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A Dictionary Of Christian Biography And Literature by Henry Wace

Letter N

Narcissus, bp. of Jerusalem
Narcissus (1), bp. of Jerusalem. Clinton (Fasti Romani) accepts the date a.d.190 for the commencement of his episcopate. He was the 15th of the Gentile bishops of Jerusalem, reckoning from Marcus, a.d.136, and the 30th in succession from the apostles (Eus. H. E. v.12). According to the Synodicon, Narcissus presided over a council of 14 bishops of Palestine held at Jerusalem a.d.198, on the Paschal controversy, and took part in that at Caesarea on the same subject under the presidency of Theophilus, bp. of the city (Labbe, Concil. i.600). Eusebius speaks of the synodical letter of these bishops as still extant in his time (Eus. H. E. v.23). Narcissus was conspicuous in the church of his day (Neale, Patriarch. of Antioch, p.34; Eus. H. E. v.12). Eusebius records a miracle traditionally ascribed to him, whereby water was converted into oil one Easter Eve, when the oil required for the great illumination had failed (Eus. H. E. vi.9). The sanctity of his life raised against him a band of slanderers. Narcissus, stung by their calumny, abdicated his bishopric, and retired to the remotest part of the desert, where for several years he lived the ascetic life he had long coveted, no one knowing the place of his concealment.

Having been sought for in vain, the neighbouring bishops declared the see vacant, and ordained Dius as his successor, who was succeeded by Germanicus, and he by Gordius. During the episcopate of Gordius, Narcissus reappeared. Shortly after his disappearance the falsity of the charges against him, Eusebius tells us, had been proved by the curses imprecated by the false accusers having been fearfully made good. This, having eventually reached Narcissus's ears, probably led to his return. He at once resumed the oversight of his see at the earnest request of all (ib.9, 10). In the 2nd year of Caracalla, a.d.212 (Eus. Chronicon), Alexander, a Cappadocian bishop, a confessor in the persecution of Severus, visiting the holy city in fulfilment of a vow, was selected by the aged Narcissus as his coadjutor and eventual successor. Eusebius preserves a fragment of a letter written by Alexander to the people of Antinous, in which he speaks of Narcissus as being then in his 116th year, and as having virtually retired from his episcopal office (Eus. H. E. vi.11). Epiphanius states that he lived ten years after Alexander became his coadjutor, to the reign of Alexander Severus, a.d.222 (Epiph. Haer. lxvi.20). This, however, is very improbable. Tillem. Mém. eccl. iii.177 ff.


Nebridius, a friend of St. Augustine
Nebridius (4), an intimate friend of St. Augustine, and probably of about the same age, described by him as very good and of a very cautious disposition. While Augustine was at Carthage under the influence of Manichean doctrine, it was partly through Nebridius and Vindicianus that he was induced to give up his belief in astrology, or, as it was then called, mathematics. Nebridius had already abandoned Manicheism and delivered lectures against it, a.d.379 (Aug. Conf. iv.3; vii.2, 6). When Augustine removed from Rome to Milan as a lecturer in rhetoric, a.d.384, Nebridius, out of love for him, determined to leave his home and mother, and take up leis abode with Augustine and Alypius there, |for no other reason,| says Augustine, |than that he might live with me in most ardent pursuit of truth and wisdom| (ib. vi.7, 10). By and by Nebridius undertook to assist Verecundus in his grammar lectures at his earnest request and that of Augustine. This duty he performed with great care and discretion (ib. viii.6). Soon after Nebridius appears to have taken up the notion of the Docetae, that our Lord took human nature not in reality but only in outward appearance, an error which, after a period of unknown length, he recanted. Soon after the conversion of Augustine he died, a true Catholic, having induced his household to join him in the change. |He is now,| says Augustine with confidence, |in the bosom of Abraham| (ib. ix.3, 4).

Though a much-loved friend, Nebridius was a troublesome correspondent, most persevering in his inquiries, which were sometimes very difficult to answer, and not satisfied with brief replies or always ready to make allowance for his friend's occupations (Aug. Ep.98, 8). Of the 12 letters which remain of their correspondence, two only are addressed by Nebridius to Augustine. Those of Augustine are very long, chiefly on metaphysical subjects of extreme subtlety.


Nectarius, archbp. of Constantinople
Nectarius (4), archbp. of Constantinople a.d.381-397 or 398, successor to St. Gregory of Nazianzus. When Gregory resigned, Nectarius was praetor of Constantinople. He was of noble family, born at Tarsus in Cilicia, an elderly man, widely known for his admirable character, still only a catechumen. Preparing for a journey to Tarsus, he called on the bp. of Tarsus, Diodorus, who was attending the council, to ask if he could take letters for him. The appearance and manners of his visitor struck Diodorus so forcibly that he at once determined that he should be advanced as a candidate; and, alleging some other business, took the praetor to call on the bp. of Antioch, who, though laughing at the idea of such a competitor, asked Nectarius to put off his journey a short time. When the emperor Theodosius desired the bishops at the council to suggest candidates, reserving to himself the right of choosing one of them, the bp. of Antioch put at the bottom of his list, in compliment to the bp. of Tarsus, the name of the praetor. The emperor, reading the lists, declared his choice to be Nectarius. The Fathers were amazed. Who and what was this Nectarius? He was not even baptized. Astonishment at the emperor's unexpected choice was great. Even the bp. of Tarsus seems not to have known this disqualification. The startling information did not move Theodosius. The people of Constantinople were delighted at the news. The whole council agreed. Nectarius was baptized. The dress of a neophyte was changed for the robes of the bishop of the imperial city. The praetor, a few days previously a catechumen, became at once president of the second general council. He ruled the church upwards of 16 years, and made an admirable prelate. His name heads the 150 signatures to the canons of the second general council. The 3rd canon declares that |the bp. of Constantinople shall hold the first rank after the bp. of Rome, because Constantinople is new Rome.|

The bishops of the West were not disposed to accept the election, and asked for a common synod of East and West to settle the succession. Accordingly the emperor Theodosius, soon after the close of the second general council, summoned the bishops of his empire to a fresh synod -- not, however, as the Latins wished, at Alexandria, but at Constantinople. There were assembled here, early in the summer of 382, very nearly the same bishops who had been at the second general council. On arriving they received a letter from the synod of Milan, inviting them to a great general council at Rome. They replied that they must remain where they were, because they had not made preparations for so long a journey, and were only authorized by their colleagues to act at Constantinople. They sent three of their number -- Syriacus, Eusebius, and Priscian -- with a synodal letter to pope Damasus, archbp. Ambrose, and the other bishops assembled in council at Rome.

The Roman synod to which this letter was addressed was the 5th under Damasus. No certain account remains of its proceedings, nor of how its members treated the question of Nectarius. Theodosius, however, sent commissaries to Rome in support of the statements of his synod, as we learn from the letters of pope Boniface. In his 15th letter (to the bishops of Illyria) he shews that the church in Rome had finally agreed to recognize both Nectarius and Flavian. St. Ambrose, in his 63rd letter, adduces the election of Nectarius as an approval of his own by the East.

Six graceful letters from Nectarius remain in the correspondence of his illustrious predecessor Gregory. In the first he expresses his hearty good wishes for his episcopate. The last is of great importance, urging him not to be too liberal in tolerating the Apollinarians.

In 383 a third synod at Constantinople was held. In spite of the decrees of bishops and emperor, the Arians and Pneumatomachians continued to spread their doctrines. Theodosius summoned all parties to the imperial city for a great discussion in June, hoping to reconcile all differences. Before the proceedings, he sent for the archbishop and told him of his intention that all questions should be fully debated. Nectarius returned home, full of profound anxiety, and consulted the Novatianist bp. Agelius, who agreed with him in doctrine and was held in high personal esteem. Agelius felt himself unsuited for so grave a controversy; but he had a reader, Sisinnius, a brilliant philosopher and theologian, to whom he proposed to entrust the argument with the Arians. Sisinnius suggested that they should produce the testimonies of the old Fathers of the church on the doctrine of the Son, and first ask the heads of the several parties whether they accepted these authorities or desired to anathematize them. The archbishop and the emperor gladly agreed to this scheme. When the bishops met, the emperor asked: Did they respect the teachers who lived before the Arian division? They said, Yes. He then asked: Did they acknowledge them sound and trustworthy witnesses of the true Christian doctrine? The divisions this question produced shewed that the sectaries were bent on disputation. The emperor ordered each party to draw up a written confession of its doctrine. When this was done, the bishops were summoned to the imperial palace, Nectarius and Agelius for the orthodox, Demophilus (formerly bp. of Constantinople) for the Arians, Eleusius of Cyzicus for the Pneumatomachians, and Eunomius for the Anomoeans. The emperor received them with kindness and retired into a room alone with their written confessions. After praying God for enlightenment, he rejected and destroyed all except that of the orthodox, because the others introduced a division into the Holy Trinity. The sectaries thereupon sorrowfully returned home. The emperor now forbade all sectaries, except the Novatianists, to hold divine service anywhere, to publish their doctrines or to ordain clergy, under threat of severe civil penalties.

In 385 died Pulcheria, the emperor's daughter, and his wife Placilla. The archbishop asked Gregory of Nyssa to preach the funeral sermons on both occasions.

Towards the close of his episcopate Nectarius abolished the office of presbyter penitentiary, whose duty appears to have been to receive confessions before communion. His example was followed by nearly all other bishops. The presbyter penitentiary was added to the ecclesiastical roll about the time of the Novatianist schism, when that party declined to communicate with those who had lapsed in the Decian persecution. Gradually there were fewer lapsed to reconcile, and his duties became more closely connected with preparation for communion. A disgraceful occurrence induced Nectarius to leave the participation in holy communion entirely to individual consciences and abolish the office.

Nectarius died in 397 or 398, and was succeeded by St. John Chrysostom. (Theod. H. E. v. viii. etc.; Socr. H. E. v. viii. etc.; Soz. H. E. vii. viii. etc.; Theoph. Chronogr.59. etc.; Nectarii Arch. CP. Enarratio in Patr. Gk. xxxix. p.1821; Mansi, Concil. t. iii. p.521, 599, 633, 643, 694, etc.; Hefele, Hist. Christ. Councils, tr. Oxenham (Edinb.1876), vol. ii. pp.344, 347, 378, 380, 382, etc.


Nemesius, bp. of Emesa
Nemesius (4), bp. of Emesa in the latter half of 4th cent., of whom nothing is certainly known but that he wrote a rather remarkable treatise, peri phuseos anthropou, de Natura Hominis, of which cc. ii. and iii. wrongly appear as a separate work, entitled peri psuches, de Anima, among the writings of Gregory Nyssen. Le Quien (Or. Christ. ii.839) places Nemesius fifth among the bishops of Emesa, between Paul I., who attended the council of Seleucia, a.d.359, and Cyriacus, the friend of Chrysostom. The date of his writing is tolerably certain from his mentioning the doctrines of Apollinaris and Eunomius and the Origenists, but not those of Nestorius, Eutyches, or Pelagius. He could hardly have avoided mentioning Pelagius if his teaching had been known to him, in the part of his treatise relating to free will. That he was bp. of Emesa is stated in the title of his treatise in the various MS. copies, and by Maximus (ii.153, ed. Combefis) and Anastasius Sinaita (Quaest. xviii. and xxiv.) in quoting his work. He is also quoted, though without his name, by Joannes Damascenus, Elias Cretensis, Meletius, Joannes Grammaticus, and others. The treatise is an interesting work which will well reward perusal, and has received much praise from able judges of style and matter. Nemesius establishes the immortality of the soul against the philosophers, vindicates free will, opposes fatalism, defends God's providence, and proves by copious examples the wisdom and goodness of the Deity. He gives indications that he was not ignorant of the circulation of the blood and the functions of the bile (cc. xxiv. xxviii. pp.242, 260, ed. Matthaei). The best ed. is by C. F. Matthaei (Halae, 1802), reprinted by Migne in Patr. Gk. The treatise has been translated into most modern European languages, into Italian by Pizzimenti (no date), English, G. Wilkes (1636 and 1657), German by Osterhammer (Salzburg, 1819), and French by J. R. Thibault (Paris, 1844). Cf. M. Evangelides, Nemesius und seine Quellen (Berlin, 1882).


Nero, Claudius Caesar
Nero (1), Claudius Caesar, emperor (Oct.13, 54, to June 9, 68). For our purpose the interest of Nero's life centres in his persecution of the Christians. For his general history see Merivale, cc. lii.-lv. During his early reign Christianity was unmolested and seems to have spread rapidly at Rome. No doubt it received a great impetus from the preaching of St. Paul during the two years after his arrival, probably early in 61. But before long a terrible storm was to burst on the infant church. On the night of July 16, 64, a fire broke out in the valley between the Palatine and the Aventine. That part of the city was crowded with humble dwellings and shops full of inflammable contents. The lower parts of the city became a sea of flame. For six days the fire raged till it reached the foot of the Esquiline, where it was stopped by pulling down a number of houses. Soon after a second fire broke out in the gardens of Tigellinus near the Pincian, and raged for three days in the N. parts of the city. Though the loss of life was less in the second fire, the destruction of temples and public buildings was more serious. By the two fires three of the 14 regions were utterly destroyed, four escaped entirely, in the remaining seven but few houses were left standing. Nero was at Antium when the fire broke out, and did not return to Rome till it had almost reached the vast edifice he had constructed to connect his palace on the Palatine with the gardens of Maecenas on the Esquiline.

The horrible suspicion that Nero himself was the author of the fire gained strength. This is asserted as a positive fact by Suetonius (c.38), Dion (lxii.16), and Pliny the Elder (xvii.1), the last being a contemporary, but Tacitus alludes to it only as a prevalent rumour. Whether well founded or not, and whether, supposing it true, the emperor's motive was to clear away the crooked, narrow streets of the old town in order to rebuild it on a new and regular plan, or whether it was a freak of madness, need not be discussed here. At any rate Nero found it necessary to divert from himself the rage of the people and put the blame upon the Christians.

The only author living near the time of the persecution who gives an account of it is Tacitus. After describing the origin of Christianity he proceeds: |First were arrested those who confessed, then on their information a vast multitude was convicted, not so much on the charge of arson as for their hatred of the human race. Their deaths were made more cruel by the mockery that accompanied them. Some were covered with the skins of wild beasts and torn to pieces by dogs; others perished on the cross or in the flames; and others again were burnt after sunset as torches to light up the darkness. Nero himself granted his gardens (on the Vatican) for the show, and gave an exhibition in the circus, and, dressed as a charioteer, mixed with the people or drove his chariot himself. Thus, guilty and deserving the severest punishment as they were, yet they were pitied, as they seemed to be put to death, not for the benefit of the state but to gratify the cruelty of an individual| (Ann. xv.44). This narrative has been the subject of very various interpretations. Lightfoot (Phil.24-27) considers that the Christians were at this time sufficiently numerous and conspicuous to attract the fury of the populace. The ambiguity of Tacitus leaves it doubtful whether those first arrested | confessed Christianity| or |confessed they were guilty of the burning.| Schiller (Geschichte des röm. Kaiserreichs unter Nero, 435) argues that |fateri| in Tacitus is always used of the confession of a crime. According to his view, as many of the shops near the circus where the fire originated were occupied by Jews, suspicion would fall upon them, which would be strengthened by the fact that the Transtiberine, the Ghetto of that time, was one of the few quarters that had escaped the fire. At that time Jews and Christians lived in the same part of the town and in the same manner. Weiszäcker (Jahrbücher für Deutsche Theologie, xxi.269, etc.) considers, with much probability, that Nero and his advisers having selected the Christians as the victims of the popular indignation, those first seized were conspicuous members and were charged as incendiaries, and from them the names of others were ascertained and these treated in the same way. Thus a vast number were arrested, so many that all could not have been guilty of arson. Why Nero selected the Christians must remain uncertain. The Jews, who at first sight would seem more likely scapegoats, as being more conspicuous and probably more unpopular, were strong enough to make Nero hesitate to attack them. A Jewish persecution in Rome might excite a dangerous revolt in Judea. The Christians, however, were conspicuous and numerous enough to furnish a plentiful supply of victims, but too few and weak to be formidable. From the allusions of St. Clement (Ep. to Cor. c.6), a little more information can be obtained. Like Tacitus, he speaks of the vast multitude, and mentions that women underwent terrible and unholy tortures.

The persecution was probably confined to Rome. There is little evidence of it extending to the rest of the empire. The Acts of the saints mentioned by Tillemont (Mém. eccl. ii.73-89) are all more or less fabulous, and even if authentic there seems little or no ground for placing them in the reign of Nero. The accounts in Acts of the journeys of St. Paul shew how easily an outbreak of popular fury might be excited by Jews or heathens, who, either on religious or private grounds, were hostile to the new doctrine, and how easily in such an outbreak a conspicuous Christian might be murdered without any state edict against Christianity, or without the public authorities interfering at all, and it is not unreasonable to suppose that, when Nero set the example of persecution, many provincial magistrates would take a harsher view than previously of the case of any Christian brought before them.

The question of the connexion between Nero and Antichrist was brought into prominence by M. Renan. The significance of the Neronian persecution lies in the fact that it was the first. Hitherto the attitude of state officials to Christianity had on the whole been favourable; at worst they treated it with contemptuous indifference. All this was now suddenly changed. The head of the state had made a ferocious attack on the infant church. Henceforth the two powers were in more or less violent antagonism till the struggle of 250 years was closed by the conversion of Constantine. Whatever the date of the Apocalypse, it can hardly be doubted that the Neronian persecution with .all its horrors was vividly present to the mind of the author. To have perished obscurely by his own hand seemed both to pagans and Christians too commonplace an end for a monster who for 14 years had filled such a place in the eyes and the minds of men. Few had witnessed his death, so that the notion easily arose that he was still alive, had taken refuge with the Parthians, and would reappear. Tacitus mentions (Hist. i.2; ii.8, 9) the appearance of two false Neros, and Suetonius (c.56) alludes to another. In the days of his prosperity diviners had predicted his fall and that he would gain a new dominion in the East and Jerusalem and at last regain the empire (ib. c.40).

According to the theory of M. Reuss (Hist. de la théol. chrétienne, i.429-452), adopted by Renan, the Apocalypse was written during the reign of Galba, i.e. at the end of 68 or beginning of 69, when men's minds were agitated, especially in Asia Minor, by the appearance of a false Nero in the island of Cythnus (Tac. Hist. ii.8). M. Reuss interprets the first six heads of the first beast as the emperors Augustus, Tiberius, Caius, Claudius, Nero, and Galba, of whom the first five were dead, while the sixth, Galba, was then reigning. As he was 73 years old his reign must soon terminate; a seventh was to follow and reign for a short time, after which one of the emperors supposed to be dead was to reappear as Antichrist. The first four emperors had not been hostile to the Christians, and none of them, except Caius, had died a violent death. Nero therefore alone answers the description. Finally M. Reuss interprets the number of the beast as the numerical value of the letters of the words Neron Kaisar when written in Hebrew, and explains the existence of the ancient variant reading 616 by supposing it due to a Latin reader who had found the solution, but pronounced the name Nero and not Neron. Whether this theory be well founded or not, the opinion that Nero would return as Antichrist certainly continued for centuries. Commodianus, who probably wrote c.250, alludes to it (xli. in Migne, Patr. Lat. v.231), and even in the 5th cent. St. Augustine (de Civ. Dei, xx.19, in ib. xli.686) mentions that some then believed he would rise again and reappear as Antichrist, and that others thought he had never died, but would appear at the appointed time and recover his kingdom. Another view was that Nero would be the precursor of Antichrist (Lact. Mortes 2, Sulp. Sev. Dial. ii.14 in Patr. Lat. vii.197; xx.211.)


Nerva, Roman emperor
Nerva, Roman emperor, a.d.96-98. M. Cocceius Nerva was the third in succession of a family conspicuous for legal and administrative power in the first century of the empire. On the assassination of Domitian by Stephanus, the freedman and agent of Domitilla, he was elected as emperor by the soldiers, the people, and the senate, and reversed the policy of his predecessor. The connexion of Stephanus with Domitilla, if she and Flavius Clemens were indeed Christians, may indicate that the movement that placed Nerva on the throne was in part, at least, designed to further a more tolerant system of government than that of Domitian. Such, at any rate, was its effect. St. John was recalled from his exile in Patmos (Eus. H. E. iii.20). The crowd of delatores, who had preferred accusations of treason, atheism, and Judaism, which fell most heavily on the Christians, were banished, and those who had been sent to prison or exile on these charges were recalled and set at liberty. Other measures of the emperor, though not distinctly Christian, tended in the same direction.


Nestorian Church
Nestorian Church. This is the name given in modern times to those whom 5th-cent. writers called simply |Easterns|; by which they meant the church that existed to the east of them, outside the boundary of the Roman empire, in the kingdom that was at first Parthian, and later Sassanid Persian. The body is also called |east Syrian| (the term Syrian implying use of the Syriac language rather than residence in |Syria|), and sometimes also |Chaldean| or |Assyrian.|

Foundation of the Church. -- During the course of the 1st cent. Christianity spread from Antioch, not only to the west but also eastwards, and in particular it extended to Edessa, then the capital of the little |buffer state| of Osrhoene, situated between the Roman and Parthian empires. The political independence of the state ended in 216, but it had lasted long enough to give a definite character to the local church, which was marked off by its Syriac vernacular and Oriental ways of thought from the Greek Christianity to the west of it. Missionaries went out from Edessa to the east again, and founded two daughter-churches, one in Armenia and one in what was then Parthia, the latter of which is the subject of this article.

The first two |apostles| and founders of this church were Adai (=Thaddeus) and Mari. Tradition identified the former with either the disciple of Christ -- a statement hard to reconcile with the recorded fact that he was still able to travel in the year 100 -- or with one of |the Seventy.| He is known to have preached in Assyria and Adiabene before the close of the 1st cent., and to have consecrated his disciple Paqida as first bishop of the latter province, in a.d.104 (Hist. of Mshikha-zca); while the statement of the |doctrine of Adai| that the apostle died in peace at Edessa has the ring of truth in it. The later history of the church in that place is outside our subject.

Of Mari, his companion, little is known certainly (his life is a mere piece of hagiography), but he appears to have penetrated into the southern provinces of the Parthian kingdom, to have preached without much success at the capital,
Seleucia-Ctesiphon, and to have died in peace at Dor-Koni. There seems no reason to doubt the historic character of both these teachers; and later tradition added that St. Thomas the Apostle, passing through this country on his way to India, was co-founder of the church with them.

The Church under the Arsacids and Sassanids. -- Under Parthian rule, which was tolerant, and where the state religion was an outworn and eclectic paganism, the new faith spread rapidly and easily. There was no persecution by the government, though converts from one special religion, Zoroastrianism, had sometimes to face it, from the powerful hierarchy of that faith, the Magians. Thus the church had more than 20 bishops, and these were distributed over the whole country when, in 225, the 2nd Persian replaced the Parthian kingdom, and the Arsacid dynasty gave way to the Sassanid. This revolution was to its authors a revival of the old kingdom destroyed by Alexander, and the Persian nation rose again with a national religion, that of Zoroaster. It made no effort to destroy the Christianity that it found existing, but, like Islam later, tolerated it as the religion of a subject race, and so put it into the position that it still occupies in those lands, though the dominant religion has changed. Christians became a melet (a subject race organized in a church), recognized by the government, but despised by it. For them to proselytize from the state faith was a crime, punishable with death, though they were allowed to convert pagans. Apostasy from Christianity to the established faith meant worldly prosperity, but there was no persecution, though there was often oppression, by the government, until the adoption of Christianity by the Roman emperor (the standing enemy of the shah-in-shah) made every Christian politically suspect. Thus Persia continued to be a refuge for many Christians from Roman territory during the |general| persecutions of the 3rd cent., and the church grew, both by conversions and by the advent of |captivities,| largely Christian in faith, brought by conquerors like Sapor I. from Roman territory.

Episcopate of Papa. -- Though it extended rapidly elsewhere, the church made little progress in the capital, and there was no bishop there, and only a few Christians, till late in the 3rd cent. In 270 Akha d'Abuh', bp. of Arbela, joined with others in consecrating Papa to that see, and this man became its first bishop since the days of Mari. In later days legend supplied the names of earlier holders of what had then become a patriarchal throne, and indeed made Akha d'Abuh' himself one of the series, and told how in a.d.170 he was recognized by the four |western patriarchs| as the fifth of the band.

Papa, as by of the capital, soon claimed to be the chief bishop of the church, its catholicos; the claim was favoured by the circumstances of the time, as in his days all the |greater thrones| were obtaining jurisdiction over the lesser sees within their sphere of attraction, and the patriarchates so formed were soon to be recognized at Nicaea. The conditions of melet life also tend to produce some one head, through whom the government can deal with the people. Papa, however, so claimed the honour as to produce irritation, and a council met in 315 to judge his claim. It was very adverse to Papa, who refused in anger to bow to its decision. |But is it not written, 'He that is chief among you . . .'?| said one bishop, Miles of Susa. |You fool, I know that,| cried the catholicos. |Then be judged by the Gospel,| retorted Miles, placing his own copy in the midst. Papa, in fury, struck the book with his fist, exclaiming, |Then speak, Gospel! -- speak!| and, smitten with apoplexy or paralysis, fell helpless as he did so. After such a sacrilege and such a portent his condemnation naturally followed, and his archdeacon Shimun bar Saba'i was consecrated in his room.

Papa, on recovery, appealed for support to |the Westerns,| i.e. not to Antioch or Rome (the |Nestorian| church never deemed herself subject to either of them), but to the nearest important sees to the west of him, Nisibis and Edessa. These supported him on the whole, but their advice did not, apparently, go beyond recommending a general reconciliation and submission to the see of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, on the ground that it would be for the good of the whole church that it should have a catholicos. This recommendation was carried out, all parties being a little ashamed of themselves. Papa was recognized as catholicos, with Shimun as colleague, cum jure successionis, and the right of the throne concerned to the primacy has never since been disputed. Papa survived these events for 12 years, and so was ruling during the council of Nicaea, though neither he nor any bishop of his jurisdiction (which did not then include Nisibis) was present at that gathering. Arianism passed by this church absolutely, and the fact is both a testimony to its isolation and a merciful dispensation. Church history might have been very different had that heresy found a national point d'appui.

Persecution of Sapor II. -- Shimun succeeded Papa, and in his days the church had to face the terrible |forty years' persecution| of Sapor II. The acceptance of Christianity by the Roman empire meant terrible suffering for the church outside it, in that any outbreak of the secular rivalry of the two empires meant thereafter persecution for the church in one of them. This was inevitable, and the same dilemma exists to-day. Given a state professing a certain variety of militant religion
(Zoroastrianism or Islam), how can loyalty to it be compatible with profession of the religion of its rivals? Constantine, like some Czars, liked playing the general protector of Christians; and Christians looked to him as naturally as, in the same land, they have since looked to Russia.

Thus, when Sapor made war on Constantius in 338, persecution commenced almost as a matter of course. Shimun the catholicos was one of the first victims, 100 priests and clerics suffering with him; and the struggle thus inaugurated continued until the death of Sapor in 378, in which time 16,000 martyrs, whose names are recorded, died for their faith.

This greatest of persecutions was not, of course, uniformly severe at all times in all provinces, and both it and others after it were rather the releasing of the |race-hatred| of Zoroastrianism against Christianity than the ordered process of law against a religio illicita. Thus, it resembled both in outline and detail the |Armenian massacres| of a later age. Clergy, of course, and celibates of both sexes, who were numerous, were specially marked, and so were the Christian inhabitants of the five provinces about Nisibis, when their surrender by the emperor Jovian in 363 handed them over to a notorious persecutor.

Practically, though not absolutely, the trial ended with the death of Sapor; but the exhausted church could do little to reorganize herself until a formal firman of toleration had been obtained. The influence of Theodosius II. secured this in 410 from the then shah-in-shah, Yezdegerd I.

Council of Isaac. -- The church was then formally put into the position that it had, previously to the persecution, occupied practically: it was made a melet in the Persian state, under its catholicos, Isaac; it was allowed to hold a council, under his presidency and that of the Roman ambassador, Marutha; and it now for the first time accepted the Nicene Creed. Canons were also passed for the proper organization of the body, and some of these are based on Nicene rules. The church shewed its independence, however, by dealing very freely with the canons even of that council.

Seemingly, the council of Constantinople was accepted also at this time, but it was not thought to deserve special mention.

A period of rapid growth followed the enfranchisement and organization of the church that had proved its power to endure, and 26 new sees were added in 15 years to the 40 existing in 410, these including Merv, Herat, Seistan, and other centres in central Asia. Internal troubles arose, however, caused by the quarrels of Christians, and by their habit of |using pagan patronage| -- i.e. applying to non-Christians of influence -- in order to escape censure, to gain promotion, etc. The habit was, of course, destructive of all discipline. A council held in 420 to deal with this, under the catholicos Yahb-Alaha, and another Roman ambassador, Acacius of Amida, could only suggest the acceptance of the rules of several Western councils -- Gangra, Antioch, Caesarea -- without considering whether rules adapted for the West would for that reason suit the East. Persecution soon recommenced, Magian jealousy being stirred by Christian progress, and raged for four years (420-424, mainly under Bahrain V.) with terrible severity. As usual, a Perso-Roman war coincided with the persecution, and the end of the one marked the end of the other also. With the return of peace another council was allowed, the catholicos Dad-Ishu presiding. This man had suffered much, both in the persecution and from the accusations of Christian enemies, and was most anxious to resign his office. There was, however, a strong feeling among Christians that their church must be markedly independent of |Western| Christianity (i.e. that of the Roman empire), as too much connexion spelt persecution. Thus they insisted that the catholicos should remain, and styled him also |patriarch,| and specially forbade any appeal from him to |Western| bishops. The fact that Acacius of Amida, though actually the guest of the king at the time, was not at the council is another indication of their feelings. This declaration of independence is the first sign of the approaching schism, though the remainder of the catholicate of Dad-Ishu was peaceful, and the Nestorian controversy, at the time of its arising, was no more heard of in the East than the Arian controversy before it had been.

The Work of Bar-soma. -- Another persecution fell on this much-tried church in 448, but otherwise we know little of its history till 480, when the Christological controversy reached it for the first time.

In the Roman empire at that period Chalcedon was past, and the Monophysite reaction that followed that council was at its height; the |Henoticon of Zeno| was the official confession, accepted by all the patriarchs of the empire with the exception of the Roman. The church in Persia, however, was emphatically |Dyophysite,| and thus there was a theological force at work that hardened the independence already found necessary into actual separation.

The protagonist of the movement was Bar-soma of Nisibis, a very typical son of his nation; a quarrelsome and unscrupulous man, who yet had a real love both for his church and for learning. He was a favourite with the shah-in-shah, Piroz, who employed him as warden of the marches on the Romo-Persian frontier, and he was practically patriarch of the church. The real patriarch, Babowai, had just been put to death for supposedly treasonable correspondence with Rome, and Bar-soma had rather gone out of his way to secure that this prelate (his personal enemy) should not escape the consequences of his own imprudence. Bar-soma easily persuaded Piroz that it would be better that |his rayats| should have no connexion with the subjects of the Roman emperor, and under his influence a council was held at Bait Lapat, a |Dyophysite| (or perhaps Nestorian) confession published, and separation brought about. By another canon of this council marriage was expressly allowed to all ranks of the hierarchy.

Some say that the church was simply dragooned into heresy, but the mass of Christians seem to have at least acquiesced in the work of Bar-soma, and it must be remembered that they separated from a church that was Monophysite at the time. There was, moreover, a better side to the work of Bar-soma. He was a lover of learning, and when the imperial order brought the theological school at Edessa to an end (this had hitherto been the sole means of education open to sons of the |church of the East|), he took a statesman's advantage of the opportunity by founding at Nisibis a college that was a nursery of bishops to his church for 1,000 years.

Bar-soma's power ended with the death of Piroz (484), and Acacius became patriarch. His reign saw the breach with the |Westerns| healed more or less, as the council of Bait Lapat was repudiated (though the canon on episcopal marriage was allowed to stand) and another confession of faith was drawn up. This was not Nestorian, but was indefinite, designedly, and Acacius was received as orthodox during a visit to Constantinople, on condition of his anathematizing Bar-soma. As they were already at open feud on a minor matter, the patriarch readily agreed to this, but the memory of the schism was of evil omen for the future.

Mar Aba. -- A period of confusion (490-540) followed. The whole country of Persia was disturbed by the communism preached by Mazdak, to which even the king, Kobad, was converted for a while. The strange movement was stamped out in blood, but it left indirect effects on the church, and Bar-soma also bequeathed them a bad tradition of quarrelsomeness. This culminated in an open schism in the patriarchate, lasting for 15 years, with open disorder in the whole church, a state of things that only terminated with the accession of Mar Aba to the patriarchate in 540.

Meantime, Monophysite supremacy in the Roman empire had ended with the accession of the emperor Justin in 518, and friendly relations between the church there and that in Persia had been resumed: the advantage had to be paid for by the latter, in that it implied a renewal of persecution.

Mar Aba, the greatest man in the series of patriarchs of the East, reformed the abuses in the church, going round from diocese to diocese with a |perambulatory synod,| which judged every case on the spot with plenary authority -- a precedent so excellent that it is surprising that it has never been followed. He was able to establish rules for the election of the patriarch which still hold good in theory, and founded schools and colleges (in particular, one at Seleucia), in addition to the one at Nisibis. His table of prohibited degrees in matrimony -- a most necessary thing for Christians in a Zoroastrian land -- is still the law of his church.

In his days the monastic life, which had wilted under Bar-soma and during the period of disorder, was revived, and was provided with a body of rules by Abraham of Kashkar, a pupil of Aba, while the friendship of the church in Persia with that in the empire led also (though dates are here rather uncertain) to the definite acceptance, by this |Nestorian| church, of the council of Chalcedon, which stands among the |Western synods| received by these |Easterns.| This acceptance was certainly previous to 544.

Mar Aba's great work for his church was done in the teeth of great difficulties. He was a convert from Zoroastrianism, and as such was legally liable to be put to death, and therefore lived in daily peril from the Magians. The shah-in-shah, Chosroes I., would never allow his execution, but feared also to protect him efficiently, and for 7 of the 9 years of his tenure of office he was in prison, ruling his flock thence. Though he was released at last, and passed his last days in honour at court, there is no doubt that his sufferings hastened his death.

Position of the Church in the 6th Cent. -- In the following half-century (550-600) there was no special incident. A series of patriarchs of the three stock eastern types (court favourite, respectable nonentity, and strict ascetic) ruled the church, and the services were arranged much in their present form. In particular the |Rogation of the Ninevites,| still annually observed, was either instituted or remodelled by the patriarch Ezekiel, during an outbreak of plague.

The anomalous relation of the church in Persia with other parts of the Catholic church cannot be fitted into any defined theory. Several Christological confessions were issued by these so-called |Nestorians| which are certainly not unorthodox, and individual patriarchs were readily received to communion when they happened to visit Constantinople (e.g. Ishu-yahb, 585). Nevertheless, there was a growing estrangement, and a conviction on either side that the other was somehow wrong, which was strengthened as the church in Persia slowly realized that the man whom they called |the interpreter| par excellence, Theodore of Mopsuestia, had been condemned at Constantinople.

In Persia the church was a stationary melet, though beyond the frontier it was a missionary force among Arabs, Turks, and Chinese. It was numerous enough to make the king anxious not to offend it, the mercantile and agricultural classes being largely of the faith. On the other hand, the feudal seigneurs were very seldom of it, and soldiers practically never. In |the professions| doctors were generally Christian, and indeed are largely so to this day, while each faith had its own law and lawyers.

The clergy were usually married, but there was a growing feeling in favour of celibate bishops, though the law passed by Bar-soma was never repealed.

Monophysite Controversy. -- The bulk of Persian Christians were Dyophysite in creed, but there was a Monophysite minority, organized under bishops (or a bishop) of their own, and including many monks. This body was recruited by the enormous |captivities| brought from Syria in 540 and 570. In 612 they were strong enough to make a daring and nearly successful attempt to capture the church hierarchy. The patriarchate was then vacant (Chosroes had been so annoyed by the substitution of another Gregory for the Gregory whom he had nominated to that office, that he had refused to allow any election when that man died in 608), and when petition was made for the granting of a patriarch, the Monophysites, whose interest at court was powerful, petitioned for the nomination of a man of their own. They had formidable supporters, for Shirin, the king's Christian wife, and Gabriel, his doctor, were both of that confession.

A deputation of Dyophysites came to court to endeavour to secure a patriarch of their own colour, and a most unedifying wrangle over the theological point followed, Chosroes sitting as umpire. Of course, neither side converted the other, but the occasion was important, for from it dates the employment of the Christological formula now used by this church, viz. |two Natures, two 'Qnumi,' and one Person in Christ,| the repudiation of the term |Mother of God| as applied to the B.V.M., and the acceptance of the nickname |Nestorian| now given them by the Monophysites. Ultimately the Dyophysites saved themselves from the imposition of a Monophysite patriarch, at the cost of remaining without a leader till the death of Chosroes, and the Monophysites organized a hierarchy of their own.

During the long wars between Chosroes and Heraclius, and the anarchy that followed in Persia, the | Nestorian| church has naturally no recorded history, yet at their conclusion it was once more to have formal relations with the patriarchate and church of Constantinople.

Drift into Separation. -- In the year 628 its patriarch, Ishu-yahb II., was sent as ambassador to Constantinople, and he was there asked to explain its faith, and was admitted as orthodox. He was, however, attacked on his return home, on suspicion of having made unlawful concessions, and not all the efforts of men like Khenana and Sahdona could shake the general conviction on each side that |those others| were somehow wrong. The two men named laboured to shew the essential identity, under a verbal difference, of the doctrines of the two churches, but the only visible result was the excommunication of both peacemakers.

Then the flood of Moslem conquest drifted the two churches apart, and the bulk of organized Monophysitism between them hid each from the other.

The separation of |Nestorians| from |orthodox| was a gradual process, commenced before 424, and hardly complete before 640. In that period, however, it was completed, and the |church of the East| commenced her marvellous medieval career in avowed schism from her sister of Constantinople. Whether her doctrine, then or at any time, was what the word |Nestorian| means to us, and what is the theological status of a church which accepts Nicaea, Constantinople, and Chalcedon, but rejects Ephesus, are separate and difficult questions. [[436]MONOPHYSITISM; NESTORIUS (3).]

Authorities for the History of the Church. -- History of Mshikha-zca. (ed. Mingana); Acta Sanct. Syr. (ed. Bedjan, 6 vols.); Hist. de Jabalaha et de trois patriarches nestoriens (Bedjan); Synodicon Orientale (ed. Chabot); Bar-hebraeus, Chron. Eccles. pt. ii.; John of Ephesus, Eccl. Hist. pt. iii. (Cureton); Amr and Sliba, Liber Turris; the Guidi Chronicle (ed. Noldeke); Zachariah of Mitylene (ed. Brooks); Socr., Soz., Theod., Evagr., Eccles. Histories; Book of Governors (Thomas of Marga, ed. Budge); Babai, de Unione (MS. only); Ishu-yahb III., Letters (ed. Duval); Tabari, Gesch. der Sassaniden (ed. Noldeke); Assemani, Bibl. Orient. iii.

Books and Pamphlets. -- Labourt, Christianisme dens la Perse; Chabot, Ecole de Nisibe; De S. Isaaci vita; Duval, Histoire d'Edesse; Goussen, Martyrius-Sahdona; Hoffmann, Aussuge aus Syrische Martyrer; Bethune Baker, Nestorius and his Teaching; Wigram, Doctrinal Position of Assyrian Church; Introd. to Hist. of Assyrian Church; Rawlinson, Seventh Oriental Empire; Christiansen, L'Empire des Sassanides.


Nestorius, bishop of Side
Nestorius (1), St. (Nestor), the first known bp. of Side in Pamphylia Prima (Le Quien, i.997), a martyr in the Decian persecution, a.d.250. He was arrested by the local Irenarch, required to sacrifice, and on refusing dispatched in charge of two lictors to the court of the president Pollio, who tortured and then crucified him. The martyr's answer to the president's queries sufficiently indicate his theological position. Pollio said to him, |Are you willing to take part with us or with Christ?| To which Nestor replied, |Cum Christo meo et eram, et sum, et ero|; to which the president replied that as he was devoted to Jesus Who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he should be crucified like his God. The Acts say his martyrdom was on the 5th day of the week at the third hour, Le Blant (Actes des Martyrs, p.46) points out the accuracy of the details.


Nestorius and Nestorianism
Nestorius (3) and Nestorianism. One of the most far-reaching controversies in the history of the church is connected with the name of Nestorius, who became patriarch of Constantinople in A.D.428, in succession to Sisinnius. So protracted has it been that even to the present day Nestorian churches, as they are called, exist in Assyria and India, and their members are not in communion with those of the other Christian churches in the East. The history of the form of thought which produced such far-reaching results must be interesting to every student of theology. Nestorius himself was brought up in the cloister, and had, as Neander remarks, imbibed the tendencies to narrowness, partisanship, impatience, and ignorance of mankind which are not unfrequently found among those who have been educated apart from their fellows. He was brought from Antioch, we are told -- a fact of which the significance will presently be seen. He appears to have been eloquent and sincere, and his austerity of life had won for him the admiration of man. Socrates, a specially well-informed contemporary, and a layman of judgment and fairness, speaks with some severity of his first steps after he became patriarch (H. E. vii.29). He is described as addressing the emperor (Theodosius II.) immediately after his appointment, |before all the people,| with the words, |Give me, O prince, a country purged of heretics, and I will give you heaven as a recompense. Assist me in destroying heretics, and I will assist you in vanquishing the Persians.| Such language was more enthusiastic than wise. It was no doubt pleasing to the multitude, but (Socr. l.c.) it made a very bad impression on thoughtful hearers. |Before he had tasted of the waters of the city,| the historian proceeds, using a proverbial phrase, he had flung himself headlong into acts of violence and persecution. On the fifth day after his consecration, he resolved to destroy the oratory in which the Arians were wont to celebrate their worship, and thereby he not only drove them to desperation, but, as Socrates adds, he alienated thinking men of his own communion. He next attacked the Quartodecimans and the Novatianists with equal violence, although neither sect was involved in heresy by its schism from the church, and the Novatianists had steadily supported the church in its controversy with the Arians. He then turned his attention to the Macedonians. [[438]MACEDONIUS.] For his treatment of this sect there is more excuse. The bp. of Germa, on the Hellespont, had treated them with such severity that, driven to desperation, they had sent two assassins to murder him. For this rash act they were deprived of their churches in Constantinople and the neighbourhood. It was at least unwise to convert the members of four |denominations,| as we should now call them, into bitter antagonists, and it was not very long before an occasion arose for them to display their hostility.

The development of theology in Syria had for some time taken a different direction from that which it had taken in Egypt, where the tendency had been to lay stress on the divine, and therefore mysterious, side of Christianity. But in Syria a school had arisen, of which Diodorus of Tarsus and the celebrated Theodore of Mopsuestia were the leaders, which devoted itself to the critical interpretation of Scripture, and favoured the application of logical investigation to the facts and doctrines of Christianity. These two tendencies were certain some day to come into collision, and when reinforced by the personal jealousy felt by successive patriarchs of Alexandria at the elevation in 381 of Constantinople, as New Rome, to the second place among the patriarchates, over the head of a church which could boast of St. Mark as its founder, there was plenty of material for a conflagration. Already premonitions of the approaching conflict between Alexandria and Constantinople had appeared in the successful intrigues of THEOPHILUS, patriarch of Alexandria, against the renowned JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, patriarch of Constantinople. The violence of Nestorius and his supporters set fire to the material already provided; the immediate occasion being the sermon of a presbyter named Anastasius, whom Nestorius had brought with him from Antioch, and in whom he reposed much confidence. Anastasius is said to have used the words (Socr. H. E. vii.32), |Let no man call Mary theotokos, for Mary was human, and it is impossible that God could be born from a human being.| This utterance naturally caused amazement and distress, for the word theotokos had been applied to the Virgin by authorities as high as Origen, Athanasius, and Eusebius of Caesarea, and it was insisted on with some vehemence by Gregory of Nazianzus. It is also found in the letter of Alexander of Alexandria to Alexander of Constantinople. [[441]ARIUS.] Nestorius supported his protégé, and delivered several discourses, in which he maintained the thesis of his subordinate with ability and energy, and with some heat. He was promptly charged with having involved himself in the heresies of Photinus or Paul of Samosata. Socrates denies that this was the case. But he remarks on the unreasonable antipathy of Nestorius to a word to which orthodox churchmen were well accustomed. This antipathy may partly, perhaps, be explained by a dislike on the part of Nestorius to the tendency to undue honour to the Virgin which had already displayed itself. But it was still more due to the teaching of Theodore of Mopsuestia and his school, which had laid undue stress on the humanity of Christ, and had not shrunk from representing the inhabitation of the Man Christ Jesus by the Divine Logos as differing rather in degree than in kind from that by which God was pleased to dwell in the prophets and other holy men of old. If, they contended, there were any union of natures in Christ, it was not a personal union, but an henosis schetike (a union of things diverse in a close relation). Such teaching had a dangerous tendency to humanitarianism, and to the division of Christ into two hypostases [[442]ARIUS, FOLLOWERS OF], as well as implying the existence in Him of two separate and possibly antagonistic sources of will and action.

The ferment caused by these injudicious utterances spread far and wide, and soon reached Alexandria. Cyril, the patriarch, who had succeeded his uncle Theophilus, was by no means disinclined to lower the credit of a rival whose elevation he at once envied and despised. We must not suppose, however, that Cyril had no convictions of his own on the point, for, as Dorner very properly reminds us, he had already published his opinions on it. Not content, however, with assailing with rare theological ability the opinions of Nestorius, he condescended to less worthy expedients. Not only did he exaggerate and misrepresent the language of his antagonist, but he tried to involve him in charges of Apollinarianism [[443]APOLLINARIS] and Pelagianism [[444]PELAGIUS]. Theodore, from whom Nestorius had imbibed his theology, was in the most direct antagonism to Apollinaris, whose teaching, while insisting strongly on the Godhead of Christ, involved the denial of His Perfect Manhood. And the divines of all schools of thought in the East, in the opinion of the disciples of Augustine, were more or less tinged with Pelagianism. As Nestorius had shewn some kindness to Pelagians who had fled to him from the West, the accusation of Pelagianism suited Cyril's purpose.

Before entering into the history of the controversy, we must pause for a moment and endeavour to understand the questions involved, and the different aspects from which they were approached by the disputants. The Syrian school, as we have seen, approached these questions from the human side, and favoured inductive methods. The starting-point of Theodore was man, in the sphere of the visible and tangible. The starting-point of Cyril was God, in the sphere of the mysterious and unknown. The development (for of such a development Scripture unquestionably speaks) of the Manhood of Christ when inhabited by the Godhead seems to have been the prominent idea on the part of the Syrian school. It inquired whether the indwelling of the Godhead in Jesus Christ was one of Nature or simply of energy, and it undoubtedly leaned too much toward the assertion of a dual personality in Christ. The watchword (as Neander calls it) of the Alexandrians, on the other hand, was the ineffable and (to human reason) inconceivable nature of the inhabitation of the Man Christ Jesus by the Divine Logos. We must not forget that the Syrians, though not of course unacquainted with Greek, habitually thought in Syriac, and used a Syrian version of the Scriptures, which had been in existence in their churches in one form or another ever since the 2nd cent. The use of the term theotokos had been approved by Theodore himself, under certain limitations, which makes the passionate protest of Nestorius against it the more unfortunate. Nestorius, unfortunately for himself, was not a clear thinker or reasoner, and was therefore no match for his antagonist Cyril. Great confusion, it should be remarked in passing, has been caused by the inaccurate translation of theotokos into modern languages by the words Mother of God. Whether the soul of an infant is derived from its parents is an old and still debated question. But the term |mother| unquestionably involves in many minds the idea of transmission of essence, whereas the title theotokos, as Theodoret does not fail to point out in his reply to Cyril's anathemas, simply means that she to whom it was applied was the medium through which a Divine Being was introduced into this world in human form. The controversy raised the question whether the term sunapheia (connexion or conjunction) or henosis (union) were the better fitted to denote the nature of the relation between the Godhead and the Manhood in Christ. The Syrians inclined to the former, the Alexandrians to the latter. Some confusion of thought continued to exist about the use of the terms prosoton and hupostasis to signify what we in English express by the one inadequate word |person.| These two Greek words [[445]ARIUS, FOLLOWERS OF] were, from the council of Constantinople onward, usually understood to signify respectively the appearance, as regarded by one outside it, and the inward distinction, or, as Gregory of Nazianzus puts it, |speciality| (idiotes), which distinguishes one individual of a genus or species from another. But when the word hupostasis is applied to the conditions of Being in God, the caution of our own Hooker is verb necessary (Eccl. Pot. V. lvi.2), that the Divine Nature is itself unique. It seems pretty plain that even so clear a thinker as Cyril, in his defence of his anathemas as well as elsewhere, does not distinguish sufficiently between the use of the word hupostasis at Nicaea, and the signification which had come to be attached to it in the first council of Constantinople. Nor should it be forgotten that though many modern divines are wont to represent Theodore of Mopsuestia as a dangerous heretic, he was rather, like Origen at an earlier period, a pioneer of theological inquiry [[446]ARIUS], and that, like Origen, he lived and died m the communion of the church, though some of the propositions laid down by him were afterwards shewn to be erroneous. It may not be amiss to sum up these remarks on the question at issue in the words of Canon Bright, who certainly cannot be charged with undue tenderness for Nestorius, on the title theotokos. |It challenged objection; it was open to misconstruction; it needed some theological insight to do it justice; it made the perception of the true issue difficult; it stimulated that 'cultus' which has now, in the Roman church, attained proportions so portentous.|

History of the Controversy. -- There was considerable ferment in Constantinople in consequence of the utterances of Nestorius and his followers, even before the intervention of Cyril. One Proclus, who had been appointed bp. of Cyzicus but had not been accepted by the church there, was residing in Constantinople, and raised a storm by inveighing not a little indecently, in the very presence of the patriarch, against the doctrines promulgated by him. Proclus was probably giving expression to real convictions, but was clearly not in a position which justified him in undertaking the task. Nestorius replied, and attacked the extravagant laudation of the Virgin by Proclus, describing it as derogatory to the honour of her Son. But, as was usual with him, he deprecated all noisy applause on the part of his hearers -- therein displaying better taste than most of his contemporaries -- and went on to declare that he did not object to the term theotokos, provided Mary were not made into a goddess. The dispute grew warm. Placards were affixed to the walls of the churches in Constantinople, and sermons preached against the patriarch. The opportunity thus given was not one which Cyril was likely to neglect. Though a man of ability and a theologian far above the average, he was ambitious, violent, and unscrupulous. Socrates does not conceal his sense of Cyril's unfairness toward Nestorius, strongly as he animadverts on the lack of judgment and self-control displayed by the latter. Cyril wrote to the monks of Constantinople commenting severely on the action of Nestorius, and insisting strongly that the union of the Godhead and Manhood in Jesus Christ was a real union, and not a mere conjunction. When he learned that his letter was resented, he wrote one to Nestorius himself. He complained that the unfortunate language of Nestorius had reached Celestine of Rome, and was thus throwing the whole church into confusion. The affected moderation of his language did not deceive Nestorius, who defended himself with spirit and moderation, and maintained that christotokos would be a more suitable appellation for the Virgin than theotokos. Approached by an Alexandrian presbyter named Lampon, who came to Constantinople in the interests of peace, Nestorius professed himself much touched by Lampon's tone, and wrote to Cyril in a more friendly spirit. But it was too late. Cyril had already taken action against Nestorius, and when the latter suggested a council at Constantinople, took measures to undermine still further the influence of his antagonist. He wrote two treatises on the controversy, one addressed to the emperor and empress (Eudocia), and the other to Pulcheria and the other sisters of the emperor. Then he wrote to Celestine of Rome an unfair account of what had occurred. He contended that Nestorius had represented the Logos as two separate beings, knit closely together. Nestorius complained that Cyril garbled his quotations He was, however, pronounced a heretic by two synods held at Rome and Alexandria (430). Whether Cyril acted as craftily as Neander supposes, or whether Nestorius maintained too lofty a tone in his letter to Celestine, and thus offended one who was anxious to secure his supremacy over the church of God, must be left undecided. Certain it is that the high-handed action of Celestine in requiring that Nestorius should at once readmit to communion the presbyters whom he had repelled from it, and that he himself should sign a written recantation within 12 days, was quite unprecedented in the history of the church. Another patriarch, John of Antioch, now appears on the scene. Cyril had endeavoured to intimidate him by representing that the whole West was united in condemnation of Nestorius, and John wished to act as a mediator. Cyril next issued 12 anathemas against the teaching of Nestorius. In one of these he seems to unite the flesh of Christ with the Logos, according to His Person (kath' hupostasin), and in the 3rd he appears to speak of the union of the two hypostases in Him. Nestorius replied by 12 counter-anathemas. It is unfortunate for our full comprehension of the position that these are only to be found in a Latin translation by Marius Mercator, a layman from N. Africa, who was at Constantinople while the controversy was going on. But, as usual in theological controversy, each of the disputants replies rather to the inferences he himself draws from the propositions of his antagonist than to the propositions themselves. The famous Theodoret, bp. of Cyrus, now (430) came forward, at the request of John of Antioch, in defence of Nestorius. He laid his finger on the weak spot of Cyril's anathemas -- his union of two hypostases in Christ; and condemned them as |foreign to Christianity.| Cyril seems also to have contended that nothing could be unknown to the humanity of Christ which was known to Him as God. The doctrine, too, of the henosis phusike (natural union) maintained by Cyril seemed perilously near to Monophysitism. On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that Nestorius publicly stated that he had no objection to the word theotokos, provided it was properly explained. The emperor at last resolved to call a council. Ephesus was chosen as the place of meeting (probably because of the excitement prevalent at Constantinople), and the meeting was fixed for Whitsuntide 431. The assembly was confined to the bishops of the more important sees (metropolitans, as they were now called), and the emperor sent a warning letter to Cyril, condemning his intemperate proceedings. Nestorius came at the appointed time, but fearing the violence of his adversary, requested a guard from the emperor. His request was granted. Cyril and his adherents were also present. But some 40 Syrian bishops were detained by floods, famine, and the riots consequent on the latter. Cyril, seizing the opportunity, and supported by Memnon, bp. of Ephesus, opened the synod, which consisted of some 200 metropolitans, and proceeded to condemn and depose Nestorius in the absence of the Syrian contingent. This sentence of deposition was affixed to the public buildings and proclaimed by the heralds. Meanwhile Cyril had contrived to remove from the emperor's mind the unfavourable impression his previous action had produced. Nestorius declined, though thrice summoned, to attend the synod in the absence of his Syrian supporters, and sent a complaint to the emperor of the illegality and unfairness of Cyril's proceedings, which was supported by ten bishops and the imperial commissioner. (Socrates, however, says that Nestorius attended one meeting, and left it after having expressed himself in somewhat unfortunate language.) Cyril pretended that the Syrian bishops had purposely stayed away. But this is neither probable in itself nor consistent with the subsequent conduct of the patriarch John.

When John and the Syrian bishops arrived, they, though only between 30 and 40 in number, held a counter-synod, which was ridiculed by Cyril and his party for its great inferiority in numbers. John, however, persisted, alleging that the rest of the bishops were simply creatures of Cyril and Memnon. John's party then excommunicated Cyril and Memnon, posted up their sentence and transmitted their report to the emperor. A letter had meanwhile arrived from Celestine in condemnation of Nestorius. This letter was read by Cyril to the bishops of his party, but Nestorius replied that it had only been obtained by gross perversions of his language. Cyril now resorted to other means of attaining his purpose. He endeavoured to gain over the emperor, a task which was only too easy. He contrived to bring the ladies of the court, including Pulcheria, over to his side. To attain this end, there is evidence extant -- though Canon Bright has failed to notice it -- (in a letter from Epiphanius, Cyril's archdeacon and syncellus, to the patriarch Maximian, see below), that he made a lavish use of money and presents of other kinds. He also stirred up the monks at Constantinople to tumult through an agent of his, one Dalmatius, who had immured himself in his cell for 48 years, and was in high repute for his ascetic practices. Dalmatius now represented himself as drawn from his retirement by a voice from heaven, in order to rescue the church from the peril of heresy. A torchlight procession to the emperor was organized. The excitement in Constantinople was general. The emperor was terrified at the furious riots which broke out, in which many persons were injured. So the influence of the court was now openly exerted in favour of Cyril, and the Oriental bishops began to waver. Nestorius himself lost heart. Even at the council he had gone so far as to say, |Let Mary be called theotokos, and let all this tumult cease.| He had throughout been less illiberal than his antagonists, and he was probably terrified at their violent and unscrupulous proceedings. He may also have discovered, when it was too late, that he had rushed into controversy without having been sufficiently sure of his ground. Therefore although a deputation of 8 bishops from each side were sent to Constantinople, the result was a foregone conclusion. A compromise was arrived at. Cyril and Memnon were reinstated in their sees. John of Antioch signed a condemnation of Nestorius, while Cyril consented in 432 to sign an Antiochene formulary which had been submitted by Theodoret to the Syrian bishops at Ephesus and was afterwards transmitted to the emperor. It is worth noting that this formulary contains the enosis phusike (see above), but guards it by a definite assertion of both the divinity and humanity of Christ. The sentence on Nestorius was carried out. He was deposed, and Maximian became patriarch in his stead, but soon died, and was succeeded by Proclus, the old antagonist of Nestorius. The controversy continued to rage, Rabbulas, bp. of Edessa, went so far as to attack Theodore of Mopsuestia, and raised a storm of opposition in the East by so doing. Cyril, writing to Acacius of Melitene (not to be confounded with the aged Acacius of Beroea), declared that though it was possible theoretically (en ennoiais) to conceive of the two natures in Christ as distinct, yet after their union in His Person they became but one nature. This doctrine, essentially Monophysite as it was, he did not scruple to attribute to his Syrian opponents in order to magnify the concessions he made to them (Neander, iv. p.176). Meanwhile Theodoret still held out, though he offered to condemn those who denied the divinity of Christ, or divided Him into two Sons. And he implored John of Antioch and count (comes) Irenaeus, a friend of the emperor, to accept the word theotokos. But he maintained that to condemn Nestorius would be unjust. Yet even he had become weary of the controversy, and was at last prevailed upon to exert himself in favour of a reconciliation. He had great difficulty in bringing over the Oriental bishops. So he went so far as to beseech Nestorius to yield for the sake of peace. It has been felt that the extent to which he carried his submission has left a stain on his otherwise high character. In his Commentary on the Psalms (written c.433) he calls Nestorius dussebes, and a worshipper of a foreign and new God, and classes his followers with Jews, Arians, and Eunomians; but he earnestly begged that the venerable age of Nestorius might be exempt from violence or cruelty, and besought the patriarch John to use his influence to prevent this; and [[447]MONOPHYSITISM] he retrieved by his later conduct his reputation for courage and impartiality.

John, however, was not to be softened. He had thrown his influence on the side of the court, and he was determined to persevere in his policy. Nestorius was banished to a convent just outside the gates of Antioch, and Meletius of Mopsuestia, Alexander of Hierapolis, and Helladius of Tarsus, strong supporters of the school of Theodore, were involved in the fate of Nestorius. In 435 it was thought that Nestorius was nearer the patriarch of Antioch than was convenient, so his exile to Petra in Arabia was decreed, though he was actually taken to Egypt instead. An assault was made on his place of residence by a horde of Libyan barbarians, who carried him off. When released, he made his way to the Thebaid, and gave himself up to the prefect, begging for kindness and protection. This modest request was not granted. He was dragged about from place to place, with every sign of contempt and hatred. The historian Evagrius, who loses no opportunity of loading his memory by the use of opprobrious language and represents his fate as a judgment of God analogous to that which befel Arius, gives us a sketch of a second and most pathetic letter addressed by Nestorius to the prefect and known as his |Tragedy.| In this he implores the protection of the Roman laws, and enlarges on the reproach which would fall on the Roman name if he received better treatment from barbarians than when seeking the protection of the Roman government. He gives a moving picture of the hardships to which, though |afflicted by disease and age,| he had been subjected. But all was in vain. He obtained no mercy, and only death released him from his sufferings.

Though his enemies might remove him from this world, they could not so easily destroy his influence. The extent of his error had been much exaggerated. His opponents went ultimately to greater extremes than he had ever done, though it must be confessed that his utterances were often ill-considered, as when he denied without qualification that the Son could be said to have suffered. For the history of the immediate results of their victory see MONOPHYSITISM. Cyril, in his Ep. to Acacius of Melitene, had, before his death in 444, committed himself to the doctrine that the two natures (phuseis) of Christ became one after the union had been effected. This doctrine, in the days of his successor, brought about a strong reaction in favour of the Syrian interpretation of the word theotokos. Meanwhile the party of Nestorius was very rigorously treated by the emperor. In 435 laws were enacted ordaining that the Nestorians should be called Simonians (their own name for themselves was Chaldeans); that the writings of Nestorius should be burnt; that all bishops who defended his opinions should be deposed; punishments were decreed against any one who should copy, keep, or even read his writings or those of his supporters; and all meetings of Nestorians for public worship were rigorously proscribed.

The after-history of Nestorianism is extremely interesting, but cannot be treated in detail here. The rigorous measures above mentioned were fiercely resisted in Syria and Babylonia, and when Rabbulas sought to prohibit the reading of the works of Diodorus and Theodore, the Nestorian teachers crossed the border into Persia. Barsumas, bp. of Nisibis from 435 to 489, did much to spread Nestorianism in the far East, and his work received an additional impulse from the policy of the emperor Zeno, who persecuted Nestorians and Monophysites alike.
[[449]MONOPHYSITISM.] Thence Nestorianism spread to Chaldea, India, and even China. It has even been stated that there was a time when the disciples of Nestorius outnumbered the members of all the other communions in the Christian church. Of the progress of Nestorianism in China there can be no doubt, for the Jesuits found a monument there, recording the fact. Their statement has been disputed, but it is hardly likely that they would have pretended to have made a discovery which tended to glorify what they regarded as a deadly heresy. The Nestorian doctrines, however, in the extreme form they assumed when interpreted by their later exponents, did not contain the |seeds of eternity.| The spread of Mohammedanism ultimately destroyed the once flourishing Nestorian churches outside the limits of the Roman empire, though the Arab caliphs, as distinguished from the Turks, shewed them some favour. At present only a few down-trodden communities in Assyria (to the assistance of which the Anglican church has lately sent a mission), and the so-called Christians of St. Thomas on the Malabar coast, remain to represent the church once dominant in the far East. The latter were harassed and all but destroyed in the 16th cent. by Portuguese Romanists, with the aid of the Inquisition; and the object of the Anglican mission to the struggling churches of Assyria -- a purely educational one -- has been very seriously hindered by the political protection promised, and often afforded, by Roman Catholic powers on the one hand, and by adherents of the Orthodox Russian church on the other. [[450]NESTORIAN CHURCH.]

The revival of the persecution of the Nestorian churches still existing in the Eastern empire in the reign of Justinian (527-565) must be briefly mentioned. The empress Theodora favoured Monophysitism; the emperor inclined to the doctrines of Origen. The two parties, after having been in conflict for some years, agreed to put an end to their mutual hostility, and to turn their efforts against the remnant of the Nestorians. In 544 Justinian issued an edict against what were called the Three Chapters, a series of extracts from the writings of Theodore, Theodoret, and Ibas. This step led to a prolonged controversy, which in 547 brought Vigilius, bp. of Rome, to Constantinople. Justinian ordered him to take an oath condemning the Three Chapters. He consented to do this, but afterwards retracted his consent. In 551 the relations between Vigilius and the emperor had become so strained that the former, who had for some time been detained in Constantinople, was compelled to take sanctuary in a church. A council, known as the fifth oecumenical council, was summoned at Constantinople, in which the Three Chapters were condemned. Vigilius refused to submit to the decision on the grounds (1) that Theodore had died in full communion with the church, and (2) that the doctrines of Theodoret and Ibas had been approved by the council of Chalcedon. He afterwards yielded to pressure, submitted to the decrees of the council, and was released from captivity, but died on his way back to Rome. This was the last attack on Nestorianism on the part of members of the Christian church. As in the original controversy, a strong reaction followed, and Monotheletism, an offshoot of MONOPHYSITISM, was condemned at another council held at Constantinople, and Nestorianism henceforth ceased to attract the attention of the rulers of the Catholic church.

Bibliography. -- Of contemporary writers the historians Socrates and Evagrius may be mentioned. The former is thoughtful, impartial, and generally accurate, and his History was published while Nestorius was still living. Evagrius published his History in the 12th year of the reign of the emperor Maurice, i.e. in 594. He is painstaking and accurate, and a devout believer in the decisions both of Ephesus and Chalcedon. But his language is often violent, and he is credulous as regards the miraculous. Cyril and Theodoret, who were actively engaged in the controversy, have left abundant details of what took place; their own letters are especially valuable, and with the writings of Theodoret are pub. a collection of important letters from most of the principal persons concerned in it. Marius Mercator, who was at Constantinople when the conflict was at its height, has left an account of it in Latin. Of later authorities Mansi, Hardouin, and Hefele have handed down the proceedings of the council of Ephesus, and commented upon them. Assemani's learned work, pub. in the 18th cent., is a mine of information on Nestorianism. Neander and Dorner [[452]ARIUS, FOLLOWERS OF] give full accounts of the struggle. Gieseler passes over the events more briefly. Mr. Percy Badger published a useful work on Nestorians and their ritual in 1852. Loof's Nestoriana ( Halle, 1905) should also be consulted. Canon Bright's Age of the Fathers gives a most valuable account of the controversy, though he is somewhat inclined to favour Cyril. Mr. Bethune-Baker's recent work on the early heresies contains much useful information, imparted with great clearness and impartiality.

[Since these words were written, the Editor has called the attention of the writer to a work by Mr. Bethune-Baker, entitled Nestorius and his Teaching, pub. in 1908. It is strange that the discovery which it has made public has not elicited the enthusiasm which greeted the previous discoveries of the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles and the Apology of Aristides. It is nothing less than a resurrection of Nestorius from the dead to plead his cause before a fairer tribunal than that which pronounced upon him when living. A treatise has lately come to light called the Bazaar (or more properly Emporium or Store, i.e. a collection of merchandize) of Heracleides. This treatise appears to have been written in Greek, and translated into Syriac. It is this Syrian translation which has recently been recovered. The work is evidently that of the patriarch Nestorius himself, and its somewhat strange title is explained by the fact that all copies of the works of Nestorius were ordered to be seized and destroyed. The treatise has a peculiar interest for us, because it shews, as Mr. Bethune-Baker puts it, and as has been suggested in the above article, that |Nestorius was not a Nestorian.| Thus the doctrinal decision reached at Ephesus is vindicated, while its personal application to the patriarch himself is shewn to be unfair. In his preface Mr. Bethune-Baker expresses the same respect for the decisions of the four great oecumenical councils which has been expressed by the writer in his summary of their general doctrinal bearing at the end of the art. MONOPHYSITISM -- namely, that they were |more likely to give us a true theory of the relation between God and man than are the reflexions of any individual thinker or school of theologians.| They do this because they| express the communis sensus fide licun,| and |their decisions need to be confirmed by subsequent acceptance by the church as a whole.|]


Nicarete, a lady of Nicomedia
Nicarete (Nikarete), a lady of one of the noblest and richest families of Nicomedia, who devoted herself to perpetual virginity in connexion with the church of Constantinople. She was warmly attached to Chrysostom and was punished for her devotion to his cause by the confiscation of most of her property in the troubles that followed his expulsion. She was then advanced in life and had a large household dependent on her, but managed her lessened resources with such economy that she had enough for their wants and her own, and also to give largely to the poor. Skilled in the compounding of medicines, she often succeeded in curing where physicians failed. Her humility and self-distrust would never allow her to become a deaconess, and she declined the office of lady superior of the consecrated virgins when Chrysostom earnestly pressed it on her. She retired from Constantinople to avoid the persecution in 404 (Soz. H. E. viii.23).


Nicetas, bp. of Romaciana
Nicetas (3) (Niceta, Nicaeas, Niceas, Nicias), bp. of Romaciana (Remesiana) in Dacia. Our knowledge of him is derived from the epistles and poems (Nos.17 and 24) of Paulinus of Nola, whom he visited, A.D.398 and 402. He was probably a native of. Dacia. He evangelized the Scythae, Getae, Daci, Bessi, and Riphaei, but settled specially among the Daci, reducing the wild manners of the barbarians to meekness and honesty. He was noted for eloquence and learning, honoured by the Romans when he visited them, and specially beloved by Paulinus at Nola, but we cannot define the extent of his see or the dates of his episcopate. Boll. Acta SS. Jan. i.365, and Jun. iv.243; Tillem. H. E. x.263 seq.; Fleury, H. E. xxi. c.31; Ceill. Aut. Sacr. v.458; viii.84. For the latest view of the subject of this art. see Burn, Niceta of Remesiana, his Life and Works (Camb. Univ. Press).


Nicetius, archbp. of Trèves
Nicetius (3) (Nicet, Nicesse), St., 25th archbp. of Trèves, c.527-566. In his day the bishop was already beginning to pass into the baron, and Nicetius was a territorial lord (Freeman, Augusta Treverorum, Histor. Essays, 3rd ser. p.111). Our principal knowledge of him is from Gregory of Tours, who received his information from St. Aredius, an abbat of Limoges, Nicetius's disciple (Vitae Patrum, c. xvii.). At Trèves his position was a difficult one. The Franks around him were little else than barbarians, rioting in licence, and scarcely more than nominal converts to Christianity. Their respect Nicetius won by personal asceticism, an inflexible temper and fearless demeanour in the face of the strong, activity in good works, and uncompromising orthodoxy (ib.). He used excommunication freely against princes and nobles in cases of oppression or flagrant immorality (cf. Rettberg, Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands, i.462-464). His orthodoxy is illustrated by two extant letters: one from him to Clodosinda, the wife of Alboin the Lombard, urging her to turn her husband to Catholicism; the other to the emperor Justinian, whose lapse in his latter days into a form of Eutychianism, Nicetius declares, is lamented by all Italy, Africa, Spain, and Gaul (Patr. Lat. lxviii.375-380; Hontheim, ib.47-51). Nicetius set himself to restore the churches which had suffered in the storms of the previous generations and partly rebuilt the metropolitan church of Trèves (Venant. Fort. Misc. iii.11, Patr. Lat. lxxxviii.134). His alterations and additions are described by Wilmowsky, Der Dom der Trier, pp.37 sqq., and Freeman, ib. p.113. For his own defence he built a castle on a lofty hill overlooking the Mosel. The walls, with 30 towers, stretched down to the river banks, and the bishop's hall, with marble columns, occupied the highest point (Venant. Fort. iii.12, Patr. Lat. ib.135). It is the first recorded building of a class which later was greatly multiplied, but its site is unknown (Freeman, p.112). For his architectural undertakings he summoned workmen from Italy (Rufus, Ep. Hontheim, ib. p.37). He died c.566, and was buried in the church of St. Maximin, where his tomb still is. Even in Gregory's time it was famous for its miracles (de Glor. Conf.94; Vitae Patr. xvii.; Gall. Christ. xiii.382). Nicetius also wrote two treatises called de Vigiliis Servorum Dei and de Psalmodiae Bono, slight works of a didactic character, to be found in the Patr. Lat. lxviii.365-376, and, with the letters, discussed at some length by Ceillier, xi.203-206.


Nicolaitanes, a heretical sect
Nicolaitanes. The mention of this name in the Apocalypse (see Murray's Illus. B. D. s.v.) has caused it to appear in almost all lists of heresies; but there is no trustworthy evidence of the continuance of a sect so called after the death of St. John. Irenaeus in writing his great work used a treatise against heresies by Justin Martyr; and that Justin's list began with Simon Magus and made no mention of Nicolaitanes may be conjectured from the order in which Irenaeus discusses the heresies, viz. Simon, Menander, Saturninus, Basilides, Carpocrates, Cerinthus, the Ebionites, the Nicolaitanes. So late a place is inconsistent with chronological order, and the most plausible explanation is that Irenaeus followed the order of an older list, and added the Nicolaitanes to it. About them he has nothing to say (I. xxvi.3) but what he found in the Apocalypse; for the words |qui indiscrete vivunt,| which alone have the appearance of an addition, seem only an inference from Rev. ii.13, 14, and 20-22. In a later book (III. x.6) Irenaeus incidentally mentions them as a branch of the Gnostics and seems to ascribe to them the whole body of Ophite doctrine. HIPPOLYTUS probably derived his view of them from Irenaeus. In his earlier treatise, as we gather from comparing the lists of Epiphanius, Philaster, and Pseudo-Tertullian, he brings them into an earlier, though still too late a place in his list, his order being Simon Menander, Saturninus, Basilides, Nicolaitanes; and he ascribes to them the tenets of a fully developed Ophite system. There is no sufficient evidence that the Ophites called themselves Nicolaitanes. In the later work of Hippolytus, Nicolaus the deacon is made the founder of the Gnostics; but the notice is short, and goes little beyond what is told in Irenaeus, bk. i. It is needless to notice the statements of later writers.

Stephen Gobar (cf. Phot. Bibl.232) says that Hippolytus and Epiphanius make Nicolas the deacon of Acts vi.5 answerable for the errors of the sect called after him; whereas Ignatius, Clement of Alexandria, Eusebius, and Theodoret condemn the sect, but impute none of the blame to Nicolas himself.


Nicolaus, bp. of Myra
Nicolaus (1), bp. of Myra in Lycia at the time of Diocletian's persecution, and one of the most popular saints both in the East and West. His Acts, which may embody some historical elements, are filled with well-known legends and miracles. He is said to have been present at the council of Nice, where he waxed so indignant with Arius that he inflicted a box on the heretic's ear. Dean Stanley (Eastern. Church, pp.110, 132) represents Nicolaus as occupying the central place in all traditional pictures of the council. Tozer in his notes to Finlay's Hist. of Greece, t. i. p.124, observes that Nicolaus has taken the place of Poseidon in Oriental Christianity. Thus, in the island of Eleüssa, a temple of Poseidon has been changed into the church of St. Nicolaus. In England 376 churches are dedicated to him. His feast-day was formerly connected in Salisbury Cathedral, Eton, and elsewhere with the curious ceremonial of choosing a boy-bishop, who presided till the following Innocents' Day over his fellow-choristers, arrayed in full episcopal attire (cf. Antiq. of Cath. Church of Salisbury, A.D.1723, pp.72-80, where the ritual of the feast is given). We can trace his fame back to the 6th cent., when Justinian built a church in his honour at Constantinople (Procop. de Aedif. i.6). His relics were translated in the middle ages to Barri in Italy, whence he is often styled Nicolaus of Barri. His Acts are given at length in Surii, Hist. Sanct., and his legends and treatment in art in Jameson's Sacred Art, t. ii. p.450. The figure of St. Nicolaus is a leading one in the celebrated Blenheim Raphael in the National Gallery.


Nilus, an ascetic of Sinai
Nilus (3), a famous ascetic of Sinai, probably born in Galatia, as he speaks of St. Plato martyr of Ancyra as his countryman. He became prefect at Constantinople, married, and had two children, when he determined c.390 to retire to Sinai with his son Theodulus. His epistles are very curious, detailing assaults by demons, and replying to various queries, doctrinal, disciplinary, and even political. Gainas, the Gothic general, discussed with him the Arian controversy, but without changing his opinions (Epp. lib. i.70, 79, 114). Nilus boldly took the side of St. Chrysostom when banished from Constantinople in 404. The story of his ordination is a curious one. The Saracens invaded the desert of Sinai and captured some of the solitaries, including Nilus and Theodulus. They dismissed Nilus and the older men but retained the young men, intending to offer them next day as sacrifices to the Morning Star. They overslept themselves, however, and then, as the propitious time was past, sold Theodulus, who fell into the hands of a neighbouring bishop. There he was found by his father. The piety of both so struck the bishop that he compelled them to accept ordination. They returned to Sinai, and distinguished themselves by a yet severer piety. Nilus died c.430. His writings throw much light on monasticism and Christian society generally at the end of 4th cent. Epp.61 and 62, lib. iv., most interestingly illustrate the church life at that period. Olympiodorus, an eparch, desired to erect a church and to decorate it with images of saints in the sanctuary, together with hunting scenes, birds, and animals in mosaic, and numerous crosses in the nave and on the floor -- a scheme of decoration which we find carried out some time later in the churches of Central Syria, depicted in De Voguë's Civil and Ecclesiastical Architecture of Syria. Nilus condemns the mosaics as mere trifling and unworthy a manly Christian soul. He rejects numerous crosses in the nave, but orders the erection of one cross at the east end of the sanctuary, |Inasmuch as by the cross man was delivered from spiritual slavery, and hope has been shed on the nations.| Good pictures from O. and N. T. meet with his approval. They serve as books for the unlearned; teach them Scripture history, and remind them of God's mercies. The church was to have numerous chapels. Each chapel may have a cross erected therein. Ep.62 proves that his prohibition of mosaics only extended to hunting scenes and probably did not include the images of saints. It was written to exalt the fame of his favourite martyr, Plato of Ancyra, and conclusively proves that the invocation of saints was then practised in the East [cf. FIDENTIUS (2)]. Nilus did not approve of the extraordinary forms which monasticism was assuming. Epp.114 and 115, lib. ii. are addressed to one Nicander, a Stylite, who must have set the fashion which St. Simeon followed. Nilus tells him his lofty position is due simply to pride, and shall find a fulfilment of the words | He that exalts himself shall be abased.| In the second epistle he charges him with light and amorous conversation with women. Monastic discipline seems to have been then very relaxed, as the charges are repeated in his letters and works. We often find in them the peculiar practices of the monks or of the early church explained with mystical references. Cf. Fessler-Jungmann, Inst. Patrol. (1896), ii.2, p.108.


Ninian, British missionary bsp
Ninian, British missionary bishop. The general facts of his life and work present comparatively few points for dispute, there being but one tradition, and that not materially departed from.

The primary authority is Bede (H. E. iii.4), who, however, only incidentally alludes to St. Ninian in connexion with St. Columba, yet touches therein the chief points embodied in the later Life -- his converting the southern Picts a long time before St. Columba's day, his being |de natione Brittonum,| but instructed in the Christian faith and mysteries at Rome; his friendship with St. Martin of Tours, in whose honour he dedicated his episcopal see and church at Candida Casa in the province of the Bernicii, and his building the church there of stone |insolito Brittonibus more| (M. H. B.176). This is repeated in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle a.d.565 (ib.303). Ailred's Vita S. Niniani seems little more than an expansion of these details, but whether he, in the 12th cent., had authentic evidence of an earlier date to assist him we do not know, except that he specially refers to Bede's information and also to a |liber de vita et miraculis ejus, barbario [barbarice] scriptus,| of the value of which we are ignorant. The chief Life is Vita Niniani Pictorum Australium apostoli, auctore Ailredo Reivallensi, first printed by Pinkerton (Vit. Ant. SS.1 seq. ed.1789) and reprinted with trans. and notes, by Bp. Forbes (Historians of Scotland, vol. v.1874). (See also Hardy, Descript. Cat. i.44 seq.853; Bp. Forbes, Lives of SS. Kent. and Nin. Introd.; Grub, Eccl. Hist. Scot. i. c.2 et al.; Skene, Celt. Scot. ii.3, 444; Haddan and Stubbs, Counc. i.14, 35; Pinkerton, Enquiry, ii.263 seq.; Pryce, Anc. Brit. Ch.104 seq.)

Ailred's Life is of the usual unhistoric character, fuller of moralizings than of facts. and having only one fixed point to suggest a date. St. Ninian was of royal birth and belonged to the valley of the Solway; his father was probably a regulus in the Cumbrian kingdom, and, being a Christian, had his son baptized. The youth soon manifested a desire to visit Rome, and appears to have reached it in the time of pope Damasus (a.d.366-384), perhaps in 370. After devoting several years there to the Scriptures and holy learning, he was raised to the episcopate, a.d.394, by the pope himself, probably Siricius (a.d.385-399) and sent as bp. to the W. of Britain, where the Gospel was unknown, corrupted, or misrepresented by the teachers. Calling on St. Martin at Tours and receiving from him masons to build churches according to the Roman method, he returned to his native shores and built his church at Witerna, now Whithern in Wigtonshire, but whether near the site of the later abbey or on the island near the shore is uncertain. While building the church the news reached him of St. Martin's death (a.d.397), in whose honour he dedicated it; this at the latest must have been in the spring of 398. We have no other landmark for ascertaining his dates. The chief field of his missionary labours was in the central district of the E. of Scotland among those barbarians who had defied the Roman power in the days of Agricola and who were separated from the Roman province of Valentia by the rampart of Antoninus; but the veneration attached to his name is shown by his dedications being found over all Scotland. (See Bp. Forbes, Kals.424.)

His monastic school, known variously as Magnum Monasterium, Monasterium Rosnatense, Alba, and Candida Casa, was famous through Cumbria and Ireland, and was one of the chief seats of early Christian learning to which Welsh and Irish saints resorted, till both school and see were destroyed by the irruptions of the Britons and Saxons. The see was revived for a time in the 8th cent., under Saxon influence from York (Haddan and Stubbs, Counc. ii. pt. i.7, 8, 56 seq.; Stubbs, Reg. Sac. Ang.184 et al.), to be again restored in the 12th cent. by King David I. of Scotland. The date usually assigned for his death, though on no definite data, is Sept.16, 432, and Bede (H. E. iii. c.4) says he was buried in his church at Candida Casa, which in the middle ages became much frequented by pilgrims.


Noetus, a native of Smyrna
Noetus, a native of Smyrna according to Hippolytus; of Ephesus according to Epiphanius (Haer.57), probably by a mistake, as his narrative is in other respects wholly derived from Hippolytus. From Asia Minor also Praxeas, some years before, had imported into Rome the views which Noetus taught. Hippolytus traces the origin of the Patripassian heresy at Rome to Noetus, who in his opinion derived it from the philosophy of Heraclitus (Refutation, lib. ix. cc.3-5, cf. x.23). Noetus came to Rome, where he converted Epigonus and Cleomenes. He was summoned before the council of Roman presbyters, and interrogated about his doctrines. He denied at first that he had taught that |Christ was the Father, and that the Father was born and suffered and died,| but his adherents increasing in number, he acknowledged before the same council, when summoned a second time, that he had taught the views attributed to him. |The blessed presbyters called him again before them and examined him. But he stood out against them, saying, 'What evil am I doing in glorifying one God?' And the presbyters replied to him, 'We too know in truth one God, we know Christ, we know that the Son suffered even as He suffered, and died even as He died, and rose again on the third day, and is at the right hand of the Father, and cometh to judge the living and the dead, and these things which we have learned we allege.' Then after examining him they expelled him from the church. And he was carried to such a pitch of pride, that he established a school.| Cf. Routh's Reliq. Sac. t. iv.243-248. As to his date, Hippolytus tells us |he lived not long ago,| Lipsius and Salmon think this very treatise was used by Tertullian in his tract against Praxeas [[455]HIPPOLYTUS ROMANUS], while Hilgenfeld and Harnack date Tertullian's work between a.d.206 and 210. This would throw the treatise of Hippolytus back to c.205. From its language and tone, we conclude that Noetus was then dead, a view which Epiphanius (Haer.57, c.1) expressly confirms, saying that he and his brother both died soon after their
excommunication and were buried without Christian rites. The period of his teaching at Rome must then have been some few years previous to 205. But Hippolytus in his Refutation of Heresies gives us a farther note of time, telling us in ix.2 that it was when Zephyrinus was managing the affairs of the church that the school of Noetus was firmly established at Rome and that Zephyrinus connived at its establishment through bribes. We cannot, however, fix the date of his excommunication and death more closely than c.200. Hippolytus (x.23) tells us that some Montanists adopted the views of Noetus. He seems to have written some works, from which Hippolytus often quotes.


Nomus, leading personage at Constantinople
Nomus, a leading personage at Constantinople in the latter years of Theodosius II., with whom he was all-powerful -- ta tes oikoumenes en chersin echon pragmata (Labbe, Concil. iv.407). Nomus filled in succession all the highest offices in the state. In 443 he was |magister officiorum| (Cod. Theod. Nov. p.14, 1); consul in 445; patrician in 449, the year of the infamous |Latrocinium.| He was the confidential friend of Chrysaphius the eunuch and shared with him the government of the emperor and the empire. Through them Dioscorus of Alexandria and the Eutychian doctrines he supported were brought into favour at court. Through Nomus the feeble Theodosius was induced to publish a decree in 448 confining Theodoret to his own diocese. The interesting series of letters, to the principal men of the empire, in which Theodoret, while observing the mandate, protested against its arbitrary character, contains several addressed to Nomus. With the death of Theodosius and the accession of Marcian and Pulcheria, Nomus's power sensibly waned. He took, however, a leading position as a high state official at the council of Chalcedon (Labbe, iv.77, 475, etc.), where a libel or petition against him was presented by a nephew of Cyril, Athanasius by name, a presbyter of Alexandria, accusing him of violence and extortion which had reduced Athanasius and his relatives to beggary and caused his brother to die of distress (ib.407-410).


Nonna, mother of Gregory Nazianzen
Nonna (1), mother of Gregory Nazianzen; a lady of good birth, the child of Christian parents, Philtatius and Gorgonia, brought up in the practice of the Christian virtues, of which she was so admirable an example. Her son describes in glowing terms the holiness of her life and the beautiful conformity of all her actions to the highest standards of Christian excellence. To her example, aided by her prayers, he ascribes the conversion of his father from the strange medley of paganism and Christianity which formed the tenets of the Hypsistarian sect, to which by birth he belonged (Greg. Naz. Or. ii, 19; Carm.1, 2). We know of two other children of the marriage, a sister named Gorgonia, probably older than Gregory, and a brother named Caesarius. Nonna's death probably occurred on Aug.5 (on which day she is commemorated both by the Greek and Latin churches) in 374 (Orat.19, p.315; Carm.1, p.9). Tillem. Mém. eccl. t. ix. pp.309-311, 317, 318, 322, 385, 397.


Nonnus of Panopolis
Nonnus (2) of Panopolis. The name is very common, being properly an Egyptian title equivalent to Saint. Consequently confusion has arisen between this writer and others of the same name. He has been identified, with some probability, with a Nonnus whose son is mentioned by Synesius (Ep. ad Anastas.42, ad Pyl.102); and, with very little probability, with the deacon Nonnus, secretary at the council of Chalcedon, a.d.452; with Nonnus, the bp. of Edessa, elected at the synod of Ephesus, a.d.449; and with Nonnus the commentator on Gregory Nazianzen (vide Bentley, Phalaris, ad in.).

Life. -- He was a native of Panopolis in Egypt; cf. Eudoxia, s.v. Agathias, iv. p.128; and an epigram in Anth. Graeca, i. p.140. He is classed by Agathias among hoi neoi poietai, and this, supported by a comparison of his poems with other late epic writers, makes it probable that he wrote at the end of the 4th and beginning of the 5th cents. a.d. Beyond this nothing is known for certain. His Dionysiaca shews frequently a knowledge of astronomy (cf. vi.60; xxv.; xxxviii.4), and a special interest in Berytus (xli.), Tyre (xl.), and Athens (xlvii.), but whether from a personal acquaintance with these towns is uncertain. In iv.250 the discoveries of Cadmus are traced to Egypt, but otherwise there is no reference to his native country. The whole tone of the Dionysiaca, with its delight in the drunken immoralities of Dionysus, makes it hard to believe the poem written by a Christian. Probably it was written early in life, and Nonnus converted to Christianity after it, and the paraphrase of St. John written after his conversion, possibly, as has been suggested, as a contrast to the Dionysiaca, portraying the life and apotheosis of one more worthy than Dionysus of the name of God. Possibly too, as has also been suggested, Nonnus may have been one of the Greek philosophers who accepted Christianity when the heathen temples were destroyed by decree of Theodosius (Socr. H. E. v.16).

Works. -- Of his literary position it is possible to speak with more certainty. He was the centre, if not the founder, of the literary Egyptian school, which gave to Greek epic poetry a new though short-lived brilliancy, and to which belonged Quintus of Smyrna, John of Gaza, Coluthus, Tryphiodorus, and Musaeus. This school revived the historical and mythological epic, treating it in a peculiar style of which Nonnus is the best representative. While frequently proclaiming himself an imitator of Homer, and shewing traces of the influence of Callimachus and later writers, he yet created new metrical rules, which gave an entirely new effect to the general rhythm of the poem -- that of an easy but rather monotonous flow, always pleasant, but never rising or falling with the tone of the narrative. The style is very florid, marked by a luxuriance of epithets and original compounds (often of very arbitrary formation), elaborate periphrasis, and metaphors often piled together in hopeless confusion; and many unusual forms are invented.

The Dionysiaca attributed to Nonnus by Agathias (u.s.) is a history of the birth, conquests and apotheosis of Dionysus, spun out at great length. The poem has been regarded |as an allegory of the march of civilization across the ancient world|; but it would be simpler, and we hope truer, to describe it as |the gradual establishment of the cultivation of the vine and the power of the Wine-god.|

The chief modern editions of the Dionysiaca are Graefe (1819-1826); Passow (1834); Le Comte de Marcellus, with interesting introduction, French. trans. and notes, in Didot's Bibl. Graeca (1856); Köchly with apparatus criticus (1857), cf. Ouwarow (1817); Köhler, Ueber die Dion. des Nonnus (1853).

The Paraphrase (Metabole) of St. John's Gospel, attributed to Nonnus by Eudocia (Viol.311) , is a fairly faithful paraphrase of the whole of the Gospel. The text of the Gospel that lies behind the paraphrase has been reproduced by R. Jannsen (Texte und Untersuchungen, N. F. viii.4, 1903). The text is faithfully treated. The omissions, except when he has MSS. authority (e.g. v.1, 4, vii.53 sqq.), are rare (v.1, 29, iv.27, 41, 42, vi.41, 53, viii.38, xviii 16, 18). The additions are chiefly those of poetical expansion. Homeric epithets form a strange medley with the Palestinian surroundings, and in many cases the illustrations are drawn out into insipid details (cf. iv.26, vii.21, xviii.3, xx.7). At other times we have
interpretations suggested, in most of which he agrees with the Alexandrine tradition as represented by Cyril and Origen cf. i.16, 24, 42 (Peter's name); vi.71 (the motive of Judas); vii.19 (the reference to the sixth commandment); viii.40 (the hospitality of Abraham); xii.6, 10; xviii.15 (ichthubolou para technes); xix.7. In some he seems obviously wrong, e.g. ii.12 (duodekarithmos); ii.20, x.12 (the reference to Solomon); vii.28 (upson); xi.44, soudarion explained as a Syrian word; while in ii.4, ti moi gunai ee kai aute looks like an attempt to avoid a slight to her who is constantly called Theotokos. He shews, too, a looseness in using theological terms (cf. i.3, muthos; 1, 50, xi.27, logos) which, with the luxuriance of periphrasis, forms a striking contrast to the simplicity and accuracy of St. John. The chief modern editions are Passow (1834); Le Comte de Marcellus, with French trans. and notes (1860); A. Scheindler (1881), with text of the Gospel and criticus apparatus; Migne, vol. xliii. (with the notes of Heinsius and of Le Comte de Marcellus); Mansi, Bibl. Patr. vi. (ed.1618), ix. (ed.1677). See also a series of arts. in Wiener Studien for 1880-1881 and Theolog. Literaturzeitung, 1891, where the authorship is attributed to Apollinaris.


Novatianus and Novatianism
Novatianus and Novatianism (Novatianus; Cyprian, Ep. xliv.; Noouatos, Eus. H. E. vi.43; Nauatos, Socr. H. E. iv.28. Lardner (Credibility, c.47, note) seeks to prove that Eusebius and the Greeks in general were correct in calling the Roman presbyter Novatus, not Novatianus. He attributes the origin of the latter name to Cyprian, who called the Roman presbyter Novatianus, as being a follower of his own rebellious priest, Novatus of Carthage. Novatian, the founder of Novatianism, is said by Philostorgius to have been a Phrygian by birth, a notion which may have originated in the popularity of his system in Phrygia and its neighbourhood (Lightfoot's Colossians, p.98). He was, before his conversion, a philosopher, but of what sect we cannot certainly determine, though from a comparison of the language of Cyprian in Ep. lv. § 13, ad Antonian., with the Novatianist system itself, we should be inclined to say the Stoic. The circumstances of his conversion and baptism are stated by pope Cornelius in his letter to Fabius of Antioch (Eus. l.c.), but we must accept his statements with much caution. His narration is evidently coloured by his feelings. The facts of the case appear to be these. He was converted after he had come to manhood, and received clinical baptism, but was never confirmed, which furnishes Cornelius with one of his principal accusations. He was, nevertheless, admitted to the clerical order. His talents, especially his eloquence, to which even Cyprian witnesses (Ep. lx.3), rapidly brought him to the front, and he became the most influential presbyter of the Roman church. In this character, the see being vacant, he wrote Ep. xxx. to the Carthaginan church, touching the treatment of the lapsed, while the anonymous author of the treatise against Novatian, written a.d.155 and included by Erasmus among Cyprian's works, describes him as |having been a precious vessel, an house of the Lord, who, as long as he was in the church, bewailed the faults of other men as his own, bore the burdens of his brethren as the apostle directs, and by his exhortations strengthened such as were weak in the faith.| This testimony sufficiently disposes of the accusation of Cornelius that Novatian denied the faith in time of persecution, declaring himself |an admirer of a different philosophy.| In 250 he approved of a moderate policy towards the lapsed, but later in the year changed his mind and took such extreme views that the martyr Moses, who probably suffered on the last day of 250, condemned them. In Mar.251 Cornelius was consecrated bp. (Lipsius, Chron. d. röm. Bisch. p.205). This roused the stricter party to action (Cyp. Ep. xlvi.). NOVATUS, the Carthaginian agitator, having meanwhile arrived at Rome, joined them and urged them to set up an opposition bishop. He made a journey into distant parts of Italy, and brought back 3 bishops who consecrated Novatian. After his consecration Novatian dispatched the usual epistles announcing it to the bishops of the chief sees, to Cyprian, Dionysius of Alexandria, Fabius of Antioch. Cyprian rejected his communion at once. Dionysius wrote exhorting him to retire from his schismatical position (Eus. H. E. vi.45). Fabius, however, so inclined to his side that Dionysius addressed him a letter on the subject; and two bishops, Firmilianus of Cappadocia and Theoctistus of Palestine, wrote to Dionysius requesting his presence at the council of Antioch, to restrain tendencies in that direction (ib.44, 46). In the latter part of 251 Novatian was formally excommunicated by a synod of 60 bishops at Rome. He then began to organize a distinct church, rebaptizing all who came over (Cyp. Ep. lxxiii.2) and dispatching letters and emissaries to the most distant parts of the East and West (Socr. H. E. iv.28). [[457]CYPRIAN; NOVATUS.] His subsequent career is unknown, save that Socrates informs us that he suffered martyrdom under Valerian (ib.). He was a copious writer, as we learn from Jerome (de Vir. Ill. c. lxx.), who gives as his works, | de Pascha, de Sabbato, de Circumcisione, de Sacerdote, de Oratione, de Instantia, de Attalo, de Cibis Judaicis, et de Trinitate,| only the last two being now extant. (An ed. of de Trin. by W. Y. Fausset was pub. in 1909 in the Camb. Patr. Texts.) His work on Jewish meats was written at some place of retreat from persecution. The Jewish controversy seems to have been then very hot at Rome, and Novatian wrote to refute their contention about distinction of meats. Jerome describes his work on the Trinity as an epitome of Tertullian's, and as attributed by some to Cyprian (Hieron. Apol. cont. Rufin. lib. ii. Opp. t. iv. p.415). It proves Novatian to have been a diligent student, as its arguments are identical with those of Justin Martyr in his Dialog. cum Tryph. c. cxxvii.; Tertull. adv. Prax. cc. xiv.-xxv.; Clem. Alex. Strom. ii.16, v.11, 12. He deals first with the absolute perfection of the Father, His invisibility, etc., then discusses the anthropomorphic expressions of the Scriptures, laying down that |such things were said about God indeed, but they are not to be imputed to God but to the people. It is not God Who is limited, but the perception of the people.| In c. vii. he declares that even the terms Spirit, Light, Love, are only in an imperfect degree applicable to God. In cc. ix.-xxviii. he discusses the true doctrine of the Incarnation, explaining, like Clement and others, the theophanies of O.T. as manifestations of Christ, and refuting the doctrine of the Sabellians, or Artemonites, according to Neander (H. E. ii.298), which had just then been developed. He ends by explaining the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, wherein he is thought by some to have fallen into error. He was quoted by the Macedonians of the next cent. as supporting their view (cf. Fabric. Bibl. Graec. xii.565 and references noted there; Bull's Def. of Nicene Creed, ii.476, Oxf.1852; Judg. of Cath. Ch. pp.9, 137, 291, Oxf.1855). Lardner (Credib. c.47, t. iii. p.242) shews that Novatian did not accept Hebrews as Scripture, since he never quotes any texts out of it, though there were several which favoured his cause, notably Heb. vi.4-8. His followers, however, in the next cent. did use them. Some have even thought Novatian to be the author of the Refutation of all Heresies (Bunsen, Christ. and Mankind, i.480). A trans. of his works is in the vol. of Clark's Ante-Nicene Lib. which contains pt. ii. of St. Cyprian's writings (Edinb.1869). Jackson's ed. is the best.

Novatianism. -- The members of this sect called themselves Katharoi (Eus. H. E. vi.43). They were called by others Novatiani (Pacian. Ep. i. § 1).

Novatianism was the first great schism in the church on a pure question of discipline. In Montanism questions of discipline were involved as side issues, but did not constitute its essential difference. All sects previous to Novatianism had erred on the doctrine of the Trinity. The Novatianists alone were orthodox thereupon. The church therefore baptized even Montanists, but admitted Novatianists by imposition of hands (Conc. Laodic. can. vii. viii.; Hefele, Councils, ed. Clark, t. ii.303, 332 ; Conc. CP. can. vii. in Hefele, l.c.; Pitra, Jur. Eccles. Graec. Hist. i.430, 576).

The principles which Novatian formulated into a system, and to which he gave a name, existed and flourished long before him. The origin of the Novatianist schism must be sought in the struggle which, originating with the Shepherd of Hermas (Baur, Church Hist. trans. Menzies, 1879, t. ii. p.50 note; cf. Ritschl, Entstehung der Altkath. Kirche, 2nd ed. p.529), had been raging at Rome for 70 years, at first with the Montanists and the followers of Tertullian, and then between Hippolytus and Callistus. Every one of the distinctive principles of Novatianism will be found advocated by some or all of them (Baur, l.c. p.270, note). The Montanists rejected the lapsed, and in fact all guilty of mortal sins, Tertullian rejected second marriages, as also did the strict discipline of the 2nd cent. (Ambr. de Viduis, c. ii.; Lumper, Hist. SS. PP. iii.95; de S. Athenag.; Aug. Ep. ad Julian. de Viduit.). Hippolytus held, in a great degree, the same stern views. This identity in principle between Montanism and Novatianism has been noted by many, both ancients and moderns, e.g. Epiph. Haer.59; Hieron. Opp. Migne, Patr. Lat. t. i.188, Ep. ad Marcellam, 457, Ep. ad Oceanum; t. vii.697 cont. Jovinian. lib. ii.; Gieseler, H. E. t. i. pp.213-215, 284, ed. Clark; Neander, Anti-Gnostic, t. ii. p.362; Bunsen, Christ. and Mankind, t. i.395, 428; Pressensé, Life and Pract. of Early Ch. lib. i. cc.6, 7; Baur, l.c. pp.124-126. With Donatism Novatianism is also allied, for the treatment of the lapsed underlay that schism too. Other points of similarity between the three may be noted. They all sprang up, or found their most enthusiastic supporters, in Africa. Each arose simultaneously with great persecutions. The two earliest, at least, proved their essential oneness, uniting their ranks in Phrygia in the 4th cent. Novatianism may be regarded as a conservative protest on behalf of the ancient discipline against the prevalent liberalism of the Roman church (Baur, l.c. p.271). The sterner treatment of the lapsed naturally found favour with the more enthusiastic party, who usually give the tone to any religious society. Thus Eleutherus, bp. of Rome, in the latter part of 2nd cent. was inclined to take the Puritan view (Eus. H. E. lib. v. c.3). Ozanam (Hist. of Civilization in 5th Cent. t. ii. p.214, Eng. trans.) has noted an interesting proof of the prevalence of this view in Rome. Archaeologists have often been puzzled by the symbol of a Good Shepherd carryings a kid, not a lamb, on his shoulders, found in the cemetery of St. Callistus. Ozanam explains it as a reference by the excavators of the cemetery to the prevalent Montanist doctrine, which denied the possibility of a goat being brought back in this life. Novatianism thus fell upon ground prepared for it, and found in every quarter a body of ready adherents. But Novatian was the first to make the treatment of the lapsed the express ground of schism. In fact, many continued to hold the same view within the church during the next 150 years (cf. Hefele, Councils, t. i. p.134, Clark's ed.; Innocent I. Ep. iii. ad Exuperium, in Mansi, iii.1039). This fact accounts for the rapid spread of the sect. In Africa they established themselves in many cities within the course of the two years subsequent to Novatian's consecration in the spring of 251. [[459]CYPRIAN.] In S. Gaul Marcian, bp. of Arles, joined them (Cyp. Ep. lxviii.; Greg. Turon. Hist. Francor. lib. i. in Migne, Patr. Lat. lxxi.175). In the East they made great progress. Between a.d.260 and the council of Nice we hear scarcely anything about them. The controversies about Sabellianism and Paul of Samosata, together with the rising tide of Arianism, occupied the church during the concluding years of the 3rd cent., while the peace it enjoyed prevented the question of the lapsed becoming a practical one. During this period, however, Novatianist doctrine became harder and sterner. Obliged to vindicate their position, they drew the reins tighter than Novatian had done. With him idolatry was the one crying sin which excluded from communion. During the long peace there was no temptation to this sin, therefore his followers were obliged to add all other deadly sins to the list (Socr. H. E. vii.25; Ambr. de Poenit. lib. i. cc.2, 3; Ceill. v.466, 467) At the council of Nice we find them established far and wide, with a regular succession of bishops at the principal cities of the empire and of the highest reputation for piety. The monk Eutychian, one of their number, was a celebrated miracle-worker, reverenced by Constantine himself, who also endeavoured to lead one of their bishops, ACESIUS, to unite with the Catholics (Socr. H. E. i.10, 13). During the 4th cent. we can trace their history much more clearly in the East than in the West, for Socrates gives such copious details as to lead some (Nicephorus, Baronius, and P. Labbaeus) to suspect that he was a member of the sect. In the East their fortunes were very varying. Under Constantine they were tolerated and even favoured (Cod. Theod. ed. Haenel, lib. xvi. tit. v. p.1522). Under Constantius they were violently persecuted, together with the rest of the Homoousian party, by the patriarch Macedonius. Socrates (ii.38) mentions several martyrs for the Catholic faith whom they then furnished, especially one Alexander, a Paphlagonian, to whose memory they built a church at Constantinople existing in his own day. Several of their churches, too, were destroyed at Constantinople and Cyzicus, but were restored by Julian upon his accession, and Agelius their bishop was banished. |But Macedonius consummated his wickedness in the following manner. Hearing there was a great number of the Novatian sect in the province of Paphlagonia, and especially at Mantinium, and perceiving that such a numerous body could not be driven from their homes by ecclesiastics alone, he caused, by the emperor's permission, four companies of soldiers to be sent into Paphlagonia that, through dread of the military, they might receive the Arian opinion. But those who inhabited Mantinium, animated to desperation by zeal for their religion, armed themselves with long reaping-hooks, hatchets, and whatever weapons came to hand, and went forth to meet the troops, on which, a conflict ensuing, many indeed of the Paphlagonians were slain, but nearly all the soldiers were destroyed.| This persecution well-nigh brought about a union between the Catholics and the Novatianists, as the former frequented the churches of the latter party during the Arian supremacy. The Novatianists, however, as in Constantine's time, obstinately refused to unite with those whose church-theory was different from their own, though their faith was alike. Under Valens, seven years later, a.d.366, they suffered another persecution and Agelius was again exiled. Under Theodosius their bp. at Constantinople, Agelius, appeared in conjunction with the orthodox patriarch Nectarius as joint defenders of the Homoousian doctrine at the synod of 383, on which account the emperor conferred on their churches equal privileges with those of the establishment (Socr. H. E. v.10, 20). John Chrysostom's severe zeal for church discipline led him to persecute them. When visiting Ephesus to consecrate a bishop a.d.401, he deprived them of their churches, an act to which many attributed John's subsequent misfortunes. An expression uttered by Chrysostom in reference to their peculiar views about sin after baptism, |Approach [the altar] though you may have repented a thousand times,| led to a literary controversy between him and the learned and witty Sisinnius, Novatianist bp. of Constantinople (vi.21, 22). About 374 a schism occurred in their ranks concerning the true time of Easter. Hitherto the Novatianists had strictly observed the Catholic rule. A few obscure Phrygian bishops, however, convened a synod at Pazum or Pazacoma, and agreed to celebrate the same day as that on which the Jews keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This canon was passed in the absence of Agelius of Constantinople, Maximus of Nice, and the bishops of Nicomedia and Cotyaeum, their leading men (iv.28). Jewish influence was also at work, as Sozomen (vii.18) tells us that a number of priests, converted by the Novatianists at Pazum during the reign of Valens, still retained their Jewish ideas about Easter. To this sect was given the name Protopaschitae (Cod. Theod. u.s. p.1581, where severe penalties are denounced against them as worshippers of a different Christ because observing Easter otherwise than the orthodox). This question, when raised by a presbyter of Jewish birth named SABBATIUS, some 20 years later, caused a further schism among the Novatianists at Constantinople, under the episcopate of Marcian, a.d.391; whence the name Sabbatiani. These finally coalesced with the Montanists, though we can trace their distinct existence till the middle of the 5th cent. (Socr. H. E. v.21; Soz. H. E. vii.16; Cod. Theod. u.s. pp.1566, 1570, 1581.) Many particulars of the customs of the Eastern Novatianists and as to their reflex influence on the church as regards auricular confession are in Socr. H. E. v.19, 22, who in c.19 ascribes the original establishment of the office of penitentiary presbyter and secret confession to the Novatianist schism. [[461]NECTARIUS (4).] The succession of Novatianist patriarchs of Constantinople during the 4th cent. was Acesius, Agelius, Marcianus, Sisinnius (Socr. H. E. v.21, vi.22 ; Soz. H. E. vii.14). During the 5th cent. the Novatianists continued to flourish notwithstanding occasional troubles. In Constantinople their bishops during the first half of the cent. were Sisinnius, d.412, Chrysanthus, d.419, Paul, d.438, and Marcian. They lived on amicable terms with the orthodox patriarch Atticus, who, remembering their fidelity under the Arian persecution, protected them from their enemies. Paul enjoyed the reputation of a miracle-worker, and died in the odour of universal sanctity, all sects and parties uniting in singing psalms at his funeral (Socr. H. E. vii.46). In Alexandria, however, they were persecuted by Cyril, their bp. Theopemptus and their churches plundered; but they continued to exist in large numbers in that city till the 7th cent., when Eulogius, Catholic patriarch of Alexandria, wrote a treatise against them (Phot. Cod.182, 208; Ceill. xi.589). Even in Scythia their churches existed, as we find Marcus, a bp. from that country, present at the death of Paul, Novatianist bp. of Constantinople, July 21, 438. In Asia Minor they were as widely dispersed as the Catholics. In parts of it, indeed, the orthodox party seem for long to have been completely absorbed by those who took the Puritan view, e.g. Epiphanius tells us that there were no Catholics for 112 years in the city of Thyatira (Haer. li.; Lumper, Hist. SS. PP. viii.259). They had established a regular parochial system. Thus (in Boeckh, Corp. Gr. Inscriptt., iv.9268) we find at Laodicea in Lycaonia an inscription on a tombstone erected by one Aurelia Domna to her husband Paul, deacon of the holy church of the Novatianists, while even towards the end of the preceding century St. Basil, though hesitating on grounds similar to those of Cyprian to recognize their baptism, concludes in its favour on the express ground that it was for the advantage and profit of the populace that it should be received (Basil, Ep. clxxxviii. ad Amphiloch.; cf. R. T. Smith's Basil the Great, p.119). After the close of the 5th cent. we find few notices of their history. Their protest about the lapsed became obsolete and their adherents fell away to the church or to sects like the Montanists. A formal notice of their existence in the East occurs in the 95th canon of the Trullan (Quinisext) Council a.d.692. In the West we have no such particular details of their history as in the East. Yet there is clear evidence of their widespread and long-continued influence. Already we have noted their extension into S. Gaul and Africa in their very earliest days. In Alexandria also we have noted its last historical manifestation. Between the middle of 3rd cent., when it arose, and the close of the 5th, we find repeated indications of its existence and power. Constantine's decree (Cod. Theod. XVI. v.2, with Gothofred's comment), giving them a certain restricted liberty, was directed to Bassus, probably vicarius of Italy. Towards the close of the 4th cent. we find a regular succession of Novatianist bishops existing -- doubtless from Novatian's time -- at Rome, and held in such high repute for piety that the emperor Theodosius granted his life to the celebrated orator Symmachus on the prayer of the Novatianist pope Leontius, a.d.388. Early in the 5th cent., however, pope Celestine persecuted them, deprived them of their churches, and compelled Rusticula their bishop to hold his meetings in private, an act which Socrates considers another proof of the overweening and unchristian insolence of the Roman see (H. E. vii.11). In the Code several severe edicts were directed about the same time against the Novatianists (Cod. Theod. ed. Haenel, lib. xvi. tit. v. legg.59, 65, cf. vi.6). In S. Gaul, N. Italy, and Spain the sect seems to have taken as firm root as in Phrygia and central Asia Minor. Whether the original religious teaching of the people whose Christianity may have been imported from Africa but a short time before by MARCELLINUS, or the physical features, e.g. the mountainous character of these countries, may not have inclined them towards its stern discipline is a fair question. The treatises which Pacian of Barcelona and Ambrose of Milan felt necessary to direct against them are couched in language which proves the sect to have been then an aggressive one and a real danger to the church by the assertion of its superior sanctity and purity. Ambrose evidently wrote in answer to some work lately produced by them (de Poenit. lib. ii. c. x.). The Separatist tendency begotten of Novatianism in this district and continued through Priscillianism, Adoptionism, and Claudius of Turin (Neander, H. E. t. vi.119-130, ed. Bohn; cf. esp. note on p.119) may be a point of contact between the Novatianists of primitive times and the Waldenses and Albigenses of the middle ages. Their wide spread in Africa in Augustine's time is attested by him, cont. Gaudent. in Opp. ed. Bened. (Paris), ix.642, 794.

The principal extant controversial works against the sect beside those of Cyprian are the epistles of St. Pacian of Barcelona, the de Poenitentia of St. Ambrose, and the Quaestiones in Nov. Testam. No. cii. wrongly attributed to St. Augustine and found in the Parisian Ben. ed. t. iii. pars. ii.2942-2958, assigned by the editor to Hilary the deacon who lived under pope Damasus. The work of Pacian contains many interesting historical notices of the sect. From it we find they refused to the Catholics the name of a church, calling them Apostaticum, Capitolinum, or Synedrium, and, on their own behalf, rejected the name Novatianists and styled themselves simply Christians (Ep. ii. § 3). The following were some of the texts relied on by them, to the consideration of which the writers on the Catholic side applied themselves: I. Sam. ii.25; Matt. x.33, xii.31, xiii.47-49; I. Cor. vi.18; II. Tim. ii.20; Heb. vi.4-7; I. John v.15. Novatianism in the tests which it used, its efforts after a perfectly pure communion, its crotchety interpretations of Scripture, and many other features, presents a striking parallel to many modern sects. In addition to authorities already quoted, see Ceillier, ii.427, et passim; Walch, Ketzerhist. ii.185; Natal. Alex. ed. Mansi, saec. iii. c. iii. art. iv.; Tillem. Mém.; Bingham, Opp. t. vi.248, 570, viii.233 (ed. Lond.1840); Gieseler, H. E. i.284 (ed. Clark); Neander, H. E. (ed. Bohn), i.330-345. For an account of recent literature on the subject see Bardenhewer's Patrology, p.220.


Novatus, presbyter of Carthage
Novatus (1), presbyter of Carthage, seems to have been an original opponent of Cyprian's election, but is first mentioned by him in Ep. xiv. § 5, with three other presbyters -- Donatus, Fortunatus, and Gordius -- as having written about some question to Cyprian then in retirement. This was, doubtless, touching the request of the confessors, to have peace granted to certain of the lapsed which, in Ep.1., Cyprian refuses until he has consulted the presbyters and faithful laity. Cyprian reproves certain presbyters, evidently Novatus and his companions, who, |considering neither the fear of God nor the honour of the bishop,| had already granted peace to the lapsed. In Ep. xliii, writing to the church of Carthage, he compares Novatus and his associates to the five chief commissioners entrusted with the conduct of the persecution, and, as it seems, intimates that they threatened to raise a riot upon his appearance from his place of retirement. In Ep. lii.3 Cyprian, writing to Cornelius, gives a very bad character of Novatus. Cyprian's feelings may have here coloured his judgment, as such a bishop as he was could scarcely have tolerated such a bad man in the presbyterate. Cyprian describes Novatus as having made his follower Felicissimus a deacon, and then |at Rome committing greater and more grievous crimes. He who at Carthage made a deacon against the church, there made a bishop,| i.e. that he brought about the ordination of both the deacon and bishop. Ep. xliii.2 proves that Cyprian's wrath was, however, specially stirred by some anti-episcopal innovations of Novatus and his party. After the consecration of Novatian, Novatus was sent by him to organize his party in Africa (Cyp. Ep.1.). After this he disappears from sight. Cf. Dr. Pusey's note upon him, appended to Cyprian, Ep. lii. in Oxf. Lib. of Fathers. Milman, Lat. Christ. t. i. pp.60-62 (ed. Lond.1867).


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