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Title: St. Dionysius of Alexandria - Letters and Treatises
Author: Dionysius, Saint, Alexandria, Bishop of
Language: English
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                                SERIES I
                              GREEK TEXTS

                            ST. DIONYSIUS OF

                        TRANSLATION OF CHRISTIAN
                          LITERATURE. SERIES I
                              GREEK TEXTS

                             ST. DIONYSIUS
                             OF ALEXANDRIA
                         LETTERS AND TREATISES

                     _By_ CHARLES LETT FELTOE, D.D.

                         SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING
                      CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE. London
                    The Macmillan Company. New York


Not long after my edition of this Father’s writings appeared in the
_Cambridge Patristic Texts_ (1904), I was invited to translate the
Letters and some of the other more certainly genuine fragments that
remain into English for the present series; but it is not until now that
I have been able to accomplish the task I then undertook. Since then,
though chiefly occupied in other researches, I have naturally acquired a
more extensive and accurate knowledge of St. Dionysius and his times,
some of the results of which will be found in this volume. Nevertheless,
I was bound to incorporate a considerable amount of the information and
conclusions arrived at in the former work, and wish to express my
acknowledgments to the Syndics of the University Press for leave to do
so, as well as to those again whose names I mentioned as having assisted
me before.

In the present book Dr. A. J. Mason was kind enough to advise me over the
choice of extracts from the two treatises, _On Nature_ and _Refutation
and Defence_, and on one or two minor points, while a friend and
neighbour (the Rev. L. Patterson) read through the whole of the MS.
before it went to the printer and gave me the benefit of a fresh mind
upon a number of small details of style and fact, for which I sincerely
thank him.

                                                           C. L. Feltoe.

  _Ripple by Dover_
    _March 1918._


  PREFACE                                                               V
  INTRODUCTION                                                          9
  LETTERS                                                              35
  TO BASILIDES                                                         76
  “ON THE PROMISES”                                                    82
  “ON NATURE”                                                          91
  “REFUTATION AND DEFENCE”                                            101
  ADDITIONAL NOTE                                                     108
  INDEX                                                               109


1. None of the many influential occupants of the see of Alexandria and of
the many distinguished heads of the Catechetical School in that city seem
to have been held in higher respect by the ancients than Dionysius. By
common consent he is styled “the Great,” while Athanasius, one of his
most famous-successors as Bishop, calls him “Teacher of the Church
universal,” and Basil (of Cæsarea) refers to him as “a person of
canonical authority” (κανονικός). He took a prominent and important part
in all the leading movements and controversies of the day, and his
opinions always carried great weight, especially in Eastern Christendom.
His writings are freely referred to and quoted, not only by Eusebius the
historian,[1] but also by Athanasius, Basil and John of Damascus amongst
others. And what we gather of his personal story from his letters and
various fragments embodied in the works of others—and very little, if
anything else, for certain has come down to us—undoubtedly leaves the
impression that the verdict of the ancient world is correct.

                      His Family and Earlier Life

2. The references to his family and early years are extremely scanty and
vague. In the _Chronicon Orientale_, p. 94, he is stated to have been a
_Sabaita_ and sprung from “the chiefs and nobles of that race”: and
several writers speak as if he had been a rhetorician before his
conversion (as Cyprian of Carthage had been). The exact meaning of the
term “Sabaita” above is doubtful. Strictly used, it should mean a member
of the Sabaite convent near Jerusalem, and the _Chronicon_ may be
claiming Dionysius as that, though, of course, without any ground for the
claim. If it is equivalent, however, to “Sabæan” here, it implies an Arab
descent for him, which is hardly probable, as he seems always to consider
himself connected by education and residence, if not by birth, with the
city-folk of Alexandria, whom he distinguishes from the Coptic
inhabitants of Egypt (Αἰγύπτιοι); so that it would be rather surprising
to find that his family came from the remoter parts of Arabia, where the
Sabæans dwelt. The other tradition of his having been a rhetorician may
be due to some confusion between our Dionysius and a much later
Alexandrian writer of the same name, who edited the works of the
Areopagite with notes and wrote other treatises. On the other hand,
Dionysius’s literary style is such that it might very well have been
formed by the study and practice of rhetoric, while he has been thought
himself to corroborate the statement of the _Chronicon Orientale_, as to
the high position of his family, in his reply to Germanus (p. 49), where
he refers to the “losses of dignities” which he has suffered for the

3. He was probably a priest, and not less than thirty, when he became
head of the Catechetical School in 231, and in 264 he excused himself
from attendance at the Council of Antioch on the ground of age and
infirmity; and so it is a safe inference that he was born about or before
200, being thus nearly of an age with Cyprian of Carthage, and only ten
or fifteen years younger than Origen, his master.

                             His Conversion

4. The _Chronicon Orientale_ assigns the reading of St. Paul’s letters as
the cause of his conversion to Christianity, and proceeds to state how,
after their perusal, he presented himself for baptism to Demetrius, then
Bishop of Alexandria, who admitted him in due course. Whether this was
actually the cause of his conversion or not, we know from what he has
himself told us in his letter to Philemon (p. 56), that both before and
after baptism he was a diligent student of all that was written for and
against Christianity.

                         Was He Married or Not?

5. Whether, in accordance with the common practice of the Eastern Church
at that time, Dionysius was married or not, is a moot point. He addressed
his treatise περὶ Φύσεως to one Timotheus ὁ παῖς, and we read of ὁι
παῖδες (of whom Timotheus was one) as accompanying him in his flight (p.
44). One would naturally infer from this that he was then a widower (his
wife not being mentioned), and that these were his sons; but they may
have been his pupils, on the supposition that he was still Catechete as
well as Bishop, or, which is less likely, his servants.[2]

               He becomes Head of the Catechetical School

6. When Demetrius died in 231, Heraclas, who for some years had been
associated with Origen at the Catechetical School and had just been left
in charge of it by him on his final retirement that year from Alexandria,
was elected Bishop, while Dionysius, who had himself been a pupil of
Origen there, was appointed to fill the vacancy he created. It is
possible that the treatise περὶ Φύσεως, extracts from which are given
below (on pp. 91 ff.), was composed while Dionysius held this important
post, and that a commentary on _Ecclesiastes_, some genuine fragments of
which probably remain, belongs to the same period. The former of these is
much the more valuable work, for in it for the first time a Christian
undertook systematically to refute the atomistic theories of Epicurus and
his followers.

                    He becomes Bishop of Alexandria

7. Sixteen years later, in 247, upon the death of Heraclas, Dionysius
succeeded to the bishopric as the fourteenth occupant of the see,
possibly, as has already been suggested, without at once resigning his
post at the School. Philip the Arabian (of Bostra) had then been Emperor
for three years, a position he was destined to retain for two years
longer. Like Alexander Severus before him, he was known to favour the
Christians, and Dionysius himself bears witness to the comparative
mildness of his rule (p. 37). For a short time, therefore, the new Bishop
and his flock were left in peace, though even before the death of Philip
signs of the coming storm appeared. In the last year of his reign
Dionysius tells Fabius, Bishop of Antioch (p. 35), that “the prophet and
poet of evil to this city, whoever he was,” stirred up the populace
against the Christians in Alexandria, and several persons were cruelly
martyred. This reign of terror lasted some time, but was interrupted in
the autumn of 249 by the revolution which caused the deposition and death
of Philip, and which set Decius on the throne in his stead. The respite
was only too brief, for by the beginning of the new year the edict which
Decius had issued was being actively carried into effect. The Bishops
were at first singled out for attack. Origen, though not one of them, was
included among the earlier victims—on account, no doubt, of his
prominence as a scholar and a teacher—being imprisoned at Tyre and
cruelly tortured, though not actually martyred.

                    Under the Persecution of Decius

8. Decius’s reversal of his predecessor’s policy towards the Christians
was probably due to reasons of state and expediency rather than, as
Eusebius implies, to mere spite and hatred of Philip and all his ways.
Anyhow, the severity of the Decian persecution is undoubted, and it fell
with great force upon the Church at Alexandria. The Prefect of Egypt,
Sabinus, lost no time in attacking Dionysius and his followers. Many
endured tortures or death, or both. Dionysius himself, after waiting four
days, fled and was sought for by a secret service messenger
(_frumentarius_, see note on p. 43) sent by Sabinus. A brief search was
sufficient to recover him, and he was carried off with four of his
companions to Taposiris. But through a strange interposition of
Providence (related on pp. 44 f.) he was rescued by a wedding party of
rustic revellers and removed to a place of safety in the Libyan Desert,
where he appears to have been left unmolested, with two of his four
companions (see pp. 64 ff.), till the persecution ceased and he was able
to return to the city. In after days Dionysius’s action in fleeing on
this occasion was violently attacked by a certain Bishop Germanus, who
was perhaps one of his suffragans. Germanus boasted of his own much
braver conduct under persecution. Dionysius in his reply (see especially
pp. 43 and 45) maintains that it was not of his own will nor yet without
divine intimation that he had fled, and that he had suffered far more
than his critic for the Faith. Decius’s rule was brought to a calamitous
end in 251, but Gallus, who succeeded him, continued his treatment of the
Christians for another two years, when he, too, suffered an untimely

9. For the next four years the Church of Alexandria enjoyed comparative
rest and peace. In 253 Æmilianus[3] the Governor of Pannonia and Mœsia,
who had in that spring wrested the imperial power from Gallus, was in his
turn, after four months’ rule, defeated by Valerian and his son
Gallienus, and slain by the soldiery. The new Emperors (father and son)
left the Christians alone during the first four years of their reign—a
somewhat surprising fact, when it is considered that Valerian had been
specially chosen to fill the office of “Censor,” which Decius had
revived. It may in some measure have been due to what Archbishop Benson
(_Cyprian_, p. 457) calls his “languid temperament” as well as to his
son’s connexions with the Christians through his wife Cornelia Salonina.

                   His Action about Heretical Baptism

10. During this interval of peace, but chiefly towards the end of it,
Dionysius took part in that controversy about heretical baptism to which
the letters on pp. 51 ff. belong. Up till now various parts of
Christendom had followed various customs on this matter without much
disputing. In Asia Minor and in Africa baptism by heretics was not
recognized, while in the West baptism with water in the name of the
Trinity or of Christ was held valid by whomsoever performed. Before the
middle of the third century, however, the difference of practice
gradually became more and more a matter of controversy. In or about A.D.
230 two synods were held one after the other at Iconium and at Synnada
(see p. 58, _n._), which confirmed the opinion that heretical baptism was
invalid: and some twenty-five years later on Cyprian of Carthage convened
several synods in North Africa, which arrived at the same conclusion.
Thereupon a violent quarrel arose between Cyprian and Stephen the Bishop
of Rome; this became, perhaps, all the keener, because of the former
alliance and co-operation between Cyprian and Stephen’s predecessor,
Cornelius, in combating the Novatianist schism,[4] which had eventually
led also to heresy over the restoration of those who had lapsed under
persecution. Severe language was now used on both sides, and other
leading Churchmen of the day were naturally drawn into the discussion:
among them our Dionysius, who—after the first, at all events—with
characteristic sagacity steered a middle course and advised that the
older spirit of toleration should be maintained, the circumstances of
different churches requiring different methods. Fragments of five letters
on this subject have come down to us, all addressed to the Church of Rome
or rather to representative members of that Church, the first of them
probably written in 254 when the Novatianist schism was subsiding (see p.
52), and the others belonging to the year 257 (see pp. 54 ff.).

                   Under the Persecution of Valerian

11. Suddenly, in the summer of that year, the Church was startled by the
issue of an edict which revived the reign of terror and threw her into a
state of persecution which lasted for more than three years. This
unexpected change of treatment is attributed by Dionysius to the
influence of Macrianus, who at one time held the office of _Rationalis_
(Treasurer or Accountant-General) to the Emperor. This man was apparently
a cripple in body, but mentally and otherwise a person of considerable
ability and force of character: but he seems to have associated himself
in some way with the soothsayers of Egypt,[5] and to have conceived a
violent hatred against the Christians. Quite early in the proceedings
which were instituted against them at Alexandria in consequence of the
edict, Dionysius, with several of his clergy, was brought before
Æmilianus the Prefect,[6] and after examination—chiefly as to his loyalty
to the Emperors, which his refusal to pay them divine honours rendered
doubtful—was banished first to a place called Cephro (probably not far
from Taposiris, where he had been sent before), and then somewhere on the
high road in the district called Colluthion. Dionysius’s own account of
the circumstances which led to and attended this second exile is given on
pp. 46 ff., an account which is valuable, among other reasons, because it
is largely drawn from the official memoranda of the Prefect’s court, and
because it shows how both sides did their ineffectual best to understand
each other’s position.

                          Restoration of Peace

12. The persecution lasted till the autumn of 260, and was then, on the
disappearance of Valerian, stayed by an edict of Peace issued by his son
Gallienus, who was now left alone upon the throne. The Greek version,
which Eusebius gives us, is apparently not that of the actual edict, but
of the Emperor’s letter or rescript which applied it to Egypt. It is
addressed to Dionysius and other bishops, and runs as follows: “I have
ordained that the benefit of my concession be enforced throughout the
world, to the effect that men should withdraw from (_i. e._ not interfere
with) your places of worship. And accordingly ye, too, may use the terms
of my rescript, so that none may interfere with you. And this, which may
with authority be carried out by you, has already been granted by me some
time ago. And accordingly Aurelius Quirinius, who is in charge of the
Exchequer,[7] shall preserve this form now given by me.” Instructions
were also issued permitting the Christians to have free access to their
cemeteries—a privilege which was always much prized.

                        His Return to Alexandria

13. It is practically certain that Dionysius returned to Alexandria as
soon as Gallienus’s edict came into operation there. But almost
immediately fresh disturbances were felt in the city, followed by one of
those frequent outbreaks of pestilence to which the East was always
liable, and these hindered for a time his work of bringing the brethren
together again. The disturbances are with good reason thought to have
been those connected with the attempt of Macrianus to overturn the power
of Gallienus in Egypt, though that country was so often the scene of
tumults and civil wars for the next twelve years and more that it is
almost impossible to identify any particular disturbances with certainty
during this period.

      The Troubles Connected with his Protest against Sabellianism

14. For another five years Dionysius was spared to administer his charge
and to benefit the Church at large with his prudent counsels. But, though
attacks upon himself never seem to have troubled him very much, he had
still to endure one such attack which probably grieved him more than all
the rest, and the after results of which lingered on till the days of
Athanasius and Basil in the next century. This was in connexion with the
Sabellian controversy, especially that phase of it which had recently
arisen in the Libyan Pentapolis (on the north-west coast of Cyrenaica).
Sabellius was a native of the district, and his heresy consisted in
laying too much stress on the unity of the Godhead and in so hopelessly
confounding the Three Persons in the Trinity as to imply that the Person
of the Father was incarnate in Christ. It is in 257 that we first find
Dionysius, in a letter to Xystus II (see p. 55), calling the attention of
the Bishop of Rome to these views, by which time Sabellius was himself
probably already dead. From what he says there, it appears as if
Dionysius was unaware that these views were not of quite recent origin
and were already rather prevalent in both East and West, whilst his words
seem also to imply that this later phase of Sabellianism endangered the
dignity of the Third Person as well as of the First and Second. In Libya
the heresy gained such a hold upon the Church that it even infected
certain of the Bishops, and the Son of God was no longer preached.
Dionysius, therefore, feeling his responsibility for the churches under
his care, became active in trying to eradicate the evil. Among a number
of letters which he wrote on the subject, there was one (about the year
260) in which he made use of certain expressions and illustrations with
regard to the Son of God, which were seized hold of by some members of
the Church either at Alexandria or in the Pentapolis as heretical. This
letter was apparently one of the later letters of the series, when his
earlier overtures had failed to produce the effect he desired.

15. Dionysius’s critics laid a formal complaint against him before his
namesake (Dionysius), who had by now succeeded the martyred Xystus II as
Bishop of Rome; they accused him of having fallen into five errors
himself, while correcting the false views of the Sabellians.

They were as follows, as we gather them from Athan., _de sent. Dion._:—

  (1) Separating the Father and the Son.

  (2) Denying the eternity of the Son.

  (3) Naming the Father without the Son and the Son without the Father.

  (4) Virtually rejecting the term ὁµοούσιος (of one substance) as
  descriptive of the Son.

  (5) Speaking of the Son as a creature of the Father and using
  misleading illustrations of their relation to One Another.

One or two of these illustrations which were objected to will be found in
the extract translated on p. 103, and they are sufficient to give some
idea of the rest. It may, however, be acknowledged that neither Dionysius
himself in his original statements and in his attempts to explain them,
nor Athanasius, who, when Arius afterwards appealed to Dionysius in
support of his opinions, put forward an elaborate defence of him, was
altogether happy or successful.

16. Upon receiving the complaint mentioned, the Bishop of Rome appears to
have convened a synod, which condemned the expressions complained of, and
a letter was addressed by him on the modes of correcting the heresy to
the Church of Alexandria. From motives of delicacy he made no actual
mention of his Alexandrian brother-bishop in this letter, while
criticizing his views, though he wrote to him privately asking for an
explanation. A considerable portion of the public letter has been
preserved for us by Athanasius, but it is not included in this volume,
nor is it necessary to particularize his treatment of the question or to
say more than this, that, though the Roman Bishop wrote quite good Greek
and gives no impression that he felt hampered by it in expressing his
meaning, yet he does naturally exhibit distinct traces of Western modes
of thought as opposed to Eastern, and is not always quite fair in his
representation and interpretation of what Dionysius had said.

Dionysius’s answer to his Roman brother was embodied in the treatise
called _Refutation and Defence_ (Ἔλεγχοσ καὶ Ἀπολογία), some extracts
from which (as given by Athanasius) will be found on pp. 101 ff.

The following is an indication of Dionysius’s line of defence against the
five points raised against him, other matters which arose more
particularly between him and his namesake of Rome being passed over.

(1) As to the charge of separating the Three Persons in the Trinity, he
distinctly denies it: all the language he employs and the very names he
gives imply the opposite: “Father” must involve “Son” and “Son” “Father”:
“Holy Spirit” at once suggests His Source and the Channel.

(2) As to the eternity of the Son, he is equally emphatic. God was always
the Father and therefore Christ was always the Son, just as, if the sun
were eternal, the daylight would also be eternal.

(3) The charge of omitting the Son in speaking of the Father and vice
versa is refuted by what is said under (1): the one name involves the

(4) Dionysius’s rejection or non-employment of the term ὁµοούσιος is less
easily disposed of. He practically acknowledges that, as it is not a
Scriptural word, he had _not_ used it, but at the same time that the
figures he employed suggested a similar relationship, _e. g._ the figure
of parent and child who are of one family (ὁµογενεῖς) or seed, root and
plant which are of one kind (ὁµοφυῆ), and again source and stream, and in
another place the word in the heart and the mind springing forth by the
tongue (see p. 106): but for the unsatisfactoriness of this defence the
reader should consult Bethune-Baker, _Early History of Christian
Doctrine_, chap. viii. pp. 113 ff, who points out that Dionysius had not
grasped the Western tradition of one _substantia_ (οὐσία) of Godhead
existing in three Persons.

(5) But the most serious misunderstanding naturally arose from Dionysius
speaking of the Son as ποίηµα (creature), and illustrating the word by
the gardener with his vine and the shipwright with his boat. His defence
is that though he had undoubtedly used such rather unsuitable figures
somewhat casually, he had immediately adduced several others more
suitable and apposite (such as those mentioned under (4) above). And he
complains that not only here, but throughout, his accusers did not take
his utterances as a whole, but slashed his writings about and made what
sense of them they liked, not sincerely, but with evil intent. He tries
further to explain that in his context ποιεῖν (make) was equivalent to
γεννᾶν (beget), as of a Father, not a Creator, which he maintains is
legitimate, but the defence is not very convincing all the same.

So far as we can now judge, however, his arguments seem to have satisfied
his critics at the time, and were certainly held in high repute by the
ancient Churches, for they are quoted or referred to not only by
Athanasius, as has been stated, but also by Eusebius, by Basil of Cæsarea
(who is, however, much more temperate in his support), and by Jerome and

                         Dionysius’s Last Days

17. It is evident that, in spite of this controversy, his great
reputation in the eyes of the Church was maintained to the end: for when
the Council of Antioch was being summoned to deal with the troubles
connected with the heresies of Paul of Samosata, who held views somewhat
similar to those of Sabellius, Dionysius was specially invited to attend.
As was said above on p. 10, he excused himself from attendance on the
ground of old age and infirmity, but he sent a letter in reply to the
invitation which contained his views on the matter, and these were
unfavourable to the heretic. In 265, before the Council had finished its
sessions, he passed to his well-earned rest.

                          Dionysius as Author

18. From what has already been said, it will be gathered that Dionysius
was a person of remarkable versatility, and at the same time unusually
free from those snares of the versatile man, shallowness and inaccuracy.
The critical remarks on the Revelation of S. John the Divine from his
treatise _On the Promises_ (περὶ Ἐπαγγελιῶν), which are given in full
(from Eusebius) on pp. 82 ff., have received the most respectful
consideration from such authorities as Bishop Westcott and Dr. Swete and
are well worth reading, while some of the expositions of Biblical
passages attributed to him are probably genuine and by no means destitute
of merit, though none of them are printed in this volume.

                        As Christian Philosopher

19. The long extracts which remain from his book _On Nature_ (περὶ
Φύσεως), directed against the Epicureans, show him to have possessed on
the whole a clear grasp of their tenets, together with much genuine
humour and entire absence of bitterness of spirit in criticizing them.

The extracts given by Eusebius appear to be fairly continuous throughout:
they deal (1) with the atomistic portion of the Epicurean philosophy, and
(2) with the more strictly “theological” portion of it, the references to
the hedonistic doctrine being only slight and passing.

Dionysius begins by remarking that of the various hypotheses which have
been started as to the origin of the universe, one of the least
satisfactory is that of Epicurus, viz. that it is the result of a chance
concourse of an infinite number of atoms, as they rush through space.

He then proceeds to show by a series of illustrations taken from human
workmanship that mere chance could never produce the wonderful results
that we see all around us. So, too, from the study of the heavens the
same inference must be drawn.

His next point appears to be that the difference in durability, which
Epicurus postulates for the various bodies produced by atoms, goes to
upset his theory. If some products (_e. g._ the gods) are eternal and
some are short-lived, what determines the difference? Some of the
senseless atoms themselves must be gifted with powers of directing,
arranging and ruling. But if it is mere chance, then Epicurus asks us,
who study the order and the phenomena of earth and heaven, to believe the

The same conclusion is arrived at by the study of man, whose mere body is
a machine so marvellous that some have emerged from the study of it with
a belief that Φύσις herself is a deity. The higher powers, too, of man,
his mind and reason and skill, all point in the opposite direction to
Epicurus’s solution of the problem. It cannot, surely, be the atoms
rather than the Muses which are responsible for the arts and sciences.

The half-humorous allusion to these heaven-born personages of heathen
mythology leads Dionysius to attack the Epicurean theory of the gods.
According to Epicurus, the gods in no way concern themselves with mundane
matters, but spend a serene existence without labour or exertion of any
kind. But such an existence, says Dionysius, is so repugnant to the very
idea and instinct of man that it must be absolutely false with regard to
divine beings.

At this point occurs a short passage in which the inconsistency of
Democritus, from whom Epicurus had confessedly borrowed his physics,
_mutatis mutandis_, is criticized, though it has only a general bearing
upon the line of argument. Democritus, he says, who professed that he
would have given the world in exchange for the discovery of one good
cause (αἰτιολογία), yet in putting forward his ideas of Chance as a cause
could not have been more absurd: he sets up Τύχη as the sovereign cause
of the Universe, and yet banishes her as a power from the life of men.
The truth is that, while practical men and even philosophers find their
highest pleasure in benefiting others, by this theory the gods are to be
kept from any share in such pleasure.

One other inconsistency in the Epicurean writings Dionysius next deals
with, and that is Epicurus’s own constant use of oaths and adjurations,
in which the names of those very beings occur whose influence upon men’s
affairs he so depreciates. This is, in Dionysius’s opinion, due to his
fear of being put to death by the state for atheism, as Socrates had
been: though he is probably doing Epicurus a wrong.

The extracts end with a repetition of the appeal to the wonders of the
sky and of the earth as a conclusive contradiction of Epicurus’s

A selection from these interesting portions of a not unimportant work for
its time will be found on pp. 91 ff.

                General Characteristics of his Writings

20. The letter to Basilides on several points of ecclesiastical order
(the larger portion of which is given on pp. 76 ff.) is a model of what
such episcopal utterances should be: it definitely states which is the
highest and best course, but leaves the decision to the individual
conscience. But it is to the general correspondence (pp. 35 ff.) that the
bulk of English readers will probably turn, and that deals with a large
variety of subjects: in some cases theological matters like Novatianism
and the baptism of heretics are discussed; in others there are
descriptions of the martyrdoms of his time at Alexandria and his own
personal experiences under persecution, all told with a vividness and a
sobriety eminently characteristic of the man: others are addressed to
persons or districts in his province, especially at Eastertide, treating
of matters of local and temporary importance, while one or two incidents
which he records are of much value as illustrating church customs and
manners of the period (_e. g._ the case of Sarapion on p. 42, prayers for
the Emperors on p. 47, matters connected with the celebration of Holy
Baptism and Holy Communion on p. 59).

In his controversy with the Sabellians, as we have already remarked, some
of the expressions and figures employed were insufficiently guarded or
explained and so laid Dionysius open to criticism: but we must remember
how much more easy it is for us, who have the benefit of subsequent
history and experience, to see this and to correct it, than it was for
him and for his contemporaries to grope their way, as they slowly but
surely did, under the Divine guidance to a fuller knowledge and a more
accurate statement of the truth.

21. It is further to be noticed how very seldom, if ever, Dionysius
offends against the principles of good taste either when attacking
opponents, or when describing horrors, or when dealing with the mysteries
of the Faith. In controversy he always displays an admirable moderation
and sweetness of tone, which is the more remarkable because his
convictions were strong and definite. This is especially to be observed
in his treatment of Novatianus the intruder (see p. 50), in his criticism
of the deceased Nepos of Arsenoe (see p. 82), and to a less extent in his
defence of himself against the charges of Germanus (see p. 43). Even when
he has to speak of one whom he believes to have done him wrong, like the
Prefect Æmilianus (p. 48), or of one whom his soul abhors like Macrianus
(p. 68), his language is mild in comparison with that of many in similar
circumstances. So, too, when he takes upon himself to describe the
tortures and deaths of the martyrs (pp. 35 f.), or the ravages of
pestilence (p. 74), he indulges in but few ghastly or revolting details,
though his narrative is always lively and thrilling. And once more when
he deals with such a subject as the Eternal Sonship of our Lord, or, if
the passage (not here given) be authentic, His Death and Passion, the
same good taste and restraint of language is to be observed.

22. Dionysius’s literary style is excellent for the age in which he
lived, and so far confirms the truth of the statement that he had been a
master of rhetoric before his conversion. He gives evidence of having
read widely and to good purpose both in classical and in religious
literature. As to the former, he actually quotes from or refers to Homer,
Hesiod, Thucydides, Aristotle, and Democritus: but his language is really
saturated with classical uses, and a large number of the words and
phrases which he employs recall the best writers of antiquity. His
compositions exhibit signs of much care in production, notably the
treatise _On Nature_ (περὶ Φύσεως) and the two Easter letters, to the
Alexandrians and to Hierax (pp. 70 and 73). Here, and to a somewhat less
degree in the letter to Hermammon (pp. 65 ff.), he writes in a more
rhetorical and elaborate manner than in most of the other fragments which
are extant, but even in these passages he is seldom fantastic, or
stilted, or obscure; whilst in pure narrative or simple description (_e.
g._ in the letters which record his own or others’ sufferings and in the
treatise _On the Promises_ (περὶ Ἐπαγγελιῶν)), his language could hardly
be more unaffected or better chosen.

                 Dionysius as Interpreter of Scripture

23. To what extent did Dionysius accept the principles and methods of
Origen, especially in the matter of Biblical criticism and
interpretation? The evidence, such as it is, is rather doubtful and
conflicting. It is somewhat ominous that after the death of Bishop
Demetrius, whose denunciations had caused the master’s removal from
Alexandria and his retirement to Cæsarea, we hear of no effort on the
part of Dionysius or of any other pupil to obtain his recall. This
certainly suggests that, great as their regard and respect for him as a
man and a scholar may have been, they either felt themselves powerless to
reinstate him, or else considered his views and methods of advocating
them detrimental to the welfare of the Church at large. On the other
hand, it is pleasing to remember that Dionysius wrote an epistle to his
old teacher on the subject of martyrdom, which we may presume was
designed to comfort him during his imprisonment at Tyre. We learn, too,
on somewhat late authority that after Origen’s death Dionysius wrote a
letter to Theotecnus, Bishop of Cæsarea, extolling his master’s virtues.
The chief methodical comments on the Bible, of the authenticity of which
we may be certain, are those contained in the fragments of the treatise
_On the Promises_ (περὶ Ἐπαγγελιῶν), reproduced on pp. 82 ff. This was a
direct reply to the _Refutation of Allegorists_ (Ἔλεγχοσ Ἀλληγοριστῶν),
in which Nepos of Arsenoe had thought to support his grossly
materialistic views of the Millennium by the Revelation of S. John the
Divine. As the title suggests, this work had, no doubt, attacked Origen’s
fondness for the allegorical interpretation of Scripture, and especially
on the subject of the Millennium, and therefore we may with some amount
of certainty infer that Dionysius in his refutation of Nepos would accept
Origen’s methods as a commentator. But the extracts preserved by Eusebius
deal almost wholly with the authorship and textual criticism, and so give
no proper clue as to his method of interpreting the subject-matter of the

In the letter to Basilides (pp. 76 ff.) the requirements of the case do
not call for a style of interpretation which would bring out either a
correspondence or a disagreement with Origen’s methods, except so far as
it is marked by the frank and free exercise of critical judgment. The
commentary on the _Beginning of Ecclesiastes_, if it is, as seems likely,
in part the work of Dionysius, is not inconsistent in style of treatment
with a general acceptance of his master’s position. Procopius of Gaza,
however, ranks him among the opponents of the allegorical school of
interpreters, stating that it was in this very work that Dionysius
attacked his master, and a short extract which has been assigned to it by
Pitra (_Spic. Solesm._, i, 17) is distinctly less allegorical in
treatment than the rest: it runs as follows—

“On Eccles. iv. 9, 10: ‘Two are better than one,’ etc. As we understand
this literally, we do not admit those who accept the interpretation of
the statements as referring to the soul and the body; for it is by no
means justified, seeing that the soul has the entire control over the
ruling and governing both of itself and of the body, whereas the body is
the bondman of the soul, subservient and enthralled to it in all its
decisions. If, then, the soul be inclined to what is mean and evil, and
become careless of better thoughts and considerations, the body is unable
to restore it and lead it back to higher things: for that is not natural
to it.”

There is also another short extract (on Gen. ii. 8, 9[9]) attributed to
our author, which is non-allegorical in its treatment. The evidence
therefore is inconclusive on this point: for though Jerome also mentions
Dionysius as a commentator on the Bible three times in his letters, he
throws no further light on the question.[10]

On the subject of Inspiration we have no ground for thinking that
Dionysius took up an independent position.[11] He introduces his Biblical
quotation with the phrases current amongst early Christian writers.

The general impression therefore left upon the reader is that Dionysius
reverted to the more sober methods of interpreting Scripture that
prevailed throughout the Church of his day as a whole, though he
approached his master’s theories in his usual sympathetic spirit and
availed himself of much that was valuable in them.

                    His Place in the Church Kalendar

24. We hear of a Church dedicated to S. Denys in Alexandria at the
beginning of the fourth century, which was destroyed by fire in a tumult
in the time of Athanasius. October 3 and November 17 are the two most
usual dates for his Commemoration in the Kalendar, the former date more
especially in the East, where he is honoured as “a holy martyr.”[12]

                           Concluding Remarks

25. The foregoing sketch is sufficient to show that, as a man of action
and a ruler of the Church, Dionysius’s personality is no less striking
than as a student, a writer and a thinker. He was clearly a strong yet
conciliatory administrator of his province as Bishop of Alexandria, just
as he had been a competent and successful teacher and director of sacred
studies as head of the Catechetical Schools—one who in each capacity
carried on and maintained the great traditions which he inherited from S.
Mark and his successors, from Pantænus, Clement and Origen. And not only
at home and within his own jurisdiction, as we have seen, did he worthily
“magnify his office” and “make full proof of his ministry”; for he made
his influence for good felt throughout Christendom. Bishops and clergy
from all parts naturally turned to him in their difficulties for advice
and guidance; and it is impossible not to feel that his wonderful breadth
of judgment and his love of conciliation were of the greatest value to
the Church of the third century, and will remain a model for imitation to
each succeeding age. Men will always be tempted, as they were in that
century, to speak strongly and to act vehemently where their spiritual
beliefs are involved, and we may pray that God will never fail to raise
up amongst the rulers of His Church men of the type of S. Denys the Great
of Alexandria.


26. The first attempt at making a full collection of our author’s remains
was undertaken by Simon de Magistris, whose edition was published at Rome
in 1796. Routh (_Reliquiæ Sacræ_, tom. iii. and iv.; Oxford, 1846) and
Migne (_Patr. Græc._ tom. x.) published considerable portions with Latin
notes, while Gallandius (_Bibliotheca vett. patrum_, app. to vol. xiv.),
Pitra, Mai and (more recently) Holl in vol. v. of _Texte und
Untersuchungen_ (_neue Folge_) have printed a number of fragments from
various sources and of very varying degrees of probable authenticity.

The earliest list of Dionysius’s literary productions, except the
scattered references to be found in the _Ecclesiastical History_ of
Eusebius, is that of Jerome (_de viris illustribus_, 69), which more or
less tallies with what we gather from Eusebius. The student will,
however, find a complete modern list of them, together with other
valuable matter, in Harnack, _Altchrist. Lit._, vol. i. pp. 409-27, and
in Bardenhewer, _Altkirch. Lit._, vol. ii. pp. 167-91: the account in
Krüger, _Early Christian Literature_ (Eng. Trans.) is much shorter.
Several compositions mentioned by Eusebius and Jerome are only known to
us by name, unless some of the short extracts attributed to Dionysius
come from one or other of them, and the contents of them are almost
wholly matter for conjecture. The most important of these is perhaps the
ἐπιστολή διακονικὴ διὰ Ἱππολύτου (Eus., _H. E._ vi. 45), because of the
various theories which have been put forward about it. Dom Morin (_Revue
Bénédictine_, xvii., 1900), for instance, suggested that Rufinus’s
translation of the doubtful epithet (διακονική) being _de ministeriis_,
it was none other than the _Canons of Hippolytus_, and that the Canons
were afterwards attributed to the church-writer, Hippolytus, through a
mistaken identification of the unknown bearer of Dionysius’s missive with
the well-known author; but the theory has not met with much acceptance
since, and the discussion has of late died down, quite different views
being now held about the Canons of Hippolytus.

It may also be mentioned that several fragments in Syriac and in Armenian
are attributed to Dionysius, but only three of these, in the former
language, appear to be genuine: one is a translation of the letter to
Novatian (p. 50), and the two others are, whether rightly or wrongly,
thought to be part of the Letter to Stephanus on Baptism, and will be
found as §§ 2 and 3 of it on pp. 53 ff.

The article on Dionysius in Smith’s _Dictionary of Christian Biography_
is by Dr. Westcott, and, though not very full, is, it is needless to say,
worthy of being consulted.

Three German books on our author will also be found useful, though not
very recent: viz. Förster, _de doctrin. et sententiis Dionysii_,
Berolini, 1865; Dittrich, _Dionysius der Grosse_, Freiburg, i.B., 1867;
and Roch, _Dionysius der Grosse über die Natur_, Leipzig, 1882. Of these
the second is the most important for the general student.

Dr. Salmond produced a serviceable translation of the fragments in 1871
(T. & T. Clark’s series, Edinburgh), and since then we have had Dr.
Gifford’s (in his scholarly edition of Eus., _Præpar. Evang._, Oxford,
1903), of such as there appear.

For the general history of the period much valuable help will be found in
Archbishop Benson’s _Cyprian_, London, 1897; P. Allard, _Histoire des
Persécutions_, vols. ii. and iii., Paris, 1886, and Aubé, _L’Eglise et
l’Etat dans la 2de moitié du 3me Siècle_.

A full collection of all the genuine and doubtful extracts appeared in
the series of _Cambridge Patristic Texts_, with introductions and notes
by the present editor, in 1904.


                      To Fabian, Bishop of Antioch
                   (Eus., _H. E._ vi. 41, 42, and 44)

(1) The persecution did not begin amongst us with the Imperial edict; for
it anticipated that by a whole year. And the prophet and poet of evil to
this city, whoever he was,[13] was beforehand in moving and exciting the
heathen crowds against us, rekindling their zeal for the national
superstitions. So they being aroused by him and availing themselves of
all lawful authority for their unholy doings, conceived that the only
piety, the proper worship of their gods was this—to thirst for our blood.
First, then, they carried off an old man, Metras, and bade him utter
impious words,[14] and when he refused they beat his body with sticks and
stabbed his face and eyes with sharp bulrushes as they led him into the
outskirts of the city and there stoned him. Then they led a believer
named Quinta to the idol-house and tried to make her kneel down, and,
when she turned away in disgust, they bound her by the feet and hauled
her right through the city over the rough pavement, the big stones
bruising her poor body, and at the same time beat her till they reached
the same spot, and there stoned her. Thereupon they all with one consent
made a rush on the houses of the believers, and, falling each upon those
whom they recognized as neighbours, plundered, harried and despoiled
them, setting aside the more valuable of their possessions and casting
out into the streets and burning the cheaper things and such as were made
of wood, till they produced the appearance of a city devastated by the
enemy. But the brethren gave way and submitted and accepted the
plundering of their possessions with joy like unto those of whom Paul
also testified.[15] And I know not if any, save possibly a single one who
fell into their hands, up till now has denied the Lord.

Another notable case was that of the aged virgin Apollonia, whom they
seized and knocked out all her teeth, striking her on the jaws: then they
made a pyre before the city and threatened to burn her alive, if she
would not join them in uttering blasphemies. But she asked for a brief
respite, and being let go, suddenly leapt into the fire and was devoured
by the flames. Sarapion, also, they caught in his own house, and after
outraging him with cruel tortures and crushing all his limbs, they cast
him headlong from the upper storey.

And we could go by no high road, thoroughfare, or byway, either by day or
by night; for everywhere and always there was a constant cry that any one
who did not utter words of blasphemy must be dragged off and burnt.

And this state of things prevailed for some time, till the revolution and
civil war[16] occupied the attention of these unhappy men and turned on
one another their fury against us. And so we had a short breathing space,
as they found no leisure for raging against us: but very soon the
overthrow of the ruler who had been not unfavourable to us[17] is
announced, and our grave fears of being attacked are renewed. And, in
fact, the edict arrived, which was itself almost to be compared with that
foretold by the Lord, well-nigh the most terrible of all, so as to cause,
if possible, even the elect to stumble.[18] Nevertheless all were
panic-stricken, and numbers at once of those who were in higher
positions, some came forward in fear, and some who held public posts were
led by their official duties; others, again, were brought in by those
about them, and when their names were called, approached the impure and
unholy sacrifices; pale and trembling in some cases as if they were not
going to sacrifice but themselves become sacrifices and victims to the
idols, so that they incurred ridicule from the large crowd that stood by,
and proved themselves to be utter cowards both in regard to death and in
regard to sacrificing, whilst others ran readily up to the altar, making
it plain by their forwardness that they had not been Christians even
before. About such the Lord’s prediction is most true that with
difficulty shall they be saved.[19] And of the rest[20] some followed one
or other of the above, while others fled or were captured: and of these
last, again, some after going as far as chains and imprisonment, and even
after being immured several days in certain cases, still, before coming
into court, forswore themselves; and others, even after enduring some
amount of torment, failed at the last. But the steadfast and blessed
pillars of the Lord,[21] being strengthened by Him and receiving due and
proportionate power and endurance for the mighty Faith that was in them,
proved themselves admirable witnesses of His Kingdom.[22] Foremost among
them was Julian, a sufferer from gout, unable to stand or walk; he was
brought up with two others, who carried him, of whom the one straightway
denied the Faith; the other, Cronion by name, but surnamed Eunous
(well-disposed), and the old man Julian himself confessed the Lord and
were conveyed on camel’s back, and scourged as they rode right through
the city—big though it be, as ye know—and at last were burnt with fire
unquenchable, whilst all the people stood round. And a soldier who stood
by as they were carried along and protested against those who insulted
them was denounced and brought up, to wit God’s brave warrior Besas, and
after heroic conduct in the great war of piety was beheaded. And yet
another, a Libyan by race, who rightly and happily was named Mauar
(happy),[23] though the judge urged him strongly to renounce the Faith,
would not give in, and so was burnt alive. After them Epimachus and
Alexander, when they had remained a long time in bonds and had endured
endless tortures from the “claws”[24] and scourges, were also consumed
with fire unquenchable. And with them four[25] women: Ammonarion, a holy
virgin, though the judge tortured her vigorously for a long time because
she had declared beforehand that she would say nothing that he bade her,
kept true to her promise and was led off to punishment; and of the rest
there was the aged and reverend Mercuria and Dionysia, who, though she
had many children, did not love them above the Lord: these the Prefect
was ashamed to go on torturing in vain and be beaten by women, and so
they died by the sword without further tortures: for the brave Ammonarion
had exhausted all their devices.

Then were delivered up three Egyptians: Heron, Ater and Isidore, and with
them Dioscorus, a lad of about fifteen. And first of all the Prefect
tried to cajole the stripling with words, thinking he could easily be won
over, and then to force him by torments, thinking he would soon give in,
but Dioscorus was neither persuaded nor forced. So the others he cruelly
lacerated, and when they, too, stood firm, handed them over to the fire;
but Dioscorus, who had distinguished himself in public and had answered
his private questionings most wisely, he let off, saying that he granted
him a reprieve for repenting, on account of his age. And now[26] the
godly Dioscorus is still with us, having waited for his longer trial and
his more determined conflict.

Another Egyptian, Nemesion, was falsely accused of being an associate of
brigands, but being accused of that most untrue charge before the
centurion, he was then denounced as a Christian and came in chains before
the Prefect.[27] And he having most unjustly maltreated him with twice as
many tortures and stripes as the brigands had received, burnt him to
death between them, being honoured, happy man, by the example of

Again a whole quaternion of soldiers—Ammon, Zenon, Ptolemy and Ingenuus,
and an old man, Theophilus, with them, were standing before the judgment
seat, whilst some one was being tried for being a Christian, and when he
showed signs of denying the Faith they were so provoked as they stood by,
nodding their heads, and stretching out their hands and making gestures
with their bodies, that they drew the general attention to themselves,
and then, before any could seize them, they leapt upon the stand[29] of
their own accord, saying they were Christians, so that the Prefect and
his assessors were frightened, and those who were being judged seemed to
take courage over what awaited them, and their judges lost heart. So
these soldiers walked in brave procession from the court and rejoiced in
their witness (martyrdom), God giving them a glorious triumph.[30]

(2) And many others in the cities and villages were torn asunder by the
heathen (Gentiles), one of which I will mention as an example. Ischyrion
acted as steward to one of the authorities at a wage. His employer bade
him sacrifice, ill-treated him when he refused, and on his persistence
drove him forth with insults: when he still stood his ground, he took a
big stick and killed him by driving it through his vital parts. What need
to mention the multitude of those who wandered in deserts and
mountains[31] consumed by hunger and thirst and cold and diseases and
brigands and wild beasts? the survivors of whom bear witness to their
election and victory.[32] Of these, also, I will bring forward one
instance by way of illustration. Chæremon was the aged Bishop of what is
called Nilopolis. He fled to the Arabian hills[33] with his wife[34] and
never returned, nor were they ever seen again by the brethren, who made
long search, but found neither them nor their bodies. And there were many
who on those very Arabian hills were sold into slavery by the barbarian
Saracens,[35] of whom some were with difficulty ransomed at high sums,
and others even yet have not been ransomed. And these things I have
described at length, brother, not without purpose, but in order that thou
mightest know how many terrible things have taken place amongst us, of
which those who have had more experience will know of more cases than I

Then shortly after he proceeds—

(3) Accordingly, the holy martyrs themselves, when still amongst us, who
are now the assessors of Christ and partners of His Kingdom, sharing His
judgments and decisions,[36] espoused the cause of certain of the fallen
brethren who had incurred the charge of having done sacrifice, and seeing
their conversion and repentance and approving it as fit to be accepted by
Him who desireth not at all the death of the sinner so much as his
repentance,[37] received them, summoned them to assemblies, introduced
them and admitted them to the prayers and feasts.[38] What, then, do ye
counsel us in these matters, brethren? What ought we to do? Shall we
acquiesce and assent to them and maintain their decision and concession
and treat kindly those to whom they have extended mercy? or shall we hold
their judgment wrong and set ourselves up as critics of their decision
and vex their kind hearts and reverse their arrangement?

[A further extract on the subject of the lapsed]

I will set out the following single example that happened amongst us.
There was a certain aged believer amongst us, Sarapion, who had lived
blamelessly for a long time but yielded to temptation. This man often
begged to be restored, but no one heeded him; for he had sacrificed. But
he fell ill, and for three days in succession he remained speechless and
unconscious. Then recovering a little on the fourth day, he called to him
his nephew and said: “How long, my child, do ye keep me back? hasten ye,
I pray, and let me go speedily. Call thou one of the elders
(presbyters).” After this he became speechless again. The boy ran for the
elder, but it was night and he was ill and could not come. Now I had
given instructions that if those who were departing life asked and
especially when they chanced to have made supplication even before, they
should be absolved in order that they might depart in good hope; he gave
the boy, therefore, a morsel of the Eucharist, bidding him moisten it and
drop it into the old man’s mouth. The lad went back with it. When he drew
near, before he entered, Sarapion revived again and said: “Hast come,
child? The presbyter could not come, but do thou quickly what he bade
thee, and let me go.” So the boy moistened it and dropped it into his
mouth: and the other shortly after swallowing it straightway gave up the
ghost. Was he not clearly sustained and kept alive until he was absolved
that, with his sin wiped out, he might be acknowledged (by the Lord) for
the many good things he had done?

                          To Germanus a Bishop
                   (Eus., _H. E._ vi. 40 and vii. 11)

(1) Now before God I speak and He knoweth if I lie;[39] not at all on my
own judgment nor yet without Divine guidance did I take flight, but on a
former occasion also as soon as ever the persecution under Decius was set
up,[40] Sabinus[41] sent a _frumentarius_[42] to seek me; and I awaited
his arrival at my house for four days, while he went round searching
everywhere, the streams, the roads and the fields, where he suspected me
to hide or go, but he never lighted on my house, being held by blindness:
for he did not believe I should stay at home under pursuit. And hardly
after the four days when God bade me remove and unexpectedly made a way
for me, I and the boys[43] and many of the brethren went out together.
And this was ordered by the Providence of God, as after events have
shown, in which perchance we have been useful to some.

Further on he proceeds—

(2) For about sunset I with my companions having fallen into the hands of
the soldiers, was taken to Taposiris, but Timotheus[44] by the Providence
of God happened not to be present nor to be caught elsewhere. But
arriving afterwards, he found the house empty and servants guarding it,
and us carried off prisoners.

And further on—

(3) And what is the manner of His wonderful dispensation? for only the
truth shall be spoken. One of the rustics met Timotheus as he was fleeing
and troubled,[45] and inquired the reason of his haste. And he told the
truth, and when the other heard it (now he was going to a marriage revel:
for it is their custom to pass the whole night at such gatherings), he
entered and informed those who were reclining at table. And they with one
consent as if at a signal all arose and came running at great speed and
fell upon us with loud cries, and when the soldiers who were guarding us
straightway took to flight, they came upon us just as we were reclining
on the bare bedsteads. And I indeed, God wot, taking them at first to be
bandits who had come for plunder and ravage, remained on the couch where
I was, undressed save for my linen under-garment,[46] and began to offer
them the rest of my raiment which was at my side. But they bade me rise
and go out as quickly as I could. And then I, understanding why they had
come, cried out begging and praying them to depart and leave us, and if
they would do us a good turn, I besought them to forestall those who had
carried me off and cut off my head themselves. And while I thus cried, as
they know who shared and took part in everything, they raised me by
force, and when I let myself down on my back to the ground, they took and
led me out, dragging me by the arms and legs. And there followed me those
who had been witnesses of all this, Gaius, Faustus, Peter and Paul, and
they also helped to carry me out of the township in their arms, and then
putting me on a barebacked ass, led me away.

[Another extract from the same letter given by Eusebius in another part
of his History, and referring to a somewhat later period in Dionysius’s

(4) I am really in danger of falling into much foolishness[47] and want
of right feeling through being compelled of necessity to narrate God’s
wondrous dispensation concerning us. But since “it is good,” it says,[48]
“to keep close the secret of a king but glorious to reveal the works of
God,” I will come to close quarters with our violent accuser, Germanus. I
came before Æmilian[49] not alone; for there followed with me my
fellow-presbyter[50] Maximus, and deacons Faustus, Eusebius and Chæremon.
And one of the brethren who was present from Rome came in with us. Now
Æmilian did not say to me at the start, “Do not summon” (the brethren for
public worship): for that was superfluous and the last thing (to insist
on), since he was going back to the very beginning of the matter. For the
question was not about summoning others but about not being Christians
ourselves, and it was from this that he bade us desist, thinking that if
I should change my mind, the others would follow me. And I answered not
unsuitably nor yet very differently from the words: “We ought to obey God
rather than men,”[51] but I testified outright that I worship the only
God and none other, nor will I ever alter nor desist from being a
Christian. Upon this he bade us go away to a village on the borders of
the desert named Cephro. Listen then to what was said on both sides as it
was (officially) recorded: Dionysius, Faustus, Maximus, Marcellus[52] and
Chæremon being brought in, Æmilian the Prefect said: “In the course of
conversation also[53] I described to you the clemency which our
Sovereigns[54] have displayed towards you. For they gave you opportunity
of being liberated if you would adopt a natural line of conduct and
worship the gods who protect the Empire and give up those who are
contrary to nature. What say ye then to this? for I do not expect you
will be ungrateful for their clemency when they invite you to a better
course.” Dionysius answered: “It is not a fact that all men worship all
gods, for each worships certain whom he believes in. So with us, we
worship and adore the One God, the Creator of all things, who has
entrusted the Empire also to the most religious Emperors, Valerian and
Gallienus; and to Him we pray[55] without ceasing for their Empire that
it may abide unshaken.” Æmilian the Prefect said, “But who prevents you
from worshipping him also, if he be god, with the natural gods? for you
were ordered to worship gods and those which all know.” Dionysius
answered: “We worship none other but Him.” Æmilian the Prefect said to
them: “I observe that you together are both ungrateful and insensible of
the leniency of our Emperors. Wherefore ye shall not be in this city but
shall be dismissed to the parts of Libya and stay in a place called
Cephro, which I have chosen at the bidding of our Emperors. And both you
and others will be absolutely forbidden either to hold meetings or to
enter the cemeteries so-called.[56] And if any one were to appear not to
have arrived at the place I have ordered or were found at any assembly,
he will do so at his own risk. For the necessary penalty will not be
wanting. Be off therefore where ye were bidden.” So he hurried me away
even though I was sick, granting me not a day’s respite. What leisure,
then, had I to call assemblies or not?[57]

Further on he says—

(5) But we did not abstain even from the visible assembling of ourselves
together in the Lord’s presence, but those who were in the city
(Alexandria) I the more earnestly urged to assemble, as if I were still
with them, being absent in the body, as it says, but present in the
spirit.[58] And at Cephro also a large number of the Church were
sojourning with us, consisting of the brethren who had followed us from
the city or were present from other parts of Egypt. There, too, the Lord
opened us a door for the word.[59] And at first we were pursued and
stoned, but later not a few of the Gentiles left their idols and turned
to God. Thus the word was first sown through us in their hearts who had
not previously received it. And as it were for this cause God having led
us to them, led us away again when we had fulfilled this ministry.[60]
For Æmilian wished, as it seemed, to transfer us to rougher and more
Libyan-like parts, and bade those who were scattered in every direction
to draw together to the Mareotis, assigning to each party one of the
villages of the district, but us he put more on the road so that we
should be the first to be arrested. For he evidently managed and arranged
so that he might have us easy of capture whenever he wished to seize us.
And as for me, when I was ordered to depart to Cephro, I did not even
know in what direction the place lay, hardly having heard so much as the
name before; and yet I went off willingly and without trouble. But when
it was told me that they would remove me to the parts of Colluthion, all
who were present know how I was affected. For here I will accuse myself.
At first I was vexed and took it very ill. For though the place happened
to be better known and more familiar to us, yet people said it was devoid
of brethren and respectable folk, being exposed to the annoyances of
wayfarers and the attacks of robbers. But I found consolation when the
brethren reminded me that it is nearer to the city, and that, while
Cephro gave much opportunity of intercourse with brethren from Egypt in
general, so that one could draw congregations from a wider area, yet at
Colluthion we should more constantly enjoy the sight of those who were
really loved and most intimate and dear. For they would be able to come
and stay the night and there would be district-meetings as is the case
with outlying suburbs.[61] And so it turned out.

And lower down again he writes this about what had happened to him—

(6) Many indeed are the confessions of faith over which Germanus prides
himself: many are the things which he has to mention as having happened
to him. Can he reckon up as many in his own case as I can in
mine—condemnations, confiscations, sales by public auction, spoiling of
one’s possessions, loss of dignities, despisings of worldly honour,
contempt of commendations by Prefects and Councils and of opponents’
threats, endurance of clamourings and dangers and persecutions and
wanderings and tribulations and much affliction, such as are the things
which have happened unto me under Decius and Sabinus and up to the
present time under Æmilian? But where did Germanus appear? What talk was
there of him? However, I withdraw from the much foolishness into which I
am falling through Germanus; wherefore I refrain from giving a detailed
account of events to the brethren who know all.

                             (To Novatian)
                         (Eus., _H. E._ vi. 45)

If it was against thy will, as thou sayest, that thou wast promoted,[62]
thou wilt prove this by retiring of thine own accord. It were good to
suffer anything and everything so to escape dividing the Church of God.
And martyrdom[63] to avoid schism is no less glorious than martyrdom to
avoid idolatry. Nay, it is to my mind greater. In one case a man is a
martyr for his own single soul’s sake. But this is for the whole Church.
Even now wast thou to persuade or constrain the brethren to come to one
mind, thy true deed[64] were greater than thy fall. This will not be
reckoned to thee, the other will be lauded. And if thou shouldest be
powerless to sway disobedient spirits, save, save thine own soul.[65] I
pray for thy health and thy steadfast cleaving to peace in the Lord.

[I have to thank the editors and publishers for leave to reprint the
above translation by Archbishop Benson from his _Cyprian_, p. 142.]

   To Cornelius, Bishop of Rome, in Reply to a Letter from him about
                          Novatian (circ. 253)

Eusebius (_H. E._ vi. 46) quotes only one short sentence from Dionysius’s
letter, which refers to the death of Alexander, Bishop of Jerusalem, one
of Origen’s distinguished pupils and supporters. Alexander twice boldly
confessed Christ in the Governor’s Court at Cæsarea and died at last in
prison. The sentence is as follows—

“The admirable[66] Alexander entered into a blessed rest whilst in

According to Eusebius, the letter also mentioned the invitation which
Dionysius had received from the Bishops of Asia Minor to attend a synod
at Antioch at which “they tried to suppress the schism of Novatian.”

                      To Stephanus, Bishop of Rome
                      (Eus., _H. E._ vii. 4 and 5)
              (_The First of the Epistles about Baptism_)

(1) Know now, brother, that all the Churches in the East and even further
afield[67] which were divided, have been united: and all their rulers
everywhere are of one mind, rejoicing exceedingly at the unexpected
peace[68] which has come about, Demetrian in Antioch, Theoctistus in
Cæsarea, Mazabbanes in Ælia,[69] Marinus in Tyre, Alexander having fallen
asleep, Heliodorus in Laodicea, Thelymidrus being at rest, Helenus in
Tarsus and all the Churches of Cilicia, Firmilianus[70] and all
Cappadocia. For I have mentioned only the more prominent of the Bishops,
in order that I may not make my letter too long nor my narrative
wearisome. Nevertheless, the whole of Syria and Arabia, districts whose
needs ye from time to time supply[71] and to whom ye now have sent an
epistle, Mesopotamia also and Pontus and Bithynia, and, in one word, all
men everywhere exult in the harmony and brotherly love displayed and
praise God for it.[72]

[The two following extracts are translated from Syriac versions, and I am
indebted for them to Mr. N. MacLean of Christ’s College, Cambridge. The
first has been put together out of two MSS. in the British Museum,
neither of which contains the whole, and was printed by Pitra, _Analecta
Sacra_, Vol. IV. The Greek original of most of the first sentence is
preserved in a catena on Deuteronomy, _Cod. Vat._ 1521, fol. 591, and was
first printed by Simon de Magistris in his edition of our author, p. 200.
There is much probability that this extract formed part of the same
letter to Stephanus as the extract from Eusebius which precedes it here.
The second extract is found in three other Syriac MSS. in the British
Museum, but is less certainly part of this letter, or indeed authentic at

(2) If so be that any man speak a wicked thing of God like those who call
Him unpitying[73] or any man living in the fear of other gods, the Law
has commanded that such a one be stoned:[74] but we would stone these men
with sound words of faith. Or if a man receive not at all the mystery[75]
of Christ or alter and distort it—(saying) that He is not God, or that he
did not become a man, or that He did not die, or that He did not rise, or
that He will not come to judge the quick and the dead—or preach anything
else apart from what we preached, let him be a curse, says Paul.[76] Or
if so be he have wronged the word concerning the resurrection of the
flesh, let him be already reckoned with the dead. For we speak in
carefulness concerning these things—in order that we may be in agreement
one with another, churches with churches, bishops with bishops, priests
with priests. And in regard to causes and affairs about matters which
concern individual men—how it is right to receive him who approaches from
without and how him who comes from within[77]—we counsel to obey those
who stand at the head of every place who by Divine election[78] are put
into this ministration—leaving to our Lord the judgment of all things
which they do.

(3) Those who were baptized in the name of the three Persons—the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Spirit—though they were baptized by heretics who
confess the three Persons, shall not be re-baptized. But those who are
converted from other heresies shall be perfected by the baptism of the
Holy Church.[79]

                      To Xystus (or Sixtus) II[80]
                      (Eus., _H. E._ vii. 5, 3-6)
                   (_The second on the same subject_)

(1) (Stephen) therefore had sent word concerning Helenus and concerning
Firmilianus, and all the bishops of Cilicia and Cappadocia and (be it
noted) of Galatia and all the neighbouring churches likewise—to the
effect that he would not hold communion with them for this same reason,
since, he says, they re-baptize the heretics.[81] And observe the
importance of the matter. For decrees had really been passed about it in
the largest synods of the bishops,[82] as I am informed, so that those
who come over from heretical bodies, after a course of instruction, are
washed and cleansed from the defilement of the old and unclean
leaven.[83] About all this also I have written asking him for

(2) To our beloved fellow-presbyters also, Dionysius and Philemon, who
had formerly sided with Stephanus and were correspondents of mine on the
same matter, I have written briefly the first time and more fully

(3) The teaching which is now at work in Ptolemais of Pentapolis,[85] is
impious, full of blasphemy about the Almighty God and Father[86] of our
Lord Jesus Christ and full of unbelief about His only begotten Son,[87]
the First-born of all creation,[88] the Incarnate Word, and displays want
of perception concerning the Holy Spirit. And therefore, when both
official communications from both parties arrived and some of the
brethren sought personal interviews with me, I wrote what I could[89] by
the Divine assistance and gave a somewhat methodical explanation of the
matter, a copy of which I have sent you.

                              To Philemon
                         (Eus., _H. E._ vii. 7)
                   (_The third on the same subject_)

(1) I read both the critical researches and the traditional treatises[90]
of the heretics, defiling my soul a little with their abominable opinions
and yet gaining this advantage from them, that I could refute them for
myself and abhor them much more thoroughly. And indeed when a certain
brother among the presbyters tried to restrain me and frighten me from
contaminating myself with the mire of their iniquity (he said I should
ruin my soul, and, as I perceived, there was truth in what he said), a
heaven-sent vision[91] came and strengthened me, and words came to me
which expressly ordered me thus: “Read all that may come to thy hands:
for thou art competent to sift and test everything, and that was the
original reason[92] of thy accepting the Faith.” I acknowledged the
vision as in agreement with the apostolic voice which says to the more
able: “Approve yourselves bankers of repute.”[93]

(2) This cause and rule I received from our blessed Father[94] Heraclas.
For those that came over from the heretics, although they had apostatized
from the Church—or rather had not even done that but were informed
against as resorting to some heretical teacher, though still reputed
members of our congregations—these he repelled from the Church, and did
not restore them at their request until they had publicly and fully
stated all that they had heard among those who set themselves against us;
and then he admitted them without requiring them to be re-baptized: for
they had received that holy gift already.

(3) I have learnt this also, that the brethren in Africa[95] did not
introduce this practice (of re-baptism) now for the first time, but it
was also adopted some time ago among our predecessors as Bishops, in the
most populous churches and well-attended synods of the brethren, viz. in
Iconium and Synnada,[96] and I cannot bring myself to reverse their
decisions and involve them in strife and controversy. For “thou shalt not
remove,” it says, “thy neighbour’s boundaries, which thy fathers

                          To Dionysius of Rome
                    (Eus., _H. E._ vii. 7, 6 and 8)
                    (_The fourth letter on Baptism_)

For with Novatian we are reasonably indignant, seeing that he has cut the
Church in two and dragged certain of the brethren into impieties and
blasphemies and introduced the most unholy teaching about God and accuses
the most gracious Jesus Christ our Lord of being without pity,[98] and
besides all this sets at nought the holy laws and overthrows the
confession of faith before baptism,[99] and altogether banishes the Holy
Spirit from them, even though there were some hope of His remaining or
even of His returning to them.[100]

                 To Xystus (Sixtus) II, Bishop of Rome
                         (Eus., _H. E._ vii. 9)
                      (_The fifth about Baptism_)

I truly desire counsel, brother, and ask an opinion from you, being
afraid lest after all I am wrong in my treatment of a case that has come
before me as follows—

One who is reckoned faithful among the brethren who meet together, of old
standing, having been a member even before my ordination (as Bishop), and
I fancy even before the appointment of the blessed Heraclas, had been
present at a recent baptism and heard the questions and answers (in that
service). He came to me weeping and bemoaning himself and falling at my
feet, confessing and protesting that the baptism he had received among
the heretics was not this, nor had anything in common with it: for that
was full of impiety and blasphemies:[101] and he said that he was now
sore pricked in the soul and had no courage even to lift up his eyes to
God, because he had started with such unholy words and rites, and so he
begged to obtain this thorough means of purification and acceptance and
grace. But this I did not venture to do, saying that his so long being in
communion with us was sufficient for the purpose. For as he had heard the
Giving of Thanks (Eucharist) and joined in saying the Amen,[102] and
stood[103] at the Table[104] and stretched forth his hands to receive the
holy Food and had taken it and partaken of the Body and Blood of our Lord
Jesus Christ for a considerable period, I should not venture to put him
back to the beginning once more. So I bade him take courage and approach
for the receiving of the Holy Things with sure faith and good hope. But
he ceases not to grieve, and shrinks from approaching the Table and can
with difficulty be persuaded to stand with (the _Consistentes_)[105] for
the Prayers.

                             To Conon[106]
        (Pitra, _Spic. Sol._ i. 15, from a Bodl. MS. dated 1062)

As to those who are nearing the end of life, if they desire and beg to
obtain absolution, having before their eyes the judgment to which they
are departing, considering what is in store for them, if they are handed
over thereto bound and condemned, and believing that they will gain
relief and lightening of punishment there, if they be loosed here—for
these the approval of the Lord is true and assured—these, too, it is part
of the Divine mercy to send on their way free. If, however, they
afterwards continue to live, it does not appear to me consistent to bind
them again and load them with their sins. For when once absolved and
reconciled to God, and pronounced again to be partakers of Divine grace
and dispatched as free to appear before the Lord,[107] so long as nothing
wrong has been done by them in the meantime to bring them back into
bondage for their sins were most unreasonable. Shall we after that[108]
impose on God the limits of our judgment, to be kept by Him while we
observe them not ourselves, making parade of the goodness of the
Lord[109] but withholding our own? Nevertheless if any one, after
recovery, should show himself in need of further treatment, we counsel
him, of his own accord, to humble and abase and lower himself, with a
view to his own improvement and also to what is seemly in the eyes of the
brethren and irreproachable before those without.[110] If he consent to
this, he will be the gainer: but, if he should object and refuse, then no
doubt that will be a sufficient ground for a second exclusion.

                   From the Writings about Repentance
             (Mai, _Class. Auct._ x. 484, from a Vat. MS.)

But now we do the contrary. For him whom Christ in His goodness seeks
when wandering upon the mountains, and calls to Himself when fleeing, and
lays upon His shoulders when found at last,[111] him we resolutely repel
when he approaches. Nay, let us not adopt so evil a counsel for our own
sake, nor drive the sword into our own heart. For they that endeavour to
injure or, on the other hand, to benefit others, may not altogether have
the effect they desired upon them, but they do bring about good or evil
for themselves and replenish their store either of heavenly virtues or of
undisciplined affections. And these taking good angels as their
companions and fellow-travellers,[112] both here and hereafter, in all
peace and freedom from every evil, will be allotted the most blessed
inheritances for eternity and will ever be with God, the greatest good of
all; and those will forfeit at once the peace of God and their own peace,
and both here and after death will be handed over to tormenting demons.
Let us then not repel those who return, but gladly welcome them and
number them with those who have not strayed, and thus supply that which
is wanting[113] in them.

                        To Domitius and Didymus
                        (Eus., _H. E._ vii. 11)
                      (_Part of an Easter Letter_)

(1) It is superfluous to mention by name the many members of our body,
who are unknown to you: but you should know that men and women, young and
old, soldiers[114] and civilians, every class and age, some by the
scourge and fire and some by the sword have conquered in the fight and
carried off their crowns, while with some even a very long period did not
prove sufficient to show them acceptable to the Lord (as martyrs), as in
fact seems to be the case even now with me.[115] Wherefore I have been
put off until a time which He Himself knows to be the right one by Him
who saith: “In a time acceptable I heard thee, and in the day of
salvation I succoured thee.”[116] For since you inquire and wish to be
informed how we fare, by all means hear our experiences: how that when we
were being led away prisoners by a centurion and duumviri[117] with their
soldiers and servants, viz. myself and Gaius, Faustus, Peter and Paul,
certain of the inhabitants of the Mareotis came upon us, and with
violence dragged us off against our will and in spite of our
protests.[118] And now I with Gaius and Peter only, deprived of the
company of the other brethren,[119] am shut in a desolate and dreary part
of Libya, three days’ journey from Parætonium.[120]

And further on he says—

(2) In the city there have concealed themselves, secretly looking after
the brethren, from among the presbyters Maximus,[121] Dioscorus,
Demetrius and Lucius (for Faustinus and Aquila, who were better known in
the world, are wandering in other parts of Egypt), and of the deacons
Faustus, Eusebius and Chæremon, who survived those who perished in the
pestilence.[122] Eusebius was he whom from the beginning God strengthened
and inspired to perform many services for the confessors in prison with
all energy, and to carry out at no small risk the last offices for the
perfect[123] and blessed martyrs in decking out their bodies (for
burial). For up till now the Prefect does not cease from cruelly slaying
some of those who are brought before him, as I have already said, and
from tearing others in pieces with instruments of torture, while he
crushes the spirits of others again with chains and imprisonment,
forbidding any to visit them and making search lest any should be found
doing so. Nevertheless, God gives them some respite from their miseries
through the zeal and steadfast efforts of the brethren.

                              To Hermammon
                     (Eus., _H. E._ vii. 1, 10, 23)
                   (_Part of another Easter Letter_)

(1) Even Gallus[124] did not know the flaw in Decius’s policy, nor did he
foresee what it was that upset him, but stumbled over the same stone that
was right before his eyes. For, though his reign was prospering and
things were going according to his mind, he drove into exile the holy men
who were interceding with God for his peace and health, with the effect
that with them he drove out also their prayers on his behalf.

So far on that point, and then again he discourses about Valerian in the
same letter—

(2) To John also it is revealed in like manner, when he says: “There was
given him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemy, and there was
given him authority and forty-two months.”[125] And both these things are
to be wondered at in the case of Valerian,[126] and of them it is
especially to be observed how his prosperity lasted so long as he was
gentle and well-disposed towards the men of God.[127] For none of the
Emperors before him were so kindly and favourably affected towards them,
not even those who were said to have been openly Christians,[128] as he
manifestly was, receiving them at the beginning in a most familiar and
friendly spirit: indeed, his whole house was filled with devout persons
and was a veritable Church of God.[129] But he was persuaded to abandon
this treatment by that tutor and chief ruler of Egyptian magicians,[130]
who instructed him to slay or persecute, as adversaries and hinderers of
his vile and detestable sorcerers, the pure and holy persons, who are and
were able to confound the devices of accursed demons by being present and
seen and merely breathing on them and uttering words,[131] while he also
incited him to perform unholy rites and detestable juggleries and
abominable sacrifices such as the killing of wretched boys and the
slaying of unhappy fathers’ children and the dividing of new-born
entrails asunder and the cutting up and mutilating of bodies which are
God’s creation,[132] in the hope that such doings would bring them Divine

And to this he adds as follows—

(3) Fine offerings at all events did Macrianus make to them (sc. the
demons) to propitiate them for the Empire which he hoped for, when, in
his former position as so-called officer in charge of the Emperor’s
general (καθόλου) accounts he entertained no reasonable (εὔλογον) nor
catholic (καθολικόν) sentiments,[133] but fell under the prophet’s curse,
who says: “Woe to those who prophesy out of their own heart and see not
the general (τὸ καθόλου) view.”[134] For he did not understand the
workings of Universal (καθόλου) Providence,[135] nor suspect the approach
of Judgment on the part of Him who is before all things and through all
things and over all things.[136] Wherefore he has become also the enemy
of His universal (καθολικῆς) Church and has alienated and estranged
himself from God’s mercy and banished himself as far as possible from his
own salvation, verifying in this his personal name.[137]

And again further on he says—

(4) For Valerian, through being persuaded to this policy by him, exposed
himself to insults and injuries according to that which was said to
Isaiah: “And these men chose their ways and their abominations which
their soul desired, and I will choose their mockings and will recompense
them their sins.”[138]

But this man (Macrianus) in his mad lust after imperial power for which
he had no qualifications, being unable to deck his own crippled body with
the imperial robes, put forward his two sons, who thus became liable for
their father’s sins.[139] For the prophecy clearly applies to them which
God spake: “visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children unto the
third and fourth generation of them that hate me.”[140] For he brought
upon his sons’ heads his own evil desires in which he had succeeded and
involved them in the consequences of his own wickedness and hatred of

Then there is a section in which he refers to the peaceful times under

(5) So after thus inciting one of the Emperors before him and attacking
the other, he speedily vanished with all his family, root and
branch,[142] whilst Gallienus was proclaimed and acknowledged by all,
being at once the old and the new Emperor, having preceded the usurpers
and remaining after them. For, in accordance with that which was spoken
to the prophet Isaiah, “behold the things predicted from the beginning
have come to pass, and new things which will now arise.”[143] For as a
cloud having overcast the sun’s rays and screened them for a while shades
it and shows itself in its stead, and then when the cloud has passed off
or been dissipated the sun which was shining before emerges and shines
forth again, so it is with Macrianus; after coming forward and gaining
access for himself to the imperial power which belonged to Gallienus, he
ceases to be, since he was of no account, and the other resumes the
position he had before. And the Empire, having cast off, as it were, its
old age and purged itself of its former badness, now bursts into greater
splendour, is seen and heard from afar and pervades the whole world.

Then in due order he indicates the date of this letter in these words—

(6) And once more it occurs to me to consider the days and years of this
period of the Empire. For I observe that the ungodly persons (I have
mentioned) after a short period of honourable mention have lost their
good name, but (Gallienus) who was more righteous and loved God
better,[144] having completed the seven years’ period, is now passing
through his ninth year:[145] therefore let us keep the Feast.[146]

                     To the Brethren in Alexandria
                        (Eus., _H. E._ vii. 22)
                   (_Part of another Easter Letter_)

(1) Other men would not think the present a time for “keeping festival:
nor, indeed, is this nor any other such a time to them; I speak not of
times obviously sorrowful, but even of such as they might consider most
joyful. In these days there are lamentations everywhere, and all are
mourning: wailings resound through the city by reason of the number of
the dead and the dying day by day. For, as it is written about the
firstborn of the Egyptians, so now also “a great cry arose: for there is
not a house in which there is not one dead.”[147] I would, indeed, there
were but one; for the things that have before now befallen us were truly
many and grievous.[148] First of all they drove us into exile and we kept
the feast then too by ourselves, persecuted and harried to death by all,
and every place where each particular affliction befel us became the
scene of our festal assembly, open country, desert, ship, inn or prison,
and our perfect[149] martyrs spent the brightest of all feasts, being
entertained in heaven above. But after this war and famine seized us,
which we endured in common with the Gentiles, having undergone alone all
the injuries they had inflicted on us and then having to share in the
evils they wrought on one another and suffered: and once more we rejoiced
in the peace of Christ, which He has given to us alone. But now after we
and they had obtained a very brief respite, this pestilence has overtaken
us, which is to them a more fearful thing than all former fears and more
terrible than any calamity whatever, and to quote an expression of an
historian of their own,[150] “a thing which alone has exceeded all men’s
expectation,” while to us it was not so much that as a discipline and a
testing no less severe than any of the rest: for it did not spare us,
though it attacked the Gentiles in great force.

To this he adds as follows—

(2) At all events most of the brethren through their love and brotherly
affection for us spared not themselves nor abandoned one another, but
without regard to their own peril visited those who fell sick, diligently
looking after and ministering to them and cheerfully shared their fate
with them, being infected with the disease from them and willingly
involving themselves in their troubles. Not a few also, after nursing
others back to recovery, died themselves, taking death over from them and
thus fulfilling in very deed the common saying, which is taken always as
a note of mere good feeling; for in their departure they became their
expiatory substitutes.[151] At all events, the very pick of our brethren
lost their lives in this way, both priests and deacons and some highly
praised ones from among the laity, so that this manner of dying does not
seem far removed from martyrdom, being the outcome of much piety and
stalwart faith. So, too, taking up the bodies of the saints on their arms
and breasts, closing their eyes and shutting their mouths, bearing them
on their shoulders and laying them out for burial, clinging to them,
embracing them, washing them, decking them out, they not long after had
the same services rendered to them; for many of the survivors followed in
their train. But the Gentiles behaved quite differently: those who were
beginning to fall sick they thrust away, and their dearest they fled
from, or cast them half dead into the roads: unburied bodies they treated
as vile refuse;[152] for they tried to avoid the spreading and
communication of the fatal disease, difficult as it was to escape for all
their scheming.

                      To Hierax an Egyptian Bishop
                        (Eus., _H. E._ vii. 21)
                   (_Part of another Easter Letter_)

But what is there surprising in its being difficult for me to correspond
even by letter with those who are sojourning at a distance, seeing that
it has proved impossible to talk even with myself and to take counsel
with my own soul? At all events, with my own kith and kin, with the
brethren of my own house and life, citizens of the same Church, I have to
communicate by letters and to get them through seems impracticable. For
it were easier for one to pass, I say not across the frontier, but even
from East to West, than to visit one part of Alexandria from another. For
that vast, pathless desert which it took Israel two generations to
traverse is not so impassable and hard to cross as the central street of
the city, nor is the sea, which they had for a carriage-road when the
waters were parted asunder to make a passage through. And our still and
waveless harbours[153] have become an image of those in the passing of
which the Egyptians were overwhelmed; for they have often appeared like
the Red Sea from the blood which was in them. And the river which flows
past the city at one time appeared drier than the waterless desert and
more parched than that which Israel crossed over when they were so
thirsty that Moses cried out and drink flowed out of the steep rock from
Him that worketh wonders:[154] and at another time it was so full as to
overflow the whole neighbourhood, both roads and fields, and to threaten
a return of the flood which occurred in the days of Noah. But in either
case it runs polluted with blood and slaughter and drowned corpses, as
under Moses it happened to Pharaoh, when the river turned to blood and
stank.[155] And what other water could cleanse all this but the water
which itself cleanseth all things?[156] How could the mighty ocean which
man cannot cross, overspread and sweep away this horrid flood? or how
could the great river that goeth out of Eden wash off the stain, though
it were to divert the four heads into which it is divided into the single
head of the Gihon?[157] or when would the air, reeking everywhere with
the evil exhalation, become pure? For such mist from the ground and
breezes from the sea, airs from the rivers and vapours from the harbours
are given off that for dew we have the impure fluids of corpses rotting
in all their component elements. After all this do men wonder, are they
at a loss, whence come the continual pestilences, whence the dire
diseases, whence the divers ravages, whence the wholesale destruction of
life, why the largest city no longer contains in it its former multitude
of inhabitants, from infant children to the most advanced in years, whom
it used to nourish in other days to a green old age,[158] as the saying
went, whereas these from forty up to seventy years of age were so much
more numerous then that their number is not now reached even when all
from fourteen to eighty are enrolled and put together for the public
distribution of food,[159] and thus those whose looks show them to be
quite young have become as it were of equal age with those who have long
been advanced in years. And though they see the race of man on earth thus
dwindling ever and being exhausted, they do not tremble,[160] as its
total extinction proceeds and draws near.

                     (_From another Easter Letter_)

[This fragment is given in the _Sacra Parallela Rupefucald._, fol. 70 and
71, where it is ascribed to Dionysius’s “Fourth Easter Letter.” It is by
no means clear which Letter is meant, but the main thought (of the
cunning devices by which Love wins its way) is quaintly beautiful and
well worthy of our author]

Love leaps out in utmost eagerness to confer some benefit even on an
unwilling object: yea, often on one who shrinks in shame and tries to
shun kind treatment from dislike of being burdensome to another, and
would fain put up with his annoyances alone, in order not to cause
trouble and inconvenience to any. He that is full of Love craves leave to
suffer and endure: to be in evil case, he thinks, gives opportunity for
being helped, and he will do the greatest favour to another, not himself,
if through that other the evil, which is his own, is made to cease.[161]

   To Basilides, Bishop of the Churches in the Pentapolis (Cyrenaica)

[This canonical Letter was accepted at the third Council of
Constantinople _in Trullo_ (A.D. 680)]

Dionysius to Basilides my beloved son and brother and godly
fellow-worker, greeting in the Lord.

(1) You sent to me, my most faithful and learned son, to inquire at what
hour one ought to end the fast before Easter.[162] For you say that some
of the brethren maintain one should do so at cockcrow:[163] and some at
evening.[164] For the brethren in Rome, so they say, await the cockcrow:
but concerning those in the Pentapolis you said they broke the fast
sooner. And you ask me to set an exact limit and a definite hour, which
is both difficult and risky. For it will be acknowledged by all alike
that one ought to start the feast and the gladness after the time of our
Lord’s resurrection, up till then humbling our souls with fastings. But
by what you have written to me, you have quite soundly and with a good
insight into the Divine Gospels established the fact that nothing
definite appears in them about the hour at which He rose. For the
Evangelists described those that came to the tomb diversely—that is, at
different times, and all[165] said that they have found the Lord already
risen: it was “late on the Sabbath day,” as S. Matthew puts it:[166] and
“early while it was yet dark,” as S. John writes; and “at early dawn,” as
S. Luke; and “very early ... when the sun was risen,” as S. Mark. And
when He rose, no one has clearly stated; but that “late on the Sabbath
day, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week,” about
sunrise on that day those who arrived at the tomb found Him no longer
lying in it, that is agreed to. And we must not imagine that the
evangelists are at variance and contradict one another: but even if there
seem to be some small dispute upon the matter of your inquiry—that is, if
though all agree that the Light of the world[167] our Lord arose on that
night, they differ about the hour, yet let us be anxious fairly and
faithfully to harmonize what is said.

What is said, then, by Matthew runs thus: “Late on the Sabbath day, as it
began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and
the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great
earthquake: for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and
rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was as
lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the
watchers did quake and became as dead men. And the angel answered and
said unto the women, Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus which
hath been crucified. He is not here; for he is risen, even as he said.”
As to this word which he uses for “late,” some will think, in accordance
with its common acceptation, that the evening of the Sabbath is
signified; but others, understanding it more scientifically, will say it
is not that, but “the dead of night,” the word used signifying an
advanced stage of lateness.[168] And because he means night and not
evening, he adds “as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week”
and (the women) had not yet come, as the rest say, “bringing spices” but
“to see the sepulchre.”[169] And they found the earthquake had occurred
and the angel seated on the stone, and heard from him the words: “He is
not here: he is risen.” Similarly, John says: “On the first day of the
week came Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the tomb, and
seeth the stone taken away from the tomb.” However, by this account,
“when it was still dark” although towards dawn, He had gone forth from
the tomb. But Luke says: “On the Sabbath they rested according to the
commandment. But on the first day of the week at early dawn (the women)
came unto the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they
found the stone rolled away from the tomb.” “Early dawn” indicates,
perchance, the morning light appearing before (the sun itself) on “the
first day of the week.” In consequence, it was when the Sabbath had now
completely passed, with the night that followed, and when a new day was
beginning that they came bringing the spices and ointments, by which time
it is clear that He had risen long before. To this, also, corresponds
what Mark says: “(The women) brought spices that they might come and
anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week they come to the
tomb, when the sun was risen.” For he, too, says “very early,” which is
the same thing as “at early dawn”: and he has added, “when the sun was
risen.” For their start and their journey began, it is clear, “at early
dawn” and “very early”: but they had gone on spending time both on the
road and around the tomb until sunrise. And on this occasion also[170]
the white robed young man says to these women: “He is risen: he is not

As things stand thus, we pronounce this decision for those who inquire to
a nicety at what hour or what half-hour, or quarter of an hour, they
should begin their rejoicing at the Resurrection of our Lord from the
dead: those who are premature and relax before midnight, though near it,
we censure as remiss and wanting in self-restraint; for they drop out of
the race just before the end, as the wise man says: “that which is within
a little in life is not little.”[171] And those who put off and endure to
the furthest and persevere till the fourth watch, when our Saviour
appeared to those who were sailing also, walking on the sea,[172] we
shall approve as generous and painstaking. And those midway who stop as
they were moved or as they were able, let us not treat altogether
severely. For all do not continue during the six days of the fast either
equally or similarly:[173] but some remain without food till
cockcrow[174] on all the days, some on two, or three, or four, and some
on none of them. And for those who strictly persist in these prolonged
fasts and then are distressed and almost faint, there is pardon if they
take something sooner. But if some, so far from prolonging their fast do
not fast at all, but feed luxuriously during the earlier days of the
week, and then, when they come to the last two and prolong their fast on
them alone, viz. on Friday and Saturday, think they are performing some
great feat by continuing till dawn, I do not hold that they have
exercised an equal discipline with those who have practised it for longer
periods. I give you this counsel in accordance with my judgment in
writing on these points.

[Three rulings follow on points which it is not necessary to set out

(2) These answers I give you from respect for you, beloved, not because
you were ignorant of the subjects of your inquiry but to render us of one
mind and soul[175] with yourself, as indeed we are. And I have set forth
my opinion for you to share not as a teacher but as it becomes us to
discuss one with another in all simplicity: and when you have considered
it again, my most sagacious son, you should write again and tell me
whatever seems to you better or what you judge to be as I have said.

I pray that you may prosper, my beloved son, as you minister to the
Lord[176] in peace.


                           “On the Promises”
                     (Eus., _H. E._ vii. 24 and 25)

(1) Seeing that they bring forward a composition of Nepos,[177] on which
they rely too much as showing irrefutably that the Kingdom of Christ will
be on earth, though I accept and love Nepos for many other things, his
faith, his laboriousness, his study of the Scriptures, and the many
psalms he has written,[178] by which already many of the brethren are
encouraged, and though I hold him in all the greater respect because he
has gone to his rest before us, yet the truth is so dear to me and to be
preferred that I can indeed applaud and give my full assent to right
propositions, but must examine and correct whatever appears to be
unsoundly stated. And if he were still with us and propounding his views
merely by word of mouth, a discussion without writing would have sufficed
to persuade and convince our opponents by way of question and answer. But
now that this writing of his is published, which many think most
convincing, and certain teachers hold the law and the prophets of no
account and have relinquished the following of the Gospels and
depreciated the Epistles of the Apostles, while they parade the teaching
of this book as if it were some great and hidden mystery and will not
allow our simpler brethren to hold any high and noble opinion either
about the glorious and truly Divine appearing of our Lord[179] or about
our rising from the dead and our gathering together and being made like
unto Him,[180] but persuade them to hope for mean and passing enjoyments
like the present in the Kingdom of God, it is necessary that we also
should discuss the matter with our brother Nepos as if he were still

Further on he adds—

(2) So being in the district of Arsenoe, where, as you know,[181] this
teaching prevailed long before, so that both schisms and the defection of
whole churches have occurred, I called together the presbyters and
teachers[182] among the brethren in the villages, such of the brethren as
wished being also present, and invited them publicly to make an
examination of the matter. And when some brought forward against me this
book as an impregnable weapon and bulwark, I sat with them three days in
succession from dawn till evening and tried to correct the statements
made. During which time I was much struck with the steadiness, the desire
for truth, the aptness in following an argument and the intelligence
displayed by the brethren, whilst we put our questions and difficulties
and points of agreement in an orderly and reasonable manner, avoiding the
mistake of holding jealously at any cost to what we had once thought,
even though it should now be shown to be wrong, and yet not suppressing
what we had to say on the other side, but, as far as possible, attempting
to grapple with and master the propositions in hand without being ashamed
to change one’s opinion and yield assent if the argument convinced us;
conscientiously and unfeignedly, with hearts spread open before God,
accepting what was established by the exposition and teaching of the holy

At last the champion and mouthpiece of this doctrine, the man called
Coracion,[183] in the hearing of all the brethren that were present
agreed and testified to us that he would no longer adhere to it nor
discourse upon it nor yet mention nor teach it, on the ground that he had
been convinced by what had been said against it. And of the rest of the
brethren some rejoiced at the conference and the reconciliation and
harmonious arrangement which was brought about by it between all parties.

Further on he says this about the Revelation of John—

(3) Certain people[184] therefore before now discredited and altogether
repudiated the book, both examining it chapter by chapter and declaring
it unintelligible and inconclusive and that it makes a false statement in
its title.[185] For they say it is not John’s, no nor yet a “Revelation,”
because of the heavy, thick veil of obscurity which covers it:[186] and
not only is the author of this book not one of the Apostles but he is not
even one of the saints nor a churchman at all;[187] it is Cerinthus,[188]
the founder of the heresy that was called Cerinthian from him, and he
desired to attribute his own composition to a name that would carry
weight. For the substance of his teaching was this, that Christ’s Kingdom
will be on earth, and he dreams that it will be concerned with things
after which he himself, being fond of bodily pleasures and very sensual,
hankered, such as the satisfying of his belly and lower lusts, that is
eating and drinking and marrying and such means as he thought would
provide him more decorously with these pleasures, feasts and sacrifices
and the slaying of victims. I should not myself venture to reject the
book, seeing that many brethren hold it in high esteem, but, reckoning
the decision about it to be beyond my powers of mind, I consider the
interpreting of its various contents to be recondite and matter for much
wonder. For without fully understanding, I yet surmise that some deeper
meaning underlies the words, not measuring and judging them by
calculations of my own; but giving the preference to faith,[189] I have
come to the conclusion that they are too high for me to comprehend, and
so I do not reject what I have not taken in, but can only wonder at these
visions which I have not even seen (much less understood).

Besides this, after examining the book as a whole and showing that it is
impossible to understand it in its literal sense, he proceeds—

(4) So having completed practically the whole prophecy, the prophet[190]
pronounces a blessing on those who keep it and indeed on himself also:
for “blessed,” saith he, “is he that observeth the words of the prophecy
of this book and I John who saw and heard these things.”[191] That he was
called John, therefore, and that the writing is John’s I will not
dispute. For I agree that it is the work of some holy and inspired person
but I should not readily assent to his being the Apostle, the son of
Zebedee, the brother of James, whose is the Gospel entitled “According to
John” and the General Epistle.[192] For I conclude that he is not the
same (1) from the character of each, (2) from the style of the language
and (3) from what may be called the arrangement of the book. For the
Evangelist nowhere inserts his name nor yet proclaims himself either in
the Gospel or in the Epistle....

(5) But John nowhere speaks either in the first or in the third person
about himself, whereas he that wrote the Revelation straightway at the
beginning puts himself forward: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which he
gave him to show to his servants speedily, and he sent and signified (it)
by his angel to his servant John who bare witness of the word of God and
of his testimony, even of all things that he saw.”[193]

Then he also writes an Epistle: “John to the seven churches that are in
Asia, grace to you and peace.”[194] Whereas the Evangelist did not put
his name even at the head of the Catholic Epistle but began with the
mystery of the Divine revelation[195] without any superfluous words:
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have
seen with our eyes.”[196]

For it is over this revelation that the Lord also pronounced Peter
blessed, saying: “Blessed art thou Simon bar Jona, because flesh and
blood did not reveal it to thee, but my heavenly Father.”[197] Nay, even
in the second and third extant Epistles of John, short though they are,
John does not appear by name but he writes himself “the elder”
anonymously. Whereas our author did not even consider it sufficient to
mention himself by name once and then proceed with his subject, but he
repeats the name again, “I John, your brother and partaker with you in
the tribulation and kingdom and in the patience of Jesus, was in the isle
that is called Patmos for the word of God and the testimony of
Jesus.”[198] In fact, at the end also he says this: “Blessed is he that
observeth the words of the prophecy of this book and I John who saw and
heard these things.”[199] That he which wrote these things, therefore, is
John, we must believe as he says so: but which John is not clear. For he
does not say, as in many places in the Gospel, that he is the disciple
beloved of the Lord, nor the one that reclined on His breast, nor yet the
brother of James, nor yet the one that was the eyewitness and hearer of
the Lord. Surely he would have used one of the aforesaid descriptions,
when desirous of clearly identifying himself. And yet he does nothing of
the kind, but calls himself our brother and partaker with us, and witness
of Jesus and blessed for the seeing and hearing of the revelations. I
suppose that many bore the same name as John the Apostle, who by reason
of their love towards him and from their admiration and emulation of him
and desire to be loved by the Lord like him, were glad to bear the same
name with him, even as many a one among the children of the faithful is
called Paul or Peter.[200] There is then another John also in the Acts of
the Apostles, the one called Mark whom Barnabas and Paul took with them
and of whom it says again: “And they had John as their attendant.”[201]
But as to whether he is the writer, I should say no. For it is not
written that he arrived in Asia with them, but “Paul and his company,” it
says, “set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia; and John
departed from them and returned to Jerusalem.”[202] And I think there was
yet another among those who were in Asia, since they say there were two
tombs in Ephesus and each of them are said to be the tomb of John.[203]

Again, from the thoughts and from the actual words and their arrangement
this John may be reasonably reckoned different from the other.[204] For
the Gospel and the Epistle agree with each other and begin in a similar
way. The one says “In the beginning was the Word:” and the other “That
which was from the beginning.” The one says “And the Word became flesh
and tabernacled in us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the
Only-begotten from the Father:” the other uses the same or almost
equivalent expressions, “That which we have heard, that which we have
seen with our eyes, that which we beheld and our hands handled concerning
the Word of Life, and the Life was manifested.”[205] For he starts in
this way because he is dealing, as he shows in what follows, with those
who say that the Lord has not come in the flesh.[206] For which reason he
is careful to add also: “And we have seen and bear witness and announce
unto you the eternal Life which was with the Father and was manifested
unto us. That which we have seen and heard we announce also unto
you.”[207] He is consistent with himself and does not diverge from his
own propositions, but treats them throughout under the same heads and in
the same terms, of which we will briefly recall; for instance, the
attentive reader will find in each book frequent mention of the Life, the
Light, the turning from darkness,[208] constant reference to the Truth,
Grace, Joy, the Flesh and the Blood of the Lord, the Judgment, the
Forgiveness of sins, the Love of God towards us, the command to us to
love one another and that we must keep all the commandments: again there
is the conviction of the world, of the devil, of the antichrist, God’s
adoption of us as Sons, the Faith, which is everywhere required of us,
the Father and the Son everywhere: and generally throughout in describing
the character of the Gospel and the Epistle one and the same complexion
is to be observed in both. But the Revelation is quite different from
them, foreign, out of touch and affinity with them, not having, one might
almost say, one syllable in common. The Epistle contains no reminiscence
nor subject dealt with in the Revelation nor the Revelation in the
Epistle (to say nothing of the Gospel), whereas Paul in his Epistles did
give some indication even about those revelations which he has not
actually described.[209]

And yet once more one can estimate the difference between the Gospel and
Epistle and the Revelation[210] from the literary style. For the first
two books are not only written in irreproachable Greek, but are also most
elegant in their phrases, reasonings and arrangements of expression. No
trace can be found in them of barbarous words, faulty construction or
peculiarities in general. For St. John seems to have possessed both
words, the Lord having graciously vouchsafed them to him; viz. both the
word and knowledge of the word of speech.[211] That this John had seen a
Revelation and received knowledge and the gift of prophecy,[212] I do not
deny, but I observe his dialect and inaccurate Greek style, which employs
barbaric idioms and sometimes even faulty constructions, which it is not
now necessary to expose. For I have not mentioned this in order to scoff,
let no one think so, but simply to point out the dissimilarity of the

                              “On Nature”
                    (Eus., _Præp. Evang._ xiv. 23-7)

(1) How shall we bear with them when they say that the wise and, for that
reason, the good productions of Creation are the results of chance
coincidences?[213] Each of which as it came into being by itself appeared
to Him that ordered it to be good and all of them together equally so.

For God “saw,” it says, “all things that he had made, and behold they
were very good.”[214] And yet they take no warning from the small,
ordinary instances at their feet, from which they may learn[215] that no
necessary and profitable work is produced without design or haphazard,
but is adapted to its proper purpose by handiwork, whereas when it falls
into a useless and unprofitable state, it then breaks up and comes to
pieces indefinite, and, as it chances, because the wisdom which was
concerned in its construction no longer superintends and directs it. For
a garment is not woven by the woof standing up without a weaver, nor yet
by the warp weaving itself of its own accord: but when it is becoming
worn out, the torn rags fall asunder. And a house or a city is built not
by receiving certain stones which volunteer for the foundations and
others which jump into the courses of the walls, but because the builder
brings the stones that fit in the proper order: but when the building is
thrown down, each stone falls to the ground just as it may. So, too, when
a ship is being built, the keel does not set itself below, while the mast
raises itself in the middle and each of the other timbers takes the place
which it chances to of itself. Nor, again, do the planks of a wagon—said
to be 100[216] in number—become fixed in the position which each found
empty; but the builder in each case puts the timber together suitably.
But if the ship, when it went upon the sea, or the wagon, when it was
driven along on land, comes to pieces, the timbers are scattered wherever
it may happen—in the one case by the waves, in the other by the violent

In the same way it would befit them to say that the atoms also which are
inoperative when they are at rest and not worked by hands, are also
useless when they move at random.[217] For let these opponents of ours
look to these viewless atoms of theirs and apply their minds to these
mindless ones, not like the Psalmist who confesses that this was revealed
to him by God alone: “Mine eyes beheld thy unfinished work.”[218] So,
too, when they say that those fine webs which they speak of as being
produced from atoms, are self-wrought by them without skill or sensation,
who can bear to hear of these weaver atoms whom even the spider excels in
skill when he spins his web out of himself.[219]

(2) Who, then, is it that discriminates between the atoms, gathering or
scattering them, and arranging some in this way to make the sun and
others in that way for the moon, and putting each of them together
according to the light-giving power of each star? For the particular
number and kind that made the sun by being united in a particular way
would never have condescended to produce the moon, nor would the
intertwinings of the moon atoms have ever become the sun. Moreover, even
Arcturus, bright as he is, would never plume himself on having the atoms
of Lucifer, nor the Pleiads those of Orion. For Paul has well
distinguished when he says: “There is one glory of the sun, and another
glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for star differeth
from star in glory.”[220] And if the combination of the atoms, as being
soulless, was unintelligent, they needed an intelligent artist to put
them together: and if their junction was without purpose and the result
of necessity, they being void of reason, some wise herdsman drove them
together and presided over them: and if they have been linked together
voluntarily to do willing service, some wonderful master-craftsman
assigned them their parts and took the lead; or, like an expert general,
he did not leave his army disordered and all in a muddle, but disposed
the cavalry in one part and the heavy armed troops apart, and the javelin
men by themselves and the slingers where they ought to be, in order that
those who carried the same weapon might help one another. And if they
think this illustration ridiculous because in it I make a comparison of
great bodies with small, we will come down to the very smallest.

[Eusebius’s extract breaks off here.]

(3) If the atoms have no ruler over them, to speak to them or to choose
or to arrange them, but they move, settling themselves of their own
accord out of the big rushing tumult and producing a big uproar as they
clash together, like coming to like without the Divine intervention of
which the poet speaks,[221] and if they run and herd together,
recognizing their kinsfolk, truly the republic of the atoms is a
marvellous one, friends greeting and embracing one another and hasting to
take up their abode in one habitation: some have rounded themselves off
spontaneously into the sun, that mighty orb, that they may produce the
day, and some perchance have flared up into the many pyramids[222] of
stars that they may encircle the whole expanse of sky, while others are
ranged around it, in order that they may—albeit undesignedly—form the
firmament[223] and arch the atmosphere over for the graduated ascent of
the stars, and that the confederation of these helter-skelter atoms may
choose their abodes and apportion the sky as homes and stations for

(4) So far are these deniers of Divine Providence from comprehending the
invisible parts of the universe that they do not even see what is
visible. For they appear not even to consider the ordered risings and
settings of the sun, conspicuous though they be, let alone those of the
other heavenly bodies; nor yet to appreciate the assistance thus given to
mankind through them, the day being lighted up for work and the night
being darkened for rest. For man shall go forth, it says, to his work and
his labour until the evening.[224] But they do not even take note of its
other[225] revolution, by which it brings about the fixed times and fair
seasons and the regular winter and summer solstices, under guidance of
its component atoms. Yet however much these poor creatures dislike it, it
is as the righteous[226] believe: Great is the Lord that made him: and at
His word he hasteneth his course.[227] Do atoms, ye blind, bring you
winter and rains, in order that the earth may produce food for you and
all the animals upon it? do they introduce summer that ye may receive for
your enjoyment the fruits of the trees also? then why do you not bow down
and sacrifice to the atoms that are the guardians of earth’s fruits?
ungrateful truly ye are, never offering them the smallest firstfruits of
the many gifts ye have from them.

(5) The many-tribed and much-mixed populace of the stars which the
much-roving and ever-scattered atoms composed have (they say) apportioned
among themselves their places according to agreement, setting up, as it
were, a colony or a community,[228] without any founder or controller
taking the lead over them: and they observe the duties of
_neighbourliness_ to one another by compact and peacably, not
transgressing the original bounds which they accepted, as if they were
under the jurisdiction of such atoms as had regal power. But the atoms do
not rule; how could they, being of no account? Nay, listen to the Divine
announcement (λόγια): “In the judgment of the Lord are his works from the
beginning; and from the making of them he disposed the parts thereof. He
garnished his works for ever and the beginnings of them unto their

(6) What well-ordered phalanx ever traversed an earthly plain, no one
stepping in front of others, nor falling out of the ranks, nor
obstructing his comrades, nor falling behind them, in the way that the
stars advance ever in regular order, shield locked in shield—that
continuous, unwavering, unencumbered and unembarrassed host? Yet certain
obscure deviations (we are told) arise among them through clashings and
sideward motions:[230] and that they who devote themselves to their study
can always tell the seasons and foresee the positions at which they will
rise. Let, then, these cutters[231] of the uncuttable and dividers of the
indivisible and combiners of the uncombined and discerners of the
infinite tell us by what means occurs the encompassing journey round the
heavens in company? it cannot be because a single combination of atoms
has been without purpose hurled as from a sling in this way, seeing that
the whole encircling band goes on its regular rhythmic way and whirls
around together; by what means those multitudinous fellow-voyagers
proceed in company albeit they are without arrangement or purpose and
unknown to one another? Well did the prophet include amongst things
impossible and undemonstrable that two strangers should run in company:
Shall two walk at all together, he says, unless they are acquainted?[232]

(7) (That to work is not toilsome to God.)

To work and to administer and to benefit and to provide and the like are
perchance vexatious to the idle and thoughtless and feeble and
iniquitous, amongst whom Epicurus enrolled himself, when he conceived
such ideas about the gods. But to the earnest and capable and intelligent
and sober-minded, such as those who love wisdom (or philosophers) ought
to be (and how much more the gods?), they are not only not unpleasing and
irksome but rather most delightful and of all things most agreeable; for
negligence and delay in doing something useful is a reproach to them, as
the poet[233] warns them,[234] when he counsels: “Put not off till the
morrow,” and further threatens them: “He that procrastinates hath ever to
struggle against disasters,” while the prophet[235] instructs us still
more solemnly when he says that virtuous deeds are truly godlike, but he
that despises them is detestable: “for,” saith he, “cursed be he that
doeth the works of the Lord negligently.” Consequently, while those who
are untaught in any craft and are imperfect from want of practice and
familiarity with the processes do find toil involved in their endeavours,
those who make progress in it, and still more those who have reached
perfection, are cheered by their easy success in what they aim at, and
would rather accomplish and bring to completion the tasks they are
accustomed to than have all the good things of mankind. At all events,
Democritus himself, so they say, used to maintain that he would rather
discover a single reason for a fact than gain the Persian kingdom;[236]
and that though he seeks his reasons so vainly and unreasonably, starting
as it were from a void beginning and a roving hypothesis and not
observing that fundamental Necessity[237] which is common to the nature
of things existent, but considering his conception of senseless and
mindless contingencies to be the highest wisdom of setting up Chance as
the mistress and queen of things universal and even of things divine, and
maintaining that all things occur through her, and yet warning her off
from matters of human life and conduct and accusing those who give her
precedence there to be devoid of judgment. At all events, at the
beginning of the “Precepts,”[238] he says: “Men have fashioned the figure
of Chance, as a cloke for their own folly: for by nature chance fights
against judgement.” Thus they (the Epicureans) have said that this very
Chance, the great enemy of intelligence, yet has the mastery over it; or,
rather, by utterly uprooting and abolishing the one, they set up the
other in its place: for they sing not of intelligence as happy, but of
chance as the equivalent of intelligence.[239] So, then, those who
superintend works of beneficence pride themselves in measures which
advance the interests of their kind, some as rearers of families, some as
directors of institutions, some as healers of men’s bodies, some as
ministers of state, yes, and those who love wisdom (philosophers) and try
hard to instruct their fellows, likewise give themselves great
airs—unless Epicurus or Democritus will venture to maintain that
philosophizing is mere vexation of spirit: but surely there is no
pleasure they would prefer to it. For even though they reckon pleasure to
be the absolute good, yet they will be ashamed to say that to
philosophize (seek wisdom) is not one of the higher forms of
pleasure.[240] And as to the gods, about whom the poets among them sing
as “givers of good gifts”[241] and these philosophers combine respect
with banter,—the gods neither give nor partake of any good things. And in
what manner do they find evidence that gods exist? for they do not see
them before their eyes doing anything (even as those who admired the sun
and the moon and the stars said they were called gods (θεοί) because they
run (θέειν) their course); nor do they attribute to them any creative or
constructive powers, in order that they make them gods from the word
θεῖναι (set, _i. e._ make):[242] and on that ground the Maker and Creator
of all things is truly the only God; nor do they put forward their
management or jurisdiction or favours towards men, in order that we may
be induced to worship them from motives of fear or reverence.

                        “Refutation and Defence”
                     (Eus., _Præp. Evang._ vii. 19)

(1) They are not pious, who hand over matter to God as a thing without
beginning for His orderly disposition,[243] maintaining that, being
subject to treatment and change, it yields to the modifications imposed
by God. For they should explain how both the like and the unlike belong
both to God and to matter. For some one must be imagined superior to
either,[244] and that may not be entertained about God. For whence came
it that there is in them both the being without beginning, which is what
is said to be “like” in both and which is also conceived of as different
from both?[245] For if God is of Himself without beginning and the being
without beginning is, as some would say, His very essence, matter will
not be without beginning, too: for matter and God are not identical. But,
if each is what it is independently, and to both belongs in addition the
property of being without beginning, it is clear that the being without
beginning is different from either and older and higher than both. And
thus the difference between their opposing states is entirely subversive
of their co-existence, or rather of the one, viz. matter existing of
itself. Otherwise let them state the reason why, both being without
beginning, God is not subject to treatment, unchangeable, immovable,
productive, and matter is the opposite, subject to treatment, changeable,
mobile, varying.

Again, how is it that God and matter came in contact and combined? Was it
that God adapted Himself to match the nature of matter and exercised His
craft upon it? Nay, that is absurd that God, like men, should work in
gold and stone and busy Himself in the other handicrafts which the
various materials can give shape and form to.[246]

But if God endowed matter with the qualities which He in His own wisdom
determined, impressing on it as with a seal the multiform and diverse
shape and fashion of His own workmanship, this account of it is both
proper and true, and yet further proves that God, who is the fundamental
principle on which the universe exists, is without beginning. For to its
being (according to them) without beginning God add its bearing certain
qualities. So, then, there is still much to be said in answer to these
views, but we do not propose to say it now. Nevertheless they are
expressed with more propriety than those who are absolutely atheistical

(2) (Athan., _de sent. Dion._, 18). However, when I spoke of certain
things that had an origin (γενητά) and certain things that were made
(ποιητά), I did indeed casually mention examples of such things,
recognizing that they were not altogether useful for my purpose: for
instance, I said that neither was the plant the same as the husbandman,
nor the boat as the shipwright. But afterwards I dwelt at length on those
which were more to the point and cognate to the subject, and went more
into detail about these truer examples, seeking out various additional
evidences which I set out for you[248] also in another letter: and in
them I refuted as false the accusation also which they bring against me,
as not stating that Christ is of one substance (ὁµοούσιος)[249] with the
Father. For even if I say[250] that this word is not found nor read
anywhere in Holy Writ, yet these later attempts of mine to explain which
they have ignored are not inconsistent with this conception. For I
compared human generation, which is clearly a transmission of the
parents’ own nature (ὁµογενής), saying that the parents were different
from their children in this single point, that they were not themselves
the children: or else it must needs be that neither parents nor children
should exist. The letter itself I cannot, as I have said before, owing to
circumstances,[251] lay my hand on: otherwise I would have sent you my
exact words, or rather a copy of the whole letter: and I will do so, if I
have the opportunity. But I know from memory that I added several
illustrations from things kindred to one another: for instance, I said
that a plant coming up from a seed or a root was different from that
whence it sprang and yet was absolutely of one nature (ὁµοφυές) with it:
and a river flowing from a source partakes of a different shape and name;
for neither is the source called river nor the river source, and both
these things exist,[252] and the source is, in a sense, the father and
the river is the water from the source. But these and similar remarks
they pretend never to have seen written, but act as if they were blind.
They only try to pelt me from afar[253] with those poor ill-fitting
phrases of mine[254] as with stones, failing to recognize that where a
subject is obscure and requires to be brought within our understanding,
not only do diverse but even quite contradictory illustrations convey the
meaning sought for.

(3) (_Ibid._, 17.) It has been already said that God is the Fountain of
all good things: and the Son is described[255] as the stream flowing
forth from Him. For the Word is “the effluence” of mind, and, to use
human phraseology, is conveyed from the heart through the mouth, _i. e._
the mind that finds expression by means of the tongue, being
differentiated from the word in the heart. For the one having sent it
forth remains and is still what it was; but the other being sent forth
issues and is carried in all directions: and thus each is in each, being
different one from the other: and they are one, being two. And it was in
this way that the Father and the Son also were said to be one and in one

Each of the titles employed by me is indivisible and inseparable from its
neighbour. I spoke of the Father, and before introducing the Son I
implied Him, too, in the Father. I introduced the Son: even if I had not
already mentioned the Father He would, of course, have been presupposed
in the Son. I added the Holy Spirit: but at the same time I intimated
both from Whom and through Whom[257] He came. But they are not aware that
the Father is not separated from the Son _qua_ Father—for the title
(Father) is suggestive of such connexion (as Son with Father)—nor is the
Son cut off from the Father; for the appellation “Father” denotes their
common bond. And the Spirit is the object of their dealings,[258] being
incapable of desertion by either Him that sends, or Him that conveys. How
then can I, who use these titles, hold that They are wholly divided and

(4) (_Ibid._, 23). For, as our mind overflows with speech[260] of itself,
as says the prophet: “My heart overfloweth with good speech,”[261] and
each is diverse from the other, each occupying its proper place distinct
from the other, the one dwelling and moving in the heart and the other on
the tongue and in the mouth, and yet they are not entirely unconnected
nor deprived of one another; the mind is not speechless, nor the speech
mindless, but the mind produces the speech, revealing itself thereby; and
the speech shows the mind, having been gendered therein; the mind is, as
it were, the inlying speech and the speech is the issuing mind; the mind
is transferred into the speech and the speech displays[262] the mind to
the hearers; and thus the mind through the speech gains a lodgment in the
souls of those that hear, entering together with the speech, and the mind
is, as it were, the father of the speech, having an independent existence
withal; and the speech is, as it were, the son of the mind, being an
impossibility prior to the mind, yet brought into association with it
from any outside source, but springing from the mind; even so the Father,
who is the Almighty and Universal Mind, has the Son, the Word as the
Interpreter and Messenger of Himself.

                       Additional Note to p. 12.

Jerome (in his letter _ad Evangelum_) is responsible for the assertion
that Dionysius was the last who, in accordance with the original custom
of the Church of Alexandria, was nominated as Bishop by his
fellow-presbyters there. Subsequently the Bishop was chosen (at least in
theory) by the whole body of the faithful in the diocese, as in other
parts of Christendom. Jerome’s words do not seem to include consecration
also by a fresh laying of hands by the presbytery, though Bishop
Lightfoot (_Philippians_, p. 231) inferred from certain other evidence of
a not very decisive kind that this was the case and that it was rendered
necessary at first by the Bishop of Alexandria having had no other
Bishops with him in Egypt until 190. Others hold that no fresh laying on
of hands at all had been considered necessary, which is hardly probable.
Mr. C. H. Turner (_Cambridge Medieval History_, vol. i.) has suggested
that Jerome was misled by Arians who had their own interests to serve in
making the assertion, while he himself was too ready to credit it in his
zeal to uphold the presbyterate against the arrogant claims of the Roman
deacons at that time. The present writer ventures to think that Jerome’s
statement, if correct, refers only to nomination and that an episcopal
consecrator had been found elsewhere (_e. g._ in Africa or Palestine or
Syria) for the laying on of hands as usual.


[1]In one of Eusebius’s works (the _Præparatio Evangelica_) he is quoted
   side by side with great authors like Plato and Aristotle.

[2]Most of those who read this will be aware that παῖς (Lat. _puer_) can
   be used in various senses, like our “boy” and French _garçon_.

[3]Not the Prefect of Egypt of that name mentioned by Dionysius on p. 46,
   though he did afterwards try to usurp the throne (see p. 16).

[4]For Dionysius’s share in this dispute see his letter on p. 50.

[5]Dionysius’s phrase about him on p. 66 is “tutor and chief ruler of
   Egyptian magicians”; see note 3 _in loco_.

[6]This Æmilianus was one of several who afterwards attempted to seize
   the throne; see above, p. 14. Macrianus was another of them in Egypt
   (p. 68, _n._).

[7]The office indicated seems to be the same as that of _Rationalis_
   mentioned above on p. 16.

[8]I was much assisted in drawing up this summary of περὶ Φύσεως and also
   in writing the notes upon the extracts from the text by Professor H.
   Jackson, of Cambridge fame.

[9]The particular passage, however, adduced by Procopius above is Gen.
   iii. 21.

[10]On this point C. H. Turner’s article in Hastings’s _Dictionary of the
   Bible_, Vol. V, pp. 496 f. (on Patristic Commentaries), may be

[11]The passage on Luke xxii, quoted by Dr. Sanday (_Inspiration_, p.
   36), is of very doubtful authenticity.

[12]“Martyr” in this case need not necessarily be taken strictly as
   meaning “one put to death for the Faith,” though no doubt the mediæval
   tradition was in favour of his martyrdom in that sense.

[13]It looks as if Dionysius was afraid to mention his name. Perhaps it
   was Sabinus the Prefect. The word “poet” in Greek means properly
   “maker,” and there is evidently a _double entendre_ in its use here.

[14]_i. e._ against Christ (1 Cor. xii. 3).

[15]The reference is to Heb. x. 34. It will be noticed that Dionysius
   attributes this Epistle to S. Paul, either inadvertently or in
   accordance with the Alexandrine tradition, which Origen also accepts
   (Eus., _H. E._, vi. 25).

[16]Viz. the revolt of Decius in Oct. 249.

[17]_i. e._ Philip the Arabian, who was popularly supposed to be half a

[18]The reference is obviously to Matt. xxiv. 24 (Mark xiii. 22) though
   Dionysius has substituted “cause to stumble” (σκανδαλίσαι) for “cause
   to go astray” (πλανῆσαι or ἀποπλανᾶν).

[19]The reference is very loosely to Matt. xix. 23 and 25.

[20]Viz. those who held no prominent position; the ordinary folk.

[21]Cp. Gal. ii. 9.

[22]Cp. Acts xxviii. 23 and Rev. i. 9.

[23]There is evidently an allusion here to Matt. v. 11 and Luke vi. 22.

[24]Viz. the _ungulæ_, with which the flesh was torn from the bones.

[25]Only three are mentioned in the text.

[26]_i. e._ some time between 251, when persecution ended with the death
   of Decius, and 257, when Valerian revived it.

[27]The first was a martial offence, the second a civil.

[28]_i. e._ by being allowed to follow Christ’s example.

[29]This was the _catasta_, or platform, which corresponded to our
   prisoner’s dock.

[30]Dionysius’s language recalls 2 Cor. ii. 14; Col. ii. 15 is different.

[31]Cf. Heb. xi. 38.

[32]_i. e._ they showed themselves worthy of being among the elect.

[33]A range of hills to the east of the Nile seems to have been so

[34]On the marriage of the clergy at this time, see Bingham, _Antiq._,
   IV, v. § 5.

[35]This is probably the earliest extant mention of the Saracens—at least
   by that name.

[36]The opinion that the martyrs passed at once to heaven and shared His
   throne was general among the early Fathers (see Matt. xix. 28 and 1
   Cor. vi. 2, 3).

[37]Cp. Ezek. xviii. 23, xxxiii. 11, 2 Pet. iii. 9.

[38]These expressions are not to be pressed as if they assumed episcopal

[39]Cp. Gal. i. 20.

[40]_i. e._ in October 249.

[41]The Prefect of Egypt.

[42]This was a kind of soldier employed on secret service by the emperors
   and their provincial governors.

[43]Probably his sons, though they might be his pupils or his servants.

[44]One of “the boys.”

[45]Whether Timotheus was making off to join Dionysius or was fleeing in
   another direction is not clear.

[46]Cp. Mark xiv. 52.

[47]Dionysius’s language here recalls 2 Cor. xi. 1, 17, 21 and xii. 6,

[48]Viz. Tobit xii. 7, where the best attested reading is “to reveal
   gloriously,” instead of “(it is) glorious to reveal.”

[49]The Prefect of Egypt at that time.

[50]Though Dionysius was Bishop, it is noticeable that he still
   associates himself with the presbyterate here and elsewhere; cp. 1
   Pet. v. 1, etc.

[51]Acts v. 29.

[52]Marcellus seems to be the “brother from Rome” mentioned above, and
   Eusebius is not now mentioned.

[53]The word “also” either refers to the imperial edict or suggests that
   some written communication had been sent.

[54]Viz. Valerian and his son Gallienus.

[55]Cp. 1 Tim. ii. 2; this laudable custom is often referred to in early
   Christian writings.

[56]This restriction was constantly enforced by persecuting emperors,
   because the graves of martyrs were a favourite resort for prayer and
   worship. The word cemetery (=sleeping-place) was introduced by
   Christians for graveyards.

[57]This is an indignant protest against Germanus’s charges.

[58]1 Cor. xv. 3.

[59]Col. iv. 3.

[60]Cp. Acts xii. 25.

[61]The brethren who lived on the outskirts of a city like Alexandria
   were not bound to attend the mother church, but had as it were chapels
   of ease in their own vicinities.

[62]Or perhaps “carried on” (to act as thou didst).

[63]Strictly speaking, Novatian’s withdrawal was not very likely to
   involve actual martyrdom.

[64]The word is κατόρθωµα (success); perhaps “recovery” would bring out
   the antithesis to “fall” (σφάλµα) better.

[65]Gen. xix. 17 (LXX).

[66]Another reading gives “blessed” (µακάριος), which, though less well
   supported by the MSS., makes the phrase µακαρίως ἀνεπαύσατο more

[67]This expression probably means to include the Churches of Mesopotamia
   and Osroene, besides those which he proceeds to mention below.

[68]Eusebius is mistaken in identifying this peace with the cessation of
   persecution: the reference is to the subsiding of the Novatianist
   schism in 254 which restored peace to Christendom. The surprise and
   joy were due to the violence of the language and other measures which
   the chief combatants (Stephen and Cyprian) had employed.

[69]Hadrian’s colony in Mount Sion was so named (A.D. 132). Later on the
   older and more glorious name of Jerusalem was restored to the see.

[70]Bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia († A.D. 260), and one of Origen’s
   distinguished pupils. On the baptismal controversy he sided with
   Cyprian of Carthage.

[71]The adroit reference to the wonted liberality of the Roman Church is
   to be noted: other instances are given by Salmon, _Infallibility_, p.

[72]Here again Dionysius shows his adroitness, if Benson (_Cyprian_, p.
   357) is right in thinking that the list of churches he gives suggests
   a repetition of the Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Ghost (Acts ii.
   9 f.).

[73]Cp. the letter to Dionysius, p. 58.

[74]Lev. xxiv. 13-16.

[75]The word here used represents µυστήριον, denoting the Christian
   revelation as µυστήριον often does.

[76]Cf. 1 Cor. xvi. 22 and Gal. i. 8, 9.

[77]The former are converts from heathenism, or perhaps from heresy; the
   latter Christians who have lapsed.

[78]The word here is the Greek χειροτονία in Syriac letters, and so might
   also be rendered “ordination.”

[79]The MSS. from which this extract comes state that it is from a letter
   to Dionysius and Stephanus of Rome. No such letter is otherwise known,
   and it is not likely that Stephen’s name would come second, as he was
   then bishop and Dionysius only a presbyter, though later on he became
   bishop. Possibly it is from the letter which our Dionysius tells us he
   wrote to his Roman namesake and Philemon when they were of the same
   opinion as Stephen: see p. 55. As far as the contents of the extract
   go, it is not at all incredible that Dionysius was willing to admit
   the validity of such baptisms as are specified: it was only heresies
   of a very fundamental kind which he considered to invalidate baptism.

[80]The successor to Stephanus in 257 as Bishop of Rome: he was martyred
   after one year’s reign.

[81]This was, according to Benson (_Cyprian_, p. 354), a threat which he
   did not actually carry into effect, and was only meant to restrain
   them from adopting Cyprian’s attitude on the matter.

[82]_i. e._ those of Iconium and Synnada (_circ._ 230): Dionysius may
   also be referring to the three much more recent councils which Cyprian
   had held at Carthage between 254 and 256 (_i. e._ since his letter to
   Stephen above). By this time he had by patient inquiry found out much
   more than he had known at first of what was necessary to be known
   before coming to a decision.

[83]_Cf._ 1 Cor. vi. 11 and v. 7, 8.

[84]See note on p. 54. Dionysius became afterwards Bishop of Rome in 259:
   a fragment of a letter from our Dionysius to him is printed on p. 58.
   His famous letter to our Dionysius on the Sabellian controversy is not
   included in this volume. Part of a letter to Philemon is given on p.
   56. He was a Roman Presbyter.

[85]On the north-west coast of Cyrenaica, one of the five chief cities
   which gave its name to the Libyan Pentapolis. Sabellius denied the
   three Persons in the Trinity, and held that the Person of the Father
   who is One with the Son was incarnate in Christ: see further p. 19.

[86]There seems no doubt that this is the right reading here, though most
   of the MSS. read “God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ”; but
   clearly Dionysius is only speaking of God the Father in this clause
   and of Jesus Christ in the next. See 2 Cor. i. 2, Eph. i. 3, etc.

[87]It was Dionysius’s treatment of this subject which afterwards gave
   Arius the heresiarch of Alexandria an opening for claiming his
   teaching in support of his own tenets, though there is no Arian
   suggestion, of course, in this phrase: see p. 20.

[88]Col. i. 15.

[89]Eus., _H. E._ vii. 26, mentions letters to Ammonius, Bishop of
   Bernice, Telesphorus Euphranor and Euporus in this connexion.
   Athanasius appears only to have known one joint letter to Ammonius and

[90]Dionysius seems to distinguish here two kinds of writings: (1) those
   that were based on systematic research and criticism, and (2) those
   that handed on the more traditional and less critical views and
   statements of the past.

[91]Divine interposition is more vaguely suggested above on p. 44. S.
   Augustine’s statement should also be compared, that at a critical
   moment of his conversion he heard a voice saying, “Take and read”
   (_Conf._ vii. 12, § 29); S. Polycarp likewise heard a voice from
   heaven saying, “Be strong and play the man,” as he was led into the

[92]See Introduction, p. 11.

[93]This is one of the more common apocryphal sayings usually attributed
   to our Lord: hence the epithet “apostolic” is somewhat strange.

[94]The word for “Father” here is πὰπας (pope), a colloquial form of
   πατήρ applied to any bishop (or even to one of the inferior clergy
   sometimes) in the first ages. For Heraclas see p. 11. It is to be
   noticed, however, that this canon of his dealt not with heretical
   baptism (such as Dionysius is dealing with), but with actual or
   reputed perverts, and stated the terms on which they were to be
   restored to the Church of their baptism.

[95]_i. e._ the Church in Africa Proconsularis, of which Carthage was the
   metropolis and Cyprian the metropolitan.

[96]Iconium was the chief city of Lycaonia (see Acts xiii. and xiv.), and
   Synnada was an important town in Phrygia Salutaris. These synods had
   been held some twenty-five years before (in A.D. 230).

[97]Deut. xix. 14.

[98]See above, p. 53.

[99]A confession of faith has always been required before baptism: this
   Novatian virtually ignored by his action.

[100]Here as elsewhere Dionysius shows his breadth of view about God in
   recognizing that the Holy Spirit might in some measure remain even
   with the lapsed.

[101]It is strange that so old a believer should never have noticed the
   difference before, but baptism was almost entirely confined at that
   time to Easter and Whitsuntide, and he may have always been absent.

[102]Cp. 1 Cor. xiv. 16. The Amen is either that after the Consecration
   of the Elements or at the Reception of them.

[103]“Standing” was, and is still, the posture in the East: Scudamore,
   _Not. Euch._, p. 637.

[104]A somewhat rare word for “Altar” without some descriptive epithet
   like “holy” or “mystic.”

[105]The _Consistentes_ were the last order of penitents, who were
   allowed to remain after the dismissal of the catechumens and other
   penitents, but did not join in the oblation or communion itself: cf.
   Canons of Nicæa, No. xi.

[106]The letter from which this is supposed to be an extract is said by
   Eusebius (_H. E._ vi. 46, 2) to have been on the subject of
   Repentance, and may possibly be “the instruction” which Dionysius says
   he had given on p. 42 above.

[107]Viz. under the impression that they were going to die.

[108]_i. e._ after thus pledging ourselves to them.

[109]Cf. 1 Pet. ii. 3, where Ps. xxxiii. (xxxiv.) 9 is quoted.

[110]Cf. 1 Tim. iii. 7, etc.

[111]The reference is to Luke xv. 4 ff. and Ezek. xxxiv. 6, etc.

[112]Dionysius is thinking perhaps of the story in Tobit v. 6, where
   Raphael becomes the companion of Tobit’s son Tobias on his journey.

[113]On the principle that “charity thinketh no evil ... but hopeth all
   things” (1 Cor. xiii.): similar but not identical phrases (in words or
   sense) are found 1 Cor. xvi. 17, 2 Cor. ix. 12, xi. 9, Phil. ii. 30,
   and Col. i. 24.

[114]The difficulties of soldiers becoming and remaining Christians were
   peculiarly great under the early Emperors.

[115]That is, some had not yet been called upon to be actual martyrs,
   Dionysius among them who was still in exile.

[116]Is. xlix. 8.

[117]These were the same civil officials as those mentioned in Acts vi.
   20 at Philippi, with their servants, there called lictors (ῥαβδοῦχοι):
   the soldiers belonged to the centurion, of course.

[118]This has already been described on p. 44.

[119]Including Timotheus who had been the means of his escape.

[120]A town on the coast 150 miles west of Alexandria.

[121]He and the three deacons have already been mentioned on p. 46. They
   must have left Dionysius when he went into exile and returned to

[122]“In the island,” according to Rufinus’s version, but it is not clear
   what island he means: the pestilence is probably one of those frequent
   epidemics which devastated North Africa and other districts of the

[123]The epithet “perfect,” though applied to believers generally in the
   New Testament (Matt. v. 28, etc.), was later specially used of

[124]Gallus succeeded to the empire on the death of Decius and his sons
   in 251, and reigned till 253, when it was wrested from him by Æmilian,
   who was in turn ousted by Valerian after four months’ rule. Dionysius
   makes no mention of this episode, though he does of Macrian’s attempt

[125]The quotation is from Rev. xiii. 5, but the last words follow a
   reading which has no support in the MSS. It should also be noticed
   that Dionysius does not think it at all certain that the author of the
   Revelation is the Evangelist: see p. 86.

[126]Valerian reigned from 253 till his disappearance in 260. The
   duration of the persecution was forty-two months, from before
   midsummer 257 till late in 260.

[127]Here the expression means Christians generally, not prophets or
   clergy as often.

[128]Alexander Severus and Philip the Arabian are no doubt meant.

[129]Compare such expressions in S. Paul’s letters as Rom. xvi. 5, 1 Cor.
   xvi. 11, etc.

[130]No doubt Macrianus is meant, who is mentioned further on, but it is
   difficult to account for the exact epithets which Dionysius here
   applies to him. Apparently he had been Valerian’s tutor in some kind
   of magic, and had allied himself somehow with the Jewish colony in
   Alexandria (hence ἀρχισυνάγωγος), who would, of course, be hostile to
   the Christians.

[131]Christian exorcists must be meant, though the claim to supernatural
   powers which Dionysius makes for them is sufficiently remarkable.

[132]This was a frequent charge against the Christians themselves. Here
   Dionysius turns it against their persecutors in Egypt.

[133]It is very difficult, without a knowledge of Latin and Greek, to
   understand Dionysius’s play on words throughout this section. The
   office which Macrianus held was that of, in Latin, _Rationalis or
   Procurator summæ rei_, in Greek ὁ ἐπὶ τῶν καθόλου λόγων (something
   like our Chancellor of the Exchequer): hence Dionysius says he was not
   _rational_ (or reasonable) in his treatment of the Christians and
   showed no _catholic_ spirit towards them.

[134]Ezek. xiii. 3. Dionysius takes the last phrase (τὸ καθόλου), as if
   it was the object of the verb, not an adverb, in order to suit his

[135]This may perhaps mean that besides his other faults Macrianus was
   tainted with the atheistic views of the Epicureans, while Dionysius
   also alludes in this sentence to the accounts which Macrianus would
   have to present to the Emperor of his own administration.

[136]Cf. Eph. iv. 6 and Col. i. 17.

[137]Another play on words, as if Macrianus was derived from the Greek
   µακρός (far off), which is somewhat doubtful.

[138]Is. lxvi. 3, 4 (LXX). Here the reference is to Valerian falling into
   the hands of Sapor, the Persian King, who inflicted grievous insults
   upon him, and kept him in captivity till his death.

[139]Macrianus was lame of one leg. After Valerian’s defeat and
   disappearance (in 260), for which he was himself largely responsible,
   Macrianus and his two sons, Macrianus junior and Quietus, made an
   abortive attempt to seize the throne, which was soon defeated.

[140]Ex. xx. 5.

[141]The two Macriani were defeated and slain by Aureolus, another
   usurper, in Illyricum, and Quietus was put to death in the East.

[142]Dionysius is still speaking of Macrianus, who had incited Valerian
   to attack the Persians, and then had himself attacked Gallienus and
   tried to usurp the throne.

[143]Is. xlii. 9, but Dionysius has substituted, for the last phrase, a
   phrase from xliii. 19. The original prophecy applies to the triumph of
   Cyrus and the conversion of the world to the worship of Jehovah. Its
   application in the text strikes us to-day as too fanciful.

[144]Whether Gallienus himself was really a Christian is very doubtful,
   but his wife, Cornelia Salonina, seems to have been.

[145]This is a very obscure calculation, but the upshot of it may be as
   follows: Gallienus was associated with his father Valerian as Emperor
   seven years (253-60), then Macrianus usurped the power (in Egypt) for
   one year, or rather more; thus Gallienus regained the power in his
   ninth year (_i. e._ after midsummer 261). Gallienus’s original Edict
   of Peace was issued in Oct. 260, but the Rescript applying it to Egypt
   was delayed for some time. The Easter festival for which this letter
   was written, therefore, must have been that of 262.

[146]Cf. 1 Cor. v. 8.

[147]Exod. xii. 30.

[148]I have translated the Berlin editor’s reading here, as being the
   least unsatisfactory of those proposed. Others give a text which may
   be rendered: “I would this were all: for the things that befell us
   before drove us into many grievous troubles.” But the exact meaning is
   doubtful, however we take it.

[149]This epithet for martyrs has already occurred on p. 64.

[150]This is none other than a quotation from Pericles’s speech about the
   plague at Athens in Thucyd. ii. 64, though in Dionysius’s original
   phrase it sounds as if he meant some local minor historian.

[151]The word Dionysius uses here is the same as S. Paul, uses (1 Cor.
   iv. 13: περίψηµα, offscouring). It is said to have been used at Athens
   of the human scapegoats thrown into the river in time of famine: “Be
   thou my expiation (περίψηµα).” Elsewhere it seems to have degenerated
   into a sort of extravagant compliment: “I am your humble servant
   (περίψηµα).” Dionysius suggests it might regain its more serious
   meaning in the present case.

[152]Here again Dionysius uses an expression suggested by S. Paul in
   Phil. iii. 8.

[153]It is not clear whether Dionysius actually alludes here to the
   well-protected harbours of Alexandria or (more loosely) to the Lake
   Mareotis: probably to the former, because the canal he refers to in
   the next sentence (though he calls it a river) was cut from the Nile
   into one of the harbours and passed at the back of the city between it
   and the Lake Mareotis.

[154]Cf. Ps. lxxvii. 13, cxxxvi. 4, and Wisd. xi. 4. The whole passage,
   of course, refers to Exod. xiv. and xvii.

[155]Cf. Exod. vii. 20, 21.

[156]_i. e._ if the biggest river and the ocean itself, as he proceeds
   exaggeratedly to claim, cannot do so, what other cleansing can there

[157]Cf. Gen. ii. 10 ff. Dionysius evidently adopts the later Jewish view
   that the Gihon was the Nile, Æthiopia (or Cush) being identified with

[158]The meaning of the phrase employed by Dionysius here (“hale old
   men”) comes from Homer, _Il._ xxiii. 791 (cf. Virg., _Æn._ vi. 304);
   but elsewhere a very similar phrase seems to suggest “a cruel,
   untimely old age.”

[159]Evidently at Alexandria (the capital of that country which was the
   chief granary of Rome) either the necessitous citizens or perhaps all
   between forty and seventy were entitled to receive doles of corn; but
   now the relief was extended to all ages between fourteen and eighty.

[160]Either the heathen are meant, who ought to tremble and be convinced,
   or the Christians, who were too courageous through trust in God to

[161]The last sentence is involved and obscure. I am not sure that my
   paraphrase rightly expresses the thought.

[162]I have adopted our modern mode of expression, but in the early
   Church Pascha was often used for the fast which receded Easter as well
   as for the feast itself, and that is how Dionysius uses it here.

[163]_i. e._ at 3 a.m. on Easter Day, the traditional hour of our Lord’s
   Resurrection, especially in the West.

[164]_i. e._ at 6 p.m. on Easter Eve.

[165]“All,” _i. e._ “who came,” or perhaps “all the four evangelists.”
   The “difference” is not really confined to the time, but to the
   parties which came, the other devout women coming later than the two

[166]The four references are to Matt. xxviii. 1, John xx. 1, Luke xxiv.
   1, and Mark xvi. 2.

[167]Cf. John ix. 5, etc.

[168]The Council _in Trullo_ (A.D. 680) accepted this second meaning and
   consented to Dionysius’s ruling on the point raised without reserve.

[169]Dionysius thinks that S. Matthew’s account, with which S. John’s
   tallies, speaks of the two Marys coming to look at the tomb about
   midnight on Easter eve or morning, while S. Luke and S. Mark mentioned
   certain women who arrived at the tomb somewhat later, when the sun had
   just risen, but one at least of the Marys mentioned by S. Matthew is
   identical with one of those mentioned by S. Mark and apparently by S.
   Luke. Possibly, however, Dionysius means that the two Marys took part
   in both visits to the tomb. Dr. Swete on S. Mark and Dr. Westcott on
   S. John should be consulted by any one who wishes to pursue the
   question further.

[170]_i. e._ as on the former occasion mentioned by S. Matthew and S.

[171]The author of this saying (which is equivalent to our proverb, “A
   miss is as good as a mile”) is not known. Basil (_de Baptism._ ii. i)
   quotes something like it, but with a different turn, and he, too,
   attributes it to “one of our wise men,” but perhaps he is only
   referring to Dionysius in this passage.

[172]Cf. Matt. xiv. 26.

[173]He means the six days of what we call Holy Week, but he gives no
   indication whether the Lenten fast was then confined to those days in
   Alexandria and the Pentapolis or lasted longer. By “equally” he
   proceeds to explain is meant the length of the fasting (six days or
   two, and so on), and by “similarly” the manner or degree of it (till
   cockcrow or till evening).

[174]The verb used (ὑπερτιθέναι, Lat. _superponere_, to exceed) is the
   technical one for this prolonged fast: the ordinary fast ended at 6
   p.m. and that of the station days (Wednesday and Friday) at 3 p.m.

[175]Cf. 1 Pet. iii. 8 and Phil. ii. 20.

[176]The expression comes from Acts xiii. 2, where, however, it describes
   a special act of worship rather than “ministering” in general.

[177]Nepos had apparently been Bishop of Arsenoe in Egypt, and was the
   author of a work (Ἔλεγχος Ἀλληγοριστῶν) putting forward grossly
   material views of the Millennium. Dionysius refuted it in a carefully
   prepared treatise in two books. This extract is from the second book,
   and deals chiefly with the authorship of the Revelation of St. John
   the Divine in a way very characteristic of his large-hearted and
   broad-minded spirit.

[178]Or Dionysius may mean that he had encouraged the singing of the
   Psalms in service.

[179]Cf. Tit. ii. 13, 2 Thess. ii. 8, etc.

[180]The reference is to 2 Thess. ii. 1 and 1 John iii. 2.

[181]It does not appear to whom Dionysius addressed this treatise, but he
   usually did address what he wrote to some particular person.

[182]Here the two offices are conjoined as in 1 Tim. v. 17. The “teacher”
   as an officer of the Church is mentioned in several of the early
   Church Orders.

[183]Nothing more is known of him: either he had succeeded to the
   leadership since the death of Nepos, or on this particular occasion
   took the lead.

[184]The allusion is probably to Gaius of Rome and his school rather than
   to the Alogi, as they were called, of the East; but both these bodies
   were strongly opposed to Millenarian views.

[185]If this refers to a formal division into chapters, it disappeared
   afterwards, for a new division was devised in the sixth century, on
   which our present system is partly based.

[186]Dionysius plays here on the meaning of the Greek word for
   Revelation, ἀποκάλυψις, “unveiling.” He is fond of such a device.

[187]If that is the meaning of the words employed, then “saints” (ἅγιοι)
   is not used in its New Testament sense for the “faithful” generally,
   but a distinction is made more like the later use of the word for
   those who attained higher saintliness than the rest; but perhaps the
   phrase for “churchmen” implies “clerical or ecclesiastical persons,”
   and “saints” has its earlier sense.

[188]Cerinthus was the earliest exponent of Gnostic views, and as such
   much abhorred by St. John the Apostle.

[189]_i. e._ reckoning that it is a matter where faith rather than reason
   should act; or perhaps the translation should be “giving more weight
   to (the author’s) trustworthiness.”

[190]This title is to be noticed, as the author himself never actually
   describes himself by it. Dionysius is much more cautious as to the
   authorship than Origen, his former master, who attributed the book to
   St. John the Evangelist without hesitation, according to Eusebius, _H.
   E._ vi. 25, 9.

[191]Rev. xxii. 7, 8: but Dionysius has no authority for joining the
   latter clause on to the former, its construction being “it is I John
   who saw and heard.”

[192]_i. e._ the First Epistle of St. John; the second and third were not
   so described at first and rightly so.

[193]Rev. i. 1, 2. One might almost think Dionysius was quoting from
   memory, for he follows no extant text in omitting “God” before “gave”
   (thus making Jesus Christ the subject and “him” = “to John”) and “the
   things which must come to pass” before “speedily”: also he substitutes
   “his testimony” for “the testimony of Jesus Christ,” though “his”
   still = “Jesus Christ.”

[194]Rev. i. 4.

[195]Dionysius seems to contrast the “Divine revelation” of the Epistle
   which we can trust with that of the Book so-called about which he felt
   less sure.

[196]1 John i. 1.

[197]Matt. xvi. 17. Dionysius substitutes the adjective “heavenly” for
   “which is in heaven.”

[198]Rev. i. 9. Here again the text is somewhat inaccurate “in the
   patience of Jesus” having no support elsewhere.

[199]Rev. xxii. 7. See note on p. 86, above.

[200]It would seem likely, but by no means certain, that Dionysius is
   speaking of strictly baptismal names here. We have very slight grounds
   for being sure that the custom of connecting the giving of a name at
   baptism was universal as early as this.

[201]See Acts xii. 25 and xiii. 5.

[202]_Ibid._, xiii. 13.

[203]This assertion is taken almost verbatim from Eus., _H. E._ iii. 39,
   where a passage is also quoted from Papias in which John the Elder is
   mentioned as well as John the Apostle among the Lord’s disciples.

[204]This is the second argument which Dionysius adduces, but he seems as
   if he now includes the third with it. See above.

[205]John i. 1, and 1 John i. 1, 2.

[206]Cf. 1 John iv. 2.

[207]_Ibid._, i. 2, 3.

[208]It looks as if this phrase may be a marginal gloss on the Light,
   which has crept into the text, as it occurs nowhere in the writings of
   St. John nor elsewhere in the New Testament; but the same might be
   said of the “adoption” below, and one or two others of the other
   phrases are quite rare in St. John’s writings, so that they may be all
   instances of the thoughts, not the words being identical in the two

[209]The reference is to such passages as 2 Cor. xii. 1 ff., Gal. i. 12,
   ii. 2, etc.

[210]This is the third argument.

[211]A rather forced and fanciful statement. Dionysius appears loosely to
   refer to 1 Cor. xii. 8, somewhat boldly substituting “of speech” (τῆς
   φράσεως) for St. Paul’s “of wisdom.”

[212]Cf. 1 Cor. xiv. 6 and 8.

[213]_i. e._ the results not of design but of the fortuitous intersection
   of lines of causation.

[214]Gen. i. 31.

[215]The argument appears to be that, as on a small scale design is
   “evident in the construction or repairing of a thing but is absent in
   its decay,” so the orderly creation and maintenance of the Universe on
   the large scale implies intelligent direction.

[216]Hesiod (_Works and Days_, 554) is meant, but of course 100 stands
   here, as elsewhere, for an indefinitely large number.

[217]The point is that movement which is useful suggests design: but as
   the movement of the atoms is without design, it cannot be useful.

[218]Ps. cxxxviii. (cxxxix.) 16. Dionysius quotes the best text here of
   LXX, but his application is rather obscure. Apparently he means that
   the Epicureans claimed to know without either revelation or research
   what the Psalmist knew only by revelation from God.

[219]Dionysius says that even the spider has more notion of design than
   the atoms, but the sarcasm is not quite to the point.

[220]1 Cor. xv. 41.

[221]“God ever brings like to like.”—Homer, _Od._ xvii. 218, a proverb
   quoted both by Plato and Aristotle.

[222]Dionysius is probably thinking of Plato’s _Timæus_ 56B, where the
   pyramid is said to be the geometrical shape of fire which is the
   principal constituent of the bodies of the stars (Professor H.

[223]Dionysius is here referring to such a passage as Gen. i. 6 ff. No
   doubt the ancients thought the vault of heaven was solid, enclosing
   the atmosphere which covers the earth, and that the stars were either
   fixed upon it or moved in their courses on its surface.

[224]Ps. civ. 23.

[225]_i. e._ the sun’s yearly (as opposed to its daily) course.

[226]“The righteous” here is a very unusual equivalent for “the
   Christians”: it is possible, however, that the translation is:
   “however much these men disagree, being but poor creatures, though
   righteous enough in their own estimate.”

[227]Ecclus. xliii. 5.

[228]The idea is of some stars being solitary, like a Greek or Roman
   colony (ἀποικία) with a constitution of its own, and of others
   grouping themselves into constellations or communities (συνοικία). The
   colony had a founder (οἰκιστής), the community or household would have
   some sort of controller (οἰκοδεσπότης).

[229]Ecclus. xvi. 26 f.

[230]The natural motion of atoms was downwards, but there was also a
   slight sideward motion, and when they impinged a motion upwards by
   blows and tossings, and this produced the shape of things. But
   Dionysius here says, how is that theory consistent with the orderly
   march of the stars?

[231]Dionysius here plays on the derivation of ἄτοµοι, from τέµνειν (= to

[232]Amos iii. 3 (LXX). The A.V. and R.V. give the more exact meaning
   “agreed” to the last word.

[233]Hesiod, _Works and Days_, iv. 408 and 411.

[234]Viz. the heathen, to whom the poets were to some extent what the
   prophets are to us Christians.

[235]Jer. xlviii. 10.

[236]The happiness of the King of Persia was proverbial: see Hor., _Od._
   ii. 12, 21, iii. 9, 4.

[237]By “Necessity” here Dionysius means not “Fate” in the fatalist’s
   sense, but that supreme Will and Purpose of God, which is opposed to
   the Epicurean doctrine of chance.

[238]The title here given (ὑποθῆκαι) is not given in the list of
   Democritus’s works, but the ὑποµνήµατα ἠθικά may be meant.

[239]It is impossible to reproduce the play upon words here, εὐτυχῆ τὴν
   φρόνησιν, ἐµφρονεστάτην τὴν τύχην. The reference seems to be to such
   poetical passages as Soph., _O. T._ 977 ff., and Eur., _Alc._ 785 ff.,
   where the practical wisdom of leaving the future to take care of
   itself is extolled.

[240]Epicurus himself contended that by ἡδονή (pleasure) he meant not
   sensual enjoyments so much as freedom from pain of body and from
   disturbance of soul (ἀταραξία), the source of which was largely in the
   exercise of the mind and will: see Zeller, _Stoics, Epicureans and
   Sceptics_, pp. 473 ff.

[241]The words quoted (δωτῆρας ἐάων) are a Homeric phrase, e. g. _Od._
   viii. 325 and 335.

[242]The derivation from θέειν is proposed by Plato, _Cratyl._ 397 C:
   that from θεῖναι by Herod, ii. 52, and of the two the latter is the
   more likely (√θε) though Curtius suggests a root θες = to pray: see
   Peile, _Introd. to Philology_, p. 37 (3rd ed., 1875).

[243]These are probably some sort of Gnostics who took over Manichean
   views of God and Matter, but not of the worst kind, for they
   recognized that God had the control and disposition of matter.

[244]Some one, _i. e._ who could give them the property of being without

[245]“Different from both,” because the being without beginning is not of
   the very essence of both. See further on.

[246]A curious expression, for which one would have expected the opposite
   statement, viz. that the handicrafts can shape and form the materials
   they deal with rather than that the materials give the necessary
   methods and designs to the handicrafts which deal with them. Up to
   this point Dionysius has been combating the view with which the
   extract begins. The rest of the extract proceeds to show what amount
   of truth there is in it.

[247]The reference here is to Manichean views of the worst kind, _i. e._
   that matter is not only without beginning, but the source of evil and
   altogether independent of God.

[248]_i. e._ Dionysius of Rome, to whom this treatise was addressed. This
   particular “other letter” does not seem to have been known to
   Eusebius, and when Athanasius quotes this extract in another of his
   treatises he omits the words “to thee.”

[249]Athanasius himself was sparing in his use of the term, and the Synod
   of Antioch (A.D. 264) refused to accept it, as liable to

[250]_i. e._ in the letter to Euphranor (about Sabellianism in Libya)
   which had given rise to the Bishop of Rome’s intervention.

[251]It looks as if Dionysius was in exile when he wrote this. See above,
   p. 19.

[252]_i. e._ each of the two is itself and not the other, as was said
   above in the case of parents and children.

[253]i. e. they had gone or sent to Rome, in order to attack him.

[254]Viz. about the plant and the ship, which he has already apologized
   for as not quite appropriate.

[255]_i. e._ in Scripture, _e. g._ in such passage as Wisd. vii. 25, to
   which he refers in the next sentence.

[256]Sc. in Dionysius’s letter to Euphranor: cf. John x. 30, xvii. 11,
   21, 22. The extract on p. 106 below deals with the same thought more
   fully. In both places Dionysius’s language is based on Philo’s
   discussion of the λόγος ἐνδιάθετος and the λόγος προφορικός (the
   conceived and the expressed word), _de vita Mosis_, p. 230, Cohn.

[257]i. e. _from_ the Father and _through_ the Son: Dionysius seems to
   have derived this view of the Holy Spirit’s Procession from his
   master, Origen, though he is thinking here rather of the Mission of
   the Spirit into the Church and its members than of the eternal and
   necessary relations of the three Persons in the Holy Trinity to one
   another, as the sentences that follow indicate.

[258]_Lit._ in their hands: a striking expression which Athanasius
   borrows from Dionysius in his _Exposition of the Faith_.

[259]This is what Dionysius of Rome had imputed to our Dionysius, though
   without the word “wholly” he would not have altogether discarded the

[260]Λόγος is translated throughout this passage by “speech” (_i. e._
   uttered words), except in the last clause, where it refers to the Son
   Himself and where it must be rendered by “Word” as usual: but
   obviously “speech” is only part of the full meaning of λόγος. The
   whole passage should be compared with the preceding extract.

[261]Ps. xliv. (xlv.) 1: here R.V. translates λόγον ἀγαθόν, “a goodly
   matter,” in accordance with A.V.

[262]The word used (ἐγκυκλεῖν) suggests the scenic device of the
   ἐγκύκληµα, by which some kind of change of scene was brought on to the
   stage in the Greek theatre: see _Classical Dict._, s.v.


  Absolution, 43, 60 f.
  Ælia (Jerusalem), 52
  Æmilianus, Governor of Pannonia, 14, 65
      Prefect of Egypt, 16, 27, 46 f.
  Alexander, Bishop of Jerusalem, 51
      Bishop of Tyre, 52
      a martyr, 38
  Alexander Severus, Emperor, 12, 66
  Alexandrians, letter to, 28, 70 ff.
  Alogi referred to, 84
  Ammon, a martyr, 40
  Ammonarion, a martyr, 39
  Antioch, Council of, 10, 51, 103
  Apollonia, a martyr, 36
  Arabia, 10, 41, 52
  Aristotle referred to, 28, 95
  Arius, heresy of, 20, 56, 108
  Ater, a martyr, 39
  Athanasius, 9, 19 ff., 103 ff.

  Baptism of heretics, 15, 26, 51 ff., 59
  Basil, Bishop of Cæsarea, 9, 22, 80
  Basilides, letter to, 26, 29, 76 ff.
  Benson, Archbishop, 14, 34, 51, 52, 55
  Besas, a martyr, 38
  Bethune-Baker, Dr., 22
  Bithynia, Churches of, 52

  Cappadocia, Churches of, 52, 54
  Catechetical School of Alexandria, 9, 10, 11, 12, 32
  Cemeteries, Christian, 17, 47
  Cephro, 17, 46, 48 f.
  Cerinthus, heresy of, 85
  Chæremon, Bishop of Nilopolis, 41
      a deacon, 46, 64
  _Chronicon Orientale_, 9 ff.
  Cilicia, Churches of, 52, 54
  Colluthion, 17, 49
  Communion, ritual of, 26, 60
      reservation of species, 42 f.
  Conon, letter to, 60 f.
  _Consistentes_, 60
  Copts (Egyptians), 10, 39, 66, 70, 73
  Coracion, converted from heresy, 84
  Cornelia Salonina, 14, 69
  Cornelius, Bishop of Rome, 15, 51
  Cronion Eunous, a martyr, 38
  Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, 9, 11, 15, 55, 58

  Damascus, John of, 9, 75
  Decius, Persecution of, 13 f., 39, 43, 65
  Demetrianus, Bishop of Antioch, 52
  Demetrius, Bishop of Alexandria, 11
  Democritus quoted, 25, 28, 99
  Dionysia, a martyr, 39
  Dionysius, Bishop of Rome, 19 f., 58 f., 103
  Dionysius, church dedicated to St., 31
  Dioscorus, a presbyter, 64
      a boy confessor, 39
  Domitius and Didymus, letter to, 63 f.
  _Duumviri_, 63

  Easter Letters, 28, 63 ff.
  Ecclesiastes, Beginning of, 30
  Ephesus and the two Johns, 89
  Epicurus, 12, 23 ff., 91 ff.
  Epimachus, a martyr, 38
  Euphranor, letter to, 56, 104, 105
  Euripides referred to, 100
  Eusebius, _Eccl. Hist_. of, 9, 22, 35 ff., 82 ff.
      _Præpar. Evangelica_ of, 9, 34, 91 ff., 101 f.
  Exorcists, 66

  Fabius, Bishop of Antioch, 12, 35
  Fast before Easter, 76 ff.
  Firmilianus, Bishop of Cæsarea, 52, 54
  _Frumentarius_, 13, 43

  Gaius of Rome referred to, 84
  Galatia, Churches of, 55
  Gallienus, Emperor, 14, 17, 46, 68
  Gallus, Emperor, 14, 65
  Germanus, letter to, 10, 14, 27, 43 ff.

  Helenus, Bishop of Tarsus, 52
  Heliodorus, Bishop of Laodicea, 52
  Heracles, Bishop of Alexandria, 11, 12, 57, 59
  Hermammon, letter to, 28, 65 ff.
  Herodotus referred to, 101
  Heron, a martyr, 39
  Hesiod quoted, 28, 93, 98
  Hierax, letter to, 73 ff.
  Hippolytus, Canons of, 33
  Homer quoted, 28, 75, 95, 100

  Iconium, Synod of, 15, 55, 58
  Ingenuus, a martyr, 40
  Ischyrion, a martyr, 40 f.
  Isidore, a martyr, 39

  Jerome, 22, 30, 33, 108
  Julian, a martyr, 38

  Libya, 13, 19, 38, 46, 64

  Macar, a martyr, 38
  Macrianus, 16, 18, 27, 60, 64, 67, 68
  Mareotis, Lake, 48, 63, 73
  Marinus, Bishop of Tyre, 52
  Marriage of clergy, 11, 41, 44
  Mazabbanes, Bishop of Ælia, 52
  Mercuria, a martyr, 39
  Mesopotamia, Churches of, 52
  Metras, a martyr, 35
  Millenarian views, 82 ff.

  Nature, treatise on, 12, 23 ff., 91 ff.
  Nemesion, a martyr, 39
  Nepos of Arsenoe, 27, 29, 82 ff.
  Nilopolis, 41
  Novatian, schism of, 15 f., 26, 27, 34, 50, 59

  Origen and his pupils, 11, 12, 13, 28 ff., 36, 51, 52, 86

  Parætonium, 64
  Paul of Samosata, heresy of, 23
  Pentapolis, 18, 55, 76
  “Perfect,” applied to Christians, 64, 71
  Philemon, letter to, 11, 55, 56 ff.
  Philip the Arabian, Emperor, 12, 13, 37, 66
  Philo Judæus, 105
  Plato referred to, 95, 101
  Pontus, Churches of, 52
  Pope, title of, 57
  Prayers for Emperor, 47
  Procopius of Gaza, 30
  Promises, treatise on the, 23, 28, 29, 82 ff.
  Ptolemais, 55
  Ptolemy, a martyr, 40

  Quinta, a martyr, 35

  Rationalis, office of, 16, 17, 67
  Refutation and Defence, 21 f., 101 ff.
  Refutation of Allegorists, 29, 82
  Repentance, 59, 62
  Rufinus, 22, 64

  _Sabaita_, 10
  Sabellius, heresy of, 18 ff., 27, 55, 101 ff.
  Sabinus, Prefect of Egypt, 13, 35, 43, 50
  Saracens, 41
  Sarapion, case of, 26, 42 f.
  Soldiers as Christians, 40, 63
  Sophocles referred to, 100
  Stephen, Bishop of Rome, 15, 34, 53, 54
  Swete, Dr., 23, 78
  Synnada, Synod of, 15, 55, 58
  Syria, Churches of, 52

  Taposiris, 13, 16, 44
  Thelymidrus, Bishop of Laodicea, 52
  Theoctistus, Bishop of Cæsarea, 52
  Theophilus, a martyr, 40
  Theotecnus, Bishop of Cæsarea, 29
  Thucydides quoted, 28, 71
  Timotheus, a boy, 11, 44, 64
  _Trullo_, Council _in_, 76, 78

  Valerian, Emperor, 14, 16, 17, 47, 65

  Westcott, Bishop, 23, 24, 78

  Xystus II, Bishop of Rome, 19, 54 ff., 59 ff.

  Zenon, a martyr, 40

       Printed in Great Britain by Richard Clay & Sons, Limited,

                            TRANSLATIONS OF
                          CHRISTIAN LITERATURE

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the S.P.C.K. under the title “Early Church Classics.” It is now proposed
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*The Epistle of St. Clement, Bishop of Rome. By the Rt. Rev. J. A. F.
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*Clement of Alexandria: Who is the Rich Man that is being saved? By P. M.
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                          Transcriber’s Notes

--Moved footnotes from page footers to end of text

--Page 105: corrected reference to Athanasius based on errata published
  elsewhere: par. 17 was par. 23.

--Latin-1 text transliterates Greek words in {curly brackets} (HTML
  displays full UTF; full UTF text version also created.)

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