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A Source Book For Ancient Church History by Joseph Cullen Ayer Jr., Ph.D.

Period I: The Imperial State Church Of The Undivided Empire, Or Until The Death Of Theodosius The Great, 395

The history of the Church in the first period of the second division of the history of ancient Christianity has to deal primarily with three lines of development, viz.: first, the relation of the Church to the imperial authority and the religious forces of the times, whereby the Church became established as the sole authorized religion of the Empire, and heathenism and heresy were prohibited by law; secondly, the development of the doctrinal system of the Church until the end of the Arian controversy, whereby the full and eternal deity of the Son was established as the Catholic faith; thirdly, the development of the constitution, the fixation of the leading ecclesiastical conceptions, and the adaptation of the system of the Church to the practical needs of the times. The entire period may be divided into two main parts by the reign of Julian the Apostate (361-363); and the reign of Constantine as Emperor of the West (312-324) may be regarded as a prelude to the main part of the history. On the death of Theodosius the Great in 395, the Empire became permanently divided, and though in the second period the courses of the Church in the East and in the West may be treated to some extent together, yet the fortunes, interests, and problems of the two divisions of the Church begin to diverge.

Chapter I. The Church And Empire Under Constantine

Constantine was the heir to the political system of Diocletian. The same line of development was followed by him and his sons, and with increasing severity the burden pressed upon the people. But the Church, which had been fiercely persecuted by Diocletian and Galerius, became the object of imperial favor under Constantine. At the same time in many parts of the Empire, especially in the West, the heathen religion was rooted in the affections of the people and everywhere it was bound up with the forms of state. The new problems that confronted Constantine on his accession to sole authority in the West, and still more when he became sole Emperor, were of an ecclesiastical rather than a civil character. In the administration of the Empire he followed the lines laid down by Diocletian (§ 58). But in favoring the Church he had to avoid alienating the heathen majority. This he did by gradually and cautiously extending to the Church privileges which the heathen religion had enjoyed (§ 59), and with the utmost caution repressing those elements in heathenism which might be plausibly construed as inimical to the new order in the state (§ 60). At the same time, Constantine found in the application of his policy to actual conditions that he could not favor every religious sect that assumed the name of Christian. He must distinguish between claimants of his bounty. He must also bring about a unity in the Church where it had been threatened (§ 61), and repress what might lead to schism. Accordingly he found himself, immediately after his accession to sole authority, engaged in ecclesiastical discussions and adjudicating by councils ecclesiastical cases (§ 62).

§ 58. The Empire under Constantine and His Sons

Constantine became sole Emperor of the West, 312, and by the defeat of Licinius, July 23, 324, sole ruler of the entire Roman Empire. On his death, May 22, 337, his three sons divided between them the imperial dignity: Constantine II (337-340), taking Gaul, Spain, and Britain; Constans (337-350), Italy, Africa, and Illyria, and in 340 receiving the share of Constantine II; Constantius (337-361), taking the East, including Egypt. Of these three the ablest was Constantius who, after the renewed Persian war (337-350), became, on the death of Constans, sole Emperor. Although the imperial authority was divided and the ecclesiastical policy of each Emperor followed the religious condition and theological complexion of his respective portion of the Empire, the social conditions were everywhere much the same. There were under Constantine and also under his sons the continuation of that centralization which had already been carried far by Diocletian, the same court ceremonial and all that went with it, and the development of the bureaucratic system of administration. The economic conditions steadily declined as the imperial system became constantly more burdensome (v. supra, § 55), and the changes in the distribution of wealth and the administration of landed property affected disastrously large sections of the populace. A characteristic feature of Roman society, which affected the position of the Church not a little, was the tendency to regard callings and trades as hereditary, and by the fourth century this was enforced by law. The aim of this legislation was to provide workmen to care for the great public undertakings for the support of the populace of the cities and for the maintenance of the public business. This policy affected both the humble artisan and the citizen of curial rank. The former, although given various privileges, was crushed down by being obliged to continue in what was often an unprofitable occupation; the latter was made responsible for the taxes and various public burdens which custom, gradually becoming law, laid upon him. Constant attempt was made by great numbers to escape these burdens and disabilities by recourse to other occupations, and especially to the Christian ministry with its immunities (see § 59, c). Constant legislation endeavored to prevent this and restore men to their hereditary places. The following extracts from the Theodosian Code are enactments of Constantine, and are intended to illustrate the condition, under that Emperor, of the law as to hereditary occupations and guilds, and the position of the curiales, so as to explain the law as to admission to the priesthood.

(a) Codex Theodosianus, XIII, 5, 1; A. D.314.

The Theodosian Code was a collection of law made at the command of Theodosius II, A. D.438. See § 80. It was intended to comprise all the laws of general application made since the accession of Constantine and arranged under appropriate titles.

If a shipman shall have been originally a lighterman, none the less he shall remain permanently among those among whom it shall appear that his parents had been.

(b) Codex Theodosianus, XIII, 5, 3; A. D.319.

If any shipman shall have obtained surreptitiously or in any other way immunity, it is our will that he be not at all admitted to plead any exemption. But also if any one possess a patrimony liable to the duties of a shipman, although he may be of higher dignity, the privileges of honor shall be of no avail to him in this matter, but let him be held to this duty either by the whole or in proportion. For it is not just that when a patrimony liable to this public duty has been excused all should not bear the common burden in proportion to ability.

(c) Codex Theodosianus, XIV, 4, 1; A. D.334.

Because the guild of swineherds has fallen off to but few, we command that they plead in the presence of the Roman people, for the defence should be made to them for whom the burden was established.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} Therefore let them know that the personal property of the swineherds is liable to public burdens and let them choose one of two courses: either let them retain the property which is liable to the functions of swineherd, and let themselves be held to the duty of swineherd, or let them name some suitable person whom they will, who shall satisfy the same requirement. For we suffer no one to be exempt from the obligation of this thing, but whether they have advanced in honors, or by some fraud have escaped, we command that they be brought back and the same thing performed, the Roman people being present and witnessing, and we are to be consulted, that we may take note of those who make use of these shifts; as for further avoidance of public duties, it is by no means to be granted any, but he who shall have been able to escape shall run danger of his safety, the privilege having been taken away from him.

(d) Codex Theodosianus, XII, 1, 11; A. D.325.

The following laws illustrate the attempts of the curiales to escape their burdens.

Because some have forsaken the curiae and have fled to the camps of the soldiery, we prescribe that all who shall be found not yet indebted to the chief centurion, are to be dismissed from the soldiery and returned to the same curiae; those only are to remain among the soldiery who are retained on account of the necessities of the place or the troop.

(e) Codex Theodosianus, XII, 1, 12; A. D.325.

If any one belongs in a larger or smaller town and desiring to avoid the same, betakes himself to another for the sake of dwelling there, and shall have attempted to make petitions concerning this or shall have relied upon any sort of fraud that he may escape the birth from his own city, let him bear the burden of the decurionate of both cities, of one because it was his choice, of the other because of his birth.

(f) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 2, 3, cf. XVI, 2, 6; A. D.326.

Since a constitution that has been issued prescribes that thereafter no decurion nor child of a decurion or person with suitable wealth and able to support the public burdens shall have recourse to the name and duties of the clergy, but only those shall be called to the place of the deceased who are of small fortune and are not held liable to civil burdens, we have learned that some have been molested, who before the promulgation of the said law had joined themselves to the company of the priests. Therefore we decree that these shall be free from all annoyance, but those who after the promulgation of the law, to avoid their public duties took recourse to the number of the clergy, shall be separated from that body and restored to their curial rank and made liable for their civil duties.

§ 59. Favor Shown the Church by Constantine

Neither on his conversion nor on his attainment of the sole rule of the Empire did Constantine establish the Church as the one official religion of the State. The ruler himself professed the Christian religion and neither abolished the former religion of the State nor disestablished it. But he granted to his own religion favors similar to those enjoyed by the heathen religious systems (a-d), though these privileges were only for the Catholic Church, and not for heretics (e); and he passed such laws as would make it possible for Christians to carry out their religious practices, e.g., that Christians should not be compelled to sacrifice when the laws prescribed sacrifices (f), that Sunday be observed (g), and that celibacy might be practised (h).

Additional source material: Eusebius, Vita Constantini (PNF, ser. II, vol. I), II, 24-42.46; IV, 18-28. Sozomen, Hist. Ec. (PNF, ser. II, vol. II), I, 9.

(a) Constantine, Ep. ad Caecilianum, in Eusebius, Hist. Ec., X, 6. (MSG, 20:892.)

The probable date of this epistle is A. D.313, though there is uncertainty. Text in Kirch, nn.323 f.

Constantine Augustus to Caecilianus, Bishop of Carthage. Since it is our pleasure that something should be granted in all the provinces, namely, Africa and Numidia and Mauritania, to certain ministers of the legitimate and most holy Catholic religion, to defray their expenses, I have given written instructions to Ursus, the illustrious finance minister of Africa, and have directed him to make provision to pay to thy firmness three thousand folles.(95) Do thou, therefore, when thou hast received the above sum of money, command that it be distributed among all those mentioned above, according to the brief sent unto thee by Hosius. But if thou shouldest find that anything is wanting for the fulfilment of this my purpose in regard to all of them, thou shalt demand without hesitation from Heracleides, our treasurer, whatever thou findest to be necessary. For I commanded him, when he was present, that if thy firmness should ask him for any money, he should see to it that it be paid without any delay. And since I have learned that some men of unsettled mind wish to turn the people from the most holy and Catholic Church by a certain method of shameful corruption, do thou know that I gave command to Anulinus, the proconsul, and also to Patricius, vicar of the prefects, when they were present, that they should give proper attention not only to other matters, but also, above all, to this, and that they should not overlook such a thing when it happened. Wherefore if thou shouldest see any such men continuing in this madness, do thou without delay go to the above-mentioned judges and report the matter to them; that they may correct them as I commanded them when they were present. The divinity of the great God preserve thee many years.

(b) Constantine, Ep. ad Anulinum, in Eusebius, Hist. Ec., X, 7. (MSG, 20:893.)

The following epistle, of the same year as the preceding to Caecilianus, is the basis of exemptions of the clergy from public duties. The extension of these exemptions was made by the decree of 319, given below. Text in Kirch, n.325.

Greeting to thee, our most esteemed Anulinus. Since it appears from many circumstances that when that religion is despised in which is preserved the chief reverence for the most celestial Power, great dangers are brought upon public affairs; but that when legally adopted and observed it affords most signal prosperity to the Roman name and remarkable felicity to all the affairs of men, through the divine beneficence, it seemed good to me, most esteemed Anulinus, that those men who give their services with due sanctity and with constant observance of this law to the worship of the divine religion should receive recompense for their labors. Wherefore it is my will that those within the province intrusted to thee, in the Catholic Church over which Caecilianus presides, who give their services to this holy religion, and who are commonly called clergymen, be entirely exempted from all public duties, that by any error or sacrilegious negligence they may not be drawn away from the service due to the Deity, but may devote themselves without any hindrance to their own law. For it seems that when they show greatest reverence to the Deity the greatest benefits accrue to the State. Farewell, our most esteemed and beloved Anulinus.

(c) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 2, 2; A. D.319.

By the following law the exemption of the clergy from public burdens was made universal. As many availed themselves of the clerical immunities to escape their burdens as curiales, a law was soon afterward passed limiting access to the ministry to those in humbler social position. V. supra, § 58 f.

Those who in divine worship perform the services of religion -- that is, those who are called clergy -- are altogether exempt from public obligations, so that they may not be called away from their sacred duties by the sacrilegious malice of certain persons.

(d) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 2, 4; A. D.321.

The Church is hereby permitted to receive legacies. This was a recognition of its corporate character in the law, and indirectly its act of incorporation.

Every one has permission to leave when he is dying whatsoever goods he wishes to the most holy Catholic Church.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

(e) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 5, 1; A. D.326.

Privileges were granted only to the clergy of the Catholic or great Church as distinguished from heretics and schismatics. The State was, accordingly, forced by its exemptions and privileges granted the Church to take up a position as to heresy and schism. See for Constantine's policy toward heresy, Eusebius, Vita Constantini, III.64 ff. (PNF, ser. II, vol. I.)

Privileges which have been bestowed in consideration of religion ought to be of advantage only to those who observe the Catholic law. It is our will that heathen and schismatics be not only without the privileges but bound by, and subject to, various political burdens.

(f) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 2, 5; A. D.323.

This and the following laws were passed to enable the Christians to escape from disadvantages in the carrying out of their religion. This law, that Christians should not be compelled to sacrifice, was enacted just before the final encounter with Licinius.

Because we have heard that ecclesiastics and others belonging to the Catholic religion are compelled by men of different religions to celebrate the sacrifices of the lustrum, we, by this decree, do ordain that if any one believes that those who observe the most sacred law ought to be compelled to take part in the rites of a strange superstition, let him, if his condition permits, be beaten with staves, but if his rank exempts him from such rigor, let him endure the condemnation of a very heavy fine, which shall fall to the State.

(g) Codex Justinianus; III, 12, 3; A. D.321. Cf. Kirch, n.748.

Sunday is to be observed.

For the Justinian Code see below, § 94, Introduction.

All judges and city people and the craftsmen shall rest upon the venerable Day of the Sun. Country people, however, may freely attend to the cultivation of the fields, because it frequently happens that no other days are better adapted for planting the grain in the furrows or the vines in trenches. So that the advantage given by heavenly providence may not for the occasion of a short time perish.

(h) Codex Theodosianus. VIII, 16, 1. Cf. Kirch, n.750.

Celibacy was favored by the Church. By the Lex Julia et Papia Poppea it had been forbidden under a fine and loss of rights under wills. Childless marriages also rendered the parties liable to disabilities.

Those who are held as celibates by the ancient law are freed from the threatened terrors of the laws, and let them so live as if by the compact of marriage they were among the number of married men, and let all have an equal standing as to taking what each one deserves. Neither let any one be held childless; and let them not suffer the penalties set for this. The same thing we hold regarding women, and freely to all we loose from their necks the commands which the law placed upon them as a certain yoke. But there is no application of this benefit to husbands and wives as regards each other, whose deceitful wiles are often scarcely restrained by the appointed rigor of the law, but let the pristine authority of the law continue between such persons.

§ 60. The Repression of Heathenism under Constantine

Constantine's religious policy in respect to heathenism may have been from the first to establish Christianity as the sole religion of the Empire and to put down heathenism. If so, in the execution of that policy he proceeded with great caution, especially in the period before his victory over Licinius. It looks at times as if for a while he aimed at a parity of religions. Certain is the fact that only as conditions became more favorable to active measures of repression he increased the severity of his laws against what was of doubtful legality in heathenism, though he was statesman enough to recognize the difference in the religious conditions between the East and the West, especially as to the hold which Christianity had upon the mass of the people. While his measures in the East became constantly harsher, in the West he tolerated heathenism. The commonly received theory is that Constantine changed his policy. All the facts can be as easily understood on the hypothesis that as a statesman he had constant regard to the advisability of drastic execution of a policy which he in theory accepted and would have carried out in its entirety everywhere if he had been able.

Additional source material: Eusebius, Vita Constantini (PNF), II.44 f., 47 f., 54 ff.

(a) Codex Theodosianus, IX, 16, 2; A. D.319.

Private sacrifices forbidden.

Haruspices and priests and those accustomed to serve this rite we forbid to enter any private house, or under the pretence of friendship to cross the threshold of another, under the penalty established against them if they contemn the law.(96) But those of you who regard this rite, approach the public altars and shrines and celebrate the solemnities of your custom; for we do not indeed prohibit the duties of the old usage to be performed in broad daylight.

(b) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 10, 1; A. D.320-321.

Haruspicia in certain circumstances to be observed.

If any part of our palace or other public buildings should be struck by lightning let the custom be retained of the ancient observance as to what it signifies, and let it be examined by the haruspices and very carefully written down, collected, and brought to our attention; to others also the permission of practising this custom is conceded, provided they refrain from domestic sacrifices, which are expressly forbidden.

(c) Codex Theodosianus. XV, 1, 3; A. D.326.

Unfinished heathen temples need not be completed.

We direct that the judges of the provinces be warned not to give orders for any new work before they complete the buildings left incomplete by their predecessors, the erection of temples only being excepted.

§ 61. The Donatist Schism under Constantine

The Donatist schism arose in connection with the Diocletian persecution, in part over the policy of Mensurius of Carthage regarding the fanatical desire for martyrdom and the delivery of the sacred books according to the edict of persecution. Combined with this were the personal ambitions of the Archdeacon Caecilianus, the offended dignity of the Primas of Numidia, Bishop Secundus of Tigisi, and the pique of a wealthy female devotee, Lucilla. It was mixed up with the customs of the North African church, whereby the Primas of Numidia exercised a leading authority in the conduct of the election of the bishop of Carthage, and also with the notion prevalent in the same church, for which also Cyprian contended in the controversy on the baptism of heretics [see § 52], that the validity of a sacrament depended in some way upon the personal character of the minister of that sacrament. It was asserted by the partisans of Secundus, who elected Majorinus bishop of Carthage, that Felix of Aptunga, the consecrator of Caecilianus, who had been elected by the other party, had delivered the sacred books to the heathen officials, and was therefore guilty as a traditor. A schism, accordingly, arose in Carthage which spread rapidly throughout North Africa. The party of Majorinus soon came under the lead of Donatus the Great, his successor in the schismatical see of Carthage. The Donatist schism became of importance almost at once, and as it was inconsistent with Constantine's religious policy, which called for Church unity,(97) it presented an immediate difficulty in the execution of laws granting favors to the Catholic Church.(98) On account of the interests involved, the schism was of long duration, lasting after the conquest of North Africa by the Vandals, and even to the Saracen conquest, though long since of no importance.

Anulinus. Ep. ad Constantinum, in Augustine, Ep. 88. (MSG, 33:303.)

To Constantine Augustus from Anulinus, a man of proconsular rank, proconsul of Africa.

The welcome and adored celestial writings sent by your Majesty to Caecilianus, and those who act under him and are called clergy, I have devoutly taken care to record in the archives of my humility, and have exhorted those parties that when unity has been made by the consent of all, since they are seen to be exempt from all other burdens by your Majesty's clemency, and having preserved the Catholic unity, they should devote themselves to their duties with the reverence due the sanctity of the law and to divine things. After a few days, however, there arose some, to whom a crowd of people joined themselves, who thought that proceedings should be taken against Caecilianus and presented me a sealed packet wrapped in leather and a small document without seal, and earnestly requested that I should transmit them to the sacred and venerable court of your divinity, which your Majesty's most humble servant has taken care to do, Caecilianus continuing meanwhile as he was. The acts pertaining to the case have been subjoined, in order that your Majesty may be able to make a decision concerning the whole matter. I have sent two documents, one in a leathern envelope entitled |A Document of the Catholic Church, the Charges against Caecilianus, Furnished by the Party of Majorinus|; the other attached without a seal to the same leathern envelope. Given on the 17th day before the calends of May, in the third consulship of our Lord Constantine Augustus [April 15, 313].

§ 62. Constantine's Endeavors to Bring about the Unity of the Church by Means of General Synods: The Councils of Arles and Nicaea

One of the intentions of Constantine in his support of Christianity seems to have been the employment of the Christian religion as a basis for imperial unity. The policy of several earlier emperors in reviving heathenism, and Galerius in his persecution of the Christians, seems likewise to have been to use religion as a basis of unity. One of the first tasks Constantine encountered after he became sole ruler of the West was to restore the unity of the Church in Africa, which had been endangered by the disputes culminating in the Donatist schism; and when he became sole ruler of the Empire a new task of a similar character was to restore unity to the Church of the East, endangered by the Meletian schism in Egypt [v. supra, § 57, a], the Arian controversy in its first stage [v. infra, § 63], and the estrangement of the Asia Minor churches, due to the Easter controversy [v. supra, § 38]. It was a master-stroke of policy on the part of Constantine to use the Church's conciliar system on an enlarged scale to bring about this unity. The Church was made to feel that the decision was its own and to be obeyed for religious reasons; at the same time the Emperor was able to direct the thought and action of the assembly in matters of consequence and to give to conciliar action legal and coercive effect. The two great assemblies summoned to meet the problems of the West and of the East were respectively the Councils of Arles, A. D.314, and of Nicaea, A. D.325.

I. The Council of Arles A. D.314

(a) Constantine, Convocatio concilii Arelatensis, in Eusebius, Hist. Ec., X, 5. (MSG, 20 :888.) Cf. Kirch, nn.321 f.; Mirbt, nn.89, 93-97.

For the Council of Arles, see Hefele, §§ 14, 15.

Constantine Augustus to Chrestus, Bishop of Syracuse. When some began wickedly and perversely to disagree among themselves in regard to the holy worship and the celestial power and Catholic doctrine, I, wishing to put an end to such disputes among them, formerly gave command that certain bishops should be sent from Gaul, and that the opposing parties, who were contending persistently and incessantly with each other, should be summoned from Africa; that in their presence and in the presence of the bishop of Rome the matter which appeared to be causing the disturbance might be examined and decided with all care. But since, as it happens, some, forgetful both of their own salvation and of the reverence due to the most holy religion, do not even yet bring hostilities to an end, and are unwilling to conform to the judgment already passed, and assert that those who expressed their opinions and decisions were few, or that they had been too hasty and precipitate in giving judgment, before all the things which ought to have been accurately investigated had been examined -- on account of all this it has happened that those very ones who ought to hold brotherly and harmonious relations toward each other are shamefully, or rather abominably, divided among themselves, and give occasion for ridicule to those men whose souls are alien as to this most holy religion. Wherefore it has seemed necessary to me to provide that this dissension, which ought to have ceased after the judgment had been already given, by their own voluntary agreement, should now, if possible, be brought to an end by the presence of many. Since, therefore, we have commanded a number of bishops from a great many different places to assemble in the city of Arles, before the calends of August, we have thought proper to write to thee also that thou shouldest secure from the most illustrious Latronianus, Corrector of Sicily, a public vehicle, and that thou shouldest take with thee two others of the second rank whom thou thyself shalt choose, together with three servants, who may serve you on the way, and betake thyself to the above-mentioned place before the appointed day; that by thy firmness and by the wise unanimity and harmony of the others present, this dispute, which has disgracefully continued until the present time, in consequence of certain shameful strifes, after all has been heard, which those have to say who are now at variance with one another, and whom we have likewise commanded to be present, may be settled in accordance with the proper faith, and that brotherly harmony, though it be but gradual, may be restored. May Almighty God preserve thee in health many years.

(b) Synodal Epistle addressed to Sylvester, Bishop of Rome, Bruns, II, 107. Cf. Kirch, nn.330-337.

The following extracts give the canons of most importance in the history of the times. The exact wording of the canons has not been retained in the letter, which is the only record extant of the action of the council. The text from which the following is translated is that given by the monks of St. Maur in their Collectio Conciliorum Galliae, reprinted by Hefele, § 15, and Bruns, Canones Apostolorum et Conciliorum, II, 107 ff. It is to be preferred to the text of Mansi and the older collections.

The first canon settled for the West the long-standing question as to the date of Easter. The Roman custom as to the day of the week and computation of the time of year should be followed everywhere; the same decision was reached at Nicaea for the East (v. § 62, II, a). As a matter of fact, however, the computation customary at Alexandria eventually prevailed as the more accurate.

The eighth and thirteenth canons touch upon North African disputes. The former overrules the contention of Cyprian and his colleagues, that heretical or schismatical baptisms were invalid. It also laid down a principle by which Novatianism stood condemned. The thirteenth applied a similar principle to ordination; the crimes of the bishop who gave the ordination should not invalidate the ordination of a suitable person, as was claimed in the case of the ordination of Caecilianus by Felix of Aptunga, accused as a traditor; further it ruled out the complaints against Felix until more substantial proof be brought, the official documents that he had made the tradition required by the edict of persecution.

Marinus and the assembly of bishops, who have come together in the town of Arles, to the most holy lord and brother Sylvester. What we have decreed with general consent we signify to your charity that all may know what ought to be observed in the future.

1. In the first place, concerning the observation of the Lord's Easter, we have determined that it be observed on one day and at one time throughout the world by us, and that you send letters according to custom to all.

8. Concerning the Africans, because they make use of their own law, to the effect that they rebaptize, we have determined that if any one should come from heresy to the Church they should ask him the creed; and if they should perceive that he had been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, hands only should be laid upon him that he might receive the Holy Ghost. That if when asked he should not reply this Trinity, let him be baptized.

9. Concerning those who bring letters of the confessors, it pleased us that these letters having been taken away, they should receive other letters of communion.

13. Concerning those who are said to have given up the Holy Scriptures or the vessels of the Lord or the name of their brethren, it has pleased us whoever of them shall have been convicted by public documents and not by mere words, should be removed from the clerical order; though if the same have been found to have ordained any, and those whom they have ordained are worthy, it shall not render their ordination invalid. And because there are many who are seen to oppose the law of the Church and think that they ought to be admitted to bring accusation by hired witnesses, they are by no means to be admitted, except, as we have said above, they can prove their accusations by public documents.

II. The Council of Nicaea

For the Council of Nicaea, see Hefele, §§ 18-44. All church histories give large space to the Council of Nicaea. V. infra, §§ 63 ff., 72, a.

(a) Council of Nicaea, 325. Synodical Letter, Socrates, Hist. Ec. I, 9. (MSG, 67 :77.) Text in Kirch, nn.369 ff.; Mirbt, n.107.

To the holy and, by the grace of God, great Church of the Alexandrians, and to our beloved brethren throughout Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis, the bishops assembled at Nicaea constituting the great and holy synod, send greetings in the Lord.

Since by the grace of God, a great and holy synod has been convened at Nicaea, our most pious sovereign Constantine having summoned us out of various cities and provinces for that purpose, it appeared to us indispensably necessary that a letter should be written also to you on the part of the sacred synod; in order that you may know what subjects were brought under consideration, what rigidly investigated, and also what was eventually determined on and decreed. In the first place, the impiety and guilt of Arius and his adherents were examined into, in the presence of our most pious Emperor Constantine: and it was unanimously decided that his impious opinion be anathematized, with all the blasphemous expressions and terms he has blasphemously uttered, affirming that the Son of God sprang from nothing, and that there was a time when He was not; saying, moreover, that the Son of God was possessed of a free will, so as to be capable either of vice or virtue; and calling Him a creature and a work. All these the holy synod has anathematized, having scarcely patience to endure the hearing of such an impious or, rather, bewildered opinion, and such abominable blasphemies. But the conclusion of our proceedings against him you must either have heard or will hear; for we would not seem to trample on a man who has received the chastisement which his crime deserved. Yet so strong is his impiety as to involve Theonas, Bishop of Marmarica, and Secundus of Ptolemais; for they have suffered the same condemnation as himself. But the grace of God freed us from this false doctrine, impiety, and blasphemy, and from those persons who have dared to cause discord and division among the people previously at peace; and there still remained the contumacy of Meletius to be dealt with, and those who had been ordained by him; and we shall now state to you, beloved brethren, what resolution the synod came to on this point. Acting with more clemency toward Meletius, although, strictly speaking, he was wholly undeserving of favor, the council permitted him to remain in his own city, but decreed that he should exercise no authority either to ordain or nominate for ordination; and that he should appear in no other district or city on this pretence, but simply retain a nominal dignity; that those who had received appointments from him, after having been confirmed by a more legitimate ordination, should be admitted to communion on these conditions: that they should continue to hold their rank and ministry, but regard themselves as inferior in every respect to all those who had been previously ordained and established in each place and church by our most honored fellow-minister Alexander. In addition to these things, they shall have no authority to propose or nominate whom they please, or to do anything at all without the concurrence of a bishop of the Catholic Church, who is one of Alexander's suffragans. Let such as by the grace of God and your prayers have been found in no schism, but have continued in the Catholic Church blameless, have authority to nominate and ordain those who are worthy of the sacred office, and to act in all things according to ecclesiastical law and usage. Whenever it may happen that any of those placed in the Church die, then let such as have been recently admitted into orders be advanced to the dignity of the deceased, provided that they appear worthy, and that the people should elect them, and the bishop of Alexandria confirm their choice. This is conceded to all the others, indeed, but as for Meletius personally we by no means grant the same, on account of his formerly disorderly conduct; and because of the rashness and levity of his character he is deprived of all authority and jurisdiction, as a man liable again to create similar disturbances. These are things which specially affect Egypt and the most holy Church of the Alexandrians; and if any other canon or ordinance should be established, our lord and most honored fellow-minister and brother Alexander being present with us, will on his return to you enter into more minute details, inasmuch as he is not only a participator in whatever is transacted, but has the principal direction of it. We have also to announce the good news to you concerning the unanimity as to the holy feast of Easter: that this by your prayers has been settled so that all the brethren in the East, who have hitherto kept this festival with the Jews, will henceforth conform to the Romans and to us, and to all who from the earliest times have observed our period of celebrating Easter. Rejoicing, therefore, on account of a favorable termination of matters and in the extirpation of all heresy, receive with the greater honor and more abundant love our fellow-minister and your bishop, Alexander, who has greatly delighted us by his presence, and even at his advanced age has undergone extraordinary exertions in order that peace might be re-established among you. Pray on behalf of us all, that the decisions to which we have so justly come may be inviolably maintained through Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ, together with the Holy Spirit to whom be glory forever. Amen.

(b) Council of Nicaea, Canon 8, On the Novatians, Bruns. I, 8.

The Church recognized the substantial orthodoxy of the Novatians, and according to the principles laid down at Arles (cc.8, 13, § 62 I, b) the ordination of the Novatians was regarded as valid. The following canon, although a generous concession on the part of the Church, did not bring about a healing of the schism which lasted several centuries. The last mention of the Novatians is contained in the 95th canon of the second Trullan Council, known as the Quinisext, A. D.692.

Canon 8. Concerning those who call themselves Cathari, who come over to the Catholic and Apostolic Church, the great and holy synod decrees that they who are ordained shall continue as they are among the clergy. But before all things it is necessary that they should profess in writing that they will observe and follow the teachings of the Catholic and Apostolic Church; that is, that they will communicate with those who have been twice married and with those who have lapsed during the persecution, and upon whom a period of penance has been laid and a time for restoration fixed; so that in all things they will follow the teachings of the Catholic Church. Wheresoever, then, whether in villages or in cities, only these are found who have been ordained, let them remain as found among the clergy and in the same rank. But if any come over where there is a bishop or presbyter of the Catholic Church, it is manifest that the bishop of the Church must have the dignity of a bishop, and he who was named bishop by those who are called Cathari shall have the honor of a presbyter, unless it seem fit to the bishop to share with him the honor of the title. But if this should not seem good to him, then shall the bishop provide for him a place as chorepiscopus, or as presbyter, in order that he may be evidently seen to be of the clergy, and that in one city there may not be two bishops.

(c) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 5, 2; A. D.326.

With the generous treatment of the Novatians by the Council of Nicaea should be compared the mild and generous treatment of Constantine, who distinguished them from other heretics.

We have not learned that the Novatians have been so condemned that we believe that to them should not be granted what they claim. Therefore we prescribe as to the buildings of their churches and places suitable for burial that they are to possess, without any molestation, those buildings and lands, namely, which on ground of long possession or from purchase or claim for any sound reason they may have. It will be well looked out for that they attempt to claim nothing for themselves of those things which before their secession belonged evidently to the churches of perpetual sanctity.

Chapter II. The Arian Controversy Until The Extinction Of The Dynasty Of Constantine

The Arian controversy may be divided into four periods or stadia:

1. From the outbreak of the Arian controversy to the Council of Nicaea (318-325). In this stadium the positions of the parties are defined, and the position of the West, in substantial agreement with that of Alexander and Athanasius, forced through by Constantine and Hosius at Nicaea (§ 63).

2. From the Council of Nicaea to the death of Constantine (325-337). In this stadium, without the setting aside of the formula of Nicaea, an attempt is made to reconcile those who in fact dissented. In this period Constantine, now living in the East, inclines toward a position more in harmony with Arianism and more acceptable in the East than was the doctrine of Athanasius. This is the period of the Eusebian reaction (§ 64).

3. From the death of Constantine to the death of Constantius (337-361). In this stadium the anti-Nicaean party is victorious in the East (§ 65), but as it included all those who for any reason were opposed to the definition of Nicaea, it fell apart on attaining the annulment of the decision of Nicaea. There arose, on the one hand, an extreme Arian party and, on the other, a homoiousian party which approximated closely to the Athanasian position but feared the Nicene terminology.

4. From the accession of Julian to the council of Constantinople (361-381). Under the pressure brought against Christianity by Julian (§ 68), parties but little removed from each other came closer together (§ 70). A new generation of theologians took the lead, with an interpretation of the Nicene formula which made it acceptable to those who had previously regarded it as Sabellian. And under the lead of these men, backed by the Emperor Theodosius, the reaffirmation of the Nicene formula at Constantinople, 381, was accepted by the East (§ 71).

In the period in which the Arian controversy is by far the most important series of events in Church history, the attitude of the sons of Constantine toward heathenism and Donatism was of secondary importance, but it should be noticed as throwing light on the ecclesiastical policy which made the Arian controversy so momentous. In their policy toward heathenism and dissent, the policy of Constantine was carried to its logical completion in the establishment of Christianity as the only lawful religion of the Empire (§ 67).

Arianism may be regarded as the last attempt of Dynamistic Monarchianism (v. supra, § 40) to explain the divinity of Jesus Christ without admitting His eternity. It was derived in part from the teaching of Paul of Samosata through Lucian of Antioch. Paul of Samosata had admitted the existence of an eternal but impersonal Logos in God which dwelt in the man Jesus. Arianism distinguished between a Logos uncreated, an eternal impersonal reason in God, and a personal Logos created in time, making the latter, the personal Logos, only in a secondary sense God. This latter Logos, neither eternal nor uncreated, became incarnate in Jesus, taking the place in the human personality of the rational soul or logos. To guard against the worship of a being created and temporal, and to avoid the assertion of two eternal existences, the anti-Arian or Athanasian position, already formulated by Alexander, made the personal Logos of one essence or substance with the Father, eternal as the Father, and thereby distinguishing between begetting, or the imparting of subsistence, and creating, or the calling into being from nothing, a distinction which Arianism failed to make; and thus allowing for the eternity and deity of the Son without detracting from the monotheism which was universally regarded as the fundamental doctrine of Christianity as a body of theology. In this controversy the party of Alexander and Athanasius was animated, at least in the earlier stages of the controversy, not so much by speculative interests as by religious motives, the relation of Jesus to redemption, and they were strongly influenced by Irenaeus. The party of Arius, on the other hand, was influenced by metaphysical interests as to the relation of being to creation and the contrast between the finite and the infinite. It may be said, in general, that until the council of Chalcedon, and possibly even after that, the main interest that kept alive theological discussion was intimately connected with vital problems of religious life of the times. After that the scholastic period began to set in and metaphysical discussions were based upon the formulae of the councils.

§ 63. The Outbreak of the Arian Controversy and the Council of Nicaea, A. D.325

The Arian controversy began in Alexandria about 318, as related by Socrates (a). The positions of the two parties were defined from the beginning both by Alexander, bishop of Alexandria (b), and Arius himself (c), who by appealing to Eusebius of Nicomedia, his fellow-student in the school of Lucian of Antioch, enlisted the support of that able ecclesiastical politician and courtier and at once extended the area of the controversy throughout the East. By means of poems of a somewhat popular character entitled the Thalia, about 322 (d), Arius spread his doctrines still further, involving others than the trained professional theologian. In the meanwhile Arius and some other clergy sympathizing with him in Egypt were deposed about 320 (e). Constantine endeavored to end the dispute by a letter, and, failing in this, sent Hosius of Cordova, his adviser in ecclesiastical matters, to Alexandria in 324. On the advice of Hosius, a synod was called to meet at Nicaea in the next year, after the pattern of the earlier synod for the West at Arles in 314. Here the basis for a definition of faith was a non-committal creed presented by Eusebius of Caesarea, the Church historian (f). This was modified, probably under the influence of Hosius, so as to be in harmony at once with the tenets of the party of Alexander and Athanasius, and with the characteristic theology of the West (g).

Additional source material: J. Chrystal, Authoritative Christianity, Jersey City, 1891, vol. I; The Council of Nicaea: The Genuine Remains; H. R. Percival, The Seven Ecumenical Councils (PNF, ser. II, vol. XIV); Athanasius, On the Incarnation (PNF, ser. II, vol. IV).

(a) Socrates. Hist. Ec., I, 5. (MSG, 67:41.)

The outbreak of the controversy at Alexandria circa 318.

After Peter, who was bishop of Alexandria, had suffered martyrdom under Diocletian, Achillas succeeded to the episcopal office, and after Achillas, Alexander succeeded in the period of peace above referred to. Conducting himself fearlessly, he united the Church. By chance, one day, in the presence of the presbyters and the rest of his clergy, he was discussing too ambitiously the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, teaching that there was a unity in the Trinity. But Arius, one of the presbyters under his jurisdiction, a man of no inconsiderable logical acumen, imagining that the bishop was subtly introducing the doctrine of Sabellius the Libyan, from the love of controversy took the opposite opinion to that of the Libyan, and, as he thought, vigorously responded to the things said by the bishop. |If,| said he, |the Father begat the Son, He that was begotten had a beginning of existence; and from this it is evident that there was a time when the Son was not. It follows necessarily that He had His subsistence [hypostasis] from nothing.|

(b) Alexander of Alexandria. Ep. ad Alexandrum, in Theodoret, Hist. Ec., I, 3. (MSG, 88:904.)

A statement of the position of Alexander made to Alexander, bishop of Constantinople.

This extract is to be found at the end of the letter; it is evidently based upon the creed which is reproduced with somewhat free glosses. The omissions in the extract are of the less important glosses and proof-texts. For the position of Alexander the letter of Arius to Eusebius of Nicomedia given below (c) should also be examined.

We believe as the Apostolic Church teaches, In one unbegotten Father, who of His being has no cause, immutable and invariable, and who subsists always in one state of being, admitting neither of progression nor diminution; who gave the law and the prophets and the Gospel; of patriarchs and Apostles and all saints, Lord; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten not out of that which is not, but of the Father, who is; yet not after the manner of material bodies, by severance or emanation, as Sabellius and Valentinus taught, but in an inexpressible and inexplicable manner.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} We have learned that the Son is immutable and unchangeable, all-sufficient and perfect, like the Father, lacking only His |unbegottenness.| He is the exact and precisely similar image of His Father.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} And in accordance with this we believe that the Son always existed of the Father.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} Therefore His own individual dignity must be reserved to the Father as the Unbegotten One, no one being called the cause of His existence: to the Son, likewise, must be given the honor which befits Him, there being to Him a generation from the Father which has no beginning.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} And in addition to this pious belief respecting the Father and the Son, we confess as the sacred Scriptures teach us, one Holy Spirit, who moved the saints of the Old Testament, and the divine teachers of that which is called the New. We believe in one and only Catholic and Apostolic Church, which can never be destroyed even though all the world were to take counsel to fight against it, and which gains the victory over all the impious attacks of the heterodox.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} After this we receive the resurrection from the dead, of which Jesus Christ our Lord became the first-fruits; who bore a body, in truth, not in semblance, derived from Mary, the mother of God [theotokos] in the fulness of time sojourning among the race, for the remission of sins: who was crucified and died, yet for all this suffered no diminution of His Godhead. He rose from the dead, was taken into heaven, and sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

(c) Arius, Ep. ad Eusebium, in Theodoret, Hist. Ec., I, 4. (MSG, 88:909.)

A statement in the words of Arius of his own position and that of Alexander addressed to Eusebius of Nicomedia.

To his very dear lord, the man of God, the faithful and orthodox Eusebius, Arius unjustly persecuted by Alexander the Pope, on account of that all-conquering truth of which you are also the champion, sendeth greeting in the Lord.

{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} Alexander has driven us out of the city as atheists, because we do not concur in what he publicly preaches; namely, |God is always, the Son is always; as the Father so the Son; the Son coexists unbegotten with God; He is everlastingly begotten; He is the unbegotten begotten; neither by thought nor by any interval does God precede the Son; always God, always the Son; the Son is of God himself.|{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} To these impieties we cannot listen even though heretics threaten us with a thousand deaths. But we say and believe and have taught and do teach, that the Son is not unbegotten, nor in any way part of the Unbegotten; nor from any substance [hypokeimenon],(99) but that of His own will and counsel He has subsisted before time and before ages, as perfect God only begotten and unchangeable, and that before He was begotten or created or purposed or established He was not. For He was not unbegotten. We are persecuted because we say that the Son has a beginning, but that God is without beginning. This is the cause of our persecution, and likewise because we say that He is of that which is not.(100) And this we say because He is neither part of God, nor of any substance [hypokeimenon]. For this we are persecuted; the rest you know. I bid thee farewell in the Lord, remembering our afflictions, my fellow-Lucianist and true Eusebius [i.e., pious].

(d) Arius, Thalia, in Athanasius, Orat. contra Arianos, I, 2. (MSG, 26:21.)

The following extracts from the Thalia, although given by Athanasius, the opponent of Arius, are so in harmony with what Arius and his followers asserted repeatedly that they may be regarded as correctly representing the work from which they profess to be taken.

God was not always Father; but there was when God was alone and was not yet Father; afterward He became a Father. The Son was not always; for since all things have come into existence from nothing, and all things are creatures and have been made, so also the Logos of God himself came into existence from nothing and there was a time when He was not; and that before He came into existence He was not; but He also had a beginning of His being created. For God, he says, was alone and not yet was there the Logos and Wisdom. Afterward He willed to create us, then He made a certain one and named Him Logos and Wisdom and Son, in order that by Him He might create us. He says, therefore, that there are two wisdoms, one proper to, and existing together with, God; but the Son came into existence by that wisdom, and was made a partaker of it and was only named Wisdom and Logos. For Wisdom existed by wisdom and the will of God's wisdom. So, he says, that there is another Logos besides the Son in God, and the Son partaking of that Logos is again named Logos and Son by grace.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} There are many powers; and there is one which is by nature proper to God and eternal; but Christ, again, is not the true power of God, but is one of those which are called powers, of whom also the locust and the caterpillar are called not only a power but a great power [Joel 2:2], and there are many other things like to the Son, concerning whom David says in the Psalms: |The Lord of Powers|;(101) likewise the Logos is mutable, as are all things, and by His own free choice, so far as He wills, remains good; because when He wills He is able to change, as also we are, since His nature is subject to change. Then, says he, God foreseeing that He would be good, gave by anticipation to Him that glory, which as a man He afterward had from His virtue; so that on account of His works, which God foresaw, God made Him to become such as He is now.

(e) Council of Alexandria, A. D.320, Epistula encyclica, in Socrates, Hist. Ec., I, 6. (MSG, 67:45.) Cf. Kirch, nn.353 ff.

The encyclical of the Council of Alexandria under Alexander, in which Arius and his sympathizers were deposed, was possibly composed by Athanasius. It is commonly found in his works, entitled Depositio Arii. It is also found in the Ecclesiastical History of Socrates. For council, see Hefele, § 20.

Those who became apostates were Arius, Achillas, AEithales, Carpones, another Arius, and Sarmates, who were then presbyters; Euzoius, Lucius, Julianus, Menas, Helladius, and Gaius, who were then deacons; and with them Secundus and Theonas, then called bishops. And the novelties which they have invented and put forth contrary to the Scriptures are the following: God was not always a Father, but there was a time when He was not a Father. The Logos of God was not always, but came into existence from things that were not; wherefore there was a time when He was not; for the Son is a creature and a work. Neither is He like in essence to the Father. Neither is He truly by nature the Logos of the Father; neither is He His true Wisdom; but He is one of the things made and created, and is called the Logos and Wisdom by an abuse of terms, since He himself originated by God's own logos and by the wisdom that is in God, by which God has made not only all things but Him also. Wherefore He is in His nature subject to change and variation as are all rational creatures. And the Logos is foreign, is alien and separated from the being [ousia] of God. And the Father cannot be(102) described by the Son, for the Logos does not know the Father perfectly and accurately, neither can He see Him perfectly. Moreover, the Son knows not His own essence as it really is; for He was made on account of us, that God might create us by Him as by an instrument; and He would not have existed had not God willed to create us. Accordingly some one asked them whether the Logos of God is able to change as the devil changed, and they were not afraid to say that He can change; for being something made and created, His nature is subject to change.

(f) Eusebius of Caesarea, Creed, in Socrates, Hist. Ec., I, 8. (MSG, 67:69.) Cf. Hahn, § 188.

This creed was presented at the Council of Nicaea by the historian Eusebius, who took the lead of the middle party at the council. He stated that it had long been in use in his church.

We believe in one God, Father Almighty, the maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Logos of God, God of God, Light of Light, Life of Life, only begotten Son, the first-born of all creation, begotten of His Father before all ages, by whom, also, all things were made, who for our salvation became flesh, who lived among men, and suffered and rose again on the third day, and ascended to the Father, and will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. We believe also in one Holy Spirit. We believe that each of these [i.e., three] is and subsists;(103) the Father truly Father, the Son truly Son; the Holy Spirit truly Holy Spirit; as our Lord also said, when He sent His disciples to preach: |Go teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit| [Matt.28:19].

(g) Council of Nicaea A. D.325, Creed, in Socrates, Hist. Ec., I, 8. (MSG, 67:68.) Cf. Hahn, § 142.

The creed of Nicaea is to be carefully distinguished from what is commonly called the Nicene creed. The actual creed put forth at the council is as follows. The discussion by Loofs, Dogmengeschichte, § 32, is brief but especially important, as he shows that the creed was drawn up under the influence of the Western formulae.

We believe in one God, Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of His Father, only begotten, that is of the ousia of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God; begotten, not made, of one substance(104) with the Father, by whom all things were made, both things in heaven and things in earth, who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven and was made [became] flesh and was made [became] man, suffered and rose again on the third day, ascended into the heavens and comes to judge living and dead. And in the Holy Ghost.

But those who say there was when He was not, and before being begotten He was not, and He was made out of things that were not(105) or those who say that the Son of God was from a different substance [hypostasis] or being [ousia] or a creature, or capable of change or alteration, these the Catholic Church anathematizes.

§ 64. The Beginnings of the Eusebian Reaction under Constantine

Shortly after the Council of Nicaea, Constantine seems to have become aware of the fact that the decision at that council was not acceptable in the East as a whole, representing, as it did, what was generally felt to be an extreme position. In coming to this opinion he was much influenced by Eusebius of Nicomedia who, by powerful court interest, was soon recalled from exile and even became the leading ecclesiastical adviser of Constantine. The policy of this bishop was to prepare the way for the revocation of the decree of Nicaea by a preliminary rehabilitation of Arius (a), and by attacking the leaders of the opposite party (b). Constantine, however, never consented to the abrogation of the creed of Nicaea.

Additional source material: Socrates, Hist. Ec., I, 8 (letter of Eusebius to his diocese), 14, 28 ff. Eusebius, Vita Constantini, III, 23; Athanasius, Historia Arianorum, §§ 4-7.

(a) Arius, Confession of Faith, in Socrates, Hist. Ec., I, 26. (MSG, 67:149.)

As a part of the process whereby Arius should be rehabilitated by being received back into the Church he was invited by Constantine to appear at the court. He was there presented to the Emperor and produced a confession of faith purposely vague and general in statement, but intended to give the impression that he held the essentials of the received orthodoxy. The text is that given by Hahn, § 187.

Arius and Euzoius to our most religious and pious Lord, the Emperor Constantine.

In accordance with the command of your devout piety, sovereign lord, we declare our faith, and before God we profess in writing that we and our adherents believe as follows:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty; and in the Lord Jesus Christ His Son, who was made by Him before all ages, God the Word, through whom all things were made, both those which are in heaven and those upon earth; who descended, and became incarnate, and suffered, and rose again, ascended into the heavens, and will again come to judge the living and the dead. Also in the Holy Spirit, and in the resurrection of the flesh, and in the life of the coming age, and in the kingdom of the heavens, and in one Catholic Church of God, extending from one end of the earth to the other.

This faith we have received from the holy gospels, the Lord therein saying to His disciples: |Go teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.| If we do not so believe and truly receive the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as the whole Catholic Church and the Holy Scriptures teach (in which we believe in every respect) God is our judge both now and in the coming judgment. Wherefore we beseech your piety, most devout Emperor, that we who are persons consecrated to the ministry, and holding the faith and sentiments of the Church and of the Holy Scriptures, may by your pacific and devoted piety be reunited to our mother, the Church, all superfluous questions and disputings being avoided; that so both we and the whole Church may be at peace and in common offer our accustomed prayers for your tranquil reign and on behalf of your whole family.

(b) Socrates, Hist. Ec., I, 23. (MSG, 67:140.)

The attack of the Arians upon Athanasius and his party.

The partisans of Eusebius and Theognis having returned from their exile, they received again their churches, having expelled, as we observed, those who had been ordained in their stead. Moreover they came into great consideration with the Emperor, who honored them exceedingly, as those who had returned from error to the orthodox faith. They, however, abused the license granted them by exciting commotions in the world greater than before; being instigated to this by two causes -- on the one hand, the Arian heresy with which they had been previously infected, and on the other hand, by animosity against Athanasius because in the synod he had so vigorously withstood them in the discussion of the articles of the faith. And in the first place they objected to the ordination of Athanasius, not only as of one unworthy of the episcopate, but also as of one not elected by qualified persons. But when he had shown himself superior to this calumny (for having assumed direction of the Church of the Alexandrians, he ardently contended for the Nicene creed), then the adherents of Eusebius exerted themselves to cause the removal of Athanasius and to bring Arius back to Alexandria; for thus only did they think they should be able to cast out the doctrine of consubstantiality and introduce Arianism. Eusebius therefore wrote to Athanasius to receive Arius and his adherents; and when he wrote he not only entreated him, but he openly threatened him. When Athanasius would by no means accede to this he endeavored to persuade the Emperor to receive Arius in audience and then permit him to return to Alexandria; and how he accomplished these things I shall tell in its proper place.

Meanwhile, before this, another commotion was raised in the Church. In fact those of the household of the Church again disturbed her peace. Eusebius Pamphilius says that immediately after the synod Egypt became agitated by intestine divisions; but he does not give the reason for this. From this he has gained the reputation of being disingenuous and of avoiding the specification of the causes of these dissensions from a determination on his part not to give his sanction to the proceedings at Nicaea. Yet as we ourselves have discovered from various letters which the bishops wrote to one another after the synod, the term homoousios troubled some of them. So that while they occupied themselves about it, investigating it very minutely, they roused the strife against each other. It seemed not unlike a contest in the dark; for neither party appeared to understand distinctly the grounds on which they calumniated one another. Those who objected to the word homoousios conceived that those who approved it favored the opinion of Sabellius and Montanus; they therefore called them blasphemers, as subverting the existence of the Son of God. And again those who defended the term, charging their opponents with polytheism, inveighed against them as introducers of heathen superstitions. Eustathius, bishop of Antioch, accuses Eusebius Pamphilius of perverting the Nicene creed; Eusebius again denies that he violates that exposition of the faith, and accuses Eustathius of introducing the opinion of Sabellius. Therefore each of them wrote as if contending against adversaries; but both sides admitted that the Son of God has a distinct person and existence, confessing that there is one God in three persons (hypostases) yet they were unable to agree, for what cause I do not know, and could in no way be at peace.

§ 65. The Victory of the Anti-Nicene Party in the East

When Constantine died in 337 the party of Eusebius of Nicomedia was completely in the ascendant in the East. A council at Antioch, 339, deposed Athanasius, and he was expelled from Alexandria, and Gregory of Cappadocia was consecrated in his place. Athanasius, with Marcellus of Ancyra and other supporters of the Nicene faith, repaired to Rome where they were supported by Julius, bishop of Rome, at a well-attended local council in 340 (a, b). In the East numerous attempts were made to formulate a confession of faith which might take the place of the Nicene creed and prove acceptable to all parties. The most important of these were produced at the Council of Antioch, 341, at which no less than four creeds were formulated (c, d).

Additional source material: Percival, The Seven Ecumenical Councils (PNF, ser. II, vol. XIV); Socrates, Hist. Ec. (PNF, ser. II, vol. II), II, 19 (Formula Macrostichos); Athanasius, De Synodis (PNF, ser. II, vol. IV).

(a) Athanasius, Apologia contra Arianos, 20. (MSG, 25:280.)

Athanasius and his allies in exile in the West are exonerated at Rome.

The Eusebians wrote also to Julius, thinking to frighten me, requesting him to call a council, and Julius himself to be the judge if he pleased. When, therefore, I went up to Rome, Julius wrote to the Eusebians, as was suitable, and sent moreover two of his presbyters, Elpidius and Philoxenus. But when they heard of me they became confused, because they did not expect that we would come up; and they declined, alleging absurd reasons for so doing, but in truth fearing lest the things should be proved against them which Valens and Ursacius afterward confessed. However, more than fifty bishops assembled in the place where the presbyter Vito held his congregation, and they acknowledged my defence and gave me the confirmation both of their communion and their love. On the other hand, they expressed great indignation against the Eusebians and requested that Julius write to the following effect to them who had written to him. And he wrote and sent it by Count Gabienus.

(b) Julius of Rome, Epistula, in Athanasius. Apologia contra Arianos, §§ 26 ff. (MSG, 25:292.)

Julius to his dearly beloved brethren, Danius, Flacillus, Narcissus, Eusebius, and Matis, Macedonius, Theodorus, and their friends, who have written him from Antioch, sends health in the Lord.

§ 26. {HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} It is necessary for me to inform you that although I alone wrote, yet it was not my opinion only, but of all the bishops throughout Italy and in these parts. I, indeed, was unwilling to cause them all to write, lest they might have weight by mere numbers. The bishops, however, assembled on the appointed day, and agreed in these opinions, which I again write to signify to you; so that, dearly beloved, although I alone address you, yet you may know it is the opinion of all.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

§ 27. That we have not admitted to our communion our fellow-bishops Athanasius and Marcellus either hastily or unjustly, although sufficiently shown above, it is but fair to set briefly before you. The Eusebians first wrote against Athanasius and his fellows, and you have also written now; but many bishops out of Egypt and other provinces wrote in his favor. Now in the first place, your letters against him contradict each other, and the second have no sort of agreement with the first, but in many instances the former are refuted by the latter, and the latter are impeached by the former.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

§ 29. Now when these things were thus represented, and so many witnesses appeared in his behalf, and so much advanced by him in his own justification, what did it become us to do? Or what did the rule of the Church require except that we should not condemn the man, but rather receive him and hold him as a bishop as we have done.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

§ 32. With respect to Marcellus, forasmuch as you have written concerning him also as impious in respect to Christ, I am anxious to inform you that, when he was here, he positively declared that what you had written concerning him was not true; but, being nevertheless requested by us to give an account of his faith, he answered in his own person with the utmost boldness, so that we recognize that he maintains nothing outside of the truth. He confessed that he piously held the same doctrine concerning our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as the Catholic Church holds; and he affirmed that he had held these opinions not merely now but for a very long time since; as indeed our presbyters, who were at a former time at the Council of Nicaea, testified to his orthodoxy, for he maintained both then and now his opposition to the heresy of Arius; on which point it is right to admonish you, that none of you admit such heresy, but instead abominate it as alien from the wholesome doctrine. Since he professed orthodox opinions and offered testimony to his orthodoxy, what again ought we in his case to have done except to treat him as a bishop, as we did, and not reject him from our communion?{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

§ 33. For not only the bishops Athanasius and Marcellus and their fellows came here and complained of the injustice that had been done them, but many other bishops, also, from Thrace, from Coele-Syria, from Phoenicia, and Palestine; and presbyters, not a few, and others from Alexandria and from other parts were present at the council here and, in addition to their own statements, lamented bitterly before all the assembled bishops the violence and injustice which the churches had suffered; and they affirmed that outrages similar to those which had been committed in Alexandria had occurred not in word only but in deed in their own churches and in others also.

(c) Second Creed of Antioch, A. D.341, in Athanasius, De Synodis Arimini et Seleuciae, ch.23. (MSG, 26:721.) Also in Socrates, Hist. Ec., II, 10. (MSG, 67:201.) Cf. Hahn, § 154.

The Council of Antioch in 341 was gathered ostensibly to dedicate the great church of that city, in reality to act against the Nicene party. It was attended by ninety or more bishops of whom thirty-six were Arians. The others seem to have been chiefly members of the middle party. The dogmatic definitions of this council have never been accepted by the Church; on the other hand, the canons on discipline have always enjoyed a very high place in the esteem of later generations. The following creed, the second of the Antiochian creeds, is traditionally regarded as having been composed originally by Lucian of Antioch, the master of Arius. Hence it is known as the creed of Lucian.

We believe in accordance with evangelic and apostolic tradition in one God the Father Almighty, the creator, the maker and provider of all things. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, God, through whom are all things, who was begotten of His Father before all ages, God of God, whole of whole, only one of only one, perfect of perfect, king of king, lord of lord, the living word, living wisdom, true light, way, truth, resurrection, shepherd, door, unchangeable, unalterable, and immutable, the unchangeable likeness of the Godhead, both of the substance, and will and power and glory of the Father, the first-born of all creation, who was in the beginning with God, God Logos, according to what is said in the Gospel: |and the word was God,| through whom all things were made, and |in whom all things consist,| who in the last days came down from above, and was born of a virgin, according to the Scriptures, and became man, the mediator between God and man, and the apostle of our faith, and the prince of life; as He says, |I have come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me|; who suffered for us, and rose the third day and ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of the Father, and comes again with glory and power to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Spirit given for consolation and sanctification and perfection to those who believe; as also our Lord Jesus Christ commanded his disciples, saying, |Go ye, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,| clearly of the Father who is really a Father, and of the Son who is really a Son, and of the Holy Spirit who is really a Holy Spirit; these names being assigned not vaguely nor idly, but indicating accurately the special subsistence [hypostasis], order, glory of those named, so that in subsistence they are three, but in harmony one.

Having then this faith from the beginning and holding it to the end, before God and Christ we anathematize all heretical false doctrines. And if any one contrary to the right faith of the Holy Scriptures, teaches and says that there has been a time, a season, or age, or being or becoming, before the Son of God was begotten, let him be accursed. And if any one says that the Son is a creature as one of the creatures, or generated as one of the things generated, or made as one of the things made, and not as the divine Scriptures have handed down each of the forenamed statements; or if a man teaches or preaches anything else contrary to what we have received, let him be accursed. For we truly and clearly both believe and follow all things from the Holy Scriptures that have been transmitted to us by the prophets and Apostles.

(d) Fourth Creed of Antioch, Socrates, Hist. Ec., II, 18. (MSG, 67:221.) Cf. Hahn, § 156.

This creed is an approximation to the Nicene creed but without the use of the word of especial importance, homoousios. Valuable critical notes on the text of this and the preceding creed are to be found in Hahn; as these creeds are to be found both in the work of Athanasius on the councils of synods of Ariminum and Seleucia, in the ecclesiastical history of Socrates and elsewhere, there is a variety of readings, but of minor significance so far as the essential features are concerned.

We believe in one God, Father Almighty, the creator and maker of all things, of whom the whole family in heaven and upon earth is named; and in his only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who was begotten of the Father before all ages; God of God, light of light, through whom all things in the heavens and upon earth, both visible and invisible were made: who is the word, and wisdom, and power, and life, and true light: who in the last days for our sake was made [became] man, and was born of the holy Virgin; was crucified, and died; was buried, arose again from the dead on the third day, and ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and is coming at the consummation of the age to judge the living and the dead, and to render to each according to his works: whose kingdom, being perpetual, shall continue to infinite ages (for He shall sit at the right hand of the Father, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come). And in the Holy Spirit; that is, in the comforter, whom the Lord, according to His promise, sent to His Apostles after His ascension into the heavens, to teach and bring all things to their remembrance: by whom, also, the souls of those who have sincerely believed in Him shall be sanctified; and those who assert that the Son was made of things which are not, or of another subsistence [hypostasis], and not of God, or that there was a time or age when He did not exist the holy Catholic Church accounts as aliens.

§ 66. Collapse of the Anti-Nicene Middle Party; the Renewal of Arianism; the Rise of the Homoousian Party

When Constantius became sole Emperor, on the death of his brother Constans in 350, there was no further need of considering the interests of the Nicene party. Only the necessity of establishing his authority in the West against usurpers engaged his attention until 356, when a series of councils began, designed to put an end to the Nicene faith. Of the numerous confessions of faith put forth, the second creed of Sirmium of 357 is important as attempting to abolish in connection with the discussion the use of the term ousia and likewise homoousios and homoiousios (a). At Nice in Thrace a still greater departure from Nicaea was attempted in 359, and a creed was put forth (b), which is of special significance as containing the first reference in a creed to the descensus ad inferos and to the fact that it was subscribed by the deputies of the West including Bishop Liberius of Rome. For the discussion of this act of Liberius, see J. Barmby, art. |Liberius| in DCB; see also Catholic Encyclopaedia, art. |Liberius.| It was also received in the synod of Seleucia in the East. On these councils see Athanasius, De Synodis (PNF). It was in reference to this acceptance of the creed of Nice that Jerome wrote |The whole world groaned and was astonished that it was Arian.| See Jerome, Contra Luciferianos, §§ 18 ff. (PNF. ser. II, vol. VI).

Inasmuch as the anti-Nicene opposition party was a coalition of all parties opposed to the wording of the Nicene creed, as soon as that creed was abolished the bond that held them together was broken. At once there arose an extreme Arianism which had remained in the background. On the other hand, those who were opposed to Arianism sought to draw nearer the Nicene party. These were the Homoiousians, who objected to the term homoousios as savoring of Sabellianism, and yet admitted the essential point implied by it. That this was so was pointed out by Hilary of Poitiers (c) who contended that what the West meant by homoousios the East meant by homoiousios. The Homoiousian party of the East split on the question of the deity of the Holy Spirit. Those of them who denied the deity of the Spirit remained Semi-Arians.

(a) Second Creed of Sirmium, in Hilary of Poitiers, De Synodis, ch.11. (MSL, 10:487.) Cf. Hahn, § 161.

The Council of Sirmium in 357 was the second in that city. It was attended entirely by bishops from the West. But among them were Ursacius, Valens, and Germinius, leaders of the opposition to the Nicene creed. Hosius under compulsion signed the following; see Hilary, loc cit. The Latin original is given by Hilary.

It is evident that there is one God, the Father Almighty, according as it is believed throughout the whole world; and His only Son Jesus Christ our Saviour, begotten of Him before the ages. But we cannot and ought not to say there are two Gods.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

But since some or many persons were disturbed by questions as to substance, called in Greek ousia, that is, to make it understood more exactly, as to homoousios or what is called homoiousios, there ought to be no mention of these at all, nor ought any one to state them; for the reason and consideration that they are not contained in the divine Scriptures, and that they are above man's understanding, nor can any man declare the birth of the Son, of whom it is written: |Who shall declare His generation?| For it is plain that only the Father knows how He begat the Son, and the Son how He was begotten of the Father. There is no question that the Father is greater. No one can doubt that the Father is greater than the Son, in honor, dignity, splendor, majesty and in the very name Father, the Son himself testifying, He that sent Me is greater than I. And no one is ignorant that it is Catholic doctrine that there are two persons of Father and Son; and that the Father is greater, and that the Son is subordinated to the Father, together with all things which the Father hath subordinated to Him; and that the Father has no beginning and is invisible, immortal, and impassible, but that the Son has been begotten of the Father, God of God, light of light, and of this Son the generation, as is aforesaid, no one knows but His Father. And that the Son of God himself, our Lord and God, as we read, took flesh or a body, that is, man of the womb of the Virgin Mary, as the angel announced. And as all the Scriptures teach, and especially the doctor of the Gentiles himself. He took of Mary the Virgin, man, through whom He suffered. And the whole faith is summed up and secured in this, that the Trinity must always be preserved, as we read in the Gospel: |Go ye and baptize all nations in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.| Complete and perfect is the number of the Trinity. Now the Paraclete, or the Spirit, is through the Son: who was sent and came according to His promise in order to instruct, teach, and sanctify the Apostles and all believers.

(b) Creed of Nice A. D.359, Theodoret, Hist. Ec., II, 16. (MSG, 82:1049.) Cf. Hahn, § 164.

The deputies from the Council of Ariminum were sent to Nice, a small town in Thrace, where they met the heads of the Arian party. A creed, strongly Arian in tendency, was given them and they were sent back to Ariminum to have it accepted. See Theodoret, loc. cit., and Athanasius, De Synodis.

We believe in one and only true God, Father Almighty, of whom are all things. And in the only begotten Son of God, who before all ages and before every beginning was begotten of God, through whom all things were made, both visible and invisible; begotten, only begotten, alone of the Father alone, God of God, like the Father that begat Him, according to the Scriptures, whose generation no one knoweth except only the Father that begat Him. This only begotten Son of God, sent by His Father, we know to have come down from heaven, as it is written, for the destruction of sin and death; begotten of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary, as it is written, according to the flesh. Who companied with His disciples, and when the whole dispensation was fulfilled, according to the Father's will, was crucified, dead and buried, and descended to the world below, at whom hell itself trembled; on the third day He rose from the dead and companied with His disciples, and when forty days were completed He was taken up into the heavens, and sitteth on the right hand of His Father, and is coming at the last day of the resurrection, in His Father's glory, to render to every one according to his works. And in the Holy Ghost, which the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, both God and Lord, promised to send to the race of men, the comforter, as it is written, the spirit of truth, and this Spirit He himself sent after He had ascended into the heavens and sat at the right hand of the Father, from thence He is coming to judge both the quick and the dead.

But the word |substance,| which was simply inserted by the Fathers and not being understood was a cause of scandal to the people because it was not found in the Scriptures, it hath seemed good to us to remove, and that for the future no mention whatever be permitted of |substance,| because the sacred Scriptures nowhere make any mention of the |substance| of the Father and the Son. Nor must one |subsistence| [hypostasis] be named in relation to the person [prosopon] of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And we call the Son like the Father, as the Holy Scriptures call Him and teach. But all heresies, both those already condemned, and any, if such there be, which have arisen against the document thus put forth, let them be anathema.

(c) Hilary of Poitiers. De Synodis, §§ 88, 89, 91. (MSL, 10:540.)

That the Homoiousian party meant substantially the same by their term homoiousios as did the Homoousians or the Nicene party, by their term homoousios.

Hilary was of great importance in the Arian controversy in bringing the Homoiousian party of the East and the Nicene party of the West to an agreement. The Eastern theologians, who hesitated to accept the Nicene term, were eventually induced to accept, understanding by the term homoousios the same as homoiousios. See below, § 70.

§ 88. Holy brethren, I understand by homoousios God of God, not of an unlike essence, not divided, but born; and that the Son has a birth that is unique, of the substance of the unknown God, that He is begotten yet co-eternal and wholly like the Father. The word homoousios greatly helped me already believing this. Why do you condemn my faith in the homoousios, which you cannot disapprove by the confession of the homoiousios? For you condemn my faith, or rather your own, when you condemn its verbal equivalent. Does somebody else misunderstand it? Let us together condemn the misunderstanding, but not take away the security of your faith. Do you think that one must subscribe to the Samosetene Council, so that no one may make use of homoousios in the sense of Paul of Samosata? Then let us subscribe to the Council of Nicaea, so that the Arians may not impugn the word homoousios. Have we to fear that homoiousios does not imply the same belief as homoousios? Let us decree that there is no difference between being of one and being of a similar substance. But may not the word homoousios be understood in a wrong sense? Let it be proved that it can be understood in a good sense. We hold one and the same sacred truth. I beseech you that the one and the same truth which we hold, we should regard as sacred among us. Forgive me, brethren, as I have so often asked you to do. You are not Arians; why, then, by denying the homoousios, should you be thought to be Arians?

§ 89. {HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} True likeness belongs to a true natural connection. But when the true natural connection exists, the homoousios is implied. It is likeness according to essence when one piece of metal is like another and not plated.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} Nothing can be like gold but gold, or like milk that does not belong to that species.

§ 91. I do not know the word homoousios or understand it unless it confesses a similarity of essence. I call God of heaven and earth to witness, that when I heard neither word, my belief was always such that I should have interpreted homoiousios by homoousios. That is I believed that nothing could be similar according to nature unless it was of the same nature.

§ 67. The Policy of the Sons of Constantine Toward Heathenism and Donatism

Under the sons of Constantine a harsher policy toward heathenism was adopted. Laws were passed forbidding heathen sacrifices (a, b), and although these were not carried out vigorously in the West, where there were many heathen members of the leading families, they were more generally enforced in the East, and heathenism was thereby much reduced, at least in outward manifestations. As to heresy, the action of the emperors and especially Constantius in his constant endeavor to set aside the Nicene faith involved harsh measures against all who differed from the approved theology of the court. Donatism called for special treatment. A policy of conciliation was attempted, but on account of the failure to win over the Donatists and their alliance with fierce revolutionary fanatics, the Circumcellions, violent measures were taken against them which nearly extirpated the sect.

(a) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 10, 2; A. D.341.

This edict of Constantius is of importance here as it seems to imply that Constantine did more toward repressing heathen sacrifices than to forbid those celebrated in private. It is, however, the only evidence of his prohibiting sacrifice, and it might have been due to misunderstanding that his example is here cited.

Let superstition cease; let the madness of sacrifices be abolished. For whoever, against the law of the divine prince, our parent [Constantine] and this command of our clemency, shall celebrate sacrifices, let a punishment appropriate to him and this present decision be issued.

(b) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 10, 3; A. D.342.

In the West Constans did not enforce the law against sacrifices with great severity, but tolerated the existence and even use of certain temples without the walls.

Although all superstition is to be entirely destroyed, yet we will that the temple buildings, which are situated without the walls, remain intact and uninjured. For since from some have arisen various sports, races, and contests, it is not proper that they should be destroyed, from which the solemnity of ancient enjoyments are furnished to the Roman people.

(c) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 10, 4; A. D.346.

It is our pleasure that in all places and in all cities the temples be henceforth closed, and access having been forbidden to all, freedom to sin be denied the wicked. We will that all abstain from sacrifices; that if any one should commit any such act, let him fall before the vengeance of the sword. Their goods, we decree, shall be taken away entirely and recovered to the fisc, and likewise rectors of provinces are to be punished if they neglect to punish for these crimes.

(d) Optatus, De schismate Donatistarum, III, §§ 3, 4. (MSL, 11:999.)

The principal historical writer treating the schism of the Donatists is Optatus, Bishop of Mileve. His work on this sect was written about 370 and revised and enlarged in 385. It is of primary importance not merely for the history but for the dogmatic discussions on the doctrine of the Church, Bk. II, the doctrine of the sacraments, the idea of opus operatum as applied to them, Bk. V; in all of which he laid the foundation upon which Augustine built. In addition to the passage from Optatus given here, Epistles 88 and 185 by Augustine are accessible in translations and will be found of assistance in filling in the account of the Circumcellions. The latter is known as De correctione Donatistarum and is published in the anti-Donatist writings of Augustine in PNF, ser. I, vol. IV; the most important passages are §§ 15 and 25. It is probable that the party of the Circumcellions was originally due to a revolt against intolerable agrarian conditions and that their association with the Donatists was at first slight.

§ 3. {HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} The Emperor Constans did not send Paulus and Macarius primarily to bring about unity, but with alms, that, assisted by them, the poor of the various churches might be relieved, clothed, and fed. When they came to Donatus, your father, and showed him why they had come, he was seized with his accustomed furious anger and broke forth with these words: |What has the Emperor to do with the Church.|{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

§ 4. If anything, therefore, has been done harshly in bringing about unity,(106) you see, brother Parmenianus, to whom it ought to be attributed. Do you say that the military was sought by us Catholics; if so, then why did no one see the military in arms in the proconsular province? Paulus and Macarius came, everywhere to consider the poor and to exhort individuals to unity; and when they approached Bagaja, then another Donatus, bishop of that city, desiring to place an obstacle in the way of unity and hinder the work of those coming, whom we have mentioned, sent messengers throughout the neighboring places and all markets, and summoned the Circumcellions, calling them Agonistici, to come to the said place. And at that time the gathering of these was desired, whose madness a little before had been seen by the bishops themselves to have been impiously inspired. For when men of this sort before the unity(107) wandered through various places, when Axido and Fasir were called by the same mad ones the leaders of the saints, no one could be secure in his possessions; written evidences of indebtedness lost their force; no creditor was at liberty at that time to demand anything. All were terrified by the letters of those who boasted that they were the leaders of the saints, and if there was any delay in fulfilling their commands, suddenly a furious multitude hurried up and, terror going on before, creditors were surrounded with a wall of dangers, so that those who ought to have been asked for their protection were by fear of death compelled to use humble prayers. Each one hastened to abandon his most important duties; and profit was thought to have come from these outrages. Even the roads were no longer at all safe, because masters, turned out of their carriages, ran humbly before their slaves sitting in the places of their masters. By the judgment and rule of these the order of rank between masters and servants was changed. Therefore when there arose complaint against the bishops of your party, they are said to have written to Count Taurinus, that such men could not be corrected in the Church, and they demanded that they should receive discipline from the said count. Then Taurinus, in response to their letters, commanded an armed body of soldiers to go through the markets where the Circumcellions were accustomed to wander. In Octavum very many were killed, many were beheaded and their bodies, even to the present day, can be counted by the white altars or tables.(108) When first some of their number were buried in the basilicas, Clarus, a presbyter in Subbulum, was compelled by his bishop to disinter those buried. Whence it is reported that what was done had been commanded to be done, when it is admitted that sepulture in the house of God is not granted. Afterward the multitude of these people increased. In this way Donatus of Bagaja found whence he might lead against Macarius a raging mob. Of that sort were those who were to their own ruin murderers of themselves in their desire for a false martyrdom. Of these, also, were those who rushed headlong and threw themselves down from the summits of lofty mountains. Behold from what numbers the second Bishop Donatus formed his cohorts! Those who were bearing treasure which they had obtained for the poor were held back by fear. They decided in so great a predicament to demand from Count Sylvester armed soldiery, not that by these they should do violence to any one, but that they might stop the force drawn up by the aforesaid Bishop Donatus. Thus it happened that an armed soldiery was seen. Now, as to what followed, see to whom it ought or can be ascribed. They had there an infinite number of those summoned, and it is certain that a supply of provisions for a year had been provided. Of the basilicas they made a sort of public granary, and awaited the coming of those against whom they might expend their fury, if the presence of armed soldiery had not prevented them. For when, before the soldiers came, the metatores,(109) as was the custom, were sent, they were not properly received, contrary to the apostolic precept, |honor to whom honor, custom to whom custom, tribute to whom tribute, owe no man anything.| For those who had been sent with their horses were smitten by those whose names you have made public with malicious intent. They were the authors of their own wrong; and what they could suffer they themselves taught by these outrages. The soldiers who had been maltreated returned to their fellows, and for what two or three suffered, all grieved. All were roused, and their officers could not restrain the angered soldiers.

§ 68. Julian the Apostate

The reign of Julian the Apostate (361-363) is important in the history of the Christian Church, in the first place, as indicating the slight hold which heathenism had retained as a system upon the bulk of the people and the impossibility of reviving it in any form in which it might compete with the Church. Julian attempted to inject into a purified heathenism those elements in the Christian Church which he was forced to admire. The result was a fantastic mixture of rites and measures with which the heathen would have nothing to do. In the second place, in the development of the Church's doctrinal system, and especially in the Arian controversy, the reign of Julian gave the contestants, who were obliged to stand together against a common enemy, reason for examining in a new way the points they had in common, and enabled them to see that some at least differed more over the expression than over the content of their faith. The character of Julian has long been a favorite subject of study and especially the motives that induced him to abandon Christianity for the Neo-Platonic revival of heathenism.

Additional source material: Socrates, Hist. Ec., III: Ammianus Marcellinus, Roman History, XVI-XXV, translated by C. D. Yonge (Bohn's Classical Library); Select Works of Julian, translated by C. W. King (Bohn).

(a) Socrates. Hist Ec. III.1. (MSG, 67:368.)

The Emperor Julian.

The account of the Emperor Julian as given by Socrates is probably the best we have. It is, on the whole, a model of a fair statement, such as is characteristic of the history of Socrates in nearly all its parts. In spite of its length it is worthy of a place in its entirety, as it explains the antecedents of a character which the world has had difficulty in understanding.

Constantine, who gave Byzantium his own name, had two brothers born of the same father but by a different mother, of these one was named Dalmatius, the other Constantius. Dalmatius had a son of the same name as his own; Constantius had two sons, Gallus and Julian. Now, as on the death of Constantine, the founder of Constantinople, the soldiery had put the younger brother Constantius to death, the lives of his two orphaned children were also endangered; but a disease, apparently fatal, preserved Gallus from the violence of his father's murderers; and as to Julian, his age -- for he was only eight years old at the time -- protected him. The Emperor's jealousy toward them having been subdued, Gallus attended schools at Ephesus in Ionia, in which country considerable possessions had been left them by their parents. Julian, however, when he was grown up pursued his studies at Constantinople, going constantly to the palace, where the schools then were, in simple attire and under the care of the eunuch Mardonius. In grammar, Nicocles, the Lacedaemonian, was his instructor; and Ecbolius, the sophist, who was at that time a Christian, taught him rhetoric; for the Emperor Constantius had made provision that he should have no pagan masters, lest he should be seduced to pagan superstitions; for Julian was a Christian at the beginning. Since he made great progress in literature, the report began to spread that he was capable of ruling the Roman Empire; and this popular rumor becoming generally spread abroad, greatly disquieted the Emperor. Therefore he removed him from the great city to Nicomedia, forbidding him at the same time to frequent the school of Libanius the Syrian sophist. For Libanius, having been driven away by the teachers of Constantinople, had opened a school at Nicomedia. Here he gave vent to his indignation against the teachers in his treatise composed against them. Julian, however, was interdicted from being his auditor, because Libanius was a pagan in religion; nevertheless because he admired his orations, he procured them and read them secretly and diligently. As he was becoming very expert in the rhetorical art, Maximus the philosopher arrived in Nicomedia, not the Byzantine, Euclid's father, but the Ephesian whom the Emperor Valentinian afterward caused to be executed as a practicer of magic. This took place later; at that time the only thing that attracted him to Nicomedia was the fame of Julian. Having obtained from him a taste for the principles of philosophy, Julian began to imitate the religion of his teacher, who had instilled into his mind a desire for the Empire. When these things reached the ears of the Emperor, wavering between hope and fear, Julian became very anxious to lull the suspicion that had been awakened, and he who was at first truly a Christian then became one in pretence. Shaved to the very skin, he pretended to live the monastic life; and while in private he pursued philosophical studies, in public he read the sacred writings of the Christian Church. Moreover, he was appointed reader of the church in Nicomedia. Thus by these pretexts he escaped the Emperor's displeasure. Now he did all this from fear, but he by no means abandoned his hope; telling many of his friends that times would be happier when he should possess all. While his affairs were in this condition his brother Gallus, who had been created Caesar, when he was on his way to the East came to Nicomedia to see him. But when Gallus was slain shortly after, Julian was immediately suspected by the Emperor; therefore the latter directed that he should be kept under guard; he soon found means, however, of escaping from his guards, and fleeing from place to place he managed to be in safety. At last Eusebia, the wife of the Emperor, having discovered him in his retreat, persuaded the Emperor to do him no harm, and to permit him to go to Athens to study philosophy. From thence -- to be brief -- the Emperor recalled him and afterward created him Caesar, and having given him his own sister Helen in marriage, he sent him to Gaul against the barbarians. For the barbarians whom the Emperor Constantius had hired as auxiliary forces against Magnentius, being of no use against that usurper, were pillaging the Roman cities. Inasmuch as he was young he ordered him to undertake nothing without consulting the other military chiefs.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} Julian's complaint to the Emperor of the inertness of his military officers procured for him a coadjutor in the command more in sympathy with his ardor; and by their combined efforts an assault was made upon the barbarians. But they sent him an embassy, assuring him that they had been ordered by letters of the Emperor to march into Roman territories, and they showed him the letters. But he cast the ambassadors into prison, vigorously attacked the forces of the enemy and totally defeated them; and having taken their king prisoner, he sent him to Constantius. After these successes he was proclaimed Emperor by the soldiers; and inasmuch as there was no imperial crown at hand, one of the guards took the chain which he wore around his own neck and placed it upon Julian's head. Thus Julian became Emperor; but whether he subsequently conducted himself as a philosopher, let my readers determine. For he neither sent an embassy to Constantius, nor paid him the least homage in acknowledgment of past favors; but conducted everything just as it pleased him. He changed the rulers of the provinces, and he sought to bring Constantius into contempt by reciting publicly in every city the letters which Constantius had written to the barbarians. For this reason the cities revolted from Constantius and attached themselves to him. Then he openly put off the pretence of being a Christian; going about to the various cities, he opened the pagan temples, offering sacrifices to the idols, and designating himself |Pontifex Maximus|; and the heathen celebrated their pagan festivals with pagan rites. By doing these things he excited a civil war against Constantius; and thus as far as he was concerned all the evils involved in war happened. For this philosopher's desire could not have been fulfilled without much bloodshed. But God, who is the judge of His own counsels, checked the fury of these antagonists without detriment to the State by the removal of one of them. For when Julian arrived among the Thracians, it was announced that Constantius was dead. And thus did the Roman Empire at that time escape the intestine strife. Julian entered Constantinople and at once considered how he might conciliate the masses and secure popular favor. Accordingly, he had recourse to the following measures: he knew that Constantius was hated by all the people who held the homoousian faith and had driven them from the churches and had proscribed and exiled their bishops. He was aware, also, that the pagans were extremely discontented because they had been forbidden to sacrifice to their gods, and were anxious to get their temples opened and to be at liberty to offer sacrifices to their idols. Thus he knew that both classes secretly entertained hostile feelings toward his predecessor, and at the same time the people in general were exceedingly exasperated by the violence of the eunuchs, and especially by the rapacity of Eusebius, the chief officer of the imperial bed-chamber. Therefore he treated all with craftiness. With some he dissembled; others he attached to himself by conferring obligations upon them, led by a desire for vainglory; but to all he manifested how he stood toward the heathen religion. And first, in order to slander Constantius and condemn him as cruel toward his subjects among the people generally, he recalled the exiled bishops and restored to them their confiscated estates. He next commanded suitable agents to open the pagan temples without delay. Then he directed that those who had been treated unjustly by the eunuchs should receive back the property of which they had been plundered. Eusebius, the chief officer of the imperial bed-chamber, he punished with death, not only on account of the injuries he had inflicted on others, but because he was assured that it was through his machinations his brother Gallus had been killed. The body of Constantius he honored with an imperial funeral, but he expelled the eunuchs, the barbers, and cooks from the palace.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} At night, remaining awake, he wrote orations which he afterward delivered in the Senate, going thither from the palace, though in fact he was the first and only Emperor since the time of Julius Caesar who made speeches in that assembly. He honored those who were eminent for literary attainments, and especially those who taught philosophy; in consequence of which an abundance of pretenders to learning of this sort resorted to the palace from all quarters, men who wore their palliums and were more conspicuous for their costume than for their erudition. These impostors, who invariably adopted the religious sentiments of their prince, were inimical to the welfare of the Christians; but since Julian himself was overcome by excessive vanity he derided all his predecessors in a book which he wrote, entitled |The Caesars.| Led by the same haughty disposition, he composed treatises against the Christians as well.

(b) Sozomenus, Hist. Ec., V, 3. (MSG, 67:1217.)

Julian's restoration of heathenism.

When Julian was placed in sole possession of the Empire he commanded all the temples throughout the East to be reopened; and he also commanded that those which had been neglected to be repaired, those which had fallen into ruins to be rebuilt, and the altars to be restored. He assigned considerable money for this purpose. He restored the customs of antiquity and the ancestral ceremonies in the cities and the sacrifices. He himself offered libations openly and sacrificed publicly; and held in honor those who were zealous in these things. He restored to their ancient privileges the initiators and the priests, the hierophants and the servants of the temples, and confirmed the legislation of former emperors in their favor. He granted them exemption from duties and other burdens as they had previously had had such exemption. He restored to the temple guardians the provisions which had been abolished. He commanded them to be pure from meats, and to abstain from whatever, according to pagan opinion, was not befitting him who had announced his purpose of leading a pure life.

(c) Sozomenus, Hist. Ec., V, 5. (MSG, 67:1225.)

Julian's measures against the Christians.

Among those who benefited by the recall of those who had been banished for their religious beliefs were not only the orthodox Christians who suffered under Constantius, but also the Donatists and others who had been expelled from their homes by the previous emperors.

Julian recalled all who, during the reign of Constantius, had been banished on account of their religious beliefs, and restored to them their property which had been confiscated by law. He charged the people not to commit any act of injustice against any of the Christians, not to insult them and not to constrain them to sacrifice unwillingly.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} He deprived the clergy, however, of their immunities, honors, and provisions which Constantine had conferred, repealed the laws which had been enacted in their favor, and reinforced their statutory liabilities. He even compelled the virgins and widows, who on account of their poverty were reckoned among the clergy, to refund the provision which had been assigned them from the public treasury.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} In the intensity of his hatred of the faith, he seized every opportunity to ruin the Church. He deprived it of its property, votive offerings, and sacred vessels, and condemned those who had demolished temples during the reign of Constantine and Constantius to rebuild them or to defray the expense of re-erection. On this ground, since they were unable to repay the sum and also on account of the search after sacred money, many of the priests, clergy, and other Christians were cruelly tortured and cast into prison.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} He recalled the priests who had been banished by the Emperor Constantius; but it is said that he issued this order in their behalf, not out of mercy, but that through contention among themselves the churches might be involved in fraternal strife and might fall away from their law, or because he wished to asperse the memory of Constantius.

(d) Julian, Ep. 49, ad Arsacium; Julian, Imp., Epistulae, ed. Hertlein. Leipsic, 1875 f.; also in Sozomenus, Hist. Ec., V, 16. (MSG, 67:1260.)

To Arsacius, High Priest of Galatia. Hellenism(110) does not flourish as we would have it, because of its votaries. The worship of the gods, however, is grand and magnificent beyond all our prayers and hopes. Let our Adrastea be propitious to these words. No one a little while ago could have dared to look for such and so great a change in a short time. But do we think that these things are enough, and not rather consider that humanity shown strangers, the reverent diligence shown in burying the dead, and the false holiness as to their lives have principally advanced atheism?(111) Each of these things is needful, I think, to be faithfully practised among us. It is not sufficient that you alone should be such, but in general all the priests, as many as there are throughout Galatia, whom you must either shame or persuade to be zealous, or else deprive them of their priestly office, if they do not come with their wives, children, and servants to the temples of the gods, or if they support servants, sons, or wives who are impious toward the gods and prefer atheism to piety. Then exhort the priests not to frequent the theatres, not to drink in taverns, nor to practise any art or business which is shameful or menial. Honor those who comply, expel those who disobey. Establish hostelries in every city, so that strangers, or whoever has need of money, may enjoy our philanthropy, not merely those of our own, but also those of other religions. I have meanwhile made plans by which you will be able to meet the expense. I have commanded that throughout the whole of Galatia annually thirty thousand bushels of corn and sixty thousand measures of wine be given, of which the fifth part I order to be devoted to the support of the poor who attend upon the priests; and the rest is to be distributed by us among strangers and beggars. For if there is not one among the Jews who begs, and even the impious Galileans, in addition to their own, support also ours, it is shameful that our poor should be wanting our aid.

(e) Sozomenus, Hist. Ec., V, 16. (MSG, 67:1260.)

Measures taken by Julian for the restoration of heathenism.

The Emperor, who had long since been eager that Hellenism should prevail through the Empire, was bitterly grieved seeing it excelled by Christianity. The temples, however, were kept open; the sacrifices and the ancient festivals appeared to him in all the cities to come from his will. He grieved that when he considered that if they should be deprived of his care they would experience a speedy change. He was particularly chagrined on discovering that the wives, children, and servants of many pagan priests professed Christianity. On reflecting that the Christian religion had a support in the life and behavior of those professing it, he determined to introduce into the pagan temples everywhere the order and discipline of the Christian religion: by orders and degrees of the ministry, by teachers and readers to give instruction in pagan doctrines and exhortations, by appointed prayers on certain days and at stated hours, by monasteries both for men and for women who desired to live in philosophical retirement, likewise hospitals for the relief of strangers and of the poor, and by other philanthropy toward the poor to glorify the Hellenic doctrine. He commanded that a suitable correction be appointed by way of penance after the Christian tradition for voluntary and involuntary transgressions. He is said to have admired especially the letters of recommendation of the bishops by which they commended travellers to other bishops, so that coming from anywhere they might go to any one and be hospitably received as known and as friends, and be cared for kindly on the evidence of these testimonials. Considering also these things, he endeavored to accustom the pagans to Christian practices.

(f) Sozomenus. Hist. Ec., V, 18. (MSG, 67:1269.)

Cf. Socrates, Hist. Ec., III, 16.

Julian forbade the children of Christians to be instructed in the writings of the Greek poets and authors, and to frequent the public schools.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} He did not permit Christians to be educated in the learning of the Greeks, since he considered that only from them the power of persuasion was gained. Apollinaris,(112) therefore, at that time employed his great learning and ingenuity in the production of a heroic epic on the antiquities of the Hebrews to the reign of Saul as a substitute for the poem of Homer.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} He also wrote comedies in imitation of Menander, and imitated the tragedies of Euripides and the odes of Pindar.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} Were it not that men were accustomed to venerate antiquity and to love that to which they are accustomed, the works of Apollinaris would be equally praised and taught.

(g) Julian, Epistula 42.

Edict against Christian teachers of the classics.

This is the famous decree prohibiting Christians from teaching the Greek classics, and was quite generally understood by Christians as preventing them from studying the same.

I think true culture consists not in proficiency in words and speech, but in a condition of mind which has sound intentions and right opinions concerning good and evil, the honorable and the base. Whoever, therefore, thinks one thing and teaches those about him another appears to be as wanting in culture as in honor. If in trifles there is a difference between thought and speech, it is nevertheless an evil in some way to be endured; but if in important matters any one thinks one thing and teaches in opposition to what he thinks, this is the trick of charlatans, the act not of good men, but of those who are thoroughly depraved, especially in the case of those who teach what they regard as most worthless, deceiving and enticing by flattery into evil those whom they wish to use for their own purposes. All those who undertake to teach anything should be upright in life and not cherish in their minds ideas which are in opposition to those commonly received; most of all I think that such they ought to be who converse with the young on learning, or who explain the writings of the ancients, whether they are teachers of eloquence or of rhetoric, and still more if they are sophists. For they aim to be not merely teachers of words but of morals as well, and claim instruction in political science as belonging to their field. Whether this be true, I will leave undetermined. But praising them as those who thus strive for fine professions, I would praise them still more if they neither lied nor contradicted themselves, thinking one thing and teaching their pupils another. Homer, Hesiod, Demosthenes, Herodotus, Thucydides, Isocrates, and Lysias were indebted to the gods for all their science. Did they not think that they were under the protection of Hermes and of the Muses? It seems to me, therefore, absurd that those who explain their writings should despise the gods they honored. But when I think it is absurd, I do not say that, on account of their pupils, they should alter their opinions; but I give them the choice, either not to teach what they do not hold as good, or, if they prefer to teach, first to convince their pupils that Homer, Hesiod, or any of those whom they explain and condemn, is not so godless and foolish in respect to the gods as they represent him to be. For since they draw their support and make gain from what these have written, they confess themselves most sordidly greedy of gain, willing to do anything for a few drachmas. Hitherto there were many causes for the lack of attendance upon the temples, and overhanging fear gave an excuse for keeping secret the right teaching concerning the gods. Now, however, since the gods have granted us freedom, it seems to me absurd that men should teach what they do not regard as good. If they believe that all those men are wise whose writings they expound and as whose prophets they sit, let them first imitate their piety toward the gods; but if they think that these writers erred concerning the most honored gods, let them go into the churches of the Galileans and expound Matthew and Luke, believing whom you forbid attendance upon the sacrifices. I would that your ears and tongues were born again, as you would say, of those things in which I always take part, and whoever loves me thinks and does. This law is to apply to teachers and instructors generally. Whoever among the youth wishes to make use of their instruction is not forbidden. For it would not be fair in the case of those who are yet youths and do not know which way to turn, to forbid the best way, and through fear to compel them to remain unwillingly by their ancestral institutions. Although it would be right to cure such people against their wills as being insane, yet it is permitted all to suffer under this disease. For it is my opinion that the ignorant should be instructed, not punished.

Chapter III. The Triumph Of The New Nicene Orthodoxy Over Heterodoxy And Heathenism

The Arian controversy was the most important series of events in the internal history of the Christian Church in the fourth century, without reference to the truth or error of the positions taken or the rightful place of dogma within the Church. It roused more difficulties, problems, and disputes, led to more persecutions, ended in greater party triumphs than any other ecclesiastical or religious movement. It entered upon its last important phase about the time of the accession of the Emperor Julian. From that time the parties began to recognize their real affiliations and sought a basis of union in a common principle. The effect was that on the accession of Christian emperors the Church was able to advance rapidly toward a definitive statement. Of the emperors that followed Julian, Valentinian I (364-375), who ruled in the West, took a moderate and tolerant position in the question regarding the existence of heathenism alongside of the Church and heretical parties within the Church, though afterward harsher measures were taken by his son and successor (§ 69). In the East his colleague Valens (364-378) supported the extreme Arian party and persecuted the other parties, at the same time tolerating heathenism. This only brought the anti-Arians more closely together as a new party on the basis of a new interpretation of the Nicene formula (§ 70, cf. § 66, c). On the death of Valens at Adrianople, 378, an opportunity was given this new party, which it has become customary to call the New Nicene party, to support Theodosius (379-395) in his work of putting through the orthodox formula at the Council of Constantinople, 381 (§ 71).

§ 69. The Emperors from Jovian to Theodosius and Their Policy toward Heathenism and Arianism

The reign of Jovian lasted so short a time, June, 363, to February, 364, that he had no time to develop a policy, and the assertion of Theodoret that he extinguished the heathen sacrificial fires is doubtful. On the death of Jovian, Valentinian was elected Emperor, who soon associated with himself his brother Valens as his colleague for the East. The two were tolerant toward heathenism, but Valens took an active part in favor of Arianism, while Valentinian held aloof from doctrinal controversy. On the death of Valentinian I, his sons Gratian (murdered at Lyons, 383) and Valentinian II (murdered at Vienne by Arbogast, 392), succeeded to the Empire. Under them the policy of toleration ceased, heathenism was proscribed. In the East under Theodosius, appointed colleague of Gratian in 379, the same policy was enforced. Arianism was now put down with a strong hand in both parts of the Empire.

(a) Ammianus Marcellinus, Roman History, XXX, 9, § 5.

The religious policy of Valentinian I.

Ammianus Marcellinus is probably the best of the later Roman historians, and is the chief authority for much of the secular history from 353 to 378, in which period he is a source of the first rank, writing from personal observation and first-hand information. Ammianus was himself a heathen, but he seems not to have been embittered by the persecution to which his faith had been subjected. He was a man of a calm and judicial mind, and his judgment is rarely biassed, even when he touches upon ecclesiastical matters which, however, he rarely does.

Valentinian was especially remarkable during his reign for his moderation in this particular -- that he kept a middle course between the different sects of religion, and never troubled any one, nor issued any orders in favor of one kind of worship rather than another; nor did he promulgate any threatening edicts to bow down the necks of his subjects to the form of worship to which he himself was inclined; but he left these parties just as he found them, without making any alterations.

(b) Codex Theodosianus, XII, 1, 75; A. D.371.

In this edict Valentinian I confirms the immunities of the heathen priesthood which had been restored by Julian. The heathen priesthood is here shown to continue as still open to aspirants after political honors and conferring immunities upon those who attained it. The curial had to pass through the various offices in fixed order before he attained release from burdens which had been laid upon him by the State's system of taxation.

Let those be held as enjoying immunity who, advancing by the various grades and in due order, have performed their various obligations and have attained by their labor and approved actions to the priesthood of a province or to the honor of a chief magistracy, gaining this position not by favor and votes obtained by begging for them, but with the favorable report of the citizens and commendation of the public as a whole, and let them enjoy the repose which they shall have deserved by their long labor, and let them not be subject to those acts of bodily severity in punishment which it is not seemly that honorati should undergo.

(c) Theodoret. Hist. Ec., IV, 21; V, 20. (MSG, 82:1181.)

The following statement of Theodoret might seem to have been inspired by the general hatred which was felt for the violent persecutor and pronounced Arian, Valens. Nevertheless the statement is supported by references to the conditions under Valens made by Libanius in his Oratio pro Templis, addressed to the Emperor Theodosius.

IV, 21. At Antioch Valens spent considerable time, and gave complete license to all who under cover of the Christian name, pagans, Jews, and the rest preached doctrines contrary to those of the Gospel. The slaves of this error even went so far as to perform pagan rites, and thus the deceitful fire which after Julian had been quenched by Jovian, was now rekindled by permission of Valens. The rites of the Jews, of Dionysus and Demeter were no longer performed in a corner as they would have been in a pious reign, but by revellers running wild in the forum. Valens was a foe to none but to them that held the apostolic doctrine.

V, 20. Against the champions of the apostolic decrees alone he persisted in waging war. Accordingly, during the whole period of his reign the altar fire was lit, libations and sacrifices were offered to idols, public feasts were celebrated in the forum, and votaries initiated in the orgies of Dionysus ran about in goatskins, mangling dogs in Bacchic frenzy.

(d) Symmachus, Memorial to Valentinian II; Ambrose, Epistula 17. (MSL, 16:1007.)

A petition for the restoration of the altar of Victory in the Senate House at Rome.

Symmachus, prefect of the city, had previously appealed to Gratian to restore the altar which had been removed. The following petition, of which the more impressive parts are given, was made in 384, two years after the first petition. The opening paragraph refers to the former petition. The memorial is found among the Epistles of Ambrose, who replies to it.

1. As soon as the most honorable Senate, always devoted to you, knew what crimes were made amenable to law, and saw that the reputation of late times was being purified by pious princes, following the example of a favorable time, it gave utterance to its long-suppressed grief and bade me be once again the delegate to utter its complaints. But through wicked men audience was refused me by the divine Emperor, otherwise justice would not have been wanting, my lords and emperors of great renown, Valentinian, Theodosius, and Arcadius, victorious, triumphant, and ever august.

3. It is our task to watch on behalf of your clemency. For by what is it more suitable that we defend the institutions of our ancestors, and the rights and destiny of our country, than by the glory of these times, which is all the greater when you understand that you may not do anything contrary to the custom of your ancestors? We request, then, the restoration of that condition of religious affairs which was so long of advantage to the State. Let the rulers of each sect and of each opinion be counted up; a late one [Julian] practised the ceremonies of his ancestors, a later [Valentinian I], did not abolish them. If the religion of old times does not make a precedent, let the connivance of the last [Valentinian and Valens] do so.

4. Who is so friendly with the barbarians as not to require an altar of Victory?{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

5. But even if the avoidance of such an omen(113) were not sufficient, it would at least have been seemly to abstain from injuring the ornaments of the Senate House. Allow us, we beseech you, as old men to leave to posterity what we received as boys. The love of custom is great. Justly did the act of the divine Constantius last for a short time. All precedents ought to be avoided by you, which you know were soon abolished.(114)

6. Where shall we swear to obey your laws and commands? By what religious sanctions shall the false mind be terrified, so as not to lie in bearing witness? All things are, indeed, filled with God, and no place is safe for the perjured, but to be bound in the very presence of religious forms has great power in producing a fear of sinning. That altar preserves the concord of all; that altar appeals to the good faith of each; and nothing gives more authority to our decrees than that our order issues every decree as if we were under the sanction of an oath. So that a place will be opened to perjury, and my illustrious princes, who are defended by a public oath, will deem this to be such.

7. But the divine Constantius is said to have done the same. Let us rather imitate the other actions of that prince [Valentinian I], who would have undertaken nothing of the kind, if any one else had committed such an error before him. For the fall of the earlier sets his successor right, and amendment results from the censure of a previous example. It was pardonable for your clemency's ancestor in so novel a matter not to guard against blame. Can the same excuse avail us, if we imitate what we know to have been disapproved?

8. Will your majesties listen to other actions of this same prince, which you may more worthily imitate? He diminished none of the privileges of the sacred virgins, he filled the priestly offices with nobles. He did not refuse the cost of the Roman ceremonies, and following the rejoicing Senate through all the streets of the Eternal City, he beheld the shrines with unmoved countenance, he read the names of the gods inscribed on the pediments, he inquired about the origin of the temples, and expressed admiration for their founders. Although he himself followed another religion, he maintained these for the Empire, for every one has his own customs, every one his own rites. The divine Mind has distributed different guardians and different cults to different cities. As souls are separately given to infants as they are born, so to a people is given the genius of its destiny. Here comes in the proof from advantage, which most of all vouches to man for the gods. For, since our reason is wholly clouded, whence does the knowledge of the gods more rightly come to us, than from the memory and records of successful affairs? Now if a long period gives authority to religious customs, faith ought to be kept with so many centuries, and our ancestors ought to be followed by us as they happily followed theirs.

9. Let us now suppose that we are present at Rome and that she addresses you in these words: |Excellent princes, fathers of your country, respect my years to which pious rites have brought me. Let me use the ancestral ceremonies, for I do not repent of them. Let me live after my own fashion, for I am free. This worship subdued the world to my laws, these sacred rites repelled Hannibal from the walls, and the Senones from the capitol. Have I been reserved for this, that when aged I should be blamed? I will consider what it is thought should be set in order, but tardy and discreditable is the reformation of old age.|

10. We ask, therefore, peace for the gods of our fathers and of our country. It is just that what all worship be considered one. We look on the same stars, the sky is common, the same world surrounds us. What difference does it make by what paths each seeks the truth? We cannot attain to so great a secret by one road; but this discussion is rather for persons at ease; we offer now prayers, not conflict.(115)

(e) Ambrose, Epistula 18. (MSL, 16:1013.)

Reply of Ambrose to the Memorial of Symmachus.

Immediately after the receipt of the Memorial of Symmachus by Valentinian II, a copy was sent to Ambrose, who wrote a reply or letter of advice to Valentinian, which might be regarded as a counter-petition. In it he enters upon the arguments of Symmachus. Although he could not present the same pathetic figure of an old man pleading for the religion of his ancestors, his arguments are not unjust, and dispose satisfactorily of the leading points made by Symmachus. The line of reasoning represents the best Christian opinion of the times on the matter of the relation of the State to heathenism.

3. The illustrious prefect of the city has in a memorial set forth three propositions which he considers of force -- that Rome, he says, asks for her rites again, that pay be given to her priests and vestal virgins, and that a general famine followed upon the refusal of the priests' stipends.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

7. Let the invidious complaints of the Roman people come to an end. Rome has given no such charge. She speaks other words. |Why do you daily stain me with the useless blood of the harmless herd? Trophies of victory depend not upon the entrails of the flock, but on the strength of those who fight. I subdued the world by a different discipline. Camillus was my soldier who slew those who had taken the Tarpeian rock, and brought back to the capitol the standards taken away; valor laid low those whom religion had not driven off.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} Why do you bring forward the rites of our ancestors? I hate the rites of Neros. Why should I speak of emperors of two months,(116) and the ends of rulers closely joined to their commencements. Or is it, perchance, a new thing for barbarians to cross their boundaries? Were they, too, Christians whose wretched and unprecedented cases, the one a captive emperor(117) and under the other(118) the captive world,(119) made manifest that their rites which promised victory were false? Was there then no altar of Victory?{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}|

8. By one road, says he, one cannot attain to so great a secret. What you know not, that we know by the voice of God. And what you seek by fancies we have found out from the very wisdom and truth of God. Your ways, therefore, do not agree with ours. You implore peace for your gods from the Emperor, we ask peace for our emperors themselves from Christ.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

10. But, says he, let the ancient altars be restored to their images, and their ornaments to the shrines. Let this demand be made of one who shares in their superstitions; a Christian emperor has learned to honor the altar of Christ alone.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} Has any heathen emperor raised an altar to Christ? While they demand the restoration of things which have been, by their own example they show us how great reverence Christian emperors ought to pay to the religion which they follow, since heathen ones offered all to their superstitions.

We began long since, and now they follow those whom they excluded. We glory in yielding our blood, an expense moves them.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} We have increased through loss, through want, through punishment; they do not believe that their rites can continue without contribution.

11. Let the vestal virgins, he says, retain their privileges. Let those speak thus who are unable to believe that virginity can exist without reward, let those who do not trust virtue, encourage it by gain. But how many virgins have their promised rewards gained for them? Hardly are seven vestal virgins received. See the whole number whom the fillet and chaplets for the head, the robes of purple dye, the pomp of the litter surrounded by a company of attendants, the greatest privileges, immense profits, and a prescribed time for virginity have gathered together.

12. Let them lift up the eyes of soul and body, let them look upon a people of modesty, a people of purity, an assembly of virginity. Not fillets are the ornament of their heads, but a veil common in use but ennobled by chastity; the enticement of beauty not sought out, but laid aside; none of those purple insignia, no delicious luxuries, but the practice of fasts; no privileges, no gains; all other things, in fine, of such a kind that one would think them restrained from desire whilst practising their duties. But whilst the duty is being practised the desire for it is aroused. Chastity is increased by its own sacrifice. That is not virginity which is bought with a price, and not kept through a desire for virtue; that is not purity which is bought by auction for money or which is bid for a time.

16. No one has denied gifts to shrines and legacies to soothsayers; their land only has been taken away, because they did not use religiously that which they claimed in right of religion. Why did not they who allege our example practise what we did? The Church has no possessions of her own except the faith. Hence are her returns, her increase. The possessions of the Church are the maintenance of the poor. Let them count up how many captives the temples have ransomed, what food they have contributed for the poor, to what exiles they have supplied the means of living. Their lands, then, have been taken away, but not their rights.

23. He says the rites of our ancestors ought to be retained. But why, seeing that all things have made a progress toward what is better?{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} The day shines not at the beginning, but as time proceeds it is bright with increase of light and grows warm with increase of heat.

27. We, too, inexperienced in age, have an infancy of our senses, but, changing as years go by, lay aside the rudimentary conditions of our faculties.

28. Let them say, then, that all things ought to have remained in their first dark beginnings; that the world covered with darkness is now displeasing because it has brightened with the rising of the sun. And how much more pleasant is it to have dispelled the darkness of the mind than that of the body, and that the rays of faith should have shone than that of the sun. So, then, the primeval state of the world, as of all things, has passed away that the venerable old age of hoary faith might follow.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

30. If the old rites pleased, why did Rome also take up foreign ones? I pass over the ground hidden with costly buildings, and shepherds' cottages glittering with degenerate gold. Why, that I may reply to the very matter which they complain of, have they eagerly received the images of captured cities, and conquered gods, and the foreign rites of alien superstition? Whence, then, is the pattern of Cybele washing her chariots in a stream counterfeiting the Almo? Whence were the Phrygian prophets and the deities of unjust Carthage, always hateful to the Romans? And he whom the Africans worship as Celestis, the Persians as Mithra, and the greater number as Venus, according to a difference of name, not a variety of deities?

31. They ask to have her altar erected in the Senate House of the city of Rome, that is where the majority who meet together are Christians! There are altars in all the temples, and an altar also in the Temple of Victory. Since they delight in numbers, they celebrate their sacrifices everywhere. To claim a sacrifice on this one altar, what is it but to insult the faith? Is it to be borne that a heathen should sacrifice and a Christian be present?{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} Shall there not be a common lot in that common assembly? The faithful portion of the Senate will be bound by the voices of those who call upon the gods, by the oaths of those who swear by them. If they oppose they will seem to exhibit their falsehood, if they acquiesce, to acknowledge what is a sacrilege.

(f) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 10, 12; A. D.392.

Decree of Theodosius prohibiting heathen worship as a crime of the same character as treason.

The following decree may be said to have permanently forbidden heathenism, at least in the East, though as a matter of fact many heathen not only continued to practise their rites in defiance of the law or with the connivance of the authorities, but also received appointments at the court and elsewhere. The law was never repealed. In course of time heathenism disappeared as a religious system.

XVI, 10, 12. Hereafter no one of whatever race or dignity, whether placed in office or discharged therefrom with honor, powerful by birth or humble in condition and fortune, shall in any place or in any city sacrifice an innocent victim to a senseless image, venerate with fire the household deity by a more private offering, as it were the genius of the house, or the Penates, and burn lights, place incense, or hang up garlands. If any one undertakes by way of sacrifice to slay a victim or to consult the smoking entrails, let him, as guilty of lese-majesty, receive the appropriate sentence, having been accused by a lawful indictment, even though he shall not have sought anything against the safety of the princes or concerning their welfare. It constitutes a crime of this nature to wish to repeal the laws, to spy into unlawful things, to reveal secrets, or to attempt things forbidden, to seek the end of another's welfare, or to promise the hope of another's ruin. If any one by placing incense venerates either images made by mortal labor, or those which are enduring, or if any one in ridiculous fashion forthwith venerates what he has represented, either by a tree encircled with garlands or an altar of cut turfs, though the advantage of such service is small, the injury to religion is complete, let him as guilty of sacrilege be punished by the loss of that house or possession in which he worshipped according to the heathen superstition. For all places which shall smoke with incense, if they shall be proved to belong to those who burn the incense, shall be confiscated. But if in temples or public sanctuaries or buildings and fields belonging to another, any one should venture this sort of sacrifice, if it shall appear that the acts were performed without the knowledge of the owner, let him be compelled to pay a fine of twenty-five pounds of gold, and let the same penalty apply to those who connive at this crime as well as those who sacrifice. We will, also, that this command be observed by judges, defensors, and curials of each and every city, to the effect that those things noted by them be reported to the court, and by them the acts charged may be punished. But if they believe anything is to be overlooked by favor or allowed to pass through negligence, they will lie under a judicial warning. And when they have been warned, if by any negligence they fail to punish they will be fined thirty pounds of gold, and the members of their court are to be subjected to a like punishment.

§ 70. The Dogmatic Parties and Their Mutual Relations

The parties in the Arian controversy became greatly divided in the course of the conflict. Speaking broadly, there were still two groups, of which one was composed of all those who regarded the Son as a creature and so not eternal and not truly God; and the other, of those who regarded Him as uncreated and in some real sense eternal and truly God, yet without denying the unity of God. The former were the various Arian parties tending to constant division. The latter can hardly yet be comprised under one common name, and might be called the anti-Arian parties, were it not that there was a positive content to their faith which was in far better harmony with the prevailing religious sentiment of the East and was constantly receiving accessions. In the second generation after Nicaea, a new group of theologians came to the front, of whom the most important were Eustathius of Sebaste, Cyril of Jerusalem, and the three Cappadocians, Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa, most of whom had at least sympathized with the Homoiousian party. Already at the synod of Ancyra, in 358, an approach was made toward a reconciliation of the anti-Arian factions, in that, by a more careful definition, homoousios was rejected only in the sense of identity of being, and homoiousios was asserted only in the sense of equality of attributes in the not identical subjects which, however, shared in the same essence. Homoiousios did not mean mere similarity of being. (Anathemas in Hahn, § 162; Hefele, § 80.) The line of development ultimately taken was by a precise distinction between hypostasis and ousia, whereby hypostasis, which never meant person in the modern sense, which later is represented by the Greek prosopon, was that which subsists and shares with other hypostases in a common essence or ousia.

Additional source material: Athanasius, De Synodis (PNF); Basil, Epp. 38, 52, 69, 125 (PNF, ser. II, vol. VIII); Hilary of Poitiers, De Synodis, cc.87-91 (PNF, ser. II, vol. IX); Socrates, Hist. Ec., III, 25.

Council of Alexandria A. D.362. Tomus ad Antiochenos. (MSG, 26:797.)

The Council of Alexandria, A. D.362, was held by Athanasius in the short time he was allowed to be in his see city at the beginning of the reign of Julian. In the synodal letter or tome addressed to the Nicene Christians at Antioch we have the foundation of the ultimate formula of the Church as opposing Arianism, one substance and three persons, one ousia and three hypostases. The occasion of the letter was an attempt to win over the Meletian party in the schism among the anti-Arians of Antioch. Meletius and his followers appear to have been Homoiousians who were strongly inclined to accept the Nicene confession. Their church was in the Old Town, a portion of Antioch. Opposed to them was Paulinus with his party, which held firmly to the Nicene confession. The difficulty in the way of a full recognition of the Nicene statement by Meletius and his followers was that it savored of Sabellianism. The difficulty of the party of Paulinus in recognizing the orthodoxy of the Meletians was their practice of speaking of the three hypostases or subsistences, which was condemned by the words of the Nicene definition.(120) The outcome of the Alexandrian Council in the matter was that a distinction could be made between ousia and hypostasis, that the difference between the parties was largely a matter of terminology, that those who could use the Nicene symbol with the understanding that the Holy Ghost was not a creature and was not separate from the essence of Christ should be regarded as orthodox. Out of this understanding came the |New Nicene| party, of which the first might be said to have been Meletius, who accepted homoousios in the sense of homoiousios, and of which the |three great Cappadocians| became the recognized leaders.

The Council of Alexandria, in addition to condemning the Macedonian heresy, in advance of Constantinople, also anticipated that assembly by condemning Apollinarianism without mentioning the teacher by whom the heresy was taught. It is condemned in the seventh section of the tome.

§ 3. As many, then, as desire peace with us, and especially those who assemble in the Old Town, and those again who are seceding from the Arians, do ye call to yourselves, and receive them as parents their sons, and as tutors and guardians welcome them; and unite them to our beloved Paulinus and his people, without requiring more from them than to anathematize the Arian heresy and confess the faith confessed by the holy Fathers at Nicaea and to anathematize also those who say that the Holy Ghost is a creature and separate from the essence of Christ. For this is in truth a complete renunciation of the abominable heresy of the Arians, to refuse to divide the Holy Trinity, or to say that any part of it is a creature.

§ 5. {HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} As to those whom some were blaming for speaking of three subsistences (hypostases), on the ground that the phrase is unscriptural and therefore suspicious, we thought it right, indeed, to require nothing beyond the confession of Nicaea, but on account of the contention we made inquiry of them, whether they meant, like the Arian madmen, subsistences foreign and strange and alien in essence from one another, and that each subsistence was divided apart by itself, as is the case with other creatures in general and those begotten of men, or like substances, such as gold, silver, or brass; or whether, like other heretics, they meant three beginnings and three Gods, by speaking of three subsistences.

They assured us in reply that they neither meant this nor had ever held it. But upon our asking them |what, then, do you mean by it, or why do you use such expressions?| they replied: Because they believe in a Holy Trinity, not a trinity in name only, but existing and subsisting in truth, both Father truly existing and subsisting, and a Son, truly substantial and subsisting, and a Holy Ghost subsisting and really existing do we acknowledge, said they, and that neither had they said there were three Gods or three beginnings, nor would they at all tolerate such as said or held so, but that they acknowledged a Holy Trinity, but one Godhead and one beginning, and that the Son is co-essential with the Father, as the Fathers said; and the Holy Ghost not a creature, nor external, but proper to, and inseparable from, the essence of the Father and the Son.

§ 6. Having accepted, then, these men's interpretation of their language and their defence, we made inquiry of those blamed by them for speaking of one subsistence, whether they use the expression in the sense of Sabellius, to the negation of the Son and Holy Ghost, or as though the Son was non-substantial, or the Holy Ghost without subsistence. But they in their turn assured us that they neither said this nor had ever held it, but, |we use the word subsistence thinking it the same thing to say subsistence or essence.|(121) But we hold there is One, because the Son is of the essence of the Father and because of the identity of nature. For we believe that there is one Godhead, and that the nature of it is one, and not that there is one nature of the Father, from which that of the Son and of the Holy Ghost are distinct. Well, thereupon, they who had been blamed for saying that there were three subsistences agreed with the others, while those who had spoken of one essence, also confessed the doctrine of the former as interpreted by them. And by both sides Arius was anathematized as an adversary of Christ, and Sabellius, and Paul of Samosata as impious men, and Valentinus and Basilides as aliens from the truth, and Manichaeus as an inventor of mischief. And all, by God's grace, and after the above explanations, agreed together that the faith confessed by the Fathers at Nicaea is better and more accurate than the said phrases, and that for the future they would prefer to be content to use its language.

§ 7. But since, also, certain seemed to be contending together concerning the fleshly economy of the Saviour, we inquired of both parties. And what the one confessed the others also agreed to: that not as when the word of the Lord came to the prophets, did it dwell in a holy man at the consummation of the ages, but that the Word himself was made flesh; and being in the form of God, He took the form of a servant, and from Mary after the flesh became man for us, and that thus in Him the human race is perfectly and wholly delivered from sin and made alive from the dead, and led into the kingdom of heaven. For they also confess that the Saviour had not a body without a soul, nor without sense or intelligence;(122) for it was not possible, when the Lord had become man for us, that His body should be without intelligence; nor was the salvation, effected in the Word himself, a salvation of the body only, but of the soul also. And being Son of God in truth, He became also Son of Man; and being God's only begotten Son, He became also at the same time |first-born among many brethren.| Wherefore neither was there one Son of God before Abraham, another after Abraham: nor was there one that raised up Lazarus, another that asked concerning him; but the same it was that said as man, |Where does Lazarus lie?| and as God raised him up; the same that as man and in the body spat, but divinely as Son of God opened the eyes of the man blind from his birth; and while, as Peter says, in the flesh He suffered, as God He opened the tomb and raised the dead. For which reasons, thus understanding all that is said in the Gospel, they assured us that they held the same truth about the Word's incarnation and becoming man.

§ 71. The Emperor Theodosius and the Triumph of the New Nicene Orthodoxy at the Council of Constantinople, A. D.381

The Emperor Theodosius was appointed colleague of Gratian and Valentinian II, 378. He issued in conjunction with these emperors an edict (Cod. Theod., XVI, 1, 2; cf. Cod. Just., I, 1, 1, v. infra, § 72, b, e), requiring all subjects of the Empire to hold the orthodox faith in the Trinity. He then called a council of Eastern bishops to meet at Constantinople in 381 to settle the question as to the succession to the see of that city and to confirm the creed of Nicaea as the faith of the Eastern half of the Church. Gregory of Nazianzus was appointed bishop of Constantinople, but was forced to resign, having formerly been bishop of Sasima, from which he had been translated in violation of the Nicene canons. As soon as it was apparent that the bishops would have to accept the Nicene faith the thirty-six Macedonians withdrew. Their opinion as to the Holy Spirit, that He was not divine in the same sense that the Son was divine, was condemned, without express statement of the point condemned, as was also the teaching of Apollinaris as to the nature of Christ. The council was not intended to be an ecumenical or general council, and it was not regarded as such even in the East until after the Council of Chalcedon, A. D.451, and then probably on account of the creed which was then falsely attributed to the Fathers of Constantinople. In the West the council was not recognized as an ecumenical council until well into the sixth century. (See Hefele, § 100.) The council issued no creed and made no additions to the Nicene creed. It published a tome, since lost, setting forth the faith in the Trinity. It enacted four canons, of which only the first three are of general application.

Additional source material: Percival, Seven Ecumenical Councils (PNF); Theodoret, Hist. Ec., V, 6-9; Socrates, Hist. Ec., V, 8; Basil, De Spiritu Sancto (PNF), Hefele, §§ 95-100.

(a) Council of Constantinople, A. D.381, Canons, Bruns, I, 20. Cf. Kirch, nn.583 ff.

The text of the canons of the council may be found in Hefele, § 98, and also in Bruns. The Translations and Reprints of the University of Pennsylvania give translations. For the address of the council to Theodosius, see § 72, b. The fourth canon is of a merely temporary importance.

Canon 1. The faith of the three hundred and eighteen Fathers who were assembled at Nicaea in Bithynia shall not be set aside but shall remain dominant. And every heresy shall be anathematized, especially that of the Eunomians or Anomoeans, the Arians or Eudoxians, the semi-Arians or Pneumatomachians, the Sabellians, Marcellians, Photinians, and Apollinarians.

Canon 2. The bishops are not to go beyond their dioceses to churches lying outside of their bounds, nor bring confusion on churches; but let the bishop of Alexandria, according to the canons, alone administer the affairs of Egypt; and let the bishops of the East manage the East alone, the privileges of the church in Antioch, which are mentioned in the canons of Nicaea, being preserved; and let the bishops of the Asian diocese administer the Asian affairs only; and the Pontic bishops only Pontic matters; and the Thracian bishops only Thracian matters. And let not the bishops go beyond their dioceses for ordination or any other ecclesiastical ministrations, unless they be invited. And the aforesaid canon concerning dioceses being observed, it is evident that the synod of each province will administer the affairs of that particular province as was decreed at Nicaea. But the churches of God in heathen nations must be governed according to the custom which has prevailed from the time of the Fathers.

Canon 3. The bishop of Constantinople, however, shall have the prerogative of honor after(123) the bishop of Rome; because Constantinople is New Rome.

(b) Cyril of Jerusalem, Creed. (Cf. MSG, 35:533.) Cf. Hahn, § 124.

The clauses which are here given are the headings of the sixth to the eighteenth Catechetical Lectures of Cyril of Jerusalem in which the writer expounded the baptismal creed of Jerusalem. This creed is approximately reconstructed by bringing together the headings. Its date is circa 345. It should be compared with the creed of the church of Salamis, in the next selection. They are the precursors of what is now known as the Nicene creed, incorrectly attributed to the Council of Constantinople A. D.381.

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten, begotten of the Father, true God, before all the ages, through whom all things were made;

Incarnate and made man; crucified and buried;

And rose again the third day;

And ascended into heaven;

And sat on the right hand of the Father;

And shall come again in glory to judge the quick and the dead, of whose kingdom there shall be no end.

And in one Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, who spake by the prophets;

And in one baptism of repentance for remission of sins;

And in one holy Catholic Church;

And in the resurrection of the flesh;

And in the life eternal.

(c) Epiphanius, Ancoratus, chs.119 f. (MSG, 43:252.) Cf. Hahn, § 125.

Epiphanius, bishop of Salamis, was the most important of the hereseologists of the Fathers, gathering to form his work on heresies some scores of heterodox systems of teachings. His passion for orthodoxy was taken advantage of by Theophilus of Antioch to cause trouble for Chrysostom and others; see Origenistic controversy, § 87. The Ancoratus, from which the following creed is taken, is a statement of the Catholic faith which, amidst the storms of the Arian controversy, should serve as an anchor of salvation for the Christians. The date of the following creed, which has come to be known as the Salaminium, is 374. It is evidently based upon that of Jerusalem given by Cyril.

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, that is, of the substance of the Father, light of light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance [homoousios] with the Father; by whom all things were made, both those in heaven and those on earth; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary, and was made man; He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again in glory to judge the quick and the dead; of whose kingdom there shall be no end.

And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spake by the prophets; and in one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church; we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and we look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.

But those who say there was a time when He was not, and He was not before He was begotten, or He was made of nothing, or of another substance or essence [hypostasis or ousia], saying that the Son of God is effluent or variable -- these the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes.

Chapter IV. The Empire And The Imperial State Church

In the period extending from the accession of Constantine (311 or 324) to the death of Theodosius the Great (395), the characteristic features of the Church's organization took definite form, and its relations to the secular authorities and the social order of the Empire were defined. Its constitution with its hierarchical organization of clergy, of courts, and synods, together with its intimate union, at least in the East, with the imperial authority, became fixed (§ 72). As the Church of the Empire, it was under the control and patronage of the State; all other forms of religion, whether pagan or Christian, schismatical or heretical, were severely repressed (§ 73). The Christian clergy, as officials in this State Church, became a class by themselves in the society of the Empire, not only as the recipients of privileges, but as having special functions in the administration of justice, and eventually in the superintendence of secular officials and secular business (§ 74). By degrees the Christian spirit influenced the spirit of the laws and the popular customs, though less than at first sight might have been expected; the rigors of slavery were mitigated and cruel gladiatorial sports abandoned (§ 75). Meanwhile popular piety was by no means raised by the influx of vast numbers of heathen into the Church; bringing with them no little of their previous modes of thought and feeling, and lacking the testing of faith and character furnished by the persecutions, they lowered the general moral tone of the Church, so that Christians everywhere were affected by these alien ideas and feelings (§ 76). The Church, however, endeavored to raise the moral tone and ideals and to work effectively in society by care for the poor and other works of benevolence, and in its regulation of marriage, which began in this period to be a favorite subject of legislation for the Church's councils (§ 76). In monasticism this striving against the lowering forces in Christian society and for a higher type of life most clearly manifested itself, and, beginning in Egypt, organized forms of asceticism spread throughout the East and toward the end of the period to the West as well (§ 78). But monasticism was not confined to the private ascetic. The priesthood, as necessarily presenting an example of higher moral life, began to be touched by the ascetic spirit, and in the West this took the form of enforced clerical celibacy, though the custom of the East remained far less rigorous (§ 79). In presenting these lines of development, it is at times convenient to pass beyond the exact bounds of the period, so that the whole subject may be brought together at this point of the history.

§ 72. The Constitution of the State Church

The Church's constitution received its permanent form in this period. The conciliar system was carried to its logical completion in the ecumenical council representing the entire Church and standing at the head of a system which included the provincial and patriarchal councils, at least in theory. The clergy were organized into a hierarchy which rested upon the basis of the single bishop in his diocese, who had under him his clergy, and culminated in the patriarchs placed over the great divisions of the State Church, corresponding to the primary divisions of the Empire. The Emperor assumed the supreme authority in the Church, and the foundation was laid for what became under Justinian Caesaropapism. By the institution of the hierarchical gradation of authority and jurisdiction, for the most part corresponding to the political and administrative divisions of the Empire, the Church both assumed a rigidly organized form and came more easily under the control of the secular authority.

(A) The Ecumenical Council

The Council of Nicaea was held before there was any definition of the place of an ecumenical council. Many councils were held during the Arian controversy that were quite as representative. It was taken for granted that the councils were arranged in a scale of authority corresponding to the extent of the Church represented. The first clear statement of this principle is at the Council of Constantinople A. D.382.

Council of Constantinople, A. D.382, Canon 2. Text, Hefele, § 98.

The so-called second general council was held in 381, but in the next year nearly the same bishops were called together by Theodosius (cf. Theodoret, Hist. Ec., V.9). In a letter addressed to the Western bishops at a council at Rome this council speaks of their previous meeting at Constantinople in 381 as being an ecumenical council. The query suggests itself whether, considering the fact that it actually only represented the East and did represent more than one patriarchate, |ecumenical| might not be understood as being used in a sense similar to that in which the African bishops spoke of their councils as universalis. See Hefele, § 100, note.

The following canon is printed as the sixth canon of Constantinople, A. D.381, in Hefele and the other collections, e.g., Bruns and Percival.

{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} If persons who are neither heretics, nor excommunicated, nor condemned, nor charged with crime claim to have a complaint in matters ecclesiastical against the bishop,(124) the holy synod commands such to bring their charges first before all the bishops of the province, and to prove before them the charges against the accused bishop. But should it happen that the comprovincials be unable to settle the charges alleged against the bishop, the complainants shall have recourse then to the larger synod of the bishops of that diocese,(125) who shall be called together on account of the complaint; and the complainants may not bring their complaint until they have agreed in writing to take upon themselves the same punishment which would have fallen upon the accused, in case the complainants in the course of the matter should be proved to have brought a false charge against the bishop. But if any one, holding in contempt these directions, venture to burden the ear of the Emperor, or the tribunals of the secular judges, or disturb an ecumenical synod,(126) dishonoring the bishops of their patriarchal province, such shall not be admitted to make complaint, because he despises the canons and violates the Church's order.

(B) The Hierarchical Organization

(a) Council of Nicaea, A. D.325, Canons. Text, Hefele, § 42. Cf. Kirch, nn.364-368.

Canons of organization.

Canon 4 regulates the ordinations of bishops; Canon 5 orders that excommunications in one diocese shall hold good everywhere; Canon 6 defines the larger provincial organization which eventually resulted in the patriarchates; Canon 7 defines the position of the bishopric of Jerusalem; Canons 15 and 16 place the bishops permanently in their sees and the clergy under their own proper bishop.

Canon 4. It is by all means proper that a bishop should be appointed by all the bishops in the province; but should this be difficult, either on account of urgent necessity or because of distance, three at least should assemble, and the suffrages of the absent should also be given and communicated in writing, and then the ordination should take place. But in every province the ratification of what is done should be left to the metropolitan.

Canon 5. Concerning those, whether of the clergy or of the laity, who have been excommunicated in the several provinces, let the provisions of the canon be observed by the bishops which provides that persons cast out by some be not readmitted by others.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} Nevertheless, inquiry should be made whether they have been excommunicated through captiousness, or contentiousness, or any such like ungracious disposition in the bishops. And that this matter may have due investigation, it is decreed that in every province synods shall be held twice a year, in order that when all the bishops of the province are assembled together, such questions may be thoroughly examined by them, that so those who have confessedly offended against their bishop may be seen by all to be for just causes excommunicated, until it shall appear fit to a general meeting of the bishops to pronounce a milder sentence upon them. And let these synods be held, the one before Lent (that the pure gift may be offered to God after all bitterness has been put away) and let the second be held about autumn.

Canon 6. Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis prevail, that the bishop of Alexandria shall have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the bishop of Rome also.(127) Likewise in Antioch and the other provinces, let the churches retain their privileges. And this is to be universally understood, that if any one be made bishop without the consent of his metropolitan, the great synod has declared that such a man ought not to be bishop. If, however, two or three bishops shall, from natural love of contradiction, oppose the common suffrage of the rest, it being reasonable and in accordance with the ecclesiastical law, then let the choice of the majority prevail.

Canon 7. Since custom and ancient tradition have prevailed that the bishop of AElia [i.e., Jerusalem] should be honored, let him, saving its due dignity to the metropolis, have the next place of honor.

Canon 15. On account of the great disturbance and discords that occur, it is decreed that the custom prevailing in certain places contrary to the canon must wholly be done away; so that neither bishop, presbyter, nor deacon shall pass from city to city. And if any one, after this decree of the holy and great synod, shall attempt any such thing or continue in such course, his proceedings shall be utterly void, and he shall be restored to the church for which he was ordained bishop or presbyter.

Canon 16. Neither presbyters, nor deacons, nor any others enrolled among the clergy, who, not having the fear of God before their eyes, nor regarding the ecclesiastical canon, shall recklessly remove from their own church, ought by any means to be received by another church; but every constraint should be applied to restore them to their own parishes;(128) and, if they will not go, they must be excommunicated. And if one shall dare surreptitiously to carry off and in his own church ordain a man belonging to another, without the consent of his own proper bishop from whom, although he was enrolled in the clergy list, he has seceded, let the ordination be void.

(b) Synod of Antioch, A. D.341. Canons, Bruns, I, 80 f., Cf. Kirch, nn.439 ff.

For the Council of Antioch, see § 65, c. These canons on discipline were held in highest authority in the Church, although enacted by Arians whose creed was rejected. They obtained this position in the law of the Church because they carried further the natural line of development long since taken in the ecclesiastical system. Cf. Hefele, § 56.

Canon 2. All who enter the Church of God and hear the Holy Scriptures, but do not communicate with the people in prayers, or who turn away, by reason of some disorder, from the holy partaking of the eucharist, are to be cast out of the Church until, after they shall have made confession, have brought forth fruits of penance, and have made earnest entreaty, they shall have obtained forgiveness; and it is unlawful to communicate with excommunicated persons, or to assemble in private houses and pray with those who do not pray in the Church; or to receive in one church those who do not assemble with another church. And if any one of the bishops, presbyters, or deacons, or any one in the canon shall be found communicating with excommunicated persons, let him also be excommunicated, as one who brings confusion on the order of the Church.

Canon 3. If any presbyter or deacon or any one whatever belonging to the priesthood shall forsake his own parish and shall depart, and, having wholly changed his residence, shall set himself to remain for a long time in another parish, let him no longer officiate; especially if his own bishop shall summon and urge him to return to his own parish, and he shall disobey. And if he persist in his disorder, let him be wholly deposed from his ministry, so that no further room be left for his restoration. And if another bishop shall receive a man deposed for this cause, let him be punished by the common synod as one who nullifies the ecclesiastical laws.

Canon 4. If any bishop be deposed by a synod, or any presbyter or deacon, who has been deposed by his bishop, shall presume to execute any part of the ministry, whether it be a bishop according to his former function, or a presbyter, or a deacon, he shall no longer have any prospect of restoration in another synod, nor any opportunity of making his defence; but they who communicate with him shall be cast out of the Church, and particularly if they have presumed to communicate with the persons aforementioned, knowing the sentence pronounced against them.

Canon 6. If any one has been excommunicated by his own bishop, let him not be received by others until he has either been restored by his own bishop, or until, when a synod is held, he shall have appeared and made his defence, and, having convinced the synod, shall have received a different sentence. And let this decree apply to the laity, and to the presbyters and deacons, and all who are enrolled in the clergy list.

Canon 9. It behooves the bishops in each province to acknowledge the bishop who presides in the metropolis, and who has to take thought of the whole province; because all men of business come together from every quarter to the metropolis. Wherefore it is decreed that he have precedence in rank, and that the other bishops do nothing extraordinary without him, according to the ancient canon which prevailed from the time of our fathers, or such things only as pertain to their own particular parishes and the districts subject to them. For each bishop has authority over his own parish, both to manage it with piety, which is incumbent on every one, and to make provision for the whole district which is dependent upon his city; to ordain presbyters and deacons; and to settle everything with judgment. But let him not undertake anything further without the bishop of the metropolis; neither the latter without the consent of the others.

Canon 10. The holy synod decrees that those [bishops] living in village and country districts, or those who are called chorepiscopi, even though they have received ordination to the episcopate, shall regard their own limits and manage the churches subject to them, and be content with the care and administration of these; but they may ordain readers, subdeacons, and exorcists, and shall be content with promoting these; but they shall not presume to ordain either a presbyter or a deacon, without the consent of the bishop of the city to which he and his district are subject. And if he shall dare to transgress these decrees, he shall be deposed from the rank which he enjoys. And a chorepiscopus is to be appointed by the bishop of the city to which he is subject.

(c) Council of Sardica, A. D.343 or 344, Canons, Bruns, I, 88. Cf. Mirbt, n.113, and Kirch, nn.448 ff.

The Council of Sardica was intended to be composed of representatives from the entire Empire who might be able to settle once and for all the Arian question. It met at Sardica on the boundary between the two divisions of the Empire as they were then defined. The Eastern ecclesiastics, strongly Arian, found themselves outnumbered by the Western bishops who supported Athanasius and the Nicene definition of faith. The Eastern representatives withdrew to Philippopolis near by, and held their own council. The following canons were intended to provide a system of appeal for cases like that of Athanasius, and although they do not seem to have been acted upon enough to have become a part of the Church's system, yet they were of great importance inasmuch as subsequently they were used as late as the ninth century for a support to a wholly different system of appeals. These canons were very early attributed to the Council of Nicaea A. D.325.

Canon 3. Bishop Hosius said: This, also, it is necessary to add -- that bishops shall not pass from their own province to another province in which there are bishops, unless perchance they are invited by their brethren, that we seem not to close the door to charity. But if in any province a bishop have an action against his brother bishop, neither shall call in as judge a bishop from another province. But if judgment shall have gone against any bishop in a case, and he think that he has a good case, in order that the question may be heard, let us, if it be your pleasure, honor the memory of St. Peter the Apostle, and let those who have tried the case write to Julius, the bishop of Rome, and if he shall decide that the case should be retried, let it be retried, and let him appoint judges; but if he shall be satisfied that the case is such that what has been done should not be disturbed, what has been decreed shall be confirmed.

Is this the pleasure of all? The synod answered: It is our pleasure.

Canon 4. Bishop Gaudentius said: If it please you, it is necessary to add to this sentence, which full of sincere charity thou hast pronounced, that if any bishop has been deposed by the judgment of those bishops who happened to be in the vicinity, and he asserts that he has fresh matter in defence, a new bishop is not to be settled in his see, unless the bishop of Rome judge and render a decision as to this.

Latin Version of Canon 4. Bishop Gaudentius said: If it please you, there ought to be added to this sentence, which full of holiness thou hast pronounced, that if any bishop has been deposed by the judgment of those bishops who dwell in the vicinity, and he asserts that the business ought to be conducted by him in the city of Rome, another bishop should in nowise be ordained in his see after the appellation of him who appears to have been deposed, unless the cause shall have been determined by the judgment of the bishop of Rome.

Canon 5.(129) Bishop Hosius said: Let it be decreed that if a bishop shall have been accused and the assembled bishops of the same region shall have deposed him from his office, and he, so to speak, appeals and takes refuge with the bishop of the Roman Church and wishes to be heard by him, if he(130) think it right to renew the examination of his case, let him be pleased to write to those of fellow-bishops who are nearest the province that they may examine the particulars with care and accuracy and give their votes on the matter in accordance with the word of truth. And if any one demand that his case be heard yet again, and at his request it seems good to the bishop of Rome to send presbyters from his own side, let it be in the power of that bishop, according as he judges it to be good and decides it to be right, that some be sent to be judges with the bishops and invested with his authority by whom they were sent. And be this also ordained. But if he thinks that they [the bishops] are sufficient for the hearing and determining of the matter of the bishop, let him do what shall seem good in his most prudent judgment.

The bishops answered: What has been said is approved.

(d) Gratian and Valentinian, Rescript; A. D.378. (MSG, 13:586.) Mirbt, nn.118, f.

This rescript was sent in answer to a petition addressed to the emperors by a Roman council under Damasus. It is, therefore, found connected with an epistle in the works of Damasus. It does not seem to have been the foundation of any claim or to have played any considerable part in the development of the Roman primacy. It is of importance in the present connection as illustrating the part emperors took in the internal affairs of the Church. For Damasus and the disturbances in connection with his election, v. infra, § 74, a. The rescript may be found in Mansi, III, 624; Hardouin, I, 842; and in Gieseler, I, 380.

6. If any one shall have been condemned by the judgment of Damasus, which he shall have delivered with the council of five or seven bishops, or by the judgment or council of those who are Catholics, and if he shall unlawfully attempt to retain his church,(131) in order that such a one, who has been called to the priestly judgment, shall not escape by his contumacy, it is our will that such a one be remitted by the illustrious prefects of Gaul and Italy, either by the proconsul or the vicars, use having been made of due authority, to the episcopal judgment, and shall come to the city of Rome under an escort; or if such insolence of any one shall appear in parts very far distant, the entire pleading of his case shall be brought to the examination of the metropolitan of the province in which the bishop is, or if he himself is the metropolitan, then of necessity he shall hasten without delay to Rome, or to those whom the Roman bishop shall assign as judges, so that whoever shall have been deposed shall be removed from the confines of the city in which they were priests. For we punish those who deserve punishment less severely than they deserve, and we take vengeance upon their sacrilegious stubbornness more gently than it merits. And if the unfairness or partiality of any metropolitan, bishop, or priest is suspected, it is allowed to appeal to the Roman bishop or to a council gathered of fifteen neighboring bishops, but so that after the examination of the case shall have been concluded what was settled shall not be begun over again.

(e) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 1, 2; Feb.27, A. D.380. Cf. Kirch, n.755.

The following edict was issued by Gratian, Valentinian and Theodosius, requiring the acceptance of the orthodox faith by all subjects. In other words, the emperors, following the example of Constantius and Valens in enforcing Arianism, are now enforcing the Nicene theology. Sozomenus, Hist. Ec., VII, 4, gives the circumstances under which this edict was issued.

It is our will that all the peoples whom the government of our clemency rules shall follow that religion which a pious belief from Peter to the present declares the holy Peter delivered to the Romans, and which it is evident the pontiff Damasus and Peter, bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic sanctity, follow; that is, that according to the apostolic discipline and evangelical doctrine we believe in the deity of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost of equal majesty, in a holy trinity. Those who follow this law we command shall be comprised under the name of Catholic Christians; but others, indeed, we require, as insane and raving, to bear the infamy of heretical teaching; their gatherings shall not receive the name of churches; they are to be smitten first with the divine punishment and after that by the vengeance of our indignation, which has the divine approval.

(f) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 1, 3.

Gratian, Valentinian, and Theodosius to Auxonius, proconsul of Asia.

To enforce still further the principles of Nicene orthodoxy certain bishops were named as teachers of the true faith, communion with whom was a test of orthodoxy.

We command that all churches be forthwith delivered up to the bishops who confess the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost to be of one majesty and power; of the same glory and of one splendor, making no distinction by any profane division, but rather harmony by the assertion of the trinity of the persons and the unity of the Godhead, to the bishops who are associated in communion with Nectarius, bishop of the Church of Constantinople, and with Timotheus in Egypt, bishop of the city of Alexandria; in the parts of the Orient, who are in communion with Pelagius, bishop of Laodicaea and Diodorus, bishop of Tarsus; in proconsular Asia and in the diocese of Asia, who are in communion with Amphilochius, bishop of Iconium, and Optimus, bishop of Antioch; in the diocese of Pontus, who are in communion with Helladius, bishop of Caesarea, and Otreius, bishop of Melitina, and Gregory, bishop of Nyssa, Terennius, bishop of Scythia, Marmarius, bishop of Marcianopolis. Those who are of the communion and fellowship of approved priests(132) ought to be admitted to possess the Catholic churches; but all who dissent from the communion of the faith of those whom the special list has named ought to be expelled from the churches as manifest heretics; and no opportunity whatsoever ought to be allowed them henceforth of obtaining episcopal churches(133) that the priestly orders of the true and Nicene faith may remain pure and no place be given to evil cunning, according to the evident form of our precept.

(g) Council of Constantinople, A. D.381. Address to Theodosius. See Mansi, III, 557.

The following letter illustrates the relation of the councils in the East to the imperial authority. The emperors called the various general councils, directed their discussions and confirmed the results. In this way their findings were given the force of laws and authority throughout the Church. V. infra, §§ 90, 91.

To the most religious Emperor Theodosius, the holy synod of bishops assembled in Constantinople out of different provinces.

We begin our letter to your Piety with thanks to God, who has established the Empire of your Piety for the common peace of the churches and for the support of the true faith. And, after rendering due thanks unto God, as in duty bound, we lay before your Piety the things which have been done in the holy synod. When, then, we had assembled in Constantinople, according to the letter of your Piety, we first of all renewed our unity of heart each with the other, and then we pronounced some concise definitions, ratifying the faith of the Nicene Fathers, and anathematizing the heresies which have sprung up contrary thereto. Besides these things, we also framed certain canons for the better ordering of the churches, all which we have subjoined to this our letter. We therefore beseech your Piety that the decree of the synod may be ratified, to the end that as you have honored the Church by your letter of citation, so you should set your seal to the conclusion of what has been decreed. May the Lord establish your Empire in peace and righteousness, and prolong it from generation to generation; and may He add unto your earthly powers the fruition of the heavenly kingdom also. May God, by the prayers of the saints, show favor to the world, that you may be strong and eminent in all good things as an Emperor most truly pious and beloved of God.

(h) Synod of Antioch, A. D.341, Canons, Bruns, I, 80.

The following canons passed at Antioch are the first touching a habit which they did little to correct. The so-called sixth canon of Constantinople, 381, in reality a canon of the council of the next year, took up the matter again. All through the great controversies appeals were constantly made to the emperors because, after all, they alone had the authority. Cf. Hefele, § 56.

Canon 11. If any bishop, or presbyter, or any one whatever of the canon shall presume to betake himself to the Emperor without the consent and letters of his bishop of the province and particularly of the bishop of the metropolis, such a one shall be publicly deposed and cast out, not only from the communion, but also from the rank which he happens to have had; inasmuch as he dares to trouble the ears of our Emperor, beloved of God, contrary to the law of the Church. But, if necessary business shall require any one to go to the Emperor, let him do it with the advice and consent of the metropolitan and other bishops in the province, and let him undertake his journey with the letters from them.

Canon 12. If any presbyter or deacon deposed by his own bishop, or any bishop deposed by a synod, shall dare trouble the ears of the Emperor, when it is his duty to submit his case to a greater synod of bishops, and to refer to more bishops the things which he thinks right, and to abide by the examination and decision made by them; if, despising these, he shall trouble the Emperor, he shall be entitled to no pardon, neither shall he have opportunity of defence, nor any hope of future restoration.

§ 73. Sole Authority of the State Church

When Theodosius had successfully forced upon the East the theology of Nicaea, his policy as to religious matters was manifest. No longer was heresy to be allowed. Laws were to control opinion in the same way that they did conduct. The old plea of the persecuted Christians under the heathen Roman Empire, religio non cogi potest, was completely forgotten. As Christianity was the one sole religion of divine character, based upon the unique divine act of the incarnation, it was folly to allow men to continue in heathenism -- it might even be dangerous to the State to allow them, as it might bring down the just vengeance of God. With this policy the populace was completely in accord, especially when it led to the plunder and destruction of heathen sanctuaries, and many of the more zealous of the clergy were willing to lead in the assault. In these ways the State Church obtained a two-fold exclusive authority: as regards heathenism, and as regards heresy.

(a) Codex Theodosianus.

Laws regarding heathenism.

XVI, 10, 14; A. D.399.

Whatever privileges were conceded by the ancient laws to the priests, ministers, prefects, hierophants of sacred things, or by whatsoever name they may be designated, are to be abolished henceforth, and let them not think that they are protected by a granted privilege when their religious confession is known to have been condemned by the law.

XVI, 10, 16; A. D.399.

If there are temples in the fields, let them be destroyed without crowd or tumult. For when these have been thrown down and carried away, the support of superstition will be consumed.

XVI, 10, 15; A. D.399.

This law appears again in the Cod. Just., I, 13, 3, for it appears to have been necessary even as late as the sixth century to prevent unauthorized destructions of temples which were in the cities and might be fairly regarded as ornaments to the city.

We prohibit sacrifices yet so that we wish that the ornaments of public works to be preserved. And that those who attempt to overthrow them may not flatter themselves that it is with some authority, if any rescript or, perchance, law is alleged, let these documents be taken from their hands and referred to our knowledge.

XVI, 10, 21; A. D.416.

Those who are polluted by the error or crime of pagan rites are not to be admitted to the army nor to receive the distinction and honor of administrator or judge.

XVI, 10, 23; A. D.423.

Although the pagans that remain ought to be subjected to capital punishment if at any time they are detected in the abominable sacrifices of demons, let exile and confiscation of goods be their punishment.

XVI, 10, 24; A. D.423. (Retained in Cod. Just., I, 11, 16.)

The Manichaeans and those who are called Pepyzitae [Montanists] and also those who by this one opinion are worse than all heretics, in that they dissent from all as to the venerable day of the Easter festival, we subject to the same punishment, viz.: confiscation of goods and exile, if they persist in the same unreason. But this we especially demand of Christians, both those who are really such and those who are called such, that they presume not, by an abuse of religion, to lay hands upon the Jews and pagans who live peaceably and who attempt nothing riotous or contrary to the laws. For if they should do violence to them living securely and take away their goods, let them be compelled to restore not merely what they have taken away but threefold and fourfold. Let the rectors of provinces, officials, and provincials know that if they permit these things to be done, they themselves will be punished, as well as those who do them.

(b) Theodoret, Hist. Ec., V, 29. (MSG, 82:1256.)

The destruction of temples.

The following passage is illustrative of the temper of those who took part in the destruction of heathen sanctuaries. The imperial edicts for these acts were obtained in 399. Chrysostom, the leader in the movement, fairly represents the best thought and temper of the Church.

On receiving information that Phoenicia was still suffering from the madness of the demons' rites, he [John Chrysostom] got together some monks fired with divine zeal and despatched them, armed with imperial edicts, against the idols' shrines. He did not draw from the imperial treasury the money to pay the craftsmen and their assistants who were engaged in the work of destruction, but he persuaded certain faithful and wealthy women to make liberal contributions, pointing out to them how great would be the blessing their generosity would win. Thus the remaining shrines of the demons were utterly destroyed.

(c) Socrates, Hist. Ec., VII, 15. (MSG, 67:768.)

The murder of Hypatia.

The fearful murder of Hypatia represents another aspect of the opposition to heathenism, in which the populace seconded the efforts of the authorities in a policy of extirpating paganism.

There was a woman in Alexandria named Hypatia. She was the daughter of the philosopher Theon, and she had attained such a proficiency in literature and science as to surpass by far all the philosophers of her own time. Having succeeded to the Platonic school, which had come down from Plotinus, she explained all the principles of philosophy to her auditors. Therefore many from all sides, wishing to study philosophy, came to her. On account of the self-possession and ease of manner which she had acquired by her study, she not infrequently appeared with modesty in the presence of magistrates. Neither did she feel abashed in entering an assembly of men. For all men, on account of her extraordinary dignity and virtue, admired her the more. Against her envious hostility arose at that time. For as she had frequent interviews with Orestes [governor of Alexandria] it was calumniously reported among the Christian populace that it was she who prevented Orestes from being reconciled to the bishop [Cyril]. Some men of this opinion and of a hot-headed disposition, whose leader was a reader named Peter, waylaid her returning home. Dragging her from her carriage they took her to the church called Caesareum. There they completely stripped her and murdered her with tiles. When they had torn her in pieces, they took her mangled limbs to a place called Cinaron, and there they burnt them. This affair brought no little opprobrium, not only upon Cyril but also upon the whole Alexandrian Church. And surely murders, fights, and actions of that sort are altogether alien to those who hold the things of Christ. These things happened in the fourth year of the episcopate of Cyril .

(d) Socrates, Hist. Ec., VII, 11. (MSG, 67:757.)

Novatians and the Church at the beginning of the fifth century.

Socrates is the principal authority for the later history of the Novatians. It is probable that his interest in them and evident sympathy for them were due to some connection with the sect, perhaps in his early years, and he gives many incidents in their history, otherwise unknown.

After Innocent [401-417], Zosimus [417-418] governed the Roman Church for two years, and after him Boniface [418-422] presided over it for three years. Celestinus [422-432] succeeded him, and this Celestinus took away the churches from the Novatians at Rome and obliged Rusticula, their bishop, to hold his meetings secretly in private houses. Until this time the Novatians had flourished exceedingly in Rome, having many churches there and gathering large congregations. But envy attacked them there, also, as soon as the Roman episcopate, like that of Alexandria, extended itself beyond the limits of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and degenerated into its present state of secular domination. And for this cause the bishops would not suffer even those who agreed with them in matters of faith to enjoy the privileges of assembling in peace, but stripping them of all they possessed, praised them merely for these agreements in faith. The bishops of Constantinople kept themselves free from this sort of conduct; in so much as in addition to tolerating them and permitting them to hold their assemblies within the city, as I have already stated,(134) they treated them with every mark of Christian regard.

(e) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 5, 40; A. D.407.

Edict of Arcadius and Honorius against the Manichaeans and other heretics. (Retained in Cod. Just., I, 5, 4.) Cf. Mirbt, n.155.

What we have thought concerning the Donatists we have recently set forth. Especially do we pursue, with well-merited severity, the Manichaeans, the Phrygians, and the Priscillianists,(135) since men of this sort have nothing in common with others, neither in custom nor laws. And first we declare that their crime is against the State, because what is committed against the divine religion is held an injury of all. And we will take vengeance upon them by the confiscation of their goods, which, however, we command shall fall to whomsoever is nearest of their kindred, in ascending or descending lines or cognates of collateral branches to the second degree, as the order is in succession to goods. Yet it shall be so that we suffer the right to receive the goods to belong to them, only if they themselves are not in the same way polluted in their conscience. And it is our will that they be deprived of every grant or succession from whatever title derived. In addition, we do not leave to any one convicted of this crime the right of giving, buying, selling, or finally of making a contract. The prosecution shall continue till death. For if in the case of the crime of treason it is lawful to attack the memory of the deceased, not without desert ought he to endure condemnation. Therefore let his last will and testament be invalid, whether he leave property by testament, codicil, epistle, or by any sort of will, if ever he has been convicted of being a Manichaean, Phrygian, or Priscillianist, and in this case the same order is to be followed as in the grades above stated; and we do not permit sons to succeed as heirs unless they forsake the paternal depravity; for we grant forgiveness of the offence to those repenting. We will that slaves be without harm if, rejecting their sacrilegious master, they pass over to the Catholic Church by a more faithful service. Property on which a congregation of men of this sort assemble, in case the owner, although not a participator in the crime, is aware of the meeting and does not forbid it, is to be annexed to our patrimony; if the owner is ignorant, let the agent or steward of the property, having been punished with scourging, be sent to labor in the mines, and the one who hires the property, if he be a person liable to such sort of punishment, be deported. Let the rectors of provinces, if by fraud or force they delay the punishment of these crimes when they have been reported, or if conviction have been obtained neglect punishment, know that they will be subject to the fine of twenty pounds of gold. As for defensors and heads of the various cities and the provincial officials, a penalty of ten pounds is to compel them to do their duty, unless performing those things which have been laid down by the judges in this matter, they give the most intelligent care and the most ready help.

(f) Leo the Great, Epistula 7. (MSL, 54:620.)

Manichaeanism in Rome.

This epistle, addressed to the bishops throughout Italy, shows the way in which zealous bishops could, and were expected to, co-operate with the secular authorities in putting down heresy.

Leo the Great [440-461], the greatest of the popes before Gregory the Great, was equally great as an ecclesiastical statesman, as theologian, and universally acknowledged leader of the Roman people in the times of the invasions of Attila and Genseric. Without being the creator of the papal idea, he was able so to gather up the elements that had been developed by Siricius, Innocent, and others, as to give it a classical expression that almost warrants one in describing him as the first of the popes in the later sense of that term. His literary remains consist of sermons, of which ninety-six are genuine, in which, among other matters, he sets forth his conception of the Petrine prerogative (see below, § 87, b), and letters in which he deals with the largest questions of ecclesiastical politics, especially in the matter of the condemnation of Monophysitism at the Council of Chalcedon. See below, § 91.

Our search has discovered in the city a great many followers and teachers of the Manichaean impiety, our watchfulness has proclaimed them, and our authority and censure have checked them: those whom we could reform we have corrected and driven to condemn Manichaeus with his preachings and teachings, by public confession in the Church, and by the subscription of their own hands; and thus we have lifted those who have acknowledged their fault from the pit of their impiety, by granting them opportunity for repentance. But some who had so deeply involved themselves that no remedy could assist them have been subjected to the laws, in accordance with the constitutions of our Christian princes, and lest they should pollute the holy flock by their contagion, have been banished into perpetual exile by the public judges. And all the profane and disgraceful things which are found, as well in their writings as in their secret traditions, we have disclosed and clearly proved to the eyes of Christian laity, that the people might know what to shrink from or avoid; so that he that was called their bishop was himself tried by us and betrayed the criminal views which he held in his mystic religion, as the record of our proceedings can show you. For this, too, we have sent you for instruction; and after reading them you will be able to understand all the discoveries we have made.

And because we know that some of those who are involved here in too close an accusation for them to clear themselves have fled, we have sent this letter to you, beloved, by our acolyte; that your holiness, dear brothers, may be informed of this, and see fit to act more diligently and cautiously, lest the men of Manichaean error be able to find opportunity of hurting your people and of teaching these impious doctrines. For we cannot otherwise rule those intrusted to us unless we pursue, with the zeal of faith in the Lord, those who are destroyers and destroyed; and with what severity we can bring to bear, cut them off from intercourse with sound minds, lest this pestilence spread much wider. Wherefore I exhort you, beloved, I beseech and warn you to use such watchful diligence as you ought and can employ in tracking them out lest they find opportunity of concealment anywhere.

(g) Leo the Great, Epistula 15. (MSL, 54:680.)

An account of the tenets of the Priscillianists. Leo is answering a letter sent him by Bishop Turribius of Asturia, in which that bishop had given him statements about the faith of these sectaries. It appears that these statements which Leo quotes and refutes in brief are not wholly correct and that the Priscillianists were far from being as heretical as they have been commonly represented. See articles in the recent encyclopaedias, e.g., New Schaff-Herzog, and Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed. The change in opinion is due to the discovery of writings of Priscillian himself. Nevertheless, these statements, defective as they may be, represent the opinion of the times as to these heretics and the general attitude toward what was regarded as heretical and savoring of Manichaeanism.(136)

1. And so under the first head is shown what impious views they hold about the divine Trinity; they affirm that the person of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost is one and the same, as if the same God were named now Father, now Son, now Holy Ghost; and as if He who begat were not one, He who was begotten another, and He who proceedeth from both yet another; but an undivided unity must be understood, spoken of under three names, but not consisting of three persons.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

2. Under the second head is displayed their foolish and empty fancy about the issue of certain virtues from God which He began to possess, and which were posterior to God in His own essence.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

3. Again the language of the third head shows that these same impious persons assert that the Son of God is called |only begotten| for this reason that He alone was born of a virgin.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

4. The fourth head deals with the fact that the birthday of Christ, which the Catholic Church venerates as His taking on Him the true man, because |the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,| is not truly honored by these men, but they pretend that they honor it, for they fast on that day, as they do also on the Lord's Day, which is the day of Christ's resurrection. No doubt they do this because they do not believe that Christ the Lord was truly born in man's nature, but maintain that by a sort of illusion there was an appearance of what was not a reality.

5. Their fifth head refers to their assertion that man's soul is a part of the divine substance, and that the nature of our human state does not differ from its Creator's nature.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

6. The sixth points out that they say that the devil never was good and that his nature is not God's handiwork, but that he came forth of chaos and darkness.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

7. In the seventh place follows that they condemn marriage and are horrified at begetting children, in which, as in nearly all things, they agree with the profanity of the Manichaeans.

8. Their eighth point is that the formation of men's bodies is the device of the devil and that the seed of conception is shaped by the aid of demons in the womb.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

9. The ninth notice declares that they say that the sons of promise are born, indeed, of women, conceived by the Holy Spirit; lest the offspring that is born of carnal seed should seem to share in God's estate.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

10. Under the tenth head they are reported as asserting that the souls which are placed in men's bodies have previously been without a body and have sinned in their heavenly habitation and for this reason have fallen from their high estate to a lower one alighting upon ruling spirits of divers qualities, and after passing through a succession of powers of the air and stars, some fiercer, some milder, are enclosed in bodies of different sorts and conditions, so that whatever variety and inequality is meted out to us in this life, seems the result of previous causes.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

11. Their eleventh blasphemy is that in which they suppose that both the souls and bodies of men are under the influence of fatal stars.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

12. The twelfth of these points is this: that they map out the parts of the soul under certain powers and the limbs under others; and they suggest the characters of the inner powers that rule the soul by giving them the names of the patriarchs; and on the other hand, they attribute the signs of the stars to those under which they put the body.

§ 74. The Position of the State Church in the Social Order of the Empire

The elevation of the Church exposed the Church to worldliness whereby selfish men, or men carried away with partisan zeal, took advantages of its privileges or contended fiercely for important appointments. The clergy all too frequently ingratiated themselves with wealthy members of their flocks that they might receive from them valuable legacies, an abuse which had to be corrected by civil law; factional spirit occasionally led to bloodshed in episcopal elections. But on the other hand the Church was employed by the State in an important work which properly belonged to the secular administration, viz., the administration of justice in the episcopal courts of arbitration, for which see Cod. Just., I, tit.3, de Episcopali Audientia; cf. E. Loening, Geschichte des deutschen Kirchenrechts, vol. I; and in the supervision of civil officials in the expenditures of funds for public improvements. These are but instances of their large public activity according to law.

(a) Ammianus Marcellinus, Hist. Rom., XXVII, 3, §§ 12 ff. Cf. Kirch, nn.607 ff.

Damasus and Ursinus.

The strife which attained shocking proportions in connection with the election of Damasus seems to have been connected with the schism at Rome occasioned by the attitude of Liberius in the Arian controversy. Damasus proved one of the ablest bishops that Rome ever had in the ancient Church. For aid in overcoming the partisans of Ursinus a Roman council appealed to the Emperor Gratian, whose answer is given in part above, § 72, e.

12. Damasus and Ursinus, being both immoderately eager to obtain the bishopric, formed parties and carried on the conflict with great asperity, the partisans of each carrying their violence to actual battle, in which men were wounded and killed. And as Juventius, prefect of the city, was unable to put an end to it, or even to soften these disorders, he was at last by their violence compelled to withdraw to the suburbs.

13. Ultimately Damasus got the best of the strife by the strenuous efforts of his partisans. It is certain that on one day one hundred and thirty-seven dead bodies were found in the Basilica of Sicinus, which is a Christian church. And the populace who had thus been roused to a state of ferocity were with great difficulty restored to order.

14. I do not deny, when I consider the ostentation that reigns at Rome, that those who desire such rank and power may be justified in laboring with all possible exertion and vehemence to obtain their wishes; since after they have succeeded, they will be secure for the future, being enriched by offerings of matrons, riding in carriages, dressing splendidly, and feasting luxuriously, so that their entertainments surpass even royal banquets.

15. And they might be really happy if, despising the vastness of the city which they excite against themselves by their vices, they were to live in imitation of some of the priests in the provinces, whom the most rigid abstinence in eating and drinking, and plainness of apparel, and eyes always cast on the ground, recommend to the everlasting Deity and His true worshippers as pure and sober-minded men.

(b) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 2, 20; A. D.370. Cf. Kirch, n.759.

The following law is only one of several designed to correct what threatened to become an intolerable abuse.

Ecclesiastics and those who wish to be known by the name of the continent(137) are not to come into possession of the houses of widows and orphan girls, but are to be put aside by public courts if afterward the affines and near relatives of such think that they ought to be put away. Also we decree that the aforesaid may acquire nothing whatsoever from the liberality of that woman to whom privately, under the cloak of religion, they have attached themselves, or from her last will; and all shall be of no effect which has been left by one of these to them, they shall not be able to receive anything by way of donation or testament from a person in subjection. But if, by chance, after the warning of our law, these women shall think something is to be left to them by way of donation or in their last will, let it be seized by the fisc. But if they should receive anything by the will of those women in succession to whom or to whose goods they have the support of the jus civile or the benefit of the edict, let them take it as relatives.

(c) Codex Theodosianus, I, 27, 2; A. D.408.

Edict of Arcadius, Honorius, and Theodosius II concerning the Audientia Episcopalis.

According to Roman law many cases were frequently decided by an arbitrator, according to an agreement between the litigants. The bishops had long acted as such in many cases among Christians. As they did not always decide suits on authorization by the courts, their decisions did not have binding authority in all cases. But after Constantine's recognition of the Church they were given authority to decide cases, and according to an edict of 333 their decisions were binding even if only one litigant appealed to his judgment. But this was reduced to cases in which there was an agreement between the parties. The following law, the earliest extant, though probably not the earliest, may be found, curtailed by the omission of the second sentence, in Cod. Just., I, 4, 8.

An episcopal judgment shall be binding upon all who chose to be heard by the priests.(138) For since private persons may hear cases between those who consent, even without the knowledge of the judges, we suffer it to be permitted them. That respect is to be shown their decisions which is required to be shown your authority,(139) from which there is no appeal. By the court and the officials execution is to be given the sentence, so that the episcopal judicial examination may not be rendered void.

(d) Codex Theodosianus, II, 1, 10; A. D.398.

Law of Arcadius and Honorius.

The following law is cited to show that in the legalization of the Audientia Episcopalis the legislation followed a principle that was not peculiar to the position of the Church as the State Church. The Jews had a similar privilege. The conditions under which their religious authorities could act as arbitrators were similar to that in which the bishops acted. This edict can also be found in Cod. Just., I, 9, 8.

Jews living at Rome, according to common right, are in those cases which do not pertain to their superstition, their court, laws, and rights, to attend the courts of justice, and are to bring and defend legal actions according to the Roman laws; hereafter let them be under our laws. If, indeed, any by agreement similar to that for the appointment of arbitrators, decide that the litigation be before the Jews or the patriarchs by the consent of both parties and in business of a purely civil character, they are not forbidden by public law to choose their courts of justice; and let the provincial judges execute their decisions as if the arbitrators had been assigned them by the sentence of a judge.

(e) Codex Justinianus, I, 4, 26.

The following law of the Emperor Justinian, A. D.530, is one of many showing the way in which the bishops were employed in many duties of the State which hardly fell to their part as ecclesiastics.

With respect to the yearly affairs of cities, whether they concern the ordinary revenues of the city, either from funds derived from the property of the city, or from legacies and private gifts, or given or received from other sources, whether for public works, or for provisions, or public aqueducts, or the maintenance of baths or ports, or the construction of walls and towers, or the repairing of bridges and roads, or for trials in which the city may be engaged in reference to public or private interests, we decree as follows: The very pious bishop and three men of good reputation, in every respect the first men of the city, shall meet and each year not only examine the work done, but take care that those who conduct them or have been conducting them, shall manage them with exactness, shall render their accounts, and show by the production of the public records that they have duly performed their engagements in the administration of the sums appropriated for provisions, or baths, or for the expenses involved in the maintenance of roads, aqueducts, or any other work.

§ 75. Social Significance of the State Church

The Church at no time degenerated into a mere department of the State. In spite of the worldly passions that invaded it and the dissensions that distracted it, the Church remained mindful of its duty as not merely a guardian of the deposit of faith but as a school of Christian morality. This was the principle of the penitential discipline of the ante-Nicene period. It was saved from becoming a mere form, or lost altogether by the custom which became general after 400, of having the confession of sin made in private. In matters of great moral concern, such as the treatment of slaves, marriage, and divorce, and the cruel sports of the arena, the Church was able to exert its influence and eventually bring about a change in the law. And in standing for righteousness, instances were not lacking when the highest were rebuked by the Church, as in the great case of Ambrose and Theodosius.

(a) Leo the Great, Epistula 168, ch.2. (MSL, 54:1210.) Cf. Denziger, n.145.

Confession should no longer be public, but only private. From the tone of the letter it would appear that private confession had been customary for some time and that public confession had so far gone out of use as to appear as a novelty. V. supra, § 42.

I direct that that presumptuous violation of the apostolic rule be entirely done away, which we have recently learned has been without warrant committed by some; namely, concerning penance, which is demanded of the faithful, that a written confession in a schedule concerning the nature of each particular sin be not recited publicly, since it suffices that the guilt of conscience be made known by a secret confession to the priests alone. Although that fulness of faith appears to be laudable which on account of the fear of God is not afraid to blush before men, yet because the sins of all are not such that those who demand penance would not be afraid to publish them, let a custom so objectionable be done away; that many may not be deterred from the remedies of penitence, since they are ashamed or are afraid to disclose their deed to their enemies, by which they might be ruined by the requirements of the laws. For that confession suffices which is first offered to God, then further to the priest, who intervenes as with intercessions for the sins of the penitent. In this way many can be brought to penitence if the bad conscience of the one making the confession is not published in the ears of the people.

(b) Codex Theodosianus, IV, 7, 1; A. D.321. Cf. Kirch, n.749.

Edict of Constantine granting the privilege of manumission to take place in churches.

The Church does not seem to have been opposed to slavery as an institution. It recognized it as a part of the social order, following the advice of St. Paul. But, at the same time, also following his advice, it endeavored to inculcate Christian love in the treatment of slaves, and legislated frequently on the matter. The edict of Constantine was in favor of this humane teaching of the Church to the extent that it enabled it to forward the tendency toward manumission of slaves, which the Church taught as a pious act. This edict is to be found in Cod. Just., I, 13, 2.

Those who from the motives of religion shall give deserved liberty to their slaves in the midst of the Church shall be regarded as having given the same with the same legal force as that by which Roman citizenship has been customarily given with the traditional solemn rites. But this is permitted only to those who give this liberty in the presence of the priest. But to the clergy we concede more, so that, when they give liberty to their slaves, they may be said to have granted a full enjoyment of liberty, not merely in the face of the Church and the religious people, but also, when in their last disposition of their effects they shall have given liberty or shall direct by any words whatsoever that it be given, on the day of the publication of their will liberty, without any witness or intervention of the law, shall belong to them immediately.

(c) Canons bearing on Slavery:

Synod of Elvira, A. D.309, Canon 5, Bruns, II, 1.

If a mistress seized with furious passion beat her female slave with whips so that within three days she gives up her soul in suffering, inasmuch as it is uncertain whether she killed her wilfully or by chance, let her, if it was done wilfully, be readmitted after seven years, when the lawful penance has been accomplished; or after the space of five years if it was by chance; but if she should become ill during the appointed time, let her receive the communion.

Synod of Gangra, A. D.343, Canon 3, Bruns, I, 107.

If any one, under the pretence of piety, advises a slave to despise his master and run away from his service and not with good will and full respect serve his master, let him be anathema.

Synod of Agde, A. D.509. Canon 7, Bruns, II, 147.

As slaves were a valuable possession, bishops could no more alienate them than any other property, or only under the same conditions. This canon lays down principles generally followed in the relation of the Church toward the unfree of every sort on lands belonging to the endowments of the Church.

The bishops should possess the houses and slaves of the Church in a faithful manner and without diminishing the right of the Church, as the primitive authorities direct, and also the vessels of their ministry as intrusted to them. That is, they should not presume to sell nor alienate by any contracts those things from which the poor live. If necessity requires that something should be disposed of either as a usufruct(140) or in direct sale, let the case be first shown before two or three bishops of the same province or neighborhood, as to why it is necessary to sell; and after the priestly discussion has taken place, let the sale which was made be confirmed by their subscription; otherwise the sale or transaction made shall not have validity. If the bishop bestows upon any deserving slaves of the Church their liberty, let the liberty that has been conferred be respected by his successors, together with that which the manumitter gave them when they were freed; and we command them to hold twenty solidi in value in fields, vineyards, and dwellings; what shall have been given more the Church shall reclaim after the death of the one who manumitted.(141) But little things and things of less utility to the Church we permit to be given to strangers and clergy for their usufruct, the right of the Church being maintained.

(d) Apostolic Constitutions, IV, 6. (MSG, 1:812.)

Cruelty to slaves was placed upon the same moral level as cruelty and oppression of other weak and defenceless people.

The Apostolic Constitutions form an elaborate treatise upon the Church and its organization in eight books, which appear, according to the consensus of modern scholars, to belong to the early part of the fifth century. The Apostolic Canons are eighty-five canons appended to the eighth book.

Now the bishop ought to know whose oblations he ought to receive, and whose he ought not. For he is to avoid corrupt dealers and not receive their gifts.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} He is also to avoid those that oppress the widow and overbear the orphan, and fill the prisons with the innocent, and abuse their own slaves wickedly, I mean with stripes and hunger and hard service.

(e) Apostolic Canons, Canon 81, Bruns, I, 12.

This deals with the question of the ordination of a slave. Later, if a slave was ordained without his master's consent, the ordination held, but the bishop was obliged to pay the price of the slave to his master. Cf. Council of Orleans, A. D.511, Can. 8.

We do not permit slaves to be ordained to the clergy without their masters' consent; for this would wrong those that owned them. For such a practice would occasion the subversion of families. But if at any time a servant appears worthy to be ordained to a high office, such as Onesimus appears to have been, and if his master allows it, and gives him his freedom, and dismisses him free from his house, let him be ordained.

(f) Gregory the Great, Ep. ad Montanam et Thomam. (MSL, 77:803.)

Gregory and others approved of manumission of slaves as an act of self-denial, for therein a man surrendered what belonged to him, as in almsgiving; but he and others also justified the practice of manumission upon lines that recall Stoic ideas of man's natural freedom. Yet, at the same time, Gregory could insist upon the strict discipline of slaves in the administration of the Church property.

The following is a letter of manumission addressed apparently to a man and his wife.

Since our Redeemer, the Maker of every creature, vouchsafed to assume human flesh for this end, that when by the grace of His divinity the chain of slavery wherewith we were held had been broken He might restore us to our pristine liberty, it is a salutary deed if men, whom nature originally produced free, and whom the law of nations has subjected to the yoke of slavery, be restored by the benefit of manumission to the liberty in which they were born. And so moved by loving-kindness and consideration of the case, we make you Montana and Thomas, slaves of the holy Roman Church, which with the help of God we serve, free from this day and Roman citizens, and we release to you all your private property.(142)

(g) Codex Theodosianus, XV, 12, 1; A. D.325. Cf. Kirch, n.754.

Constitution of Constantine regarding gladiatorial shows.

This edict was by no means enforced everywhere. In a shorter form it passed into the Cod. Just. (XI, 44, 1), but only after the edict of Honorius had stopped these shows.

Bloody spectacles are not pleasing in civil rest and domestic tranquillity. Wherefore we altogether prohibit them to be gladiators(143) who, it may be, for their crimes have been accustomed to receive this penalty and sentence, and you shall cause them rather to serve in the mines, that without blood they may pay the penalty of their crimes.

(h) Theodoret, Hist. Ec., V, 26. (MSG, 82:1256.)

Honorius, who had inherited the Empire of Europe, put a stop to gladiatorial combats, which had long been held in Rome, and he did this under the following circumstances. There was a certain man named Telemachus who had embraced the ascetic life. He had set out for the East and for this reason had repaired to Rome. There, when the abominable spectacle was being exhibited, he went himself into the stadium, and stepping down into the arena endeavored to stop the men who were wielding their weapons against one another. The spectators of the slaughter were indignant and, inspired by the mad fury of the demon who delights in these bloody deeds, stoned the peacemaker to death. When the admirable Emperor was informed of this he numbered Telemachus in the army of the victorious martyrs, and put an end to that impious practice.

(i) Ambrose, Ep.51. (MSL, 16:1210.) Cf. Kirch, nn.754 ff.

Letter to the Emperor Theodosius after the massacre at Thessalonica in 390.

The Emperor had ordered a general massacre of the inhabitants of Thessalonica because of a sedition there. Ambrose wrote to him the following letter after having pleaded in vain with him before the massacre to deal mercifully with the people. (The well-known story of the penitence of Theodosius may be found in Theodoret, Hist. Ec., V, 17.) His residence at the seat of the imperial government at that time, Milan, made him the chief adviser to the court in spite of the fact that the Arian influence was strong at court, as the empress mother Justina was an Arian, cf. Ambrose, Ep. 20, 21. (PNF, ser. II, vol. X.)

4. Listen, august Emperor, I cannot deny that you have a zeal for the faith; I confess that you have the fear of God. But you have a natural vehemence, which, if any one endeavors to soothe it, you quickly turn to mercy; and if any one stirs it up, you allow it to be roused so much that you can scarcely restrain it. Would that it might be that, if no one soothed it, at least no one inflamed it. To yourself I willingly intrust it, restrain yourself and overcome your natural vehemence by the love of piety.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

6. There took place in the city of the Thessalonians that of which no memory recalls the like, which I was not able to prevent taking place; which, indeed, I had before said, would be most atrocious when I so often petitioned concerning it(144) and which as you yourself show, by revoking it too late, you consider to be grave, and this I could not extenuate when committed.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

After citing from the Bible several cases of kings exhibiting penance for sins, Ambrose continues:

11. I have written this, not to confound you, but that the examples of kings may stir you up to put away this sin from your kingdom, for you will put it away by humbling your soul before God. You are a man, temptation has come to you; conquer it. Sin is not done away but by tears and penitence. Neither angel can do it, nor archangel. The Lord himself, who alone can say |I am with you,| if we have sinned, does not forgive any but those who do penance.

12. I urge, I beg, I exhort, I warn; for it is grief to me that you who were an example of unheard-of piety, who were conspicuous for clemency, who would not suffer single offenders to be put in peril, should not mourn that so many innocent persons have perished. Though you have waged war most successfully, though in other matters too you are worthy of praise, yet piety was ever the crown of your actions. The devil envied that which you had as a most excellent possession. Conquer him whilst you still possess that wherewith you can conquer. Do not add another sin to your sin by a course of action which has injured many.

13. I, indeed, though a debtor to your kindness, for which I cannot be ungrateful, that kindness which I regard as surpassing that of many emperors, and has been equalled by one only, I have no cause, I say, for a charge of contumacy against you, but have cause for fear. I dare not offer the sacrifice if you intend to be present. Is that which is not allowed after the shedding of the blood of one innocent person allowed after the shedding of the blood of many? I think not.

(j) Codex Theodosianus, III, 16, 2; A. D.421.

The later Roman law of divorce.

The Roman law under the Empire was extremely favorable to divorce, making it easy for either party to become rid of the other for any cause that seemed sufficient. The Christian Church from the first, following the teaching of Christ, opposed divorce. Marriage was an indissoluble relation; see § 39 f, g. It was only by degrees that much change could be introduced into the civil law. The following law of Theodosius II gives the condition of the law in the fifth century. It shows that to some extent the Christian principles regarding marriage had affected legislation.

If a woman leave her husband by a repudiation made by her and prove no cause for her divorcing him, the gifts which she received as bride shall be taken away and she shall likewise be deprived of her dowry, and be subjected to the punishment of deportation; and to her we deny not only the right of marriage with another man, but also the right of post-liminium.(145) But if the woman opposed to the marriage prove faults of morals and vices, though of no great gravity, let her lose her dowry and pay back to her husband her marriage gift, and let her never join herself in marriage with another; that she may not stain her widowhood with the impudence of unchastity we give the repudiated husband the right of bringing an accusation by law. Hereafter if she who abandons her husband prove grave causes and a guilt involving great crimes, let her obtain a control of her dowry and marriage gifts, and five years after the day of repudiation she shall receive the right of remarrying; for it would then appear that she had acted rather out of detestation of her husband than from desire after another. Likewise, if the husband bring a divorce and charge grave crimes against the woman, let him bring action against the accused under the laws and let him both have the dowry (sentence having been obtained) and let him receive his gifts to her and let the free choice of marrying another be granted him immediately. But if it is an offence of manners and not of a criminal nature, let him receive the donations, relinquish the dowry, and marry after two years. But if he merely wishes to dissolve the marriage by dissent, and she who is put away is charged with no fault or sin, let the man lose the donation and the dowry, and in perpetual celibacy let him bear as a penalty for his wrongful divorce the pain of solitude; to the woman, however, is conceded after a year the right to remarry. Regarding the retention of the dowry on account of the children we command that the directions of the old law shall be observed.

(k) Jerome, Epistula 78, ad Oceanum. (MSL, 22:691.)

Divorce and remarriage.

The principle here laid down by Jerome was that which ultimately prevailed in the Church of the West, that after divorce there could be no remarriage, inasmuch as the marriage bond was indissoluble, though the parties might be separated by the law. But another principle was also made a part of the code of Christian morality, that what was forbidden a woman was also forbidden a man, i.e., the moral code as to chastity was the same for both sexes.

§ 3. The Lord hath commanded that a wife should not be put away except for fornication; and that when she has been put away, she ought to remain unmarried [Matt.19:9; I Cor.7:11]. Whatever is given as a commandment to men logically applies to women also. For it cannot be that while an adulterous wife is to be put away, an incontinent husband must be retained.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} The laws of Caesar are different, it is true, from the laws of Christ. Papinian commands one thing; our Paul another.(146) Among them the bridles are loosened for immodesty in the case of men. But with us what is unlawful for women is equally unlawful for men; and both are bound by the same conditions of service. She(147) then put away, as they report, a husband that was a sinner; she put away one who was guilty of this and that crime.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} She was a young woman; she could not preserve her widowhood.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} She persuaded herself and thought that her husband had been lawfully put away from her. She did not know that the strictness of the Gospel takes away from women all pretexts for remarriage, so long as their former husbands are alive.

(l) Jerome, Adversus Jovinianum, I, 7. (MSL, 23:229.)

The inferiority of marriage to virginity.

While the Church teachers insisted on the indissolubility of marriage and its sanctity, in not a few cases they depreciated marriage. Of those who did this Jerome may be regarded as the most characteristic and representative of a tendency which had set in, largely in connection with the increase of monasticism, regarded as the only form of Christian perfection.

|It is good for a man not to touch a woman.|(148) If it is good not to touch a woman, it is bad to touch one; for nothing is opposed to goodness but the bad. But if it be bad and the evil is pardoned, it is conceded that a worse evil may not happen. But what sort of good is that which is allowed only because there may be something worse? He would have never added, |Let each man have his own wife,| unless he had previously said, |But because of fornication.|{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} |Defraud ye not one another, except it be by consent for a season, that ye may give yourselves unto prayer.| What, I pray, is the quality of that good thing which hinders prayer, which does not allow the body of Christ to be received? So long as I do a husband's part, I fail in continency. The same Apostle in another place commands us to pray always.(149)

9. |It is better to marry than to burn.| If marriage itself be good, do not compare it with fire, but simply say, |It is good to marry.| I suspect the goodness of that thing which must be only the lesser of two evils. What I want is not the smaller evil, but a thing that is absolutely good.

(m) Chrysostom, Hom. 66 in Matth. (XX, 30). (MSG, 58:630.)

The Church took the lead in philanthropy and not only organized relief of poor but constantly exhorted people to contribute to the cause. See above, § 68, d.

If both the wealthy and those next to them in wealth were to distribute among themselves those in need of bread and raiment, scarcely would one poor person fall to the share of fifty men, or even a hundred. Yet, nevertheless, though in such great abundance of persons able to assist them, they are wailing every day. And that thou mayest learn their inhumanity, recall that the Church(150) has a revenue of one of the lowest among the wealthy, and not of the very rich; and consider how many widows it succors every day, how many virgins; for indeed the list of them amounts to the number of three thousand. Together with these she succors them that dwell in prison, the sick in the caravansaries, the healthy, those that are absent from their homes, those that are maimed in their bodies, those that wait upon the altar; and with respect to food and raiment, those that casually come every day; and her substance is in no respect diminished. So that if ten men only were thus willing to spend, there would be no poor.

(n) Gregory of Nazianzus, Panegyric on Basil, ch.63. (MSG, 36:577.)

Gregory of Nazianzus was the friend and schoolmate of Basil. The action of Basil in forcing upon him the bishopric of Sasima led to an estrangement and brought about the tragedy of Gregory's ecclesiastical career, his forced resignation of the archiepiscopal see of Constantinople. See Gregory's oration, |The Last Farewell| (PNF, ser. II, vol. VII, 385). Nevertheless, the death of Basil was an occasion for him to deliver his greatest oration. It was probably composed and delivered several years after Basil's decease and after Gregory had retired from Constantinople to his home at Nazianzus.

Go forth a little way from the city, behold the New City,(151) the storehouse of piety {HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} where disease is regarded in a philosophic light, and disaster is thought to be a blessing in disguise, and sympathy is tested. Why should I compare with this work Thebes having the seven gates, and the Egyptian Thebes and the walls of Babylon {HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} and all other objects of men's wonder and of historic record, from all of which, except for some slight glory, there was no advantage to their founders? My subject is the most wonderful of all, the short road to salvation, the easiest ascent to heaven.(152) There is no longer before our eyes that terrible and piteous spectacle of men dead before their death, in many members of their body already dead, driven away from their cities and homes and public places and fountains, ay and from their dearest ones, recognizable by their names rather than by their features.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} He, however, it was who most of all persuaded us men, as being men, not to despise men nor to dishonor Christ, the head of all, by inhuman treatment of them; but in the misfortune of others to establish well our own lot and to lend to God that mercy, since we ourselves need mercy. He did not therefore disdain to honor disease with his lips; he was noble and of noble ancestry and of brilliant reputation, but he saluted them as brethren, not out of vainglory, as some might suppose (for who was so far removed from this feeling?), but taking the lead in approaching to tend them in consequence of his philosophy, and so giving not only a speaking but also a silent instruction. Not only the city, but the country and parts beyond behave in like manner; and even the leaders of society have vied with one another in their philanthropy and magnanimity toward them.

§ 76. Popular Piety and the Reception of Heathenism in the Church

When vast numbers poured into the Church in the fourth century and the profession of Christianity no longer involved danger, morals became less austere, and the type of piety became adapted to the religious condition of those with whom the Church had now to deal. This is shown in the new place that the intercession of saints and the veneration of their relics take in the religious life of the times. Yet these and similar forms of devotion in popular piety were not new and cannot be attributed in principle to any wholesale importation of heathenism into the Church, as was charged at the time and often since. In principle, and to some extent in practice, they can be traced to times of persecution and danger. But, on the other hand, no little heathenism was brought into the Church by those who came into it without any adequate preparation or real change of religious feeling. With this heathenism the Church had to struggle, either casting it out in whole or in part, or rendering it as innocuous as possible. In spite of all, many heathen superstitions remained everywhere in Christendom, though playing for the most part such an inferior role as to be negligible in the total effect.

Additional source material: Eusebius, Vita Constantini (PNF), III, 21, 28; IV, 38, 39, 54.

(a) Ambrose, De Viduis, ch.9. (MSL, 16:264.)

The importance and value of calling upon the saints for their intercessions.

When Simon's mother-in-law was lying sick with violent fever, Peter and Andrew besought the Lord for her: |And He stood over her and commanded the fever and it left her, and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.|{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

So Peter and Andrew prayed for the widow. Would that there were some one who could so quickly pray for us, or better still, they who prayed for the mother-in-law -- Peter and Andrew his brother. Then they could pray for one related to them, now they are able to pray for us and for all. For you see that one bound by great sin is less fit to pray for herself, certainly less likely to obtain for herself. Let her then make use of others to pray for her to the Physician. For the sick, unless the Physician be called to them by the prayers of others, cannot pray for themselves. The flesh is weak, the soul is sick and hindered by the chains of sins, and cannot direct its feeble steps to the throne of that great Physician. The angels must be entreated for us, who have been to us as guardians; the martyrs must be entreated whose patronage we seem to claim by a sort of pledge, the possession of their body. They can entreat for our sins, who, if they had any sins, washed them in their own blood; for they are the martyrs of God, our leaders, the beholders of our life and of our actions. Let us not be ashamed to take them as intercessors for our weakness, for they themselves knew the weakness of the body, even when they overcame.

(b) Jerome, Contra Vigilantium, chs.4 ff. (MSL, 23:357.)

A defence of the worship and practice of the Church, especially in regard to veneration of relics against the criticism of Vigilantius.

Jerome's attack on Vigilantius is in many respects a masterpiece of scurrility, and unworthy of the ability of the man. But it is invaluable as a statement of the opinions of the times regarding such matters as the veneration of relics, the attitude toward the departed saints and martyrs, and many other elements of the popular religion which have been commonly attributed to a much later period.

Ch.4. Among other words of blasphemy he [Vigilantius] may be heard to say: |What need is there for you not only to reverence with so great honor but even to adore I know not what, which you carry about in a little vessel and worship?| And again in the same book, |Why do you adore by kissing a bit of powder wrapped up in a cloth?| and further on, |Under the cloak of religion we see really a heathen ceremony introduced into the churches; while the sun is shining heaps of tapers are lighted, and everywhere I know not what paltry bit of powder wrapped in a costly cloth is kissed and worshipped. Great honor do men of this sort pay to the blessed martyrs, who, as they think, are to be glorified by trumpery tapers, but to whom the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne, with all the brightness of His majesty gives light.|

Ch.5. {HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} Is the Emperor Arcadius guilty of sacrilege, who, after so long a time, conveyed the bones of the blessed Samuel from Judaea to Thrace? Are all the bishops to be considered not only sacrilegious but silly as well, who carried that most worthless thing, dust and ashes, wrapped in silk and in a golden vessel? Are the people of all the churches fools, who went to meet the sacred relics, and received them with as much joy as if they beheld the living prophet in the midst of them, so that there was one great swarm of people from Palestine to Chalcedon and with one voice the praises of Christ resounded?{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

Ch.6. For you say that the souls of the Apostles and martyrs have their abode either in the bosom of Abraham, or in some place of refreshment, or under the altar of God, and that they cannot leave their own tombs and be present where they will. They are, it seems, of senatorial rank and are not in the worst sort of prison and among murderers, but are kept apart in liberal and honorable custody in the isles of the blessed and the Elysian fields. Do you lay down laws for God? Will you throw the Apostles in chains? So that to the day of judgment they are to be kept in confinement and are not with the Lord, although it is written concerning them, |They follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.| If the Lamb is present everywhere, then they who are with the Lamb, it must be believed, are everywhere. And while the devil and the demons wander through the whole world, and with only too great speed are present everywhere, the martyrs after shedding their blood are to be kept out of sight shut up in a coffin(153) from whence they cannot go forth? You say in your pamphlet that so long as we are alive we can pray for one another; but after we are dead the prayer of no person for another can be heard, and especially because the martyrs, though they cry for the avenging of their blood, have never been able to obtain their request. If Apostles and martyrs, while still in the body, can pray for others, when they ought still to be anxious for themselves, how much more must they do so after they have their crowns and victories and triumphs? A single man, Moses, won pardon from God for six hundred thousand armed men; and Stephen, the follower of his Lord and the first martyr for Christ, entreats pardon for his persecutors; and after they have entered on their life with Christ, shall they have less power? The Apostle Paul says that two hundred and seventy-six souls were given him in the ship; and after his dissolution, when he began to be with Christ, must he then shut up his mouth and be unable to say a word for those who throughout the whole world have believed in his Gospel? Shall Vigilantius the live dog be better than Paul the dead lion?

(c) Council of Laodicaea, A. D.343-381, Canons 35. f., Bruns, I, 77.

The Council of Laodicaea is of uncertain date, but its earliest possible date is 343 and the latest 381, i.e., between the Councils of Sardica and Constantinople. See Hefele, § 93. It owes its importance not to any immediate effect it had upon the course of the Church's development, but to the fact that its canons were incorporated in collections and received approval, possibly at Chalcedon, A. D.451, though not mentioned by name in Canon 1, and certainly at the Quinisext, A. D.692, Canon 2. In the West the canons were of importance as having been used by Dionysius Exiguus in his collection. That the Canon of Holy Scripture was settled at this council is a traditional commonplace in theology, but hardly borne out by the facts. The council only drew up one of the several imperfect lists of sacred books which appeared in antiquity. The following canons show the influx of heathenism into the Church, resulting from the changed status of the Church.

Canon 35. Christians must not forsake the Church of God and go away and invoke angels and gather assemblies, which things are forbidden. If, therefore, any one shall be found engaged in secret idolatry, let him be anathema; for he has forsaken our Lord Jesus Christ and gone over to idolatry.

Canon 36. They who are of the priesthood and of the lower clergy shall not be magicians, enchanters, mathematicians(154) nor astrologers; nor shall they make amulets, which are chains for their own souls. And those who wear such we command to be cast out of the Church.

(d) Augustine, Epistula 29. (MSL, 33:117.)

Heathenism in the Church.

An Epistle of Augustine, written when Augustine was still a presbyter of Hippo, concerning the birthday of Leontius, formerly bishop of Hippo. In it he tells Alypius that he had at length put an end to the custom among the Catholics of Hippo of taking part in splendid banquets on the birthday of saints, as was then the custom in the African churches.

Ch.8. When the day dawned on which they were accustomed to prepare themselves for excess in eating and drinking, I received notice that some, even of those who were present at my sermon, had not yet ceased complaining, and that so great was the power of detestable custom among them that, using no other argument, they asked: |Wherefore is this now prohibited? Were they not Christians who in former times did not interfere with this practice?|{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

Ch.9. Lest, however, any slight should seem to be put by us upon those who before our time either tolerated or dared not put down such manifest wrong-doings of an undisciplined multitude, I explained to them the necessity by which this custom seems to have arisen in the Church; namely, that when, in the peace which came after such numerous and violent persecutions, crowds of heathen who wished to assume the Christian religion were kept back because, having been accustomed to celebrate the feasts connected with idols in revelling and drunkenness, they could not easily refrain from these pleasures so hurtful and so habitual; and it seemed good to our ancestors that for a time a concession should be made to this infirmity, that after they had renounced the former festivals they might celebrate other feasts, in honor of the holy martyrs, which were observed, not with the same profane design, although with similar indulgence. Now upon them as persons bound together in the name of Christ, and submissive to the yoke of His august authority, the wholesome restraints of sobriety were laid; and these restraints, on account of the honor and fear of Him who appointed them they might not resist; and that therefore it was now time that those who did not dare to deny that they were Christians should begin to live according to Christ's will; being now Christians they should reject those things conceded that they might become Christians.

§ 77. The Extension of Monasticism Throughout the Empire

Asceticism arose within the Christian Church partly as the practical expression of the conviction of the worthlessness of things transitory and partly as a reaction against the moral laxity of the times. As this laxity could not be kept entirely out of the Church, and Christians everywhere were exposed to it, those who sought the higher life felt the necessity of retirement. From the life of the isolated hermit, asceticism advanced naturally to the community type of the ascetic life. There were forerunners in non-Christian religions of the solitary ascetic and the cenobite in Egypt, Palestine, India, and elsewhere, but all the essentials of Christian monasticism can be adequately explained without employing the theory of borrowing or imitation. For the principal points of development, v. §§ 53, 78, 104. When monasticism had once made itself a strong factor in the Christian religious life of Egypt, it was quickly taken up by other parts of the Church as it satisfied a widely felt want. In Asia Minor Basil of Caesarea was the great promoter and organizer of the ascetic life; and his rule still obtains throughout the East. In the West Athanasius appears to have introduced monastic ideas during his early exiles. Ambrose was a patron of the movement. Martin of Tours, Severinus, and John Cassian did much to extend it in Gaul. Augustine organized his clergy according to a monastic rule which ultimately played a large part in later monasticism.

(a) Palladius, Historia Lausiaca, ch.38. (MSG, 34:1099.)

The Rule of Pachomius.

Palladius, the author of the history of monasticism, known as the Historia Lausiaca, was an Origenist, pupil of Evagrius Ponticus, and later bishop in Asia Minor. He is not to be confused with Palladius of Helenopolis, who lived about the same time, in the first part of the fifth century. The work of Palladius receives its name from the fact that it is dedicated to a high official, Lausus by name. Palladius made a careful study of monasticism, travelling extensively in making researches for his work. He also used what written material was available. It is probable that the text is largely interpolated, but on the whole it is a trustworthy account of the early monasticism. It was written about A. D.420, and the following account of Pachomius should be compared with that of Sozomenus, Hist. Ec., III, 14, written some years later. Text in Kirch, nn.712 ff.

There is a place in the Thebaid called Tabenna, in which lived a certain monk Pachomius, one of those men who have attained the highest form of life, so that he was granted predictions of the future and angelic visions. He was a great lover of the poor, and had great love to men. When, therefore, he was sitting in a cave an angel of the Lord came in and appeared to him and said: Pachomius you have done well those things which pertain to your own affairs; therefore sit no longer idle in this cave. Up, therefore, go forth and gather all the younger monks and dwell with them and give them laws according to the form which I give thee. And he gave him a brass tablet on which the following things were written:

1. Give to each to eat and drink according to his strength; and give labors according to the powers of those eating, and forbid neither fasting nor eating. Thus appoint difficult labors to the stronger and those who eat, but the lighter and easy tasks to those who discipline themselves more and are weaker.

2. Make separate cells in the same place; and let three remain in a cell. But let the food of all be prepared in one house.

3. They may not sleep lying down, but having made seats built inclining backward let them place their bedding on them and sleep seated.

4. But by night let them wear linen tunics, being girded about. Let each of them have a shaggy goatskin, made white. Without this let them neither eat nor sleep. When they go in unto the communion of the mysteries of Christ every Sabbath and Lord's Day, let them loose their girdles and put off the goatskin, and enter with only their cuculla [cf. DCA]. But he made the cuculla for them without any fleece, as for boys; and he commanded to place upon them certain branding marks of a purple cross.

5. He commanded that there be twenty-four groups of the brethren, according to the number of the twenty-four letters. And he prescribed that to each group should be given as a name a letter of the Greek alphabet, from Alpha and Beta, one after another, to Omega, in order that when the archimandrite asked for any one in so great a company, that one may be asked who is the second in each, how group Alpha is, or how the group Beta; again let him salute the group Rho; the name of the letters following its own proper sign. And upon the simpler and more guileless place the name Iota; and upon those who are more ill-tempered and less righteous the letter Xi. And thus in harmony with the principles and the life and manners of them arrange the names of the letters, only the spiritual understanding the meaning.

6. There was written on the tablet that if there come a stranger of another monastery, having a different form of life, he shall not eat nor drink with them, nor go in with them into the monastery, unless he shall be found in the way outside of the monastery.

7. But do not receive for three years into the contest of proficients him who has entered once for all to remain with them; but when he has performed the more difficult tasks, then let him after a period of three years enter the stadium.

8. When they eat let them veil their faces, that one brother may not see another brother eating. They are not to speak while they eat; nor outside of their dish or off the table shall they turn their eyes toward anything else.

9. And he made it a rule that during the whole day they should offer twelve prayers; and at the time of lighting the lamps, twelve; and in the course of the night, twelve; and at the ninth hour, three; but when it seemed good for the whole company to eat, he directed that each group should first sing a psalm at each prayer.

But when the great Pachomius replied to the angel that the prayers were few, the angel said to him: I have appointed these that the little ones may advance and fulfil the law and not be distressed; but the perfect do not need to have laws given to them. For being by themselves in their cells, they have dedicated their entire life to contemplation on God. But to these, as many as do not have an intelligent mind, I will give a law that as saucy servants out of fear for the Master they may fulfil the whole order of life and direct it properly. When the angel had given these directions and fulfilled his ministry he departed from the great Pachomius. There are monasteries observing this rule, composed of seven thousand men, but the first and great monastery, wherein the blessed Pachomius dwelt, and which gave birth to the other places of asceticism, has one thousand three hundred men.

(b) Basil the Great, Regula fusius tractata, Questio 7. (MSG, 31:927.)

The Rule of St. Basil is composed in the form of question and answer, and in place of setting down a simple, clearly stated law, with perhaps some little exhortation, goes into much detailed argument, even in the briefer Rule. In the following passage Basil points out the advantages of the cenobitic life over the solitary or hermit life. It is condensed as indicated.

Questio VII. Since your words have given us full assurance that the life [i.e., the cenobitic life] is dangerous with those who despise the commandments of the Lord, we wish accordingly to learn whether it is necessary that he who withdraws should remain alone or live with brothers of like mind who have placed before themselves the same goal of piety.

Responsio 1. I think that the life of several in the same place is much more profitable. First, because for bodily wants no one of us is sufficient for himself, but we need each other in providing what is necessary. For just as the foot has one ability, but is wanting another, and without the help of the other members it would find neither its own power strong nor sufficient of itself to continue, nor any supply for what it lacks, so it is in the case of the solitary life: what is of use to us and what is wanting we cannot provide for ourselves, for God who created the world has so ordered all things that we are dependent upon each other, as it is written that we may join ourselves to one another [cf. Wis.13:20]. But in addition to this, reverence to the love of Christ does not permit each one to have regard only to his own affairs, for love, he says, seeks not her own [I Cor.13:5]. The solitary life has only one goal, the service of its own interests. That clearly is opposed to the law of love, which the Apostle fulfilled, when he did not in his eyes seek his own advantage but the advantage of many, that they might be saved [cf. I Cor.10:33]. Further, no one in solitude recognizes his own defects, since he has no one to correct him and in gentleness and mercy direct him on his way. For even if correction is from an enemy, it may often in the case of those who are well disposed rouse the desire for healing; but the healing of sin by him who sincerely loves is wisely accomplished.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} Also the commands may be better fulfilled by a larger community, but not by one alone; for while this thing is being done another will be neglected; for example, by attendance upon the sick the reception of strangers is neglected; and in the bestowal and distribution of the necessities of life (especially when in these services much time is consumed) the care of the work is neglected, so that by this the greatest commandment and the one most helpful to salvation is neglected; neither the hungry are fed nor the naked clothed. Who would therefore value higher the idle, useless life than the fruitful which fulfils the commandments of God?

3. {HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} Also in the preservation of the gifts bestowed by God the cenobitic life is preferable.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} For him who falls into sin, the recovery of the right path is so much easier, for he is ashamed at the blame expressed by so many in common, so that it happens to him as it is written: It is enough that the same therefore be punished by many [II Cor.2:6].{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} There are still other dangers which we say accompany the solitary life, the first and greatest is that of self-satisfaction. For he who has no one to test his work easily believes that he has completely fulfilled the commandments.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS}

4. For how shall he manifest his humility, when he has no one to whom he can show himself the inferior? How shall he manifest compassion, cut off from the society of many? How will he exercise himself in patience, if no one opposes his wishes?

(c) Council of Chalcedon, A. D.451, Canon 4. Bruns, I, 26.

The subjection of the monastery and the monks to the bishop.

Asceticism of the solitary life was apart from the organization of the Church; when this form of life had developed in cenobitism it still remained for a time, at least, outside the ecclesiastical organization. Athanasius, who was a patron of the monastic life and often found support and refuge among the monks, did much to bring Egyptian monasticism back to the Church, and in the fifth century monks became a great power in ecclesiastical affairs, cf. the Origenistic controversy, v. infra, § 88. Basil, at once archbishop of Caesarea and leading exponent of monastic ideas, brought the two to some extent together. But always the episcopal control was only with difficulty brought to bear on the monastic life, and in the West this opposition of the two religious forces ultimately became embodied in the principle of monastic exemption. The Council of Chalcedon, in 451, aimed to correct the early abuse by placing the monasteries under the control of the bishop.

They who lead a true and worthy monastic life shall enjoy the honor that belongs to them. But since there are some who assume the monastic condition only as a pretence, and will upset the ecclesiastical and civil regulations and affairs, and run about without distinction in the cities and want to found cloisters for themselves, the synod therefore has decreed that no one shall build a cloister or house of prayer or erect anywhere without the consent of the bishop of the city; and further, that also the monks of every district and city shall be subject to the bishop, that they shall love peace and quiet and observe the fasts and prayers in the places where they are assigned continually; that they shall not cumber themselves with ecclesiastical and secular business and shall not take part in such; they shall not leave their cloisters except when in cases of necessity they may be commissioned by the bishop of the city with such; that no slave shall be admitted into the cloister in order to become a monk without the permission of his master. Whoever violates this our order shall be excommunicated, that the name of God be not blasphemed. The bishop of the city must keep a careful oversight of the cloisters.

(d) Jerome, Epistula 127, ad Principiam. (MSL, 22:1087.)

The introduction of monasticism into the West during the Arian controversy.

5. At that time no high-born lady at Rome knew of the profession of the monastic life, neither would she have dared, on account of the novelty, publicly to assume a name that was regarded as ignominious and vile. It was from some priests of Alexandria and from Pope Athanasius(155) and subsequently from Peter,(156) who, to escape the persecution of the Arian heretics, had fled for refuge to Rome as the safest haven of their communion -- it was from these that she [Marcella] learned of the life of the blessed Anthony, then still living, and of the monasteries in the Thebaid, founded by Pachomius, and of the discipline of virgins and widows. Nor was she ashamed to profess what she knew was pleasing to Christ. Many years after her example was followed first by Sophronia and then by others.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} The revered Paula enjoyed Marcella's friendship, and it was in her cell that Eustochium, that ornament of virginity, was trained.

(e) Augustine, Confessiones, VIII, ch.6. (MSL, 32:755.)

The extension of monasticism in the West.

Upon a certain day {HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} there came to the house to see Alypius and me, Pontitianus, a countryman of ours, in so far as he was an African, who held high office in the Emperor's court. What he wanted with us I know not. We sat down to talk together, and upon the table before us, used for games, he noticed by chance a book; he took it up, opened it, and, contrary to his expectations, found it to be the Apostle Paul, for he imagined it to be one of those books the teaching of which was wearing me out. At this he looked up at me smilingly, and expressed his delight and wonder that he so unexpectedly found this book, and this only, before my eyes. For he was both a Christian and baptized, and in constant and daily prayers he often prostrated himself before Thee our God in the Church. When, then, I had told him that I bestowed much pains upon these writings, a conversation ensued on his speaking of Anthony, the Egyptian monk, whose name was in high repute among Thy servants, though up to that time unfamiliar to us. When he came to know this he lingered on that topic, imparting to us who were ignorant a knowledge of this man so eminent, and marvelling at our ignorance. But we were amazed, hearing Thy wonderful works most fully manifested in times so recent, and almost in our own, wrought in the true faith and the Catholic Church. We all wondered -- we that they were so great, and he that we had never heard of them.

From this his conversation turned to the companies in the monasteries, and their manners so fragrant unto Thee, and of the fruitful deserts of the wilderness, of which we knew nothing. And there was a monastery at Milan full of good brethren, without the walls of the city, under the care of Ambrose, and we were ignorant of it. He went on with his relation, and we listened intently and in silence. He then related to us how on a certain afternoon, at Treves, when the Emperor was taken up with seeing the Circensian games, he and three others, his comrades, went out for a walk in the gardens close to the city walls, and there, as they chanced to walk two and two, one strolled away with him, while the other two went by themselves; and these in their ramblings came upon a certain cottage where dwelt some of Thy servants, |poor in spirit,| of whom |is the kingdom of heaven,| and they found there a book in which was written the life of Anthony. This one of them began to read, marvel at, and be inflamed by it; and in the reading to meditate on embracing such a life, and giving up his worldly employments to serve Thee.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} Then Pontitianus, and he that had walked with him through other parts of the garden, came in search of them to the same place, and, having found them, advised them to return as the day had declined.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} But the other two, setting their affections upon heavenly things, remained in the cottage. And both of them had affianced brides who also, when they heard of this, dedicated their virginity to God.

(f) Sulpicius Severus, Life of St. Martin of Tours, ch.10. (MSL, 20:166.)

Monasticism in Gaul.

St. Martin, bishop of Tours, was born 316, became bishop of Tours in 371, and died 396. He was the most considerable figure in the Church life of Gaul at that time. Sulpicius Severus was his disciple and enthusiastic biographer. For John Cassian and his works on monasticism, see PNF, ser. II, vol. XI.

And now having entered upon the episcopal office, it is beyond my power to set forth how well and how much he [Martin] performed. For he remained with the utmost constancy the same as he had been before. In his heart there was the same humility and in his garments the same simplicity; and so full of dignity and courtesy, he maintained the dignity of a bishop, yet so as not to lay aside the objects and virtues of a monk. Accordingly he made use for some time of the cell connected with the church; but afterward, when he felt it impossible to tolerate the disturbance of the numbers of those visiting it, he established a monastery for himself about two miles outside the city. This spot was so secret and retired that he did not desire the solitude of a hermit. For, on one side, it was surrounded by a precipitous rock of a lofty mountain; while the river Loire has shut in the rest of the plain by a bend extending back for a distance. The place could be approached by only one passage, and that very narrow. Here, then, he possessed a cell constructed of wood; many also of the brethren had, in the same manner, fashioned retreats for themselves, but most of them had formed these out of the rock of the overhanging mountain, hollowed out into caves. There were altogether eighty disciples, who were being disciplined after the example of the saintly master. No one there had anything which was called his own; all things were possessed in common. It was not allowed either to buy or sell anything, as is the custom amongst most monks. No art was practised there except that of transcribers, and even to this the more youthful were assigned, while the elders spent their time in prayer. Rarely did any of them go beyond the cell unless when they assembled at the place of prayer. They all took their food together after the hour of fasting was past. No one used wine except when illness compelled him. Most of them were dressed in garments of camel's hair. Any dress approaching softness was there deemed criminal, and this must be thought the more remarkable because many among them were such as are deemed of noble rank, who though very differently brought up had forced themselves down to this degree of humility and patience, and we have seen many of these afterward as bishops. For what city or church could there be that would not desire to have its priest from the monastery of Martin?

§ 78. Celibacy of the Clergy and the Regulation of Clerical Marriage

The insistence upon clerical celibacy and even the mere regulation of the marriage of the clergy contributed not a little to making a clear distinction between the clergy and the laity which became a marked feature in the constitution of the Church. The East and the West have always differed as to clerical marriage. In the East the parish clergy have always been married; the bishops formerly married have long since been exclusively of the unmarried clergy. The clergy who do not marry become monks. This seems to have been the solution of practical difficulties which were found to arise in that part of the Church in connection with general clerical celibacy. In the West the celibacy of the clergy as a body was an ideal from the beginning of the fourth century, and became an established principle by the middle of the fifth century under Leo the Great, though as a matter of fact it was not enforced as a universal obligation of the clerical order until the reforms of Gregory VII. In the following canons and documents the division is made between the East and the West, and the selected documents are arranged chronologically so as to show the progress in legislation toward the condition that afterward became dominant in the respective divisions of the Empire and the Church.

(A) Clerical Marriage in the East

(a) Council of Ancyra, A. D.314, Canon 10. Bruns, I, 68. Cf. Mirbt, n.90.

The following canon is important as being the first Eastern regulation of a council bearing on the subject and having been generally followed long before the canons of this council were adopted as binding by the Council of Constantinople known as the Quinisext in 692, Canon 2; cf. Hefele, § 327. For the Council of Ancyra, see Hefele, § 16.

Canon 10. Those who have been made deacons, declaring when they were ordained that they must marry, because they were not able to abide as they were, and who afterward married, shall continue in the ministry because it was conceded to them by the bishop. But if they were silent on the matter, undertaking at their ordination to abide as they were, and afterward proceeded to marry, they shall cease from the diaconate.

(b) Council of Nicaea, A. D.325, Canon 3. Bruns, I, 15. Cf. Mirbt, n.101, Kirch, n.363.

The meaning of the following canon is open to question because of the term subintroducta and the concluding clause. Hefele contends that every woman is excluded except certain specified persons. But the custom of the East was not to treat the rule as meaning such. See E. Venables, art. |Subintroductae,| in DCB; and Achelis, art. |Subintroductae,| in PRE. Hefele's discussion may be found in his History of the Councils, §§ 42 and 43; in the latter he discusses the question as to the position of the council as to the matter of clerical celibacy.

Canon 3. The great synod has stringently forbidden any bishop, presbyter, deacon, or any one of the clergy whatever, to have a subintroducta ({GREEK SMALL LETTER SIGMA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER UPSILON}{GREEK SMALL LETTER NU}{GREEK SMALL LETTER EPSILON}{GREEK SMALL LETTER IOTA WITH OXIA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER SIGMA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER ALPHA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER KAPPA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER TAU}{GREEK SMALL LETTER OMICRON}{GREEK SMALL LETTER FINAL SIGMA}) dwelling with him, except only a mother, sister, or aunt, or such persons only as are beyond all suspicion.

(c) Council of Gangra, A. D.355-381, Canon 4. Bruns, I, 107.

The canons of this council were approved at the Quinisext together with those of Ancyra and Laodicaea and others. This canon is directed against the fanaticism of the Eustathians.

Canon 4. If any one shall maintain, concerning a married presbyter, that it is not lawful to partake of the oblation that he offers, let him be anathema.

(d) Socrates, Hist. Ec., V, 22. (MSG, 67:640.)

That the custom of clerical celibacy grew up without much regard to conciliar action, and that canons only later regulated what had been established and modified by custom, is illustrated by the variation in the matter of clerical marriage noted by Socrates.

I myself learned of another custom in Thessaly. If a clergyman in that country should, after taking orders, cohabit with his wife, whom he had legally married before ordination, he would be degraded.(157) In the East, indeed, all clergymen and even bishops abstain from their wives; but this they do of their own accord and not by the necessity of law; for many of them have had children by their lawful wives during their episcopate. The author of the usage which obtains in Thessaly was Heliodorus, bishop of Tricca in that country, under whose name it is said that erotic books are extant, entitled Ethiopica, which he composed in his youth. The same custom prevails in Thessalonica and in Macedonia and Achaia.

(e) Quinisext Council, A. D.692, Canons 6, 12, 13, 48. Bruns, I, 39 ff.

Canons on celibacy.

The Trullan Council fixed the practice of the Eastern churches regarding the celibacy of the clergy. In general it may be said that the clergyman was not allowed to marry after ordination. But if he married before ordination he did not, except in the case of the bishops separate from his wife, but lived with her in lawful marital relations.

Canon 6. Since it is declared in the Apostolic Canons that of those who are advanced to the clergy unmarried, only lectors and cantors are able to marry, we also, maintaining this, determine that henceforth it is in nowise lawful for any subdeacon, deacon, or presbyter after his ordination to contract matrimony; but if he shall have dared to do so, let him be deposed. And if any of those who enter the clergy wishes to be joined to a wife in lawful marriage before he is ordained subdeacon, deacon, or presbyter, let it be done.

Canon 12. Moreover, it has also come to our knowledge that in Africa and Libya and in other places the most God-beloved bishops in those parts do not refuse to live with their wives, even after consecration, thereby giving scandal and offence to the people. Since, therefore, it is our particular care that all things tend to the good of the flock placed in our hands and committed to us, it has seemed good that henceforth nothing of the kind shall in any way occur.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} But if any shall have been observed to do such a thing, let him be deposed.

Canon 13. [Text in Kirch, nn.985 ff.] Since we know it to be handed down as a rule of the Roman Church that those who are deemed worthy to be advanced to the diaconate and presbyterate should promise no longer to cohabit with their wives, we, preserving the ancient rule and apostolic perfection and order, will that lawful marriage of men who are in holy orders be from this time forward firm, by no means dissolving their union with their wives nor depriving them of their mutual intercourse at a convenient season.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} For it is meet that they who assist at the divine altar should be absolutely continent when they are handling holy things, in order that they may be able to obtain from God what they ask in sincerity.

Canon 48. The wife of him who is advanced to the episcopal dignity shall be separated from her husband by mutual consent, and after his ordination and consecration to the episcopate she shall enter a monastery situated at a distance from the abode of the bishop, and there let her enjoy the bishop's provision. And if she is deemed worthy she may be advanced to the dignity of a deaconess.

(B) Clerical Celibacy in the West

(a) Council of Elvira, A. D.306, Canon 33. Bruns, II, 6. Cf. Mirbt, n.90, and Kirch, n.305.

This is the earliest canon of any council requiring clerical celibacy. For the Council of Elvira, see Hefele, § 13; A. W. W. Dale, The Synod of Elvira, London.1882. For discussion of reasons for assigning a later date, see E. Hennecke, art. |Elvira, Synode um 313,| in PRE, and the literature there cited. The council was a provincial synod of southern Spain.

Canon 33. It was voted that it be entirely forbidden(158) bishops, presbyters, and deacons, and all clergy placed in the ministry to abstain from their wives and not to beget sons: whoever does this, let him be deprived of the honor of the clergy.

(b) Siricius, Decretal A. D.385. (MSL, 13:1138.) Mirbt, nn.122 f.; cf. Denziger, nn.87 ff.

Clerical celibacy: the force of decretals.

In the following passages from the first authentic decretal, the celibacy of the clergy is laid down as of divine authority in the Church, and the rule remains characteristic of the Western Church. See Canon 13 of the Quinisext Council, above, § 78, c. The binding authority of the decretals of the bishop of Rome is also asserted, and this, too, becomes characteristic of the jurisprudence of the Western Church.

Ch.7 (§ 8). Why did He admonish them to whom the holy of holies was committed, Be ye holy, because I the Lord your God am holy? [Lev.20:7.] Why were they commanded to dwell in the temple in the year of their turn to officiate, afar from their own homes? Evidently it was for the reason that they might not be able to maintain their marital relations with their wives, so that, adorned with a pure conscience, they might offer to God an acceptable sacrifice. After the time of their service was accomplished they were permitted to resume their marital relations for the sake of continuing the succession, because only from the tribe of Levi was it ordained that any one should be admitted to the priesthood.{HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS} Wherefore also our Lord Jesus, when by His coming He brought us light, solemnly affirmed in the Gospel that He came not to destroy but to fulfil the law. And therefore He who is the bridegroom of the Church wished that its form should be resplendent with chastity, so that in the day of Judgment, when He should come again, He might find it without spot or blemish, as He taught by His Apostle. And by the rule of its ordinances which may not be gainsaid, we who are priests and Levites are bound from the day of our ordination to keep our bodies in soberness and modesty, so that in those sacrifices which we offer daily to our God we may please Him in all things.

Ch.15 (§ 20). To each of the cases, which by our son Bassanius you have referred to the Roman Church as the head of your body, we have returned, as I think, a sufficient answer. Now we exhort your brotherly mind more and more to obey the canons and to observe the decretals that have been drawn up, that those things which we have written to your inquiries you may cause to be brought to the attention of all our fellow-bishops, and not only of those who are placed in your diocese, but also of the Carthaginians, the Baetici, the Lusitani, and the Gauls, and those who in neighboring provinces border upon you, those things which by us have been helpfully decreed may be sent accompanied by your letters. And although no priest of the Lord is free to ignore the statutes of the Apostolic See and the venerable definitions of the canons, yet it would be more useful and, on account of the long time you have been in holy orders, exceedingly glorious for you, beloved, if those things which have been written you especially by name, might through your agreement with us be brought to the notice of all our brethren, and that, seeing that they have not been drawn up inconsiderately but prudently and with very great care, they should remain inviolate, and that, for the future, opportunity for any excuse might be cut off, which is now open to no one among us.

(c) Council of Carthage, A. D.390, Canon 2. Bruns, I, 117.

See also Canon 1 of the same council.

Canon 2. Bishop Aurelius said: |When in a previous council the matter of the maintenance of continence and chastity was discussed, these three orders were joined by a certain agreement of chastity through their ordination, bishops, I say, presbyters, and deacons; as it was agreed that it was seemly that they, as most holy pontiffs and priests of God, and as Levites who serve divine things, should be continent in all things whereby they may be able to obtain from God what they ask sincerely, so that what the Apostles taught and antiquity observed, we also keep.| By all the bishops it was said: |It is the pleasure of all that bishops, presbyters, and deacons, or those who handle the sacraments, should be guardians of modesty, and refrain themselves from their wives.| By all it was said: |It is our pleasure that in all things, and by all, modesty should be preserved, who serve the altar.|

(d) Leo the Great, Ep.14, ad Anastasium; Ep.167, ad Rusticum. (MSL, 54:672, 1204.)

The final form of the Western rule, that the clergy, from subdeacon to bishop, both inclusive, should be bound to celibacy, was expressed in its permanent form by Leo the Great in his letters to Anastasius and Rusticus. From each of these letters the passage bearing on the subject is quoted. By thus following up the ideas of the Council of Elvira and the Council of Carthage as well as the decretal of Siricius, the subdeacon was included among those who were vowed to celibacy, for he, too, served at the altar, and came to be counted as one of the major orders of the ministry.

Ep.14, Ch.5. Although they who are not within the ranks of the clergy are free to take pleasure in the companionship of wedlock and the procreation of children, yet, for the sake of exhibiting the purity of complete continence, even subdeacons are not allowed carnal marriage; that |both they that have wives be as though they had none| [I Cor.7:29], and they that have not may remain single. But if in this order, which is the fourth from the head, this is worthy to be observed, how much more is it to be kept in the first, the second, and the third, lest any one be reckoned fit for either the deacon's duties or the presbyter's honorable position, or the bishop's pre-eminence, who is discovered as not yet having bridled his uxorious desires.

Ep.167, Quest.3. Concerning those who minister at the altar and have wives, whether they may cohabit with them.

Reply. The same law of continence is for the ministers of the altar as for the bishops and priests who, when they were laymen, could lawfully marry and procreate children. But when they attained to the said ranks, what was before lawful became unlawful for them. And therefore in order that their wedlock may become spiritual instead of carnal, it is necessary that they do not put away their wives(159) but to have them |as though they had them not,| whereby both the affection of their married life may be retained and the marriage functions cease.

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