Webpage Ues-4 Page 8. TO INDEX
1. About the
twelfth year of the reign of Trajan the bishop of the parish of
Alexandria died, and Primus, the fourth in succession from the apostles, was
chosen to the office.
2. At that time
also Alexander, the fifth in the line of succession from Peter and Paul,
received the episcopate at Rome, after Evarestus had held the office eight
calamities of the Jews during Trojan’s reign.
3. The teaching
and the Church of our Savior flourished greatly and made progress from day to
day; but the calamities of the Jews increased, and they underwent a constant
succession of evils. In the eighteenth year of Trojan’s reign there was
another disturbance of the Jews, through which a great multitude of them
4. For in
Alexandria and in the rest of Egypt, and also in Cymene, as if incited by some
terrible and factious spirit, they rushed into seditious measures against their
fellow-inhabitants, the Greeks. The insurrection increased greatly, and in the
following year, while Lupus was governor of all Egypt, it developed into a war
of no mean magnitude.
5. In the first
attack it happened that they were victorious over the Greeks, who fled to
Alexandria and imprisoned and slew the Jews that were in the city. But the Jews
of Cymene, although deprived of their aid, continued to plunder the land of
Egypt and to devastate its districts, under the leadership of Lucas.
6. Against them
the emperor sent Marcius Turbo with a foot and naval force and also with a force
of cavalry. He carried on the war against them for a long time and fought many
battles, and slew many thousands of Jews, not only of those of Cyrene, but also
of those who dwelt in Egypt and had come to the assistance of their king Lucuas.
7. But the
emperor, fearing that the Jews in Mesopotamia would also make an attack upon the
inhabitants of that country, commanded Lucius Quintus to clear the province of
them. And he having marched against them slew a great multitude of those that
8. And in
consequence of his success he was made governor of Judea by the emperor. These
events are recorded also in these very words by the Greek historians that have
written accounts of those times.
9. After Trajan
had reigned for nineteen and a half years Aelius Adrian became his successor in
the empire. To him Quadratus addressed a discourse containing an apology for our
religion, because certain wicked men had attempted to trouble the Christians.
The work is
still in the hands of a great many of the brethren, as also in our own, and
furnishes clear proofs of the man's understanding and of his apostolic orthodox.
He himself reveals the early date at which he lived in the following words:
works of our Savior were always present, for they were genuine: -those that were
healed, and those that were raised from the dead, who were seen not only when
they were healed and when they were raised, but were also always present.
12. And not merely
while the Savior was on earth, but also after his death, they were alive for
quite a while, so that some of them lived even to our day." Such then was
Quadratus. Aristides also, a
believer earnestly devoted to our religion, left, like Quadratus, an apology for
the faith, addressed to Adrian. His
work also has been preserved even to the present day by a great many persons.
In the third
year of the same reign, Alexander, bishop of Rome, died after holding office ten
years. His successor was Xystus. About the same time Primus, bishop of
Alexandria, died in the twelfth year of his episcopate, and was succeeded by
14. The chronology
of the bishops of Jerusalem I have nowhere found preserved in writing; for
tradition says that they were all short lived.
But I have learned this much from writings, that until the siege of the
Jews, which took place under Adrian, there were fifteen bishops in succession
15. All of whom are
said to have been of Hebrew descent, and to have received the knowledge of
Christ in purity, so that they were approved by those who were able to judge of
such matters, and were deemed worthy of the episcopate.
16. For their whole
church consisted then of believing Hebrews who continued from the days of the
apostles until the siege which took place at this time; in which siege the Jews,
having again rebelled against the Romans, were conquered after severe battles.
But since the
bishops of the circumcision ceased at this time, it is proper to give here a
list of their names from the beginning. The first, then, was James, the
so-called brother of the Lord; the second, Symeon; the third, Justus; the
18. The fifth,
Tobias; the sixth, Benjamin; the seventh, John; the eighth, Matthias; the ninth,
Philip; the tenth, Seneca; the eleventh, Justus; the twelfth, Levi; the
thirteenth, Ephres; the fourteenth, Joseph; and finally, the fifteenth, Judas.
19. These are the
bishops of Jerusalem that lived between the age of the apostles and the time
referred to, all of them belonging to the circumcision.
20. In the twelfth
year of the reign of Adrian, Xystus, having completed the tenth year of his
episcopate was succeeded by Telesphorus, the seventh in succession from the apostles.
In the meantime, after the lapse of a year and some months, Eumenes, the
sixth in order, succeeded to the leadership of the Alexandrian church, his
predecessor having held office eleven years.
The last siege of the Jews under Adrian.
1. As the
rebellion of the Jews at this time grew much more serious, Rufus, governor of
Judea, after an auxiliary force had been sent him by the emperor, using their
madness as a pretext, proceeded against them without mercy, and destroyed
indiscriminately thousands of men and women and children, and in accordance with
the laws of war reduced their country to a state of complete subjection.
2. The leader of
the Jews at that time was a man by the name of Barcocheba (which signifies a
star), who possessed the character of a robber and a murderer.
And relying upon his name, he boasted to them, as if they were slaves,
and that he possessed wonderful powers; and he pretended that he was a star that
had come down to them out of heaven to bring them light in the midst of their
3. The war raged
most fiercely in the eighteenth year of Adrian, at the city of Bithara, which
was a very secure fortress, situated not far from Jerusalem.
When the siege had lasted a long time, and the rebels had been driven to
the last extremity by hunger and thirst.
4. And the
instigator of the rebellion had suffered his just punishment; the whole nation
was prohibited from this time on by a decree, and by the commands of Adrian,
from ever going up to the country about Jerusalem. For the emperor gave orders
that they should not even see from a distance the land of their fathers.
5. Such is the
account of Aristo of Pella. And
thus, when the city had been emptied of the Jewish nation and had suffered the
total destruction of its ancient inhabitants, it was colonized by a different
race, and the Roman city, which subsequently arose, changed its name and was
called Aelia, in honor of the emperor Aelius Adrian. And as the church there was
now composed of Gentiles, the first one to assume the government of it after the
bishops of the circumcision was Marcus.
Leaders of knowledge - falsely.
6. As the churches
throughout the world were now shining like the most brilliant stars, and faith
in our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ was flourishing among the whole human race,
the demon who hates everything that is good, and is always hostile to the truth,
and most bitterly opposed to the salvation of man, turned all his arts against
beginning he armed himself against it with external persecutions.
But now, being shut off from the use of such means, he devised all sorts
of plans, and employed other methods in his conflict with the Church, using base
and deceitful men as instruments for the ruin of souls and as ministers of
him, impostors and deceivers, assuming the name of our religion, brought to the
depth of ruin such of the believers as they could win over, and at the same
time, by means of the deeds which they practiced, turned away from the path
which leads to the word of salvation those who were ignorant of the faith.
there proceeded from that Menander, whom we have already mentioned as the
successor of Simon, a certain serpent-like power, double-tongued and two-headed,
which produced the leaders of two different heresies, Saturninus, an Antiochian
by birth, and Basilides, an Alexandrian.
10. The former of
these established schools of godless heresy in Syria, the latter in Alexandria.
Irenaeus states that the false teaching of Saturninus agreed in most
respects with that of Menander.
11. But that
Basilides, under the pretext of unspeakable mysteries, invented monstrous
fables, and carried the fictions of his impious heresy quite beyond bounds.
12. And as there
were at that time a great many members of the Church who were fighting for the
truth and defending apostolic and ecclesiastical doctrine with uncommon
eloquence, so there were some also that furnished posterity through their
writings with means of defense against the heresies to which we have referred.
Of these there
has come down to us a most powerful refutation of Basilides by Agrippa Castor,
one of the most renowned writers of that day, which shows the terrible imposture
of the man
14. While exposing
his mysteries he says that Basilides wrote twenty-four books upon the Gospel,
and that he invented prophets for himself named Barcabbas and Barcoph, and
others that had no existence, and that he gave them barbarous names in order to
amaze those who marvel at such things.
15. And he taught
also that the eating of meat offered to idols and the unguarded renunciation of
the faith in times of persecution were matters of indifference; and that he
enjoined upon his followers, like Pythagoras, a silence of five years.
above-mentioned writer has recorded other similar things concerning Basilides,
and has ably exposed the error of his heresy.
Irenaeus also writes that Carpocrates was a contemporary of these men,
and that he was the father of another heresy, called the heresy of the Gnostics,
who did not wish to transmit any longer the magic arts of Simon, as that one had
done in secret, but openly.
boasted - as of something great - of love potions that were carefully prepared
by them, and of certain demons that sent them dreams and lent them their
protection, and of other similar agencies.
18. And in
accordance with these things they taught that it was necessary for those who
wished to enter fully into their mysteries, or rather into their abominations,
to practice all the worst kinds of wickedness, on the ground that they could
escape the cosmic powers, as they called them, in no other way than by
discharging their obligations to them all by infamous conduct.
19. Thus it came to
pass that the malignant demon, making use of these ministers, on the one hand
enslaved those that were so pitiably led astray by them to their own
destruction, while on the other hand he furnished to the unbelieving heathen
abundant opportunities for slandering the divine word, inasmuch as the
reputation of these men brought infamy upon the whole race of Christians.
In this way,
therefore, it came to pass that there was spread abroad in regard to us among
the unbelievers of that age, the infamous and most absurd suspicion that we
practiced unlawful commerce with mothers and sisters, and enjoyed impious
He did not,
however, long succeed in these artifices, as the truth established itself and in
time shone with great brilliancy. For
the machinations of its enemies were refuted by its power and speedily vanished.
One new heresy arose after another, and the former always passed away,
now at one time, then at another, now in one way, then in other ways, and were
lost in ideas of various kinds and various forms.
splendor of the catholic and only true Church, which is always the same, grew in
magnitude and power, and reflected its piety and simplicity and freedom, and the
modesty and purity of its inspired life and philosophy to every nation both of
Greeks and of barbarians.
23. At the same
time the slanderous accusations which had been brought against the whole Church
also vanished, and there remained our teaching alone, which has prevailed over
all, and which is acknowledged to be superior to all in dignity and temperance,
and in divine and philosophical doctrines.
24. So that none of
them now ventures to affix a base calumny upon our faith, or any such slander as
our ancient enemies formerly delighted to utter.
Nevertheless, in those times the truth again called forth many champions
who fought in its defense against the godless heresies, refuting them not only
with oral, but also with written arguments.
1. Among these
Hegesippus was well known. We have already quoted his words a number of times,
relating events which happened in the time of the apostles according to his
2. He records in
five books the true tradition of apostolic doctrine in a most simple style, and
he indicates the time in which he flourished when he writes as follows
concerning those that first set up idols: "To
whom they erected cenotaphs and temples, as is done to the present day.
Among whom is
also Antinoüs, a slave of the Emperor Adrian, in whose honor is celebrated also
the Antinoian games, which were instituted in our day. For he [i.e. Adrian] also
founded a city named after Antinoüs, and appointed prophets."
4. At the same
time also Justin, a genuine lover of the true philosophy, was still continuing
to busy himself with Greek literature. He indicates this time in the Apology
which he addressed to Antonine, where he writes as follows: "We do not
think it out of place to mention here Antinoüs also, who lived in our day, and
whom all were driven by fear to worship as a god, although they knew who he was
and whence he came."
writer, speaking of the Jewish war which took place at that time, adds the
following: "For in the late Jewish war Barcocheba, the leader of the Jewish
rebellion, commanded that Christians alone should be visited with terrible
punishments unless they would deny and blaspheme Jesus Christ."
6. And in the same
work he shows that his conversion from Greek philosophy to Christianity was not
without reason, but that it was the result of deliberation on his part. His
words are as follows: "For I
myself, while I was delighted with the doctrines of Plato, and heard the
Christians slandered, and saw that they were afraid neither of death nor of
anything else ordinarily looked upon as terrible, concluded that it was
impossible that they could be living in wickedness and pleasure.
7. For what
pleasure-loving or intemperate man, or what man that counts it good to feast on
human flesh, could welcome death that he might be deprived of his enjoyments,
and would not rather strive to continue permanently his present life, and to
escape the notice of the rulers, instead of giving himself up to be put to
writer, moreover, relates that Adrian having received from Serennius Granianus,
a most distinguished governor, a letter in behalf of the Christians, in which he
stated that it was not just to slay the Christians without a regular accusation
and trial, merely for the sake of gratifying the outcries of the populace, sent
a rescript to Minucius Fundanus, proconsul of Asia, commanding him to condemn no
one without an indictment and a well-grounded accusation.
9. And he gives a
copy of the epistle, preserving the original Latin in which it was written, and
prefacing it with the following words: "Although from the epistle of the
greatest and most illustrious Emperor Adrian, your father, we have good ground
to demand that you order judgment to be given as we have desired.
Yet we have
asked this not because it was ordered by Adrian, but rather because we know that
what we ask is just. And we have subjoined the copy of Adrian's epistle that you
may know that we are speaking the truth in this matter also. And this is the
11. After these
words the author referred to the script in Latin, which we have translated into
Greek as accurately as we could. It reads as follows:
epistle of Adrian, decreeing that we should not be punished without a trial.
Minucius Fundanus. I have received an epistle, written to me by Serennius
Granianus, a most illustrious man, whom you have succeeded. It does not seem
right to me that the matter should be passed by without examination, lest the
men be harassed and opportunity be given to the informers for practicing
13. If, therefore,
the inhabitants of the province can clearly sustain this petition against the
Christians so as to give answer in a court of law, let them pursue this course
alone, but let them not have resort to men's petitions and outcries. For it is
far more proper, if any one wishes to make an accusation that you should examine
If any one
therefore accuses them and shows that they are doing anything contrary to the
laws, do you pass judgment according to the heinousness of the crime. But, by
Hercules! If any one bring an accusation through mere calumny, decide in regard
to his criminality, and see to it that you inflict punishment."
Such are the contents of Adrian's rescript.
bishops of Rome and of Alexandria during the reign of Antoninus.
died after a reign of twenty-one years was succeeded in the government of the
Romans by Antoninus, called the Pious. In the first year of his reign
Telesphorus died in the eleventh year of his episcopate, and Hyginus became
bishop of Rome.
records that Telesphorus' death was made glorious by martyrdom, and in the same
connection he states that in the time of the above-mentioned Roman bishop
17. Valentinus, the
founder of a sect of his own, and Cerdon, the author of Marcion's error, were
both well known at Rome. He writes as follows:
The heresiarchs of that age.
Valentinus came to Rome under Hyginus, he flourished under Pius, and remained
until Anicetus. Cerdon also,
Marcion's predecessor, entered the Church in the time of Hyginus, the ninth
bishop, and made confession, and continued in this way, now teaching in secret,
then making confession again, and now denounced for corrupt doctrine and
withdrawing from the assembly of the brethren."
2. These words are
found in the third book of the work “Against Heresies”. And again in the
first book he speaks as follows concerning Cerdon: "A certain Cerdon, who
had taken his system from he followers of Simon, and had come to Rome under
Hyginus, the ninth in the Episcopal succession from the apostles,
3. He taught that
the God proclaimed by the law and prophets was not the father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, for the former were known, but the latter unknown; and the former was
just, but the latter good.
Pontus succeeded Cerdon and developed his doctrine, uttering shameless
blasphemies." The same
Irenaeus unfolds with the greatest vigor the unfathomable abyss of Valentinus'
errors in regard to matter, and reveals his wickedness, secret and hidden like a
serpent lurking in its nest.
5. And in addition
to these men he says that there was also another that lived in that age, Marcus
by name, who was remarkably skilled in magic arts. And he describes also their
unholy initiations and their abominable mysteries in the following words:
of them prepare a nuptial couch an perform a mystic rite with certain forms of
expression addressed to those who are being initiated, and they say that it is a
spiritual marriage which is celebrated by them, after the likeness of the
7. But others lead
them to water, and while they baptize them they repeat the following words: Into
the name of the unknown father of the universe, into truth, the mother of all
things, into the one that descended upon Jesus. Others repeat Hebrew names in
order the better to confound those who are being initiated."
8. But Hyginus
having died at the close of the fourth year of his episcopate, Pius succeeded
him in the government of the Church of Rome.
In Alexandria Marcus was appointed pastor after Eumenes had filled the
office thirteen years in all. And Marcus having died after holding office ten
years was succeeded by Celadion in the government of the church of Alexandria.
9. And in Rome
Pius died in the fifteenth year of his episcopate, and Anicetus assumed the
leadership of the Christians there. Hegesippus records that he himself was in
Rome at this time, and that he remained there until the episcopate of
10. But Justin was
especially prominent in those days. In the guise of a philosopher he preached
the divine word, and contended for the faith in his writings. He wrote also a
work against Marcion, in which he states that the latter was alive at the time
he wrote it.
11. He speaks as
follows: "And there is a certain Marcion of Pontus, who is even now still
teaching his followers to think that there is some other God greater than the
creator. And by the aid of the demons he has persuaded many of every race of men
to utter blasphemy, and to deny that the maker of this universe is the father of
Christ, and to confess that some other, greater than he, was the creator.
12. And all who
followed them are, as we have said, called Christians, just as the name of
philosophy is given to philosophers, although they may have no doctrines in
13. To this he
adds: "And we have also written a work against all the heresies that have
existed, which we will give you if you wish to read it."
But this same
Justin contended most successfully against the Greeks, and addressed discourses
containing an apology for our faith to the Emperor Antonius, called Pius, and to
the Roman senate, for he lived at Rome. But
who and whence he was, that he shows in his Apology in the following words.
apology of Justin addressed to Antonius
Emperor Titus Aelius Adrian Antoninus Pius Caesar Augustus, and to Verissimus
his son, the philosopher, and to Lucius the philosopher, own son of Caesar and
adopted son of Pius, a lover of learning, and to the sacred senate and to the
whole Roman people.
I Justin, son
of Priscus and grandson of Bacchius, of Flavia Neapolis in Palestine, Syria,
present this address and petition on behalf of those men of every nation who are
unjustly hated and persecuted, I myself being one of them."
17. And the same
emperor having learned also from other brethren in Asia of the injuries of all
kinds which they were suffering from the inhabitants of the province, thought it
proper to address the following ordinance to the Common Assembly of Asia.
epistle of Antoninus to the common assembly of Asia in regard to our doctrine.
Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, Armenicus, Pontifex Maximus, for the
fifteenth time Tribune, for the third time Consul, to the Common Assembly of
I know that the
gods also take care that such persons do not escape detection. For they would
much rather punish those who will not worship them than you would. But you throw
them into confusion, and while you accuse them of atheism you only confirm them
in the opinion, which they hold.
It would indeed
be more desirable for them, when accused, to appear to die for their God, than
to live. Wherefore also they are victorious when they give up their lives rather
than yield obedience to your commands.
21. And in regard
to the earthquakes, which have been and are still taking place, it is not
improper to admonish you who lose heart whenever they occur, and nevertheless
are accustomed to compare your conduct with theirs.
22. They indeed
become the more confident in God, while you, during the whole time, neglect, in
apparent ignorance, the other gods and the worship of the immortal, and oppress
and persecute even unto death the Christians who worship him.
23. But in regard
to these persons, many of the governors of the provinces wrote also to our most
divine father, to whom he wrote in reply that they should not trouble these
people unless it should appear that they were attempting something affecting the
Roman government. And to me also may have sent communications concerning these
men, but I have replied to them in the same way that my father did.
But if any one
still persists in bringing accusations against any of these people as such, the
person who is accused shall be acquitted of the charge, even if it appear that
he is one of them, but the accuser shall be punished. Published in Ephesus in
the Common Assembly of Asia."
25. To these things
Melito, bishop of the church of Sardis, and a man well known at that time, is a
witness, as is clear from his words in the apology which he addressed to the
Emperor Verus in behalf of our doctrine.
The circumstances related of Polycarp, a friend of the Apostles.
At this time,
while Anicetus was at the head of the church of Rome, Irenaeus relates that
Polycarp, who was still alive, was at Rome, and that he had a conference with
Anicetus on a question concerning the day of the paschal feast.
2. And the same
writer gives another account of Polycarp, which I feel constrained to add to
that which has been already related in regard to him. The account is taken from
the third book of Irenaeus' work Against Heresies, and is as follows:
Polycarp also was not only instructed by the apostles, and acquainted with many
that had seen Christ, but was also appointed by apostles in Asia bishop of the
church of Smyrna.
We too saw him
in our early youth; for he lived a long time, and died, when a very old man, a
glorious and most illustrious martyr's death, having always taught the things
which he had learned form the apostles, which the Church also hands down, and
which alone are true.
5. To these things
all the Asiatic churches testify, as do also those who, down to the present
time, have succeeded Polycarp, who was a much more trustworthy and certain
witness of the truth than Valentinus and Marcion and the rest of the heretics.
6. He also was in
Rome in the time of Anicetus and caused many to turn away from the
above-mentioned heretics to the Church of God, proclaiming that he had received
from the apostles this one and only system of truth, which has been transmitted
by the Church.
7. And there are
those that heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe in
Ephesus and seeing Cerinthus within, ran out of the bath-house without bathing,
crying, `Let us flee, lest even the bath fall, because Cerinthus, the enemy of
the truth, is within.'
8. And Polycarp
himself, when Marcion once met him and said, `Knows thou us?' replied, `I know
the first born of Satan.' Such caution did the apostles end their disciples
exercise that they might not even converse with any of those who perverted the
truth; as Paul also said, `A man that is a heretic, after the first and second
admonition, reject; knowing he that is such is subverted, and sinned, being
condemned of himself.'
9. There is also a
very powerful epistle of Polycarp written to the Philippians, from which those
that wish to do so, and that are concerned for their own salvation, may learn
the character of his faith and the preaching of the truth." Such is the
account of Irenaeus.
10. But Polycarp,
in his above-mentioned epistle to the Philippians, which is still extant, has
made use of certain testimonies drawn from the First Epistle of Peter.
And when Antoninus, called Pius, had completed the twenty-second year of
his reign, Marcus Aurelius Verus, his son, who was also called Antoninus,
succeeded him, together with his brother Lucius.
Polycarp with others suffered martyrdom.
1. At this time,
when the greatest persecutions were exciting Asia, Polycarp ended his life by
martyrdom. But I consider it most important that his death, a written account of
which is still extant, should be recorded in this history.
2. There is a
letter, written in the name of the church over which he himself presided, to the
parishes in Pontus, which relates the events that befell him, in the following
church of God which dwells in Philomelium, and to all the parishes of the holy
catholic church in every place; mercy and peace and love from God the Father be
multiplied. We write unto you, brethren, an account of what happened to those
that suffered martyrdom and to the blessed Polycarp, who put an end to the
persecution, having, as it were, sealed it his martyrdom."
4. After these
words, before giving the account of Polycarp, they record the events, which
befell the rest of the martyrs, and describe the great firmness, which they
exhibited in the midst of their pains. For they say that the bystanders were
struck with amazement when they saw them lacerated with scourges even to the
innermost veins and arteries.
5. So that the
hidden inward parts of the body, both their bowels and their members, were
exposed to view; and then laid upon sea-shells and certain pointed spits, and
subjected to every species of punishment and of torture, and finally thrown as
food to wild beasts.
And they record
that the most noble Germanicus especially distinguished himself, overcoming by
the grace of God the fear of bodily death implanted by nature.
7. When indeed the
proconsul wished to persuade him, and urged his youth, and besought him, as he
was very young and vigorous, to take compassion on himself, he did not hesitate,
but eagerly lured the beast toward himself, all but compelling and irritating
him, in order that he might the sooner be freed from their unrighteous and
8. After his
glorious death the whole multitude marveling at the bravery of the God-beloved
martyr and at the fortitude of the whole race of Christians, began to cry out
suddenly, "Away with the atheists; let Polycarp be sought."
9. And when a very
great tumult arose in consequence of the cries, a certain Phrygian, Quintus by
name, who was newly come from Phrygia, seeing the beasts and the additional
tortures, was smitten with cowardice and gave up the attainment of salvation.
above-mentioned epistle shows that he, too hastily and without proper
discretion, had rushed forward with others to the tribunal, but when seized had
furnished a clear proof to all, that it is not right for such persons rashly and
recklessly to expose themselves to danger. Thus did matters turn out in
connection with them.
11. But the most
admirable Polycarp, when he first heard of these things, continued: undisturbed,
preserved a quiet and unshaken mind, and determined to remain in the city.
12. But being
persuaded by his friends who entreated and exhorted him to retire secretly, he
went out to a farm not far distant from the city and abode there with a few
companions, night and day doing nothing but wrestle with the Lord in prayer,
beseeching and imploring, and asking peace for the churches throughout the whole
world. For this was always his custom.
And three days
before his arrest, while he was praying, he saw in a vision at night the pillow
under his head suddenly seized by fire and consumed; and upon this awakening he
immediately interpreted the vision to those that were present, almost
foretelling that which was about to happen, and declaring plainly to those that
were with him that it would be necessary for him for Christ's sake to die by
14. Then, as those
who were seeking him pushed the search with vigor, they say that he was again
constrained by the solicitude and love of the brethren to go to another farm.
Thither his pursuers came after no long time, and seized two of the servants
there, and tortured one of them for the purpose of learning from him Polycarp's
15. And coming late
in the evening, they found him lying in an upper room, whence he might have gone
to another house, but he would not, saying, "The will of God be done."
16. And when he
learned that they were present, as the account says, he went down and spoke to
them with a very cheerful and gentle countenance, so that those who did not
already know the man thought that they beheld a miracle when they observed his
advanced age and the gravity and firmness of his bearing, and they marveled that
so much effort should be made to capture a man like him.
But he did not
hesitate, but immediately gave orders that a table should be spread for them.
Then he invited them to partake of a bounteous meal, and asked of them one hour
that he might pray undisturbed.
18. And when they
had given permission, he stood up and prayed, being full of the grace of the
Lord, so that those who were present and heard him praying were amazed, and many
of them now repented that such a venerable and godly old man was about to be put
In addition to
these things the narrative concerning him contains the following account:
"But when at length he had brought his prayer to an end, after remembering
all that had ever come into contact with him, small and great, famous and
obscure, and the whole catholic Church throughout the world, the hour of
departure being come.
They put him
upon an ass and brought him to the city, it being a great Sabbath. And he was
met by Herod, the captain of police, and by his father Nicetes, who took him
into their carriage, and sitting beside him endeavored to persuade him, saying,
For what harm
is there in saying, Lord Caesar, and sacrificing and saving your life?' He at
first did not answer; but when they persisted, he said, `I am not going to do
what you advise me.' And when they
failed to persuade him, they uttered dreadful words, and thrust him down with
violence, so that as he descended from the carriage he lacerated his shin. But
without turning round, he went on his way promptly and rapidly, as if nothing
had happened to him, and was taken to the stadium.
But there was
such a tumult in the stadium that not many heard a voice from heaven, which came
to Polycarp as he was entering the place: `be strong, Polycarp, and play the
man.' And no one saw the speaker, but many of our people heard the voice.
23. And when he was
led forward, there was a great tumult, as they heard that Polycarp was taken.
Finally, when he came up, the proconsul asked if he were Polycarp. And when he
confessed that he was, he endeavored to persuade him to deny, saying, `
Have regard for
thine age,' and other like things, which it is their custom to say: `Swear by
the genius of Caesar; repent and say, Away with the Atheists.'
25. But Polycarp,
looking with dignified countenance upon the whole crowd that was gathered in the
stadium, waved his hand to them, and groaned, and raising his eyes toward
heaven, said, `Away with the Atheists.'
26. But when the
magistrate pressed him, and said, `Swear, and I will release thee; revile
Christ,' Polycarp said, `Fourscore and six years have I been serving him, and he
has done me no wrong; how then can I blaspheme my king who saved me?
he again persisted, and said, `Swear by the genius of Caesar,' Polycarp replied,
`If thou vainly supposes that I will swear by the genius of Caesar, as thou
said, feigning to be ignorant who I am, hear plainly: I am a Christian. But if
thou desires to learn the doctrine of Christianity, assign a day and hear.'
said, `Persuade the people.' But Polycarp said, `As for thee, I thought thee
worthy of an explanation; for we have been taught to render to princes and
authorities ordained by God the honor that is due, so long as it does not injure
us; but as for these, I do not esteem them the proper persons to whom to make my
29. But the
proconsul said, `I have wild beasts; I will throw thee to them unless thou
repent.' But he said, `Call them; for repentance
from better to worse is a change we cannot make. But it is a noble thing to turn
from wickedness to righteousness.'
But he again
said to him, `If thou despises the wild beasts, I will cause thee to be consumed
by fire, unless thou repent.' But Polycarp said, `Thou threatens a fire which
burned for an hour, and after a little is quenched; for thou knows not the fire
of the future judgment and of the eternal punishment which is reserved for the
impious. But why dost thou delay? Do what thou wilt.'
and other words besides, he was filled with courage and joy, and his face was
suffused with grace, so that not only was he not terrified and dismayed by the
words that were spoken to him, but, on the contrary, the proconsul was amazed,
and sent his herald to proclaim three times in the midst of the stadium:
`Polycarp hath confessed that he is a Christian.'
32. And when this
was proclaimed by the herald, the whole multitude, both of Gentiles and of Jews,
who dwelt in Smyrna, cried out with ungovernable wrath and with a great shout,
`This is the teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians, the over thrower of
our gods, who teaches many not to sacrifice nor to worship.'
When they had
said this, they cried out and asked the Asiarch Philip to let a lion loose upon
Polycarp. But he said that it was not lawful for him, since he had closed the
games. Then they thought fit to cry out with one accord that Polycarp should be
For it was
necessary that the vision should be fulfilled which had been shown him
concerning his pillow, when he saw it burning while he was praying, and turned
and said prophetically to the faithful that were with him, `I must needs be
35. These things
were done with great speed, -more quickly than they were said, -the crowds
immediately collecting from the workshops and baths timber and fagots, the Jews
being especially zealous in the work, as is their wont.
36. But when the
pile was ready, taking off all his upper garments, and loosing his girdle, he
attempted also to remove his shoes, although he had never before done this,
because of the effort which each of the faithful always made to touch his skin
first; for he had been treated with all honor on account of his virtuous life
even before his gray hairs came.
the materials prepared for the pile were placed about him; and as they were also
about to nail him to the stake, he said, `Leave me thus; for he who hath given
me strength to endure the fire, will also grant me strength to remain in the
fire unmoved without being secured by you with nails.' So they did not nail him,
but bound him.
And he, with
his hands behind him, and bound like a noble ram taken from a great flock, an
acceptable burnt-offering unto God omnipotent, said, `Father of thy beloved and
blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have received the knowledge of thee,
the God of angels and of powers and of the whole creation and of the entire race
of the righteous who live in thy presence.
39. I bless thee
that thou hast deemed me worthy of this day and hour, that I might receive a
portion in the number of the martyrs, in the cup of Christ, unto resurrection of
eternal life, both of soul and of body, in the immortality of the Holy Spirit.
40. Among these may
I be received before thee this day, in a rich and acceptable sacrifice, as thou,
the faithful and true God, hast beforehand prepared and revealed, and hast
fulfilled. Wherefore I praise thee also for everything; I bless thee, I glorify
thee, through the eternal high priest, Jesus Christ, thy beloved Son, through
whom, with him, in the Holy Spirit, be glory unto thee, both now and for the
ages to come, Amen.'
41. When he had
offered up his Amen and had finished his prayer, the firemen lighted the fire
and as a great flame blazed out, we, to whom it was given to see, saw a wonder,
and we were preserved that we might relate what happened to the others.
the fire presented the appearance of a vault, like the sail of a vessel filled
by the wind, and made a wall about the body of the martyr, and it was in the
midst not like flesh burning, but like gold and silver refined in a furnace. For
we perceived such a fragrant odor, as of the fumes of frankincense or of some
other precious spices.
So at length
the lawless men, when they saw that the body could not be consumed by the fire,
commanded an executioner to approach and pierce him with the sword. And when he
had done this there came forth a quantity of blood so that it extinguished the
44. And the whole
crowd marveled that there should be such a difference between the unbelievers
and the elect, of whom this man also was one, the most wonderful teacher in our
times, apostolic and prophetic, who was bishop of the catholic Church in Smyrna.
For every word, which came from his mouth, was accomplished and will be
But the jealous
and envious evil one, the adversary of the race of the righteous, when he saw
the greatness of his martyrdom, and his blameless life from the beginning, and
when he saw him crowned with the crown of immortality and bearing off an
incontestable prize, took care that not even his body should be taken away by
us, although many desired to do it and to have communion with his holy flesh.
certain ones secretly suggested to Nicetes, the father of Herod and brother of
Alce, that he should plead with the magistrate not to give up his body, `lest,'
it was said, `they should abandon the crucified One and begin to worship this
47. They said these
things at the suggestion and impulse of the Jews, who also watched as we were
about to take it from the fire, not knowing that we shall never be able either
to forsake Christ, who suffered for the salvation of the whole world of those
that are saved, or to worship any other.
For we worship
him who is the Son of God, but the martyrs, as disciples and imitators of the
Lord, we love, as they deserve on account of their matchless affection for their
own king and teacher. May we also be made partakers and fellow-disciples with
49. The centurion,
therefore, when he saw the contentiousness exhibited by the Jews, placed him in
the midst and burned him, as was their custom. And so we afterwards gathered up
his bones. Which were more valuable than precious stones and more to be esteemed
than gold, and laid them in a suitable place.
50. There the Lord
will permit us to come together as we are able, in gladness and joy to celebrate
the birthday of his martyrdom, for the commemoration of those who have already
fought and for the training and preparation of those who shall hereafter do the
51. Such are the
events that befell the blessed Polycarp, who suffered martyrdom in Smyrna with
the eleven from Philadelphia. This one man is remembered more than the others by
all, so that even by the heathen he is talked about in every place."
Of such an end
was the admirable and apostolic Polycarp deemed worthy, as recorded by the
brethren of the church of Smyrna in their epistle, which we have mentioned. In
the same volume concerning him are subjoined also other martyrdoms, which took
place in the same city of Smyrna, at about the same period of time with
Among them also
Metrodorus, who appears to have been a proselyte of the Marcion sect, suffered
death by fire. A celebrated martyr
of those times was a certain man named Pionius.
desire to know his several confessions, and the boldness of his speech, and his
apologies in behalf of the faith before the people and the rulers, and his
instructive addresses and his greetings to those who had yielded to temptation
in the persecution, and the words of encouragement which he addressed to the
brethren who came to visit him in prison.
tortures which he endured in addition, and besides these the sufferings and the
nails, and his firmness on the pile, and his death after all the extraordinary
trials, -those we refer to that epistle which has been given in the Martyrdoms
of the Ancients, collected by us, and which contains a very full account of him.
56. And there are
also records extant of others that suffered martyrdom in Pergamus, a city of
Asia, -of Carpus and Papylus, and a woman named Agathonice, who, after many and
illustrious testimonies, gloriously ended their lives.
Justin preaches the Word, and
1. About this time
Justin, who was mentioned by us just above, after he had addressed a second work
in behalf of our doctrines to the rulers already named, was crowned with divine
martyrdom, in consequence of a plot laid against him by Crescensa philosopher
who emulated the life and manners of the Cynics, whose name he bore.
2. After Justin
had frequently refuted him in public discussions he won by his martyrdom the
prize of victory, dying in behalf of the truth, which he preached.
And he himself, a man most learned in the truth, in his Apology already
referred to clearly predicts how this was about to happen to him, although it
had not yet occurred.
His words are
as follows: "I, too, therefore, expect to be plotted against and put in the
stocks by some one of those whom I have named, or perhaps by Crescens, that
un-philosophical and vainglorious man. For the man is not worthy to be called a
philosopher who publicly bears witness against those concerning whom he knows
nothing, declaring, for the sake of captivating and pleasing the multitude, that
the Christians are atheist and impious.
4. Doing this he
errs greatly. For if he assails us without having read the teachings of Christ,
he is thoroughly depraved, and is much worse than the illiterate, who often
guard against discussing and bearing false witness about matters which they do
5. And if he has
read them and does not understand the majesty that is in them, or, understanding
it, does these things in order that he may not be suspected of being an
adherent, he is far more base and totally depraved, being enslaved to vulgar
applause and irrational fear.
6. For I would
have you know that when I proposed certain questions of the sort and asked him
in regard to them, I learned and proved that he indeed knows nothing. And to
show that I speak the truth I am ready, if these disputations have not been
reported to you, to discuss the questions again in your presence. And this
indeed would be an act worthy of an emperor.
7. But if my
questions and his answers have been made known to you, it is obvious to you that
he knows nothing about our affairs; or if he knows, but does not dare to speak
because of those who hear him, he shows himself to be, as I have already said,
not a philosopher, but a vainglorious man, who indeed does not even regard that
most admirable saying of Socrates."
8. These are the
words of Justin. And that he
met his death as he had predicted that he would, in consequence of the
machinations of Crescens, is stated by Tatian, a man who early in life lectured
upon the sciences of the Greeks and won no little fame in them, and who has left
a great many monuments of himself in his writings.
9. He records this
fact in his work against the Greeks, where he writes as follows: "And that
most admirable Justin declared with truth that the aforesaid persons were like
10. Then, after
making some remarks about the philosophers, he continues as follows:
"Crescens, indeed, who made his nest in the great city, surpassed all in
his unnatural lust, and was wholly devoted to the love of money.
11. And he who
taught that death should be despised, was himself so greatly in fear of it that
he endeavored to inflict death, as if it were a great evil, upon Justin, because
the latter, when preaching the truth, had proved that the philosophers were
gluttons and impostors."
12. And such was
the cause of Justin's martyrdom.
martyrs that Justin mentions in his own work.
The same man,
before his conflict, mentions in his first Apology others that suffered
martyrdom before him, and most fittingly records the following events.
He writes thus:
"A certain woman lived with a dissolute husband; she herself, too, having
formerly been of the same character. But when she came to the knowledge of the
teachings of Christ, she became temperate, and endeavored to persuade her
husband likewise to be temperate, repeating the teachings, and declaring the
punishment in eternal fire, which shall come upon those who do not live
temperately and conformably to right reason.
15. But he,
continuing in the same excesses, alienated his wife by his conduct. For she
finally, thinking it wrong to live as a wife with a man who, contrary to the law
of nature and right, sought every possible means of pleasure, desired to be
divorced from him.
16. And when she
was earnestly entreated by her friends, who counseled her still to remain with
him, on the ground that her husband might some time give hope of amendment, she
did violence to herself and remained.
17. But when her
husband had gone to Alexandria, and was reported to be conducting himself still
worse, she-in order that she might not, by continuing in wedlock, and by sharing
his board and bed, become a partaker in his lawlessness and impiety-gave him
what we call a bill of divorce and left him.
18. But her noble
and excellent husband, -instead of rejoicing, as he ought to have done, that she
had given up those actions which she had formerly recklessly committed with the
servants and hirelings, when she delighted in drunkenness and in every vice, and
that she desired him likewise to give them up, -when she had gone from him
contrary to his wish, brought an accusation concerning her, declaring that she
was a Christian.
19. And she
petitioned you, the emperor, that she might be permitted first to set her
affairs in order, and afterwards, after the settlement of her affairs, to make
her defense against the accusation. And this you granted.
20. But he who had
once been her husband, being no longer able to prosecute her, directed his
attacks against a certain Ptolemaeus, who had been her teacher in the doctrines
of Christianity, and whom Urbicius had punished. Against him he proceeded in the
persuaded a centurion who was his friend to cast Ptolemaeus into prison, and to
take him and ask him this only: whether he were a Christian? And when
Ptolemaeus, who was a lover of truth, and not of a deceitful and false
disposition, confessed that he was a Christian, the centurion bound him and
punished him for a long time in the prison.
22. And finally,
when the man was brought before Urbicius he was likewise asked this question
only: whether he were a Christian? And again, conscious of the benefits which he
enjoyed through the teaching of Christ, he confessed his schooling in divine
23. For whoever
denies that he is a Christian, either denies because he despises Christianity,
or he avoids confession because he is conscious that he is unworthy and an alien
to it; neither of which is the case with the true Christian.
24. And when
Urbicius commanded that he be led away to punishment, a certain Lucius, who was
also a Christian, seeing judgment so unjustly passed, said to Urbicius, `Why
have you punished this man who is not an adulterer, nor a fornicator, nor a
murderer, nor a thief, nor a robber, nor has been convicted of committing any
crime at all, but has confessed that he bears the name of Christian?
25. You do not
judge, O Urbicius, in a manner befitting the Emperor Pius, or the philosophical
son of Caesar, or the sacred senate.' And without making any other reply, he
said to Lucius, `Thou also seems to me to be such an one.'
26. And when Lucius
said, `Certainly,' he again commanded that he too should be led away to
punishment. But he professed his thanks, for he was liberated, he added, from
such wicked rulers and was going to the good Father and King, God.
27. And still a
third having come forward was condemned to be punished."
To this, Justin fittingly and consistently adds the words, which we
quoted above, saying, "I, too, therefore expect to be plotted against by
some one of those whom I have named."
The works of Justin, which have come down to us.
1. This writer has
left us a great many monuments of a mind educated and practiced in divine
things, which are replete with profitable matter of every kind. To them we shall
refer the studious, noting as we precede those that have come to our knowledge.
2. There is a
certain discourse of his in defense of our doctrine addressed to Antoninus
surnamed the Pious, and to his sons, and to the Roman senate. Another work
contains his second Apology in behalf of our faith, which he offered to him who
was the successor of the emperor mentioned and who bore the same name, Antoninus
Verus, the one whose times we are now recording.
3. Also another
work against the Greeks, in which he discourses at length upon most of the
questions at issue between us and the Greek philosophers, and discusses the
nature of demons. It is not necessary for me to add any of these things here.
4. And still
another work of his against the Greeks has come down to us, to which he gave the
title Refutation. And besides these another, On the Sovereignty of God, which he
establishes not only from our Scriptures, but also from the books of the Greeks.
5. Still further,
a work entitled Psaltes, and another disputation On the Soul, in which, after
propounding various questions concerning the problem under discussion, he gives
the opinions of the Greek philosophers, promising to refute it, and to present
his own view in another work.
6. He composed
also a dialogue against the Jews, which he held in the city of Ephesus with
Trypho, a most distinguished man among the Hebrews of that day. In it he shows
how the divine grace urged him on to the doctrine of the faith, and with what
earnestness he had formerly pursued philosophical studies, and how ardent a
search he had made for the truth.
And he records
of the Jews in the same work, that they were plotting against the teaching of
Christ, asserting the same things against Trypho:
8. "Not only
did you not repent of the wickedness which you had committed, but you selected
at that time chosen men, and you sent them out from Jerusalem through all the
land, to announce that the godless heresy of the Christians had made its
appearance, and to accuse them of those things which all that are ignorant of us
say against us, so that you become the causes not only of your own injustice,
but also of all other men's."
He writes also
that even down to his time prophetic gifts shone in the Church. And he mentions
the Apocalypse of John, saying distinctly that it was the apostle's. He also
refers to certain prophetic declarations, and accuses Trypho on the ground that
the Jews had cut them out of the Scripture. A great many other works of his are
still in the hands of many of the brethren.
10. And the
discourses of the man were thought so worthy of study even by the ancients, that
Irenaeus quotes his words: for instance, in the fourth book of his work Against
Heresies, where he writes as follows:
Justin well says in his work against Marcion, that he would not have believed
the Lord himself if he had preached another God besides the Creator"; and
again in the fifth book of the same work he says:
Justin well said that before the coming of the Lord Satan never dared to
blaspheme God, because he did not yet know his condemnation."
13. These things I
have deemed it necessary to say for the sake of stimulating the studious to
peruse his works with diligence. So much concerning him.
14. In the eighth
year of the above-mentioned reign Soter succeeded Anicetus as bishop of the
Church of Rome, after the latter had held office eleven years in all.
But when Celadion had presided over the church of Alexandria for fourteen
years he was succeeded by Agrippinus.
At that time
also in the church of Antioch, Theophilus was well known as the sixth from the
apostles. For Cornelius, who succeeded Hero, was the fourth, and after him Eros,
the fifth in order, had held the office of bishop.
16. At that time
there flourished in the Church Hegesippus, whom we know from what has gone
before, and Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, and another bishop, Pinytus of Crete.
these, Philip, and Apolinarius, and Melito, and Musanus, and Modestus, and
finally, Irenaeus. From them has come down to us in writing, the sound and
orthodox faith received from apostolic tradition.
18. Hegesippus in
the five books of Memoirs, which have come down to us, has left a most complete
record of his own views. In them he states that on a journey to Rome he met a
great many bishops, and that he received the same doctrine from all.
19. It is fitting
to hear what he says after making some remarks about the epistle of Clement to
the Corinthians. His words
are as follows:
20. And the
church of Corinth continued in the true faith until Primus was bishop in
Corinth. I conversed with them on my way to Rome, and abode with the Corinthians
many days, during which we were mutually refreshed in the true doctrine.
21. And when I had
come to Rome I remained there until Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleutherus. And
Soter, and he succeeded Anicetus by Eleutherus. In every succession, and in
every city that is held which is preached by the law and the prophets and the
The same author
also describes the beginnings of the heresies which arose in his time, in the
following words: "And after James the Just had suffered martyrdom, as the
Lord had also on the same account, Symeon, the son of the Lord's uncle, Clopas,
was appointed the next bishop.
23. All proposed
him as second bishop because he was a cousin of the Lord. "Therefore, they
called the Church a virgin, for it was not yet corrupted by vain discourses.
24. But Thebuthis,
because he was not made bishop, began to corrupt it. He also was sprung from the
seven sects among the people, like Simon, from who came the Simonians, and
Cleobius, from who came the Cleobians, and Dositheus, from whom came the
Dositheans, and Gorthaeus, from whom came the Goratheni, and Masbotheus, from
whom came the Masbothaeans.
25. From them
sprang the Menandrianists, and Marcionists, and Carpocratians, and Valentinians,
and Basilidians, and Saturnilians. Each introduced privately and separately his
own peculiar opinion.
From them came
false Christ's, false prophets, false apostles, who divided the unity of the
Church by corrupt doctrines uttered against God and against his Christ."
The same writer
also records the ancient heresies, which arose among the Jews, in the following
words: "There were, moreover, various opinions in the circumcision, among
the children of Israel.
were those that were opposed to the tribe of Judah and the Christ: Essenes,
Galileans, Hemero-baptist's, Masbothaeans, Samaritans, Sadducees,
29. And he wrote of
many other matters, which we have in part already mentioned, introducing the
accounts in their appropriate places. And from the Syriac Gospel according to
the Hebrews he quotes some passages in the Hebrew tongue, showing that he was a
convert from the Hebrews.
30. And he mentions
other matters as taken from the unwritten tradition of the Jews.
And not only he, but also Irenaeus and the whole company of the ancients,
called the Proverbs of Solomon all-virtuous Wisdom.
31. And when
speaking of the books called Apocrypha, he records that some of them were
composed in his day by certain heretics. But let us now pass on to another.
Dionysius, bishop of Corinth.
1. First we must
speak of Dionysius, who was appointed bishop of the church in Corinth, and
communicated freely of his inspired labors not only to his own people, but also
to those in foreign lands, and rendered the greatest service to all in the
catholic epistles, which he wrote to the churches.
2. Among these is
the one addressed to the Lacedaemonians, containing instruction in the orthodox
faith and an admonition to peace and unity.
3. And the one
also addressed to the Athenians, exciting them to faith and to the life
prescribed by the Gospel, which he accuses them of esteeming lightly, as if they
had almost apostatized from the faith since the martyrdom of their ruler
Publius, which had taken place during the persecutions of those days.
Quadratus also, stating that he was appointed their bishop after the martyrdom
of Publius, and testifying that through his zeal they were brought together
again and their faith revived. He records, moreover, that Dionysius the
Areopagite, who was converted to the faith by the apostle Paul, according to the
statement in the Acts of the Apostles, first obtained the episcopate of the
church at Athens.
5. And there is
extant another epistle of his addressed to the Nicomedians, in which he attacks
the heresy of Marcion, and stands fast by the canon of the truth.
Writing also to
the church that is in Gortyna, together with the other parishes in Crete, he
commends their bishop Philip, because of the many acts of fortitude which are
testified to as performed by the church under him, and he warns them to be on
their guard against the aberrations of the heretics.
7. And writing to
the church that is in Amastris, together with those in Pontus, he refers to
Bacchylides and Elpistus, as having urged him to write, and he adds explanations
of passages of the divine Scriptures, and mentions their bishop Palmas by name.
He gives them
much advice also in regard to marriage and chastity, and commands them to
receive those who come back again after any fall, whether it be delinquency or
9. Among these is
inserted also another epistle addressed to the Cnosians in which he exhorts
Pinytus, bishop of the parish, not to lay upon the brethren a grievous and
compulsory burden in regard to chastity, but to have regard to the weakness of
replying to this epistle, admires and commends Dionysius, but exhorts him in
turn to impart some time more solid food, and to feed the people under him, when
he wrote again, with more advanced teaching, that they might not be fed
continually on these milky doctrines and imperceptibly grow old under a training
calculated for children.
In this epistle
also Pinytus' orthodoxy in the faith and his care for the welfare of those
placed under him, his learning and his comprehension of divine things, are
revealed as in a most perfect image.
There is extant
also another epistle written by Dionysius to the Romans, and addressed to Soter,
who was bishop at that time. We cannot do better than to subjoin some passages
from this epistle, in which he commends the practice of the Romans, which has
been retained down to the persecution in our own days. His words are as follows:
the beginning it has been your practice to do good to all the brethren in
various ways, and to send contributions to many churches in every city. Thus
relieving the want of the needy, and making provision for the brethren in the
mines by the gifts which you have sent from the beginning,
14. You Romans keep
up the hereditary customs of the Romans, which your blessed bishop Soter has not
only maintained, but also added to, furnishing an abundance of supplies to the
saints, and encouraging the brethren from abroad with blessed words, as a loving
father his children."
In this same
epistle he makes mention also of Clement's epistle to the Corinthians, showing that it had been the custom from the beginning to
read it in the church. His words are as follows: "To-day we have passed the
Lord's holy day, in which we have read your epistle.
whenever we read it, we shall always be able to draw advice, as also from the
former epistle, which was written to us through Clement."
17. The same writer
also speaks as follows concerning his own epistles, alleging that they had been
mutilated: "As the brethren desired me to write epistles, I wrote. And
these epistles the apostles of the devil have filled with tares, cutting out
some things and adding others.
18. For them a woe
is reserved. It is, therefore, not to be wondered at if some have attempted to
adulterate the Lord's writings also, since they have formed designs even against
writings which are of less accounts."
19. There is
extant, in addition to these, another epistle of Dionysius, written to
Chrysophora, a most faithful sister. In it he writes what is suitable, and
imparts to her also the proper spiritual food. So much concerning Dionysius.
bishop of Antioch.
20. Of Theophilus,
whom we have mentioned as bishop of the church of Antioch, three elementary
works addressed to Autolycus are extant; also another writing entitled Against
the Heresy of Hermogenes, in which he makes use of testimonies from the
Apocalypse of John, and finally certain other catechetical books.
21. And as the
heretics, no less then than at other times, were like tares, destroying the pure
harvest of apostolic teaching, the pastors of the churches everywhere hastened
to restrain them as wild beasts from the fold of Christ.
22. At one time by
admonitions and exhortations to the brethren, at another time by contending more
openly against them in oral discussions and refutations, and again by correcting
their opinions with most accurate proofs in written works.
23. And that
Theophilus also, with the others, contended against them, is manifest from a
certain discourse of no common merit written by him against Marcion. This work
too, with the others of which we have spoken, has been preserved to the present
day. Maximinus, the seventh from
the apostles, succeeded him as bishop of the church of Antioch.
Philip, who, as
we learn from the words of Dionysius, was bishop of the parish of Gortyna,
likewise wrote a most elaborate work against Marcion, as did also Irenaeus and
Modestus. The last named has
exposed the error of the man more clearly than the rest to the view of all.
There are a number of others also whose works are still presented by a great
many of the brethren.
In those days
also Melito, bishop of the parish in Sardis, and Apolinarius, bishop of
Hierapolis, enjoyed great distinction. Each of them on his own part addressed
apologies in behalf of the faith to the above-mentioned emperor of the Romans
who was reigning at that time.
2. The following
works of these writers have come to our knowledge. Of Melito, the two books on
the Passover, and one on the conduct of life and the prophets, the discourse on
the church, and one on the Lord's day.
one on the Faith of Man, and one on his Creation, another also on the obedience
of faith, and one on the senses; besides these the work on the soul and body,
and that on baptism, and the one on truth, and on the creation and generation of
Christ; his discourse also on Prophecy.
4. And that on
hospitality; still further, the key, and the books on the Devil and the
apocalypse of John, and the work on the corporeality of God, and finally the
book addressed to Antoninus.
In the books On
the Passover he indicates the time at which he wrote, beginning with these
words: "While Servilius Paulus was proconsul of Asia, at the time when
Sagaris suffered martyrdom, there arose in Laodicea a great strife concerning
the Passover, which fell according to rule in those days; and these were
6. And Clement of
Alexandria refers to this work in his own discourse on the Passover, which, he
says, he wrote on occasion of Melito's work.
But in his book addressed to the emperor he records that the following
events happened to us under him: "For, what never before happened, the race
of the pious is now suffering persecution, being driven about in Asia by new
7. For the
shameless informers and coveters of the property of others, taking occasion from
the decrees, openly carry on robbery night and day, despoiling those who are
guilty of no wrong."
And a little
further on he says: "If these things are done by thy command, well and
good. For a just ruler will never take unjust measures; and we indeed gladly
accept the honor of such a death. But
this request alone we present to thee, that thou wouldst thyself first examine
the authors of such strife, and justly judge whether they be worthy of death and
punishment, or of safety and quiet.
9. But if, on the
other hand, this counsel and this new decree, which is not fit to be executed
even against barbarian enemies, be not from thee, much more do we beseech thee
not to leave us exposed to such lawless plundering by the populace."
10. Again he adds
the following: "For our philosophy formerly flourished among the
Barbarians; but having sprung up among the nations under thy rule, during the
great reign of thy ancestor Augustus, it became to thine empire especially a
blessing of auspicious omen.
11. For from that
time the power of the Romans has grown in greatness and splendor. To this power
thou hast succeeded, as the desired possessor, and such shalt thou continue with
thy son, if thou guards the philosophy which grew up with the empire and which
came into existence with Augustus; that philosophy which thy ancestors also
honored along with the other religions.
12. And a most
convincing proof that our doctrine flourished for the good of an empire happily
begun, is this-that there has no evil happened since Augustus' reign, but that,
on the contrary, all things have been splendid and glorious, in accordance with
the prayers of all.
13. Nero and
Domitian, alone, persuaded by certain calumniators, have wished to slander our
doctrine, and from them it has come to pass that the falsehood has been handed
down, in consequence of an unreasonable practice which prevails of bringing
slanderous accusations against the Christians.
14. But thy pious
fathers corrected their ignorance, having frequently rebuked in writing many who
dared to attempt new measures against them. Among them thy grandfather Adrian
appears to have written to many others, and also to Fundanus, the proconsul and
governor of Asia.
15. And thy father,
when thou also were ruling with him, wrote to the cities, forbidding them to
take any new measures against us; among the rest to the Larissaeans, to the
Thessalonians, to the Athenians, and to all the Greeks.
16. And as for
thee, since thy opinions respecting the Christians are the same as theirs, and
indeed much more benevolent and philosophic, -we are the more persuaded that
thou wilt do all that we ask of thee." These words are found in the
17. But in the
Extracts made by him the same writer gives at the beginning of the introduction
a catalogue of the acknowledged books of the Old Testament, which it is
necessary to quote at this point. He writes as follows:
his brother Onesimus, greeting: Since thou hast often, in thy zeal for the word,
expressed a wish to have extracts made from the Law and the Prophets concerning
the Savior and concerning our entire faith, and hast also desired to have an
accurate statement of the ancient book, as regards their number and their order.
endeavored to perform the task, knowing thy zeal for the faith, and thy desire
to gain information in regard to the word, and knowing that thou, in thy
yearning after God, esteems these things above all else, struggling to attain
when I went East and came to the place where these things were preached and
done, I learned accurately the books of the Old Testament, and send them to thee
as written below.
Their names are
as follows: Of Moses, five books: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus,
Deuteronomy; Jesus Nave, Judges, Ruth; of Kings, four books; of Chronicles, two;
the Psalms of David, the Proverbs of Solomon, Wisdom also, Ecclesiastes, Song of
Songs, Job; of Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah; of the twelve prophets, one book;
Daniel, Ezekiel, Esdras.
From which also
I have made the extracts, dividing them into six books." Such are the words
Apolinarius, bishop of the church of Hierapolis.
1. A Number of
works of Apolinarius have been preserved by many, and the following have reached
us: the Discourse addressed to the above-mentioned emperor, five books against
2. On Truth, a
first and second book, and those which he subsequently wrote against the heresy
of the Phrygians, which not long afterwards came out with its innovations.
3. But at that
time was, as it were, in its incipiency, since Montanus, with his false
prophetesses, was then laying the foundations of his error.
4. And as for
Musanus, whom we have mentioned among the foregoing writers, a certain very
elegant discourse is extant, which was written by him against some brethren that
had gone over to the heresy of the so-called Encratites.
5. Which had
recently sprung up, and which introduced a strange and pernicious error. It is
said that Tatian was the author of this false doctrine.
heresy of Tatian.
6. He is the one
whose words we quoted a little above in regard to that admirable man, Justin,
and whom we stated to have been a disciple of the martyr. Irenaeus declares this
in the first book of his work against Heresies, where he writes as follows
concerning both him and his heresy:
7. "Those who
are called Encratites, and who sprung from Saturninus and Marcion, preached
celibacy, setting aside the original arrangement of God and tacitly censuring
him who made male and female for the propagation of the human race.
also abstinence from the things called by them animate, thus showing ingratitude
to the God who made all things. And they deny the salvation of the first man.
But this has been only recently discovered by them, a certain Tatian
being the first to introduce this blasphemy.
9. He was a hearer
of Justin, and expressed no such opinion while he was with him, but after the
martyrdom of the latter he left the Church, and becoming exalted with the
thought of being a teacher, and puffed up with the idea that he was superior to
others, he established a peculiar type of doctrine of his own.
10. He invented
certain invisible aeons like the followers of Valentinus, while, like Marcion
and Saturninus, he pronounced marriage to be corruption and fornication. His
argument against the salvation of Adam, however, he devised for himself."
Irenaeus at that time wrote thus.
11. But a little
later a certain man named Severus put new strength into the aforesaid heresy,
and thus brought it about that those who took their origin from it were called,
after him, Severians.
use the Law and Prophets and Gospels, but interpret in their own way the
utterances of the Sacred Scriptures. And they abuse Paul the apostle and reject
his epistles, and do not accept even the Acts of the Apostles.
13. But their
original founder, Tatian, formed a certain combination and collection of the
Gospels, I know not how, to which he gave the title Diatessaron, and
which is still in the hands of some. But they say that he ventured to
paraphrase certain words of the apostle, in order to improve their style.
14. He has left a
great many writings. Of these the one most in use among many persons is his
celebrated address to the Greeks, which also appears to be the best and most
useful of all his works.
In it he deals
with the most ancient times, and shows that Moses and the Hebrew prophets were
older than all the celebrated men among the Greeks. So much in regard to these
the Syrian and his extant works.
16. In the same
reign, as heresies were abounding in the region between the rivers, a certain
Bardesanes, a most able man and a most skillful disputant in the Syriac tongue,
having composed dialogues against Marcion's followers and against certain others
who were authors of various opinions, committed them to writing in his own
language, together with many other works.
17. His pupils, of
whom he had very many (for he was a powerful defender of the faith), translated
these productions from the Syriac into Greek.
Among them there is also his most able dialogue on fate, addressed to
Antoninus, and other works, which they say he wrote on occasion of the
persecution, which arose at that time.
He indeed was
at first a follower of Valentinus, but afterward, having rejected his teaching
and having refuted most of his fictions, he fancied that he had come over to the
more correct opinion.
did not entirely wash off the filth of the old heresy.
About this time also Soter, bishop of the Church of Rome, departed this