§ 68. Decline of Discipline.


The principal sources are the books of ecclesiastical law and the acts of councils. Comp. the literature at § 67, and at vol. i. § 114.


The union of the church with the state shed, in general, an injurious influence upon the discipline of the church; and that, in two opposite directions.

On the one hand it increased the stringency of discipline and led to a penal code for spiritual offences. The state gave her help to the church, lent the power of law to acts of suspension and excommunication, and accompanied those acts with civil penalties. Hence the innumerable depositions and banishments of bishops during the theological controversies of the Nicene and the following age, especially under the influence of the Byzantine despotism and the religious intolerance and bigotry of the times. Even the penalty of death was decreed, at least against the Priscillianists, though under the protest of nobler divines, who clave to the spiritual character of the church and of her weapons.652 Heresy was regarded as the most grievous and unpardonable crime against society, and was treated accordingly by the ruling party, without respect of creed.

But on the other hand discipline became weakened. With the increasing stringency against heretics, firmness against practical errors diminished. Hatred of heresy and laxity of morals, zeal for purity of doctrine and indifference to purity of life, which ought to exclude each other, do really often stand in union. Think of the history of Pharisaism at the time of Christ, of orthodox Lutheranism in its opposition to Spener and the Pietistic movement, and of prelatical Anglicanism in its conflict with Methodism and the evangelical party. Even in the Johannean age this was the case in the church of Ephesus, which prefigured in this respect both the light and shade of the later Eastern church.653  The earnest, but stiff, mechanical penitential discipline, with its four grades of penance, which had developed itself during the Dioclesian persecution,654 continued in force, it is true, as to the letter, and was repeatedly reaffirmed by the councils of the fourth century. But the great change of circumstances rendered the practical execution of it more and more difficult, by the very multiplication and high position, of those on whom it ought to be enforced. In that mighty revolution under Constantine the church lost her virginity, and allied herself with the mass of heathendom, which had not yet experienced an inward change. Not seldom did the emperors themselves, and other persons of authority, who ought to have led the way with a good example, render themselves, with all their zeal for theoretical orthodoxy, most worthy of suspension and excommunication by their scandalous conduct, while they were surrounded by weak or worldly bishops, who cared more for the favor of their earthly masters, than for the honor of their heavenly Lord and the dignity of the church. Even Eusebius, otherwise one of the better bishops of his time, had no word of rebuke for the gross crimes of Constantine, but only the most extravagant eulogies for his merits.

In the Greek church the discipline gradually decayed, to the great disadvantage of public morality, and every one was allowed to partake of the communion according to his conscience. The bishops alone reserved the right of debarring the vicious from the table of the Lord. The patriarch Nectarius of Constantinople, about 390, abolished the office of penitential priest (presbyter poenitentiarius), who was set over the execution of the penitential discipline. The occasion of this act was furnished by a scandalous occurrence: the violation of a lady of rank in the church by a worthless deacon, when she came to submit herself to public penance. The example of Nectarius was soon followed by the other oriental bishops.655

Socrates and Sozomen, who inclined to the severity of the Novatians, date the decline of discipline and of the former purity of morals from this act. But the real cause lay further back, in the connection of the church with the temporal power. Had the state been pervaded with the religious earnestness and zeal of Christianity, like the Genevan republic, for example, under the reformation of Calvin, the discipline of the church would have rather gained than lost by the alliance. But the vast Roman state could not so easily and quickly lay aside its heathen traditions and customs; it perpetuated them under Christian names. The great mass of the people received, at best, only John’s baptism of repentance, not Christ’s baptism of the Holy Ghost and of fire.

Yet even under these new conditions the original moral earnestness of the church continued, from time to time, to make itself known. Bishops were not wanting to confront even the emperors, as Nathan stood before David after his fall, in fearless rebuke. Chrysostom rigidly insisted, that the deacon should exclude all unworthy persons from the holy communion, though by his vehement reproof of the immoralities of the imperial court, he brought upon himself at last deposition and exile." Though a captain," says he to those who administer the communion, "or a governor, nay, even one adorned with the imperial crown, approach [the table of the Lord] unworthily, prevent him; you have greater authority than he .... Beware lest you excite the Lord to wrath, and give a sword instead of food. And if a new Judas should approach the communion, prevent him. Fear God, not man. If you fear man, he will treat you with scorn; if you fear God, you will appear venerable even to men."656  Synesius excommunicated the worthless governor of Pentapolis, Andronicus, for his cruel oppression of the poor and contempt of the exhortations of the bishop, and the discipline attained the desired effect. The most noted example of church discipline is the encounter between Ambrose and Theodosius I. in Milan about the year 390. The bishop refused the powerful and orthodox emperor the communion, and thrust him back from the threshold of the church, because in a tempest of rage he had caused seven thousand persons in Thessalonica., regardless of rank, sex, or guilt, to be hewn down by his soldiers in horrible cruelty on account of a riot. Eight months afterward Ambrose gave him absolution at his request, after he had submitted to the public penance of the church and promised in future not to execute a death penalty until thirty days after the pronouncing of it, that he might have time to revoke it if necessary, and to exercise mercy.657  Here Ambrose certainly vindicated—though perhaps not without admixture of hierarchical loftiness—the dignity and rights of the church against the state, and the claims of Christian temperance and mercy against gross military power." Thus," says a modern historians "did the church prove, in a time of unlimited arbitrary power, the refuge of popular freedom, and saints assume the part of tribunes of the people."658


 § 69. The Donatist Schism. External History.


I. Sources. Augustine: Works against the Donatists (Contra epistolam Parmeniani, libri iii.; De baptismo, contra Donatistas, libri vii.; Contra literas Petiliani, libri iii.; De Unitate Ecclesiae, lib. unus; Contra Cresconium, grammaticum Donat., libri iv.; Breviculus Collationis cum Donatistis; Contra Gaudentium, etc.), in the 9th vol. of his Opera, ed. Bened. (Paris, 1688). Optatus Milevitanus (about 370): De schismate Donatistarum. L. E. Du Pin: Monumenta vett. ad Donatist. Hist. pertinentia, Par. 1700. Excerpta et Scripta vetera ad Donatistarum Historiam pertinentia, at the close of the ninth volume of the Bened. ed. of Augustine’s works.

II. Literature. Valesius: De schism. Donat. (appended to his ed. of Eusebius). Walch: Historie der Ketzereien, etc., vol. iv. Neander: Allg. K. G. ii. 1, p. 366 sqq. (Torrey’s Engl. translation, ii. p. 182 sqq.). A. Roux: De Augustine adversario Donat. Lugd. Bat. 1838. F. Ribbeck: Donatus u. Augustinus, oder der erste entscheidende Kampf zwischen Separatismus u. Kirche., Elberf. 1858. (The author was for a short time a Baptist, and then returned to the Prussian established church, and wrote this work against separatism.)


Donatism was by far the most important schism in the church of the period before us. For a whole century it divided the North African churches into two hostile camps. Like the schisms of the former period,659 it arose from the conflict of the more rigid and the more indulgent theories of discipline in reference to the restoration of the lapsed. But through the intervention of the Christianized state, it assumed at the same time an ecclesiastico-political character. The rigoristic penitential discipline had been represented in the previous period especially by the Montanists and Novatians, who were still living; while the milder principle and practice had found its most powerful support in the Roman church, and, since the time of Constantine, had generally prevailed.

The beginnings of the Donatist schism appear in the Dioclesian persecution, which revived that controversy concerning church discipline and martyrdom. The rigoristic party, favored by Secundus of Tigisis, at that time primate of Numidia, and led by the bishop Donatus of Casae Nigrae, rushed to the martyr’s crown with fanatical contempt of death, and saw in flight from danger, or in the delivering up of the sacred books, only cowardice and treachery, which should forever exclude from the fellowship of the church. The moderate party, at whose head stood the bishop Mensurius and his archdeacon and successor Caecilian, advocated the claims of prudence and discretion, and cast suspicion on the motives of the forward confessors and martyrs. So early as the year 305 a schism was imminent, in the matter of an episcopal election for the city of Cita. But no formal outbreak occurred until after the cessation of the persecution in 311; and then the difficulty arose in connection with the hasty election of Caecilian to the bishopric of Carthage. The Donatists refused to acknowledge him, because in his ordination the Numidian bishops were slighted, and the service was performed by the bishop Felix of Aptungis, or Aptunga, whom they declared to be a traditor, that is, one who had delivered up the sacred writings to the heathen persecutors. In Carthage itself he had many opponents, among whom were the elders of the congregation (seniores plebis), and particularly a wealthy and superstitious widow, Lucilla, who was accustomed to kiss certain relics before her daily communion, and seemed to prefer them to the spiritual power of the sacrament. Secundus of Tigisis and seventy Numidian bishops, mostly of the rigoristic school, assembled at Carthage deposed and excommunicated Caecilian, who refused to appear, and elected the lector Majorinus, a favorite of Lucilla, in his place. After his death, in 315, Majorinus was succeeded by Donatus, a gifted man, of fiery energy and eloquence, revered by his admirers as a wonder worker, and styled The Great. From this man, and not from the Donatus mentioned above, the name of the party was derived.660

Each party endeavored to gain churches abroad to its side, and thus the schism spread. The Donatists appealed to the emperor Constantine—the first instance of such appeal, and a step which they afterward had to repent. The emperor, who was at that time in Gaul, referred the matter to the Roman bishop Melchiades (Miltiades) and five Gallican bishops, before whom the accused Caecilian and ten African bishops from each side were directed to appear. The decision went in favor of Caecilian, and he was now, except in Africa, universally regarded as the legitimate bishop of Carthage. The Donatists remonstrated. A second investigation, which Constantine intrusted to the council of Arles (Arelate) in 314, led to the same result. When the Donatists hereupon appealed from this ecclesiastical tribunal to the judgment of the emperor himself, he likewise declared against them at Milan in 316, and soon afterward issued penal laws against them, threatening them with the banishment of their bishops and the confiscation of their churches.

Persecution made them enemies of the state whose help they had invoked, and fed the flame of their fanaticism. They made violent resistance to the imperial commissioner, Ursacius, and declared that no power on earth could induce them to hold church fellowship with the "rascal" (nebulo) Caecilian. Constantine perceived the fruitlessness of the forcible restriction of religion, and, by an edict in 321, granted the Donatists full liberty of faith and worship. He remained faithful to this policy of toleration, and exhorted the Catholics to patience and indulgence. At a council in 330 the Donatists numbered two hundred and seventy bishops.

Constans, the successor of Constantine, resorted again to violent measures; but neither threats nor promises made any impression on the party. It came to blood. The Circumcellions, a sort of Donatist mendicant monks, who wandered about the country among the cottages of the peasantry,661 carried on plunder, arson, and murder, in conjunction with mutinous peasants and slaves, and in crazy zeal for the martyr’s crown, as genuine soldiers of Christ, rushed into fire and water, and threw themselves down from rocks. Yet there were Donatists who disapproved this revolutionary frenzy. The insurrection was suppressed by military force; several leaders of the Donatists were executed, others were banished, and their churches were closed or confiscated. Donatus the Great died in exile. He was succeeded by one Parmenianus.

Under Julian the Apostate the Donatists again obtained, with all other heretics and schismatics, freedom of religion, and returned to the possession of their churches, which they painted anew, to redeem them from their profanation by the Catholics. But under the subsequent emperors their condition grew worse, both from persecutions without and dissensions within. The quarrel between the two parties extended into all the affairs of daily life; the Donatist bishop Faustinus of Hippo, for example, allowing none of the members of his church to bake bread for the Catholic inhabitants.


 § 70. Augustine and the Donatists. Their Persecution and Extinction.


At the end of the fourth century, and in the beginning of the fifth, the great Augustine, of Hippo, where there was also a strong congregation of the schismatics, made a powerful effort, by instruction and persuasion, to reconcile the Donatists with the Catholic church. He wrote several works on the subject, and set the whole African church in motion against them. They feared his superior dialectics, and avoided him wherever they could. The matter, however, was brought, by order of the emperor in 411, to a three days’ arbitration at Carthage, attended by two hundred and eighty-six Catholic bishops and two hundred and seventy-nine Donatist.662

Augustine, who, in two beautiful sermons before the beginning of the disputation, exhorted to love, forbearance and meekness, was the chief speaker on the part of the Catholics Petilian, on the part of the schismatics. Marcellinus, the imperial tribune and notary, and a friend of Augustine, presided, and was to pass the decisive judgment. This arrangement was obviously partial, and secured the triumph of the Catholics. The discussions related to two points: (1) Whether the Catholic bishops Caecilian and Felix of Aptunga were traditors; (2) Whether the church lose her nature and attributes by fellowship with heinous sinners. The balance of skill and argument was on the side of Augustine, though the Donatists brought much that was forcible against compulsion in religion, and against the confusion of the temporal and the spiritual powers. The imperial commissioner, as might be expected, decided in favor of the Catholics. The separatists nevertheless persisted in their view, but their appeal to the emperor continued unsuccessful.

More stringent civil laws were now enacted against them, banishing the Donatist clergy from their country, imposing fines on the laity, and confiscating the churches. In 415 they were even forbidden to hold religious assemblies, upon pain of death.

Augustine himself, who had previously consented only to spiritual measures against heretics, now advocated force, to bring them into the fellowship of the church, out of which there was no salvation. He appealed to the command in the parable of the supper, Luke, xiv. 23, to "compel them to come in;" where, however, the "compel" (ajnavgkason) is evidently but a vivid hyperbole for the holy zeal in the conversion of the heathen, which we find, for example, in the apostle Paul.663

New eruptions of fanaticism ensued. A bishop Gaudentius threatened, that if the attempt were made to deprive him of his church by force, he, would burn himself with his congregation in it, and vindicated this intended suicide by the example of Rhazis, in the second book of Maccabees (ch. xiv.).

The conquest of Africa by the Arian Vandals in 428 devastated the African church, and put an end to the controversy, as the French Revolution swept both Jesuitism and Jansenism away. Yet a remnant of the Donatists, as we learn from the letters of Gregory I., perpetuated itself into the seventh century, still proving in their ruins the power of a mistaken puritanic zeal and the responsibility and guilt of state-church persecution. In the seventh century the entire African church sank under the Saracenic conquest.


 § 71. Internal History of the Donatist Schism. Dogma of the Church.


The Donatist controversy was a conflict between separatism and catholicism; between ecclesiastical purism and ecclesiastical eclecticism; between the idea of the church as an exclusive community of regenerate saints and the idea of the church as the general Christendom of state and people. It revolved around the doctrine of the essence of the Christian church, and, in particular, of the predicate of holiness. It resulted in the completion by Augustine of the catholic dogma of the church, which had been partly developed by Cyprian in his conflict with a similar schism.664

The Donatists, like Tertullian in his Montanistic writings, started from an ideal and spiritualistic conception of the church as a fellowship of saints, which in a sinful world could only be imperfectly realized. They laid chief stress on the predicate of the subjective holiness or personal worthiness of the several members, and made the catholicity of the church and the efficacy of the sacraments dependent upon that. The true church, therefore, is not so much a school of holiness, as a society of those who are already holy; or at least of those who appear so; for that there are hypocrites not even the Donatists could deny, and as little could they in earnest claim infallibility in their own discernment of men. By the toleration of those who are openly sinful, the church loses, her holiness, and ceases to be church. Unholy priests are incapable of administering sacraments; for how can regeneration proceed from the unregenerate, holiness from the unholy?  No one can give what he does not himself possess. He who would receive faith from a faithless man, receives not faith but guilt.665  It was on this ground, in fact, that they rejected the election of Caecilian: that he had been ordained bishop by an unworthy person. On this ground they refused to recognize the Catholic baptism as baptism at all. On this point they had some support in Cyprian, who likewise rejected the validity of heretical baptism, though not from the separatist, but from the catholic point of view, and who came into collision, upon this question, with Stephen of Rome.666

Hence, like the Montanists and Novatians, they insisted on rigorous church discipline, and demanded the excommunication of all unworthy members, especially of such as had denied their faith or given up the Holy Scriptures under persecution. They resisted, moreover, all interference of the civil power in church affairs; though they themselves at first had solicited the help of Constantine. In the great imperial church, embracing the people in a mass, they saw a secularized Babylon, against which they set themselves off, in separatistic arrogance, as the only true and pure church. In support of their views, they appealed to the passages of the Old Testament, which speak of the external holiness of the people of God, and to the procedure of Paul with respect to the fornicator at Corinth.

In opposition to this subjective and spiritualistic theory of the church, Augustine, as champion of the Catholics, developed the objective, realistic theory, which has since been repeatedly reasserted, though with various modifications, not only in the Roman church, but also in the Protestant, against separatistic and schismatic sects. He lays chief stress on the catholicity of the church, and derives the holiness of individual members and the validity of ecclesiastical functions from it. He finds the essence of the church, not in the personal character of the several Christians, but in the union of the whole church with Christ. Taking the historical point of view, he goes back to the founding of the church, which may be seen in the New Testament, which has spread over all the world, and which is connected through the unbroken succession of bishops with the apostles and with Christ. This alone can be the true church. It is impossible that she should all at once disappear from the earth, or should exist only in the African sect of the Donatists.667  What is all that they may say of their little heap, in comparison with the great catholic Christendom of all lands?  Thus even numerical preponderance here enters as an argument; though under other circumstances it may prove too much, and would place the primitive church at a clear disadvantage in comparison with the prevailing Jewish and heathen masses, and the Evangelical church in its controversy with the Roman Catholic.

From the objective character of the church as a divine institution flows, according to the catholic view, the efficacy of all her functions, the Sacraments in particular. When Petilian, at the Collatio cum Donatistis, said: "He who receives the faith from a faithless priest, receives not faith, but guilt," Augustine answered: "But Christ is not unfaithful (perfidus), from whom I receive faith (fidem), not guilt (reatum). Christ, therefore, is properly the functionary, and the priest is simply his organ."  "My origin," said Augustine on the same occasion, "is Christ, my root is Christ, my head is Christ. The seed, of which I was born, is the word of God, which I must obey even though the preacher himself practise not what he preaches. I believe not in the minister by whom I am baptized, but in Christ, who alone justifies the sinner and can forgive guilt."668

Lastly, in regard to church discipline, the opponents of the Donatists agreed with them in considering it wholesome and necessary, but would keep it within the limits fixed for it by the circumstances of the time and the fallibility of men. A perfect separation of sinners from saints is impracticable before the final judgment. Many things must be patiently borne, that greater evil may be averted, and that those still capable of improvement may be improved, especially where the offender has too many adherents." Man," says Augustine, "should punish in the spirit of love, until either the discipline and correction come from above, or the tares are pulled up in the universal harvest."669  In support of this view appeal was made to the Lord’s parables of the tares among the wheat, and of the net which gathered together of every kind (Matt. xiii.). These two parables were the chief exegetical battle ground of the two parties. The Donatists understood by the field, not the church, but the world, according to the Saviour’s own exposition of the parable of the tares;670 the Catholics replied that it was the kingdom of heaven or the church to which the parable referred as a whole, and pressed especially the warning of the Saviour not to gather up the tares before the final harvest, lest they root up also the wheat with them. The Donatists, moreover, made a distinction between unknown offenders, to whom alone the parable of the net referred, and notorious sinners. But this did not gain them much; for if the church compromises her character for holiness by contact with unworthy persons at all, it matters not whether they be openly unworthy before men or not, and no church whatever would be left on earth.

On the other hand, however, Augustine, who, no more than the Donatists, could relinquish the predicate of holiness for the church, found himself compelled to distinguish between a true and a mixed, or merely apparent body of Christ; forasmuch as hypocrites, even in this world, are not in and with Christ, but only appear to be.671  And yet he repelled the Donatist charge of making two churches. In his view it is one and the same church, which is now mixed with the ungodly, and will hereafter be pure, as it is the same Christ who once died, and now lives forever, and the same believers, who are now mortal and will one day put on immortality’.672

With some modification we may find here the germ of the subsequent Protestant distinction of the visible and invisible church; which regards the invisible, not as another church, but as the ecclesiola in ecclesia (or ecclesiis), as the smaller communion of true believers among professors, and thus as the true substance of the visible church, and as contained within its limits, like the soul in the body, or the kernel in the shell. Here the moderate Donatist and scholarly theologian, Tychoius,673 approached Augustine; calling the church a twofold body of Christ,674 of which the one part embraces the true Christians, the other the apparent.675  In this, as also in acknowledging the validity of the Catholic baptism, Tychonius departed from the Donatists; while he adhered to their views on discipline and opposed the Catholic mixture of the church and the world. But neither he nor Augustine pursued this distinction to any clearer development. Both were involved, at bottom, in the confusion of Christianity with the church, and of the church with a particular outward organization.


 § 72. The Roman Schism of Damasus and Ursinus.


Rufinus: Hist. Eccl. ii. 10. Hieronymus: Chron. ad ann. 366. Socrates: H. E. iv. 29 (all in favor of Damasus). Faustinus et Marcellinus (two presbyters of Ursinus): Libellus precum ad Imper. Theodos. in Bibl. Patr. Lugd. v. 637 (in favor of Ursinus). With these Christian accounts of the Roman schism may be compared the impartial statement of the heathen historian Ammianus Marcellinus, xxvii. c. 3, ad ann. 367.


The church schism between Damasus and Ursinus (or Ursicinus) in Rome, had nothing to do with the question of discipline, but proceeded partly from the Arian controversy, partly from personal ambition.676  For such were the power and splendor of the court of the successor of the Galilean fisherman, even at that time, that the distinguished pagan senator, Praetextatus, said to Pope Damasus: "Make me a bishop of Rome, and I will be a Christian to-morrow."677  The schism presents a mournful example of the violent character of the episcopal elections at Rome. These elections were as important events for the Romans as the elections of the emperors by the Praetorian soldiers had formerly been. They enlisted and aroused all the passions of the clergy and the people.

The schism originated in the deposition and banishment of the bishop Tiberius, for his orthodoxy, and the election of the Arian Felix678 as pope in opposition by the arbitrary will of the emperor Constantius (a.d. 355). Liberius, having in his exile subscribed the Arian creed of Sirmium, 679 was in 358 reinstated, and Felix retired, and is said to have subsequently repented his defection to Arianism. The parties, however, continued.

After the death of Liberius in 366, Damasus was, by the party of Felix, and Ursinus by the party of Liberius, elected successor of Peter. It came to repeated bloody encounters; even the altar of the Prince of Peace was desecrated, and in a church whither Ursinus had betaken himself, a hundred and thirty-seven men lost their lives in one day.680  Other provinces also were drawn into the quarrel. It was years before Damasus at last, with the aid of the, emperor, obtained undisputed possession of his office, and Ursinus was banished. The statements of the two parties are so conflicting in regard to the priority and legitimacy of election in the two cases, and the authorship of the bloody scenes, that we cannot further determine on which side lay the greater blame. Damasus, who reigned from 367 to 384) is indeed depicted as in other respects a violent man,681 but he was a man of learning and literary taste, and did good service by his patronage of Jerome’s Latin version of the Bible, and by the introduction of the Latin Psalter into the church song.682


 § 73. The Meletian Schism at Antioch.


Hieronymus: Chron. ad ann. 864. Chrysostomus: Homilia in S. Patrem nostrum Meletium, archiepiscopum magnae Antiochiae (delivered a.d. 386 or 387, in Montfaucon’s ed. of Chrysost. Opera, tom. ii. p. 518–523). Sozomen: H. E. iv. 28; vii. 10, 11. Theodor.: H. E. V. 3, 35. Socrates: H. E. iii. 9; v. 9, 17. Comp. Walch: Ketzerhistorie, part iv. p. 410 sqq.


The Meletian schism at Antioch683 was interwoven with the Arian controversies, and lasted through more than half a century.

In 361 the majority of the Antiochian church elected as bishop Meletius, who had formerly been an Arian, and was ordained by this party, but after his election professed the Nicene orthodoxy. He was a man of rich persuasive eloquence, and of a sweet and amiable disposition, which endeared him to the Catholics and Arians. But his doctrinal indecision offended the extremists of both parties. When he professed the Nicene faith, the Arians deposed him in council, sent him into exile, and transferred his bishopric to Euzoius, who had formerly been banished with Arius.684  The Catholics disowned Euzoius, but split among themselves; the majority adhered to the exiled Meletius, while the old and more strictly orthodox party, who had hitherto been known as the Eustathians, and with whom Athanasius communicated, would not recognize a bishop of Arian consecration, though Catholic in belief, and elected Paulinus, a presbyter of high character, who was ordained counter-bishop by Lucifer of Calaris.685

The doctrinal difference between the Meletians and the old Nicenes consisted chiefly in this: that the latter acknowledged three hypostases in the divine trinity, the former only three prosopa; the one laying the stress on the triplicity of the divine essence, the other on its unity.

The orthodox orientals declared for Meletius, the occidentals and Egyptians for Paulinus, as legitimate bishop of Antioch. Meletius, on returning from exile under the protection of Gratian, proposed to Paulinus that they should unite their flocks, and that the survivor of them should superintend the church alone; but Paulinus declined, since the canons forbade him to take as a colleague one who had been ordained by Arians.686  Then the military authorities put Meletius in possession of the cathedral, which had been in the hands of Euzoius. Meletius presided, as senior bishop, in the second ecumenical council (381), but died a few days after the opening of it—a saint outside the communion of Rome. His funeral was imposing: lights were borne before the embalmed corpse, and psalms sung in divers languages, and these honors were repeated in all the cities through which it passed on its transportation to Antioch, beside the grave of St. Babylas.687  The Antiochians engraved his likeness on their rings, their cups, and the walls of their bedrooms. So St. Chrysostom informs us in his eloquent eulogy on Meletius.688  Flavian was elected his successor, although Paulinus was still alive. This gave rise to fresh troubles, and excited the indignation of the bishop of Rome. Chrysostom labored for the reconciliation of Rome and Alexandria to Flavian. But the party of Paulinus, after his death in 389, elected Evarius as successor († 392), and the schism continued down to the year 413 or 415, when the bishop Alexander succeeded in reconciling the old orthodox remnant with the successor of Meletius. The two parties celebrated their union by a splendid festival, and proceeded together in one majestic stream to the church.689

Thus a long and tedious schism was brought to a close, and the church of Antioch was permitted at last to enjoy that peace which the Athanasian synod of Alexandria in 362 had desired for it in vain.690



* Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997. This material has been carefully compared, corrected¸ and emended (according to the 1910 edition of Charles Scribner's Sons) by The Electronic Bible Society, Dallas, TX, 1998.

652  Comp. § 27, above.

653  Rev. ii. 1-7. Comp. my Hist. of the Apostolic Church, p. 429.

654  Comp. vol. i. § 114 (p. 444 sq.).

655  Sozomen, vii. 16; Socrates, v. 19. This fact has been employed by the Roman church against the Protestant, in the controversy on the sacrament of penance. Nectarius certainly did abolish the institution of penitential priest, and the public church penance. But for or against private penances no inference can be drawn from the statement of these historians.

656  Hom. 82 (al. 83) in Matt., toward the close (in Montfaucon’s edition of Chrys., tom. vii. p. 789 sq.). Comp. his exposition of 1Cor. xi. 27, 28, in Hom. 27 and 28, in 1Corinth. (English translation in the Oxford Library of the Fathers, etc., p. 379 sqq., and 383 sqq.).

657  This occurrence is related by Ambrose himself, in 395, in his funeral discourse on Theodosius (de obitu Theod. c. 34, in the Bened. ed. of his works, tom. ii. p. 1207), in these words: "Deflevit in ecclesia publice peccatum suum, quod ei aliorum fraude obrepserat; gemitu et lacrymis oravit veniam. Quod privati erubescunt, non erubuit imperator, publice agere poenitentiam; neque ullus postea dies fuit quo non illum doleret errorem. Quid, quod praeclaram adeptus victoriam; tamen quia hostes in acie prostrati sunt abstinuit a consortio sacramentorum, donec Domini circa se gratiam filiorum experiretur adventu." Also by his biographer Paulinus (de vita Ambros. c. 24), by Augustine (De Civit. Dei, v. 26), by the historians Theodoret (v. 17), Sozomen (vii. 25), and Rufinus (xi. 18).

658  Hase, Church History, § 117 (p. 161, 7th ed.)

659  Comp. vol. i. § 115, p. 447 sqq.

660  "Pars Donati, Donatistae, Donatiani." Previously they were commonly called "Pars Majorini." Optatus of Mileve seems, indeed, to know of only one Donatus. But the Donatists expressly distinguish Donatus Magnus of Carthage from Donatus a Casis Nigris. Likewise Augustine, Contra Cresconium Donat, ii. 1; though he himself had formerly confounded the two.

661  "Cellas circumientes rusticorum." Hence the name Circumcelliones. But they called themselves Milites Christi Agonistici. Their date and origin are uncertain. According to Optatus of Mileve, they first appeared under Constans, in 347.

662  Augustine gives an account of the debate in his Breviculus Collationis cum Donatists (Opera, tom. ix. p. 545-580).

663  On Augustine’s view Comp. § 27, toward the close.

664  Comp. vol. i § 111, 115, and 131.

665  Aug. Contra literas Petil. l. i. cap. 5 (tom. ix. p. 208): "Qui fidem a perfido sumserit, non fidem percipit, sed reatum; omnis enim res origine et radice consistit, et si caput non habet aliquid, nihil est."

666  Comp. vol. i. § 104, p. 404 sqq.

667  Augustine, ad Catholicos Epistola contra Donatistas, usually quoted under the shorter title, De unitate Ecclesiae, c. 12 (Bened. ed. tom. ix. p. 360): "Quomodo coeptum sit ab Jerusalem, et deinde processum in Judaeam et Samariam, et inde in totam terram, ubi adhuc crescit ecclesia, donec usque in finem etiam reliquas gentes, ubi adhuc non est, obtineat, scripturis sanctis testibus consequenter ostenditur; quisquis aliud evangelizaverit, anathema sit. Aliud autem evangelizat, qui periisse dicit de caetero mundo ecclesiam et in parte Donati in sola Africa remansisse dicit. Ergo anathema sit. Aut legat mihi hoc in scripturis sanctis, et non sit anathema."

668  Contra literas Petiliani, l. i. c. 7 (Opera, tom. ix. p. 209): "Origo mea Christus est, radix mea Christus est, caput meum Christus est." ... In the same place: "Me innocentem non facit, nisi qui mortuus est propter delicta nostra et resurrexit propter justificationem nostram. Non enim in ministrum, per quem baptizor, credo; sed in cum qui justificat impium, ut deputetur mihi fides in justitiam."

669  Aug. Contra Epistolam Parmeniani, l. iii. c. 2, § 10-15 (Opera, tom. ix. p. 62-66).

670  Breviculus Collat. c. Don. Dies tert. c. 8, § 10 (Opera, ix. p. 559): "Zizania inter triticum non in ecclesia, sed in ipso mundo permixta dixerunt, quoniam Dominus ait, Ager est mundus" (Matt. xiii. 38). As to the exegetical merits of the controversy see Trench’s "Notes on the Parables," p. 83 sqq. (9th Lond. edition, 1863), and Lange’s Commentary on Matt. xiii. (Amer. ed. by Schaff, p. 244 sqq.).

671  Corpus Christi verum atque permixtum, or verum atque simulatum. Comp. De doctr. Christ. iii. 32, as quoted below in full.

672  Breviculus Collationis cum Donatistis, Dies tertius, cap. 10, § 19 and 20 (Opera, ix. 564): "Deinde calumniantes, quod duas ecclesias Catholici dixerint, unam quae nunc habet permixtos malos, aliam quae post resurrectionem eos non esset habitura: veluti non iidem futuri essent sancti cum Christo regnaturi, qui nunc pro ejus nomine cum juste vivunt tolerant malos .... De duabus etiam ecclesiis calumniam eorum Catholici refutarunt, identidem expressius ostendentes, quid dixerint, id est, non eam ecclesiam, quos nunc habet permixtos malos, alienam se dixisse a regno Dei, ubi non erunt mali commixti, sed eandem ipsam unam et sanctam ecclesiam nunc esse aliter tunc autem aliter futuram, nunc habere malos mixtos, tunc non habituram ... sicut non ideo duo Christi, quia prior mortuus postea non moriturus."

673  Or Tichonius, as Augustine spells the name. Although himself a Donatist, he wrote against them, "qui contra Donatistas invictissime scripsit, cum fuerit Donatista" (says Aug. De doctr. Christ. l. iii. c. 30, § 42). He was opposed to rebaptism and acknowledged the validity of the Catholic sacraments; but he was equally opposed to the secularism of the Catholic church and its mixture with the state, and adhered to the strict discipline of the Donatists. Of his works only one remains, viz., Liber regularum, or de septem regulis, a sort of Biblical hermeneutics, or a guide for the proper understanding of the mysteries of the Bible. It was edited by Gallandi, in his Bibliotheca Veterum Patrum, tom. viii. p. 107-129. Augustine notices these rules at length in his work De doctrina Christiana, lib. iii. c. 30 sqq. (Opera, ed. Bened. tom. iii. p. 57 sqq.). Tychonius seems to have died before the close of the fourth century. Comp. on him Tillemont, Memoires, tom. vi. p. 81 sq., and an article of A. Vogel, in Herzog’s Real-Encyclopaedie, vol. xvi. p. 534-536.

674  "Corpus Domini bipartitum." This was the second of his rules for the true understanding of the Scriptures.

675  Augustine objects only to his mode of expression, De doctr. Christ. iii. 32 (tom. iii. 58): "Secunda [regula Tichonii] est de Domini corpore bipartito; non enim revera Domini corpus est, quod cum illo non erit in aeternum; sed dicendum fuit de Domini corpore vero atque permixto, aut vero atque simulato, vel quid aliud; quia non solum in aeternum, verum etiam nunc hypocrites non cum illo esse dicendi sunt, quamvis in ejus esse videantur ecclesia, unde poterat ista regula et sic appellari, ut diceretur de permixta ecclesia." Comp. also Dr. Baur, K. G. vom 4-6 Jahrh., p. 224.

676  Ammianus Marc., l.c., intimates the latter: "Damasus et Ursinus supra humanum modum ad rapiendam episcopatus sedem ardentes scissis studiis asperrimo conflictabantur," etc.

677  This is related even by St. Jerome (Comp. above § 53, p. 267, note), and goes to confirm the statements of Ammianus.

678  Athanasius (Historia Arianorum ad Monachos, § 75, Opera ed. Bened. i. p. 389), and Socrates (H. E. ii. 37), decidedly condemn him as an Arian. Nevertheless this heretic and anti-pope has been smuggled into the Roman catalogue of saints and martyrs. Gregory XIII instituted an investigation into the matter, which was terminated by the sudden discovery of his remains, with the inscription: "Pope and Martyr."

679  According to Baronius, ad a. 357, the jealousy of Felix was the Delilah, who robbed the catholic Samson (Liberius) of his strength.

680  Ammian. Marc. l. xxvii. c. 3: "Constat in basilica Sicinini (Sicinii), ubi ritus Christiani est conventiculum, uno die cxxxvii. reperta cadavera peremtorum." Then he speaks of the pomp and luxury of the Roman bishopric, on account of which it was the object of so passionate covetousness and ambition, and contrasts with it the simplicity and self-denial of the rural clergy. The account is confirmed by Augustine, Brevic. Coll.c. Donat. c. 16, and Hieron. in Chron. an. 367. Socrates, iv. 29, speaks generally of several fights, in which many lives were lost.

681  His opponents also charged him with too great familiarity with Roman ladies. The same accusation, however, was made against his friend Jerome, on account of his zeal for the spread of the ascetic life among the Roman matrons.

682  Comp. on Damasus his works, edited by Merenda, Rome, 1754, several epistles of Jerome, Tillemont, tom. viii. 386, and Butler’s Lives of the Saints, sub Dec. 11th.

683  Not to be confounded with the Meletian schism at Alexandria, which arose in the previous period. Comp. vol. i. § 115 (p. 451).

684  Sozom. H. E. iv. c. 28..

685  This Lucifer was an orthodox fanatic, who afterward himself fell into conflict with Athanasius in Alexandria, and formed a sect of his own, the Luciferians, On rigid principles of church purity. Comp. Socr. iii. 9; Sozom. iii. 15; and Walch, Ketzerhist. iii. 338 sqq

686  Theodoret, H. E. lib. iii. 3. He highly applauds the magnanimous proposal of Meletius.

687  Sozom. vii. c. 10. The historian says that the singing of psalms on such occasions was quite contrary to Roman custom.

688  Chrysostom says in the beginning of this oration, that five years had elapsed since Meletius had gone to Jesus. He died in 381, consequently the oration must have been pronounced in 386 or 387.

689  Theodoret, H. E. l. v. c. 35. Dr. J. R. Kurtz, in his large work on Church History (Handbuch der Kirchengesch. vol. i. part ii. § 181, p. 129) erroneously speaks of a resignation of Alexander, by which he, from love of peace, induced his congregation to acknowledge the Meletian bishop Flavian. But Flavian had died several years before (in 404), and Alexander was himself the second successor of Flavian, the profligate Porphyrius intervening. Theodoret knows nothing of a resignation. Kurtz must be used with considerable caution, as he is frequently inaccurate, and relies too much on secondary authorities.

690  See the Epist. Synodica Conc. Alex. in Mansi’s Councils, tom. iii. p. 345 sqq.