7. Of Presbyters – their equality and identity with Bishops
Antiquities of the Christian Church
CHAPTER III. Of the Ministers of the Church
7. Of Presbyters – their equality and identity with Bishops
Bishops and presbyters are regarded by some as having been, from the beginning, distinct orders of the clergy. Others maintain that they were originally the same; and that the bishop was only the foreman or chairman of a body of presbyters or clergymen. Of these conflicting views, the former is entertained by those who contend that the bishops were constituted by the apostles themselves a distinct and superior order of the clergy. The latter, by those who deny the divine origin of episcopacy.
The controversy on this subject has arisen chiefly from the equivocal import of the term * which, in the peculiar phraseology of the church, denotes both a superior and a teacher. The first mentioned signification earliest prevailed. The presbyters* or elders of the christian church correspond to the elders** of the Jews. Both denote precedence in office, not seniority in age. But as seniority of age and precedence in office are very naturally united in the same person, and in the christian church ever have been united, so also in the New Testament there are examples of the union of both in the same person. The apostles style themselves elders and fellow laborers*, with evident reference to this twofold relation. The passage in 1 Tim. 5:17, is peculiarly pertinent in this connection. Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor; especially they who labor in the word and doctrine. In other passages these elders are styled shepherds and teachers.
It is equally evident also that both bishops*, and elders*, are of similar import both in the Scriptures and ecclesiastical writings of the first centuries of the christian era. In the Scriptures in the following passages: Acts 17:28, Phil. 1:1, 1 Tim. 3:1, Tit. 1:5, 7, comp. Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22, 23, 1 Cor. 12:28–30, Eph. 4:11, etc. The following passages are sufficient to illustrate the usage of early ecclesiastical writers, Chrysostom says that the elders or presbyters were formerly called bishops and deacons of Christ, and that the bishops were called elders.*. Theodoret styles both the elders and the bishops, watchmen, alleging that, at that time, they were, called by both names*. In another passage he also says, that those who were called bishops evidently held the rank of presbyters, elders*. The famous Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, in his official letter to the Roman bishop Victor, enumerates all the bishops who preceded Victorat Rome, and styles them presbyters who formerly presided over that apostolic church at Rome.
"Jerome, one of the most learned of the Latin fathers, who had before him all the testimonies and arguments of earlier writers, has placed this matter in its true light with peculiar distinctness. In his annotation on the first chapter of the Epistle to Titus, he gives the following account of the nature and origin of the episcopal office: –
'A presbyter is the same as a bishop. And until, by the instigation of the devil, there arose divisions in religion, and it was said among the people, "I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas," churches were governed by a common council of the presbyters. But afterwards, when every one regarded those whom he baptized as belonging to himself rather than to Christ, it was everywhere decreed that one person, elected from the presbyters, should be placed over the others; to whom the care of the whole church might belong, and thus the seeds of division might be taken away. Should any one suppose that this opinion, – that a bishop and presbyter is the same, and that one is the denomination of age, and the other of office, – is not sanctioned by the Scriptures, but is only a private fancy of my own, let him read over again the apostle's words to the Philippians, "Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi with the bishops and deacons; grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ," etc. Philippi is a single city of Macedonia; and certainly, of those who are now styled bishops there could not have been several at one time in the same city. But, because at that time they called the same persons bishops whom they styled also presbyters, therefore the apostle spoke indifferently of bishops as of presbyters.'
The writer then refers to the fact, that St. Paul, having sent for the presbyters (in the plural) of the single city of Ephesus only, afterwards called the same persons bishops. (Acts 20:) To this fact he calls particular attention; and then observes that, in the Epistle to the Hebrews also, we find the care of the church divided equally amongst many; 'Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account; that they may do it with joy, and not with grief, for that is [un]profitable for you.' – 'And Peter,' continues Jerome, 'who received his name from the firmness of his faith, says, in his Epistle, "The presbyters who are among you I exhort, who am also a presbyter, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed; feed the flock of God which is among you, [he omits the words, taking the oversight thereof, superintending it*,] not by constraint, but willingly." These things we have brought forward to show that, with the ancients, presbyters were the same as bishops. But in order that the roots of dissension might be plucked up, a usage gradually took place that the whole care should devolve upon one. Therefore, as the presbyters know that it is by the custom of the church that they are subject to him who is placed over them, so let the bishops know that they are above 'presbyters rather by custom than by the truth of our Lord's appointment, and that they ought to rule the church in common, herein imitating Moses,' etc.
"The same views are maintained by this father in his Epistle to Evagrius, with the additional mention of the fact, that from the first foundation of the church of Alexandria down to the days of Heraclas and Dionysius, the presbyters of that church made (or, as we should say, consecrated) their bishops. The passage, which is quoted at some length in the note, is very important. Having referred to several passages of the Acts and Epistles in proof of an assertion which he had made, to the effect that bishop and presbyter were at first the same, he proceeds to say that 'afterwards, when one was elected, and set over the others, this was designed as a remedy against schism. – For at Alexandria, from the evangelist Mark down to the bishops Heraclas and Dionysius, the presbyters always gave the name of bishop to one whom they elected from themselves, and placed in a higher degree; in the same way as an army may create its general, or as deacons may elect one of their own body, whom they know to be assiduous in the discharge of duly, and call him archdeacon. For what does a bishop perform, except ordination, which a presbyter may not do,' etc. The fact which Jerome here states respecting the appointment and ordination of bishops in the church of Alexandria by presbyters alone for the space of more than two centuries, is attested also by Eutychius, patriarch of Alexandria. And the opinion of Jerome respecting the original equality, or rather identity, of presbyter and bishop, is in perfect accordance with the language of a still earlier writer, Tertullian. De Bap.c. 17."
The identity of bishops and presbyters is further evident from the circumstance that they both received the same honorary titles* prepositi, antistes*, equivalent to presidents, moderators, chairmen or presiding officers. Presbyters were also denominated partners of the throne*. A distinction is sometimes made between those of the first, and of the second throne; in which case the latter evidently designates presbyters. But it is still plain that, in such instances, the preeminence ascribed to the bishop is only that of primus inter pares – chief among equals.
Even the most zealous advocates of the Episcopal system in the Greek, Roman, and English church are constrained to recognize and admit the identity of the terms * according to the usus loquendi of the ancient church. They are constrained to admit that the distinction between the office of bishop and presbyter, which prevailed about the third and fourth centuries and to a period still later, was unknown in the first two centuries.
A fierce controversy arose about the time of the Reformation whether the word*, as used in the Scriptures, and in the most ancient documents of the church, does not denote merely the laity and not any order of the clergy. This position was maintained not only by Presbyterians, but by another class of modern writers who are in reality no friends of the system. They sought to show that both presbyters and bishops were not originally religious teachers, but overseers and managers of the general concerns of the church. According to this theory, which had many advocates, the presbyters were merely municipal officers like the elders of the Jews. The principal arguments for this theory were drawn from 1 Tim. 5:17, 1 Thess. 5:12, especially the first. This theory has been ably discussed by Vitringa, Danovius, Gabler, and many others. The result of the whole is given in the following extract from Gabler. "We admit that there were not a few presbyters in the apostolic age, appointed by the churches who did not act as religious teachers. But contend that Paul, disapproving of this measure, and that he might prevent the further spread of the errors of false teachers and apostles, ordered that all presbyters should be teachers, essent *. If now we admit that Paul in 1 Tim. 5:17 speaks of presbyters as they were (not as they ought to be), all acting as rulers, but not all acting as teachers, still we learn from another passage in this same epistle, 1 Tim. 3:2, that the apostle's desire and direction was, that all who should, in future, be chosen presbyters should be "apt to teach."
History clearly informs us that presbyters were uniformly reckoned as belonging to the regular priesthood from the time when the church first began to rear up an ecclesiastical hierarchy, and when the distinction began to be made between clergy and laity. The language of the fathers, and especially of Cyprian seems to imply that there still were some who did not perform the duties of their office as teachers; but even these were still reckoned among the regular clergy, and not as belonging to the laity.
Ignatius always joins bishops and presbyters together as presiding over the church, one, in the place of Jesus Christ, and the other, as the great council of God, in the place of the apostles, without which the church is no church. *
Much the same representations are made by many other ancient authors. In the Apostolical Constitutions, the presbyters are denominated the counsellors of the bishop – the sanhedrim and council of the church. Chrysostom calls them the sanhedrim of the presbyters. Cyprian styles them the sacred and venerable assembly of our clergy, and Jerome the assembly of presbyters – the senate of the church. The original of each is here given in their order. Consiliarii* – Apost. Con. * – Chrysostom. Cleri nostril sacer venerandusque consessus – Cyprian. Coetus preshyterorum, senatiis: ecclesiae – Jerome. To which the following may with propriety be added: Primum presbyteri episcopi adpellabantur ut uno recedente sequens ei succederet. Primum episcopi et presbyteri una ordinatio sint. Uterque enim sacerdos est, sed episcopus primus est ut omnis episcopus presbyter est; non omnis presbyter, episcopus: Hie enim episcopus est qui inter presbuteros primus est.
From alt these passages the conclusion is that the imposition of hands and the pivileges of the priesthood*, belonged of right to the presbyters. For this reason, and not because of any seniority in age, they were called *, which is the same as priests, or pastors, shepherds, etc. The term senior or elder*, very seldom occurs, and when it does is applied only to such persons as sustained no ministerial office, bishops, presbyters, deacons, and seniors, and seniors of the people are mentioned in connection. The clergy and seniors are also contrasted one with the other. These seniors Augustine styles viri nobilissimi, optimates, principes, etc. They correspond with the elders in the Presbyterian church, and with the notables in the Reformed church in France. Bingham erroneously compares them to church-wardens, vestry-men and stewards who assist in the ceremonies of the church, but take no part in its discipline, or ministerial services.
[Gieseler's account of the foregoing subject is as follows. "The new churches everywhere formed themselves on the model of the mother church at Jerusalem. At the head of each were the elders*, all officially of equal rank, though in several instances a peculiar authority seems to have been conceded to some one individual from personal considerations. – After the death of the apostles, and the pupils of the apostles, to whom the general direction of the churches had always been conceded, some one amongst the presbyters of each church was suffered gradually to take the lead in its affairs. In the same irregular way the title of bishop* was appropriated to this first presbyter." Cunningham's Trans. Vol. L p. 56, 65. Se also Rheinwald c. 14, p. 25, and Seigel, Vol. I. p. 229, to the same effect. – TR.]
Matth. Zimmermann. de Presbyteris et Presbyterissis. Annaberg 1681.4; Claiidii Fonteji. (Jac. Boileau)de antiquo Presbyterorum jure in regimine ecclesiae. Taurin. 1668. ed., 2. 1678. 8 ; Henr. Dodwell.de ordine et potestate Episc. et Presbyterorum. D. Dissertat. Cyprian. Dissert. X : Mar.Lupi.de Parochiis ante annum Christi millesimum. Bergam. 1788. 4.
Homil. L in Phil. i. p. 8; Homii. IL in 1 Tim. 3.
Euseb. eccl. Hist. lib. v. c. 24.
(No tag #3 appears in Rev. Lyman Coleman's translation.)
Ep. ad Evarg. Opp. tom. ii. p. 220: Riddle's Christ. Antiq. p. 186: Euseb. h. e. lib. X. c, 5. p. 757. Comp. Greg. Naz. Vit. Sua. p. 6. Augustin. Ep. 48.
(No tag #4 appears in Rev. Lyman Coleman's translation.)
Boehmer jur. eccl. ant. p. 389 seq: Observ. ad Petri de Marca. Concord, sacerd. et imp. ed. Bamberd. p. 128 seq.: Michaelis Anmak über die Paulin. Br. an Timoth.: Planck Gesch. derch. Kerchl. Gesellschafisverfassung Th. L S. 26.
Examin. Forbigeri. Sent. Sect. II. Jen. 1812. 4. S. 12.
Epist. ad Trail. c. 9: c. 4. Vgl. Ep. ad Magues.
De Sacerdot. lib. iii. c. 15: Synes. ep. 67. p. 209.
Comnieni. in Jes. c. iii.
Hilal. Comment, in Eph. iv. et 1 Tim. 3.
(No tag #12 appears in Rev. Lyman Coleman's translation.)
Optatus Mileviianus. lib. i: de Schim. Don. c. 17: Augustinus. ep. 137.
(No tag #13 appears in Rev. Lyman Coleman's translation.)
'Idem est presbyter, qui et episcopus; et antequam diaboli instinctu studia in religione fierent, et diceretur in populis, Ego sum Pauli, ego Jipollo, ego autein Cephae, comniuni presliyterorum consilio ecclesiae gubernabanlur. Postquam veto unusquisque eos, quos baptizaverat, suos putabat esse, non Chrisli, in toto orbe decretum est, ut unus de presbyteris electus superponeretiir caeteris, ad quern omnis ecclesiae cura pertineret. et schismatuin semina tollerentur. Putet aliquis non Scripturarum, sed nostram, esse sententiam, episcopum et presbyterum unum esse, et aliud aetatis, aliud esse nonien officii: relegat Apostoli ad Philippenses verba dicentis, "Paulas et Tiraotheus servi Jesu Christi, omnibus Sanctis in Christo Jesu qui sunt Philippis, cum episcopis et diaconis, gratia vobis et pax," – et reliqua.. Philippi una est urbs Macedoniae, et certe in una civitate plures, ut nuncupatur, episcopi esse non polerajit. Sed quia eosdem episcopos illo tempore quos et presbyteros appellabant, propterea indifFerenter de episcopis quasi de presbyteris est locutus. Adhuc hoc alicui videatur ambiguum, nisi altero testimonio comprobetur. In Actibus Apostolorum scriplum est, quod cum venisset Apostolus Miletum, miserit Ephesum, et vocaverit presbyleros ecclesiae ejusdem, quibus postea inter caetera sit locutus, "Attendite vobis, et omni gregi in quo vos Spiritus Sanctus posuit episcopos, pascere ecclesiam Domini, quam acquisivit per sanguinem suum," Et hoc diligentius observate, quo modo unius civitatis Ephesi presbyteros vocans, postea eosdem episcopos dixerit. Si quis vult recipere eani epistolam, quae sub nomine Pauli ad Hebraeos scripta est, et ibi aequaliter inter plures ecclesiae cura dividitur. Siquidem ad plebem scribit, "Parete principibus vestris,et subjecti estote; ipsi enim sunt qui vigilant pro animabusvestris, quasi rationem rcddentcs, ne suspirantes hoc faciant: siquidem hoc utile (sic) vobis est." Kt Fetrus, qui ex fidei firmitate nomen accepit, in epistola sua loquiter dicens, "Presbyteros ergo in vobis obsecro compresbyter, et testis Christi passionum, qui et ejus gloriae, quae in futero revelandus est, socius sum, pascite eura qui in vobis est gregem Domini, uon quasi cum necessitate, sed voluntarie." Haec propterea, ut ostenderemus apud veteres eosdem fuisse presbyteros quos et episcopos; paulatim vero, ut dissensionura plantariaevellerentur, ad unum omnera sollicitudinem esse delatam. Sicut ergo presbyteri sciunt se ex ecclesiae consuetudine ei qui sibi praepositus fiierit esse subjectos, ita episcopi noverint se magis consuetudine quam dispositionis dominicae veritate presbyteris esse majores, et in commune debere ecclesiam regere, imitantes Moysen j qui cum haberetin potestate solus praeesse populo Israel, septuaginta elegit, cum quibus populum judicaret. – Hieron. Comment, in Tit. i
Quod autem postea unuselectus est qui caeteris praeponereter, in schismatis remedium factum est: ne unusquisque ad se trahens Christi ecclesiam rumperet. Nam et Alexandriae a Marco evangelista usque ad Heraclam et Dionysium'episcopos, presbyteri semper unum ex se electum, in excelsiori gradu collocatum, episcopum nominabant: quo modo si exercitus imperatorem faciat; aut diaconi eligant de se, quern industrium noverint, et archidiaconum vocent. Quid enim facit, excepta ordinalione, episcopus, quod presbyter non faciat? Nee altera Romanae urbis ecclesia, altera totius orbis existimanda est. Et Galliae, et Britanniae, et Africa, et Persis, et Oriens, et India, et omnes barbarae nationes unum Christum adorant, unam observant regulam veritatis. Si auctoritas quaeritur, orbis major est urbe. Ubicunque fuerit episcopus, sive Romae, sive Eugubii, sive Constantinopoli, sive Rhegii, sive Alexandriae, sive Tanis, ejusdem meriti, ejusdem et sacerdotii. Potentia divitiarum, et paupertatis humilitas, vel sublimiorem, vel inferiorem, episcopum non facit. Caeterum omnes apostolorum successores sunt. – Presbyter et episcopus aliud aetatis, aliud dignitatis, est nomen. Unde et ad Titum, et ad Timotheum de ordinatione episcopi ct diaconi dicitur; de presbyleris omnino reticetur; quia in episcopo et presbyter continetur. – Et, ut sciamus traditiones apostolicas sumetas de veteri Testamento; quod Aaron et filii ejus (one order, namely, priests, corresponding to bishops or presbyters), atque Levitae (another order, corresponding to deacons), in templo fuerunt, hoc sibi episcopi et presbyteri, et diaconi, vindicent in ecclesia. – Hieron. Ep. ad Evagrium, 85.'
That these names are the same, follows from Acts 20:17, 28, Tit. 1:5, 7, Phil. 1:1, 1 Tim. 3:1, 8. Acknowledged bj Hiercnymus, Epist. 82 (al. 83) ad Occanum: Apud veteres iidem Episcopi et Fresbyteri, quia illud nomen dignitatis est, hoc aetalis. Epist. 101, ad Erangelum. See under c. 32, n. 2. – Idem ad Tit. 1:7. Idem est ergo Presbyter, qui Episcopus: et antequam diaboli instinctu studia in religione fierent, et diceretur in populis, Ego sum Pauli, ego Apollo, ego autem Cephae, cummuni Presbyterorum consilio ecclesiae gubernabantur. Postquam vero unusquisque eos, quos baptizaverat, suos putabat esse, non Cliristi; in toto orbe decretum est, ut unus de Presby teris electus superponeretur caeleris, ad quern omnis ecclesiae cura perlineret, et scht.smatuin semina tollerentur. Patataliquis non Scripturarum, sed nostram esse sententiam. Episcopum et Presbyterum ununi esse; etaliudaetatis, aliud esse nomen officii: relegat Apostoli ad Philippenses verba, dicentis: – here follows the passages cited above. Then: Haec propterea, ut ostenderemus, apud veteres eosdem fuisse Presbyteros, quoset Episcopos: paulatim vero, ut dissensionum plantaria evellerentur, ad unum omnem sollicitudinem esse delatam. Sicut ergo Presbyteri sciunt, se ex ecclesiae consuetudine ei,qui sibi praepositus fuerit, esse subjectos: ita Episcopi noveriutse magis consuetudine, quam dispositionis dominicae veritate, Presbyteris esse majores,et in commune debere ecclesiam regere. Augustini Epist. 82, ad Hieron. c. 33. – cf. Chrysostomi horn. I. in Philipp. i. T/teodoret. in Philipp. i. 1. It is remarkable how long this notion of the original sameness of Bishops and Presbyters was retained. Isidorus HispaL. Etymol. VII. c. 12, copies the passage from Hieron. Epist. ad Oceanum. Bernaldus Constantiensis (about 1088), the most zealous defender of Gregory Vil., after citing Jerome in his de Presbyterorum officio tract, (in Monumentorum res Allemannorum illustrantt. S. Bias. 1792. 4to.T. II. p. 384 seq.), continues: Quum igitur Presbyteri et Episcopi antiquitus idem fuisse legantur, etiam eandem ligandi atque solvendi potestatem et alia nunc Episcopis specialia habuisse non dubitantur. Postquam autem Presbyteri ab episcopali excellentia cohibiti sunt, coepit eis non licere, quod licuit, videlicet quod ecclesiastica auctpritas solis Pontificibus exequcndum delegavit. Even Pope Urban II, in Cone. Benerent. ann. 1091. can. V: Sacros autem ordines dicimus Diaconatura et Presbyteratuni. Hos siquidem solos primitiva legitur ecclesia habuisse: super his solum praeceptum habemus Apostoli. Hence Gratian adopts without hesitation the passages, Hieron. ad Tit i. (Dist. XCV. c. 5.) Epist, ad Evangel. (Dist. XCIII. c. 21), and Isidori Hisp. (Dist XXI. c. 1). Also Xicol. Tudeschus, .irchiep. Panormitanus (about A. D. 1428) super prima parte Primi cup. 5, (ed. Lugdun 1547. fol. 112 b): Olim Presbyteri in commune regebant ecclesiam et ordinabant sacerdotes. It is, perhaps, still more remarkable that even the papal Canonist, Jo. Paul. Lancelottus (about 1570) in his Institutt. Juris. Canon, lib. I. tit 21, c. 3, introduces the passage of Jerome without any attempt to refute it. The distinction between the institutio divina et ecclesiastica was of less importance in the middle ages, than in the modern Catholic church, and this view of the original identity of Bishops and Presbyters was of no practical importance. It was not till after the Reformation that it was attacked. Micheal de Medina (about A. D. 1570) does not hesitate to assert, illos Patres materiales fuisse haereticos, sed in his Patribus ob eoruni reverentiam hoc dogma non esse da
mnatum. Bellarminus de clericis lib. 1. c. 15, calls this sehtentiam valde inconsideratam, and prefers rather to resort to interpretation. Since this, all Catholics, as well as the English Episcopalians, maintain an original difference between bishop and presbyter. Comp. especially Pctorii de ecclesiiastica hierarchia lib. V. and dissertatt. theelogic. lib. I., in his theolog. dogmat. Tom. IV. p. 1G4. On the other side, Walonis Mcssalini (Claud. Salmasii) diss, de episcopis et presby teris. Lugd. Bat. 1641, 8vo. Dav. BlondelH apologia pro sententia Hieron ynii de episcopis et presby teris. Amstelod. 1610. 4to. Against these Henr Hammondusdissertatt. IV., quibus episcopatus jura ex sacra scriptura et pri ma antiquitate adstruuntur. Lond. 1651. The controversy was long continued. On the side of the Episcopalians Jo. Pearson, Guil. Beveridge. Henr Dodwell, Jos. Bingham, Jac. Usscrius. On that of the Presbyterians, Jo Dallaeus, Camp. Vitringa; also the Lutherans, Joach. Hildebrand, Just Henn. Bochmer, Jo. Franc. Buddeus, Christ. Mattih. Pfaff, etc. comp. Jo Phil. Gabler de episcopis primae ecclesiae Christ, eorumque origine diss Jenae. 1805. 4to.
Ambrosiaster, about 380, in comment, ad 1 Tim. 3:10 – Episcopi et Presbyterl una ordinatio est, Uterque enim sacerdos est, sed Episcopus primus est; ut omnis Episcqpus Presbyter sit, non tamen omnia Presbyter Episcopus: hie enim Episcopus est, qui inter Presbyteros primus est. We find the latest traces of this relation between Bishops and Presbyters in Hicronym. Epist. 101 (al. 85) ad Evangelum (in the old ed. erroneously ad Eragrivm, also in Gratianus Dist. XCIII. c. 24): Apostolus perspicue docet eoadeni esse Presbyteros, quos Episcopos. – Quaeris auctoritatem? Audi testimonium. Then he cites Phil. 1:1, Acts 20:28, etc. Quod autem postea unus electus est, qui caeteris praeponeretur, in schismatis remedium factum est, ne unusquisque ad se trahens Christi ecclesiam rumperet. Nam et Alexandriae a Marco Evangelista usque ad Heraclam et Dionysium Episcopos (about A. D. 240) Presbyteri semper unum ex se electum, in excelsiori gradu collocatum, Episcopum nominabant. Quomodo si exercitus Imperatorem faciat, aut Diaconi eligant de se, quem industrium noverint, et Archidiaconum vocent. (Comp. on this letter CItr. Waechtltr, Acta Eruditorum, ann. 1717, p. 484 seq., 524 seq. More lately the letter ad Evangelum has been pronounced spurious by P. Molkenbuhr, whom Binterim Denkwürdigk. d. christkath. Kirche Bd. 2. Th. 1. S. 70 ff. has followed. But there are so many similar passages that little is gained even if this should be proved not genuine.) Ambruslaster covim. ad Eph. 4:11: Primi Presbyteri Episcopi appellabantur, ut. recedent eo, sequens ei succederet. Denique apud Ægyptum Presbyteri consignant, si praesens non sit Episccrpus, Scd quia coeperunt sequenles Presbyteri indigni inveniri ad primatus tenendos, immutata est ratio, prospiciente Cancilio; ut non ordo, sed pieritum crearet Episcopum multorum sacerdotum judicio constitutum, ne indignus temere usurparet, et esset muitis scandalum. – Pseudo-Augustini (according to the conjecture of the Benedictines, Rilarii Diaconi) Quaestioncs Vet et Xov. Tcstamenii (in the Appendix Tom. III. P. II, of the Benedict, ed.) Quaest. 101: Presbyterum autera intelligi Episcopum probat Paulus Apostolus, quando Timotheum, quern ordinavit Presbyterum, instruit, qualein debeat creare Episcopum (1 Tim. 3:1). Quid est enim Episcopus, nisi primus Presbyter, hoc est summus sacerdos? – Nam in Alexandria et per totam Ægyptum, si desit Episcopus, consecrat [Ms. Colb. consignat] Presbyter. In like manner, Eutychius (Said .Ibn Batrik about 930) Patriarcha Alex, in Ecclesiae suae Origg. (ed. Joh. Selden, p. XXIX): Constituit Marcus Evangelista XII Presbyteros, qui nempe manerent cum Patriarcha, adeo ut cum vacaret Patriarchatus eligerent unum e XII Presbyteris, cujus capiti reliqui XI manus imponerent, eique benedicerent, et Patriarcham eum crearent (comp. 1 Tim. 4:14). – Neque desiit Alexandriae institutum hoc de Presbyteris, ut scilicet Patriarchas jcrearent ex Presbyteris duodecim, usque ad tempera Alexandri Patriarchae Alexandrini qui fuit ex numero illo CCCXVIII. Is autem vetuit, ne deinceps Patriarcham Presbyteri crearent. Et decrevit, ut mortuo Patriarcha convenirent Episcopi, qui Patriarcham ordinarent. In this passage it is at least certain that the part which is contradictory to the usage of latter times has not been interpolated, and so far it has an historical value. Attempts have been made to explain away its evidence by Morinus, Pearson, Le Quien, Renaudot, Petavius,and especially by Abraham Echeliensis Eutychius Patriarcha Al
ex, vindicatus et suis restitutus Orientalibus, s. responsio ad Jo. Seldeni Origines etc. Romae. 1661. 4to. Mamachii Origg. et Antiquitt. Christian. Tom. IV. p. 503 seq. On the other hand, see J. F. Rehkopf Vita Patriarcharum Alexandr. fasc. I. et II.
(* denotes Greek text in Rev. Lyman Coleman's translation.)
(** denotes Hebrew text in Rev. Lyman Coleman's translation.)