Obrázky na stránke
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

ПНЕ reign of St. Anicetus, the successor

of St. Pius, lasted seven years and nearly nine months. To him is attributed the regulation which forbids ecclesiastics to wear their hair long, but he only renewed the prohibition already made by St. Anaclete, and which came from the apostles. It is said also that he conferred the sacred orders five times, ordained four deacons, seventeen priests and nine bishops. Under his pontificate, the greatest heretics and the greatest saints appeared at Rome; the former insecting it with errors, the latter maintaining the purity of its faith. We must especially notice the heresy of the Gnostics, who, glorying in the name of Christians, abandoned themselves to the most abominable excesses; and unhappily the Pagans, but imperfectly informed on the subject of religion, confounded them with the true Christians, so that this error, joined to their attachment to idolatry, strengthened their aversion to the disciples of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, a great number of heretics were reclaimed by the testimony that St. Polycarp bore to the doctrine of the Roman Church. This bishop of Smyrna had come to Rome to confer with Pope Anicetus on the proper time of celebrating Easter. At Rome, and throughout the west, it was always celebrated on Sunday; in Asia, on the contrary, they conformed to the custom of the Jews, who celebrated it on the fourteenth day of the first month, on whatever day of the week it fell. Polycarp was the disciple of the apostle St. John, who had

made him bishop of Smyrna, and he followed in this respect the tradition which he had received from him. Although he could not persuade Anicetus to alter the custom of the western Church, he ceded to him the honor of offering the holy mysteries in his place, and they separated in peace. St. Anicetus was crowned with martyrdom on the 17th of April, 173.

The 14th of May following, St. Soter, a native of Fondi, in Campagna, was elevated to the chair of Peter. During his pontificate of four years, less nine days, he sent consid erable alms to the church of Corinth 10 aid the persecuted Christians. Dionysius, the bishop of that place, has paid a beautiful tribute to the charity of this Pope and of the Romans. The devil, who had in vain assailed the Church by the lewdness and the disorderly manners of the Nicolaites, Gnostics, and Adamites, then sought to ensnare it by the apparent austerity and hypocritical sanctity of the Montanists, into whose errors, Tertullian, one of the greatest men of Christian antiquity, had the misfortune to fall. The women of this sect having exercised some ecclesiastical functions, St. Soter forbade the deaconesses to touch the pall which covered the chalice, or to offer incense in the Church. It was during the life of this excellent pontiff that the miracle of the storming legion took place in the year 174. The Christian soldiers of this legion implored in prayer the aid of heaven for the Roman army,which (then in Germany) was nearly perishing with thirst, there being no

water near the place where they were en the severity of their morals, he had addressed camped. Suddenly a rain sell which supplied to them letters of communion, when Praxeas, the Romans with water for themselves and who afterwards became himself a heresitheir horses. The enemy, on the contrary, arch, having informed Victor of the true were overwhelmed by a violent hail storm state of things, he refused their presents and accompanied with thunder. The emperor, withdrew his letters of peace. Under the Marcus Aurelius, moved by this event, for pontificate of Victor arose the heresy of Thebade, under pain of death, the further accu odotus the banker, who denied the divinity sation of the Christians, and thus suspended of Christ, and who was excommunicated the persecution for some time. Neverthe by the Pope on that account. The reign of this less, St. Soter was martyred on the 22d of pontiff, which was closed by his martyrdom April, 177.

in 202, forms the transition from the second St. Eleutherius, son of Abundius a native to the third age of the Church. This third of Nicopolis, who had been deacon under

age commenced with cruelty towards the Anicetus, commenced, on the 3d of May, a Christians, because the emperor Severus, reign of fifteen years and twenty-three days. who had until then been favorable to them, The first of these years is celebrated by the having suddenly changed, persecuted them so glorious death of the martyrs of Lyons ; fiercely, from the year 201 until his death, from their prison they wrote to the Pope that the reign of Anti-christ was believed to against the heresy of the Montanists, and be near; this was the fifth persecution. deputed to him St. Irenæus, a priest who The most violent tempests which the powwas afterwards bishop. During the reign ers of hell had before excited against the of Eleutherius, Lucius, king of England, Church were trivial in comparison with sent an embassy to Rome, to request for his that which it suffered in the third age. countrymen, a missionary to teach them The most common instruments of death the Christian religion. He died a martyr were the wooden horse, the rack, gibbets, in the year 193.

iron nails, boiling cauldrons and blazing The first of June of the same year, St. furnaces. But if the cruelty of the execuVictor I, an African, mounted the pontifi tioners, and the torments which they used, cal throne, which he occupied during nine strike us with horror, the constancy of the years, one month, and twenty eight days. martyrs excites our admiration and instructs This Pope wishing all the churches to unite and humbles us. Notwithstanding all the in the solemnities of Easter at the same persecutions inflicted on the Christians, time, ordered that it should be celebrated their number was so great from the comby all on the Sunday after the 14th of the mencement of this age, that Tertullian month of March, and notwithstanding the did not hesitate to say in his Apology, that objections of the bishops of Asia, who had they withdrawn to another country, wished to retain the contrary custom, he they would have left Rome a frightful solicharged Theophilus, bishop of Cæsarea in tude-the Pagan priests also complained of Palestine, to assemble a council and to pub the diminution of their revenues and the lish his decree. He even menaced those desertion of their temples. Indeed, how who disobeyed with excommunication; could they be frequented? There was not St. Irenæus, who disapproved of this me a Christian who could not draw from the nace as too severe, and which was not possessed the confession that the true God indeed executed, did not, however, reproach was the God of the Christians, and Tertulhim with having exceeded the bounds of his lian offered to make the trial before the authority. The decision of Victor proves magistrates. And if these 'gods," said he, that even then this power was exercised in do not confess that they are devils, if they the Church. The Montanists sought to dare to lie before a Christian, punish that deceive the Pope, by sending him presents, Christian as an impudent imposter.accompanied by apparently Catholic decla St. Zephyrinus a Roman, who succeeded rations; misled by their exterior virtues and St. Victor I, on the 28th of August, 202,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

reigned seventeen years. His desire of dying for Jesus Christ did not make him unmindful of the wants of his flock, and he accordingly concealed himself during the persecution of the Christians under Severus; but after the death of Plantian, the emperor's father-in-law and the Christians' most bitter enemy, he resumed the public exercise of his functions. This Pope witnessed the sad fall of Tertullian, who became a Montanist in 205, and he was the more afflicted by it because, as St. Jerome relates, it was occasioned by the jealousy of some of the Roman clergy against that great man. In the year 212, the celebrated Origen came to Rome to see this renowned Church. Zephyrinus died the 20th of August, 219: he is said to be the first Pope whose death was not a violent one.

The tranquillity of the Church was in some degree restored by the protection which the emperor Alexander extended to the Christians during the pontificate of St. Callixtus or Callistus I, a Roman by birth, who succeeded Zephyrinus and reigned five years, one month and twelve days. There is even ground for believing that the Christians commenced the building of public

temples : thus Callistus built the church at present called “Our Lady's,” beyond the Tiber. At least he took advantage of this favorable time to build that subterranean cemetery on the Appian way, known by the name of the Catacombs, where it is said that forty-six Popes and more than one hundred and seventy-four thousand martyrs are interred. The edifying institution of the Ember days is attributed to Callistus, and the prohibition of receiving charges against ecclesiastics from degraded or suspected persons, or known enemies of the accused; a wise precaution calculated to inspire a proper respect for the priesthood. Callistus conferred holy orders five times, ordaining sixteen priests, four deacons, and eight bishops. Notwithstanding the favor which Alexander showed towards the Christians, there were some martyrdoms during his reign, caused by popular excitements, or by the secret persecution exercised by the favorites of the emperor, who did not participate in his sentiments. Callistus himself is a proof of this fact, for he was arrested, and for a long time confined in prison, and was finally thrown into a well, on the 14th of September, 224.



From the Catholic Advocate.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

N the seventh article of its last number,

the Dublin Review invites the attention of its readers to the late harassing persecutions to which the Catholics of the Russian empire have been subjected by that cruel, tyrannical and intolerant government. The memorable allocution of the present Pope, addressed to the sacred college in the consistory of July 220, 1842; a work from the pen of an ancient Russian counsellor of state; and yet another from the pen of the learned Dr. Theiner, priest of the congregation of St. Philip Neri, giving a “ Modern History of the Catholic Church of the Latin

and Ruthenian rites,” afford the occasion for this interesting article.

The persecution set on foot by the Russian government is less one of violence than of cunning. Unlike that of the ancient pagan emperors, wherein the mask was thrown off, the sword unsheathed, and the poison presented openly, with the avowed purpose of destruction, “it is a covert, artful, disguised hatred, striking with the golden sceptie of an affected clemency, and dribbling out its hemlock under the name of medicine.” It aims less to break down, crush, and destroy the body,

than to weary, pervert, and kill the soul. A correct idea of the nature, extent, and It does not boldly drag its victims to the dun horrors of this galling tyranny cannot be geon, and send them thence to crimson the gathered from the occasional notices which scaffold with their blood; but under the have appeared in the periodical press. With pretence of disobedience to its imperial few intervals of comparative tranquillity it edicts, it smites with sentence of exile the has now endured for near half a century faithful bishops who have wisdom enough with equal violence. “From the unwoto perceive its malignant designs, and cou manly reign of Catherine II,” says the rerage enough to resist them; and in their viewer, “ to that of the present emperor, it place it appoints the time-serving instru has worked with the regularity of a maments of its own unrighteous policy. The chine, up and down,-ascending to excite affairs of the Catholic Church are by arbi hopes, and falling down to crush them,trary assumption made the business of gov with unwearying perseverance of evil purernment, and the matter of imperial legis pose. Cunning has raised it, that cruelty lation, while in all cases the interests of the might better impel it down." true Church are sacrificed to the unjust The allocution of the Pope is confined claims of that unholy schism, which recog chiefly to the later calamities of the Cathonizes the divine right of the czar to rule lic Church in Russia, without presenting the Church of God upon earth. And so any general survey of those numerous tygeneral, unsparing and pitiless is the scheme rannical acts of which history makes record of persecution, that the favor of the Turk in preceding years: the French work gives and Infidel has been courted, and their co enough of these to arouse indignation and operation purchased with money, to make excite sympathy, but “it is too much taken the poor Armenians and United Greeks, up with doctrinal arguments, and a history who are subject to the Porte, groan in uni of the Greek schism." The work of Dr. son with the persecuted Catholics of Russia. Theiner is of more value and interest. “It

A power without restraint, and a tyranny enters most minutely into details ; gives the which has no soul to feel, have formed al biography of the principal actors in the liance with religious hatred to carry out the scenes which it describes; makes use of underhand, double-dealing, and systematic local memoirs and rare publications, as design of rooting out Catholicity from amid well as of official documents, and thus prethe heterogeneous races which constitute sents a full and comprehensive, as well as the empire of the autocrat. It is not merely painfully finished view of the eventful histhe Catholics of generous, but unhappy, tory of religion in Russia.” This last work dismembered, crushed Poland, that have the reviewer takes as his principal guide. suffered from the iron rule of this heartless The reviewer contradicts the very prevadespot, but wherever, under the vast do lent idea, that “the Church of Russia is an mains that are cursed with his influence offspring of the schismatical Greek Church and authority, the poor Catholics exist, there of Constantinople, and has been, ever since is at work the same intolerant, heartless, its origin, separated from the communion and insidious influence for the ruin of faith, of the apostolic see.” St. Ignatius was and the subjection of conscience to the the first patriarch recognized by the Rusreign of heresy and schism. The persecu sians—and from his time (A. D. 867) till tion cannot, therefore, be regarded as po about 1120, no trace of breach of commulitical, but religious. And those who suffer nion between the Russian Church and the from the lash of despotism, are not merely holy see is discoverable, although by Greek martyrs in the cause of patriotism-politi- forgery, attempts have been made to prove cal martyrs, but in the true sense of the an earlier alienation. With occasional inword, they are martyrs to their love of the terruptions from 1120, down to the fifteenth same precious faith, for which, in primi century, Russia continued in communion tive times, the Christians were accustomed with Rome, so that its separation from the to suffer and die.

rock of Peter may, with historical accuracy, VOL. I.-- No. 8.


be fixed about the opening of the fifteenth cen new archbishop with the emblems of the tury, and was then the product or handiwork patriarchal dignity, and with his own hand of craft, avarice, pride, ambition, and seve put the mitre on his head. The conseral other vices, as clearly manifested in the quences of this simony were, first,“ a sepaconduct of those by whom it was effected. ration of the southern from the northern In 1415 a division took place in the Russian bishoprics," and secondly, " a defection of Church in consequence of a deposition, by Russia from obedience to Constantinople." the bishops of a part of Russia, of the This event took place in 1589. worthless patriarch Photias, and an election But the brutal tyranny of the monster, of Gregory Zamblak in his place. As Iwan IV, who acted as head of the Rusmany bishops still adhered to Photias, the sian Church, and in this capacity held ecChurch was divided into two patriarchates, clesiastical synods, over which he presided Photias holding that of Moscow, and Zam and dictated decrees; together with the perblak that of Kiew. These were once more ceptible progress of those frightful conseunited under Isidore, who had been sent quences which heresy and schism always out as metropolitan of both, by Joseph, bring in their train, had made many of the patriarch of Constantinople. In Kiew, Isi bishops remember the peace and repose endore was well and joyfully received, but joyed by themselves and their flocks while not so in Moscow. The Prince Wassili III in communion with the holy see, and they seized him and cast him into prison, whence, began to deplore the existing miseries and after two years confinement, he escaped to sigh again for the return to their former Rome, and died in 1463, patriarch elect of happier condition. They repented, and Constantinople. Kiew and Moscow were longed to return to their Father's house. again separated, the former remaining faith They held an assembly under Michael Raful to the holy see, the latter being schis hosa, metropolitan of Kiew, and drew up matical. By the year 1520, however, the a declaration of their wishes. This docuefforts of Moscow unhappily prevailed, and ment was dated December 20, 1594, and all Russia was plunged into the same sad signed by the metropolitan, six bishops and condition.

an archimandrite. A large body of Ruthe Shortly after, occurred the disgraceful nian Christians followed these prelates, and, struggle for the see of Constantinople under the approval of Clement VIII, were among four competitors, viz., Jeremias II, re-united to the Catholic Church. But art Metrophanes III, Pachonius and Theolept. and violence succeeded, after two hundred This was one of the most shameful con years, to sever this union once more. tests for Church preferment, “which has Those Churches thus re-united are desigdisfigured the annals even of that Church, nated by the reviewer, as 6 the United in which, with the exception of those bi Greek Church of Russia." When Mishops who kept communion with Rome, chael Rahosa had taken this step, "the the most worthless succession of prelates schismatical archbishop of Moscow, Job, for centuries held sway.” Jeremias suc summoned a council, and hurled his impoceeded by “ gaining the interest of the Porte, tent censures against the union;" but God through the influence of the Haram,” but blessed the former and smote the latter. he exhausted the resources of his see, in Michael enjoyed a peaceful life and tranpaying bribes to effect the ends of his unholy quil death ; Job, having perpetrated crime ambition. The poverty of his treasury in after crime, and become a mere instrument duced him to journey to Russia in search in the iniquitous hands of the murderer of contributions. And there, in the Krem Godunow, whom he crowned as czar, was lin, he bartered off the patriarchal dignity at length in 1604 imprisoned and strangled. for a large sum of money, and consecrated Michael's successor was Joseph Rudski, Job who had been newly appointed arch styled by Pope Urban VIII, “ The Athabishop by the czar. The prince, however, nasius of Russia," who in 1623 was marhimself claimed the right of investing the tyred by his enemies. But God rendered

« PredošláPokračovať »