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To Xystus (or Sixtus) II8080The successor to Stephanus in 257 as Bishop of Rome: he was martyred after one year’s reign.
(Eus., H. E. vii. 5, 3-6)
(The second on the same subject)

(1) (Stephen) therefore had sent word concerning Helenus and concerning Firmilianus, and all the bishops of Cilicia and Cappadocia and (be it noted) 55 of Galatia and all the neighbouring churches likewise—to the effect that he would not hold communion with them for this same reason, since, he says, they re-baptize the heretics.8181This was, according to Benson (Cyprian, p. 354), a threat which he did not actually carry into effect, and was only meant to restrain them from adopting Cyprian’s attitude on the matter. And observe the importance of the matter. For decrees had really been passed about it in the largest synods of the bishops,8282i. e. those of Iconium and Synnada (circ. 230): Dionysius may also be referring to the three much more recent councils which Cyprian had held at Carthage between 254 and 256 (i. e. since his letter to Stephen above). By this time he had by patient inquiry found out much more than he had known at first of what was necessary to be known before coming to a decision. as I am informed, so that those who come over from heretical bodies, after a course of instruction, are washed and cleansed from the defilement of the old and unclean leaven.8383Cf. 1 Cor. vi. 11 and v. 7, 8. About all this also I have written asking him for information.

(2) To our beloved fellow-presbyters also, Dionysius and Philemon, who had formerly sided with Stephanus and were correspondents of mine on the same matter, I have written briefly the first time and more fully now.8484See note on p. 54. Dionysius became afterwards Bishop of Rome in 259: a fragment of a letter from our Dionysius to him is printed on p. 58. His famous letter to our Dionysius on the Sabellian controversy is not included in this volume. Part of a letter to Philemon is given on p. 56. He was a Roman Presbyter.

(3) The teaching which is now at work in Ptolemais of Pentapolis,8585On the north-west coast of Cyrenaica, one of the five chief cities which gave its name to the Libyan Pentapolis. Sabellius denied the three Persons in the Trinity, and held that the Person of the Father who is One with the Son was incarnate in Christ: see further p. 19. is impious, full of blasphemy about 56 the Almighty God and Father8686There seems no doubt that this is the right reading here, though most of the MSS. read “God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ”; but clearly Dionysius is only speaking of God the Father in this clause and of Jesus Christ in the next. See 2 Cor. i. 2, Eph. i. 3, etc. of our Lord Jesus Christ and full of unbelief about His only begotten Son,8787It was Dionysius’s treatment of this subject which afterwards gave Arius the heresiarch of Alexandria an opening for claiming his teaching in support of his own tenets, though there is no Arian suggestion, of course, in this phrase: see p. 20. the First-born of all creation,8888Col. i. 15. the Incarnate Word, and displays want of perception concerning the Holy Spirit. And therefore, when both official communications from both parties arrived and some of the brethren sought personal interviews with me, I wrote what I could8989Eus., H. E. vii. 26, mentions letters to Ammonius, Bishop of Bernice, Telesphorus Euphranor and Euporus in this connexion. Athanasius appears only to have known one joint letter to Ammonius and Euphranor. by the Divine assistance and gave a somewhat methodical explanation of the matter, a copy of which I have sent you.


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