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THOU ART PETER

salcm, the imprint of the spiritual image of Christ upon the hearts of the growing community of Rome seemed a fitting answer. The faithful of the Eternal City baptized others in His Name and cele- brated His Presence in the Last Supper. It was not the largest com- munity of the young Church; perhaps it was not even the fifth in size. But it was of the same spirit as the rest. That its faith, its administration of the charisma, its service to those in need, the forms of its cult, and the sacramental signs of its covenant with the Kyrios Jesus, were in conformity with the practice of the East was guar- anteed by the authority of its leadership. Nothing indicates that it went its own way in any important respect. The disturbance at Antioch had no sequel. Paul, always careful to teach others what he himself had been taught, patiently adhered to the conviction which had brought him to Jerusalem and to Peter before starting the work that would require the whole of his energies. He respected the prior rank of the Apostle who had been nearest to the Master and who after the Crucifixion had gathered the scattered flock of the Shepherd who had been stricken. When now the wave of enthusiasm had been carried westward by him and his companions, they could set the yeast of the gospel into the ferment and chaos of the Eternal City. Those were the days of Nero, After James, the pillar of Jerusalem, had fallen a victim to the Synagogue in the year 62, Jewry and hea- thendom alike proved fatal to the princes of the Apostles. On the igth of July, 64, a fire that lasted six days reduced ten of Rome's fourteen quarters to ashes. Rumour has it that the Emperor himself kindled the blaze. The people, however, insisted that the guilty ones be named and punished. Apparently the Jewish enemies of die Christians possibly also Poppea, Nero's wife and a friend of the JCTTS pointed to the weird new society of die Christian*. The emperor sacrificed them to the mob in droves at the public games in the Vatican gardens. Their living bodies were dragged across the field, maimed, burned and crucified. It may be that the reasons advanced for the persecution lay deeper. These people who "hated the human race" and practiced "a new and abominable religion" had already come into conflict with the law.

It was during these Christian persecutions that the two Aposdes also kid down their lives. The year is uncertain. According to


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