webpage Ues-5 Page 9 TO INDEX
Catalogue of the bishops of Rome.
blessed apostles having founded and established the church, entrusted the office
of the episcopate to Linus. Paul speaks of this Linus in his Epistles to
succeeded him, and after Anencletus, in the third place from the apostles,
Clement received the episcopate. He had seen and conversed with the blessed
apostles, and their preaching was still sounding in his ears, and their
tradition was still before his eyes. Nor was he alone in this, for many who had
been taught by the apostles, yet survived.
In the times of
Clement, a serious dissension having arisen among the brethren in Corinth, the
church of Rome sent a most suitable letter to the Corinthians, reconciling them
in peace, renewing their faith, and proclaiming the doctrine lately received
from the apostles."
4. A little
further on he says: "Evarestus
succeeded Clement, and Alexander, Evarestus. Then Xystus, the sixth from the
apostles, was appointed. After him Telesphorus,
who suffered martyrdom gloriously; then Hyginus; then Pius; and after him
Anicetus; Soter succeeded Anicetus; and now, in the twelfth place from the
apostles, Eleutherus holds the office of bishop.
5. In the same
order and succession the tradition in the Church and the preaching of the truth
has descended from the apostles unto us."
Even down to those times miracles were performed by the faithful.
6. These things
Irenaeus, in agreement with the accounts already given by us records in the work
which comprises five books, and to which he gave the title Refutation and
Overthrow of the so-called false knowledge. In the second book of the same
treatise he shows that manifestations of divine and miraculous power continued
to his time in some of the churches.
7. He says: "But
so far do they come short of raising the dead, as the Lord raised them, and the
apostles through prayer. And oftentimes in the brotherhood, when, on account of
some necessity, our entire Church has besought with fasting and much
supplication, the spirit of the dead has returned, and the man has been restored
through the prayers of the saints."
8. And again,
after other remarks, he says: "If
they will say that even the Lord did these things in mere appearance, we will
refer them to the prophetic writings, and show from them that all things were
beforehand spoken of him in this manner, and were strictly fulfilled; and that
he alone is the Son of God. Wherefore his true disciples, receiving grace from
him, perform such works in His Name for the benefit of other men, as each has
received the gift from him.
9. For some of
them drive out demons effectually and truly, so that those who have been
cleansed from evil spirits frequently believe and unite with the Church. Others
have a foreknowledge of future events, and visions, and prophetic revelations.
10. Still others
heal the sick by the laying on of hands, and restore them to health. And, as we
have said, even dead persons have been raised, and remained with us many years.
But why should
we say more? It is not possible to recount the number of gifts which the Church,
throughout all the world, has received from God in the name of Jesus Christ, who
was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and exercises every day for the benefit of
the heathen, never deceiving any nor doing it for money.
For as she has
received freely from God, freely also does she minister." And in another
place the same author writes: "As also we hear that many brethren in the
Church possess prophetic gifts, and speak, through the Spirit, with all kinds of
tongues, and bring to light the secret things of men for their good, and declare
the mysteries of God."
13. So much in
regard to the fact that various gifts remained among those who were worthy even
until that time.
The statements of Irenaeus in regard to the divine Scriptures.
Since, in the
beginning of this work, we promised to give, when needful, the words of the
ancient presbyters and writers of the Church, in which they have declared those
traditions which came down to them concerning the canonical books, and since
Irenaeus was one of them, we will now give his words and, first, what he says of
the sacred Gospels:
published his Gospel among the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and
Paul were preaching and founding the church in Rome. After their departure Mark,
the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also transmitted to us in writing those
things which Peter had preached; and Luke, the attendant of Paul, recorded in a
book the Gospel which Paul had declared.
John, the disciple of the Lord, who also reclined on his bosom, published his
Gospel, while staying at Ephesus in Asia." He states these things in the third book of his
above-mentioned work. In the fifth book he speaks as follows concerning the
Apocalypse of John, and the number of the name of Antichrist:
17. "As these
things are so, and this number is found in all the approved and ancient copies,
and those who saw John face to face confirm it, and reason teaches us that the
number of the name of the beast, according to the mode of calculation among the
Greeks, appears in its letters. ..."
18. And farther on
he says concerning the same: "We
are not bold enough to speak confidently of the name of Antichrist. For if it
were necessary that his name should be declared clearly at the present time, it
would have been announced by him who saw the revelation. For it was seen, not
long ago, but almost in our generation, toward the end of the reign of
19. He states these
things concerning the Apocalypse in the work referred to. He also mentions the
first Epistle of John, taking many proofs from it, and likewise the first
Epistle of Peter. And he not only knows, but also receives, The Shepherd,
writing as follows:
20. "Well did
the Scripture speak, saying, `First of all believe that God is one, who has
created and completed all things,'" &c. And he uses almost the precise words of the Wisdom of
Solomon, saying: "The vision of God produces immortality, but immortality
renders us near to God." He mentions also the memoirs of a certain
apostolic presbyter, whose name he passes by in silence, and gives his
expositions of the sacred Scriptures.
And he refers
to Justin the Martyr, and to Ignatius, using testimonies also from their
writings. Moreover, he promises to refute Marcion from his own writings, in a
translation of the inspired Scriptures by the Seventy, hear the very words which
he writes: "God in truth became man, and the Lord himself saved us, giving
the sign of the virgin; but not as some say, who now venture to translate the
Scripture as; Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bring forth a son,' as
Theodotion of Ephesus and Aquila of Pontus, both of them Jewish proselytes,
interpreted; following whom, the Ebionites say that he was begotten by
he adds: "For before the Romans had established their empire, while the
Macedonians were still holding Asia, Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, being desirous
of adorning the library which he had founded in Alexandria with the meritorious
writings of all men, requested the people of Jerusalem to have their Scriptures
translated into the Greek language.
24. But, as they
were then subject to the Macedonians, they sent to Ptolemy seventy elders, who
were the most skilled among them in the Scriptures and in both languages. Thus
God accomplished his purpose.
25. But wishing to
try them individually, as he feared lest, by taking counsel together, they might
conceal the truth of the Scriptures by their interpretation, he separated them
from one another, and commanded all of them to write the same translation. He
did this for all the books.
26. But when they
came together in the presence of Ptolemy, and compared their several
translations, God was glorified, and the Scriptures were recognized as truly
divine. For all of them had rendered the same things in the same words and with
the same names from beginning to end, so that the heathen perceived that the
Scriptures had been translated by the inspiration of God.
27. And this was
nothing wonderful for God to do, who when the Scriptures had been destroyed in
the captivity of the people under Nebuchadnezzar, and the Jews had returned to
their own country after seventy years, afterwards in the time of Artaxerxes,
king of the Persians, inspired Ezra the priest, of the tribe of Levi, to relate
all the words of the former prophets, and to restore to the people the
legislation of Moses." Such are the words of Irenaeus.
The bishops under Commodus.
1. After Antoninus
had been emperor for nineteen years, Commodus received the government. In his
first year Julian became bishop of the Alexandrian churches, after Agrippinus
had held the office for twelve years.
2. About that
time, Pantaenus, a man highly distinguished for his learning, had charge of the
school of the faithful in Alexandria. A school of sacred learning, which
continues to our day, was established there in ancient times, and as we have
been informed, was managed by men of great ability and zeal for divine things.
Among these it is reported that Pantaenus was at that time especially
conspicuous, as he had been educated in the philosophical system of those called
3. They say that
he displayed such zeal for the divine Word that he was appointed as a herald of
the Gospel of Christ to the nations in the East, and was sent as far as India.
For indeed there were still many evangelists of the Word who sought earnestly to
use their inspired zeal, after the examples of the apostles, for the increase
and building up of the Divine Word.
4. Pantaenus was
one of these, and is said to have gone to India. It is reported that among
persons there who knew of Christ, he found the Gospel according to Matthew,
which had anticipated his own arrival. For Bartholomew, one of the apostles, had
preached to them, and left with them the writing of Matthew in the Hebrew
language, which they had preserved till that time.
5. After many good
deeds, Pantaenus finally became the head of the school at Alexandria, and
expounded the treasures of divine doctrine both orally and in writing.
Clement of Alexandria.
6. At this time
Clement, being trained with him in the divine Scriptures at Alexandria, became
well known. He had the same name as the one who anciently was at the head of the
Roman church, and who was a disciple of the apostles.
Hypotyposes he speaks of Pantaenus by name as his teacher. It seems to me that
he alludes to the same person also in the first book of his Stromata, when,
referring to the more conspicuous of the successors of the apostles whom he had
met, he says:
8. "This work
is not a writing artfully constructed for display; but my notes are stored up
for old age, as a remedy against forgetfulness; an image without art, and a
rough sketch of those powerful and animated words which it was my privilege to
hear, as well as of blessed and truly remarkable men.
9. Of these the
one-the Ionian -was in Greece, the other in Magna Graecia; the one of them was
from Coele-Syria, the other from Egypt. There were others in the East, one of
them an Assyrian, the other a Hebrew in Palestine. But when I met with the last,
in ability truly he was first, -having hunted him out in his concealment in
Egypt, I found rest.
10. These men,
preserving the true tradition of the blessed doctrine, directly from the holy
apostles, Peter and James and John and Paul, the son receiving it from the
father (but few were like the fathers), have come by God's will even to us to
deposit those ancestral and apostolic seeds."
The bishops in Jerusalem.
11. At this time
Narcissus was the bishop of the church at Jerusalem, and he is celebrated by
many to this day. He was the fifteenth in succession from the siege of the Jews
under Adrian. We have shown that from that time first the church in Jerusalem
was composed of Gentiles, after those of the circumcision, and that Marcus was
the first Gentile bishop that presided over them.
12. After him the
succession in the episcopate was: first Cassianus; after him Publius; then
Maximus; following them Julian; then Gaius; after him Symmachus and another
Gaius, and again another Julian; after these Capito and Valens and Dolichianus;
and after all of them Narcissus, the thirtieth in regular succession from the
Rhodo and his
account of the dissension of Marcion.
13. At this time
Rhodo, a native of Asia, who had been instructed, as he himself states, by
Tatian, with whom we have already become acquainted, having written several
books, published among the rest one against the heresy of Marcion. He says that
this heresy was divided in his time into various opinions; and while describing
those who occasioned the division, he refutes accurately the falsehoods devised
by each of them.
14. But hear what
he writes: "Therefore also they disagree among themselves, maintaining an
inconsistent opinion. For Apelles, one of the herd, priding himself on his
manner of life and his age, acknowledges one principle, but says that the
prophecies are from an opposing spirit, being led to this view by the responses
of a maiden by name Philumene, who was possessed by a demon.
among whom are Potitus and Basilicus, hold to two principles, as does the
mariner Marcion himself. These
following the wolf of Pontus, and, like him, unable to fathom the division of
things, became reckless, and without giving any proof asserted two principles.
16. Others, again,
drifting into a worse error, consider that there are not only two, but three
natures. Of these, Syneros is the leader and chief, as those who defend his
teaching say." The same author writes that he engaged in conversation with
Apelles. He speaks as follows:
17. "For the
old man Apelles, when conversing with us, was refuted in many things which he
spoke falsely; whence also he said that it was not at all necessary to examine
one's doctrine, but that each one should continue to hold what he believed.
18. For he asserted that those who trusted in the Crucified One would be saved, if only they were found doing good works. But as we have said before, his opinion concerning God was the most obscure of all. For he spoke of one principle, as also our doctrine does.
19. Then, after
stating fully his own opinion, he adds: "When
I said to him, Tell me how you know this or how can you assert that there is one
principle, he replied that the prophecies refuted themselves, because they have
said nothing true; for they are inconsistent, and false, and self-contradictory.
But how there is one principle he said that he did not know, but that he was
20. As I then
adjured him to speak the truth, he swore that he did so when he said that he did
not know how there is one un-begotten God, but that he believed it. Thereupon I
laughed and reproved him because, though calling himself a teacher, he knew not
how to confirm what he taught."
In the same
work, addressing Callistio, the same writer acknowledges that he had been
instructed at Rome by Tatian. And he says that a book of Problems had been
prepared by Tatian, in which he promised to explain the obscure and hidden parts
of the divine Scriptures. Rhodo himself promises to give in a work of his own
solutions of Tatian's problems.
22. There is also
extant a Commentary of his on the Hexaemeron.
But this Apelles wrote many things, an impious manner, of the law of
Moses, blaspheming the divine words in many of his works, being, as it seemed,
very zealous for their refutation and overthrow. So much concerning these.
The false prophets of the Phrygians.
The enemy of
God's Church, who is emphatically a hater of good and a lover of evil, and
leaves untried no manner of craft against men, was again active in causing
strange heresies to spring up against the Church.
persons, like venomous reptiles, crawled over Asia and Phrygia, boasting that
Montanus was the Paraclete, and that the women that followed him, Priscilla and
Maximilla, were prophetesses of Montanus.
3. Others, of whom
Florinus was chief, flourished at Rome. He fell from the presbyter of the
Church, and Blastus was involved in a similar fall. They also drew away many of
the Church to their opinion, each striving to introduce his own innovations in
respect to the truth.
The circumstances related of Montanus and his false prophets.
4. Against the
so-called Phrygian heresy, the power which always contends for the truth raised
up a strong and invincible weapon, Apolinarius of Hierapolis, whom we have
mentioned before, and with him many other men of ability, by whom abundant
material for our history has been left.
5. A certain one
of these, in the beginning of his work against them, first intimates that he had
contended with them in oral controversies. He commences his work in this manner:
"Having for a very long and sufficient time, O beloved Avircius Marcellus,
been urged by you to write a treatise against the heresy of those who are called
have hesitated till the present time, not through lack of ability to refute the
falsehood or bear testimony for the truth, but from fear and apprehension that I
might seem to some to be making additions to the doctrines or precepts of the
Gospel of the New Testament, which it is impossible for one who has chosen to
live according to the Gospel, either to increase or to diminish.
recently in Ancyra in Galatia, I found the church there greatly agitated by this
novelty, not prophecy, as they call it, but rather false prophecy, as will be
shown. Therefore, to the best of our ability, with the Lord's help, we disputed
in the church many days concerning these and other matters separately brought
forward by them, so that the church rejoiced and was strengthened in the truth,
and those of the opposite side were for the time confounded, and the adversaries
8. The presbyters
in the place, our fellow-presbyter Zoticus of Otrous also being present,
requested us to leave a record of what had been said against the opposer of
the truth. We did not do this, but we promised to write it out as soon as the
Lord permitted us, and to send it to them speedily."
9. Having said
this with other things, in the beginning of his work, he proceeds to state the
cause of the above-mentioned heresy as follows: "Their opposition and their
recent heresy which has separated them from the Church arose on the following
There is said
to be a certain village called Ardabau in that part of Mysia, which borders upon
Phrygia. There first, they say, when Gratus was proconsul of Asia, a recent
convert, Montanus by name, through his unquenchable desire for leadership, gave
the adversary opportunity against him.
11. And he became
beside himself, and being suddenly in a sort of frenzy and ecstasy, he raved,
and began to babble and utter strange things, prophesying in a manner contrary
to the constant custom of the church handed down by tradition from the
Some of those
who heard his spurious utterances at that time were indignant, and they rebuked
him as one that was possessed, and that was under the control of a demon, and
was led by a deceitful spirit, and was distracting the multitude; and they
forbade him to talk, remembering the distinction drawn by the Lord and his
warning to guard watchfully against the coming of false prophets?
13. But others
imagining themselves possessed of the Holy Spirit and of a prophetic gift, were
elated and not a little puffed up; and forgetting the distinction of the Lord,
they challenged the mad and insidious and seducing spirit, and were cheated and
deceived by him. In consequence of
this, he could no longer be held in check, so as to keep silence.
14. Thus by
artifice, or rather by such a system of wicked craft, the devil, devising
destruction for the disobedient, and being unworthily honored by them, secretly
excited and inflamed their understandings which had already become estranged
from the true faith.
And besides, he
stirred up two women, and filled them with the false spirit, so that they talked
wildly and unreasonably and strangely, like the person already mentioned. And
the spirit pronounced them blessed as they rejoiced and gloried in him, and
puffed them up by the magnitude of his promises. But sometimes he rebuked them
openly in a wise and faithful manner that he might seem to be a reprove.
16. But those of
the Phrygians that were deceived were few in number. "And the arrogant
spirit taught them to revile the entire universal Church under heaven, because
the spirit of false prophecy received neither honor from it nor entrance into
17. For the
faithful in Asia met often in many places throughout Asia to consider this
matter, and examined the novel utterances and pronounced them profane, and
rejected the heresy, and thus these persons were expelled from the Church and
debarred from communion."
18. Having related
these things at the outset, and continued the refutation of their delusion
through his entire work, in the second book he speaks of their end as follows:
therefore, they called us slayers of the prophets because we did not receive
their loquacious prophets, who, they say, are those that the Lord promised to
send to the people, let them answer as in God's presence: Who is there, O
friends, of these who began to talk, from Montanus and the women down, that was
persecuted by the Jews, or slain by lawless men?
None. Or has
any of them been seized and crucified for the Name? Truly not. Or has one of
these women ever been scourged in the synagogues of the Jews, or stoned? No;
21. But by another
kind of death Montanus and Maximilla are said to have died. For the report is
that, incited by the spirit of frenzy, they both hung themselves; not at the
same time, but at the time which common report gives for the death of each. And
thus they died, and ended their lives like the traitor Judas.
So also, as
general report says, that remarkable person, the first steward, as it were, of
their so-called prophecy, one Theodotus-who, as if at sometime taken up and
received into heaven, fell into trances, and entrusted himself to the deceitful
spirit-was pitched like a quoit, and died miserably.
23. They say that
these things happened in this manner. But as we did not see them, O friend, we
do not pretend to know. Perhaps in such a manner, perhaps not, Montanus and
Theodotus and the above-mentioned woman died."
24. He says again
in the same book that the holy bishops of that time attempted to refute the
spirit in Maximilla, but were prevented by others who plainly co-operated with
the spirit. He writes as follows:
"And let not the spirit, in the same work of Asterius Urbanus, say through
Maximilla, `I am driven away from the sheep like a wolf. I am not a wolf. I am
word and spirit and power.'
But let him
show clearly and prove the power in the spirit. And by the spirit let him compel
those to confess him who were then present for the purpose of proving and
reasoning with the talkative spirit,-those eminent men and bishops, Zoticus,
from the village Comana, and Julian, from Apamea, whose mouths the followers of
Thermo muzzled, refusing to permit the false and seductive spirit to be refuted
Again in the
same work, after saying other things in refutation of the false prophecies of
Maximilla, he indicates the time when he wrote these accounts, and mentions her
predictions in which she prophesied wars and anarchy. Their falsehood he
censures in the following manner.
27. "And has
not this been shown clearly to be false? For it is to-day more than thirteen
years since the woman died, and there has been neither a partial nor general war
in the world; but rather, through the mercy of God, continued peace even to the
Christians." These things are taken from the second book.
I will add also
short extracts from the third book, in which he speaks thus against their boasts
that many of them had suffered, martyrdom: "When therefore they are at a loss, being refuted in all
that they say, they try to take refuge in their martyrs, alleging that they have
many martyrs, and that this is sure evidence of the power of the so-called
prophetic spirit that is with them. But this, as it appears, is entirely
29. For some of the
heresies have a great many martyrs; but surely we shall not on that account
agree with them or confess that they hold the truth. And first, indeed, those
called Marcionites, from the heresy of Marcion, say that they have a multitude
of martyrs for Christ; yet they do not confess Christ himself in truth."
30. A little
farther on he continues: "When those called to martyrdom from the Church
for the truth of the faith have met with any of the so-called martyrs of the
Phrygian heresy, they have separated from them, and died without any fellowship
with them, because they did not wish to give their assent to the spirit of
Montanus and the women.
31. And that this
is true and took place in our own time in Apamea on the Maeander, among those
who suffered martyrdom with Gaius and Alexander of Eumenia, is well known."
Miltiades and his works.
1. In this work he
mentions a writer, Miltiades, stating that he also wrote a certain book against
the above-mentioned heresy. After quoting some of their words, he adds:
found these things in a certain work of theirs in opposition to the work of the
brother Alcibiades, in which he shows that a prophet ought not to speak in
ecstasy, I made an abridgment."
3. A little
further on in the same work he gives a list of those who prophesied under the
new covenant, among whom he enumerates a certain Ammia and Quadratus, saying:
"But the false prophet falls into an ecstasy, in which he is without shame
or fear. Beginning with purposed ignorance, he passes on, as has been stated, to
involuntary madness of soul.
4. They cannot
show that one of the old or one of the new prophets was thus carried away in
spirit. Neither can they boast of Agabus, or Judas, or Silas, or the daughters
of Philip, or Ammia in Philadelphia, or Quadratus, or any others not belonging
5. And again after
a little he says: "For if after Quadratus and Ammia in Philadelphia, as
they assert, the women with Montanus received the prophetic gift, let them show
who among them received it from Montanus and the women. For the apostle thought
it necessary that the prophetic gift should continue in all the Church until the
final coming. But they cannot show it, though this is the fourteenth year since
the death of Maximilla."
6. He writes thus.
But the Miltiades to whom he refers has left other monuments of his own zeal for
the Divine Scriptures, in the discourses which he composed against the Greeks
and against the Jews, answering each of them separately in two books. And in
addition he addresses an apology to the earthly rulers, in behalf of the
philosophy, which he embraced.
The manner in which Apollonius refuted the Phrygians.
so-called Phrygian heresy was still flourishing in Phrygia in his time,
Apollonius also, an ecclesiastical writer, undertook its refutation, and wrote a
special work against it, correcting in detail the false prophecies current among
them and reproving the life of the founders of the heresy. But hear his own
words respecting Montanus:
actions and his teaching show who this new teacher is. This is he who taught the
dissolution of marriage; who made laws for fasting; who named Pepuza and Tymion,
small towns in Phrygia, Jerusalem, wishing to gather people to them from all
directions; who appointed collectors of money; who contrived the receiving of
gifts under the name of offerings; who provided salaries for those who preached
his doctrine, that its teaching might prevail through gluttony."
9. He writes thus
concerning Montanus; and a little farther on he writes as follows concerning his
prophetesses: "We show that these first prophetesses themselves, as soon as
they were filled with the Spirit, abandoned their husbands. How falsely
therefore they speak who call Prisca a virgin."
10. Afterwards he
says: "Does not all Scripture seem to you to forbid a prophet to receive
gifts and money? When therefore I see the prophetess receiving gold and silver
and costly garments, how can I avoid reproving her?"
11. And again a
little farther on he speaks thus concerning one of their confessors: "So
also Themiso, who was clothed with plausible covetousness, could not endure the
sign of confession, but threw aside bonds for an abundance of possessions.
12. Yet, though he
should have been humble on this account, he dared to boast as a martyr, and in
imitation of the apostle, he wrote a certain catholic epistle, to instruct those
whose faith was better than his own, contending for words of empty sound, and
blaspheming against the Lord and the apostles and the holy Church."
13. And again
concerning others of those honored among them as martyrs, he writes as follows:
"Not to speak of many, let the prophetess herself tell us of
Alexander, who called himself a martyr, with whom she is in the habit of
banqueting, and who is worshiped by many. We need not mention his robberies and
other daring deeds for which he was punished, but the archives contain them.
14. Which of these
forgives the sins of the other? Does the prophet the robberies of the martyr, or
the martyr the covetousness of the prophet? For although the Lord said, `Provide
neither gold, nor silver, neither two coats,' these men, in complete opposition,
transgress in respect to the possession of the forbidden things.
For we will
show that those whom they call prophets and martyrs gather their gain not only
from rich men, but also from the poor, and orphans, and widows.
But if they are confident, let them stand up and discuss these matters,
that if convicted they may hereafter cease transgressing. For the fruits of the
prophet must be tried; `for the tree is known by its fruit.'
But that those
who wish may know concerning Alexander, he was tried by Aemilius Frontinus,
proconsul at Ephesus; not on account of the Name, but for the robberies which he
had committed, being already an apostate. Afterwards, having falsely declared
for the name of the Lord, he was released, having deceived the faithful that
17. And his own
parish, from which he came, did not receive him, because he was a robber. Those
who wish to learn about him have the public records of Asia. And yet the prophet
with whom he spent many years knows nothing about him!
through him we expose also the pretense of the prophet. We could show the same
thing of many others. But if they are confident, let them endure the test."
Again, in another part of his work he speaks as follows of the prophets of whom
they boast: "If they deny that their prophets have received gifts, let them
acknowledge this: that if they are convicted of receiving them, they are not
19. And we will
bring a multitude of proofs of this. But it is necessary that all the fruits of
a prophet should be examined. Tell me, does a prophet dye his hair? Does a
prophet stain his eyelids? Does a prophet delight in adornment?
20. Does a prophet
play with tables and dice? Does a prophet lend on usury? Let them confess
whether these things are lawful or not; but I will show that they have been done
by them." This same Apollonius
states in the same work that, at the time of his writing, it was the fortieth
year since Montanus had begun his pretended prophecy.
And he says
also that Zoticus, who was mentioned by the former writer, when Maximilla was
pretending to prophesy in Pepuza, resisted her and endeavored to refute the
spirit that was working in her; but was prevented by those who agreed with her.
He mentions also a certain Thraseas among the martyrs of that time.
moreover, of a tradition that the Savior commanded his apostles not to depart
from Jerusalem for twelve years. He uses testimonies also from the Revelation of
John, and he relates that a dead man had, through the Divine power, been raised
by John himself in Ephesus
23. He also adds
other things by which he fully and abundantly exposes the error of the heresy of
which we have been speaking. These are the matters recorded by Apollonius.
Serapion on the heresy of the Phrygians.
1. Serapion, who,
as report says, succeeded Maximinus at that time as bishop of the church of
Antioch, mentions the works of Apolinarius against the above-mentioned heresy.
And he alludes to him in a private letter to Caricus and Pontius, in which he
himself exposes the same heresy, and adds the following words:
may see that the doings of this lying band of the new prophecy, so called, are
an abomination to all the brotherhood throughout the world, I have sent you
writings of the most blessed Claudius Apolinarius, bishop of Hierapolis in
In the same
letter of Serapion the signatures of several bishops are found, one of whom
subscribes himself as follows: "I, Aurelius Cyrenius, a witness, pray for
your health." And another in this manner, Aelius Publius Julius, bishop of
Debeltum, a colony of Thrace.
4. As God lives in
the heavens, the blessed Sotas in Anchialus desired to cast the demon out of
Priscilla, but the hypocrites did not permit him."
And the autograph signatures of many other bishops who agreed with them
are contained in the same letter. So much for these persons.
The writings of Irenaeus against the schism at rome.
several letters against those who were disturbing the sound ordinance of the
Church at Rome. One of them was to Blastus on Schism; another to Florinus on
Monarchy, or that God is not the author of evil.
seemed to be defending this opinion. And because he was being drawn away by the
error of Valentinus, Irenaeus wrote his work on the Ogdoad, in which he shows
that he himself had been acquainted with the first successors of the apostles.
7. At the close of
the treatise we have found a most beautiful note, which we are constrained to
insert in this work. It runs as follows: "I adjure thee who may copy this
book, by our Lord Jesus Christ, and by his glorious advent when he comes to
judge the living and the dead, to compare what thou shalt write, and correct it
carefully by this manuscript, and also to write this adjuration, and place it in
8. These things
may be profitably read in his work, and related by us, that we may have those
ancient and truly holy men as the best example of painstaking carefulness. In
the letter to Florinus, of which we have spoken, Irenaeus mentions again his
intimacy with Polycarp, saying:
doctrines, O Florinus, to speak mildly, are not of sound judgment. These
doctrines disagree with the Church, and drive into the greatest impiety those
who accept them. These doctrines, not even the heretics outside of the Church,
have ever dared to publish. These doctrines, the presbyters who were before us,
and who were companions of the apostles, did not deliver to thee.
I was a boy, I saw thee in lower Asia with Polycarp, moving in splendor in the
royal court, and endeavoring to gain his approbation.
I remember the events of that time more clearly than those of recent
11. For what boys
learn, growing with their mind, becomes joined with it; so that I am able to
describe the very place in which the blessed Polycarp sat as he discoursed, and
his goings out and his comings in, and the manner of his life, and his physical
appearance, and his discourses to the people, and the accounts which he gave of
his intercourse with John and with the others who had seen the Lord.
And as he
remembered their words, and what he heard from them concerning the Lord, and
concerning his miracles and his teaching, having received them from eyewitnesses
of the `Word of life,' Polycarp related all things in harmony with the
things being told me by the mercy of God, I listened to them attentively, noting
them down, not on paper, but in my heart. And continually, through God's grace,
I recall them faithfully. And I am able to bear witness before God that if that
blessed and apostolic presbyter had heard any such thing, he would have cried
out, and stopped his ears, and as was his custom, would have exclaimed, O good
God, unto what times hast thou spared me that I should endure these things?
And he would
have fled from the place where, sitting or standing, he had heard such words.
And this can be shown plainly from the letters which he sent, either to the
neighboring churches for their confirmation, or to some of the brethren,
admonishing and exhorting them." Thus far Irenaeus.
How Appolonius suffered martyrdom at rome.
About the same
time, in the reign of Commodus, our condition became more favorable, and through
the grace of God the churches throughout the entire world enjoyed peace, and the
word of salvation was leading every soul, from every race of man to the devout
worship of the God of the universe.
16. So that now at
Rome many who were highly distinguished for wealth and family turned with all
their household and relatives unto their salvation. But the demon who hates what is good, being malignant in his
nature, could not endure this, but prepared himself again for conflict,
contriving many devices against us.
17. And he brought
to the judgment seat Apollonius, of the city of Rome, a man renowned among the
faithful for learning and philosophy, having stirred up one of his servants, who
was well fitted for such a purpose, to accuse him.
18. But this
wretched man made the charge unseasonably, because by a royal decree it was
unlawful that informers of such things should live. And his legs were broken
immediately, Perennius the judge having pronounced this sentence upon him.
19. But the martyr,
highly beloved of God, being earnestly entreated and requested by the judge to
give an account of himself before the Senate, made in the presence of all an
eloquent defense of the faith for which he was witnessing.
And as if by
decree of the Senate he was put to death by decapitation; an ancient law
requiring that those who were brought to the judgment seat and refused to recant
should not be liberated,
21. Whoever desires
to know his arguments before the judge and his answers to the questions of
Perennius, and his entire defense before the Senate will find them in the
records of the ancient martyrdoms, which we have collected.
The bishops that were well known at that time.
In the tenth
year of the reign of Commodus, Victor succeeded Eleutherus, the latter having
held the episcopate for thirteen years. In the same year, after Julian had
completed his tenth year, Demetrius received the charge of the parishes at
2. At this time
the above-mentioned Serapion, the eighth from the apostles, was still well known
as bishop of the church at Antioch. Theophilus presided at Caesarea in
Palestine; and Narcissus, whom we have mentioned before, still had charge of the
church at Jerusalem. Bacchylus at the same time was bishop of Corinth in Greece,
and Polycrates of the parish of Ephesus.
3. And besides
these a multitude of others, as is likely, were then prominent. But we have
given the names of those alone, the soundness of whose faith has come down to us
The question then concerning the Passover.
no small importance arose at that time. For the parishes of all Asia, as from an
older tradition, held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which day the Jews
were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should be observed as the feast of the
5. It was
therefore necessary to end their fast on that day, whatever day of the week it
should happen to be. But it was not the custom of the churches in the rest of
the world to end it at this time, as they observed the practice which, from
apostolic tradition, has prevailed to the present time, of terminating the fast
on no other day than on that of the resurrection of our Savior.
assemblies of bishops were held on this account, and all, with one consent,
through mutual correspondence drew. Up an ecclesiastical decree, that the
mystery of the resurrection of the Lord should be celebrated on no other but the
Lord's day, and that we should observe the close of the paschal fast on this day
7. There is still
extant a writing of those who were then assembled in Palestine, over whom
Theophilus, bishop of Caesarea, and Narcissus, bishop of Jerusalem, presided.
And there is also another writing extant of those who were assembled at Rome to
consider the same question, which bears the name of Bishop Victor; also of the
bishops in Pontus over whom Palmas, as the oldest, presided.
And of the
parishes in Gaul of which Irenaeus was bishop, and of those in OsrhoŽne and the
cities there; and a personal letter of Bacchylus, bishop of the church at
Corinth, and of a great many others, who uttered the same opinion and judgment,
and cast the same vote. And that
which has been given above was their unanimous decision.
The disagreement in Asia.
9. But the bishops
of Asia, led by Polycrates, decided to hold to the old custom handed down to
them. He himself, in a letter which he addressed to Victor and the church of
Rome, set forth in the following words the tradition which had come down to him:
observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great
lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord's
coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the
Among these are
Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two
aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and
now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher,
who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the
He fell asleep
at Ephesus. And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas,
bishop and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna.
13. Why need I
mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the
blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit,
and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise
from the dead?
14. All these
observed the fourteenth day of the Passover according to the Gospel, deviating
in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the
least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I
have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the
eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the
brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the
brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am
not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said `we ought
to obey God rather than man.'"
16. He then writes
of all the bishops who were present with him and thought as he did. His words
are as follows: "I could mention the bishops who were present, whom I
summoned at your desire; whose names, should I write them, would constitute a
great multitude. And they, beholding my littleness, gave their consent to the
letter, knowing that I did not bear my gray hairs in vain, but had always
governed my life by the Lord Jesus."
Victor, who presided over the church at Rome, immediately attempted to cut off
from the common unity the parishes of all Asia, with the churches that agreed
with them, as heterodox; and he wrote letters and declared all the brethren
there wholly excommunicate. But
this did not please all the bishops. And they besought him to consider the
things of peace, and of neighborly unity and love.
18. Words of theirs
are extant, sharply rebuking Victor. Among them was Irenaeus, who, sending
letters in the name of the brethren in Gaul over whom he presided, maintained
that the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord should be observed only on the
Lord's day. He fittingly admonishes Victor that he should not cut off whole
churches of God which observed the tradition of an ancient custom and after many
other words he proceeds as follows:
controversy is not only concerning the day, but also concerning the very manner
of the fast. For some think that they should fast one day, others two, yet
others more; some, moreover, count their day as consisting of forty hours day
variety in its observance has not originated in our time; but long before in
that of our ancestors. It is likely that they did not hold to strict accuracy,
and thus formed a custom for their posterity according to their own simplicity
and peculiar mode. Yet all of these lived none the less in peace, and we also
live in peace with one another; and the disagreement in regard to the fast
confirms the agreement in the faith."
He adds to this
the following account, which I may properly insert: "Among these were the
presbyters before Soter, who presided over the church which thou now rules. We
mean Anicetus, and Plus, and Hyginus, and Telesphorus, and Xystus. They neither
observed it themselves, nor did they permit those after them to do so.
22. And yet though
not observing it, they were none the less at peace with those who came to them
from the parishes in which it was observed; although this observance was more
opposed to those who did not observe it.
23. But none were
ever cast out on account of this form; but the presbyters before thee who did
not observe it, sent the eucharist to those of other parishes who observed it.
And when the blessed Polycarp was at Rome in the time of Anicetus, and
they disagreed a little about certain other things, they immediately made peace
with one another, not caring to quarrel over this matter.
could Anicetus persuade Polycarp not to observe what he had always observed with
John the disciple of our Lord, and the other apostles with whom he had
associated; neither could Polycarp persuade Anicetus to observe it as he said
that he ought to follow the customs of the presbyters that had preceded him.
matters were in this shape, they communed together, and Anicetus conceded the
administration of the eucharist in the church to Polycarp, manifestly as a mark
of respect. And they parted from each other in peace, both those who observed,
and those who did not, maintaining the peace of the whole church."
who truly was well named, became a peacemaker in this matter, exhorting and
negotiating in this way in behalf of the peace of the churches. And he conferred
by letter about this mooted question, not only with Victor, but also with most
of the other rulers of the churches.
How all came to an agreement respecting the Passover.
1. Those in
Palestine whom we have recently mentioned, Narcissus and Theophilus, and with
them Cassius, bishop of the church of Tyre, and Clarus of the church of
Ptolemais, and those who met with them, having stated many things respecting the
tradition concerning the Passover which had come to them in succession from the
apostles, at the close of their writing add these words:
to send copies of our letter to every church, that we may not furnish occasion
to those who easily deceive their souls. We show you indeed that also in
Alexandria they keep it on the same day that we do. For letters are carried from
us to them and from them to us, so that in the same manner and at the same time
we keep the sacred day."
The elegant works of Irenaeus, which have come down to us.
3. Besides the
works and letters of Irenaeus which we have mentioned, a certain book of his On
Knowledge, written against the Greeks, very concise and remarkably forcible, is
extant; and another, which he dedicated to a brother Martian, In Demonstration
of the Apostolic Preaching;
4. And a volume
containing various dissertations, in which he mentions the epistle to the
Hebrews and the so-called Wisdom of Solomon, making quotations from them. These
are the works of Irenaeus, which have come to our knowledge.
5. Commodus having
ended his reign after thirteen years, Severus became emperor in less than six
months after his death, Pertinax having reigned during the intervening time.
The works of others that flourished at that time.
memorials of the faithful zeal of the ancient ecclesiastical men of that time
are still preserved by many. Of these we would note particularly the writings of
Heraclitus On the Apostle, and those of Maximus on the question so much
discussed among heretics, the Origin of evil, and on the Creation of matter.
7. Also those of
Candidus on the Hexaemeron, and of Apion on the same subject; likewise of Sextus
on the Resurrection, and another treatise of Arabianus, and writings of a
multitude of others, in regard to whom, because we have no data, it is
impossible to state in our work when they lived, or to give any account of their
And works of
many others have come down to us whose names we are unable to give, orthodox and
ecclesiastical, as their interpretations of the Divine Scriptures show, but
unknown to us, because their names are not stated in their writings.
9. In a laborious
work by one of these writers against the heresy of Artemon, which Paul of
Samosata attempted to revive again in our day, there is an account appropriate
to the history, which we are now examining.
10. For he
criticizes, as a late innovation, the above-mentioned heresy which teaches that
the Savior was a mere man, because they were attempting to magnify it as ancient
Having given in his work many other arguments in refutation of their blasphemous
falsehood, he adds the following words:
say that all the early teachers and the apostles received and taught what they
now declare, and that the truth of the Gospel was preserved until the times of
Victor, who was the thirteenth bishop of Rome from Peter, but that from his
successor, Zephyrinus, the truth had been corrupted.
And what they
say might be plausible, if first of all the Divine Scriptures did not contradict
them. And there are writings of certain brethren older than the times of Victor,
which they wrote in behalf of the truth against the heathen, and against the
heresies, which existed in their day.
I refer to
Justin and Miltiades and Tatian and Clement and many others, in all of whose
works Christ is spoken of as God.
For who does
not know the works of Irenaeus and of Melito and of others which teach that
Christ is God and man? And how many psalms and hymns, written by the faithful
brethren from the beginning, celebrate Christ the Word of God, speaking of him
15. How then since
the opinion held by the Church has been preached for so many years, can its
preaching have been delayed as they affirm, until the times of Victor?
16. And how is it
that they are not ashamed to speak thus falsely of Victor, knowing well that he
cut off from communion Theodotus, the cobbler, the leader and father of this
God-denying apostasy, and the first to declare that Christ is mere man? For if
Victor agreed with their opinions, as their slander affirms, how came he to cast
out Theodotus, the inventor of this heresy?"
So much in
regard to Victor. His bishop lasted ten years, and Zephyrinus was appointed his
successor about the ninth year of the reign of Severus. The author of the
above-mentioned book, concerning the founder of this heresy, narrates another
event which occurred in the time of Zephyrinus, using these words:
18. "I will
remind many of the brethren of a fact which took place in our time, which, had
it happened in Sodom, might, I think, have proved a warning to them. There was a
certain confessor, Natalius, not long ago, but in our own day.
19. This man was
deceived at one time by Asclepiodotus and another Theodotus, a money-changer.
Both of them were disciples of Theodotus, the cobbler, who, as I have said, was
the first person excommunicated by Victor, bishop at that time, on account of
this sentiment, or rather senselessness.
20. Natalius was
persuaded by them to allow himself to be chosen bishop of this heresy with a
salary, to be paid by them, of one hundred and fifty denari a month. When 11 he
had thus connected himself with them, he was warned oftentimes by the Lord
compassionate God and our Lord Jesus Christ was not willing that a witness of
his own sufferings, being cast out of the Church, should perish. But as he paid
little regard to the visions, because he was ensnared by the first position
among them and by that shameful covetousness, which destroys a great many, he
was scourged by holy angels, and punished severely through the entire night.
having risen in the morning, he put on sackcloth and covered himself with ashes,
and with great haste and tears he fell down before Zephyrinus, the bishop,
rolling at the feet not only of the clergy, but also of the laity; and he moved
with his tears the compassionate Church of the merciful Christ.
And though he
used much supplication, and showed the welts of the stripes which he had
received, yet scarcely was he taken back into communion."
We will add from the same writer some other extracts concerning them,
which run as follows: "They have treated the Divine Scriptures recklessly
and without fear. They have set aside the rule of ancient faith; and Christ they
have not known.
They do not
endeavor to learn what the Divine Scriptures declare, but strive laboriously
after any form of syllogism which may be devised to sustain their impiety. And
if any one brings before them a passage of Divine Scripture, they see whether a
conjunctive or disjunctive form of syllogism can be made from it.
25. And as being of
the earth and speaking of the earth, and as ignorant of him who cometh from
above, they forsake the holy writings of God to devote themselves to geometry.
Euclid is laboriously measured by some of them; and Aristotle and Theophrastus
are admired; and Galen, perhaps, by some is even worshiped.
But that those
who use the arts of unbelievers for their heretical opinions and adulterate the
simple faith of the Divine Scriptures by the craft of the godless, are far from
the faith, what need is there to say? Therefore they have laid their hands
boldly upon the Divine Scriptures, alleging that they have corrected them.
That I am not
speaking falsely of them in this matter, whoever wishes may learn. For if any
one will collect their respective copies, and compare them one with another, he
will find that they differ greatly.
28. Those of
Asclepiades, for example, do not agree with those of Theodotus. And many of
these can be obtained, because their disciples have assiduously written the
corrections, as they call them that is the corruptions, of each of them.
Again, those of
Hermophilusdo not agree with these, and those of Apollonides are not consistent
with themselves. For you can compare those prepared by them at an earlier date
with those which they corrupted later, and you will find them widely different.
But how daring
this offense is, it is not likely that they themselves are ignorant. For either
they do not believe that the Divine Scriptures were spoken by the Holy Spirit,
and thus are unbelievers, or else they think themselves wiser than the Holy
Spirit, and in that case what else are they than demoniacs?
31. For they cannot
deny the commission of the crime, since the copies have been written by their
own hands. For they did not receive such Scriptures from their instructors, nor
can they produce any copies from which they were transcribed.
But some of
them have not thought it worth while to corrupt them, but simply deny the law
and the prophets, and thus through their lawless and impious teaching under
pretense of grace, have sunk to the lowest depths of perdition." Let this
suffice for these things.