Addendum I. The great confederation of Churches which Cyprian presupposes and which
he terms the Church was in truth not complete, for it cannot be proved that it extended
to any regions beyond the confines of the Roman Empire or that it even embraced
all orthodox and episcopally organised communities within those bounds.181181Hatch l.c., p. 189 f. But,
further, the conditions of the confederation, which only began to be realised in
the full sense in the days of Constantine, were never definitely formulated — before
the fourth century at least.182182The gradual union of the provincial communities into one Church
may be studied in a very interesting way in the ecclesiastical Fasti (records, martyrologies,
calendars, etc.), though these studies are as yet only in an incipient stage. See
De Rossi , Roma Sotter, the Bollandists in the 12th vol. for October; Stevenson,
Studi in Italia (1879), pp. 439, 458; the works of Nilles; Egli, Altchristl.
Studien 1887 (Theol. Lit. Ztg. 1887, no. 13): Duchesne, Les sources du Martyrol.
Hieron. Rome 1885, bat above all the latter’s study: Mémoire sur l’origine des diocèses
épiscopaux dans l’ancienne Gaule, 1890. The history of the unification of liturgies
from the 4th century should also be studied. Accordingly,
the idea of the one exclusive Church, embracing all Christians and founded on the
bishops, was always a mere theory. But, in so far as it is not the idea, but its
realisation to which Cyprian here attaches sole importance, his dogmatic conception
appears to be refuted by actual circumstances.183183There were communities in the latter half of the 3rd century,
which can be proved to have been outside the confederation, although in perfect
harmony with it in point of belief (see the interesting case in Euseb., H.E. VII.
24. 6). Conversely, there were Churches in the confederation whose faith did not
in all respects correspond with the Catholic regula as already expounded. But the
fact that it was not the dogmatic system, but the practical constitution and principles
of the Church, as based on a still elastic creed, which formed the ultimate determining
factor, was undoubtedly a great gain; for a system of dogmatics developed beyond
the limits of the Christian kerygma can only separate. Here, however, all differences
of faith had of course to be glossed over, for the demand of Apelles:
μὴ δεῖν ὅλως ἐξετάζειν τὸν λόγον, ἀλλ᾽ ἕκαστον, ὡς
πεπίστευκα, διαμένειν· σωθήσεσθαι γὰρ τοὺς ἐπὶ τὸν ἐσταυρωμένον ἡλπικότας κ.τ.λ.,
was naturally regarded as inadmissible.