Chapter V

Third Century. West



Little is known of Minucius Felix. He was active in the last part of the second century or in the first part of the third century. A convert, most probably an African, a lawyer, and according to some the first Christian author to write in Latin, he is known for only one work that has come down to us, namely, the Octavius.

CPL nos. 37ff. * Altaner (1961) 162–66 * Altaner (1966) 146–48 * Bardenhewer (1908) 70–72 * Bardenhewer (1913) 1:303–15 * Bardenhewer (1910) 55–58 * Bardy (1930) 37–39 * Bautz 5:1564–67 * Cross 146–48 * Goodspeed 166–67 * Hamell 44–45 * Jurgens 1:109–11 * Labriolle (1947) 1:163–92 * Labriolle (1968) 109–30 * Quasten 2:155–63 * Steidle 71 * Tixeront 49–51 * CATH 9:249–50 * CE 10:336–37 * DACL 11.2:1388–1412 * DCB 3:920–24 * DictSp 10:1268–72 * DPAC 2:2259–62 * DTC 10.2:1793–98 * EC 8:1057–58 * EEC 1:562–63 * EEChr 2:753 * LTK 7:275–76 * NCE 9:883 * NCES 9:658 * ODCC 1091 * PEA (1991) 8:241 * TRE 23:1–3

25-A. The Octavius

This defense of Christianity against the accusations of the pagans assumes the literary form of a conversation that took place in Rome between Minucius, his friend Octavius, and the pagan Caecilius. Its forty chapters focus not on doctrinal matters but on moral conduct and are directed toward those who have little, if any, understanding of Christianity. Unlike apologies directed toward the Jews, this work contains no citations from Scripture.

Greatly disputed is the question of the work’s relationship to Tertullian’s Apology (WEC 1:26-B), written ca. 197. Does Tertullian depend on Minucius or vice versa? Today the common, though not universal, opinion is that Minucius knew of and relied upon Tertullian’s work, thus most probably dating the author of the Octavius in the third century.

29. […] You believe that our religion worships a criminal and his cross. Doing so you stray far from the truth, believing as you do that a criminal deserved to be considered divine or that an earthly being was able to be considered as such. […] We neither worship nor desire crosses. But you, who consecrate gods made out of wood, adore wooden crosses, perhaps as part of your gods. Your standards together with your banners and camp flags are nothing else, are they, than gilded and decorated crosses? Your trophies of victory not only imitate the appearance of a simple cross but also that of a man affixed to it. Surely we naturally see the sign of the cross in a ship moving along under its swelling sails, when it glides by with expanded oars. When the military yoke is raised on high, it is the sign of the cross; also when someone adores God with a pure mind, with hands that are outstretched. So it is that the sign of the cross is supported either by natural reason, or your own religion is formed in regard to it. (441)

32. Do you think that we are concealing what we worship since we have neither temples nor altars? […] Am I to offer to God the victims and sacrifices he has brought forth for me so that I might throw back to him his own gift? It is ungrateful when the victim suitable for sacrifice is a good disposition, a pure mind, a sincere conscience. So it is that whoever cultivates innocence petitions God; whoever cultivates righteousness offers to God; whoever refrains from deceit makes propitiation to God, whoever snatches someone from danger slaughters the richest victim. These are our sacrifices, these are God’s rites. And so whoever among us is the most righteous is also the most religious. […] (442)


Tertullian (Quintus Septimus Florens Tertullianus) was born between ca. 155 and 160 of pagan parents in Carthage. Converted shortly before 193, he was a prolific writer whose works, some of which have been lost, cover a variety of areas, for example, morality, apologetics, church discipline. It is not certain whether he was ordained a priest. By 207 his rigorism led him to Montanism, which condemned other Christians as being too lax.

Called the “Father of Latin Theology,” Tertullian wrote in a Latin that is elegant, terse, and at times obscure, his writing being especially important for the history of baptism, penance, and Christian prayer. The year of his death is unknown.

CPL nos. 1ff. * Altaner (1961) 166–82 * Altaner (1966) 148–63 * Bardenhewer (1908) 179–90 * Bardenhewer (1910) 157–67 * Bardenhewer (1913) 2:332–94 * Bardy (1930) 28–36 * Bautz 11:695–720 * Cross 135–45 * Goodspeed 159–66 * Hamell 70–73 * Jurgens 1:111–61 * Labriolle (1947) 1:84–159 * Labriolle (1968) 56–102 * Leigh-Bennett 55–76 * Quasten 2:246–340 * Steidle 63–70 * Tixeront 109–19 * Wright (1928) 21–93 * CATH 14:931–36 * CE 14:520–25 * CHECL 133–39, 206–11 * DCB 4:818–64 * DictSp 15:271–95 * DPAC 2:3413–24 * DTC 15.1:130–71 * EC 11:2025–33 * EEC 2:818–20 * EEChr 2:1107–9 * LTK 9:1344–48 * NCE 13:1019–22 * NCES 13:834–38 * ODCC 1591–92 * PEA (1894) 5.1 (n.s.) 822–45


E. de Backer, Sacramentum, le mot et l’idée représentée par lui dans les oeuvres de Tertullien (Louvain, 1911). * D. Michaélidès, “Sacramentum” chez Tertullien (Paris, 1970). * T. Marsh, “The History of the Sacramental Concept,” MilS 3 (1979) 21–56.


A. d’Alès, “‘Pompa Diaboli,’” RSR 1 (1910) 571–90. * E. Fruetsaerrt, “De baptismo,” RSR (1911) 462–66. * E. Amann, “L’ange du baptême dans Tertullien,” RSR (1921) 208–21. * K. Köhler, “Das Agraphon bei Tertullian De bapt. 20,” ThStKr (1922) 169ff. * S. Eitrem, “Tertullian De bapt. 5 ‘sanctified by drowning,’” CR (1924) 69. * A. d’Alès, “Tertullien De baptismo 5,” RSR (1924) 292. * B. Capelle, “Le symbole romain au second siècle,” RB 39 (1927) 33–45. * A.D. Nock, “Pagan Baptisms in Tertullien,” JThSt 28 (1927) 289–90. * F.J. Dölger, “Die Apollinarischen Spiele und das Fest Pelusia: zu Tertullian De baptismo 5,” AC 1 (1929) 150–55. * F.J. Dölger, “Die Taufe an den Apollinarischen und den Pelusischen Spielen,” AC 1 (1929) 156–59. * F.J. Dölger, “Tertullian kein Zeuge fùr eine Taufe in den Mysterien von Eleusis,” AC 1 (1929) 143–49. * F.J. Dölger, “Esietus: Der Ertrunkene oder der zum Osiris Gewordene: ein sprachgeschichtliche Beitrag zu Tertullian De baptismo 5,” AC 1 (1929) 174–83. * F.J. Dölger, “Der erste Gebet der Täuflinge in der Gemeinschaft der Brüder,” AC 2 (1930) 142–55. * F.J. Dölger, “Die Sünder in Blindheit und Unwissenheit: ein Beitrag zu Tertullian De baptismo 1,” AC 2 (1930) 222–26. * F.J. Dölger, “Tertullian über die Bluttaufe,” AC 2 (1930) 117–41. * J.W. Ph. Borleffs, “Zu Tertullian De baptismo,” PhW 51 (1931) 251–55. * F.J. Dölger, “Zwei neue Textheilungsversuche zu Tertullian De baptismo 16, 2,” AC 3 (1932) 216–19. * B. Leeming, “A Note on a Reading in Tertullian’s De baptismo ‘Credo quia non credunt,’” Greg 3 (1933) 423–31. * F.J. Dölger, “Die Eingliedenung des Taufsymbols in den Taufvollzug nach den Schriften Tertullians: zu Tertullian De baptismo 2, 1,” AC 4 (1934) 138–46. * J.M. Restrepo-Jaramillo, “Tertuliano y la doble fórmula en el símbolo apostólico,” Greg 15 (1934) 3–58. * F.J. Dölger, “Religiöse Waschung als Sühne für Meineid (De baptismo 5),” AC 6 (1940) 73. * E.C. Ratcliff, “The Relation of Confirmation to Baptism in the Early Roman and Byzantine Liturgies,” Theol 49 (1946) 258–65, 290–95. * P.-H. Menoud, “La baptême des enfants dans l’Eglise ancienne,” VerC 2 (1948) 15–26. * P. Schepens, “De baptismo 5,” RSR (1948) 112–13. * Chr. Mohrmann, “Tertullien, De baptismo 2, 2,” VC 5 (1951) 49. * W. Bedard, “The Symbolism of the Baptismal Font in Early Christian Thought,” diss. (Washington, D.C., 1951). * F.X. Lukman, “Das Anblasen des Teufels beim Taufgelöbnis,” in Festschrift für R. Egger, vol. 1 (Klagenfurt, 1952) 343–46. * E. Ferguson, “Baptism from the Second to the Fourth Century,” ResQ 1 (1957) 185–97. * P.S. Horgan, Tertullian’s Teaching on Christian Baptism (Washington, D.C., 1966). * C. Vona, “Consonanze ed echi del ‘De Baptismo’ di Tertulliano nella letteratura dell’evo patristico,” Div 11 (1967) 117–79. * A. Houssiau, “L’engagement baptismal,” RTL 9 (1978) 138–65. * K. McDonnell, “Communion Ecclesiology and Baptism in the Spirit: Tertullian and the Early Church,” TS 49:4 (December 1988) 671–93. * M.E. Johnson, “Tertullian’s Diem baptismo sollemniorem Revisited: A Tentative Hypothesis on Baptism at Pentecost,” in Studia Liturgica Diversa: Essays in Honor of Paul F. Bradshaw, ed. M.E. Johnson and L.E. Phillips (Portland, 2004) 31–43.


F.X. Dieringer, “Die Abendmahlslehre Tertullians,” Katholik 44:1 (1864) I 277–318. * C. Leimbach, Beiträge zur Abendmahlslehre Tertullians (Gotha, 1874). * P. Scharsch, “Eine schwierige Stelle über die Eucharistie bei Tertullian (Adv. Marcionem 4, 40),” Katholik 89 (1909) 21–33. * B. Stakemeier, “La dottrina di Tertulliano sul sacramento dell’ Eucarestia,” Rivista storico-critica delle scienze teologiche (1909) 199ff., 265ff. * P. Batiffol, L’Eucharistie: la présence reélle et la transubstantiation, 9th ed. (Paris, 1930) 204–6. * E. Janot, “L’Eucharistie à Carthage,” VS 23 (1930) 269–82. * J.M. Frochisse, “A propos des origines du jeûne eucharistique,” RHE 28 (1932) 594–609. * F.J. Dölger, “Sacramentum Infanticidii,” AC 4 (1934) 188–228. * F.J. Dölger, “Zu Dominica Sollemnia bei Tertullianus,” AC 6 (1940) 108–17. * F.R.M. Hitchcock, “Tertullian’s Views on the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper,” ChQ 134 (1942) 21–36. * E. Dekkers, Tertullianus en de geschiedenis der liturgie (Brussels and Amsterdam, 1947) 49–67. * J. Beran, “De ordine missae secundum Tertulliani ‘Apologeticum,’” in Miscellanea Liturgica in Honorem L. Cuniberti Mohlberg, vol. 2 (Rome, 1949) 7–32. * F.X. Dieringer, “Die Abendmahlslehre Tertullians,” Der Katholik 44:1 (1964) 277–318. * P.T. Camelot, “Un texte de Tertullien sur l’amen de la communion,” LMD, no. 79 (1964) 108–13. * W.L. Dulière, “Un problème à résoudre: l’acceptation du sang eucharistique par les premiers chrétiens juifs,” STh 20 (1966) 62–93. * V. Saxer, “Tertullian,” in W. Rordorf and others, The Eucharist of the Early Christians (New York, 1978) 132–55. * J.D. Laurance, “‘Sacerdos vice Christi’: A Study in the Theology of Eucharistic Leadership according to Cyprian of Carthage,” diss. (Notre Dame, 1983). * G. Bavaud, “Le laïc peut-il célébrer l’Eucharistie? (Tertullien: ‘De exhortatione castitatis’ VII, 3),” REAug 43 (1996) 213–21.


F.X. Funk, “L’Agape,” RHE 4 (1903) 5–23. * P. Batiffol, “La controverse sur l’Agape,” BLE, 3rd ser., 6 (1904) 185–206. * F.X. Funk, “Tertullien et l’Agape,” RHE 5 (1904) 5–15. * F.X. Funk, “La question de l’Agape: un dernier mot,” RHE 7 (1906) 5–15.


S. Harent, “La discipline pénitentielle dans l’Eglise primitive: réponse à M. l’abbé Vacandard,” Et 81 (1900) 577–607. * G. Esser, Die Bullschriften Tertullians De paenitentia und De pudicitia und das Indulgenzedikt des Papstes Kallistus (Bonn, 1905). * S. Charrier, “Tertullien et les martyrs-pénitenciers,” RevAug 10 (1907) 582–84. * P. de Labriolle, “Vestiges d’apocryphes dans le De paenitentia de Tertullien 12, 9,” BALAC 1 (1911) 127–28. * A. Vanbeck, “La pénitence dans Tertullien,” RHL (1912) 350–69. * A. d’Alès, L’Edit de Calliste (Paris, 1914) 136–71. * F.H. Hallock, “Third Century Teaching on Sin and Penance,” AThR 4 (1921/22) 128–42. * S.W.J. Teeuwen, “De Voce ‘Paenitentia’ apud Tertullianum,” Mnem 55 (1927) 410–19. * E. Fruetsaert, “La réconciliation ecclésiastique vers l’an 200,” NRTh (1930) 379–91. * J. Hoh, “Die Busse bei Tertullian,” ThGl 23 (1931) 625–38. * C. Chartier, “L’excommunication ecclésiastique d’après les écrits de Tertullien,” Ant (1935) 301–44, 499–536. * K. Rahner, “Sünde als Gnadenverlust in der frühchristlichen Literatur, IV, Tertullian,” ZkTh 60 (1936) 471–510. * B. Poschmann, Paenitentia Secunda (Bonn, 1940) 270–348. * G.H. Joyce, “Private Penance in the Early Church,” JThSt 42 (1941) 18–42. * C.B. Daly, “The Sacrament of Penance in Tertullian,” IER 69 (1947) 693–707, 815–21; 70 (1948) 731–46, 832–48; 73 (1950) 156–69. * C.B. Daly, “Novatian and Tertullian,” ITQ 19 (1952) 33–43. * K. Rahner, “Zur Theologie der Busse bei Tertullian,” in Abhandlungen über Theologie und Kirche: Festschrift für K. Adam (Düsseldorf, 1952) 139–67. * G. Teichtweier, Die Sündenlehre des Origenes, Studien zur Geschichte der kath. Moraltheologie 7 (Regensburg, 1958). * B. Poschmann, Penance and the Anointing of the Sick (St. Louis, 1964) 38–49. * J.-C. Fredouille, “Du ‘De paenitentia’ de Tertullien au ‘De paenitentiae institutione’ de Pacian,” REAug 44 (1998) 13–23. * C. Munier, “La discipline pénitentielle d’après Tertullien,” Connaissance des pères de l’Eglise, no. 71 (1998) 37–50.


H. Crouzel, “Deux textes de Tertullien concernant la procédure et les rites du mariage chrétien,” BLE 74 (1973) 3–13. * R. Uglione, “Il matrimonio in Tertulliano: tra esaltazione e disprezzo,” EphL 93 (1979) 479–94. * B. du Plessis, “La célébration du mariage dans les premiers siècles chrétiens,” Résurrection, no. 16 (1988) 3.


G. Bardy, “Le sacerdoce chrétien d’après Tertullien,” VS 58 (1939) 109–24. *G. Otranto, “‘Nonne et laici sacerdotes sumus?’ (Exh. cast. 7, 3),” VetChr 8 (1971) 27–47. * D. Powell, “Ordo Presbyteri,” JThSt, n.s., 26 (1975) 290–328. * P. Mattei, “‘Habere ius sacerdotis’: sacerdoce et laïcat au témoignage de Tertullien ‘De exhortatione castitatis’ et ‘De monogamia,’” RevSR 59 (1985) 200–201. * G. Bavaud, “Le laïc peut-il célébrer l’eucharistie? (Tertullien: “De exhortatione castitatis” VII, 3),” REAug 43 (1996) 213–21.


W. Haller, “Das Herrengebet bei Tertullian,” Zeitschrft für praktische Theologie 12 (1890) 327–54. * E.V.D. Goltz, Das Gebet in her ältesten Christenheit (Leipzig, 1901) 279–82. * G. Loeschke, Die Vaterunsererklärung des Theophilus von Antiochien: Eine Quellenuntersuchung zu den Vaterunsererklärungen des Tertullian, Cyprian, Chromatius und Hieronymus (Berlin, 1908). * J. Moffat, “Tertullian on the Lord’s Prayer,” ExpT 18 (1919) 24–41. * E. Boisvert, “La prière chrétienne d’après Tertullien,” Les cahiers franciscains 3 (1933) 185–98. * F.J. Dölger, “Das Niedersitzen nach dem Gebet: ein Kommentar zu Tertullian, De oratione 16,” AC 5 (1936) 116–37. * B. Simovic, “Le pater chez quelques pères latins,” France franciscaine 21 (1938) 193–222, 245–64. * O. Schäfer, “Das Vaterunser, das Gebet des Christen: eine aszetische Studie nach Tertullian De oratione,” ThGl 35 (1943) 1–6. * A.J.B. Higgins, “‘Lead us not into temptation’: Some Latin Variants,” JThSt 46 (1945) 179–83. * E. Dekkers, Tertullianus en de geschiedenis der liturgie (Brussels/Amsterdam, 1947) 117–26. * H. Pétré, “Les leçons du ‘Panem nostrum quotidianum,’” RSR 38 (1951) 63–79. * D.Y. Hadidian, “The Background and Origin of the Christian Hours of Prayer,” TS 25 (1964) 59–69. * V. Saxer, “‘Il étendit les mains à l’heure de sa Passion’: le thème de l’orant-te dans la littérature chrétienne des IIe et IIIe siècles,” Aug 20 (1980) 335–65. * D.R. Stuckwisch, “Principles of Christian Prayer from the Third Century: A Brief Look at Origen, Tertullian and Cyprian with Some Comments on Their Meaning for Today,” Wor 71:1 (January 1997) 2–19.


P. de Labriolle, “‘Mulieres in ecclesia taceant’: un aspect de la lutte antimontaniste,” BALAC 1 (1911) 3–24, 103–22. * J. Schümmer, Die altchristliche Fastenpraxis mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Schriften Tertullians, LQF 27 (Münster i. W., 1933). * M.M. Baney, Some Reflections of Life in North Africa in the Writings of Tertullian (Washington, D.C., 1948). * C.B. Daly, “Liturgical Worship in Tertullian’s Africa,” IER, 5th ser., 95 (1960) 136–46. * T.P. O’Malley, Tertullian and the Bible: Language, Imagery, Exegesis, Latinitas Christianorum Primaeva 21 (Nigmegen, 1967). * D.E. Groh, “Christian Community in the Writings of Tertullian: An Inquiry into the Nature and Problems of Community in North African Christianity,” diss. (Ann Arbor, 1970). * V. Saxer, Morts, martyrs, reliques en Afrique aux premiers siècles: les témoignages de Tertullien, Cyprien et Augustin à la lumière de l’archéologie africaine, Theologie historique 55 (Paris, 1980). * P. Erny, “Le signe de la croix chez Tertullien,” Présence orthodoxe no. 79 (1988) 19–28. * C. Munier, Autorité épiscopale et sollicitude pastorale, IIe-VIe siècles (Aldershot, England, and Brookfield, VT, 1991). * W. Bähnk, Von der Notwendigkeit des Leidens: die Theologie des Martyriums bei Tertullian, Forschungen zur Kirchen-und Dogmengeschichte 78 (Göttingen, 2001).

26-A. To the Gentiles

Divided into two books, this defense of the Christian religion was written in 197.

I.XIII. Others, certainly in a more courteous fashion, believe that the sun is a Christian god since, as is known, we pray facing the east and make Sunday a day of joy. Do you do less? Do not many of you, at times striving to adore the heavenly bodies, move your lips as you face the sunrise? Certainly it is you who have received the sun into the week, and you have chosen this day from among all the days as the day on which to refrain from bathing or postpone doing so till evening, or as a day for resting or for participating in banquets. Doing such, you deviate from your own religious observances and go to those of foreigners: the Sabbath and “the Purification” are Jewish holydays; also Jewish are the ceremonies of the lamps, fasting with unleavened bread, and propitiatory prayers, all of these certainly being foreign to your gods. So that I may digress no longer, you, reproaching us with the sun and its day, should acknowledge how close you are to us; we are not all that distant from Saturn and your days of rest. (443)

26-B. Apology††

This treatise, written in 197, was one of the most widely circulated of Tertullian’s works in ancient times.

II. […] Pliny the Younger, while governing a province and after condemning a number of Christians to death and driving others from their positions, was still disturbed by their large numbers. So he consulted with Trajan the emperor as to what should be done with the rest. All Pliny discovered was that, except for stubbornly refusing to offer sacrifice, they assembled early in the morning to sing to Christ as to a god and to strengthen their way of life, prohibiting murder, adultery, dishonesty, falsehood, and other crimes. Trajan then wrote back, saying that the Christians were not to be sought out, but those brought forward were to be punished.a (444)

XVI. Certainly there are others who more reasonably and with more plausibility believe that the sun is our god. […] This suspicion arises from the fact that we pray while facing the east. Yet many of you, at times attempting to worship the heavenly bodies, move your lips while facing the direction of the sunrise. Likewise, if we rejoice on Sunday, although doing so for a far different reason than to worship the sun, we take second place to those who set aside the day of Saturn [Saturday] as a day for leisure and feasting, although they are far from Jewish custom, which is unknown to them. (445)

XXX. We pray for the safety of our rulers to the eternal God, to the true and living God, whose favor beyond that of all others they should prefer. […] Unceasingly do we pray for all our rulers. We pray that they may have a long life, that the empire be secure, that the imperial household be safe, that armies be brave, that the senate be faithful, that the people be righteous, that the world be at peace, and for whatever the people and Caesar desire. (446)

XXXIX. We gather as one body and congregation so that we might wrestle with God in our prayers, a violence pleasing to him. We also pray for our rulers, for their ministers and for those in power, for the state of the world, for peace, and for the end to be delayed. We gather to read the sacred writings, should present circumstances require either a warning or an examination; with the holy words we nourish our faith, enliven our hope, strengthen our trust, and no less by teaching God’s precepts we strengthen our way of life. Also exhortations, reprimands, and holy censures take place there. With great seriousness do we carry out the work of judging, for among those who feel that they are in God’s sight it is the greatest example of the judgment yet to come; if a person has so failed, he or she is dismissed from sharing in prayer together, from joining the assembly, and from participating in all holy activity. Presiding over us are the elders who have been proven, an honor not purchased but resulting from testimony since nothing of God can be purchased. There is also a treasury which does not result from huge contributions as if things of religion could be purchased. […] These are not used for feasting, drinking, and unwelcome gluttony; rather, they are for feeding and burying the poor, for the orphaned and the needy, for the elderly who are house-bound, and also for those who have undergone shipwreck, for those exiled in the mines, on islands, or in prison. […] (447)

26-C. On the Shows

Addressed to the catechumens, this treatise dates from about 198–200 and condemns all public performances as being the work of the devil.

IV. […] Upon entering the water, we openly declare the Christian faith as we use the words prescribed by law; we testify aloud that we have renounced the devil, his pomp, and his angels. Is it not especially in regard to idolatry that we think of the devil, his pomp, and his angels? To speak briefly, it is from here that we have every unclean and worthless spirit. If, therefore, the whole apparatus of the shows is based on idolatry, surely we may presume that our baptismal renunciation refers to the shows which have been handed over to the devil, his pomp, and his angels by means of idolatry. […] (448)

XXV. How terrible it is to go from God’s Church to that of the devil, from heaven—as they say—to faith! From uplifting your hands to God and then to wearying them by applauding an actor! From saying aloud the “Amen” to what is holy and then to cheering on a gladiator! To cry “forever” to anyone other than God and Christ! (449)

26-D. The Prescription of Heretics

Writing ca. 200, Tertullian argues against heretics in general, saying that since the Scriptures belong to the Church alone, dissidents have no right to employ the holy books in their argumentation.

XXXVI. […] How happy is that Church upon which the apostles poured forth their whole teaching with the shedding of their blood, where Peter suffered a passion like the Lord’s. […] Let us see what it has learned, what it has taught, what communion it has enjoyed even with our churches in Africa. It acknowledges the one Lord God, who is the Creator of the universe, and Jesus Christ born of the Virgin Mary and the Son of God the Creator, the resurrection of the body; it brings together the Law and the prophets, the Gospels and the letters of the apostles, from which it absorbs its faith; this faith it seals with water, clothes with the Holy Spirit, nourishes with the Eucharist, exhorts to martyrdom, and so receives no one who stands against such a custom. (450)

XLI. I will not omit describing the conduct of heretics, how useless it is, how dried up, how human, lacking seriousness, authority, order, as behooves what they believe. To begin with, it is not certain who is a catechumen or who is a member of the faithful; both approach, both listen, both pray, even the pagans should they perhaps be present among them. […] Their catechumens are seen as perfect before they are instructed. How shameless are these heretical women who dare to teach, to argue, to perform exorcisms, to promise cures, and perhaps even to baptize. Their ordinations are thoughtless, insignificant, capricious. Now they install neophytes, now those bound by worldly duties, now those who have fallen away from us by apostasy, so that they bind them by means of vanity since they are unable to do so through truth. Nowhere is it easier to be promoted than in the camp of the rebels where the very fact of being present makes one qualified. And so it happens that today one man is their bishop, tomorrow another; today’s deacon is tomorrow’s reader; today’s presbyter is tomorrow’s layman, since even on laymen do they impose the tasks of the priesthood. (451)

26-E. On Baptism

Tertullian’s treatise on this sacrament dates either from the very end of the second century or the very beginning of the third. It was occasioned by the attacks on baptism made at Carthage by a woman named Quintilla.

I. Our purpose is to treat the sacrament of water, the water that washed away sins contracted at the time of our former blindness, the water that freed us unto eternal life. Such a treatise will not be useless, instructing both those who are being formed in the faith as well as those who, being content to believe without searching out the grounds of our traditions, only possess—by reason of their ignorance—a faith subject to temptations. Not long ago there arrived among us a most deadly viper from the Cainite heresya whose doctrine led astray a large number of people. Quite naturally it focused on baptism. Vipers, asps, and basilisks ordinarily seek out dry and waterless places. But as little fishes who take our name from ichthus,b Jesus Christ, we are born in water, and it is only by remaining in the water that we are saved. This is why this monstrous woman, who normally did not even have the right to teach,1 discovered that the best way to kill these little fishes was to remove them from the water. (452)

II. In fact, how great is a heresy’s power either for corrupting the faith or for completely hindering a person from adhering to it so that the heresy attacks the very foundations of faith. Nothing so assails the human mind as the contrast between the apparent simplicity of divine work and the greatness of the effects promised. This is true. Everything happens with the greatest simplicity, without splendor, without extraordinary preparation. In short, without any cost a person goes down into the water and is washed while certain words are said. The person emerges from the water not much or not at all [bodily] cleaner. This is why some do not believe that eternity is gained in this way. It’s true. The solemnities in honor of the idols base their authority and the faith one puts in them upon external display, pomp, and expense. O miserable incredulity which refuses God what is properly his: simplicity and power. What then? Is it not wonderful that both can wash away sin? But are we not to believe this just because it is wonderful! On the contrary, this is why we are to believe even more. Is it not fitting for the divine to surpass all admiration? We also admire, but we believe. For the rest, if incredulity stands in wonder, it is because incredulity lacks belief; incredulity stands in wonder because what it judges as worthless is simple; what is magnificent it judges, as it were, impossible. But that it be exactly as you think, God’s word has given you beforehand a sufficient denial. It says, “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise.”2 And also, “What is difficult for mortals is easy for God.”3 For if God is both wise and powerful—something even those who disregard the divine do not deny—he has taken for the material of his divine work the very opposite of wisdom and power, namely, that which is foolish and impossible since every power springs forth from whatever challenges it.4 (453)

III. Mindful of this statement as a conclusive rule, we ask if it is so foolish and impossible to be created again by means of water. Since water has merited to be the dispenser of such great grace, I think we must examine the importance of this liquid, which from the beginning has existed in abundance. Water is one of those elements which before the ordering of the world and in the original chaos reposed in God’s hands. “In the beginning,” it is written, “God created the heavens and the earth. But the earth was invisible and unorganized, and darkness covered the deep, and the spirit of God was carried over the waters.”5 We must honor this age of the waters, the antiquity of this substance. But we also venerate its privilege since water was the abode of the divine Spirit who preferred it to the other elements. The darkness was formless, lacking the adornment of the stars; the abyss was forbidding; the earth was unprepared; and the sky was but a rough mass. Only water, a perfect material from the beginning and being fecund and simple, offered itself as pure, as a throne worthy of its God. Must we also recall the ordering of the world, an ordering which consists in a type of regulating the waters by God? In order to suspend the heavenly firmament, God divided the waters in half.6 To make the earth dry, God separated the waters. Then once the world was divided into its various elements so that it could be given inhabitants, we have the first waters, these being ordered to bring forth living creatures.7 These first waters gave birth to what is alive, and so there is no reason to be surprised that the waters of baptism still produce life. As to the work of creating the human race,8 did not water play a part here also? If the material for this creation were taken from the earth, then the earth could not have been used for this purpose without water or dampness. The earth was completely impregnated by these waters, separated since the fourth day into their places, but which still imbued the soil. I could exhaust this subject or recall at length the importance of water—its power or agreeableness, its qualities, its benefits, its usefulness to the world—but I fear that I would appear to be collecting various reasons for praising water rather than the reasons for baptism. Yet doing so, I would teach in a much richer way in order to show that there can be no doubt: if God makes use of water in all that he does, God also makes it fecund when it concerns the sacraments; if water governs life here on earth, water also obtains life for heaven. (454)

IV. To this end, it is enough to mention briefly what happened at the beginning, the things that have us recognize a foundation of baptism: the Spirit which from the beginning hovered over the waters and remained there to give them life. A Spirit of holiness was carried over the holy water,9 or, rather, the water borrowed its holiness from the Spirit it bore. For whatever is placed beneath another necessarily seizes its quality from what is above. This is especially true when the corporeal comes into contact with the spiritual: because of its subtile material, the spiritual easily penetrates and remains. And so it is by this Spirit of sanctity that water is sanctified in its nature and itself sanctifies. But one might ask whether we are baptized in the waters that existed in the beginning? Surely they are not the same, unless in the sense that they belong to the same genus albeit to a different species. Yet what is attributed to the genus overflows into the species. There is no difference between being washed in the sea or in a stream, in a river or in a font, in a lake or in the pool of a house. Likewise, there is no difference between those whom John baptized in the Jordan10 and those whom Peter baptized in the Tiber. Likewise, the eunuch, whom Philip baptized with some water found by chance on the road,11 derived from this neither more nor less in regard to salvation. All waters, by reason of the ancient claim that marked them in the beginning, participate in the mystery of our sanctification once we have invoked God over them. As soon as God is invoked, the Spirit comes from heaven, hovers over the waters which it sanctifies with its presence, and the waters, thus sanctified, are in turn granted the power to sanctify. Surely baptism may be compared to a simple action: sins foul as if they were dirt; water cleanses us from them. Nonetheless, sins do not physically appear on the body since people do not carry on their skin the stains of idolatry, the stains of debauchery, or the stains of fraud. But it is the spirit, however, which soils, the spirit which is the author of sin. For the spirit commands; the body is at its service. Both share in the sin: the spirit because it commands and the flesh because it carries out the command. Therefore, since the intervention of an angel12 has bestowed upon the water a certain power of healing, the spirit is washed in the water by means of the body, whereas the flesh is purified in the water by means of the spirit. (455)

V. Even the pagans, who are strangers to spiritual things, attribute an analogous power to their idols, but they delude themselves since their waters are empty. Thus by a bath they are initiated into certain mysteries, like those of Isis or Mithras. They also carry the gods with them to the baths. For purposes of purification they sprinkle lustral water upon their country estates, homes, temples, and whole cities. At the time of the Apollonian and Pelusian games they are washed, believing that by doing so they obtain regeneration and the pardon of their sins. Likewise, whoever among the ancients was guilty of murder had to atone through a water of purification. If by nature the waters have the property of attracting spirits and thereby charming the idol who inspires these purifications, then how much more real power will these waters have from the authority of the God who gives these waters their whole nature. If they believe that a religious practice can make water capable of healing, then can any religious practice be superior to the one that proclaims the living God? Here again we see that the devil is at work trying to imitate the divine work when he also practices baptism among his own. But is there any true resemblance? The impure one purifies; the traitor sets free; the condemned one absolves. The devil will destroy his own work if he washes away the sins that he himself inspires. Truly this witnesses against those who reject the faith when they do not believe in the divine works so that they might believe in the claims of God’s rival. Is it not true that, apart from every sacred rite, the impure spirits dwell upon the waters, trying to take command of the divine Spirit which was made to brood upon them at the world’s beginning? The dark springs and the remote brooks know something of this, and these bathing pools and aqueducts, these reservoirs and wells which in houses are said to spirit away—all do so precisely through the power of an evil spirit. They are called “esietics,”c or “lymphatics,” or “hydrophobics,” those whom the waters have killed or stricken with insanity or terror. Why have we reported all this? We have done so that there be less of a problem in believing in the presence of God’s holy angel over the waters for the purpose of our salvation, whereas the evil angel employs water in order to destroy us. If the appearance of the angel over the waters seems to be something new, it was prefigured. At the pool of Bethesda an angel intervened, stirring up the water.13 Those complaining of ill-health awaited its coming, for the first person to go down into the water and wash therein ceased to complain. This bodily remedy was a figure announcing the spiritual remedy; it accorded with the rule that bodily realities always prefigure spiritual realities. This is why, God’s grace assisting in all things, the waters and the angel received a greater power. Alleviating evils of the body, they now heal the soul. Bringing about temporal salvation; they now restore eternal life. They set free one person once each year; now they save all people, destroying death through the forgiveness of sins; once the sin is forgiven, the penalty is also forgiven. In this way we are returned to God according to God’s image,14 we who were once conformed to God’s image—imago refers to the natural image, similitudo refers to what is eternal—for we find this spirit of God which we had received from the wind but afterward lost through sin.15 (456)

VI. This does not mean that it is in the water that we receive the Holy Spirit. But purified in the water, we are prepared by the angel to receive the Spirit.16 Once again the figure has preceded the reality. Just as John was the forerunner of the Lord and prepared his way,17 so the angel who presides at baptism makes straight the path for the coming of the Holy Spirit by removing sins through a faith sealed in the [name of the] Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. For if all God’s word is based on three witnesses,18 how much more God’s gift! By virtue of the baptismal blessing we have as witnesses of the faith the very ones who guarantee salvation. This same number of divine names also suffices to establish our hope. And since the witness of the faith and the promise of salvation are pledged under the three names, so mention of the Church is necessarily added. For where the Three—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—are found, there also is found the Church19 which is the body of the Three. (457)

VII. Coming up from the bath, we are thoroughly anointed with blessed oil in conformity with ancient practice whereby a person was customarily raised to the priesthood by being anointed with oil from a horn;20 in this way Aaron was anointed by Moses.21 The name “Christ” has its origin here, from the “chrism” which signifies the anointing and which also gives its name to the Lord. For it is this anointing, made spiritual, which in the Spirit Christ received from God the Father, as we read in Acts, “They gathered together in this city against your holy Son whom you anointed.”22 For us also the anointing flows over the body, but it profits us spiritually: just as the baptismal rite is a physical action since we are immersed into water, so its effect is spiritual because it frees us from our sins. (458)

VIII. Then hands were laid upon us while a blessing invoked and invited the Holy Spirit to come. If human ingenuity can make a stream of air descend upon the water, and if the hands of an artist can animate these two associated elements with another stream of such beauty, then why cannot God modulate with holy hands the sublime melody of the Spirit upon the human person?d But this rite [of the laying on of hands] comes from the old ceremony in which Jacob blessed his grandsons Ephrem and Manasses, sons of Joseph.23 He placed his crossed hands upon their heads in the form of a cross with the intent that, by forming the image of Christ upon them, they would henceforth portend the blessing that would come to us through Christ. So it is that this most Holy Spirit comes from the Father and willingly descends upon these purified and blessed bodies. The Spirit reposes upon these waters24 of baptism as if recognizing its ancient throne, the Spirit which under the form of a dove descended upon the Lord.25 In this way the Holy Spirit manifested its nature, for the dove which even in its body lacks bitterness is altogether simple and innocent. This is why we are told to “be as simple as doves,”26 something that does not lack a connection with the figure that preceded it: after the waters of the Deluge had purified the old filth, after the baptism of the world, if I can put it this way, it was the dove, sent forth from the ark and returning with an olive branch—a symbol of peace even for the pagans27—which came as a messenger announcing to the world that the heavenly anger was appeased. And so according to a similar order but one whose effect is completely spiritual, the dove, which is the Holy Spirit, flies toward the earth, that is, toward our body which comes out of the bath and is washed of its former sins. The Spirit brings God’s peace as a messenger from heaven where the Church is the figure of the ark. Yet the world returned to its sin, and so the parallel between baptism and the flood is not a happy one. Yes, this is why the world is destined to burn28 just as every person who returns to sin after baptism is destined to burn. But this should also be understood as a sign, as a warning to us.29 (459)

IX. How many are the favors of nature, privileges of grace, ritual solemnities, as well as figures, preparations, and prayers, all arranged on behalf of the cult of water! First, these are the people who were set free in Egypt and passing through water escaped the power of the Egyptian king; the water killed the king and his army.30 Is there a more evident figure of the sacrament of baptism? Here the pagans are released from the world by means of water; they leave behind the devil, their old tyrant, crushed down under the water. Another symbol: the piece of wood that Moses threw into the water cured the water of its bitterness and rendered it fit to drink.31 This wood was Christ himself curing the waters which previously were full of poison and bitterness; Christ changed them into a very healthy water, that of baptism. Water flowed from the rock32 for the people, and it accompanied them. For if this rock was Christ,33 there can be no doubt that baptism receives its consecration from this water flowing from Christ.e To strengthen the meaning of baptism, how privileged was water with God and with Christ! Christ never appeared without water. He was baptized in water.34 And when he was invited to the wedding feast, water initiated the beginning of his power.35 Announcing the word, he invites those who are thirsty to drink of his eternal water.36 Speaking of love, he declares that the cup of water given to one’s neighbor is an act of love.37 It is next to a well that Christ regains his strength.38 He walks on the water,39 taking delight in crossing over it;40 with water he washes the feet of his disciples.41 Witnesses in regard to baptism continue on to the Passion: when he was condemned to the cross, water again is involved, used for the hands of Pilate.42 And water flows forth when Christ’s side is pierced by the soldier’s lance.43 (460)

X. Thus far our instruction, according to our limited means, has focused on all that lies at the basis of the baptismal observance. I will now continue by treating, always as best I can, some secondary problems pertaining to the subject. The baptism already announced by John gave rise to the question Christ asked of the Pharisees: Is John’s baptism from heaven or from the earth?44 The Pharisees were unable to give a firm reply since they did not understand that they no longer believed.45 But we, having so little understanding, can to the extent of our little faith answer that this baptism was certainly divine. But only by its institution, not by its effects. John, as we read, was sent by the Lord for this precise task;46 after all, he remained a man. He conferred nothing of heaven; he was at the service of heavenly gifts; he was charged with exhorting to penance47 and penance depends on the human will. This is why the doctors of the Law and the Pharisees, refusing to believe, were unwilling to repent. But if penance is a human work, John’s baptism necessarily depended on the same order of things. If his baptism were from heaven, it would have bestowed the Holy Spirit and remitted sins. But it is God alone who forgives sins and grants the Spirit.48 Yet the Lord himself affirmed that the Spirit would not descend before he had ascended to the Father.49 The servant cannot give what the Lord has not yet granted. So true is this that further on in the Acts of the Apostles we find that those who were baptized by John had not received the Holy Spirit; in fact, they didn’t even know the Spirit’s name.50 What was unable to obtain heavenly gifts was therefore not from heaven. We see it well. What was heavenly in John, his spirit of prophecy, was no longer present once the Spirit completely passed upon the Lord, so that John sent forth [his disciples] to ask whether the Lord, whom he had preached and whose coming he had pointed out, was indeed the one who was to come.51 Thus the baptism of penance was given as a disposition for the pardon and sanctification which Christ was to bring. We read, in fact, that “John proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”:52 this was said in regard to the forgiveness yet to come since penance precedes and forgiveness comes afterwards.53 This is how John “prepared the way.” But the one who prepares is not the one who accomplishes. The person who prepares disposes so that another may accomplish. John himself recognized that he gave nothing of heaven when he said in regard to Christ, “The one who is of the earth speaks of the things of heaven; but the one who comes from heaven is above all.”54 He likewise declares that he baptizes only with the baptism of penance and that soon will come he who will baptize “with the Spirit and fire.”55 True and solid faith is baptized in water unto salvation, but a faith that is simulated and weak is baptized in fire unto judgment. (461)

XI. But it can be objected that the Lord came and yet did not baptize. In fact, we read, “Although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized,”56 as if John had preached that Jesus would baptize with his own hands. Certainly the passage is not to be understood in this way, but simply according to the common way of speaking, as when someone says, “The emperor has promulgated a decree” or “The prefect has condemned him to be beaten.” Is it the emperor himself who promulgates? Is it the prefect himself who administers the beating? We always speak of the person who has something done as the one who actually does it. And so we must understand “He will baptize you”57 as follows, “You will be baptized at his command or in his name.” Let no one be surprised not to see Christ baptizing. With what baptism would he have done so? With the baptism of penance? What, then, was the purpose of his Precursor? For the forgiveness of sins? He could have remitted them with a single word.58 With a baptism in his own name? Out of humility he was concealing himself. In the name of the Holy Spirit? But Christ had not yet ascended to his Father. In the name of the Church? He still had not established the Church upon his apostles. This is why his disciples baptized as ministers, as did John the Precursor and with the same baptism as John’s so that one not think that it was a question of another baptism, for there is no other baptism except that which Christ instituted afterwards. But at this moment the apostle could still not bestow it since the Savior was not yet glorified,59 nor had he as yet established the efficacy of baptism by his passion and resurrection. Our death could not be destroyed without the Lord’s passion, nor can life be restored without his resurrection. (462)

XII. But since it is prescribed that no one can be saved without baptism, especially since the Lord said that “no one can see life without being born of water,”60 there arise scrupulous, yes thoughtless, objections. According to this precept, how are the apostles saved since we do not see them, other than Paul,61 receiving the Lord’s baptism? Since Paul is the only one among them to have received Christ’s baptism, then either—to save the precept—we must prejudge the danger of the others who did not receive the water of Christ or, if their salvation has been assured without their being baptized, we must hold that the precept is nonapplicable. God knows that I have heard remarks of such kind. And I say this in order that no one believe me so reckless as to imagine, in my passion to write, things that inspire doubt in others. Now I will respond as best I can to those who deny that the apostles were baptized. Indeed, if they had received John’s baptism, why did they desire the Lord’s baptism since the Lord himself gave the rule of only one baptism when he spoke to Peter who requested to be washed, “Whoever has bathed one time has no need to do so again.”62 Christ certainly would not have said this if Peter had not already been baptized. This is a remarkable argument against those who, desiring to destroy the sacrament of water, take away from the apostles even the baptism of John. How improbable it would be if John’s baptism had not prepared the way of the Lord among the very ones who were destined to prepare the Lord’s way in the whole world. The Lord himself, who did not have to do penance, was himself baptized. Was baptism not necessary for sinners? And if others were not baptized, it is because they were not yet companions of Christ but rivals in faith, being doctors of the Law and Pharisees. The fact that Christ’s adversaries did not desire baptism shows us, on the one hand, that the followers of Christ were baptized and did not react like his rivals, especially when the Lord to whom they were attached had praised John when he said, “Among those born of women no one is greater than John the Baptist.”63 Others—and their argument is rather forced—contend that the apostles received a substitute for baptism on the day when, in the boat, they were covered with waves,64 and when Peter began to sink in the sea upon which he was walking.65 But, in my mind, to be washed away or swallowed up by a violent sea is quite different from being baptized as a religious observance. Furthermore, the ship prefigures the Church which, on the sea of the world, is disturbed by the waves of persecutions and temptations, while the Lord in his patience seems to be asleep till the last moment when, awakened by the prayers of the saints,66 he restrains the world and grants peace to his own. Now, either the apostles received baptism in some way or else they remained unbaptized, and in the latter case the Lord’s words to Peter regarding one baptism 67 apply to us alone. In both instances it is quite rash to make quick judgments regarding the salvation of the apostles since for them the privilege of being the first to be called and then to live in personal familiarity with Christ could well have substituted for baptism. For it seems to me that the person they followed was the very person who promised salvation to those who believe in him. “Your faith has saved you”68 … “your sins are forgiven”:69 this is what Christ said to someone who believed but had not yet been baptized. If the apostles lacked faith, I do not know anyone whose faith is safe. At a single word from the Lord one left his tax booth;70 another left his father and his boat;71 another gave up his livelihood; and another did not worry about burying his father;72 even before hearing it, he carried out this essential precept of the Lord, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.”73 (463)

XIII. This is where these impious ones bring up objections. They go so far as to say that baptism is not necessary for those for whom faith suffices: Abraham found grace before God not by reason of the sacrament of water but by reason of the sacrament of faith.74 But in every order of things what happens subsequently is definitive; what follows surpasses in value all that precedes. Formerly, before the Lord’s passion and resurrection, salvation was obtained by faith alone; but since Christ’s nativity, passion, and resurrection have become objects of faith for believers, the sacrament itself is enlarged: the seal of baptism was added, a type of garment for the faith which previously was nude and which now has no more power without the faith to which it is joined. Thus was the law of baptism established and its formula prescribed, “Go, teach all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”75 The following prescription was added to this law, “No one can enter the kingdom of heaven without being reborn of water and the Spirit.”76 This binds faith to the necessity of baptism. Henceforth all who believe are baptized. And Paul himself, as soon as he believed, was baptized.77 This is what the Lord commanded when Paul fell blind, “Get up,” he said, “and go to Damascus; there you will be told everything that you are to do,”78 namely, to receive baptism, the only thing he lacked. For the rest, he had been sufficiently instructed and believed that the Nazarene was the Lord, the Son of God.79 (464)

XIV. But those who object call attention to the apostle himself who says, “Christ did not send me to baptize.”80 As if this argument would do away with baptism! Why, then, did Paul baptize Gaius, Crispus, and the household of Stephanas?81 Furthermore, even if Christ had not sent Paul to baptize, Christ commanded the other apostles to do so. These lines were addressed to the Corinthians in light of the conditions of the time: divisions and discords broke out among them82 since one claimed to belong to Paul, another to Apollos.83 This is why the apostle, out of love for peace and so as not to seem to claim all ministries for himself, declares that he has been sent not to baptize but to preach. Preaching comes first. Baptism follows. Yet, as I believe, whoever can rightfully preach can also rightfully baptize. (465)

XV. I do not know whether other questions are bantered about in regard to the baptismal controversy. And so I will explain what I omitted above, doing so to avoid giving the impression of interrupting the flow of my discourse. Certainly there is only one baptism, and this according to the Lord’s Gospel and according to the letters of Paul. The reason is that there is only one God and only one Church above.84 What should be done in regard to the heretics can be considered by those who are more competent than I. My writing here is addressed only to us; heretics, however, do not share in our rites; they are outsiders because they are not in communion with us. I am not bound to recognize in them what is imposed on me. We do not share the same God with them nor do we have the one and the same Christ. Nor do we share the same baptism because it is not the same baptism. Since they do not have a baptism as properly required—no doubt about it—it is not baptism which they possess; and since they do not possess baptism, they cannot have it counted. And since they do not have it, they cannot receive it. As to the rest, we have already treated this at length in a work written in Greek.f Only one time, then, do we enter the baptismal bath, and only one time are our sins there washed away because they are never to be repeated. Israel, on the other hand, washes each day because it dirties itself each day. So that this custom may not be observed by us also, the precept of one baptism was established. Happy this water with which we wash and which sinners cannot mock! It is not contaminated by the continual presence of dirt. It stains those who wash in it a second time.g (466)

XVI. We have, certainly, a second bath, which itself is also one. It is the baptism of blood concerning which the Lord said that he had to be baptized85 even though he was already baptized. As John has written, he came “by water and by blood,”86 by water that he might be baptized, by blood that he might be glorified. Accordingly, he called us by water; he chose us by blood. These two baptisms flow together from the wound in his pierced side87 since those who believe in his blood are still to be washed in water, and those who have been washed in water still have to shed their blood. This second baptism replaces the water bath when it has not been received, and restores it when it has been lost. (467)

XVII. To conclude this instruction, it remains for us to recall the rules for giving and receiving baptism. As to conferring it, the high priest—who is the bishop—has the primary right when he is present. After him, it belongs to the priest and the deacon, but never without the bishop’s permission out of respect due to the Church since peace is preserved when this respect is preserved. Furthermore, the laity can also baptize. What all receive in the same degree, all can give in the same degree (the Lord’s disciples were already called bishops, priests, and deacons!). Baptism is akin to the word of the Lord which no one can rightfully hide. Baptism also comes from God; all can confer it. But what reserve and modesty are required for the laity, more even than for clerics who themselves are to prove that they do not encroach upon the bishop’s ministry. Jealousy in regard to the episcopacy is the mother of all divisions. The most holy apostle has said, “All things are lawful, but not all things are opportune.”88 Follow this rule when necessary according to circumstances of place, time, or persons. In such a case the boldness of the one who brings assistance is justified by the urgency of the danger. To refuse the help that one can freely give is to be guilty of the loss of another. But will the impudence of the woman who has already usurped the right of teaching go so far as to arrogate for herself the right of baptizing?89 No! … least there rise up some new beasts similar to the first. One pretended to suppress baptism; another will desire to confer it herself. And if these women invoke the Acts which incorrectly bear the name of Paul, and claim the example of Thecla in defense of their right to teach and to baptize, they should know that a priest in Asia forged this work, covering his own authority with that of Paul. Convicted of fraud, he stated that he so acted out of love for Paul, and he was then deposed. In fact, is it likely that the apostle gives a woman the power of teaching and of baptizing, he who restricted a wife’s permission to teach? “Let women be silent,” he says, “and let them question their husbands at home.”90 (468)

XVIII. Those whose function it is to baptize should understand that baptism is not to be given lightly. “Give to everyone who asks of you”91 has its own particular meaning, one that refers to almsgiving. It is much better for us to reflect on another saying, namely, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine.”92 Or also this, “Do not impose hands hastily and do not participate in the sins of another.”93 If Philip so quickly baptized the eunuch, we should remember that the Lord had testified his favor toward him in an explicit and manifest way; it was the Spirit who commanded Philip to take this route.94 For his part, the eunuch was not idle; there was no sudden desire urging him on to request baptism, but he had gone to the temple to pray and he worked hard at reading the Holy Scriptures.95 So it was fitting for the apostle, gratuitously sent by God, to discover him. Then, once again, the Spirit commanded Philip to join the eunuch by the latter’s chariot.96 At that moment a text, relative to the faith itself, was presented; the exhortation was received; the Lord was proclaimed; faith was not delayed; water was immediately found; and then the apostle, his mission completed, was snatched away.97 Paul also was immediately baptized.98 Simon, his host,h had recognized in him a subject of election; in advance God’s favor gave signs of the divine choice.99 Every candidate for baptism can deceive and be deceived. This is why according to each person’s condition, disposition, and even age, it is preferable to defer baptism, especially when it concerns very young children. Other than in absolute necessity, are sponsors to risk failing in their promises because they die or because they are disappointed by the growth of an evil disposition in the one who has been baptized? Certainly the Lord said, “Let the little children come to me.”100 Yes, let them come, but when they are older, when they can be taught, when they can be instructed about the person to whom they come. Let them become Christians when they are capable of knowing Christ. Why is this innocent age hastening to the remission of sins? We act with more foresight in secular affairs! Are we to confide divine gifts to those to whom we do not confide earthly goods? May they at least be capable of requesting salvation so that you may take care that salvation is given only to the one who requests it. For no less serious a reason, it is necessary to defer the baptism of the unmarried since temptation awaits them; the same is true for virgins because of their immaturity; likewise for widows because of their instability.101 Delay baptism till they marry or grow stronger in the practice of continence. If one understands what baptism imposes, its reception rather than its delay would be feared the more: a faith that is whole is assured of salvation. (469)

XIX. The Pasch stands out as the more solemn day for baptism since the Lord’s passion in which we are baptized is therein completed. It will not be inconsistent to interpret as a figure this passage where the Lord, about to celebrate the Passover for the last time, sent his disciple to prepare for it, as he said to them, “You will find a man carrying some water.”102 It was through the sign of water that he indicated the place where he would celebrate the Passover. In addition, the time of Pentecost is a most propitious time for celebrating baptism. During these days the Risen Lord frequently showed himself to his disciples.103 This was when the grace of the Holy Spirit was given to them,104 and which allowed them to hope in the Lord’s coming.105 It was at this time, after his ascension into heaven, that the angels told the apostles that the Lord would return, just as he ascended into heaven, precisely at Pentecost. Also Jeremiah who says, “I will gather them from the ends of the earth for a day of feasting,”106 designates by this the time of Pentecost, the time which, properly speaking, is a “day of feasting.” And yet every day belongs to the Lord. Every hour, every time is suitable for baptism. Even though the ceremony might be different, grace is in no way affected. (470)

XX. Those preparing for baptism should invoke God through fervent prayers, fasting, genuflections, and vigils. They should also prepare themselves by confessing all their past sins, doing so in memory of the baptism of John of which it is said that people received it while “confessing their sins.”107 We can rejoice that we do not publicly confess our sins and evil deeds. By afflicting the flesh and the spirit, we make satisfaction for sin and also fortify ourselves in advance against future temptations. “Watch and pray,” says the Lord, “that you may not enter into temptation.”108 The reason the apostles were tempted at the time of the Lord’s arrest was, I believe, that they were asleep, and so they abandoned him.109 The one who remained close by the Lord and defended him with the sword,110 even went so far as to deny him three times,111 for it was predicted that no one can enter the heavenly kingdom without experiencing temptation. And immediately after his baptism the Lord himself, observing a fast of forty days, was assailed by temptations. And so someone might ask whether we too are to fast after our baptism. Nothing hinders us from doing so unless it be the necessity for rejoicing and for giving joyful thanks for salvation. But as far as I understand, the Lord wished to symbolically return against Israel the reproach he recently incurred. The people, after passing through the sea and entering the desert, spent forty years there, being nourished by the divine abundance.112 In spite of this, the people were more mindful of their belly and gullet than of God.113 This is why the Lord, after his baptism, went off into the desert where, during a fast of forty days, he showed that those who are of God do not live by bread alone but by God’s word,114 and that temptations coming from a full and unrestrained stomach are conquered by abstinence. Therefore, blessed ones, God’s grace awaits you. You will ascend from the most holy bath of new birth.115 For the first time you will extend your hands with your brethren in the house of your mother. You will ask the Father, ask the Lord for the abundance of his charisms as a special gift of divine grace.116 Ask and you will receive,117 he says. You have asked, and you have found. You have knocked, and it has been opened to you. I request only one more thing: that you remember in your prayers Tertullian the sinner. (471)

26-F. On Prayer

This treatise, dating between 198 and 206 and addressed to the catechumens, is the earliest exposition of the Lord’s Prayer.

VI. How skillfully has divine Wisdom arranged the order of this prayer so that after mentioning heavenly things, namely, God’s name, will, and kingdom, it goes on to request earthly necessities. “For the Lord said, ‘Seek first the kingdom and then these things will also be given you.’”1 Yet it is in a spiritual sense that we should understand, “Give us this day our daily bread.”2 Christ is “our bread” because Christ is life and bread is life (“I am,” he says, “the bread of life” and somewhat later, “the bread is the word of the living God which descends from heaven”3), then because his Body is believed to be in the bread, “this is my Body.”4 Thus by requesting daily bread, we are requesting life everlasting in Christ and inseparable union with the Body of Christ. (472)

XVI. As to the custom observed by some of sitting down once their prayer has ended, I see no reason for this unless they wish to imitate children. What do I mean here? If Hermas, whose writings almost always bear the title “The Shepherd,” had not sat down on his bed at the conclusion of his prayer but did something else, would we also claim as our own this practice? Surely not! The phrase “when I had prayed and sat upon my bed”a is simply narrative and is not the equivalent of something we must do. Otherwise if no bed were present, we could not pray. And to sit in a chair or on a bench would violate what he had written. Furthermore, since the pagans sit before the gods they adore, so we reprove what is done before idols. This is why it is considered a sin of irreverence, even among the pagans should they be able to understand this. If it is disrespectful to sit down before a person whom you most highly revere and honor, how much more irreligious is it to do so before the living God with the angel of prayer standing nearby. Unless we are reproaching God because prayer has exhausted us! (473)

XVIII. Another custom has developed, namely, that at the end of the prayer those who are fasting refrain from the kiss of peace, which is the seal of prayer. Yet at what time is it more appropriate to give the peace to the brethren than when our prayer, more praiseworthy because of our devotion, ascends to heaven. In this way they participate in our charity, they who have contributed to it by passing on their peace to their brethren. Is any prayer complete when separated from the holy kiss? Does the peace hinder any work done for the Lord? From what type of sacrifice does one leave without exchanging the peace? Whatever be the reason, it will not be stronger than the observance of the precept commanding us to hide our fasting.5 We are recognized to be fasting when we refrain from the kiss. But even if there is a reason, still that you may not be guilty of breaking this rule, you may if you so desire, forgo extending the peace at home since it is there that you are among those from whom you cannot totally conceal your fasting. Wherever else you can hide your acts of piety, you should be mindful of this precept; in such a way you will satisfy the discipline in public and follow custom when at home. So on Good Friday, a day on which fasting is a general and somewhat public obligation, rightly do we forgo giving the peace, not concerned about hiding what we do with everyone else. (474)

XIX. Likewise in regard to the stational days, many do not believe that they should attend the sacrificial prayers because receiving the Lord’s Body would break their fast. Does the Eucharist, therefore, free us from a service devoted to God or does it bind us more closely to God? Will your station not be even more solemn if you also stand at the altar of God? Each remains intact if you receive the Lord’s Body and reserve it:b participation in the sacrifice and the fulfillment of a duty. If the word “station” comes from military usage (for we are indeed God’s army), certainly neither joy nor sadness occurring in the camp releases the soldiers from assuming guard duty. Those who are joyful follow the commands that are given more freely; those who are sad do so more attentively. (475)

XXIII. As to kneeling, prayer allows different customs in that there are some, a very few, who do not kneel on the Sabbath, this being a dissenting practice now strongly defended in the churches. The Lord will give his grace so that its proponents will either yield or, without scandalizing others, will follow their own opinion. According to our traditions, only on the day of the Lord’s resurrection should we refrain not only from kneeling but from every expression and act of worry, postponing any business dealing so as not to make way for the devil.6 The same holds true for the time of Pentecost which is characterized by the same joyous celebration. In other respects, who would hesitate to prostrate before God every day for at least the first prayer at daybreak? During the times when we observe the fasts and the stations there is to be no prayer except when kneeling and with humility. For we not only pray but beseech and offer satisfaction to God our Lord. (476)

XXIV. Nothing is prescribed as to the times of prayer except that we are to pray at all times and places. But since we are not to pray in public, how can we pray in every place? “In every place,” he said,7 that favoring circumstances or necessity offer. The apostles did not act contrary to the precept when, in prison and with the guards listening, they prayed and sang to God8 or when Paul on a ship and in the presence of all gave thanks.9 (477)

XXV. As to the time for prayer, it will not be useless to observe certain hours outwardly, namely, the times of common prayer that mark off the divisions of the day, namely, Terce, Sext, and None, whose observance is found in the Scriptures. It was at the third hour when the Holy Spirit was first sent upon the disciples who had gathered together.10 It was at the sixth hour when Peter, on the day he experienced a vision of all creation in a large sheet, went up higher so that he could pray.11 Likewise, it was at the ninth hour when John entered the temple where he cured the paralytic.12 Although all these took place without any precept, it would, however, be good to establish some presupposition that would make binding the admonition to pray and would be like a law that from time to time wrestles us from our daily affairs to such a task. This, we read, was done by Daniel according to the teaching of Israel.13 In such a way we adore, at least no less than three times a day, as being in debt to the Three: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Certainly we are not including the rightful prayers which without any urging, are to be said at dawn and at dusk. But it is appropriate for the faithful not to take food or go to the bath before having prayed, for refreshment and nourishment of the spirit are to be preferred to those of the flesh because heavenly things come before those of earth. (478)

XXVI. You are not to let one of the brethren who has entered your house depart without a prayer (“You have seen,” he said, “one of the brethren, you have seen the Lord.”c); this should especially be observed in the case of strangers lest perhaps he or she be an angel.14 But once this individual has been received by the brethren, attend first to heavenly rather than earthly refreshment. For in this way your faith will immediately be declared openly. Or how can you say “Peace be to this house”15 unless you exchange the peace with those who are in the house? (479)

XXVII. Those more careful in prayer are accustomed to add the Alleluia to their prayers and to psalms that allow all to respond at the end. Surely this practice is very good; by acclaiming and honoring God the prayer, being filled out, can be directed like a rich victim to him. (480)

XXVIII. It is to God’s altar, together with a display of good works and amid the singing of psalms and hymns, that we are to bring this prayer wholeheartedly devoted to him, supported by faith, cared for by truth, pure in its innocence, clean because of our chastity, and crowned by our love for each other. It will obtain for us whatever we request from God. (481)

26-G. To My Wife

Writing early in the third century, Tertullian counsels his wife on how she should live after his death. If she remarries, she certainly is not to marry a pagan.

II.IV. May she see how she values her duties to her husband. Certainly she cannot satisfy the Lord according to what is required if she has at her side the servant of the devil, a man who will act as an agent of his master in obstructing the duties and devotions of the faithful. If a station is to be observed at daybreak, the husband arranges to meet her at the baths; if fasts are to be observed, on the same day the husband is engaged in banqueting; if necessity requires that she go out to perform a task of Christian charity, something needs to be done at home. […] Who will allow her to be taken from his side so that she, if need be, can attend nocturnal gatherings? Moreover, who will unconcernedly allow her to pass the night at the paschal solemnities? Who will without any suspicion let her go to the Lord’s Supper, which they defame? Who will allow her to steal into prison to kiss the wounds of the martyrs? […] (482)

II.V. “Yet some husbands endure and are not disturbed by what we do.” It is precisely here, then, that sin is found: namely, that the heathens know the things that we do, that the unjust are aware of our activities, and that we are allowed to do something only by reason of their goodness. Whoever “endures” something cannot be ignorant of it, or, if something is concealed because the husband does not endure it, he is feared. Since Scripture commands that we work for the Lord, both without another knowing and without pressure on ourselves, it does not matter in which area you fail, whether in what your husband may know if he is tolerant or in the difficulties you yourself may have in avoiding his intolerance. “Do not,” he says, “throw your pearls before swine lest they trample them and turn about to destroy you also.”1 Your pearls are also the distinguishing marks of your daily conduct. The greater the care you take to conceal them, so much the more do you make them suspect and more scrutinized by the curiosity of the Gentiles. Do you conceal yourself when you sign your bed, your body? When with your breath you blow away something impure? Also when you rise during the night so that you might pray? Will you not be seen as if you are engaging in some type of magic? Will your husband not know what you are tasting in secret before you take any food? And if he knows it to be bread, will he not believe it to be the bread that we say it is? […] (483)

II.VIII. What type of marriage bond exists between two believers who share in one hope, one promise, one discipline, one and the same obedience! Both are brethren; both serve together; there is no difference of spirit or of body, and truly two are in one flesh.2 Where the body is one, the spirit is also one: together they pray, together they instruct one another, together they fast, teaching each other, exhorting one another, supporting one another. Both are equally in the Church of God, equally at God’s banquet, equally sharing times of distress, persecutions, consolations. Neither conceals, neither avoids the other, neither is harsh toward the other. With generosity the sick are visited; the needy are fed. Alms are freely bestowed, the sacrifice is attended without difficulty, daily devotions are carried out without impediments; there is no furtive signing, no anxious congratulations, no silent blessings. Psalms and hymns resound between the two, and they mutually challenge each other as to who sings best to the Lord. Christ rejoices when he hears and sees all this. To these he sends his peace. Where two are, there he himself is.3 Where he is, there the evil one is not. […] (484)

26-H. On Penance

Writing in 203, Tertullian in chapters IV to VI treats the penance that is to precede baptism, whereas the second half of the book is an exposition on the “second” penance, which, for psychological reasons, is granted only once.

IV. And so for all sins, whether of the flesh or of the spirit, whether in deed or in desire, he who has decreed that punishment take place after judgment has also promised to give pardon when he said to the people, “Repent and I will save you.”1 Also, “I am the living God, says the Lord, and I prefer penance to death.”2 Penance, therefore, is life since it is preferable to death. And so you, a sinner like myself3 and even less a sinner than I since I acknowledge my superiority in sin, should throw yourself upon penance and embrace it as a shipwrecked4 person embraces the plank of salvation. You have been submerged under the waves of sin; penance will support you and lead you to the port of divine mercy. Seize this blessed and unanticipated opportunity so that you, once nothing before the Lord other than a drop in the bucket,5 a grain of dust driven through the air,6 a potter’s vessel,7 will one day become a tree, a tree planted by the water which always retains its leaves and gives fruit in due time,8 and which will see neither fire nor the axe.9 (485)

VI. Nor do I deny that the divine favor, namely, the forgiveness of sins, is granted to those who will enter the water; but to be fortunate enough to arrive at such a point, effort is required. […] Let those who are classified among the hearers not flatter themselves that they are still allowed to sin. From the time you know the Lord, you should fear him; from the time you look toward him, you should revere him. For the rest, what good is it to know the Lord if you remain attached to the same things as formerly, before you knew him? What, then, differentiates you from a perfect servant of God? Or is there one Christ for the baptized and another Christ for the hearers? Is there a different hope, or reward, a different fear of judgment, a different necessity for doing penance? The baptismal bath is the seal of faith, but the faith of baptism begins with and is commended by the faith of penance. We have not been washed in baptism in order that we may cease sinning; rather, we have ceased sinning since we have been washed within. Such, in fact, is the first baptism of the hearer whose fear is perfect since the Lord has already been experienced, whose faith is healthy since the hearer’s conscience has already embraced penance once and for all. (486)

VII. Lord, Christ, may your servants speak of the discipline of penance or hear it spoken of only when, as hearers, they have the duty of avoiding sin. Afterwards, may they, not needing it, know nothing of penance. It bothers me to add mention of a second hope or one which is already the final one. My fear is that by referring to the means which it offers of still performing penance, I appear to indicate that we still have time for sinning. May no one so understand my words as if the road of sin were still open because the road for penance is still open; may no one transform God’s superabundant mercy10 into a desire for human rashness. May no one be worse, sinning as often as pardon is given, because the Lord is better. For the rest, those who have not put an end to their sins will surely discover that an end has been assigned to their immunity. We have escaped once; let us not place ourselves in danger even if we seem to escape a second time. Many people who have survived a shipwreck henceforth put some distance between themselves and ships and the sea; they honor God’s gift, namely, the fact that they were saved, by recalling the danger. I praise their fear; I love the respect they show; they do not desire to burden the divine mercy; they fear that they will be seen as trampling underfoot what they have received; certainly with good care they avoid experimenting a second time with what they have learned to fear. Thus by checking their presumption they give proof of their fear. Human fear honors God.11 The most stubborn enemy never relaxes his evil; in fact, he rages most when he feels that someone has been completely freed; he burns most when someone tries to quench him. He has to grieve and moan when sins are forgiven, when so many deadly works are destroyed in us,12 when so many titles of his ancient authority are removed. He grieves that sinners, servants of Christ, will judge him and his angels.13 This is why the devil spies on them,14 attacks them, besieges them, with the hope that he can either strike their eyes with the concupiscence of the flesh, or ensnare their souls in unlawful worldly delights, or destroy their faith by a fear of civil authorities, or through perverse instructions lead them from the right path. Never does the devil lack scandals or temptations. Foreseeing these poisons, God has permitted the gate of forgiveness to remain a little open, even though it had been closed and locked by the washing. In the vestibule God has placed a second penance which is available to those who knock,15 but one time only since it is already the second time; yet never again since the previous time had been useless. Is not this one time enough? You have what you did not merit; you have lost what you received. If the Lord’s kindness gives you what is required to recover what you have lost, be grateful for the benefit that he repeats or increases. For to restore is greater than to give since it is worse to have lost than it is not to have received at all. Yet if someone should carry out a second penance, his or her spirit should not on this account be cut down and destroyed. Surely be ashamed to sin again but not to do penance again; be ashamed to be placed again in danger but not to be freed from it; when a person falls again, the remedy is repeated. You will prove your thankfulness to the Lord if you do not refuse what he again offers you. You have offended him, but you can still reconcile yourself to him: you are dealing with one to whom you can make amends and who certainly desires it. (487)

IX. Insofar as this second and one penance is stringent, it must be seriously tested: it is not enough to produce it within one’s conscience but it must be manifested by doing something. This action is more commonly designated by the Greek word exomologesis; by this we confess our sins to the Lord, certainly not as if he did not know them but so that satisfaction is prepared for by confession; confession gives birth to penance; by penance God is appeased. Exomologesis, then, is a discipline enjoining us to prostrate and humble ourselves. It imposes on us, even in regard to what we eat and wear, a manner of living that draws down God’s mercy. It orders us to lie down upon sackcloth and ashes,16 to cover the body with filth, to afflict the soul with sorrow, to punish severely all that has caused us to sin. Furthermore, it requires that we take only very plain food and drink for the good not only of the stomach but assuredly that of the soul, that we nourish prayer mostly by fasting, that we sigh, cry, and groan day and night to the Lord our God, that we throw ourselves at the feet of the presbyters, that we kneel before the altar of God, that we request all the brethren to intercede on our behalf. Exomologesis does all this to encourage repentance, in order to honor the Lord through fear of peril, so that by pronouncing judgment on the sinner it might ward off God’s wrath and by punishment here on earth it will cancel—I do not say prevent—eternal suffering. This is why when it prostrates someone, it raises up that person; when it soils, it cleanses; when it accuses, it excuses, when it condemns, it forgives. To the extent that you showed no mercy toward yourself, so, believe me, God will be merciful to you. (488)

X. There are very many who flee from this task because it makes public what they have done, or they postpone it from day to day, thinking more about their shame, I believe, than about their salvation, as do those who, having contacted some sickness in the private parts of the body, avoid making this known to the doctors, and so they perish along with their modesty. Evidently shame finds it intolerable to offer satisfaction to the Lord who has been offended, to regain possession of the salvation that has been lost. Truly you are indeed a brave person when you lift your head while sinning but lower it when requesting forgiveness. I have no place for shame when I profit at its expense and when in a certain way it exhorts, “Don’t worry about me. It is better that I die rather than you.” […] Why do you flee as if from scoffers, from those who share your misfortunes? The body cannot rejoice when one of its members suffers;17 it is necessary that the whole body suffer together and collaborate toward a remedy. Where we find one or another of the faithful, there we find the Church;18 the Church indeed is Christ.19 So when you extend your hands toward the knees of the brethren, you touch Christ, you exhort Christ. Likewise, when the brethren shed tears over you, it is Christ who is suffering, it is Christ who entreats the Father. What the child requests is always readily granted.20 Truly, to hide sin promises great profit to modesty. To be sure, when we conceal something from the knowledge of others, do we not also conceal it from the Lord? Is this the extent to which we compare human opinion and God’s judgment? Or is it better to be condemned in secret than to be forgiven in public? But it pains to undertake exomologesis in this way. I prefer to say that we suffer pain because we have sinned, but when penance is to be undertaken, suffering disappears since salvation occurs. It hurts to be cut, to be cauterized, to be tortured by the sting of certain medicinal powders; nonetheless, disagreeable remedies justify the pain by the cure they effect; present evil is accepted because of future advantage. (489)

XII. Since, therefore, you know that against hell there exists, after the first line of defense constituted by the Lord’s baptism, a second help in exomologesis, why do you desert your salvation? Why do you delay undertaking what you know will cure you? […] (490)

26-I. On the Dress of Women

Here Tertullian, writing after 206, warns Christian women to shun pagan customs of dress.

II.XI. […] Only for grave reasons are you to appear in public: when you go to visit a sick member of the community, when the sacrifice is offered, or when God’s word is celebrated. Each of these is a serious and holy activity, requiring no extraordinary clothing. […] (491)

26-J. Against Marcion††

This, the longest of Tertullian’s writings and composed of five books, was written between 207 and 212. It is the best source of information regarding Marcion, a well-known heretic who rejected not only the complete Old Testament but also many books from the Christian Scriptures.

I.XIV. Indeed till now the Lord has not condemned the water of the Creator by which he washes his own, nor the oil by which he anoints them, nor the union of milk and honey whereby he nourishes them like small children, nor the bread by which he makes present his own Body. […] (492)

26-K. On the Resurrection of the Dead

Writing ca. 210–12, Tertullian argues against all who deny the resurrection of the body.

VIII. The body is washed that the soul might be cleansed; the body is anointed so that the soul might be hallowed; the body is signed so that the soul may be strengthened; the body is covered by the imposition of hands so that the soul may be enlightened by the Spirit; the body feeds on Christ’s Body and Blood so that the soul may be fattened on God. […] (493)

26-L. On the Soul††

Written early in the third century and most probably after Tertullian had become a Montanist, this is the second largest of Tertullian’s writings. It well demonstrates the author’s familiarity with the Greek philosophers.

IX. At present we have among us a sister who has been allotted various gifts of revelation. These she experiences in the Spirit during the Sunday solemnities in church. She has dealings with the angels and at times also with the Lord; she sees and hears hidden mysteries, some hearts she reads, and she takes remedies to those who need them. Whether it be during the reading of the Scriptures, during the chanting of the psalms, while sermons are being given, or while petitions are being made, all these are occasions when she experiences visions. […] Once the ceremonies are over and the people have been dismissed, she ordinarily reports to us what she has seen. […] (494)

26-M. On the Crown†††

Written in 211, the De corona treats the participation of Christians in the army.

III. […] Let us ask whether tradition, without being written down, should be accepted. Surely we will say that it should not be received unless we have other unwritten practices that we maintain and lay claim to by custom alone. To be brief, let me begin with baptism. Shortly before we enter the water, namely, in the church and under the bishop’s hand, we solemnly renounce the devil, his pomp, and his angels. Next, we are immersed three times, responding somewhat more at length than the Lord determined in the Gospel.1 Then, when received as children, we taste a mixture of milk and honey, and from that day on throughout the whole week we do not bathe daily. We receive the sacrament of the Eucharist, which the Lord commanded2 to be taken by all at the time when we eat, receiving it also during predawn meetings and only from the hands of those presiding. Each year, on the day of their birthdays [into heaven], we make offerings for the deceased. On Sundays it is forbidden to fast and also to kneel when at worship. From Easter to Pentecost we rejoice in the same exemption. We are greatly distressed should any of the bread or anything from the cup, even what is our own, fall to the ground. We trace the sign on our forehead at every step forward and at every movement, each time we arrive and depart, when we put on our clothing and footwear, when we bathe, when at table, when lighting the lamps, when reclining, when sitting, and when performing the ordinary actions of daily life. (495)

26-N. On Idolatry

Dating from about 211, this treatise discusses the Christian’s relationship with paganism.

XIV. […] O better the fidelity of the pagans to their own sect, which claims no Christian solemnity for itself! Neither the Lord’s Day nor Pentecost, even if they had known them, would they have shared with us; their fear would be that of appearing as Christians. We do not fear being publicly known as heathens. […] Among the heathens each festival day occurs only once each year; but you have such a day every eight days. Separate the individual heathen festivals and put them in a row; they will not equal a Pentecost. (496)

26-O. On Fasting††

Dating from Tertullian’s Montanist period, this work defends the rigorist Montanist practice in regard to fasting and attacks what is done by Catholics.

XIV. Observing, therefore, the times and days and months and years,1 do we Galaticize? Clearly we do if we observe the Jewish ceremonies, the legal solemnities; in this regard the apostle teaches just the opposite, curbing the continued existence of the Old Testament, which is now buried in Christ, and establishing the existence of the New. Yet if there is a new creation in Christ,2 our solemnities should also be new: if the apostle has erased all devotion to times and days and months and years, why do we celebrate the Pasch each year during the first month? Why do we rejoice for fifty days? Why do we set apart the fourth and the sixth days for the stations, and the Preparation Day for fasting? Although at times you prolong your fast over the Sabbath, never is this day to be observed as one of fasting except at the Pasch, according to a reason given elsewhere. Certainly, for us every day by reason of its general consecration is a feastday. […] (497)

26-P. On Flight in Persecution

Departing from his previous opinion (To My Wife 1.3), the author holds that fleeing in times of persecution contradicts God’s will.

XIV. “But how,” you ask, “shall we gather to celebrate the solemnities of the Lord?” Certainly just as the apostles did. They were protected by faith, not by money, and if faith can move a mountain,1 so all the more can it remove a soldier. Let wisdom, not bribery, be your protection. Even if you bribe the military, you will not be immediately safe from the people. […] Lastly, if you are unable to gather during the day, you have the night, with the light of Christ shining bright against the darkness. […] (498)

26-Q. Against Praxeas††

Written after Tertullian had become a Montanist and thus probably in 213 or shortly thereafter, this treatise is directed against Praxeas, a heretic who so strove to maintain the unity of the Trinity that he completely and erroneously identified the Father with the Son.

XXVI. […] After his resurrection the Lord says he will send to his disciples the promise of his Father.1 Lastly he commands them to baptize into the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,2 not into one. For we are washed not once but three times, at the mention of each Person’s name. (499)

26-R. On Modesty†††

Written during his Montanist period and probably against a bishop in Carthage, this treatise contradicts what Tertullian wrote in his work on penance. Introducing a distinction between “forgivable” sins and “unforgivable” ones, serious sins are forgiven only by Christ in heaven, not by a public act, not through the visible Church and its ministers.

III. […] “For if,” they say, “penance lacks pardon, you are not to do penance. For nothing is to be done in vain. Furthermore, penance is done in vain if it lacks pardon. Yet all penance is to be practiced. Therefore all pardon follows so that penance is not done in vain. Furthermore, penance is done in vain if it lacks pardon.” Therefore rightly do they oppose us in that they have usurped to themselves also the fruit of penance, namely, pardon. As to those who seek to obtain peace here on earth, penance is done in vain. As for us who remember that it is only the Lord who forgives sins and certainly mortal sins, penance is not done in vain. […] (500)

V. […] There stands the idolater, there stands the murderer, and in their midst is the adulterer. Together they sit doing the work of penance. Together they shudder in sackcloth and ashes; they groan together; they say the same prayers, they petition on the same knees, they invoke the same mother. Now what will you do, most kind and gentle discipline? Either you must act the same toward all of them—for “blessed are the peacemakers”1—or if not the same to all of them, then you must become one of us. Once and for all you condemn the idolater and the murderer, and yet you excuse the adulterer from their midst? […] (501)

XVIII. So God’s mercy, which prefers that sinners do penance rather than die,2 looks at those who are still ignorant and still unbelieving; it is for these that Christ came to set free; not for those who already know God and have learned the mystery of faith. If God’s kindness extends to those who are still ignorant and to unbelievers, then penance will be an invitation to clemency, except for the penance that follows faith. Here penance can obtain from the bishop pardon for lesser offenses; from God alone for those that are greater and irremissible. (502)

XIX. […] Nor are we to overlook the distinction among sins, which was the starting point of our digression. John approved this, namely, that there are certain daily offenses from which no one is immune. For who will not be unfairly angry and remain so after sunset,3 or raise the hand, or carelessly speak evil, or swear rashly, or break a solemn promise, or lie out of human respect or necessity? How tempted we are when doing business, when carrying out official duties, when occupied with daily affairs, when eating or seeing or hearing! Now if there were no pardon for these sins, then no one would be saved. Sins like these will be forgiven through Christ who successfully pleads with the Father.4 In contrast to these sins we have the graver and deadly ones, those not receiving pardon: homicide, idolatry, fraud, denial, blasphemy, certainly adultery and fornication, and whatever else violates God’s temple. […] (503)

XXI. “The Church,” you say, “has the power to forgive sins.” This is true. And I acknowledge it even more than you do since I have the Paraclete himself speaking through the new prophets, “The Church can forgive sin, but I will not lest they commit others also.” […] I now ask you about your claim: from where do you usurp this right for the Church? Is it because the Lord said to Peter, “On this rock I will build my Church; I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,” or “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven,”5 that you believe you have been given the power to bind and to loosen, namely, to every Church akin [propinquam] to Peter? What kind of person are you when you overthrow and change the Lord’s obvious intention of granting this to Peter personally? “On you,” he says, “I will build my Church,” and “I will give to you the keys,” not to the Church; and “whatever you will bind and loose,” not what they shall loose or bind. […] The power of binding and loosening given to Peter has nothing to do with the capital sins of the faithful. […] Therefore the Church will indeed pardon sins, but it is the Church through a spiritual man and not through a number of bishops. For authority and judgment belong to the Lord, not to the servant; to God, not to the priest. (504)

XXII. But you even pour out this power on the martyrs. No sooner has anyone, and this by common agreement, been placed in bonds—less stringent ones in the recent and nominal imprisonments—than adulterers immediately approach, fornicators immediately approach, prayers immediately resound, the tears of each of the defiled immediately form pools; and none are more eager to buy their way into prison than those who have lost [the fellowship of] the Church. […] Paul at Ephesus had already been condemned to fight with the beasts when he decreed that the incestuous person was to be destroyed. It is enough that the martyrs purge their own sins. It is a sign of ingratitude or pride to bestow on others what was gained at great expense. Who except the Son of God alone has redeemed another by dying? […] (505)


Cyprian (Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus) was born of wealthy parents, probably in Carthage and sometime between 200 and 210. Well known as a rhetorician, he converted to Christianity about 246 through the influence of the priest Caecilius, whose name he apparently adopted. Ordained shortly thereafter, he was elected and ordained a bishop in 248/249. When the Decian persecution made life miserable for the Christian community, Cyprian fled to the hills surrounding Carthage, an action that subjected him to no little criticism. Nonetheless, the bishop continued to guide his flock by means of letters. Returning to the city in 251, Cyprian was beheaded in 258, a time when the Valerian persecution was in its initial stages.

A great admirer of Tertullian (WEC 1:26), yet not a speculative or theoretical thinker, Cyprian wrote on a relatively large number of pastoral subjects, among which were the question of reconciling the lapsed and that of whether to recognize as valid baptisms celebrated by heretical and schismatic groups. The lapsed were Christians who in some way acknowledged the pagan gods, for example, by burning incense before the idols or even by obtaining certificates stating that they had indeed done so. Cyprian, espousing a position between rigorism and excessive leniency, allowed the lapsed to be reconciled provided they did penance for a period of time appropriate to the sin; reconciliation was also permitted at the time of death even if the appointed period for penance had not yet been completed. As to the issue of—as it were—rebaptizing heretics, Cyprian vigorously opposed Pope Stephen (254–56), who advocated the Roman tradition of recognizing such baptisms. Cyprian, on the other hand, supported by several African synods, defended the African practice of again baptizing such persons since in his mind there could be no true sacraments outside the Church.

Although a Christian for only twelve years and despite his profound disagreement with Pope Stephen, Cyprian was a true “man of the Church,” a staunch opponent of heresy and schism. “Whoever wishes to have God as a Father must first have the Church as a Mother” (Letter 74, VII in WEC 1:589).

CPL nos. 38ff. * Altaner (1961) 193–99 * Altaner (1966) 172–81 * Bardenhewer (1908) 190–98 * Bardenhewer (1910) 167–76 * Bardenhewer (1913) 2:394–464 * Bardy (1930) 40–46 * Bautz 1:1178–83 * Cross 148–54 * Goodspeed 170–78 * Hamell 73–77 * Jurgens 1:216–39 * Labriolle (1947) 1:193–247 * Labriolle (1968) 131–68 * Leigh-Bennett 114–34 * Quasten 2:340–83 * Steidle 72–76 * Tixeront 120–23 * Wright (1928) 95–137 * CATH 3:397–401 * CE 4:583–89 * CHECL 152–57 * DACL 3.2:3214–15 * DCB 1:739–55 * DHGE 13:1149–60 * DictSp 2.2:2661–69 * DPAC 1:678–83 * DTC 3.2:2459–70 * EC 3:1685–91 * EEC 1:211–12 * EEChr 1:306–8 * LTK 2:1364–66 * NCE 4:564–66 * NCES 4:457–60 * ODCC 441 * PEA (1894) 4.2:1938–41 * PEA (1991) 3:253–54 * RACh 3:463–66 * TRE 8:246–54


J. Ernst, Die Ketzertaufangelegenheit in der altchristlichen Kirche nach Cyprian (Mainz, 1901). * J. Ernst, Stephan und der Ketzertaufstreit (Mainz, 1905). * A. d’Alès, “‘Pompa Diaboli,’” RSR 1 (1910) 571–90. * J. Ernst, “Untersuchungen über Cyprian und den Ketzertaufstreit,” ThQ (1911) 230–81, 364–403. * P. Galtier, “La consignation à Carthage et à Rome,” RSR 2 (1911) 350–83. * J.B. Bord, “L’autorité de s. Cyprien dans la controverse baptismale jugée d’après s. Augustin,” RHE 18 (1922) 445–68. * F.J. Dölger, “Der Kuss im Tauf- und Firmungsritual nach Cyprian von Karthage und Hippolt von Rom,” AC 1 (1929) 186–96. * N. Zernov, “Saint Stephen and the Roman Community at the Time of the Baptismal Controversy,” ChQ 117 (1934) 304–36. *H. Koch, Gelasius im kirchenpolitischen Dienste seine Vorgänger, der Päpste Simplicius und Felix III: Ein Beitrag zur Sprache des Papstes Gelasius I und früherer Papstbriefe (Munich, 1935) 79–82. * H. Kayser, “Zur marcionitischen Taufformel (nach Cyprian),” ThStKr 108 (1937–38) 370–86. * H.J. Carpenter, “‘Symbolum’ as a Title of the Creed,” JThSt 43 (1942) 1–11. * E.L. Hummel, The Concept of Martyrdom according to St. Cyprian of Carthage, SCA 9 (Washington, D.C., 1946) 108–66. * A. Stenzel, “Cyprian und die ‘Taufe im Namen Jesu,’” Scholastik 30 (1955) 373–87. * E. Ferguson, “Baptism from the Second to the Fourth Century,” ResQ 1 (1957) 185–97. * B. Neunheuser, Baptism and Confirmation (St. Louis, 1964) 100–102. * J.-Ch. Didier, “Le baptême des enfants: considérations théologiques III: la tradition de l’Eglise du IIe siècle à la mort de s. Augustin (430),” L’ami du clergé 76 (1966) 326–33. * L. Campeau, “L’origine de la querelle baptismale,” ScE 21 (1969) 329–56; 22 (1970) 19–47. * P. Gaudette, “Baptême et vie chrétienne chez s. Cyprien de Carthage,” LThPh 27 (1971) 160–90, 251–79. * G.W. Clarke, “Cyprian’s Epistle 64 and the Kissing of Feet in Baptism,” HThR 66 (1973) 147–52. * K. Duchatelez, “Le principe de l’économie baptismale dans l’antiquité chrétienne,” Ist 18 (1973) 327–58. * J. Patout Burns, “On Rebaptism: Social Organization in the Third Century Church,” JECS 1 (1993) 367–403. * M. Labrousse, “La baptême des hérétiques d’après Cyprien, Optat et Augustin: influences et divergences,” REAug 42 (1996) 223–42. * P. Mattei, “Baptême hérétique, ecclésiologie et Siracide 34, 25: note sur l’influence de Cyprien dans un text de Pacien de Barcelone,” RTL 30 (1999) 180–94.


A. Harnack, Brot und Wasser die eucharistichen Elemente bei Justin, TU 7, 2 (Leipzig, 1891) 120–24. * A. Scheiwiler, Die Elemente der Eucharistie in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten (Mainz, 1903) 105–19. * S. Struckmann, Die Gegenwart Christi in der hl. Eucharistie nach den schriftlichen Quellen der vornizänischen Zeit (Vienna, 1905) 306–21. * P. Batiffol, L’Eucharistie, 9th ed. (Paris, 1930) 226–47. * A. Pons, “La communion d’après les deux grands docteurs Cyprien et Augustin et d’après la pratique de l’ancienne église d’Afrique,” in XXXe Congrès Eucharistique International (Carthage, 1930; Tunis, 1931) 149–70. * E. Janot, “L’Eucharistie à Carthage,” VS 23 (1930) 269–82. * S. Salaville, “L’épiclèse africaine (d’après s. Cyprien),” EO 39 (1941–42) 268–82. * M. Pallegrino, “Eucaristia e martirio in San Cipriano,” in Convivium Dominicum (Cantania, Sicily, 1959) 135–50. * M. Todde, Lettera sull’Eucaristia: testo di San. Cipriano / Tradotto e presentato da Mauro Todde (Bergamo, 1965). * B. Renaud, “Eucharistie et culte eucharistique selon saint Cyprien,” diss. (Louvain, 1967). * R. Johanny, “Cyprian of Carthage,” in W. Rordorf and others, The Eucharist of the Early Christians (New York, 1978) 156–82. * D. Romos-Lissón, “Tipologias sacrificiales-eucarísticas del Antiquo Testamento en la epístola 63 de san Cipriano,” Aug 22 (1982) 187–97. * G.G. Willis, “St. Cyprian and the Mixed Cup,” DR 100 (April 1982) 110–15. * J.D. Laurance, “Eucharistic Leader according to Cyprian of Carthage: A New Study,” StudLit 15:2 (1982–83) 66–75. * J.D. Laurance, “Le président de l’eucharistie selon Cyprien de Carthage: un nouvel examine,” LMD, no. 154 (1983) 151–65. * B. de Margerie, “Saint Cyprien donnait-il l’eucharistie aux divorcés-remariés?” RTAM 60 (1993) 273–75. * J.D. Laurance, “Priest” as Type of Christ: The Leader of the Eucharist in Salvation History according to Cyprian of Carthage, American University Series 7, Theology and Religion 5 (New York, 1984).


J. Stufler, “Die Behandlung der Gefallenen zur Zeit der decischen Verfolgung,” ZkTh 31 (1907) 577–618. * J. Stufler, “Einige Bemerkungen zur Busslehre Cyprians,” ZkTh 33 (1909) 232–47. * A. d’Alès, “La réconciliation des ‘lapsi’ au temps de Dèce,” RQH 91 (1912) 337–83. * B. Poschmann, “Zur Bussfrage in der cyprianischen Zeit,” ZkTh 37 (1913) 25–54, 244–65. * A. Vanbeck, “La pénitence dans s. Cyprien,” RHL 18 (1913) 422–42. * H. Koch, Cyprianische Untersuchungen (Bonn, 1926) 79–82, 211–85. * B. Capelle, “L’absolution sacerdotale chez Cyprien,” RTAM 7 (1935) 221–34. * M.C. Chartier, “La discipline pénitentielle d’après les écrits de s. Cyprien,” Ant 14 (1939) 17–42, 135–56. * B. Poschmann, Paenitentia Secunda (Bonn, 1940) 368–424. * G.H. Joyce, “Private Penance in the Early Church,” JThSt 42 (1941) 18–42. * J.H. Taylor, “St. Cyprian and the Reconciliation of Apostates,” TS 3 (1942) 27–46. * K. Rahner, “Die Busslehre des hl. Cyprian von Karthage,” ZkTh 74 (1952) 252–76. * M. Bévenot, “The Sacrament of Penance and St. Cyprian’s ‘De lapsis,’” TS 16 (1955) 175–213. * B. Poschmann, Penance and the Anointing of the Sick (St. Louis, 1964) 52–62. * L.C. Landini, “The Penitential Discipline in the Epistles of St. Cyprian of Carthage,” diss. (Notre Dame, 1970). * M.-F. Berrouard, “La pénitence publique durant les six premiers siècles (histoire et sociologie),” LMD 118 (1974) 92–130. * H. Gützow, Cyprian und Novatian: der Briefwechsel zwischen die Gemeinden in Rom und Karthago z. Zeit d. Verfolgung d. Kaisers Decius (Tübingen, 1975). * G. Picenardi and V. Fattorini, “La riconciliazione in Cipriano di Cartagine (‘Ep. 55’) e Ambrogio di Milano (‘De paenitentia’),” Aug 27 (1987) 377–406.


J. Schindler, “Der hl. Cyprian über das Gebet des Herrn,” Theolische.–praktische. Quartalschrift 40 (1887) 285–89, 535–45, 809–12. * E.V.D. Goltz, Das Gebet in der ältesten Christenheit (Leipzig, 1901) 279–87. * G. Loeschke, Die Vaterunsererklärung des Theophilus von Antiochien: eine Quellenuntersuchung zu den Vaterunsererekl. des Tertullian, Cyprian, Chromatius und Hieronymus (Berlin, 1908). * J. Moffat, “Cyprian on the Lord’s Prayer,” Expositor 18 (1919) 176–89. * H. Koch, Cyprianische Untersuchungen (Bonn, 1926) 136–39. * B. Simovic, “Le Pater chez quelques pères latins II: s. Cyprian,” La France franciscaine 21 (1938) 245–64. * A.J.B. Higgins, “Lead us not into temptation: Some Latin Variants,” JThSt (1945) 179–83. * H. Blakeney, “Matthew VI, 3 (De dominica oratione. 7),” ExpT 57 (1945–46) 279. * C. Dumont, “Lectio divina: la lecture de la Parole de Dieu d’après s. Cyprien,” BVC 22 (1958) 23–33. * D.R. Stuckwisch, “Principles of Christian Prayer from the Third Century: A Brief Look at Origen, Tertullian and Cyprian with Some Comments on Their Meaning for Today,” Wor 71:1 (January, 1997) 2–19.


J.B. Poukens, “Sacramentum dans les oeuvres de s. Cyprien: étude lexicographique,” BALAC 2 (1912) 275–89. * A. d’Alès, “‘Nihil innovetur nisi quod traditum est’: deuxième note,” RSR 6 (1916) 302–6. * J.C. Navickas, The Doctrine of St. Cyprian on the Sacraments (Wurzburg, 1924). * G. Bardy, “Le sacerdoce chrétienne d’après s. Cyprien,” VS 60 (1939) 87–119. * R. Fluck, “La vie de la communauté chrétiènne au IIIe siècle à travers la correspondence de s. Cyprien,” Jeuness de l’Eglise 4 (1945) 89–124. * E. Ferguson, “Ordination in the Ancient Church,” ResQ 5 (1961) 17–32, 67–82, 130–46. * V. Saxer, Vie liturgique et quotidienne à Carthage vers le milieu du IIIe siècle, Studi di antichità cristiana 29 (Rome, 1969). * W. Renaud, “L’Eglise comme assemblée liturgique selon s. Cyprien,” RTAM 38 (1971) 5–68. * M. Bévenot, “‘Sacerdos’ as Understood by Cyprian,” JThSt, n.s., 30 (1979) 413–29. * V. Saxer, Morts, martyrs, reliques en Afrique aux premiers siècles: les témoignages de Tertullien, Cyprien et Augustin à la lumière de l’archéologie africaine, Théologie historique 55 (Paris, 1980).

27-A. To Donatus

Drafted about 246, this letter to Donatus, a friend of Cyprian, describes the journey of Cyprian’s conversion.

16. Most beloved Donatus, […] now as the sun is already descending toward evening, may we spend in joy whatever remains of the day. May the hour when we eat not lack heavenly grace. May the temperate meal resound with psalms. Since your memory is strong and your voice is melodious, may you undertake this task as you customarily do. (506)

27-B. On the Lapsed††

Written after Cyprian’s return (spring of 251) to Carthage following the Decian persecution, the treatise explains what to do with those who compromised their faith during the previous time of stress.

15. […] Likewise the apostle testifies and says, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of the devil, you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and that of the devil.”1 And again he threatens and denounces the obstinate and the stubborn, saying, “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty of the Lord’s Body and Blood.”2 (507)

16. All these admonitions being disdained and scorned, violence is inflicted on his Body and Blood. Even more than when they denied him, they with their hands and their mouth commit a crime against the Lord. Even before their sins have been atoned, before they have confessed their crime, before their conscience has been purified through sacrifice and the hand of the priest, before the offense against the offended and threatening Lord has been appeased, they believe that peace consists of what some would sell with deceitful words. This is not peace but war, nor is a person who is separated from the Gospel joined to the Church. Why do they say that an injury is a benefit? Why do they call an impiety a piety? Why do they block the weeping of penance on the part of those who should continuously weep and entreat their Lord? Why do they pretend to receive them in communion? This is to the lapsed as hail is to the harvest, as wild stars are to the trees, as a destructive wilderness is to cattle, as a violent storm is to ships. Such people take away the solace of hope, overturn a tree from its roots, creep to a deadly infection by unwholesome speech, dash the ship on the rocks so that it does not enter the harbor. This facility does not grant peace but removes it, does not grant communion but hinders in regard to salvation. This is another persecution and another temptation through which the punctilious enemy continues to proceed against the lapsed by a hidden plundering so that their weeping might be stilled, their sorrow might be silenced, the memory of their sin might disappear, that the groaning of their hearts be restrained, that the weeping of their eyes be halted; nor is a lengthy and full penance to be sought from the grievously offended Lord, even though it is written, “Remember from where you have fallen and do penance.”3 (508)

17. None are to deceive themselves, none are to be misled. Only the Lord can be merciful. He alone, who bore our sins, who suffered for us, whom God handed over for our sins, can forgive sins committed against him. We cannot be greater than God. A servant cannot forgive what has been a greater crime committed against the Lord so that this also be added to the sin of those who have lapsed, they being ignorant of what was declared, “Cursed are those who place their hope in mortals.”4 We are to pray to the Lord for he is pleased by our amends, the Lord who said that he will deny whoever denies him, the Lord who alone has received all judgment from the Father. We indeed believe that the merits of the martyrs and the works of the just avail much with the judge, but this will occur when the day of judgment comes, when the present age and the world end, when God’s people will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (509)

18. For the rest, if they are in extreme haste, if they rashly believe that they can forgive the sins of all or dare to abrogate the Lord’s commands, not only does this not profit the lapsed but is prejudicial to them. […] (510)

25. Learn what happened when I myself was present and what I witnessed. There were some parents who, as it happened, were taking flight. Because of their fear they acted imprudently and left their young daughter in the care of a nurse, who handed the child over to the magistrates. In the presence of an idol to which the people flocked the magistrates gave the child bread mixed with wine since the child, because of its age was still unable to eat meat. This was what remained from the sacrifice of those who perish. The mother, afterwards, recovered her daughter, but the child was no more able to speak or indicate the evil deed that took place than she was earlier able to comprehend or prevent it. Therefore through ignorance the mother brought the daughter with her when we were offering sacrifice. But the child, mingling with the saints [the members of the assembly], became impatient with our prayer and supplications. At one moment she was trembling with tears, at another moment she was tossed about by emotional excitement. As if by the coercion of a torturer the soul of such a young child confessed a consciousness of what had taken place, doing so with such signs as she could. Once the solemnities were completed, the deacon began to present the cup to all who were present. As the others received it, the little girl in turn approached. At the prompting of the divine majesty she turned away, firmly tightened her mouth with obdurate lips, and refused the cup. Nonetheless, the deacon persisted and poured out for the resisting girl some of the sacrament of the cup. What followed was gasping and vomiting: the Eucharist could not remain in a profaned body and mouth; the drink sanctified in the Lord’s blood burst forth from the polluted stomach. So great is the Lord’s power, so great the Lord’s majesty! What is hidden in the darkness is disclosed under his light; nor did hidden sins deceive God’s priest. (511)

26. […] There was a woman who with unworthy hands tried to open a chest in which reposed the holy [Body] of the Lord; she was deterred from touching it by fire rising up from the box. And there was a man, himself defiled, who dared to join the others in receiving, secretly, a part of the sacrifice celebrated by a priest. He could neither touch nor eat the holy [Body] of the Lord since he discovered, upon opening his hands, that he held a cinder. […] (512)

28. Furthermore, how much greater is the faith and how deeper is the fear of those who—though not bound by the sin of sacrificing [to idols] or of obtaining a certificate—nonetheless thought about doing so and now with sorrow and simplicity confess this to God’s priests, make an open avowal of conscience, put aside the burden of their soul, and seek out the saving cure even for little and moderate wounds, knowing that it is written, “God is not mocked.”5 God cannot be mocked, deceived, or tricked by any deceptive ploy. Truly they sin the more who, thinking that God is like humans, believe they escape the punishment of their sins even if they have not openly confessed these sins. In his precepts Christ says, “The Son of Man will be ashamed of those who are ashamed of me.”6 Can people consider themselves to be Christian if they are embarrassed by or fearful of being Christians? How can a person who either blushes at or fears belonging to Christ actually be with Christ? Clearly such will sin less by not seeing the idols, by not profaning the sanctity of the faith as people stand around and hurl insults, by not polluting their hands by deadly sacrifices, by not defiling the mouth with profaned food. The advantage here is that the sin is less, not that the conscience is blameless. Pardon for sin is more easily obtained, not that there is immunity from sin. May penance continue to be practiced, may the Lord’s mercy be sought lest what appears to be less in the nature of the sin be increased by neglecting reparation. (513)

29. Brethren, I ask that each of you confess your own sin while you remain in the world, while your confession is possible, while satisfaction and the forgiveness given through the priests is pleasing to God. May we turn to the Lord with all our hearts, and expressing penance for our sin with true sorrow, let us beg for God’s mercy. May our soul bow down before him, may our sorrow make amends to his majesty, may all our hope rely on him, who tells us how we ought to ask, “Return,” he says, “to me with all your heart and together with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. Rend your hearts and not your clothing.”7 May we return to the Lord with all our heart. Let us appease his wrath and displeasure through fasting, tears, and lamentation, as he himself admonishes. (514)

27-C. On the Lord’s Prayer

To a degree this treatise, written in 251 or 252, is based upon Tertullian’s opus on the same subject, but Cyprian’s thought is more developed.

4. […] When we gather as one with the brethren and celebrate the divine sacrifices with God’s priest, we are to be mindful of moderation and proper order. We are not to bandy about our prayers with disordered voices nor to beseech God with a confused wordiness when we should do so with modesty since God hears the heart, not the voice. (515)

8. Before all else the teacher of peace and the master of unity did not desire that we pray individually and privately, with each person praying only for himself or herself. We do not say, “My father, who are in heaven” or “give me this day my bread.”1 Nor does each one request that only his or her debt be forgiven or that he or she alone not be kept from temptation and delivered from evil. Our prayer is public and communal. When we pray we do so not for one person only, but we entreat for all the people because we, all the people, are one. The God of peace and the master of harmony, who taught unity, wished that one person pray for all people just as he bore all in one. […] (516)

12. Then we say, “Hallowed be your name,” not that we wish God to be sanctified by our prayers, but we ask God that his name be sanctified in us. Furthermore, by whom is God sanctified, the God who himself sanctifies? But because he said, “Be holy because I am holy,”2 we seek and ask that we, made holy in baptism, might persevere in what we began to be. Each day we pray for this because we need daily sanctification since we who daily fail may purge away our sins by constant sanctification. […] (517)

18. As the prayer continues, we ask and say, “Give us this day our daily bread,” which can be understood both spiritually and literally because each interpretation is divinely advantageous for salvation. For Christ is the bread of life, and this bread does not belong to all but is ours. And to the degree that we say “Our Father,” because he is the father of those who understand and believe, so we speak of “our bread” since Christ is the bread of those who touch his body. We request that this bread be given to us daily so that we, who are in Christ and daily receive his Eucharist as the food of salvation, may not by the interposition of some more serious sin be prohibited, as abstaining and not communicating, from receiving the heavenly bread and thus be separated from the Body of Christ who himself instructs and says, “I am the bread of life who comes down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”3 When, therefore, he says that whoever will eat his bread shall live forever—as it is evident that those who share his Body and receive the Eucharist by right of Communion are living—so we must pray and fear lest anyone, abstaining, is separated from Christ’s Body as Christ himself threatens, saying, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you.”4 Therefore we ask that our bread, namely, Christ, be given to us daily so that we who abide and live in Christ may not draw back from his sanctification and body. (518)

31. Beloved, when we stand for prayer, we ought to be watchful and diligent in praying with all our being. May every bodily and worldly thought depart; may the soul, when you are at prayer, think only of the object of your prayer. This is why the priest before the prayer prepares the minds of the brethren by a preface as he says, “Lift up your hearts” so that when the people respond, “We lift them up to the Lord,” they might be reminded that they should think of nothing other than the Lord. […] (519)

34. Speaking of prayer, we find that the three children with Daniel, children strong in faith and victorious in captivity, observed the third, sixth, and ninth hours,5 namely, as a sacrament of the Trinity which is to be revealed in the last times. The first hour as it progresses to the third hour shows the perfect number of the Trinity; the fourth hour progressing to the sixth hour declares another Trinity; and when the ninth hour is completed from the seventh the perfect Trinity is enumerated every three hours. In the past God’s worshipers, having spiritually determined the spaces of the hours, were subject to them for the established and proper times for prayer. Later, it was made evident that formerly the sacraments existed because the just once prayed in this way. For at the third hour the Holy Spirit, who fulfilled the grace of the Lord’s promise, descended upon the disciples.6 Likewise, it was at the sixth hour that Peter, ascending to the roof, was instructed both by God’s sign and word advising him to admit all to the grace of salvation since previously he had doubts about baptizing the Gentiles.7 And from the sixth hour to the ninth the crucified Lord washed away our sins by his blood and, in order to redeem us and give us life, he then perfected his victory by his passion. (520)

35. But for us, dearest brethren, in addition to the hours of prayer observed in ancient times, now the times and sacraments have grown in number. We are to pray in the morning so that the Lord’s resurrection be observed with prayers since this is what the Holy Spirit indicated in the Psalms, “My King and my God because I will pray to you, O Lord, in the morning and you will hear my voice; in the morning I will be near you and contemplate you.”8 The Lord also speaks through the prophet, “Early in the morning they will watch for me, saying: Let us go and return to the Lord our God.”9 Once the sun has set and the day has ended, we must again pray. Since Christ is the true sun and the true day, it is when the sun and the worldly day depart that we pray and request that the light return to us; we pray for the coming of Christ which will provide us with the grace of eternal life. It is in the Psalms that the Holy Spirit declares that Christ is called the day. “The stone,” he says, “that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This was done by the Lord and is wonderful in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us exult and rejoice in it.”10 Also, Malachi the prophet testifies that Christ is called the sun, “For you who fear the Lord’s name the sun of justice will arise, and healing is in its wings.”11 Although the holy Scriptures say that Christ is the true sun and the true day, Christians are exempt from no hour when God should be frequently and always adored. In this way we, who are in Christ—namely, in the true sun and in the true day—are to devote ourselves throughout the whole day to entreaties and prayers; and when according to the law of the world the night comes and goes in revolutions, the nocturnal darkness cannot harm those who pray because the children of the light experience the day even during the night. If there is light in the heart, can one be without light? Or if a person has Christ as the sun and the day, does not this individual have the sun and the day? (521)

36. Always being in Christ, who is the light, let us not cease praying during the night. So it was that Anna the widow unceasingly prayed and watched, pleasing God, as written in the Gospel, “Never leaving the temple, she served there day and night in prayer and fasting.”12 May the Gentiles, who remain unenlightened, take heed of this. Also the Jews who, abandoning the light, remain in darkness. May we, dearly beloved, who are always in the Lord’s light, who remember and retain—by the grace received—what we have begun to be, reckon night for day. We are to believe that we are always walking in the light; may we not be obstructed by the darkness we have escaped; may prayer never cease during the nocturnal hours; may times for prayer never be lost due to idleness or laziness. Spiritually made new and reborn through God’s kindness, may we be what we are to become. In the kingdom there will be only light without any night; so may we keep vigil during the night as if it were during the day. Since we are not to cease praying and giving thanks, we on earth are always to pray and offer thanks. (522)

27-D. On Works and Almsgiving

Written in 252, this is an exhortation to Christian charity at a time when Carthage was being devastated by a terrible plague.

2. […] Just as the fire of hell is extinguished by the flow of the saving water, so the flame is extinguished by almsgiving and works of justice. Baptism forgives sin once and for all; good works, like baptism, again grant God’s mercy […]. (523)

15. […] Your eyes, covered with blackness and unable to see because of the night, fail to see the indigent and the poor. Being rich and prosperous, you come to the Lord’s Supper without any offering; yet you believe that you celebrate this Supper when you receive part of the offering presented by a person who is poor. (524)

27-E. Letters

The corpus of Cyprian’s writings contains eighty-one letters, sixty-five from Cyprian himself and sixteen to Cyprian or to the clergy of Carthage. Some twenty-seven letters were written during the Decian persecution; six during the Valerian persecution. Unfortunately some of these epistles have been lost. Nonetheless, those that do exist show Cyprian’s pastoral and practical concern for all the members of the Church.


II. Carefully considering and wisely providing for this, the bishops who preceded us decided that no brother departing [this life] should name a cleric as his executor or administrator. Should anyone do so, then no offering is to be made for him, nor is the sacrifice to be celebrated for his repose. Neither does anyone who desires to call presbyters and ministers away from the altar deserve to be named in the priestly prayer at the altar. This is why you are not to make any offering for the repose of Victor who, contrary to the recent provision enacted by presbyters in a council, dared to appoint the presbyter Germinius Faustinus to be his executor. Nor are you allowed to pray in the church in his name so that the decree of the presbyters, conscientiously made out of necessity, may be observed by us; at the same time the rest of the brethren are to be given an example that no one is to call away to worldly concerns the presbyters and ministers of God’s altar and Church. […] (525)


II. I also request that your ingenuity and care not be wanting for restoring the peace. Even if the brethren, motivated by love, desire to come together and visit the good confessors whom divine honor has already made well-known in their glorious beginnings, nonetheless I believe that this should be done cautiously, not in crowds, and not with many people gathering all at once. In this way enmity will not be aroused, permission to enter [the prison] will not be refused, and we, being insatiable and desiring much, will not lose everything. Therefore take care and see to it that this be done in a safe manner and with moderation so that the presbyters among the confessors may offer [the sacrifice] one by one, taking turns, each with a deacon, since a change of persons and of those gathering lessens ill-will. […] (526)


II. Lastly, also note the days when they [those in prison] pass from this life so that we can commemorate them among the memory of the martyrs; as a matter of fact, Tertullian […] has written and is writing and indicating to me the days on which our blessed brethren in prison pass to immortality by means of a glorious death, and here we celebrate offerings and sacrifices to commemorate them. These, with the Lord’s protection, we will soon celebrate with you. […] (527)


I. […] You sent me a letter asking that your desires be considered, namely, that peace be granted to some of the lapsed once the persecution has ended and we begin to come together as one and meet with the clergy. Yet contrary to the law of the Gospel, contrary also to your respectful petition, and before the most serious and the most extreme sin has been confessed, before the bishop or cleric has imposed the hand for penance, some presbyters dare to offer and give them the Eucharist. In this way they dare to profane the holy Body of the Lord although it is written, “Whoever shall eat the bread and drink the cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty of the Lord’s Body and Blood.”1 (528)

II. Certainly pardon can be given to the lapsed in this regard. Would not a dead person hasten to receive life? Who would not run quickly to be saved? But those in authority are to observe the precept and instruct those who are hurrying too quickly or are ignorant, so that those watching over the sheep may not become their butchers. For to grant destructive things is to deceive. The person who has lapsed is not in this way raised up but, due to an offense against God, is driven toward destruction. Let them learn from you what they should have taught. Let them reserve your requests and desires for the bishop; let them await a time that is ripe and peaceful for granting the peace you request. Before all else, the mother should first receive peace from the Lord; then according to your wishes, the peace of her children should be considered. (529)

IV. I have written both to the clergy and to the people about this and have ordered that these letters be read by you. But you ought to diligently amend what you do so that you designate by name those to whom you wish the peace to be given. I hear that some receive certificates saying, “May such a person along with friends be allowed to receive Communion,” something never done by the martyrs since such an ambiguous and blind petition would soon heap ill-will upon us. The door is opened wide when it says, “Such a person along with friends” and presented to us are twenty, thirty, and more, all said to be neighbors and relatives, freedmen and domestics of the individual who received the certificate. Therefore I request that you designate in the certificate only those whom you see, those whom you know, those whose penance you perceive to be almost completed, and so send us letters in conformity with the faith and discipline. (530)


II. […] For lesser offenses sinners may do penance for a designated time, and according to established practice come to confession, and by the imposition of the hand by the bishop and clergy be rightfully received into communion. But now they are admitted to communion and their name is given when their time [of penance] is still unfinished, while persecution still continues, while the peace of the Church itself has not yet been reestablished. Even though the penance has not yet been carried out, the confession has not yet been made, and the hand of the bishop and clergy has not yet been imposed, the Eucharist is given to them although it is written, “Whoever shall eat the bread and drink the cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty of the Lord’s Body and Blood.”1 (531)


II. I hear that some of the presbyters, neither mindful of the Gospel, nor considering what the martyrs have written to me, nor reserving to the bishop the honor of his priesthood and his [episcopal] chair, have already begun to associate with the lapsed, to offer for them, and to give them the Eucharist when all this should have taken place in due time. If in the case of lesser sins, which are not committed against God, penance is done for a designated time and confession takes place with an examination of the penitent’s life, and no one can come to Communion till the bishop or cleric has first imposed hands, is it not all the more fitting that in regard to the most serious and extreme sins we observe caution and restraint according to what the Lord has established? […] (532)


I.2. In that I see no opportunity for going to you and since summer has already begun, a season infested with continuous and serious sickness, I believe that we must deal with those of our brethren who have received certificates from the martyrs and who can be aided by their [the martyrs’] privileged position before God. If those with certificates should be seized by some misfortune or the danger of illness and my return is not anticipated, then before any presbyter who is present—if a presbyter cannot be found and death is imminent, then even in the presence of a deacon—they may confess their sin. The hand being imposed on them for penance, they may come to the Lord by the peace that the martyrs by their letters to us have desired be granted to them. (533)


III. Afterwards some of the lapsed, either of their own accord or instigated by another, rushed forward with an audacious demand, hoping they might rely on such a violent effort in order to extort the peace promised them by the martyrs and confessors. In this regard twice did I write to the clergy and commanded that my two letters be read to them. My intent was to alleviate if possible such violence for the time being. If any departing this life had received a certificate from the martyrs and, having confessed, had hands imposed on them for repentance, they were to be sent to the Lord with the peace promised them by the martyrs. In this I did not enact a ruling or rashly make myself its author. But when it seemed appropriate that the martyrs be honored and that the force of those desiring to upset everything be held in check, and furthermore when I had read the letter that you recently sent to our clergy through Crementius the subdeacon stating that help should be given to those who, having lapsed, become ill and penitently desire communion, I decided to abide by your judgment. In this way what we do—and we should be united and agree in all things—may not differ in any way. As to the situations of the others, even though they have received certificates from the martyrs, I have ordered that these cases be deferred and held over till I can be present so that, once peace has been granted us by the Lord and a number of bishops have begun to gather, we, also profiting from your counsel, may be able to organize and reform everything. […] (534)


2. Know then that I made Saturus a reader and Optatus the confessor a deacon, men whom by general advice I had already placed close to the clergy: as to Saturus, when we once or twice had entrusted him with the reading at Easter; and as for Optatus, when we made him one of those who were instructing the hearers [the catechumens]. Doing so we were ascertaining whether the qualities required of those preparing for the clerical state were present in them. […] (535)


VIII. Long desiring to act moderately in these matters, we thought that nothing new should be done before the appointment of a new bishop. Although our number was larger, we acted together with certain neighboring bishops and with others whom the violent persecution drove out of other provinces and are now at some distance. We believe that the lapsed should be handled in somewhat a restrained manner. And so in the meantime, while a bishop is not granted us by God, the cases of those who can bear the delays of postponement should be left undecided. But for those whose case cannot be deferred because death is imminent—provided they have done penance, have frequently confessed their misdeeds, and with tears, groaning, and weeping have given proof of a sorrowing and truly penitential heart, and provided as far as one can tell that there is no hope of their surviving—then let them be cautiously and carefully assisted. God himself knows what he will do with these and how he will judge them. For our part we should anxiously take care that the ungodly not praise our leniency nor that the truly penitent accuse us of being too severe and harsh. […] (536)

27-E-11. LETTER 55. TO ANTONIAN††a

XVII. In them [sinners] there exists what can be revived unto faith by subsequent penance. By penance strength is armed with virtue. There can be no arms if one becomes weak through despair; if, unpleasantly and cruelly separated from the Church, one should turn to the Gentiles or to worldly works; if a person rejected by the Church passes over to the heretics and schismatics where later on he or she is killed because of [Christ’s] name. Such cannot be crowned in his or her death. Therefore, dearest brother, once the cases of all individuals were examined, it was decided that those who had received certificates should in the meanwhile be admitted, and that those who offered sacrifice should be assisted at death because confession does not exist among the deceased, nor can we compel anyone to penance if the fruit of penance is withdrawn. Should the battle come first, one will be strengthened by us and found prepared for it; but if infirmity should afflict before the battle, a person will depart with the consolation of peace and of being in communion. (537)

XVIII. Nor do we predict when the Lord will judge. Yet if he finds the penance complete and correct, he will then approve what we have determined. Should anyone deceive us under the pretense of doing penance, God, who is not mocked and who looks into the human heart, will judge what we have imperfectly discerned; the Lord will correct the decision of his servants. Nonetheless, my dearest brother, we should remember what is written, “A brother helped by a brother will be exalted.”1 Also, the apostle said, “Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. Be not tempted; bear one another’s burdens, and you will fulfill the law of Christ.”2 Also, rebuking the proud and shattering their arrogance, he said, “Those who believe that they stand should take care lest they fall.”3 Elsewhere he says, “Who are you to judge another’s servants. They stand or fall before their own lord. They will stand, for God is able to make them stand.”4 John also proves that Jesus Christ the Lord is our advocate and the intercessor for our sins: “My little children, I write these things to you so that you do not sin; and if any sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he atones for our sins.”5 And Paul the apostle said, “While we were still sinners Christ died for us. Much more therefore, now justified by his blood, we will be saved through him from [God’s] wrath.”6 (538)

XIX. Thinking of his love and mercy, we should not be so bitter nor harsh nor inhuman in supporting our brethren. Rather, let us mourn with those who mourn, weep with those who weep, and, as far as possible, raise them up with the help and comfort of our love. We should be neither too harsh and stubborn in repelling their penance nor overly lax and easy in recklessly granting communion. Behold, a wounded comrade lies injured by the enemy in battle. It is there that the devil tries to kill the wounded; it is here that Christ exhorts so that those he has redeemed may not completely perish. Which of the two do we assist? Where do we stand? Do we favor the devil that he might kill? Or do we pass by our prostrate half-living comrade as did the priest and Levite in the Gospel? Or do we, as priests of God and Christ, imitate what Christ did and taught? Do we snatch the injured from the enemy’s jaws so that we might keep them alive and cured for God who judges? (539)

XX. Dearest brother, do not think that the strength of the brethren will be lessened or that martyrdoms will decrease because penance is extended to the lapsed and that hope of peace is offered to the penitent. The strength of those who truly believe remains. As to those who fear and love God with their whole heart, their moral uprightness continues steady and strong. We even grant adulterers a time for penance, after which peace is given. Yet for all that, virginity is not lacking in the Church nor does the glorious objective of sexual restraint decrease through the sins of others. The Church, crowned with so many virgins, flourishes; chastity and modesty continue on in glory. The vigor of continence is not broken because penance and pardon are extended to the adulterer. To support pardon is one thing; to arrive at glory is something completely different. For those thrown into a prison, it is one thing not to leave the prison till the last farthing has been paid; it is another thing to receive the wages of faith and virtue. When a person is tortured by a prolonged sorrow for sins, it is one thing to be cleansed and purged at length by fire; it is something completely different to have washed away all sins through suffering. It is one thing to await God’s sentence on the day of judgment; another to be immediately crowned by the Lord. (540)

XXI. Certainly among our predecessors there were some bishops here in our own province who believed that peace was not to be granted to adulterers and in this matter did not allow any opportunity for penance. Nonetheless, these bishops did not withdraw from the college of their fellow bishops. Nor did they rupture the unity of the Catholic Church by their obstinate harshness or control so that those who did not grant peace to adulterers, even though others did, were not separated from the Church. The bond of harmony remaining and the indivisible sacrament of the Catholic Church enduring, each bishop arranges and directs his own actions and will have to give an account of his actions to the Lord. (541)

XXIII. In the Gospel the Lord, revealing the love of God the Father, said: “Is there anyone among you who, if your son requests bread, will give him a stone? Or if he requests a fish, will give him a serpent? If therefore you, being evil, know how to give good things to your children, how much the more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who request them?”7 Here the Lord compares a human father who has been offended by a sinful and evil son to the eternal and generous love of God the Father. The human father sees that this son has reformed, has cast aside his sins, and has returned to a restrained and good way of life, to the path of innocence by the sorrow of penance. This being true, how much more does our one and true Father, who is good, merciful, and faithful—yes, goodness, mercy, and faithfulness itself—rejoice when one of his children repents, not threatening punishment to those who are now doing penance or mourning or lamenting, but rather promising pardon and leniency. Wherefore in the Gospel the Lord calls those who mourn blessed since the person who mourns arouses mercy. Those who are obstinate and proud heap up wrath against themselves and the punishment of the future judgment. Therefore, dearest brother, we have decided that those who fail to repent, who fail to show wholehearted sorrow for their sins with evidence of their sorrow, are to be absolutely kept from the hope of communion and peace if they begin to ask for these while they are sick or in danger; the motivation here is not penance for sin but the warning of an imminent death. Those who fail to reflect on the fact that they will die are not worthy to receive consolation at the time of death. (542)

XXIV. As to Novatianb of whom you, dearest brother, desired that I write you concerning the heresy he introduced, know first of all that we should not even inquire what he teaches since he teaches outside [the Church]. Whoever or whatever one may be, a person who is not within the Church of Christ is not a Christian. Although Novatian may brag about himself and use lofty words to proclaim his own philosophy or eloquence, yet those who have not retained fraternal love or ecclesiastical unity have lost what they formerly were. Unless he seems to you to be a bishop who, after being ordained in the Church by sixteen fellow bishops, strives through ambition to be made a false and extraneous bishop by deserters! Yet since there is one Church apportioned by Christ into many members, so there is one episcopate, diffused in a harmonious number of many bishops, he, despite what God has handed down, despite the mutual and universal compact unity of the Catholic Church, is attempting to form a human Church and is sending his new apostles through numerous cities so that he might establish some new foundations of his own organization. Although throughout all the provinces and in each city there are ordained bishops, advanced in years, sound in faith, proven in adversity, outlawed during times of persecution, he dared to create above them other and pseudo-bishops. He did this as if he could either wander over the whole world, obstinate in his novel undertaking, or destroy the structure of the ecclesiastical body by sowing discord, not knowing that schismatics, always initially fervent, are unable to increase what they illicitly begin and immediately fade away with their jealousy. But Novatian was incapable of holding the episcopal position, even though he was previously made a bishop, since he withdrew from the body of his fellow bishops and from the unity of the Church. The apostle admonished that we should bear with one another8 so as not to withdraw from the unity established by God. He also said, “Bear with one another in love, making every effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”9 Therefore, those who fail to attend to the unity of the Spirit or to the bond of peace and thus separate themselves from the bond of the Church and from the college of bishops have neither episcopal power nor dignity since they desire to maintain neither the peace nor the unity of the episcopate. (543)

XXIX. This is to close and remove the path of sorrow and penance. In the Scriptures the Lord God speaks well of those who return to him and repent; yet repentance itself is taken away by our harshness and cruelty. When the fruit of penance is done away with, then repentance itself is eliminated. If we find that no one should be hindered from doing penance, then peace may be given according to the mercy of the Lord, who is kind and loving; then the groaning of those who mourn is to be considered; then the fruit of penance is not to be denied to those who grieve. Among the dead there is no confession, there can be no penance there; and so those who have wholeheartedly done and requested penance should meanwhile be received into the Church and kept in it since when the Lord comes to his Church, he will certainly judge those he finds within it. Those are apostates and deserters, antagonists and enemies, as well as those who scatter Christ’s Church—even if they have been martyred for his name outside the Church—cannot, as the apostle says, be admitted to the peace of the Church because they have not kept the unity of the Spirit or that of the Church.10 (544)


I. My dearest brother, some time ago and after consulting with each other we decided that those who as the result of persecution had been led astray by the adversary and had lapsed and stained themselves with unlawful sacrifices were to undergo a long and thorough penance; and if the sickness proves to be very grave, they may receive peace should death be at hand. It is not permissible nor does the Father’s love nor does divine mercy permit that the Church be closed to those who knock1 or that the help of salvation be refused to those who mourn and beseech; otherwise, departing this world they would be sent to the Lord without communion and peace. For the Lord himself, who decreed that what was bound on earth was also bound in heaven, also decreed that what is first loosed in the Church is also loosed in heaven.2 Now we see that a day of further and new battle is imminent, and we are warned by numerous and continuous indications to prepare and arm ourselves for the battle announced to us by the adversary. And so by our exhortations we should also prepare the people committed to us by divine benevolence; we should gather into the Lord’s camp all Christ’s soldiers who desire arms and request to do battle. In light of this necessity we have decided that peace should be extended to those who have not disassociated themselves from the Lord’s Church, who from the first day of their lapse have not ceased to do penance, lament, and invoke the Lord. We have decided that these should be armed and equipped for the imminent battle. (545)

II. We must comply with well-grounded indications and warnings so that the shepherds not desert the sheep who are in danger but that the whole flock be gathered together and that the Lord’s army be armed for the battle of the heavenly campaign. It was fitting that the penance of those in mourning be rightfully extended for a longer time—help being provided to the sick only at the time of death—so long as peace and tranquility were present. This allowed the tears of those doing penance to be prolonged for a long time and for assistance to be given at a late hour to the sick who were at the point of death. But now peace is necessary not for the sick but for the strong, nor are we to grant communion to the dying but to the living so that we may not leave unarmed and exposed those whom we have aroused and exhorted to battle. Rather, let us fortify them with the protection of Christ’s Body and Blood. Since the Eucharist has been instituted to protect those receiving it, we are to arm with the Lord’s abundant protection those whom we desire to be safe from the enemy. For how do we teach or urge them to shed their blood in confessing the Lord’s name if we refuse Christ’s Blood to those about to do battle? Or how do we make them fit for the cup of martyrdom if we do not first allow them to drink the cup of the Lord in the Church by right of communion? (546)

III. […] It is our episcopate’s great honor to have extended peace to the martyrs so that as priests, who daily celebrate God’s sacrifices, we may prepare victims and sacrifices for God. […] (547)

27-E-13. LETTER 63. TO CECIL†a

I. Dearest brother, I know that many bishops, set over the Lord’s churches throughout the world, hold fast to the exercise of evangelical truth and the Lord’s traditions. By no human and novel custom do they depart from what Christ taught and did. Some, however, either out of ignorance or naiveté in blessing and ministering the Lord’s cup to the people do not do what Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, the founder and teacher of this sacrifice, did and taught.b I have likewise believed it to be religious and necessary to write you this letter so that if anyone still be held in this error, such a person by the light of truth may return to the root and origin of the Lord’s tradition. Do not think, dearest brother, that what I write is my own teaching or is a human teaching, or that I do this on my own initiative. No, my ability is limited. I write with humble and restrained moderation. But when God’s inspiration and command enjoin anything, the faithful servant must comply with the Lord. Servants should be acquitted of arrogantly appropriating anything to themselves since unless they do what is commanded, they are forced to fear offending the Lord. (548)

II. As you well know, I have been admonished that the tradition of the Lord is to be followed when the cup is offered, and that we are to do nothing other than what the Lord was the first to do. And so it is for this reason that the cup offered in his memory is mixed with wine.1 Since Christ said, “I am the true vine,”2 certainly Christ’s blood is wine; it is not water. Nor can his blood—his blood by which we are redeemed and receive new life—be present within the cup if the cup itself does not contain wine by which the blood of Christ is revealed, as is commanded by the sacrament and by the testimony of all the Scriptures. (549)

III. Also in Genesis we find, as to the sacrament, that Noah anticipated the same and projected the figure of the Lord’s passion in that he drank wine, that he was inebriated, that he was naked in his house, that he was reclining with naked and uncovered thighs, that his second son saw his nudity and made it public, that he was covered up by the oldest and youngest son.3 We need not pursue other details. All we have to understand is that Noah, showing himself to be a type of future truth, drank wine, not water, thus being an image of the Lord’s passion.4 (550)

IV. We also see the sacrament of the Lord’s sacrifice prefigured in the priest Melchizedek since, according to the testimony of the divine Scriptures, “Melchizedek the king of Salem brought forth bread and wine. He was a priest of the most high God, and he blessed Abraham.”5 Melchizedek was a type of Christ as the Holy Spirit indicates in the Psalms, where the Father says to the Son, “Before the daystar I begot you. You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”6 This order certainly comes and descends from that sacrifice. Melchizedek was a priest of the most high God; he brought out bread and wine; he blessed Abraham.7 For who is more of a priest of the most high God than our Lord Jesus Christ who offered a sacrifice to God the Father and he offered what Melchizedek offered, namely, bread and wine,8 namely, his Body and Blood. As to Abraham, his blessing, which preceded,9 extends down to our own people.10 For if Abraham believed in God and it was imputed to him for righteousness,11 so it is that those who believe in God and live by faith are found to be righteous and are already blessed and justified in faithful Abraham,12 for as Paul the Apostle says: “Abraham believed in God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. You know, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. Foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, Abraham predicted that all nations would be blessed in him. Therefore those who believe are blessed with faithful Abraham.”13 Therefore in the Gospel we find that Abraham’s children have been raised up from the stones, namely, gathered from the nations.14 And when he praised Zacchaeus, the Lord said, “Today salvation has come to this house because this one is a son of Abraham.”15 So that in Genesis Abraham’s blessing of the priest Melchizedek might be correctly celebrated, the image of Christ’s sacrifice precedes, namely, as constituted in the bread and wine.16 The Lord, carrying out and perfecting, offered bread and the cup mixed with wine,17 and he who is the fullness of truth fulfilled the truth of the prefigured image. (551)

V. Furthermore, through Solomon the Holy Spirit predicts the type of the Lord’s sacrifice when mentioning the victim that has been offered, the bread and the wine, the altar, and the apostles, “Wisdom has built her house, she has placed under it her seven columns, she has slaughtered her victims, she has mixed her wine in the cup and spread her table.” “She has sent out her servants inviting with lofty words to the cup, saying, ‘Let the simple turn to me.’ And to the unwise she said, ‘Come, eat of my bread and drink the wine I have mixed for you.’”18 The Spirit declares the wine to be mixed, namely, prophetically announcing that the Lord’s cup was mixed with water and wine, so that it is evident that what took place during the Lord’s passion was foretold.19 (552)

VI. The blessing of Judah also shows a figure of Christ when it says that he [Christ] should be praised and honored by his brothers; that he should press down the neck of his enemies who are departing and fleeing, doing so with hands that carried the cross and conquered death; that he himself is the lion from the tribe of Judah; that he reclines while sleeping in his passion and arises and is himself the hope of the Gentiles.20 To these the divine Scriptures add, “He will wash his garment in wine and his clothing in the blood of the grape.”21 As to the blood of the grape, what else is meant other than the cup of the Lord’s blood? (553)

VII. In Isaiah the Holy Spirit says the same in regard to the Lord’s passion, “Why are your garments red and your clothing as from treading the wine press full and well-trodden?”22 Can water turn garments red? Or is it water in the wine press that is stepped on and pressed out? Surely, therefore, wine is mentioned so that by wine the Lord’s blood may be understood and that what was later on manifested in the Lord’s cup might earlier be foretold by the prophets. This reading and pressing of the wine press are also spoken of since, just as we cannot drink wine unless a bunch of grapes has been trampled upon and pressed, so we cannot drink Christ’s blood unless Christ was first trampled upon and pressed and had earlier partaken from the cup he gave to believers. (554)

VIII. When the holy Scriptures mention only water, baptism is foretold, as we find in Isaiah: “Do not remember what happened formerly and do not consider the things of old. Behold, I will do new things which will now spring forth, and you will know it. I will make a path in the desert and rivers in the dry place to give drink to my chosen people, the people I have acquired so that they might proclaim my praise.”23 It was there that God foretold through the prophets that among the nations, in places that were formerly dry, abundant rivers would soon flow and would provide water for God’s chosen people, namely, for those made children of God through the regeneration of baptism.24 Again it is foretold and stated beforehand that if the Jews thirst and search for Christ, they will drink with us, namely, they will acquire the grace of baptism. “If they thirst, he will lead them through the deserts; he will provide water for them from the rock; he will split the rock and my people shall drink.”25 This was fulfilled in the Gospel when Christ, who is the rock, was struck by a lance during his passion.26 Recalling what was foretold by the prophet, he declared: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. As the Scripture says, rivers of living waters will flow out of his stomach.”27 So that it be even more evident that the Lord is here speaking not about the cup but about baptism, the Scripture adds, “He said this about the Spirit whom those who believe in him were to receive.”28 For it is through baptism that the Holy Spirit is received, and so those who have been baptized and have received the Holy Spirit are able to drink from the Lord’s cup. Let it disturb no one that when the divine Scripture speaks of baptism it says that we thirst and drink since the Lord also says in the Gospel, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after justice”29 because what is received with an eager and thirsty longing is taken in more fully and more abundantly. So it is that the Lord says to the Samaritan woman, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst once again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give will never thirst again.”30 This signifies the baptism of the saving water which, when once received, cannot be repeated. The cup of the Lord is always thirsted for and drunk from in the Church. (555)

IX. We do not need many arguments, my dearest brother, to prove that the word “water” always stands for baptism, and so we must understand it in this way. When the Lord came, he showed the truth of baptism and the cup by commanding that the lasting water, the water of eternal life, be given to believers in baptism; yet he taught by his own authoritative example that the cup be mixed, that is, containing a mixture of wine and water. On the eve of his passion he took the cup, blessed it, and gave it to his disciples, saying:31 “Drink, all of you, from this, for this is the blood of the covenant which will be shed for many unto the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from the fruit of the vine until the day when I shall drink new wine with you in my Father’s kingdom.”32 Here we find that the cup offered by the Lord was mixed, and it was wine that he called his Blood. So it is evident that Christ’s Blood is not offered if there is no wine in the cup, nor is the Lord’s sacrifice celebrated with a legitimate sanctification unless the offering and our sacrifice accord with his passion. But how are we to drink the new wine from the fruit of the vine in the kingdom of the Father33 if we, in the sacrifice of God the Father and of Christ, do not offer wine or, not following a tradition from the Lord, fail to mix the Lord’s cup? (556)

X. The blessed apostle Paul, chosen and sent by the Lord and appointed to teach the truth of the Gospel, said in his Epistle: “On the night he was betrayed Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and said, ‘This is my Body which is given for you. Do this in memory of me.’ Likewise after the meal he took the cup, saying: ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood: Do this, as often as you drink it, in memory of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.’”34 But if the Lord has commanded, and if the apostle has confirmed and handed down the same, namely, that as often as we drink in memory of the Lord, we do what the Lord has done,35 then we find that we are not observing the Lord’s command unless we also do what he has done. Likewise, by mixing the cup we do not deviate from the Lord’s teaching. In no way are we to digress from the evangelical precepts; disciples are to observe and do what the teacher taught and did. Elsewhere the apostle more steadfastly and firmly says: “I am amazed that you are so quickly departing from him who called you to grace, going to another gospel, not that there is another gospel except that there are those who disturb you and wish to alter the Gospel of Christ. But if we or an angel from heaven preach to you anything other than what we have proclaimed to you, may such be accursed. As we have said before and now repeat: should anyone proclaim to you anything other than what you have received, let such a person be damned.”36 (557)

XI. Since neither the apostle nor the heavenly angel can proclaim or teach anything different from what Christ once taught and from what his apostles announced,37 I greatly wonder as to the origin of the custom whereby, contrary to the practice of the Gospel and the Apostles, in certain places only water is offered in the Lord’s cup; water alone cannot express Christ’s blood. The Holy Spirit is not silent on this in the Psalms where mention is made of the Lord’s cup, “Your cup cheers me like the best [wine].”38 Also, the cup that cheers certainly is mixed with wine since water alone cannot cheer anyone. So it is that the Lord’s cup inebriates just as in Genesis Noah, drinking wine, was inebriated.39 But the inebriation of the Lord’s cup and blood is unlike that of worldly wine since in the psalm the Spirit says, “Your cup gives cheer, there is added: like the best.”40 This means that the Lord’s cup so inebriates those drinking that it makes them sober; it leads their minds back to spiritual wisdom with the result that each person abandons a worldly taste for an understanding of God. Just as common wine moderates one’s outlook, relaxes the soul, and banishes all sorrow, so when the Lord’s Blood and the cup of salvation have been drunk, the memory of the old man is cast aside, previous worldly dealings are forgotten,41 and the sad and sorrowful breast, previously oppressed by tormenting sins, is soothed by the joy of the divine goodness. Only a person who drinks within the Lord’s Church can rejoice if what is drunk clings to the Lord’s truth. (558)

XII. How distorted and contrary it is that although the Lord at the wedding feast changed water into wine,42 we would change wine into water, even though the sacramental reality warns and teaches us that we are to offer wine when celebrating the Lord’s sacrifice. Because spiritual grace was in short supply among the Jews, so also was wine, “for the vineyard of the Lord of hosts was the house of Israel.”43 Christ, however, teaching and showing that the Gentiles come after the Jews and that by their meritorious faith would later on gain the place lost by the Jews, changed water into wine.44 And so at the wedding feast of Christ and the Church, with the Jews being absent, he showed that the Gentiles would come in abundance and meet. Water, says the Apocalypse, signifies the people, “The waters you saw, upon which the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes, the nations of the peoples and tongues.”45 We see this also contained in the sacrament of the cup. (559)

XIII. Since Christ bore all of us when he bore our sins,46 we see that the water stands for the people whereas the wine stands for the Blood of Christ. When water is united with the wine in the cup, the people are made one with Christ; the believing people are joined and united with him in whom they believe. The water and the wine, joined and united, are so mixed together in the Lord’s cup that this mixture cannot be dissolved. As a result, nothing can separate the Church—namely, the people established in the Church who faithfully and steadfastly cling to what they believe—from Christ so as to prevent their indivisible love from enduring and remaining. In blessing the Lord’s cup neither wine alone nor water alone is to be offered. If only wine, then Christ’s Blood would be without us; if only water, then we would be without Christ. But when both are mixed together and closely joined, then we have the spiritual and heavenly sacrament. The Lord’s cup, therefore, is neither wine only nor water only; each is to be mingled with the other. Nor can the Lord’s Body be flour only or water only; both are to be mixed together, joined, and formed into one loaf. In this very sacrament our people are shown to be one, and just as many grains, when they are gathered and ground down and mixed together, form one loaf, so we know that we are one body in Christ who is the living bread to whom all of us are joined and united.47 (560)

XIV. Therefore, dearest brother, no one should believe that we are to follow the custom of those who maintain that water alone should be offered in the Lord’s cup. The question is whom are they following. For if it is only Christ who is to be followed in the sacrifice that he offered, certainly we are to obey Christ, imitate him, and do what he commanded when, according to the Gospel, he said, “No longer do I call you servants but friends if you do what I command you.”48 That we are to listen to Christ alone, the heavenly Father bears witness, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased; listen to him.”49 If it is only Christ who is to be heard,50 we should pay no attention to what anyone before us believed was to be done but to what Christ, who is before all, did first. We should not follow human custom but that of God since God speaks through the prophet Isaiah, “Teaching the human commandments and doctrines, in vain do they worship me.”51 The Lord also repeats this in the Gospel, “You reject God’s commandment that you might follow your own tradition.”52 Elsewhere he says, “Whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.”53 If it is not allowed to break the least of these commandments,54 how much the more is it not permitted to break those that are so great, so important, so relevant to the sacrament of the Lord’s passion and our redemption. Or can human tradition change what has been divinely instituted? If Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, is himself the high priest of God the Father, and was the first to offer himself as a sacrifice to the Father, and commanded that this be done in his own memory,55 certainly the office of Christ is carried out by the priest who imitates what Christ did and who in the Church offers a true and full sacrifice to God the Father when he offers it according to what he understands Christ to have offered. (561)

XV. The discipline of all religion and of truth is defeated if what is spiritually enjoined is not faithfully observed. There are some who fear that at the morning sacrifice, if they taste the wine, they may exhale the fragrance of Christ’s Blood.56 And so when the community in its offerings is ashamed of Christ’s blood and its shedding, then during times of persecution it begins to separate itself from Christ’s suffering. Yet the Lord says in the Gospel, “The Son of Man will be ashamed of those who are ashamed of him.”57 And the apostle, “Should I please others, I should not be Christ’s servant.”58 How can we shed our blood for Christ if we are ashamed to drink Christ’s Blood? (562)

XVI. Are there any who delude themselves with the idea that although in the morning water alone appears to be offered, yet when we come for supper, we offer a mixed cup? But when we eat, we cannot summon the people to our meal so that we might celebrate the truth of the sacrament with the whole community being present. But the Lord offered the mixed cup not in the morning but after supper.59 Therefore should we celebrate the Lord’s sacrifice after the evening meal so that by frequent repetition we might offer the mixed cup? It was fitting for Christ to offer the sacrifice in the evening so that the hour of sacrifice might show the setting and evening of the world, as is written in Exodus, “And the whole assembled congregation of the children of Israel shall kill it [the lamb] in the evening.”60 Also in the Psalms, “The lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.”61 We, however, celebrate the Lord’s resurrection in the morning. (563)

XVII. And because we mention his passion in all our sacrifices—the sacrifice we offer being the Lord’s passion—we are to do only what he did since, according to Scripture, as often as we offer the cup in memory of the Lord and his passion,62 we do what corresponds with what the Lord has done. Dearest brother, if any of our predecessors either out of ignorance or naiveté have not observed and complied with what the Lord taught us by his example and instruction, may the Lord’s kindness pardon such a person’s simplicity. But we cannot be forgiven, we who have been admonished and taught by the Lord to offer his cup mixed with wine just as was offered by the Lord; we are to write our colleagues about this so that the evangelical law and the Lord’s tradition may be everywhere observed and that there be no divergence from what Christ taught and did. (564)

XVIII. To disregard these things, to continue on in former error, is nothing other than to be reprimanded by the Lord who in the Psalms reproaches: “Why do you declare my ordinances and take up my covenant into your mouth since you hated my instruction and cast my words behind you? If you saw a thief, you ran along with him and cast your lot with adulterers.”63 If we set forth the Lord’s righteousness and covenant and not do what he did, is this anything other than to disregard his words and despise his teachings, to commit not earthly but spiritual thefts and adulteries?64 To steal the Lord’s words and actions away from evangelical truth is to corrupt and pervert the divine precepts. As is written in Jeremiah, “What has straw in common with wheat? Therefore, says the Lord, I am against the prophets who steal my words from one another, and lead my people astray by their lies and errors.”65 The same prophet in another place says, “And she committed adultery with stone and tree, and yet in all this she did not return to me.”66 We should carefully, fearfully, and religiously take care that we not be found guilty of theft and adultery. For if we are priests of God and Christ, I do not know whom we should follow more than God and Christ. It is Christ who says in the Gospel, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”67 So that we do not walk in the darkness,68 we are to follow Christ and observe his precepts because as we find elsewhere when he sent his apostles, he said, “All power in heaven and on earth is given to me. Go, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you.”69 So if we wish to walk in the light of Christ,70 we are not to forgo his precepts and warnings. We give thanks that while he instructs us as to what we should do in the future, he overlooks what we, erring due to our inexperience, have done in the past. And since his second coming is approaching, more and more does his kind and abundant love illumine our hearts with the light of his truth. […] (565)

27-E-14. LETTER 64. TO FIDUS†a

II. You say that infants should not be baptized within the second or third day of birth and that the ancient law of circumcision should be considered. In your opinion the newly born should not be baptized and sanctified till the eighth day.1 Our council thought altogether differently. No one agreed with your thinking in this matter, but all of us decided that God’s mercy and grace should not be denied to any human being. As the Lord said in his Gospel, “The Son of Man did not come to destroy the lives of human beings but to save them.”2 As far as possible, no soul is to be lost. For what is lacking to those whom God’s hands have formed in the womb? For as we see, as time moves on so those who are born are seen to develop. Whatever has been made by God is perfected by the majesty and work of God the Maker. (566)

III. Belief in the divine Scriptures tells us that the divine gift exists equally among all, whether infants or adults. Elisha, entreating God, so laid himself upon the widow’s infant son who was lying dead that Elisha’s head was upon the child’s head and his face was upon the child’s face, his feet upon the child’s feet, and his limbs upon the child’s limbs.3 If we think about this according to our physical nature, an infant cannot be equated with an adult or with someone advanced in years, nor are an infant’s small limbs able to fully match and substitute for those of an older person. But there [in the incident of Elisha and the child] is expressed the divine and spiritual equality that all are alike and equal since all were once created by God. Depending on age there may be physical differences among bodies, but God sees no difference except that the grace given to the baptized is granted in a larger or smaller degree according to the age of those receiving it, whereas the Holy Spirit is not bestowed with measure4 but with the Father’s love and kindness to all. For just as God does not discriminate against particular persons, so he does not discriminate on the basis of age. As to the granting of heavenly grace, he shows himself as a father equally to all. (567)

V. […] If anything could hinder us from obtaining grace, then sins that are more grave can more impede those who are adults and elderly and older. Since sins are forgiven even to the most serious sinners once these sinners have come to believe—no matter how greatly they formerly sinned against God—and since baptism and grace are forbidden to no one, all the more they should not be forbidden to an infant who as a newborn has not sinned other than, having been bodily born after Adam, has contracted by its first birth the contagion of the ancient death. That it is not one’s own sins but those of another that are forgiven makes it easier to receive the forgiveness of sins. (568)


IV. […] The priest is to be chosen in the presence of the people and under the eyes of all. By public judgment and testimony he is to be approved as the Lord commanded Moses in the Book of Numbers, “Take Aaron your brother and his son Eleazar up to the mountain and impose hands on them before the whole assembly; strip Aaron of his clothes and put them on his son Eleazar, and let Aaron die there.”1 God commands that a priest be appointed before all the people, namely, God instructs and shows that priestly ordinations are not to occur without the knowledge of those present so that the sins of evildoers may be disclosed before the people and the merits of the good may be made known; also that the ordination, subject to the approval and judgment of all, may be just and legitimate. Later on this was followed when, in accord with divine teaching, Peter in the Acts of the Apostles spoke to the people regarding the ordination of a bishop [i.e., an apostle] to replace Judas, “Peter stood up amidst the disciples, and the crowd was in one place.”2 We see that the apostles observed this not only for the ordination of bishops and priests but also for that of deacons. In the same Acts it is written, “And the Twelve called together the whole group of disciples and said to them.”3 This gathering of all the people was done with attention and care so that no unworthy person might steal into the ministry of the altar or the priestly office. It happens that unworthy individuals are at times ordained, not according to God’s will but because of human presumption. What does not come from a legitimate and proper ordination displeases God as God himself makes known through Hosea the prophet, “They make a king but not through me.”4 (569)

V. This is why you are to follow and retain the practice received from divine tradition and apostolic usage, a practice observed among us also and throughout almost all the provinces, namely, that for correctly celebrating ordinations the neighboring bishops within the same province should gather with the people for whom the candidate is ordained. And the bishop is to be selected in the presence of the people who are fully knowledgeable as to the life of each [candidate] and who have investigated each one’s conduct. We see that you did this in ordaining our colleague Sabinus so that, by a vote of the whole community and by the judgment of the bishops who had gathered with you and had written you concerning him, hands were imposed on him. […] (570)

27-E-16. LETTER 69. TO MAGNUS†a

V. […] The Lord’s sacrifices declare a Christian unity, a unity that is firm and inseparable. For when the Lord said that the bread was his Body, bread brought together by mixing many grains, and when he said that the wine was his Blood, wine pressed from many grapes and clusters, he also had in mind the one flock which is joined together by the mingling of many persons into one. […] (571)

XIV. Indeed the Holy Spirit is not given piecemeal but is totally poured out upon the believer. For if the daytime is born for all equally and if the sun’s light is diffused upon all alike,1 how much more does Christ, the true sun and the true day, give with similar equality the light of life eternal in his Church! In Exodus we see the mystery celebrated with equality: the manna flowed down from heaven and by prefiguring what was to come showed forth the sustenance of the heavenly bread and the food of the Christ who was to come. For there an omer was equally collected by each person without distinction as to sex or age.2 So it appeared that Christ’s kindness and heavenly grace, which were to follow, were equally divided among all; without sexual differences, without distinction of age, without partiality toward persons, the gift of spiritual grace being poured upon all.3 To be sure, the same spiritual grace received by believers in baptism is either diminished or increased according to one’s behavior and subsequent actions, just as in the Gospel the Lord’s seed is sowed all over; yet according to the type of soil some seed is destroyed and some increases in a variety of ways, bringing forth fruit thirty, sixty, or a hundredfold.4 Besides, when each was called to receive a denarius, did human understanding lessen what God distributed equally?5 (572)

XV. Should any be concerned that some of the sick who were baptized while ill are still tempted by unclean spirits, they should know that the devil’s stubborn evil perdures up to the saving water; yet in baptism the devil loses all the poison of his wickedness. An example of this is Pharaoh the king who struggled for a long time and was delayed by his lack of faith. He was able to resist and prevail till he came to the water; when he did so, he was conquered and vanquished.6 As the blessed apostle Paul says, “For I do not want you to be unaware, my brothers and sisters, that all our ancestors were under the cloud and all crossed through the sea and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.”7 He adds, “All these were examples for us.”8 The same occurs today when exorcists, by the human voice and divine power, scourge, burn, and torment the devil. Although he often claims to be departing and leaving those who are of God,9 the devil’s very words deceive, and he practices what was formerly done by the Pharaoh and with the same stubborn and fraudulent deceit.10 When, however, a person comes to the saving water and to the sanctification of baptism, we should know and believe that it was here that the devil was defeated and that a person dedicated to God is set free through divine kindness. For when scorpions and serpents, who thrive on dry ground, are thrown into the water, they cannot prevail or retain their poison. The same is true of evil spirits, who are called scorpions and serpents and are trampled on by the power granted by the Lord.11 No longer can they abide in the body of a baptized and sanctified person in whom the Holy Spirit begins to dwell. (573)

XVI. Finally, it is our experience that the sick who were baptized out of necessity and who obtained grace are now free from the unclean spirit which previously excited them, and they live in the Church as they lead laudable and credible lives and each day progress in increasing heavenly grace by growing in their faith. On the other hand, there are those who were baptized in good health and who, afterwards beginning to sin, are made to retreat by the unclean spirit’s return. Thus it is evident that in baptism the devil is expelled by the believer’s faith and returns if this faith afterwards fails. […] (574)


I. Beloved brothers, when we were together in council we read the letter you sent us about those who appear to have been baptized by heretics and schismatics. You asked whether these are to be baptized when they come to the one Church. Although you follow the truth and certainty of Catholic discipline in this matter, you thought we should be consulted due to our mutual love. We gave our opinion—not a new one—but we join you in equally agreeing with a long-standing opinion decreed by our predecessors and followed by us: we judge and hold it as certain that no one can be baptized outside the Church since only one baptism is established in the holy Church. As the Lord wrote, “They have forsaken me, the fountain of the living waters, and dug for themselves broken cisterns, which can hold no water.”1 Holy Scripture also admonished, “Stay away from strange water and do not drink from a strange fountain.”2 The priest, then, is to cleanse and sanctify the water so that through baptism it may wash away the sins of the person who is baptized since the Lord said through the prophet Ezekiel: “And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you will be cleansed from all your impurities and from all your idols. And I will cleanse you and give you a new heart and a new spirit.”3 How can anyone who is impure, in whom the Holy Spirit is not found, cleanse and sanctify the water since in Numbers the Lord says, “Whatever an unclean person touches will be unclean”?4 Or how can those who are outside the Church and thus unable to take away their own sins forgive the sins of others? (575)

II. Moreover, the very question asked in baptism testifies to the truth. For when we say, “Do you believe in eternal life and in the forgiveness of sins through the Holy Church?”, we understand that sins can only be remitted in the Church; sins cannot be forgiven among the heretics where the Church does not exist. Accordingly, those who claim that heretics are able to baptize should either change the question or vindicate the truth unless they concede that a Church exists among those who, they claim, have baptism. The baptized are also to be anointed so that, having received the chrism, namely, the anointing, they can be God’s anointed ones and possess the grace of Christ. Further, it is by the Eucharist that the oil used to anoint the baptized is sanctified on the altar. However, a person having neither Church nor oil cannot sanctify that creature of oil. And so there can be no spiritual anointing among the heretics since it is evident that in no way can the oil be sanctified or the Eucharist celebrated among them. We ought to know and remember what is written, “Let not the oil of the wicked anoint my head.”5 This is what the Holy Spirit foretold in the Psalms lest anyone wandering and straying from the path of truth be anointed by the heretics and enemies of Christ. But what prayer can a sacrilegious and sinful priest say for a baptized person? It is written, “God does not hear the sinner; but God does hear whoever worships God and does his will.”6 Can anyone give what he or she does not have? Can a person who has lost the Holy Spirit do spiritual things? Therefore the simple folk who come to the Church must be baptized and renewed so that within the Church they may be sanctified by the holy ones as is written, “Be holy because I am holy, says the Lord”7 so that one who has been enticed into error and baptized outside [the Church] may put this aside also in a true and ecclesiastical baptism since a person coming to God while seeking a priest [bishop?] comes by the deceit of error upon an impious one. (576)

III. Approving the baptism of heretics and schismatics means assenting to their baptism. One part cannot be empty and the other useful. If one can baptize, one can give the Holy Spirit. But if a person cannot bestow the Holy Spirit since whoever is appointed outside [the Church] does not have the Holy Spirit, such a person cannot baptize those who come. There is one baptism; the Holy Spirit is one; and the one Church,8 founded by Christ our Lord upon Peter, has its origin and foundation in unity.9 […] (577)

27-E-18. LETTER 71. TO QUINTUS†a

I. […] I do not know by what presumption some of my fellow bishops are led to believe that when those who have been washed by the heretics come to us, they should not be baptized since, as they say, there is only one baptism.1 To be sure, there is one baptism in the Catholic Church because the Church is one, and there can be no baptism outside the Church. Since there cannot be two baptisms, if the heretics truly baptize, they have baptism. And those who on their own authority grant this power to them acquiesce and consent that Christ’s enemy and adversary seems to have the power of washing, purifying, and sanctifying someone. We, however, say that those coming from outside the Church are not rebaptized by us but are baptized. Nor do they receive anything outside the Church since nothing exists there, but they come to us where they find and receive grace and truth because grace and truth are one.2 Furthermore, some of our fellow bishops would prefer to honor heretics than to agree with us; asserting that there is only one baptism, they do not want us to baptize those who come to us. And so they either make two baptisms, saying that baptism exists among the heretics. Or, and certainly this is more serious, they attempt to rate more highly and prefer the washing of the heretics to the true and recognized baptism of the Catholic Church. They give no consideration to what is written, “If one is washed by a dead person, of what profit is the washing?”3 It is evident that those not in Christ’s Church are to be considered as among the dead. Nor can a person receive life from a dead person when there is one Church which, having obtained eternal life, both lives forever and gives life to God’s people. (578)

II. In this regard they claim they are following the old custom when among the ancients there existed heresy and the first beginnings of schism; those involved departed from the Church within which they had been baptized, and so it was not necessary to baptize them when they returned to the Church and did penance. This is what we observe today. It suffices to impose hands for penance upon those whom we know were baptized in the Church and have left us for the heretics if afterwards, recognizing their sin and separating themselves from error, they return to the truth and to their parent. They were sheep, driven apart and wandering, whom the shepherd may receive into his fold.4 If someone who was not previously baptized comes, as a common stranger he or she must be baptized to become a sheep since in the holy Church there is one water that makes sheep. […] (579)

27-e-19. letter 72. to stephen†a

I. […] The primary reason we wrote you and consulted with your authority and wisdom pertains more to the priestly authority and to the unity of the universal Church as well as to the dignity coming from the ordering of the divine disposition. It concerns those who have been washed outside the Church and have been soiled by the stain of profane water among the heretics and schismatics. When they come to us and to the one Church, they should be baptized since imposing hands on them for receiving the Holy Spirit is not enough; they are also to receive the Church’s baptism. For only then can they be fully sanctified and be children of God,1 being born from the mystery as is written, “No one can enter God’s kingdom without first being born of water and the Spirit.”2 Also, in the Acts of the Apostles we find that the apostles observed this and preserved the truth of the saving faith. In the house of Cornelius the centurion, after the Holy Spirit came down upon the Gentiles who were present, they—glowing with the warmth of their faith, wholeheartedly believing in the Lord, and filled with the Holy Spirit—blessed God in various tongues. Despite this, the blessed apostle Peter, mindful of the divine precept and of the Gospel, commanded that those who had already been filled with the Holy Spirit be baptized so that nothing seem to be neglected in regard to what the apostles taught concerning the divine law and the Gospel. Heretics are unable to use baptism; the enemies of Christ cannot profit from the grace of Christ. […] (580)

II. Beloved brother, we go on to add—and this by common consent and authority—that any presbyter or deacon who has been previously ordained in the universal Church and subsequently became a traitor by rebelling against this Church is, upon his return, to be received. The same is true for those heretics who have been advanced by a sacrilegious ordination at the hands of false bishops and antichrists and, contrary to what Christ has called for and in opposition to the one and divine altar, have attempted to offer false and impious sacrifices. These also should be received upon their return. The only condition is that they function as members of the laity; it is enough that those who showed themselves to be enemies of peace should not, upon their return, possess the arms of ordination and dignity which they used to rebel against us. It is proper that the priests and ministers who devote themselves to the altar and its sacrifice remain untouched and unstained since the Lord God says in Leviticus, “No person having a stain or a blemish will come forth to offer gifts to God.”3 The same is also found in Exodus, “And may the priests who approach the Lord God be sanctified lest the Lord depart from them.”4 Also, “When they come to serve at the altar of the holy place, they shall not bring guilt upon themselves should they die.”5 Is there any greater sin or more unsightly stain than to oppose Christ, than to have shattered the Church which was purchased and established with his blood, than—being forgetful of evangelical peace and love—to have fought with the anger of hostile discord against the unified and harmonious people of God? Even after such men return to the Church, they cannot reinstate or bring back with them the deceased whom they seduced, who thus perished outside the Church and without communion and peace; on judgment day the authors and leaders of their destruction will have to answer for what they did to the souls of those who died. When these leaders return, it is enough that pardon be given; faithlessness is not to be rewarded in the household of faith.6 If we honor those who withdrew from us and opposed the Church, then what do we have for those who are good and innocent? (581)


VI. Jeremiah the prophet accurately rebukes profane and illicit baptism when he says, “Why do those who afflict me prevail? My wound is incurable; how will I be cured? It has become for me as a deceitful water lacking faith.”1 Through the prophet the Holy Spirit here speaks of a water that deceives and lacks faith. What is this deceitful and faithless water? Surely water that conceals any resemblance to baptism and by an unreal pretense frustrates the grace of faith. But if due to bad faith a person can be baptized outside the Church and obtain the forgiveness of sins, according to the same faith such a person could obtain the Holy Spirit, and it would not be necessary to impose hands on those who come so that they might receive the Holy Spirit and be sealed. Either both can be obtained without the Church through faith, or neither can be received outside the Church. (582)

VII. It is, moreover, evident where and through whom sins can be forgiven; namely, through baptism. The Lord first gave this power to Peter, upon whom he built his Church and whom he appointed and showed to be the source of unity: whatever Peter loosed on earth would also be loosed in heaven.2 Also, after the resurrection the Lord said to his apostles: “‘As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he said this, he breathed upon them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you will forgive, they will be forgiven. Whose sins you will retain, they will be retained.’”3 From this we know that only those placed in charge of the Church and who base themselves on the law of the Gospel and on what the Lord determined are permitted to baptize and forgive sins; outside, however, nothing can be bound or loosed, since without no one can bind or loose. (583)

IX. In regard to those who were baptized in Samaria, some hold that when the Apostles Peter and John went there, hands only were imposed on these people so that they might receive the Holy Spirit, and that they were not again baptized.4 Yet, dearest brother, in no way does this pertain to the case at hand. The believers in Samaria believed with a true faith and did so within the one Church, which alone is allowed to baptize and forgive sins. They were baptized by the deacon Philip5 whom the same apostles had sent. And since they were licitly baptized according to the Church, they were not to be baptized again. Peter and John did only what was lacking, namely, after praying for them and imposing hands upon them, they invoked the Holy Spirit to be poured forth upon them.6 This also occurs among us: those who are baptized in the Church are brought to the Church’s leaders so that by means of our prayer and the imposition of hands they might obtain the Holy Spirit and be perfected by the Lord’s seal. (584)

27-E-21. LETTER 74. TO POMPEY†a

I. […] Since you wished to know what our brother Stephenb replied to my letter, I have sent you a copy of his answer. Reading it, you will increasingly notice his error as he attempts to align himself with the heretics who stand against Christians and against God’s Church. For among other matters, whether they be arrogant or irrelevant or self-contradictory and which he ignorantly and impulsively wrote, he added, “Should anyone come to you from any heresy whatsoever, do nothing except what has been handed down, so that hands are imposed on them unto penance since heretics themselves characteristically do not baptize those who come to them but only admit them to communion.” (585)

II. He has forbidden those coming from any heresy whatsoever to be baptized in the Church, namely, he considered the baptism conferred by heretics as valid and legitimate. And whereas individual heresies have their own individual baptisms and diverse sins, he, being in communion with the baptism of all, has heaped up within himself the sins of all. He taught that nothing other than what has been handed down is to be done. It is as if the innovator would be the person who holds fast to unity and claims one baptism1 for the one Church. To be sure, the innovator is the person who is forgetful of unity, who adopts the lies and infections of their profane washing. May there be no innovations, he says, beyond what has been handed down. Yet what is the origin of what has been handed down? Does it come to us from the authority of the Lord and the Gospel? Or does it flow from the directives and letters of the apostles? What is written down must be done as God testifies and admonishes Joshua the son of Nun, “This book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth; day and night you shall meditate on it so that you may do all that is written in it.”2 Likewise, the Lord, sending forth his disciples, commanded that they baptize and teach the nations to observe everything he commanded them.3 Should the Gospel prescribe or should the epistles or Acts of the Apostles say that those coming from any heresy whatsoever are not to be baptized but that hands only should be imposed on them, then let this holy and divine tradition be followed. […] (586)

V. If heretics attribute the effect of baptism to the power of the divine name so that those who have been baptized, no matter where or how, are considered to be renewed and sanctified, then why do they not lay hands upon the baptized so that they may receive the Holy Spirit? Does not the same power of the divine name prevail in the laying on of hands as, so they contend, prevailed in the sanctification of baptism? If someone born outside the Church can become God’s temple,4 then why cannot the Holy Spirit be poured out upon this temple? The sanctified—those whose sins have been cast away through baptism and who have been spiritually remade into new persons5—have certainly been rendered fit to receive the Holy Spirit since the apostle says, “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”6 A person baptized among the heretics, who is able to put on Christ, is much more capable of receiving the Holy Spirit, the Spirit sent by Christ. Otherwise, for it to be possible that a person baptized outside the Church might put on Christ and yet be unable to receive the Holy Spirit, the one who is sent would be greater than the one who sends. It is as if a person could put on Christ without the Spirit, thereby separating the Spirit from Christ.7 Furthermore, it is foolish to say that, although the second birth by which we are born in Christ through the bath of regeneration is spiritual, a person can be spiritually born among heretics who deny the very existence of the Spirit.8 Water alone is unable to wash away sins and sanctify people unless these people possess the Holy Spirit. Therefore it is necessary for them to concede that the Spirit is present where they say baptism exists, or that there is no baptism where the Spirit is not found because baptism cannot exist without the Spirit. (587)

VI. But what does it mean to assert and contend that those who have not been born in the Church can be children of God? The blessed apostle clearly shows and proves that it is in baptism that the old self dies and the new self is born.9 He says, “He saved us through the washing of regeneration.”10 If regeneration is in the baptismal washing, how can heresy, which is not a spouse of Christ, bring forth children to God through Christ? The Church alone, which is joined and spiritually united to Christ, can bring forth children as the same apostle again says, “Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her in order to sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing of water.”11 If the Church, then, is the beloved and the spouse who alone is sanctified by Christ and is cleansed by his washing, it is evident that those in heresy, not being Christ’s spouse and not being cleansed or sanctified by his washing, cannot bring forth children to God. (588)

VII. To continue, it is not through the imposition of hands that those who are born receive the Holy Spirit but in baptism so that they, already born, may receive the Spirit, as happened to the first man.12 God first formed him and then breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. The Spirit cannot be received unless there exists someone who has already received the Spirit. Since Christians are born in baptism—the baptismal generation and sanctification belonging exclusively to Christ’s spouse which can give spiritual birth and generate children to God—then where and from whom and to whom is one born who is not a child of the Church? Whoever wishes to have God as a Father must first have the Church as a Mother. […] (589)

27-E-22. LETTER 75. FIRMILIANa to cyprian

VII. […] Other heretics also, if they have separated themselves from God’s Church, have no power or grace since power and grace are rooted in the Church where preside the presbyters [bishops?] who have the power to baptize, to lay on hands, and to ordain. For just as a heretic may not lawfully ordain or impose hands, so neither may a heretic baptize. […] (590)

X. […] Suddenly there arose a woman who in a state of ecstasy passed herself off as a prophet and acted as though she were full of the Holy Spirit. […] Earlier the devil’s deceptions and deceits moved this woman to undertake many things to mislead the faithful; among others by which she deceived many she frequently dared to pretend to sanctify the bread and celebrate the Eucharist and to offer a sacrifice to the Lord without the rite of the customary words; she also baptized many while using the customary and appropriate words of questioning so that nothing might seem to be different from the pattern observed by the Church. (591)

XI. What, then, are we to say about such a baptism in which the most evil devil baptized by means of a woman? Do Stephenb and those agreeing with him really approve of this, especially since neither the trinitarian symbol nor the proper and ecclesiastical questioning were lacking? Can anyone believe that sins were pardoned or that the regeneration of the saving washing was properly accomplished where everything, being but an image of the truth, was done through the devil? Unless, perhaps, that those defending heretical baptism confidently assert that it was also the devil who gave the grace of baptism in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. […] (592)

XI. What are we to understand when Stephen says that Christ’s presence and holiness can be found among those baptized by the heretics? According to the apostle, “Whoever is washed in Christ has put on Christ.”1 Since the apostle does not lie, whoever has been baptized has put on Christ. But if they have put on Christ, then they could have received the Holy Spirit who had been sent by Christ. It would be useless to impose hands on whoever comes in order to receive the Spirit unless they divide the Spirit from Christ so that Christ can surely be found among the heretics but not the Holy Spirit. (593)

XXI. What is to be said about those who come from heresy and are admitted without the Church’s baptism? Should they have died, they are considered as catechumens who die before baptism; having abandoned their error and yet prevented by death from being baptized, they attain no small advantage of truth and faith even though they have not yet gained the fullness of grace. Those who are still alive are to be baptized with the Church’s baptism so that their sins may be forgiven. […] (594)


Found among the works of Cyprian, this treatise by an unknown contemporary of the African bishop is directed against Novatian, a Roman priest, an antipope, and a martyr. As can be seen from this work, Novatian had modified his thinking regarding the lapsed, eventually adopting a very rigorist position.

CPL no. 76 * Altaner (1961) 199 * Altaner (1966) 177 * Bardenhewer (1908) 199 * Bardenhewer (1910) 174 * Bardenhewer (1913) 2:444–46 * CE 4:588–89

2. […] Two birds were sent forth from the ark, one a raven, the other a dove.1 The raven bore the image of the unclean, the image of those who would live in perpetual darkness throughout the whole world, the image of future apostates who, feeding on impure things, would no longer be able to return to the Church. We read that the raven, sent out, did not return. Therefore those similar to this bird, namely, similar to the impure spirit, will no longer be able to return to the Church even though they desire to do so. This the Lord forbade when he ordered Moses to “expel from the camp all that is leprous and unclean.”2 The dove that was sent forth and then came back is signified by those who do not tarry, since this bird had no place whereupon to rest its feet. Noah allowed it back into the ark. But on the seventh day when the dove was again sent out, Noah received it back, the dove bearing an olive leaf in its mouth. (595)

3. Beloved brothers, I do not reflect upon these matters casually nor in a way that disagrees with human wisdom, but rather in a manner that the heavenly Lord has graciously allowed us to express. And so I say that the dove itself presents us with a two-fold image. The first and principal image, one that existed in the past from the beginning of divine activity, is that of the Spirit. Through its mouth the dove prefigured the sacrament of baptism, which is given for the salvation of the human race and by divine design celebrated only in the Church. Sent forth three times from the ark and flying over the water, the dove already signified the sacraments of our Church. Whence Christ the Lord commanded Peter and his other disciples, saying, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”3 namely, that the Trinity which was figuratively at work through the dove at Noah’s time is presently at work in the Church through us. (596)

13. […] What led this Novatian to become so wicked, so profligate, so mad with the rage of dissension, I cannot discover. When he belonged to the one household, namely, to the Church of Christ, he always lamented over the sins of his neighbors as if these sins were his own; he bore the burdens of his brethren as the apostle urges.4 With words of heavenly comfort he strengthened those uncertain in the faith. But now since beginning to practice that heresy of Cain which revels only in killing, he does not even refrain from harming himself. Moreover, if he had read that “the righteousness of the just will not free them on the day they sinned, nor will the evil of the impious harm them from the day of their conversion,”5 then for a long time now he would be doing penance in ashes, he who is always opposed to the penitents, he who more easily labors to destroy what is standing than to build up what lies in ruins, he who has again made many of our brethren most miserable heathens, frightened as they are by what he falsely says against them, namely, that the repentance of the lapsed is useless and can profit them nothing toward salvation; and yet Scripture says, “Remember from where you have fallen and do penance; so that I will not come to you unless you do penance.”6 Indeed, writing to the seven churches and having them face up to their crimes and sins, Scripture says that they are to repent. To whom was this said? Surely to those redeemed at the great price of his blood. (597)

14. Novatian, you impious and wicked heretic! After so many and such great sins which you knew some had willingly committed in the Church, and before you yourself became an apostate from God’s household, you taught that these sins could be erased from memory provided they were followed by a good life, as Scripture confirms, “If those who are evil turn away from their evil deeds and follow righteousness, they will live in eternal life and not die in their evil.”7 Through their good deeds the sins they committed will be destroyed. Today you draw back as to whether the wounds of the lapsed are to be cured, the lapsed who have fallen, stripped by the devil, and laid low by “the torrent of water which the serpent spewed out of his mouth after the woman.”8 The apostle says, “But what am I to say? In this I do not praise you because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse.”9 For where rivalry and dissension exist among you, are you not carnal and do you not walk according to the world? Nor should we be astonished that Novatian now dares to carry out such abominable and oppressive measures against the lapsed since we have other instances of such mismanagement. Saul, once a good man in addition to other things, was later brought down by envy and strove to do whatever would be against David, whatever would harm him. […] (598)


Written in Africa and probably before Cyprian’s death, this treatise defends the validity of baptism celebrated by heretics, a position directly opposite that of Cyprian. The author, an anonymous bishop, distinguishes between spiritual baptism (namely, that of the Holy Spirit and given by the imposition of the bishop’s hand) and water baptism (namely, that associated with invoking the name of Jesus).

CPL no. 59 * Altaner (1961) 200 * Altaner (1966) 177 * Bardenhewer (1908) 199–200 * Bardenhewer (1910) 174 * Bardenhewer (1913) 2:448–50 * Jurgens 1:242 * Tixeront 125 * DTC 3.2:2465 * EC 4:1449 * PEA (1894) 4.2:1940

H. Koch, Die Tauflehre des Liber de rebaptismate (Braunsberg, 1907). * J. Ernst, “Die Tauflehre des Liber de rebaptismate,” ZkTh 31 (1907) 648–99. * G. Rauschen, “Die pseudo-cyprianische Schrift de rebaptismate,” ZkTh 41 (1917) 83–110.

1. I hear that some of the brethren inquired about the procedure to be followed regarding those who, having been baptized in heresy and yet baptized in the name of our God Jesus Christ, leave behind their heresy and hasten as supplicants to the Church of God. Here they wholeheartedly do penance and, finally understanding that their error has been condemned, petition the Church for the help of salvation. The question is whether, conforming to the most ancient practice and ecclesiastical tradition, it suffices that since they were baptized outside the Church but in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord only the hand of the bishop be imposed on them for receiving the Holy Spirit, this imposition giving them a second and perfected seal of the faith. Or must they be baptized again since, lacking this, they receive nothing just as if they had never been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ? (599)

Consequently there was a discussion on what people asserted or replied concerning this new question. Each side was most zealous in refuting what the other side wrote. It seems to me that in this type of dispute no controversy or debate would have emerged if each party had been satisfied with the venerable authority of all the churches and, being humble enough, desired to innovate nothing, thus allowing no opportunity for contradiction. Surely to be condemned is whatever is uncertain and ambiguous, whatever prudent and dependable people disagree on, if this be judged contrary to the ancient, memorable, and most solemn observance of all who are deserving, holy, and faithful. Once something has been arranged and settled, whatever is contrary to the peace and tranquility of the churches results only in discord, rivalry, and division. […] (600)

2. To those undertaking a discussion of the saving and new—namely, spiritual and evangelical—baptism, first of all there is the celebrated proclamation, known to all and initiated by John the Baptist, who diverged somewhat from the law, namely, from the most ancient baptism of Moses, and who prepared the way for a new and true grace. By announcing a future spiritual baptism, John gained the attention of the Jews, preceding this by a baptism of water and repentance which he meanwhile practiced. He exhorted them, “the one who comes after me is stronger than I. I am not worthy to loosen his sandals.” He will baptize you in the “Holy Spirit and with fire.”1 Consequently our discussion should begin here. In the Acts of the Apostles our Lord, after his resurrection, confirmed what John said when the Lord commanded that “they not leave Jerusalem but await that promise of the Father which you have heard from me; for John indeed baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”2 Peter likewise repeated these words of the Lord when he was explaining himself to the apostles: “When I began speaking, the Holy Spirit came down upon them as it did upon us in the beginning; and I recalled what the Lord said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If, therefore, he gave them the same gift he gave to us who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder the Lord?”3 And again: “My brothers, you know how from early days God made his choice among us so that the Gentiles through my mouth should hear the word of the Gospel and believe. And God, who knows hearts, gave witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did for us.”4 For this reason we should consider the strength and power of what John said. For the Lord told those who would afterwards be baptized that they should believe, that they should be baptized not by him in water for repentance but in the Holy Spirit. Since none of us can doubt this statement, it is obvious why people are baptized in the Holy Spirit, for it was especially in the Holy Spirit alone that those who believed were baptized because John distinguished, saying that he baptized in water but the one to come would baptize in the Holy Spirit, doing so by God’s grace and power. […] (601)

3. […] Just as at the imposition of the bishop’s hand the Holy Spirit is given to each believer, so after Philip’s baptism the apostles laid hands on the Samaritans, thereby conferring the Holy Spirit on them.5 For this to take place, they prayed for the Samaritans since the Spirit had not yet descended upon any of them, this happening only after they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Also, it was after our Lord’s resurrection, when he breathed upon his apostles and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit,”6 that at last the Holy Spirit was given them. (602)

4. Since this is so, what do you think, my brother? Suppose someone is not baptized by a bishop and consequently does not immediately receive the laying-on of the hand, and suppose that this same person should die before receiving the Holy Spirit, do you believe that this individual has or has not received the Holy Spirit? Indeed the apostles themselves and the disciples, who also baptized and themselves were baptized by the Lord, did not immediately receive the Holy Spirit since the Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified. But the conferral of the Spirit occurred shortly after his resurrection just as the Samaritans, baptized by Philip, did not receive the Spirit till the apostles, invited to go from Jerusalem to Samaria in order to lay hands upon them, conferred the Holy Spirit through the imposition of the hand. The reason for doing so was that within such a short period of time any person who had not received the Holy Spirit could have died, thus being cheated of the grace of the Holy Spirit. No one can doubt that at present it customarily and frequently happens that many of the baptized die without the imposition of the bishop’s hand, and yet these are considered perfect believers. This is like the case of the Ethiopian eunuch who, returning from Jerusalem and reading the prophet Isaiah, had doubts and at the Spirit’s prompting heard the truth from Philip the deacon. The eunuch believed and was baptized. When the eunuch came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched away Philip, and the eunuch saw him no longer.7 Rejoicing, the eunuch continued on although, as you notice, no bishop imposed a hand upon him so that he might receive the Holy Spirit. (603)

Now if you admit that this is true and believe that such a baptism brings salvation and do not oppose the opinion of all the faithful, then you must admit that just as this principle is more widely discussed, so the other can more widely be established, namely, that only through the imposition of the bishop’s hand, because baptism in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord preceded, can the Spirit also be given to another person who does penance and believes. According to Holy Scripture, those believing in Christ are to be baptized in the Spirit so that these also may not appear to have less than those who are perfect Christians. Nor should it be necessary to ask what type of baptism was it in which they attained the name of Jesus Christ. Except, perhaps, in that earlier discussion concerning those who were baptized only in the name of Christ Jesus, you should decide that these can be saved without the Holy Spirit; or that the Holy Spirit is not given in this way but only through the imposition of the bishop’s hand; or that it is not only the bishop who can bestow the Holy Spirit. (604)

5. […] Furthermore, as you are not ignorant, the Holy Spirit is found to have been given by the Lord to believers who have not been baptized with water, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles: “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came down upon all who heard the word. The circumcised believers accompanying Peter were amazed because the gift of the Holy Spirit was also poured out on the Gentiles for they could hear them speaking in tongues and giving praise to God. Then Peter responded: ‘Can anyone withhold the water so that these, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have, may not be baptized?’ He commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus.”8 Later on Peter taught us most fully about the same Gentiles, “And he placed no difference between them and us, their hearts being purified through faith.”9 There will be no doubt that people can be baptized in the Holy Spirit without water; as you notice, these were baptized before being baptized with water so that what John and our Lord proclaimed might be fulfilled, since they received the grace of the promise both without the imposition of the apostles’ hands and without the washing which later on they received. With purified hearts they were at the same time and because of their faith forgiven their sins. And so the baptism that followed conferred on them one thing only, namely, that they received also the invocation of the name of Jesus Christ so that they seem to be lacking nothing in regard to the wholeness of their service and faith. (605)

6. Looking at it from the opposite side of the discussion, here is what was obtained by our Lord’s disciples upon whom, being already baptized, the Holy Spirit descended on Pentecost. Coming down from heaven by God’s will—not of the Spirit’s own design but sent forth for this very task—the Spirit rested upon each of them.10 The disciples were already righteous; as we have said, they had been baptized with the Lord’s baptism, as were the apostles themselves who on the night the Lord was taken prisoner deserted him, each and every one. Even Peter, who bragged that he would remain steadfast in his faith and who most obstinately protested what the Lord foretold, in the end denied him. In this way it was shown to us that whatever sins the apostles had meanwhile committed in any way were by their subsequent sincere faith certainly remitted through baptism of the Holy Spirit. Nor, as I believe, was there any other reason why the apostles advised those whom they addressed in the Holy Spirit to be baptized in the name of Christ Jesus except that the power of the name of Jesus, when invoked upon any person whomsoever, was able to offer that individual no little benefit toward obtaining salvation, as Peter relates in the Acts of the Apostles, “for there is no other name under heaven given to the human race in which we are to be saved.”11 The apostle Paul reveals this, showing that God exalted our Lord Jesus and “gave him a name that is to be above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord in the glory of the Father.”12 When the name of Jesus is invoked over someone who is to be baptized, even though the baptism takes place [among those] in error, at some future time this person might understand the truth, correct the error, come to the Church and the bishop, and sincerely proclaim our Jesus before all. Then when the bishop’s hand is imposed, the Holy Spirit could also be received nor would the earlier invocation of the name of Jesus be lost. No one can find fault with this. Yet if this invocation takes place [among those] in error, it stands by itself and profits nothing toward salvation. Otherwise, even the Gentiles and the heretics, abusing the name of Jesus, could attain salvation without the true and complete procedure. […] (606)

10. Additionally, what will you say about those who, often enough, are baptized by bishops whose conduct is most evil and who at last—God willing—are convicted of their wickedness and are deprived of their office and from all association with the community? Or what do you decide concerning those who were baptized by bishops with perverse ideas, bishops who are ignorant? Or by bishops who did not speak clearly or honestly, or who spoke in a way different from what befits our traditional belief regarding the sacrament? Or by bishops who have asked anything or, asking, hear from those replying what least should be asked about or given an answer? This, however, does not greatly harm our true faith, even though such more simple men may hand down the mystery of faith in a way that is not as rich and as well-ordered as yours. With your singular carefulness you will surely say that these also should be baptized again since they lack baptism and for this reason are unable to receive intact the divine and pure mystery of faith. (607)

Nonetheless, O best of men, let us grant and concede to the heavenly powers their strength, to the dignity of the divine majesty its proper workings. Understanding how beneficial it is, may we willingly find comfort therein. Since our salvation is established upon baptism of the Spirit, which for the most part is linked to baptism of water, then whenever we baptize, let us do so integrally and solemnly, with all that is assigned in writing and without separating anything. But should necessity have required that a lesser cleric [one who is not a bishop] baptize, then let us wait for its conclusion so that it either be added by us [the bishops] or be held back to be supplied by the Lord. If, however, it was conferred by those unknown to us, let the matter be corrected as is possible and is permitted. Since there is no Holy Spirit outside the Church, there can be no sound faith not only among the heretics but also among those in schism. Therefore those who do penance and are reformed through the teaching of truth and through their own faith, a faith that has later been improved by a purified heart, should be aided only by a spiritual baptism, that is, by the imposition of the bishop’s hand and by supplying the Holy Spirit. The complete seal of faith has rightly been given in this way and for this reason in the Church so that invoking the name of Jesus, which cannot be done away with, may not seem to be held in contempt by us. Such is not fitting even though this invocation, if none of what we have mentioned follows, may avail nothing in terms of salvation. […] (608)


Little is known of the life of this poet. Some say he was born in Gaza in Palestine and perhaps became a bishop toward the end of his life. Athens, Africa (the more common opinion), Rome, Syria, as well as Arles are mentioned as possible places where he spent his life. As to the chronological period of his writing activity, the third century is, on the basis of internal evidence, frequently mentioned by many who thus consider Commodian to be the first Christian Latin poet; others place him as late as the fifth century.

Knowledgeable in the Scriptures yet at times given to heterodox understandings, Commodian often wrote in an obscure fashion and with a general disregard for the rules of Latin grammar. His two works are the Instructions against the Gods of the Pagans and the Apologetic Hymn against the Jews and the Pagans, the latter being a reworking of the book of Revelation.

CPL nos. 1470ff. * Altaner (1961) 485–87 * Altaner (1966) 181–82 * Bardenhewer (1908) 225–27 * Bardenhewer (1910) 197–98 * Bardenhewer (1913) 2:584–93 * Bardy (1930) 50–52 * Bautz 1:1114–15 * Cross 187–88 * Hamell 85 * Labriolle (1947) 1:257–73 * Labriolle (1968) 175–87 * Quasten 4:259–64 * Steidle 79 * Tixeront 123–24 * CATH 2:1355–56 * CE 4:165–66 * DCB 1:610–11 * DHGE 13:402–5 * DPAC 1:743–45 * DTC 3.1:412–19 * EC 4:63–65 * EEC 1:187–88 * EEChr 1:271 * LTK 2:1275–76 * ODCC 383 * PEA (1894) 4.1:773–74 * PEA (1991) 3:102–3 * RACh 3:248–52

30-A. Instructions against the Gods of the Pagans

The second book of this collection of eighty poems (of unequal length and all except two being acrostic) is a series of exhortations to the various classes of Christians, e.g., catechumens, readers, ministers, clerics, etc. The author, writing in hexameter and using the Latin word accent rather than the length of the Latin syllable, urges them to avoid sin and fulfill their duties.

II.I. (v.) To Catechumens (609)

As a believer in Christ you have abandoned idols.

Using few words, I warn all of you for the sake of your salvation.

If, early on, you lived in error,

now vowed to Christ you henceforth will leave all things behind.

Since you acknowledge God, be a good and approved recruit.

May virginal modesty reside in you as in a lamb.

May your mind await what is good; take care that you do not sin as formerly;

baptism removes only the original stain.

Any catechumen who sins is struck with punishment;

marked with punishment, you will live in Christ but not without harm.

Above all, always avoid grave sin.

II.IV. (VIII.) To Penitents (610)

You have become a penitent; pray both day and night.

Do not stray far from your mother, the Church,

and the Almighty will be merciful to you.

And so the confession of your sin will not be in vain.

Prostrate yourself in your sin and cry out before all.

If your wound is grave, seek a physician;

and even in your punishment you will be able to ease your suffering.

Certainly I acknowledge that I also was one of you,

and I likewise once experienced the terror of ruin.

Furthermore, I warn those who have been wounded to walk with prudence;

may they soil beard and hair with the dust of the earth;

may they wear sackcloth and supplicate the Almighty King.

He will assist you so that you do not disappear from among his people.

II.XXII. (XXVI.) To Readers (611)

I warn certain readers to learn

to give the world an example of a good life,

to flee quarrels and avoid all strife,

to restrain and lay aside all pride.

Also respect, as is right, the elders.

Beloved children, become like Christ your Master;

may your goodness make you like the lilies in the field.

Become happy by obeying God’s precepts.

You are flowers among the people;

you are the lamps of Christ.

Remain as you are, and you will be able to recall it.

II.XXIII. (XXVII.) To Ministers (612)

Deacons, chastely carry out the ministry of Christ.

Be servants of your Master’s orders.

Do not desire to flee the person of the righteous judge.

If you are wise, do all that is entrusted to you.

Look on high; always be devoted to God’s orders.

Without wavering carry out your holy ministry to God.

In all circumstances be ready and give a good example;

show reverence to the pastors,

and Christ will thereby approve you.

II.XXX. (XXXIV.) To Clerics (613)

They will gather together at Easter, which is our most happy day.

May they who request daily nourishment rejoice.

May they be given what suffices, wine and food.

Do you perhaps look back when these things are recalled for you?

In a moderate meal there is nothing to give to Christ.

If you yourselves fail to do this,

then how will you be able to teach the people

justice and the Law, even once a year?

Also, you will be rightfully reproached.



Little is known of the personal life of Hippolytus, whose dates are often given as ca. 170–ca. 236. Eusebius (ca. 260–ca. 340) knew of him, and in his Church History (VI.20, 22) called him a bishop, although not knowing his see. A short list of treastises ascribed to Hippolytus are included in Eusebius’s book. Later evidence speaks of a presbyter called Hippolytus being banished to the island of Sardinia in the year 235. And if we are to believe a burial inscription composed by Pope Damasus (WEC 2:52) , Hippolytus was a follower of the Novatian schism, yet eventually being reconciled to the Church. The Roman Martyrology (1584), placing his feast on August 13, gives the following notice: “At Rome the blessed Hippolytus, martyr, who gloriously confessed the faith, under Emperor Valerian. After enduring other torments, he was tied by the feet to the necks of wild horses and, being cruelly dragged through briars and brambles, and having all his body lacerated, he yielded up his spirit. On the same day blessed Concordia, his nurse, suffered. Being scourged in this presence with leaded whips, she went to our Lord together with nineteen others of his household, who were beheaded beyond the Tiburtine Gate and who were buried with him in the Agro Verano.”

Historians speculate upon various details of Hippolytus’s life, for example, his nationality. Some propose the Greek East since Hippolytus shows an intimate knowledge of Greek philosophy and thought; he also wrote in Greek, being the last well-known Christian author in Rome to do so. Other topics for historical discussion include Hippolytus’s relationship to the popes as well as to the followers of Novatian.

The relatively large number of books listed in the Hippolytan corpus presents its own problems. Scholars point out that many works attributed to Hippolytus—works whose titles we know—no longer exist. They are simply lost, perhaps due to the fact that Greek was no longer used in Rome. Complicating matters is that Christian antiquity knew a number of clerical personages named Hippolytus, thus it is not always clear which Hippolytus is the author of a particular work. Further, certain treatises are incorrectly attributed to Hippolytus, as appears to be true for the so-called Apostolic Tradition.

CPG 1: nos. 1737, 1870ff. * Altaner (1961) 55–56, 183–90 * Altaner (1966) 82–84, 164–69 * Bardenhewer (1908) 208–20 * Bardenhewer (1910) 183–94 * Bardenhewer (1913) 2:496–555 * Bardy (1929) 36–40 * Bautz 2:888–93 * Cross 155–67 * Goodspeed 142–51 * Hamell 80–83 * Jurgens 1:162–75 * Quasten 2:163–207 * Steidle 57–62, 268–69 * Tixeront 128–32 * CATH 5:755–60 * CE 7:360–62 * CHECL 142–49 * DACL 6.2:2419–83 * DCB 3:85–105 * DHGE 24:627–35 * DictSp 7.1:531–71 * DPAC 2:1791–98 * DTC 6.2:2487–2511 * EC 7:171–80 * EEC 1:383–85 * EEChr 1:531–32 * LTK 5:147–49 * NCE 6:1139–41 * NCES 6:858–60 * ODCC 773–74 * PEA (1991) 5:602–4 * TRE 15:381–87

31-A. Apostolic Tradition

One of the most important works for our knowledge of the early Church’s liturgical life is the Apostolic Tradition, in the past usually, though not universally, attributed to Hippolytus. This treatise, like the Didache (WEC 1:7), belongs to a genre of writings called “church orders,” namely, a collection of various canonical and liturgical rules dealing with such topics as, among others, baptism, orders, and the Eucharist. Incorporated into a number of later documents, the Apostolic Tradition exerted a far-reaching influence, especially among the churches in the East.

In 1891 H. Achelis published a document, found in Ethiopic, Coptic, and Arabic, which he, for lack of a better title, simply called the Egyptian Church Order. Nine years later, in 1900, E. Hauler published a palimpsest manuscript, lacking a title, written in Latin sometime at the end of the fourth or during the fifth century, and conserved in the Chapter Library in Verona. Although the original Greek of the work has been lost, it has been possible to reconstruct the Greek original since the Verona palimpsest, although incomplete, is a quite literal translation of the original language. Sections lacking in the Latin version have been supplied from various oriental language manuscripts. In 1910 E. Schwarz claimed that this work was indeed the long-lost Apostolic Tradition, an assertion proved independently by R.H. Connolly in 1916.

Recent years have seen an intensification of interest in this document. Although individual scholars may differ among themselves in regard to details and sections of the work, there appears to be growing consensus in a number of areas. First, the origin of the Apostolic Tradition is not necessarily Rome but may also be—and some consider this far more likely—Egypt, and perhaps Alexandria. Second, the document is a compilation having several layers—two, perhaps three—some of which may be dated as early as the second century. And thus the work has no single author, if one can even speak of an “author” in this context. Some scholars also suggest that the document portrays a liturgy that was never celebrated.


R.H. Connolly, The So-Called Egyptian Church Order and Derived Documents, Texts and Studies 8, no. 4 (Cambridge, England, 1916). * G. Dix, The Apostolic Tradition of St. Hippolytus (London, 1937); 2nd ed. with prefaces and corrections by H. Chadwick (London, 1968). * B. Botte, trans., ed., La Tradition Apostolique de s. Hippolyte, SChr 11 (Paris, 1946); 2nd ed. (1968). * B. Botte, La Tradition Apostolique de s. Hippolyte, LQF 39 (Münster i. W., 1963). * J.M. Hanssens, La liturgie d’Hippolyte, ses documents, son titulaire, ses origines et son caractère, OCA 155, vol. 1 (Rome, 1959); 2nd ed. (Rome, 1965); vol. 2 (Rome, 1970). * G.J. Cuming, Hippolytus: A Text for Students, with Introduction, Translation, Commentary and Notes, Grove Liturgical Study 8 (Bramcote, Nottingham, 1976).


H. Achelis, Die ältesten Quellen des orientalischen Kirchenrechts, vol. 1, Die Canones Hippolyti, TU 6, 4 (Leipzig, 1891). * H. Achelis, “Hippolytus im Kirchenrecht,” ZKG 15 (1895) 1–43. * H. Achelis, Hippolytstudien, TU, n.s., 1, 4 (Leipzig, 1897). * F.X. Funk, “Die Symbolstücke in der ägyptischen Kirchenordnung und den Kanones Hippolyts,” ThQ (1899) 161–87. * A. Baumstark, “Die nichtgriechischen Paralletexte sum achten Buche der Apostolischen Konstitutiones,” OC 1 (1901) 98–137. * A. J. Maclean, The Ancient Church Orders, The Cambridge Handbooks of Liturgical Study (Cambridge, England, 1910). * E. Schwartz, Ueber die pseudo-apostolischen Kirchenordnungen, Schriften der wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft in Strassbourg 6 (Strassbourg, 1910). * Th. Schermann, Die allgemeine Kirchenordnung, frühchristliche Liturgie und kirchliche Ueberlieferung, StGKA 3, Ergänzungsband, Teil 1–3 (Paderborn, 1914). * A. Wilmart, “Le texte latin de la Paradosis de s. Hippolyte,” RSR 9 (1916) 62–71. * A. Wilmart, “Un règlement écclésiastique du IIIe siècle: la ‘Tradition Apostolique’ du s. Hippolyte,” RCF 96 (1918) 81–116. * R. Devreesse, “La ‘Tradition Apostolique’ de s. Hippolyte,” La vie et les arts liturgiques 8 (1921–22) 11–18. * Vigourel, “Autour de la ‘Tradition apostolique,’” La vie et les arts liturgiques 8 (1921–22) 150–56. * P. Galtier, “La Tradition Apostolique d’Hippolyte,” RSR 11 (1923) 511–27. * A. Baumstark, “Christus Jesus: Ein Alterskriterium römischer liturgischer Texte,” StC 1 (1924–25) 44–55. * R. Lorentz, De egyptische Kerkordening en Hippolytus van Rome (Leiden, 1929). * J.A. Jungman, “Beobachtungen zum Fortleben von Hippolyts ‘Apostolischer Ueberlieferung’ in Palladius und dem Pontificale Romanum,” ZkTh 53 (1929) 579–85. * P.O. Norwood, “The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus,” AThR 17 (1935) 15–18. * A. Hamel, “Ueber das kirchenrechtliche Schriftum Hippolyts,” ZNW 36 (1937) 238–50. * H. Engberding, “Das angebliche Dokument römischer Liturgie aus dem Beginn des 3. Jahrhunderts,” in Miscellanea Liturgica in Hon. L.C. Mohlberg, vol. 1 (Rome, 1948) 47–71. * C.C. Richardson, “The Date and Setting of the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus,” AThR 30 (1948) 38–44. * B. Botte, “L’authenticité de la Tradition Apostolique de s. Hippolyte,” RTAM 16 (1949) 177–85. * Dix, 221–24. * B. Capelle, “Hippolyte de Rome,” RTAM 17 (1950) 145–74; repr. in Travaux liturgiques, vol. 2 (Louvain, 1962) 31–60. * B. Capelle, “A propos d’Hippolyte de Rome,” RTAM 19 (1952) 193–202; repr. in Travaux liturgiques, vol. 2 (Louvain, 1962) 61–70.* H. Elfers, “Neue Untersuchungen über die Kirchenordnung Hippolyts von Rom,” in Abhandlungen über Theologie und Kirche, Festschrift für Karl Adam, ed. M. Reding (Düsseldorf, 1952) 169–211. * O. Casel, “Die Kirchenordnung Hippolyts von Rom,” ALW 2 (1952) 115–30. * B. Botte, “Le texte de la Tradition Apostolique,” RTAM 22 (1955) 161–72. * G. Kretschmat, “Bibliographie zu Hippolyt v. Rom,” JLH 1 (1955) 90–95. * A. Salles, “La ‘Tradition Apostolique’, est-elle un témoin de la liturgie romaine?” RHE 148 (1955) 181–213. * J.M. Hanssens, La liturgie d’Hippolyte: ses documents, son titulaire, ses origines et son caractère, OCA 155 (Rome, 1959). * J. Jungmann, The Early Liturgy: To the Time of Gregory the Great, University of Notre Dame Liturgical Studies 6 (Notre Dame, 1959) 52–86. * J.M. Hanssens, “La liturgie d’Hippolyte: assentiment et dissentiments,” Greg 42 (1961) 290–302. * B. Botte, “La scoperta della ‘Tradizione apostolica,’” JucL 1 (1963) 65–75. * B. Botte, “La ‘Tradizione Apostolica’ di sant’ Ippolito,” JucL 1 (1963) 133–37. * J. Magne, “La prétendu Tradition Apostolique d’Hippolyte de Rome s’appelait-elle les ‘Statuts de Saints apôtres’?” OstkSt 14 (1965) 36–67. * B. Botte, “A propos de la ‘Tradition Apostolique,’” RTAM 33 (1966) 177–86. * M. Cutrone, “The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome,” ABR 19 (1968) 492–514. * Ricerche su Ippolito, Studia Ephemeridis Augustinianum 13 (Rome, 1977). * P. Bradshaw, C. Whitaker, and G. Cuming, Essays on Hippolytus, Grove Liturgical Study 15 (Bramcote, Nottingham, 1978). * G. Kretschmar, “La liturgie ancienne dans les recherches historiques actuelles,” LMD, no. 149 (1982) 57–90. * A.-G. Martimor, “Nouvel examen de la ‘Tradition Apostolique’ d’Hippolyte,” BLE 88 (1987) 5–25. * A. Gelston, “A Note on the Text of the ‘Apostolic Tradition’ of Hippolytus,” JThSt, n.s., 39 (1988) 112–17. * M. Metzger, “Nouvelles perspectives pour la prétendu ‘Tradition Apostolique,’” EOr 5:3 (1988) 241–59. * P. Le Roy, “La Tradition Apostolique d’Hippolyte,” PrO 84 (1991) 20–31. * A.-G. Martimort, “Encore Hippolyte et la ‘Tradition Apostolique,’” BLE 92 (1991) 133–37. * M. Metzger, “A propos des réglements ecclésiastiques et de la prétendue ‘Tradition Apostolique,’” RevSR 66 (1992) 249–61. * StLit, 87–89. * M. Metzger, “Enquêtes autour de la prétendu ‘Tradition Apostolique,’” EOr 9 (1992) 7–36. * A. Brent, Hippolytus and the Roman Church in the Third Century (Leiden, 1995). * A.-G. Martimort, “Encore Hippolyte et la ‘Tradition Apostolique,’” BLE 97 (1996) 275–79. * A. Stewart-Sykes, Hippolytus: On the Apostolic Tradition, Popular Patristic Series (Crestwood, NY, 2001). * P. Bradshaw and others, The Apostolic Tradition: A Commentary, Hermeneia Series (Minneapolis, 2002). * J. Baldovin, “Hippolytus and the Apostolic Tradition: Recent Research and Commentary,” TS 64 (2003) 520–42.


P. Galtier, “La consignation à Carthage et à Rome,” RSR 2 (1911) 350–83. * P. Galtier, “La consignation dans les églises d’Occident,” RHE 13 (1912) 257–301. * P. Galtier, “Onction et confirmation,” RHE 13 (1912) 467–76. * P. Galtier, “La ‘Tradition Apostolique’ d’Hippolyte, particularités et initiatives liturgiques,” RSR 13 (1923) 511–27. * R.H. Connolly, “On the Text of the Baptismal Creed of Hippolytus,” JThSt 25 (1924) 131–39. * B. Capelle, “Le symbol romain au second siècle,” RB 39 (1927) 33–45. * F.J. Dölger, “Der Kuss im Tauf- und Firmungsrituel nach Cyprian von Karthage und Hippolyt von Rom,” AC 1 (1929) 186–96. * B. Capelle, “Les origines du symbol romain,” RTAM 2 (1930) 5–20. * B. Capelle, “L’introduction du catéchumenat à Rome,” RTAM 5 (1933) 129–54. * D. van den Eynde, “Baptême et confirmation,” RSR 27 (1937) 196ff. * F.X. Steinmetzer, Empfangen vom Heiligen Geiste: eine Auseinandersetzung mit der Antike (Prague, 1938). * H.J. Carpenter, “The Birth from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin in the Old Roman Creed,” JThSt 40 (1939) 31–36. * D. van den Eynde, “Notes sur les rites postbaptismaux dans les Eglises d’Occident,” Ant 14 (1939) 257–76. * B. Welte, Die postbaptismale Salbung, ihr symbolischer Gehalt und ihre sakramentale Zugehöigkeit nach den Zeugnissen der alten Kirche, FThSt 51 (Freiburg i. B., 1939). * H. Elfers, “Gehöt die Salbung mit Chrisma im ältesten abendländischen Initiationsritues zur Taufe oder zur Firmung?” ThGl 34 (1942) 334–41. * G. Dix, The Theology of Confirmation in Relation to Baptism (Westminster, 1946). * R.H. Connolly, “The Theology of Confirmation in Relation to Baptism,” CR 27 (1947) 282–84. * W.G. van Unnik, “Les cheveux défaits des femmes baptisées: un rite de baptême dans l’ordre ecclésiastique d’Hippolyte,” VC 1 (1947) 77–100. * P. Nautin, Je crois à l’Esprit dans la saint Eglise pour la résurrection de la chair (Paris, 1947). * Ph. M. Ménound, “Le baptême des enfants dans l’Eglise ancienne,” VC 2 (1948) 15–26. * J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Creeds (Oxford, 1950) 113–19. * J.H. Crehan, Early Christian Baptism and the Creed (London, 1950) 159–71. * B. Botte, “Note sur le symbole baptismal de s. Hippolyte,” in Mélanges de J. Ghellinck, vol. 1 (Gembloux, 1951) 189–200. * A. Salles, “Les plus anciennes liturgies du baptême,” BLE 54 (1953) 240–42. * C.M. Edsman, “A Typology of Baptism in Hippolytus,” SP 2, TU 64 (Berlin, 1957) 35–40. * E. Ferguson, “Baptism from the Second to the Fourth Century,” ResQ 1 (1957) 185–97. * R.J.S. Werblowsky, “On the Baptismal Rite according to St. Hippolytus,” SP 2 (1957) 93–105. * P.-M. Gy, “Histoire liturgique du sacrement de confirmation,” LMD, no. 58 (1959) 135–45. * J. Jungmann, The Early Liturgy: To the Time of Gregory the Great, University of Notre Dame Liturgical Studies 6 (Notre Dame, 1959) 74–86. * A.-G. Martimort, “La ‘Tradition Apostolique’ d’Hippolyte et le rituel baptismal,” BLE 60 (1959) 57–62. * B. Botte, “Sacramentum Catechumenorum,” QLP 43 (1962) 322–30; repr. QL 80 (1999) 250–57. * T. Marsh, “The History and Significance of the Post-Baptismal Rite,” ITQ 29 (1962) 175–206. * B. Neunheuser, Baptism and Confirmation (St. Louis, 1964) 56–59. * D.L. Holland, “The Earliest Text of the Old Roman Symbol: A Debate with Hanz Lietzmann and J.N.D. Kelly,” CH 34 (1965) 262–81. * D.L. Holland, “The Baptismal Interrogation concerning the Holy Spirit in Hippolytus,” SP 10 (1970) 360–65. * B. Botte, “Le symbolisme de l’huile et de l’onction,” QL 62 (1981) 196–208; repr. QL 80 (1999) 269–81. * G. Cuming, “The Post-Baptismal Prayer in the ‘Apostolic Tradition’: Further Considerations,” JThSt, n.s., 39 (1988) 117–19. * E.A. Leeper, “From Alexandria to Rome: The Valentinian Connection to the Incorporation of Exorcism as a Prebaptismal Rite,” VC 44 (1990) 6–24. * C. Munier, “Initiation chrétienne et rites d’onction (IIe–IIIe siècles),” RSR 64 (1990) 115–25. * R. Gounelle, “Le baptême aux temps patristiques: le cas de la ‘Tradition Apostolique,’” ETR 70 (1995) 179–89. * W. Kinzig, C. Markschies, and M. Vinzent, Tauffragen und Bekenntnis: Studien zur sogenannten “Tradition Apostolica,” zu den “Interrogationes de fide” und zum “Römischen Glaubensbekenntnis.” Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte 74 (Berlin and New York, 1998). * M.E. Johnson, “The Problem of Creedal Formulae in the Traditio Apostolica,” EOr 21 (2005) 12–18.


P. Batiffol, “Une prétendue anaphore apostolique,” RBibl 13 (1916) 23–32. * S. Salaville, “Un text romain du Canon de la Messe au début du IIIe siècle,” EO 21 (1921) 79–85. * R. Devreesse, “La prière eucharistique de s. Hippolyte,” La vie et les arts liturgiques 8 (1921–22) 393–97, 448–53. * R.H. Connolly, “On the Meaning of ‘Epiclesis,’” DR (1923) 28–43. * R.H. Connolly, “On the Meaning of επίκλησις: A Reply,” JThSt 25 (1924) 337–64. * J.B. Thibaut, La liturgie romaine (Paris, 1924) 57–80. * J.M. Frochisse, “A propos des origines du jeûne eucharistique,” RHE 28 (1932) 594–609. * H. Lietzmann, Messe und Herrenmahl, Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte 8 (Bonn, 1935–37) 26–31. * O. Cullmann, “La signification de la sainte Cène dans le christianisme primitif,” RHPR 16 (1936) 1–22. * A. Arnold, Der Ursprung des christlichen Abendmahles, FThSt 45 (Freiburg, 1937). * W.H. Frere, The Anaphora or Great Eucharistic Prayer (London, 1938). * R.H. Connolly, “The Eucharistic Prayer of Hippolytus,” JThSt 39 (1938) 350–69. * G. Ellard, “Bread in the Form of a Penny,” TS 4 (1943) 319–46. * G.V. Jourdan, “Agape or Lord’s Supper: A Study of Certain Passages in the Canons of Hippolytus,” Hermathena 64 (1944) 32–43. * B. Botte, “L’épiclèse de l’anaphore d’Hippolyte,” RTAM 14 (1947) 241–51. * C.C. Richardson, “The So-called Epiclesis in Hippolytus,” HThR 8 (1947) 101–8. * N.A. Dahl, “Anamnesis: mémoire et commémoration dans le christianisme primitif,” STh 1 (1947) 69–95. * D. van den Eynde, “Nouvelle trace de la ‘Tradition Apostolica’ d’Hippolyte dans la liturgie romaine,” in Miscellanea Mohlberg, vol. 1 (Rome, 1948) 407–11. * C.C. Richardson, “A Note on the Epiclesis in Hippolytus and the ‘Testamentum Domini,’” RTAM 15 (1948) 357–59. * C. Callewaert, “Histoire positive du canon romain: une épiclèse à Rome?” SE 2 (1949) 95–110. * E.C. Ratcliff, “The Sanctus and the Pattern of the Early Anaphora I,” JEH 1 (1950) 29–36, 125–34; repr. in E.C. Ratcliff: Liturgical Studies, ed. A.H. Couratin and D. Tripp (London, 1976) 18–40. * C.A. Bouman, “Variants in the Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer,” VC 4 (1950) 94–115. * B. Botte, “L’épiclèse dans les liturgies syriennes orientales,” SE 6 (1954) 48–72. * J.A. Jungmann, The Early Liturgy: To the Time of Gregory the Great, University of Notre Dame Liturgical Studies 6 (Notre Dame, 1959) 64–73. * A. Orbe, “El enigma de Hipólito y su Liturgia,” Greg 41 (1960) 284–92. * J.-D. Benoît, “Les liturgies eucharistiques de l’Eglise romaine et des Eglises de la Réforme,” ETR 37 (1962) 3–39. * B. Poschmann, Penance and the Anointing of the Sick (St. Louis, 1964) 51–53. * B. Botte, “Tradition Apostolique et canon romain,” LMD 87 (1966) 52–61. * B. Botte, “‘Extendit manus suas cum pateretur,’” QLP 49 (1968) 307–8. * E. Moeller, “Le première des nouvelles prières eucharistiques,” QLP 49 (1968) 219–21. * E.J. Lengeling, “Hippolyt von Rom und die Wendung ‘extendit manus suas cum pateretur,’” QLP 50 (1969) 141–44. * W. Rordorf, “Le sacrifice eucharistique,” TZ 25 (1969) 335–53. * M.A. Smith, “The Anaphora of Apostolic Tradition Re-considered,” SP 10 (1970) 426–30. * L. Bouyer, Eucharist: Theology and Spirituality of the Eucharistic Prayer (Notre Dame, 1970) 158–82. * R.D. Richardson, “Supplementary Essay to H. Lietzmann,” Mass and Lord’s Supper (Leiden, 1979) 434–39. * B. Botte, “Adstare coram te et tibi ministrare,” QL 63 (1982) 223–26. * R. Grove, “‘Terminum figat’: Clarifying the Meaning of a Phrase in the Apostolic Tradition,” OCP 48 (1982) 431–34. * E. Mazza, “Omilie pasquali e Birket-ha-Mazon: fonti dell’Anafora di Ippolito?” EphL 97 (1983) 409–81. * P. McGoldrick, “The Holy Spirit and the Eucharist,” ITQ 50 (1983–84) 48–66. * P.G. Cobb, “The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus,” in StLit, 213–16. * C.A. Bobertz, “The Role of Patron in the ‘Cena Dominica’ of Hippolytus’ ‘Apostolic Tradition,’” JThSt, n.s., 44 (1993) 170–84. * J. Driscoll, “Uncovering the Dynamic Lex-orandi-lex-credendi in the Anaphora of the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus,” EOr 18 (2001) 327–64.


Th. Schermann, Ein Weiherituale der römischen Kirche am Schlusse des ersten Jahrhunderts (Munich, 1913). * W.H. Frere, “Early Ordination Services,” JThSt 16 (1915) 323–69. * C.H. Turner, “The Ordination Prayer for a Presbyter in the Church Order of Hippolytus,” JThSt 16 (1915) 542ff. * J.V. Bartlet, “The Ordination Prayers in the Ancient Church Order,” JThSt 17 (1916) 248ff. * A. Nairne, “The Prayer for the Consecration of a Bishop in the Church Order of Hippolytus,” JThSt 17 (1916) 598ff. * R.H. Connolly, “The Ordination Prayers of Hippolytus,” JThSt 18 (1917) 55ff. * B. Botte, “Le rituel d’ordination des Statuta Ecclesiae antiqua,” RTAM (1939) 223–41. * H.D. Simonin, “La prière de la consécration épiscopale dans la Tradition Apostolique d’Hippolyte de Rome, trad. et comm.,” VS 60 (1939) 65–86. * B. Botte, “Le sacre épiscopal dans le rite romain,” QLP 25 (1940) 22–32. * A.J. Otterbein, “The Diaconate according to the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus and Derived Documents,” diss. (Washington, D.C., 1945). * B. Botte, “L’ordre d’après les prières d’ordination,” QLP 35 (1954) 167–79. * J. Lecuyer, “Episcopat et presbytérat dans les écrits d’Hippolyte de Rome,” RSR 41 (1953) 30–50. * J. Jungmann, The Early Liturgy: To the Time of Gregory the Great, University of Notre Dame Liturgical Studies 6 (Notre Dame, 1959) 59–64. * J.H. Crehan, “The Typology of Episcopal Consecration,” TS 21 (1960) 250–55. * E. Lanne, “Les ordinations dans le rite copte, leurs rélations avec les Constitutions Apostoliques et la Tradition de Saint Hippolyte,” OrSyr 5 (1960) 81–106. * E. Ferguson, “Ordination in the Ancient Church,” ResQ 5 (1961) 17–32, 67–82, 130–46. * R. Béraudy, “Le sacrement de l’ordre d’après la Tradition Apostolique d’Hippolyte,” BCE (July–December 1962) 38–39. * E.C. Ratcliff, “‘Apostolic Tradition’: Questions concerning the Appointment of the Bishop,” SP, TU 93 (Berlin, 1966) 266–70; repr. in E.C. Ratcliff: Liturgical Studies, eds. A.H. Couratin and D. Tripp (London, 1976) 156–60. * J. Lécuyer, “La prière d’ordination de l’évêque: le pontifical romain et la ‘Tradition Apostolique’ d’Hippolyte,” NRTh 89 (1967) 601–6. * A. Rose, “La prière de consécration pour l’ordination épiscopale,” LMD, no. 98 (1969) 127–42. * J.E. Stam, “Episcopacy in the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus,” diss. (Basel, 1969). * W. Rordorf, “L’ordination de l’évêque selon la Tradition Apostolique d’Hippolyte de Rome,” QLP 55 (1974) 137–50. * G. Kretschmar, “Die Ordination im frühen Christentum,” FZPT 22 (1975) 35–69. * J. Magne, Tradition Apostolique sur les charismes et Diataxeis des Saints Apôtres: identification de documents and analyse du rituel d’ordination (Paris, 1975). * E. Segelberg, “The Ordination Prayers in Hippolytus,” SP 13 (1975) 397–408. * K. Richter, “Zum Ritus der Bischofordination in der ‘Apostolischen Ueberlieferung’ Hippolytus von Rom,” ALW 17–18 (1975–76) 7–51. * G.H. Luttenberger, “The Priest as a Member of a Ministerial College: The Development of the Church’s Ministerial Structure,” RTAM 43 (1976) 5–63. * C.-J. P. de Oliveira, “Signification sacerdotale du ministère de l’évêque dans la ‘Tradition Apostolique’ d’Hippolyte de Rome,” FZPT 25 (1978) 398–427. * E.G. Jay, “From Presbyter-Bishops to Bishops and Presbyters: Christian Ministry in the Second Century,” SCJ 1 (1981) 125–62. * J. Stahl, “La typologie de l’ancient pontifical peut-elle encore nous instruire?” QL 66 (1985) 3–24.


B. Botte, “Les heures de prière dans la Tradition Apostolique et les documents derivés,” in La prière des heures, eds. E. Cassien and B. Botte, LO 35 (Paris, 1963) 105–7. * D.Y. Hadidian, “The Background and Origin of the Christian Hours of Prayer,” TS 25 (1964) 59–69. * P.L. Philips, “Daily Prayer in the ‘Apostolic Tradition’ of Hippolytus,” JThSt, n.s., 40 (1989) 389–400.


R.H. Connolly, “The Prologue to the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus,” JThSt 22 (1921) 356–61. * E. Hennecke, “Der Prolog zur ‘Apostolischen Ueberlieferung’ Hippolyts,” ZNW 22 (1923) 144–46. * E. Jungklaus, Die Gemeinde Hippolyts dargestellt nach seiner Kirchenordnung, TU 46 (Leipzig, 1928). * D. Van den Eynde, “Nouvelle trace de la ‘Traditio Apostolica’ d’Hippolyte dans la liturgie romaine,” in Miscellanea Liturgica in Honorem L. Cuniberti Mohlberg, vol. 1 (Rome, 1948) 407–11. * M. Richard, “Comput et chronographie chez s. Hippolyte,” MSR 7 (1950) 237–68; 8 (1951) 19–51. * J.B. Bauer, “Die Fruchtesegnung in Hippolyts Kircheordnung,” ZKTh 13 (1916) 71–75. * E. Hennecke, “Hippolyts Schrift ‘Apostolische Ueberlieferung über Gnadengaben,’” Harnackehrung (Leipzig, 1921) 159–82. * K. Müller, “Kleine Beiträge zur Kirchengeschichte 6, Hippolyts ’Aποστολικὴ αράδοσις und die Canones Hippolyti,” ZNW 23 (1924) 214–47. * K. Müller, “Noch einmal Hippolyts ’Aποστολικὴ αράδοσις,” ZNW 28 (1929) 273–305. * J. Blanc, “Lexique comparé des versions de la ‘Tradition Apostoloque’ de s. Hippolyte,” RTAM 22 (1955) 173–92. * B. Botte, “Les plus anciennes collections canoniques,” ORSyr 5 (1960) 331–50. * B. Botte, “Un passage difficile de la Tradition Apostolique sur le signe de la croix,” RTAM 27 (1960) 5–19. * R. Segelberg, “The Benedictio Olei in the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus,” OC 48 (1964) 268–81. * B. Botte, “Christian People and Hierarchy in the Apostolic Tradition of St. Hippolytus,” in Roles in the Liturgical Assembly, ed. A.M. Triaca, trans. M.J. O’Connell (New York, 1981) 61–72. * M.E. Johnson, “The Problem of Creedal Formulae in the ‘Traditio Apostolica,’” EOr 22 (2005) 159–75.

1. Prologue

We have written down what was necessary concerning the spiritual gifts which God, from the beginning, granted the human race according to his divine will, presenting to himself the image1 that humankind lost. (614)

And now, strengthened by our love for all the holy ones, we come to what is essential in the tradition that is to exist in the churches so that those who are well-instructed may retain the tradition that has come down to the present, by following our explanation of it, and so that they might be strengthened by knowing it. (615)

In light of the failure or error which was recently produced by ignorance, and was caused by ignorant people, the Holy Spirit confers perfect grace on those who believe correctly so that the Church’s leaders might know how they should teach and protect all things. (616)

2. Bishops

The man to be ordained a bishop is to be chosen by all the people and is to lead a blameless life. When he has been selected and when the people have given their consent, they gather on the Lord’s Day with the presbytery and with the bishops who are present. Once all have agreed, the bishops lay hands on him, while the presbyters stand by in silence. (617)

All are to remain silent, praying in their hearts for the descent of the Spirit. Then one of the bishops present, at the request of all and while laying his hand upon the man who has been made bishop, prays as follows. (618)

3. [Prayer for the ordination of a bishop]

“God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Father of mercies and God of all consolation,2 you dwell in the highest heavens and look upon the lowly.3 You know all things before they come into being.4 Through the word of your grace you have given the decrees of your Church. From the beginning you predestined the race of the just descendants of Abraham. You appointed rulers and priests, and you did not allow your sanctuary to be without ministry. From the foundation of the world you desired to be glorified in those whom you have chosen. Now pour forth the power that comes from you, the power of the royal Spirit5 which you have granted to your beloved Son Jesus Christ, which he granted to your holy apostles who established the Church in every place as your sanctuary for the glory and unceasing praise of your name. (619)

“O Father, you know the human heart. Grant that your servant, whom you have chosen for the episcopate, may feed your holy flock and blamelessly serve as your royal priest, doing so night and day. May he always cause you to look mercifully upon us and offer the gifts of your holy Church. Through the Spirit of the high priesthood may he, according to your command, have the power to forgive sins.6 May he distribute responsibilities according to your command, and may he, through the power you gave to your apostles,7 free us from every bond. May he please you by his gentleness and his pure heart. May he offer you a pleasing fragrance. Through your Son Jesus Christ. Through him glory, power, and honor are yours with the Holy Spirit in the holy Church, now and forever. Amen.” (620)

4. The offering

When he has been made bishop, all are to give him the kiss of peace, greeting him because he has been made worthy. (621)

The deacons then present him with the offering, and he, imposing his hand upon it with the whole presbytery, gives thanks together with the whole presbytery as he says, “The Lord be with you.” And all say, “And with your spirit.” “Lift up your hearts.” “We lift them up to the Lord.” “Let us give thanks to the Lord.” “It is right and just.” And he continues as follows: (622)

“O God, through your beloved Son Jesus Christ we give you thanks because in these last times you have sent him as Savior, Redeemer, and messenger of your will.8 He is your inseparable Word through whom you made all things and whom, in your delight, you sent from heaven into the womb of the virgin. Having been conceived, he was made flesh and showed himself as your Son, born of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin. He carried out your will and won for you a holy people. He stretched out his hands in suffering in order to deliver from suffering those who trust in you. (623)

“When he was about to hand himself over to voluntary suffering, in order to destroy death and break the chains of the devil, to crush hell beneath his feet, to give light to the just, to establish the rule [of faith?], and to show forth the resurrection, he took bread, gave you thanks, saying, ‘Take, eat, this is my Body which is broken for you.’ Likewise the cup, while saying, ‘This is my Blood which is poured out for you. When you do this, you do it in memory of me.’ (624)

“Recalling his death and his resurrection, we offer you this bread and this cup. We give thanks to you for having judged us worthy to stand before you and serve you. (625)

“We ask that you send your Holy Spirit upon the offering of your holy Church. Gather it together. Grant that all who share in your holy mysteries may be filled with the Holy Spirit so that their faith may be strengthened in truth.a And so may we praise and glorify you through your Son Jesus Christ. Through him may glory and honor be to you with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church now and forever. Amen.” (626)

5. [Offering of oil]

If anyone offers oil, the bishop shall give thanks just as he does for the offering of the bread and wine, not expressing himself in the same words, but to similar effect, as he says: “O God, by sanctifying this oil you give holiness to those who are anointed with it and who receive this oil with which you have anointed kings, priests, and prophets. May it bring comfort to those who taste it, health to those who use it.” (627)

6. [Offering of cheese and olives]

Likewise, if anyone offers cheese and olives, the bishop says the following: “Sanctify this milk which has been curdled into cheese, and also gather us into your love. Grant that this fruit of the olive tree may never depart from your sweetness since the olive tree is the symbol of your abundance which you made to flow from the tree to give life to those who hope in you.” And in every blessing shall be said, “Glory to you, Father and Son with the Holy Spirit in the holy Church, now and always, forever and ever.” (628)

7. Presbyters

When a presbyter is ordained, the bishop lays his hand upon his head, while the other presbyters likewise touch him. The bishop prays as indicated above for the bishop. “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, look upon this your servant and grant him the grace and counsel of the presbyterate so that he may help and govern your people with a pure heart, just as you looked upon your chosen people and just as you commanded Moses to choose elders whom you filled with the Holy Spirit who was given to your servant. And now, Lord, grant that we may always preserve in us the Spirit of your grace. Make us, once filled with this Spirit, worthy to serve you in simplicity of heart, by praising you through your Son Jesus Christ, through whom glory and power be to you, with the Holy Spirit in the holy Church, now and forever. Amen.” (629)

8. Deacons

When a deacon is instituted, he is selected as indicated above. The bishop alone imposes hands, as we said. At the ordination of the deacon, the bishop alone imposes the hand because the deacon is not ordained to the priesthood but to serve the bishop, to carry out the bishop’s orders. (630)

He is not a member of the council of the clergy, but he administers and informs the bishop as to what is necessary. He does not receive the common spirit of the presbyterate in which the presbyters share, but the spirit given him under the authority of the bishop. It is for this reason that the bishop alone ordains the deacon, whereas all the presbyters impose hands on presbyters because the same spirit is shared by all. (631)

The presbyter has the authority only to receive the Spirit, not to give the Spirit. This is why he does not ordain clerics. However, at the ordination of a presbyter he seals whereas the bishop ordains. (632)

The bishop says the following over the deacon: “O God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, you have created all things and disposed them by the Word. Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom you sent to carry out your will and manifest your desires, grant the Spirit of grace and zeal to your servant, whom you have chosen to serve your Church and to present in your sanctuary the offering of him who was established as your high priest, to the glory of your name. May he serve you without reproach and in purity. May he obtain a higher degree,9 and may he praise and glorify you through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Through whom glory, power, and praise be to you with the Holy Spirit now and forever. Amen.” (633)

9. Confessors

If a confessor has been in chains because of the Lord’s name, do not lay the hand upon him for the diaconate or the presbyterate since he possesses the honor of the presbyterate by his confession. But if he is appointed bishop, the hand is laid upon him. But if there is a confessor who has not been led before the authority, who has neither undergone arrest nor been imprisoned nor been condemned to another penalty, but who on occasion has been derided for the name of our Lord and punished in private, if he has confessed his faith, the hand is to be imposed on him for every order of which he is worthy. (634)

Let the bishop give thanks as we have indicated above. It is not necessary that he recite the same words we have given, as if he is to say them by heart while giving thanks to God. Let each pray according to his abilities. If someone can pray somewhat longer and say a solemn prayer, it is good. But if someone while praying says a short prayer, do not hinder him, provided that the prayer is sound and orthodox. (635)

10. Widows

When a widow is appointed, she is not ordained but designated by being called such. If her husband has been dead for a long time, she is appointed. But if her husband is not long dead, do not place confidence in her; even if she is elderly, she is to be tested for a certain period of time. Often passions grow old with the person within whom they are found. A widow is appointed by words alone, and then she joins the other widows. But the hand is not placed upon her since she does not offer the oblation and has no liturgical function. The clergy, however, are ordained because of their liturgical service. The widow, however, is appointed for prayer, which is the common task of all. (636)

11. The reader

The reader is appointed when the bishop gives him the book, for hands are not laid on him. (637)

12. The virgin

The hand is not placed upon the virgin; her decision alone makes her a virgin. (638)

13. The subdeacon

There is no imposition of the hand for the subdeacon, but he is named a subdeacon so that he might serve the deacon. (639)

14. Gifts of healing

If someone says, “I have received the gift of healing in a revelation,” the hand is not imposed upon that person. The facts themselves will show whether such a person has spoken the truth. (640)

15. Newcomers to the faith

Those who come for the first time to hear the word are to be brought to the teachers before all the people arrive. They will be asked why they are seeking the faith. Those who have brought them will testify on their behalf as to whether they are capable of hearing the word. Their state of life is also to be examined. Does one have a wife? Is he a slave? If he is the slave of a believer and if his master permits, let him hear the word. If his master does not give favorable testimony, he shall be sent away. (641)

If some are possessed by a devil, let them not hear the word of instruction till they have been purified. (642)

If a man has a wife or if a woman has a husband, teach them to be content, the man with his wife and the woman with her husband. If a man is not married, teach him not to commit fornication but to take a wife in accord with the law or else to remain as he is. (643)

16. Jobs and professions

Inquire as to the jobs and professions of those who are brought for instruction. (644)

If someone keeps a house of prostitution, that person is to cease doing so or is to be sent away. (645)

If someone is a sculptor or painter, that person is to be taught not to make idols; they are to give this up or be sent away. (646)

If someone is an actor or performs in the theater, that person is to cease doing so or be sent away. (647)

It is preferable that those who teach children cease doing so; but if they have no other profession, they are allowed to teach. (648)

The charioteer who competes or whoever takes part in the games will cease doing so or be sent away. (649)

The gladiator or whoever teaches the gladiator to fight, or the man who fights with beasts in the games, or the official connected with the gladiatorial games, must give this up or be sent away. (650)

Whoever is a priest or a keeper of idols must cease doing so or be sent away. (651)

A subordinate soldier is not to kill. If commanded to do so, he will not carry out the order. Nor will he take an oath. If he does not agree to this, he will be sent away. (652)

Whoever holds the power of the sword or is the city’s magistrate who wears the purple will cease doing so or be sent away. (653)

The catechumen or believer who wishes to become a soldier is to be sent away because he has shown contempt for God. (654)

The prostitute, the dissolute man, the dandy, or anyone who has done unspeakable things will be sent away, for they are impure. (655)

Nor is the magician to be admitted for testing. (656)

The enchanter, the astrologer, the diviner, the interpreter of dreams, the charlatan, the counterfeiter, the maker of amulets must cease or they will be sent away. (657)

Any man’s concubine, if she is his slave and if she has raised his children and is faithful to him alone, will hear the instruction; otherwise she is to be sent away. The man who has a concubine will cease doing so and marry her according to the law; if he refuses to do so, he will be sent away. (658)

If we have omitted anything else, the occupations themselves will teach you, for all of us have the Spirit of God. (659)

17. The length of the instruction after the examination of jobs and occupations

Catechumens will receive instruction for three years. If someone is zealous and perseveres well in the matter, the length of time is not to be judged, only that person’s conduct. (660)

18. The prayer of those receiving instruction

When the teacher has completed the catechesis, the catechumens pray by themselves, apart from the faithful. The women, whether they be members of the faithful or catechumens, stand apart for prayer in the church. After they have finished praying, the catechumens do not extend the kiss of peace because their kiss is not yet holy.10 The faithful are to greet one another, the men greeting the men and the women greeting the women, but the men are not to greet the women. All the women are to cover their heads with a scarf and not merely with a piece of linen, the latter not being a covering. (661)

19. Laying the hand upon the catechumens

After the prayer the teacher, whether a cleric or a laic, and having laid the hand on the catechumens, is to pray and dismiss them. (662)

A catechumen who is arrested on account of the Lord’s name is not to be anxious about the witness given. For these people, undergoing violence and suffering death, will be justified even though not receiving the forgiveness of sin. They have been baptized in their own blood. (663)

20. Those to be baptized

Once those to be baptized have been chosen, their way of life is to be examined. While they were catechumens, did they live honestly? Have they shown respect to widows? Have they visited the sick and performed all kinds of good works? If those bringing them testify that each has done these things, then let them hear the Gospel. (664)

From the moment of their selection let the hand be laid upon them each day while they are exorcised. And when the day of baptism approaches, the bishop will exorcise each person so as to ascertain that each is purified. Anyone who is not good or not pure is to be put aside because this person has not heard the word with faith since it is impossible that the Alien conceal himself forever. (665)

Those to be baptized are to be instructed that they are to wash and cleanse themselves on the fifth day of the week [Thursday]. (666)

If a woman is menstruous, she is to be put aside and baptized on another day. (667)

Those to be baptized shall fast on the Preparation Day [Friday]. On the Sabbath [Saturday], the bishop will gather those to be baptized in one place where they will be instructed to pray and to kneel. The bishop will lay his hand on them and bid every foreign spirit to depart from them and never again to return. And when the bishop has concluded the exorcism, he will breathe on their faces, and after sealing their foreheads, ears, and noses, he will have them stand. (668)

They are to pass the whole night in keeping vigil. The Scriptures are to be read; instructions are to be given. (669)

Those to be baptized will bring nothing with them except what each brings for the Eucharist. It is fitting that each person who has become worthy brings the offering at that time. (670)

21. Conferring holy baptism

At cockcrow pray first over the water. The water should be flowing in a fountain or flowing down into it. Unless some necessity occurs, it is to be done in this way. But if the scarcity of water is permanent and urgent, use any water that you find. (671)

The candidates remove their clothing. (672)

The children are baptized first. All who can, answer for themselves. The parents or family members will speak for those who cannot. Then the men are baptized. Next the women, who have unbound their hair and removed all their gold ornaments. No one is to go down into the water with any alien object. (673)

At the time appointed for the baptism, the bishop gives thanks over the oil and places it in a vessel. This is called the oil of thanksgiving. Then he takes the other oil which he exorcises; this is called the oil of exorcism. A deacon takes the oil of exorcism and stands at the left of the presbyter; another deacon takes the oil of thanksgiving and stands at the right of the presbyter. The presbyter, taking aside each of those to be baptized, bids each to renounce the devil by saying, “I renounce you, Satan, and all your service and all your works.” (674)

And when each has said this, the presbyter anoints with the oil of exorcism while saying, “May every evil spirit depart from you.” In this way he hands the candidate, who is nude, over to the bishop or presbyter standing near the water in order to baptize. (675)

A deacon likewise goes down with the candidates. When the person to be baptized has descended into the water, he who baptizes says to him or her while imposing the hand, “Do you believe in God the Father almighty?” The one being baptized says, “I believe.” And immediately the baptizer, laying a hand on the person’s head, baptizes a first time. (676)

Then he asks, “Do you believe in Christ Jesus, the Son of God, born by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, who died, and on the third day was raised from the dead, who ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and who will come to judge the living and the dead?” Once again the person is baptized after saying, “I believe.” (677)

Then the person baptizing will ask, “Do you believe in the Holy Spirit in the holy Church?” The person being baptized will say, “I believe” and thus will be baptized a third time. (678)

Then, after coming up from the water, the baptized person will be anointed with the oil of thanksgiving by the presbyter who says, “I anoint you with the holy oil in the name of Jesus Christ.” And after drying themselves, they put on their clothes and enter the church. (679)

The bishop, while imposing his hand upon them, says the following invocation: “Lord God, you have made them worthy to obtain the forgiveness of sins by the bath of regeneration. Make them worthy to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Send your grace upon them so that, following your will, they may serve you. For yours is the glory, Father and Son with the Holy Spirit, in the holy Church, now and forever. Amen.” (680)

He pours the oil of thanksgiving on his hand and places it on the head of each person. Then he says, “I anoint you with holy oil in God the almighty Father and in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit.” (681)

After signing each on the forehead, the bishop gives the kiss and says, “May the Lord be with you.” The person who has been signed responds, “And with your spirit.” The bishop does this with each one. (682)

Henceforth they will pray with all the people since they do not pray with the faithful till all these things have occurred. And after they have prayed together, they will share the kiss. (683)

Then the deacons present the offering to the bishop. He gives thanks over the bread so that it becomes the representation, which the Greeks call the “antitype” of the Body of Christ, and over the cup mixed with wine so that it become the “antitype,” which the Greeks call “likeness” of the Blood shed for all who believe in him. (684)

He also gives thanks over the milk mixed with honey to indicate the accomplishment of the promise made to our fathers, in which God speaks of the earth flowing with milk and honey, in which Christ gave his flesh, with which believers, like small children, nourish themselves, since the pleasantness of the word sweetens the bitterness of the heart. (685)

He also prays over the water presented as an offering to signify the bath so that one’s interior, namely, the soul, may obtain the same effects as the body. (686)

The bishop is to explain all these things to those who receive. When he has broken the bread and while he is presenting each of its pieces, he says, “The bread of heaven in Christ Jesus.” The person receiving responds, “Amen.” If sufficient presbyters are not present, the deacons also hold the cups. They do so in good order: the first holding the water, the second holding the milk, and the third holding the wine. (687)

Those receiving Communion taste from each of the cups while the person presenting says, “In God the almighty Father.” Those receiving reply, “Amen.” “And in the Lord Jesus Christ.” And they say, “Amen.” “And in the Holy Spirit and in the holy Church.” And they say, “Amen.” This is done for each communicant. When these things have been done, all hasten to do good works, to please God, to conduct themselves well, and to be zealous for the Church, doing what has been taught and progressing in piety. (688)

We have handed on to you, in brief, what concerns holy baptism and the holy offering, for you have already been instructed on the resurrection of the body and on other things as written. If it is fitting to recall anything else, the bishop will privately inform them after the baptism. Unbelievers are not to know till they are first baptized. This is the white stone spoken of by John, [on the white stone] “is written a new name which no one knows except the one who receives it.”11 (689)

22. Communion

On Sunday the bishop, if possible, personally distributes the Eucharist to all the people while the deacons perform the breaking; the presbyters also break the bread. When the deacon takes it to a presbyter, he presents the plate. The presbyter himself takes it and distributes it to the people with his own hand. On other days people receive according to the directions of the bishop. (690)

23. Fasting

Widows and virgins will fast often and pray for the Church. Presbyters are to fast when they wish; the laity do likewise. The bishop fasts only on days when all the people do so. It may happen that someone wants to present an offering; the bishop cannot refuse. If, however, he breaks bread, he always eats the bread. (691)

24. Gifts to the sick b

The deacon, in case of necessity and when no presbyter is present, is to give the sign to the sick with zeal. When he has given all that is necessary, according as he will have received what is distributed, he will give thanks, and they will consume it there. (692)

Those who receive the gifts are to serve with zeal. (693)

If anyone has received gifts to take to a widow, to a sick person, or to someone involved in the affairs of the Church, this person will deliver them on the very day they are received. But if the gifts are not delivered on that day, it is to be done on the next day, and something of one’s own is to be added since the bread of the poor has remained in another’s possession. (694)

25. Bringing in the lamps for the community meal

Once evening has come and when the bishop is present, the deacon brings in the lamp. Standing in the midst of all the faithful who are present, the bishop gives thanks. First, he gives the greeting, “The Lord be with you.” The people respond, “And with your spirit.” “Let us give thanks to the Lord.” And all say, “It is right and proper; greatness and grandeur with glory belong to him.” He does not say, “Lift up your hearts” since this is what he says at the offering. (695)

He then prays as follows: “We give you thanks, O Lord, through your Son Jesus Christ, Our Lord, through whom you have enlightened us by revealing to us the incorruptible light. We have passed through the course of the day and have reached the beginning of night. You fill us with the light of day which you created for our satisfaction and so, by your grace, we do not lack the evening light; we praise and glorify you through your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord. Through whom glory, power, and honor be to you, now and forever and ever. Amen.” And all say, “Amen.” (696)

All rise at the end of the meal and pray. The children and the virgins say the psalms. (697)

Then, when the deacon takes the mixed cup of the offering, he says one of the psalms containing the Alleluia. Then, if the presbyter so bids, again from the same psalms. And after the bishop has offered the cup, he will say one of the psalms with the Alleluia which is fitting to the cup, and all will say Alleluia. When the psalms are recited, all say Alleluia, which means, “We praise the God who is;12 glory and praise to him who has created the whole world through his word alone.” After the psalm the bishop blesses the cup and gives pieces of the bread to all the faithful. (698)

26. The common meal

The faithful present at the meal receive from the bishop’s hand a piece of bread before breaking their own bread. This is a eulogy and not a Eucharist as is the Lord’s Body. (699)

Before drinking, all should take a cup and give thanks over it. Then they eat and drink in all purity. The bread of exorcism will be given to the catechumens, and each will offer a cup. (700)

27. Catechumens are not to eat with the faithful

A catechumen is not to sit at the Lord’s Supper. But during the entire meal those who eat are to remember their host; this is why they were invited to enter the host’s house. (701)

28. Eat moderately and according to need

When eating and drinking, do so moderately and not to the point of becoming drunk. In this way no one can laugh at you, and your host will not be saddened by your rowdiness, but may your host desire to be judged worthy of having the saints come into his house. As the Lord says, “You are the salt of the earth.”13 (702)

If someone offers to all in common what in Greek is called the apophoreton, accept it. But if there is enough for all to share, eat so that some remains. In this way your host can send some of it to whomever he or she desires, as from what was left over from the saints, and thus the host can rejoice with confidence. (703)

During the meal the guests will eat in silence, doing so without arguing. They may only speak as the bishop allows; if he asks a question, they can answer him. (704)

When the bishop speaks, each person is to observe a modest silence until he asks another question. And if, in the absence of the bishop, the faithful share a meal at which a presbyter or deacon is present, they will likewise act in a becoming manner. Each person will hasten to receive the blessed bread from the presbyter or deacon. In like manner the catechumen is to receive exorcised bread. If the laity gather by themselves, they are to behave in an orderly fashion. A lay person cannot give the blessed bread. (705)

29. We must eat with thanksgiving

Each person is to eat in the name of the Lord; what pleases God is that we compete, even among the pagans, in being united and sober. (706)

30. A meal for widows

If anyone invites widows to a meal, may they already be of mature age, and may they be sent home before nightfall. If one cannot receive them because of a duty to be performed for the assembly, they are to be sent home after they have been given food and wine. If they prefer, they can take some of this with them. (707)

31. Fruits to be offered to the bishop

All will hasten to present to the bishop the first of the harvest as the first fruits. The bishop is to receive these with thanksgiving and to bless them. He is to name those who presented them and say: “O God, we give you thanks and we offer you the first fruits which you have given us to receive. You nourished them by your word; you ordered the earth to produce fruits of every kind for the joy and nourishment of the human race and of all animals. O God, we praise you for this and for all the benefits you have given us by adorning all creation with various fruits, through your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord. Through him be glory to you forever and ever. Amen.” (708)

32. Blessing of fruits

The following fruits are blessed: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, pears, apples, mulberries, peaches, cherries, almonds, and plums; but not watermelons, melons, cucumbers, mushrooms, garlic, or any other vegetable. At times flowers also are presented: roses and lilies but no others. (709)

For all that one eats, thanks is to be given to the holy God, and glory is to be given to God while one eats. (710)

33. No one is to take any food during the Pasch before the proper hour for eating

During the Pasch no one is to eat anything before the offering has been made; those who do so will not be considered to be fasting. If a woman is pregnant or if anyone is sick and cannot fast two days, that person is to fast only on Saturday because of necessity, being content with bread and water. If a person is at sea or due to some anxiety has forgotten the day of the Pasch, upon learning of it, he or she will observe the fast after Pentecost. For the Pasch we celebrate is not the figure—which has indeed passed, and that is why it ended in the second month—and it is necessary to fast when one has learned the truth. (711)

34. Deacons are to be zealous in serving the bishop

Each deacon, with the subdeacons, will zealously serve the bishop. They are to inform the bishop of the sick so that he, should he so desire, may visit them. The sick are greatly comforted when the high priest [the bishop] remembers them. (712)

35. Time for prayer

As soon as the faithful awaken and arise, and before going off to work, they are to pray to God and then set about their labors. If there is an instruction on God’s word, they will give preference to going there and to hearing God’s word for the comfort of their souls. They will be eager to go to the church, where the Spirit flourishes. (713)

36. The Eucharist, as often as offered, is to be received before eating anything

All the faithful, before eating anything else, will eagerly receive the Eucharist. If they receive it with faith, even though they are given some deadly poison, nothing will harm them. (714)

37. Keep the Eucharist with care

Each person must take care that no unbeliever eats the Eucharist, nor a mouse nor any other animal. Let it not fall and be lost. It is the Body of Christ which is to be eaten by those who believe and is not to be treated with contempt. (715)

38. Nothing is to spill from the cup

You receive the cup after it has been blessed in the name of God as the antitype of the Blood of Christ. Spill nothing from it, as if you scorned it, lest an alien spirit lick it up. You will be responsible for the Blood as someone who despises the price with which he or she has been bought. (716)

39. Deacons and priests

Each day the deacons and the presbyters are to gather at the place determined by the bishop. The deacons shall not neglect to assemble at a regular time unless prevented by sickness. When all have gathered, they are to teach those who are in the church. And after praying in this way, they are to go to their individual work. (717)

40. Cemeteries

No one is to feel financially burdened in order to bury someone in the cemeteries since the cemetery belongs to all the poor. Nonetheless, we must pay for the work of the grave digger and the price of the bricks. The bishop, out of what has been given to the Church, will provide for those who are in that place and are in charge of it, so that those who come to these places be not financially burdened. (718)

41. Times for prayer

All the faithful, men and women—when they arise in the morning and before beginning their work—are to wash their hands and pray to God, and in this way they proceed to their labors. If, however, there is an instruction on the word of God, everyone should prefer to go there because they truly believe that it is God whom they hear in the instructor. (719)

Whoever prays in church can overcome the evil of the day. Whoever is pious will consider it very wrong not to go to the place where the instruction is given, especially if this person can read and if a teacher comes. (720)

No one among you is to be late in going to the church, the place where instruction is given. Then the teacher will say something that is useful to each one, and you will hear what you did not know, and you will profit from what the Holy Spirit will give you through the teacher. In this way your faith will be strengthened by what you have heard. You will also be told there what you should be doing at home. Therefore each person should be eager to go to the church, the place where the Holy Spirit flourishes. (721)

If there is a day when no instruction is given, each person, remaining at home, is to take a holy book and read a sufficient amount as seems profitable. (722)

And if you are at home, pray at the third hour and praise God. Should you be elsewhere, pray to God in your heart, for at this hour Christ was nailed to the cross. This is why the Law in the Old Testament prescribes that the shewbread be offered at the third hour as a type of Christ’s Body and Blood; and the immolation of the lamb without reason is the type of the perfect Lamb. Christ is the shepherd; he is also the bread that came down from heaven. (723)

Pray also at the sixth hour. For when Christ was nailed to the wood of the cross, the day was divided, and there was a great darkness. So at that hour offer a powerful prayer, imitating the voice of him who prayed and who made all creation dark for the unbelieving Jews. (724)

At the ninth hour say a great prayer and a great blessing to imitate the manner in which the souls of the just bless the truthful God, who remembers his holy ones, and who has sent his Word to enlighten them. At this hour, then, Christ shed water and blood from his pierced side and, giving light to the rest of the day, he brought it to evening. This is why, when he began to fall asleep, he fulfilled the type of the resurrection by having the next day begin. (725)

Pray also before your body goes to rest on the bed. But arise toward midnight; wash your hands with water and pray. If your wife is present, both of you are to pray together. But if she is not yet a member of the faithful, withdraw to another room, pray, and then return to bed. Do not be lazy when it comes to prayer; whoever is bound by marriage is not impure. Those who have bathed have no need of washing again because they are pure.14 When you sign yourself with your moist breath as you use the saliva in your hand, your body is made holy down to your feet. For the gift of the Spirit and the water of the baptismal bath, when both flow from a believing heart as if from a spring, sanctify all who have faith. And so it is necessary to pray at this hour. (726)

The ancients, who passed down this tradition to us, taught that at this hour all creation stood still for a moment in order to praise the Lord: the stars, the trees, the water—all stop for a moment, and the whole army of angels which serves him praises God at this hour together with the souls of the just. This is why those who believe should be eager to pray at this hour. Our Lord himself testifies to this: “Behold a cry is heard in the middle of the night. They said, ‘The bridegroom is coming. Rise up to meet him.’”15 And he continues, “This is why you are to watch, for you do not know at what hour he will come.”16 (727)

Rise toward cockcrow and likewise pray. For it was at this hour, at cockcrow, when Israel’s children denied Christ, whom we know by faith. In the hope of eternal light we look forward to this day of the resurrection of the dead. (728)

And so if you, the faithful, do these things and keep their memory, if you instruct one another and set an example for the catechumens, then you will be neither tempted nor lost, for you will always have Christ in your thoughts. (729)

42. The sign of the cross

When tempted, always sign your forehead in a dignified manner, for it is the sign of the Passion, a sign known and tested against the devil, provided you make it with faith and not to be seen by others, yet skillfully presenting it as a breastplate. When the Adversary sees power coming from the heart, and when the person who has been animated by the Word shows within and without the image of the Word, the devil is put to flight by the Spirit who exists within you. It is to symbolize this, by the paschal lamb which was slain, that Moses sprinkled the threshold with blood and anointed the doorsteps. And so he signified the faith we presently have in the perfect lamb. When we make the sign on our foreheads and eyes, we put to flight the one who is trying to destroy us. (730)

43. Conclusion

If you receive these things with thanksgiving and the proper faith, they will bring edification to the Church and eternal life to believers. The counsel I give is to be kept by all who are prudent. For if all who hear the apostolic tradition follow and observe it, then no heretic, no one at all, will be able to lead you into error. It was in this way that numerous heresies have grown because the leaders, unwilling to be instructed by the teaching of the apostles, acted as they wanted, according to their own pleasure and not according to what is proper. If we have omitted anything, beloved, God will reveal it to those who are worthy of it, for God governs the Church so that it may reach the peaceful port. (731)

31-B. Commentary on Daniel

Dating from the year 204, the Commentary on Daniel is the oldest Christian exegetical work known to us.

I.XVI. […] Like the two maid servants who accompanied Susanna,1 faith and love accompany the Church preparing oil and cleansing agents for those whom it washes. Now what is the cleansing agent unless the Lord’s commandments? What is the oil unless the power of the Holy Spirit? These are used as perfume to anoint believers after baptism. All these were once prefigured through blessed Susanna so that we believers in God might not find strange what today happens in the Church. […] (732)

IV.XXIII. […] If we calculate the time that has passed since the creation of the world and since Adam, the problem is clarified. The first coming of our Lord, his coming in the flesh, his birth at Bethlehem, took place on the eighth day of the calends of January [25 December], on Wednesday, in the forty-second year of the reign of Augustus.a […] (733)

31-C. Refutation of All Heresies††

The Philosophuma or Refutation of All Heresies, a treatise in ten books (books II and III are lost) and once thought to have been the work of Origen (WEC 1:43), was written after 222 to show that the various heresies (especially those of the Gnostic variety) depend upon pagan philosophy, not upon Christian revelation.

IX.12. […] That imposter Callistus,a having dared to propose such opinions [regarding the Logos], set up a school in opposition to the Church and taught as follows. First he came up with a way to conspire with people in forgiving their sexual sins, claiming that he can forgive all their sins. Should someone be accustomed to associate with another teacher and commit sin, these—provided they remain Christians—are told that their sins will be forgiven if they join the school of Callistus. This ruling was pleasing to many since they were afflicted in conscience and were rejected by numerous sects. Some of these, however, upon being judged by us as being ejected from the Church, became followers of Callistus and filled his school. […] Little wonder that the disciples of Callistus are numerous and take joy in their numbers. The reason is that Callistus tolerates sensual sins, something Christ did not do. Despising Christ, the followers of Callistus forbid no type of sin since, in their view, Callistus remits these sins to those having good will. […] (734)


A member of the Roman clergy, Novatian was disappointed with the election of Cornelius as bishop of Rome in 281. Joining a rigorist party in regard to reconciling the lapsed, he received the episcopal office from three Italian bishops and has been called the first true “antipope.” Doctrinally quite orthodox, Novatian, however, rejected the forgiveness of grave sins as well as baptism conferred by heretics. It is said that he died a martyr in 257/258. His followers were active in Rome and elsewhere down to the fifth century.

CPL nos. 68ff. * Altaner (1961) 191–93 * Altaner (1966) 170–72 * Bardenhewer (1908) 220–23 * Bardenhewer (1910) 193–95 * Bardenhewer (1913) 2:559–74 * Bardy (1930) 46–48 * Bautz 6:1047–49 * Cross 181–83 * Goodspeed 179–82 * Hamell 84 * Jurgens 1:246–48 * Labriolle (1947) 1:248–57 * Labriolle (1968) 169–75 * Quasten 2:212–33 * Steidle 62–63 * Tixeront 132–34 * CATH 9:1433–36 * CE 11:138–41 * CHECL 157–59, 214–18 * DCB 4:58–60 * DictSp 11:479–81 * DPAC 2:2436–39 * DTC 11.1:816–49 * EC 8:1976–80 * EEC 2:603–4 * EEChr 2:819–20 * LTK 7:938–39 * NCE 10:534–35 * NCES 10:464–66 * ODCC 1165 * PEA (1894) 17.1:1138–56 * PEA (1991) 8:1021 * TRE 24:678–82

V. Coucke, “De errore Montanistarum et Novatianorum,” CB 33 (1933) 172–78. * H. Gützow, Cyprian und Novatian: der Briefwechsel zwischen die Gemeinden in Rom und Karthago z. Zeit d. Verfolgung d. Kaisers Decius (Tübingen, 1975).

32-A. On the Shows

Found among the works of Cyprian (WEC 1:27), this treatise is a rejection of paganism and its culture. The true Christian, says Novatian, finds delight in the Scriptures, not in public entertainments and theatrical productions. The work was inspired by Tertullian’s book of the same name (WEC 1:26-C).

5. […] [That sinful man], had he been able, would have dared take what is holy with him into a brothel. Dismissed from the Lord’s table and still, as is customary, carrying with him the Eucharist, he hastens to the spectacle, carrying about Christ’s holy Body among the impure bodies of the harlots. […] (735)


33-A. Inscription of Pectorius††

This Greek epitaph was discovered in 1839 in an ancient Christian cemetery near Autun in southern France. It consists of eleven lines, the first seven being of a more doctrinal character (references to both baptism and the Eucharist), the last four of a more personal nature as Pectorius both prays for his mother and asks others to pray for him. The initial letters of the first five verses form an acrostic—the Greek letters IXΘϒ∑.

The seven fragments on which the inscription is found date from between 350 and 400.

CPG 1: no. 1369 * Altaner (1966) 98 * Altaner (1960) 96 * Cross 199 * Jurgens 1:78–79 * Quasten 1:173–75 * CATH 1:1098–99 * DACL 1:83 * DHGE 1:83 * EEChr 2:886–87 * NCE 11:49–50 * NCES 11:54–55

C.M. Kaufmann, Handbuch der altchristlichen Epigraphik (Freiburg i. B., 1917) 178–80. * G. Grabka, “Eucharistic Belief Manifest in the Epitaphs of Abercius and Pectorius,” AER 131 (1954) 145–55.

O divine child of the heavenly Fish, (736)

keep your soul pure among mortals.

Because you received the immortal

fountain of divine water

refresh your soul, friend, with the

ever-flowing water of wealth-giving wisdom.

Take from the Redeemer of the saints

the food as sweet as honey:

eat with joy and desire, holding the Fish

in your hands.

I pray, give as food the Fish, Lord and Savior.

May she rest in peace, my mother,

so I pray to you, light of the dead.

Aschandius, father, my heart’s beloved,

with my sweet mother and my brothers

in the peace of the Fish remember your Pectorius.

33-B. Inscription in the Catacomb of Priscilla

This third-century epigraph is found in the Catacomb of Priscilla on the Via Salaria, one of the oldest Roman cemeteries.

Dedicated to the departed, Florentius made this inscription (737)

for his worthy son Apronianus who lived

one year and nine months and five days.

As he was truly loved by his grandmother

and she knew that his death was imminent,

she asked the Church that he might

depart from the world as a believer.

Translated from M. Minucii Felicis Octavius Julii Firmici Materni Liber de errore profanarum religionum, ed. C. Halm, CSEL 2 (Vienna, 1867) 42–43, 45–46.

Translated from Opera, CCL 1 (Turnhout, 1953) 32.

†† Translated from CCL 1:88ff.

a. See WEC 1:16-A and 16-B.

Translated from CCL 1:231ff.

Translated from CCL 1:216ff.

Translated from Traité du baptême, ed. R.F. Refoulé, trans. in cooperation with M. Drouzy, SChr 35 (Paris, 1952).

a. Cainite heresy: teaching followed by certain second-century Gnostics.

b. The first letters in Greek for “Jesus Christ, son of God, savior” are from the word “fish,” that is, ichthus.

1. See 1 Tim 2:11–12; 1 Cor 14:34–35.

2. 1 Cor 1:27. 3. Luke 18:27. 4. 2 Cor 12:9. 5. Gen 1:1–2. 6. See Gen 1:6ff. 7. See Gen 1:20ff. 8. See Gen 2:7.

9. See Gen 1:2. 10. See Matt 3:6. 11. See Acts 8:36. 12. See John 5:4.

c. “Esietics”: perhaps from the Egyptian Hasie and meaning the “blessed immortal.” Death by drowning had, for the Egyptians, a religious character.

13. See John 5:2ff. 14. See Gen 1:26.

d. The reference is to a hydraulic organ.

15. See Gen 2:7. 16. See Matt 3:3; 11:10. 17. See John 3:28. 18. See Deut 19:15; 2 Cor 13:1. 19. See Matt 18:20. 20. See Exod 30:30. 21. See Lev 8:12. 22. Acts 4:27. 23. See Gen 48:14. 24. See Gen 1:2.

e. Literally the Latin reads: “We see that baptism is consecrated by the water in Christ.”

25. See John 1:32. 26. Matt 10:16. 27. See Gen 8:11. 28. See 2 Pet 3:7. 29. See 1 Cor 10:11. 30. See Exod 14. 31. Exod 15:25. 32. See Exod 17:6. 33. See 1 Cor 10:4. 34. See Matt 3:13. 35. See John 2:7. 36. See John 4:14.

37. See Matt 10:42. 38. See John 4:6. 39. See John 6:19. 40. See Matt 14:34. 41. See John 13:5. 42. See Matt 27:24. 43. See John 19:34. 44. See Matt 21:25. 45. See Isa 7:9. 46. See Luke 3:3. 47. See Acts 19:4; Mark 1:4. 48. See Mark 2:7. 49. See John 16:7. 50. See Acts 19:2. 51. See Matt 11:3. 52. Mark 1:4. 53. See Matt 11:10.

54. John 3:31. 55. Matt 3:11. 56. John 4:2. 57. Matt 3:11. 58. See Matt 9:2. 59. See John 7:39. 60. See John 3:5. 61. See Acts 9:18.

62. John 13:10. 63. Matt 11:11. 64. See Matt 8:24. 65. See Matt 14:30. 66. See Matt 8:25. 67. See John 13:10. 68. Matt 9:22. 69. Matt 9:2. 70. See Matt 9:9. 71. See Matt 4:22.

72. See Matt 8:22. 73. Matt 10:37. 74. See Gen 15:6. 75. Matt 28:19. 76. John 3:5. 77. See Acts 9:18. 78. Acts 22:10. 79. See Acts 22:8. 80. 1 Cor 1:17. 81. See 1 Cor 1:14, 16. 82. See 1 Cor 11:18. 83. See 1 Cor 3:4.

f. This treatise no longer exists.

g. SChr has the following note: “The meaning of this passage is unclear. Surely Tertullian means that receiving a second baptism would constitute a sin of heresy” (p. 88).

84. See Eph 4:5. 85. See Luke 12:50. 86. 1 John 5:6. 87. See John 19:34.

h. Actually it was at Jude’s house that Ananias laid hands on Saul, after which Saul was baptized.

88. 1 Cor 6:12; 10:23. 89. See 1 Cor 14:34. 90. 1 Cor 14:34-35. 91. Luke 6:30. 92. Matt 7:6. 93. 1 Tim 5:22. 94. See Acts 8:26. 95. See Acts 8:28. 96. See Acts 8:29. 97. See Acts 8:36, 39. 98. See Acts 9:18.

99. See Acts 9:15. 100. Matt 19:14. 101. See 1 Tim 5:13. 102. Mark 14:13. 103. See Acts 1:3. 104. See Acts 2:4. 105. See Acts 1:11. 106. Jer 31:8.

107. Matt 3:6. 108. Matt 26:41. 109. See Matt 26:56. 110. See Matt 26:51. 111. See Matt 26:75. 112. See Exod 16:13. 113. See Num 11:5. 114. See Matt 4:2, 4. 115. See Titus 3:5. 116. See 1 Cor 12:4. 117. Matt 7:7.

Translated from Opera, CCL 1 (Turnhout, 1953) 260ff.

1. Matt 6:33; Luke 12:31.

a. The “Shepherd” of Hermas, Vision V.1 (not in WEC).

2. Matt 6:11; see Luke 11:3. 3. See John 6:31ff. 4. Matt 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19. 5. See Matt 6:16ff.

b. Perhaps by taking it home.

6. See Eph 4:27. 7. See Luke 18:1; Eph 6:18; 1 Thess 5:17; 1 Tim 2:8. 8. See Acts 16:25. 9. See Acts 27:35. 10. See Acts 2:1ff. 11. See Acts 10:9ff.

c. Some see this as a possible corruption of a scriptural passage; see Matt 25:40; Gen 18:3; 19:2; Heb 13:2.

12. See Acts 3:1ff. 13. See Dan 6:6ff. 14. See Heb 13:2. 15. Luke 10:5–6; see John 20:19.

Translated from CCL 1:388ff.

1. Matt 7:6. 2. See Gen 2:24; Matt 19:6; 1 Cor 6:16.

3. See Matt 18:20.

Translated from CCL 1:326ff.

1. Ezek 18:32. 2. Ezek 33:11. 3. See 1 Tim 1:15. 4. See 1 Tim 1:19. 5. See Isa 40:15. 6. See Ps 1:4; Dan 2:35; Hos 13:3. 7. See Jer 19:11; Rom 9:21. 8. See Ps 1:3. 9. See Matt 3:10.

10. See Luke 1:78; Rom 5:17. 11. See Sir 1:11. 12. See Wis 1:12; Rom 6:2. 13. See 1 Cor 6:3. 14. See 1 Pet 5:8. 15. See Matt 7:7.

16. See Dan 9:3; Jonah 3:5–6.

17. See 1 Cor 12:26. 18. See Matt 18:20. 19. See Col 1:24. 20. See Luke 11:11–13.

Translated from CCL 1:366.

†† Translated from CCL 1:455ff.

Translated from Opera, CCL 2 (Turnhout, 1954) 931.

†† Translated from CCL 2:792.

††† Translated from CCL 2:1042–43.

1. See Matt 28:19. 2. See 1 Cor 11:23–25; Matt 26:27; Mark 14:23.

Translated from CCL 2:1115.

†† Translated from CCL 2:1272–73.

1. See Gal 4:10.

2. See 2 Cor 5:17.

Translated from CCL 2:1155.

1. See 1 Cor 13:2.

†† Translated from CCL 2:1198.

1. See Luke 24:49. 2. See Matt 28:19.

††† Translated from CCL 2:1286ff.

1. Matt 5:9. 2. See Ezek 33:11. 3. See Matt 1:22; Eph 4:26. 4. See 1 John 2:1; Rom 8:34.

5. Matt 16:19.

Translated from Sancti Cypriani Episcopi Opera, vol. 2, ed. M. Simonetti, CCL 3 A (Turnhout, 1976) 13.

†† Translated from Sancti Cypriani Episcopi Opera, vol. 1, ed. R. Weber, CCL 3 (Turnhout, 1972) 229ff.

1. 1 Cor 10:20. 2. 1 Cor 11:27.

3. Rev 2:5. 4. Jer 17:5.

5. Gal 6:7. 6. Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26.

7. Joel 2:12–13.

Translated from Sancti Cypriani Episcopi Opera, vol. 2, ed. M. Simonetti, CCL 3 A (Turnhout, 1976) 91ff.

1. See Matt 6:11. 2. Lev 19:2.

3. John 6:51. 4. John 6:53. 5. See Dan 3:24ff. 6. See Acts 2:15. 7. See Acts 10:9.

8. Ps 5:3b–4. 9. Hos 6:1. 10. Ps 118:22–24. 11. Mal 4:2a. 12. Luke 2:37b.

Translated from CCL 3 A, 55ff.

Translated from Sancti Cypriani Episcopi Opera, vol. 3, ed. G.F. Diercks, CCL 3 B (Turnhout, 1994) 3–4.

†† Translated from CCL 3 B, 27–28.

a. Written while Cyprian was hiding from the civil authorities who were persecuting Christians.

Translated from CCL 3 B, 69–70.

†† Translated from CCL 3 B, 86–87, 89.

1. 1 Cor 11:27.

Translated from CCL 3 B, 92–93.

1. 1 Cor 11:27.

†† Translated from CCL 3 B, 97.

Translated from CCL 3 B, 100–101.

†† Translated from CCL 3 B, 108–10.

††† Translated from CCL 3 B, 138.

Translated from CCL 3 B, 149–50.

†† Translated from CCL 3 B, 275ff.

a. Antonian: a bishop in Numidia.

1. Prov 18:19, LXX. 2. Gal 6:1–2. 3. 1 Cor 10:12. 4. Rom 14:4. 5. 1 John 2:1–2. 6. Rom 5:8–9.

7. Matt 7:9–11.

b. Novatian: a Roman presbyter (d. 257/258) disappointed by the election of Cornelius as bishop of Rome in 251; he joined a highly rigorist yet orthodox faction and became a rival to Cornelius.

8. See Eph 4:2. 9. Eph 4:2–3.

10. See Eph 4:2–3.

Translated from CCL 3 B, 301–4.

a. Cornelius: bishop of Rome 251–53.

1. See Matt 7:7. 2. See Matt 16:19; 18:18.

Translated from Sancti Cypriani Episcopi Opera, vol. 4, ed. G.F. Diercks, CCL 3 C (Turnhout, 1960) 339–416.

a. Cecil: bishop of Biltha in Africa.

b. This letter is directed against the Aquarians, also called the Hydroparastatae, a sect or sects using only water in their celebration of the Eucharist.

1. See 1 Cor 11:22–25. 2. John 15:1. 3. See Gen 9:20–21. 4. See Gen 9:21. 5. Gen 14:18–19. 6. Ps 110:3–4. 7. See Gen 14:18–19. 8. See Matt 26:26–28. 9. See Gen 14:18. 10. See Gen 12:2–3. 11. See Gen 15:6; Gal 3:6. 12. See Gal 3:8–9. 13. Gal 3:6–9. 14. See Matt 3:9. 15. Luke 19:9.

16. See Gen 14:18–19. 17. See Matt 26:26–28. 18. Prov 9:1–5. 19. See John 19:34. 20. See Gen 49:8–10. 21. Gen 49:11. 22. Isa 63:2. 23. Isa 43:18–21.

24. See Isa 43:19–20. 25. Isa 48:21. 26. See 1 Cor 10:4. 27. John 7:37–38. 28. John 7:39. 29. Matt 5:6. 30. John 4:13. 31. See Matt 26:27. 32. Matt 26:27–29.

33. See Matt 26:29. 34. 1 Cor 11:23–26. 35. See 1 Cor 11:25. 36. Gal 1:6–9. 37. See Gal 1:8. 38. Ps 23:5, LXX. 39. See Gen 9:21. 40. Ps 23:5, LXX.

41. See Eph 4:22–23. 42. See John 2:1–11. 43. Isa 5:7. 44. See John 2:9. 45. Rev 17:5. 46. See 1 Pet 2:24. 47. See John 6:50–51, 59.

48. John 15:14–15. 49. Matt 17:5. 50. See Matt 17:5. 51. Isa 29:13. 52. Mark 7:9. 53. Matt 5:19. 54. See ibid. 55. See 1 Cor 11:25. 56. See Acts 2:15. 57. Mark 8:38. 58. Gal 1:10. 59. See Matt 26:20; 1 Cor 11:25.

60. Exod 12:6. 61. Ps 141:2. 62. See 1 Cor 11:26. 63. Ps 50:16–18, LXX. 64. See Ps 50:17, LXX. 65. Jer 23:28, 30, 32. 66. Jer 3:9–10. 67. John 8:12. 68. See ibid.

69. Matt 28:18–20. 70. See John 8:12.

Translated from CCL 3 C, 419–20, 422.

a. Fidus: an African bishop.

1. See Luke 1:59; 2:21. 2. Luke 9:56. 3. 2 Kgs 4:32–37. 4. See John 3:34.

Translated from CCL 3 C, 452–54.

a. Felix: a priest; Aelius: a deacon. In Emerita or Merida, Spain.

1. Num 20:25–26. 2. Acts 1:15. 3. Acts 6:2. 4. Hos 8:4.

Translated from CCL 3 C, 493–95.

a. Magnus: an African Christian who consulted Cyprian about baptism.

1. See Matt 5:45. 2. See Exod 16:15–18. 3. See Rom 2:11. 4. See Matt 13:3–8; Mark 4:3–20; Luke 8:5–15. 5. See Matt 20:9–10. 6. See Exod 14:21–31.

7. 1 Cor 10:1–2. 8. 1 Cor 10:6. 9. See Matt 12:43–44; Luke 11:24–25. 10. See Exod 7:13. 11. See Luke 10:19.

Translated from CCL 3 C, 502–11.

1. Jer 2:13.

2. Prov 9:18, LXX. 3. Ezra 36:25–26. 4. Num 19:22. 5. Ps 141:5. 6. John 9:31. 7. Lev 19:2.

8. See Eph 4:4–5. 9. See Matt 16:18.

Translated from CCL 3 C, 516–19.

a. Quintus: a bishop in Mauretania.

1. See Eph 4:5. 2. See John 1:14, 17. 3. Sir 34:30, 25, LXX. 4. See Matt 18:12–13; Luke 15:4–5.

Translated from CCL 3 C, 524–27.

a. Stephen: bishop of Rome 254–57.

1. See Rom 8:14; Gal 4:4–6. 2. John 3:5.

3. Lev 21:17, 21. 4. Exod 19:22. 5. Exod 28:43, LXX; see 30:20–21. 6. See Gal 6:10.

Translated from CCL 3 C, 536–39.

a. Jubaianus: a bishop in Mauretania.

1. Jer 15:18. 2. See Matt 16:18–19. 3. John 20:21–23.

4. See Acts 8:14–17. 5. See Acts 8:5–6, 16. 6. See Acts 8:17.

Translated from CCL 3 C, 564–65, 571–72.

a. Pompey: an African bishop.

b. Stephen: bishop of Rome 254–57.

1. See Eph 4:5.

2. Josh 1:8. 3. See Matt 28:19. 4. See 1 Cor 3:16; 2 Cor 6:16. 5. See Eph 4:23–24. 6. Gal 3:27. 7. See ibid. 8. See Titus 3:5. 9. See Eph 4:22–24.

10. Titus 3:5. 11. Eph 5:25–26. 12. See Gen 2:7.

Translated from CCL 3 C, 588ff.

a. Firmilian: bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia.

b. Stephen: bishop of Rome 254–57.

1. Gal 3:27.

Translated from S. Thasci Caecili Cypriani Opera Omnia, vol. 3, ed. G. Hartel, CSEL 3.3 (Vienna, 1871) 55ff.

1. See Gen 8:6–12.

2. Num 5:2. 3. Matt 28:19. 4. See Gal 6:2. 5. Ezek 33:12. 6. Rev 2:5.

7. Ezek 18:21. 8. Rev 12:15. 9. 1 Cor 11:22, 17.

Translated from S. Thasci Caecili Cypriani Opera Omnia, vol. 3, CSEL 3.3 (Vienna, 1871) 69ff.

1. Matt 3:11; Mark 1:7; Luke 3:16; John 1:27. 2. Acts 1:4–5. 3. Acts 11:15–17. 4. Acts 15:7–8.

5. See Acts 8:14–17. 6. John 20:22. 7. See Acts 8:27–39.

8. Acts 10:44–48. 9. Acts 15:9. 10. See Acts 2:1–4.

11. Acts 4:12. 12. Phil 2:9–11.

Translated from Commodiani Carmina, ed. J. Martin and P.F. Hoving, CCL 128 (Turnhout, 1960) 66ff.

Translation based on La Tradition apostolique de s. Hippolyte, trans. and ed. B. Botte, SChr 11 bis (Paris, 1968). Although Botte presents the Latin of the Verona manuscript, his French translation generally follows the textual traditions of the East. For an excellent presentation of the various textual traditions, see G.J. Cuming, Hippolytus: A Text for Students, where each section is translated from the oldest source.

1. See Gen 1:26–27.

2. See 2 Cor 1:3. 3. See Ps 113:5–6. 4. See Dan 13:42. 5. See Ps 51:12. 6. See John 20:23. 7. See Matt 18:18.

a. Scholars do not agree as to the authenticity of this epiclesis or its primitive form.

8. See Isa 9:5.

9. See 1 Tim 3:13.

10. See Rom 16:16; 1 Cor 16:20; 2 Cor 13:12; 1 Thess 5:26.

b. The text in this chapter is not always clear.

11. Rev 2:17.

12. See Exod 3:14.

13. Matt 5:13.

14. See John 13:10. 15. See Matt 25:6. 16. See Matt 25:13.

Translated from Commentaire sur Daniel. Hippolyte, trans. and ed. M. Lefèvre, SChr 14 (Paris, 1947) 84, 187.

a. Many believe that this passage is an interpolation.

1. See Dan 13:15.

†† Translated from GCS 26:249–50.

a. Callistus: bishop of Rome 217–22.

Translated from Sancti Cypriani Episcopi Opera, part 3, no. 2, ed. W. Hartel, CCL 3 C (Turnhout, 1871) 8.

†† Translation (modified) from Quasten 1:174.

Translation from J. Jeremias, Infant Baptism in the First Four Centuries, trans. D. Cairns (Philadelphia, 1962) 42.

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