Ta\ a0rxai=a e!qh kratei/tw.

The Nicene Council

Volume VI

Introductory Notice

Introductory Note to Gregory Thaumaturgus

Translator's Notice

Part I.-Acknowledged Writings

A Declaration of Faith


A Metaphrase of the Book of Ecclesiastes

Canonical Epistle


The Oration and Panegyric Addressed to Origen


Part II.-Dubious or Spurious Writings

A Sectional Confession of Faith


On the Trinity


Twelve Topics on the Faith


On the Subject of the Soul

Four Homilies

The First Homily on the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary

The Second Homily

The Third Homily

The Fourth Homily


On All the Saints


On the Gospel According to Matthew


The Works of Dionysius Extant Fragments

Part I.-Containing Various Sections of the Works

Part II.-Containing Epistles, or Fragments of Epistles


Exegetical Fragments

I.-A Commentary on the Beginning of Ecclesiastes

II.-The Gospel According to Luke

III.-On Luke XXII. 42, Etc

IV.-An Exposition of Luke XXII. 46, Etc

V.-On John VIII. 12

VI.-Of the One Substance

VII.-On the Reception of the Lapsed to Penitence

Note by the American Editor

Julius Africanus

Introductory Notice to Julius Africanus

The Extant Writings of Julius Africanus

I.-The Epistle to Aristides

II.-Narrative of Events Happening in Persia on the Birth of Christ

III.-The Extant Fragments of the Five Books of the Chronography of Julius Africanus

IV.-The Passion of St. Symphorosa and Her Seven Sons



Anatolius and Minor Writers

Introductory Notice to Anatolius and Minor Writers

The Paschal Canon of Anatolius of Alexandria

Translator's Biographical Notice

Fragments of the Books on Arithmetic

Alexander of Cappadocia

Translator's Biographical Notice

From the Epistles of Alexander

Note by the American Editor

Theognostus of Alexandria

Translator's Biographical Notice

From His Seven Books of Hypotyposes or Outlines

Pierius of Alexandria

Translator's Biographical Notice

I.-A Fragment of a Work of Pierius on the First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians

II.-A Section on the Writings of Pierius

Theonas of Alexandria

Translator's Biographical Notice

The Epistle of Theonas, Bishop of Alexandria, to Lucianus, the Chief Chamberlain


Translator's Biographical Notice

Fragments of the Epistle of Phileas to the People of Thmuis

The Epistle of the Same Phileas of Thmuis to Meletius, Bishop of Lycopolis


Translator's Biographical Notice

An Exposition of the Chapters of the Acts of the Apostles


Translator's Biographical Notice

I.-The Epistle Written by Malchion

II.-Fragments Apparently of the Same Epistle of the Synod of Antioch

III.-From the Acts of the Disputation Conducted by Malchion Against Paul of Samosata

IV.-A Point in the Same Disputation



Introductory Notice

Translator's Introductory Notice

The Acts of the Disputation with the Heresiarch Manes


General Note


Of the Manichaeans


Peter, Bishop of Alexandria

Introductory Notice to Peter, Bishop of Alexandria

Translator's Introductory Notice

The Genuine Acts of Peter

The Canonical Epistle

Note by the American Editor

Fragments from the Writings of Peter



Introductory Notice to Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria

Epistles on the Arian Heresy



The Banquet of the Ten Virgins

Discourse I.-Marcella

Discourse II.-Theophila

Discourse III.-Thaleia

Discourse V.-Thallousa

Discourse VI.-Agathe

Discourse VII.-Procilla

Discourse VIII.-Thekla

Discourse IX.-Tusiane

Discourse X.-Domnina

Discourse XI.-Arete


Concerning Free-Will

From the Discourse on the Resurrection


General Note

Oration Concerning Simeon and Anna

Oration on the Psalms


Three Fragments from the Homily on the Cross and Passion of Christ

Some Other Fragments of the Same Methodius

General Note


Introductory Notice to Arnobius

The Seven Books of Arnobius Against the Heathen. (Adversus Gentes.)

Book I

Book II

Book III

Book IV

Book V

Book VI

Book VII



Introductory Notice

In this volume a mass of fragmentary material has been reduced to method, and so harmonized as to present an integral result. The student has before him, therefore, (1) a view of the Christian Church emerging from the ten persecutions; (2) a survey of its condition on the eve of that great event, the (nominal) conversion of the empire; (3) an introduction to the era of Athanasius; and (4) a history of events that led to the calling of the first Catholic council at Nicaea.

The moral grandeur and predominance of the See of Alexandria are also here conspicuously illustrated. The mastery which its great school continued to exercise over Christian thought, hegemony in the formation of Christian literature, its guardian influence in the development of doctrinal technology, and not less the Divine Providence that created it and built it up for the noble ends which it subserved in a Clement, an Origen, and an Athanasius, will all present themselves forcibly to every reflecting reader of this book. One half of this volume presents the Alexandrian school itself in its glorious succession of doctors and pupils, and the other half in the reflected light of its universal influence. Thus Methodius has no other distinction than that which he derives from his wholesome corrections of Origen, and yet the influence of Origen upon his own mind is betrayed even in his antagonisms. He objects to the excessive allegorizing of that great doctor, yet he himself allegorizes too much in the same spirit. Finally we come to Arnobius, who carries on the line of Latin Christianity in Northern Africa; but even here we find that Clement, and not Tertullian, is his model. He gives us, in a Latin dress, not a little directly borrowed from the great Alexandrian.

This volume further demonstrates-what I have so often touched upon-the historic fact that primitive Christianity was Greek in form and character, Greek from first to last, Greek in all its forms of dogma, worship, and polity. One idea only did it borrow from the West, and that not from the ecclesiastical, but the civil, Occident. It conformed itself to the imperial plan of exarchates, metropoles, and dioceses. Into this civil scheme it shaped itself, not by design, but by force of circumstances, just as the Anglo-American communion fell in with the national polity, and took shape in dioceses each originally conterminous with a State. Because it was the capital of the empire, therefore Rome was reckoned the first, but not the chief, of Sees, as the Council of Nicaea declared; and because Byzantium had become "New Rome," therefore it is made second on the list, but equal in dignity. Rome was the sole Apostolic See of the West, and, as such, reflected the honours of St. Paul, its founder, and of St. Peter, who also glorified it by martyrdom; but not a word of this is recognised at Nicaea as investing it even with a moral primacy. That was informally the endowment of Alexandria; unasserted because unquestioned, and unchallenged because as yet unholy ambition had not infected the Apostolic churches.

It is time, then, to disabuse the West of its narrow ideas concerning ecclesiastical history. Dean Stanley rebuked this spirit in his Lectures on the Eastern Church. He complained that "Eastern Christendom is comparatively an untrodden field;" he quoted the German proverb, "Behind the mountains there is yet a population;" he called on us to enlarge our petty Occidental horizon; and he added words of reproach which invite us to reform the entire scheme of our ecclesiastical history by presenting the Eastern Apostolic churches as the main stem of Christendom, of which the church of Rome itself was for three hundred years a mere colony, unfelt in theology except by contributions to the Greek literature of Christians, and wholly unconscious of those pretensions with which, in a spirit akin to that of the romances about Arthur and the Round Table, the fabulous Decretals afterwards invested a succession of primitive bishops in Rome, wholly innocent of anything of the kind.

"The Greek Church," says Dean Stanley, "reminds us of the time when the tongue, not of Rome, but of Greece, was the sacred language of Christendom. It was a striking remark of the Emperor Napoleon, that the introduction of Christianity itself was, in a certain sense, the triumph of Greece over Rome; the last and most signal instance of the maxim of Horace, Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit. The early Roman church was but a colony of Greek Christians or Grecized Jews. The earliest Fathers of the Western Church wrote in Greek. The early popes were not Italians, but Greeks. The name of pope is not Latin, but Greek, the common and now despised name of every pastor in the Eastern Church.... She is the mother, and Rome the daughter. It is her privilege to claim a direct continuity of speech with the earliest times; to boast of reading the whole code of Scripture, Old as well as New, in the language in which it was read and spoken by the Apostles. The humblest peasant who reads his Septuagint or Greek Testament in his own mother-tongue on the hills of Boeotia may proudly feel that he has access to the original oracles of divine truth which pope and cardinal reach by a barbarous and imperfect translation; that he has a key of knowledge which in the West is only to be found in the hands of the learned classes."

Before entering on the study of this volume, the student will do well to read the interesting work which I have quoted; but the following extract merits a place just here, and I cannot deprive even the casual reader of the benefit of such a preface from the non-ecclesiastical and purely literary pen of the Dean. He says: "The See of Alexandria was then the most important in the world. ...The Alexandrian church was the only great seat of Christian learning. Its episcopate was the Evangelical See, as founded by the chair of St. Mark.... Its occupant, as we have seen, was the only potentate of the time who bore the name of pope. After the Council of Nicaea he became the judge of the world, from his decisions respecting the celebration of Easter; and the obedience paid to his judgment in all matters of learning, secular and sacred, almost equalled that paid in later days to the ecclesiastical authority of the popes of the West. `The head of the Alexandrian church,' says Gregory Nazianzen, `is the head of the world.' "

In the light of these all-important historic truths, these volumes of the Ante-Nicene Fathers have been elucidated by their American editor. He begs to remind his countrymen that ecclesiastical history is yet to be written on these irrefragable positions, and the future student of history will be delivered from the most puzzling entanglement when once these idols of the market are removed from books designed for his instruction. Let American scholarship give us, at last, a Church history not written from a merely Western point of view, nor clogged with traditional phraseology perseveringly adhered to on the very pages which supply its refutation. It is the scandal of literature that the frauds of the pseudo-Decretals should be perpetuated by modern lists of "popes," beginning with St. Peter, in the very books which elaborately expose the empiricism of such a scheme, and quote the reluctant words by which this gigantic imposition has been consigned to infamy in the confessions of Jesuits and Ultramontanes themselves.