Historia Ecclesiastica


Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, Lake, Loeb, 1926

XIX. Tradition says that Serapion was bishop of Antioch after Maximinus at the time referred to, and he has mentioned the works of Apolinarius against the heresy described. Ηe mentions him in his own letter to Caricus and Pontius, in whieh he aho himself refutes the same heresy, and continues thus: : “Αnd in order that you may know this, that the working οf the so-called new prophecy of this false οrder is abominated in the whole οf Christendom [*](1 Cf. H.E. v. 24.)

throughout the World, Ι have sent you the writings of Claudius Apolinarius, the bishop of Hierapolis in Αsia, of blesed ” And in this letter of Serapion there are preserved the signatures various bishops, of whom one signed himself I, Aurelius Cyrenaeus, a martyr, pray for your ” as follows: “Ι, Aelius Publius Julius, bishop of Debeltum, a colony of Thrace. Αs God lives in the heavens the blessed Sotas in Anchialus wished to drive the devil out of Priscilla and the hypocrites would not let ” The autograph signatures of many other bishops who agreed with them are also preserved in the above mentioned writing. so far concerning them.

XX. In opposition to those in Rome who were discarding the sound ordinance of the church, Irenaeus composed various letters. He addressed one to Blastus On Schism, another to Florinus, On the Sole Sovereignty 1 οr That God is not the Author of Evil, for Florinus seemed to be defending this opinion. For his sake too, when he a attracted by the Valentinian error, a work was composed by Irenaeus On the Ogdoad,2 in which he also indicates that he had himself received the first succession of the apostles, and in it, at the end of the work, we find a most acceptable notice from him which we are obliged to give in this book and it runs as follows: “Ι adjure thee, who shalt copy out this book, by our Lord Jesus Christ, by his glorious advent when he comes to judge the living and the dead, that thou [*](1 The μοναρχία became the technical term for the assertion οf the Unity of the Godhead, without—as it —due regard to the reality of the Persons of the Trinity, though “Person” (or ὑπόστασις) was not yet used in this sense. 2 Some Gnostics regarded God as eightfold.)

compare what thou shalt transcribe and correct it with this copy whence thou art transcribing, with all care, and thou shalt likewise transeribe this oath and put it in the ” Μay his wordS be spoken to our profit and be narrated in order that we may keep those primitive and truly sacred men as the best example of the most zealous care.

In the letter to Florinus, whieh we have spoken of above, Irenaeus again mentionS his intercourse with Polycarp, and says: “These opinions, Ο Florinus, that I may speak sparingly, do not belong to sound doctrine. These opinions are inconsistent with the church, and bring those who believe in them into the greatest impiety. These opinions not even the hereties outside the church ever dared to proclaim. These opinions those who were presbyters before us, they who accompanied the apostleS, did not hand on to you. For while 1 was still a boy Ι knew you in lower Asia in Polycarp's house when you were a man rank in the royal hall and endeavouring to stand well with him. I remember the eventS of those days more cleariy than those whieh happened recently, for what we learn as children grows up vith the soul and is united to it, so that I can speak even of the place in which the blessed Polycarp sat and disputed, how he came in and went οut, the character of his life, the appearance of his body, the discourses which he made to the people, how he reported his intercourse with John and with the others who had Seen the Lord, how he remembered their wordS, and what

were the things concerning the Lord which he had heard from them, and about their miracles, and about their teaching, and how Polycarp had received them from the eyewitnesses of the word of life, and reported all things in agreement with the Scriptures. I listened eagerly even then to these things through the mercy of God which was given me, and made notes Of them, not on paper but in my heart, and ever by the grace of God do Ι truly ruminate on them, and I can bear witness before God that if that blessed and apostolic presbyter had heard anything of this kind he would have cried out, and shut his ears, and said according to his custom, ‘Ο good God, to what time hast thou preserved me that I should endure ?' Ηe would have fled even the place in which he was seated or standing when he heard sueh words. And from his letters which he sent either to the neighbouring churches, strengthening them, οr to some of the brethren, exhorting and warning them, this can be made ” So says Irenaeus.

XXI. Αnd at the same time in the reign of Commodus our treatment was changed to a milder one, and by the grace of God peace came on the churches throughout the whole world. The word of salvation began ` to lead every soul of every race men to the pious worship of the God of the universe, so that now many of those who at Rome were famous for wealth and family turned to their own salvation with all their house and with all their kin. This was unendurable to the demon who hates good, envious as he is by nature, and he again stripped for conflict,

and prepared various derices against uS. In the city οf the Romans he brought before thc court Apollonius, a man famous among the ChristianS of that time for his education and philosophy, and raised up to accuse him one οf his Servants who waS suitable for this. But the coward entered the case at a bad bme, for according to imperial decree informers on such points were not allowed to live; so they broke his legs at once, for the judge Perennius decreed this sentence against him. But the martyr, beloved of God, when the judge earnertly begged and prayed him to defend himself before the senate, made before every οne a most learned defence of the faith for which hc was a martyr, and was consecrated by beheaffing as if bv decree of the senate: for an aneient law obtrialned among them that there should be no οther issue for the case οf those who once appeared befor the court and ffid not change their opinion. The words of Apollonius before the judge dge and the answers which he made to the interrogation οf Perennius, and all the defence which he made to the senate, can be read by anyone who wishes in the compilation which we have made οf the ancient martyrs.1

XXII. In the tenth year ofthe reign οf Commodus 2 victor sueceeded Eleutherus who had served in the episcopate thirteen years. Ιn the same year Julian had completed his tenth year, and Demetrius was appointed to the administration of the Alexandrian dioceses, and at the same time the famous Serapion, whom we mentioned before, was bishop of the ehurch [*](1 See Introduction, p. xxlli. The facts as to Apollonius are obscurc; but the servant waS probably executed in accordance with the law against slaves who betrayed their mnsters.) [*](2 That is, in A.D. 189.)

of Antioch and the eighth from the apostles. Theophilus ruled Caesarea in Palestine, and Narcissus, whomour work has mentioned before, still holding the administration of the church at Jerusalem. and at the same time bacchyllus was bishop of Corinth in Greece and Polycrates of the diocese of Ephesus. There were also, of course, countless other famous men at this time, but we have naturally given the names of those the orthodoxy of whose faith has been preserved to us in writing.

XXIII. At thattime time no small controversy arose because all the dioceses of Asia thought it right, as though by more ancient tradition, to observe for the feast of the Saniour's passover tbe fourteenth day of the moon, on which the Jews had been commanded to kill the lamb. Thus it was necessary to finish tbe fast on that day, whatever day of the Week it might be. 1 Υet it was not the custom to celebrate in this manner in the churches throughout the rest of the world, for from apostolic tradition they kept the custom which still exists that it is not right to finish tbe fast on any day save that of the resurrection of our Saviour. Many meetings and conferences with bishops were beld on this point, and all unanimously formulated in their letters the doctrine of the church for those in every country country that the mystery of the Lord's resurrection from the dead could be celebrated on no day save Sunday, 2 and [*](1 That is, instead of Good Friday as the anniversary of the Lord's death the Asiatic Christians observed the Jewish feast on the fourteenth day after the new moon with which the month Nisan began. Hence they are often called Quartodecimans.) [*](2 And therefore the celebration of the crucifixion must come οn a Friday.)

that οn that day alone we should celebrate the end of the paschal faSt. Thcre is still eXtallt a writing of those who were eonvened in Palestine, οver whom piesided Theophilus, bishop of the dioeeSe of Caesarea, and Narcissus, bishop of Jerusalem; and there is similarly another from those in Rome on the same eontroversy, which gives Vietor as bishop; and there is one of the bishops of Pontus over whom Palmas presided as the oldest; and of the dioceses of Oaul, of which Irenaeus was biShop bishop; and yet οthers οf those in OSrhoene and the citieS there; and particularly οf Bacchyllus, the bishop of the chureh of Corinth; and οf ver y many moie who expreSsed one and the Same opinion and judgement, and gave the same vote.

XXIV. These iSsued the single definition which was given above; but the bishops in Asia were led by Polycrates in persisting that it was necessary to keep the custom whieh had been handed doWn to them of old. Polycrates himself in a document which he addreSsed to victor and to the church of Rome, expounds the traffition which had come to him as follows. “Therefore we keep the day undeviatingly, neither adding nor taking away, for in Αsia great luminaries 1 sleep, and they will rise on the day of the coming of the Lord, when he shall come with glory from heaven and seek out 2 all the saints. sueh were Philip of the twelve apostles, and two of his daughters Who grew old as virgins, who sleep in Hierapolis, and another daughter of his, who lived in the Ηoly spirit, reSts at Ephesus. Moreover, [*](1 στοιχεῖα in late Greek often means the planets.) [*](2 some Mss. (AB) read ἀναστήσει, “raise ” and this may be the right reading.)

there is also John, who lay on the Lord's breast, who was a priest wearing the breastplate, and a martyr, and teacher. Ηe sleeps at Εphesus. Αnd there is also Ρolycarp at smyrna, both bishop and martyr, and Thraseas, both bishop and martyr, from Εumenaea, who sleeps in Smyrna. Αnd why should I speak of Sagaris, bishop and martyr, who sleeps at Laodicaea, and Papirius, too, the blessed, and Melito the eunuch, who lived entirely in the Ηoly Spirit, who lies in sardis, waiting for the visitation from heaven when he will rise from the dead? Αll these kept the fourteenth day of the passover accorffing to the gospel, never swerving, but following according to the rule of the faith. Αnd I also, Ρolycrates, the least of you all, live according to the tradition οf my kinsmen, and some or them have I followed. For seven of m y family were bishops and 1 am the eighth, and my kinsmen ever kept the day when the people put away the leaven. Therefore, brethren, Ι who have lived sixty- nve years in the Lord and conversed with brethren from every country, and have studied all holy scripture, am not afraid of threats, for they have said who were greater than I, ‘It is better to obey ood rather than men.’”

Ηe continues about the bishops who when he wrote were with him and shared his opimon, and says thus: “And I could mention the bishops who are present whom you required me to summon, and I did so. If I should write their names they would be many multitudes; and they knowing my feeble

humanity, agreed with the lerter, knowing that not in vain is my head grey, but that 1 have ever lived in Christ Jesus.”

Upon this Victor, who presided at Rome, immediately tried to cut off from the common unity the dioceses of all Αsia, together with the adjacent churches, οn the ground of heterodoxy, and he indited letters announcing that all the Christians there were absolutely excommunicated. But by no means all were pleased by this, so they isSued counter-requests to him to consider the cause of peace and unity and love towards his neighbours. Thcir words are extant, sharply rebuking victor. Αmοng them too Irenaeus, writing in the name of the Christians whose leader he was in Oaul, though he recommends that the mystery of the ’s resurrection be observed only οn the Lord's day, yet nevertheless exhorts victor suitably and at length not to excommunicate whole churches of God for following a traffidltion οf ancient custom, and eontinues as follows: “For the controversy is not only about the day, but also about the actual character οf the fast; for some think that they ought to fast οne day, others two, others even more, some count their day as forty hours, day and night. 1 Αnd such variation of observance ffid not begin in οur own timep but much earlier, in the days of οur predecessors who, [*](3 The construction οf the Greek is harsh: γεγονυῖα seems a mistake for γέγονε.)

it would appear, ffisregarding strictness maintained a practice which is simple and yet allows for personal preference, establishing it for the future, and none the less all these lived in peace, and we also live in peace with one another and the disagreement in the fast connrms οur agreement in the faith.”

Ηe adds to this a narrative whieh I may suitably quote, running as follows: “Among these too were the presbyters before soter, who presided over church of which you are now the leader, I mean Anicetus and Ρius and telesphorus and Xystus. ney did not themselves observe it, 1 nor ffid they enjoin it οn those who followed them, and though they ffidId not keep it they Were none the less at peace with those from the ffioceses in which it was οbserved when tbey came to them, although to observe it was more objectionable to those who ffid not do so, 2 Αnd no οne was ever rejected for this reason, but the presbyters before you who did not observe it sent the Εucharist to those from other dioceses who did; and when the blessed Polycarp was staying in Rome in the time of Anicetus, though they disagreed a little about some other things as well, they immediately made peace, having no wish for strife between them on this marter. For neither waS Anicetus able to persuade Polycarp not to observe it, inasmuch as he had always done so in company with John the disciple of οur Lord and the other apostles with whom he had associated; nor did Polycarp persuade Anicetus to observe it, for he said that he ought to

keep the eustom of thOse who Vere presbyters before him. Αnd under these circumstances they communicated Vith eaeh other, and in the church Anicetus yielded the eelebrariOn Of rile Fucharist to Polycarp ObViouriy out Of respect, and tbey parted from each other in peace, fOr the peace Of the whole church was kept both by thOse who obserVCd and by those Who did not.”

Αnd Irenaeus, who deserVed his name, making an eirenicon in this vay, gaVe exhortations of this kind for the peace of the church and served as as ambassador, for in letters he diseussed the Various views on the issue vhieh had been raised, not Only with Vletor but with Vith many other rulers of churehes.

XXV. The Palestinians whom Ve bave reeenriy mentioned, that is to say Narcissus and Theophilus, and with them Cassius, the bishop of the church in Tyre, and Clarus, the birilop Of the church in Ptolemais, and thoSe Vho aembled rith them, treated at length the tradition concerning rile passover which had come down tO them frOm the succession of the apostles, and at the end Of their riring they add as follows: “Try tO send copies of Our letter to eVery diocese that ve may nOt be guilty towards thOse who easily deeeiVe tbeir own sOulS. Αnd Ve make it plain tO you that in Alexandria also they celebrate the Same day as do we, for letters have been eXehanged between them and us, so that we obserVe the holy day together and in agreement.”

XXVI. Ιn addition to the published treatises

and to the letters of Irenaeus, there is extant a concise and extremely convincing treatise of hiS against the Greeks, entitled Concerning Knowledge, and another vhieh he has dedicated to a Christian named Marcian on the Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, and a little book of Various discourses in which he menrions the Epistle to the Hebrews and the so-called Wisdom of solOmon, quoting certain passages from them. such is the extent Of our knovledge of the works of Irenaeus.

When CommoduS had riniShed his relgn after thirteen years severus became emperor not quite six monthS after the death Or CommOdus, Pertinax coming in the interval. 1

XXVII. Many workes of the Virtuous zeal of the aneient members of rile church of that time have still been widely preserved until now, and we haVc read them OurselveS. such are the writings of Heraclitus on the Epistles, 2 and the writings of Maximus on the problem of the source of eVri; sO much traversed by the heretic, and on whether matter has an origin, the works of Candidus on the Hexaëmeron, 3 and of Apion On the same subject, also of seXtuS on the Resurrection, and another treatise of Arabianus, and eountless Others of whieh We are unable from lack of evidenee to give the date or any aecOunts Of their hiStOry. Αnd there are many otherS alSo which have reaehed uS, but we cannot even giVe their names, yet they are orthodox [*](2 Literally “on the apostle,” which in ecclesiastical Greek regularly means the Epistles of Paul, not the Acts of the Apostles. 3 That is, the the Six days of creation.)

and Christian, as their interpretation of the dirine Scripture demonstrates, but the writers are unknown to us bccause their names are not given in their writings.

XXVIII. In a treatise worked out by one of these against the heresy of Αrtemon, which Ρaul of Samosata has tried to renew in our time, there is extant an account which bears οn the history which we are examining. For he criticizes the abovementioned heresy (which claims that the sarivlour was a mere man) as a recent innovation, beeause those who introduced it wished to make it respectable as being ancient. Among many other points adduced in refutation of their blasphemous falsehood, the treatise rehtes this this: “For For they say that all who went before and the apostles themselves received and taught what they now say, and that the truth of the teaching was preserved until the times οf victor, who was the tffihlrteenth bishop in Rome after Ρeter, but that the truth had been corrupted from the time of his successor, Zephyrinus. What they said might perhaps be plausible if in the nrst place the dirine scriptures were not opposed to them, and there are also writings of certain christians, older than the time of Victor, wHch they wrote to the Gentiles οn behalf of the truth and against the heresies of their οwn time. 1 mean the works of Justin and Miltiades and Tatian and Clement and many others in all of which Christ is treated as God. For who is ignorant of the books of Irenaeus and Melito and the others who announced Christ as God

and man? Αnd all the Ρsalms and hymns which were written by faithful Christians from the beginning sing of the Christ as the LogoS of Ood and treat him as God. Ηοw then is it possible that aftcr the mind οf the church had been announced for so many years that the generation before Victor can have Ρreached as these say? Why are they not ashamed of so calumniating Victor when they know quite well that Victor excommunicated Theodotus the cobbler, the founder and father of this insurrection which denie God, when he nrst said that Christ was a mere man? For if Victor was so minded towards them as their blasphemy teaches, how could he have thrown out Theodotus who invented this heresy?”

Such were the events of the time of Victor. When he had held his office ten yearS, Zephyrinus WaS appointed his suceessor in the ninth year of the reign οf Severus. 1 Αnd the author of the book mentioned about the founder of the above-mentioned heresy adds another incident which happened in the time of Zephyrinus and wTites as follows: “I will at least remind many of the brethren of an event whieh happened in our time whieh I think would have probably been a warning to the men of sodom had it happened in their city. There Was a certain confessor, Natalius, not long ago but in our own time. Ηe was deceived by Asclepiodotus and by a second Theodotus, a banker. These were both ffiscipleS of Theodotus the cobbler, who was first excommunicated by vietor, who, as I said, was then bishop, for this way [*](1 That is, A.D. 201. But reckoning backwards from the time οf Callistus who seems to have become bbhop of Romc in 217, when Zephyrinus had been bishop for eighteen years (cf. Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. vi. 21), It Would seem that this datc is somewhat too late.)

of thinking, or rather of not thinking. Natalius was persuaded by them to be called bishop of this heresy with a salary, so that he was paid a hundred and Rfty denarii a month by them.1 When he was with them he was οften warned by the Lord in visions, for οur merciful Ood and Lord, Jesus ChriSt, did not with that there should go out of the church and perish one who had been a vitness οf his own sufferings.2 But when he paid indifferent artention to the visions, for he Was entrapped by hiS leading rank among them and by that covetousness which ruins so many, he was at last scourged all night long by holy angels, and suffered not a little, so that in the morning he got up, put on sackcloth, and covered himseR with ashes, and went with much haste, and fell down with tears before Ζephyrinus the bishop, rolling at the feet not only of the elergy but also of the laity, and moved vith his tears the compassionate church οf the merciful Christ. But for all hiS prayers and the exhibition of the wealS of the stripes he had received, he was searcely admitted into communion.”

We would add to this some other Words of the same author on the same persons, Which run as follows : “ They have not feared to corrupt divine scriptures, they have nullified the rule of ancient faith, they have not known Christ, they do not inquire what the divine scriptures sa y, but in- dustriously consider what syllogistic Bgure may be found for the support of their atheiSm. Ιf anyone adduced to them a text of divine Scripture they [*](1 That is, rather more than 𝕷5. This is the hrst clear instanee οf the payment of bishops, but compare chapter 18. 2.) [*](2 This does not mean more than ἴ’ had been a confessor ’’ — a witness in court to the “sufferings of Christ.”)

inquire whether it can be put in the form of a conjunctive or a disjunctive syllogism. They abandon the holy scripture of God and Study geometry, 1 for they are of the earth and they speak of the earth and ffihlm who comes from above they do not know. Some οf them, forsooth, study the geometry οf Euclid and admire Αristotle and Theophrastus. Galen perhaps is even worshipped by some of them. when they make a bad use of the arts of unbelievers ror the opinions of their heresy, and adulterate the simple faith of the divine seriptures by the cunning οf the godless, what need is there to say that they are not even near the faith f For this cause they ffid not fear to lay hands οn the divine scriptures, saying that they had eonected them. Αnd that 1 do not calumniate them in saying tffis anywhowish can learn, for if any be willing to collect and compare with each other the texts of each of them, he would hnd them in great discord, for the copies 3 of Asclepiades do not agree vith those of Theodotus, and it is possible to obtain many of them because their disciples have diligently wTitten out copies corrected, as they say, but really corrupted by each of them. Again the eopies of Hermophilus do not agree with these, the copies οf ΑΡolloniades are not even consistent with themselves, for the eopies copies b y them at Rrst can be compared With those whieh later on underwent a second corruption, and they [*](3 That is, the copies of Scripture used by Apparently these Roman hereties added textual erltlcrim to the sin οf using Aristotle's logic, and were unable to reslst the temptations of conjectural emendation.)
will be found to disagree greatly. The impudence of this sin can careely be unknown even to them, for either they do not believe that rile diVine scriptures were spoken by the Holy Spirit, and if so they are unbelievers, or they think that they are wiser than the Ηoly spirit, and what are they but demoniacs? For they cannot even deny that this crime is theirs, seeing that the copies were Written in their own hand, and they did not receive the seriptures in thiS eondition from their teachers, nor can they show originals from whieh they made their copies. some of them have not thOught it neeessary even to emend the text, but simply deny the LaW and the Prophets, and thuS on the pretence 1 of their Wieked and godleSs teaching have fallen to the lowest destruction of ” Αnd let this suffice for these things.

[*](1 χάριτος seems to be a primitive error, for though it is found in all the Mss. it is impossible to give it any reasonable sense. Possibly a Word has fallen out which would gbe the meaning “they have fallen from grace, etc.”)