|« Prev||Copy of an Imperial Epistle in which Money is…||Next »|
Chapter VI.29512951 Upon the title of this chapter given in the majority of the mss., see above, chap. 5, note 1.—Copy of an Imperial Epistle in which Money is granted to the Churches.29522952 The accompanying epistle furnishes the first instance which we have of financial support furnished the clergy by the state. From this time on the old system of voluntary contributions fell more and more into disuse, and the clergy gained their support from the income upon the church property, which accumulated rapidly, in consequence of special grants by the state and voluntary gifts and legacies by pious Christians, or from imperial bounties, as in the present case. Chrysostom, however, complains that the clergy in his time were not as well supported as under the ancient voluntary system. The accuracy of his statement, however, is open to doubt, as is the accuracy of all such comparisons between an earlier age and our own, unless it be based upon exhaustive statistics. Upon the general subject of the maintenance of the clergy in the early Church, see Bingham’s Antiquities, Bk. V. Compare also Hatch’s Constitution of the Early Christian Churches, p. 150 sq. Upon the Montanistic practice of paying their clergy salaries, see above, Bk. V. chap. 18, note 8, and for an example of the same thing among the Theodotians, see Bk. V. chap. 28, § 10.
1. “Constantine Augustus to Cæcilianus,29532953 On Cæcilianus, see above, chap. 5, note 20. bishop of Carthage. Since it is our pleasure that something should be granted in all the provinces of Africa and Numidia and Mauritania to certain ministers of the legitimate29542954 ἐνθέσμου. and most holy catholic religion, to defray their expenses, I have written to Ursus,29552955 Ursus is an otherwise unknown personage. the illustrious finance minister29562956 καθολικόν. Cf. Bk. VIII. chap. 11, note 3. of Africa, and have directed him to make provision to pay to thy firmness three thousand folles.29572957 φόλλεις. We learn from Epiphanius (De pond. et mens., at the end of the work; Dindorf’s ed. IV. p. 33) that there were two folles, one a small coin, and the other a sum of money of uncertain value. The latter is evidently referred to here. According to one computation it was worth 208 denarii. If this were correct, the present sum would amount to over ninety thousand dollars; but the truth is, we can reach no certainty in the matter. For an exhaustive discussion of the subject, see Petavius’ essay in Dindorf’s edition of Epiphanius, IV. p. 109 sq.
2. Do thou there383fore, when thou hast received the above sum of money, command that it be distributed among all those mentioned above, according to the brief29582958 βρεού& 187·ον; probably for the Latin breviarium. sent to thee by Hosius.29592959 Doubtless to be identified with the famous Hosius, bishop of Cordova in Spain, who was for many years Constantine’s most influential adviser and took a prominent part in all the great controversies of the first half of the fourth century, and who died shortly before 360, when he was upwards of a hundred years old. Upon his life, see especially the exhaustive article by Morse, in the Dict. of Christ. Biog.
3. But if thou shouldst find that anything is wanting for the fulfillment of this purpose of mine in regard to all of them, thou shalt demand without hesitation from Heracleides,29602960 Heracleides is, so far as I am aware, mentioned only here. our treasurer,29612961 τοῦ ἐπιτρόπου τῶν ἡμετέρων κτημ€των. whatever thou findest to be necessary. For I commanded him when he was present that if thy firmness should ask him for any money, he should see to it that it be paid without delay.
4. And since I have learned that some men of unsettled mind wish to turn the people from the most holy and catholic Church by a certain method of shameful corruption,29622962 This would seem to be a reference to the Donatists. If it is, it leads us to suppose that Constantine had heard about the troubles in Carthage before he received the communication from Anulinus referred to in the previous chapter; for we can hardly suppose that pending the trial of Cæcilian Constantine would show him such signal marks of favor, which would lay him at once open to the charge of partiality, and would be practically a prejudgment of the case. On the other hand, he could not have referred to the Donatists in this way after the trial of the case, for his words imply that he is referring, not to an already well-established and well-known party, but simply to individuals whom he has recently learned to be making some kind of trouble in the church. These considerations seem to me to lead to the conclusion that this epistle preceded the one to Miltiades quoted in the previous chapter, and also the one from Anulinus to Constantine (see notes 16 and 19 on that chapter). If this be so, it must have been written as early as April, 313, and therefore soon after the epistle to Anulinus quoted in the previous chapter, § 15 sq. We might then be led to suppose that it was in consequence of this grant made by Constantine solely to Cæcilian and the clergy under him that the Donatists decided to appeal to the emperor, his treatment of all who were opposed to Cæcilian showing them that he had heard reports of them by no means to their advantage, and thus impelling them to try and set themselves right in his eyes and in the eyes of the world by a public investigation of their cause. There are difficulties connected with the exact order of events at this point which beset any theory we may adopt, but the one just stated seems to me most in harmony with our sources and with the nature of the case. For a full, though not altogether satisfactory, discussion of the matter, which I cannot dwell upon here, see Walch’s Ketzergeschichte, IV. p. 116 sq. do thou know that I gave command to Anulinus, the proconsul, and also to Patricius,29632963 This Patricius is known to us, so far as I am aware, from this passage only. vicar of the prefects,29642964 τῷ οὐικαρί& 251· τῶν ἐπ€ρχων, which doubtless represents the Latin Vicarius Præfectorum, the vicar or deputy of the prefects. See Valesius’ note ad locum and the note of Heinichen (Vol. III. p. 463), with the additional references given by him. when they were present, that they should give proper attention not only to other matters but also above all to this, and that they should not overlook such a thing when it happened. Wherefore if thou shouldst see any such men continuing in this madness, do thou without delay go to the above-mentioned judges and report the matter to them; that they may correct them as I commanded them when they were present.29652965 This is the first instance we have of an effort on Constantine’s part to suppress schismatics. In 316 he enacted a stringent law against the Donatists (see the previous chapter, note 16), which, however, he withdrew within a few years, finding the policy of repression an unwise one. The same was done later in connection with the Arians, whom he at first endeavored to suppress by force, but afterward tolerated. His successors were in the main far less tolerant than he was, and heretics and schismatics were frequently treated with great harshness during the fourth and following centuries. The divinity of the great God preserve thee for many years.”
|« Prev||Copy of an Imperial Epistle in which Money is…||Next »|