HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







An Ecclesiastical History To The 20th Year Of The Reign Of Constantine by Eusebius

THE bishops, however, of Asia, persevering in observing the custom handed down to them from their fathers, were headed by Polycrates. He, indeed, had also set forth the tradition handed down to them, in a letter which he addressed to Victor and the church of Rome. “We,” said he, “therefore, observe the genuine day; neither adding thereto nor taking therefrom. For in Asia great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again in the day of the Lord’s appearing, in which he will come with glory from heaven, and will raise up all the saints; Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who sleeps in Hierapolis, and his two aged virgin daughters. His other daughter, also, who having lived under the influence of the Holy Ghost, now likewise rests in Ephesus. Moreover, John, who rested upon the bosom of our Lord, who also was a priest, and bore the sacerdotal plate (πεταλον), both a martyr and teacher. And is buried in Ephesus; also Polycarp of Smyrna, both bishop and martyr. Thraseus, also, bishop and martyr of Eumenia, who is buried at Smyrna. Why should I mention Sagaris, bishop and martyr, who rests at Laodicea? Moreover, the blessed Papirius; and Melito, the eunuch, whose walk and conversation was altogether under the influence of the Holy Spirit, who now rests at Sardis, a waiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead. All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. Moreover, I, Polycrates, who am the least of all of you, according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have followed. For there were seven of my relatives bishops, and I am the eighth; and my relatives always observed the day when the people (i. e. the Jews) threw away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, am now sixty-five years in the Lord, who having conferred with the brethren throughout the world, and having studied the whole of the sacred Scriptures, am not at all alarmed at those things with which I am threatened, to intimidate me. For they who are greater than I, have said, ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.’ ” After this, he also proceeds to write concerning all the bishops that were present, and thought the same with himself: “I could also mention,” says he, “the bishops that were present, whom you requested to be summoned by me, and whom I did call. Whose names, did I write them, would present a great number. Who, however, seeing my slender body, consented to the epistle, well knowing that I did not bear my gray hairs for nought, but that I did at all times regulate my life in the Lord Jesus.” Upon this, Victor, the bishop of the church of Rome, forthwith endeavoured to cut off the churches of all Asia, together with the neighbouring churches, as heterodox, from the common unity; and he published abroad by letters, and proclaimed, that all the brethren there were wholly excommunicated. But this was not the opinion of all the bishops. They immediately exhorted him, on the contrary, to contemplate that course that was calculated to promote peace, unity, and love to one another.

There are also extant, the expressions they used, who pressed upon Victor with much severity. Among these also was Irenæus, who, in the name of those brethren in Gaul over whom he presided, wrote an epistle, in which he maintains the duty of celebrating the mystery of the resurrection of our Lord, only on the day of the Lord. He becomingly also admonishes Victor, not to cut off whole churches of God, who observed the tradition of an ancient custom. After many other matters urged by him, he also adds the following: “For not only is the dispute respecting the day, but also respecting the manner of fasting. For some think, they ought to fast only one day, some two, some more days; some compute their day as consisting of forty hours night and day; and this diversity existing among those that observe it, is not a matter that has just sprung up in our times, but long ago among those before us, who perhaps not having ruled with sufficient strictness, established the practice that arose from their simplicity and inexperience, and yet with all these maintained peace, and we have maintained peace with one another; and the very difference in our fasting establishes the unanimity in our faith.” To these he also adds a narrative, which I may here appropriately insert. It is as follows: “And those presbyters who governed the church before Soter, and over which you now preside, I mean Anicetus and Pius, Hyginus with Telesphorus and Xystus, neither did themselves observe, nor did they permit those after them to observe it. And yet, though they themselves did not keep it, they were not the less in peace with those who came from other churches where it was kept; although to keep it then was so much the more in opposition to those who did not. Neither at any time did they cast off any merely for the sake of the form. Those very presbyters before thee, who did not observe it, sent the eucharist to those who did. And when the blessed Polycarp went to Rome, in the time of Anicetus, and they had a little difference among themselves likewise respecting other matters, they immediately were reconciled, not disputing much with one another on this head. For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp not to observe it, because he had always observed it with John the disciple of our Lord, and the rest of the apostles, with whom he associated; and neither did Polycarp persuade Anicetus to observe it, who said that he was bound to maintain the practice of the presbyters before him. Which things being so, they communed with each other; and in the church, Anicetus yielded to Polycarp, out of respect no doubt, the office of consecrating, and they separated from each other in peace, all the church being at peace; both those that observed and those that did not observe, maintaining peace.” And this same Irenæus, as one whose character answered well to his name, being in this way a peace-maker, exhorted and negociated such matters as these for the peace of the churches. And not only to Victor, but likewise to the most of the other rulers of the churches, he sent letters of exhortation on the agitated question.








Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com