70-1070AD World History (external support)


70-1070AD "Woe to you Chorazin! Woe to you Bethsaida! Woe to you Capernaum!"

about 29 AD
some time within 70-1070 AD

Matthew 11:20-26
20 Then began he [Jesus] to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:
21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

Luke 10:13-16
13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
14 But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you.
15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.

16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

Josephus commented about these places indicating they were still known locations prior to his death in the early 100's AD. Sometime following, during that first thousand years of Christendom, Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum ceased to remain. Since then, historians make educated guesses as to their locations and fates.

A  city whose name appears only in the woe pronounced against it by Christ (Matthew 11:21; Luke 10:13). Its appearance there, however, shows that it must have been a place of some importance, and highly privileged by the ministry of Jesus. It was already deserted in the time of Eusebius, who places it 2 miles from Capernaum (Onom, s.v.). We can hardly doubt that it is represented by the extensive ruins of Kerazeh, on the heights to the north of Tell Chum. It is utterly desolate: a few carved stones being seen among the heaps. There are traces of a Roman road which connected the ancient city with the great highway between north and south which touched the lake shore at Khan Minyeh.
(from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia)

— 'house of fishing' or 'fisherman's house']. A town on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. Many scholars believe there were two towns of the same name, one to the east and the other to the west of the Jordan. The precise locations are disputed.
(from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, revised edition, Copyright © 1979 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. All rights reserved.)

Although Jesus centered His ministry in Capernaum, the people of that city did not follow him. Jesus pronounced a curse on the city for its unbelief (Matthew 11:23-24), predicting its ruin (Luke 10:15). So strikingly did this prophecy come true that only recently has Tell Hum been identified confidently as ancient Capernaum.
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)



70-325AD ANTE-NICENE: the first 1/4 of the Last Day-Millennium

The first 1/4th of the Last Day-Millennium: Inheriting/Conquering the Land & Promises - answers to the Old Testament period of Joshua & Judges

  • This was a period of intense conflict between the recently arrived Heavens' Empire and the outgoing Roman Empire.
  • The Roman Empire recognised early on the arrival of a lethal threat to its survival and mustered every effort to defend itself against the ever-unavoidable influence of Christ's People.
  • The casualty statistics of Christians killed by Romans alongside Romans surrendering to Christ can only be described as a war of super-empires.
  • And within 250 years of Christ's arrival with His Saints around the time of old Jerusalem's destruction, that beast the last, saint-subjugating, idol-worshipping, superpower-empire was driven to its knees to surrender and declare itself now a Christian nation, the first. And every world superpower ever since has been one whose dominant religion is the Religion of Christ. There is neither Biblical evidence nor historical precedent that this trend will ever change.

Revelation 19:11-21

11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven,"Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, 18 that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great."


And I saw

the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.


263-339AD Eusebius: The History of the Church from Christ to Constantine

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eusebius

Eusebius of Caesarea

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Eusebius of Caesarea
Eusebius of Caesarea

Eusebius of Caesarea (c 263339?[1]) (often called Eusebius Pamphili, "Eusebius [the friend] of Pamphilus") became the bishop of Caesarea in Palaestina c 314.[1] He is often referred to as the father of Church history because of his work in recording the history of the early Christian church, especially Chronicle and Ecclesiastical History.[1] An earlier version of church history by Hegesippus, that he referred to, has not survived.



[edit] Biography

His exact date and place of birth are unknown. However, it is estimated that he was born in 265.[2]and little is known of his youth. He became acquainted with the presbyter Dorotheus in Antioch and probably received exegetical instruction from him. In 296 he was in Palestine and saw Constantine who visited the country with Diocletian. He was in Caesarea when Agapius was bishop and became friendly with Pamphilus of Caesarea, with whom he seems to have studied the text of the Bible, with the aid of Origen's Hexapla and commentaries collected by Pamphilus, in an attempt to prepare a correct version.

In 307, Pamphilus was imprisoned, but Eusebius continued their project. The resulting defence of Origen, in which they had collaborated, was finished by Eusebius after the death of Pamphilus and sent to the martyrs in the mines of Phaeno located in modern Jordan. Eusebius then seems to have gone to Tyre and later to Egypt, where he first suffered persecution.

Eusebius is next heard of as bishop of Caesarea Maritima. He succeeded Agapius, whose time of office is not known, but Eusebius must have become bishop soon after 313. Nothing is known about the early years of his tenure. When the Council of Nicaea met in 325, Eusebius was prominent in its transactions. He was not naturally a spiritual leader or theologian, but as a very learned man and a famous author who enjoyed the special favour of the emperor, he came to the fore among the members of the council (traditionally given as 318 attendees). The confession which he proposed became the basis of the Nicene Creed.

Eusebius was involved in the further development of the Arian controversies. For instance he was involved in the dispute with Eustathius of Antioch who opposed the growing influence of Origen, including his practice of an allegorical exegesis of scripture. Eustathius perceived in Origen's theology the roots of Arianism. Eusebius was an admirer of Origen and was reproached by Eustathius for deviating from the Nicene faith - he was even alleged to hold to Sabellianism. Eustathius was accused, condemned and deposed at a synod in Antioch. Part of the population of Antioch rebelled against this action and the anti-Eustathians proposed Eusebius as its new bishop - he declined.

After Eustathius had been removed, the Eusebians proceeded against Athanasius of Alexandria, a more powerful opponent. In 334, Athanasius was summoned before a synod in Caesarea; he did not attend. In the following year, he was again summoned before a synod in Tyre at which Eusebius presided. Athanasius, foreseeing the result, went to Constantinople to bring his cause before the emperor. Constantine called the bishops to his court, among them Eusebius. Athanasius was condemned and exiled at the end of 335. At the same synod, another opponent was successfully attacked: Marcellus of Ancyra had long opposed the Eusebians and had protested against the reinstitution of Arius. He was accused of Sabellianism and deposed in 336. Constantine died the next year, and Eusebius did not long survive him. Eusebius date of death is unknown. It is estimated that he died between 337 and340 after the death of Constantine.[3]

[edit] Works

Of the extensive literary activity of Eusebius, a relatively large portion has been preserved. Although posterity suspected him of Arianism, Eusebius had made himself indispensable by his method of authorship; his comprehensive and careful excerpts from original sources saved his successors the painstaking labor of original research. Hence, much has been preserved, quoted by Eusebius, which otherwise would have been destroyed.

The literary productions of Eusebius reflect on the whole the course of his life. At first, he occupied himself with works on Biblical criticism under the influence of Pamphilus and probably of Dorotheus of Tyre of the School of Antioch. Afterward, the persecutions under Diocletian and Galerius directed his attention to the martyrs of his own time and the past, and this led him to the history of the whole Church and finally to the history of the world, which, to him, was only a preparation for ecclesiastical history.

Then followed the time of the Arian controversies, and dogmatic questions came into the foreground. Christianity at last found recognition by the State; and this brought new problems—apologies of a different sort had to be prepared. Lastly, Eusebius, the court theologian, wrote eulogies in praise of Constantine. To all this activity must be added numerous writings of a miscellaneous nature, addresses, letters, and the like, and exegetical works which include both commentaries and treatises on Biblical archaeology and extend over the whole of his life.

[edit] Biblical text criticism

Pamphilus and Eusebius occupied themselves with the text criticism of the Septuagint text of the Old Testament and especially of the New Testament. An edition of the Septuagint seems to have been already prepared by Origen, which, according to Jerome, was revised and circulated by Eusebius and Pamphilus. For an easier survey of the material of the four Evangelists, Eusebius divided his edition of the New Testament into paragraphs and provided it with a synoptical table so that it might be easier to find the pericopes that belong together. These canon tables or "Eusebian canons" remained in use throughout the Middle Ages, and illuminated manuscript versions are important for the study of early medieval art.

[edit] Chronicle

The two greatest historical works of Eusebius are his Chronicle and his Church History. The former (Greek Παντοδαπὴ Ἱστορία (Pantodape historia), "Universal History") is divided into two parts. The first part (Χρονογραφία (Chronographia), "Annals") gives an epitome of universal history from the sources, arranged according to nations. The second part (Χρονικοὶ Κανόνες (Chronikoi kanones), "Chronological Canons") furnishes a synchronism of the historical material in parallel columns, the equivalent of a parallel timeline.

The work as a whole has been lost in the original, but it may be reconstructed from later chronographists of the Byzantine school who made excerpts from the work with untiring diligence, especially George Syncellus. The tables of the second part have been completely preserved in a Latin translation by Jerome, and both parts are still extant in an Armenian translation. The loss of the Greek originals has given an Armenian translation a special importance; thus, the first part of Eusebius's "Chronicle", of which only a few fragments exist in the Greek, has been preserved entirely in Armenian. The "Chronicle" as preserved extends to the year 325. It was written before the "Church History."

[edit] Church History

In his Church History or Ecclesiastical History (Historia Ecclesiastica), Eusebius attempted according to his own declaration (I.i.1) to present the history of the Church from the apostles to his own time, with special regard to the following points:

  1. the successions of bishops in the principal sees;
  2. the history of Christian teachers;
  3. the history of heresies;
  4. the history of the Jews;
  5. the relations to the heathen;
  6. the martyrdoms.

He grouped his material according to the reigns of the emperors, presenting it as he found it in his sources. The contents are as follows:

  • Book i: detailed introduction on Jesus Christ
  • Book ii: The history of the apostolic time to the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus
  • Book iii: The following time to Trajan
  • Books iv and v: the second century
  • Book vi: The time from Septimius Severus to Decius
  • Book vii: extends to the outbreak of the persecution under Diocletian
  • Book viii: more of this persecution
  • Book ix: history to Constantine's victory over Maxentius in the West and over Maximinus in the East
  • Book x: The reëstablishment of the churches and the rebellion and conquest of Licinius.

In its present form, the work was brought to a conclusion before the death of Crispus (July, 326), and, since book x is dedicated to Paulinus of Tyre who died before 325, at the end of 323, or in 324. This work required the most comprehensive preparatory studies, and it must have occupied him for years. His collection of martyrdoms of the older period may have been one of these preparatory studies.

Eusebius blames the calamities which befell the Jewish nation on the Jews' role in the death of Jesus. This quote has been used to attack both Jews and Christians. See Christianity and anti-Semitism.

"that from that time seditions and wars and mischievous plots followed each other in quick succession, and never ceased in the city and in all Judea until finally the siege of Vespasian overwhelmed them. Thus the divine vengeance overtook the Jews for the crimes which they dared to commit against Christ." (Hist. Eccles. II.6: The Misfortunes which overwhelmed the Jews after their Presumption against Christ) [1]

This is not simply anti-semitism, however. Eusebius levels a similar charge against Christians, blaming a spirit of divisiveness for some of the most severe persecutions.

"But when on account of the abundant freedom, we fell into laxity and sloth, and envied and reviled each other, and were almost, as it were, taking up arms against one another, rulers assailing rulers with words like spears, and people forming parties against people, and monstrous hypocrisy and dissimulation rising to the greatest height of wickedness, the divine judgment with forbearance, as is its pleasure, while the multitudes yet continued to assemble, gently and moderately harassed the episcopacy. (Hist. Eccles. VIII.1: The Events which preceded the Persecution in our Times.) [2]

[edit] Life of Constantine

Eusebius' Life of Constantine (Vita Constantini) is a eulogy or panegyric, and therefore its style and selection of facts are affected by its purpose, rendering it inadequate as a continuation of the Church History. As the historian Socrates Scholasticus said, at the opening of his history that was designed as a continuation of Eusebius, "Also in writing the life of Constantine, this same author has but slightly treated of matters regarding Arius, being more intent on the rhetorical finish of his composition and the praises of the emperor, than on an accurate statement of facts." The work was unfinished at Eusebius' death.

[edit] Minor historical works

Before he compiled his church history, Eusebius edited a collection of martyrdoms of the earlier period and a biography of Pamphilus. The martyrology has not survived as a whole, but it has been preserved almost completely in parts. It contained:

  1. an epistle of the congregation of Smyrna concerning the martyrdom of Polycarp;
  2. the martyrdom of Pionius;
  3. the martyrdoms of Carpus, Papylus, and Agathonike;
  4. the martyrdoms in the congregations of Vienne and Lyon;
  5. the martyrdom of Apollonius.

Of the life of Pamphilus, only a fragment survives. A work on the martyrs of Palestine in the time of Diocletian was composed after 311; numerous fragments are scattered in legendaries which still have to be collected. The life of Constantine was compiled after the death of the emperor and the election of his sons as Augusti (337). It is more a rhetorical eulogy on the emperor than a history but is of great value on account of numerous documents incorporated in it.

[edit] Apologetic and dogmatic works

To the class of apologetic and dogmatic works belong:

  1. the Apology for Origen, the first five books of which, according to the definite statement of Photius, were written by Pamphilus in prison, with the assistance of Eusebius. Eusebius added the sixth book after the death of Pamphilus. We possess only a Latin translation of the first book, made by Rufinus;
  2. a treatise against Hierocles (a Roman governor and Neoplatonic philosopher), in which Eusebius combated the former's glorification of Apollonius of Tyana in a work entitled "A Truth-loving Discourse" (Greek, Philalethes logos);
  3. Praeparatio evangelica ('Preparation for the Gospel'), commonly known by its Latin title, which attempts to prove the excellence of Christianity over every pagan religion and philosophy. The Praeparatio consists of fifteen books which have been completely preserved. Eusebius considered it an introduction to Christianity for pagans. But its value for many later readers is more because Eusebius studded this work with so many fascinating and lively fragments from historians and philosophers which are nowhere else preserved. Here alone is preserved a summary of the writings of the Phoenician priest Sanchuniathon of which the accuracy has been shown by the mythological accounts found on the Ugaritic tables, here alone is the account from Diodorus Siculus's sixth book of Euhemerus' wondrous voyage to the island of Panchaea where Euhemerus purports to have found his true history of the gods, and here almost alone is preserved writings of the neo-Platonist philosopher Atticus along with so much else.
  4. Demonstratio evangelica ('Proof of the Gospel') is closely connected to the Praeparatio and comprised originally twenty books of which ten have been completely preserved as well as a fragment of the fifteenth. Here Eusebius treats of the person of Jesus Christ. The work was probably finished before 311;
  5. another work which originated in the time of the persecution, entitled "Prophetic Extracts" (Eklogai prophetikai). It discusses in four books the Messianic texts of Scripture. The work is merely the surviving portion (books 6-9) of the General elementary introduction to the Christian faith, now lost.
  6. the treatise "On Divine Manifestation" (Peri theophaneias), dating from a much later time. It treats of the incarnation of the Divine Logos, and its contents are in many cases identical with the Demonstratio evangelica. Only fragments are preserved in Greek, but a complete Syriac translation of the Theophania survives in an early 5th century manuscript.
  7. the polemical treatise "Against Marcellus," dating from about 337;
  8. a supplement to the last-named work, entitled "On the Theology of the Church," in which he defended the Nicene doctrine of the Logos against the party of Athanasius.

A number of writings, belonging in this category, have been entirely lost.

[edit] Exegetical and miscellaneous works

Of the exegetical works of Eusebius, nothing has been preserved in its original form. The so-called commentaries are based upon late manuscripts copied from fragments of catenae. A more comprehensive work of an exegetical nature, preserved only in fragments, is entitled "On the Differences of the Gospels" and was written for the purpose of harmonizing the contradictions in the reports of the different Evangelists. While this latter work existed in the 16th century, it has since been lost apart from an epitome. It was also for exegetical purposes that Eusebius wrote his treatises on Biblical archeology:

  1. a work on the Greek equivalents of Hebrew Gentilic nouns;
  2. a description of old Judea with an account of the loss of the ten tribes;
  3. a plan of Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon.

These three treatises have been lost. A work known as the Onomasticon, entitled in the main Greek manuscript "Concerning the Place-names in Sacred Scripture",[4] is still in existence. This is an alphabetical dictionary of Biblical place names, often including identifications with places existing in Eusebius' own time. Further mention is to be made of addresses and sermons some of which have been preserved, e.g., a sermon on the consecration of the church in Tyre and an address on the thirtieth anniversary of the reign of Constantine (336). Of the letters of Eusebius only a few fragments are extant.

[edit] Estimate of Eusebius

[edit] Doctrine

From a dogmatic point of view, Eusebius stands entirely upon the shoulders of Origen and Arius. Like Origen, he started from the fundamental thought of the absolute sovereignty (monarchia) of God. God is the cause of all beings. But he is not merely a cause; in him everything good is included, from him all life originates, and he is the source of all virtue. God sent Christ into the world that it may partake of the blessings included in the essence of God. Christ is God and is a ray of the eternal light; but the figure of the ray is so limited by Eusebius that he expressly emphasizes the self-existence of Jesus.

Eusebius was intent upon emphasizing the difference of the persona of the Trinity and maintaining the subordination of the Son (Logos, or Word) to God (he never calls him theos) because in all contrary attempts he suspected polytheism or Sabellianism. The Son (Jesus), as Arianism asserted, is a creature of God whose generation, for Eusebius, took place before time. Jesus acts as the organ or instrument of God, the creator of life, the principle of every revelation of God, who in his absoluteness and transcendent is enthroned above and isolated from all the world. This Logos, as a derivative creature and not truly God as the Father is truly God, could therefore change (Eusebius, with most early theologians, assumed God was immutable), and he assumed a human body without altering the immutable divine Father. The relation of the Holy Spirit within the Trinity Eusebius explained similarly to that of the Son to the Father. No point of this doctrine is original with Eusebius, all is traceable to his teachers Arius and Origen. The lack of originality in his thinking shows itself in the fact that he never presented his thoughts in a system. After nearly being excommunicated for his heresy by Alexander of Alexandria, Eusebius submitted and agreed to the Nicene Creed at the First Council of Nicaea.

[edit] Limitations

Eusebius is often regarded as the first court appointed Christian theologian in the service of the Constantine Roman Empire, seeing the Empire and the Imperial Church as closely bonded.[3] Notwithstanding the great influence of his works on others, Eusebius was not himself a great historian. [4] His treatment of heresy, for example, is inadequate, and he knew very little about the Western church. His historical works are really apologetics. In his Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 8, chapter 2, he points out, "We shall introduce into this history in general only those events which may be useful first to ourselves and afterwards to posterity."

In his Praeparatio evangelica (xii, 31), Eusebius has a section on the use of fictions (pseudos) as a "medicine", which may be "lawful and fitting" to use [5]. With that in mind, it is still difficult to assess Eusebius' conclusions and veracity by confronting him with his predecessors and contemporaries, for texts of previous chroniclers, notably Papias, whom he denigrated, and Hegesippus, on whom he relied, have disappeared; they survive largely in the form of the quotes of their work that Eusebius selected and thus they are to be seen only through the lens of Eusebius.

These and other issues have invited controversy. For example, Jacob Burckhardt has dismissed Eusebus as "the first thoroughly dishonest historian of antiquity". and was not alone in holding such a view. He has also been accused of dishonesty at various times, and in various connections by other historians:

  • Gibbon dismissed his testimony on the number of martyrs and impugned his honesty by referring to two passages. The first occurs in the Ecclesiastical History, book 8, chapter 2, in which Eusebius introduces his discussion of the Great Persecution under Diocletian with: "Wherefore we have decided to relate nothing concerning them except the things in which we can vindicate the Divine judgment. [...] We shall introduce into this history in general only those events which may be useful first to ourselves and afterwards to posterity.". And the second, in the Martyrs of Palestine, chapter 12, in which Eusebius makes a long list of events which he says he omits from his text: "I think it best to pass by all the other events which occurred in the meantime: such as [...] the lust of power on the part of many, the disorderly and unlawful ordinations, and the schisms among the confessors themselves; also the novelties which were zealously devised against the remnants of the Church by the new and factious members, who added innovation after innovation and forced them in unsparingly among the calamities of the persecution, heaping misfortune upon misfortune. I judge it more suitable to shun and avoid the account of these things, as I said at the beginning."[5]
  • Gibbon also pointed out that the chapter heading in Eusebius' Praeparatio evangelica (xii, 31), says how fictions (pseudos) — which Gibbon rendered 'falsehoods' — may be a "medicine", which may be "lawful and fitting" to use [6]. But the text is discussing parallels between the Bible and the theories of Plato on education, and Eusebius is suggesting that the Bible also contains such material. Unless it is supposed that Eusebius believes the Bible to be deceptive, it is easy to see why Gibbon confined his remark to the chapter heading (which may not be authorial anyway), and why Gibbon was accused of dishonesty in his attacks on Eusebius.[6] However, it can also be argued that Eusebius would logically have the same thinking when it came to politics, if this was his opinion about mere interpretations of the Bible.
  • Questions were long raised by scholars[attribution needed] about whether all the documents in the Life of Constantine were authentic.[citation needed]

But other views have tended to prevail.

  • Joseph Lightfoot rebutted the arguments of Gibbon[7], pointing out that Eusebius' very frank statements indicate his honesty in stating what he was not going to discuss, and also his limitations as a historian in not including such material. He also discusses the question of accuracy. "The manner in which Eusebius deals with his very numerous quotations elsewhere, where we can test his honesty, is a sufficient vindication against this unjust charge." But he accepts that Eusebius cannot always be relied on. "A far more serious drawback to his value as a historian is the loose and uncritical spirit in which he sometimes deals with his materials. This shews itself in diverse ways. (a) He is not always to be trusted in his discrimination of genuine and spurious documents."
  • G. A. Williamson has written, "Gibbon's notorious sneer ... was effectively disposed of by Lightfoot, who fully vindicated Eusebius' honour as a narrator 'against this unjust charge'."[7]
  • Averil Cameron and Stuart Hall, in their recent translation of the Life of Constantine point out that writers such as Burckhardt found it necessary to attack Eusebius in order to undermine the ideological legitimacy of the Hapsburg empire, which based itself on the idea of Christian empire derived from Constantine, and that the most controversial letter in the Life has since been found among the papyri of Egypt.[8]
  • Michael J. Hollerich, replying to Burckhardt's criticism of Eusebius, thinks that criticisms goes too far. Writing in "Church History" (Vol. 59, 1990), he says that ever since Burckhardt, "Eusebius has been an inviting target for students of the Constantinian era. At one time or another they have characterized him as a political propagandist, a good courtier, the shrewd and worldly adviser of the Emperor Constantine, the great publicist of the first Christian emperor, the first in a long succession of ecclesiastical politicians, the herald of Byzantinism, a political theologian, a political metaphysician, and a caesaropapist. It is obvious that these are not, in the main, neutral descriptions. Much traditional scholarship, sometimes with barely suppressed disdain, has regarded Eusebius as one who risked his orthodoxy and perhaps his character because of his zeal for the Constantinian establishment." He concludes that "the standard assessment has exaggerated the importance of political themes and political motives in Eusebius's life and writings and has failed to do justice to him as a churchman and a scholar".

While many have shared Burckhardt's assessment, particularly with reference to the Life of Constantine, others, while not pretending to extol his merits, have acknowledged the irreplaceable value of his works. The value of his works has generally been sought in the copious quotations that they contain from other sources, often lost.

[edit] See also

Preceded by
Bishop of Caesarea
ca. 313-339/340
Succeeded by

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ a b c Wetterau, Bruce. World history. New York: Henry Holt and company. 1994.
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of the Early Church, Published in 1992, English Version, page 299
  3. ^ The Essential Eusebius page 31. Published by Mentor-Omega Book in New yYork and Toronto. Year of publication 1966
  4. ^ C. Umhau Wolf [1971] (2006). The Onomasticon of Eusebius Pamphili Compared with the Version of Jerome and Annotated. The Tertullian Project, p. xx. Retrieved on 2007-12-08.
  5. ^ Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall, vol. 1, chapter 16
  6. ^ See Gibbon's Vindication for examples of the accusations that he faced.
  7. ^ G. A. Williamson, Eusebius of Caesarea: Church History Penguin Books, 1965, introduction.
  8. ^ Averil Cameron, Stuart G. Hall, Eusebius' Life of Constantine. Introduction, translation and commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. Pp. xvii + 395. ISBN 0-19-814924-7. Reviewed in BMCR

[edit] References

  • "Eusebius Of Caesarea." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2005. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. 4 December 2005. Reference cited for statement that Eusebius was not a great historian.
  • Initial text from Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religion, subjected to edits for style.

[edit] External links

[edit] Online works

[edit] Other links



272-337AD Roman Emperor Constantine: the first Christian world leader

From: http://preteristarchive.com/Theo-Political_Empire/Roman/StudyArchive/constantine_preterist.html

Constantine the.. Preterist!

Constantine I The Great, Emperor
Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus

"This remarkable event (the Edict of Milan) was regarded by Christians of that time, and by Constantine himself, as the fulfillment of the very prophecy before us. (Revelation 20:2)"

Eusebius Pamphilius: Oration in Praise of Constantine "I am filled with wonder at the intellectual greatness of the emperor, who as if by divine inspiration thus expressed what the prophets had foretold concerning this monster"

First Christian ruler of the Roman Empire

"imitate without delay the example of (your) sovereign, and embrace the divine truth of Christianity"

Constantine I came to the throne when his father, Constantius, died in 306. After defeating his rivals, Constantine became the sole ruler of the Roman Empire in 324, and is credited with social and economic reforms that significantly influenced medieval society. In 313 his Edict of Milan legally ended pagan persecution of Christians, and in 325 he used imperial power to bring unity to the church at the Council of Nicea. He also moved the capital of his empire to Byzantium, renaming it Constantinople in 330. Constantine's embrace of Christianity eventually led him to be baptized in 337.

Eusebius Pamphilius
Chapter III.--Of his Picture surmounted by a Cross and having beneath it a Dragon.

And besides this, he caused to be painted on a lofty tablet, and set up in the front of the portico of his palace, so as to be visible to all, a representation of the salutary sign placed above his head, and below it that hateful and savage adversary of mankind, who by means of the tyranny of the ungodly had wasted the Church of God, falling headlong, under the form of a dragon, to the abyss of destruction. For the sacred oracles in the books of God's prophets have described him as a dragon and a crooked serpent; [Especially the book of Revelation, and Isaiah] and for this reason the emperor thus publicly displayed a painted resemblance of the dragon beneath his own and his children's feet, stricken through with a dart, and cast headlong into the depths of the sea.

In this manner he intended to represent the secret adversary of the human race, and to indicate that he was consigned to the gulf of perdition by virtue of the salutary trophy placed above his head. This allegory, then, was thus conveyed by means of the colors of a picture: and I am filled with wonder at the intellectual greatness of the emperor, who as if by divine inspiration thus expressed what the prophets had foretold concerning this monster, saying that "God would bring his great and strong and terrible sword against the dragon, the flying serpent; and would destroy the dragon that was in the sea." [Isa. xxvii.] This it was of which the emperor gave a true and faithful representation in the picture above described." (Oration in Praise of Constantine)

Isaiah 27:1
"In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea."

Revelation 12:3
And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. 5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. 7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

Revelation 13
2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. 4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

Revelation 20:2
And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

Preterist Commentaries By Historicist / Continuists

Jonathan Edwards
"This revolution was the greatest revolution and change in the face of things that ever came to pass in the world since the flood. Satan, the prince of darkness, that king and god of the heathen world, was cast out. The roaring lion was conquered by the Lamb of God in the strongest dominion that ever he had, even the Roman Empire." (Work of Redemption, Period 3, Section 2)

William S. Urmy in "Christ Came Again"

Israel P. Warren in "The Parousia"


Numismatic Chronicle - Constantine (1877 PDF)
"The type of these pieces and the inscription indicate how the "public hope" was centered in the triumph of the Christian religion over the adversary of mankind -- "the great dragon, that old serpent called the Devil and Satan" (Rev. xii. 9 ; xx. 2), and Eusebius tells us how Constantine I had a picture painted of the dragon -- the flying serpent -- beneath his own and his children's feet, pierced through the middle with a dart, and cast into the depths of the sea."

Old coins and their contribution. Considerable disparity exists among historians about the time of Constantine’s conversion to Christianity and about the details of his momentous vision. There is also debate as to whether history can be deduced from the study of old coins or numismatics in general. It appears that in all three cases, the ultimate judgment must rest with each student, depending upon the degree of penetration and the quality of study applied. Verifiable facts -- the external evidence -- do not always explain the meaning of historical events or their internal significance. The interpretation of history is often a subjective involvement, as historians tend to provide their own understanding and interpretations.

An exemplary case of historical interpretation based on ancient coinage and existing literature is the following essay by the distinguished Constantinian Knight Commander, Craig Peter Barclay, M.A., M.Litt. The author has served as Keeper of Numismatics at the Yorkshire Museum in York, U.K. and has previously held curatorial positions at the Royal Mint and University of Aberdeen.


Hoc Signo Victor Eris: By
Craig Barclay

In a world without newspapers and television, the circulating coinage provided a potent means for ruling authorities to disseminate political and religious propaganda. Few such authorities have been more conscious of the potential value of this medium than the Roman emperors, and it can be argued that none of those made more effective use of it than Constantine the Great.

As the first emperor to embrace the Christian faith, we might expect that Constantine’s religious convictions would figure prominently on the coinage of his reign. The degree to which this was actually the case has provoked great deal of scholarly argument and, in so doing, has provided a number of fascinating insights into the development of religious symbolism in the fledgling Christian Empire.


As Andrew Alfoldi has rightly observed (p. 41), ‘The coin types of the period are, in every case, mere feeble copies of those great works of art that have not come down to us.’ Nevertheless, he would contend, they have also provided us with ‘absolute proof that the Emperor embraced the Christian cause with a suddenness that surprised all but his most intimate colleagues.’ (Alfoldi, pp. 1-2)

(Fig. 1) Constantine the Great; bronze follis; AD 337-40

A more recent scholar, Andrew Burnett, however argues that representations of pagan gods only disappear from Constantine’s coinage after AD 318 and, even then, the designs that replaced them were primarily religiously neutral in content. ‘The only explicitly Christian coin designs were the representations of the emperor in an attitude of prayer, and a very rare design used by the mint of Constantinople in about 327, showing a banner with a chi-rho monogram spearing a serpent, representing his enemy Licinius.’ (Burnett, p. 145)

Clearly the nature and significance of the designs used by Constantine on his coinage are open to more than one interpretation. We must accordingly address the complex question: ‘Can we see the Christian faith of Constantine the Great reflected in his coinage?’

Sol Invictus

Flavius Valerius Constantinus was born in about AD 285 at Naissus in Serbia, the son of the Tetrarch Constantius I and his wife, the Empress Helena. After spending his early years as an effective hostage at the courts of Diocletian and his successor Galerius, Constantine escaped to the west, joining his father in York shortly before the latter’s death on 25 July AD 306. Proclaimed emperor by the army at York, Constantine spent the next eighteen years disposing of his rivals for control of the empire through an elaborate series of shifting political alliances and military campaigns.

During the early part of his reign representations of first Mars and then, from AD 310, Apollo-Sol dominated Constantine’s coinage. Mars had been intimately associated with the Tetrarchy, and Constantine’s use of this symbolism served to emphasise the legitimacy of his rule. After his breach with his father’s old colleague Maximian in AD 309-10, Constantine began to claim legitimate descent from the third-century emperor Claudius Gothicus. Gothicus had claimed the divine protection of the Apollo-Sol . As Burnett notes (pp. 143-44), in AD 310 Constantine experienced a vision in which Apollo-Sol appeared to him with omens of success. ‘Thereafter his coinage was dominated for several years by "his companion the unconquered Sol", SOLI INVICTO COMITI.’

(Fig. 2) Constantine the Great; bronze follis; AD 316-17

According to Lactantius, just prior to the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in AD 312, Constantine experienced a dream-vision urging him to trust the fate of his army to the Christian God, and to place the symbol of the monogrammatic cross on the shields of his army. In his Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius’s account of Constantine’s vision differs slightly, claiming that Constantine experienced a vision at the beginning of his military campaign wherein the symbol of the cross appeared on the face of the sun, accompanied by the Greek words, ‘In this sign conquer’. Subsequently, Eusebius tells us, Constantine experienced a second vision, in which he was urged to use the Christian sign to protect himself from his foes. In response to this latter vision, Constantine had a labarum or standard produced, bearing the name of Christ in the form of a monogram of the Greek letters X and P (the Chi-Rho).

Whatever the detail, Constantine duly placed his trust in the Cross and duly defeated his imperial rival, Maxentius, on the outskirts of Rome itself. Nevertheless, in the wake of this great victory, no immediate change took place in the basic design of the coinage, with issues celebrating Sol Invictus continuing to form the bulk of the circulating medium. Indeed, as Vermeule (p. 180) explains, even in AD 313, on the very eve of the Edict of Toleration, Constantine was still portrayed on huge gold medallions in the company of Sol Invictus and bearing a shield decorated with a representation he sun-god’s chariot.

Nevertheless, after the final defeat of Licinius, the pagan gods disappeared from the coinage of Constantine, their place being taken by religiously neutral images. The question might be asked as to why Constantine did at last begin to make extensive use of specifically Christian images at this time but, as Runciman (p. 17) bluntly reminds us, ‘The earliest Christians took little interest in art.’

Accordingly, during the early 4th century AD, there were few artistic motifs available that could be relied upon to convey a specifically Christian message. Even the Chi-Rho, which is today universally recognised as a Christian sign, could be misinterpreted, Bruun (p. 61) reminding us that, ‘The sign, at the moment of its creation, was ambiguous. In essence it was a monogram composed of the Greek letters X and P, and, while the monogrammatic combination of these two letters was by no means unusual in pre-Constantinian times, the occurrence of X P with a clearly Christian significance is exceedingly rare.’ The potential significance of the sign would initially have been lost on the non Greek-speaking population of the empire, who might more readily have interpreted the sign as being linked to Solar or Mithraic worship.

Such initial ambiguities notwithstanding, there can be no doubt that Constantine saw his victorious sign as being an explicitly Christian symbol nor that, in the wake of the writings of Eusebius and Lactantius, its religious meaning came rapidly to be universally recognised. Constantine made only sparing use of the Chi-Rho on his coins, confining its use to a few scarce issues only. Following his death however, this most powerful symbol came to be used increasingly frequently, both as a means of celebrating the religious convictions of the succeeding emperors, and as a means of affirming the legitimacy of their succession from Constantine.

(Fig. 3) Eudoxia; gold solidus; AD 397-402

Although also adopted by Constantine’s sons, the most prominent early use of the Chi-Rho occurred during the reign of the usurper Magnentius (AD 350-53), who struck large bronze double centenionales decorated with a large Christogram flanked by the Greek letters alpha and omega. Thereafter the symbol appeared time after time on the coinages of both the western and eastern empires, its position as the primary symbol of the new state religion only gradually being superseded by the plain, unadorned Cross.

Constantinus Orans

As the image of the emperor most commonly seen by the public, the portrait of the emperor reproduced on the imperial coinage was considered to be of the utmost importance. Constantine’s coinage portraits break away from the traditions of the previous two centuries, calling upon both earlier Imperial and Greek precedents for inspiration. The Imperial beard, which had been sported by almost all emperors since the beginning of the second century, was abandoned and replaced by a clean shaven image. Likewise, the laurel wreath or solar crown which had dominated the coinages of the second and third centuries were dropped in favour of an eastern diadem, or, less frequently, a military helmet.

(Fig. 4) Constantine the Great; gold solidus; AD 326

One particular version of the new imperial image has attracted particular attention. Eusebius (4.15) was quite explicit in his statement that Constantine was portrayed on his coinage in an attitude of prayer: ‘He directed his likeness to be stamped on a gold coin with his eyes uplifted in the posture of prayer to God … this coin was current through the Roman world and was a sign of the power of divine faith.’ Burnett recognises this passage as important evidence implying ‘that important members of the higher social classes noticed coin designs’, adding that ‘There can hardly be any doubt that Eusebius had seen the coins in question’.

(Fig. 5) Constantine the Great; gold solidus; AD 326-27

Not all authors have accepted these coins as representing the emperor’s devotion to the Christian faith and, as L’Orange has pointed out (1947, p.34), the ‘heaven-gazing’ coin portraits of Constantine have been the subject of numerous interpretations, including an argument that it should be interpreted as a representation of the Sol-emperor Constantine fixing his gaze upon the goddess Luna. L’Orange (1947, p.94) would consequently argue that, ‘Constantine as Christian orant is, therefore, an arbitrary interpretation of his heavenward-looking portrait. This does not however alter the fact that the type became for Christians, perhaps owing to the very weight of Eusebius’ authority, an expression of Constantine’s inspired relation to their own God, a representation of the Christ-emperor.’

This argument has in part been fuelled by the undoubted fact that the so-called Constantinus orans portrait type is ultimately derived from pagan prototypes first seen during the reign of the Hellenic monarch Alexander the Great (Toynbee, p. 148). Bruun (p. 33), who does not accept that the coin type bears any specific Christian significance, nevertheless concedes that the heavenward-gazing portraits of Constantine recall ‘portraits of the Hellenistic ruler, whose heavenward look expresses the inner contact between the emperor and the heavenly powers.’

Most however have been more than content to recognise the Christian spirituality of these most beautiful images. The heavenward-gazing portrait is not peculiar to the coinage and Alfoldi (p. 34) recalls that ‘Apart from the monogram of salvation, the statues, paintings, and coin-types displayed, throughout the Empire, the gaze of the "most religious Majesty", directed heavenward’. The same point has been effectively argued by L’Orange (1965, pp. 123-24), who noted in writing of a colossal head of Constantine from the Palazzo dei Conservatori in Rome that ‘The eyes, being supernaturally large and wide-open and framed by the accentuated concentric curves of the deepcut lids and brows, express more clearly than ever the transcendence of the ruler’s personality. In this gaze he travels far beyond his physical surroundings and attains his goal in a higher sphere, in contact and identity with the governing powers. Providence in person, the irresistible controller of fate, fatorum arbiter, rises before us, with all the future on his knees.’

Yet another distinguished scholar likewise observes that, ‘Long before his formal conversion to Christianity Constantine had associated himself with purely Christian policy, and his finer portrait show the upward-tilted head of the man with his mind on the heavens, or the facing head, dazzling within its halo, of the world’s half-Christian master.’ (Sutherland, p. 103). Irrespective of the pagan origins of the orant portrait it had, through its adoption by Constantine, come to express a wholly new significance. ‘The outward forms of expression remain very much as before … But the inner meaning has completely changed. The pagan Emperor was never clearly distinguished in nature from the deity whose vice-regent he was: hence the divine attributes and all his pomp and state. The maiestas of the Christian Emperor, the "vicarius Dei", is wholly derivative: between him and his God there is a fixed and impassable gulf, that between the creature and his Creator, which God-given Grace alone can bridge.’ (Toynbee, p. 149)

It is significant that the orant portrait was used not only on coins of Constantine himself, but also on coins struck during his reign in the names of is appointed successors (L’Orange 1947, p. 91). After his death in AD 337 however, Constantine’s sons made only very limited use of the highly distinctive portrait, perhaps regarding it as being a reflection of their father’s personal relationship with his God.

If the orant portrait did not long survive the death of Constantine, other stylistic elements of his coin portraits did. From this point onwards the imperial image reproduced on the coinage ceased to attempt accurately to reproduce the actual features of the living monarch. Instead the portraits became mere ciphers, representing a stylised rather than personal image of imperial majesty. All of these images nevertheless borrowed heavily from Constantinian prototypes adopting, for example, the eastern diadem and clean-shaven features of the first Christian emperor. Indeed, the clean shaven portrait came so closely to be associated with the new faith that when the pagan emperor Julian the Apostate (AD 360-63) briefly gained the throne, he swiftly adopted a bearded portrait in order to disassociate himself from his Christian predecessors. With Julian’s death, shaven portraits once again became the norm, remaining so until long after the fall of Rome.


Alfoldi (p. 27), in arguing that Constantine’s religious policy was not based on ‘conscious ambiguity’, states that the appearance of the Chi-Rho on Constantine’s helmet ‘on issues of coins from all quarters, soon after the defeat of Maxentius, loudly and unmistakably claimed where Constantine stood.’ He further asserts that, ‘We can prove beyond a doubt, by the evidence of coin types appearing soon after, that Constantine caused the monogram of Christ to be inscribed on his helmet before the decisive battle with Maxentius’. (Alfoldi, p. 17)

Alfoldi (pp. 39-40) further states, in defence of the significance of the Chi-Rho that, ‘Eusebius knows that Constantine not only bore the Christian symbol on his helmet in the fight against Maxentius, but continued to wear it in his golden, bejewelled helmet of state. When … the representation of this helmet, that was new in its pattern, soon appears on the coins, we cannot possibly regard it as a mere sign of zeal on the part of Christian subordinates. The tiniest detail of the imperial dress was the subject of a symbolism that defined rank, that was hallowed by tradition and regulated by precise rules. Anyone who irresponsibly tampered with it would have incurred the severest penalties. Especially would this have been the case if anyone, without imperial authority, had provided the head-gear of the Emperor with a sign of such serious political importance as that attached to the monogram of Christ’.

A very similar position has been adopted by Voght (p. 90), who explains that, ‘we have other witnesses to the piety of the new ruler of Rome and from these we learn that Constantine gave public expression to his gratitude to his divine patron. The magnificent silver medallion, whose obverse and reverse depict the conquest and liberation of the city, was probably struck at the mint of Ticinum (near modern Milan) as early as 313: and on the obverse the monogram appears, on the crested plume of Constantine’s helmet. In a prestige issue of this type, the incorporation of the Christ-monogram into the portrait of the emperor could only have been done on the highest authority.’

Burnett (p. 146) similarly draws attention to the same silver medallion (actually struck at Rome or Aquileia in AD 315) and a series of small bronze coins struck at Siscia in c. AD 320. On all of these, the emperor is clearly portrayed with the Chi-Rho symbol prominently displayed on his helmet. ‘It is indeed hard to disassociate them from Eusebius’s explicit statement that Constantine placed the Chi-Rho on his helmet, but the very occasional nature of its appearance on coins should make us cautious about making too much of this. On coins issued in about 322 at Trier, for instance, the chi-rho appears as the decoration on the shield held by Constantine’s son Crispus; but it happened on only one die and must represent the personal choice of a die engraver, as the other shields for the same group of coins have different sorts of decoration on the shields.’

Even Bruun (p. 63), who is dismissive of the appearance of the Christogram on some Victoriae laetae princ perp coins of Siscia (describing them as ‘engraver’s slips’), accepts the symbolic significance of the use of the same symbol on the silver medallions of AD 315, writing that, ‘The silver multiples with their facing portraits represent an altogether different case. The Chi-Rho is here set in a badge just below the root of the crest. The official character of the badge has recently been demonstrated in a convincing manner. No doubt, therefore, persists about the meaning of the new emblem: the emperor has adopted his own victorious sign as a symbol of power.’


The mint of Constantinople was in operation by AD 327, some three years before the formal dedication of the city. A series of bronze coins of that year celebrate the defeat of Licinius. The reverse of this issue bears the legend Spes Publica, and portrays a serpent being pierced by a Chi-Rho topped labarum.

For Alfoldi (p. 39), ‘The spectacle of the Christian monogram on works of art and coin-types, the blaze of the initials of Christ on the labarum, the new imperial banner, were all propaganda in the modern sense’. Even Bruun (p. 64), whilst generally dismissive of the existence of Christian symbols on the coinage of Constantine, is forced to concede that ‘The problem of the labarum piercing the dragon on the Constantinopolitan Spes publica bronzes remains.’

Whilst rarely used during Constantine’s reign, the Christian labarum becomes a frequent and recurrent feature of the coinage following his death, normally being closely associated with a representation of a victorious emperor. One particular issue, struck at Siscia in AD 350, makes specific reference to Constantine’s vision, bearing the labarum accompanied by the legend Hoc Signo Victor Eris - ‘In this sign shalt thou conquer’.

(Fig. 6) Constantius II; bronze coin of Siscia; AD 350


During the Roman period coins were struck at a large number of mints situated throughout the empire. As a quality-control mechanism, the coins struck by each of these mints were required to bear distinctive mintmarks, identifying their place of manufacture. The decision to use the Chi-Rho or other apparently Christian symbols as mintmarks on some of Constantine’s coins is dismissed by Bruun (p. 62) as being the responsibility of procurators or, in one case, the rationalis summarum. Approval to use these symbols was given ‘very far from the emperor and court and comes sacrarum largitionum.’

Burnett (pp. 145-46) likewise acknowledges that the Chi-Rho appears on a number of issues of coins ‘as one of the stock symbols used for mint-marks’, but - like Bruun - argues that its use is more likely to reflect the rise of Christian administrators to positions of authority in Constantine’s regime rather than an official policy decision. Even if not centrally authorised, the first use of Christian mintmarks can accordingly be seen to be of the greatest significance, illustrating as it does the shift in the status of Christians within the machinery of the Roman state. Not surprisingly, in the years that followed, the choice of both the Chi-Rho and the plain Cross came increasingly to form a key element of the privy marks adopted by the empire’s numerous mints.


On 17 May AD 330 Constantine dedicated his new eastern capital of Constantinople. Alfoldi (p. 110) draws attention to ‘the small bronze coins and medallions, issued in mass, on which the sceptre of the "Tyche", the goddess who personifies the city, is shown the globe of Christ - which means to say that the new capital is the ideal centre of the Christian world-empire.’ As Alfoldi (p. 116) explains, ‘On the shoulder of the personification of the New Rome is shown the globe of the world, set on the cross of Christ, symbolising the new capital of Christendom.’

Bruun (p. 63) is dismissive of Alfoldi’s interpretation of the supposed ‘cross-sceptre’ carried by the personification of Constantinopolis. On the basis of an examination of related issues, he argues convincingly that the ‘globe’ is no more than the globular end of a reversed spear, and that the cross-bar seen on many coins is in fact merely a two-dimensional representation of what was, in reality, a three-dimensional disc. Bruun accordingly contends that these issues convey no intended Christian significance.

(Fig. 7) Valentinian III; gold solidus; AD 455

Nevertheless, the supposed cross-sceptre was subsequently perceived by many to have possessed a Christian significance and, its original neutral status notwithstanding, it came to serve as a symbol of the Church in its own right. On the coinage, this survival is well demonstrated by an issue of large bronzes struck in the name of Valentinian II at Rome in AD 378-83. On these rare coins the emperor is portrayed bearing a cross sceptre tipped with a globular Chi-Rho, whilst on other later issues, the cross-sceptre is shown in a greatly simplified form.

Divus Constantinus

After his death in AD 337, Constantine was deified by the Senate, his sons issuing commemorative coins in his name in the traditional style. Eusebius (4.37) records that, "A coin … (had) on one side a figure of our blessed prince, with head closely veiled; the reverse showed him sitting as a charioteer drawn by four horses, with a hand stretched downward from above to receive him up to heaven".

(Fig. 8) Constantine the Great; posthumous bronze coin; AD 337-40

Burnett (p. 146) observes that the iconography of his metamorphosis, as represented on the coins struck to commemorate it, was Christianised: ‘Previous emperors had ridden up to heaven in a chariot; Constantine was received by the manus dei. The "hand of God" was, with the Chi-Rho monogram, one of the most important Christian symbols to appear on the coinage of the late empire.’ By way of illustration, a very similar image to that appearing on the coins of the deified Constantine may be observed on one of the panels of the early 5th century door of the Church of S. Sabina in Rome. There the Ascension of Elijah is portrayed, the prophet being conveyed heavenwards in a chariot with the divine assistance of an angel. The manus dei also appears on many coins, frequently crowning the emperor or his consort with a diadem or laurel wreath.

(Fig. 9) Galla Palacidia; gold solidus; AD 426-30


Whilst there can be little dispute that the Coinage of Constantine the Great did indeed express his religious convictions, it is equally true that it was not exceptionally rich in Christian symbolism. As Bruun (p. 64) reminds us however, ‘There was no independently Christian artistic tradition. The Christian ideas now about to conquer the State had to employ old means to express new conceptions.’

(Fig. 10) Honorius; gold solidus; AD 422

Constantine was nevertheless recognised by his contemporaries and near-contemporaries as the first Christian emperor, and through the writings of Eusebius, certain elements of his coinage came inextricably to be associated with the triumphant faith. As Bruun correctly records, ‘The victor is the official interpreter of history, and Christianity was the true victor of the Milvian Bridge and Chrysopolis. Thus Constantine’s victorious sign, his helmet, his seeming cross-sceptre and the aura around his head were adopted by posterity as Christian symbols, Christian signs of power.’ The Cross truly had triumphed.

(Fig. 11) Valentinian III; gold tremissis; AD 425-55


Alfoldi, A. (1948) The Conversion of Constantine and Pagan Rome, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bowder, D. (ed.) (1980) Who Was Who in the Roman World, Oxford: Phaidon.

Bruun, P. (1966) The Roman Imperial Coinage Vol. VII: Constantine and Licinius AD 313-337, London: Spink

Burnett, A. (1987) Coinage in the Roman World, London: Seaby.

Carson, R.A.G. (1981) Principal Coins of the Romans Vol. III: The Dominate, AD 294-498, London: British Museum Press.

L’Orange, H.P. (1947) Apotheosis in Ancient Portraiture, Oslo: Aschehoug.

L’Orange, H.P. (1965) Art Forms and Public Life in the late Roman Empire, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Parker, H.M.D. & Warmington, B.H. (1958) A History of the Roman World AD 138 to 337 (2nd ed.), London: Methuen.

Runciman, S. (1975) Byzantium: Style and Civilisation, London: Penguin.

Sutherland, C.H.V. (1955) Art in Coinage: The Aesthetics of Money from Greece to the Present Day, London: Batsford.

Toynbee, J.M.C. (1947) ‘Ruler Apotheosis in Ancient Rome’, Numismatic Chronicle.

Vermeule, C. (1978) ‘The Imperial Shield as a Mirror of Roman Art on Medallions and Coins’ in Carson, C. & Kraay, C.M. (eds.) Scripta Nummaria Romana: Essays Presented to Humphrey Sutherland, London: Spink.

Voght, J. (1965) The Decline of Rome: The Metamorphosis of Ancient Civilisation, London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson.

Christian Symbolism on the Coinage of Constantine the Great

313AD Edict of Milan (Edict of Toleration): Roman Empire signs peace deal with Christendom

Revelation 19:11-21
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven,"Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, 18 that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great."

19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edict_of_Milan

Edict of Milan

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The Edict of Milan was a letter signed by emperors Constantine and Licinius, that proclaimed religious toleration in the Roman Empire. The letter was issued in 313AD, shortly after the conclusion of the Diocletian Persecution.



[edit] Discussion

While it is true that Constantine and Licinius must have discussed religious policy when they met at Milan in February 313, the text usually called the Edict of Milan is in fact a letter to the Governor of Bithynia of June 313, one of a series of letters issued by Licinius in the territory he conquered from Maximinus in 313. Both toleration and restitution had already been granted by Constantine in Gaul, Spain and Britain (in 306), and by Maxentius in Italy and Africa (in 306 [toleration] and 310 [restitution]). Galerius and Licinius had enacted toleration in the Balkans in 311, and Licinius probably extended restitution there in early 313. Thus the letters which Licinius issued in the names of himself and Constantine (as was routine for imperial documents, which were formally issued in the names of all legitimate co-rulers) were designed solely to enact toleration and restitution in Anatolia and Oriens, which had been under the rule of Maximinus.

The Edict, in the form of a joint letter to be circulated among the governors of the East,[1] declared that the Empire would be neutral with regard to religious worship, officially removing all obstacles to the practice of Christianity and other religions.[2] It "declared unequivocally that the co-authors of the regulations wanted no action taken against the non-Christian cults."[3]

Christianity had previously been decriminalized in April 311 by Galerius, who was the first emperor to issue an edict of toleration for all religious creeds, including Christianity.[4] The Christian historian Philip Schaff noted that the second edict went beyond the first edict of 311: "it was a decisive step from hostile neutrality to friendly neutrality and protection, and prepared the way for the legal recognition of Christianity, as the religion of the empire."[5]The wording of the Edict reveals that such developments, however, remained in the future. The letter gives detailed instructions to the governor for the restitution of sequestered Christian property.

The Edict of Milan transformed the status of Christianity, as it initiated the period known by Christian historians as the Peace of the Church, and it has been interpreted by Christians as officially giving imperial favor to Christianity, as Constantine became the first emperor to actually promote and grant favors to the Church and its members.[6] The document itself does not survive.

[edit] History

The Edict of Milan was issued in 313 AD, in the names of the Roman Emperors Constantine I, who ruled the western parts of the Empire, and Licinius, who ruled the east. The two augusti were in Milan to celebrate the wedding of Constantine's sister with Licinius.

Remains of the Imperial palace of Mediolanum (Milan). The imperial palace (mainly built by Maximianus, colleague of Diocletian) was a large complex with several buildings, gardens, courtyards, for Emperor's private and public life, for his court, family and imperial burocracy
Remains of the Imperial palace of Mediolanum (Milan). The imperial palace (mainly built by Maximianus, colleague of Diocletian) was a large complex with several buildings, gardens, courtyards, for Emperor's private and public life, for his court, family and imperial burocracy

A previous edict of toleration had been recently issued by the emperor Galerius from Serdica and posted up at Nicomedia on 30 April, 311. By its provisions, the Christians, who had "followed such a caprice and had fallen into such a folly that they would not obey the institutes of antiquity", were granted an indulgence.

Wherefore, for this our indulgence, they ought to pray to their God for our safety, for that of the republic, and for their own, that the commonwealth may continue uninjured on every side, and that they may be able to live securely in their homes.

By the Edict of Milan the meeting places and other properties which had been confiscated from the Christians and sold or granted out of the government treasury were to be returned:

...the same shall be restored to the Christians without payment or any claim of recompense and without any kind of fraud or deception...

It directed the provincial magistrates to execute this order at once with all energy, so that public order may be restored and the continuance of the Divine favor may "preserve and prosper our successes together with the good of the state."

The actual edicts have not been retrieved inscribed upon stone. However, they are quoted at length in a historical work with a theme of divine retribution, Lactantius' De mortibus persecutorum ("Deaths of the persecutors"), who gives the Latin text of both Galerius's Edict of Toleration as posted up at Nicomedia on 30 April 311, and of Licinius's letter of toleration and restitution addressed to the governor of Bithynia, posted up also at Nicomedia on 13 June 313. Eusebius of Caesarea translated both into Greek in his History of the Church (Historia Ecclesiastica). His version of the letter of Licinius must derive from a copy as posted up in Palestine (probably at Caesarea) in the late summer or early autumn of 313, but the origin of his copy of Galerius's edit of 311 is unknown, since that does not seem to have been promulgated in Palestine.

[edit] References

  1. ^ It brought the governance of the Eastern Empire into line with the tolerance now operating in Constantine's dominions in the West. The Edict's context in Constantine's career is explored in John Curran, "Constantine and the Ancient Cults of Rome: The Legal Evidence" Greece & Rome 2nd Series 43.1 (April 1996, pp 68-80): Edict of Milan, p. 68f.
  2. ^ "...we have also conceded to other religions the right of open and free observance of their worship for the sake of the peace of our times, that each one may have the free opportunity to worship as he pleases; this regulation is made we that we may not seem to detract from any dignity or any religion." Edict of Milan as quoted by Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum ("On the Deaths of the Persecutors") chapters 34, 35.
  3. ^ Curran 1996:69, quoting the Edict: "This we have done to ensure that no cult or religion may seem to have been impaired by us."
  4. ^ Lactantius, op. cit.. The theme of the work is the divine retribution that befell the perpetrators of the persecution ended by the decree of Galerius.
  5. ^ History of the Christian Church, chapter II, section 25 on-line text "The Edicts of Toleration. a.d. 311–313".
  6. ^ "In the Ecclesiastical History, the Panegyric on Constantine and the life of Constantine... the guiding idea of Eusebius is the establishment of a Christian empire, of which Constantine was the chosen instrument" (J.B. Bury, editor, Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. II, Appendix, p. 359).

[edit] External links

313AD --> : The Peace of the Church

Revelation 19:11-21
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven,"Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, 18 that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great."

19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_of_the_Church

Peace of the Church

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Peace of the Church is a designation usually applied to the condition of the Church after the publication of the Edict of Milan in 313 by the two Augusti, Western Roman Emperor Constantine I and his eastern colleague Licinius, an edict of toleration by which the Christians were accorded complete liberty to practise their religion without molestation.



[edit] Antecedents

The Roman state had always granted its Pagan polytheistic cult the status of state religion, and the same social elite (originally mainly Patricians) provided its major priests as well as its politicians and generals. For centuries this was easily compatible with the Pagan religions of conquered peoples, whose divinities were generally equated to Roman ones or adopted into the Roman Pantheon. But just as pharaoh Echnaton's monotheistic cult of Aton proved incompatible with Egypt's traditional polytheism, the Judeo-Christian instistence on Yahweh being the only God, believing all other gods are false gods, could not be fitted into the system that had allowed religious peace throughout the empire. The massive spread of Christians, first looked on merely as Jewish schismatics, over most provinces and Rome itself, and most of all their refusal of the state-imposed emperor cult, was logically perceived as a threat not just to the state cult, but to the state itself, leading to systematical persecution.

A new stage was reached when, in the middle of the third century, the Church as such was made the object of attack. This attitude, inaugurated by Emperor Decius (249 - 251), made the issue at stake clear and well-defined. The imperial authorities convinced themselves that the Christian Church and the Pagan Roman State could not co-exist; henceforth but one solution was possible, the destruction of Christianity or the conversion of Rome. For half a century the result was in doubt. The failure of Diocletian (284-305) and his Tetrarchy colleagues in the last and bloodiest persecution to shake the resolution of the Christians or to annihilate the Church left no course open to prudent statesmen but to recognize the inevitable and to abandon the old concept of government, the union of civil power and Paganism.

The first decisive step in this direction was taken by the beaten and implacable Galerius, who published from Nicomedia in 311 an edict of toleration in which he confessed that the efforts to "reclaim the Christians" had failed. This edict was the result of utter impotency to prolong the contest against Christendom, the Church.

[edit] Constantine's Edict

Complete amnesty and freedom were attained two years later when Emperor Constantine, after defeating Maxentius, published early in 313 with his colleague Licinius the famous Edict of Milan by which Christians were guaranteed the fullest liberty in the practice of their religion.

The absolute independence of religion from state interference, which formed the keynote of this famous document, produced (much later) a new concept of society, and may be looked on as the first official expression of what afterwards came to be the medieval idea of the State. It was in Western Europe the first declaration on the part of any one vested with civil authority that the State should not interfere with the rights of conscience and religion.

In addition to removing the ban from the Christians, Constantine ordered that the property of which they had been deprived during the persecutions by seizure or confiscation should be returned to them at the expense of the State. For the Christians the immunities and guaranties contained in this act had most important results. Then for the first time it became possible to observe publicly the liturgy in its fullness, and seriously and earnestly to attempt to mould the life of the Roman Empire according to Christian ideals and standards. The joy of the Christians at this change in their public status is admirably expressed by Eusebius in his "Church History" (X, ii).

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

This article incorporates text from the entry Peace of the Church in the public-domain Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913.

Byzantium: the Lost Empire - 2 DVD set

From: http://www.amazon.com/Byzantium-Lost-Empire-John-Romer/dp/B000QGE86A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1298683438&sr=8-1

 For more than 1,000 years, the Byzantine Empire was the eye of the entire world – the origin of great literature, fine art and modern government. Heir to Greece and Rome, the Byzantine Empire was also the first Christian empire. Now, after a year of filming on three continents, TLC unlocks this ancient civilization, spanning 11 centuries and three continents. Pass through the gates of Constantinople, explore the magnificent mosque of Hagia Sophia and see the looted treasures of the empire now located in St. Marks, Venice.

325-590AD NICENE and POST-NICENE: 2nd 1/4th of the Last Day-Millennium

This period answers to the Old Testament period of Kings & Chronicles

325-590AD Overview

(from Schaff's History of the Church, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)


From Constantine the Great to Gregory the Great
A.D. 311-600

1. Introduction and General View.

From the Christianity of the Apostles and Martyrs we proceed to the Christianity of the Patriarchs and Emperors.
The third period of the history of the Church, which forms the subject of this volume, extends from the emperor Constantine to the pope Gregory I.; from the beginning of the fourth century to the close of the sixth. During this period Christianity still moves, as in the first three centuries, upon the geographical scene of the Graeco-Roman empire and the ancient classical culture, the countries around the Mediterranean Sea. But its field and its operation are materially enlarged, and even touch the barbarians on the limit of the empire. Above all, its relation to the temporal power, and its social and political position and import, undergo an entire and permanent change. We have here to do with the church of the Graeco-Roman empire, and with the beginning of Christianity among the Germanic barbarians. Let us glance first at the general character and leading events of this important period.

The reign of Constantine the Great marks the transition of the Christian religion from under persecution by the secular government to union with the same; the beginning of the state-church system. The Graeco-Roman heathenism, the most cultivated and powerful form of idolatry, which history knows, surrenders, after three hundred years' struggle, to Christianity, and dies of incurable consumption, with the confession: Galilean, thou hast conquered! The ruler of the civilized world lays his crown at the feet of the crucified Jesus of Nazareth. The successor of Nero, Domitian, and Diocletian appears in the imperial purple at the council of Nice as protector of the church, and takes his golden throne at the nod of bishops, who still bear the scars of persecution. The despised sect, which, like its Founder in the days of His humiliation, had not where to lay its head, is raised to sovereign authority in the state, enters into the prerogatives of the pagan priesthood, grows rich and powerful, builds countless churches out of the stones of idol temples to the honor of Christ and his martyrs, employs the wisdom of Greece and Rome to vindicate the foolishness of the cross, exerts a molding power upon civil legislation, rules the national life, and leads off the history of the world. But at the same time the church, embracing the mass of the population of the empire, from the Caesar to the meanest slave, and living amidst all its institutions, received into her bosom vast deposits of foreign material from the world and from heathenism, exposing herself to new dangers and imposing upon herself new and heavy labors.

The union of church and state extends its influence, now healthful, now baneful, into every department of our history.
The Christian life of the Nicene and post-Nicene age reveals a mass of worldliness within the church; an entire abatement of chiliasm with its longing after the return of Christ and his glorious reign, and in its stead an easy repose in the present order of things; with a sublime enthusiasm, on the other hand, for the renunciation of self and the world, particularly in the hermitage and the cloister, and with some of the noblest heroes of Christian holiness.

Monasticism, in pursuance of the ascetic tendencies of the previous period, and in opposition to the prevailing secularization of Christianity, sought to save the virgin purity of the church and the glory of martyrdom by retreat from the world into the wilderness; and it carried the ascetic principle to the summit of moral heroism, though not rarely to the borders of fanaticism and brutish stupefaction. It spread with incredible rapidity and irresistible fascination from Egypt over the whole church, east and west, and received the sanction of the greatest church teachers, of an Athanasius, a Basil, a Chrysostom, an Augustine, a Jerome, as the surest and shortest way to heaven.

It soon became a powerful rival of the priesthood, and formed a third order, between the priesthood and the laity. The more extraordinary and eccentric the religion of the anchorets and monks, the more they were venerated among the people. The whole conception of the Christian life from the fourth to the sixteenth century is pervaded with the ascetic and monastic spirit, and pays the highest admiration to the voluntary celibacy, poverty, absolute obedience, and excessive self-punishments of the pillar-saints and the martyrs of the desert; while in the same degree the modest virtues of every-day household and social life are looked upon as an inferior degree of morality.

In this point the old Catholic ethical ideas essentially differ from those of evangelical Protestantism and modern civilization. But, to understand and appreciate them, we must consider them in connection with the corrupt social condition of the rapidly decaying empire of Rome. The Christian spirit in that age, in just its most earnest and vigorous forms, felt compelled to assume in some measure an anti-social, seclusive character, and to prepare itself in the school of privation and solitude for the work of transforming the world and founding a new Christian order of society upon the ruins of the ancient heathenism.

In the development of doctrine the Nicene and post-Nicene age is second in productiveness and importance only to those of the apostles and of the reformation. It is the classical period for the objective fundamental dogmas, which constitute the ecumenical or old Catholic confession of faith. The Greek church produced the symbolical definition of the orthodox view of the holy Trinity and the person of Christ, while the Latin church made considerable advance with the anthropological and soteriological doctrines of sin and grace. The fourth and fifth centuries produced the greatest church fathers, Athanasius and Chrysostom in the East, Jerome and Augustine in the West. All learning and science now came into the service of the church, and all classes of society, from the emperor to the artisan, took the liveliest, even a passionate interest, in the theological controversies. Now, too, for the first time, could ecumenical councils be held, in which the church of the whole Roman empire was represented, and fixed its articles of faith in an authoritative way.

Now also, however, the lines of orthodoxy were more and more strictly drawn; freedom of inquiry was restricted; and all as departure from the state-church system was met not only, as formerly, with spiritual weapons, but also with civil punishments. So early as the fourth century the dominant party, the orthodox as well as the heterodox, with help of the imperial authority practised deposition, confiscation, and banishment upon its opponents. It was but one step thence to the penalties of torture and death, which were ordained in the middle age, and even so lately as the middle of the seventeenth century, by state-church authority, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, and continue in many countries to this day, against religious dissenters of every kind as enemies to the prevailing order of things. Absolute freedom of religion and of worship is in fact logically impossible on the state-church system. It requires the separation of the spiritual and temporal powers. Yet, from the very beginning of political persecution, loud voices rise against it and in behalf of ecclesiastico-religious toleration; though the plea always comes from the oppressed party, which, as soon as it gains the power, is generally found, in lamentable inconsistency, imitating the violence of its former oppressors. The protest springs rather from the sense of personal injury, than from horror of the principle of persecution, or from any clear apprehension of the nature of the gospel and its significant words: "Put up thy sword into the sheath" (John 18:11); "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36).

The organization of the church adapts itself to the political and geographical divisions of the empire. The powers of the hierarchy are enlarged, the bishops become leading officers of the state and acquire a controlling influence in civil and political affairs, though more or less at the expense of their spiritual dignity and independence, especially at the Byzantine court. The episcopal system passes on into the metropolitan and patriarchal. In the fifth century the patriarchs of Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem stand at the head of Christendom. Among these Rome and Constantinople are the most powerful rivals, and the Roman patriarch already puts forth a claim to universal spiritual supremacy, which subsequently culminates in the mediaeval papacy, though limited to the West and resisted by the constant protest of the Greek church and of all non-Catholic sects. In addition to provincial synods we have now also general synods, but called by the emperors and more or less affected, though not controlled, by political influence.

From the time of Constantine church discipline declines; the whole Roman world having become nominally Christian, and the host of hypocritical professors multiplying beyond all control. Yet the firmness of Ambrose with the emperor Theodosius shows, that noble instances of discipline are not altogether wanting.

Worship appears greatly enriched and adorned; for art now comes into the service of the church. A Christian architecture, a Christian sculpture, a Christian painting, music, and poetry arise, favoring at once devotion and solemnity, and all sorts of superstition and empty display. The introduction of religious images succeeds only after long and violent opposition. The element of priesthood and of mystery is developed, but in connection with a superstitious reliance upon a certain magical operation of outward rites. Church festivals are multiplied and celebrated with great pomp; and not exclusively in honor of Christ, but in connection with an extravagant veneration of martyrs and saints, which borders on idolatry, and often reminds us of the heathen hero-worship not yet uprooted from the general mind. The multiplication and accumulation of religious ceremonies impressed the senses and the imagination, but prejudiced simplicity, spirituality, and fervor in the worship of God. Hence also the beginnings of reaction against ceremonialism and formalism.

Notwithstanding the complete and sudden change of the social and political circumstances of the church, which meets us on the threshold of this period, we have still before us the natural, necessary continuation of the pre-Constantine church in its light and shade, and the gradual transition of the old Graeco-Roman Catholicism into the Germano-Roman Catholicism of the middle age.
Our attention will now for the first time be turned in earnest, not only to Christianity in the Roman empire, but also to Christianity among the Germanic barbarians, who from East and North threaten the empire and the entire civilization of classic antiquity. The church prolonged, indeed, the existence of the Roman empire, gave it a new splendor and elevation, new strength and unity, as well as comfort in misfortune; but could not prevent its final dissolution, first in the West (A.D. 476), afterwards (1453) in the East. But she herself survived the storms of the great migration, brought the pagan invaders under the influence of Christianity, taught the barbarians the arts of peace, planted a higher civilization upon the ruins of the ancient world, and thus gave new proof of the indestructible, all-subduing energy of her life.

In a minute history of the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries we should mark the following subdivisions:

1. The Constantinian and Athanasian, or the Nicene and Trinitarian age, from 311 to the second general council in 381, distinguished by the conversion of Constantine, the alliance of the empire with the church, and the great Arian and semi-Arian controversy concerning the Divinity of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

2. The post-Nicene, or Christological and Augustinian age, extending to the fourth general council in 451, and including the Nestorian and Eutychian disputes on the person of Christ, and the Pelagian controversy on sin and grace.

3. The age of Leo the Great (440-461), or the rise of the papal supremacy in the West, amidst the barbarian devastations which made an end to the western Roman empire in 476.

4. The Justinian age (527-565), which exhibits the Byzantine state-church despotism at the height of its power, and at the beginning of its decline.

5. The Gregorian age (590-604) forms the transition from the ancient Graeco-Roman to the mediaeval Romano-Germanic Christianity, and will be more properly included in the church history of the middle ages.

(from Schaff's History of the Church, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Anti-chiliasm's triumph over Chiliasm: the expectation, then realization of the 1000 Year Millennium during the Middle Age

"Another important division of historical interpreters is into Post-Millennarians and Pre-Millennarians, according as the millennium predicted in Revelation 20 is regarded as part or future. Augustin committed the radical error of dating the millennium from the time of the Apocalypse or the beginning of the Christian era (although the seer mentioned it near the end of his book), and his view had great influence; hence the wide expectation of the end of the world at the close of the first millennium of the Christian church. Other post-millennarian interpreters date the millennium from the triumph of Christianity over paganism in Rome at the accession of Constantine the Great (311);"

(Excerpted from Schaff's History of the Church, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

["Radical error" or not is open to debate. (Philip Schaff went on to embrace historical Preterism, noting his own change of doctrinal position in later editions of this work.) But without argument, St. Augustin dated Rev 20:1-10’s “1000 Years” from the time of the writing of Revelation ("The Apocalypse" in Latin) or the beginning of the Christian era to the end of the first millennium of the Christian church. This view was so widely held during the Middle Age that there was wide expectation of the end of the world at 1000AD, the close of the first millennium of the Christian church. I agree with St. Augustin, (354-430AD), that he was living during the 1000-year Millennium of Rev 20:1-10.~jwr

"Luther struck the key-note of this anti-popery exegesis. He had at first a very low opinion of the Apocalypse, and would not recognize it as apostolic or prophetic (1522), but afterward he utilized for polemic purposes (in a preface to his edition of the N. T. of 1530). He [Martin Luther] dated the one thousand years (Revelation 20:7) with Augustin from the composition of the book, and the six hundred and sixty-six years from Gregory VII., as the supposed founder of the papacy, and understood Gog and Magog to mean the unspeakable Turks and the Jews. As Gregory VII. was elected pope 1073, the anti-Christian era ought to have come to an end A.D. 1739; but that year passed off without any change in the history of the papacy."
(Excerpted from Schaff's History of the Church, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Martin Luther, following Augustin, Rev 20:1-10’s “1000 Years” from “the composition of the book [of Revelation] to the year 1073AD, when Gregory VII was elected Pope. Luther then expected an anti-Christian era (Rev 20:3 & Rev 20:7-9 period of Satan’s release) to expend from 1073AD to 666 years later. I do not see how Luther got 666 years for the period of Satan's release, but I can see how he might calculate 1073AD to be the end of the 1000 Year Millennium - that makes Augustin and Luther's Millennium from that last great defeat at Masada in 73AD to a literal 1000 years later when Gregory VII became Pope, greatly extending papal claims, launching the Crusades, which in turn provoked foreign invaders, who brought Black Death Plague with them, etc., inaugurating the Dark Age that ended with the heavenly fires of the Reformation/Rennaissance/Discovery of the New World/Modern Era. I agree with Martin Luther, (1483-1546AD), that he was living in the period that followed Rev 20:1-10's "1000 years." ~jwr

MILLENNIUM : Latin MILLE, thousand + Latin ANNUS, year

§ 158. Chiliasm.

The most striking point in the eschatology of the ante-Nicene age is the prominent chiliasm, or millennarianism, that is the belief of a visible reign of Christ in glory on earth with the risen saints for a thousand years, before the general resurrection and judgment. 227 It was indeed not the doctrine of the church embodied in any creed or form of devotion, but a widely current opinion of distinguished teachers, such as Barnabas, Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Methodius, and Lactantius; while Caius, Origen, Dionysius the Great, Eusebius (as afterwards Jerome and Augustin) opposed it.

[They opposed it because, by the time they came along, the time for expecting it had passed and they preached that it had already come, being presently enjoyed in their own times]~jwr

The Jewish chiliasm rested on a carnal misapprehension of the Messianic kingdom, a literal interpretation of prophetic figures, and an overestimate of the importance of the Jewish people and the holy city as the centre of that kingdom. It was developed shortly before and after Christ in the apocalyptic literature, as the Book of Enoch, the Apocalypse of Baruch, 4th Esdras, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and the Sibylline Books. It was adopted by the heretical sect of the Ebionites, and the Gnostic Cerinthus. 228
The Christian chiliasm is the Jewish chiliasm spiritualized and fixed upon the second, instead of the first, coming of Christ. It distinguishes, moreover, two resurrections, one before and another after the millennium, and makes the millennial reign of Christ only a prelude to his eternal reign in heaven, from which it is separated by a short interregnum of Satan. The millennium is expected to come not as the legitimate result of a historical process but as a sudden supernatural revelation.
The advocates of this theory appeal to the certain promises of the Lord, 229 but particularly to the hieroglyphic passage of the Apocalypse, which teaches a millennial reign of Christ upon this earth after the first resurrection and before the creation of the new heavens and the new earth. 230
In connection with this the general expectation prevailed that the return of the Lord was near, though uncertain and unascertainable as to its day and hour, so that believers may be always ready for it. 231 This hope, through the whole age of persecution, was a copious fountain of encouragement and comfort under the pains of that martyrdom which sowed in blood the seed of a bountiful harvest for the church.
Among the Apostolic Fathers Barnabas is the first and the only one who expressly teaches a pre-millennial reign of Christ on earth. He considers the Mosaic history of the creation a type of six ages of labor for the world, each lasting a thousand years, and of a millennium of rest; since with God "one day is as a thousand years." The millennial Sabbath on earth will be followed by an eighth and eternal day in a new world, of which the Lord's Day (called by Barnabas "the eighth day") is the type. 232
Papias of Hierapolis, …
Justin Martyr represents the transition from the Jewish Christian to the Gentile Christian chiliasm. He speaks repeatedly of the second parousia of Christ in the clouds of heaven, surrounded by the holy angels. It will be preceded by the near manifestation of the man of sin (‎a&nqrwpo$ th=$ a)nomi/a$‎) who speaks blasphemies against the most high God, and will rule three and a half years. He is preceded by heresies and false prophets. 234 Christ will then raise the patriarchs, prophets, and pious Jews, establish the millennium, restore Jerusalem, and reign there in the midst of his saints; after which the second and general resurrection and judgment of the world will take place. He regarded this expectation of the earthly perfection of Christ's kingdom as the key-stone of pure doctrine, but adds that many pure and devout Christians of his day did not share this opinion. 235 After the millennium the world will be annihilated, or transformed. 236 In his two Apologies, Justin teaches the usual view of the general resurrection and judgment, and makes no mention of the millennium, but does not exclude it. 237 The other Greek Apologists are silent on the subject, and cannot be quoted either for or against chiliasm.
Irenaeus, …
Tertullian was an enthusiastic Chiliast, and pointed not only to the Apocalypse, but also to the predictions of the Montanist prophets. 239 But the Montanists substituted Pepuza in Phrygia for Jerusalem, as the centre of Christ's reign, and ran into fanatical excesses, which brought chiliasm into discredit, and resulted in its condemnation by several synods in Asia Minor. 240
After Tertullian, and independently of Montanism, chiliasm was taught by Commodian towards the close of the third century, 241 Lactantius, 242 and Victorinus of Petau, 243 at the beginning of the fourth. Its last distinguished advocates in the East were Methodius (d., a martyr, 311), the opponent of Origen, 244 and Apollinaris of Laodicea in Syria.

We now turn to the anti-Chiliasts. The opposition began during the Montanist movement in Asia Minor. Caius of Rome attacked both Chiliasm and Montanism, and traced the former to the hated heretic Cerinthus. 245 The Roman church seems never to have sympathized with either, and prepared itself for a comfortable settlement and normal development in this world. In Alexandria, Origen opposed chiliasm as a Jewish dream, and spiritualized the symbolical language of the prophets. 246 His distinguished pupil, Dionysius the Great (d. about 264), checked the chiliastic movement when it was revived by Nepos in Egypt, and wrote an elaborate work against it, which is lost. He denied the Apocalypse to the apostle John, and ascribed it to a presbyter of that name. Eusebius inclined to the same view.

But the crushing blow [to Chiliasm] came from the great change in the social condition and prospects of the church in the Nicene age. After Christianity, contrary to all expectation, triumphed in the Roman empire, and was embraced by the Caesars themselves, the millennial reign, instead of being anxiously waited and prayed for, began to be dated either from the first appearance of Christ, or from the conversion of Constantine and the downfall of paganism, and to be regarded as realized in the glory of the dominant imperial state-church. Augustin, who himself had formerly entertained chiliastic hopes, framed the new theory which reflected the social change, and was generally accepted. The apocalyptic millennium he understood to be the present reign of Christ in the Catholic church, and the first resurrection, the translation of the martyrs and saints to heaven, where they participate in Christ's reign. 248 It was consistent with this theory that towards the close of the first millennium of the Christian era there was a wide-spread expectation in Western Europe that the final judgment was at hand.

From the time of Constantine and Augustin chiliasm took its place among the heresies and was rejected subsequently even by the Protestant reformers as a Jewish dream. But it was revived from time to time as an article of faith and hope by pious individuals and whole sects, often in connection with historic pessimism, with distrust in mission work, as carried on by human agencies, with literal interpretations of prophecy, and with peculiar notions about Antichrist, the conversion and restoration of the Jews, their return to the Holy Land, and also with abortive attempts to calculate "the times and seasons" of the Second Advent, which "the Father hath put in his own power" (Acts 1:7), and did not choose to reveal to his own Son in the days of his flesh. ...

["From the time of Constantine and Augustin chiliasm took its place among the heresies..." Chiliasm was the expectation that the 1000 Year Millennium was still future rather than a present reality. And that expectation suddenly died when the reality of Constantine's victory took there breath away, compelling them to wake up to the fact that they were already living in the 1000 Year Millennium. And the continued expectation of a future millennium, chiliasm, "took its place among the heresies." Hallelujah!]

203. Victorinus of Petau.
Victorinus, …
1. The fragment on the Creation of the World is a series of notes on the account of creation, probably a part of the commentary on Genesis mentioned by Jerome. The days are taken liberally. The creation of angels and archangels preceded the creation of man, as light was made before the sky and the earth. The seven days typify seven millennia; the seventh is the millennial sabbath, when Christ will reign on earth with his elect. It is the same chiliastic notion which we found in the Epistle of Barnabas, with the same opposition to Jewish sabbatarianism. Victorinus compares the seven days with the seven eyes of the Lord (Zechariah 4:10), the seven heavens (comp. Psalms 33:6), the seven spirits that dwelt in Christ (Isaiah 11:2,3), and the seven stages of his humanity: his nativity, infancy, boyhood, youth, young-manhood, mature age, death. This is a fair specimen of these allegorical plays of a pious imagination.
2. The scholia on the Apocalypse of John are not without interest for the history of the interpretation of this mysterious book. 404 But they are not free from later interpolations of the fifth or sixth century. The author assigns the Apocalypse to the reign of Domitian (herein agreeing with Irenaeus), and combines the historical and allegorical methods of interpretation. He also regards the visions in part as synchronous rather than successive. He comments only on the more difficult passages. 405 We select the most striking points.
The woman in ch. 12 is the ancient church of the prophets and apostles; the dragon is the devil. The woman sitting on the seven hills (in ch. 17), is the city of Rome. The beast from the abyss is the Roman empire; Domitian is counted as the sixth, Nerva as the seventh, and Nero revived as the eighth Roman King. 406 The number 666 (13:18) means in Greek Teitan 407 (this is the explanation preferred by Irenaeus), in Latin Diclux. Both names signify Antichrist, according to the numerical value of the Greek and Roman letters. But Diclux has this meaning by contrast, for Antichrist, "although he is cut off from the supernal light, yet transforms himself into an angel of light, daring to call himself light." 408 To this curious explanation is added, evidently by a much later hand, an application of the mystic number to the Vandal king Genseric (‎gensh/riko$‎) who in the fifth century laid waste the Catholic church of North Africa and sacked the city of Rome.
The exposition of ch. 20:1-6 is not so strongly chiliastic, as the corresponding passage in the Commentary on Genesis, and hence some have denied the identity of authorship. The first resurrection is explained spiritually with reference to Colossians 3:1, and the author leaves it optional to understand the thousand years as endless or as limited. Then he goes on to allegorize about the numbers: ten signifies the decalogue, and hundred the crown of virginity; for he who keeps the vow of virginity completely, and fulfils the precepts of the decalogue, and destroys the impure thoughts within the retirement of his own heart, is the true priest of Christ, and reigns with him; and "truly in his case the devil is bound." At the close of the notes on ch. 22, the author rejects the crude and sensual chiliasm of the heretic Cerinthus. "For the kingdom of Christ," he says, "is now eternal in the saints, although the glory of the saints shall be manifested after the resurrection." This looks like a later addition, and intimates the change which Constantine's reign produced in the mind of the church as regards the millennium. Henceforth it was dated from the incarnation of Christ.
(Excerpts from Schaff's History of the Church, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

325AD First Council of Nicaea

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea

First Council of Nicaea

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First Council of Nicaea
Accepted byRoman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, Assyrian Church of the East, Anglicanism, Lutheranism, Calvinism
Previous councilnone considered ecumenical
Next councilFirst Council of Constantinople
Convoked by{{{convoked_by}}}
Presided bySt. Alexander of Alexandria
Attendance250-318 (only five from Western Church)
Topics of discussionArianism, celebration of Passover (Easter), Miletian schism, validity of baptism by heretics, lapsed Christians
Documents and statementsOriginal Nicene Creed and about 20 decrees
Chronological list of Ecumenical councils

The First Council of Nicaea, held in Nicaea in Bithynia (present-day Iznik in Turkey), convoked by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325, was the first Ecumenical council[1] of the early Christian Church, and most significantly resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene Creed. With the creation of the creed, a precedent was established for subsequent 'general (ecumenical) councils of Bishops' (Synods) to create statements of belief and canons of doctrinal orthodoxy— the intent being to define unity of beliefs for the whole of Christendom.

The purpose of the council was to resolve disagreements in the Church of Alexandria over the nature of Jesus in relationship to the Father; in particular, whether Jesus was of the same substance as God the Father or merely of similar substance. St. Alexander of Alexandria and Athanasius took the first position; the popular presbyter Arius, from whom the term Arian controversy comes, took the second. The council decided against the Arians overwhelmingly (of the estimated 250-318 attendees, all but 2 voted against Arius). Another result of the council was an agreement on when to celebrate the resurrection (Pascha in Greek; Easter in modern English), the most important feast of the ecclesiastical calendar. The council decided in favour of celebrating the resurrection on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox, independently of the Hebrew Calendar (see also Quartodecimanism). It authorized the Bishop of Alexandria (presumably using the Alexandrian calendar) to announce annually the exact date to his fellow bishops.

The Council of Nicaea was historically significant because it was the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom.[2] "It was the first occasion for the development of technical Christology."[2] Further, "Constantine in convoking and presiding over the council signaled a measure of imperial control over the church."[2] Further, a precedent was set for subsequent general councils to create creeds and canons.



[edit] Character and purpose

Constantine the Great summoned the bishops of the Christian Church to Nicaea to address divisions in the Church. (mosaic in Hagia Sophia, Constantinople, c. 1000)
Constantine the Great summoned the bishops of the Christian Church to Nicaea to address divisions in the Church. (mosaic in Hagia Sophia, Constantinople, c. 1000)

The First Council of Nicaea was convened by Constantine I upon the recommendations of a synod led by Hosius of Cordoba in the Eastertide of 325. This synod had been charged with investigation of the trouble brought about by the Arian controversy in the Greek-speaking east.[3] To most bishops, the teachings of Arius were heretical and a danger to the salvation of souls. In the summer of 325, the bishops of all provinces were summoned to Nicaea (now known as İznik, in modern-day Turkey), a place easily accessible to the majority of them, particularly those of Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Greece, and Thrace.

Approximately 300 bishops attended, from every region of the Empire except Britain. This was the first general council in the history of the Church since the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem, which had established the conditions upon which Gentiles could join the Church.[4] In the Council of Nicaea, “the Church had taken her first great step to define doctrine more precisely in response to a challenge from a heretical theology.”[5] The resolutions in the council, being ecumenical, were intended for the whole Church.

[edit] Attendees

Constantine had invited all 1800 bishops of the Christian church (about 1000 in the east and 800 in the west), but only 250 to 320 bishops actually participated. Eusebius of Caesarea counted 250,[6] Athanasius of Alexandria counted 318,[7] and Eustathius of Antioch counted 270[8] (all three were present at the council). Later, Socrates Scholasticus recorded more than 300,[9] and Evagrius,[10] Hilarius,[11] Jerome[12] and Rufinus recorded 318.

The participating bishops were given free travel to and from their episcopal sees to the council, as well as lodging. These bishops did not travel alone; each one had permission to bring with him two priests and three deacons; so the total number of attendees would have been above 1500. Eusebius speaks of an almost innumerable host of accompanying priests, deacons and acolytes.

A special prominence was also attached to this council because the persecution of Christians had just ended with the February 313 Edict of Milan by Emperors Constantine and Licinius.

The Eastern bishops formed the great majority. Of these, the first rank was held by the three patriarchs: Alexander of Alexandria,[13] Eustathius of Antioch, [13] and Macarius of Jerusalem.[13] Many of the assembled fathers — for instance, Paphnutius of Thebes[13], Potamon of Heraclea[13] and Paul of Neocaesarea[13] — had stood forth as confessors of the faith and came to the council with the marks of persecution on their faces. Other remarkable attendees were Eusebius of Nicomedia; Eusebius of Caesarea; Nicholas of Myra; Aristakes of Armenia; Leontius of Caesarea;[13] Jacob of Nisibis,[13] a former hermit; Hypatius of Granga;[13] Protogenes of Sardica;[13] Melitius of Sebastopolis;[13] Achilleus of Larissa[13] Athanasius of Thessaly[13] and Spyridion of Trimythous, who even while a bishop made his living as a shepherd. From foreign places came a Persian bishop John, a Gothic bishop Theophilus and Stratophilus, bishop of Pitiunt in Egrisi (located at the border of modern-day Russia and Georgia outside of the Roman Empire).

The Latin-speaking provinces sent at least five representatives: Marcus of Calabria from Italia, Cecilian of Carthage from Africa, Hosius of Córdoba from Hispania, Nicasius of Dijon from Gaul,[13] and Domnus of Stridon from the province of the Danube. Pope Silvester I declined to attend, pleading infirmity, but he was represented by two priests.

Athanasius of Alexandria, a young deacon and companion of Bishop Alexander of Alexandria, was among these assistants. Athanasius eventually spent most of his life battling against Arianism. Alexander of Constantinople, then a presbyter, was also present as representative of his aged bishop.[13]

The supporters of Arius included Secundus of Ptolemais,[14] Theonus of Marmarica,[15] Zphyrius, and Dathes, all of whom hailed from Libya and the Pentapolis. Other supporters included Eusebius of Nicomedia,[16] Eusebius of Caesarea, Paulinus of Tyrus, Actius of Lydda, Menophantus of Ephesus, and Theognus of Nicaea.[17][13]

"Resplendent in purple and gold, Constantine made a ceremonial entrance at the opening of the council, probably in early June, but respectfully seated the bishops ahead of himself."[4] As Eusebius described, Constantine "himself proceeded through the midst of the assembly, like some heavenly messenger of God, clothed in raiment which glittered as it were with rays of light, reflecting the glowing radiance of a purple robe, and adorned with the brilliant splendor of gold and precious stones."[18] He was present as an observer, but he did not vote. Constantine organized the Council along the lines of the Roman Senate. "Ossius [Hosius] presided over its deliberations; he probably, and the two priests of Rome certainly, came as representatives of the Pope."[4] “Eusebius of Nicomedia probably gave the welcoming address."[4][19]

[edit] Agenda and procedure

Icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea.
Icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea.

The agenda of the synod were:

  1. The Arian question;
  2. The celebration of Passover;
  3. The Meletian schism;
  4. The Father and Son one in purpose or in person;
  5. The baptism of heretics;
  6. The status of the lapsed in the persecution under Licinius.

The council was formally opened May 20, in the central structure of the imperial palace, with preliminary discussions on the Arian question. In these discussions, some dominant figures were Arius, with several adherents. “Some 22 of the bishops at the council, led by Eusebius of Nicomedia, came as supporters of Arius. But when some of the more shocking passages from his writings were read, they were almost universally seen as blasphemous.”[4] Bishops Theognis of Nicea and Maris of Chalcedon were among the initial supporters of Arius.

Eusebius of Caesarea called to mind the baptismal creed (symbol) of his own diocese at Caesarea in Palestine, as a form of reconciliation. The majority of the bishops agreed. For some time, scholars thought that the original Nicene Creed was based on this statement of Eusebius. Today, most scholars think that this Creed is derived from the baptismal creed of Jerusalem, as Hans Lietzmann proposed. Another possibility is the Apostle's Creed.

In any case, as the council went on, the orthodox bishops won approval of every one of their proposals. After being in session for an entire month, the council promulgated on June 19 the original Nicene Creed. This profession of faith was adopted by all the bishops “but two from Libya who had been closely associated with Arius from the beginning.”[5] No historical record of their dissent actually exists; the signatures of these bishops are simply absent from the creed.

[edit] Arian controversy

St. Alexander of Alexandria held the first position of the Council of Nicaea.
St. Alexander of Alexandria held the first position of the Council of Nicaea.
Main articles: Arianism and Arian controversy

The Arian controversy was a Christological dispute that began in Alexandria between the followers of Arius (the Arians) and the followers of St. Alexander of Alexandria (now known as homoousians). Alexander and his followers believed that the Son was of the same substance as the Father, co-eternal with him. The Arians believed that they were different and that the Son, though he may be the most perfect of creations, was only a creation. A third group (now known as homoiousians) tried to make a compromise position, saying that the Father and the Son were of similar substance.

Much of the debate hinged on the difference between being "born" or "created" and being "begotten". Arians saw these as the same; followers of Alexander did not. Indeed, the exact meaning of many of the words used in the debates at Nicaea were still unclear to speakers of other languages. Greek words like "essence" (ousia), "substance" (hypostasis), "nature" (physis), "person" (prosopon) bore a variety of meanings drawn from pre-Christian philosophers, which could not but entail misunderstandings until they were cleared up. The word homoousia, in particular, was initially disliked by many bishops because of its associations with Gnostic heretics (who used it in their theology), and because it had been condemned at the 264-268 Synods of Antioch.

Homoousians believed that to follow the Arian view destroyed the unity of the Godhead, and made the Son unequal to the Father, in contravention of the Scriptures ("The Father and I are one", John 10:30). Arians, on the other hand, believed that since God the Father created the Son, he must have emanated from the Father, and thus be lesser than the Father, in that the Father is eternal, but the Son was created afterward and, thus, is not eternal. The Arians likewise appealed to Scripture, quoting verses such as John 14:28: "the Father is greater than I". Homoousians countered the Arians' argument, saying that the Father's fatherhood, like all of his attributes, is eternal. Thus, the Father was always a father, and that the Son, therefore, always existed with him.

The Council declared that the Father and the Son are of the same substance and are co-eternal, basing the declaration in the claim that this was a formulation of traditional Christian belief handed down from the Apostles. This belief was expressed in the Nicene Creed.

[edit] The Nicene Creed

Main article: Nicene Creed
Icon depicting the Holy Fathers of the First Council of Nicaea holding the Nicene Creed.
Icon depicting the Holy Fathers of the First Council of Nicaea holding the Nicene Creed.

By and large, many creeds were acceptable to the members of the council. From his perspective, even Arius could cite such a creed.

For Bishop Alexander and others, however, greater clarity was required. Some distinctive elements in the Nicene Creed, perhaps from the hand of Hosius of Cordova, were added.

  1. Jesus Christ is described as "God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God," confirming his divinity. When all light sources were natural, the essence of light was considered to be identical, regardless of its form.
  2. Jesus Christ is said to be "begotten, not made," asserting his co-eternalness with God, and confirming it by stating his role in the Creation.
  3. Finally, he is said to be "from the substance of the Father," in direct opposition to Arianism. Some ascribe the term Consubstantial, i.e., "of the same substance" (of the Father), to Constantine who, on this particular point, may have chosen to exercise his authority.

Of the third article only the words "and in the Holy Spirit" were left; the original Nicene Creed ended with these words. Then followed immediately the canons of the council. Thus, instead of a baptismal creed acceptable to both the homoousian and Arian parties, as proposed by Eusebius, the council promulgated one which was unambiguous in the aspects touching upon the points of contention between these two positions, and one which was incompatible with the beliefs of Arians. From earliest times, various creeds served as a means of identification for Christians, as a means of inclusion and recognition, especially at baptism. In Rome, for example, the Apostles' Creed was popular, especially for use in Lent and the Easter season. In the Council of Nicaea, one specific creed was used to define the Church's faith clearly, to include those who professed it, and to exclude those who did not.

The text of this profession of faith is preserved in a letter of Eusebius to his congregation, in Athanasius, and elsewhere. Although the most vocal of anti-Arians, the Homoousians (from the Koine Greek word translated as "of same substance" which was condemned at the Council of Antioch in 264-268), were in the minority. The Creed was accepted by the council as an expression of the bishops' common faith and the ancient faith of the whole Church.

Bishop Hosius of Cordova, one of the firm Homoousians, may well have helped bring the council to consensus. At the time of the council, he was the confidant of the emperor in all Church matters. Hosius stands at the head of the lists of bishops, and Athanasius ascribes to him the actual formulation of the creed. Great leaders such as Eustathius of Antioch, Alexander of Alexandria, Athanasius, and Marcellus of Ancyra all adhered to the Homoousian position.

In spite of his sympathy for Arius, Eusebius of Caesarea adhered to the decisions of the council, accepting the entire creed. The initial number of bishops supporting Arius was small. After a month of discussion, on June 19, there were only two left: Theonas of Marmarica in Libya, and Secundus of Ptolemais. Maris of Chalcedon, who initially supported Arianism, agreed to the whole creed. Similarly, Eusebius of Nicomedia and Theognis of Nice also agreed, except for the certain statements.

The emperor carried out his earlier statement: everybody who refuses to endorse the Creed will be exiled. Arius, Theonas, and Secundus refused to adhere to the creed, and were thus exiled, in addition to being excommunicated. The works of Arius were ordered to be confiscated and consigned to the flames,[20] although there is no evidence that this occurred. Nevertheless, the controversy, already festering, continued in various parts of the empire.

[edit] Separation of Easter from the Jewish Passover

After the June 19 settlement of the most important topic, the question of the date of the Christian Passover (Easter) was brought up. This feast is linked to the Jewish Passover, as the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus occurred during that festival. By the year 300, most Churches had adopted the Western style of celebrating the feast on the Sunday after the Passover, placing the emphasis on the resurrection, which occurred on a Sunday. Others however celebrated the feast on the 14th of the Jewish month Nisan, the date of the crucifixion according to the Bible's Hebrew calendar (Leviticus 23:5,John 19:14). Hence this group was called Quartodecimans, which is derived from the Latin for 14. The Eastern Churches of Syria, Cilicia, and Mesopotamia determined the date of Christian Passover in relation to the 14th day of Nisan, in the Bible's Hebrew calendar. Alexandria and Rome, however, followed a different calculation, attributed to Pope Soter, so that Christian Passover would never coincide with the Jewish observance and decided in favour of celebrating on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox, independently of the Bible's Hebrew calendar.

According to Duchesne,[21] who founds his conclusions:

  1. on the conciliar letter to the Alexandrians preserved in Theodoret;[22]
  2. on the circular letter of Constantine to the bishops after the council;[23]
  3. on Athanasius;[24]

Epiphanius of Salamis wrote in the mid-4th century, "… the emperor … convened a council of 318 bishops … in the city of Nicea. … They passed certain ecclesiastical canons at the council besides, and at the same time decreed in regard to the Passover that there must be one unanimous concord on the celebration of God's holy and supremely excellent day. For it was variously observed by people…"[25]

The council assumed the task of regulating these differences, in part because some dioceses were determined not to have Christian Passover correspond with the Jewish calendar. "The feast of the resurrection was thenceforth required to be celebrated everywhere on a Sunday, and never on the day of the Jewish passover, but always after the fourteenth of Nisan, on the Sunday after the first vernal full moon. The leading motive for this regulation was opposition to Judaism, which had dishonored the passover by the crucifixion of the Lord."[26] Constantine wrote that: "… it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul. … Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way."[27] Theodoret recorded the Emperor as saying: "It was, in the first place, declared improper to follow the custom of the Jews in the celebration of this holy festival, because, their hands having been stained with crime, the minds of these wretched men are necessarily blinded. … Let us, then, have nothing in common with the Jews, who are our adversaries. … avoiding all contact with that evil way. … who, after having compassed the death of the Lord, being out of their minds, are guided not by sound reason, but by an unrestrained passion, wherever their innate madness carries them. … a people so utterly depraved. … Therefore, this irregularity must be corrected, in order that we may no more have any thing in common with those parricides and the murderers of our Lord. … no single point in common with the perjury of the Jews."[28]

The Council of Nicaea, however, did not declare the Alexandrian or Roman calculations as normative. Instead, the council gave the Bishop of Alexandria the privilege of announcing annually the date of Christian Passover to the Roman curia. Although the synod undertook the regulation of the dating of Christian Passover, it contented itself with communicating its decision to the different dioceses, instead of establishing a canon. There was subsequent conflict over this very matter. See also Computus and Reform of the date of Easter.

[edit] Meletian Schism

Main article: Meletius of Lycopolis

The suppression of the Meletian schism was one of the three important matters that came before the Council of Nicaea. Meletius, it was decided, should remain in his own city of Lycopolis, but without exercising authority or the power to ordain new clergy; moreover he was forbidden to go into the environs of the town or to enter another diocese for the purpose of ordaining its subjects. Melitius retained his episcopal title, but the ecclesiastics ordained by him were to receive again the imposition of hands, the ordinations performed by Meletius being therefore regarded as invalid. Clergy ordained by Meletius were ordered to yield precedence to those ordained by Alexander, and they were not to do anything without the consent of Bishop Alexander.[29]

In the event of the death of a non-Meletian bishop or ecclesiastic, the vacant see might be given to a Meletian, provided he were worthy and the popular election were ratified by Alexander. As to Meletius himself, episcopal rights and prerogatives were taken from him. These mild measures, however, were in vain; the Meletians joined the Arians and caused more dissension than ever, being among the worst enemies of Athanasius. The Meletians ultimately died out around the middle of the fifth century.

[edit] Other problems

Finally, the council promulgated twenty new church laws, called canons, (though the exact number is subject to debate[30]), that is, unchanging rules of discipline. The twenty as listed in the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers are as follows:[31]

1. prohibition of self-castration; (see Origen)
2. establishment of a minimum term for catechumen;
3. prohibition of the presence in the house of a cleric of a younger woman who might bring him under suspicion;
4. ordination of a bishop in the presence of at least three provincial bishops and confirmation by the metropolitan;
5. provision for two provincial synods to be held annually;
6. exceptional authority acknowledged for the patriarchs of Alexandria and Rome, for their respective regions;
7. recognition of the honorary rights of the see of Jerusalem;
8. provision for agreement with the Novatianists;
9–14. provision for mild procedure against the lapsed during the persecution under Licinius;
15–16. prohibition of the removal of priests;
17. prohibition of usury among the clergy;
18. precedence of bishops and presbyters before deacons in receiving Holy Communion, the Eucharist;
19. declaration of the invalidity of baptism by Paulian heretics;
20. prohibition of kneeling during the liturgy, on Sundays and in the fifty days of Eastertide ("the pentecost"). Standing was the normative posture for prayer at this time, as it still is among the Eastern Orthodox. (In time, Western Christianity adopted the term Pentecost to refer to the last Sunday of Eastertide, the fiftieth day.)[32]

On July 25, 325, in conclusion, the fathers of the council celebrated the emperor's twentieth anniversary. In his valedictory address, Constantine again informed his hearers how averse he was to dogmatic controversy; he wanted the Church to live in harmony and peace. In a circular letter, he announced the accomplished unity of practice by the whole Church in the date of the celebration of Christian Passover (now called Easter).

[edit] Effect of the Council

The long-term effects of the Council of Nicaea were significant. For the first time, representatives of many of the bishops of the Church convened to agree on a doctrinal statement. Also for the first time, the Emperor played a role, by calling together the bishops under his authority, and using the power of the state to give the Council's orders effect.

In the short-term, however, the council did not completely solve the problems it was convened to discuss and a period of conflict and upheaval continued for some time. Constantine himself was succeeded by two Arian Emperors in the Eastern Empire: his son, Constantine II and Valens. Valens could not resolve the outstanding ecclesiastical issues, and unsuccessfully confronted St. Basil over the Nicene Creed.[33] Pagan powers within the Empire sought to maintain and at times re-establish Paganism into the seat of Emperor (see Arbogast and Julian the Apostate). Arians and the Meletians soon regained nearly all of the rights they had lost, and consequently, Arianism continued to spread and to cause division in the Church during the remainder of the fourth century. Almost immediately, Eusebius of Nicomedia, an Arian bishop and cousin to Constantine I, used his influence at court to sway Constantine's favor from the orthodox Nicene bishops to the Arians. Eustathius of Antioch was deposed and exiled in 330. Athanasius, who had succeeded Alexander as Bishop of Alexandria, was deposed by the First Synod of Tyre in 335 and Marcellus of Ancyra followed him in 336. Arius himself returned to Constantinople to be readmitted into the Church, but died shortly before he could be received. Constantine died the next year, after finally receiving baptism from Arian Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedi , and "with his passing the first round in the battle after the Council of Nicaea was ended."[34]

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Ecumenical, from Koine Greek oikoumenikos, literally meaning worldwide but generally assumed to be limited to the Roman Empire as in Augustus' claim to be ruler of the oikoumene/world; the earliest extant uses of the term for a council are Eusebius' Life of Constantine 3.6[1] around 338 "σύνοδον οἰκουμενικὴν συνεκρότει" (he convoked an Ecumenical council), Athanasius' Ad Afros Epistola Synodica in 369[2], and the Letter in 382 to Pope Damasus I and the Latin bishops from the First Council of Constantinople[3]
  2. ^ a b c Richard Kieckhefer (1989). "Papacy". Dictionary of the Middle Ages. ISBN 0-684-18275-0
  3. ^ Carroll, 10
  4. ^ a b c d e Carroll, 11
  5. ^ a b Carroll, 12
  6. ^ Eusebius of Caesaria. Life of Constantine (Book III) Chapter 9. Retrieved on 2006-05-08.
  7. ^ Ad Afros Epistola Synodica 2
  8. ^ Theodoret H.E. 1.7
  9. ^ H.E. 1.8
  10. ^ H.E. 3.31
  11. ^ Contra Constantium
  12. ^ Chronicon
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Atiya, Aziz S.. The Coptic Encyclopedia. New York:Macmillan Publishing Company, 1991. ISBN 0-02-897025-X.
  14. ^ Philostorgius, in Photius, Epitome of the Ecclesiastical History of Philostorgius, book 1, chapter 9.
  15. ^ Philostorgius, in Photius, Epitome of the Ecclesiastical History of Philostorgius, book 1, chapter 9.
  16. ^ Philostorgius, in Photius, Epitome of the Ecclesiastical History of Philostorgius, book 1, chapter 9.
  17. ^ Philostorgius, in Photius, Epitome of the Ecclesiastical History of Philostorgius, book 1, chapter 9.
  18. ^ Eusebius, The Life of the Blessed Emperor Constantine, Book 3, Chapter 10.
  19. ^ Original lists of attendees can be found in Patrum Nicaenorum nomina Latine, Graece, Coptice, Syriace, Arabice, Armeniace, ed. Henricus Gelzer, Henricus Hilgenfeld, Otto Cuntz. 2nd edition. (Stuttgart: Teubner, 1995)
  20. ^ Socrates Church History Chapter IX
  21. ^ Revue des questions historiques, xxviii. 37
  22. ^ Hist. eccl., I., ix. 12; Socrates, Hist. eccl., I., ix. 12
  23. ^ Eusebius, Vita Constantine, III., xviii. 19; Theodoret, Hist. eccl., I., x. 3 sqq.
  24. ^ De Synodo, v.; Epist. ad Afros, ii.
  25. ^ Epiphanius, The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide. Section VI, Verses 1,1 and 1,3. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, pp.471-472).
  26. ^ Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church, Volume III: Nicene and Post-Nicene. Retrieved on 2006-05-08.
  27. ^ Eusebius of Caesaria. Life of Constantine (Book III). Retrieved on 2006-05-08.
  28. ^ Jackson, Blomfield. The Ecclesiastical History, Dialogues, and Letters of Theodoret. Retrieved on 2006-05-08.
  29. ^ "Meletius" in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia.
  30. ^ Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series II, Vol. XIV, Excursus on the Number of the Nicene Canons. Early Church Fathers. Retrieved on 2006-05-08.
  31. ^ Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series II, Vol. XIV, The Canons of the 318 Holy Fathers Assembled in the City of Nice (sic), in Bithynia.. Early Church Fathers. Retrieved on 2006-05-08.
  32. ^ For the exact text of the prohibition of kneeling, in Greek and in English translation, see canon 20 of the acts of the council.
  33. ^ Heroes of the Fourth Century
  34. ^ Leo Donald Davis, S.J., "The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787)", 77, ISBN 0-8146-5616-1

[edit] Bibliography

[edit] Primary sources

[edit] Literature

[edit] External links

325AD The Nicene Creed in communion with the 70-1070AD Millennium

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

And in
one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;
by whom all things were made both in heaven and on earth;
who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man;
he suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven;
from thence he shall [future to 325AD] come to judge the quick and the dead.

And in
the Holy Ghost.

But those who say:
'There was a time when he was not;'
and 'He was not before he was made;'
and 'He was made out of nothing,'
or 'He is of another substance' or 'essence,'
or 'The Son of God is created,' or 'changeable,' or 'alterable'
— they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.

I agree wholeheartedly with the Nicene creed with one amendment made to the statement, "from thence [heaven] he shall [future to 325AD] come to judge the quick and the dead." I would amend the verb tense to read, "from thence he comes [ongoing reign since His accomplished Return] to judge the quick and the dead."

Even so, the churchmen who formulated the Nicene Creed looked forward from their 325AD timeframe to a future Judgment with its accompanying Resurrection & Judgement of the Dead. But so did the 70-1070AD Millennialists of that time. They all alike looked forward from their 325AD perspective for the fulfillment of Rev 20:5a, that "the rest of the dead did not come to life until the 1000 years were completed." That is, a 70-1070AD Millennialist living around the time the Nicene Creed was formulated (325AD) would share the same anticipation of a yet future Judgment and Resurrection of "the rest of the dead" because they each saw the end of Rev 20:1-7's "1000 years" as still future to their 325AD point on the timeline. And so, anyone of that time holding to the 70-1070AD Millennium would gladly share in confessing the Nicene Creed as originally formulated. The prevalent view among all Christians of the period was that they were living well within the 1000 year Millennium that they expected to end some time after 1000AD or 1070AD. (The prevailing eschatology of the Middle Age(s) was that the 1000-year Millennium started either at Christ's birth or at the writing of the book of Revelation or at the fall of old Jerusalem as taught by Augustine and later, by Martin Luther & other Reformers like John Lightfoot).

The only difference of opinion voiced would have been that the 70-1070AD Millennialist would declare that Jesus "Emannuel" was already living among them (as artwork from the period depicts Jesus personally handing out the 50 Bibles commissioned by Constantine), the saints & martyrs of the Tribulation were already resurrected-tranformed-glorified (as artwork & legend from the period depicts), and together Saints&Christ were judging the living and the dead in such a way that Christianity's enemies were put under their feet (as truimphant Christendom of the period commonly saw it).

Along with the Nicene Creedalists, however, the 70-1070AD Millennialist of this period would have also anticipated a future period of trial & testing to come upon Christendom sometime after the end of that 1000-year Millennium in which they each saw themselves living. That is, sometime after 1000AD, both the Nicene Creedalist and the 70-1070AD Millennialist alike expected a major challenge to Christendom's dominance, (which indeed occurred as noted by Martin Luther LINK and other Reformers and those who followed their teaching, John Lightfoot LINK).

prophecyhistory.com endeavors to show from the Scriptures that Christ's coming to judge the living and the dead was to take place within the biological lifetimes of those who first heard and saw Jesus Christ in person; and that, once Returned, Christ would remain & continue to judge (rule) over the living and the dead forever and ever. I endeavor, also, to show how the record of human experience, history, accords happily with the Scriptures' teaching.

It should be noted that the Nicene Creed concludes by providing a specific list of beliefs to be condemned, (neither 70-1070AD Millennialism nor anything I teach is among them). Simply put, it would be ridiculous for a man to condemn as a heretic someone who: confesses that Jesus the Son of God (1 John 4:15); believes Jesus is the Christ (1 John 5:1); confesses that Jesus Christ is the Word of God who came in the flesh (John 1:1 & 1 John 4:2); confesses the name of Jesus before men (Matt 10:32) ; confesses Jesus is Lord while believing in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 10:9); worships God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 2:23); abides in the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9); displays the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-24); obeys the Gospel of Paul (Rom 2:16 & Rom 16:25); values the Old Testament for godly instruction (2 Tim 3:15-17); loves all the saints & brethren, maintaining good standing & fellowship among the churches (Eph 1:15 & Col 1:4 & 1 John 3:14); yet understands God & Jesus to be present among us now judging the living and the dead among us rather than yet future, (line 8 of aforementioned creed). Wittingly or not, much of global, historic Christianity tacitly testifies to their agreement with my position on this, as well, LINK.

Though, for the love for the brethren, the traditions of our Church brothers should be respected, they must not be respected above the Word of our Father, LINK.

Matthew 23:8-11
8 But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.

Matthew 24:34-35
"Assuredly, I say to YOU [to you Apostles Peter, James, John, Andrew, Thomas, Judas, et al], THIS GENERATION will by no means pass away till all these things take place."

347-420AD Jerome: The Latin Vulgate, bringing the Bible to the language of the common people

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerome


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Saint Jerome

St. Jerome, by Lucas van Leyden
Doctor of the Church
Bornca. 347, Stridon, Dalmatia
Died420, Bethlehem, Judea
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Lutheran Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
Coptic Orthodox Church
Beatified1747 by Benedict XIV
Canonized1767 by Clement XIII
Major shrineBasilica of Saint Mary Major, Rome
FeastSeptember 30 (C, L), June 15 (O)
Attributeslion, cardinal attire, cross, skull, trumpet, owl, books and writing material
Patronagearcheologists; archivists; Bible scholars; librarians; libraries; schoolchildren; students; translators
Saints Portal

Jerome (ca. 347September 30, 420; Greek: Ευσέβιος Σωφρόνιος Ιερώνυμος, Latin: Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus) is best known as the translator of the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into Latin. He also was a Christian apologist. Jerome's edition of the Bible, the Vulgate, is still an important text of the Roman Catholic Church. He is recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as a canonized Saint and Doctor of the Church. He is also recognized as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church, where he is known as St. Jerome of Stridonium or Blessed Jerome ("Blessed" in this context does not have the sense of being less than a saint, as in the West).

In the artistic tradition of the Roman Catholic Church it has been usual to represent him, the patron of theological learning, as a cardinal, by the side of the Bishop Augustine, the Archbishop Ambrose, and the Pope Gregory I. Even when he is depicted as a half-clad anchorite, with cross, skull, and Bible for the only furniture of his cell, the red hat or some other indication of his rank is as a rule introduced somewhere in the picture. He is also often depicted with a lion, due to a medieval story in which he removed a thorn from a lion's paw,[1] and, less often, an owl, the symbol of wisdom and scholarship.[2] Writing materials and the trumpet of final judgment are also part of his iconography.[2]



[edit] Life

Saint Jerome in his Study, by Domenico Ghirlandaio
Saint Jerome in his Study, by Domenico Ghirlandaio

Jerome was born c. 347 at Strido, on the border between Pannonia and Dalmatia, as is referenced in his De Viris Illustribus Chapter 135 (English translation below).

Jerome was an Illyrian, born to Christian parents, but was not baptized until about 360, when he had gone to Rome with his friend Bonosus to pursue rhetorical and philosophical studies. He studied under Aelius Donatus, a skillful compiler of language techniques which Donatus called "grammar." Jerome learned Koine Greek, but yet had no thought of studying the Greek Fathers, or any Christian writings.

After several years in Rome, he travelled with Bonosus to Gaul and settled in Trier "on the semi-barbarous banks of the Rhine" where he seems to have first taken up theological studies, and where he copied, for his friend Rufinus, Hilary of Poitiers' commentary on the Psalms and the treatise De synodis. Next came a stay of at least several months, or possibly years, with Rufinus at Aquileia where he made many Christian friends.

Some of these accompanied him when he set out about 373 on a journey through Thrace and Asia Minor into northern Syria. At Antioch, where he stayed the longest, two of his companions died and he himself was seriously ill more than once. During one of these illnesses (about the winter of 373-374), he had a vision that led him to lay aside his secular studies and devote himself to the things of God. He seems to have abstained for a considerable time from the study of the classics and to have plunged deeply into that of the Bible, under the impulse of Apollinaris of Laodicea, then teaching in Antioch and not yet suspected of heresy.

St. Jerome reading in the countryside, by Giovanni Bellini
St. Jerome reading in the countryside, by Giovanni Bellini

Seized with a desire for a life of ascetic penance, he went for a time to the desert of Chalcis, to the southwest of Antioch, known as the Syrian Thebaid, from the number of hermits inhabiting it. During this period, he seems to have found time for study and writing. He made his first attempt to learn Hebrew under the guidance of a converted Jew; and he seems to have been in correspondence with Jewish Christians in Antioch, and perhaps as early as this to have interested himself in the Gospel of the Hebrews, said by them to be the source of the canonical Matthew.

Returning to Antioch in 378 or 379, he was ordained by Bishop Paulinus, apparently unwillingly and on condition that he continue his ascetic life. Soon afterward, he went to Constantinople to pursue a study of Scripture under Gregory Nazianzen. He seems to have spent two years there; the next three (382-385) he was in Rome again, attached to Pope Damasus I and the leading Roman Christians. Invited originally for the synod of 382, held to end the schism of Antioch, he made himself indispensable to the pope, and took a prominent place in his councils.

St. Jerome, by Peter Paul Rubens, 1625–1630
St. Jerome, by Peter Paul Rubens, 1625–1630

Among his other duties, he undertook a revision of the Latin Bible, to be based on the Greek New Testament. He also updated the Psalter then at use in Rome based on the Septuagint. Though he did not realize it yet at this point, translating much of what became the Latin Vulgate Bible would take many years, and be his most important achievement (see Writings- Translations section below).

In Rome he was surrounded by a circle of well-born and well-educated women, including some from the noblest patrician families, such as the widows Marcella and Paula, with their daughters Blaesilla and Eustochium. The resulting inclination of these women to the monastic life, and his unsparing criticism of the secular clergy, brought a growing hostility against him amongst the clergy and their supporters. Soon after the death of his patron Damasus (December 10, 384), Jerome was forced to leave his position at Rome after an inquiry by the Roman clergy into allegations that he had improper relations with the widow Paula.

In August 385, he returned to Antioch, accompanied by his brother Paulinianus and several friends, and followed a little later by Paula and Eustochium, who had resolved to end their days in the Holy Land. In the winter of 385, Jerome acted as their spiritual adviser. The pilgrims, joined by Bishop Paulinus of Antioch, visited Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the holy places of Galilee, and then went to Egypt, the home of the great heroes of the ascetic life.

At the Catechetical School of Alexandria, Jerome listened to the blind catechist Didymus the Blind expounding the prophet Hosea and telling his reminiscences of Anthony the Great, who had died thirty years before; he spent some time in Nitria, admiring the disciplined community life of the numerous inhabitants of that "city of the Lord," but detecting even there "concealed serpents," i.e., the influence of Origen. Late in the summer of 388 he was back in Palestine, and spent the remainder of his life in a hermit's cell near Bethlehem, surrounded by a few friends, both men and women (including Paula and Eustochium), to whom he acted as priestly guide and teacher.

Painting by Niccolò Antonio Colantonio, showing St. Jerome's removal of a thorn from a lion's paw.
Painting by Niccolò Antonio Colantonio, showing St. Jerome's removal of a thorn from a lion's paw.

Amply provided by Paula with the means of livelihood and of increasing his collection of books, he led a life of incessant activity in literary production. To these last thirty-four years of his career belong the most important of his works -- his version of the Old Testament from the original Hebrew text, the best of his scriptural commentaries, his catalogue of Christian authors, and the dialogue against the Pelagians, the literary perfection of which even an opponent recognized. To this period also belong most of his polemics, which distinguished him among the orthodox Fathers, including the treatises against the Origenism of Bishop John II of Jerusalem and his early friend Rufinus. As a result of his writings against Pelagianism, a body of excited partisans broke into the monastic buildings, set them on fire, attacked the inmates and killed a deacon, forcing Jerome to seek safety in a neighboring fortress (416).

Jerome died near Bethlehem on September 30, 420. The date of his death is given by the Chronicon of Prosper of Aquitaine. His remains, originally buried at Bethlehem, are said to have been later transferred to the church of Santa Maria Maggiore at Rome, though other places in the West claim some relics -- the cathedral at Nepi boasting possession of his head, which, according to another tradition, is in the Escorial.

[edit] Translations

Jerome was a scholar at a time when that statement implied a fluency in Greek. He knew some Hebrew when he started his translation project, but moved to Jerusalem to perfect his grasp of the language and to strengthen his grip on Jewish scripture commentary. A wealthy Roman aristocrat, Paula, founded a monastery for him in Bethlehem - rather like a research institute - and he completed his translation there. He began in 382 by correcting the existing Latin language version of the New Testament, commonly referred to as the Itala or Vetus Latina (the "Italian" or "Old Latin" version). By 390 he turned to the Hebrew Bible, having previously translated portions from the Septuagint Greek version. He completed this work by 405. Before Jerome's translation, all Old Testament translations were based on the Septuagint. Jerome's decision to use the Hebrew Old Testament instead of the Septuagint went against the advice of most other Christians, including Augustine, who considered the Septuagint inspired.

For the next fifteen years, until he died, he produced a number of commentaries on Scripture, often explaining his translation choices. His knowledge of Hebrew, primarily required for this branch of his work, gives also to his exegetical treatises (especially to those written after 386) a value greater than that of most patristic commentaries. The commentaries align closely with Jewish tradition, and he indulges in allegorical and mystical subtleties after the manner of Philo and the Alexandrian school. Unlike his contemporaries, he emphasizes the difference between the Hebrew Bible "apocrypha" (most of which are now in the deuterocanon) and the Hebraica veritas of the canonical books. Evidence of this can be found in his introductions to the Solomonic writings, to the Book of Tobit, and to the Book of Judith. Most notable, however, is the statement from his Prologus Galeatus (introduction to the Books of the Kings):

This preface to the Scriptures may serve as a "helmeted" introduction to all the books which we turn from Hebrew into Latin, so that we may be assured that what is not found in our list must be placed amongst the Apocryphal writings.[1]

Jerome's commentaries fall into three groups:

  • His translations or recastings of Greek predecessors, including fourteen homilies on Jeremiah and the same number on Ezekiel by Origen (translated ca. 380 in Constantinople); two homilies of Origen on the Song of Solomon (in Rome, ca. 383); and thirty-nine on Luke (ca. 389, in Bethlehem). The nine homilies of Origen on Isaiah included among his works were not done by him. Here should be mentioned, as an important contribution to the topography of Palestine, his book De situ et nominibus locorum Hebraeorum, a translation with additions and some regrettable omissions of the Onomasticon of Eusebius. To the same period (ca. 390) belongs the Liber interpretationis nominum Hebraicorum, based on a work supposed to go back to Philo and expanded by Origen.
  • Original commentaries on the Old Testament. To the period before his settlement at Bethlehem and the following five years belong a series of short Old Testament studies: De seraphim, De voce Osanna, De tribus quaestionibus veteris legis (usually included among the letters as 18, 20, and 36); Quaestiones hebraicae in Genesin; Commentarius in Ecclesiasten; Tractatus septem in Psalmos 10-16 (lost); Explanationes in Mich/leaeam, Sophoniam, Nahum, Habacuc, Aggaeum. About 395 he composed a series of longer commentaries, though in rather a desultory fashion: first on the remaining seven minor prophets, then on Isaiah (ca. 395-ca. 400), on Daniel (ca. 407), on Ezekiel (between 410 and 415), and on Jeremiah (after 415, left unfinished).
  • New Testament commentaries. These include only Philemon, Galatians, Ephesians, and Titus (hastily composed 387-388); Matthew (dictated in a fortnight, 398); Mark, selected passages in Luke, the prologue of John, and Revelation. Treating the last-named book in his cursory fashion, he made use of an excerpt from the commentary of the North African Tichonius, which is preserved as a sort of argument at the beginning of the more extended work of the Spanish presbyter Beatus of Liébana. But before this he had already devoted to the Book of Revelation another treatment, a rather arbitrary recasting of the commentary of Saint Victorinus (d. 303), with whose chiliastic views he was not in accord, substituting for the chiliastic conclusion a spiritualizing exposition of his own, supplying an introduction, and making certain changes in the text.

[edit] Historical writings

  • One of Jerome's earliest attempts in the department of history was his Chronicle (or Chronicon or Temporum liber), composed ca. 380 in Constantinople; this is a translation into Latin of the chronological tables which compose the second part of the Chronicon of Eusebius, with a supplement covering the period from 325 to 379. Despite numerous errors taken over from Eusebius, and some of his own, Jerome produced a valuable work, if only for the impulse which it gave to such later chroniclers as Prosper, Cassiodorus, and Victor of Tunnuna to continue his annals.
  • The so-called Martyrologium Hieronymianum is spurious; it was apparently composed by a western monk toward the end of the sixth or beginning of the seventh century, with reference to an expression of Jerome's in the opening chapter of the Vita Malchi, where he speaks of intending to write a history of the saints and martyrs from the apostolic times.
  • But the most important of Jerome's historical works is the book De viris illustribus, written at Bethlehem in 392, the title and arrangement of which are borrowed from Suetonius. It contains short biographical and literary notes on 135 Christian authors, from Saint Peter down to Jerome himself. For the first seventy-eight authors Eusebius (Historia ecclesiastica) is the main source; in the second section, beginning with Arnobius and Lactantius, he includes a good deal of independent information, especially as to western writers.

[edit] Letters

Jerome's letters or epistles, both by the great variety of their subjects and by their qualities of style, form the most interesting portion of his literary remains. Whether he is discussing problems of scholarship, or reasoning on cases of conscience, comforting the afflicted, or saying pleasant things to his friends, scourging the vices and corruptions of the time, exhorting to the ascetic life and renunciation of the world, or breaking a lance with his theological opponents, he gives a vivid picture not only of his own mind, but of the age and its peculiar characteristics.

The letters most frequently reprinted or referred to are of a hortatory nature, such as Ep. 14, Ad Heliodorum de laude vitae solitariae; Ep. 22, Ad Eustochium de custodia virginitatis; Ep. 52, Ad Nepotianum de vita clericorum et monachorum, a sort of epitome of pastoral theology from the ascetic standpoint; Ep. 53, Ad Paulinum de studio scripturarum; Ep. 57, to the same, De institutione monachi; Ep. 70, Ad Magnum de scriptoribus ecclesiasticis; and Ep. 107, Ad Laetam de institutione filiae.

[edit] Theological writings

Practically all of Jerome's productions in the field of dogma have a more or less violently polemical character, and are directed against assailants of the orthodox doctrines. Even the translation of the treatise of Didymus the Blind on the Holy Spirit into Latin (begun in Rome 384, completed at Bethlehem) shows an apologetic tendency against the Arians and Pneumatomachoi. The same is true of his version of Origen's De principiis (ca. 399), intended to supersede the inaccurate translation by Rufinus. The more strictly polemical writings cover every period of his life. During the sojourns at Antioch and Constantinople he was mainly occupied with the Arian controversy, and especially with the schisms centering around Meletius of Antioch and Lucifer Calaritanus. Two letters to Pope Damasus (15 and 16) complain of the conduct of both parties at Antioch, the Meletians and Paulinians, who had tried to draw him into their controversy over the application of the terms ousia and hypostasis to the Trinity. At the same time or a little later (379) he composed his Liber Contra Luciferianos, in which he cleverly uses the dialogue form to combat the tenets of that faction, particularly their rejection of baptism by heretics.

In Rome (ca. 383) he wrote a passionate counterblast against the teaching of Helvidius, in defense of the doctrine of The perpetual virginity of Mary, the Mary, and of the superiority of the single over the married state. An opponent of a somewhat similar nature was Jovinianus, with whom he came into conflict in 392 (Adversus Jovinianum, (Against Jovinianus) and the defense of this work addressed to his friend Pammachius, numbered 48 in the letters). Once more he defended the ordinary Catholic practices of piety and his own ascetic ethics in 406 against the Spanish presbyter Vigilantius, who opposed the cultus of martyrs and relics, the vow of poverty, and clerical celibacy. Meanwhile the controversy with John II of Jerusalem and Rufinus concerning the orthodoxy of Origen occurred. To this period belong some of his most passionate and most comprehensive polemical works: the Contra Joannem Hierosolymitanum (398 or 399); the two closely-connected Apologiae contra Rufinum (402); and the "last word" written a few months later, the Liber tertius seu ultima responsio adversus scripta Rufini. The last of his polemical works is the skilfully-composed Dialogus contra Pelagianos (415).

[edit] Jerome's reception in later Christianity

Jerome is the second most voluminous writer (after St. Augustine) in ancient Latin Christianity. In the Roman Catholic Church, he is recognized as the patron saint of translators, librarians and encyclopedists.

He acquired a knowledge of Hebrew by studying with a Jew who converted to Christianity, and took the unusual position (for that time) that the Hebrew, and not the Septuagint, was the inspired text of the Old Testament. He used this knowledge to translate what became known as the Vulgate, and his translation was slowly but eventually accepted in the Catholic church.[3] Obviously, the later resurgence of Hebrew studies within Christianity owes much to him.

Jerome sometimes seemed arrogant, and occasionally despised or belittled his literary rivals, especially Ambrose. It is not so much by absolute knowledge that he shines, as by a certain poetical elegance, an incisive wit, a singular skill in adapting recognized or proverbial phrases to his purpose, and a successful aiming at rhetorical effect.

He showed more zeal and interest in the ascetic ideal than in abstract speculation. It was this strict asceticism that made Martin Luther judge him so severely. In fact, Protestant readers are not generally inclined to accept his writings as authoritative. The tendency to recognize a superior comes out in his correspondence with Augustine (cf. Jerome's letters numbered 56, 67, 102-105, 110-112, 115-116; and 28, 39, 40, 67-68, 71-75, 81-82 in Augustine's).

Despite of the criticisms already mentioned, Jerome has retained a rank among the western Fathers. This would be his due, if for nothing else, on account of the great influence exercised by his Latin version of the Bible upon the subsequent ecclesiastical and theological development.

[edit] Quotes

I praise marriage, but it is because they give me virgins. (Jerome's Letter XXII to Eustochium, section 20 on-line)
Be ever engaged, so that whenever the devil calls he may find you occupied.
Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. (Jerome's Prologue to the “Commentary on Isaiah”: PL 24,17)

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ The lion episode, in Vita Divi Hieronymi (Migne Pat. Lat. XXII, c. 209ff.) was translated by Helen Waddell Beasts and Saints (NY: Henry Holt) 1934) (on-line retelling).
  2. ^ a b The Collection: St. Jerome, gallery of the religious art collection of New Mexico State University, with explanations. Accessed August 10, 2007.
  3. ^ Stefan Rebenich, Jerome (New York: Routlage, 2002), pp. 52-59

[edit] External links

[edit] References

[edit] Footnotes

  1. ^ The lion episode, in Vita Divi Hieronymi (Migne Pat. Lat. XXII, c. 209ff.) was translated by Helen Waddell Beasts and Saints (NY: Henry Holt) 1934) (on-line retelling).
  2. ^ a b The Collection: St. Jerome, gallery of the religious art collection of New Mexico State University, with explanations. Accessed August 10, 2007.
  3. ^ Stefan Rebenich, Jerome (New York: Routlage, 2002), pp. 52-59

[edit] General references

  • Biblia Sacra Vulgata Stuttgart, 1994. ISBN 3-438-05303-9
  • This article uses material from Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religion.
  • birth/death dates from Cameron, A (1993). The Later Roman Empire. London: Fontana Press, 203. ISBN 0-00-686172-5.
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354-430AD Augustine: "1000 Years" Millennium started in 1st Century: (either 1AD or 70AD)

"Another important division of historical interpreters is into Post-Millennarians and Pre-Millennarians, according as the millennium predicted in Revelation 20 is regarded as part or future. Augustin committed the radical error of dating the millennium from the time of the Apocalypse or the beginning of the Christian era (although the seer mentioned it near the end of his book), and his view had great influence; hence the wide expectation of the end of the world at the close of the first millennium of the Christian church. Other post-millennarian interpreters date the millennium from the triumph of Christianity over paganism in Rome at the accession of Constantine the Great (311);"

(Excerpted from Schaff's History of the Church, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

["Radical error" or not is open to debate. (Philip Schaff went on to embrace historical Preterism, noting his own change of doctrinal position in later editions of this work.) But without argument, St. Augustin dated Rev 20:1-10’s “1000 Years” from the time of the writing of Revelation ("The Apocalypse" in Latin) or the beginning of the Christian era to the end of the first millennium of the Christian church. This view was so widely held during the Middle Age that there was wide expectation of the end of the world at 1000AD, the close of the first millennium of the Christian church. I agree with St. Augustin, (354-430AD), that he was living near the middle of Rev 20:1-10's "1000 years." ~jwr

"Luther struck the key-note of this anti-popery exegesis. He had at first a very low opinion of the Apocalypse, and would not recognize it as apostolic or prophetic (1522), but afterward he utilized for polemic purposes (in a preface to his edition of the N. T. of 1530). He [Martin Luther] dated the one thousand years (Revelation 20:7) with Augustin from the composition of the book, and the six hundred and sixty-six years from Gregory VII., as the supposed founder of the papacy, and understood Gog and Magog to mean the unspeakable Turks and the Jews. As Gregory VII. was elected pope 1073, the anti-Christian era ought to have come to an end A.D. 1739; but that year passed off without any change in the history of the papacy."
(Excerpted from Schaff's History of the Church, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Martin Luther, following Augustin, Rev 20:1-10’s “1000 Years” from “the composition of the book [of Revelation] to the year 1073AD, when Gregory VII was elected Pope. Luther then expected an anti-Christian era (Rev 20:3 & Rev 20:7-9 period of Satan’s release) to expend from 1073AD to 666 years later. I do not see how Luther got 666 years for the period of Satan's release, but I can see how he might calculate 1073AD to be the end of the 1000 Year Millennium - that makes Augustin and Luther's Millennium from that last great defeat at Masada in 73AD to a literal 1000 years later when Gregory VII became Pope, greatly extending papal claims, launching the Crusades, which in turn provoked foreign invaders, who brought Black Death Plague with them, etc., inaugurating the Dark Age that ended with the heavenly fires of the Reformation/Rennaissance/Discovery of the New World/Modern Era. I agree with Martin Luther, (1483-1546AD), that he was living in the period that followed Rev 20:1-10's "1000 years." ~jwr

MILLENNIUM : Latin MILLE, thousand + Latin ANNUS, year


From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustine_of_Hippo

Augustine of Hippo

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Saint Augustine of Hippo

Augustine as depicted by Sandro Botticelli, c. 1480
Bishop and Doctor of the Church
BornNovember 13, 354(354-11-13), Tagaste, Algeria
DiedAugust 28, 430 (aged 75), Hippo Regius
Venerated inmost Christian groups
Major shrineSan Pietro in Ciel d'Oro, Pavia, Italy
FeastAugust 28 (W), June 15 (E)
Attributeschild; dove; pen; shell, pierced heart
Patronagebrewers; printers; sore eyes; theologians
Saints Portal

Aurelius Augustinus, Augustine of Hippo, or Saint Augustine (November 13, 354August 28, 430) was a philosopher and theologian, and was bishop of the North African city of Hippo Regius for the last third of his life. Augustine is one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity, and is considered to be one of the church fathers. He framed the concepts of original sin and just war.

In Roman Catholicism and the Anglican Communion, he is a saint and pre-eminent Doctor of the Church, and the patron of the Augustinian religious order. Many Protestants, especially Calvinists, consider him to be one of the theological fathers of Reformation teaching on salvation and grace. In the Eastern Orthodox Church he is a saint, and his feast day is celebrated annually on June 15, though a minority are of the opinion that he is a heretic, primarily because of his statements concerning what became known as the filioque clause.[1] Among the Orthodox he is called Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed. "Blessed" here does not mean that he is less than a saint, but is a title bestowed upon him as a sign of respect.[2] The Orthodox do not remember Augustine so much for his theological speculations as for his writings on spirituality. In addition he believed in Papal supremacy. [3]

Born in present day Algeria as the eldest son of Saint Monica, he was educated in North Africa and baptized in Milan. His works—including The Confessions, which is often called the first Western autobiography—are still read around the world.



[edit] Life

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Saint Augustine was of Berber descent[4] and was born in 354 A.D. in Tagaste (present-day Souk Ahras, Algeria), a provincial Roman city in North Africa.[5] At the age of 11, Augustine was sent to school at Madaurus, a small Numidian city about 19 miles south of Tagaste noted for its pagan climate. There he became very familiar with Latin literature, as well as pagan beliefs and practices.[6] In 369 and 370, he remained at home. During this period he read Cicero's dialogue Hortensius, which he described as leaving a lasting impression on him and sparking his interest in philosophy.[5] At age seventeen, through the generosity of a fellow citizen Romanianus,[5] he went to Carthage to continue his education in rhetoric. His revered mother, Monica,[7] was a Berber and a devout Catholic, and his father, Patricius, a pagan. Although raised as a Catholic, Augustine left the Church to follow the controversial Manichaean religion, much to the despair of his mother. As a youth Augustine lived a hedonistic lifestyle for a time and, in Carthage, he developed a relationship with a young woman who would be his concubine for over fifteen years. During this period he had a son, Adeodatus,[8] with the young woman. During the years 373 and 374, Augustine taught grammar at Tagaste. The following year, he moved to Carthage to conduct a school of rhetoric there, and would remain there for the next nine years.[5] Disturbed by the unruly behaviour of the students in Carthage, in 383 he moved to Rome to establish a school there, where he believed the best and brightest rhetoricians practiced. However, Augustine was disappointed with the Roman schools, which he found apathetic. Once the time came for his students to pay their fees they simply fled. Manichaean friends introduced him to the prefect of the City of Rome, Symmachus, who had been asked to provide a professor of rhetoric for the imperial court at Milan.

"St Augustine and Monica" (1846), by Ary Scheffer.
"St Augustine and Monica" (1846), by Ary Scheffer.

The young provincial won the job and headed north to take up his position in late 384. At age thirty, Augustine had won the most visible academic chair in the Latin world, at a time when such posts gave ready access to political careers. However, he felt the tensions of life at an imperial court, lamenting one day as he rode in his carriage to deliver a grand speech before the emperor, that a drunken beggar he passed on the street had a less careworn existence than he did.

It was at Milan that Augustine's life changed. While still at Carthage, he had begun to move away from Manichaeism, in part because of a disappointing meeting with a key exponent of Manichaean theology. In Rome, he is reported to have completely turned away from Manichaeanism, and instead embraced the skepticism of the New Academy movement. At Milan, his mother Monica pressured him to become a Catholic. Augustine's own studies in Neoplatonism were also leading him in this direction, and his friend Simplicianus urged him that way as well.[5] But it was the bishop of Milan, Ambrose, who had most influence over Augustine. Ambrose was a master of rhetoric like Augustine himself, but older and more experienced.

Augustine's mother had followed him to Milan and he allowed her to arrange a society marriage, for which he abandoned his concubine (however he had to wait two years until his fiancée came of age; he promptly took up in the meantime with another woman). It was during this period that he uttered his famous prayer, "Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet" [da mihi castitatem et continentiam, sed noli modo] (Conf., VIII. vii (17)).

In the summer of 386, after having read an account of the life of Saint Anthony of the Desert which greatly inspired him, Augustine underwent a profound personal crisis and decided to convert to Catholic Christianity, abandon his career in rhetoric, quit his teaching position in Milan, give up any ideas of marriage, and devote himself entirely to serving God and the practices of priesthood, which included celibacy. Key to this conversion was the voice of an unseen child he heard while in his garden in Milan telling him in a sing-song voice to "tolle lege" ("take up and read") the Bible, at which point he opened the Bible at random and fell upon the Epistle to the Romans 13:13, which reads: "Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying" (KJV). He would detail his spiritual journey in his famous Confessions, which became a classic of both Christian theology and world literature. Ambrose baptized Augustine, along with his son, Adeodatus, on Easter Vigil in 387 in Milan, and soon thereafter in 388 he returned to Africa.[5] On his way back to Africa his mother died, as did his son soon after, leaving him alone in the world without family.

Upon his return to north Africa he sold his patrimony and gave the money to the poor. The only thing he kept was the family house, which he converted into a monastic foundation for himself and a group of friends.[5] In 391 he was ordained a priest in Hippo Regius (now Annaba, in Algeria). He became a famous preacher (more than 350 preserved sermons are believed to be authentic), and was noted for combating the Manichaean religion, to which he had formerly adhered.

In 396 he was made coadjutor bishop of Hippo (assistant with the right of succession on the death of the current bishop), and became full bishop shortly thereafter. He remained in this position at Hippo until his death in 430. Augustine worked tirelessly in trying to convince the people of Hippo, who were diverse racial and religious group, to convert to the Catholic faith. He left his monastery, but continued to lead a monastic life in the episcopal residence. He left a Rule (Latin, Regula) for his monastery that has led him to be designated the "patron saint of Regular Clergy", that is, Clergy who live by a monastic rule.

Augustine died on August 28, 430 during the siege of Hippo by the Vandals. On his death bed he was read the Enneads of Plotinus. He is said to have encouraged its citizens to resist the attacks, primarily on the grounds that the Vandals adhered to Arianism, a heterodox branch of Christianity. It is also said that he died just as the Vandals were tearing down the city walls of Hippo.

After conquering the city, the Vandals destroyed all of it but Augustine's cathedral and library, which they left untouched. Tradition indicates that his body was later moved to Pavia, where it is said to remain to this day.[5]

[edit] Works

Augustine was one of the most prolific Latin authors, and the list of his works consists of more than a hundred separate titles.[9] They include apologetic works against the heresies of the Arians, Donatists, Manichaeans and Pelagians, texts on Christian doctrine, notably De doctrina Christiana (On Christian Doctrine), exegetical works such as commentaries on Genesis, the Psalms and Paul's Letter to the Romans, many sermons and letters, and the Retractationes (Retractions), a review of his earlier works which he wrote near the end of his life. Apart from those, Augustine is probably best known for his Confessiones (Confessions), which is a personal account of his earlier life, and for De civitate Dei (The City of God, consisting of 22 books), which he wrote to restore the confidence of his fellow Christians, which was badly shaken by the sack of Rome by the Visigoths in 410. His 'On the Trinity' (De Trinitate), in which he developed what has become known as the 'psychological analogy' of the Trinity, is also among his masterpieces, and arguably one of the greatest theological works of all time.

[edit] Influence as a theologian and thinker

Augustine remains a central figure, both within Christianity and in the history of Western thought, and is considered by modern historian Thomas Cahill to be the first medieval man and the last classical man.[10] In both his philosophical and theological reasoning, he was greatly influenced by Stoicism, Platonism and Neo-platonism, particularly by the work of Plotinus, author of the Enneads, probably through the mediation of Porphyry and Victorinus (as Pierre Hadot has argued). His generally favorable view of Neoplatonic thought contributed to the "baptism" of Greek thought and its entrance into the Christian and subsequently the European intellectual tradition. His early and influential writing on the human will, a central topic in ethics, would become a focus for later philosophers such as Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. In addition, Augustine was influenced by the works of Virgil (known for his teaching on language), Cicero (known for his teaching on argument), and Aristotle (particularly his Rhetoric and Poetics).

Augustine's concept of original sin was expounded in his works against the Pelagians. However, Eastern Orthodox theologians, while they believe all humans were damaged by the original sin of Adam and Eve, have key disputes with Augustine about this doctrine, and as such this is viewed as a key source of division between East and West. His writings helped formulate the theory of the just war. He also advocated the use of force against the Donatists, asking "Why ... should not the Church use force in compelling her lost sons to return, if the lost sons compelled others to their destruction?" (The Correction of the Donatists, 22–24). St. Thomas Aquinas took much from Augustine's theology while creating his own unique synthesis of Greek and Christian thought after the widespread rediscovery of the work of Aristotle. While Augustine's doctrine of divine predestination and efficacious grace would never be wholly forgotten within the Roman Catholic Church, finding eloquent expression in the works of Bernard of Clairvaux, Reformation theologians such as Martin Luther and John Calvin would look back to him as the inspiration for their avowed capturing of the Biblical Gospel. Bishop John Fisher of Rochester, a chief opponent of Luther, articulated an Augustinian view of grace and salvation consistent with Church doctrine, thus encompassing both Augustine’s soteriology and his teaching on the authority of and obedience to the Catholic Church.[11] Later, within the Roman Catholic Church, the writings of Cornelius Jansen, who claimed heavy influence from Augustine, would form the basis of the movement known as Jansenism. But what the members of the reformation at that time didn't really get into the fact that St. Augustine believed in Papal supremacy.

Augustine was canonized by popular acclaim, and later recognized as a Doctor of the Church in 1303 by Pope Boniface VIII[citation needed]. His feast day is August 28, the day on which he died. He is considered the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, sore eyes, and a number of cities and dioceses.

The latter part of Augustine's Confessions consists of an extended meditation on the nature of time. Even the agnostic philosopher Bertrand Russell was impressed by this. He wrote, "a very admirable relativistic theory of time. ... It contains a better and clearer statement than Kant's of the subjective theory of time - a theory which, since Kant, has been widely accepted among philosophers."[12] Catholic theologians generally subscribe to Augustine's belief that God exists outside of time in the "eternal present"; that time only exists within the created universe because only in space is time discernible through motion and change. His meditations on the nature of time are closely linked to his consideration of the human ability of memory. Frances Yates in her 1966 study, The Art of Memory argues that a brief passage of the Confessions, X.8.12, in which Augustine writes of walking up a flight of stairs and entering the vast fields of memory [13] clearly indicates that the ancient Romans were aware of how to use explicit spatial and architectural metaphors as a mnemonic technique for organizing large amounts of information. According to Leo Ruickbie, Augustine's arguments against magic, differentiating it from miracle, were crucial in the early Church's fight against paganism and became a central thesis in the later denunciation of witches and witchcraft. According to Professor Deepak Lal, Augustine's vision of the heavenly city has influenced the secular projects and traditions of the Enlightenment, Marxism, Freudianism and Eco-fundamentalism[citation needed].

[edit] Influential quotations from Augustine's writings

  • "Give what Thou dost command, and command what Thou wilt." ("Da quod jubes, et jube quod vis," Confessions X, xxix, 40)
  • "Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless until it repose in Thee." (Confessions I, i, 1)
  • "Love the sinner and hate the sin" (Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum) (Opera Omnia, vol II. col. 962, letter 211.), literally "With love for mankind and hatred of sins "[14]
  • "Excess [i.e., 'extravagant self-indulgence, riotous living'] is the enemy of God" (Luxuria est inimica Dei.)
  • "Heart speaks to heart" (Cor ad cor loquitur)[15]
  • "Nothing conquers except truth and the victory of truth is love" (Victoria veritatis est caritas}[16]
  • "To sing once is to pray twice" (Qui cantat, bis orat) literally "he who sings, prays twice"[17]
  • "Lord, you have seduced me and I let myself be seduced" (quoting the prophet Jeremiah 20.7-9)
  • "Love, and do what you will" (Dilige et quod vis fac) Sermon on 1 John 7, 8[18]
  • "Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet" (da mihi castitatem et continentiam, sed noli modo) (Conf., VIII. vii (17))
  • "God, O Lord, grant me the power to overcome sin. For this is what you gave to us when you granted us free choice of will. If I choose wrongly, then I shall be justly punished for it. Is that not true, my Lord, of whom I indebted for my temporal existence? Thank you, Lord, for granting me the power to will my self not to sin.(Free Choice of the Will, Book One)"
  • "Christ is the teacher within us"[19] (A paraphrase; see De Magistro - "On the Teacher" - 11:38)
  • "Hear the other side" (Audi partem alteram) De Duabus Animabus, XlV ii
  • "Take up [the book], and Read it" (Tolle, lege) Confessions, Book VIII, Chapter 12
  • "There is no salvation outside the church" (Salus extra ecclesiam non est) (De Bapt. IV, cxvii.24)
  • "To many, total abstinence is easier than perfect moderation." (Multi quidem facilius se abstinent ut non utantur, quam temperent ut bene utantur. - Lit. 'For many it is indeed easier to abstain so as not to use [married sexual relations] at all, than to control themselves so as to use them aright.') (On the Good of Marriage)
  • "We make ourselves a ladder out of our vices if we trample the vices themselves underfoot." (iii. De Ascensione)
  • "Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are." (quoted in William Sloane Coffin, The Heart Is a Little to the Left)

[edit] Theology

[edit] Natural knowledge and biblical interpretation

Augustine took the view that the Biblical text should not be interpreted literally if it contradicts what we know from science and our God-given reason. In "The Literal Interpretation of Genesis" (early 5th century, AD), St. Augustine wrote:

It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation.

The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 1:19–20, Chapt. 19 [AD 408]

With the scriptures it is a matter of treating about the faith. For that reason, as I have noted repeatedly, if anyone, not understanding the mode of divine eloquence, should find something about these matters [about the physical universe] in our books, or hear of the same from those books, of such a kind that it seems to be at variance with the perceptions of his own rational faculties, let him believe that these other things are in no way necessary to the admonitions or accounts or predictions of the scriptures. In short, it must be said that our authors knew the truth about the nature of the skies, but it was not the intention of the Spirit of God, who spoke through them, to teach men anything that would not be of use to them for their salvation.

ibid, 2:9

A more clear distinction between "metaphorical" and "literal" in literary texts arose with the rise of the Scientific Revolution, although its source could be found in earlier writings, such as those of Herodotus (5th century BC). It was even considered heretical to interpret the Bible literally at times (cf. Origen, St. Jerome).[citation needed]

[edit] Creation

See also: Allegorical interpretations of Genesis

In "The Literal Interpretation of Genesis" Augustine took the view that everything in the universe was created simultaneously by God, and not in seven calendar days like a plain account of Genesis would require. He argued that the six-day structure of creation presented in the book of Genesis represents a logical framework, rather than the passage of time in a physical way - it would bear a spiritual, rather than physical, meaning, which is no less literal. Augustine also doesn’t envisage original sin as originating structural changes in the universe, and even suggests that the bodies of Adam and Eve were already created mortal before the Fall. Apart from his specific views, Augustine recognizes that the interpretation of the creation story is difficult, and remarks that we should be willing to change our mind about it as new information comes up. [4]

In "The City of God", Augustine also defended what would be called today as young Earth creationism. In the specific passage, Augustine rejected both the immortality of the human race proposed by pagans, and contemporary ideas of ages (such as those of certain Greeks and Egyptians) that differed from the Church's sacred writings:

Let us, then, omit the conjectures of men who know not what they say, when they speak of the nature and origin of the human race. For some hold the same opinion regarding men that they hold regarding the world itself, that they have always been... They are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of many thousand years, though, reckoning by the sacred writings, we find that not 6000 years have yet passed.

Augustine, Of the Falseness of the History Which Allots Many Thousand Years to the World’s Past, The City of God, Book 12: Chapt. 10 [AD 419].

[edit] Original Sin

Main article: Original Sin

Augustine taught that Original Sin was transmitted by concupiscence (roughly, lust), weakening the will[20] and making humanity a massa damnata[20] (mass of perdition, condemned crowd). In the struggle against Pelagianism, Augustine's teaching was confirmed by many councils, especially the Second Council of Orange.[20] The identification of concupiscence and Original Sin, however, was challenged by Anselm and condemned in 1567 by Pope Pius V.[20]

Augustine's formulation of the doctrine of original sin has substantially influenced both Catholic and Reformed (that is, Calvinist) theology. His understanding of sin and grace was developed against that of Pelagius.[21] Expositions on the topics are found in his works On Original Sin, On the Predestination of the Saints, On the Gift of Perseverance and On Nature and Grace.

Original sin, according to Augustine, consists of the guilt of Adam which all human beings inherit. As sinners, human beings are utterly depraved in nature, lack the freedom to do good, and cannot respond to the will of God without divine grace. Grace is irresistible, results in conversion, and leads to perseverance.[21] Augustine's idea of predestination rests on the assertion that God has foreordained, from eternity, those who will be saved. The number of the elect is fixed.[21] God has chosen the elect certainly and gratuitously, without any previous merit (ante merita) on their part.

The Roman Catholic Church considers Augustine's teaching to be consistent with free will.[22] He often said that any can be saved if they wish.[22] While God knows who will be saved and who won't, with no possibility that one destined to be lost will be saved, this knowledge represents God's perfect knowledge of how humans will freely choose their destinies.[22]

[edit] Ecclesiology

See also: Ecclesiology

Augustine developed his doctrine of the chuch principally in reaction to the Donatist sect. He taught a distinction between the "church visible" and "church invisible". The former is the institutional body on earth which proclaims salvation and administers the sacraments while the latter is the invisible body of the elect, made up of genuine believers from all ages, and who are known only to God. The visible church will be made up of "wheat" and "tares", that is, good and wicked people, until the end of time. This concept countered the Donatist claim that they were the only "true" or "pure" church on earth.[21]

Augustine's ecclesiology was more fully developed in City of God. There he conceives of the church as a heavenly city or kingdom, ruled by love, which will ultimately triumph over all earthly empires which are self-indulgent and ruled by pride. Augustine followed Cyprian in teaching that the bishops of the church are the successors of the apostles.[21]

[edit] Sacramental theology

Also in reaction against the Donatists, Augustine developed a distinction between the "regularity" and "validity" of the sacraments. Regular sacraments are performed by clergy of the Catholic (that is, the legitimate) church while sacraments performed by schismatics are considered irregular. Nevertheless, the validity of the sacraments do not depend upon the holiness of the priests who perform them; therefore, irregular sacraments are still accepted as valid provided they are done in the name of Christ and in the manner prescribed by the church. On this point Augustine departs from the earlier teaching of Cyprian, who taught that converts from schismatic movements must be re-baptised.[21]

Against the Pelagians Augustine strongly stressed the importance of infant baptism. He believed that no one would be saved unless he or she had received baptism in order to be cleansed from original sin. He also maintained that unbaptized children would go to hell. It was not until the 12th century that pope Innocent III accepted the doctrine of limbo as promulgated by Peter Abelard. It was the place where the unbaptized went and suffered no pain but, as the Church maintained, being still in a state of original sin, they did not deserve Paradise, therefore they did not know happiness either. The Church of England disavowed the state of original sin in the 16th century. Non-conformist religions such as the Unitarians and the Quakers never held to the concept.

[edit] Eschatology

Augustine originally believed that Christ would establish a literal 1,000-year kingdom prior to the general resurrection (premillennialism or chiliasm) but rejected the system as carnal. He was the first theologian to systematically expound a doctrine of amillennialism, although some theologians and Christian historians believe his position was closer to that of modern postmillennialists. The mediaeval Catholic church built its system of eschatology on Augustinian amillennialism, where the Christ rules the earth spiritually through his triumphant church.[23] At the Reformation, theologians such as John Calvin accepted amillennialism while rejecting aspects of mediaeval ecclesiology which had been built on Augustine's teaching.

Augustine taught that the eternal fate of the soul is determined at death,[20][24] and that purgatorial fires of the intermediate state purify only those that died in communion with the Church. His teaching provided fuel for later theology.[20]

[edit] Just War

Augustine developed a theology of just war, that is, war that is acceptable under certain conditions. Firstly, war must occur for a good and just purpose rather than for self-gain or as an exercise of power. Secondly, just war must be waged by a properly instituted authority such as the state. Thirdly, love must be a central motive even in the midst of violence.[25]

[edit] Augustine and lust

Augustine struggled with lust throughout his life. He associated sexual desire with the sin of Adam, and believed that it was still sinful, even though the Fall has made it part of human nature.

In the Confessions, Augustine describes his personal struggle in vivid terms: "But I, wretched, most wretched, in the very commencement of my early youth, had begged chastity of Thee, and said, 'Grant me chastity and continence, only not yet.'"[26] At sixteen Augustine moved to Carthage where again he was plagued by this "wretched sin":

There seethed all around me a cauldron of lawless loves. I loved not yet, yet I loved to love, and out of a deep-seated want, I hated myself for wanting not. I sought what I might love, in love with loving, and I hated safety... To love then, and to be beloved, was sweet to me; but more, when I obtained to enjoy the person I loved. I defiled, therefore, the spring of friendship with the filth of concupiscence, and I beclouded its brightness with the hell of lustfulness.


For Augustine, the evil was not in the sexual act itself, but rather in the emotions that typically accompany it. To the pious virgins raped during the sack of Rome, he writes, "Truth, another's lust cannot pollute thee." Chastity is "a virtue of the mind, and is not lost by rape, but is lost by the intention of sin, even if unperformed."[22]

In short, Augustine's life experience led him to consider lust to be one of the most grievous sins, and a serious obstacle to the virtuous life.

[edit] The Jews

Against certain Christian movements rejecting the use of Hebrew Scriptures, Augustine countered that God had chosen the Jews as a special people, though he also considered the scattering of Jews by the Roman empire to be a fulfillment of prophecy.[28] [29]

Augustine also quotes part of the same prophecy that says "Slay them not, lest they should at last forget Thy law". Augustine argued that God had allowed the Jews to survive this dispersion as a warning to Christians, thus they were to be permitted to dwell in Christian lands. Augustine further argued that the Jews would be converted at the end of time.[30]

[edit] Prophetic Exegesis

Augustine spoke on prophetic exegesis in his book “The City of God.”[31]

[edit] Mystical Babylon

Augustine applied the term "Babylon" to Rome calling it "western Babylon," and "mystical Babylon":

"Babylon, like a first Rome, ran its course along with the city of God. . . . Rome herself is like a second Babylon."[32]

"The city of Rome was founded, like another Babylon, and as it were the daughter of the former Babylon, by which God was pleased to conquer the whole world, and subdue it far and wide by bringing it into one fellowship of government and laws.”[33]

[edit] Four Kingdoms followed by Antichrist

Augustine commends the reading of Jerome.

"In prophetic vision he [Daniel] had seen four beasts, signifying four kingdoms, and the fourth conquered by a certain king, who is recognized as Antichrist, and after this the eternal kingdom of the Son of man, that is to say, of Christ. . . . Some have interpreted these four kingdoms as signifying those of the Assyrians, Persians, Macedonians, and Romans. They who desire to understand the fitness of this interpretation may read Jerome's book on Daniel, which is written with a sufficiency of care and erudition."[34]

[edit] Antichrist in the Church?

Augustine inclined toward the idea that the Antichrist or Man of Sin would be an apostate body in the church itself.

"It is uncertain in what temple he shall sit, whether in that ruin of the temple which was built by Solomon, or in the Church; for the apostle would not call the temple of any idol or demon the temple of God. And on this account some think that in this passage Antichrist means not the prince himself alone, but his whole body, that is, the mass of men who adhere to him, along with him their prince: and they also think that we should render the Greek more exactly were we to read, not 'in the temple of God,' but 'for' or 'as the temple of God,' is if he himself were the temple of God, the Church."[35]

[edit] To reign three and a half years

Augustine expected the antichrist to reign three years and a half

"But he who reads this passage, even half asleep, cannot fail to see that the kingdom of Antichrist shall fiercely, though for a short time, assail the Church before the last judgment of God shall introduce the eternal reign of the saints. For it is patent from the context that time, times and half a time, means a year, and two years, and half a year, that is to say, three years and a half. Sometimes in Scripture the same thing is indicated by months. For though the word times seems to be used here in the Latin indefinitely, that is only because the Latins have no dual, as the Greeks have, and as the Hebrews also are said to have. Times, therefore, is used for two times.”[36]

[edit] St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas

For quotations of St. Augustine by St. Thomas Aquinas see Aquinas and the Sacraments and Thought of Thomas Aquinas Part I.

[edit] Books

[edit] Letters

  • On the Catechising of the Uninstructed
  • On Faith and the Creed
  • Concerning Faith of Things Not Seen
  • On the Profit of Believing
  • On the Creed: A Sermon to Catechumens
  • On Continence
  • On the Good of Marriage
  • On Holy Virginity
  • On the Good of Widowhood
  • On Lying
  • To Consentius: Against Lying
  • On the Work of Monks
  • On Patience
  • On Care to be Had For the Dead
  • On the Morals of the Catholic Church
  • On the Morals of the Manichaeans
  • On Two Souls, Against the Manichaeans
  • Acts or Disputation Against Fortunatus the Manichaean
  • Against the Epistle of Manichaeus Called Fundamental
  • Reply to Faustus the Manichaean
  • Concerning the Nature of Good, Against the Manichaeans
  • On Baptism, Against the Donatists
  • Answer to Letters of Petilian, Bishop of Cirta
  • The Correction of the Donatists
  • Merits and Remission of Sin, and Infant Baptism
  • On the Spirit and the Letter
  • On Nature and Grace
  • On Man's Perfection in Righteousness
  • On the Proceedings of Pelagius
  • On the Grace of Christ, and on Original Sin
  • On Marriage and Concupiscence
  • On the Soul and its Origin
  • Against Two Letters of the Pelagians
  • On Grace and Free Will
  • On Rebuke and Grace
  • The Predestination of the Saints/Gift of Perseverance
  • Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount
  • The Harmony of the Gospels
  • Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament
  • Tractates on the Gospel of John
  • Homilies on the First Epistle of John
  • Soliloquies
  • The Enarrations, or Expositions, on the Psalms
  • On the Immortality of the Soul

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Archimandrite [now Archbishop] Chrysostomos. "Book Review: The Place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church". Orthodox Tradition II (3&4): 40-43. Retrieved on 2007-06-28.
  2. ^ "Blessed Augustine of Hippo: His Place in the Orthodox Church: A Corrective Compilation". Orthodox Tradition XIV (4): 33-35. Retrieved on 2007-06-28.
  3. ^ "Carthage was also near the countries over the sea, and distinguished by illustrious renown,so that it had a bishop of more than ordinary influence, who could afford to disregard a number of conspiring enemies because he saw himself joined by letters of communion to the Roman Church, in which the supremacy of an apostolic chair has always flourished" Letter 43 Chapter 9
  4. ^ Patricia Hampl. The Confessions by St Augustine (preface). Vintage, 1998. ISBN 0375700218 - Marcus Dods. The City of God by St Augustine (preface). Modern Library edition, 2000. ISBN 0679783199 - Norman Cantor. The Civilization of the Middle Ages, A Completely Revised and Expanded Edition of Medieval History p74. Harper Perennial, 1994. ISBN 0060925531 - Vincent Serralda. Le Berbère...lumière de l'Occident. Nouvelles Editions Latines, 1989. ISBN 2723302393 - René Pottier. Saint Augustin le Berbère. Fernand Lanore, 2006. ISBN 2851572822 - Gabriel Camps. Les Berbères. Editions de France, 1995. ISBN 978-2877722216 - Gilbert Meynier. L'Algérie des origines p73. La Découverte, 2007. ISBN 2707150886 etc
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Encyclopedia Americana, v.2, p. 685. Danbury, CT:Grolier Incorporated, 1997. ISBN 0-7172-0129-5.
  6. ^ Andrew Knowles and Pachomios Penkett, Augustine and his World Ch.2.
  7. ^ Monica was a Berber name derived from the Libyan deity Mon worshiped in the neighbouring town of Thibilis. However, we don’t have any information that Monica’s husband was a Berber too.
  8. ^ According to J.Fersuson and Garry Wills, Adeodatus, the name of Augustine's son is a Latinization of the Berber name Iatanbaal (given by God).
  9. ^ Passage based on F.A. Wright and T.A. Sinclair, A History of Later Latin Literature (London 1931), pp. 56 ff.
  10. ^ Thomas Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization Ch.2.
  11. ^ Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Reformation: A History (Penguin Group, 2005) p112.
  12. ^ History of Western Philosophy, 1946, reprinted Unwin Paperbacks 1979, pp 352-3
  13. ^ Confessiones Liber X: commentary on 10.8.12 (in Latin)
  14. ^ J.-P. Migne, (translator) St. Augustine's Letter 211 (ed.) Patrologiae Latinae Volume 33, (1845).
  15. ^ Augustine of Hippo The Confessions
  16. ^ Augustine of Hippo Sermons 358,1 "Victoria veritatis est caritas"
  17. ^ Augustine of Hippo Sermons 336, 1 PL 38, 1472
  18. ^ Augustine of Hippo Sermon on 1 John 7, 8 [1] Cf. Augustine On Galatians 6:1: "And if you shout at him, love him inwardly; you may urge, wheedle, rebuke, rage; love, and do whatever you wish. A father after all, doesn’t hate his son; and if necessary, a father gives his son a whipping; he inflicts pain, to insure well-being. So that’s the meaning of in a spirit of mildness (Gal. 6:1).” Sermon 163B:3:1, The Works of Saint Augustine: A New Translation for the 21st Century, (Sermons 148-153), 1992, part 3, vol. 5, p. 182. ISBN 1565480074
  19. ^ Augustine's Confessions : critical essaysedited by William E. Mann. Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006. - xii, 240 s
  20. ^ a b c d e f Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  21. ^ a b c d e f Justo L. Gonzalez (1970-1975). A History of Christian Thought: Volume 2 (From Augustine to the eve of the Reformation). Abingdon Press.
  22. ^ a b c d Catholic Encyclopedia (1914)
  23. ^ Craig L. Blomberg (2006). From Pentecost to Patmos. Apollos, 519.
  24. ^ Enchiridion 110
  25. ^ Justo L. Gonzalez (1984). The Story of Christianity. HarperSanFrancisco.
  26. ^ [2]Confessions, Saint Augustine, Book Eight, Chapter 17.
  27. ^ [3] Confessions, Saint Augustine, Book Three, Chapter 1.
  28. ^ Diarmaid MacCulloch. The Reformation (Penguin Group, 2005) p8.
  29. ^ City of God, book 18, chapter 46.
  30. ^ J. Edwards, The Spanish Inquisition (Stroud, 1999), pp33-5.
  31. ^ Froom, L.E., 1950, "The Prophetic Faith of our Fathers," Vol. 1, Chp. 20, pp. 473-491
  32. ^ “City of God” Book 18, Chapter 2
  33. ^ “City of God” Book 18, Chapter 22
  34. ^ “City of God” Book 20, Chapter 23
  35. ^ “City of God” Book 20, Chapter 19
  36. ^ “City of God” Book 20, Chapter 23

[edit] References

aka The Story of Philosophy, Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2001, ISBN 0-7894-7994-X
(subtitled on cover: The Essential Guide to the History of Western Philosophy)
g Saint Augustine, pages 30, 144; City of God 51, 52, 53 and The Confessions 50, 51, 52
- additional in the Dictionary of the History of Ideas for Saint Augustine and Neo-Platonism

[edit] In the arts

  • Indie/rock band Band of Horses have a song called "St. Augustine". It seems that the song speaks of somebody's desire for fame and recognition, rather than their desire for truth.
  • Christian rock band Petra dedicated a song to St. Augustine called "St. Augustine's Pears". It is based on one of Augustine's writings in his book "Confessions" where he tells of how he stole some neighbor's pears without being hungry, and how that petty theft haunted him through his life.[5]
  • Jon Foreman, lead singer and song writer of the alternative rock band Switchfoot wrote a song called "Something More (Augustine's Confession)", based after the life and book, "Confessions", of Augustine.
  • For his 1993 album "Ten Summoner's Tales", Sting wrote a song entitled "Saint Augustine in Hell", with lyrics 'Make me chaste, but not just yet' alluding to Augustine's famous prayer, 'Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet'.
  • Bob Dylan, for his 1967 album John Wesley Harding penned a song entitled "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" (also covered by Thea Gilmore in her 2002 album Songs from the Gutter.). The song's opening lines ("I dreamed I saw Saint Augustine / Alive as you or me") are likely based on the opening lines of " I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night", a song crafted in 1936 by Earl Robinson detailing the death of the famous American labor-activist who, himself, was an influential songwriter.
  • Roberto Rossellini directed the film "Agostino d'Ippona" (Augustine of Hippo) for Italy's RAI-TV in 1972.
  • Alternative rock band Sherwood's album "Sing, But Keep Going" references a famous quote attributed to St. Augustine on the inside cover.
  • After being unintentionally baptised by Ned Flanders in episode '3F01' - "Home Sweet Home - Diddily-Dum-Doodily", Homer Simpson says, "Oh, Bartholomew, I feel like St. Augustine of Hippo after his conversion by Ambrose of Milan."
  • Christian singer Kevin Max mentions St. Augustine in his song "Angel With No Wings". He sings So come on back when you can make some tea/And read Saint Augustine.

[edit] Bibliography

  • Brown, Peter. Augustine of Hippo. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967. ISBN 0-520-00186-9
  • Gareth B. Matthews. Augustine. Blackwell, 2005. ISBN 0-631-23348-2
  • O'Donnell, James J. Augustine: A New Biography. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. ISBN 0-06-053537-7
  • Ruickbie, Leo. Witchcraft Out of the Shadows. London: Robert Hale, 2004. ISBN 0-7090-7567-7, pp. 57-8.
  • Tanquerey, Adolphe. The Spiritual Life: A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology. Reprinted Ed. (original 1930). Rockford, IL: Tan Books, 2000. ISBN 0-89555-659-6, p. 37.
  • von Heyking, John. Augustine and Politics as Longing in the World. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8262-1349-9
  • Orbis Augustinianus sive conventuum O. Erem. S. A. chorographica et topographica descriptio Augustino Lubin, Paris, 1659, 1671, 1672.
  • Regle de St. Augustin pour les religieuses de son ordre; et Constitutions de la Congregation des Religieuses du Verbe-Incarne et du Saint-Sacrament (Lyon: Chez Pierre Guillimin, 1662), pp. 28-29. Cf. later edition published at Lyon (Chez Briday, Libraire,1962), pp. 22-24. English edition, The Rule of Saint Augustine and the Constitutions of the Order of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament (New York: Schwartz, Kirwin, and Fauss, 1893), pp. 33-35.
  • Zumkeller O.S.A.,Adolar (1986). Augustine's ideal of Religious life. Fordham University Press, New York.
  • Zumkeller O.S.A.,Adolar (1987). Augustine's Rule. Augustinian Press, Villanova,

Pennsylvania U.S.A..

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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373-493AD Saint Patrick

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick

Saint Patrick

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Saint Patrick

DiedMarch 17, AD 461 or AD 493
Venerated inRoman Catholicism, the Anglican Church of Ireland, the Lutheran Church and the Orthodox Church
Feast17 March (Saint Patrick's Day)
PatronageIreland, Nigeria, Montserrat,Engineers[1]
Saints Portal
For information about the holiday, see: Saint Patrick's Day
"St Patrick" redirects here, for other uses, see St. Patrick's.

Saint Patrick (Latin: Patricius[2], Irish: Naomh Pádraig) was a Christian missionary and is the patron saint of Ireland along with Brigid of Kildare and Columba. Patrick was born in Roman Britain. When he was about sixteen he was captured by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. He entered the church, as his father and grandfather had before him, becoming a deacon and a bishop. He later returned to Ireland as a missionary, working in the north and west of the island, but little is known about the places where he actually worked and no link can be made with Patrick and any church. By the eighth century he had become the patron saint of Ireland. The Irish monastery system evolved after the time of Patrick and the Irish church did not develop the diocesan model that Patrick and the other early missionaries had tried to establish.

The available body of evidence does not allow the dates of Patrick's life to be fixed with certainty, but it appears that he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the second half of the fifth century. Two letters from him survive, along with later hagiographies from the seventh century onwards. Many of these works cannot be taken as authentic traditions. Uncritical acceptance of the Annals of Ulster (see below) would imply that he lived from 373 to 493, and ministered in northern Ireland from 433 onwards.



[edit] Background

Most modern studies of Saint Patrick follow a variant of T. F. O'Rahilly's "Two Patricks" theory. That is to say, many of the traditions later attached to Saint Patrick originally concerned Palladius, a deacon from Gaul who came to Ireland, perhaps sent by Pope Celestine I (died 431). Palladius was not the only early cleric in Ireland at this time. Saints Auxilius, Secundinus and Iserninus are associated with early churches in Munster and Leinster. By this reading, Palladius was active in Ireland until the 460s.[3]

Prosper of Aquitaine's contemporary chronicle states:

Palladius was ordained by Pope Celestine and sent to the Irish believers in Christ as their first bishop.[4]

Prosper associates this with the visits of Germanus of Auxerre to Britain to suppress the Pelagian heresy and it has been suggested that Palladius and his colleagues were sent to Ireland to ensure that exiled Pelagians did not establish themselves among the Irish Christians. The appointment of Palladius and his fellow-bishops was not obviously a mission to convert the Irish, but more probably intended to minister to existing Christian communities in Ireland.[5] The sites of churches associated with Palladius and his colleagues are close to royal centres of the period: Secundus is remembered by Dunshaughlin, County Meath, close to the Hill of Tara which is associated with the High King of Ireland; Kilashee, County Kildare, close to Naas with links with the Kings of Leinster, is probably named for Auxilius. This activity was limited to the southern half of Ireland, and there is no evidence for them in Ulster or Connacht.[6]

Although the evidence for contacts with Gaul is clear, the borrowings from Latin into the Old Irish language show that links with former Roman Britain were many.[7] Saint Iserninus, who appears to be of the generation of Palladius, is thought to have been a Briton, and is associated with the lands of the Uí Cheinnselaig in Leinster. The Palladian mission should not be contrasted with later "British" missions, but forms a part of them.[8]

[edit] Patrick in his own words

Slemish, County Antrim, where Patrick is said to have worked as a herdsman while a slave.
Slemish, County Antrim, where Patrick is said to have worked as a herdsman while a slave.

Two Latin letters survive which are generally accepted to have been written by Patrick. These are the Declaration (Latin: Confessio) and the Letter to the soldiers of Coroticus (Latin: Epistola). The Declaration is the more important of the two. In it Patrick gives a short account of his life and his mission.

Patrick was born at Banna Venta Berniae,[9] Calpornius his father was a deacon, his grandfather Potitus a priest. When he was about sixteen, he was captured and carried off as a slave to Ireland.[10] Patrick worked as a herdsman, remaining a captive for six years. He writes that his faith grew in captivity, and that he prayed daily. After six years he heard a voice telling him that he would soon go home, and then that his ship was ready. Fleeing his master, he travelled to a port, two hundred miles away he says, where he found a ship and, after various adventures, returned home to his family, now in his early twenties.[11]

Patrick recounts that he had a vision a few years after returning home:

I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: "The Voice of the Irish". As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: "We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.[12]

Much of the Declaration concerns charges made against Patrick by his fellow Christians at a trial. What these charges were, he does not say explicitly, but he writes that he returned the gifts which wealthy women gave him, did not accept payment for baptisms, nor for ordaining priests, and indeed paid for many gifts to kings and judges, and paid for the sons of chiefs to accompany him. It is concluded, therefore, that he was accused of some sort of financial impropriety, and perhaps of having obtained his bishopric in Ireland with personal gain in mind.[13]

From this same evidence, something can be seen of Patrick's mission. He writes that he "baptised thousands of people". He ordained priests to lead the new Christian communities. He converted wealthy women, some of whom became nuns in the face of family opposition. He also dealt with the sons of kings, converting them too.[14]

Patrick's position as a foreigner in Ireland was not an easy one. His refusal to accept gifts from kings placed him outside the normal ties of kinship, fosterage and affinity. Legally he was without protection, and he says that he was on one occasion beaten, robbed of all he had, and put in chains, perhaps awaiting execution.[15]

Murchiú's life of Saint Patrick contains a supposed prophecy by the druids which gives an impression of how Patrick and other Christian missionaries were seen by those hostile to them:

Across the sea will come Adze-head,[16] crazed in the head,
his cloak with hole for the head, his stick bent in the head.
He will chant impieties from a table in the front of his house;
all his people will answer: "so be it, so be it."[17]

The second piece of evidence from Patrick's life is the Letter to Coroticus or Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus. In this, Patrick writes an open letter announcing that he has excommunicated certain British soldiers of Coroticus who have raided in Ireland, along with Picts and Irishmen, taking some of Patrick's converts into slavery. Coroticus, based largely on an 8th century gloss , is taken to be King Ceretic of Alt Clut.[18] It has been suggested that it was the sending of this letter which provoked the trial which Patrick mentions in the Confession.[19]

[edit] Dating Patrick's life and mission

According to the latest reconstruction of the old Irish annals, Patrick died in AD 493, a date accepted by some modern historians.[20] Prior to the 1940s it was believed without doubt that he died in 461 and thus had lived in the first half of the 5th century.[21] A lecture entitled "The Two Patricks", published in 1942 by T. F. O'Rahilly, caused enormous controversy by proposing that there had been two "Patricks", Palladius and Patrick, and that what we now know of St. Patrick was in fact in part a conscious effort to meld the two into one hagiographic personality. Decades of contention eventually ended with most historians now asserting that Patrick was indeed most likely to have been active in the mid-to-late 5th century.

While Patrick's own writings contain no dates, they do contain information which can be used to date them. Patrick's quotations from the Acts of the Apostles follow the Vulgate, strongly suggesting that his ecclesiastical conversion did not take place before the early fifth century. Patrick also refers to the Franks as being pagan. Their conversion is dated to the period 496–508.[22]

The compiler of the Annals of Ulster stated that in the year 553:

I have found this in the Book of Cuanu: The relics of Patrick were placed sixty years after his death in a shrine by Colum Cille. Three splendid halidoms were found in the burial-place: his goblet, the Angel's Gospel, and the Bell of the Testament. This is how the angel distributed the halidoms: the goblet to Dún, the Bell of the Testament to Ard Macha, and the Angel's Gospel to Colum Cille himself. The reason it is called the Angel's Gospel is that Colum Cille received it from the hand of the angel.[23]

The reputed burial place of St. Patrick in Downpatrick
The reputed burial place of St. Patrick in Downpatrick

The placing of this event in the year 553 would certainly seem to place Patrick's death in 493, or at least in the early years of that decade, and indeed the Annals of Ulster report in 493:

Patrick, arch-apostle, or archbishop and apostle of the Irish, rested on the 16th of the Kalends of April in the 120th year of his age, in the 60th year after he had come to Ireland to baptize the Irish.

There is also the additional evidence of his disciple, Mochta, who died in 535.[24]

St. Patrick is said to be buried under Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, County Down alongside St. Brigid and St. Columba, although this has never been proven. The Battle for the Body of St. Patrick demonstrates the importance of both him as a spiritual leader, and of his body as an object of veneration, in early Christian Ireland.

[edit] Early traditions

An early document which is silent concerning Patrick is the letter of Columbanus to Pope Boniface IV of about 613. Columbanus writes that Ireland's Christianity "was first handed to us by you, the successors of the holy apostles", apparently referring to Palladius only, and ignoring Patrick.[25] Writing on the Easter controversy in 632 or 633, Cummian—it is uncertain whether this is the Cummian associated with Clonfert or Cumméne of Iona— does refer to Patrick, calling him our papa, that is pope or primate.[26]

Two works by late seventh century hagiographers of Patrick have survived. These are the writings of Tírechán, and Vita sancti Patricii of Muirchu moccu Machtheni. Both writers relied upon an earlier work, now lost, the Book of Ultán.[27] This Ultán, probably the same person as Ultan of Ardbraccan, was Tírechán's foster-father. His obituary is given in the Annals of Ulster under the year 657.[28] These works thus date from a century and a half after Patrick's death.

Tírechán writes

"I found four names for Patrick written in the book of Ultán, bishop of the tribe of Conchobar: holy Magonus (that is, "famous"); Succetus (that is, the god of war); Patricius (that is, father of the citizens); Cothirtiacus (because he served four houses of druids)."[29]

Muirchu records much the same information, adding that "[h]is mother was named Concessa."[30]

The Patrick portrayed by Tírechán and Muirchu is a martial figure, who contests with druids, overthrows pagan idols, and curses kings and kingdoms.[31] On occasions their accounts contradict Patrick's own writings: Tírechán states that Patrick accepted gifts from female converts although Patrick himself flatly denies this. However, the emphasis Tírechán and Muirchu placed on female converts, and in particular royal and noble women who became nuns, is thought to be a genuine insight into Patrick's work of conversion. Patrick also worked with the unfree and the poor, encouraging them to vows of monastic chastity. Tírechán's account suggests that many early Patrician churches were combined with nunneries founded by Patrick's noble female converts.[32]

The martial Patrick found in Tírechán and Muirchu, and in later accounts, echoes similar figures found during the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity. It may be doubted whether such accounts are an accurate representation of Patrick's time, although such violent events may well have occurred as Christians gained in strength and numbers.[33]

Much of the detail supplied by Tírechán and Muirchu, in particular the churches established by Patrick, and the monasteries founded by his converts, may relate to the situation in the seventh century, when the churches which claimed ties to Patrick, and in particular Armagh, were expanding their influence throughout Ireland in competition with the church of Kildare. In the same period, Wilfred, Archbishop of York, claimed to speak, as metropolitan archbishop, "for all the northern part of Britain and of Ireland" at a council held in Rome in the time of Pope Agatho, thus claiming jurisdiction over the Irish church.[34]

Other presumed early materials include the Irish annals, which contain records from the Chronicle of Ireland. These sources have conflated Palladius and Patrick.[35] Another early document is the so-called First Synod of Saint Patrick. This is a seventh century document, once, but no longer, taken as to contain a fifth century original text. It apparently collects the results of several early synods, and represents an era when pagans were still a major force in Ireland. The introduction attributes it to Patrick, Auxilius, and Iserninus, a claim which "cannot be taken at face value".[36]

[edit] Patrick in legend

The Shamrock
The Shamrock

Pious legend credits Patrick with banishing snakes from the island, though post-glacial Ireland never actually had snakes;[37] one suggestion is that snakes referred to the serpent symbolism of the Druids of that time and place, as shown for instance on coins minted in Gaul (see Carnutes), or that it could have referred to beliefs such as Pelagianism, symbolized as “serpents”. Legend also credits Patrick with teaching the Irish about the concept of the Trinity by showing people the shamrock, a 3-leaved clover, using it to highlight the Christian belief of 'three divine persons in the one God' (as opposed to the Arian belief that was popular in Patrick's time). Whether or not these legends are true, the very fact that there are so many legends about Patrick shows how important his ministry was to Ireland. Some Irish legends involve the Oilliphéist, the Caoránach, and the Copóg Phádraig. During his evangelising journey back to Ireland from his parent's home at Birdoswald, he is understood to have carried with him an ash wood walking stick or staff. He thrust this stick into the ground wherever he was evangelising and at the place now known as Aspatria (ash of Patrick) the message of the good news took so long to get through to the people there that the stick had taken root by the time he was ready to move on. The 12th century work Acallam na Senórach tells of Patrick being met by two ancient warriors, Caílte mac Rónáin and Oisín, during his evangelical travels. The two were once members of Fionn mac Cumhaill's warrior band the Fianna, and somehow survived to Patrick's time. They travel with the saint and tell him their stories.

[edit] Sainthood and remembrance

March 17, popularly known as St. Patrick's Day, is believed to be his death date and is the date celebrated as his feast day. The day became a feast day in the universal church due to the influence of the Waterford-born Franciscan scholar Luke Wadding, as a member of the commission for the reform of the Breviary [38] in the early part of the 17th century.

For most of Christianity's first thousand years, canonisations were done on the diocesan or regional level. Relatively soon after the death of people considered to be very holy people, the local Church affirmed that they could be liturgically celebrated as saints. As a result, St. Patrick has never been formally canonised by a Pope; nevertheless, the Church declares that he is a Saint in Heaven (he is in the List of Saints). He is still widely venerated in Ireland and elsewhere today.[39]

St. Patrick is also venerated in the Orthodox Church, especially among English-speaking Orthodox Christians living in the United Kingdom and Ireland and in North America[40]. There are Orthodox icons dedicated to him.[41]

[edit] Saint Patrick in literature

Robert Southey wrote a ballad called Saint Patrick's Purgatory, based on popular legends surrounding the saint's name.

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Roman Catholic Patron Saints Index. Retrieved on 25 August 2006.
  2. ^ Brown, pp. 51
  3. ^ Byrne, pp. 78–79; De Paor, pp. 6–7 & 88–89; Duffy, pp. 16–17; Fletcher, pp. 80–83; MacQuarrie, p. 34; Ó Cróinín, pp. 22–23; Thomas, pp.300–306; Yorke, p. 112.
  4. ^ De Paor, p. 79.
  5. ^ There may well have been Christian "Irish" people in Britain at this time; Goidelic-speaking people were found on both sides of the Irish Sea, with Irish being spoken from Cornwall to Argyll. The influence of the Kingdom of Dyfed may have been of particular importance. See Charles-Edwards, pp. 161–172; Dark, pp.188–190; Ó Cróinín, pp. 17–18; Thomas, pp. 297–300.
  6. ^ Duffy, pp. 16–17; Thomas, p. 305.
  7. ^ Charles-Edwards, pp. 184–187; Thomas, pp. 297–300; Yorke, pp. 112–114.
  8. ^ Charles-Edwards, pp. 233–240.
  9. ^ This location is not certain, and a variety of interpretations have been made. De Paor glosses it as "[probably near Carlisle]" and Thomas argues at length for the area of Birdoswald, twenty miles east of Carlisle on Hadrians Wall. See De Paor, pp. 88 & 96; Thomas, pp. 310–314.
  10. ^ De Paor, p. 96.
  11. ^ De Paor, pp. 99–100; Charles-Edwards, p. 229.
  12. ^ De Paor, p. 100. De Paor glosses Foclut as "west of Killala Bay, in County Mayo", but it appears that the location of Fochoill (Foclut or Voclut) is still a matter of debate. See Charles-Edwards, p. 215.
  13. ^ Thomas, pp. 337–341; De Paor, pp. 104–107; Charles-Edwards, pp. 217–219.
  14. ^ Charles-Edwards, pp. 219–225; Thomas, pp. 337–341; De Paor, pp. 104–107.
  15. ^ De Paor, p. 107; Charles-Edwards, p. 221–222.
  16. ^ This is presumed to refer to Patrick's tonsure.
  17. ^ After Ó Cróinín, p.32; De Paor, p. 180. See also Ó Cróinín, pp. 30–33.
  18. ^ De Paor, pp. 109–113; Charles-Edwards, pp. 226–230.
  19. ^ Thomas, pp. 339–343.
  20. ^ See Dumville, pp. 116-12; Wood, p. 45 n. 5.
  21. ^ Byrne, pp. 78–82; the notes following Tírechán's hagiography in the Book of Armagh state that Palladius "was also called Patrick, while other sources have vague mentions of 'two Patricks'", Byrne, p.78. See De Paor, pp. 203–206, for the notes referred to.
  22. ^ Stancliffe.
  23. ^ De Paor, p. 122.
  24. ^ De Paor, p. 121.
  25. ^ De Paor, pp. 141–143; Charles-Edwards, p. 182–183. Bede writing a century later, refers to Palladius only.
  26. ^ De Paor, pp 151–153; Charles-Edwards, p. 182–183.
  27. ^ Aideen O'Leary, "An Irish Apocryphal Apostle: Muirchú's Portrayal of Saint Patrick" The Harvard Theological Review 89.3 (July 1996), pp. 287-301, traces Muichù's sources and his explicit parallels of Patrick with Moses, the bringer of rechte Litre, the "letter of the Law"; the adversary, King Lóegaire, takes the role of Pharaoh.
  28. ^ Annals of Ulster, AU 657.1: "Obitus ... Ultán moccu Conchobair."
  29. ^ De Paor, p. 154.
  30. ^ De Paor, pp. 175 & 177.
  31. ^ Their works are found in De Paor, pp. 154–174 & 175–197 respectively.
  32. ^ Charles-Edwards, pp. 224–226.
  33. ^ Ó Cróinín, pp. 30–33. Ramsay MacMullen's Christianizing the Roman Empire (Yale University Press, 1984) examines the better-recorded mechanics of conversion in the Empire, and forms the basis of Ó Cróinín's conclusions.
  34. ^ Charles-Edwards, pp. 416–417 & 429–440.
  35. ^ The relevant annals are reprinted in De Paor, pp. 117–130.
  36. ^ De Paor's conclusions at p. 135, the document itself is given at pp. 135–138.
  37. ^ Why Ireland Has No Snakes - National Zoo. Retrieved on 25 August 2006.
  38. ^ The Catholic Encyclopedia: Luke Wadding. Retrieved on 15 February 2007.
  39. ^ Ask a Franciscan: Saints Come From All Nations - March 2001 Issue of St. Anthony Messenger Magazine Online. Retrieved on 25 August 2006.
  40. ^ St Patrick the Bishop of Armagh and Enlightener of Ireland. Retrieved on 11 November 2007.
  41. ^ Orthodox Icon of St. Patrick of Ireland. Retrieved on 25 August 2006.

[edit] References

Wikisource has original works written by or about:
  • Brown, Peter, The Rise of Western Christianity. 2nd ed. Blackwell, Oxford, 2003. ISBN 0-631-22138-7
  • Byrne, Francis J., Irish Kings and High-Kings. Batsford, London, 1973. ISBN 0-7134-5882-8
  • Dark, Ken, Britain and the end of the Roman Empire. Tempus, Stroud, 2000. ISBN 0-7524-2532-3
  • De Paor, Liam, Saint Patrick's World: The Christian Culture of Ireland's Apostolic Age. Four Courts, Dublin, 1993. ISBN 1-85182-144-9
  • Duffy, Seán (ed.), Atlas of Irish History. Gill and Macmillan, Dublin, 1997. ISBN 0-7171-3093-2
  • Dumville, David, "The Death date of St. Patrick" in David Howlett (ed.), The Book of Letters of Saint Patrick the Bishop. Four Courts Press, Dublin, 1994. ISBN 1-85182-136-8
  • Fletcher, Richard, The Conversion of Europe: From Paganism to Christianity 371–1386 AD. Harper Collins, London, 1997. ISBN 0-00-686302-7
  • Hughes, Kathleen, Early Christian Ireland: Introduction to the Sources. Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1972. ISBN 0-340-16145-0
  • Moran, Patrick Francis Cardinal (1913). "St. Patrick". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  • MacQuarrie, Alan, The Saints of Scotland: Essays in Scottish Church History AD 450–1093. John Donald, Edinburgh, 1997. ISBN 0-85976-446-X
  • Ó Cróinín, Dáibhí, Early Medieval Ireland: 400–1200. Longman, London, 1995. ISBN 0-582-01565-0
  • O'Loughlin, Thomas, "Saint Patrick: The Man and his Works" S.P.C.K., London, 1999.
  • O'Rahilly, Thomas F., The Two Patricks: A Lecture on the History of Christianity in Fifth-Century Ireland. Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, Dublin, 1942.
  • Stancliffe, Claire (2004). "Patrick (fl. 5th cent.)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved on 2007-02-17.
  • Thomas, Charles, Christianity in Roman Britain to AD 500. Batsford, London, 1981. ISBN 0-7134-1442-1
  • Wood, Ian, The Missionary Life: Saints and the Evangelisation of Europe 400-1050. Longman, London, 2001. ISBN 0-582-31213-2
  • Yorke, Barbara, The Conversion of Britain: Religion, Politics and Society in Britain c.600–800. Longman, London, 2006. ISBN 0-582-77292-3

[edit] External links

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390AD "The Apostles' Creed" in communion with the 70-1070AD Millennium

The earliest known formulation of anything like what eventually came to be known around 390AD as the "Apostles' Creed" is the following:

(1) I believe in God the Father Almighty;
(2) And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;
(3) Who was born of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary;
(4) Crucified under Pontius Pilate and buried;
(5) The third day He rose again from the dead,
(6) He ascended into Heaven,
(7) Sitteth at the right hand of the Father,
(8) Whence He shall [future to 390AD] come to judge the living and the dead.
(9) And in the Holy Ghost,
(10) The Holy Church,
(11) The forgiveness of sins;
(12) The resurrection of the body.

This is a beautiful expression of faith. From the time of around 390AD, legend (Rufinus) would attribute it to Christ's Apostles. But the New Testament and Ante-Nicene church "fathers" are surprising silent about any such account attributing any creed to the Apostles save what they teach in the Holy Writ of the New Testament itself. Tertullian is the first to mention a kind of regula doctrinoe, ("Rule of Doctrine"), from around 200AD that shared some points, but point (8) was not one of them. (Tertullian then went on to embrace Montanism). What follows is what some consider to be among the earliest versions of this creed:

"Stop your ears, therefore, when anyone speaks to you at variance with Jesus Christ, who was descended from David, and was also of Mary; who was truly born, and did eat and drink. He was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate; He was truly crucified and [truly died], in the sight of beings in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth. He was also truly raised from the dead, His Father quickening Him, even as after the same manner His Father will so raise up us who believe in Him by Christ Jesus, apart from Whom we do not possess the true life." ~Ignatius of Antioch, around 107AD, Epistle to the Trallians, ix.

As with the aforementioned regula doctrinoe that Tertullian recommended, there is a notable lack from this 107AD statement by Ignatius anything resembling point (8) of the "Apostles' Creed." This suggests that point (8) of the "Apostles' Creed" was a later embellishment. Further, it is worthwhile to note that Ignatius mentions nothing here regarding the Lord's Return from Heaven. He is appears aloof from the alarm regarding Christ's Return that is found in the Apostles' writings throughout the New Testament. It should be acknowledged that Ignatius says nothing here that does not fit the 70-1070AD Millennium and the 70-1070AD Millennium teaches nothing contrary to this statement of faith of Ignatius. Ignatius' own writings show him very eager to complete his journey to martyrdom by reason of his belief in the prompt resurrection-glorification of martyrs to join the blessed & holy martyrs that already preceeded him to glory. This affirms the already commonly held belief that the Millennium of Revelation 20:4 began with the passing of the Apostles' generation, such belief the mainstream view throughout the 70-1070AD period, (the Middle Age).

Scriptures are easily found to provide basis for each of the 12 points listed in the "Apostle's Creed" printed previously above. This is logical since the creed consciously attempts to adopt the Scriptures' pre-70AD outlook as it paraphrases certain points of its message. Curiously unlike the New Testament of Christ's Apostles, however, is the notable lack of urgency regarding the Lord's Return within the "Apostles' Creed." The Gospel message of Jesus & His Apostles was consciously driven by the alarming anticipation of Jesus' Return. That alarm is curiously lacking from the "Apostles' Creed." Where is there here anything like Mat 24:34 & Mat 16:28 & Mark 13:30 & Luke 21:32, and a host of other alarms, LINK ?

(Why does post-70AD Christianity distance itself from the urgent alarm the New Testament associates with the Lord Jesus' Return as though, following the disappearance of the Apostles around 70AD, such alarm is an earmark of error associated with the wayward: from the ancient Montanists, Chiliasts, et al, to the modern Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, 7th Day Adventists and controversial Charismatics, et al?)

But if, indeed, "the Apostles' Creed" was composed by Christ's Apostles, as legend would have it, why does it fail to appear as part of the Bible, the Word of God? Why did not Christ's Apostles make sure to work it into their epistles? Why does the book of Acts neglect to record any collaborated effort by the 12 Apostles of the Lamb to formulate this creed? Why leave its appearance and explanation to legends arising centuries later?

And why have subsequent groups of churchmen felt so free to adapt, alter or embellish this creed, if indeed they thought it was from Christ's Apostles? They have never dared to do such with the Holy Writ. But history records notable variation and evolution of this creed over time amongst various Christian groups. And not one Church Council at any time has confirmed it, nor any other creed for that matter, to be a part of the Word of God, not once. Actions speak louder than legends, Christian actions louder than Christian legends: at no time have Christians regarded "The Apostles' Creed" as "The Word of God." The Bible alone has that deserved honor.

A copy similar to the "Apostles' Creed" was available at the time of the Council of Nicea in 325AD: why did they NOT confirm it then to be the Word of God alongside the Scriptures? The Council of Nicea's refusal to include this creed in the canon resoundingly expresses their lack of confidence that it was composed by Christ's Apostles. But they did formulate their own creed, the Nicene Creed, that largely copies this creed here although it, too, lacks the sense of urgency Jesus & His Apostles attached to the Lord's eagerly anticipated Return. What happened to satisfied the urgency of Christ's Return? What silenced the alarm? (Only the calm disconcern over the Lord Return of 3 John 1:11 offers any trustworthy hint: "Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God." "So, what happened??" is the question that arises when contrasted against the previous 1 John 3:2 "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears,[a]we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.").

Notwithstanding, there is only one word in the "Apostles' Creed" that some would construe as out of harmony with the 70-1070AD Millennium, the workd "shall" in line (8), "Whence He shall [future to 390AD] come to judge the living and the dead."  But the Scriptures teach from Revelation 20:4-6 that the Resurrection-Judgment of the rest of the dead was not expected until the end of the 1000 years. That event, Rev 20:5a, the Resurrection of Judgment of the Rest of the Dead, was still future when this form of the "Apostles' Creed" appeared around the late 4th century AD. Indeed, the "Apostles' Creed" was a a timely fit throughout the period of the 70-1070AD Millennium, especially since the vast, mainstream, majority of Christianity of the period believed themselves to be living during the 1000-year Millennium. That is, they were almost entirely convinced that the beginning of the 1000-year Millennium was already past to their time and the end of the 1000-year Millennium was yet future to their time, LINK. While ProphecyHistory.com affirms that Jesus Returned before His 30AD generation passed away, He could can still be seen seated at the right hand of Father and arising from there to judge the living and the dead among us as He wills, along with His glorified Saints, to which much of global, historic Christianity tacitly agrees, LINK. And 70-1070AD Millennialism also explains why the alarm associated with Jesus' Return has been satisfyingly quieted. My treatment of the Nicene Creed may be found at LINK. It must not be overlooked that virtually all the great Christian leaders and masses of the period also vigorously held to the conviction that the dead & glorified, blessed & holy Saints & Martyrs already ruled over the affairs of men since the time of their already accomplished glorifications, LINK - a clear evidence that they all believed themselves to be living within the period of the 1000 year Millennium of Revelation 20, LINK, as Augustine and his peers openly taught, LINK. Martin Luther, LINK, went on to affirm this as did John Lighfoot, LINK. It should be noted that these highly regarded Christian leaders represent vastly more than just themselves: they represent the masses of Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, who esteem their teachings.


Matthew 1:23 And they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, "God with us."
Revelation 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men!"


For anyone who wishes to adopt the "Apostles' Creed" as a boundary line over who is inside or outside the Church it should be noted the following: nowhere does this creed state belief that Jesus is the Word of God; nor that one must obey the New Testament or the Apostles. Nowhere does this creed even mention the Gospel or Scriptures; nor church membership; nor love of the brethren; nor bearing the fruit of the Spirit; nor a whole host of hallmarks of a true Christian as taught by the Word of God.

Simply put, it is ridiculous to condemn someone who:

  1. confesses the name of Jesus before men (Matt 10:32);
  2. confesses that Jesus is the Word of God who came in the flesh (John 1:1);
  3. confesses that Jesus the Son of God (1 John 4:15);
  4. believes Jesus is the Christ who came in the flesh, (1 John 4:2 & 1 John 5:1);
  5. confesses Jesus is Lord while believing in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 10:9);
  6. worships God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 2:23);
  7. abides in the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9);
  8. displays the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-24);
  9. obeys the Gospel of Paul (Rom 2:16 & Rom 16:25);
  10. values the Old Testament for godly instruction (2 Tim 3:15-17);
  11. loves all the saints & brethren, maintaining good standing & fellowship among the churches (Eph 1:15 & Col 1:4 & 1 John 3:14);
  12. yet understands God & Jesus to be present among us now judging the living and the dead among us, that line 8 of the "Apostles' Creed" has become a present reality, no longer relegated to Mankind's future. Wittingly or not, much of global, historic Christianity tacitly testifies to their agreement by their tenacious belief in the active power of resurrected-glorified Saints over the affairs of mortal men, LINK. In so doing, they tacitly affirm the conviction that the Millennium of Rev 20:4, with its First Resurrection, began before their own time.

Romans 8:31-39
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:
"For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

"The Apostles' Creed" ~Wikipedia

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostles%27_Creed

Apostles' Creed

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The Apostles' Creed (Latin: Symbolum Apostolorum or Symbolum Apostolicum), sometimes titled Symbol of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief, a creed or "symbol".[1] It is widely used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, most visibly by liturgical Churches of Western tradition, including the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, Lutheranism, the Anglican Communion, and Western Orthodoxy. It is also used by Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists and many Baptists.

The theological specifics of this creed appear to have been originally formulated as a refutation of Gnosticism, an early heresy. This can be seen in almost every phrase. For example, the creed states that Christ, Jesus, was born, suffered, and died on the cross. This seems to be a statement directly against the heretical teaching that Christ only appeared to become man and that he did not truly suffer and die but only appeared to do so. The Apostles' Creed, as well as other baptismal creeds, is esteemed as an example of the apostles' teachings and a defense of the Gospel of Christ.

The name of the Creed comes from the probably fifth-century legend that, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit after Pentecost, each of the Twelve Apostles dictated part of it.[2] It is still traditionally divided into twelve articles.

Because of its early origin, it does not address some Christological issues defined in the later Nicene and other Christian Creeds. This makes it acceptable to many Arians and Unitarians. It also does not address some current issues within Evangelical denominations such as the literal meaning of Genesis chapters 1 to 11, Replacement Theology, and approaches to Bible interpretation.



[edit] Origin of the Creed

Many hypotheses exist concerning the date and nature of the origin of the Apostles' Creed. It was apparently developed from what scholars have identified as "the Old Roman Symbol" of the 1st or 2nd century and influenced later by the Nicene Creed (325/381) [4]. Some historians place its origin of the Apostles' Creed as late as 5th century Gaul. The earliest known concrete historical evidence of the creed's existence as it is currently titled (Symbolum Apostolicum) is a letter of the Council of Milan. (390) to Pope Siricius (here in English):

"If you credit not the teachings of the priests . . . let credit at least be given to the Symbol of the Apostles which the Roman Church always preserves and maintains inviolate."

The earliest appearance of the present Latin text was in the De singulis libris canonicis scarapsus ("Excerpt from Individual Canonical Books") of St. Priminius (Migne, Patrologia Latina 89, 1029 ff.), written between 710-724 (J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Creeds, Longmans, Green & Co, 1972, pp. 398-434).

For more information on the origin of the Apostles' Creed, see the detailed discussion in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

[edit] Text of the Creed

Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae. Et in Iesum Christum, Filium Eius unicum, Dominum nostrum, qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine, passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus, descendit ad ínferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis, ascendit ad caelos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis, inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos. Credo in Spiritum Sanctum, sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, sanctorum communionem, remissionem peccatorum, carnis resurrectionem, vitam aeternam. Amen.

[edit] English translations

[edit] The Roman Catholic Church

The English version in the Catechism of the Catholic Church[5] maintains the traditional division of the Creed into twelve articles, presenting it as follows:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
born of the Virgin Mary.
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand
of God the Father Almighty.
From thence he shall come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

[edit] The Church of England

In the Church of England there are currently two authorized forms of the creed: that of the Book of Common Prayer (1662) and that of Common Worship (2000).[3]

Book of Common Prayer

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried,
He descended into heaven
The third day he rose again from the dead,
He ascended into heaven,
And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
The holy Catholick Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the life everlasting. Amen.

Common Worship

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

[edit] The Lutheran Church

The text of the Apostles' Creed used by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, a major Lutheran religious denomination:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Christian[4] Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.[5]

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States, uses the ELLC ecumenical version[6], with an annotation that "he descended into hell" instead of "he descended to the dead" is an optional reading. The ELLC version is also used in the Evangelical Lutheran Worship, which is commended for use by both the ELCA[7] and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.[8]

[edit] The United Methodist Church

The United Methodists commonly incorporate the Apostles' Creed into their worship services. The version which is most often used is located at #881 in the United Methodist Hymnal, one of their most popular hymnals and one with a heritage to John Wesley, founder of Methodism [6][7]. It is notable for omitting the line "he descended into hell", but is otherwise very similar to the Book of Common Prayer version. The 1989 Hymnal has both the traditional version and the 1988 ecumenical version (see below), which includes "he descended to the dead."

I believe in God the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord:
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

The United Methodist Hymnal also contains (at #882) what it terms the "Ecumenical Version" of this creed -- a version which is identical to that found in the Episcopal Church's current Book of Common Prayer. This form of the Apostles' Creed can be found incorporated into the Eucharistic and Baptismal Liturgies in the Hymnal and in The United Methodist Book of Worship, and hence it is growing in popularity and use.

[edit] Ecumenical version of the English Language Liturgical Consultation

The English Language Liturgical Consultation (ELLC) is an international ecumenical group whose primary purpose is to provide ecumenically accepted texts for those who use English in their liturgy. In 1988 it produced a translation of the Apostles' Creed, distinguished among other things by its avoidance of the word "his" in relation to God. The text is as follows:[8]

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

[edit] Liturgical use in Western Christianity

The liturgical communities in western Christianity that derive their rituals from the Roman Missal, including those particular communities which use the Roman Missal itself (Roman Catholics), the Book of Common Prayer (Anglicans / Episcopalians), the Lutheran Book of Worship (ELCA Lutherans), Lutheran Worship (Missouri-Synod Lutherans), use the Apostles' Creed and interrogative forms of it in their rites of Baptism, which they consider to be the first sacrament of initiation into the Church.

[edit] Roman Catholic Rite of Baptism

An interrogative form of the Apostles' Creed is used in the Rite of Baptism (for both children and adults). The minister of baptism asks the following questions (ICEL, 1974):

Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth?
Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?

To each question, the catechumen, or, in the case of an infant, the parents and sponsor(s) (godparent(s)) in his or her place, answers "I do." Then the celebrant says:

This is our faith. This is the faith of the Church. We are proud to profess it, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And all respond: Amen.

[edit] Roman Catholic Profession of Faith at Mass

The Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed is given first place in the text of the Roman Missal; but "the baptismal symbol of the Church of Rome, called the Apostles' Creed" may be used in its place, "especially in Lent and Eastertide" (Ordinary of the Mass, 19). The latter Creed is generally preferred also at Masses for children.

[edit] Church of England

The Apostles' Creed is used in the non-Eucharistic services of Mattins and Evening Prayer (Evensong). It is invoked after the recitation or singing of the Canticles, and it is the only part of the services in which the congregation is required to turn and face the High Altar, if they are seated transversely in the quire.

[edit] Episcopal Church (USA)

The Episcopal Church uses the Apostles' Creed as a Baptismal Covenant for those who are to receive the Rite of Baptism. Regardless of age, candidates are to be sponsored by parents and/or godparents. Youths able to understand the significance of the Rite may go through the ritual speaking for themselves. Younger children and infants rely on their sponsors to act upon their behalf.

1. The celebrant calls for the candidates for Baptism to be presented.

2. The catechumen or sponsors state their request for Baptism.

3a. If the catechumen is of age, the celebrant will ask him or her if he or she desires Baptism, which the catechumen will state he or she says "I do."

3b. If the candidate relies on sponsors, the celebrant asks them if they will raise the child in "the Christian faith and life" (ECUSA BCP), and will raise the child through "prayers and witness to grow into the full stature of Christ" to which the parents will state to each, "I will, with God's help."

4. A series of questions are then asked, to which the reply is always "I renounce them":

Do you renounce Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God?
Do you renounce the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God?
Do you renounce all sinful desires that draw you from the love of God?

5. The second half of the query is asked, to which the reply is always "I do":

Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Savior?
Do you put your whole trust in his grace and love?
Do you promise to follow and obey him as your Lord?

6. The Apostle's Creed is then recited, in which is divided into three parts; the celebrant asks whether they believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, to which the Creed is stated in its three divisions in respect to the Three Persons of the Trinity.

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  1. ^ Not in the sense that the word "symbol" has in modern English, but in the original meaning of the word, derived from "Latin symbolum, sign, token, from Greek σύμβολον, token for identification (by comparing with its counterpart), from συμβάλλειν, to throw together, compare" (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language).
  2. ^ James Orr: The Apostles' Creed, in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
  3. ^ Creeds and Authorized Affirmations of Faith
  4. ^ Since the 15th century German Lutherans have used "Christian" ("christlich" in German) in place of "catholic" ("catholica" in Latin) when confessing the Apostles' Creed. Cf. Theodore G. Tappert, ed. and trans. The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1959), 18, footnote 2; Cf. Der Große Katechismus of Martin Luther, and Deutsche Fassung, nach Luther.
  5. ^ Lutheran Service Book, (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2006), 159, 175, 192, 207; Lutheran Worship, (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1982), 142, 167, 186; The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has a slightly different text posted on their website[1], and the version used by the German Lutheran Trinity Church Melbourne is also slightly different.
  6. ^ The Apostles Creed from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Web site
  7. ^ [2]http://www.elca.org/worship/ELW/index.html
  8. ^ [3]http://www.worship.ca

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[edit] English translations

390AD "The Apostles' Creed"

From: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01629a.htm

Apostles' Creed

A formula containing in brief statements, or "articles," the fundamental tenets of Christian belief, and having for its authors, according to tradition, the Twelve Apostles.


Throughout the Middle Ages it was generally believed that the Apostles, on the day of Pentecost, while still under the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost, composed our present Creed between them, each of the Apostles contributing one of the twelve articles. This legend dates back to the sixth century (see Pseudo-Augustine in Migne, P.L., XXXIX, 2189, and Pirminius, ibid., LXXXIX, 1034), and it is foreshadowed still earlier in a sermon attributed to St. Ambrose (Migne, P.L., XVII, 671; Kattenbusch, I, 81), which takes notice that the Creed was "pieced together by twelve separate workmen". About the same date (c. 400) Rufinus (Migne, P.L., XXI, 337) gives a detailed account of the composition of the Creed, which account he professes to have received from earlier ages (tradunt majores nostri). Although he does not explicitly assign each article to the authorship of a separate Apostle, he states that it was the joint work of all, and implies that the deliberation took place on the day of Pentecost. Moreover, he declares that "they for many just reasons decided that this rule of faith should be called the Symbol", which Greek word he explains to mean both indicium, i.e. a token or password by which Christians might recognize each other, and collatio, that is to say an offering made up of separate contributions. A few years before this (c. 390), the letter addressed to Pope Siricius by the Council of Milan (Migne, P.L., XVI, 1213) supplies the earliest known instance of the combination Symbolum Apostolorum ("Creed of the Apostles") in these striking words: "If you credit not the teachings of the priests . . . let credit at least be given to the Symbol of the Apostles which the Roman Church always preserves and maintains inviolate." The word Symbolum in this sense, standing alone, meets us first about the middle of the third century in the correspondence of St. Cyprian and St. Firmilia, the latter in particular speaking of the Creed as the "Symbol of the Trinity", and recognizing it as an integral part of the rite of baptism (Migne, P.L., III, 1165, 1143). It should be added, moreover, that Kattenbusch (II, p. 80, note) believes that the same use of the words can be traced as far back as Tertullian. Still, in the first two centuries after Christ, though we often find mention of the Creed under other designations (e.g. regula fidei, doctrina, traditio), the name symbolum does not occur. Rufinus was therefore wrong when he declared that the Apostles themselves had "for many just reasons" selected this very term. This fact, joined with the intrinsic improbability of the story, and the surprising silence of the New Testament and of the Ante-Nicene fathers, leaves us no choice but to regard the circumstantial narrative of Rufinus as unhistorical.

Among recent critics, some have assigned to the Creed an origin much later than the Apostolic Age. Harnack, e.g., asserts that in its present form it represents only the baptismal confession of the Church of Southern Gaul, dating at earliest from the second half of the fifth century (Das apostolische Glaubensbekenntniss, 1892, p. 3). Strictly construed, the terms of this statement are accurate enough; though it seems probable that it was not in Gaul, but in Rome, that the Creed really assumed its final shape (see Burn in the "Journal of Theol. Studies", July, 1902). But the stress laid by Harnack on the lateness of our received text (T) is, to say the least, somewhat misleading. It is certain, as Harnack allows, that another and older form of the Creed (R) had come into existence, in Rome itself, before the middle of the second century. Moreover, as we shall see, the differences between R and T are not very important and it is also probable that R, if not itself drawn up by the Apostles, is at least based upon an outline which dates back to the Apostolic age. Thus, taking the document as a whole, we may say confidently, in the words of a modern Protestant authority, that "in and with our Creed we confess that which since the days of the Apostles has been the faith of united Christendom" (Zahn, Apostles' Creed, tr., p, 222). The question of the apostolicity of the Creed ought not to be dismissed without due attention being paid to the following five considerations:

(1) There are very suggestive traces in the New Testament of the recognition of a certain "form of doctrine" (typos didaches, Romans 6:17) which moulded, as it were, the faith of new converts to Christ's law, and which involved not only the word of faith believed in the heart, but "with the mouth confession made unto salvation" (Romans 10:8-10). In close connection with this we must recall the profession of faith in Jesus Christ exacted of the eunuch (Acts 8:37) as a preliminary to baptism (Augustine, "De Fide et Operibus", cap. ix; Migne, P.L., LVII, 205) and the formula of baptism itself in the name of the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity (Matthew 28:19; and cf. the Didache 7:2, and 9:5). Moreover, as soon as we begin to obtain any sort of detailed description of the ceremonial of baptism we find that, as a preliminary to the actual immersion, a profession of faith was exacted of the convert, which exhibits from the earliest times a clearly divided and separate confession of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, corresponding to the Divine Persons invoked in the formula of baptism. As we do not find in any earlier document the full form of the profession of faith, we cannot be sure that it is identical with our Creed, but, on the other hand, it is certain that nothing has yet been discovered which is inconsistent with such a supposition. See, for example, the "Canons of Hippolytus" (c. 220) or the "Didascalia" (c. 250) in Hahn's "Bibliothek der Symbole" (8, 14, 35); together with the slighter allusions in Justin Martyr and Cyprian.

(2) Whatever difficulties may be raised regarding the existence of the Disciplina Arcani in early times (Kattenbusch, II, 97 sqq.), there can be no question that in Cyril of Jerusalem, Hilary, Augustine, Leo, the Gelasian Sacramentary, and many other sources of the fourth and fifth centuries the idea is greatly insisted upon; that according to ancient tradition the Creed was to be learned by heart, and never to be consigned to writing. This undoubtedly provides a plausible explanation of the fact that in the case of no primitive creed is the text preserved to us complete or in a continuous form. What we know of these formulae in their earliest state is derived from what we can piece together from the quotations, more or less scattered, which are found in such writers, for example, as Irenaeus and Tertullian.

(3) Though no uniform type of Creed can be surely recognized among the earlier Eastern writers before the Council of Nicaea, an argument which has been considered by many to disprove the existence of any Apostolic formula, it is a striking fact that the Eastern Churches in the fourth century are found in possession of a Creed which reproduces with variations the old Roman type. This fact is full admitted by such Protestant authorities as Harnack (in Hauck's Realencyclopädie, I, 747) and Kattenbusch (I, 380 sq.; II, 194 sqq., and 737 sq.). It is obvious that these data would harmonize very well with the theory that a primitive Creed had been delivered to the Christian community of Rome, either by Sts. Peter and Paul themselves or by their immediate successors, and in the course of time had spread throughout the world.

(4) Furthermore note that towards the end of the second century we can extract from the writings of St. Irenæus in southern Gaul and of Tertullian in far-off Africa two almost complete Creeds (Transc. Note: hyperlink to Acreed2.gif) agreeing closely both with the old Roman Creed (R), as we know it from Rufinus, and with one another. It will be useful to translate from Burn (Introduction to the Creeds, pp. 50, 51) his tabular presentation of the evidence in the case of Tertullian. (Cf. MacDonald in "Ecclesiastical Review", February, 1903):


De Virg. Vel., 1 De Praecept., 13 and 26
(1) Believing in one God Almighty, maker of the world,(1) We believe one only God,(1) I believe in one God, maker of the world,
(2) and His Son, Jesus Christ,(2) and the son of God Jesus Christ,(2) the Word, called His Son, Jesus Christ,
(3) born of the Virgin Mary,(3) born of the Virgin,(3) by the Spirit and power of God the Father made flesh in Mary's womb, and born of her
(4) crucified under Pontius Pilate,(4) Him suffered died, and buried,(4) fastened to a cross.
(5) on the third day brought to life from the dead,(5) brought back to life,(5) He rose the third day,
(6) received in heaven,(6) taken again into heaven,(6) was caught up into heaven,
(7) sitting now at the right hand of the Father,(7) sits at the right hand of the Father,(7) set at the right hand of the Father,
(8) will come to judge the living and the dead(8) will come to judge the living and the dead(8) will come with glory to take the good into life eternal, and condemn the wicked to perpetual fire,
(9) who has sent from the Father the Holy Ghost.(9) sent the vicarious power of His Holy Spirit,
(10) to govern believers (In this passage articles 9 and 10 precede 8)
(12) through resurrection of the flesh. (12) restoration of the flesh.

Such a table serves admirably to show how incomplete is the evidence provided by mere quotations of the Creed, and how cautiously it must be dealt with. Had we possessed only the "De Virginibus Velandis", we might have said that the article concerning the Holy Ghost did not form part of Tertullian's Creed. Had the "De Virginibus Velandis" been destroyed, we should have declared that Tertullian knew nothing of the clause "suffered under Pontius Pilate". And so forth.

(5) It must not be forgotten that while no explicit statement of the composition of a formula of faith by the Apostles is forthcoming before the close of the fourth century, earlier Fathers such as Tertullian and St. Irenæus insist in a very emphatic way that the "rule of faith" is part of the apostolic tradition. Tertullian in particular in his "De Praescriptione", after showing that by this rule (regula doctrinoe) he understands something practically identical with our Creed, insists that the rule was instituted by Christ and delivered to us (tradita) as from Christ by the Apostles (Migne. P.L., II, 26, 27, 33, 50). As a conclusion from this evidence the present writer, agreeing on the whole with such authorities as Semeria and Batiffol that we cannot safely affirm the Apostolic composition of the Creed, considers at the same time that to deny the possibility of such origin is to go further than our data at present warrant. A more pronouncedly conservative view is urged by MacDonald in the "Ecclesiastical Review", January to July, 1903.


The Catechism of the Council of Trent apparently assumes the Apostolic origin of our existing Creed, but such a pronouncement has no dogmatic force and leaves opinion free. Modern apologists, in defending the claim to apostolicity, extend it only to the old Roman form (R), and are somewhat hampered by the objection that if R had been really held to be the inspired utterance of the Apostles, it would not have been modified at pleasure by various local churches (Rufinus, for example, testifies to such expansion in the case of the Church of Aquileia), and in particular would never have been entirely supplanted by T, our existing form. The difference between the two will best be seen by printing them side by side (Creeds R and T):

(1) I believe in God the Father Almighty;(1) I believe in God the Father Almighty Creator of Heaven and earth
(2) And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;(2) And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;
(3) Who was born of (de) the Holy Ghost and of (ex) the Virgin Mary;(3) Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,
(4) Crucified under Pontius Pilate and buried;(4) Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried;
(5) The third day He rose again from the dead,(5) He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead;
(6) He ascended into Heaven,(6) He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
(7) Sitteth at the right hand of the Father,(7) From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
(8) Whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.(8) I believe in the Holy Ghost,
(9) And in the Holy Ghost,(9) The Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints
(10) The Holy Church,(10) The forgiveness of sins,
(11) The forgiveness of sins;(11) The resurrection of the body, and
(12) The resurrection of the body.(12) life everlasting.

Neglecting minor points of difference, which indeed for their adequate discussion would require a study of the Latin text, we may note that R does not contain the clauses "Creator of heaven and earth", "descended into hell", "the communion of saints", "life everlasting", nor the words "conceived", "suffered", "died", and "Catholic". Many of these additions, but not quite all, were probably known to St. Jerome in Palestine (c. 380.--See Morin in Revue Benedictine, January, 1904) and about the same date to the Dalmatian, Niceta (Burn, Niceta of Remesiana, 1905). Further additions appear in the creeds of southern Gaul at the beginning of the next century, but T probably assumed its final shape in Rome itself some time before A.D. 700 (Burn, Introduction, 239; and Journal of Theol. Studies, July, 1902). We know nothing certain as to the reasons which led to the adoption of T in preference to R.


Although T really contains more than twelve articles, it has always been customary to maintain the twelvefold division which originated with, and more strictly applies to, R. A few of the more debated items call for some brief comment. The first article of R presents a difficulty. From the language of Tertullian it is contended that R originally omitted the word Father and added the word one; thus, "I believe in one God Almighty". Hence Zahn infers an underlying Greek original still partly surviving in the Nicene Creed, and holds that the first article of the Creed suffered modification to counteract the teachings of the Monarchian heresy. It must suffice to say here that although the original language of R may possibly be Greek, Zahn's premises regarding the wording of the first article are not accepted by such authorities as Kattenbusch and Harnack.

Another textual difficulty turns upon the inclusion of the word only in the second article; but a more serious question is raised by Harnack's refusal to recognize, either in the first or second article of R, any acknowledgment of a pre-existent or eternal relation of Sonship and Fatherhood of the Divine Persons. The Trinitarian theology of later ages, he declares, has read into the text a meaning which it did not possess for its framers. And he says, again, with regard to the ninth article, that the writer of the Creed did not conceive the Holy Ghost as a Person, but as a power and gift. "No proof can be shown that about the middle of the second century the Holy Ghost was believed in as a Person." It is impossible to do more here than direct the reader to such Catholic answers as those of Baumer and Blume; and among Anglicans to the very convenient volume of Swete. To quote but one illustration of early patristic teaching, St. Ignatius at the end of the first century repeatedly refers to a Sonship which lies beyond the limits of time: "Jesus Christ . . . came forth from one Father", "was with the Father before the world was" (Magn., 6 and 7). While, with regard to the Holy Ghost, St. Clement of Rome at a still earlier date writes: "As God lives, and the Lord Jesus Christ lives, and the Holy Spirit, the faith and hope of the elect" (cap. lviii). This and other like passages clearly indicate the consciousness of a distinction between God and the Spirit of God analogous to that recognized to exist between God and the Logos. A similar appeal to early writers must be made in connection with the third article, that affirming the Virgin Birth. Harnack admits that the words "conceived of the Holy Ghost" (T), really add nothing to the "born of the Holy Ghost" (R). He admits consequently that "at the beginning of the second century the belief in the miraculous conception had become an established part of Church tradition". But he denies that the doctrine formed part of the earliest Gospel preaching, and he thinks it consequently impossible that the article could have been formulated in the first century. We can only answer here that the burden of proof rests with him, and that the teaching of the Apostolic Fathers, as quoted by Swete and others, points to a very different conclusion.

Rufinus (c. 400) explicitly states that the words descended into hell were not in the Roman Creed, but existed in that of Aquileia. They are also in some Greek Creeds and in that of St. Jerome, lately recovered by Morin. It was no doubt a remembrance of I Peter, iii, 19, as interpreted by Irenaeus and others, which caused their insertion. The clause, "communion of saints", which appears first in Niceta and St. Jerome, should unquestionably be regarded as a mere expansion of the article "holy Church". Saints, as used here, originally meant no more than the living members of the Church (see the article by Morin in Revue d'histoire et de litterature ecclesiastique. May, 1904, and the monograph of J. P. Kirsch, Die Lehre von der Gemeinschaft der Heiligen, 1900). For the rest we can only note that the word "Catholic", which appears first in Niceta, is dealt with separately; and that "forgiveness of sins" is probably to be understood primarily of baptism and should be compared with the "one baptism for the forgiveness of sins" of the Nicene Creed.


As already indicated, we must turn to the ritual of Baptism for the most primitive and important use of the Apostles' Creed. It is highly probable that the Creed was originally nothing else than a profession of faith in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost of the baptismal formula. The fully developed ceremonial which we find in the seventh Roman Ordo, and the Gelasian Sacramentary, and which probably represented the practice of the fifth century, assigns a special day of "scrutiny", for the imparting of the Creed (traditio symboli), and another, immediately before the actual administration of the Sacrament, for the redditio symboli, when the neophyte gave proof of his proficiency by reciting the Creed aloud. An imposing address accompanied the traditio and in an important article, Dom de Puniet (Revue d'Histoire Ecclesiastique, October, 1904) has recently shown that this address is almost certainly the composition of St. Leo the Great. Further, three questions (interrogationes) were put to the candidate in the very act of baptism, which questions are themselves only a summary of the oldest form of the Creed. Both the recitation of the Creed and the questions are still retained in the Ordo baptizandi of our actual Roman ritual; while the Creed in an interrogative form appears also in the Baptismal Service of the Anglican "Book of Common Prayer". Outside of the administration of baptism the Apostles' Creed is recited daily in the Church, not only at the beginning of Matins and Prime and the end of Compline, but also ferially in the course of Prime and Compline. Many medieval synods enjoin that it must be learnt by all the faithful, and there is a great deal of evidence to show that, even in such countries as England and France, it was formerly learnt in Latin. As a result of this intimate association with the liturgy and teaching of the Church, the Apostles' Creed has always been held to have the authority of an ex cathedra utterance. It is commonly taught that all points of doctrine contained in it are part of the Catholic Faith, and cannot be called in question under pain of heresy (St. Thomas, Summa Theologica, II-II:1:9). Hence Catholics have generally been content to accept the Creed in the form, and in the sense, in which it has been authoritatively expounded by the living voice of the Church. For the Protestants who accept it only in so far as it represents the evangelical teaching of the Apostolic Age, it became a matter of supreme importance to investigate its original form and meaning. This explains the preponderating amount of research devoted to this subject by Protestant scholars as compared with the contributions of their Catholic rivals.

Publication information

Written by Herbert Thurston. Transcribed by Donald J. Boon. Dedicated to Jack and Kathy Graham, faithful friends in the Church Universal

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume I. Published 1907. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

"I believe in the Communion of the Saints" ~Apostles' Creed

See also: 70AD-ONGOING: The Raising up of the Saints, the Dead in Christ

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communion_of_Saints

Communion of Saints

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The Communion of Saints is the spiritual union of all Christians, the living and the dead on Earth, in heaven, and in purgatory. They share a single "mystical body", with Christ as the head, in which each member contributes to the good of all and shares in the welfare of all.

This doctrine is included in the Apostles' Creed, a major profession of the Christian faith from not long after the year 100, the basic statement of the Church's faith (William Barclay, The Plain Man Looks at the Apostles Creed, pages 10-12). Its current form was settled in the eighth century.

The doctrine of the Communion of Saints is based on 1 Corinthians 12, where Paul compares Christians to a single body.

The words translated into English as "saints" can refer to Christians, who, whatever their personal sanctity as individuals, are called holy because consecrated to God and Christ. This usage of the word "saints" is found some fifty times in the New Testament.

The Heidelberg Catechism defends this view, citing Romans 8:32, 1 Corinthians 6:17, and 1 John 1:3 to claim that all members of Christ have communion with Him, and are recipients of all His gifts.

The persons who are linked in this communion include those who have died and whom Hebrews 12:1 pictures as a cloud of witnesses encompassing Christians on earth. In the same chapter, Hebrews 12:22-23 says Christians on earth "have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect."

In Catholic terminology, the Communion of Saints is thus said to comprise the Church Militant (those alive on earth), the Church Penitent (those undergoing purification in Purgatory in preparation for heaven), and the Church Triumphant (those already in heaven). The damned are not among the Communion of Saints. The Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Church as well as the Anglican Church and the Assyrian Church of the East point to this doctrine in support of their practice of asking the intercession of the saints in heaven, whose prayers (cf. Revelation 5:8) are seen as helping their fellow Christians on earth. These same churches refer to this doctrine in support of the practice of praying for the dead.

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590-1073AD THE MISSIONARY PERIOD from Gregory I to Hildebrand (Gregory VII)

The missionary period from Gregory I. to Hildebrand or Gregory VII., A.D. 590-1073. The conversion of the northern barbarians. The dawn of a new civilization. The origin and progress of Islam. The separation of the West from the East.

723AD Thor's Tree cut down and made into a chapel

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donar_Oak


Boniface and the Donar Oak

In 723, the Anglo-Saxon missionary Saint Boniface, Apostle of the Germans, arrived in the area in his quest to convert the northern Germanic tribes to Christianity, using as his base the Frankish fortified settlement of Büraburg on the opposite side of the Eder river. He had just been in contact with Charles Martel, who had confirmed Frankish commitment to the mission in Thuringia and Hesse. With the military support of the Frankish empire (there was a base in Büraburg-Fritzlar), Boniface, in what was probably a well-planned and advertised action, had the oak felled to convey the superiority of the Christian God over Donar and the native Germanic religion.[3] The account in the first hagiography of Boniface, by Willibald, relates that the huge oak was felled by a great gust of wind, "as if by miracle" with Boniface only making one swing of the axe. When Donar did not respond by hurling a lightning bolt at him, the assembled local people agreed to be baptized.[4]

In Bonifacian iconography, the act is one of the most important symbols for the saint, and many prayer cards illustrate him with an axe, sometimes with his foot on the tree stump;[5] the scene as it was depicted, in all its pathos, by Willibald was a great example for historical paintings of the nineteenth century.[3]

Boniface used the wood of the oak to build a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter in Fritzlar. From this chapel originated a Benedictine monastery.[3][6]


See also


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Website of Fulda Bishopric for the Year of Boniface 2004