Book 6:2

Chapter XXI.–The Bishops that were well known at that Time.

1. After Antoninus [1939] had reigned seven years and six months,
Macrinus succeeded him. He held the government but a year, and was
succeeded by another Antoninus. During his first year the Roman bishop,
Zephyrinus, [1940] having held his office for eighteen years, died, and
Callistus [1941] received the episcopate.

2. He continued for five years, and was succeeded by Urbanus. [1942]
After this, Alexander became Roman emperor, Antoninus having reigned
but four years. [1943] At this time Philetus [1944] also succeeded
Asclepiades [1945] in the church of Antioch.

3. The mother of the emperor, Mammaea [1946] by name, was a most pious
woman, if there ever was one, and of religious life. When the fame of
Origen had extended everywhere and had come even to her ears, she
desired greatly to see the man, and above all things to make trial of
his celebrated understanding of divine things.

4. Staying for a time in Antioch, she sent for him with a military
escort. Having remained with her a while and shown her many things
which were for the glory of the Lord and of the excellence of the
divine teaching, he hastened back to his accustomed work.

[1939] i.e. Caracalla, who was slain on the 8th of April, 217. Four
days later, Marcus Opilius Macrinus, prefect of the praetorians, was
proclaimed emperor. After a reign of fourteen months, he was defeated
and succeeded by Varius Avitus Bassianus, a cousin of Caracalla, and
priest of the Phoenician Sun-god, from which fact is derived the name
by which he is commonly known,–Elagabalus, or Heliogabalus. Upon his
accession to the imperial power, he took the name Marcus Aurelius
Antoninus, which became his official designation.

[1940] On Zephyrinus, see Bk. V. chap. 28, note 5.

[1941] As shown in the next note, a comparison of our best sources
leads us to the year 222 as the date of the accession of Urban, and
consequently of the death of Callistus. A careful comparison of the
various sources, which differ in regard to the years of the several
episcopates of Victor, Zephyrinus, and Callistus, but agree as to the
sum of the three, leads to the result that Callistus was bishop for
five years, and therefore his accession is to be put into the year 217,
and the reign of Macrinus (see Lipsius, Chron. d. roem. Bischoefe, p.
171 sq.). This agrees, so far as the years of our era are concerned,
with the statement of Eusebius in this chapter; but he wrongly puts
Callistus’ accession into the first year of Alexander, which is a
result of an error of a year in his reckoning of the dates of the
emperors, which runs back to Pertinax (see Lipsius, p. 7 sq.). He does
not assign Callistus’ accession to the first year of Heliogabalus
because of a tradition connecting the two, but simply because his
reckoning of the lengths of the various episcopates, which were given
in the source used by him, led him to the year 217 for Callistus’
accession, and this, according to his erroneous table of the reigns of
the emperors, was the first year of Heliogabalus. We thus see that
Eusebius is in real, though not in apparent, agreement with the
Liberian catalogue in regard to the date of Callistus’ accession, which
may, therefore, be accepted as certain. Nothing was known about the
character and life of Callistus until the discovery of Hippolytus’
Philosophumena, or Refutation of All Heresies (see the next chapter,
note 1). In Bk. IX. of that work is given a detailed description of
him, from the pen of a very bitter opponent. At the same time, it can
hardly be doubted that at least the groundwork of the account is true.
According to Hippolytus, he was a slave; a dishonest banker, who was
punished for his dishonesty; the author of a riot in a Jewish
synagogue, who was sent as a criminal to the mines; finally, after
various other adventures, the right-hand man of the bishop Zephyrinus,
and after his death, his successor. According to Hippolytus, he was a
Patripassian, and he introduced much laxer methods of church discipline
than had hitherto been in vogue; so lax as greatly to scandalize
Hippolytus, who was a very rigid disciplinarian. Whatever truth there
may be in this highly sensational account (and we cannot doubt that it
is greatly overdrawn), it is at least certain that Callistus took the
liberal view of Christian morals and church discipline, over against
the stricter view represented by Hippolytus and his party. It was,
perhaps, owing to his popularity on this account that, after the death
of Zephyrinus, he secured the episcopacy of Rome, for which Hippolytus
was also a candidate. The latter tells us also that Zephyrinus ”set him
over the cemetery,”–a most interesting notice, as the largest catacomb
in Rome bears the name of St. Callistus, and may be the very one of
which Zephyrinus made him the superintendent.

[1942] Lipsius, in his Chron. d. roem. Bischoefe, p. 170 sq., shows
that the only fixed point for a calculation of the dates of Urban and
the three bishops preceding him, is the banishment by the Emperor
Maximinus of Pontianus to Sardinia, which took place, according to the
Liberian catalogue, while Severus and Quintinus were consuls; that is,
in the year 235. The duration of Pontianus’ episcopate is shown by a
comparison of the best sources to have been a little over five years
(see chap. 23, note 3). This brings us to the year 230 as the date of
Urban’s death. According to chap. 23, Urban was bishop eight years, and
with this the Liberian catalogue agrees, so that this figure is far
better supported than the figure nine given by the Chron. Accepting
eight years as the duration of Urban’s episcopate, we are brought back
to 222 as the date of his accession, which agrees with Eusebius’
statement in this chapter (see the previous note). There are extant
Acta S. Urbani, which are accepted as genuine by the Bollandists, and
assigned to the second century, but they cannot have been written
before the fifth, and are historically quite worthless. For a good
discussion of his supposed connection with St. Cecilia, which has
played such an important part in ecclesiastical legend, see the article
Urbanus in the Dict. of Christ. Biog. We have no certain knowledge of
his life and character.

[1943] Elagabalus was slain in March, 222, after a reign of three years
and nine months, and was succeeded by his cousin, Alexianus Bassianus,
who assumed the names Marcus Aurelius Alexander Severus, by the last
two of which he is commonly known.

[1944] Philetus, according to the Chron. (Armenian), became bishop in
the sixth year of Caracalla (216), and was succeeded by Zebinus in the
sixth year of Alexander Severus (227). Jerome puts his accession into
the reign of Macrinus (217-218), and the accession of Zebinus into the
seventh year of Alexander (228). The accession of Zebinus must have
taken place at least as early as 231 (see chap. 23, note 4), and there
remains therefore no reason to doubt the approximate accuracy of the
latter dates. If the dates given for Philetus’ accession (216-218) be
approximately correct, we must understand the words ”at this time” of
the present chapter, to refer back to the reign of Macrinus, or the
accession of Alexander Severus, mentioned at the beginning of this
chapter. This does not seem natural, but we cannot say it is
impossible. Knowing the unreliability of the dates given in the Chron.,
we are compelled to leave the matter undecided. He is called by the
Armen. Philip, by Syncellus philetos e philippos. The latter assigns
him an episcopate of eight years, which agrees with none of the figures
given by the two versions of the Chronicle or by the History. We know
nothing about the person or the life of Philetus.

[1945] On Asclepiades, see chap. 11, note 6.

[1946] Julia Mamaea or Mammaea (Eusebius, Mammaia) was the niece of
Septimius Severus’ wife Julia Domna, the aunt of the Emperor
Elagabalus, and the mother of the Emperor Alexander Severus, by the
Syrian Gessius Marcianus. She accompanied Elagabalus to Rome, and had
strength of character enough to protect her son from the jealousy of
the latter, and to keep him comparatively pure from the vice and
debauchery of the court. During the reign of her son she exerted great
influence, which was in the main highly beneficial; but her pride and
avarice finally proved fatal, both to her son and to herself. Her
character seems to have been in the main pure and elevated; and she was
apparently inclined to the same sort of religious syncretism which led
her son to adopt many Christian principles of action, and to put the
busts of Abraham and of Christ, with those of Orpheus, Apollonius of
Tyana, and the best of the Roman emperors, in his private chapel (see
Lampridius, Vita Sev. c. 29, 43). Eusebius calls Mammaea
theosebestEURte and eulabes, and Jerome calls her a religiosa femina
(de vir. ill. c. 54); but there is no evidence that she was a
Christian. The date of Origen’s interview with her has been greatly
disputed. Huet and Redepenning, accepting the order of events recorded
in this chapter as chronological, put the interview in the early years
of Alexander Severus, Redepenning assuming an otherwise unrecorded
visit of Mammaea to Antioch, Huet connecting her visit there with the
Persian expedition of Alexander. Huet assumes, upon the authority of
Jerome’s Chron., that the Persian expedition took place in the early
part of Alexander’s reign; but this is against all other ancient
authorities, and must be incorrect (see Tillemont, Mem. III. 763 sq.).
The only occasions known to us, on which Mammaea can have been in
Antioch, were this expedition of her son (between 230 and 233) and the
visit of her nephew Elagabalus to Antioch, after his victory over
Macrinus in 218. At both these times Origen was quite probably in
Caesarea (see chap. 19, note 23, and p. 392, below), whence it is more
natural to suppose him summoned than from Alexandria. If we put the
interview in 218, we must suppose (as Tillemont suggests) that Eusebius
is led by his mention of Alexander to give this account of his mother,
and that he does not intend to imply that the interview took place
after Alexander’s accession. There is nothing at all improbable in
this. In fact, it seems more likely that he would mention the interview
in connection with Alexander than in connection with Elagabalus, in
spite of chronology. On the other hand, it is not impossible that the
interview took place subsequently to the year 231, for Origen’s fame
was certainly by that time much greater in Syria than fifteen years
previous. At the same time, to accept this date disarranges seriously
the chronological order of the account of Eusebius, for in chap. 24 we
are told of those works which Origen wrote while yet in Alexandria;
that is, before 231. Moreover, there is not the same reason for
inserting this account of Mammaea at this point, if it occurred later
in Alexander’s reign, that there is if it occurred in the reign of
Elagabalus. We shall, therefore, do best to accept the earlier date
with Tillemont, Westcott, and others.

Chapter XXII.–The Works of Hippolytus which have reached us.

1. At that time Hippolytus, [1947] besides many other treatises, wrote
a work on the passover. [1948] He gives in this a chronological table,
and presents a certain paschal canon of sixteen years, bringing the
time down to the first year of the Emperor Alexander.

2. Of his other writings the following have reached us: On the
Hexaemeron, [1949] On the Works after the Hexaemeron, [1950] Against
Marcion, [1951] On the Song of Songs, [1952] On Portions of Ezekiel,
[1953] On the Passover, [1954] Against All the Heresies; [1955] and you
can find many other works preserved by many.

[1947] Hippolytus (mentioned above in chap. 20) was one of the most
learned men and celebrated writers of his age, and yet his personal
history is involved in the deepest obscurity. The earliest mention of
him is by Eusebius in this passage and in chap. 20, above. But Eusebius
tells us there only that he was a bishop of ”some other church”
(heteras pou ekklesias), and Jerome (de vir. ill. c. 61) says that he
was a bishop of some church whose name he did not know (Hippolytus,
cujusdam Ecclesiae episcopus, nomen quippe urbis scire non potui). In
the East, from the fourth century on, Hippolytus was commonly called
bishop of Rome, but the Western tradition makes him simply a presbyter.
The late tradition that he was bishop of Portus Romanus is quite
worthless. We learn from his Philosophumena, or Refutation of Heresies,
that he was active in Rome in the time of Zephyrinus and Callistus; but
what is significant is the fact that he never recognizes Callistus as
bishop of Rome, but always treats him as the head of a school opposed
to the orthodox Church. This has given scholars the clue for
reconciling the conflicting traditions about his position and his
church. It seems probable that he was a presbyter of the church of
Rome, and was at the head of a party which did not recognize Callistus
as lawful bishop, but set Hippolytus up as opposition bishop. This
explains why Hippolytus calls himself a bishop, and at the same time
recognizes neither Callistus nor any one else as bishop of Rome. The
Western Church therefore preserved the tradition of Hippolytus only as
a presbyter, while in the Orient, where Hippolytus was known only
through his works, the tradition that he was a bishop (a fact directly
stated in those works; see the preface to his Philosophumena) always
prevailed; and since he was known to have resided in Rome, that city
was made by tradition his see. The schism, which has left no trace in
the writings either of the Western or Eastern Church, cannot have been
a serious one. Doubtless Callistus had the support of by far the larger
part of the Church, and the opposition of Hippolytus never amounted to
more than talk, and was never strong enough to enlist, or perhaps even
attempt to enlist, the support of foreign bishops. Callistus and the
body of the Church could afford to leave it unnoticed; and after
Callistus’ death Hippolytus undoubtedly returned to the Church and was
gladly received, and the memory of his brief schism entirely effaced,
while the knowledge of his orthodoxy, and of his great services to the
Church as a theologian and a writer, kept his name in high repute with
subsequent generations. A Latin translation of a Chronicle written by
Hippolytus is extant, and the last event recorded in it is the death of
the Emperor Alexander, which took place early in the year 235. The
Liberian catalogue, in an entry which Lipsius (Chron. d. roem.
Bischoefe, p. 194) pronounces critically indisputable, records that, in
the year 235, the bishop Pontianus and the presbyter Hippolytus were
transported as exiles to the island of Sardinia. There is little doubt
that this is the Hippolytus with whom we are concerned, and it is
highly probable that both he and Pontianus died in the mines there, and
thus gained the title of martyrs; for not only is the account of
Hippolytus’ martyrdom given by Prudentius in the fifth century not
reliable, but also in the depositio martyrum of the Liberian catalogue
the bodies of Pontianus and Hippolytus are said to have been buried in
Rome on the same day; and it is therefore natural to think that
Hippolytus’ body was brought from Sardinia, as we know Pontianus’ was.
The character of Hippolytus, as revealed to us in the Philosophumena,
is that of a strictly, even rigidly, moral man, of a puritanic
disposition, who believed in drawing the reins very tight, and allowing
to the members of the Christian Church no license. He was in this
directly opposed to Callistus, who was a lax disciplinarian, and
favored the readmission to the Church even of the worst offenders upon
evidence of repentance and suitable penance (see the previous chapter,
note 3). We are reminded greatly of Tertullian and of Novatian in
studying Hippolytus’ character. He was, moreover, strictly orthodox and
bitterly opposed to what he considered the patripassianism of
Zephyrinus and of Callistus. He must be admired as a thoroughly
independent, sternly moral, and rigidly orthodox man; while at the same
time it must be recognized that he was irascible, bitter, and in some
respects narrow and bigoted. He is known to have been a very prolific
writer, composing all his works in Greek. Eusebius mentions but eight
works in this chapter, but says that many others were extant in his
day. Jerome, who in the present instance has other sources of
information than Eusebius’ History, mentions some nineteen works (de
vir. ill. c. 61), including all of those named by Eusebius, except the
commentary on portions of Ezekiel and the work on the Events which
followed the Hexaemeron (but see note 4, below). In the year 1551 a
statue representing a venerable man sitting in a chair, and with an
inscription upon it enumerating the writings of the person
commemorated, was found near the church of San Lorenzo, just outside of
Rome. The statue, though it bears no name, has been shown to be that of
Hippolytus; and with the help of the list given upon it (which contains
some thirteen works), together with some extant fragments of writings
which seem to have been composed by him, the titles known to us have
been increased to about forty, the greater part of which are entirely
lost. We cannot discuss these works here. For the most complete list of
Hippolytus’ writings the reader is referred to Caspari’s Taufsymbol und
Glaubensregel, III. 377 sq., or to the more accessible article by
Salmon in the Dict. of Christ. Biog. In 1842 was discovered the greater
part of a work in ten books directed against heresies, the first book
of which had been long before published by the Benedictines among
Origen’s works with the title of Philosophumena. This discovery caused
great discussion, but it has been proved to the complete satisfaction
of almost every scholar that it is a work of Hippolytus (cf., among
other discussions, Doellinger’s Hippolytus und Callistus, translated by
Plummer, and the article in the Dict. of Christ. Biog. already referred
to). The work was published at Oxford in 1851 by Miller (who, however,
wrongly ascribed it to Origen), and at Goettingen, in 1859, by Duncker
and Schneidewin. It is given also by Migne; and an English translation
is found in the Ante-Nicene Fathers (Amer. ed.), Vol. V., under the
title the Refutation of All Heresies.

[1948] This chronological work on the passover, which contained a cycle
for the purpose of determining the date of the festival, is mentioned
also by Jerome, and is given in the list on the statue, on which the
cycle itself is also engraved. Jerome says that this work was the
occasion of Eusebius’ work upon the same subject in which a
nineteen-year cycle was substituted for that of Hippolytus. The latter
was a sixteen-year cycle and was formed by putting together two of the
eight-year cycles of the Greek astronomers,–according to whose
calculation the full moon fell on the same day of the month once in
eight years,–in order to exhibit also the day of the week on which it
fell; for he noticed that after sixteen years the full moon moved one
day backward (if on Saturday at the beginning of the cycle, it fell on
Friday after the sixteen years were past). He therefore put together
seven sixteen-year cycles, assuming that after they had passed the full
moon would return again to the same day of the week, as well as month.
This cycle is astronomically incorrect, the fact being that after
sixteen years the full moon falls not on the same day of the week, but
three days later. Hippolytus, however, was not aware of this, and
published his cycle in perfect good faith. The work referred to seems
to have contained an explanation of the cycle, together with a
computation by means of it of the dates of the Old and New Testament
passovers. It is no longer extant, but the cycle itself, which was the
chief thing, is preserved on the statue, evidently in the form in which
it was drawn up by Hippolytus himself.

[1949] This treatise on the Hexaemeron, or six days’ work, is mentioned
also by Jerome, but is not in the list on the statue. It is no longer
extant; but according to Jerome (Ep. ad Pammachium et Oceanum, c. 7;
Migne’s ed. Ep. 84), was used by Ambrose in the composition of his own
work upon the same subject, which is still preserved (cf. also Bk. V.
chap. 27, note 3, above).

[1950] Greek, eis ta meta ten exaemeron. This work is not given in the
list on the statue. It is mentioned in some of the mss. of Jerome under
the form et post Hexaemeron; but the best mss. omit these words, and
substitute for them et in Exodum, a work which is not mentioned by any
other authority. Jerome mentions also a commentary in Genesim, which we
hear of from no other source, and which may be identical with this work
mentioned by Eusebius. If the two be identical (which is quite
possible), the nature of the work is plain enough. Otherwise we are
left wholly to conjecture. No fragments of the work have been

[1951] This work is mentioned also by Jerome, but is not in the list on
the statue. The last work, however, mentioned in that list bears the
title peri tagathou kai pothen to kakon, which, it has been
conjectured, may be identical with Eusebius and Jerome’s Contra
Marcionem. No fragments are extant.

[1952] Eusebius has simply to asma (The Song), which is the title given
to the book in the LXX. This commentary on the Song of Songs is
mentioned also by Jerome, but is not in the statue list. Four fragments
of it are given by Lagarde, in his edition of the works of Hippolytus.

[1953] This commentary on portions of Ezekiel is mentioned by no one
else. A supposed fragment of it is given by Lagarde, Anal. Syr., p. 90.

[1954] Jerome agrees with Eusebius in mentioning a work On the
Passover, in addition to the chronological one already referred to. The
list on the statue, however, mentions but one work on the passover, and
that the one containing the paschal cycle. Fragments are extant of
Hippolytus’ work On the Passover,–one from his exegesis eis to
pEURscha (see Lagarde’s edition of Hippolytus p. 213), and another from
”the first book of the treatise on the holy paschal feast” (tou peri
tou hagiou pEURscha sungrEURmmatos, Lagarde, p. 92). These fragments
are of a dogmatic character, and can hardly have occurred in the
chronological work, except in a separate section or book; but the last
is taken from ”the first book” of the treatise, and hence we are safe
in concluding that Eusebius and Jerome are correct in enumerating two
separate works upon the same subject,–the one chronological, the other
dogmatic, or polemical.

[1955] This work, Against All the Heresies, is mentioned both by
Eusebius (pros hapEURsas tas haireseis) Jerome (adv. omnes haereses),
but is not given in the list on the statue. Quite a full account of it
is given from personal knowledge by Photius (Cod. 121), who calls it a
small book (biblidEURrion) directed against thirty-two heresies,
beginning with the Dositheans and ending with Noetus, and says that it
purported to be an abstract of lectures delivered by Irenaeus. The work
is no longer extant (it must not be confounded with the Philosophumena,
or Refutatio, mentioned in note 1), but it has been in part restored by
Lipsius (in his Quellenkritik des Epiphanius) from the anti-heretical
works of Pseudo-Tertullian, Epiphanius, and Philaster. There is in
existence also a fragment of considerable length, bearing in the ms.
the title Homily of Hippolytus against the Heresy of one Noetus. It is
apparently not a homily, but the conclusion of a treatise against a
number of heresies. It was suggested by Fabricius (who first published
the original Greek) that it constituted the closing chapter of the work
against the thirty-two heresies. The chief objection to this is that if
this fragment forms but one of thirty-two chapters, the entire work can
hardly have been called a ”little book” by Photius. Lipsius suggests
that the little book of which Photius speaks was not the complete work
of Hippolytus, but only an abbreviated summary of its contents, and
this is quite possible. At any rate it seems probable, in spite of the
objections which have been urged by some critics, that this constituted
a part of the larger work, and hence we have one chapter of that work
preserved. The work seems to have been composed in Rome and during the
episcopate of Victor (as Lipsius holds), or, as is more probable, in
the early part of the episcopate of Zephyrinus (as is maintained by
Harnack). This conclusion is drawn from the dates of the heretics
mentioned in the work, some of whom were as late as Victor, but none of
them later than the early years of Zephyrinus. It must, too, have been
composed some years before the Philosophumena, which (in the preface)
refers to a work against heresies, written by its author a ”long time
before” (pEURlai). Upon this work and its relation to the lost Syntagma
of Justin Martyr, which Lipsius supposes it to have made use of, see
his work already referred to and also his Quellen der aeltesten
Ketzergeschichte together with Harnack’s Quellenkritik der Gesch. des
Gnosticismus, and his article in the Zeitschrift fuer historische
Theologie, 1874, p. 143-226.

Chapter XXIII.–Origen’s Zeal and his Elevation to the Presbyterate.

1. At that time Origen began his commentaries on the Divine Scriptures,
being urged thereto by Ambrose, [1956] who employed innumerable
incentives, not only exhorting him by word, but also furnishing
abundant means.

2. For he dictated to more than seven amanuenses, who relieved each
other at appointed times. And he employed no fewer copyists, besides
girls who were skilled in elegant writing. For all these Ambrose
furnished the necessary expense in abundance, manifesting himself an
inexpressible earnestness in diligence and zeal for the divine oracles,
by which he especially pressed him on to the preparation of his

3. While these things were in progress, Urbanus, [1957] who had been
for eight years bishop of the Roman church, was succeeded by Pontianus,
[1958] and Zebinus [1959] succeeded Philetus [1960] in Antioch.

4. At this time Origen was sent to Greece on account of a pressing
necessity in connection with ecclesiastical affairs, [1961] and went
through Palestine, and was ordained as presbyter in Caesarea by the
bishops of that country. The matters that were agitated concerning him
on this account, and the decisions on these matters by those who
presided over the churches, besides the other works concerning the
divine word which he published while in his prime, demand a separate
treatise. We have written of them to some extent in the second book of
the Defense which we have composed in his behalf. [1962]

[1956] On Ambrose and his relation to Origen, see chap. 18, note 1.

[1957] On Urbanus, bishop of Rome, see chap. 21, note 4.

[1958] For the dates of the first group of Roman bishops, from Peter to
Urbanus, the best source we have is Eusebius’Church History; but for
the second group, from Pontianus to Liberius, the notices of the
History are very unreliable, while the Liberian catalogue rests upon
very trustworthy data (see Lipsius, Chron. d. roem. Bischoefe, p. 39
and p. 142 sq.). We must therefore turn to the latter for the most
accurate information in regard to the remaining Roman bishops mentioned
by Eusebius, although an occasional mistake in the catalogue must be
corrected by our other sources, as Lipsius points out. The notice of
Eusebius at this point would throw the accession of Pontianus into the
year 231, but this is a year too late, as seen in chap. 21, note 4.
According to chap. 29, he was bishop six years, and was succeeded by
Anteros at about the same time that Gordian became emperor; that is, in
238. But this is wide of the truth. The Liberian catalogue, which is
supported by the best of the other sources, gives a little over five
years for his episcopate, and puts his banishment to Sardinia, with
which his episcopate ended, on the 28th of September, 235. According to
the Felician catalogue, which may be trusted at this point, he was
brought to Rome and buried there during the episcopate of Fabian, which
began in 236 (see also the preceding chapter, note 1). We know nothing
about the life and character of Pontianus.

[1959] The notices of the Chronicle in connection with Zebinus are
especially unreliable. The Armen. puts his accession into the sixth
(227), Jerome into the seventh year of Alexander (228). Jerome makes no
attempt to fix the date of his death, while the Armen. puts it in the
first year of Gallus (251-252). Syncellus assigns him but six years. In
the midst of such confusion we are obliged to rely solely upon the
History. The only reliable data we have are Origen’s ordination to the
priesthood, which took place in 231 (see below, p. 392) and apparently,
according to this chapter, while Zebinus was bishop of Antioch. If
Eusebius is correct in this synchronization, Zebinus became bishop
before 231, and therefore the statements of the Chron. as to his
accession may be approximately correct. As to the time of his death, we
know that his successor, Babylas, died in the Decian persecution (see
chap. 39), and hence Zebinus must have died some years before that. In
chap. 29, Eusebius puts his death in the reign of Gordian (238-244),
and this may be accepted as at least approximately correct, for we have
reason to think that Babylas was already bishop in the time of Philip
(see chap. 29, note 8). This proves the utter incorrectness of the
notice of the Armen. We know nothing about the person and life of
Zebinus. Harnack concludes from his name that he was a Syrian by birth.
Most of the mss. of Eusebius give his name as Zebinos; one ms. and
Nicephorus, as Zebenos; Syncellus as Zebennos; Rufinus, Jerome, and the
Armen. as Zebennus.

[1960] On Philetus, see chap. 21, note 6.

[1961] See the note on p. 395, below.

[1962] Eusebius refers here to the Defense of Origen, composed by
himself and Pamphilus, which is unfortunately now lost (see above,
chap. 2, note 1, and the Prolegomena, p. 36 sq.).

Chapter XXIV.–The Commentaries which he prepared at Alexandria.

1. It may be well to add that in the sixth book of his exposition of
the Gospel of John [1963] he states that he prepared the first five
while in Alexandria. Of his work on the entire Gospel only twenty-two
volumes have come down to us.

2. In the ninth of those on Genesis, [1964] of which there are twelve
in all, he states that not only the preceding eight had been composed
at Alexandria, but also those on the first twenty-five Psalms [1965]
and on Lamentations. [1966] Of these last five volumes have reached us.

3. In them he mentions also his books On the Resurrection, [1967] of
which there are two. He wrote also the books De Principiis [1968]
before leaving Alexandria; and the discourses entitled Stromata, [1969]
ten in number, he composed in the same city during the reign of
Alexander, as the notes by his own hand preceding the volumes indicate.

[1963] Origen’s commentary upon the Gospel of John was the ”first
fruits of his labors at Alexandria,” as he informs us in Tom. I. S:4.
It must have been commenced, therefore, soon after he formed the
connection with Ambrose mentioned in the previous chapter, and that it
was one of the fruits of this connection is proved by the way in which
Ambrose is addressed in the commentary itself (Tom. I. S:3). The date
at which the work was begun cannot be determined; but if Eusebius
follows the chronological order of events, it cannot have been before
218 (see chap. 21, note 8). Eusebius speaks as if Origen had expounded
the entire Gospel (tes d’ eis to pan euangelion auto de touto
pragmateias), but Jerome, in his catalogue of Origen’s works given in
his epistle to Paula (in a fragmentary form in Migne’s ed., Ep. 33,
complete in the Zeitschrift fuer Hist. Theol. 1851, p. 75 sq.), reports
that the commentary consisted of thirty-two books and some notes (cf.
his prologue to his translation of Origen’s homilies on Luke, Migne’s
ed., VII. 219), and Rufinus likewise (Apol. II. 22) speaks of
thirty-two books only. But in the thirty-second book, which is still
extant, Origen discusses the thirteenth chapter of John, and does not
promise to continue the commentary, as he does at the close of some of
the other books. We may therefore conclude that Eusebius’ rather
indefinite statement (which was probably not based upon personal
knowledge, for he says that he had seen only twenty-two books), is
incorrect, and that the commentary extended no further than the
thirteenth chapter. We learn from the preface to the sixth book that
the first five were composed while the author was still in Alexandria,
the remaining books after his removal to Caesarea, and at least part of
them after the persecution of Maximinus (235-238), to which reference
was made in the twenty-second book, according to Eusebius, chap. 28,
below. There are still extant Books I., II., VI., X., XIII., XX.,
XXVIII., XXXII., small fragments of IV. and V., and the greater part of
XIX. (printed in Lommatzsch’s ed., Vols. I and II.). The production of
this commentary marked an epoch in the history of theological thought,
and it remains in many respects the most important of Origen’s
exegetical works. It is full of original and suggestive thought, and
reveals Origen’s genius perhaps in the clearest and best light, though
the exegesis is everywhere marred by the allegorizing method and by
neglect of the grammatical and historical sense.

[1964] Of the commentary on Genesis, only some fragments from the first
and third books are extant, together with some extracts (eklogai), and
seventeen homilies (nearly complete) in the Latin translation of
Rufinus (see Lommatzsch’s ed., Vol. VIII.). Eight of the books,
Eusebius tells us, were written in Alexandria, and they must, of
course, have been begun after the commencement of the commentary on
John. Jerome (according to Rufinus, Apol. II. 20) gave the number of
the book as thirteen (though in his catalogue mentioned in the previous
note, he speaks of fourteen), and said that the thirteenth discussed
Gen. iv. 15; and in his Contra Cels. VI. 49 Origen speaks of his work
upon Genesis ”from the beginning of the book up to” V. 1. We may
therefore conclude that the commentary covered only the early chapters
of Genesis. The homilies, however, discuss brief passages taken from
various parts of the book.

[1965] Origen’s writings on the Psalms comprised a complete commentary
(cf. Jerome’s Ep. ad Augustinum, S:20; Migne’s ed.; Ep. 112), brief
notes (”quod Enchiridion ille vocabat,” see Migne’s edition of Jerome’s
works, Vol. VIII. 821, and compare the entire Breviarium in Psalmos
which follows, and which doubtless contains much of Origen’s work; see
Smith and Wace, IV. p. 108) and homilies. Of these there are still
extant numerous fragments in Greek, and nine complete homilies in the
Latin version of Rufinus (printed by Lommatzsch in Vols. XI.-XIII.).
The catalogue of Jerome mentions forty-six books of notes on the Psalms
and 118 homilies. The commentary on the 26th and following Psalms seem
to have been written after leaving Alexandria (to judge from Eusebius’
statement here).

[1966] There are extant some extracts (eklogai) of Origen’s expositions
of the book of Lamentations, which are printed by Lommatzsch, XIII.
167-218. They are probably from the commentary which Eusebius tells us
was written before Origen left Alexandria, and five books of which were
extant in his time. The catalogue of Jerome also mentions five books.

[1967] Jerome (in the catalogue and in the passage quoted by Rufinus,
Apol. II. 20) mentions two books and two dialogues on the Resurrection
(De Resurrectione libros duos. Et alios de Resurrectione dialogos
duos). Whether the dialogues formed an independent work we do not know.
We hear of them from no other source. The work was bitterly attacked by
Methodius, but there are no traces of heresy in the extant fragments.

[1968] Of Origen’s De Principiis (peri archon), which was written
before he left Alexandria, there are still extant some fragments in
Greek, together with brief portions of a translation by Jerome (in his
epistle to Avitus; Migne’s ed.; Ep. 124), and a complete but greatly
altered translation by Rufinus. The latter, together with the extant
fragments, is printed by Lommatzsch, Vol. XXI.; and also separately by
Redepenning (Lips. 1836); Engl. trans. by Crombie, in the Ante-Nicene
Fathers. The work is the most important of all Origen’s writings, and
from it we gather our fullest knowledge as to his opinions,
philosophical and theological; though unfortunately Rufinus’
alterations have made it doubtful in many cases what Origen’s original
meaning was. The work constitutes the first attempt to form a system of
Christian doctrine. It contains a great many peculiar, often startling
errors, and was the chief source of the attacks made upon Origen for
heterodoxy; and yet the author’s object was only to set forth the
doctrines accepted by the Church, and to show how they could be
systematized by the aid of Scripture or of reason. He did not intend to
bring forward doctrines inconsistent with the received faith of the
Church. The work consists of four books. To quote from Westcott: ”The
composition is not strictly methodical. Digressions and repetitions
interfere with the symmetry of the plan. But to speak generally, the
first book deals with God and creation (religious statics); the second
and third books with creation and providence, with man and redemption
(religious dynamics); and the fourth book with Holy Scripture.”
Intellectually the work is of a very high order, abounding in deep and
original thought as well as in grand and lofty sentiments.

[1969] In his catalogue, Jerome gives among the commentaries on the Old
Testament the simple title Stromatum, without any description of the
work. But in his Ep. ad Magnum, S:4 (Migne’s ed., Ep. 70), he says that
Origen wrote ten books of Stromata in imitation of Clement’s work, and
in it compared the opinions of Christians and philosophers, and
confirmed the dogmas of Christianity by appeals to Plato and other
Greek philosophers (Hunc imitatus Origines, decem scripsit Stromateas,
Christianorum et philosophorum inter se sententias comparans: et omnia
nostrae religionis dogmata de Platone et Aristotele, Numenio,
Cornutoque confirmans). Only three brief fragments of a Latin
translation of the work are now extant (printed in Lommatzsch’s ed.,
XVII. 69-78). These fragments are sufficient to show us that the work
was exegetical as well as doctrinal, and discussed topics of various
kinds in the light of Scripture as well as in the light of philosophy.

Chapter XXV.–His Review of the Canonical Scriptures.

1. When expounding the first Psalm, [1970] he gives a catalogue of the
sacred Scriptures of the Old Testament [1971] as follows:

”It should be stated that the canonical books, as the Hebrews have
handed them down, are twenty-two; corresponding with the number of
their letters.” Farther on he says:

2. ”The twenty-two books of the Hebrews are the following: That which
is called by us Genesis, but by the Hebrews, from the beginning of the
book, Bresith, [1972] which means, `In the beginning’; Exodus,
Welesmoth, [1973] that is, `These are the names’; Leviticus, Wikra,
`And he called`; Numbers, Ammesphekodeim; Deuteronomy, Eleaddebareim,
`These are the words’; Jesus, the son of Nave, Josoue ben Noun; Judges
and Ruth, among them in one book, Saphateim; the First and Second of
Kings, among them one, Samouel, that is, `The called of God’; the Third
and Fourth of Kings in one, Wammelch David, that is, `The kingdom of
David’; of the Chronicles, the First and Second in one, Dabreiamein,
that is, `Records of days’; Esdras, [1974] First and Second in one,
Ezra, that is, `An assistant’; the book of Psalms, Spharthelleim; the
Proverbs of Solomon, Meloth; Ecclesiastes, Koelth; the Song of Songs
(not, as some suppose, Songs of Songs), Sir Hassirim; Isaiah, Jessia;
Jeremiah, with Lamentations and the epistle in one, Jeremia; Daniel,
Daniel; Ezekiel, Jezekiel; Job, Job; Esther, Esther. And besides these
there are the Maccabees, which are entitled Sarbeth Sabanaiel.” [1975]
He gives these in the above-mentioned work.

3. In his first book on Matthew’s Gospel, [1976] maintaining the Canon
of the Church, he testifies that he knows only four Gospels, writing as

4. ”Among the four Gospels, [1977] which are the only indisputable ones
in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the
first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, but afterwards
an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from
Judaism, and published in the Hebrew language. [1978]

5. The second is by Mark, who composed it according to the instructions
of Peter, [1979] who in his Catholic epistle acknowledges him as a son,
saying, `The church that is at Babylon elected together with you,
saluteth you, and so doth Marcus, my son.’ [1980]

6. And the third by Luke, the Gospel commended by Paul, [1981] and
composed for Gentile converts. Last of all that by John.” [1982]

7. In the fifth book of his Expositions of John’s Gospel, he speaks
thus concerning the epistles of the apostles: [1983] ”But he who was
`made sufficient to be a minister of the New Testament, not of the
letter, but of the Spirit,’ [1984] that is, Paul, who `fully preached
the Gospel from Jerusalem and round about even unto Illyricum,’ [1985]
did not write to all the churches which he had instructed and to those
to which he wrote he sent but few lines. [1986]

8. And Peter, on whom the Church of Christ is built, `against which the
gates of hell shall not prevail,’ [1987] has left one acknowledged
epistle; perhaps also a second, but this is doubtful. [1988]

9. Why need we speak of him who reclined upon the bosom of Jesus,
[1989] John, who has left us one Gospel, [1990] though he confessed
that he might write so many that the world could not contain them?
[1991] And he wrote also the Apocalypse, but was commanded to keep
silence and not to write the words of the seven thunders. [1992]

10. He has left also an epistle of very few lines; perhaps also a
second and third; but not all consider them genuine, and together they
do not contain hundred lines.”

11. In addition he makes the following statements in regard to the
Epistle to the Hebrews [1993] in his Homilies upon it: ”That the verbal
style of the epistle entitled `To the Hebrews,’ is not rude like the
language of the apostle, who acknowledged himself `rude in speech’
[1994] that is, in expression; but that its diction is purer Greek, any
one who has the power to discern differences of phraseology will

12. Moreover, that the thoughts of the epistle are admirable, and not
inferior to the acknowledged apostolic writings, any one who carefully
examines the apostolic text [1995] will admit.’

13. Farther on he adds: ”If I gave my opinion, I should say that the
thoughts are those of the apostle, but the diction and phraseology are
those of some one who remembered the apostolic teachings, and wrote
down at his leisure what had been said by his teacher. Therefore if any
church holds that this epistle is by Paul, let it be commended for
this. For not without reason have the ancients handed it down as

14. But who wrote the epistle, in truth, God knows. The statement of
some who have gone before us is that Clement, bishop of the Romans,
wrote the epistle, and of others that Luke, the author of the Gospel
and the Acts, wrote it.” But let this suffice on these matters.

[1970] On Origen’s commentary on Psalms, see the previous chapter, note
3. The first fragment given here by Eusebius is found also in the
Philocalia, chap. 3, where it forms part of a somewhat longer extract.
The second fragment is extant only in this chapter of Eusebius’

[1971] On the Hebrew canon of the Old Testament, see Bk. III. chap. 10,
note 1. Upon Origen’s omission of the twelve minor prophets and the
insertion of the apocryphal epistle of Jeremiah, see the same note.

[1972] I have reproduced Origen’s Greek transliteration of this and the
following Hebrew words letter by letter. It will be seen by a
comparison of the words with the Hebrew titles of the books, as we now
have them, that Origen’s pronunciation of Hebrew, even after making all
due allowance for a difference in the pronunciation of the Greek and
for changes in the Hebrew text, must have been, in many respects, quite
different from ours.

[1973] Ouelesmoth. I represent the diphthong ou at the beginning of a
word by ”w.”

[1974] The first and second books of Esdras here referred to are not
the apocryphal books known by that name, but Ezra and Nehemiah, which
in the Hebrew canon formed but one book, as Origen says here, but which
in the LXX were separated (see above, Bk. III. chap. 10, note 4).
Esdras is simply the form which the word Ezra assumes in Greek.

[1975] Whether this sentence closed Origen’s discussion of the Hebrew
canon, or whether he went on to mention the other apocryphal books, we
cannot tell. The latter seems intrinsically much more probable, for it
is difficult to understand the insertion of the Maccabees in this
connection, and the omission of all the others; for the Maccabees, as
is clear from the words zxo de touton esti ta MakkabaikEUR, are not
reckoned by Origen among the twenty-two books as a part of the Hebrew
canon. At the same time, it is hardly conceivable that Eusebius should
have broken off thus, in the midst of a passage, without any
explanation; though it is, of course, not impossible that he gives only
the first sentence of the new paragraph on the books of the LXX, in
order to show that the discussion of the Hebrew canon closes, and a new
subject is introduced at this point. But, however that may be, it must
be regarded as certain that Origen did not reckon the books of the
Maccabees as a part of the Hebrew canon, and on the other hand, that he
did reckon those books, as well as others (if not all) of the books
given in the LXX, as inspired Scripture. This latter fact is proved by
his use of these books indiscriminately with those of the Hebrew canon
as sources for dogmatic proof texts, and also by his express citation
of at least some of them as Scripture (cf. on this subject,
Redepenning, p. 235 sq.). We must conclude, therefore, that Origen did
not adopt the Hebrew canon as his own, but that he states it as clearly
as he does in this place, in order to bring concretely before the minds
of his readers the difference between the canon of the Jews and the
canon of the Christians, who looked upon the LXX as the more
authoritative form of the Old Testament. Perhaps he had in view the
same purpose that led him to compare the Hebrew text and the LXX in his
Hexapla (see chap. 16, note 8).

[1976] On Origen’s Commentary on Matthew, see chap. 36, note 4. The
fragment given here by Eusebius is all that is extant of the first book
of the commentary.

[1977] Compare Origen’s Hom. I. in Lucam: Ecclesia quatuor habet
evangelia, haeresea plurima; and multi conati sunt scribere, sed et
multi conati sunt ordinare: quatuor tantum evangelia sunt probata, &c.
Compare also Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. III. 11, 8, where the attempt is made
to show that it is impossible for the Gospels to be either more or
fewer in number than four; and the Muratorian Fragment where the four
Gospels are named, but the number four is not represented as in itself
the necessary number; also Tertullian’s Adv. Marc. IV. 2, and

[1978] See Bk. III. chap. 24, note 5.

[1979] See Bk. II. chap. 15, note 4.

[1980] 1 Pet. v. 13.

[1981] See Bk. III. chap. 4, notes 12 and 15. Origen refers here to 2
Cor. viii. 18, where, however, it is clear that the reference is not to
any specific Gospel any more than in the passages referred to above,
III. 4, note 15.

[1982] See Bk. III. chap. 24.

[1983] This fragment from the fifth book of Origen’s commentary on John
is extant only in this chapter. The context is not preserved.

[1984] 2 Cor. iii. 6.

[1985] Rom. xv. 19.

[1986] See Bk. III. chap. 24, note 2.

[1987] Matt. xvi. 18.

[1988] On the first and second Epistles of Peter, see Bk. III. chap. 3,
notes 1 and 4.

[1989] See John xiii. 23.

[1990] On John’s Gospel, see Bk. III. chap. 24, note 1; on the
Apocalypse, note 20; and on the epistles, notes 18 and 19 of the same

[1991] See John xxi. 25

[1992] See Rev. x. 4

[1993] Upon the Epistle to the Hebrews, and Origen’s treatment of it,
see Bk. III. chap. 3, note 17. The two extracts given here by Eusebius
are the only fragments of Origen’s Homilies on the Epistle to the
Hebrews now extant. Four brief Latin fragments of his commentary upon
that epistle are preserved in the first book of Pamphilus’ Defense of
Origen, and are printed by Lommatzsch in Vol. V. p. 297 sq. The
commentaries (or ”books,” as they are called) are mentioned only in
that Defense. The catalogue of Jerome speaks only of ”eighteen
homilies.” We know nothing about the extent or the date of composition
of these homilies and commentaries.

[1994] 2 Cor. xi. 6.

[1995] prosechon, te anagnosei te apostolik & 135;nEURgnosis meant
originally the act of reading, then also that which is read. It thus
came to be used (like anEURgnosma) of the pericope or text or section
of the Scripture read in church, and in the plural to designate the
church lectionaries, or service books. In the present case it is used
evidently in a wider sense of the text of Paul’s writings as a whole.
This use of the two words to indicate, not simply the selection read in
church, but the text of a book or books as a whole, was not at all
uncommon, as may be seen from the examples given by Suicer, although he
does not mention this wider signification among the uses of the word.
See his Thesaurus, s.v.

Chapter XXVI.–Heraclas becomes Bishop of Alexandria.

It was in the tenth year of the above-mentioned reign that Origen
removed from Alexandria to Caesarea, [1996] leaving the charge of the
catechetical school in that city to Heraclas. Not long afterward
Demetrius, bishop of the church of Alexandria, died, having held the
office for forty-three full years, [1997] and Heraclas succeeded him.
At this time Firmilianus, [1998] bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, was

[1996] The tenth year of Alexander Severus, 231 a.d. On Origen’s
departure from Alexandria at this time, see below, p. 396. On Heraclas,
see chap. 3, note 2.

[1997] On the episcopacy of Demetrius, see Bk. V. chap. 22, note 4.
Forty-three years, beginning with 189 a.d., bring us down to 232 as the
date of his death, and this agrees excellently with the statements of
this chapter.

[1998] Firmilian, bishop of Caesarea, the capital of Cappadocia (to be
distinguished from Caesarea in Palestine), was one of the most famous
prelates of his day in the Eastern Church. He was a friend of Origen,
as we learn from the next chapter, and took part in a council called on
account of the schism of Novatian (see chap. 46), and also in councils
called to consider the case of Paul of Samosata (see Bk. VII. chaps. 28
and 30). He was one of the bishops whom Stephen excommunicated because
they rebaptized heretics (see Bk. VII. chap. 2, note 3, and chap. 5,
note 4), and he wrote an epistle upon this subject to Cyprian, which is
extant in a Latin translation made by Cyprian himself (Ep. 74, al. 75,
in the collection of Cyprian’s epistles. See Dict. of Christ. Biog. I.
751, note). Basil (de Spiritu Sancto, 29) refers to works (logoi) left
by Firmilian, but none of them are extant except the single epistle
mentioned, nor do we hear from any other source that he was a writer.
Jerome does not mention him in his De vir. ill. The exact date of his
accession is unknown to us, as it very likely was to Eusebius also. He
was a bishop already in the tenth year of Alexander (231 a.d.), or very
soon afterward, and from Bk. VII. chap. 30, we learn that he died at
Tarsus on his way to Antioch to attend a council which had been
summoned to deal with Paul of Samosata. This synod was held about 265
a.d. (not in 272 as is commonly supposed; see Bk. VII. chap. 29, note
1), and it is at this time, therefore, that we must put the death of
Firmilian; so that he was bishop of Caesarea at least some thirty-four

Chapter XXVII.–How the Bishops regarded Origen.

He was so earnestly affected toward Origen, that he urged him to come
to that country for the benefit of the churches, and moreover he
visited him in Judea, remaining with him for some time, for the sake of
improvement in divine things. And Alexander, [1999] bishop of
Jerusalem, and Theoctistus, [2000] bishop of Caesarea, attended on him
constantly, [2001] as their only teacher, and allowed [2002] him to
expound the Divine Scriptures, and to perform the other duties
pertaining to ecclesiastical discourse. [2003]

[1999] On Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem, see chap. 8, note 6.

[2000] On Theoctistus, bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, see chap. 19,
note 27.

[2001] A number of mss., followed by Heinichen and some others, insert
at this point hos zpos eipein (”so to speak”).

[2002] The presbyter derived his authority to preach and teach only
from the bishop, and hence these bishops extended to Origen, whom they
had ordained a presbyter, full liberty to preach and teach within their

[2003] ta loipa tou ekklesiastikou logou.

Chapter XXVIII.–The Persecution under Maximinus.

The Roman emperor, Alexander, having finished his reign in thirteen
years, was succeeded by Maximinus Caesar. [2004] On account of his
hatred toward the household of Alexander, [2005] which contained many
believers, he began a persecution, commanding that only the rulers of
the churches should be put to death, as responsible for the Gospel
teaching. Thereupon Origen composed his work On Martyrdom, [2006] and
dedicated it to Ambrose and Protoctetus, [2007] a presbyter of the
parish of Caesarea, because in the persecution there had come upon them
both unusual hardships, in which it is reported that they were eminent
in confession during the reign of Maximinus, which lasted but three
years. Origen has noted this as the time of the persecution in the
twenty-second book of his Commentaries on John, and in several
epistles. [2008]

[2004] Alexander Severus was murdered early in the year 235, and was
succeeded at once by his commanding general, the Thracian Maximinus, or
Caius Julius Verus Maximinus, as he called himself.

[2005] The reference here is not to the immediate family of Alexander,
but to the court as a whole, his family in the widest sense including
court officials, servants, &c. The favor which Alexander had shown to
the Christians (see chap. 21, note 8) is clearly seen in the fact that
there were so many Christians at court, as Eusebius informs us here.
This persecution was at first directed, Eusebius tells us, solely
against the heads of the churches (tous ton ekklesion archontas), i.e.
the bishops; and we might imagine only those bishops who had stood
nearest Alexander and had been most favored by him to be meant
(Pontianus and Hippolytus of Rome were exiled, for instance, at the
very beginning of Maximinus’ reign, in the year 235; see chap. 22, note
1); for Maximinus’ hostility to the Christians seems to have been
caused, not by religious motives, but by mere hatred of his
predecessor, and of every cause to which he had shown favor. But the
persecution was not confined to such persons, as we learn from this
chapter, which tells us of the sufferings of Ambrose and Protoctetus,
neither of whom was a bishop. It seems probable that most of the
persecuting was not the result of positive efforts on the part of
Maximinus, but rather of the superstitious hatred of the common people,
whose fears had been recently aroused by earthquakes and who always
attributed such calamities to the existence of the Christians. Of
course under Maximinus they had free rein, and could persecute whenever
they or the provincial authorities felt inclined (cf. Firmilian’s
epistle to Cyprian, and Origen’s Exhort. ad Mart.). Eusebius tells us
nothing of Origen’s whereabouts at this time; but in Palladius’ Hist.
Laus. 147, it is said that Origen was given refuge by Juliana in
Caesarea in Cappadocia during some persecution, undoubtedly this one,
if the report is true (see chap. 17, note 4).

[2006] This work on martyrdom (eis marturion protreptikos logos,
Exhortatio ad Martyrium) is still extant, and is printed by Lommatzsch
in Vol. XX., p. 231-316. It is a most beautiful and inspiring

[2007] On Ambrose, see chap. 18, note 1. Protoctetus, a presbyter of
the church of Caesarea (apparently Palestinian Caesarea), is known to
us only from this passage.

[2008] On Origen’s Commentary on John’s Gospel, see chap. 24, note 1.
No fragments of the twenty-second book are extant, nor any of the
epistles in which reference is made to this persecution.

Chapter XXIX.–Fabianus, who was wonderfully designated Bishop of Rome
by God.

1. Gordianus succeeded Maximinus as Roman emperor; [2009] and
Pontianus, [2010] who had been bishop of the church at Rome for six
years, was succeeded by Anteros. [2011] After he had held the office
for a month, Fabianus [2012] succeeded him.

2. They say [2013] that Fabianus having come, after the death of
Anteros, with others from the country, was staying at Rome, and that
while there he was chosen to the office through a most wonderful
manifestation of divine and heavenly grace.

3. For when all the brethren had assembled to select by vote him who
should succeed to the episcopate of the church, several renowned and
honorable men were in the minds of many, but Fabianus, although
present, was in the mind of none. But they relate that suddenly a dove
flying down lighted on his head, resembling the descent of the Holy
Spirit on the Saviour in the form of a dove.

4. Thereupon all the people, as if moved by one Divine Spirit, with all
eagerness and unanimity cried out that he was worthy, and without delay
they took him and placed him upon the episcopal seat. [2014]

5. About that time Zebinus, [2015] bishop of Antioch died, and Babylas
[2016] succeeded him. And in Alexandria Heraclas, [2017] having
received the episcopal office after Demetrius, [2018] was succeeded in
the charge of the catechetical school by Dionysius, [2019] who had also
been one of Origen’s pupils.

[2009] Gordianus the younger, grandson of Gordianus I., and nephew (or
son?) of Gordianus II., became emperor after the murder of Balbinus and
Pupienus, in July, 238, at the age of fifteen years, and reigned until
early in the year 244, when he was murdered by the soldiers and
succeeded by Philip. He is made by Eusebius (both here and in the
Chron.) the direct successor of Maximinus, simply because only two or
three months elapsed between the death of the latter and his own

[2010] On Pontianus, see chap. 23, note 3.

[2011] Both here and in the Chron. the accession of Anteros is
synchronized with the accession of Gordianus, but as seen in chap. 23,
note 3, Pontianus was succeeded by Anteros in the first year of
Maximinus, i.e. in 235,–three years earlier, therefore, than the date
given by Eusebius. All the authorities agree in assigning only one
month and a few days to the episcopate of Anteros, and this is to be
accepted as correct. Of the life and character of Anteros we know

[2012] Greek Phabianos, though some mss. read Phlabianos. The Armenian
and Hieronymian Chron. call him Fabianus; the Liberian catalogue,
Fabius; Eutychius and the Alex. cat., Flabianus. According to chap. 39,
he suffered martyrdom in the persecution of Decius (250-251). Both
versions of the Chron. assign thirteen years to his episcopate, and
this agrees fairly well with the notices here and in chap. 39
(accession in 238 and death in 250 or 251). But, as already seen,
Eusebius is quite wrong in the dates which he gives for the accession
of these three bishops, and the statements of the Liberian catalogue
are to be accepted, which put Fabian’s accession in January, 236, and
his death in January, 250, after an episcopate of fourteen years and
ten days. The martyrdom of Fabian rests upon good authority (cf. chap.
39, and Jerome’s de vir. ill. chap. 54, and especially Cyprian’s
Epistles, 3, al. 9, and 30). From these epistles we learn that he was a
man of ability and virtue. He stands out more clearly in the light of
history than most of the early Roman bishops, but tradition has handed
down a great many unfounded stories in regard to him (see the article
in the Dict. of Christ. Biog.).

[2013] phasi. Eusebius is our only authority for the following story.
Rufinus (VI. 21) tells a similar tale in connection with Zephyrinus.

[2014] ton thronon tes episkopes

[2015] On Zebinus, see chap. 23, note 4.

[2016] Babylas occupies an illustrious place in the list of ancient
martyrs (cf. Tillemont, Mem. III. 400-409). Chrysostom devoted a festal
oration to his memory (In sanctum Babylam contra Julianum et contra
Gentiles); while Jerome, Epiphanius, Sozomen, Theodoret, and others
make honorable mention of him. There are extant the Acta Babylae
(spurious), which, however, confound him with a martyr who suffered
under Numerian. The legends in regard to Babylas and to the miracles
performed by his bones are very numerous (see Tillemont, l.c.). He is
identified by Chrysostom and others with the bishop mentioned by
Eusebius in chap. 34, and there is no good reason to doubt the
identification (see Harnack, Zeit des Ignatius, p. 48). The fact of his
martyrdom under Decius (see chap. 39) is too well attested to admit of
doubt; though upon the manner of it, not all the traditions are agreed,
Eusebius reporting that he died in prison, Chrysostom that he died by
violence. The account of Eusebius seems the most reliable. The date of
his accession is unknown, but there is no reason to doubt that it took
place during the reign of Gordian (238-244), as Eusebius here seems to
imply; though it is true that he connects it closely with the death of
Demetrius, which certainly took place not later than 232 (see above,
Bk. V. chap. 22, note 4). There is no warrant for carrying the
accession of Babylas back so far as that.

[2017] On Heraclas, see chap. 3, note 2.

[2018] On the episcopate of Demetrius, see Bk. V. chap. 22, note 4.

[2019] On Dionysius, see chap. 40, note 1.

Chapter XXX.–The Pupils of Origen.

While Origen was carrying on his customary duties in Caesarea, many
pupils came to him not only from the vicinity, but also from other
countries. Among these Theodorus, the same that was distinguished among
the bishops of our day under the name of Gregory, [2020] and his
brother Athenodorus, [2021] we know to have been especially celebrated.
Finding them deeply interested in Greek and Roman learning, he infused
into them a love of philosophy, and led them to exchange their old zeal
for the study of divinity. Remaining with him five years, they made
such progress in divine things, that although they were still young,
both of them were honored with a bishopric in the churches of Pontus.

[2020] Our sources for a knowledge of the life of Gregory, who is known
as Gregory Thaumaturgus (”wonder-worker”), are numerous, but not all of
them reliable. He is mentioned by Eusebius here and in Bk. VII. chaps.
14 and 28, and a brief account of his life and writings is given by
Jerome (de vir. ill. chap. 65), who adds some particulars not mentioned
by Eusebius. There is also extant Gregory’s Panegyrical Oration in
praise of Origen, which contains an outline of the earlier years of his
life. Gregory of Nyssa about a century later wrote a life of Gregory
Thaumaturgus, which is still extant, but which is full of marvelous
stories, and contains little that is trustworthy. Gregory’s fame was
very great among his contemporaries and succeeding generations, and
many of the Fathers have left brief accounts of him, or references to
him which it is not necessary to mention here. He was a native of
Neo-Caesarea in Pontus (according to Gregory Nyssa), the same city of
which he was afterward bishop, was of wealthy parentage, and began the
study of law when quite young (see his own Orat. Paneg. chap. 5).
Coming to Caesarea, in Palestine, on his way to Berytus, where he and
his brother Athenodorus were to attend a school of law, he met Origen,
and was so attracted by him that he and his brother remained in
Caesarea five years (according to Eusebius and Jerome) and studied
logic, physics, mathematics, ethics, Greek philosophy, and theology
with him (see his Orat). At the end of this time the brothers returned
to Pontus, and afterwards were made bishops, Gregory of Neo-Caesarea,
his native place; Athenodorus of some unknown city (Eusebius here and
in VII. 14 and 28 says only that they were both bishops of churches in
Pontus). Of the remarkable events connected with the ordination of
Gregory, which are told by Gregory of Nyssa, it is not necessary to
speak here. He was a prominent scholar and writer, and a man
universally beloved and respected for his deep piety and his commanding
ability, but his fame rested chiefly upon the reports of his
miracle-working, which were widespread. The prodigies told of him are
numerous and marvelous. Eusebius is silent about this side of his
career (whether because of ignorance or incredulity we cannot tell, but
the latter seems most probable), but Jerome refers to his fame as a
miracle-worker, Gregory of Nyssa’s Vita, is full of it, and Basil and
other later writers dwell upon it. What the foundation for all these
traditions was we do not know. He was a famous missionary, and seems to
have been remarkably successful in converting the pagans of his
diocese, which was almost wholly heathen when he became bishop. This
great missionary success may have given rise to the tales of
supernatural power, some cause above the ordinary being assumed by the
common people as necessary to account for such results. Miracles and
other supernatural phenomena were quite commonly assumed in those days
as causes of conversions–especially if the conversions themselves were
in any way remarkable (cf. e.g. the close of the anonymous Dialogue
with Herbanus, a Jew). Not only the miracles, but also many other
events reported in Gregory of Nyssa’s Vita, must be regarded as
unfounded; e.g. the account of a long period of study in Alexandria of
which our more reliable sources contain no trace. The veneration in
which Gregory held Origen is clear enough from his panegyric, and the
great regard which Origen cherished for Gregory is revealed in his
epistle to the latter, written soon after Gregory’s arrival in
Neo-Caesarea, and still preserved in the Philocalia, chap. 13. The
works of Gregory known to us are his Panegyrical Oration in praise of
Origen, delivered in the presence of the latter and of a great
multitude before Gregory’s departure from Caesarea, and still extant; a
paraphrase of the book of Ecclesiastes, mentioned by Jerome (l.c.), and
likewise extant; several epistles referred to by Jerome (l.c.), only
one of which, his so-called Canonical Epistle, addressed to an
anonymous bishop of Pontus, is still preserved; and finally a
trinitarian creed, or confession of faith, which is given by Gregory of
Nyssa in his Vita, and whose genuineness has been warmly disputed (e.g.
by Lardner, Works, II. p. 634 sq.); but since Caspari’s defense of it
in his Gesch. d. Taufsymbols und der Glaubensregel, its authenticity
may be regarded as established. These four writings, together with some
works falsely ascribed to Gregory, are translated in The Ante-Nicene
Fathers, Am. ed., Vol. VI. p. 1-80. Original Greek in Migne’s Patr. Gr.
X. 983-1343. See also Ryssel’s Gregorius Thaumaturgus. Sein Leben und
seine Schriften; Leipzig, 1880. Ryssel gives (p. 65-79) a German
translation of two hitherto unknown Syriac writings of Gregory, one on
the equality of Father, Son, and Spirit, and the other on the
passibility and impassibility of God. Gregory’s dates cannot be fixed
with exactness; but as he cannot have seen Origen in Caesarea until
after 231, and was very young when he met him there, he must have been
born as late as the second decade of the third century. As he was with
Origen at least five years, he can hardly have taken his farewell of
him until after the persecution of Maximinus (i.e. after 238), for we
cannot suppose that he pronounced his panegyrical oration during that
persecution. He speaks in the first chapter of that oration of not
having delivered an oration for eight years, and this is commonly
supposed to imply that it was eight years since he had begun to study
with Origen, in which case the oration must be put as late as 239, and
it must be assumed, if Eusebius’ five years are accepted as accurate,
that he was absent for some three years during that period (perhaps
while the persecution was going on). But the eight years cannot be
pressed in this connection, for it is quite possible that they may have
been reckoned from an earlier time, perhaps from the time when he began
the study of law, which was before he met Origin (see Panegyr. chaps. 1
and 5). If we were to suppose the order followed by Eusebius strictly
chronological, we should have to put Gregory’s acquaintance with Origen
into the reign of Gordian (238-244). The truth is, the matter cannot be
decided. He is said by Gregory of Nyssa to have retired into
concealment during the persecution of Decius, and to have returned to
his charge again after its close. He was present with his brother
Athenodorus at one of the councils called to consider the case of Paul
of Samosata (see Bk. VII. chap. 28), but was not present at the final
one at which Paul was condemned (see ibid. chaps. 29 and 30, and note 2
on the latter chapter). This one was held about 265 (see ibid. chap.
29, note 1), and hence it is likely that Gregory was dead before that

[2021] Athenodorus is known to us only as the brother of Gregory and
bishop of some church or churches in Pontus (see Bk. VII. chaps. 14 and

Chapter XXXI.–Africanus.

1. At this time also Africanus, [2022] the writer of the books entitled
Cesti, was well known. There is extant an epistle of his to Origen,
expressing doubts [2023] of the story of Susannah in Daniel, as being
spurious and fictitious. Origen answered this very fully.

2. Other works of the same Africanus which have reached us are his five
books on Chronology, a work accurately and laboriously prepared. He
says in this that he went to Alexandria on account of the great fame of
Heraclas, [2024] who excelled especially in philosophic studies and
other Greek learning, and whose appointment to the bishopric of the
church there we have already mentioned.

3. There is extant also another epistle from the same Africanus to
Aristides on the supposed discrepancy between Matthew and Luke in the
Genealogies of Christ. In this he shows clearly the agreement of the
evangelists, from an account which had come down to him, which we have
already given in its proper place in the first book of this work.

[2022] Julius Africanus (as he is called by Jerome) was one of the most
learned men of the Ante-Nicene age. Not much is known of his life,
though he seems to have resided, at least for a time, in Emmaus, a town
of Palestine, something over twenty miles from Jerusalem (not the
Emmaus of Luke xxiv. 13, which was but seven or eight miles from the
city), for we hear in the Chron., and in Jerome’s de vir. ill. c. 63,
of his going on an embassy to the Emperor Heliogabalus, and securing
the rebuilding of the ruined city Emmaus under the name of Nicopolis,
which it henceforth bore. He does not appear to have been a clergyman,
or at any rate not a bishop; for he is spoken of as such by no early
authority, and he is addressed by Origen in an extant epistle, which
must have been written toward the close of his life, simply as
”brother.” His dates cannot be fixed with any exactness. He must have
been already a prominent man when he went on an embassy to the emperor
(between 218 and 222). He must have been considerably older than
Origen, for in his epistle to him he calls him ”son,” and that although
Origen was at the time beyond middle life himself. Unless Eusebius is
mistaken, he was still alive and active in the time of Gordian
(238-244). But if he was enough older than Origen to address him as
”son,” he can hardly have lived much beyond that reign. He seems to
have been a Christian philosopher and scholar rather than an
ecclesiastic, and took no such part in the church affairs of the time
as to leave mention of his name in the accounts of the synods of his
day. He was quite a traveler, as we learn from his own writings, and
had the well-deserved reputation of being one of the greatest scholars
of the age. Eusebius mentions four works left by him, the Cesti, the
Chronicon, and the epistles to Origen and to Aristides. Jerome (l.c.)
mentions only the last three, but Photius (Cod. 34) refers to all four.
The Cesti (kestoi ”embroidered girdles”) seems to have derived its name
from the miscellaneous character of its contents, which included notes
on geography, the art of war, medicine, agriculture, &c. It is said by
Syncellus to have been composed of nine books: Photius mentions
fourteen, Suidas twenty-four. It is no longer extant, but numerous
scattered fragments have been preserved. Its authenticity has been
doubted, chiefly because of its purely secular character, and the
nature of some of the notes, which do not seem worthy of the
clear-headed and at the same time Christian scholar. But the external
evidence, which is not unsupported by the internal, is too strong to be
set aside, and we must conclude that the work is genuine. The extant
fragments of it are given in various works on mathematics, agriculture,
etc. (see Richardson’s Bibliographical Synopsis, p. 68). The epistle of
Africanus to Origen is the only one of his writings preserved in a
complete form. It seems that Origen, in a discussion with a certain
Bassus (see Origen’s epistle to Africanus, S:2), at which Africanus was
present, had quoted from that part of the Book of Daniel which contains
the apocryphal story of Susannah. Africanus afterward wrote a brief
epistle to Origen, in which he contended that the story is not
authentic, urging among other arguments differences in style between it
and the rest of the book, and the fact that the story is not found in
Hebrew, and that certain phrases show that it was composed originally
in Greek. Origen replied at considerable length, maintaining the
authenticity of the passage, and thereby showing himself inferior to
Africanus in critical judgment. Origen’s reply was written from
Nicomedia (see S:1), where he was staying with Ambrose (see S:15). It
seems probable that this visit to Nicomedia was made on his way to or
from his second visit to Athens (see next chapter, note 4). Africanus’
greatest work, and the one which brought him most fame, was his
Chronicon, in five books. The work is no longer extant, but
considerable fragments of it have been preserved (e.g. in Eusebius’
Praep. Evang. X. 10, and Dem. Evang. VIII., and especially in the
Chronographia of Syncellus), and the Chronicon of Eusebius which is
really based upon it, so that we are enabled to gain a very fair idea
of its original form. As described by Photius, it was concise, but
omitted nothing worthy of mention, beginning with the creation and
coming down to the reign of Macrinus. It actually extended to the
fourth year of Heliogabalus (221), as we see from a quotation made by
Syncellus. The work seems to have been caused by the common desire of
the Christians (exhibited by Tatian, Clement of Alexander, and others)
to prove in their defense of Christianity the antiquity of the Jewish
religion, and thus take away the accusation of novelty brought against
Christianity by its opponents. Africanus apparently aimed to produce a
universal chronicle and history which should exhibit the synchronism of
events in the history of the leading nations of the world, and thus
furnish solid ground for Christian apologists to build upon. It was the
first attempt of the kind, and became the foundation of Christian
chronicles for many centuries. The time at which it was written is
determined with sufficient accuracy by the date at which the
chronological table closes. Salmon (in the Dict. of Christ. Biog.)
remarks that it must have been completed early in the year 221, for it
did not contain the names of the victors in the Olympic games of the
250th Olympiad, which took place in that year (as we learn from the
list of victors copied by Eusebius from Africanus). It is said by
Eusebius, just below, that Africanus reports in this work that he had
visited Alexandria on account of the great celebrity of Heraclas. This
is very surprising, for we should hardly have expected Heraclas’ fame
to have attracted such a man to Alexandria until after Origen had left,
and he had himself become the head of the school. On the fourth writing
mentioned by Eusebius, the epistle to Aristides, see above, Bk. I.
chap. 7, note 2. The fragments of Africanus’ works, with the exception
of the Cesti, have been printed, with copious and valuable notes, by
Routh, Rel. Sac. II. 221-509; English translation in the Ante-Nicene
Fathers, Am. ed. VI. 125-140.

[2023] aporountos. A very mild way of putting his complete rejection of
the story!

[2024] On Heraclas, see chap. 3, note 2.

[2025] In Bk. I. chap. 7.

Chapter XXXII.–The Commentaries which Origen composed in Caesarea in

1. About this time Origen prepared his Commentaries on Isaiah [2026]
and on Ezekiel. [2027] Of the former there have come down to us thirty
books, as far as the third part of Isaiah, to the vision of the beasts
in the desert; [2028] on Ezekiel twenty-five books, which are all that
he wrote on the whole prophet.

2. Being at that time in Athens, [2029] he finished his work on Ezekiel
and commenced his Commentaries on the Song of Songs, [2030] which he
carried forward to the fifth book. After his return to Caesarea, he
completed these also, ten books in number.

3. But why should we give in this history an accurate catalogue of the
man’s works, which would require a separate treatise? [2031] we have
furnished this also in our narrative of the life of Pamphilus, [2032] a
holy martyr of our own time. After showing how great the diligence of
Pamphilus was in divine things, we give in that a catalogue of the
library which he collected of the works of Origen and of other
ecclesiastical writers. Whoever desires may learn readily from this
which of Origen’s works have reached us. But we must proceed now with
our history.

[2026] ”About this time” refers us still to the reign of Gordian
(238-244). Eusebius mentions only the commentaries on Isaiah, but
Jerome refers also to homilies and notes. The thirty books which were
extant in Eusebius’ time extended to XXX. 6, as we are informed here.
Whether the commentary originally went beyond this point we do not
know. There are extant only two brief Latin fragments from the first
and eighth books of the commentary, and nine homilies (the last
incomplete) in a Latin version by Jerome; printed by Lommatzsch, XIII.

[2027] Eusebius records that Origen wrote only twenty-five books of a
commentary on Ezekiel. The form of expression would seem to imply that
these did not cover the whole of Ezekiel, but a fragment of the
twentieth book, extant in the eleventh chapter of the Philocalia, deals
with the thirty-fourth chapter of the prophecy, so that the twenty-five
books must have covered at any rate most of the ground. The catalogue
of Jerome mentions twenty-nine books and twelve homilies, but the
former number must be a mistake, for Eusebius’ explicit statement that
Origen wrote but twenty-five books can hardly be doubted. There are
extant only the Greek fragment of the twentieth book referred to above,
fourteen homilies in the Latin version of Jerome, and a few extracts;
all printed by Lommatzsch, XIV. 1-232.

[2028] i.e. to Isa. xxx. 6, where the LXX reads he orasis ton
tetrapodon ton en te eremo, which are the exact words used by Eusebius.
Our English versions, both the authorized and revised, read, ”The
burden of the beasts of the South.” The Hebrew will bear either

[2029] The cause of this second visit to Athens we do not know, nor the
date of it; although if Eusebius is to be relied upon, it took place
during the reign of Gordian (238-244). He must have remained some time
in Athens and have had leisure for study, for he finished his
commentary on Ezekiel and wrote five books of his commentary on
Canticles. This visit to Athens is to be distinguished from the one
referred to in chap. 23, because it is probable that Origen found the
Nicopolis copy of the Old Testament (mentioned in chap. 16) on the
occasion of a visit to Achaia, and this visit is apparently too late,
for he seems to have finished his Hexapla before this time; and still
further, the epistle in which he refers to spurious accounts of his
disputation at Athens (see Jerome’s Apol. adv. Ruf. II. 18) complains
also of Demetrius and of his own excommunication, which, as Redepenning
remarks, points to a date soon after that excommunication took place,
and not a number of years later, when Demetrius had been long dead.

[2030] From the seventh chapter of the Philocalia we learn that Origen,
in his youth, wrote a small book (mikros tomos) upon Canticles, of
which a single brief fragment is preserved in that chapter. The
catalogue of Jerome mentions ten books, two books written early, and
two homilies. Eusebius mentions only the commentary, of which, he says,
five books were written in Athens, and five more in Caesarea. The
prologue and four books are extant in a Latin translation by Rufinus,
and two homilies in a translation by Jerome; besides these, some Greek
extracts made by Procopius,–all printed by Lommatzsch, XIV. 233; XV.

[2031] idias deomenon scholes.

[2032] On Pamphilus, see Bk. VII. chap. 32, note 40. On Eusebius’ Life
of Pamphilus, see the Prolegomena, p. 28, above.

Chapter XXXIII.–The Error of Beryllus.

1. Beryllus, [2033] whom we mentioned recently as bishop of Bostra in
Arabia, turned aside from the ecclesiastical standard [2034] and
attempted to introduce ideas foreign to the faith. He dared to assert
that our Saviour and Lord did not pre-exist in a distinct form of being
of his own [2035] before his abode among men, and that he does not
possess a divinity of his own, [2036] but only that of the Father
dwelling in him.

2. Many bishops carried on investigations and discussions with him on
this matter, and Origen having been invited with the others, went down
at first for a conference with him to ascertain his real opinion. But
when he understood his views, and perceived that they were erroneous,
having persuaded him by argument, and convinced him by demonstration,
he brought him back to the true doctrine, and restored him to his
former sound opinion.

3. There are still extant writings of Beryllus and of the synod held on
his account, which contain the questions put to him by Origen, and the
discussions which were carried on in his parish, as well as all the
things done at that time.

4. The elder brethren among us [2037] have handed down many other facts
respecting Origen which I think proper to omit, as not pertaining to
this work. But whatever it has seemed necessary to record about him can
be found in the Apology in his behalf written by us and Pamphilus, the
holy martyr of our day. We prepared this carefully and did the work
jointly on account of faultfinders. [2038]

[2033] Beryllus, bishop of Bostra in Arabia (mentioned above, in chap.
20) is chiefly noted on account of the heresy into which he fell, and
from which Origen won him back, by convincing him of his error.
According to chap. 20, he was a learned and cultured man, and Jerome
(de vir. ill. c. 60) says of him, gloriose rexisset ecclesiam. We do
not know his dates, but we may gather from this chapter that the synod
which was called on his account convened during the reign of Gordian
(238-244), and apparently toward the close of the reign. Our sources
for a knowledge of the heresy of Beryllus are very meager. We have only
the brief passage in this chapter; a fragment of Origen’s commentary on
Titus (Lommatzsch, V. 287), which undoubtedly refers to Beryllus’
error, though he is not mentioned by name; and finally, a single
sentence in Jerome’s de vir. ill. c. 60 (Christum ante incarnationem
regat), which, however, is apparently no more than his own
interpretation of Eusebius’ words. Our sources have been interpreted
very differently, some holding Beryllus to have been a Patripassian,
others classing him with the Artemonites (see above, Bk. V. chap. 28).
He was, at any rate, a Monarchion, and his position, not to enter here
into details, seems to have been that our Lord did not pre-exist as an
independent being; but that, with the incarnation, he, who had
previously been identified with the patrike theotes, became a distinct
being, possessed of an independent existence (see Dorner’s Person of
Christ, Div. I. Vol. II. p. 35 sq., Edinburgh edition). According to
this chapter and chap. 20, Beryllus was the author of numerous
treatises and epistles, which were extant in Eusebius’ time. According
to Jerome (l.c.), he wrote, varia opuscula et maxime epistolas, in
quibus Origeni gratias agit. Jerome reports, also, that there were
extant in his time epistles of Origen, addressed to Beryllus, and a
dialogue between Origen and Beryllus. All traces of these epistles and
other works have perished.

[2034] ton ekklesiastikon kanona: i.e. the rule of faith.

[2035] me prouphestEURnai kat’ idian ousias perigraphen

[2036] theoteta idian.

[2037] ton kath’ hemas oi presbuteroi. It seems necessary here to take
the word presbuteros in an unofficial sense, which is, to say the
least, exceptional at this late date.

[2038] On this Defense of Origen, written jointly by Pamphilus and
Eusebius, see above, p. 36.

Chapter XXXIV.–Philip Caesar.

Gordianus had been Roman emperor for six years when Philip, with his
son Philip, succeeded him. [2039] It is reported that he, being a
Christian, desired, on the day of the last paschal vigil, to share with
the multitude in the prayers of the Church, [2040] but that he was not
permitted to enter, by him who then presided, [2041] until he had made
confession and had numbered himself among those who were reckoned as
transgressors and who occupied the place of penance. [2042] For if he
had not done this, he would never have been received by him, on account
of the many crimes which he had committed. It is said that he obeyed
readily, manifesting in his conduct a genuine and pious fear of God.

[2039] The younger Gordian reigned from the summer of 238 until early
in the year 244, when he was murdered by the soldiers, and succeeded by
his praetorian prefect, Philip of Arabia, who took the name Marcus
Julius Philippus, and reigned until 249, when he was conquered and
succeeded by Decius. His son Philip, who was seven years old at the
time of his father’s accession, was immediately proclaimed Caesar and
afterward given the title of Augustus. He bore the name Marcus Julius
Philippus Severus, and was slain at the time of his father’s death.

[2040] There has been much dispute as to Philip’s relation to
Christianity. Eusebius is the first one known to us to represent him as
a Christian, and he gives the report only upon the authority of oral
tradition (touton katechei logos christianon onta). Jerome (de vir.
ill. 54) states explicitly that Philip was the first Christian emperor
(qui primus de regibus Romanis christianus fuit), and this became
common tradition in the Church. At the same time it must be noticed
that Eusebius does not himself state that Philip was a Christian,–he
simply records a tradition to that effect; and in his Vita Const. I. 3
he calls Constantine the first Christian emperor. Little reliance can
be placed upon Jerome’s explicit statement, for he seems only to be
repeating as certain what Eusebius reported as possible. The only
things known to us which can or could have been urged in support of the
alleged fact that Philip was a Christian are his act recorded in this
chapter and the letter written to him by Origen, as recorded in chap.
36. Moreover, it happens to be the fact that no heathen writer hints
that he was a Christian, and we know that he celebrated games in Rome
with pagan rites and great pomp. It seems, on the whole, probable that
Philip showed himself favorable to Christianity, and perhaps
superstitiously desired to gain the favor of the Christians’ God, and
hence went through some such process as Eusebius describes in this
chapter, looking upon it merely as a sort of sacrifice to be offered to
this God as he would offer other sacrifices to other gods. It is quite
conceivable that he may have done this much, and this would be quite
enough to start the report, after his death, that he had been a
Christian secretly, if not openly; and from this to the tradition that
he was unconditionally the first Christian emperor is but a step. Some
ground for the common tradition must be assumed, but our sources do not
warrant us in believing more than has been thus suggested as possible.
For a full discussion of the question, see Tillemont, Hist. des Emp.
III. p. 494 sq.

[2041] Chrysostom (De St. Bab. c. Gentes. Tom. I.) and Leontius of
Antioch (quoted in the Chron. pasch.) identify the bishop referred to
here with Babylas, bishop of Antioch (see above, chap. 29, note 8).
Eusebius’ silence as to the name of the bishop looks as if he were
ignorant on the matter, but there is nothing inherently improbable in
the identification, which may therefore be looked upon as very likely

[2042] That is, the place assigned to penitents: metanoias choran.
Christians who had committed flagrant transgressions were excluded from
communion and required to go through a course of penance, more or less
severe according to their offense, before they could be received again
into the Church. In some cases they were excluded entirely from the
services for a certain length of time; in other cases they were allowed
to attend a part of the services, but in no case could they partake of
the communion. In the fourth century a regular system of discipline
grew up, and the penitents (poenitentes) were divided into various
classes,–mourners, hearers, and kneelers; the first of whom were
excluded entirely from the church, while the last two were admitted
during a part of the service. The statement in the present case is of
the most general character. Whether the place which he was obliged to
take was without or within the church is not indicated. Upon the whole
subject of ancient church discipline, see Bingham’s Antiquities, Bk.
XVI., and the article Penitence in Smith’s Dict. of Christian Antiq.

Chapter XXXV.–Dionysius succeeds Heraclas in the Episcopate.

In the third year of this emperor, Heraclas [2043] died, having held
his office for sixteen years, and Dionysius [2044] received the
episcopate of the churches of Alexandria.

[2043] On Heraclas, see chap. 3, note 2. The third year of Philip’s
reign extended from the summer of 246 to the summer of 247, so that if
Heraclas became bishop in 232, he cannot have held office fully sixteen
years. The agreement, however, is so close as to occasion no

[2044] On Dionysius, see chap. 40, note 1.

Chapter XXXVI.–Other Works of Origen.

1. At this time, as the faith extended and our doctrine was proclaimed
boldly before all, [2045] Origen, being, as they say, over sixty years
old, [2046] and having gained great facility by his long practice, very
properly permitted his public discourses to be taken down by
stenographers, a thing which he had never before allowed.

2. He also at this time composed a work of eight books in answer to
that entitled True Discourse, which had been written against us by
Celsus [2047] the Epicurean, and the twenty-five books on the Gospel of
Matthew, [2048] besides those on the Twelve Prophets, of which we have
found only twenty-five. [2049]

3. There is extant also an epistle [2050] of his to the Emperor Philip,
and another to Severa his wife, with several others to different
persons. We have arranged in distinct books to the number of one
hundred, so that they might be no longer scattered, as many of these as
we have been able to collect, [2051] which have been preserved here and
there by different persons.

4. He wrote also to Fabianus, [2052] bishop of Rome, and to many other
rulers of the churches concerning his orthodoxy. You have examples of
these in the eighth book of the Apology [2053] which we have written in
his behalf.

[2045] tou kath’ hemas para pasi logou

[2046] Since Origen was born in the year 185 or 186, this must have
been as late as 245. Most if not all of the homilies of Origen, which
are now preserved, were probably delivered after this time, and
reported, as Eusebius says, by stenographers. The increasing boldness
of the Christians referred to here was apparently due to their
uncommonly comfortable condition under Philip.

[2047] Of the personal history of Celsus, the first great literary
opponent of Christianity, we know nothing with certainty, nor did
Origen know any more. He had heard that there were two persons of the
same name, the one living in the time of Nero, the other, whom he
identifies with his opponent, in the time of Hadrian and later, and
both of them Epicurean philosophers (see contra Cels. I. 8). The work
of Celsus, however, was clearly the work, not of an Epicurean, but of a
Platonist, or at least of an eclectic philosopher, with a strong
leaning toward Platonism. The author wrote about the middle of the
second century, probably in the reign of Marcus Aurelius (Keim fixes
the date of the work at 178 a.d.). The True Discourse (alethes logos)
is no longer extant, but it can be reconstructed in great part from
Origen’s reply to it. It is seen to have been one of the ablest and
most philosophical attacks of ancient times, and to have anticipated a
great many arguments urged against Christianity by modern unbelievers.
Celsus was well acquainted with Christianity in its various forms and
with its literature, and he set himself to work with all his learning
and skill to compose a complete refutation of the whole thing. He
writes apparently less from a religious than from a political motive.
He was an ardent patriot, and considered paganism essential to the life
of the State, and Christianity its necessary antagonist. He undertakes
first to show that Christianity is historically untenable, and then
that it is false from the standpoint of philosophy and ethics. It is
noticeable that it is not his desire to exterminate Christianity
completely, but to make peace with it; to induce the Christians to give
up their claim to possess the only true religion, and, with all their
high ethics and lofty ideals, to join hands with the upholders of the
ancient religion in elevating the religious ideas of the people, and
thus benefiting the state. When we look at his work in this light (and
much misunderstanding has been caused by a failure to do this), we must
admire his ability, and respect his motives. He was, however, by no
means free from the superstitions and prejudices of his age. The most
important book upon the work of Celsus is Keim’s Celsus’ Wahres Wort,
Zuerich, 1873, which reconstructs, from Origen’s reply, Celsus’ work,
and translates and explains it. Origen’s reply is philosophical and in
parts very able, but it must be acknowledged that in many places he
does not succeed in answering his opponent. His honesty, however, must
be admired in letting his adversary always speak for himself. He
attempts to answer every argument urged by Celsus, and gives the
argument usually in Celsus’ own words. The result is that the work is
quite desultory in its treatment, and often weighted with unimportant
details and tiresome repetitions. At the same time, it is full of rich
and suggestive thought, well worthy of Origen’s genius, and shows a
deep appreciation of the true spiritual nature of Christianity. The
entire work of eight books is extant in the original Greek, and is
printed in all editions of Origen’s works (Lommatzsch, Vol. XX. p.
1-226), and is translated in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Am. ed. Vol. IV.
395-669. It was one of Origen’s latest works, as we are told here by
Eusebius, and was composed (as we learn from its preface) at the urgent
request of Ambrose, to whom also it was dedicated.

[2048] The commentary on Matthew was written toward the close of
Origen’s life, as Eusebius informs us here, a fact which is confirmed
by references in the work itself to many of his earlier commentaries.
There are extant a single fragment from the first book (quoted in chap.
25, above), one from the second book (quoted in the Philocalia, chap.
6), and Books X.-XVII. entire in the original Greek, covering Matt.
xiii. 36-xxii. 33. There are also extant numerous notes, which may have
been taken, some of them from the commentary, and others from the
homilies; and a Latin version of the commentary covering Matt. xvi.
13-xxvii. (See Lommatzsch, Vols. III.-V.). The catalogue of Jerome
mentions twenty-five books and twenty-five homilies, and in the preface
to his commentary on Matthew, Jerome states that he had read the
twenty-five books, but elsewhere (in the prologue to his translation of
Origen’s homilies on Luke; Migne, VII. 219) he speaks of thirty-six (or
twenty-six) books of the commentary, but this is doubtless a mistake
(and so Vallarsi reads viginti quinque in the text). There is no reason
to think that Origen wrote more than twenty-five books, which must have
covered the whole Gospel (to judge from the portions extant). The books
which are preserved contain much that is interesting and suggestive.

[2049] Jerome also mentions twenty-five books upon the twelve prophets
(in duodecim Prophetas viginti quinque exegeseon Origenis volumina), of
which he had found a copy in the library of Caesarea, transcribed by
the hand of Pamphilus (de vir. ill. 75). The catalogue of Jerome
enumerates two books on Hosea, two on Joel, six on Amos, one on Jonah,
two on Micah, two on Mahum, three on Habakkuk, two on Zephaniah, one on
Haggai, two on Zechariah, two on Malachi; but in the preface to his
commentary on Malachi, Jerome mentions three books on that prophecy. Of
all these books only one fragment of the commentary on Hosea is extant,
being preserved in the Philocalia, c. 8.

[2050] These epistles to Philip and his wife Severa are no longer
extant, nor can we form an accurate idea of their contents. We are
reminded of Origen’s interview with Mammaea, the mother of Alexander
Severus, mentioned in chap. 21. Whether he wrote in response to a
request from Philip is uncertain, but is not likely in view of the
silence of Eusebius. It is possible that the favor shown by the emperor
and his wife had led Origen to believe that they might be won for the
faith, and there is nothing surprising in his addressing epistles to
them with this idea. On Philip’s relations to Christianity, see chap.
34, note 2.

[2051] This collection of Origen’s epistles made by Eusebius is no
longer extant. The catalogue of Jerome mentions ”eleven books of
letters in all; two books in defense of his works.” Only two epistles
are preserved entire,–the one to Julius Africanus (see chap. 31, note
1); the other to Gregory Thaumaturgus, written, apparently, soon after
the departure of the latter from Caesarea (see chap. 30, note 1), for
Gregory was, at the time it was written, still undecided as to the
profession which he should follow. In addition to these two complete
epistles, there are extant a sentence from a letter to his father
(quoted in chap. 2); also a fragment of an epistle to some unknown
person, describing the great zeal of his friend Ambrose (see chap. 18
note 1. The fragment is preserved by Suidas s. v. ‘Origenes); also a
fragment defending his study of heathen philosophy (quoted in chap. 19,
above); and two fragments in Latin, from a letter addressed to some
Alexandrian friends, complaining of the alterations made by certain
persons in the reports of disputations which he had held with them (see
chap. 32, note 4. The one fragment is preserved by Jerome, in his Apol.
adv. Ruf. II. 18; the other by Rufinus, in his apology for Origen). Of
his epistles to Fabian and others no trace remains.

[2052] On Fabian, see chap. 29, note 4. We do not know when this letter
to Fabian was written; but it cannot have been written in consequence
of Origen’s condemnation by the Alexandrian synods called by Demetrius,
for they were held in 231 or 232, and Fabian did not become bishop
until 236. There must have been some later cause,–perhaps a
condemnation by a later synod of Alexandria, perhaps only the
prevalence of a report that Origen was heterodox, which was causing
serious suspicions in Rome and elsewhere. We know that the
controversies which raged so fiercely about his memory began even
before his death.

[2053] On this Defense, see above, p. 36.

Chapter XXXVII.–The Dissension of the Arabians. [2054]

About the same time others arose in Arabia, putting forward a doctrine
foreign to the truth. They said that during the present time the human
soul dies and perishes with the body, but that at the time of the
resurrection they will be renewed together. And at that time also a
synod of considerable size assembled, and Origen, being again invited
thither, spoke publicly on the question with such effect that the
opinions of those who had formerly fallen were changed.

[2054] The exact nature of the heresy which is here described by
Eusebius is somewhat difficult to determine. It is disputed whether
these heretics are to be reckoned with the thnetopsuchitai (whom John
of Damascus mentions in his de Haeres. c. 90, and to whom Augustine
refers, under the name of Arabici, in his de Haeres, c. 83), that is,
those who taught the death of the soul with the body, or with the
hupnopsuchitai, who taught that the soul slept between the death and
the resurrection of the body. Redepenning, in a very thorough
discussion of the matter (II. 105 sq.), concludes that the heresy to
which Eusebius refers grew up under Jewish influence, which was very
strong in Arabia, and that it did not teach the death (as Eusebius
asserts), but only the slumber of the soul. He reckons them therefore
with the second, not the first, class mentioned. But it seems to me
that Redepenning is almost hypercritical in maintaining that it is
impossible that these heretics can have taught that the soul died and
afterward was raised again; for it is no more impossible that they
should have taught it than that Eusebius and others should have
supposed that they did. In fact, there does not seem to be adequate
ground for correcting Eusebius’ statement, which describes heretics who
must distinctly be classed with the thnetopsuchitai mentioned later by
John of Damascus. We do not know the date at which the synod referred
to in this chapter was held. We only know that it was subsequent to the
one which dealt with Beryllus, and therefore it must have been toward
the close of Philip’s reign.

Chapter XXXVIII.–The Heresy of the Elkesites.

Another error also arose at this time, called the heresy of the
Elkesites, [2055] which was extinguished in the very beginning. Origen
speaks of it in this manner in a public homily on the eighty-second
Psalm: [2056]

”A certain man [2057] came just now, puffed up greatly with his own
ability, proclaiming that godless and impious opinion which has
appeared lately in the churches, styled `of the Elkesites.’ I will show
you what evil things that opinion teaches, that you may not be carried
away by it. It rejects certain parts of every scripture. Again it uses
portions of the Old Testament and the Gospel, but rejects the apostle
[2058] altogether. It says that to deny Christ is an indifferent
matter, and that he who understands will, under necessity, deny with
his mouth, but not in his heart. They produce a certain book which they
say fell from heaven. They hold that whoever hears and believes [2059]
this shall receive remission of sins, another remission than that which
Jesus Christ has given.” Such is the account of these persons.

[2055] The Elkesites (;;Elkesaitai) were not a distinct sect, but ”a
school scattered among all parties of the Judaeo-Christian Church.”
They are described by Hippolytus (Phil. IX. 8-12) and by Epiphanius (in
chap. 19 among the Essenes, in 30 among the Ebionites, and in 53 among
the Sampsaeans). We learn from Hippolytus that, in the time of
Callistus or soon afterward, a certain Alcibiades, a native of Apameia
in Syria, brought to Rome a book bearing the name of Elkesai
(‘Elchasai), which purported to contain a revelation, made in the time
of Trajan, by the Son of God and the Holy Spirit in the form of angels,
and teaching the forgiveness of all sins, even the grossest, by means
of belief in the doctrines of the book and baptism performed with
certain peculiar rites. The controversy in regard to the forgiveness of
gross sins committed after baptism was raging high at this time in
Rome, and Hippolytus, who took the strict side, naturally opposed this
new system of indulgence with the greatest vigor. Among other doctrines
taught in the book, was the lawfulness of denying the faith in time of
persecution, as told us by Origen in this chapter, and by Epiphanius in
chap. 19. The book was strongly Ebionitic in its teaching, and bore
striking resemblances to the Clementine Homilies and Recognitions. Its
exact relation to those writings has been disputed; but Uhlhorn
(Homilien und Recognition des Clemens Romanus) has shown conclusively
that it is older than the latter, and that it represents a type of
Ebionitic Christianity less modified than the latter by the influence
of Christianity. In agreement with the Ebionites, the Elkesites (as all
those were called who accepted the teachings of the book, to whatever
party they might belong) taught that Christ was a created being; and
they also repudiated sacrifices, which compelled them to reject certain
portions of the Old Testament (cf. Origen’s statement just below). They
likewise refused recognition to the apostle Paul, and ordained the
observance of the Jewish law; but they went beyond the Clementines in
teaching the necessity of circumcision and the repetition of baptism as
a means to the forgiveness of sins. The origin of the name Elkesai has
also been disputed. Hippolytus says it was the name of the man who was
claimed to have received the revelation, and Epiphanius calls Elkesai a
false prophet; but some critics have thought them mistaken, and have
supposed that Elkesai must have been the name of the book, or of the
angel that gave the revelation. It is more probable, however, as Salmon
concludes, that it was the name of a man whom the book represented as
receiving the revelation, but that the man was only an imaginary
person, and not the real founder of the school, as Epiphanius supposed.
The book cannot well be put back of the beginning of the third century,
when it first began to be heard of in the Catholic Church. It claimed
to have been for a century in secret circulation, but the claim is
quite unfounded. Eusebius speaks of the heresy as extinguished in the
very beginning, and it seems, in fact, to have played no prominent part
in history; and yet it apparently lingered on for a long time in the
East, for we hear of a sect in Arabia, as late as the tenth century,
who counted El-Chasaiach as their founder (see Salmon’s article, p.
98). See the work of Uhlhorn already mentioned; also Ritschl’s
Entstehung d. alt. Katholischen Kirche, p. 234 sq. (Ritschl holds that
the Clementines are older than the book of Elkesai), and Hilgenfeld’s
Nov. Test. extra Can. rec. III. 153, where the extant fragments of the
book are collected. See also Salmon’s article in the Dict. of Christ.
Biog. II. p. 95 sq.

[2056] On Origen’s writings on the Psalms, see chap. 24, note 3. This
fragment is the only portion of his homily on the eighty-second Psalm

[2057] Alciabades, according to Hippolytus (see above, note 1).

[2058] The apostle Paul (see note 1).

[2059] Origen does not mention the baptism of the Elkesites, which is
described at length by Hippolytus. It seems that both belief in the
teachings of the book and baptism were necessary. It may be that in
Origen’s opinion the receiving of the book itself involved the peculiar
baptism which it taught, and that, therefore, he thought it unnecessary
to mention the latter.

Chapter XXXIX.–The Persecution under Decius, and the Sufferings of

1. After a reign of seven years Philip was succeeded by Decius. [2060]
On account of his hatred of Philip, he commenced a persecution of the
churches, in which Fabianus [2061] suffered martyrdom at Rome, and
Cornelius succeeded him in the episcopate. [2062]

2. In Palestine, Alexander, [2063] bishop of the church of Jerusalem,
was brought again on Christ’s account before the governor’s judgment
seat in Caesarea, and having acquitted himself nobly in a second
confession was cast into prison, crowned with the hoary locks of
venerable age.

3. And after his honorable and illustrious confession at the tribunal
of the governor, he fell asleep in prison, and Mazabanes [2064] became
his successor in the bishopric of Jerusalem.

4. Babylas [2065] in Antioch, having like Alexander passed away in
prison after his confession, was succeeded by Fabius [2066] in the
episcopate of that church.

5. But how many and how great things came upon Origen in the
persecution, and what was their final result,–as the demon of evil
marshaled all his forces, and fought against the man with his utmost
craft and power, assaulting him beyond all others against whom he
contended at that time,–and what and how many things he endured for
the word of Christ, bonds and bodily tortures and torments under the
iron collar and in the dungeon; and how for many days with his feet
stretched four spaces in the stocks [2067] he bore patiently the
threats of fire and whatever other things were inflicted by his
enemies; and how his sufferings terminated, as his judge strove eagerly
with all his might not to end his life; and what words he left after
these things, full of comfort to those needing aid, a great many of his
epistles show with truth and accuracy. [2068]

[2060] Philip was defeated and slain near Verona, on June 17, 249 by
the Pannonian legions who had compelled Decius, the envoy sent by
Philip to quell a mutiny among them, to accept the title of Augustus.
Philip’s death made Decius emperor; and he reigned for a little over
two years, when he perished in a campaign against the Goths. The cause
given by Eusebius for the terrible persecution of Decius is quite
incorrect. The emperor, who before his elevation was one of the most
highly respected senators, seems to have been a man of noble character
and of high aims. He was a thorough-going patriot and a staunch
believer in the religion and laws of Rome. He saw the terrible state of
corruption and decay into which the empire had fallen; and he made up
his mind that it could be arrested only by restoring the ancient Roman
customs, and by strengthening the ancient religion. He therefore
revived the old censorship, hoping that the moral and social habits of
the people might be improved under its influence; and he endeavored to
exterminate the Christians, believing that thus the ancient purity of
the state religion might be restored. It was no low motive of personal
revenge or of caprice which prompted the persecution. We must recognize
the fact that Decius was one of the best and noblest of the Roman
emperors, and that he persecuted as a patriot and a believer in the
religion of his fathers. He was the first one that aimed at the
complete extermination of the Christians. He went systematically to
work to put the religion out of existence; and the persecution was
consequently both universal and of terrible severity, far more terrible
than any that had preceded it. The edicts published by Decius early in
the year 250 are no longer extant; but we can gather from the notices,
especially of Cyprian and Dionysius, that the effort was first made to
induce Christians throughout the empire to deny their faith and return
to the religion of the state, and only when large numbers of them
remained obstinate did the persecution itself begin.

[2061] On Fabianus, bishop of Rome, see chap. 29, note 4.

[2062] After the martyrdom of Fabianus the church of Rome was without a
bishop for about fourteen months. The bishopric of that church was
naturally under Decius a place of the greatest danger. Cornelius became
bishop in 251, probably in March, while Decius was away from the city.
After the emperor’s death, which took place in the following winter,
Gallus renewed the persecution, and Cornelius with a large part of the
church fled to Civit`a Vecchia, where he died in the summer of 253,
according to Lipsius (the Liberian catalogue says 252, which is the
commonly accepted date, but is clearly incorrect, as Lipsius has
shown). Both versions of the Chron. are greatly confused at this point,
and their statements are very faulty (Jerome’s version assigning a
reign of only fifteen months to Decius and two years and four months to
Gallus). Eusebius, in Bk. VII. chap. 2, says that Cornelius held office
”about three years,” which is reasonably accurate, for he was actually
bishop nearly two years and a half. It was during the episcopate of
Cornelius that the Novatian schism took place (see chap. 43). Eight
epistles from Cyprian to Cornelius are extant, and two from Cornelius
to Cyprian. In chap. 43 Eusebius makes extended quotations from an
epistle written by Cornelius to Fabius of Antioch, and mentions still
others which are not preserved. In chap. 46 he refers to one against
Novatian addressed to Dionysius of Alexandria, which is likewise lost.

[2063] On Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem, see chap. 8, note 6.

[2064] The time of Mazabanes’ accession is fixed approximately by the
fact that Alexander’s death took place in the persecution of Decius.
His death is put by Eusebius (Bk. VII. chap. 14) in the reign of
Gallienus (260-268), and with this the notice in the Chron. agrees,
which assigns it to the year 265. Since his successor, Hymenaeus, was
present at the council of Antioch, in which the case of Paul of
Samosata was considered (see below, Bk. VII. chaps. 29 and 30), it will
not do to put Mazabanes’ death later than 265.

[2065] On Babylas, see chap. 29, note 8.

[2066] Eusebius gives the name of this bishop as BEURbios, Jerome as
Fabianus, and Syncellus as phlabianos. The time of his accession is
fixed by the death of Babylas in the persecution of Decius. He was
bishop of Antioch while Cornelius was bishop of Rome, as we learn from
the latter’s epistle to him, quoted in chap. 43, below. From an epistle
written by Dionysius of Alexandria to Cornelius of Rome (referred to in
chap. 46), we learn that Fabius died while the latter was still bishop,
i.e. before the summer of 253 (see note 3, above). The Chron. pasch.
assigns three years to the episcopate of Fabius; and though we cannot
place much reliance upon the figure, yet it leads us to think that he
must have been bishop for some time,–at least more than a year,–and
so we are inclined to put his death as late as possible. The Chron.
puts the accession of his Successor Demetrianus in the year 254, which
is too late, at least for the death of Fabius. We may conclude that the
latter died probably in the year 253, or not long before. Harnack
decides for the time between the fall of 252 and the spring of 253.
Fabius, as we learn from the epistles addressed to him by Cornelius and
Dionysius (see chaps. 43 and 44), was inclined to indorse Novatian and
the rigoristic discipline favored by him. We know nothing more of the
life or character of Fabius.

[2067] tous podas hupo tessara tou kolasteriou xulou paratetheis
diastemata. Otto, in his edition of Justin’s Apology (Corp. Apol.
Christ. I. p. 204), says: xulon erat truncus foramina habens, quibus
pedes captivorum immitebantur, ut securius in carcere servarentur aut
tormentis vexarentur (”a xulon was a block, with holes in which the
feet of captives were put, in order that they might be kept more
securely in prison, or might be afflicted with tortures”). The farther
apart the feet were stretched, the greater of course was the torture.
Four spaces seems to have been the outside limit. Compare Bk. VIII.
chap. 10, S:8.

[2068] A tradition arose in later centuries that Origen died in the
persecution of Decius (see Photius, Cod. 118); but this is certainly an
error, for Eusebius cannot have been mistaken when he cites Origen’s
own letters as describing his sufferings during the persecution. The
epistles referred to here are no longer extant. On Origen’s epistles in
general, see chap. 36, note 7.

Chapter XL.–The Events which happened to Dionysius. [2069]

1. I shall quote from the epistle of Dionysius to Germanus [2070] an
account of what befell the former. Speaking of himself, he writes as
follows: ”I speak before God, and he knows that I do not lie. I did not
flee on my own impulse nor without divine direction.

2. But even before this, at the very hour when the Decian persecution
was commanded, Sabinus [2071] sent a frumentarius [2072] to search for
me, and I remained at home four days awaiting his arrival.

3. But he went about examining all places,–roads, rivers, and
fields,–where he thought I might be concealed or on the way. But he
was smitten with blindness, and did not find the house, [2073] for he
did not suppose, that being pursued, I would remain at home. And after
the fourth day God commanded me to depart, and made a way for me in a
wonderful manner; and I and my attendants [2074] and many of the
brethren went away together. And that this occurred through the
providence of God was made manifest by what followed, in which perhaps
we were useful to some.”

4. Farther on he relates in this manner what happened to him after his

”For about sunset, having been seized with those that were with me, I
was taken by the soldiers to Taposiris, [2075] but in the providence of
God, Timothy [2076] was not present and was not captured. But coming
later, he found the house deserted and guarded by soldiers, and
ourselves reduced to slavery.” [2077]

5. After a little he says:

”And what was the manner of his admirable management? for the truth
shall be told. One of the country people met Timothy fleeing and
disturbed, and inquired the cause of his haste. And he told him the

6. And when the man heard it (he was on his way to a marriage feast,
for it was customary to spend the entire night in such gatherings), he
entered and announced it to those at the table. And they, as if on a
preconcerted signal, arose with one impulse, and rushed out quickly and
came and burst in upon us with a shout. Immediately the soldiers who
were guarding us fled, and they came to us lying as we were upon the
bare couches.

7. But I, God knows, thought at first that they were robbers who had
come for spoil and plunder. So I remained upon the bed on which I was,
clothed only in a linen garment, and offered them the rest of my
clothing which was lying beside me. But they directed me to rise and
come away quickly.

8. Then I understood why they were come, and I cried out, beseeching
and entreating them to depart and leave us alone. And I requested them,
if they desired to benefit me in any way, to anticipate those who were
carrying me off, and cut off my head themselves. And when I had cried
out in this manner, as my companions and partners in everything know,
they raised me by force. But I threw myself on my back on the ground;
and they seized me by the hands and feet and dragged me away.

9. And the witnesses of all these occurrences followed: Gaius, Faustus,
Peter, and Paul. [2078] But they who had seized me carried me out of
the village hastily, and placing me on an ass without a saddle, bore me
away.” [2079]

Dionysius relates these things respecting himself.

[2069] Dionysius the Great (Eusebius in the preface to Bk. VII. calls
him ho megas ‘Alexandreon episkopos) was born toward the close of the
second century (he was an aged man, between 260 and 265, as we learn
from Bk. VII. chap 27), studied under Origen, and succeeded Heraclas as
principal of the catechetical school in Alexandria (see above, chap.
29) in the year 231 or 231 (see chap. 3, note 2). In the third year of
Philip’s reign (246-247) he succeeded Heraclas as bishop of Alexandria,
according to chap. 35, above. Whether he continued to preside over the
catechetical school after he became bishop we do not know. Dittrich (p.
4 sq.) gives reasons for thinking that he did, which render it at least
probable. He was still living when the earlier synods, in which the
case of Paul of Samosata was considered, were held (i.e. between 260
and 264; see Bk. VII. chap. 27, note 4), but he was dead before the
last one met, i.e. before 265 a.d. (see Bk. VII. chap. 29, note 1).
Dionysius is one of the most prominent, and at the same time pleasing,
figures of his age. He seems to have been interested less in
speculative than in practical questions, and yet he wrote an important
work On Nature, which shows that he possessed philosophical ability,
and one of his epistles contains a discussion of the authorship of the
Apocalypse, which is unsurpassed in the early centuries as an example
of keen and yet judicious and well-balanced literary criticism (see Bk.
VII. chap. 25). His intellectual abilities must, therefore, not be
underrated, but it is as a practical theologian that he is best known.
He took an active part in all the controversies of his time, in the
Novatian difficulty in which the re-admission of the lapsed was the
burning question; in the controversy as to the re-baptism of heretics;
and in the case of Paul of Samosata. In all he played a prominent part,
and in all he seems to have acted with great wisdom and moderation (see
chaps. 44 sq., Bk. VII. chaps. 5, 7 sq., chap. 27). He was taken
prisoner during the persecution of Decius, but made his escape (see the
present chapter). In the persecution of Valerian he was banished (see
Bk. VII. chap. 11), but returned to Alexandria after the accession of
Gallienus (see Bk. VII. chap. 21). His conduct during the persecutions
exposed him to adverse criticism, and he defended himself warmly
against the accusations of a bishop Germanus, in an epistle, portions
of which are quoted in this chapter and in Bk. VII. chap. 11. The
writings of Dionysius were chiefly in the form of epistles, written for
some practical purpose. Of such epistles he wrote a great many, and
numerous fragments are extant, preserved chiefly by Eusebius. Being
called forth by particular circumstances, they contain much information
in regard to contemporary events, and are thus an important historical
source, as Eusebius wisely perceived. Such epistles are quoted, or
mentioned, in chaps. 41, 44, 45, and 46 of this book, and in Bk. VII.
chaps. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26. For particulars
in regard to them, see the notes on those chapters. In addition to his
epistles a work, On Promises, is referred to by Eusebius in Bk. VII.
chap. 28, and in Bk. VII. chaps. 24 and 25, where extracts from it are
quoted (see Bk. VII. chap. 24, note 1); also a commentary on the
beginning of Ecclesiastes in Bk. VII. chap. 26, and in the same chapter
a work in four books against Sabellius, addressed to Dionysius, bishop
of Rome, in which he defends himself against the charge of tritheism,
brought by some Sabellian adversaries. He was able to clear himself of
all suspicion of heresy in the matter, though it is quite clear that he
had carried the subordinationism of Origen to a dangerous extreme. The
attack upon him led him to be more careful in his statements, some of
which were such as in part to justify the suspicions of his
adversaries. Athanasius defended his orthodoxy in a special work, De
Sententiis Dionysii, and there can be no doubt that Dionysius was
honestly concerned to preserve the divinity of the Son; but as in the
case of Eusebius of Caesarea, and of all those who were called upon to
face Sabellianism, his tendency was to lay an over-emphasis upon the
subordination of the Son (see above, p. 11 sq.). For further
particulars in regard to this work, see the chapter referred to, note
4. Upon Dionysius’ views of the Trinity, see Dittrich, p. 91 sq.
Besides the writings referred to, or quoted by Eusebius, there should
be mentioned an important canonical epistle addressed to Basilides, in
which the exact time of the expiration of the lenten fast is the chief
subject of discussion (still extant, and printed by Pitra, Routh, and
others, and translated in the Ante-Nicene Fathers; see Dittrich, p. 46
sq.). There are yet a few other fragments of Dionysius’ writings,
extant in various mss., which it is not necessary to mention here. See
Dittrich, p. 130. The most complete collection of the extant fragments
of his writings is that of Migne, Patr. Gr. X. 1233 sq., to which must
be added Pitra’s Spic. Solesm. I. 15 sq. English translation in the
Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI. p. 87-120. The most complete work upon
Dionysius is the monograph of Dietrich, Dionysius der Grosse, Freiburg,
i. Br. 1867.

[2070] This Germanus, as we learn from Bk. VII. chap. 11, was a bishop
of some see, unknown to us, who had accused Dionysius of cowardice in
the face of persecution. In the present instance Dionysius undertakes
to refute his calumnies, by recounting accurately his conduct during
the persecutions. It must be remembered that the letter is a defense
against accusations actually made, or we shall misunderstand it, and
misinterpret Dionysius’ motives in dwelling at such length upon the
details of his own sufferings. The epistle, a part of which is quoted
in this chapter, and a part in Bk. VII. chap. 11, was written, as we
learn from the latter chapter, S:18, while the persecution of Valerian
was still in progress, and recounts his experiences during the
persecutions of Decius and of Valerian. The fragment quoted in the
present chapter is devoted to the persecution of Decius, the other
fragment to the persecution of Valerian. The letter is said to have
been written pros Germanon. This might be translated either to or
against Germanus. Analogy would lead us to think the former translation
correct, for all the epistles mentioned are said to have been written
pros one or another person, and it is natural, of course, to expect the
name of the person addressed to be given. I have therefore translated
the word thus, as is done in all the versions. At the same time it must
be noticed that Germanus is spoken of in the epistle (especially in
S:18 sq. of the other chapter) not as if he were the person addressed,
but as he were the person complained of to others; and, moreover, a
letter of defense sent to him alone would probably have little effect,
and would fail to put an end to the calumnies which must have found
many ready ears. It seems, in fact, quite probable that the epistle was
rather a public than a private one, and that while it was nominally
addressed to Germanus, it was yet intended for a larger public, and was
written with that public in view. This will explain the peculiar manner
in which Germanus is referred to. Certainly it is hard to think he
would have been thus mentioned in a personal letter.

[2071] Sabinus, an otherwise unknown personage, seems to have been
prefect of Egypt at this time, as AEmilianus was during the persecution
of Valerian, according to Bk. VII. chap. 11.

[2072] One of the frumentarii milites, or military commissaries, who
were employed for various kinds of business, and under the emperors
especially as detectives or secret spies.

[2073] me heuriskon. It is not meant that the frumentarius could not
find the house, but that he did not think to go to the house at all,
through an error of judgment (”being smitten with blindness”),
supposing that Dionysius would certainly be elsewhere.

[2074] hoi paides. This is taken by many scholars to mean ”children,”
and the conclusion is drawn by them that Dionysius was a married man.
Dittrich translates it ”pupils,” supposing that Dionysius was still at
the head of the catechetical school, and that some of his scholars
lived with him, as was quite common. Others translate ”servants,” or
”domestics.” I have used the indefinite word” attendants” simply,
because the paides may well have included children, scholars, servants,
and others who made up his family and constituted, any or all of them,
his attendants. As shown in note 8, the word at any rate cannot be
confined in the present case to servants.

[2075] Strabo (Bk. XVII. chap. 1) mentions a small town called
Taposiris, situated in the neighborhood of Alexandria.

[2076] We know nothing about this Timothy, except that Dionysius
addressed to him his work On Nature, as reported by Eusebius in VII.
26. He is there called Timotheos ho pais. Dionysius can hardly have
addressed a book to one of his servants, and hence we may conclude that
Timothy was either Dionysius’ son (as Westcott holds) or scholar (as
Dittrich believes). It is reasonable to think him one of the paides,
with others of whom Dionysius was arrested, as recorded just above. It
is in that case of course necessary to give the word as used there some
other, or at least some broader sense than ”servants.”

[2077] Greek exendrapodismenous, meaning literally ”reduced to
slavery.” The context, however, does not seem to justify such a
rendering, for the reference is apparently only to the fact that they
were captured. Their capture, had they not been released, would have
resulted probably in death rather than in slavery.

[2078] These four men are known to us only as companions of Dionysius
during the persecution of Decius, as recorded here and in Bk. VII.
chap. 11. From that chapter, S:23, we learn that Caius and Peter were
alone with Dionysius in a desert place in Libya, after being carried
away by the rescuing party mentioned here. From S:3 of the same chapter
we learn that Faustus was a deacon, and that he was with Dionysius also
during the persecution of Valerian, and from S:26 that he suffered
martyrdom at a great age in the Diocletian persecution. See also Bk.
VIII. chap. 13, note 11.

[2079] As we learn from Bk. VII. chap. 11, S:23, this rescuing party
carried Dionysius to a desert place in Libya, where he was left with
only two companions until the persecution ceased.

Chapter XLI.–The Martyrs in Alexandria.

1. The same writer, in an epistle to Fabius, [2080] bishop of Antioch,
relates as follows the sufferings of the martyrs in Alexandria under

”The persecution among us did not begin with the royal decree, but
preceded it an entire year. [2081] The prophet and author of evils
[2082] to this city, whoever he was, previously moved and aroused
against us the masses of the heathen, rekindling among them the
superstition of their country.

2. And being thus excited by him and finding full opportunity for any
wickedness, they considered this the only pious service of their
demons, that they should slay us.

3. ”They seized first an old man named Metras, [2083] and commanded him
to utter impious words. But as he would not obey, they beat him with
clubs, and tore his face and eyes with sharp sticks, and dragged him
out of the city and stoned him.

4. Then they carried to their idol temple a faithful woman, named
Quinta, that they might force her to worship. And as she turned away in
detestation, they bound her feet and dragged her through the entire
city over the stone-paved streets, and dashed her against the
millstones, and at the same time scourged her; then, taking her to the
same place, they stoned her to death.

5. Then all with one impulse rushed to the homes of the pious, and they
dragged forth whomsoever any one knew as a neighbor, and despoiled and
plundered them. They took for themselves the more valuable property;
but the poorer articles and those made of wood they scattered about and
burned in the streets, so that the city appeared as if taken by an

6. But the brethren withdrew and went away, and `took joyfully the
spoiling of their goods,’ [2084] like those to whom Paul bore witness.
I know of no one unless possibly some one who fell into their hands,
who, up to this time, denied the Lord.

7. Then they seized also that most admirable virgin, Apollonia, an old
woman, and, smiting her on the jaws, broke out all her teeth. And they
made a fire outside the city and threatened to burn her alive if she
would not join with them in their impious cries. And she, supplicating
a little, was released, when she leaped eagerly into the fire and was

8. Then they seized Serapion in his own house, and tortured him with
harsh cruelties, and having broken all his limbs, they threw him
headlong from an upper story. And there was no street, nor public road,
nor lane open to us, by night or day; for always and everywhere, all of
them cried out that if any one would not repeat their impious words, he
should immediately be dragged away and burned.

9. And matters continued thus for a considerable time. But a sedition
and civil war came upon the wretched people and turned their cruelty
toward us against one another. [2085] So we breathed for a little while
as they ceased from their rage against us. But presently the change
from that milder reign was announced to us, [2086] and great fear of
what was threatened seized us.

10. For the decree arrived, almost like unto that most terrible time
foretold by our Lord, which if it were possible would offend even the
elect. [2087]

11. All truly were affrighted. And many of the more eminent in their
fear came forward immediately; [2088] others who were in the public
service were drawn on by their official duties; [2089] others were
urged on by their acquaintances. And as their names were called they
approached the impure and impious sacrifices. Some of them were pale
and trembled as if they were not about to sacrifice, but to be
themselves sacrifices and offerings to the idols; so that they were
jeered at by the multitude who stood around, as it was plain to every
one that they were afraid either to die or to sacrifice.

12. But some advanced to the altars more readily, declaring boldly that
they had never been Christians. Of these the prediction of our Lord is
most true that they shall `hardly’ [2090] be saved. Of the rest some
followed the one, others the other of these classes, some fled and some
were seized.

13. And of the latter some continued faithful until bonds and
imprisonment, and some who had even been imprisoned for many days yet
abjured the faith before they were brought to trial. Others having for
a time endured great tortures finally retracted.

14. But the firm and blessed pillars of the Lord being strengthened by
him, and having received vigor and might suitable and appropriate to
the strong faith which they possessed, became admirable witnesses of
his kingdom.

15. The first of these was Julian, a man who suffered so much with the
gout that he was unable to stand or walk. They brought him forward with
two others who carried him. One of these immediately denied. But the
other, whose name was Cronion, and whose surname was Eunus, and the old
man Julian himself, both of them having confessed the Lord, were
carried on camels through the entire city, which, as you know, is a
very large one, and in this elevated position were beaten and finally
burned in a fierce fire, [2091] surrounded by all the populace.

16. But a soldier, named Besas, who stood by them as they were led away
rebuked those who insulted them. And they cried out against him, and
this most manly warrior of God was arraigned, and having done nobly in
the great contest for piety, was beheaded.

17. A certain other one, a Libyan by birth, but in name and blessedness
a true Macar, [2092] was strongly urged by the judge to recant; but as
he would not yield he was burned alive. After them Epimachus and
Alexander, having remained in bonds for a long time, and endured
countless agonies from scrapers [2093] and scourges, were also consumed
in a fierce fire. [2094]

18. And with them there were four women. Ammonarium, a holy virgin, the
judge tortured relentlessly and excessively, because she declared from
the first that she would utter none of those things which he commanded;
and having kept her promise truly, she was dragged away. The others
were Mercuria, a very remarkable old woman, and Dionysia, the mother of
many children, who did not love her own children above the Lord. [2095]
As the governor was ashamed of torturing thus ineffectually, and being
always defeated by women, they were put to death by the sword, without
the trial of tortures. For the champion, Ammonarium, endured these in
behalf of all.

19. The Egyptians, Heron and Ater and Isidorus, and with them
Dioscorus, [2096] a boy about fifteen years old, were delivered up. At
first the judge attempted to deceive the lad by fair words, as if he
could be brought over easily, and then to force him by tortures, as one
who would readily yield. But Dioscorus was neither persuaded nor

20. As the others remained firm, he scourged them cruelly and then
delivered them to the fire. But admiring the manner in which Dioscorus
had distinguished himself publicly, and his wise answers to his
persuasions, he dismissed him, saying that on account of his youth he
would give him time for repentance. And this most godly Dioscorus is
among us now, awaiting a longer conflict and more severe contest.

21. But a certain Nemesion, who also was an Egyptian, was accused as an
associate of robbers; but when he had cleared himself before the
centurion of this charge most foreign to the truth, he was informed
against as a Christian, and taken in bonds before the governor. And the
most unrighteous magistrate inflicted on him tortures and scourgings
double those which he executed on the robbers, and then burned him
between the robbers, thus honoring the blessed man by the likeness to

22. A band of soldiers, Ammon and Zeno and Ptolemy and Ingenes, and
with them an old man, Theophilus, were standing close together before
the tribunal. And as a certain person who was being tried as a
Christian, seemed inclined to deny, they standing by gnashed their
teeth, and made signs with their faces and stretched out their hands,
and gestured with their bodies. And when the attention of all was
turned to them, before any one else could seize them, they rushed up to
the tribunal saying that they were Christians, so that the governor and
his council were affrighted. And those who were on trial appeared most
courageous in prospect of their sufferings, while their judges
trembled. And they went exultingly from the tribunal rejoicing in their
testimony; [2097] God himself having caused them to triumph

[2080] I read phEURbion with the majority of the mss., and with
Valesius, Stroth, Burton, Closs, and Cruse, preferring to adopt the
same spelling here that is used in the other passages in which the same
bishop is mentioned. A number of mss. read phabianon, which is
supported by Rufinus, and adopted by Schwegler, Laemmer, and Heinichen.
On Fabius, bishop of Antioch, see chap. 39, note 7. The time of his
episcopate stated in that note fixes the date of this epistle within
narrow limits, viz. between 250 and the spring of 253. The whole tone
of the letter and the discussion of the readmission of the lapsed would
lead us to think that the epistle was written after the close of the
persecution, but in S:20, Dioscorus is said to be still among them,
waiting for ”a longer and more severe conflict,” which seems to imply
that the persecution, if not raging at the time, was at least expected
to break out again soon. This would lead us to think of the closing
months of Decius’ reign, i.e. late in the year 251, and this date finds
confirmation in the consideration that the epistle (as we learn from
chap. 44) was written after the breaking out of the Novatian schism,
and apparently after the election of Novatian as opposition bishop, for
Fabius can hardly have sided with him against his bishop, so long as he
was only a presbyter. Doubtless Novatian’s official letter, announcing
his election, had influenced Fabius. But Novation was elected bishop in
251, probably in the summer or early fall; at least, some months after
Cornelius’ accession which took place in February, 251. It seems, from
chap. 44, that Fabius was inclined to side with Novatian, and to favor
his rigoristic principles. This epistle was written (as we learn from
chap. 42, S:6) with the express purpose of leading him to change his
position and to adopt more lenient principles in his treatment of the
lapsed. It is with this end in view that Dionysius details at such
length in this chapter the sufferings of the martyrs. He wishes to
impress upon Fabius their piety and steadfastness, in order to beget
greater respect for their opinions. Having done this, he states that
they who best understood the temptations to which the persecuted were
exposed, had received the lapsed, when repentant, into fellowship as
before (see chap. 42, note 6). Dionysius’ own position in the matter
comes out very clearly in this epistle. He was in full sympathy with
the milder treatment of the lapsed advocated in Rome and in Carthage by
Cornelius and Cyprian.

[2081] The edict of Decius was published early in the year 250, and
therefore the persecution in Alexandria, according to Dionysius, began
in 249, while Philip was still emperor. Although the latter showed the
Christians favor, yet it is not at all surprising that this local
persecution should break out during his reign. The peace which the
Christians were enjoying naturally fostered the growth of the Church,
and the more patriotic and pious of the heathen citizens of the empire
must necessarily have felt great solicitude at its constant increase,
and the same spirit which led Decius to persecute would lead many such
persons to desire to persecute when the opportunity offered itself; and
the closing months of Philip’s reign were so troubled with rebellions
and revolutions that he had little time, and perhaps less inclination,
to interfere in such a minor matter as a local persecution of
Christians. The common people of Alexandria were of an excitable and
riotous disposition, and it was always easy there to stir up a tumult
at short notice and upon slight pretexts.

[2082] ho kakon te polei taute mEURntis kai poietes. The last word is
rendered ”poet” by most translators, and the rendering is quite
possible; but it is difficult to understand why Dionysius should speak
of this person’s being a poet, which could have no possible connection
with the matter in hand. It seems better to take poietes in its common
sense of ”maker,” or ”author,” and to suppose Dionysius to be thinking
of this man, not simply as the prophet of evils to the city, but also
as their author, in that he ”moved and aroused against us the masses of
the heathen.”

[2083] Of the various martyrs and confessors mentioned in this chapter,
we know only what is told us by Dionysius in this epistle.

[2084] Heb. x. 34. Upon the authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews,
see Bk. III. chap. 3, note 17; and upon Eusebius’ opinion in the
matter, see Bk. III. chap. 25, note 1.

[2085] We know that the closing months of Philip’s reign were troubled
with seditions in various quarters; but Dionysius is our only authority
for this particular one, unless it be connected, as some think, with
the revolt which Zosimus describes as aroused in the Orient by the bad
government of Philip’s brother, who was governor there, and by
excessive taxation (see Tillemont, Hist. des Emp. III. p. 272).

[2086] This refers to the death of Philip and the accession of Decius.
The hostile edicts of the latter seem not to have been published until
some months after his accession, i.e. early in 250. But his hostility
to Christianity might have been known from the start, and it might have
been understood that he would persecute as soon as he had attended to
the other more important matters connected with his accession.

[2087] Matt. xxiv. 24. Eusebius reads skandalisai; Matthew, planathai
or planesai

[2088] i.e. to sacrifice.

[2089] hoi de demosieuontes hupo ton prEURxeon egonto. Every officer of
the government under the imperial regimen was obliged to sacrifice to
the Gods upon taking office, and also to sacrifice at stated times
during his term of office, and upon special occasions, or in connection
with the performance of important official duties. He might thus be
called upon in his official capacity frequently to offer sacrifices,
and a failure to perform this part of his duties was looked upon as
sacrilege and punished as a crime against the state. Christian
officials, therefore, were always in danger of suffering for their
religion unless they were allowed as a special favor, to omit the
sacrifices, as was often the case under those emperors who were more
favorably inclined toward Christianity. A private citizen was never
obliged to sacrifice except in times of persecution, when he might be
ordered to do so as a test. But an official could not carry out fully
all the duties of his position without sacrificing. This is one reason
why many of the Christians avoided public office, and thus drew upon
themselves the accusation of a lack of patriotism (cf. Origen, Contra
Cels. VI. 5 sq., and Tertullian’s Apol. c. 42); and it is also one
reason why such Christians as happened to be in office were always the
first to suffer under a hostile emperor.

[2090] Cf. Matt. xix. 23. This sentence shows that Dionysius did not
consider it impossible even for those to be saved who denied Christ
before enduring any suffering at all. He was clearly willing to leave a
possibility of salvation even to the worst offenders, and in this
agreed perfectly with Cornelius, Cyprian, and the body of the Roman and
Carthaginian churches.

[2091] asbesto puri.

[2092] The Greek word mEURkar means ”blessed.”

[2093] xusteras. ”The instrument of torture here mentioned was an iron
scraper, calculated to wound and tear the flesh as it passed over it”

[2094] puri asbesto.

[2095] Rufinus adds at this point the words et alia Ammonaria (”and
another Ammonaria”). Valesius therefore conjectures that the words kai
‘AmmonEURrion hetera must have stood in the original text, and he is
followed by Stroth and Heinichen. The mss., however, are unanimous in
their omission of the words, and the second sentence below, which
speaks of only a single Ammonarium, as if there were no other,
certainly argues against their insertion. It is possible that Rufinus,
finding only three women mentioned after Dionysius had referred to
four, ventured to insert the ”other Ammonaria.”

[2096] It has been suggested (by Birks in the Dict. of Christ. Biog.)
that this Dioscorus may be identical with the presbyter of the same
name mentioned in Bk. VII. chap. 11, S:24. But this is quite
impossible, for Dioscorus, as we learn from this passage, was but
fifteen years old at the time of the Decian persecution, and Dionysius
is still speaking of the same persecution when he mentions the
presbyter Dioscorus in the chapter referred to (see note 31 on that

[2097] marturi& 139;. It is difficult to ascertain from Dionysius’
language whether these five soldiers suffered martyrdom or whether they
were released. The language admits either interpretation, and some have
supposed that the magistrate was so alarmed at what he feared might be
a general defection among the troops that he dismissed these men
without punishing them. At the same time it seems as if Dionysius would
have stated this directly if it were a fact. There is nothing in the
narrative to imply that their fate was different from that of the
others; and moreover, it hardly seems probable that the defection of
five soldiers should so terrify the judge as to cause him to cease
executing the imperial decree, and of course if he did not execute it
in the case of the soldiers, he could hardly do it in the case of

Chapter XLII.–Others of whom Dionysius gives an Account.

1. ”Many others, in cities and villages, were torn asunder by the
heathen, of whom I will mention one as an illustration. Ischyrion
[2098] was employed as a steward by one of the rulers. His employer
commanded him to sacrifice, and on his refusal insulted him, and as he
remained firm, abused him. And as he still held out he seized a long
staff and thrust it through his bowels [2099] and slew him.

2. ”Why need I speak of the multitude that wandered in the deserts and
mountains, and perished by hunger, and thirst, and cold, and sickness,
and robbers, and wild beasts? Those of them who survived are witnesses
of their election and victory.

3. But I will relate one occurrence as an example. Chaeremon, [2100]
who was very old, was bishop of the city called Nilus. He fled with his
wife [2101] to the Arabian mountain [2102] and did not return. And
though the brethren searched diligently they could not find either them
or their bodies.

4. And many who fled to the same Arabian mountain were carried into
slavery by the barbarian Saracens. Some of them were ransomed with
difficulty and at a large price; others have not been to the present
time. I have related these things, my brother, not without an object,
but that you may understand how many and great distresses came upon us.
Those indeed will understand them the best who have had the largest
experience of them.”

5. A little further on he adds: ”These divine martyrs among us, who now
are seated with Christ, and are sharers in his kingdom, partakers of
his judgment and judges with him, received some of the brethren who had
fallen away and become chargeable with the guilt of sacrificing. When
they perceived that their conversion and repentance were sufficient to
be acceptable with him who by no means desires the death of the sinner,
but his repentance, having proved them they received them back and
brought them together, and met with them and had fellowship with them
in prayers and feasts. [2103]

6. What counsel then, brethren, do you give us concerning such persons?
What should we do? Shall we have the same judgment and rule as theirs,
and observe their decision and charity, and show mercy to those whom
they pitied? Or, shall we declare their decision unrighteous, and set
ourselves as judges of their opinion, and grieve mercy and overturn
order?” [2104] These words Dionysius very properly added when making
mention of those who had been weak in the time of persecution.

[2098] Ischyrion is known to us only from this passage.

[2099] enteron kai splEURnchnon

[2100] Of the bishop Chaeremon of Nilus we know only what is told us
here. The city Nilus or Nilopolis was situated on an island in the
Nile, in middle Egypt, some distance south of Memphis.

[2101] te sumbi& 251; heautou. The word sumbios, which means a
”companion” or ”partner,” can signify nothing else than ”wife” as used
here in the feminine.

[2102] to ‘ArEURbion oros. The name Arabicus mons, to ‘ArEURbion ouros,
was given by Herodotus to the range of mountains which separated that
part of Arabia lying west of the Arabian Gulf from the Nile valley (see
Smith’s Dict. of Greek and Rom. Geography).

[2103] eisedexanto kai sunegagon kai sunestesan kai proseuchon autois
kai hestiEURseon ekoinonesan. It will be observed that nothing is said
here about joining with these persons in celebrating the eucharist, or
about admitting them to that service, and hence Valesius is quite right
in distinguishing the kind of communion spoken of here from official
communion in the church, around the Lord’s table. Dionysius does not
imply that these confessors had the power given them to receive the
lapsed back again into the Church, and to dispense the eucharist to
them. That was the prerogative of the bishop, and evidently Dionysius
has no thought of its being otherwise. The communion of which he speaks
was private fellowship merely, and implied a recognition on the part of
these confessors that the persons in question had truly repented of
their sin, and could be recommended for readmission into the Church. As
we see from chap. 44, S:2, the recommendation of these persons or of
the people in general was quite necessary, before the bishop would
consent to absolve the fallen person and receive him back again into
the Church. And Dionysius’ words in this passage show that he felt that
the judgment of these confessors in regard to the fitness of the lapsed
for readmission ought to be received with consideration, and have
influence upon the final decision. Dionysius thus shows great respect
to the confessors, but does not accord them the privileges which they
claimed in some places (as we learn from Tertullian’s de Pudicitia, 22,
and from a number of Cyprian’s Epistles) of themselves absolving the
lapsed and readmitting them to church communion. In this he showed
again his agreement with Cyprian and with the principles finally
adopted in the Roman and Carthaginian churches (cf. e.g. Cyprian’s
Epistles, 9 sq., al. 15; see also Dittrich, p. 51 sq.).

[2104] The object of the letter is clearly revealed in these sentences
(see chap. 41, note 1).

Chapter XLIII.–Novatus, [2105] his Manner of Life and his Heresy.

1. After this, Novatus, a presbyter of the church at Rome, being lifted
up with arrogance against these persons, as if there was no longer for
them a hope of salvation, not even if they should do all things
pertaining to a genuine and pure conversion, became leader of the
heresy of those who, in the pride of their imagination, call themselves
Cathari. [2106]

2. There upon a very large synod assembled at Rome, [2107] of bishops
in number sixty, and a great many more presbyters and deacons; while
the pastors of the remaining provinces deliberated in their places
privately concerning what ought to be done. A decree was confirmed by
all, that Novatus and those who joined with him, and those who adopted
his brother-hating and inhuman opinion, should be considered by the
church as strangers; but that they should heal such of the brethren as
had fallen into misfortune, [2108] and should minister to them with the
medicines of repentance.

3. There have reached us epistles [2109] of Cornelius, bishop of Rome,
to Fabius, of the church at Antioch, which show what was done at the
synod at Rome, and what seemed best to all those in Italy and Africa
and the regions thereabout. [2110] Also other epistles, written in the
Latin language, of Cyprian and those with him in Africa, [2111] which
show that they agreed as to the necessity of succoring those who had
been tempted, and of cutting off from the Catholic Church the leader of
the heresy and all that joined with him.

4. Another epistle of Cornelius, concerning the resolutions of the
synod, is attached to these; and yet others, [2112] on the conduct of
Novatus, from which it is proper for us to make selections, that any
one who sees this work may know about him.

5. Cornelius informs Fabius what sort of a man Novatus was, in the
following words:

”But that you may know that a long time ago this remarkable man desired
the episcopate, but kept this ambitious desire to himself and concealed
it,–using as a cloak for his rebellion those confessors who had
adhered to him from the beginning,–I desire to speak.

6. Maximus, [2113] one of our presbyters, and Urbanus, [2114] who twice
gained the highest honor by confession, with Sidonius, [2115] and
Celerinus, [2116] a man who by the grace of God most heroically endured
all kinds of torture, and by the strength of his faith overcame the
weakness of the flesh, and mightily conquered the adversary,–these men
found him out and detected his craft and duplicity, his perjuries and
falsehoods, his unsociability and cruel friendship. And they returned
to the holy church and proclaimed in the presence of many, both bishops
and presbyters and a large number of the laity, all his craft and
wickedness, which for a long time he had concealed. And this they did
with lamentations and repentance, because through the persuasions of
the crafty and malicious beast they had left the church for the time.”
A little farther on he says:

7. ”How remarkable, beloved brother, the change and transformation
which we have seen take place in him in a short time. For this most
illustrious man, who bound himself with terrible oaths in nowise to
seek the bishopric, [2117] suddenly appears a bishop as if thrown among
us by some machine. [2118]

8. For this dogmatist, this defender of the doctrine of the Church,
[2119] attempting to grasp and seize the episcopate, which had not been
given him from above, chose two of his companions who had given up
their own salvation. And he sent them to a small and insignificant
corner of Italy, that there by some counterfeit argument he might
deceive three bishops, who were rustic and very simple men. And they
asserted positively and strongly that it was necessary that they should
come quickly to Rome, in order that all the dissension which had arisen
there might be appeased through their mediation, jointly with other

9. When they had come, being, as we have stated, very simple in the
craft and artifice of the wicked, they were shut up with certain
selected men like himself. And by the tenth hour, when they had become
drunk and sick, he compelled them by force to confer on him the
episcopate through a counterfeit and vain imposition of hands. Because
it had not come to him, he avenged himself by craft and treachery.

10. One of these bishops shortly after came back to the church,
lamenting and confessing his transgression. And we communed with him as
with a layman, all the people present interceding for him. And we
ordained successors of the other bishops, and sent them to the places
where they were.

11. This avenger of the Gospel [2120] then did not know that there
should be one bishop in a catholic church; [2121] yet he was not
ignorant (for how could he be?) that in it there were forty-six
presbyters, seven [2122] deacons, seven sub-deacons, [2123] forty-two
acolyths, [2124] fifty-two exorcists, [2125] readers, [2126] and
janitors, [2127] and over fifteen hundred widows and persons in
distress, all of whom the grace and kindness of the Master nourish.

12. But not even this great multitude, so necessary in the church, nor
those who, through God’s providence, were rich and full, together with
the very many, even innumerable people, could turn him from such
desperation and presumption and recall him to the Church.”

13. Again, farther on, he adds these words: ”Permit us to say further:
On account of what works or conduct had he the assurance to contend for
the episcopate? Was it that he had been brought up in the Church from
the beginning, and had endured many conflicts in her behalf, and had
passed through many and great dangers for religion? Truly this is not
the fact.

14. But Satan, who entered and dwelt in him for a long time, became the
occasion of his believing. Being delivered by the exorcists, he fell
into a severe sickness; and as he seemed about to die, he received
baptism by affusion, on the bed where he lay; [2128] if indeed we can
say that such a one did receive it.

15. And when he was healed of his sickness he did not receive the other
things which it is necessary to have according to the canon of the
Church, even the being sealed by the bishop. [2129] And as he did not
receive this, [2130] how could he receive the Holy Spirit?”

16. Shortly after he says again:

”In the time of persecution, through cowardice and love of life, he
denied that he was a presbyter. For when he was requested and entreated
by the deacons to come out of the chamber in which he had imprisoned
himself and give aid to the brethren as far as was lawful and possible
for a presbyter to assist those of the brethren who were in danger and
needed help, he paid so little respect to the entreaties of the deacons
that he went away and departed in anger. For he said that he no longer
desired to be a presbyter, as he was an admirer of another philosophy.”

17. Passing by a few things, he adds the following:

”For this illustrious man forsook the Church of God, in which, when he
believed, he was judged worthy of the presbyterate through the favor of
the bishop who ordained him to the presbyterial office. This had been
resisted by all the clergy and many of the laity; because it was
unlawful that one who had been affused on his bed on account of
sickness as he had been should enter into any clerical office; [2132]
but the bishop requested that he might be permitted to ordain this one

18. He adds to these yet another, the worst of all the man’s offenses,
as follows:

”For when he has made the offerings, and distributed a part to each
man, as he gives it he compels the wretched man to swear in place of
the blessing. Holding his hands in both of his own, he will not release
him until he has sworn in this manner (for I will give his own words):

`Swear to me by the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ that you
will never forsake me and turn to Cornelius.’

19. And the unhappy man does not taste until he has called down
imprecations on himself; and instead of saying Amen, as he takes the
bread, he says, I will never return to Cornelius.” Farther on he says

20. ”But know that he has now been made bare and desolate; as the
brethren leave him every day and return to the church. Moses [2133]
also, the blessed martyr, who lately suffered among us a glorious and
admirable martyrdom, while he was yet alive, beholding his boldness and
folly, refused to commune with him and with the five presbyters who
with him had separated themselves from the church.”

21. At the close of his letter he gives a list of the bishops who had
come to Rome and condemned the silliness of Novatus, with their names
and the parish over which each of them presided.

22. He mentions also those who did not come to Rome, but who expressed
by letters their agreement with the vote of these bishops, giving their
names and the cities from which they severally sent them.” [2134]
Cornelius wrote these things to Fabius, bishop of Antioch.

[2105] Eusebius, and the Greeks in general, write the name NoouEURtos
(though in Bk. VII. chap. 8, below, Dionysius writes NoouatiEURnos).
Socrates has the form NauEURtos, which appears also in some mss. of
Eusebius. Cyprian and the Latins write the name Novatianus. Lardner, in
a note on chap. 47 of his Credibility, argues with great force for the
correctness of the name Novatus, while Heinichen and others maintain
that Novatianus is the right form. The name Novatiani, Noouatianoi,
which was given to his followers, is urged with some reason by Lardner
as an argument for the shorter form of the name. But even if his
opinion is correct, the name Novatian is too long established to be
displaced, and serves to distinguish him from the Carthaginian
presbyter Novatus. The schism of Novatian was only one of the outcrops
of the old strife between lax and strict discipline in the Church, the
strife which had shown itself in connection with Montanism and also
between Callistus and Hippolytus (see above, chap. 21, note 3). But in
the present case the immediate cause of the trouble was the treatment
of the lapsed. The terrible Decian persecution had naturally caused
many to deny the faith, but afterward, when the stress was past, they
repented and desired to be readmitted to the Church. The question
became a very serious one, and opinions were divided, some advocating
their acceptance after certain prescribed penances, others their
continued exclusion. The matter caused a great deal of discussion,
especially in Rome and Carthage. The trouble came to a head in Rome,
when Cornelius, who belonged to the lax party, was chosen bishop in the
year 251, after the see had been vacant for more than a year. The
stricter party at once aroused to action and chose Novatian, the leader
of the party, opposition bishop. He had been made a presbyter by the
bishop Fabian, and occupied a very prominent position in the Roman
Church. He seems originally to have held less rigid notions in regard
to the treatment of the lapsed, but before the end of the persecution
he became very decided in his opposition to their absolution and
restoration. His position, as well as his ability and piety, made him
the natural leader of the party and the rival candidate for the
bishopric. He does not, however, seem to have desired to accept
consecration as an opposition bishop, but his party insisted. He
immediately sent the usual letters announcing the fact to the bishops
of the principal sees, to Carthage, Alexandria, and Rome. Cyprian at
once refused to recognize his appointment. Dionysius wrote to him
advising him to withdraw (see his epistle, quoted in chap. 45). But
Fabius of Antioch was inclined to take his side (see chap. 44, S:1).
Novatian was excommunicated by the council mentioned just below, and
then founded an independent church, baptizing all who came over to his
side. We know nothing of his subsequent career (according to the
tradition of his followers, and also Socrates, H. E. IV. 28, he
suffered martyrdom under Valerian), but his sect spread throughout the
East and West, and continued in existence until the sixth century.
Novatian was not at all heretical in doctrine. His work upon the
Trinity is both able and orthodox. His character was austere and of
unblemished purity (the account given by Cornelius below is a gross
misrepresentation, from the pen of an enemy) and his talents were of a
high order. But the tendency of the Church was toward a more merciful
treatment of the lapsed and of other sinners, and the stricter methods
advocated by him fell more and more into disfavor. Novatian was quite a
prolific writer. According to Jerome, de vir. ill. chap. 10, he wrote
de Pascha, de Sabbato, de Circumcisione, de Sacerdote, de Oratione, de
Cibis Judaicis, de Instantia, de Attalo Multaque alia, et de Trinitate
grande Volumen. The de Cibis Judaicis and the de Trinitate are still
extant. The best edition of his works is that of Jackson (London,
1728). An English translation is given in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, V.
611-650. Novatian was the author also of one of the epistles of the
Roman clergy to Cyprian (Ep. 30). Our contemporaneous sources for a
knowledge of Novatian and his schism are the epistles of Cyprian (some
ten of them), and the epistles of Dionysius and Cornelius, quoted by
Eusebius in this chapter and in chaps. 44 and 45.

[2106] katharoi, ”pure.”

[2107] This council is undoubtedly identical with the one mentioned in
Cyprian’s epistle to Antonianus (Ep. 51, S:6; al. 55). It was held,
according to Cyprian, soon after the Carthaginian synod, in which the
treatment of the lapsi was first discussed, and accepted the decisions
of that council. The Carthaginian synod met in the spring of 251 (see
Hefele, Conciliengesch. I. p. 112). The Roman synod must, therefore,
have been held before the end of the same year; Hefele thinks about
October (ibid. p. 114). Cornelius would not, of course, have waited
long before procuring the official condemnation of the opposition
bishop. We know nothing more about the constitution of the council than
is told us here. It was, of course, only a local synod. The pastors of
the remaining provinces were the other Italian bishops who could not be
present at the council. Cornelius solicits their opinion, in order that
the decree passed by the council may represent as large a number of
bishops as possible.

[2108] tous de te sumphorZ peripeptokotas. The Carthaginian synod had
decided that no offenses are beyond the regular power of the Church to

[2109] Jerome (de vir. ill. chap. 66) gives the singular instead of the
plural (epistolam ad Fabium); so also Rufinus; but there is no reason
for doubting the integrity of the Greek text of Eusebius, which runs,
elthon d’ oun eis hemas epistolai Korneliou. Valesius, although
translating epistolae Cornelii, yet follows Jerome and Rufinus in
believing that only one epistle is meant here. Neither Rufinus nor,
apparently, Jerome knew anything about the epistle, except what they
read in Eusebius, and therefore it is more probable that Eusebius was
correct in using the plural than that they were correct in using the
singular. It is easy to understand the change of Eusebius’ indefinite
plural into their definite singular. They were evidently written in
Greek; for in speaking of Cyprian’s epistles immediately afterward,
Eusebius especially mentions the fact that they were written in Latin.
The epistle from which Eusebius quotes just below was also written in
Greek, for Eusebius would otherwise, as is his custom have mentioned
the fact that he gives only a translation of it. This has been pointed
out by Valesius; but, as Routh remarks, we can certainly go further,
and say that the other epistle mentioned by Eusebius must have been in
Greek, too, since it was written by the same Cornelius, and addressed
to the same Fabius. These epistles are no longer extant.

[2110] Eusebius says, ta peri tes ;;Romaion sunodou kai ta doxanta pasi
tois kata ten ‘Italian k.t.l., which Jerome has transformed or
compressed into de Synodo Romana, Italica, Africana, another instance
of the careless way in which his de vir. ill. was composed.

[2111] These epistles from Cyprian and the African bishops Jerome
transforms into a single epistle from Cornelius to Fabius, de
Novatiano, et de his qui lapsi sunt. At least, it seems impossible to
explain this epistle mentioned by Jerome in any other way. Knowing the
slovenly way in which he put his work together, it is not surprising
that he should attribute these epistles to the same person who wrote
the ones mentioned just before and after. Since the first epistles
mentioned are said to have been addressed to Fabius and also the last
one, from which Eusebius quotes, it is reasonable to conclude that all
mentioned in this connection were addressed to him; and it would of
course be quite natural for Cyprian, too, to write to Fabius (who was
known to be inclined to favor Novatian), in order to confirm the
account of Cornelius, and to announce that he agreed with the latter in
regard to the treatment of the lapsed. No epistle, however, of Cyprian
or of other African bishops to Fabius are extant, though the same
subject is discussed in many epistles of Cyprian addressed to the

[2112] Rufinus mentions only two epistles of Cornelius in this
connection, apparently confounding this one on the deeds of the
Novatians with the one mentioned just before on the Decrees of the
Council. Jerome, on the other hand, making Cornelius, as already
mentioned, the author of the epistles of Cyprian and the African
bishops, assigns four epistles to Cornelius. None of the epistles
mentioned in this section are extant, except the long fragment of the
last one quoted just below. As mentioned in the next chapter, Fabius
inclined to take the side of Novatian over against the laxer party; and
it was on this account that Cornelius wrote him so many epistles
(compare also the epistle of Dionysius of Alexandria, quoted in chaps.
41 and 42, and see note 1 on the former chapter), and endeavored to
blacken the character of Novatian as he does in the passages quoted.

[2113] This Maximus was a presbyter, and one of a party of Roman
confessors who played a prominent part in the controversy about the
lapsed. He and his companions were imprisoned at the very beginning of
the Decian persecution (Cyprian, Ep. 24; al. 28), i.e. early in the
year 250, and while in prison they adopted rigoristic views and wrote
to some Carthaginian confessors, urging strict methods in dealing with
the lapsed (see Cyprian, Ep. 22; al. 27). Early in the year 251, after
eleven months in prison, the presbyter Moses, the leading spirit of the
party, died, and Maximus became the chief one among them. Moses before
his death, in spite of his rigoristic principles, refused to commune
with Novatian and his five presbyters (as we learn from S:20 of this
chapter), apparently because he saw that his insistence upon strict
discipline was tending toward schism, and that such discipline could
not be maintained without sacrificing the Church. But Maximus and those
mentioned with him here, together with some others (see Cyprian, Ep.
45; al. 49), became even stricter than at first, and finally went over
to the party of Novatian (which took its rise after the election of
Cornelius in 251), but were at length reconciled to Cornelius and the
rest of the Church, and received back with rejoicing (see Cyprian, Ep.
43, 45, 46, 49, 50; al. 46, 49, 51, 53, 54). The notices of Maximus and
Urbanus in Cyprian’s epistles, which with the epistle of Cornelius
constitute our only source for a knowledge of their lives, do not
mention a second confession made by these two men, so that we cannot
tell when it took place, but it must of course have been during the
persecution of Decius.

[2114] Urbanus was a confessor only, not a presbyter or deacon as we
learn from the notices of him in Cyprian’s epistles, in connection with
the party referred to in the previous note.

[2115] Sidonius likewise was a confessor simply, and is mentioned with
the others in the epistles of Cornelius and Cyprian.

[2116] Celerinus was also one of this party of Roman confessors (as we
learn from Cyprian, Ep. 15, al. 87), who, upon his release from prison,
went to Carthage, and was there ordained a reader by Cyprian (Ep. 33,
al. 39). His release from prison and departure for Carthage took place
before the release of the others and before the death of Moses (as we
learn from Ep. 15), that is, before the end of the year 250. He was
still in Rome, however, at Easter of that year, as we learn from his
epistle to Lucian, mentioned below. He came of a family of martyrs (Ep.
33), and was himself one of the most celebrated confessors of his time.
There is extant an epistle written by him to Lucian, the Carthaginian
confessor (Cyprian, Ep. 21), in which he begs absolution for his
sisters, who had denied the faith. The epistle (as we learn from its
own statements) was written at Easter time and in the year 250, for
there was no bishop of Rome at the time of its composition. As we learn
from this passage, Celerinus went over with these other Roman
confessors to the party of Novatian, and returned with them to the
Church. He is, however, mentioned neither by Cyprian nor by Cornelius
(in his epistle to Cyprian) in connection with the schism of these
confessors. This is very remarkable, especially since Celerinus was
quite a prominent character. It is possible that he was in Carthage the
greater part of the time, and did not return to Rome until shortly
before the confessors returned to the Church. He might then have thrown
in his lot with them, and have returned with them to the orthodox
church; and yet, not having been mentioned by Cornelius’ earlier
epistle to Cyprian, announcing the schismatic position of the
confessors, he was omitted also in the later letters announcing their
return (which in fact only mentions the three leaders), and in
Cyprian’s reply, which of course would only mention those of whom he
had been told in Cornelius’ first epistle. Of the subsequent career of
Celerinus and of these other confessors we know nothing.

[2117] There is no reason to doubt, as Cornelius does, Novatian’s
sincerity in declaring that he did not seek the office of bishop. Both
Cornelius and Cyprian make his ambition and his jealousy of Cornelius,
the successful candidate, the cause of his schism. But such an
accusation was made against every schismatic, even when there was not a
shadow of support for it, and there is no reason to suppose it nearer
the truth in this than in other cases. In fact, his own protestation,
as recorded here by Cornelius, and as testified to by Dionysius in
chap. 45, as well as the character of the man as revealed in his life
previous to his episcopal ordination (as certified to even by his
enemies), and in his writings, are entirely opposed to the supposition
that he sought the episcopal office and that his schism was a result of
his defeat. We shall do much better to reject entirely this exceedingly
hostile and slanderous account of his enemy Cornelius, and to accept
his own account of the matter as reported by Dionysius in chap. 25. He
was the natural head of the rigoristic party, made such by his
commanding ability, his deep piety, and his ascetic principles of
living; and when Cornelius, the head of the lax party, was made bishop
(in March, 251), the strict party revolted, and it could not be
otherwise than that Novatian should be elected bishop, and that even if
reluctant he should feel compelled to accept the office in order to
assert the principles which he believed vital, and to prevent the
complete ruin of the Church. Cornelius gives a sad story of his
ordination to the episcopate. But one thing is certain, he had with him
for some time a large portion of the best people in the Roman church,
among them Maximus and others of the most influential confessors, who
seem at length to have returned to the Church only because they saw
that the schism was injuring it. Certainly if Novatian had been a
self-seeker, as Cornelius describes him, and if his ordination had been
of such a nature as Cornelius reports, he could never have had the
support of so many earnest and prominent men. It is doubtless true, as
Cornelius states, that Novatian was ordained by three Italian bishops,
very likely bishops of rural and comparatively insignificant sees, and
it is quite possible that one of them, as he also records, afterwards
repented of his act as schismatic, and returned to the Church and
received absolution. But all this does not imply that these three
bishops were deceived by false pretenses on the part of Novatian, or
that they were intoxicated when they performed the service. This, in
fact, may be looked upon as baseless calumny. Novatus, the Carthaginian
agitator who had caused Cyprian so much trouble, took a prominent part
in the Novatian schism, though to make him the author of it, as Cyprian
does, is undoubtedly incorrect (see Lardner, Works, III. p. 94 sq.;
London ed. 1829). It was perhaps he (as reported by Eulogius, according
to Photius, Cod. 182, and by Theodoret, Haer. Fab. III. 5) that found
these three bishops to ordain Novatian. It is not at all improbable,
when so many prominent men in the Roman church favored the stricter
principles and supported Novatian, that bishops could be found in Italy
who held the same principles and would be glad to ordain Novatian as
bishop of Rome.

[2118] mEURnganon

[2119] As Closs remarks, these words are evidently an allusion to
Novatian’s work, de Trinitate.

[2120] ekdikethes tou euangeliou. Possibly another sarcastic reference
to Novatian’s work in defense of the doctrine of the Church; possibly
only an allusion to the fact that he prided himself on his orthodoxy.

[2121] The principle, that there should be only one bishop in a city,
was not clearly enunciated and forcibly emphasized until the third
century. Cyprian’s writings are full of it (cf. his treatise On the
Unity of the Church), and in connection with this Novatian schism,
which showed so plainly the disintegrating effects of a division of the
church under two bishops, the principle was established so firmly as
never again to be questioned. I do not mean to assert here that the
principle so clearly and conclusively established at this time was a
new principle. We find it enunciated even by Ignatius at the beginning
of the second century, and it was the common opinion of Christendom, or
otherwise Cyprian could not have appealed to universal custom as he
does in discussing the matter. I mean simply that the principle had
never before been brought to such a test as to require its formal
enunciation and public recognition by the clergy and the Church at
large. The emergency which now arose compelled such formal statement of
it; and the Council of Nicaea made it canon law (cf. Bingham’s
Antiquities, I. p. 160 sq.).

[2122] The limitation of the deacons to seven in number was due to the
fact that the appointment of the Seven by the apostles (Acts vi.) was
commonly looked upon as the institution of the office of the diaconate.
But upon this matter, see above, Bk. II. chap. 1, note 2a. The practice
of limiting the number of the deacons to seven was quite a common one,
and was enacted as a law in the fifteenth canon of the Council of
Neo-Caesarea (held early in the third century). The practice, however,
was by no means universal, as we are informed by Sozomen (H. E. VII.
19). Indeed, at least in Alexandria and in Constantinople, their number
was much greater (see Bingham’s Ant. I. p. 286).

[2123] The sub-deacons (the highest of the inferior orders of the
clergy) are first mentioned in this epistle of Cornelius and in various
epistles of Cyprian. At what time they arose we cannot tell, but they
seem to have appeared in the East later than in the West, at least the
first references we have to them in the Orient are in the fourth
century, e.g. in the Apost. Const. VIII. 21. They acted as deacons’
assistants, preparing the sacred vessels for use at the altar, attended
the doors during communion service, and were often employed by the
bishops for the conveyance of letters or messages to distant churches.
See Bingham’s Ant. Bk. III. chap. 2.

[2124] The Acolyths (akolouthoi), another of the inferior orders of the
clergy, are likewise first mentioned here and in Cyprian’s epistles.
They seem to have been of much later institution in the East, for we
first hear of them there in the time of Justinian (Justin. Novel. 59).
Their duties seem to have been to attend to the lights of the church
and to procure the wine for communion service. See Bingham, ibid. chap.

[2125] The Exorcists likewise constituted one of the inferior orders of
the clergy; but although we find exorcism very frequently referred to
by the Fathers of the second century, there seems to have been no such
office until the third century, the present being the earliest distinct
reference to it. In the fourth century we find the office in all parts
of the Church East and West. Their duty was to take charge of those
supposed to be possessed of an evil spirit; to pray with them, care for
them, and exorcise the demon when possible. See Bingham, ibid. chap. 4.

[2126] The Readers, or Lectors (Greek, anagnostai; Latin, Lectores),
constituted still another of the inferior orders, and were already a
distinct office in the time of Tertullian (cf. de Praescrip. chap. 41).
From the third century on the order seems to have been universal. Their
duty was to read the Scriptures in the public services of the
sanctuary. See Bingham, ibid. chap. 5.

[2127] The Janitors, or Doorkeepers (Greek, puloroi or thuroroi; Latin,
ostiarii or janitores), are first mentioned in this passage. In the
fourth century, however, we find them frequently referred to. Their
office seems to have been about the same as that of the modern janitor
or sexton. See Bingham, ibid. chap. 6.

[2128] There is no reason to doubt that Novatian received clinical
baptism, as here stated by Cornelius. This does not imply, as is
commonly supposed, that he was of heathen parentage, for many
Christians postponed baptism as long as possible, in order not to
sacrifice baptismal grace by sins committed after baptism. We do not
know whether his parents were heathen or Christians. Upon the objection
to Novatian’s ordination, based upon his irregular baptism, see below,

[2129] tou te sphragisthenai hupo tou episkopou sphragisthenai here
means confirmation or consignation (as it was commonly called among the
Latins); that is, the imposition of the hands of the bishop which
regularly followed baptism, immediately if the bishop were on the
ground, in other cases at as early a date as possible. The imposition
of hands was for the purpose of conveying the Holy Spirit, who should
supply the newly baptized Christian with the necessary grace to fit him
for the Christian life. Confirmation was thus looked upon as completing
the baptism and as a necessary pre-condition of receiving the
eucharist. At the same time, if a person died after baptism, before it
was possible to receive imposition of hands, the baptism was not
regarded as rendered invalid by the omission, for in the baptism itself
the full remission of sins was supposed to be granted. The confirmation
was not necessary for such remission, but was necessary for the
bestowal of the requisite sustaining grace for the Christian life.
Cornelius in the present paragraph does not intend to imply that
regenerating grace was not given in Novatian’s baptism. He means simply
that the Holy Spirit was not given in that full measure in which it was
given by the laying on of hands, and which was necessary for growth in
grace and Christian living. The baptism was looked on in ordinary cases
as in a sense negative,–effecting the washing away of sin, the laying
on of hands as positive, confirming the gift of the Spirit. The former,
therefore, was sufficient to save the man who died immediately
thereafter; the latter was necessary to sustain the man who still
remained in the world. Compare with these words of Cornelius
Tertullian’s de Baptism. chap. 6. The earliest extant canon on this
subject is the thirty-eighth of the synod of Elvira (306 a.d.), which
decrees that a sick person may in case of necessity be baptized by a
layman, but that he is afterward, if he recovers, to be taken to the
bishop that the baptism may be perfected by the laying on of hands. The
seventy-seventh canon decrees the same thing for those baptized by
deacons, but expressly declares that if the baptized person die before
the imposition of hands, he is to be regarded as saved in virtue of the
faith which he confessed in his baptism. It is not necessary to give
other references in connection with this matter. For further
particulars, see Bingham, ibid. Bk. XII. On the signification of the
verb sthragizo, see Suicer’s Thesaurus. We can hardly believe that
Novatian failed to receive imposition of hands from the bishop, for it
is inconceivable that the latter would have omitted what was regarded
as such an important prerequisite to church communion in the case of
one whom he ordained to the presbyterate. Novatian may not have
received confirmation immediately after his recovery, but he must have
received it before his ordination. As seen in S:17, it is not the
omission of confirmation that causes the objections on the part of the
clergy, but the clinical baptism.

[2130] The majority of the mss., followed by Schwegler, Laemmer, and
Heinichen, read touton. But some of the best mss., followed by all the
other editors, read toutou.

[2131] This is certainly a calumny. It is possible, as Neander
suggests, that Novatian, although a presbyter, withdrew somewhat from
active duty and lived the life of an ascetic, and that it is this to
which Cornelius refers in speaking of his admiration for ”another
philosophy.” But however that may be, Cornelius’ interpretation of his
conduct as cowardly or unworthy is quite false. See above, note 1.

[2132] Clinic baptism (so-called from kline, ”a bed”) was ordinarily
looked upon in the early Church, in which immersion was the common mode
of baptism, as permanently debarring a person from the presbyterate,
and by many persons it was denied that such baptism was baptism at all.
The latter opinion, however, the Church refused to sustain (cf.
Cyprian, Ep. 75; al. 19). The twelfth canon of the Council of
Neo-Caesarea (held early in the fourth century) says, ”If any man is
baptized only in time of sickness, he shall not be ordained a
presbyter; because his faith was not voluntary, but as it were of
constraint; except his subsequent faith and diligence recommend him, or
else the scarcity of men make it necessary to ordain him.” It is clear
that this canon meant to apply only to persons whose baptism was
delayed by their own fault. It was common for catechumens to postpone
the rite as long as possible in order not to forfeit baptismal grace by
their post-baptismal sins, and it was to discourage this practice that
such canons as this of Neo-Caesarea were passed. Even this canon,
however, provided for exceptional cases, and the fact that Novatian was
ordained in spite of his irregular baptism is a proof that he must have
been an exceptionally pious and zealous man.

[2133] On Moses (or Moyses, as he is called by Cyprian), see note 9,
above. Lipsius (Chron. der roem. Bischoefe, p. 202, note) maintains
that Cornelius is referring, at this point, not to Novatian, but to
Novatus, the Carthaginian presbyter, and that Eusebius has confounded
the two men. He bases this opinion upon the mention of the five
presbyters, whom he identifies with those who, with Novatus, separated
from the Carthaginian church in connection with the schism of
Felicissimus (see Cyprian, Ep. 39; al. 43), and also upon the fact that
Moses died before the election of Novatian as opposition bishop. In
regard to the first point, it must be noticed that, in an epistle to
Cyprian upon the schism of Novatian (Cyprian, Ep. 47; al. 50),
Cornelius mentions five presbyters (including Novatus) as connected
with Novatian in his schism. Certainly it is most natural to refer
Cornelius’ words in this paragraph to the same five men. Indeed, to
speak of Novatus and the five presbyters with him would be very
peculiar, for Novatus himself was one of the five, and therefore there
were but four with him. As to the second point, it may simply be said
that Moses might well have refused to commune with Novatian, before the
election of the latter, seeing that his position would inevitably lead
to schism. There remains, therefore, no reason for supposing Eusebius
mistaken, and for referring these words to Novatus of Carthage, instead
of Novatian of Rome.

[2134] These lists of the bishops present at the council, and of those
who expressed their agreement with the decision of the synod, are no
longer extant.

Chapter XLIV.–Dionysius’ Account of Serapion.

1. To this same Fabius, who seemed to lean somewhat toward this schism,
[2135] Dionysius of Alexandria also wrote an epistle. [2136] He writes
in this many other things concerning repentance, and relates the
conflicts of those who had lately suffered martyrdom at Alexandria.
After the other account he mentions a certain wonderful fact, which
deserves a place in this work. It is as follows:

2. ”I will give thee this one example which occurred among us. There
was with us a certain Serapion, [2137] an aged believer who had lived
for a long time blamelessly, but had fallen in the trial. He besought
often, but no one gave heed to him, because he had sacrificed. But he
became sick, and for three successive days continued speechless and

3. Having recovered somewhat on the fourth day he sent for his
daughter’s son, and said, How long do you detain me, my child? I
beseech you, make haste, and absolve me speedily. Call one of the
presbyters to me. And when he had said this, he became again
speechless. And the boy ran to the presbyter. But it was night and he
was sick, and therefore unable to come.

4. But as I had commanded that persons at the point of death, if they
requested it, and especially if they had asked for it previously,
should receive remission, that they might depart with a good hope, he
gave the boy a small portion of the eucharist, telling him to soak
[2138] it and let the drops fall into the old man’s mouth. [2139]

5. The boy returned with it, and as he drew near, before he entered,
Serapion again arousing, said, `Thou art come, my child, and the
presbyter could not come; but do quickly what he directed, and let me
depart.’ Then the boy soaked it and dropped it into his mouth. And when
he had swallowed a little, immediately he gave up the ghost.

6. Is it not evident that he was preserved and his life continued till
he was absolved, and, his sin having been blotted out, he could be
acknowledged [2140] for the many good deeds which he had done?”

Dionysius relates these things.

[2135] See above, chap. 39, note 7.

[2136] This epistle, as we may gather from the description of its
contents in the next sentence, is without doubt the same from which
Eusebius has quoted at such length in chaps. 41 and 42. Upon the date
and purpose of it, see chap. 41, note 1. We possess only the fragments
quoted by Eusebius in these three chapters.

[2137] Of this Serapion we know only what is told us in this chapter.

[2138] apobrexai. This is translated by Cruse and by Salmond (in the
Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI. p. 101) ”soak (or steep) in water”; but the
liquid is not specified in the text, and it has consequently been
thought by others that the bread was dipped in the wine, as was
commonly done in the celebration of the eucharist in the Eastern Church
(see Bingham’s Ant. Bk. XV.). But it must be noticed that the bread was
soaked not by the presbyter but by the boy, and that too after his
return home, where there can have been no consecrated wine for
eucharistic use, and there is no hint that wine was given him for the
purpose by the presbyter. It therefore seems probable that the bread
was soaked simply in water, and that the soaking was only in order that
the old man, in his enfeebled state, might be able to receive the
element in a liquid instead of in a solid form.

[2139] kata tou stomatos epistEURxai

[2140] homologethenai. The meaning is apparently ”acknowledged or
confessed by Christ,” and Valesius is doubtless correct in remarking
that Dionysius was alluding to the words of Matt. x. 32.

Chapter XLV.–An Epistle of Dionysius to Novatus.

1. But let us see how the same man addressed Novatus [2141] when he was
disturbing the Roman brotherhood. As he pretended that some of the
brethren were the occasion of his apostasy and schism, as if he had
been forced by them to proceed as he had, [2142] observe the manner in
which he writes to him:

2. ”Dionysius to his brother Novatus, greeting. If, as thou sayest,
thou hast been led on unwillingly, thou wilt prove this if thou
retirest willingly. For it were better to suffer everything, rather
than divide the Church of God. Even martyrdom for the sake of
preventing division would not be less glorious than for refusing to
worship idols. Nay, to me it seems greater. For in the one case a man
suffers martyrdom for the sake of his own soul; in the other case in
behalf of the entire Church. And now if thou canst persuade or induce
the brethren to come to unanimity, thy righteousness will be greater
than thine error, and this will not be counted, but that will be
praised. But if thou canst not prevail with the disobedient, at least
save thine own soul. I pray that thou mayst fare well, maintaining
peace in the Lord.” This he wrote to Novatus.

[2141] This epistle to Novatian was doubtless written in reply to a
letter from him announcing his election to the episcopate of Rome, for
we know that Novatian sent such letters, as was customary, to all the
prominent bishops of the Church. Dionysius’ epistle, therefore, must
have been written soon after the election of Novatian, which took place
in the year 251. We have only the fragment quoted in this chapter.

[2142] Novatian may well have been urged against his will to permit
himself to be made opposition bishop; but of course, once having taken
the step, so long as he believed in the justice of the cause for which
he was contending, he could not turn back, but must maintain his
position with vigor and firmness. This, of course, would lead his
enemies to believe that he had himself sought the position, as
Dionysius evidently believed that he had.

Chapter XLVI.–Other Epistles of Dionysius.

1. He wrote also an epistle to the brethren in Egypt on Repentance.
[2143] In this he sets forth what seemed proper to him in regard to
those who had fallen, and he describes the classes of transgressions.

2. There is extant also a private letter on Repentance, which he wrote
to Conon, [2144] bishop of the parish of Hermopolis, and another of an
admonitory [2145] character, to his flock at Alexandria. Among them
also is the one written to Origen on Martyrdom [2146] and to the
brethren at Laodicea, [2147] of whom Thelymidres was bishop. He
likewise sent one on Repentance to the brethren in Armenia, [2148] of
whom Merozanes was bishop.

3. Besides all these, he wrote to Cornelius of Rome, when he had
received from him an epistle against Novatus. [2149] He states in this
that he had been invited by Helenus, [2150] bishop of Tarsus, in
Cilicia, and the others who were with him, Firmilianus, [2151] bishop
in Cappadocia, and Theoctistus, [2152] of Palestine, to meet them at
the synod in Antioch, where some persons were endeavoring to establish
the schism of Novatus.

4. Besides this he writes that he had been informed that Fabius [2153]
had fallen asleep, and that Demetrianus [2154] had been appointed his
successor in the episcopate of Antioch. He writes also in these words
concerning the bishop of Jerusalem: ”For the blessed Alexander [2155]
having been confined in prison, passed away happily.”

5. In addition to this there is extant also a certain other diaconal
epistle of Dionysius, sent to those in Rome through Hippolytus. [2156]
And he wrote another to them on Peace, and likewise on Repentance;
[2157] and yet another to the confessors there who still held to the
opinion of Novatus. [2158] He sent two more to the same persons after
they had returned to the Church. And he communicated with many others
by letters, which he has left behind him as a benefit in various ways
to those who now diligently study his writings. [2159]

[2143] This epistle on the subject of repentance or penance, which was
the burning one just at this time in connection with the lapsed, was
doubtless written at about the same time with those to Fabius and
Novatian, already referred to. No fragments of it have been preserved.

[2144] This work (pros Konona idia tis peri metanoias graphe), which
was probably written at about this same time, is mentioned also by
Jerome (de vir. ill. 69). Eusebius preserves no extract from it, but
extended fragments have been preserved in various mss., and have been
published by Pitra (Spic. Solesm. I. p. 15 sq.), though it is
questionable whether all that he gives are genuine. The translation of
Dionysius’ works in the Ante-Nicene Fathers omits all of these
fragments, though they are interesting and valuable. For further
particulars, see Dittrich, p. 62. The general character of the letter
must have been the same as that of the preceding.

[2145] epistreptike; literally, ”calculated to turn.” Musculus and
Christophorsonus translate hortatoria; Valesius, objurgatoria; Stroth
and Closs, ”Ermahnungsschrift”; Cruse, ”epistle of reproof.” The word
does not necessarily carry the idea of reproof with it, but it is
natural to suppose in the present case that it was written while
Dionysius was absent from Alexandria, during the persecution of Decius,
and if so, may well have contained an admonition to steadfastness, and
at the same time, possibly, an argument against rigoristic measures
which some of the people may have been advocating in reference to the
lapsed. At least, the connection in which Eusebius mentions it might
lead us to think that it had something to do with that question,
though, as the epistle is no longer extant, we can reach no certainty
in the matter.

[2146] This epistle was doubtless written while Origen was suffering
imprisonment in the persecution of Decius (see above, chap. 39, and
below, p. 394), and was for the purpose of comforting and encouraging
him (cf. Origen’s own work on martyrdom, referred to in chap. 28,
above). The epistle is no longer extant. Numerous fragments are given
by Gallandi, Migne, and others, which they assign to this work; but
Dittrich has shown (p. 35 sq.) that they are to be ascribed to some one
else, perhaps to another Dionysius who lived much later than the great

[2147] This epistle to the Laodiceans, which is no longer extant, very
likely dealt, like so many of the others, with the question of
discipline. Of Thelymidres, bishop of Laodicea, we know nothing.

[2148] We know no more about this epistle to the Armenians than is told
us here. The character of the letter must have been similar to the two
upon the same subject mentioned above. Of the bishop Merozanes nothing
is known.

[2149] On Cornelius, see above, chap. 39, note. 3. His epistle to
Dionysius is no longer extant. Dionysius’ epistle to him is likewise
lost, and is known to us only from what Eusebius tells us here. It was
written after the death of Fabius of Antioch (see below, S:4), and
therefore probably in 253 (see above, chap. 39, note 7). It has been
questioned whether this synod of Antioch to which, according to
Eusebius, Dionysius referred, was really held, or only projected. The
Libellus Synodicus records it as an actual synod, but its authority is
of no weight. On the other hand, Eusebius’ words seem plainly to
indicate that he believed that the council was really held, for he
speaks of it as ”the synod at Antioch”; had he thought of it only as
projected, he could hardly have referred to it in such definite terms.
In spite, therefore, of the doubts of Dittrich, Hefele, and others, I
am inclined to believe that Eusebius supposed that the synod had
actually been held in Antioch. Whether the epistle of Dionysius
warranted him in drawing that conclusion is another question, which
cannot be decided. I look upon it, however, as probable that, had the
synod been simply projected and failed to convene, some indication of
that fact would have been given by Dionysius, and would have caused a
modification of Eusebius’ statement.

[2150] Helenus, bishop of Tarsus, played a prominent part in the
controversy concerning the re-baptism of heretics, maintaining, like
most of the Oriental bishops, the necessity of re-baptizing them (see
below, Bk. VII. chap. 5), and also in the controversy which arose about
Paul of Samosata (see Bk. VII. chaps. 28 and 30). From the latter
chapter we should gather that he presided at the final council in
Antioch, which passed condemnation upon Paul, Firmilian, who seems to
have presided at the previous councils, having died on his way to the
last one. Of Helenus’ dates we know only what we can gather from the
facts here stated. He must have been bishop as early as 252; and he
cannot have died until after 265 (on the date of the Antiochian synod
at which Paul was condemned, see Bk. VII. chap. 29, note 1).

[2151] On Firmilian, see above, chap. 26, note 3.

[2152] On Theoctistus, see above, chap. 19, note 27.

[2153] On Fabius, bishop of Antioch, see above, chap. 39, note 7.

[2154] Demetrianus, the successor of Fabius, and predecessor of Paul in
the bishopric of Antioch, is mentioned also in Bk. VII. chaps. 5, 14,
27, and 30. The date of his accession is uncertain; but as Fabius died
probably in 253 (possibly in 252), we can fix approximately the
beginning of his episcopate. In Bk. VII. chaps. 5 and 14, he is said to
have survived Gallienus’ edict of toleration (260 a.d.); but as Harnack
has shown (Zeit des Ignatius, p. 51), this notice is quite unreliable,
as are also the notices in the Chronicle. We can only say that his
successor, Paul, became bishop between the years 257 and 260.

[2155] On Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem, see above, chap. 8, note 6.

[2156] The interpretation of this sentence is very difficult. The Greek
runs hexes taute kai hetera tis epistole tois en ;;Rome tou Dionusiou
pheretai diakonike dia ;;Ippolutou. The pheretai, according to the
usage of Eusebius, must mean ”is extant,” and some participle (e.g.
”written” or ”sent”) must then be supplied before dia ;;Ippolutou.
Whether Eusebius means that the letter was written by Hippolytus or was
carried by him to Rome cannot be determined. The latter is more
probable and is the commonly accepted interpretation. That Eusebius
should name a messenger in this particular case and in no other seems
peculiar, unless it be supposed that Hippolytus was so prominent a
character as to merit especial mention. Who he was we do not know, for
chronology will not permit us (as was formerly done by some scholars)
to identify him with the great writer of the Roman church (see above,
chaps. 20 and 22), and no other Hippolytus of prominence is known to
us. In view of Eusebius’ mention of the name at this point, I am
inclined, however, to think that he, knowing so little about the Roman
Hippolytus, fancied that this was the same man. If he did, he had good
reason to mention him. The word ”diaconal” (diakonike) in this sentence
has caused much dispute. Rufinus translates epistola de ministeriis;
Valesius, epistola de officio diaconi, that is, ”concerning the office
(or duties) of the diaconate,” and it seems out of the question to
understand the word in any other way. Why Dionysius should address an
epistle on this subject to the Roman church it is impossible to say.
Magistris supposed that it was called ”diaconal” because it was to be
read in church by a deacon, and concluded that it was an exhortation to
peace, since it was customary for the deacons to offer the eirenikEUR,
or prayers for peace. The supposition is attractive, for it is natural
to think that this epistle, like the others, discussed the Novatian
schism and contained an exhortation to peace. But we cannot without
further evidence adopt Magistris’ explanation, nor indeed can we assume
that a diaconal epistle as such (whether the word is a technical one or
not, and though it might seem such we have no other trace of such a use
of it) had to do with the unity or peace of the Church. We must, in
fact, leave the matter quite undetermined. Compare Dittrich, ibid. p.

[2157] Of these two epistles to the Romans we know only the titles, as
given here by Eusebius.

[2158] On these confessors, and their return to the Church, see above,
chap. 43, note 9. Dionysius’ epistles to them are known to us only from
Eusebius’ reference to them in this passage.

[2159] Besides the epistles mentioned by Eusebius in this and the
previous chapter we know at least the titles of a number of others. In
Bk. VII. many are referred to, and extracts from some are quoted by
Eusebius. See especially Bk. VII. chap. 26, where another partial list
of them is given. Eusebius does not pretend to mention all of
Dionysius’ epistles; indeed, he states that he wrote many besides those
mentioned. For further particulars in regard to all the epistles known
to us, see Dittrich’s monograph.