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Dionysius of Alexandria on Novatian.
FOR we hate Novatian with good reason, in that he divided the Church and led some of the brethren into impieties and blasphemies and introduced a most unholy doctrine concerning God, and slanders our most compassionate Lord Jesus Christ as merciless. In addition 5 to all this he rejects the holy washing, and overthrows the faith and confession which go before it, and utterly banishes from them the Holy Spirit, if there were any hope at all that he would remain with them or return to them.
The Unity of the Church.
AND this unity we ought firmly to hold and assert, 10 especially those of us that are bishops who preside in the Church, that we may also prove the episcopate itself to be one and undivided. Let no one deceive the brotherhood by a falsehood: let no one corrupt the faithfulness of the truth by perfidious prevarication. The episcopate is one, 15 each part of which is held by each one for the whole. The Church also is one, which is spread abroad far and wide into a multitude by an increase of fruitfulness. As there are many rays of the sun, but one light; and many branches of a tree, but one strength based in its tenacious 20 root; and since from one spring flow many streams, although the multiplicity seems diffused in the liberality of an overflowing abundance, yet the unity is still preserved in the source. He who has left the Church of Christ is an alien, a profane person, an enemy. He 25 cannot have God for his Father who has not the Church for his mother. If he could escape who was outside the ark of Noah, then he too will escape who was outside the Church.
A. N. L.
CYPRIANVS PRESBYTERIS ET DIACONIBVS Romae
CONSISTENTIBVS FRATRIBvs S.
FACTIS ad vos litteris, fratres carissimi, quibus actus noster expositus et disciplinae ac diligentiae quantulaecumque ratio declarata est, aliud accessit quod nec ipsum latere vos debuit. Nam frater noster Lucianus et 5 ipse unus de confessoribus, fide quidem calidus et virtute robustus sed bene minus dominica lectione fundatus, quaedam conatus est inperite, iam pridem se auctorem constituens, ut manu eius scripti libelli gregatim multis nomine Pauli darentur, cum Mappalicus martyr cautus et 10 verecundus, legis ac disciplinae memor, nullas contra evangelium litteras fecerit, sed tantum domestica pietate commotus matri et sorori suae quae lapsae fuerant mandaverit pacem dari, Saturninus quoque post tormenta adhuc in carcere constitutus nullas eiusmodi litteras emiserit. Lucianus vero non tantum Paulo adhuc in carcere posito nomine eius libellos manu sua scriptos passim dedit, sed et post eius excessum eadem facere sub eius nomine perseveravit, dicens hoc sibi ab illo esse mandatum et nesciens domino magis quam conservo 20 obtemperandum. Aureli quoque adulescentis tormental perpessi nomine libelli multi dati sunt eiusdem Luciani manu scripti, quod litteras ille non nosset. Cui rei ut aliquantum possit obsisti, litteras ad eos feci quas ad vos sub epistola priore transmisi, quibus petere et suadere 25 non destiti ut dominicae legis et evangelii ratio teneretur.
On Church Discipline.
CYPRIAN to the presbyters and deacons abiding at Rome, his brethren, greeting. After the letters that I wrote to you, beloved brethren, in which what I had done was explained, and an account was given of my discipline and diligence, such as it is, there came another matter 5 which, any more than the others, ought not to be concealed from you. For our brother Lucian, who himself also is one of the confessors, earnest indeed in faith, and robust in virtue, but little established in the reading of the Lord's word, has attempted certain things in a foolish way, 10 having now for some time made himself the cause that certificates written by his hand were given indiscriminately to many persons in the name of Paulus; whereas Mappalicus the martyr, cautious and modest, mindful of the law and discipline, wrote no letters contrary to the Gospel, but 15 only, moved with domestic affection for his mother and sister, who had fallen, commanded peace to be given to them. Saturninus, moreover, after his torture, still remaining in prison, sent out no letters of this kind. But Lucian, not only while Paulus was still in prison, gave everywhere in 20 his name certificates written with his own hand, but even after his decease persisted in doing the same things under his name, saying that this had been commanded him by Paulus, ignorant that he must obey the Lord rather than his fellow-servant. In the name also of Aurelius, a young 25 man who had undergone the torture, many certificates were given, written by the hand of the same Lucian, because Aurelius did not know how to write himself.
In order, in some measure, to put a stop to this practice, I wrote letters to them, which I have sent to you under 30 the enclosure of the former letter, in which I did not cease to ask and persuade them that consideration might be had for the law of the Lord and the Gospel. But after I sent
Post quas litteras quasi moderatius aliquid et temperantius fieret, universorum confessorum nomine Lucianus epistolam scripsit, qua paene omne vinculum fidei et timor dei et mandatum domini et evangelii sanctitas et firmitas 5 solveretur. Scripsit enim omnium nomine universos eos pacem dedisse et hanc formam per me aliis episcopis innotescere velle, cuius epistolae exemplum ad vos transmisi. ID. Ep. 27.
PROPTER quod [Num. xvi. 26] plebs obsequens prae10 ceptis dominicis et Deum metuens a peccatore praeposito separare se debet, nec se ad sacrilegi sacerdotis sacrificia miscere, quando ipsa maxime habeat potestatem vel eligendi dignos sacerdotes vel indignos recusandi. Quod et ipsum videmus et divina auctoritate descendere, ut sacer15 dos plebe praesente sub omnium oculis deligatur et dignus atque idoneus publico iudicio ac testimonio conprobetur, sicut in Numeris Dominus Moysi praecipit dicens [Num. XX. 25, 26]. Coram omni synagoga iubet Deus constitui sacerdotem, id est instruit et ostendit ordinationes sacer20 dotales non nisi sub populi adsistentis conscientia fieri oportere, ut plebe praesente vel detegantur malorum crimina vel bonorum merita praedicentur et sit ordinatio iusta et legitima quae omnium suffragio et iudicio fuerit examinata. . . . Propter quod diligenter de traditione 25 divina et apostolica observatione servandum est et tenendum quod apud nos quoque et fere per provincias
my letters to them, as if something were being done more moderate and temperate; the same Lucian wrote a letter in the name of all the confessors, in which well nigh every bond of faith, and fear of God, and the Lord's command, and the sacredness and fixity of the Gospel were dissolved. 5 For he wrote in the name of all, that they had all given peace, and that he wished that this decree should be communicated through me to the other bishops, of which letter I have transmitted a copy to you.
Appointment of Bishops.
A. N. L.
ON which account [Num. xvi. 26] a people obedient to 10 the Lord's precepts, and fearing God, ought to separate themselves from a sinful prelate, and not to associate themselves with the sacrifices of a sacrilegious priest', especially since they themselves have the power either of choosing worthy priests, or of rejecting unworthy ones. 15 Which very thing, too, we observe to come from divine authority, that the priest should be chosen in the presence of the people under the eyes of all, and should be approved worthy and suitable by public judgement and testimony; as in the book of Numbers the Lord commanded Moses, 20 saying [Num. xx. 25, 26]. God commands a priest to be appointed in the presence of all the assembly; that is, He instructs and shows that the ordination of priests ought not to be solemnized except with the knowledge of the people standing near, that in the presence of the people 25 either the crimes of the wicked may be disclosed, or the merits of the good may be declared, and the ordination, which shall have been examined by the suffrage and judgement of all, may be just and legitimate. . . . For which reason you must diligently observe and keep the 30 practice delivered from divine tradition and Apostolic observance, which is also maintained among us, and almost throughout all the provinces; that for the proper 1i.e. bishop: as always in Cyprian.