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Epistle V.—Which is the First on the Subject of Baptism Addressed to Stephen, Bishop of Rome.831831    In the second chapter of the seventh book of his Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius says: “To this Stephen, Eusebius wrote the first of his epistles on the matter of baptism.” And he calls this the first, because Dionysius also wrote other four epistles to Xystus and Dionysius, two of the successors of Stephen, and to Philemon, on the same subject of the baptizing of heretics.—Gallandi.


Understand, however, my brother,832832    Eusebius introduces the letter thus: “When he had addressed many reasonings on this subject to him (Stephen) by letter, Dionysius at last showed him that, as the persecution had abated, the churches in all parts opposed to the innovations of Novatus were at peace among themselves.” [See vol. v. p. 275.] that all the churches located in the east, and also in remoter districts,833833    καὶ ἔτι προσωτέρω. These words are omitted in Codices Fulk, and Savil., as also by Christophorsonus; but are given in Codices Reg. Maz., and Med., and by Syncellus and Nicephorus. that were formerly in a state of division, are now made one again;834834    Baronius infers from this epistle that at this date, about 259 a.d., the Oriental bishops had given up their “error,” and fallen in with Stephen’s opinion, that heretics did not require to be rebaptized,—an inference, however, which Valesius deems false. [Undoubtedly so.] and all those at the head of the churches everywhere are of one mind, and rejoice exceedingly at the peace which has been restored beyond all expectation. I may 102mention Demetrianus in Antioch; Theoctistus in Cæsareia; Mazabanes in Ælia,835835    The name assigned by the pagans to Jerusalem was Ælia. It was so called even in Constantine’s time as we see in the Tabula Peutingerorum and the Itinerarium Antonini, written after Constantine’s reign. In the seventh canon of the Nicene Council we also find the name Ælia. [Given by Hadrian a.d. 135.] the successor of the deceased Alexander;836836    The words κοιμηθέντος ᾽Αλεξάνδρου are given in the text in connection with the clause Μαρῖνος ἐν Τύρῳ. They must be transposed however as in the translation; for Mazabanes had succeeded Alexander the bishop of Ælia, as Dionysius informs us in his Epistle to Cornelius. So Rufinus puts it also in his Latin version.—Vales. Marinus in Tyre; Heliodorus in Laodicea, the successor of the deceased Thelymidres; Helenus in Tarsus, and with him all the churches of Cilicia; and Firmilian and all Cappadocia. For I have named only the more illustrious of the bishops, so as neither to make my epistle too long, nor to render my discourse too heavy for you. All the districts of Syria, however, and of Arabia, to the brethren in which you from time to time have been forwarding supplies837837    Alluding to the generous practice of the church at Rome in old times in relieving the wants of the other churches, and in sending money and clothes to the brethren who were in captivity, and to those who toiled in the mines. To this effect we have the statement of Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, in his Epistle to Soter, which Eusebius cites in his fourth book. In the same passage, Eusebius also remarks that this commendable custom had been continued in the Roman church up to his own time; and with that object collections were made there, of which Leo Magnus writes in his Sermones.—Vales. [Note this to the eternal honour of this See in its early purity.] and at present have sent letters, and Mesopotamia too, and Pontus, and Syria, and, to speak in brief, all parties, are everywhere rejoicing at the unanimity and brotherly love now established, and are glorifying God for the same.

The Same, Otherwise Rendered.838838    [In vol. v., to illustrate the history of Cyprian, reference is made to this letter; and in the Clark edition another rendering is there given (a preferable one, I think) of this same letter, which I have thought better to reserve for this place. It belongs here, and I have there noted its appearance in this volume.]

But know, my brother, that all the churches throughout the East, and those that are placed beyond, which formerly were separated, are now at length returned to unity; and all the presidents839839    [προεστῶτες. See Euseb., Hist. Eccles., book viii. capp. 2, 3 and 4; also vol. v., this series, as above mentioned.] of the churches everywhere think one and the same thing, and rejoice with incredible joy on account of the unlooked-for return of peace: to wit, Demetrianus in Antioch; Theoctistus in Cæsarea; Mazabenes in Ælia, after the death of Alexander; Marinus in Tyre; Heliodorus in Laodicea, after the death of Thelymidres; Helenus in Tarsus, and all the churches of Cilicia; Firmilianus, with all Cappadocia. And I have named only the more illustrious bishops, lest by chance my letter should be made too prolix, and my address too wearisome. The whole of the Syrias, indeed, and Arabia, to which you now and then send help, and to which you have now written letters; Mesopotamia also, and Pontus, and Bithynia; and, to comprise all in one word, all the lands everywhere, are rejoicing, praising God on account of this concord and brotherly charity.

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