Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/716

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642

APOSTOLIC


642


APOSTOLIC


(180-200) states the theory and practice of doctrinal unity as follows: "Witli this Church [of Rome] be- cause of its more powerful principality, every Church must agree, tnat is, the faithful everywhere, in v-liich [i. e. in communion with the Koman ChurchJ the tradition of the Apostles has ever been preserved by those on every side" (Adv. Hiereses, III). The here- tic Marcion, the Jlontanists from Phrj-gia, Praxeas from Asia, come to Rome to gain the countenance of its bishops; St. Victor, Bishop of Rome, threatens to excommunicate the Asian Churches; St. Stephen refuses to receive St. Cj'prian's deputation, and sep- arates himself from various Churches of the East; Fortunatus and Felix, deposed by Cyprian, have re- course to Rome; Basilides, deposed in Spain, betakes himself to Rome; the presbyters of Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria, complain of his doctrine to Dionysius, Bishop of Rome; the latter expostulates with him, and he explains. The fact is indisputable: the Bishops of Rome took over Peter's Chair and Peter's office of continuing the work of Christ [Duchesne, "The Roman Church before Constantine", Catholic Univ. Bulletin (October, 1904) X, 429-450]. To be in continuity with the Church founded by Christ affiliation to the See of Peter is necessary, for, as a matter of history, there is no other Church linked to any other Apostle by an unbroken chain of suc- cessors. Antioch, once the see and centre of St. Peter's labours, fell into the hands of Monophysite patriarchs under the Emperors Zeno and Anastasius at the end of the fifth century. The Church of Alexandria in Egj'pt was founded by St. Mark the Evangelist, the mandatary of St. Peter It ffovir- ished exceedingly until the Arian and Monophysite heresies took root among its people and gradually led to its extinction. The shortest-lived Apostolic Church is that of Jerusalem. In 130 the Holy City was destroyed by Hadrian, and a new town, ^lia Capitolina, erected on its site. The new Church of ^Elia Capitolina was subjected to Cipsarea; the very name of Jerusalem fell out of use till after the Coun- cil of Nice (325). The Cireek Schism now claims its allegiance. Whatever of Apostolicity remains in these Churches founded by the Apostles is owing to the fact that Rome picked up the broken succes- sion and linked it anew to the See of Peter. The Greek Church, embracing all the Eastern Churches involved in the schism of Photius and Michael Ca^rularius, and the Russian Church can lay no claim to Apostolic succession either direct or in- direct, i. e. through Rome, because they are, by their own fact and will, separated from the Roman Com- munion. During the four hundred and sixty-four years between the accession of Constantine (323) and the Seventh General Council (787), the whole or part of the Eastern episcopate lived in schism for no less than two hundred and three years: namely, from the Council of Sardica (343) to St. John Clirysostom (3S".)), 5.') years; owing to Chrysostom's condem- nation (404-415), 11 years; owing to Acaeius and the Ihniitimn edict (484-519), 35 years; in Monothelism (lilO-tiSl), 41 years; owing to the dispute about images (726-7S7), 61 years; total, 203 years (Duchesne). They do, however, claim doctrinal con- nection with the Apostles, sufficient to their mind to stamp them with the mark of Apostolicity.

The Anouca-n- Coxtinuitv Cl.vim. — The contin- uity claim is brought forward by all sects, a fact showing how essential a note of the true Church Apostolicity is. The Anglican High-Church party asserts its continuity with the pro-Reformation Chur<4i in England, and through it with the Catholic Cliurch of Christ. "At the Reformation wo but washed our face" is a favourite Anglican saying; wc lia\e to show that in reality they wiished off "their hi-ad, and have been a truncated {'"hurch ever since. Ktymologically, "to continue" means "to hold to-


gether". Continuity, therefore, denotes a successive existence without constitutional change, an advance in time of a thing in itself steady. Steady, not sta- tionary, for the nature of a thing may be to grow, to develop on constitutional lines, thus constantly changing yet always the selfsame. This applies to all organisms starting from a germ, to all organiza- tions starting from a few constitutional principles; it also applies to religious belief, which, as Newman says, changes in order to remain the same. On the other hand, we speak of a "breach of continuity" whenever a constitutional change takes place. A Church enjoys continuity when it develops along the lines of its original constitution; it changes when it altere its constitution either social or doctrinal. But what is the constitution of the Church of Christ? The answer is as varied as the sects calling them- selves Christian. Being persuaded that continuity with Christ is essential to their legitimate status, they have excogitated theories of the essentials of Christianity, and of a Christian Church, exactly suit- ing their own denomination. Most of them repu- diate Apostolic succession as a mark of the true Church; they glory in their separation. Our present controversy is not with such, but with the Anglicans who do pretend to continuity. We have points of contact only with the High-Churchmen, whose lean- ings towards anticjuity and Catholicism place them midway between the Catholic and the Protestant pure and simple.

ExGL.tND AND RoME. — Of all the Churches now separated from Rome, none has a more distinctly Roman origin than the Church of England. It has often been claimed that St. Paul, or some other Apostle, evangelized the Britons. It is certain, how- ever, that whenever Welsh annals mention the in- troduction of Christianity into the island, invariably they conduct the reader to Rome. In the " Liber Pontificalis " (ed. Duchesne, I, 136) we read that "Pope Eleutherius received a letter from Lucius, King of Britain, that he might be made a Christian by his orders. " The incident is told again and again by the Venerable Bede; it is found in the Book of Llandaff, as well as in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; it is accepted by French, Swiss, German chroniclers, together with the home authorities Fabius Ethel ward, Henry of Huntingdon, William of Malmesburj', and Giraldus Cambrensis. The Saxon invasion swept the British Church out of existence wherever it pene- trated, and drove the British Christians to the west- ern borders of the island, or across the sea into Armorica, now French Brittany. No attempt at converting their conquerors was ever made by the conquered. Rome once more stepped in. The mis- sionaries sent by Gregorj' the Great converted and baptized King Ethelbcrt of Kent, with thousands of his subjects. In 597 Augustine was made Pri- mate over all England, and his successors, down to the Reformation, have ever received from Rome the Pallium, the symbol of super-episcopal au- thority. The Anglo-Saxon hierarchy was thoroughly Roman in its origin, in its faith and practice, in its obedience and affection; witness every page in Bede's "Ecclesiastical History". A like Roman spirit animated the nation. Among the saints rec- ognized by the Church arc twenty-three kings and sixty queeiLs, princes, or princesses of the dilTcrent Anglo-Saxon dynasties, reckoned from the seventh to the eleventh century. Ten of the Saxon kings made the journey to the tomb of St. Peter, and to his successor, in Rome. Anglo-Saxon pilgrims formed quite a colony in proximity to the Vatican, where the local topography (liorgo, Sassia, ]'icux Saxuniiin) still recalls their memory. There was an Ihiglish school in Rome, foundecl by King Ine of Wcsscx and Pope Gregory II (71.5-731), and supported by the Romescot, or Peter's-pence, paid yearly by