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iv.] The Supremacy of the Bishop.

submitting each case to the tribunal of the Wiioit
assembly were impossible, at any rate individual pres-
byters and deacons must not act without the knowledge
and approval of the president 38 . The rule was in many
cases resisted : it frequently required formal reenact-
ment 39 : but it ultimately became so general that the
bishops came to claim the right of readmitting peni-
tents, not in their capacity as presidents of the com-
munity, but as an inherent function of the episcopate.

In this way it was that the supremacy of the bishops,
which had been founded on the necessity for unity of
doctrine, was consolidated by the necessity for unity
of discipline.

It was a natural effect of the same causes, and it
forms an additional proof of their existence, that a
rule should grow up that there should be only one
bishop in a community. The rule was not firmly
established until the third century. Its general recog-
nition was the outcome of the dispute between Cyprian
and Novatian. That dispute was one of the collateral
results of the controversy, of which I have just now
been speaking, in reference to the readmission of the
lapsed. Novatian was the head of the puritan party

38 Not only a uniform tradition of doctrine, but also a uniform tradition of
discipline, was better preserved by a single person than by a plurality of persons.
The bishop was the depositary of the traditionary rules of discipline : and it is on
this fact that the Clementines base his special relation to it : Clementin. Epist. ad
Jacob. 3 dr)<Tei b b~ti StOrjvai Kai \voti b oti \v6rjvai us T77S eKKknoias (iSas
xavuva : so ibid. 4 us StoiitTjcriv (KKXrjalas nap k/xov ftefia0TjKus.

*' E.g. in the Spanish Councils of Elvira, c. 32, 2 Seville, c. 9, the Gallican Coun-
cils of Orange, c. 1, 2 Aries, c. 26, the African Councils, 2 Carth. c. 3, 4, 3 Carth. c.
32 : but the Greek rule, according to the Poenitentiale Theodori, 2. 3. 8, ed. Haddan
and Stubbs' Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents, vol. iii. p. 18S, allowed a pres-
byter to act without a bishop.

The Supremacy of the Bishop. [lect,

hi nome. He was a theologian whose orthodoxy is
expressly admitted by Cyprian himself, and who had
done good service 40 . When, after a vacancy of some
duration in the Koman episcopate, a bishop was elected
who belonged to the an ti- puritan party, and who
formally accepted the principle that in the Church
there must be a mingling of good and bad, the puritan
party resolved to have a bishop of their own, and
elected Novatian. All the elements of a valid election
were present. Under ordinary circumstances, or in
a newly organized community, the election would have
been unchallenged. There was only one point in which
it was exceptional. That exceptional point was that
Rome already possessed a complete organization. The
question arose whether it was competent, under any
circumstances, for a new organization to be established
side by side with an existing organization in the same
city. The question does not seem to have been raised
before : and in Asia Minor, in Syria, and in Africa,
Novatian's election was for a time held to be valid 41 .

40 He had been the organ of the Roman Church in writing to Cyprian the letter
which is printed among those of Cyprian, Epist. 30 (31), p. 549 : Jerome, De
Virits Illustr. c. 70, vol. ii, p. 837, cf. Contra Rufin. ii. 19, ibid. p. 513, mentions
several works of his of which some are still extant and will be found in Gallandi,
Biblioth. V. P. vol. iii, and Migne Patrol. Lai. vol. iii. Two recent Jesuit writers,
Armellini and Grisar (both quoted by Jungmann, Dissertationes sdectae in His-
toriam Ecclesiasticam, Ratisbon, 18S0, vol. i, p. 175, 258, who does not agree with
them), have endeavoured to show that he was the author of the Philoeopkumena
(more commonly, but without certain ground, assigned to Hippolytus). His ortho-
doxy is admitted in detail by Cyprian, Epist. 69 (76) c. 7, p. 756.

41 Novatian seems to have written an encyclical letter announcing both his elec-
tion and his policy on the question of the readmission of the lapsed (Socrat. H. E.
4. 28). In Asia Minor some churches sided with him strongly and permanently
(Socrat. ibid. : Sozom. II. E. 6. 24). In Syria he would probably have been for-
mally recognized by a council at Antioch, but for the death of Fabius (this is
implied by Euseb. E. E. 6. 46) : that he was not without adherents in Africa is

IV.] The Supremacy of the Bishop. 105

But, with the far-sightedness of a great politician,
Cyprian saw the bearings of the question on Christian
organization. He used the whole weight of his in-
fluence, and the whole force of his vehement rhetoric,
to maintain that, the election of Cornelius having been
valid, the election of Novatian was null. The con-
troversy was keen, but in the end the views of Cyprian
prevailed. The necessity for unity outweighed all
other considerations. Henceforth, whoever in any city
claimed to be a member of the Christian Church must
belong to the established organization of that city.
The seamless coat of Christ must not be rent. As
there was one God, and one Christ, and one Holy
Spirit, so there could be but one bishop 42 . The attempt
to form two communities side by side put its authors
outside the pale of the Church Catholic : ayjia-fxa, like
alpeari9 t was a word of bad repute : the keystone

shown, e.g. by Cyprian's letter to Antonianus, Epist. 55 (52), p. 625. The recent
recovery (by de Rossi, early in 1881) of a fragment of the Daraasine epitaph of


Hippolytus fertur premerent cum jussa tyranni

Presbyter in ecisma semper mansisse A'ovati
(the recovered fragment consists of the words in italics : see Funk in the Theo-
logische Quartalschrift, vol. Ixiii. 1881, p. 641) has again brought into prominence
the important fact that one who was ' in the very first rank of theologians in the
ante-Nicene times' (Card. Newman, Tracts Theological and Ecclesiastical, p. 221,
ed. 1874) was an adherent, possibly a bishop, of the Puritan party: and there are
many indications, in spite of the comparative silence of church writers, that so far
from Cyprian and Cornelius having gained a complete and immediate victory, the
secession lasted for several centuries : the Council of Nicaea, c. 8, made a com-
promise with those of their officers who wished to return to the main body : and as
late as the end of the sixth century, Eulogius of Alexandria found it necessary to
write a treatise against them, of which some fragments still remain : see Photius,
Hibliotheca, Codd. 182, 280, Migne, Patrol. Gr. vol. ciii. p. 531, vol. civ. pp.
326 sqq.

Epist. Cornelii, ap. St. Cypr. Epist. 46 (49), p. 611.

io6 The Supremacy of the Bishop. [lect.

of Christian organization was fitted firmly into its
place : the free right of association existed no longer.

One other result flowed from this conception of the
bishop as the embodiment of unity of doctrine and
unity of discipline, which also helps to confirm the
view that the prevalence of that conception was the
main cause of his supremacy.

The earliest theory of the relation of the bishop to
the community was, as we have already seen 43 , that the
bishop stood in the place of the unseen Lord, entrusted
with the oversight of his Master's household until
He should return from that far country into which
He had gone. This view is found in the Ignatian
Epistles, in the Clementines, and in the Apostolical
Constitutions 44 . In none of these cases is there any
ambiguity of expression. The bishop is in the place
of God, or of Christ : the presbyters are in the place
of the Apostles. But gradually another theory inter-
weaves itself with this and ultimately takes its place.
It was a not unnatural inference from the belief that
the bishop was the custodian and conservator of Apo-
stolic teaching that he, rather than the presbyters,
took the Apostles' place. The bishops had succeeded
the Apostles in the presidency of the several Churches
by what Firmilian calls an ordinatio vicaria i5 — one

43 See above, p. 88.

41 Clementin. 3. 60 tirl rrjs Xptrrrov icaOiSpas KadeaOfis: 3. 70 Qpovov ovv XpiOTov
rtfirjaert : Const. Apost. 2. 26 6 yap eiriaKoiros irpoica.0e£t(T9aj vp-wv wi Qtov dfta rtri-
Ht}ixivos : Dionys. Areop. Eccles. Hierarch., possibly by an intrusion into the Church
of Gnostic tradition, uses ol OeotiSus UpoTtKtoTai, 6 OeottSfjs lepapxi)*, passim, of
bishops. St. Cyprian. Epist. 59 (55), c. 5, p. 672 ' unus in ecclesia ad tempus
sacerdos et ad tempus judex vice Cbristi.'

45 Epist. Firmilian, ap. St. Cyprian, Ep. 75, c. 16, p. 281. The word ordinatio

rv.] The Supremacy of the Bishop. 107

officer being appointed in another's place, as governor
succeeded governor in a Roman province, or as chan-
cellor succeeds chancellor in our own University 4 *.
When discipline as well as doctrine found its centre
in the bishops, it began to be argued that they had
succeeded not only to the seats which the Apostles
had filled, but also to the powers which the Apostles
possessed 47 . It began to be urged that the powers,

is properly used of civil appointments, e.g. in Suet. Dom. c. 4 of the appointment
of the governors of Egypt : so also, as late as the time of the Emperor Anastasius,
of military appointments, in an inscription at Bostra, Le Bas et Waddington,
No. 1906.

46 There is neither proof nor presumption that the word Siadoxrj, which is ordi-
narily used, e.g. hy Eusebius, H. E. 1. 1 and passim, to designate the succession
of bishops, is to be taken in any other than the sense which it ordinarily bore. It
is used not only by civil historians to designate the succession of civil officers, but
also of the succession, i. of the heads of philosophical schools, e.g. Diog. Laert.
proem. : ii. of Jewish high priests, Joseph, B. J. 4. 3. 6 : iii. of heretical teachers,
e.g. (St. Hippol.) Philos. 9. 7, p. 440 : Ptolem. Epist. ad Floram, ap. St. Epiph.
Haeres. 33. 7 : and of Marcionite bishops, Adamant. Dial, de Recta in Deura Fide, i.
ap. Append, ad Origen. Op. vol. i. p. 810, ed. De la Rue.

47 The view that bishops, and not presbyters, are the successors of the Apostles,
appears first by implication in the claim of Zephyrinus and Callistus, during the
Montanist controversy, to have the power of absolving penitents from sin (Tertull.
Be Pudic. I : (St. Hippol.) Philos. 9. 12. p. 458), which appears to have been based
on the assumption of their succession to St. Peter (Tertull. De Pudic. 21, where
Zephyrinus is addressed as ' apostolice,' and where, after quoting St. Matt. 16. 18,
l9,Tertullian proceeds 'idcirco tu praesumis et ad te derivasse solvendi et alligandi
potestatem, id est ad omnem ecclesiam Petri propiuquam qualis es evertens atque
commutans mnnifestam Domini intentionem personaliter hoc Petro conferentem').
Probably the earliest express statement of it as applicable to all bishops is by an
African bishop in the course of the controversy on rebaptism : * manifesta est seu-
tentia Domini nostri Jesu Christi apostolos suos mittentis et ipsis solis potestatem
a patrc sibi datam permittentis, quibus nos successimus eadem potestate ecclesiam
Domini gubernantes et credentium fidem baptizantes' (Clarus a Mascula in the
Sententiae Episcoporum, 79, ap. St. Cyprian. Op. p. 459, ed. Hartel, printed as
Concilium Carthag. vii. in Routh, Reliquiae Saoae, vol. iii. p. 130) : it is also
stated about the same time, though less expressly, by Cyprian himself, Epist. 3 (65)
p. 471, and by Firmilian of Caesarea, ap. St. Cyprian. Epist. 75, c. 16, p. 821. A
compromise between the two theories of Apostolical succession was sometimea
adopted in later times : the metropolitan was regarded as being in the place of

io8 The Supremacy of the Bishop. [lect.

especially the power of ' binding and loosing/ which
our Lord had conferred on the Apostles, were given
to them not personally or as constituting the Church
of the time, but in a representative capacity as the
first members of a long line of Church officers 48 .
Against an early assertion of this view Tertullian
raised a vigorous protest : nor did the view win its
way to general acceptance until the time of the great
Latin theologians of the fifth century. It was a still
later development of this view to maintain that the
bishops had also succeeded to the power of the Apostles
in the conferring of spiritual gifts, and that through
them, and through them exclusively, did it please
the Holy Spirit to enter into the souls either of
individual Christians at confirmation, or of Church
officers at ordination 49 . This latest development, which
has frequently been confounded with the earlier view,
is found in its completest form on the threshold of
the middle ages : it was received as a doctrine by the

Christ, and his suffragans sat round him like the Apostles : St. Symeon. Thessal.
De sacris Ordinalionilus, c. 6.

48 The contention of Tertullian (as a Montanist) was that the 'power of the
keys' was personal to St. Peter (De Pudic. 21, quoted in preceding note). The
view of Augustine was that it was given to the Church (St. Aug. De Catech. Bud.
c. 31, Op. ed. Migne, vol. vi. 308 : c. advers. Legis, 1. 17. vol. viii. 624: Tract.
50 in S. Joaun. Evang. c. 12, vol. iii. 1763 : De Baptiamo c. Donat. 7. 43, vol. be.
237, from which it appears that what afterwards became the current view was held
by the Donatists). But in Jerome the earlier Roman view reappears, and, as before,
in express antithesis to Montanism (St. Hieron. Epizt. 41 (54), vol. i. p. 189 'apud
nos Apostolorum locum episcopi tenent') : and it was afterwards strengthened by
the supposition that our Lord, before His Ascension, formally ordained the Apos-
tles to the episcopate by imposition of hands (Quaestiones ex Novo Testamento in the
Appendix ad St. August. Op. vol. iii. 2296 ed. Migne).

19 On the history of this view see G. L. Hahn, Die Lehre von den Sakramenten
in ikrer yetehichtllchen EntwicJcelung, Breslau, 1864, pp. 192-209.

IV.] The Supremacy of the Bishop. 109

Council of Paris in a.d. 829 50 ; it forms the basis of
several arguments in the pseudo-Isidorian decretals ;
it passed at length into the ordinals ; and it still

The further developments of the supremacy of bishops
over presbyters fall for the most part outside the limits
of these Lectures. Between the primitive eV/a-zcoTro? and
the mediaeval bishop there is so wide an interval that
those who are familiar with the picture of the latter
may find it difficult to recognize the portrait of the
former : at the same time, that interval is not the
chasm of an impassable gulf; it is a space of historical
ground every step of which can be traced.

And it is important to point out that the original
conception of the relation of bishops to presbyters
never wholly passed away.

The Church writers of the fourth and fifth cen-
turies, Chrysostom, Epiphanius, Jerome, Hilary the
Deacon, expressly state that bishops and presbyters
are equal save in the one respect that the former
only have the right of appointing persons to church
office 61 . It is maintainable upon the evidence that, even

80 Cone. Paris, lib. r. c. 27, ap. Mansi, Concilia, vol. xiv. 556: which was incor-
porated by the author of the pseudo-Isidorian decretals as furnishing a strong
argument in favour of one of the main contentions of those decretals, viz. that
' Chorepiscopi ' were not bishops but presbyters, and that consequently they had
not the power of conferring spiritual gifts {Decreta Damasi papae de corepiscopis,
ap. Hinschius, Decretales pseudo-Isidorianae, p. 513 : Decreta Joannis III Papae,
ibid. p. 715).

M St. Chrysosf. Horn. xi. in Epist. 1 ad Timoth .., Op. ed. Migne, vol. xi. 553 :
St. Epiphan. Haeres. 74. 4, p. 906 (who expresses the difference by saying that the
order of bishops begets fathers for the Church, i.e. by ordaining officers, that of
presbyters begets sons, i.e. by baptizing). St. Hieron. Epist. 146 (85) ad Evangt-

no The Supremacy of the Bishop. [lect.

in this one respect, the writers in question write only
of the usage of their own times, and that in earlier
times the interposition of a bishop was not always re-
quired G2 . What the bishop was conceived as having was
not peculiarity of function, but priority of rank. His
office was designated by terms indicative of such priority
— Trpocrraa-ia, 7rpoeSpla 63 . The presbyters were spoken of

him, 'Quid euim facit excepta ordinatione episcopus quod presbyter non facial?*
cf. id. Comrn. in Epist. ad Tit. c. I : (Ambrosiast.) Comm. in Epist. I, ad Tirnoth.
c 3, 7, ap. St. Ambros. Op. vol. ii. 295 (the name of Hilary tbe Deacon is used in
the text as a conventional designation of the author of this important commentary,
but no hypothesis which has been yet advanced as to its actual authorship can be
said to be wholly satisfactory).

M Novatus the African presbyter appointed Felicissimus as deacon : and it is to
be noted that Cyprian does not question the validity of the appointment, although
he strongly objects to its having been made without his knowledge: ' Felicissimum
satellitem suum diaconum nee permittente me nee sciente, sua factione et am-
bitione constituit,' St. Cyprian, Epist. 52 (49), p. 618 (there is nothing in the con-
text to support Tillemont's view that Cyprian uses 'constituit' in the unusual
sense of 'procured the appointment'). The contention that the rule of requiring
the appointments of Church officers to be made by a bishop grew up as a matter
of expediency and good order, and that it did not exist from the first as the result
of a peculiar power inherent in the episcopal office, is supported by two other sets
of facts : i. Ordination by other than a bishop has been allowed in cases where a
bishop was not available: e.g. in the solitudes of Egypt a presbyter, Paphnutius,
ordained a monk, Daniel, as successively deacon and priest (Cassian. Oollat.4 1, ap.
Migne, Patrol. Lat. vol. xlix. 585) : and the presbyters who were sent as mission-
aries to the Teutonic races in the eighth century both ordained presbyters, and
exercised other episcopal functions (Anskar. Yit. S. WilleJuul. c. 5, ap. Pertz,
M. II. O. Scriptt. vol. ii. p. 381, 'servus Dei Willehadus per Wigmodiam [Bremen]
ecchsias coepit construere ac presbyteros super eas ordinare:' so Altfrid. Vit.
S. Liudger. c. 20, ap. Pertz, ibid. p. 411). ii. Ordination by other than a bishop,
with the permission of the Pope, is allowed even by the Schoolmen and Canonists,
although the question is discussed among them whether the Pope's licence can
extend to the conferring of all orders, or should be limited to orders below the
presbyterate (see e.g. St. Thom. Aquin. In Lib. iv. Sent., dist. 7, qu. 3, art. 1, Durand.
In Lib. iv. Sent., dist 7, qu. 4, §§4, 21, Bacho, In Lib. iv. Sent., dist. 7. qu. I. art. 4,
and for a fuller discussion Baptista Fragoso, De Obliyatione Summi Pontificis, § 9.
149 155, printed in Rooabert, Bibliotheca Maxima Pontijicia, vol. v. p. 159).

ss TlpoffTaaia, of a bishop, e.g. Euseb. H. E. 6. 35 (so the state of being without
a bishop is dirpoaraota, St. Basil. Epist. 102, p. 197): -npotSpta, e.g. Euseb. 27. E.
2. 17. 23. (The use of these and similar tenns of a bishop must be distinguished

IV.] The Supremacy of the Bishop. m

by terms which were in use for ail councils whether
civil or religious, for the assessors of a civil magistrate,
for the committee of a charitable association — <rvi>eSpiov,
fiovkr], concilium. The bishop and his council were
so far regarded as forming a unity that one of the
chief collections of statutes lays down the rule that
the judicial action of a bishop without his council was
invalid : ' irrita erit sententia episcopi nisi clericorurn
praesentia confirmetur 54 .' The early churches were con-
structed, as the Jewish synagogues had been constructed,
in accordance with this theory of the nature of the
governing body. The great division was not between
clergy and laity, but between baptized and unbaptized :
the place of the baptized was subdivided by a step or
dais : on the dais the deacons stood : in the middle of it
was the 'holy table:' at the end was a semicircle of
seats for the council, with the seat of the bishop slightly
raised above the rest 55 .

To the dreamy eyes of the mystics of the early
centuries these visible churches, dark and small as they
were in comparison with the majestic temples of the

from their earlier use of the whole council of governing officers : e. g. Origen,
Comm. in. Matt. torn. xvi. 22, vol. iii. p. 753, ed. De la Rue, oi Se ras irpairoKaO-
o plus itimartvfitvoi rod \aov Iviaicoiroi k al trpta^vTepot: so probably
Herm. Vis. 3. 10. 7 : and, as late as the end of the fourth century, St. Greg. Naz.
Orat. 26 (28) in Seipsum, vol. i. p. 483.)

54 ittatuta Ecclesiae Antiqua (sometimes known as the fourth Council of
Carthage), c. 23.

56 The 6p6vos or cathedra of the bishop was the special symbol of his presidency:
e. g. St. Cyprian, Eplst. 3 (65), p. 469 ' pro episcopatus vigore et cathedrae auctori-
tate:' so ibid. 17 (n), p. 522 : Euseb. H. E. 2. 23. i: 3. 5. 2 : 4. 33. 1, whereas
the presbyters were oi e/e rov Scvripov 6p6vov, id. 10. 5. 23. The epitaphs of bishops
sometimes describe their tenure of office by ' sedit,' e.g. the epitaphs of the bishops
of Capua, Mommsen, Ltscr. Reyni Neu-polituni, Noe. 3894, 3897.

i r 2 The Supremacy of the Bishop.

pagan gods, seemed to be full of a divine light, and
expanded to the spiritual sense until they were wide as
heaven itself. The order of the Church below typified
and realized the order of the Church above. The
bishop was like the Eternal Father Himself upon His
throne : the presbyters were like the ' four and twenty
elders : ' the deacons were transfigured into white-
winged angels passing to and fro upon the ministry
of God 56 .

The vision was worthy of poets and of saints. To
some of us, in these later days, it seems to belong to
that vast cavern of the past which is tenanted by the
ghost of many a noble poetry and many an ancient
faith. And yet, as we emerge, with the sad eyes of vain
regret, from that dim world of shadows into the light
of this present noon — though we see around us no
galaxy of white-winged angels, but rather what some
think to be the ruins of a creed — there is given to us,
if only we would know it, a not less divine order and a
not less sacred work.

56 Clein. Alex. Strom. 4. 8, p. 593 ukwv Se T»}y obpaviov iKKKrjaias 17 kitiyuos: id.
6. 13, p. 793, the ' elders' of the Apocalypse are the heavenly figures of the ciders
of the church below (this is also implied in the difficult passage of the Aiarayal
KArj/ievros, c. iS, where Hilgenfeld's reading seems almost certain). So in Gregory
Nazianzen's dream of the church Anastasia at Constantinople the bishop is inre'p-
Opovos, the presbyters sit on each side of him, the deacons stand ' in shining
garments, likenesses of angelic brightness' (St. Greg. Naz. Carm. lib. 2. 1. 16, p.
844). But in later times the vision of Isaiah or of Ezekiel rather than that of the
Apocalypse seems to have presented itself as the heavenly counterpart of the
church on earth : the presbyters are conceived as the Cherubim, St. Sophron.
Hierosol. Comment. Liturg. c. 6, ed. Migne, Patrol. Grace, vol. lxxxvii. 3986 :
Eoccerpt. e Const. Apost. ap. Pitra, Juris Eccles. Graec. Mem. vol. i. p. 97.



If we gather together all the words which, during
the first two centuries, are used, as collective terms
for the officers of the Christian communities, we find
that they agree in connoting primarily the idea of* pre-
sidency or leadership l .

If we further gather together the abstract terms
which are used, during the same period, for ecclesias-
tical office, we find that — with the exception of ScaKovia
— they exhibit the same phenomenon 2 .

If we further gather together all the passages which
speak of the relations of ordinary members of the
communities to the officers, we find that they uniformly
imply the correlative idea of subjection, and urge the
duty of submission, to constituted authority 3 .

1 The words are oi fiyoipavoi, Heb. 13. 7, 17, 24: 1 Clein. Rom. 1. 3: 01 npn-
rjyovptvot, 1 Clem. Rom. 21. 6: Herm. Vis. 2. 2. 6: 3. 9. 7 : ol rrpoiorapuvm, o)
7rpo«TTWT«j, 1 Thess. 5. 12: 1 Tim. 5. 17: Herm. Vis. 2. 4. 3 : Jren. 1. 10. 1 : id.
ap. Euseb. H. E. 5. 24. 14. It has recently been suggested (Holtzmann, Die
I'asforalbriefc, p. 201, Weingarten in von Sybel's Historixche Zeitschrifi, Bd. 45,

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

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