« Sophronius, bishop of Tella Soter, bp. of Rome Sozomen, author of a history »

Soter, bp. of Rome

Soter, bp. of Rome after Anicetus, in the reign of Marcus Aurelius, during 8 or 9 years. Lipsius (Chronol. der röm. Bischöf.) gives 166 or 167 and 174 or 175 as the probable dates of his accession and death. In his time the Aurelian persecution afflicted the church, though there is no evidence of Roman Christians having suffered under it. But they sympathized with those who did. Eusebius (H. E. iv. 23) quotes a letter from Dionysius, bp. of Corinth, to the Romans, acknowledging their accustomed benevolence to sufferers elsewhere, and the fatherly kindness of bp. Soter: "From the beginning it has been your custom to benefit all brethren in various ways, to send supplies to many churches in every city, thus relieving the poverty of those that need, and succouring the brethren who are in the mines. This ancient traditional custom of the Romans your blessed bp. Soter has not only continued, but also added to, in both supplying to the saints the transmitted bounty, and also, as an affectionate father towards his children, comforting those who resort to him with words of blessing."

The unknown author of a book called Praedestinatus (c. 26) states that Soter wrote a treatise against the Montanists. But the writer is generally so unworthy of credit that his testimony is of no value. [MONTANUS; PRAEDESTINATUS.]

As to the Easter dispute between Rome and the Asian Quartodecimans, it seems probable that Soter was the first bp. of Rome who was unwilling to tolerate the difference of usage. His immediate predecessor Anicetus had communicated with Polycarp when at Rome; but Victor, who succeeded Soter's successor Eleutherus, incurred the reproof of St. Irenaeus and others for desiring the general excommunication of the Asiatic churches on account of the dispute; and Irenaeus, in remonstrating with Victor, refers only to bps. of Rome before Soter, mentioning them by name, and ending his list with Anicetus, as having maintained communion with the Quartodecimans (Eus. H. E. v. 24).


« Sophronius, bishop of Tella Soter, bp. of Rome Sozomen, author of a history »
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