shared by many other hermits. Each lived a retired life in his own cell, devoting himself to prayer, reading, and manual labor of his own choosing. The silent companionship was broken only occasionally by discourses from St. Anthony. Even this association and the arrival of visitors proved too much for St. Anthony. He went into Upper Egypt near St. Paul's hermitage to found a monastery which still bears his name. Yet he could renounce his beloved retirement for the needs of the Church: he emerged about 311 to encourage the confessors in Maximin's persecution, and around 338 to confer with St. Athanasius, a great friend, about the defeat of the Arian heresy. St. Anthony died on January 17, 356, and his Life was written by Athanasius. The Thebaid and the Nitrian Desert soon housed whole colonies of hermits: 5,000 are reported in 325 in the latter area alone. St. Ammon (d. 347) and Macarius of Alexandria (d. 394) vied with St. Anthony's disciples in the practice of austerities. Women also embraced the eremitical life: St. Anthony founded an institute for his sister and her companions. The Stylites were the most extraordinary of anchorites. The pioneer, St. Simeon of Antioch (d. 459), was undoubtedly a holy and obedient man who literally went up to God. After his youthful enthusiasm of chaining himself to a rock had been rebuked by the hierarchy, he perched himself on a stylos or pillar, at first ten, later thirty feet high. Thence he preached to sightseers, confirming his words with miracles. His fame spread even to Gaul. He had imitators who, however, did not always manifest his spirit of deference to authority. Eremitical life nourished some souls of surpassing sanctity and self-denial, but it tended to be an uncharted sea dangerous for ordinary aspirants to asceticism. For most men, some sort of fusion of retirement and the common life would have to be worked out. (2) EASTERN CENOBITES St. Pachomius (d. 348) is styled founder of the cenobitic or common monastic life, since he resolved the apparent contradiction of the terms koinobion life in common, and monasterion a solitude. St. Pachomius, a convert from paganism, determined soon after his baptism to give himself entirely to God. Enlightened by a vision, he joined others in erecting a monastery at Tabennesi in the Thebaid about 320. His disciples became so numerous that before his death he governed eight houses, besides the convents for women administered by his sister. The Pachomium. Rule supplied what was needed by the average student of asceticism.
No longer would a group of hermits be permitted to follow their own immature concepts of the religious life, but instead a community would dwell under a superior's discipline. This superior, the abbot, would exercise firm but paternal restraint on the candidates' spiritual exercises and austerities. This does not mean that the Pachomian life was easy. A postulant was left for a time outside the monastery door, humbly requesting admission and patiently enduring studied rebuffs. He was not accepted until the religious had voted to give him the habit. Once admitted, the novice was assigned to an experienced monk to be trained in the religious life according to St. Pachomius's norms. With the excesses of certain hermits in mind, the abbot deliberately strove to combat self-will in the novice, and the novice master was instructed to command precisely what the candidate disliked, and even actions of no intrinsic value, such as watering a dead bush. St. Pachomius also supervised his monks closely by having them live in "tribal houses," thirty or forty monks under a rector. Religious exercises, Mass, recitation of Psalms, and spiritual conferences were in common. Unlike some solitaries who neglected the sacraments, the Pachomian monks were to receive Holy Communion at least weekly. A certain minimum of fasting and mortification was prescribed, but the monks might add to this with permission. The refectory seems to have witnessed a number of diets and meal times for various individuals. Sanctions invoked were public penance, fasting on bread and water, and corporeal punishment. Silence was strictly enjoined. St. Hilarion (d. 371), a disciple of St. Anthony, worked out a sort of compromise between the monastic systems of St. Anthony and St. Pachomius. Early in the fourth century he set up lauras near Gaza in Palestine. These were colonies of hermits gathered in villages and formed of cells found in a defined area. Life in a laura was intermediate between that of solitaries independent of one another and that of cenobites living in community. The monks, though living apart in cells, Were yet gathered around heads or guides. Rule of a superior afforded a curb to individual caprice, though often the abbots were laymen who lacked the ecclesiastical formation of the priesthood and tended to neglect the sacramental system for private devotions. Thus a successor of St. Hilarion in Palestine, St. Sabbas, had to be constrained to receive ordination by the bishop of Jerusalem. (3) EARLY WESTERN MONASTICISM Introduction: During this period monasticism was still in its infancy in the West. Largely a transplantation from the East, it was not yet perfectly proportioned to Western culture, spirituality, or even climate. Truly indigenous Western monasticism will not appear before St. Benedict's work in the sixth century. St. Athanasius of Alexandria was the friend and disciple of St. Anthony of the Thebaid. During his exiles in the West under Arian persecution, St. Athanasius familiarized westerners with the ideals and practices of the eastern monastic pioneers. His Life of St. Anthony, written about 357, was translated into Latin by 379. St. Jerome was one of the first to popularize the monastic life at Rome about 380-85. Although he soon retired to the Holy Land, he continued to direct various Roman clerics and virgins by letter. St. Ambrose, bishop of Milan, was at the same time inspiring maidens in Lombardy with the ideal of virginity in his sermons. Like St. John Chrysostom in the East, he defended the monastic ideal against detractors. St. Augustine, St. Ambrose's distinguished convert, was also greatly influenced by accounts of the austerities of Eastern ascetics. In Africa he set up religious houses for both laymen and clerics, while his letter to a convent of nuns became the basis of the so-called Rule of St. Augustine which guided many later communities. St. Hilary, bishop of Poitiers, became a western counterpart of St. Athanasius in the Arian controversies. Probably he knew the bishop of Alexandria; at any rate he could observe monastic life during his exile in the East. On his return he inspired and aided St. Martin in erecting
the first known monastery in Gaul. St. Martin made this foundation at Liguge about 360, shortly after St. Hilary's return. Subsequently bishop of Tours, St. Martin founded another monastery in his diocese at Marmoutier. Here he gave as much attention as he could to the eighty monks. Marmoutier was the parent of St. Germanus of Auxerre, monastic apostle in Gaul and Britain, and of St. Patrick, whose foundation at Armagh in turn became a nursery for Celtic monasticism. St. Honoratus founded the abbey of Lerins along the Riviera about 400. When he left this institute to become bishop of Arles, he was succeeded by St. Hilary. The house had two famous teachers, Salvian, instructor of many future bishops in Gaul, and St. Vincent, codifier of patristic traditions. Also from Lerins came St. Lupus of Troyes and Ferrieres, and the great St. Caesarius of Arles. Blessed John Cassian contemporaneously founded the monastery of St. Victor at Marseilles. Not only was this house another monastic nursery, but its revered abbot popularized Eastern monastic traditions in his conferences, the Monastic Institutions. C. Monastic Codification (1) ROLE OF ST. BASIL St. Basil the Great (329-79), archbishop of Neo-Caesarea, brought Eastern monasticism to maturity by codifying the best elements that had been revealed by a century of experience in the Thebaid and in Palestine. St. Basil not only visited existing foundations, but before his election to the episcopate lived for some time as a hermit in Pontus. To his personal experience with the advantages and dangers of illregulated monasticism, he added the grace of the episcopacy and familiarity with problems of legislation and administration. He was well qualified, then, to write a Rule which eventually became the norm for all Oriental monasticism, much as St. Benedict's was to become in the West. "St. Basil . . . corrected what was unworkable in the Pachomian conception . . . . The Rule of St. Basil, just because it strengthens the life of the community, is of greater moderation than that of Pachomius." (2) RULE OF ST. BASIL The Basilian Rule was in the catechetical form, comprising 203 questions and answers on subjects relating to monastic life and the application of biblical maxims. With but little modification it could be used by both monks and nuns. It introduced a spirit of moderation into the arbitrary and often excessive practices of earlier monasticism. Lest absolute solitude harm the average monk, it envisioned a balance of the active and contemplative lives, which allowed the monks even to serve as clerical auxiliaries and missionaries in case of need. Labor was to serve not merely as a means to dispel idleness, but to provide support for the community; in fact, if fasting hinders you from labor, it is better to eat like the workman of Christ that you are. Less discouragement was put in the way of postulants, though novices were carefully trained in obedience and indifference. A rule of order for each day was followed, with liturgical prayers at dawn, Terce, Sext, None, dusk, and bedtime, interrupted at midnight. Prayer was in common and at a fixed place, and all meals had to be taken at appointed hours. While manual labor was highly esteemed, the study of Holy Scripture was also enjoined on the monks. Extraordinary devotions and mortifications were not permitted, and generally the abbot should know what his subjects did both within and outside the monastery. To this end, the monastic institutes were to be small. To this day the Basilian rule remains the common norm of Oriental monasticism. (3) MONASTIC CHAMPIONSHIP
St. John Chrysostom, Antiochian preacher and later patriarch of Constantinople, became a great apologist for monasticism in the Orient, His masterly oratory and excellent commentaries on St. Paul's Epistles were themselves sources of ascetical theology. He reconciled the monastic ideal with the priestly charge, and for many years in the East bishops, required to be celibate by canon law, were selected from the monastic clergy. St. Gregory of Nissa, younger brother of St. Basil, defended his memory and doctrine. Scholar rather than man of action, he was highly revered in the Greek Church, and his writings also became normative. Monasticism accordingly became exceedingly popular in the Orient, and increasingly the cenobites adopted the Basilian rule until it became virtually universal. Emperor Justinian later imposed certain standard regulations, though leaving the monks subject to episcopal jurisdiction. Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 AD) 23. Persecution by Roman Absolutism IV Ordeal of the Church 23. PERSECUTION BY ROMAN ABSOLUTISM A. Absolutist Reorganization (1) DIOCLETIAN'S TETRARCHY Emperor Diocletian (285-305) was probably the son of the Oriental freedman Diokles. At least the system that he instituted in imperial government savored more of Oriental absolutism than of Roman constitutionalism. Though he had secured the throne by the customary third century method of successful mutiny, Diocletian was determined to remove the ladder by which he himself had mounted. He deleted from the imperial office any traditions of military camaraderie still clinging to it from Caesar's day. Henceforth the monarch was to be absolute master without disguise or restraint. The crown, monarchical trappings, elaborate court etiquette, and above all a host of intermediate officials and secretaries were to make the emperor appear a remote and awesome figure, no longer deified posthumously, but very god on earth. Administrative reorganization was indeed needed for the unwieldy empire. Diocletian now divided Roman dominions into four portions, the prefectures. Each of these divisions was to be supervised by a prefect combining civil and military jurisdiction and immediately subject to the emperor or one of his colleagues and heirs. The prefectures were the Orient, comprising Asia Minor, Syria and Palestine, and Egypt, with headquarters at Nicomedia; Illyricum, comprising Thrace, Greece, and the Balkans; Italy, which also included Proconsular Africa; and Gaul, which embraced as well Britain and Spain. This tetrarchy of prefectures, each with its administrative bureaucracy, survived Diocletian's schemes for the succession, and substantially endured until the dissolution of the Roman Empire. Prefectures were subdivided into dioceses, each under its vicar, and these in turn were portioned into provinces under praesides chosen from the equestrian class. Succession to the throne was minutely regulated by Diocletian in the hope of putting an end to military usurpations. He chose a junior colleague, Maximian, who was given the title of "co-augustus" and put in charge of the Western prefectures of Italy and Gaul, Diocletian retaining personal supervision of the East. Each of these rulers was then to choose a deputy and prospective heir, entitled Caesar. Diocletian selected Galerius, Maximian, and Constantius. In 305 Diocletian put this plan into operation by himself resigning and constraining the reluctant
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Maximian to do likewise. Galerius and Constantius then succeeded to the supreme positions and were in turn to provide heirs by adoption. But once the government had become an unabashed monarchy, the trend toward hereditary succession became strong. Though Galerius and Constantius duly named successors, on the latter's death a year later, his soldiers bypassed the legal system to proclaim his son Constantine. After a series of civil wars, Constantine was able to make himself sole ruler and retained the throne in his family until 363. Other dynasties succeeded, and in the Byzantine East especially hereditary succession became normal, in spite of periodic palace revolutions. Diocletian's reorganization ` therefore, somewhat checked the third century anarchy, but did not effect a complete cure: the medicine of absolutism, moreover, had to be administered in ever larger doses as the body politic became immune to its effects. (2) EFFECTS OF REORGANIZATION Religious intolerance is endemic to totalitarian absolutism, and persecution of the Christians followed despite Diocletian's personal aversion to such methods. His heir, Galerius, imbibed a fanatical hatred for the Church from his barbarian mother, and consistently strove to convince Diocletian that they be crushed. Anti-Christian tracts by Porphyry and Hierocles circulated, and it was only a question of time before imperial regimentation would claim the Church as a province. Cultural cleavage had been accentuated by the reorganization. The two eastern prefectures coincided with the Hellenistic world, and the western ones with the Latinized provinces. Though separation of administration did not mean division of the Empire, yet the inaccurate but popular designations of "Empire of the East" and "Empire of the West" are correct in suggesting a growing divorce that would eventually affect Church as well as state. Social stratification was a by-product of the administrative changes. If the emperor and his court were now sacrosanct, the moths fluttering at his shrine must be properly attired. Greater stress than ever was placed on precedence, titles, court attire. Influence came to count for more than merit; ancestry was more highly prized than ability. Higher officials were lavishly rewarded with estates and privileges, but depended precariously upon imperial favor ever susceptible to flattery, calumny, and every species of intrigue. Espionage and counter-espionage became regular devices of government, and one authority was checked by another. The East relapsed rather easily into servility, but in the West the spirit of freedom, upheld by a hierarchy less under imperial control, was never wholly quenched. Economic castes were now becoming rigid. The middle class, both of urban artisans and merchants and of rural independent farmers, was well nigh obliterated in the repeated disasters of the third to the fifth centuries. The system of latifundia engulfed the provinces so that many independent farmers began to be reduced to coloni, forerunners of medieval serfs. Whether personally slave or free, they were bound to the land to assure a constant food supply. Likewise in towns, artisans were restricted to their hitherto more or less spontaneous collegia or guilds. Before long men were as much bound to their father's trade as were coloni to remain on the land. Distribution was another problem settled by the fiat measures of absolutism. In 296 Diocletian introduced a reformed coinage, based on a gold standard, but his successors repeatedly debased it. In 301 a price fixing edict was issued and the government embarked on the endless complications of economic regimentation, with attendant problems of smuggling and black marketing. Taxes were increased, but often had to be collected in kind rather than in specie, and officials were sometimes so paid. Military importance was by no means de-emphasized; rather, the 33 legions of the early third century had by now reached 60, and to meet ever-shifting barbarian threats the mobile cavalry reserves had to be augmented. Military magistrates, generically duces, came to be distinguished for the civil service, corporately termed judices. B. Imperial Persecution (303-14)
(1) INAUGURATION (303-06) Diocletian's edicts. Emperor Diocletian, whose wife and daughter were catechumens, did not persecute Christians until late in his reign. But his anti-Christian Caesar Galerius enjoyed great prestige after defeating the Persians in 297. The latter systematically dismissed Christian officers from the army and viewed with alarm Christian influence in the state. During 302 failure of the auguries was interpreted by the soothsayer Tagis as an omen of the "Christian menace." Now Galerius persuaded the emperor to issue a first edict, February 24, 303, which stopped short of blood. This forbade Christians to assemble for worship, and directed that their churches be destroyed or confiscated, their Scriptures burned, and their faith renounced. Penalties were graduated: nobles were to be demoted; citizens enslaved, and slaves denied hope of emancipation. A Christian of Nicomedia paid with his life for tearing down the edict, and the cathedral at Nicomedia was burned as an object lesson. Fires in the imperial palace were blamed on the Christians by Galerius-on Galerius himself by the Christian apologist Lactantius. New imperial edicts followed in 304. A second decreed immediate arrest of the clergy; a third extended the same penalty to all recalcitrant Christians. Finally a fourth edict decreed capital punishment for all those who would refuse to acknowledge the official paganism. The ultimatum was: "You have heard the law of the Emperor: it commands that throughout the world members of your society must either sacrifice or perish" (Eusebius, History, VIII). Enforcement quickly claimed victims. An inquest into the imperial household led to the abjuration of Diocletian's wife and daughter. On the other hand, Grand Chamberlain Peter, the court official Dorotheus, Bishop Anthimus of Nicomedia and other clerics and laymen were executed. Public and private property belonging to Christians was confiscated and the use of torture to enforce abjuration became a matter of course. During 304 Diocletian suffered a sort of nervous breakdown; he recovered sufficiently to hand over the government to Galerius and his colleague Constantius on May 1, 305. Galerius, the real instigator of the persecution became henceforth the chief ruler of the empire. Until shortly before his death in 311 he was indefatigable in enforcing the edicts of persecution, and he found a willing aide and heir in Maximin Daia, nominated Caesar for the East in 305. In the West, however, he found less support. Diocletian's old colleague Maximian had dutifully seized and burned the pontifical archives at Rome and had executed Pope Marcellinus in October, 304; thereafter the Holy See remained vacant for the unprecedented interval of four years. But Maximian's successor, the new co-augustus Constantius, was a solar monotheist, not unfavorably disposed to Christianity. During his short reign of a year, he seems to have confined himself to token observance of the edicts: destroying a few churches. More serious for the future of Galerius's designs, Constantius's son Constantine, held as a sort of hostage in Nicomedia, had been a silent witness of the outbreak of persecution. Now he escaped to rejoin his father in Britain and disrupt the plan of succession by accepting the throne from his father's troops on the latter's death in July, 306. (2) COURSE OF THE PERSECUTION The means employed were most cruel. A first hand account is furnished by Bishop Phileas of Thmuis concerning martyrs who suffered at Alexandria in 306: "The blessed martyrs who lived with us . . . suffered for the sake of Christ every pain, every torment that could be devised, and some not once but several times. . . . They were beaten with rods, with whips, straps, and ropes. . . . Some with bands tied behind them were placed on the rack while their limbs were stretched by a machine. On a judge's order, executioners tore with iron rakes not only their sides, as is done with murderers, but also their stomachs, legs, and even their faces. Some were hung in the portico by one hand in such wise that the straining of joints was more cruel than any torture. Others were bound to pillars, one facing the other, without having their feet on the ground, causing the weight of their bodies to tighten their bonds the more. They endured this torture not only while the judge was questioning them, but nearly all the day. As the judge passed
on to another, he left some of his assistants to watch the first in order to see whether excess of suffering would shake their resolution. Without mercy he ordered bonds tightened and the dying dragged about the room, for he declared that we deserved no respect and all should treat us as if no longer human beings" (Eusebius, History, VIII, 10). The martyrs were countless. The prisons were so full of Christians that no room remained for criminals. In Phoenicia, great numbers were slain by the sword because the beasts were miraculously held back from injuring them. In Egypt, even the swords became blunted and broken so that executioners had to work in relays because of sheer physical exhaustion. Martyrs in the Thebaid were tied to bent branches of trees to be rent limb from limb. A whole town was burned down with its Christian inhabitants in Phrygia. Christians in the army were decimated, and the officers, Sts. Sebastian and Maurice, suffered. Bishops and priests who were not put to death were maimed: many members of the Nicene Council in 325 would display scars from the persecution. Pagan tactics of committing Christian virgins to brothels sometimes prompted the latter to leap off cliffs or cast themselves into the sea. These were the heroic years of the virgin martyrs, Sts. Agnes, Lucy, and others. The number of victims overtaxed Christian piety, for the catacombs still record mute evidence of the ferocity of the persecution in the hasty burial of "Marcella and 550 martyrs of Christ"; of "150 martyrs of Christ," etc. Ecclesiastical government was rendered difficult by the severity of the persecution and the clamors of apostates for reconciliation. Marcellus, finally elected pope in 308, was exiled by reason of such riots, while the next papal election was in dispute. Similarly the moderate leniency of St. Peter of Alexandria provoked the rigoristic schism of Bishop Meletius. Bishop Mensurius of Carthage replaced the sacred books by heretical works for imperial burning, but the alleged "treason" of Bishop Felix of Aptonga would presently become the occasion of the great Donatist schism. Though Constantine did not persecute, Maximian came back from retirement, and he and his son Maxentius, if less cruel than Galerius and Maximin in the East, were yet unfavorable toward Christianity. (3) CESSATION Galerius was the first of the persecutors to be removed. In 311 he became afflicted with a loathsome disease. In his agony he issued the following edict of toleration: "Since they [Christians] still persist in their impious folly and are deprived of public exercise of their religion, we are disposed to extend to these unhappy men the effects of our accustomed mercy. We allow them, consequently, to profess their private opinions and meet at their places of worship without fear of disturbance, provided always that they respect the existing laws. . . . We hope that our clemency will induce the Christians to offer prayers to the Deity whom they worship for our safety and prosperity, for their own, and for that of the state" (Lactantius, Persecutors' Deaths, 34). This muddled edict from a mind in torment was an unwilling face-saving measure. It might grant the Christians some respite, but could afford them no real security for the future. As a matter of fact, though Licinius, Galerius's successor in Illyricum, confirmed the edict, Maximin Daia disregarded it in his prefecture of the East. Maxentius in Italy allied himself with Maximin Daia against Licinius and Constantine and this led to renewal of persecution in the West. As will be noted again in narrating Constantine's career, Maxentius was defeated and killed at the Milvian Bridge in 312, and Constantine and Licinius united on a policy of relaxation, popularly called the Edict of Milan (313). Maximin Daia, thus left the sole persecutor, struggled on for a while with dogged fanaticism. But in the face of repeated victories of Constantine and Licinius, persecution soon ceased even to be good Politics. Put to flight, Maximin died in exile during 314, possibly by suicide. Conclusion: "It was not I who did it, but others," Maximin Daia is said to have exclaimed in defeat. In a sense this is true. All explanations already offered, Roman revival, absolutist
regimentation, popular bigotry, do not quite explain the bitterness of the ordeal to which the Church had been subjected. Diabolical forces seem to have been at work to preserve Satan's age old domination of society. But just as the Church's remarkable growth confirmed Christ's prophecy of the mustard seed, so the course of persecution vindicated His prediction: "In the world you shall have distress; but have confidence, I have overcome the world." Several million martyrs, witnesses in suffering and blood, had reasserted with the centurion: "Indeed, this was the Son of God." By 313, though Rome was still officially pagan, while a majority of its subjects were doubtless idolators, yet there could be no doubt that paganism was a dying cause. Imperialism, without losing its mundane outlook, would soon deem it expedient to profess itself Christian. Perhaps a final irony lies in the fact that by the sixth century Diocletian's sarcophagus had disappeared from the sumptuous villa of his retirement, and his private "chapel," a temple to Jupiter, had been transformed into a cathedral of the Christians that he had tried to exterminate. Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 AD) 24. Patriarchates in Evolution IV Ordeal of the Church
IV. Ordeal of the Church (249-313)
24. PATRIARCHATES IN EVOLUTION A. Western Patriarchate (1) PAPAL HISTORY (250-314) Sacramental controversy. Pope St. Fabian (236-50) was one of the first victims of the Decian persecution and the Holy See remained vacant for more than a year. During this time the priest Novatian headed the administration and aspired to the papacy. When in March, 251 St. Cornelius was chosen, Novatian went into schism, posing as antipope until his death about 258. Though opposed to reconciliation of apostates, Novatian made common cause with the Carthaginian laxists in revolt against St. Cyprian. The latter gave Pope Cornelius his support and by the time of the latter's death in June, 253, the schism had ceased to be critical. Pope St. Lucius (253-54) spent part of his short pontificate in exile; relations with Carthage remained cordial. But under Pope St. Stephen I (254-57) the question of rebaptizing heretics led to a difference of views. The pope forbade baptisms of converts to the disgust of St. Cyprian and Firmilian of Caesarea. Though St. Stephen threatened the dissenters with excommunication, he may have withheld the penalty at the intercession of St. Denis of Alexandria. In any event, Pope Sixtus II (257-58) seems to have worked out some amicable settlement, though Rome's victory was not definitively recognized until the Council of Arles in 314. Trinitarian controversy. Pope St. Denis (259-68) felt obliged to correct his namesake of Alexandria for expressions verging on Tritheism in his reaction against Sabellian modalism. Having beard complaints from both doctrinal camps at Alexandria, the pope summoned a Roman synod late in 262. Thence emanated a dogmatic letter asserting that, "we must neither divide the wonderful and divine Monad into three divinities, nor destroy the dignity and exceeding greatness of the Lord by thinking Him a creature, but must have faith in God the Father Almighty and Christ Jesus His Son and in the Holy Ghost. . . . Thus both the divine Trinity and the holy preaching of the Monarchy will be safeguarded" (Denzinger, 51). St. Denis of Alexandria, never in formal error, accepted the papal decision, but his fellow patriarch of Antioch, Paul of Samosata, continued to hold modalistic adoptionism. What part Pope St. Denis had in a first council held against Paul at Antioch (264) is not known; but the second council reported to him the deposition of Paul (268).
St. Denis had died in December, 268, so that it must have been his successor St. Felix (269-75) who confirmed the conciliar acts. Though a supposed letter of Pope Felix to Maximus of Alexandria on the Trinitarian question is not authentic, we learn of the papal solicitude indirectly when Emperor Aurelian (270-75) directed that the Antiochian ecclesiastical property "be given to that party to whom the bishops of Italy and the City of Rome should award it." Paul was expelled, but his disciple Lucian survived to infect Arius (Eusebius, History, VII, 30). Catacomb pontificates. The pontificates of St. Eutychian (275-83) and St. Caius (283-96) were apparently peaceful and relatively uneventful; we know little more of them than their names. According to Eusebius (History, VII, 32) St. Marcellinus died "through the persecution." Later the Donatists accused him of offering incense. To this charge St. Augustine retorted: "He (Petilius the Donatist) accuses Marcellinus of being a traditor, a wicked and sacrilegious man; I declare him innocent. It is not necessary to weary myself in proving his innocence, for Petilius does not venture to prove his charge" (Contra Litteras Petiliani, M.L., XLIII, 323). Though there is nothing in the Liberian Catalogue about the pope's supposed defection, the reconstructed Liber Pontificalis of later centuries declared: "Marcellinus himself was haled to sacrifice, to offer incense and he did it; after a few days, inspired by penance, he was beheaded by the same Diocletian and crowned with martyrdom." On the other hand, Theodoret refers to 'that Marcellinus who had so nobly distinguished himself during the persecution" (History, I, 2). From such contradictory evidence no certain conclusion can be drawn; possibly Marcellinus merely gave up some liturgical books and the Donatists exaggerated the story for propaganda purposes. Diocletian's persecution was so severe that the Holy See remained vacant from October, 304 to May, 308. The priest Marcellus, newly elected pope, was faced with the reconciliation of apostates. Many of the faithful, perhaps scandalized by reason of some weakness of Marcellinus, opposed any leniency. These rigorists went so far as to try to impose their will by violence, and blood was shed. The Roman ruler, otherwise comparatively tolerant, thereupon exiled the pope. After his death in exile during January, 309, a Eusebius was elected to succeed him. But the opposing faction of laxists who had denounced Marcellus to Maxentius now elected Heraclius. After riots had disturbed the city for four months, both pope and antipope were exiled. Pope Eusebius died in Sicily in August, 310, and peace among the Christian community seems to have been restored at the election of St. Miltiades in July, 311. St. Miltiades (311-14) survived the last of the persecutions and received from the victorious Constantine the gift of the Lateran Basilica on the Coelian Hill-this was enlarged by the next pope and converted into the Lateran cathedral. The pope was on friendly terms with the emperor and co-operated with him during the Donatist controversy which disturbed both Church and state in North Africa. This dispute will be treated elsewhere; here it is sufficient to note that the pope vindicated Bishop Caecilian of Carthage against the Donatist rebels in a Roman Synod in 313. Though he died before the conclusion of the Council of Arles (314), this plenary assembly of the Latin patriarchate, though imperially inspired, wrote submissively to Rome to his successor, St. Sylvester. (2) EVANGELIZATION OF THE WEST General survey. "On the eve of the peace of Constantine . . . there was a much weaker diffusion of Christianity in the West. But it would be an exaggeration to say that, apart from the Mediterranean shores, the West was scarcely affected. In Spain authentic data concerning the Valerian persecution and the large number of sees represented at the Council of Elvira prove an already deep penetration of the interior of the country by Christianity. Though the number of bishoprics in Gaul prior to the fourth century was rather limited, there were a few in existence some distance away from the Mediterranean shores, e.g., at Bordeaux, Bourges, Sens, Paris, Rouen, Soissons, Rheims, Chalons, and Treves. In Italy, it is hardly likely that Maxentius would have carried out from the first a policy favorable to the Christians if they had only been a mere handful of men. In Africa, we have noticed the great number of bishops assembling in a series of councils held under the presidency of the bishop of Carthage from the end of the second century until the close of the last persecution; the after effects of this on the whole life of the provinces,
which was to be profoundly upset by Donatism, show the place held by the Christian element in these countries. Even so, it remains true that there was still much to be done to propagate the Gospel in the West, where country districts had hardly been touched." The Synod of Arles, held in Gaul during 314 affords some evidence to estimate the extent of the Western evangelization at the close of the period of persecutions. This meeting was called by Constantine for consultation about imperial policy toward the African Donatist rebels. The gathering cannot, like the great assembly at Nicea in 325, he termed a general council, but it seems just to describe it as a Latin plenary synod. The acts are in Latin and were sent to Rome for confirmation, though the pope had been represented at Arles by the priests Claudian and Vitus and the deacons Eugene and Cyracus. The list of sees represented is by no means accurately determined, but 33 bishops were at hand, besides priests or deacons representing other sees. We can identify Syracuse, Capua, Arpinum, Ostia, Porto, Civitavecchia, Milan, Aquileia in Italy; sixteen Gallic towns, including the sees of Arles, Marseilles, Vienne, Rheims, Vaison, Rouen, Autun, Lyons, Bordeaux, Nice, Orange; from Germany were Agroecius of Trier and Maternus of Cologne; three bishops were present from Britain, those of London, York, and Lincoln; Spain was represented by the bishops or episcopal proxies of Emerita, Terragona, Saragossa, Baetica and others; Caecilian of Carthage headed the representatives of nine African sees, and there was one from Dalmatia. Shotwell interprets the Synod of Arles as clear evidence of Roman leadership in the Latin Patriarchate: "It was . . . an assemblage of western men, accustomed from of old to defer to the opinion of the one apostolic church in their midst. . . . The Western episcopate knew where its leadership lay. B. Eastern Patriarchates (1) ALEXANDRIA Evangelization. During the persecution of Septimius Severus there had already been many martyrs, and during that of Decius papyri certificates of sacrifice have been found even in villages. The victims of the last persecution were legion. Before Nicea, fifty Christian communities and forty sees can be identified, and the provincial council of Alexandria in 320-23 numbered 100 bishops. The Pentapolis-Cyrene, Ptolemais, Berenice, Arsinoe, and Sozuse-had, it would seem, separate sees, suffragan to Alexandria. Patriarchal rank, therefore, was already assured to the bishop of Alexandria. Demetrius (190-233) encouraged the Catechetical School, but did not hesitate to depose its rector, Origen, when suspicions were entertained regarding his orthodoxy. Under Heraclas, rector from 230 and patriarch from 233 to 248, a reaction against Origen's teaching took place at Alexandria. But with Patriarch St. Denis (248-65), Origen came into favor again, not entirely for the good of the see. St. Denis became dean of the Oriental hierarchy, advisor of the Holy See, regulator of the paschal cycle, and staunch defender of orthodoxy against paganism and heresy. The teaching office descended to two priests of Alexandria, Theognostus rector from 265 to 280, and Pierius from about 280 to 310. Of the later patriarchs of this period, the most distinguished was St. Peter (300-11) who tried to reverse the theological trend to Origenism. He dealt with apostates firmly, but held out hope of pardon for those willing to undergo the exomologesis for periods varying with their culpability: whether they apostasized spontaneously, used fraud or evasion, or weakened only after torture or long imprisonment. This policy was too lenient for Bishop Meletius of Lycopolis, who began a schism which contributed to the rise of Arianism. St. Peter was martyred on November 25, 311, in Maximin Daia's persecution. (2) ANTIOCH The Antiochene bishopric was also becoming a patriarchal see as the career of Paul of Samosata revealed. When Bishop Demetrianus died a Persian captive in 260, Paul succeeded to the see with the favor of the Palmyrian dynasty which had rebelled against Rome after
Valerian's defeat. As Palmyrian chancellor, Paul amassed wealth and courted popularity. Censured by his fellow bishops in 264, he promised amendment. He failed to keep his pledge and was declared deposed in 268. He defied ecclesiastical censure until he was evicted by imperial troops in 272. But his theological errors were carried on by Lucian who paved the way for Arianism. Exegetical insistence on the letter of Scripture by the School erred first with Paul of Samosata, and from him the line runs through Lucian, Arius, Diodore, Theodore of Mopsuestia to Nestorius. On the other band, Alexandrian stress on symbolism sometimes strayed from orthodoxy in Origen and St. Denis. If the Catholic Alexandrian doctors, Sts. Athanasius and Cyril, escaped contagion, the spiritualist tendency worked further harm with Apollinaris of Laodicea, Eutyches, and Dioscorus. (3) EVANGELIZATION OF THE EAST General survey. "Christianity . . . constituted a majority, or almost a majority in the cities in some parts of the East, and an imposing minority in others. On the other hand, in some great cities where the old religions still had numerous and earnest believers, as at Antioch for example, Christians encountered energetic resistance, and the partial success of the policy of Daia, inviting requests for the expulsion of Christians from their pagan fellow-citizens, testifies to the continued existence of these civic strongholds of Eastern paganism. Nevertheless, on the whole it is certain that by 300 the Christianization of the East had gone very far. It had made more progress in Hellenic or Hellenized parts like Asia Minor, Thrace, Macedonia, and the Greek coasts, than in Egypt and especially the Semitic countries such as Syria. . . . In the Asiatic and Hellenic East, as well as in Egypt, Christian communities in villages were no longer an exception." Surely they could not have been, if there were many bishops like St. Gregory Thaumaturgus. It is said that when he became bishop of Neo-Caesarea about 243 there were seventeen Christians; when he died some twenty years later, there were but seventeen pagans.
Catholic Church History Pagan Imperialism (49 B.C.-313 AD) 25. Catacomb Christian Life IV Ordeal of the Church 25. CATACOMB CHRISTIAN LIFE
IV. Ordeal of the Church (249-313)
A. The Church in the Catacombs (1) THE CATACOMB SYSTEM Origin. "The usage made by Christians of catacombs . . . was not at first due to a care for personal safety on the part of people who no longer dared to live in daylight, and it was only progressively that such use became frequent at Rome, if not almost habitual in times of crisis. Christians had used private houses as their first places of worship, and apart from exceptional cases they were able to continue peacefully until the time of the great persecutions." Evolution. The catacombs according to this view of Zeiller were developments of primitive Christian cemeteries, ultimately used as emergency chapels and meeting places. A catacomb was a network of passages dug underneath cities where the subsoil was adaptable to the purpose. They comprised narrow passageways intersecting one another on either side of
which were recesses for tombs. The latter were often sealed by slabs of stone or masonry. At the end of certain passages, chambers or vaults were later hollowed out to serve as chapels. The first catacombs were dug under the estates of rich Christians, such as Domitilla, for Roman law permitted citizens to inter any whom they wished on their lands. Christians took advantage of this to provide for the decent burial of poorer members of the flock. When such private cemeteries became inadequate, they passed under the supervision of the Christian community, and therefore of the popes. At the beginning Of the third century, Pope St. Zepherinus named St. Calixtus, his deacon and future successor, administrator of the catacomb along the Appian Way. This cemetery, later known by the name of St. Calixtus, is the most famous of the catacombs. Other well known ones are those of Lucina on the Via Ostia, of Domitilla on the Via Ardeatina, of St. Cecilia and St. Sebastian on the Via Appia and Via Ardeatina, and of Priscilla on the Via Salaria. Expansion. Though the Roman catacombs are the most renowned, similar structures were in use at Naples, in Sicily, at Alexandria, and throughout Northern Africa and Asia Minor. At Rome, existing catacombs were often enlarged by superimposing layers or galleries ranging from 22 to 80 feet below the surface. The porous Roman stone facilitated excavations, which were made by the fossores, whose responsible task ranked them next to the clergy. Monograms and inscriptions help to identify the tombs placed in the catacombs. Pope St. Damasus (366-84) fittingly restored those inscriptions after the cessation of the persecutions. During later times the martyrs' relics were in large part removed to Roman churches. The catacombs were then abandoned, the silt of centuries covered them, and they were but imperfectly known until De Rossi's investigations during the nineteenth century. (2) CATACOMB SYMBOLISM: THE HOLY EUCHARIST Catacomb artistry can make small claim to accurate drafting and aesthetic finish. Often the representations are mere sketches or suggestions of an idea or practice. Nevertheless the dogmatic value of these drawings is immense for they provide lasting evidence of Christian beliefs, especially in the sacraments of baptism and Holy Eucharist, and in the primacy of St. Peter. A few examples of this catacomb symbolism will be noted here. The Milk. In the catacomb of Domitilla there are pictures of a lamb or of the Good Shepherd carrying a pail of milk. It is important to note that a nimbus surrounds the milk, thereby indicating its sacred nature. This drawing represents the Good Shepherd nourishing His flock by the Holy Eucharist. The identification can be substantiated through Clement of Alexandria who says: "The Church nourishes her children with milk, and this milk . . . is the body of Christ" The Fish. In the catacomb of St. Calixtus in the crypt of Lucina are two paintings of a fish against a green background. The fish bears a wicker basket on its back, filled with bread and glasses of red wine. Now the fish is a symbol of Christ, whether the symbolism be interpreted as a metonymy springing from use of a fish to suggest Christ's multiplication of the fishes and bread; or from a typical reference to the fish that healed Tobias; or from the acrostic: Iesous Christos Huios Theou, Soter: Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, made of the first letters of the Greek word for fish: ichthus. The fish in the drawing bears what is evidently the material for the Eucharistic sacrifice in the simple vessels necessitated by primitive poverty. St. Jerome alludes to this usage: "What can be more rich than the man who carries Christ's body in a basket of wickerwork, and Christ's blood in a glass vessel?" (Letter to Risticius.) The Tripod. In the same catacomb, in the chapel of sacraments, there are two representations of a tripod-table with a loaf of bread and a fish. Standing nearby are a man with bands extended and a woman with arms upraised. It is believed that the man represents Christ multiplying the loaves and fishes for the woman, who typifies the Church. The tripod-altar and other pictures refer the symbolism to the Eucharist. The Fractio Panis. In St. Priscilla's catacomb, in what is called the Greek Chapel, there
appears the famous symbol known as the Fractio Panis, the Breaking of the Bread. Seven persons are seated at a long table on which are placed two fishes, five loaves of bread, and a twohandled cup. Along the sides of the table are seven baskets of bread. The man seated in the place of honor is bearded and of venerable aspect. He is depicted as extending his bands over the table and its contents. Evidently he is the president of the feast, the bishop or priest who is consecrating the offering. Though Christ's miracle of the loaves and fishes is suggested, it in turn refers to the Eucharist by the addition of table, cup, and banquet scene. (3) PAPAL PRIMACY IN CATACOMB SYMBOLISM Petrine portraits. "The mark which most frequently distinguishes St. Peter in the earliest representations is that our Lord is depicted in the act of handing to him a roll or a volume, an act which is sometimes explained by the accompanying inscription, Dominus legem dat. Of this class of representation a good many instances have come down to us. The most famous is perhaps the well-known sarcophagus which came originally from the Vatican Cemetery and is now in the Museum of Christian antiquities at the Lateran. On this sarcophagus Christ is shown already ascended into heaven, but handing over to St. Peter as His visible representative upon earth the volume of the law of the New Dispensation. There is a painting of the same subject in the Catacomb of St. Priscilla, and on a gilded glass now in the Vatican Museum the volume actually bears the title, Lex Domini. Most important of all this class, perhaps, is the mosaic in Santa Constanze on the Via Salaria, where the whole parallel is carefully worked out between the giving of the law of the Old Covenant to Moses on Mount Sinai, and the giving of the New Law to Peter." Papal tombs. "The earliest Bishops of Rome were buried on the Vatican close round the tomb which contained the relics of the apostle. There their bodies were found in the excavations in 1626, still largely preserved by the quasi-embalming process to which they had been subjected, and surrounding St. Peter like bishops attending a council." This juxtaposition to St. Peter is itself a mute testimony to the papal succession. When the Vatican area was filled, the pontiffs of the third century were laid in what thereby became known as the Papal Crypt in the Calixtine Catacomb. Recent excavations at the Vatican Basilica during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII have brought to light a wealth of archaeological evidence which, while still controversial in certain details, lends substantial confirmation to all the major traditions of St. Peter's Roman burial and of papal succession in the Roman episcopate. B. Christian Life Under Persecution (1) PENAL PROCEDURE Trial. Legal processes varied with imperial policies and the dispositions of the local governors. In many if not most cases judicial procedure tended to be summary for the ordinary Christian. Usually no witnesses dared come forward; no legal defense was allowed; and no appeal was made, nor would it have been heard had it been made. Christians were quickly condemned for pleading "guilty": as may be seen from the letter of the Martyrs of Lyons (Eusebius, History, VI, 1). Sentence was passed by the judge. The mildest was banishment without loss of civil rights; e.g., St. John the Apostle, Flavia Domitilla, Pope St. Cornelius. Next deportation entailed loss of civil rights: such martyrs were classed as criminals, e.g., Pope St. Pontian. Third in order came penal servitude, in which the convicts, branded and chained, were forced to work in quarries and mines under subhuman conditions. Finally, the death penalty was administered by crucifixion for slaves; condemnation to beasts or burning for noncitizens; and beheading for citizens. But at least as early as 177 at Lyons this privilege was ignored in the case of Christian citizens. St. Justin declared: "We are beheaded, crucified, exposed to beasts, tortured by chains and fire, and the most fearsome torments" (Dialogue, 110). Tertullian says much the same: "We bang on crosses, are engulfed by flames, the sword bares our throats, and wild animals spring on
us" (Apologeticus, 31). Only after 303 was drowning used by exasperated persecutors to carry out mass executions (Eusebius, History, VIII). Imprisonment, however, was often by its duration and horror equally bard to endure. The well-to-do had first to experience confiscation of their property, or the disinheritance and persecution of relatives still at large. Once arrested, Christians were usually imprisoned under conditions all the more dreadful because unfamiliar. St. Perpetua exclaims: "I was afraid; never before had I seen such darkness. O, the day of horror! The overpowering heat caused by the crowd of prisoners! The soldiers' brutality!" Frequently Christian prisoners were subjected to irons or stocks: "Let them be returned to prison and be put in irons until tomorrow" (Acts of Martyrs of Scillium). Solitary confinement was also used; the martyrs of Lyons occupied the "darkest and worst part of the prison" (Eusebius, History, V, 1). Origen was so treated for many months. In ordinary times, however, the Christians were held in public prisons to which access was possible by bribing the guards. Priests and deacons found ways of administering the Eucharist, through lesser clerics and laymen when they themselves were too well known. Torture, finally, was routine: "I avow and you torture; . . . we confess and we are tortured" (Tertullian, Apologeticum, 2). (2) VENERATION OF MARTYRS Acts of martyrs include: (a) acta strictly so called, the court records, e.g., St. Cyprian's trial; (b) the passiones, eyewitness accounts, e.g., St. Polycarp's sufferings; and (c) legends subsequently composed for edification, e.g., St. Cecilia. It is obvious that the first two categories are primary documents of the greatest value; however, in regard to the third, it should be stressed that perfectly historical martyrs may have been the subject of legends, either plausible or embroidered. Indulgences granted through the superabundant merits of the martyrs may be seen in the custom of the libelli pacis, already discussed. When not abused, these certificates were worthy of mercy, and even the stem St. Cyprian says: "Persons who had a letter from the martyrs and were near death might confess and have bands imposed in penance and so be commended to the Lord in the peace promised them by the martyrs" (Letter 20). Masses in honor of martyrs were eventually celebrated at the Christian liturgical reunions. The first martyr known to be so honored was St. Polycarp. His authentic Acta relate the objection that if the Christians secure St. Polycarp's relics, "they will abandon the Crucified and worship this man." To this the editor of the Acta replied with a prudent distinction: "They failed to realize that we will never abandon Christ, who suffered for the salvation of all saved throughout the world-the Innocent One for the guilty-or to worship any other. Him we adore as the Son of God; the martyrs we love as disciples and imitators of the Lord." And when the Christians were able to obtain the charred bon, of St. Polycarp, they interred them in a decent place. "There the Lord permitting, we will meet with joy to celebrate his martyrdom, his birthday, both to recall heroes who have gone before us, and to train and prepare the heroes of the future" (Acta, 17-18). Thus, indeed, did the blood of Christ's martyrs become a seed.
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