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Chapter IV.—Irenæus commended by the Witnesses in a Letter.

1. The same witnesses also recommended Irenæus,14121412    On Irenæus, see above, Bk. IV. chap. 21, note 9. who was already at that time a presbyter of the parish of Lyons, to the above-mentioned bishop of Rome, saying many favorable things in regard to him, as the following extract shows:

2. “We pray, father Eleutherus, that you may rejoice in God in all things and always. We have requested our brother and comrade Irenæus to carry this letter to you, and we ask you to hold him in esteem, as zealous for the covenant of Christ. For if we thought that office could confer righteousness upon any one, we should commend him among the first as a presbyter of the church, which is his position.”

3. Why should we transcribe the catalogue of the witnesses given in the letter already mentioned, of whom some were beheaded, others cast to the wild beasts, and others fell asleep in prison, or give the number of confessors14131413    ὁμολογητῶν. Eusebius here uses the common technical term for confessors; i.e. for those who had been faithful and had suffered in persecution, but had not lost their lives. In the epistle of the churches of Lyons and Vienne, the word ὁμόλογοι is used to denote the same persons (see above, chap. 2, note 6). still surviving at that time? For whoever desires can readily find the full account by consulting the letter itself, which, as I have said, is recorded in our Collection of Martyrdoms.14141414    Cf. §2 of the Introduction to this book (Bk. V.). On Eusebius’ Collection of Martyrdoms, see above, p. 30. Such were the events which happened under Antoninus.14151415    i.e. Antoninus Verus, whom Eusebius expressly distinguishes from Marcus Aurelius at the beginning of the next chapter. See below, p. 390, note.


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