The Mission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries

by Adolph (von) Harnack
translated and edited by James Moffatt
Second, enlarged and revised English edition;
London: Williams and Norgate / New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1908 (from the 2nd German edition).
Theological Translation Library, volumes 19-20

From the German, Die Mission und Ausbreitung des Christentums in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten (1902, revised 1906, 1915, and finally 1924)

[experimental greek] 

[[Book 4, Chapter 3, section 3, location 9 (page 182 = 2nd German ed p. 153) (scanned and proofed, Elana Newberger 4/2004; subsections and some Greek scanned by Moises Bassan 8/2004), edited RAK 5-9/2004, Frank Lameiro 4/2005; some ETs still needed, names and American spellings, French accents, German umlauts, italics)]]


9. ASIA MINOR (excluding Cilicia)1


Asia Minor, and indeed the majority of the above-named provinces, constituted the Christian country κατ' ἐξοχήν during the pre-Constantine era. This is a fact which is to be asserted with all confidence. Even the reasons for it can be discovered, although different considerations obtain with regard to the various sections of Asia Minor as a whole. Here Hellenism had assumed a form which rendered it peculiarly susceptible to Christianity. Here again were other provinces which were barely touched by it, possessing but an imperfect civilization, and therefore forming virgin soi1.2 Here, in many provinces, a numerous body of Jews were to be found, who, though personally hostile to Christianity, had nevertheless prepared its entrance into many a heart and head. Here singular mixtures of Judaism and paganism were to be met with, in the realm of ideas (cp. the worship of θεός ψιστος) as well as in mythology; the population were open for a new syncretism. Here there were no powerful and unifying national religions to offer such a fanatical resistance to Christianity as in the case of the Syro-Phoenician religion, although there were strong local sanctuaries and several attractive cults throughout the country. The religious life of the land was cleft by as serious a fissure as was the provincial and national -- which must have been felt to be an anachronism in the new order of things, above [[183]] all, in the new order introduced by Augustus. The older national memories had almost died out everywhere. There was a total lack of any independent political life. Here3 the imperial cultus established itself, therefore, with success. But while the imperial cultus was an anticipation of universalism in religion, it was a totally unworthy expression of that universalism, nor could it permanently satisfy the religious natures of the age.4 Besides, ambition, conceit, and servility clung to it. Civilization and manners differed widely throughout these provinces, where, in the West, trade, manufactures, and commerce flourished down to the beginning of the third century. But so far as there was any civilization -- and in the West it was extremely high -- it was invariably Hellenic. Here, more than [[184]] in any other country, did Christianity amalgamate with Hellenism, and the result was that an actual transition and fusion took place, which, contrary to the development at Alexandria, affected, not merely religious philosophy, but all departments of life. This is evident from the Christian theology, the cultus, the mythology, and the local legends of the saints. The proof of it comes out in the fourth, and in fact at the end of the third century, in the way in which paganism was overcome. Here paganism was absorbed. There were no fierce struggles. Paganism simply disappeared, to emerge again, in proportion to the measure of its disappearance, within the Christian church. Nowhere else did the conquest and "extirpation" of paganism occasion so little trouble. The fact is, it was not extirpation at all. It was transformation.5 Asia Minor, in the fourth century, was the first purely Christian country, apart from some outlying districts and one or two prominent sanctuaries which managed to survive. The Greek church of to-day is the church of Constantinople and Asia Minor, or rather of Asia Minor. Constantinople itself derived its power from Asia Minor in the first instance, and from Antioch only in the second. The apostle Paul was drawn to Asia Minor. Ephesus became the second fulcrum of Christianity, after Antioch. That great unknown figure, John, resided here, and here it was that the deepest things which could be said of Jesus were composed. Besides John, other apostles and personal disciples of Jesus,6 among then Philip the evangelist, and certainly his daughters (who were prophetesses), all came to Phrygia. Nearly all the great developments of the Christian religion during the second century originated in Asia, and it was in Asia that all the great controversies were mainly fought out -- the conflict between the itinerant and the local organizations (cp. 3 John, etc.), the gnostic struggle, the Christological controversy (Praxeas, [[185]] Theodotus, and Epigonus all came from Asia), the Montanist controversy, which here and here alone assumed a popular form, etc. Here, too, the synodal and metropolitan constitution of the church was initiated.7 The worship of relics also received its initial impetus in Asia Minor.

1 Cp. Map 6 -- Mommsen's Röm. Gesch. 5, pp. 295 f. (Eng. trans. 1,  pp. 320 f.), and the copious instructive article on "Asia Minor" by Joh. Weiss in the Prot: Real.-Encykl.3, vol. 10. The collocation of districts so heterogeneous as the above can only be justified on the ground that the results of Christian propaganda were fairly uniform. The collocation is thus at best provisional.

2 One must also notice at how late a period the whole eastern section of the province became really Romanized. Avowedly by 100 B.C.E., but actually not for two centuries later, did the Romans win practical and entire possession of Cilicia. Cappadocia was not secured till the reign of Tiberius; Western Pontus was added under Nero, Commagene and Armenia Minor under Vespasian, etc.

3 Above all, in Asia proper, which had every reason to hail Augustus with real gratitude. Perhaps the most brilliant achievement of the imperial policy during the first century was the pacification and prosperity of Asia Minor; it was partly a renaissance, partly quite a new creation.

4 Thanks to the newly discovered inscriptions, we now know better than ever the character, the consolidation, the provincial organization (with the Ἀσιάρχης and an ἀρχιερεύς  under him in every leading temple of the towns), the language, and the influence of the imperial cultus in Asia. How much we can gather from the history of the church, from inscriptions such as those of Priene (Mitteil. D. Kais. Deutschen Archäol. Instit., Athen. Abteil. 23.3. pp. 275 f., and my Reden u. Aufs. 1, pp. 301 f.), or from Hadrian's title of " Ὀλύμπιος σωτὴρ καὶ κτίστης"! Lübeck (pp. 17 f., on the imperial cultus and the hierarchy of the church) rightly perceives that "in the end the Christian organization (in Asia) was obliged to resemble that of the imperial cultus in several, though not in many, respects: apparently it leant on the cultus, though it was quite unconscious of any such deliberate purpose[?]." Still, it cannot be proved that the seven churches addressed in John's Apocalypse were selected by John on account of their position and relation to the cultus of the ruling power and the emperor (so Lübeck pp. 26 f.). Ramsay has put forward a fresh and independent view of this choice ("The Seven Churches of Asia," in Expositor 9, pp. 20 f.), and in his large work on The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia, 1904, pp. 171 f.). He regards each church as the representative of a group of adjoining churches, as in fact a sort of metropolitan church. This was not the original grouping of John, however; these seven churches must have been already recognized as "the seven churches of Asia." "The gradual selection of several representative churches in the province was in some way connected with the principal road-circuit of the province……They were the best points on that circuit to serve as centres of communication with seven districts: Pergamum for the north (Troas, Adramyttium, probably Cyzicus, etc.); Thyatira for an inland district on the north-east and east; Philadelphia for Upper Lydia, to which it was the door (3.8); Laodicea for the Lycus valley and for central Phrygia; Ephesus for the Cayster and lower Mæander valleys and coasts; Smyrna for the lower Hermas valley and the North Ionian coast, perhaps with Mitylene and Chios."

5 A good deal is to be learnt from Strzygowski's Kleinasien ein Neuland der Kuntgeschichte (1903) about the pre-Constantine church history of Asia.

6 Cp. Zahn's "Apostel u. Apostelschüler in der Provinz Asien" (Forschungen 6, 1900), which is not free from exaggerations and doubtful assertions. "The Asiatic presbyters who had seen the apostles" (so Papias, followed by Irenæus and the Muratorian canon) form a group which we can no longer make out clearly. Cp. my Chronologie 1, 320-381.

7 Plainly this organization had not yet become naturalized in Northern Africa, or at least only in the local Montanist church, when Tertullian wrote (in de Jejunio13): "Aguntur praeterea per Graecias [under which we must include Asia] illa certis in locis concilia ex universis ecclesiis, per quae et altiora quaeque in commune tractantur, et ipsa representatio totius nominis Christiani magna veneratione celebratur" ("Besides, in definite localities throughout Greece there are held those councils of all the churches, by means of which deeper questions are treated for the church's common good, and the entire name of Christ is represented and celebrated with entire reverence"). In Asia the synods were framed on the pattern of the local diets, which were a special feature of Asiatic life (cp. Lübeck, pp. 32 f.). Their significance for the growth and strength of the Christian cause is brought out by the Licinian legislation, which prohibited them (Vita Constant. 1, 51: μηδαμῶς ἀλλήλοις ἐπικοινωνεῖν τοὺς ἐπισκόπους, μηδ’ ἐπιδημεῖν  αὐτῶν ἐξεῖναί τινι τῇ τοῦ πέλας ἐκκλησίᾳ, μηδέ γε συνόδους μηδὲ βουλὰς καὶ διασκέψεις περὶ τῶν λυσιτελῶν ποιεῖσθαι = " Bishops were never to hold the slightest intercourse with one another, nor were they permitted to be absent on a visit to some neighbouring church, nor were synods, councils, or conferences on economic questions to be held").

Even before Trajan's reign we come across Christian communities at Perge (Pamphylia), Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Derbe, and Lystra (Acts 13, 14), as well as at unnamed localities in Galatia, Cappadocia, and Bithynia, at Ephesus, Colossæ, Laodicea, Phrygian Hierapolis (Paul's epistles), Smyrna, Pergamum, Sardis, Philadelphia, Thyatira (Apoc. John), and Troas (Acts, Paul, and Ignat., ad Phil. 11).8 The churches at Magnesia on the Mæander and at Tralles are also earlier than Trajan's reign, undoubtedly (see Ignatius). Nor does this exhaust the number of towns where Christian communities were to be found at that period.9 The vigour and the variety of the forms already assumed by Christianity in these quarters are shown by the seven epistles to the churches in the Johannine Apocalypse, by the whole tenor of the book, and by [[186]] the Ignatian writings. The epistle to Laodicea (Apoc. 3.17) sets before us a church which had already compromised with the world, and which felt itself to be rich and satisfied. For the John of the Apocalypse, for Ignatius, and for the unknown editor who called Paul's circular letter by the name of "Ephesians," Ephesus stood out pre-eminent among the churches of Asia. Ignatius mentions its populous character (πολυπληθία, Ephes. 1.3). He only speaks of πλῆθος  in connection with the others. Smyrna was originally a small church,10 oppressed by a powerful Jewish society, and so on. But by the time of Domitian the number of the Asiatic Christians was large. Thus the author of the Apocalypse depicts an ὄχλος πολύς, ὃν ἀριθμῆσαι αὐτὸν οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο (7.9) standing before the throne of the Lamb. A generation earlier, Paul had written an epistle (the so-called "Ephesians") to Asia, whose historical outlook implies the glorious experience of Christ's power to unify mankind, and of that peace among men which the Saviour came to bring. Christ, not Augustus, is our peace. He it is who made out of twain one, and hath broken down the wall of partition. The language of imperial adoration is applied here to the Redeemer (Ephes. 2.14).

8 For the history of the founding of these churches, cp. especially the studies of Ramsay.

9 For the Apocalypse of John never mentions Tralles, Magnesia, or Colossæ. Consequently, it must have also omitted other cities, even although these had churches of their own. Ignatius, too, merely gives a selection. Both he (Trall. 12, Polyc. 8) and the address of 1 Peter point to the existence of other churches in Asia.

10 Paul did not found this church; it arose after several of the other Asiatic Christian communities (Polyc., Ep. 11.3).

This sketch may be rounded off by a piece of non-Christian evidence which, however familiar, cannot be valued too highly. It refers to Bithynia and Pontus, two provinces of Asia Minor, where (as the opening words of 1 Peter11 already inform us) Christians were to be found at an early period, though no further details can be gathered on this point from the New Testament itself12 Pliny's account of them, however (for it is Pliny to whom I allude), certainly relates to the provinces of [[187]] Asia and Phrygia alike. He informs the emperor Trajan (Ep. 96, c. 111-113 C.E.) that persons of all ages and ranks (even including Roman citizens) are implicated in the proceedings taken against the Christians, while several apostates had explained they had been Christians for many years, but were no longer so. One of them affirmed that he had been converted over twenty years ago. Pliny then goes on to say "Dilata cognitione ad consulendum te decucurri. Visa est enim mihi res digna consultatione, maxime propter periclitantium numerum. Multi enim omnis aetatis, omnis ordinis, utriusque sexus etiam, vocantur in periculum et vocabuntur. Neque civitates tantum sed vicos etiam atque agros superstitionis istius contagio pervagata est; quae videtur sisti et corrigi posse. Certe satin constat prope iam desolata templa coepisse celebrari et sacra sollemnia diu intermissa repeti pastumque venire victimarum, cuius adhuc rarissimus emptor inveniebatur. Ex quo facile est opinari quae turba hominum emendari possit, si sit paenitentiae locus" (cp. above, p. 3).

11 This epistle shows unquestionably that Christianity had spread to some extent throughout these provinces. The counsels of the author definitely presuppose certain relations between the Christian and the non-Christian population. Not so the Pauline epistles. The local Christians have obviously excited a disagreeable interest in their affairs; they are exposed to the hostility of the provincials, although the authorities still refrain from any action. The epistle may belong to the earlier years of Domitian.

12 In an ancient preface to John's Gospel (cp. the old manuscript of Toledo) we hear of brethren from Pontus. The preface is not entirely valueless. -- Ramsay is probably right in holding that Bithynia was hardly reached by Christianity by land. Similarly, the Pontic towns on the Black Sea had Christian communities at an early date, whilst the interior of Pontus still remained pagan throughout.

There were reasons why Pliny13 should represent the spread of the movement in as strong terms as possible;14 but, even after allowance has been made for this, his testimony remains sufficiently remarkable. He cannot have invented the spread of the Christian religion in the lowlands, or the grip which it had taken of all classes in the population. But who the missionaries were by whose efforts this had been accomplished, we cannot tell. How well prepared, too, must have been the soil, if the Christian crop sprang up so luxuriantly! In short, we may claim this letter of Pliny as the most outstanding piece of evidence for the advance of Christian missions along the whole of the western coast.

13 This letter to Trajan was probably written in the east of Bithynia-Pontus, as the letters near it in the collection are dated from this district (Amastris? Amasia?).

14 He wanted the emperor to approve of his comparatively lenient treatment of the Christians.

Pliny does not name any city or locality; evidently he would [[188]] have had to mention too many. And the Christian writers are so reticent that these gaps in our knowledge remain unfilled. Amisus in Pontus is the only place at which we can prove from Christian sources, with some show of probability, that Christians existed about 100 C.E. (cp. Ramsay's The Church in the Roman Empire, 1893, pp. 211, 225).

Between Trajan and the death of Marcus Aurelius,15 our sources supply fourteen fresh names of Asiatic towns containing Christian communities, in addition to the seventeen already noted -- an infinitesimally small number in view of the numerous new churches which must have been planted throughout Asia Minor during these eighty years. Those named are Sinope on the Black Sea (the home of Marcion, whose father is said to have been the local bishop; Hippol., in Epiph., Hœr. 42.1); Philomelium in Pisidia (cp. the epistle. of the Smyrniote church upon Polycarp's death), Parium in Mysia (for in this connection we may trust the Acta Onesiphori),16 Nicomedia (cp. the epistle of bishop Dionysius of Corinth to the local church in Eus., H.E. 4.23), Amastris "and the other churches in Pontus" (the epistle of Dionysius to them, loc. cit.; here the metropolitan organization was in working order by the reign of M. Aurelius), and Hieropolis in Phrygia (however one may view the famous inscription of Abercius, we may infer from it that Christianity had by that time reached Hieropolis).17 The other eight towns are known to us from sources connected with the Montanist movement, viz., Ancyra in Galatia (Eus., 5.16), Otrus, Pepuza, Tymion [=Dumanli?], (Ardabau) [ἐν τῇ κατὰ τὴν Φρυγίαν Μυσίᾳ  = Kardaba?],18 Apamea (Kibotos), Cumane, and Eumenea, all in Phrygia (cp. Eus., H.E., 5.16. 18). So far as we know, the first synods in connection with the [[189]] Montanist controversy were held in Asia Minor, although they did not confine themselves strictly to one province.

15 In this connection one must also recall the rescript of Hadrian to Minucius Fundanus and the interpolated rescript of Pius to the diet of Asia (Texte u. Unters. 13.4), both of which presuppose no inconsiderable extension of Christianity in Asia. The local diet has already to deal with Christians. On the other hand, no weight is to be attached to the story told by Lampridius in his Vita Alex. Severi, 43, about Hadrian and Christianity.

16 Cp. also Acta SS. Fbr. 2, p. 42.

17 The Acta Pauli probably testify also to the existence of a church at Myrrha in Lycia, during the second century.

18 Cp. Ramsay's Phrygia, p. 573.

Before entering into the evidence available for the several provinces of Asia Minor, I shall briefly put together some data which prove the wide diffusion of Christianity by the close of our epoch, circa 325 C.E.

(1) The edicts of Maximus Daza against Christians, with their declarations that almost all "men" have gone over to Christianity (Eus., H.E. 9.9),19 refer mainly to the situation in Asia Minor (and Syria). From the servile petitions of the cities, even of Nicomedia (loc. cit., and 9.2 f.), asking the emperor to issue a command that no Christian should reside within their bounds or even in their surroundings, we must not conclude that the local Christians were, relatively speaking, a small body. As for Bithynia in particular, this edict of Daza implies the existence of a particularly large number of Christians. The petition sent up by the cities had simply the effect of prohibiting public worship within the city walls. Perhaps it was not meant to be serious at all; the idea of such petitions was to curry favour with the emperor.20

19 ἡνίκα συνεῖδον σχεδὸν ἅπαντας ἀνθρώπους καταλειφθείσης τῆς τῶν θεῶν θρῃσκείας τῷ ἔθνει τῶν Χριστιανῶν ἑαυτοὺς συμμεμιχότας (cp. vol. 1,  pp. 271, 495 f.); also the edict in 9.7.9: σχεδὸν εἰπεῖν τὰ πανταχοῦ τῆς οἰκουμένης αἰσχύναις ἐπίεζεν ("Christianity, it may almost be said, crushed the whole world with its shame"). The designation of Christians as τὸ ἔθνος τῶν Χριστιανῶν occurs pretty frequently in the imperial rescripts of that period.

20 Even if one assumes that the petitions were really meant to be taken seriously, with their demand for the formal ejection of all Christians, no light is yet thrown upon the number of Christians. We must remember, by way of comparison, how strong the Huguenots were in France, when the general policy was to root them out. One always reckons in such cases upon the majority abandoning their faith.

(2) In the speech already quoted (p. 16), which was delivered in Nicomedia, Lucian of Antioch declares that "pars paene mundi iam maior huic veritati adstipulatur, urbes integrae; aut si in his aliquid suspectum videtur, contestatur de his etiam agrestis manus, ignara figmenti."

(3) The expression, "urbes integrae," is corroborated, so far as regards Phrygia, by Eus., H.E. 8.11.1, where we read how an entire town (Ramsay, Letters to Seven Churches of Asia, [[190]] pp. 426 f., thinks of Eumenea) in this province, which was Christian, was burnt during Diocletian's persecution  ( Ἤδη γοῦν ὅλην Χριστιανῶν πολίχνην αὔτανδρον ἀμφὶ τὴν Φρυγίαν ἐν κύκλῳ περιβαλόντες ὁπλῖται πῦρ τε ὑφάψαντες κατέφλεξαν αὐτοῖς ἅμα νηπίοις καὶ γυναιξὶ τὸν ἐπὶ πάντων θεὸν [variant, τὸν Χριστὸν] ἐπιβοωμένοις).21 Even eighty years earlier (for so, I take it, we must understand the authority cited in Epiph., Hœr. 51.33), Thyatira was practically a Christian (i.e., a Montanist) city.

21 "A whole town of Christians, in Phrygia, was surrounded by soldiers when its citizens were inside. Fire was flung into it, and the troops burned it up, with men, women, and children, all calling upon Christ." The sequel is particularly instructive, as showing the extent to which Christianity had become naturalized in the country; even the authorities of the town were Christians (ὅτι δὴ πανδημεὶ πάντες οἱ τὴν πόλιν οἰκοῦντες λογιστής τε αὐτὸς καὶ στρατηγοὶ σὺν τοῖς ἐν τέλει πᾶσιν καὶ ὅλῳ δήμῳ Χριστιανοὺς σφᾶς ὁμολογοῦντες, οὐδ’ ὁπωστιοῦν τοῖς προστάττουσιν εἰδωλολατρεῖν ἐπειθάρχουν [= ΕΤ], cp. p. 40). Lactantius also (Instit. 5.11) mentions the incident: "Unus in Phrygia universum populum cum ipso pariter conventiculo concremavit" ("One burned up a whole town in Phrygia, with its assembly and all").

(4) From the Vita Constantini 2.1-2, it follows that there were several churches at Amasia in Pontus during the reign of Licinius. If there were several in a town like this, which was not in the front rank, we may safely assume that many towns of Asia Minor already contained not one church but many.22

22 Throughout the towns it is obvious that the churches generally were quite small; for Licinius (Vita Constantini 1.53), pleading hygienic reasons, decreed that Christians were to conduct their worship in the open air. On his part, this was purely a pretext for either ridding the towns of their presence or throwing obstacles in the way of their worship.

(5) Dionysius of Alexandria (Eus., H.E. 7.7) had already described the churches of Phrygia and the adjoining provinces as "the most populous churches." These districts had the largest number of bishoprics and the largest churches in the East -- a fact which is confirmed by the council of Nicæa. For although attendance at the council depended upon all sorts of accidental circumstances, so that inferences from it are not quite certain, still the loca1 strength of Christianity in a province which was, comparatively speaking, so remote and wild as Isauria, is clearly shown by its representation at Nicæa, of thirteen bishops and four chor-episcopi, drawn from all parts of the country. [[191]]

(6) Besides the mere number of chor-episcopi attending Nicæa, the Christian inscriptions from the small townships of Phrygia, which were publicly erected and bore the name of Χριστιανός,  the story of Gregory Thaumaturgus (see below), the evidence of Lucian, and other sources as well, show still more forcibly that Christianity during the third century had penetrated deeply into the population of the towns and country districts throughout Asia Minor, partially absorbing into itself the native cults.23

23 An admirably comprehensive work upon the Christian inscriptions of Asia Minor has been written by Cumont: Les Inscr. Chrét. De l'Asie mineure, Rome, 1895 [Extr. des Mélanges d'Archéologie et d'Histoire, t. 15). True, we cannot verify more than nine dated inscriptions for the pre-Constantine period (besides the inscription of Arycanda, which refers to Christians), but Duchesne and Cumont have shown that internal evidence justifies us in claiming a considerable number of undated inscriptions as pre-Constantine (cp. Renan's Paul, Germ. ed., 323 f.). The dated inscriptions come from Hieropolis, Eumenea, Sebaste, Apamea, Pepuza, and Trajanopolis. On the position of Christians in Asia, Cumont rightly observes (pp. 26 f.): "La paix relative où vécurent ces communautés, n'y laissa pas grandir comme ailleurs la haine contre l'État romain. On pouvait devenir chrétien et rester bon citoyen; on aimait à faire l'eloge de sa ville natale, on y exerçait des fonctions publiques, on déposait aux archives la copie de son testament, on stipulait contre les violateurs de son tombeau des amendes au profit de la caisse municipale ou du trésor publique…..Rien d'étonnant que dans un pareil milieu les idées et les coutumes antiques se soient plus qu'ailleurs mêlées aux convictions nouvelles, que dans la vie journalière on ait cherché un compromis entre le passé et le présent."

(7) Palpably, the reaction under Julian failed to get any footing in Asia Minor, owing to the strong hold of the country already won by Christianity. This explains, among other things, why the names of the bishoprics, which we can verify for Asia Minor, determine the actual number of these bishoprics still less accurately than is the case with the other provinces. If a large number of the Eastern provinces generally fell under the verdict -- a verdict which cannot, of course, be strictly proved -- that by about 325 C.E. the network of the episcopal hierarchy had been completed, leaving few meshes to be added at a later period,24 then Asia Minor comes pre-eminently within the sweep [[192]] of such a judgment. Still, to avoid the introduction of uncertain data, I shall refrain from adducing, byway of evidence, the diocesan distribution of the Asiatic provinces, since our knowledge of this dates only from a later period. I shall merely add in this connection an allusion to such towns and localities as can be clearly proved to have had Christian communities up to 325 C.E.25

24 Cp. above, p. 158, on Egypt. There are but few traces of new bishoprics having been founded in the East by Constantine or his sons. Most of the sees had evidently been created previously. The main concern of the first Christian emperor was the building of churches (i.e., new buildings or the enlargement of old ones), and their equipment.

25 Hilary, who wrote during his exile in Asia, declares (in de Synodis) that, "apart from Eleusius of Cyzicus and a few of his company, the ten Asiatic provinces in which I stayed had really no knowledge of God." If this was the state of matters, it is a melancholy testimony against the real Christianity of the Asiatic Christians, but the passage must not be connected with the problem of the spread of Christianity. Augustine (Ep. 93.31 f.) properly brushed aside the Donatist Vincentius in Mauretania, who concluded from the passage that there were practically no Christians in these ten provinces, and thus tried to give it an anti-catholic bearing.


This province was not Grecized26 till late, and even then only slightly. It was neither densely populated nor rich in towns, and it was passed over by Paul. His steps turned westward. But, as 1 Pet. 1.1 implies, there were already Christians in Cappadocia. Seven Cappadocian bishops attended Nicaea, from Caesarea, Tyana, Colonia, Cybistra, Comana, Spania (= Spalia ? where is it ?), and Parnassus,27 besides no fewer than five chorepiscopi.28 This proves how deeply Christianity had permeated the population of the country.29 By about 258 C.E. it must  [[193]] have comprised a large Christian population, for the Gothic invaders in that year dragged off Christians, and even some of the clergy, among their captives. These included the Greek parents of Ulfilas, who were already Christians, and had resided in the village of Sadagolthina near the town of Parnassus (Philostorg., H.E. 2.5). The story of the father of Gregory Naz. proves also that there was a Christian community at Nazianzus (Dio-Caesarea) prior to Constantine.30

26 Mommsen 5, p. 306 (Eng. trans. 1, 332) "Cappadocia itself was hardly more Greek at the beginning of the imperial age than Brandenburg and Pomerania were French under Frederick the Great." But matters were entirely changed by the third and fourth centuries.

27 The last-named town is doubtful, however. Still, there is no doubt that there were local Christians by the middle of the third century, for such were to be found in the village of Sadagolthina near Parnassus. Perhaps Camulia, near Caesarea, had also Christians about this time (cp. von Dobschutz's Christusbilder, p. 40, 14**)

28 Cappadocian chor-episcopi also attended the synod of Neo-Caesarea. The bishop of Caesarea was at Ancyra. The chor-episcopate was strongest in Cappadocia and Isauria.
  29 The names of the bishops show how entirely Greek Christianity had become, even here : Leontius, Eutychius, Erythrius, Timotheus, Elpidius, Paulus. The chor-episcopi were called Gorgonius, Stephanus, Eudromius, Rhodon, and Theophanes.

30 For evidence of Christians, during the reign of M. Aurelius, in the district of Melitene, west of the upper Euphrates, which may be grouped also along with Cappadocia, cp. below, under "Armenia."

After the second century we frequently come across Cappadocian Christians in other provinces (cp., e.g., the Acta Justini 41, where Euelpistus comes of Christian parents in Cappadocia).31 Tertullian, far off in Carthage, can even report a Cappadocian persecution (cp. Neumann, op. cit. 1,  p. 70) between 180 and 196; " Claudius Lucius Herminianus in Cappadocia, cum indigne ferens uxorem suam ad hancsectam transisse Christianos crudeliter tractasset solusque in praetorio suo vastatus peste convivis vermibus ebulisset, nemo sciat, aiebat, ne gaudeant Christiani aut sperent Christianae. postea cognito errore suo quod tormentis quosdam a proposito suo excidere fecisset, paene Christianus decessit" (ad Scap. 3: "Enraged at the conversion of his wife" to this sect, Claudius Lucius Herminianus in Cappadocia treated the Christians cruelly. But afterwards, left alone in his palace and devoured by disease, he grew fevered with worms eating his vitals, and would cry out, ' Let none know of it, lest the Christian men rejoice and Christian wives take heart.' Subsequently, he came to see his error in having forced some to give up their faith by means of torture. And he died almost a Christian himself ").

31 Also Mart. Pal., p. 75 (ed. Violet). The martyrs of Caesarea (Palest.), Seleucus and Julianus, came from Cappadocia (ibid., pp. 97, 101).

The bishopric of Caesarea, which was the metropolis of Cappadocia and "the medium of the busy traffic between the seaports on the west coast32 and the region of the Euphrates," was widely known throughout the church on account of two [[194]]  men, both friends of learning, viz., Alexander and Firmilian. The former (cp. my Litt.-Gesch. 1,  pp. 505 f.; 2.2. pp. 6 f., 92 f.) was bishop at Caesarea33 when quite a youth (c. 200 C.E.) ; he was a friend of Clement and of Origen ; and as bishop of Jerusalem he died full of years, after having founded a library in Jerusalem. Clement stayed with him, after leaving Alexandria, and took part in mission-work at Caesarea. Alexander distinctly says that he added to the local church (Eus., H.E. 6.11. 6). Firmilian, who also was a man of Alexandrian culture and an ardent admirer of Origen (c. 230-268), was connected with the most prominent people in all the church, even with Cyprian of Carthage (cp. my Litt.-Gesch. 1,  pp. 407 f. ; 2.2. 102 f.). Thanks to his episcopal efforts34 Caesarea became a center of theological culture ; and it was here that the learned, maiden Juliana resided, who harboured Origen35 for two years and received one or two books from Symmachus. A good deal of information upon the history of the Cappadocian church during the first half of the third century is yielded by Firmilian's letter to Cyprian (Ep. 75), where we read of synods, persecutions, heretics, and fanatics. Special interest attaches to his account of a prophetess (c. 10) connected with the earlier prophetesses of Phrygia, who stirred up the whole Christian population during the reign of Maximinus Thrax, and even captured a presbyter and a deacon. In the controversy over the baptism of heretics, Firmilian sided with Cyprian. The most famous Cappadocian martyr was Mamas,36 a simple shepherd (in the days of Valerian?). But unfortunately we have no Acta at our disposal.

32 The bishopric was in close touch not only with Antioch and Palestine, but also with the West.

Eusebius did not know, at any rate he did not say, what place it was, but Gregory of Nyssa (Migne 46, p. 905) mentions it.

34 Gregory of Nyssa calls him a " distinguished " Cappadocian. He lived to see the terrible invasion of Sapur and the siege of Caesarea. The raid of the Goths and the invasion of the province by the Persians were simultaneous.

35 Origen stayed at Caesarea (in the house of a certain Juliana), by the request of Firmilian, " for the good of the churches" (Eus., H. E. 6.17 ; cp. Pallad., Hist. Laus. 64); cp. my Chronologie 2, p. 33.

His body was deposited in the imperial estate of Macellum, near Caesarea (Soz. 5.2.).

Alexander and (especially) Firmilian were responsible for the theological importance of the Caesarean and Cappadocian [[195]]  church.37 As regards the fourth century, we can even speak of a distinctively Origenist Cappadocian theology, which proved of the utmost significance for the church at large, and in point of fact became an orthodox theology itself Basil (ὁ τῆς οἰκουμένης φωστήρ, Theodor 4.19) and the two great Gregorys were sons of Cappadocia .38 Withal, a popular Christianity developed simultaneously in Cappadocia, . which became fused with paganism -- as may be inferred from numberless statements and hints scattered through the works of Cappadocians (cp. also the cult of the "Hypsistarii,"39 votaries of θεὸς ὕψιστος), and [[196]] especially in the letter of Basil to Glycerius (Ep. 169. [412]).40 Following in the wake of Gregory Thaumaturgus, their teacher,41 these Cappadocians were skilled in adjusting Christianity to Hellenism in the interests of the cultured, Hellenism being viewed as a preparation for the gospel. They understood how to Christianize the cults. But above all, they knew how to plan everything so as to heighten the power and sanctity of the catholic church, and how to enthrone it over every form and phase of contemporary syncretism ; they knew how to put an end to the latter and at the same time to perpetuate them in the sense of subordinating them, as local and justifiable varieties of religion, to the authority of the one church and of her cultus. Such an achievement would have been impossible, had not Cappadocia been practically Christian by about 325 C.E., even though its Christianity was cleft in twain.42

37 With the high rank of these men and their successors we may perhaps compare the special position of the pagan high priest of Cappadocia in earlier days. -- The Arian sophist Asterius also was a Cappadocian.

It is remarkable and instructive to find how Eusebius (Vit. Const. 4.43), in describing the bishops who assembled for the dedication of the church at Jerusalem by their provincial origins, or in grouping them by one distinctive feature, speaks thus of the Cappadocians : καὶ Καππαδοκῶν δ' οἱ πρῶτοι παιδεύσει λόγων μέσοι τοῖς πᾶσι διέπρεπον ("And these were the chief of the Cappadocians, pre-eminent amongst the rest for learned eloquence"). They were the successors of Firmilian, and the predecessors of the Gregorys. Eunomius also came from Cappadocia (Philostorg. 3.20). -- According to Philostorgius (9.9), his grandfather Anysius was presbyter in the town of Borissus in Cappadocia secunda [unidentified, so far as I know]. Hence we may infer perhaps that Borissus had a Christian community by 325 C.E. Philostorgius himself was born c. 360 C.E. (H.E. 10. 6).

39 Cp. H. Gregoire's recent study, Saints jumeaux et dieux cavaliers (Paris, 1905), in which the evidence of the recently discovered Greek Μαρτύριον τ. ἁγ. τριῶν νηπίων Σπευσίππου, Ἐλασίππου, καὶ Μελεσίππου καὶ τῆs τούτων μητρὸs Νεονίλλαs (MS οf Genoa, Saulianus 33) -- the very divergent Latin text was published by Bougaud in Etude hist. et crit. sur la mission, les actes, et le culte de s. Benigne (Autun, 1859) -- is used to describe the transformation of a pagan cult into a Christian in Southern Cappadocia, which was famous for its horses. " A l'epoque de l'Empire," so Gregoire ends his study, "et sans doute plus anciennement, pres d'Andaval (Andabilis), dans la region de Tyane " -- i.e., not far from the estate of Pasmasus [Pasa, Paspasa = the villa Pompali of the Bordeaux Itinerary, 333 C.E.], "unde veniunt equi curules "; cp. Ramsay's Hist. Geogr. of Asia Minor, p. 347, Gregoire, pp. 55 f. -- " une population d'eleveurs de chevaux rendait un culte aux Dioscures grecs, probablement associes a une vieille divinite du pays. Vers la fin du IIIe siecle, le christianisme amena la transformation de ces divinites en une triade de saints jumeaux et cavaliers. Une legende relative a ces saints fut redigee vers la meme epoque" [this does not seem to me to be made out]. "Les saints, representes comme des esclaves, furent mis en relation avec de grands proprietaires de l'endroit, dont Fun Palmatus, qui vecut sous le regne de Valerien (253-260), avait laisse un souvenir tres vivace." An Ὀρβάδων κωμή also occurs in the legend, which Gregoire tries to identify with Olba in Cilician Isauria (Ramsay, p. 364), in the region of Cetis, near Seleucia. This Olba was also called Urba, Orba or Orbas, and Urbanopolis. Alternative forms like Thymbrias and Thymbriada, Thebasa and Tibassada, are preserved in these districts, as well as altered forms like Amblada and Ambladon, Nasada and Nasadon, Lausanda and Lausadon.

Cp. Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire, pp. 443 f.

See under the following section.

Julian (cp. Sozom. 5.4) is said to have "deleted Caesarea from the list of towns, taken its name from it, and persecuted the inhabitants with bitter hatred, because they were all Christians and had long ago destroyed the local temples" 
(ὡς πανδημεὶ Χριστιανίζονταs καὶ πάλαι καθελόντας τοὺs πάρ' αὐτοῖs νεώς). The last temple, that of Fortune, was not destroyed, however, till Julian's day, when the pagans were still εὐαρίθμητοι μάλα in the city.

Finally, the church of Cappadocia is invested with still further importance as the mother of the Gothic and, in company with the Edessene church, of the Armenian churches as well.


The early history of the church in Armenia, Major and Minor, is wrapt in obscurity. Apart from the district of Melitene, it emerges first of all43 in the statement of Eusebius (H.E. 6.46), that Dionysius Alex. wrote "to the brethren in [[197]]  Armenia, whose bishop was Meruzanes."44 Meruzanes was either bishop of Sebaste in Armenia Minor, a town which was .the capital of the province at the time of the council of Nicaea, or bishop of some unknown town in South-East Armenia.45 From the mode of expression in Eusebius (Dionysius) it seems probable that Sebaste was not the only Christian church in Armenia about 200 C.E.46 As for the district of Melitene, which is to be assigned to the southern section of Armenia Minor, we can verify local Christians in the reign of M. Aurelius, since, as is clear from the story of the miracle of the rain, there were numerous Christians in the Thundering Legion quartered in that district (see above). We may rightly assume (Eus., 5.5) that the soldiers of this legion were recruited largely from the local population,47 and Eus. 8.6 proves that Christianity there was very strong (see further the remarks on this passage on p. 138).48

43 Hippolytus (Philos. 7.31) calls Bardesanes "the Armenian." But this is out of the question. Bardesanes was a Syrian (see above).

44 The name is Armenian ; an Armenian satrap is so called in Faustus of Byzantium (4.23. p. 144).

45 Gelzer, in pp. 176 f. of the essay mentioned below, thinks of Armenia Major, on account of the Armenian name. But was there any bishop at all in that district at that period? Gelzer's idea is that Meruzanes was a scion of the princely house of Arzruni, and bishop of Vaspurakan in the S.E. (the district of Taron lies S.W.). The Armenian name of the bishop tells against Sebaste in Armenia Minor ; for Christianity, so far as we know, was Greek in Armenia Minor.

46 I find, among my notes, Nicopolis (ἡ τοῦ Πομπηίου) in Armenia Minor described as a town where martyrdoms prove the existence of Christians before Constantine. But I am unable to give the reference.

Eusebius seems to regard the legion as composed practically of Christians.

48 The Christian soldier Polyeuctes, who was martyred under Decius or Valerian, also belonged to the Melitene legion (cp. the ancient Syrian Martyrologium for 7th Jan. ; Conybeare's Apol. and Acts of Apollonius and other Monuments of Early Christianity, 1894, London, pp. 123 f. ; Aube's Polyeucte dans l'histoire, Paris, 1882; and Acta SS., Febr. T. 2, pp. 650 f.). If we may trust a remark in what is, relatively speaking, the best recension of the Acta Polyeuctes, to the effect that he was the first martyr at Melitene, then Christianity must have been able to develop there uninterrupted till the reign of Decius. The statement of Eus., H.E. 8.6.8, that there were numerous clergy everywhere about 300 C.E., refers to Syria and Melitene.

The period of the Licinian persecution furnishes us with an invaluable source of information for Armenia Minor, in the testament of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste,49 which shows that [[198]] Christianity was at that time as widely diffused throughout the smaller localities of the province as in Cappadocia. There were Christians in Sarin, Phydela, Chaduthi (not Chaduthb), Charisphone, and Zimara50 (none of which, except Phydela, can be identified, so far as I am aware), besides other villages which are not named.51 Even here the Christianity52 is Hellenic (cp. the numerous personal names). Presbyters rule the village-churches53 [[199]]  along with deacons, but there are also village-churches with bishops of their own.54 The bishops (Eulalius and Euethius) of Sebaste55 and Satala (in the extreme north-east of Armenia Minor) attended Nicaea. Caesarius, the father of Eudoxius, bishop of Germanicia (and afterwards of Antioch), came from Arabissus, a town in the south-west. He died there as a martyr (cp. Philostorg., 4.4, and Suidas, s.v. "Eudoxius "). Philostorgius calls Eudoxius himself an Armenian (4.8). Meletius of Antioch came from Melitene (Philost., 5.5).

49 Cp. Bonwetsch in Neue kirchl. Zeitschr. 3 (1892), pp. 705 f., and in the Stud. z. Gesch. d. Theol. u. Kirche (1897), pp. 73 f. ; also von Gebhardt's Acta Martyr. Selecta (1902), pp. 166 f.

50 The editors hitherto have followed the MS. in writing "Ximara," but Cumont (Anal. Boll. 23, 1904, p. 448) has shown that "Zimara" is the correct reading. "Zimara est une ` statio' de la route militaire de Satala a Melitene, dans la petite Armenie, non loin de l'Euphrate (Itiner. Anton., 208, 5 ; cp. Ptolem., 5.7.2, et la Table de Peutinger). Aujourd'hui encore le village qui lui a succede porte le nom de Zimarra. Un eveque de Satala assistait au concile de Nicee, et Melitene aussi avait une eglise des l'epoque des persecutions. Rien d'etonnant donc que, vers la meme date, une communante chrstienne ait existe dans une bourgade situee sur la grande voie qui reliait ces deux cites. Le testament des 40 martyrs nous fournit ainsi une indication interessante sur la diffusion du Christianisme le long de la frontiere orientale de l'empire."

51 It is uncertain whether the town of Zela (Pontus) is really mentioned in the Acts, or whether the name has been corrupted. There seems to have been a Zela in Armenia also (cp. Pape-Benseler).

52 Very few of the names of the forty martyrs are not Greek or Latin ; viz., Ayyίαs, Χουδίων, 'Ιωάννηs, and Νικάλλοs (?). Twice we get a very characteristic phrase of the period, in “ὁ καὶ" (Λεόντιοs ὁ καὶ Θεόκτιστοs) (Βικράτιοs ὁ καὶ Βιβιανός).

53 As the following passage (Test. 3.1-3) is almost unique, I shall cite it here [TLG text with Harnack's variants noted]: Προσαγορεύομεν τὸν κύριν [κύριον] τὸν πρεσβύτερον Φίλιππον καὶ Προκλιανὸν καὶ Διογένην ἅμα τῇ ἁγίᾳ ἐκκλησίᾳ. προσαγορεύομεν τὸν κύριν [κύριον] Προκλιανὸν τὸν ἐν τῷ χωρίῳ Φυδελᾷ ἅμα τῇ ἁγίᾳ ἐκκλησίᾳ μετὰ τῶν ἰδίων. προσαγορεύομεν Μάξιμον μετὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας, Μάγνον μετὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας. προσαγορεύομεν Δόμνον μετὰ τῶν ἰδίων  καὶ [om] Ἴλην τὸν πατέρα ἡμῶν, [+καὶ] Οὐάλην μετὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας. προσαγορεύω καὶ ἐγὼ Μελέτιος τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου Λουτάνιον Κρίσπον καὶ Γόρδιον μετὰ τῶν ἰδίων, Ἐλπίδιον μετὰ τῶν ἰδίων, Ὑπερέχιον μετὰ τῶν ἰδίων [om 8 words] προσαγορεύομεν καὶ τοὺς ἐν τῷ χωρίῳ Σαρεῖμ, τὸν πρεσβύτερον μετὰ τῶν ἰδίων, τοὺς διακόνους μετὰ τῶν ἰδίων, Μάξιμον μετὰ τῶν ἰδίων, Ἡσύχιον μετὰ τῶν ἰδίων, Κυριακὸν μετὰ τῶν ἰδίων. προσαγορεύομεν τοὺς ἐν Χαδουθὶ πάντας κατ’ ὄνομα. προσαγορεύομεν καὶ τοὺς ἐν Χαρισφώνῃ πάντας κατ’ ὄνομα.
προσαγορεύω καὶ ἐγὼ Ἀέτιος [Λέτιος] τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου Μάρκον καὶ Ἀκυλίναν καὶ τὸν πρεσβύτερον Κλαύδιον καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφούς μου Μάρκον, Τρύφωνα [+ Γόρδιον καὶ Κρίσπον] καὶ τὰς ἀδελφάς μου καὶ τὴν σύμβιόν μου Δόμναν μετὰ τοῦ παιδίου μου.  προσαγορεύω καὶ ἐγὼ Εὐτύχιος τοὺς ἐν Ξιμάροις τὴν μητέρα μου Ἰουλίαν καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφούς μου Κύριλλον, Ῥοῦφον καὶ Ῥίγλον καὶ Κυρίλλαν καὶ τὴν νύμφην μου Βασιλείαν καὶ τοὺς διακόνους Κλαύδιον καὶ Ῥουφῖνον καὶ Πρόκλον. προσαγορεύομεν καὶ τοὺς ὑπηρέτας τοῦ θεοῦ Σαπρίκιον <τόν τοῦ> Ἀμμωνίου καὶ Γενέσιον, καὶ Σωσάνναν μετὰ τῶν ἰδίων
(" We hail the presbyter Philip and Proclianus and Diogenes, with the holy church ; Proclianus in the district of Phydela, with the holy church and his own people ; Maximus with his church, Magnus with his church, Domnus with his own people ; lies, our father, and Vales, with his church. I, Meletius, hail my kinsmen Latanius, Crispus, and Gordius, with their households [+]. We hail also those in the district of Sarin, the presbyter and his people, the  deacons and their people, Maximus with his people, Hesychius with his people, and Cyriacus and his people. We further hail all in Caduthi by name, all in Carisphone by name. I, Aetius, hail my kinsfolk Marcus and Aquilina and Claudius the presbyter, my brothers Marcus, Tryphon, Gordius, and Crispus, with my sisters and Domna my wife and my child. I, Eutychius, also hail those in Zimara, my mother Julia, and my brothers Cyril, Rufus, Riglos, and Cyrilla, my bride Basileia, and the deacons Claudius, Rufinus, and Proclus. We also hail and salute God's servants Sapricius (the son of ?) Ammonius and Genesius, and Susanna with her household ").

The Testament of the Forty is inscribed : (τοῖς) κατὰ πᾶσαν πόλιν καὶ Χώραν [= village, here] ἁγίοιs ἐπισκόποις. The chor-episcopus Anthogonius was martyred at Sebaste (cp. Achelis, Martyrol. Hieron., pp. 46 f., 163, 245).

The bishops (Eulalius and Euethius) of Sebaste55 and Satala (in the extreme north-east of Armenia Minor) attended Nicaea. Caesarius, the father of Eudoxius, bishop of Germanicia (and afterwards of Antioch), came from Arabissus, a town in the south-west. He died there as a martyr (cp. Philostorg. 4.4, and Suidas, s.v. "Eudoxius"). Philostorgius calls Eudoxius himself an Armenian (4.8). Meletius of Antioch came from Melitene (Philost. 5.5).

55 Not to be confounded with the Pontic and Colchian Sebastopolis. The son and successor of Eulalius, bishop of Sebaste (in Armenia Major bishoprics were also hereditary as a rule), was Eustathius, the pupil of Arius, who founded monasticism in Armenia Minor and Paphlagonia and Pontus (Sozom., H.E. 3.14.3I). He was born about 300 C.E. His dogmatic development and his relation to Basil of Caesarea are discussed by Loofs (Eustathius von Sebaste, 1898). Socrates (2.48) and Sozomen (4.24) both make the mistake of assigning Caesarea Capp., instead of Sebaste, to the father of Eustathius.

One of the most remarkable facts in all the history of the spread of Christianity is that Armenia Major 56 was offcially a Christian country by the end of the third century. "Deposuit pharetras Armenius," says Jerome (Ep. 107.2 [= ET?]). Eusebius calls the Armenians simply by the name of Christians, and [[200]] describes the attack made by Maximinus Daza as a religious war57 (H.E. 9.8.2: “In addition to this the tyrant was obliged to make war upon the Armenians, men who had been old allies and friends of Rome. Being Christians and earnest in their piety towards God, this foe of God tried to force them to offer sacrifice to idols and demons, thus turning friends into foes and allies into enemies"). When Constantine recognized and granted privileges to Christianity, he was only following in the footsteps of the Armenian king. Unfortunately the Greek sources for the Christianizing of Armenia are extremely reticent (yet see Sozom. 2.8), while no account need be taken of the late Byzantine or the romancing Armenian chroniclers. We merely learn (from the Nicene lists) that two bishops from Armenia Major took part in the Nicene council, their names alone (Aristakes, who is said to have been the son of Gregory the Illuminator, and Akrites)58 being mentioned, not their sees.59

56 Sozomen (2.8), apropos of the reign of Constantine, says that the emperor ascertained that the Armenians had been Christians long ago (πάλιν πρότερον). Judaism seems to have previously wrought here also among the Armenian aristocracy (cp. pp. 136 f. of Gelzer's essay undermentioned). But it still remains to be seen whether the strong Jewish influences were really pre-Christian and not of an Old Testament Christian nature. Certainly they cannot be put farther down than the fourth century. -- Moses Choren. (cp. my Litt.-Geschichte 1,  p. 188) relates that Bardesanes fought against the pagan cultus in Armenia, but he found no trace of it locally.

57 τούτοιs προσεπανίσταται τῷ τυράννῳ ὁ πρὸς Ἀρμενίουs πόλεμοs, ἄνδραs ἐξ ἀρχαίου φίλουs τε καὶ συμμάχουs 'Ρωμαίων, oὓs καὶ αὐτοὺs Χριστιανοὺs ὄνταs καὶ τὴν εἰς τὸ θεῖον εὐσέβειαν διὰ σπουδῆs ποιονμένουs ὁ θεομισὴs εἰδώλοιs θύειν καὶ δαίμοσιν ἐπαναγκάσαι πεπειραμένοs ἐχθροὺs ἀντὶ φίλων καὶ πολεμίους ἀντὶ συμμάχων κατεστήσατο.

58 Both names are Armenian, Grecized.

59 It is uncertain, and indeed unlikely, that Aschtischat was the permanent location of Gregory and his successor Aristakes.

Authentic statements by Armenian historians are not infrequent, and we can still make out the main facts.60 The headquarters of the Christian mission in Armenia during the third century, and (so far as the mission survived) during the fourth, were Caesarea in Cappadocia61 (with Sebaste in Armenia
[[201]] Minor),62 and Edessa (cp. the reception of Thaddaeus, and the Abgar legend),63 then Antioch and perhaps Nisibis as well (cp. Marquardt, Zeits. deutsch. morgenl. Gesellsch., 1895, p. 651). As a result of this, the Armenians got both Greek and Syrian Christianity, as well as the literature of both these peoples (although all the literature that could come to them from Syria consisted in the main of translations from the Greek). In one or two districts of Armenia, Syriac even became for. a time the ecclesiastical language. The great missionary, or rather the great church-founder, of Armenia was Gregory the Illuminator, who had fled before the Persians from his native land. He may have been of high rank, even of royal descent. He adopted Christianity (i.e., Greek Christianity) in Caesarea.64 On the Persian yoke being flung off by the Armenians, 65 Gregory stood by the king (Trdat, 261-317), who was only hostile to Christianity at the outset ; and Christianity, preached in the 'vernacular, was set up against the hateful and imported Persian [[202]] worship of fire. As an exclusive religion it was far better adapted than the cults of Hellenism and the native Armenian faith to safeguard the Armenians against the Persians. By the help of the nobility against the priesthood, the country was systematically and vigorously Christianized. The templeworship was overthrown. The temple property was made 'over to the churches.66 And, by desire of the king (so we are told), Gregory was escorted by a brilliant retinue of Armenian feudal lords on his journey to Caesarea, where Leontius -- the bishop who attended the Nicene council -- consecrated him as Catholicus of Armenia. Caesarea remained a sort of metropolis for Armenia down to the last quarter of the fourth century.67 The most sacred sanctuary of the kingdom was destroyed at Aschtischat, and the chief church of Armenia, the motherchurch of the country,68 was erected. Bagravan in Bagrevand then became a second, but inferior center. Gregory himself, however, apparently did not reside at Aschtischat, which was the seat of Daniel. Perhaps the archbishop had at first no definite centre. Twelve bishoprics, it is said, were instituted by Gregory, after the work of conversion had been forcibly carried [[203]] through.69 And all this was accomplished by the very beginning of the fourth century (Gregory's consecration took place c. 285-290). By the time the council of Nicaea met, Gregory had died, and (Aristakes) his son, previously an anchorite in Cappadocia,70 had succeeded him. For the distinctive character of the original Armenian Christianity, which was quite different from the later catholic Christianity of "the golden age" (founded by Narses), cp. below, under "Diospontus."

60 Cp. Gelzer in Prot. Real-Encykl.2 2, pp. 74 f., and also his essay on "The Beginnings of the Armenian Church " (Berichte d. k. Sacks. Gesellsch. d. Wissensch., 4th May 1895) ; Weber, Die kathol. Kirche in Armenien, ihr Begrundung u. Entwicklung vor der Trennung (1903); Ter Mikelian, Die armenische Kirche in ihrer Beziehung zur byzantinischen (1892) ; and Erwand TerMinassiantz on "The Armenian Church in its relations to the Syrian Churches, down to the end of the Thirteenth Century" (Texte u. Untersuch. 26.4, 1904). Gutschmid (Kleine Schriften  3, pp. 339 f.) had already proved, in his study of Agathangelus, that a considerable and coherent legend can be disentangled from the story of king Trdat and St Gregory, and that the incorporated story of the conversion of Armenia and of the succeeding period is trustworthy. The history of Faustus of Byzantium is a good source for the fourth century.

How strong and far-spread Christianity must have been in Armenia Minor and Cappadocia and the neighbouring provinces at the close of the third century,  when the Armenian monarch resolved to elevate it to the position of the state religion in his country !

62 According to Faustus of Byzantium, Gregory the Illuminator was in Sebaste, and persuaded many of the brethren to accompany him to Armenia in order to preach the gospel. The local Christians were Greeks, not Syrians (cp. above).

It baffles me to know how far individual Syrian-Edessene missionaries (cp. Bardesanes and perhaps Meruzanes) had laboured before Gregory -- in S.E. Armenia, and possibly founded bishoprics with native bishops. Gregory did not work exclusively with Greeks as missionaries. He employed Syrians as well. Daniel, the Syrian ascetic, must have been very prominent among them ; he laboured in the district of Taron, and almost rivalled Gregory's fame and influence. Faustus of Byzantium calls him "the old, holy, and great chor-episcopus, Daniel." Probably he disseminated Christianity before Gregory, who then made common cause with him. The strong influence of the Syrian church on Armenia is shown partly by the translations from Syriac, partly by the fact that the Syrians afterwards secured high office in the church, and that their language for a while almost threatened to become the language of the church. But we know no particulars about the rivalry of the Greek and Syrian influences in the early period.

The Armenians afterwards identified him with the man (Gregory ?) who wrote to Aphraates and received the latter's homilies by way of answer (the letter is printed in the introduction to the Homilies; cp. Texte U. Unters. 3.3-4, pp. i f., xxi f. ; but chronological reasons alone make the identification impossible.

Armenia was a feudal state, with a strong aristocracy and a wealthy priesthood.

66 "This was intended to create a counterweight to the dominant power of the nobility, which was crushing the royal power. Under Trdat and his son Chosrow this policy was attended with decided success" (Gelzer, p. 133). But there were pagan reactions and insurrections. The women of the upper classes were especially devoted to the old faith, e.g., Chosrow's own wife and also the mother of king Pap.

67 The civil position and powers of Caesarea in relation to Armenia are obscure. They cannot have been strictly defined. Even Gregory's ordination by Leontius is not indisputable (cp., however, Gelzer, p. 165, against the scepticism of Gutschmid), while Aristakes was not consecrated catholicus in Caesarea. He was set apart by his father Gregory. The subsequent patriarchs, down to Narses, however, were all consecrated in Caesarea. Then came the rupture, under king Pap and the catholici of the house of Albianus. The political independence of the country must have prevented Caesarea from becoming metropolis of Armenia in the strict sense of the term.

68 Aschtischat was in the territory of Taron. -- The tradition that Gregory was led by a vision of Christ to make Valarschapat, the old royal town (afterwards Etschmiadzin), the headquarters of the church, probably dates from a later age (in Agathangelus it occurs in a section which Gutschmid recognizes to be an apocalyptic fragment from the middle of the fifth century). It is a tendencylegend, designed to prove the autocephalous and independent character of the Armenian church of Caesarea. Aschtischat in the south was, according to Faustus, " the great original church, the mother of all the Armenian churches in  the district of Taron," " the first, the most eminent, and the chief seat of worship, since here a holy church was first of all built and an altar erected in the name of the Lord." Thus it is called "the chief altar, the princely throne of the patriarchs" with the local saints John the Baptist and Athenogenes, whose relics Gregory had brought from Cappadocian Caesarea. Here, in this southern town, the first provincial synods of Armenia were also held. The center of gravity of the country then lay in the south, where king Tiran (326-337), the successor of Chosrow (317-326), was particularly fond of staying. It is possible, however, that Faustus has exaggerated the importance of Aschtischat, owing to his partiality for the town.

Or were there not so much twelve bishoprics as twelve bishops who were constantly with the catholicus?  The complete organization of the Armenian church does not go back to Gregory, but he certainly founded some bishoprics.

The dignity of catholicus (as the Christian high-priest, who enjoyed royal honours) belonged to the family of Gregory. These high-priests were therefore married men, though this was not always the case. The grandsons of Gregory succeeded to the throne when they were still boys. The Armenian bishoprics were frequently hereditary even in other cases.

The wide spread of Christianity in Pontus about the year 170 is attested by Lucian (Alex. Abun., 25.38), who writes that "the whole country is full of atheists and Christians." Here (including Paphlagonia as well) there were a number of churches, during the reigns of M. Aurelius and Commodus, which had a metropolitan resident in Amastris. This follows from the letter of Dionysius of Corinth addressed to them (in Eus., H.E. 4.23 : τῇ ἐκκλησί τῇ ταροικούσῃ Ἀμαστριν ἅμα ταῖς κατὰ Πόντον), and from the part taken by the Pontic church in the Easter controversy (ibid. 5.23: a writing τῶν κατὰ Πόντον ἐπισκόπων, ὧν Πάλμας ώς ἀρχαιότατος προὐτέτακτο). Of the local churches, we know Pompeiopolis and Ionopolis, whose bishops, together with the bishop of Amastris, attended the Nicene council.71 There was certainly a [[204]] church at Gangra, too, about 325 C.E. ; for, as the town had a metropolitan circa 350 C.E., it cannot have been entirely pagan some twenty-five years earlier.72 Hippolytus (Comm. in Dan. 4.19.1-7, p. 232 f., ed. Bonwetsch) has preserved for us one episode from the history of Christianity in Pontus, an episode which reminds us very strongly of the incident of the prophetess in Cappadocia and of the Montanist movement in Phrygia, and which proves at the same time how readily the Christian population of Asia Minor were disposed to take up with such fanatical movements. Unfortunately he does not name the town whose bishop enacted the movement in question.73  The Novatians were particularly numerous in Paphlagonia (see [[205]] Socrat. 2.38), and they had regular churches. They were strongest in Mantinium.74

71 The names are naturally Greek : Philadelphus, Petronius, and Eupsychius.

72 It was only by accident, therefore, that the bishop was absent from Nicaea. The synod held at Gangra in 343 C.E. (cp. Braun in Hist. Jahrb. [Gorres. Gesell. ], vol. 16, 1895, pp. 586 f.) mentions, in its communication to the Armenian bishops, thirteen members of that synod, giving their names but unfortunately not their sees. Even the names have not been accurately transmitted to us. The monastic movement which the bishops censured was in opposition to the popular semi-pagan Christianity which had shot up to a rank growth especially in Pontus, Armenia Minor, and Armenia Major. The movement was also directed against the cult of the martyrs and the festivals of the martyrs (can. 20), which were particularly popular in these districts as a substitute for the pagan cultus.

  Ἕτερος δέ τις ὁμοίως ἐν τῷ Πόντῳ, καὶ αὐτὸς προεστὼς ἐκκλησίας, εὐλαβὴς μὲν ἀνὴρ καὶ ταπεινόφρων, μὴ προσέχων δὲ ἀσφαλῶς ταῖς γραφαῖς, ἀλλὰ τοῖς ὁράμασιν οἷς αὐτὸς ἑώρα μᾶλλον ἐπίστευεν.  (2)  Ἐπιτυχὼν γὰρ ἐφ’ ἑνὶ καὶ δευτέρῳ καὶ τρίτῳ ἐνυπνίῳ, ἤρξατο λοιπὸν προλέγειν τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς ὡς προφήτης· τόδε εἶδον καὶ τόδε μέλλει γίνεσθαι. (3)  Καὶ δή ποτε πλανηθεὶς εἶπεν· γινώσκετε, ἀδελφοί, ὅτι μετὰ ἐνιαυτὸν ἡ κρίσις μέλλει γίνεσθαι.  (4)  Οἱ δὲ ἀκούσαντες αὐτοῦ προλέγοντος, ὡς ὅτι «ἐνέστηκεν ἡ ἡμέρα τοῦ κυρίου», μετὰ κλαυθμῶν καὶ ὀδυρμῶν ἐδέοντο τοῦ κυρίου νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας πρὸ ὀφθαλμῶν ἔχοντες τὴν ἐπερχομένην τῆς κρίσεως ἡμέραν. (5)  Καὶ εἰς τοσοῦτον ἤγαγεν φόβον καὶ δειλίαν τοὺς ἀδελφούς, ὥστε ἐᾶσαι αὐτῶν τὰς χώρας καὶ τοὺς ἀγροὺς ἐρήμους τά τε κτήματα αὐτῶν οἱ πλείους κατεπώλεσαν. (6)  Ὁ δὲ ἔφη αὐτοῖς· ἐὰν μὴ γένηται καθὼς εἶπον, μηκέτι μηδὲ ταῖς γραφαῖς πιστεύσητε, ἀλλὰ ποιείτω ἕκαστος ὑμῶν ὃ βούλεται. (7) Τῶν δὲ προσδοκώντων μὲν τὸ ἀποβησόμενον καὶ τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ πληρωθέντος, μηδενὸς δὲ ὧν ἐκεῖνος ἔλεγεν συμβάντος, αὐτὸς μὲν κατῃσχύνθη ὡς ψευσάμενος, αἱ δὲ γραφαὶ ἐφάνησαν ἀληθεύουσαι, οἱ δὲ ἀδελφοὶ εὑρέθησαν σκανδαλιζόμενοι, ὥστε λοιπὸν τὰς παρθένους αὐτῶν γῆμαι καὶ τοὺς ἄνδρας ἐπὶ τὴν γεωργίαν χωρῆσαι· οἱ δὲ εἰκῇ τὰ ἑαυτῶν κτήματα πωλήσαντες εὑρέθησαν ὕστερον ἐπαιτοῦντες.
("Likewise was it with another one in Pontus, himself a leader of the church, who was pious and humble-minded but did not adhere close enough to the Scriptures, giving more credit to visions which he saw. For, chancing to have three dreams, one after another, he proceeded to address the brethren as a prophet, saying, 'I saw this,' 'This will come to pass.' Then on being proved wrong he said, 'Know, my brethren, that the judgment will take place after the space of one year.' So, when they heard his address, how that 'the day of the Lord is at hand,' with tears and cries they besought the Lord night and day, having before their eyes the imminent day of judgment. And to such a pitch were the brethren worked up by fear and terror, that they deserted their fields and lands [being evidently a country church], most of them selling off their property. Then said he to them, 'If it does not happen as I have said, never trust the Scriptures again, but let each of you live as he likes.' The year, however, passed without the prophesied event occurring. The prophet was proved to be a liar, but the Scriptures were shown to be true, and the brethren found themselves stumbling and scandalized. So that afterwards their maidens married and the men went back to their husbandry, while those who had sold off their goods in haste were ultimately found begging").
74 This place, so far as I know, is unidentified.

Three bishops from Diospontus attended Nicaea, from Amasia and Comana and Zela.75 The last-named was also present at the synod of Ancyra in 314. Amasia, even in the days of Gregory Thaumaturgus (circa 240 C.E.), was an episcopal see and the metropolis of Diospontus, while Comana had got a bishop from Gregory (cp. Gregory of Nyssa ; Vita Gregorii 19 f.).76 The church of Sinope77 in Diospontus was founded as early as the beginning of the second century. Marcion (cp. p. 188) came from there, and it is obvious from the account of the exceptionally keen persecution of Licinius (Vit. Const. 2.1.2 ; H.E. 10.8.15, " Amasia and the rest of the churches in Pontus ") that there were several episcopal churches in Diospontus before 325 C.E. Two of these we know, Amisus (cp. above, p. 92) and Sebastopol. The Meletius mentioned by Eusebius at the end of the seventh book of his History with such praise, as a Pontic bishop, was bishop of Sebastopol, according to Philostorgius (1.8). The latter is probably wrong, however, in declaring that Meletius was at Nicaea. The list of members does not mention him.

75 Eutychianus, Elpidius, and Heraclius.

76 "All the citizens" of Comana are alleged to have besought Gregory to establish a church. He gave them Alexander, a philosopher and ascetic, for a bishop. An " episcopus Comanorum " is said by Palladius to have been martyred along with Lucian at Nicomedia (Ruinart, p. 529).

77 Sinope was a town with Roman civic rights. -- Aquila, Paul's friend and coadjutor, was a Pontic Jew who had settled at Rome and been converted.

[Extra space]
The life of Gregory Thaumaturgus, which has just been mentioned, is thrown by its author, Gregory of Nyssa, into the
form of an oration;78 but it supplies us with some excellent information upon the Christianizing of the western part of Pontus Polemoniacus, and at the same time with an extremely instructive sketch of the way in which the mission was carried out, and of how paganism was "overcome " -- i.e., absorbed.

78 Migne, vol. 46, pp. 893 f. ; cp. also Rufinus' Church History (7.25), the Syriac "Narrative of Gregory's exploits," and Basil, de Spiritu 74.

Gregory, the Worker of Wonders, was born of pagan parents in Neo-Caesarea, but was converted by Origen. Striking up a fast friendship with Firmilian of Cappadocia, he returned to his native place and was consecrated bishop of Neo-Caesarea about 240 C.E. by Phaedimus, the bishop of Amasia. At that time there were said to be only seventeen Christians in the town and its environs. When he died (shortly before 270 C.E.) only the same number of pagans are said to have been counted within the town.79 Certainly the Christianizing of the town and country was carried out most completely.80 Gregory himself (Epist. Canon. 7) uses Ποντικοὶ καὶ Χριστιανοί as a hendiadys, in contrast to the barbarian pagan Goths. This acute and energetic bishop succeeded because he set up Christian miracles in opposition to those of paganism,81 because he had the courage to expose the cunning and trickery of the pagan priests, and because he let the rude multitude enjoy their festivals still in Christian guise. "The preaching of the gospel made its way in all directions, the doctrine of mysteries operated powerfully, and the aspiration for what was good increased, as the priesthood got introduced in every quarter." As was customary in the country, Gregory held assemblies in the open air. During the Decian persecution, "as that great man understood well the frailty of human nature, recognizing that the majority [[207]] were incapable of contending for their religion unto death, his counsel was that the church might execute some kind of retreat before the fierce persecution." He fled himself. -- After the persecution was over, when it was permissible to address oneself to Christian worship with unrestricted zeal, he again returned to the city, and, by travelling over all the surrounding country, increased the people's ardour for worship in all the churches by holding a solemn commemoration in honour of those who had contended for the faith. Here one brought corpses of the martyrs, there another. So much so, that the assemblies went on for the space of a whole year, the people rejoicing in the celebration of festivals in honour of the martyrs. This also was one proof of his great sagacity, viz., that while he completely altered the direction of everyone's life in his own day, turning them into a new course altogether, and harnessing them firmly to faith and to the knowledge of God, he slightly lessened the strain upon those who had accepted the yoke of the faith, in order to let them enjoy good cheer in life. For, as he saw that the raw and ignorant multitude adhered to idols on account of bodily pleasures, he permitted the people -- so as to secure the most vital matters, i.e., the direction of their hearts to God instead of to a vain worship -- permitted them to enjoy themselves at the commemoration of the holy martyrs, to take their ease, and to amuse themselves, since life would become more serious and earnest naturally in process of time, as the Christian faith came to assume more control of it." Gregory is the sole missionary we know of, during these first three centuries, who employed such methods;82 and he was a highly educated Greek. If such things could occur in the [[208]] green tree, what must be expected from the dry? The cult of the martyrs, with its frenzied pagan joy in festivals, took the place of the old local cults, and the old fetishes were succeeded by the relics of the saints (cp. Lucius, Die Anfange d. christl. Heiligenkultus, 1904). Undoubtedly the method proved an extraordinary success. The country became Christian. A sphere which had been overlooked at the outset of the mission rapidly made up lost ground, and the country ranked along with the provinces of Asia Minor, which had been Christianized at an earlier period, as substantially Christian.

79 "Gregory carefully explored, not long before he died, the whole of the surrounding country, to find out if there were any who had not accepted the faith. On discovering that there were not more than seventeen, he thanked God that he had left his successor as many idolaters as he had found Christians when he himself began." Basil (loc. cit.) says he converted the entire nation, not only in the cities but in the country.

80 Athenodorus also took part in the work. He was Gregory's brother, and bishop of some unknown place in Pontus.

81 Mary and John appeared to him, and he turned such visions to good account. So far as I know, this is the first case of a vision of the Virgin in the church.

82 On the blending of religions in Asia, cp. also Texte u. Unters., N.F. 4.1 (Marutas, pp. ii f.). -- Gregory's exploits and testimony were subsequently extended by Theodoret to the church at large (Grac. affect. curat. 8.68-69, opp. ed. Schulze 4, pp. 923 f.), but without any of Gregory's naivete and without his naive attitude towards the festivals :
Τὰ μὲν γὰρ ἐκείνων οὕτω [om] παντελῶς διελύθη τεμένη, ὡς μηδὲ τῶν σχημάτων διαμεῖναι τὸ εἶδος, μηδὲ τῶν βωμῶν τὸν τύπον τοὺς νῦν ἀνθρώπους ἐπίστασθαι, αἱ δὲ τούτων ὕλαι καθωσιώθησαν τοῖς τῶν μαρτύρων σηκοῖς. Τοὺς γὰρ οἰκείους νεκροὺς ὁ δεσπότης ἀντεισῆξε τοῖς ὑμετέροις θεοῖς, καὶ τοὺς μὲν φρούδους ἀπέφηνε, τούτοις δὲ τὸ ἐκείνων ἀπένειμε γέρας. Ἀντὶ γὰρ δὴ τῶν Πανδίων καὶ Διασίων καὶ Διονυσίων καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ὑμῶν ἑορτῶν Πέτρου καὶ Παύλου καὶ Θωμᾶ καὶ Σεργίου καὶ Μαρκέλλου καὶ Λεοντίου καὶ Παντελεήμονος καὶ Ἀντωνίνου καὶ Μαυρικίου καὶ τῶν ἄλλων μαρτύρων ἐπιτελοῦνται δημοθοινίαι· καὶ ἀντὶ τῆς πάλαι πομπείας καὶ αἰσχρουργίας καὶ αἰσχρορημοσύνης σώφρονες ἑορτάζονται πανηγύρεις
("For the glebes of those idols were utterly destroyed, so that not even the very form of their statues remains, nor do people of this age know the shape of the altars. Their graves were also devoted to the sepulchres of the martyrs. For the proprietor substituted the corpses of his own family for your gods, showing plainly that the latter were gone, and conferring on the former the honours which had pertained to their predecessors. For instead of the Pandia, Diasia, Dionysia, and the rest of your festivals, the feasts of Peter, Paul, Thomas, Sergius, Marcellus, Leontius, Panteleemon, Antoninus, Mauritius, and the other martyrs are celebrated; and instead of the former ribaldry, obscenity, and foul language, orderly assemblies now keep feast").
Cp. also pp. 921 f., where the martyrs, in all emergencies (and Theodoret enumerates dozens of cases : unproductiveness, dangers in travel, etc. ), appear as semi-divine helpers who are to be invoked. Perhaps, too, we should see the acceptance of a pagan custom in the statements of Acta Archel. 2, where a Christian explains the following custom to the Christians of his own country, near Edessa: "Est nobis mos huiusmodi patrum nostrorum in nos traditione descendens, quique a nobis observatus est usque ad hunc diem : per annos singulos extra urbem egressi una cum conjugibus ac liberis supplicamus soli et invisibili deo, imbres ab eo satis nostris et frugibus obsecrantes"
(" Our fathers had a custom of this kind, which has come down to us and which we still observe every year we all go outside the city, with our wives and children, to pray to the one, invisible God, and to beseech him for enough rain for ourselves and our crops ").
The sequel shows that they fasted and spent the night there.

Gregory the Illuminator obviously copied, in the neighboring regions of Armenia Major, the missionary methods of Gregory Thaumaturgus and this new, wild growth of Pontic Christianity (the reaction against it, as we have seen, being due to Eustathius of Sebaste). What we know of the earliest Armenian Christianity tallies entirely with that of Neo-Caesarea. Aschtischat and Bagravan possessed relics of Gregory ; they even had a festival (Gelzer, p. 128) of their own. The great church of Christ in Aschtischat assumed the place and position of the ruined pagan shrine (cp. p. 156) ; [[209]]  it became the sacred center of "Christian" Armenia. The feast of the local saints, John the Baptist and Athenogenes, which Gregory had ordered to he kept on the 7th of Sahmi every year, was one of the greatest in Armenia. "Such was the custom of the archbishops of Armenia, in common with the kings, the magnates; the bishops, and the populace, to venerate the places which had previously harboured images of the idols and were now sanctified in the name of the Deity, having become a house of prayer and a place for vows. They assembled especially at this the main centre of the church, in memory of the saints who slept there, and offered sacrifice to them seven times a year" (Faustus of Byzantium 3.3, p. 7 ; Gelzer, p. 130). "Pagan customs, especially the disorderly one of wailing for the dead, which the clergy strenuously opposed [they were even against the festivals of the martyrs], also prevailed in the succeeding age. Even about 378, the Mamiconians deposited the body of their head, Muschel, on the top of a tower, with the words, ' Because he was a valiant man, the Arlads emerge and raise him "' (Faustus 5.36. p. 245 ; Gelzer, pp. 133 f.). Indeed, between 290 and 370, while Christianity in Armenia was the state-religion, the masses at bottom declined to know anything about "this deception of humanity" (such was the language used even under king Tiran, 326-337). The northern mounted tribes declared, just like the Kurds of the present day, "If we do not rob or plunder and seize other people's property, how are we to live, with all our innumerable hosts?" (Faustus 3.6 ; Gelzer, p. 135). By means of a latitudinarianism unexampled elsewhere in the primitive history of missions, an attempt was made to adapt the new religion to their tastes. The attempt did not succeed. Here, as elsewhere, it is evident that the monastic, catholic Christianity, as that developed even in Armenia after the close of the fourth century, was the first thing to win the nation for the Lord. -- In 315 (or thereabouts) a large synod83 was held [[210]] at Neo-Caesarea, the capital of Eastern Pontus, under the presidency of bishop Longinus. Its Acts are extant. It set itself the task of determining certain cardinal features of the catholic discipline, in view of loose and disorderly practices.

83 Cp. Routh, Reliq. Sacra 2 4, pp. 179 f. The legislation restricting the powers of the chor-episcopi (and chor-priests), which had begun shortly before at Ancyra (see below), was carried forward at Neo-Caesarea (cp. the 13th canon). Some of the bishops who attended Ancyra (314 C.E.) were also at this synod, together with two Cappadocian chor-episcopi. Their names possess no interest.

Christianity had also made its way into the Greek seaports of Eastern Pontus Polemoniacus by 325 C.E. Bishop Domnus of Trapezus, and even bishop Stratophilus from far-away Pityus, were at Nicaea. As their names signify, they were Greeks. Christianity had also got the length of the North Armenians and the Iberians (Georgians and Albanians) by about 300 C.E., preceded by Judaism. It spread thither from the above-named cities, from Armenia, and finally, across Armenia from Syria (cp. Theodoret, H.E. 1.23). A grandson of Gregory the Illuminator, himself called Gregory, became catholicus of the Iberians and the Albanians -- for in Iberia and Albania the holder of the supreme clerical office was also called the "catholicus." He attained to this position at the age of fifteen, "because he was already mature and had the knowledge of God in him." I have before me a manuscript history, in German, of the Georgians (by Prince Dschawachoff, 1902), which shows that Christianity was established there by the beginning of the fourth century,84 and the country organized ecclesiastically not long afterwards. The rivalry, or rather the enmity, between the Georgians and Armenians was always keen. Consequently the church of Georgia gravitated more and more to the Western church of Constantinople. Ere long it approximated more closely to the Greek than to the Armenian church.

84 Socrates (1.20) and Sozomen (2.7) furnish an account of the conversion of Iberia, which is pure legend. But the fact and the date of the conversion are correct.


After we pass the first epistle of Peter and the authentic and surprising testimony furnished by Pliny to the wide diffusion of Christianity in this province (see above), which was wholly Hellenized in the imperial age, we practically come upon no further traces of it till the age of Diocletian. All we know is [[211]]  that Dionysius of Corinth addressed a letter to the church of Nicomedia (evidently it was the capital) about 170 C.E., warning it against the heresy of Marcion (cp. Eus., H.E., 4.24), and also that Origen spent some time here (Ep. Orig. ad Jul. Afric.) about the year 240 C.E.61 The outbreak of Diocletian's persecution, however, reveals Nicomedia as a semi-Christian city, the imperial court itself being full of Christians.62 From the very numerous martyrdoms, as well as, above all, from the history of Nicomedia during the age of Constantine and his sons (the historical source here being quite trustworthy and ample), we are warranted in holding that this metropolis must have been a centre of the church. The calendar of the majority of churches goes back to the festal calendar of the church of Nicomedia.63 And what holds true of the capital, holds true of the towns throughout the province; all were most vigorously Christianized. Constantine located his new capital at Constantinople, for the express reason that the opposite province was so rich in Christians, while the same consideration dictated without doubt the choice of Nicaea as the meeting-place of the famous council.

61 Cp. my Chronologie 2, p. 34.

Maximinus Daza, in a rescript (Eus., H. E. 9.9.I7), also testifies to the very large number of Christians in Nicomedia and the province of Bithynia Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα, ὅτε τῷ παρελθόντι ἐνιαυτῷ εὐτυχῶs ἐπέβην εἰs τὴν Νικομήδειαν . . . ἔyνων πλείστους τῆς αὐτῆs θρησκείαs ἄνδρατ ἐν αὐτοῖς τοῖς μέρεσιν οἰκεῖν (“ Afterwards, when I went up last year to Nicomedia, I found that a large number of people belonging to this religion resided in these regions"). I may point out also that both of the contemporary writers who attacked Christianity appeared in Bithynia ; cp. Lactantius, Inst., 5.2, "Ego cum in Bithynia oratorias litteras accitus docerem, . . . . duo exstiterunt ibidem, qui jacenti et abjectae veritati insultarent" (" When I was teaching rhetoric in Bithynia, by invitation, two men were there, who trampled down the truth as it lay prostrate and low "). The one was Hierocles, but the other's name is not given.

This has been demonstrated by Duchesne with regard to the ancient Syriac Martyrologium, which is the Martyrologium of the church of Nicomedia (in the days of Arius). It includes "ancient" Byzantine martyrs, i.e., from the preDiocletian period. Under Diocletian, Anthimus suffered martyrdom. He was bishop of Nicomedia (cp. Eus., HE., 8.6. 13, and Lucian's epistle to the Antiochenes in Chron. Pasch., p. 277). The large and important fragment bearing his name, which Mercati has published (Studi e Testi 5, 1901, pp. 87 f.), is not authentic (cp. my Chronologie 2, pp. 158 f.). It is doubtful if Anthimus was an author at all. But in the martyr-Acts of Domna and Inda (Migne, Gr. Tom., 116. p. 1073, cp. 1076 A) a letter of his is mentioned, full of kindly encouragement, which he wrote during his concealment in a village.

At the same time, apart from Nicomedia, not a single Christian community in Bithynia is heard of before the great persecution, i.e., before 325 C.E.64 No Christian writer mentions any. The reason for this, however, is that no prominent bishop or author was vouchsafed to that country before the days of Eusebius of Nicomedia.65 The council of Nicaea testifies to the existence of episcopal churches at the towns of Nicaea, Chalcedon,66 Kius, Prusa, Apollonia, Prusias, Adriani, and Caesarea, besides Nicomedia itself.67 In the country, also, there were episcopal churches, as is shown by the presence of two chor-episcopi (Theophanes and Eulalius) at Nicaea. The Novatians had numerous churches also in Bithynia (on the Hellespont), at Nicomedia. (cp. Socrat., 1.13, 4.28) and Nicaea (ibid., 4.28, 7.12. 25), etc. (cp. 5.22); and a famous Novatian recluse, Eutychianus, stayed at Mount Olympus in the days of Constantine (Soz., 1.14).

64 If, however, as is highly probable, "Apamea" is to be read for "Aprima" in the Ada Tryphonis et Respicii (Ruinart's Acta Mart., Ratisbon, 1859, pp. 208 f.), we must presuppose a Christian church at Apamea (Bithynia), a town with Roman civic rights -- though these two saints came not from the town itself but "de Apameae finibus de Sansoro (Campsade?] vico" (from the borders of Apamea, from a village called Sansorus). There was also a Christian community at Drepana (=Helenopolis), which had a church of the martyrs (Vit. Const., 4.61).

Before he became bishop of Nicomedia, he had been bishop of Berytus in Phoenicia. He was a friend of Arius, and a pupil of Lucian. He was also distantly connected with the royal family (Amm. Marcell. 22.9).

Local martyrdoms are reported, as at Nicaea. Both Apollonia and Adriani are also assigned to Mysia.

Their names are : Eusebius, Theognius, Marls, Cyril, Hesychius, Gorgonius, Georgius, Euethius, and Rufus. -- From the Vita Const., 4.43, it is plain that the number of the bishoprics was large.


In their Christian capacity these central provinces of Asia Minor, whose boundaries or titles were frequently altered, 68 had a common history, although S.W. Phrygia gravitated [[213]] towards Asia.69  

68 The names of Phrygia and Galatia were often employed in a broader or a narrower sense, without any regard to the legal and current political divisions. I refrain here from entering into the question of what "Galatia" means in Paul and elsewhere. Renan, Hausrath, Ramsay, Zahn, J. Weiss, and many others hold that it included Pisidia, Lycaonia, and Isauria. This is denied, especially by Schurer. But there are strong reasons for thinking that the former scholars are right. Galatia, in the narrower sense of the term, was ethnographically a province by itself, while Phrygia ethnographically embraced Pisidia and large sections of Lycaonia. Iconium was a Phrygian town, and the Lycaonian language which Paul heard at Lystra (Acts 14.11) was probably Phrygian.

69 The epistle of the churches at Lyons and Vienne (177/178), which describes their sufferings, is addressed to the churches of Asia and Phrygia. We may perhaps assume that Phrygia here means simply the south-west section.

The Montanist movement,70 which arose in Phrygia proper, and, blending with the Novatian movement, forthwith became national ,71 was particularly characteristic of these provinces.72 The Phrygian character shows a peculiar mixture of wild enthusiasm and seriousness. Thus Socrates, who was favourable to them, writes (H.E., 4.28): Φαίνεται τὰ Φρυγῶν ἔθνη σωφρονέστερα εἶναι τῶν ἄλλων ἐθνῶν . καὶ γὰρ δὴ καὶ σπανιάκις Φρύγες ὀμνύουσιν . ἐπικρατεῖ γὸρ το μὲν θυμικὸν παρὰ Σκύθαις καὶ θραξί, τῷ δὲ ἐπιθυμητικῷ οἱ πρὸς ἀνίσχοντα ἥλιον τὴν οἴκησιν ἔχοντες πλέον δουλεύουσι . τὰ δὲ Παφλαγόνων καὶ Φρυγῶν ἔθνη πρὸς οὐδέτερον τούτων ἐπ;ιρρεπῶς ἔχει . οὐδὲ γὰρ ἱπποδρομίαι οὐδὲ θέατρα σπουδάξονται νῦν παρ' αὐτοῖς .... ὡς μύσος ἐξαίσιον παρ' αὐτοῖς ἡ πορνεία νομίξεται καὶ γὰρ οἱασδήποτε ἄλλης αἱρέσεως σωφρονέτερον βιοῦντας Φρύγας καὶ Παφλαγόνας ἐστὶν ἑυρεῖν ("The Phrygians appear to be more temperate than other nations. They swear but seldom. Whereas the Scythians and the Thracians are naturally of a passionate disposition, whilst the inhabitants of the East are prone by nature to sensuality. The Paphlagonians and Phrygians, on the other hand, are not inclined to either [[214]] of these vices, nor are the circus and theatre in vogue with them at the present day.... As for fornication, they reckon that a gross enormity"). The Phrygians described here were already Christians. Their wild religious enthusiasm was restrained, but the seriousness remained.73 Before Montanus was converted, he had been a priest of Cybele. Movements such as that initiated by him had occurred, as we have seen, in Cappadocia and Pontus; but Montanus and his prophetesses knew how to make their movement both effective and permanent, supplying it at once with a firm organization.

70 The inhabitants of Phrygia, even in the second century, were decried, together with the Carians, as barbarians. Cp. Justin's Dial. 119 : οὐκ εὐκαταφρόνητος δῆμόs ἐμεν οὐδὲ βάρβαρον φῦλον οὐδὲ ὁποῖα Καρῶν ἢ Φρυγῶν ἔθνη. So even Homer's Iliad, 2.867 (Καρῶν ἡγήσατο βαρβαροφώνmν) and the adage quoted by Cicero in Pro Flacco, 27 : " Phrygem plagis fieri solere meliorem."

Wherever the movement spread throughout the empire, it was known as the "Phrygian" or Cataphrygian movement. There was a Montanist-Novatian church in Phrygia, with numerous branches, in the fourth century (Socrat., 4.28, 5.22, etc.).

According to Theodoret, Haer. Fab., 3.6, Montanism was not accepted by Pontus Polemoniacus, Helenopontus, Armenia, Cappadocia, Lycaonia, Pisidia, Pamphylia, Lycia, and Caria. This means that there were no longer any Montanists there when Theodoret wrote, so that probably they must have been always few in numbers in these countries, with the exception of Pisidia..

73 The fanatical and wild Messalians emerged at a later period in Asia Minor.

In these inland parts primitive Christianity survived longer than elsewhere. The third century still furnishes us with instances of (non-clerical) teachers, as well as prophets, being drawn from the ranks of the laity ; and in a letter written circa 218 by Alexander of Jerusalem, and Theoktistus of Caesarea, in connection with the case of Origen, we read that “Wherever people able to profit the brethren can be found, they are exhorted by the holy bishops to address the people ; as, for example, Euelpis in Laranda (Isauria) by Neon, Paulinus in Iconium (Pisidia) by Celsus, and Theodorus by Atticus in Synnada (Phrygia), all of whom are our blessed brethren. Probably this has also been done in other places unknown to us" ((ὅπου εὑρίσκονται οἱ ἐπιτήδειοι πρὸς τὸ ὠφελεῖν τοὺς ἁδελφούς, καὶ παρακαλοῦνται τῷ λαῷ προσομιλεῖν ὑπό τῶν ἁγίων ἐπισκόπων, ὥσπερ ἐν Λαράνδοις Εὔελπις ὑπὸ Νέωνος καὶ ἐν 'Ικονίῳ Παυλῖνος ὑπὸ Κέλσου καὶ ἐν Συννάδοις Θεόδωρος ὑπὸ 'Αττικοῦ τῶν μακαρίων ἀδελφῶν. εἰκὸς δὲ καὶ ἐν ἄλλοις τόποις τοῦτο γίνεσθαι, ἠμᾶς δὲ μὴ εἰδεναι.). Lay-teachers like Euelpis, Paulinus, and Theodorus did not exist any longer in Palestine or Egypt ;74 as is plain from the Palestinian bishops having to go to the interior of Asia for examples of this practice.75

74 But there were still διδάσκαλοι in the Egyptian cantons, as Dionysius of Alexandria reports (Eus., H.E., 7.24).

This passage [cp. Vol. 1, p. 361] also is an excellent proof of how well known the churches were to one another.

Almost from the very hour of its rise, the Montanist movement indicates a very wide extension of Christianity throughout Phrygia and the neighbouring districts of Galatia; [[215]] even in small localities Christians were to be met with.76 Our knowledge on this point has been enlarged during the last twenty years by Ramsay's thorough-going investigations of the whole country ; thanks to his meritorious volumes,77 we are better acquainted with the extant inscriptions and the topography of Phrygia and Pisidia than with any other province in the interior of Asia Minor. We have learnt from them how widely Judaism78 and Christianity were diffused, locally, in the earliest periods, and we have been taught how to distinguish and make ourselves familiar (even inside Galatia and Phrygia) with those districts where Christianity found but a meagre access.

76 The first village, known to us by name, which had a Christian community (by 170 C.E.) is Cumane in Phrygia. Pepuza and Tymion were also small centres.

Besides large volumes on The Historical Geography of Asia Minor, The Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, St Paul the Traveller and the Roman Citizen, and The Letters to lhe Seven Churches (1904), this scholar's recent works fall to be noticed, viz., Deux jours en Phrygie (reprinted from the Revue des etudes anciennes, 1902), Pisidia and the Lycaonian Frontier (reprinted from the Annual of the British School at Athens, No. 9, 1902-3), "Lycaonia" (Jahreshefte d. osterreich. archaol. Instituts, vol. 7, 1904), Topography and Epigraphy of Nova Isaura (reprinted from the Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol. 25, 1905), and also Miss A. M. Ramsay's The Early Christian Art of Isaura Nova (reprinted from the Journal of Hellenic Studies 24, 1904). The sketch-maps appended to these volumes are particularly serviceable. What has elsewhere been achieved by the combined efforts and agencies of an academy, one man has achieved here single-handed.

Ramsay, Phrygia, pp. 667 f.: " Akmonia, Sebaste, Eumeneia, Apameia, Dokimion, and Iconium are the cities where we can identify Jewish inscriptions, legends, and names."

With great rapidity the Montanist movement flowed over into Galatia and Ancyra on the one side,79 and into Asia upon the other.80 The synods held by the church party, in order to defend themselves against the new prophets, were got up by churches belonging to the central provinces, and in fact were attended by representatives from the most distant quarters of the country (Eus., H.E., 5.19). A few decades afterwards, when these churches were agitated by the question of the validity of heretical baptism, large synods were held at Iconium and Synnada (between 9.30 and 235), attended by bishops from Phrygia, Galatia, Cilicia, and the rest of the neighbouring [[216]] provinces (Cappadocia).81 Firmilian and Dionys. Alex., who give some account of them, speak of numerous bishops, but they give no numbers. Augustine, on the other hand, following some source which is unknown to us, declares that there were fifty bishops at Iconium alone. Which is a remarkable number!

79 The anti-Montanist (in Eus., 5.16. 4) found the church of Ancyra quite carried away by Montanism.

Thyatira fell entirely into their hands (Epiph., Her. 51.33).

Cp. Firmilian (Cyp., Ep. 75.7.9): "Quod totum nos iam pridem in Iconio, qui Phrygiae locus est, collecti in unum convenientibus ex Galatia et Cilicia et ceteris proximis regionibus confirmavimus" (" All of which we have long since established in our common gathering at Iconium, a place in Phrygia, gathering from Galatia and Cilicia and the rest of the neighbouring provinces ") ; " Plurimi simul convenientes in Iconio diligentissime tractavimus " (" The majority of us have carefully handled this, gathering together in Iconium "). Dionys. Alex. (in Eus., 7.7 : μεμάθηκα καὶ τοῦτο, ὅτι μὴ νῦν οἱ ἐν 'Αφρίκῃ μόνον τοῦτο παρει σήγαyον ἀλλὰ καὶ πρὸ πολλοῦ κατὰ τσὺs πρὸ ἡμῶν ἐπισκόπους ἐν ταῖς πολυανθρωποτάταις ἐκκλησίαιs καὶ ταῖs συνόδοιs τῶν ἀδελφῶν ἐν Ίκονίῳ καὶ Συννάδοιs καὶ παρὰ πολλαῖς τοῦτο ἔδαξεν): " I also learnt that this was not a recent practice introduced by those in Africa alone, but that long ago, in the days of the bishops who were before us, it was resolved upon by the most populous churches, and by synods of the brethren at Iconium and Synnada, and by many others."

In the following pages I shall give a list of places in Galatia, Phrygia, and Pisidia where we know Christians were to be found.

Galatia: In this province, so poor in towns, Christianity was naturally as Hellenic in all essentials as in the neighbouring provinces, although the country lay " like a Celtic island in the flood of Eastern peoples." The internal political organization of the country remained Celtic for long (cp. the three divisions), but, from a religious point of view, the new inhabitants were first Phrygian and then Greek Christians. The Celtic names did not long survive the age of Tiberius, but the vernacular remained Celtic (cp. Pausanias, Lucian's Alex. 51, and Jerome's Com. in Galat. 2, at the opening). Probably, however, a Celtic Christianity and a Celtic church never got beyond the embryonic stage. From Sozom. 5.16 (the epistle of Julian to Arsacius, the pagan high-priest of Galatia) we find that under Constantius there were many pagan priests in Galatia who had Christian wives, children, and slaves.

82 Cp. Routh, Reliq. Sacr.2, vol. 4,  pp. r13 f. Of the twenty-five canons of this synod, three bear specially on the history of the local expansion of Christianity, viz., the 13th, the 7th, and the 24th. The first contains regulations for the chorepiscopi, delimiting their powers (for the first time in their history), while the two latter prohibit pagan sacrificial feasts and all pagan superstitions (7 : περί τῶν συνεστιαθέντων ἐν ἐορτῄ ἑθνικῄ, ἐν τόπῳ ἀφωρισμένω τοῖs ἐθνικοῖs, ἴδια βρώματα ἐπικομισαμέων καὶ φαyόντων [evidently this was a protective custom!], ἔδοξε διετίαν ὑποπεσόντας δεχθῆναι. 24: οἱ καταμαντευόμενοι καὶ ταῖs συνηθείαιs τῶν ἐθνῶν ἐξακολουθοῦντεs ἢ εἰσάγοντέs τιναs εἰs τοὺs ἑαυτῶν οἴκουs ἐπὶ ἀνευρέσει φαρμακειῶν ἢ καὶ καθάρσει, κ.τ.λ.). Eighteen or nineteen bishops signed these resolutions, viz., the bishops of Syrian Antioch, Ancyra, Caesarea (Cappad.), Tarsus, Amasia, Juliopolis (Gal.), Nicomedia, Zela (Pont.), Iconium, Laodicea (Phryg. ), Antioch (Pisid. ), Perga, Neronias, Epiphania, and Apamea (Syr. ), though not all of these localities can be proved indubitably. Galatia, Syria, Cappadocia, Cilicia, Diospontus, Bithynia, Pisidia, Phrygia, Pamphilia (perhaps Cyprus as well), were thus represented. The names are Greco-Latin : Vitalis, Marcellus, Agricolaus, Lupus, Basilius, Philadelphus, Eustolus, Heraclius, Petrus, Nunechius, Sergianus, Epidaurus, Narcissus, Leontius, Longinus, Amphion, Alphius, Selaus (?), and Germanus. The Marcellus of this list is the famous bishop of Ancyra, who made so effective an appearance at Nicaea. The picture of the church at Ancyra given by the Acta Theodoti (ed. Franchi de Cavalieri, 19o2, Rome) is instructive, though the Acta themselves are unauthentic and quite legendary. They warn us against forming extravagant ideas of the size of the church. It was ruled by the huckster Theodotus. Apart from the local church or churches there were also two oratories, a μαρτύριον τῶν πατριαρχῶν and α μ. τῶν πατέρων (c. 16). Franchi has shown that the latter was probably a re-consecrated pagan shrine, and even the local saint Sosander (c. 19) may have been a re-consecrated hero.

Phrygia 84:--

84 Duchesne (Orig. du culte, p. 11) rightly observes: "La Phrygie etait a pen pres chretienne que la Gaule ne comptait encore qu'un tres petit nombre d'eglises organisees." Cp. Ramsay, as cited above (p. 95). -- For Phrygian martyrs in Palestine (including a Thekla) under Diocletian, cp. Mart. Pal. (ed. Violet, pp. 18 f., 48). A Phrygian, Alexander, was martyred at Lyons (Eus., H.E., 5.1) under Marcus Aurelius.

Pisidia and Lycaonia 90:

90 Cp. Ramsay, Pisidia and the Lycaonian Frontier (1902-3), with an excellent map and numerous corrections of Histor. Geography. The large majority of Pisidian bishoprics lay on the Lycaonian border, i.e., S.E. and then N.W. Christianity thus lay along a broad diagonal line, stretching from S.E. to N.W. (i.e., to Bruzus, Hieropolis, Otrus, etc.). Right and left of this (the eastern limit being somewhere between Laranda and Iconium, the western between Humanades and Apamea Cibotus), the country was for long Christianized only here and there. The direction of this line is towards Cilicia (Tarsus) as its base, and from the N. W. it was met half-way by the expansion of Christianity in Asia-Phrygia. The metropolitan arrangements (Lubeck, pp. 10, 94 f.) must have been uncertain in these provinces prior to Diocletian. Certainly the prominence of Iconium, Laranda, and Synnada in the epistle of the two Palestine bishops to Demetrius of Alexandria was not accidental. They represented three central points. Sagalassus was not yet the capital of Pisidia, any more than perhaps the political headquarters (against Marquardt, 1 p. 68). It never occurs in the pre-Nicene Christian literature, and it had no bishop at Nicaea. As for the separate towns, cp. for Antioch, Ramsay, p. 247 (really a Phrygian town) ; for Neapolis, p. 250; for Limenae [Limns;], p. 251 ; for Pappa, p. 254; for Baris and Seleucia, p. 256 ; [[221b]] for Amblada, pp. 264 f. ; for Vasada Isaur., p. 266 ; for Humanades Isaur., pp. 268 f. Further, cp. Ramsay's great study of Lycaonia (which discusses Isauria also). For Laranda, cp. pp. 70 f. ("the leading city of Southern Lycaonia, had the title of metropolis from the time of M. Aurelius and perhaps earlier ") ; for Derbe and Passala, pp. 73 f. ; for Isauropolis, pp. 77 f. ; for Barata, pp. 82 f. ; for Gdmaua Gal., p. 9y; for Coropassus, p. 100; and for Cybistra Capp., pp. 113 f.
  • Iconium (the metropolis-Paul, Acta Theclae [perhaps composed by a local presbyter], Acta Justini, Hierax of  [[221]] Iconium, born of Christian parents, Eus., H.E., 6.19, 7.7, 7.28; Eulalius, the bishop of Iconium, council of Nicaea). Antioch (Paul, Acta Theclae ?). 
  • Lystra (Paul). 
  • Derbe (Paul). 91

    91 Lystra and Derbe were the first Christian communities which were almost entirely composed of Christians who had been born pagans (cp. Renan's Paul; Germ. ed., p. 90).

  • Philomelium (ep. Smyrniote church to the local church, circa 156 C.E.). 
  • Hadrianopolis (bishop Telemachus at Nicaea). Neapolis (bishop Hesychius at Nicaea). 
  • Seleucia Sidera (bishop Eutychius at Nicaea). 
  • Limenae (bishop Aranius at Nicaea). 
  • Amblada (bishop Patricius at Nicaea). 92

    92 Amblada was in bad repute. Constantine banished Aelius thither (ἐκεῖ κακῶς ἀπορρῆξαι τὸν βίον, διὰ τὸ βάρβαρον καὶ μισάνθρωπον τῶν ἐνοικούντον, αὐχμοῦ δὲ καὶ λοιμοῦ τὴν χώραν ἔχοντοs ἀνυποίστου). So still in the days of Philostorgius (5.20), though at the beginning of the fourth century it had a bishop.

  • Metropolis (also assigned to Phrygia ; bishop Polycarp at Nicaea). 
  • Apamea (=Celaenae; close to Apamea Cibotus, also assigned to Phrygia ; bishop Tarsicius at Nicaea; also an earlier dated inscription of 254 C.E. ; cp. Cumont, p. 38, No. 209). 
  • Pappa (bishop Academicus at Nicaea). 
  • Baris (bishop Heraclius at Nicaea). 
  • Usada = Vasada (bishop Theodorus93 at Nicaea).

    93 This bishop occurs also in the Isaurian list of the Nicene council, and indeed with more right there than here.
  • [Calytis = Canytis ? in Pisidia] (martyrs).

As with Bithynia, so with Pisidia -- the number of bishops at Nicaea proves that the province (i.e., its western division) was widely Christianized. But as it produced no prominent bishops or writers, we learn nothing of its local church-history, apart from Iconium ; although Ramsay tells me that, to judge from [[222]] the inscriptions and ruins of the fourth century, it must have been more thoroughly Christianized than even Asia and Phrygia.


Thanks to Paul and the unknown John,95 Asia became the leading Christian province throughout Asia Minor. It was rich in towns, and flourished by its trade and industries. As has been already noted, the churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Sardes, Philadelphia, Thyatira,96 Troas, Magnesia on the Maeander, Tralles, and possibly Parium, were all founded in the primitive age.97 Speaking from the experience of his travels and all he had seen in Asia, Ignatius mentions [p. 3] ἐπίσκοποι κατὰ τά περατα [sc. τοῦ κόσμου] ὁρισθέντες -- so widespread and numerous did the Asiatic bishops seem to him (ad Ephes. 3). Papylus (Mart. Carpi, ch. 32 ; see above, p. 5) tells the magistrate at Pergamum, ἐν πάσῃ ἐπαρχία καὶ πόλειεἰσίν μοι τέκνα κατὰ θεόν, referring primarily to Asia. Irenaeus (3.3. 4) speaks of “ all the churches in Asia," and the epistle of Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus, to Victor of Rome during the Easter controversy (cp. Eus., H.E., 5.24) brings out very clearly the dignity and the self-consciousness of the church at Ephesus. Ephesus was the custodian of the great memories of the churches of Asia-Phrygia, memories which secured to these churches a descent and origin at least equal to that of the church of Rome. " For in Asia, too, great luminaries have sunk to rest which shall rise again on the day of the Lord's coming ; namely, Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who rests in Hierapolis, with his two daughters, who grew old as virgins, and his other [[223]] daughter who lived in the Holy Spirit and lies buried at Ephesus. Then, too, there is John, who reclined on the Lord's breast, and who was a priest wearing the sacerdotal plate, a martyr, and a teacher. He also rests at Ephesus. And Polycarp, too, in Smyrna, both bishop and martyr ; and Thraseas, also a bishop and martyr, from Eumenea, who rests at Smyrna. Why need I further mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris, who rests at Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito the eunuch, whose whole life was lived in the Holy Spirit, and who lies at Sardes?" Note also how Polycrates proceeds to add : "I, too, Polycrates, hold by the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed ; for seven of my relatives were bishops, and I am the eighth." We do not know where these seven bishoprics are to be looked for in Asia, and unfortunately we are just as ignorant about the members of that largely attended Asiatic synod, convoked during the Easter controversy, of which Polycrates writes thus “ I could name the bishops present, whom I had summoned at your desire [i.e., of Victor, the bishop of Rome] ; were I to go over their names, they would amount to an extremely large number" (πολλὰ πλήθη, i.e., perhaps one or two dozen).

94 This provincial designation has been omitted by an early oversight from the Nicene list (before Asia), so that we now find, under 'Aσίας, the bishop of Cyzicus before the bishop of Ephesus (cp. Lubeck, p. 77, and Schwartz, Zur Gesch. des Athanas. 6, p. 267).

The traditions that "John" organized the church in Asia, and that he ruled over the churches as a mission-superintendent, are above suspicion. Eventually (cp. 3 John) he came into conflict with the local organization.

Cp. Clerc, de Rebus Thyatirenorum, and Ramsay, Deux jours en Phrygie, pp. 9 f

Paul's epistle to the Ephesians (whose address is admittedly unauthentic, as we read it to-day) was sent to several Asiatic churches ; perhaps it was the same letter as the Colossians (Col. 4.16) were to expect from Laodicea and to read.

Important sources relative to the church in Smyrna are available for us in the epistles of John, Ignatius (two), and Polycarp, as well as in the epistle of the church to Philomelium and in the Martyrdom of Pionius (in the reign of Decius) ; see also the accounts of Noetus, the modalistic Christian, at Smyrna. One outstanding feature is the local struggle between the Jews and the Christians, and also the high repute of Polycarp ("the father of the Christians," as the pagans called him ; EP. Smyrn. 12). During Polycarp's lifetime, there were several Christian churches near Smyrna, for Irenaeus tells Florinus that Polycarp addressed letters to them (Eus., 5.24). There was also a Marcionite church at Smyrna or in the neighbourhood during the days of Pionius, for the latter had a Marcionite presbyter called Metrodorus as his fellow-martyr. 98

98 The sharp emphasis laid on "the catholic church" in the Martyrdom of Pionius indicates plainly that there were sectarian, especially Montanist, churches in Smyrna and Asia.

But unluckily none of all these sources furnishes us with any idea of the Smyrniote church's size.99 In the Vita Polycarpi of Pionius,100 and in the Apost. Constit., 7.46, there is a doubtful list of the first bishops of Smyrna. Pergamum, where the first Asiatic martyr perished, is familiar to us in early church history from the martyrdom of Carpus, Papylus, and Agathonike (apart from the Johannine letter to the church), as well as from the martyrdom of Attalus of Pergamum at Lyons (Eus., H. E., 5.1); Sardes is known to us through Melito, the local bishop, c. 170 C.E., whose large ideas upon the relation of the church to the empire would not have been possible had not Christianity been already a power to reckon with at Sardes and in Asia. The authority employed by Epiphanius in Haer. 51.33 declares that almost the whole of Thyatira101 was won for Christ by the opening of the third century ; he also mentions churches which had arisen in the neighbourhood of Thyatira, but without giving any names. Papylus, who suffered martyrdom in Pergamum, was an itinerant preacher hailing from Thyatira. The martyr Appianus in Caesarea Pal, came from Lydia (cp. Mart. Pal., pp. 24 f., Violet). For martyrs at Miletus, cp. Sozom., 5.20. The author of the Vita Polycarpi (25) mentions the bishop of Teos (south-west of Smyrna), a certain Daphnus ; and, whatever be thought of the date of this Vita, we can believe there was a bishop at Teos in the third century.

99 In the Mart. Pionii a village called Karina is mentioned as having a Christian presbyter.

The discussion of the Vita Polycarpi (per Pionium) has entered on a new phase, owing to the efforts of Corssen (Zeits. f. NTliche Wiss. 5, pp. 266 f.) and Schwartz (De Pionio et Polycarpo, Gottinger Programm, 7th June 19o5), both of whom regard Pionius, the Decian martyr, as the author of the treatise. According to the Vita, Bucolus was the predecessor of Polycarp (preceded by the disciple of Paul, Strataas [a son of Lois), who had laboured as a teacher of the church. The list, according to the Apost. Constit., runs thus: Ariston, Strataas, the son of Lois, Ariston [another?)). -- In the Vita, ch. 21, bishops τῶν πέριξ πόλεων are mentioned on the occasion of Polycarp's choice as bishop of Smyrna, as well as Christian ὄχλοι τῶν πόλεων καὶ κωμῶν καὶ ἀyρῶν (cp. 27 ἡ κατὰ τὰς κώμαs ἐκκλησιῶν φροντίs). This is quite credible, for the third century. Against Corssen's hypothesis, see Hilgenfeld in his Zeits. fur Wiss. Theol. (1905) 48, pp. 444 f.

There were Christians in the town of Parethia on the Hellespont (Parium?), but it has not been identified. Cp. Achelis, Mart. Bier., p. 117.

The exceptionally wide diffusion of the Asiatic churches, and the zeal they displayed in the interests of the church at large, come out in a passage from Lucian's tale of Proteus Peregrinus, where, after narrating Proteus' conversion and imprisonment in Syria, he goes on to say : "In fact, people actually came from several Asiatic towns, despatched by the local Christians, in order to render aid, to conduct the defence, and to encourage the man. They become incredibly alert when anything of this kind occurs that affects their common interests. On such occasions no expense is grudged."

The writings of Irenaeus, Hippolytus, and Tertullian furnish a good deal of material for our knowledge of the relations between the churches of Asia Minor and the West, and vice versa. Polycarp of Smyrna, when quite an old man, travelled to see Anicetus at Rome, in order to take counsel upon the Easter date and other matters. The relations between the churches of Asia and Rome must have been close and vivid. Any Asiatic controversy was transmitted to Rome. Asiatic Christians were found at Lyons during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. The churches of Lyons and Vienne describe their sufferings to their Asiatic brethren. Most probably the canon of the four gospels originated in Asia Minor (at Ephesus), where the ground was also prepared for the formation of the New Testament (cp. Melito). The Paschal controversy (c. 190 C.E.) seems to have alienated the Asiatic church from the general body of the church. Thereafter it never had the. same central position as before. What it lost, Rome gained. But the Asiatic church steadily increased in numbers. The purely fictitious Acta Pauli (c. 180 C.E.) came from an Asiatic presbyter ; they are extremely important for our knowledge of popular Asiatic Christianity.

The subscriptions of the Nicene council furnish further evidence of Asiatic (Lydian and Mysian) and Carian towns with local churches ; viz., Cyzikus102 (Theonas : where there was also a Novatian church ; Socrat., 2.38), Ilium (Orion), Ilium [[226]] (another: = Dascylium ? bishop Marinus), Hypaepa (Mithres), Anaea (Paulus), Bagis (Pollion), Tripolis (Agogius), Ancyra ferrea (Florentius), Aurelianopolis (Antiochus), Standus [ ? Silandus ? Blaundus ? ] (bishop Marcus), Hierocaesarea (Antiochus).103 In Caria : Antioch (Eusebius), Aphrodisias (Ammonius; martyrs [Mart. Syr.] and Christian inscriptions), Apollonias (Eugenius), Cibyra (Laetodorus : inscriptions ; cp. also Epiph., Haer. 51.30), and Miletus (Eusebius). MartyrActs from the reign of Decius (Ruinart, p. 205) also prove the existence of a Christian church at Lampsacus, where Parthenius was bishop under Constantine (cp. Acta SS. Febr., 2,  pp. 38 f.). Sardes was the capital of Lydia, but we do not know whether Antioch or Aphrodisias was the capital then of Caria. For Novatian churches in Asia and Lydia, cp. Socrat., 6.19.

102 Christianity in this town or its jurisdiction must have still been in a weak state, for under Julian a proposal was brought forward to restore the pagan temple (Sozom., 5.15).

103 The bishops of Ephesus (Menophantus), Smyrna (Eutychius), Sardes (Artemidorus), Thyatira (Seras), and Philadelphia (Hetoimasius) were also present at Nicaea.


No fewer than twenty-five bishops from these three southern provinces of Asia Minor were present at Nicaea (including four chor-episcopi from Isauria) -- a sad contrast to the little we know of the churches in these districts. With regard to Lycia (Olympus and Patara), we are acquainted with the personality of Methodius, that influential teacher of the church who lived circa 300 C.E. His writings give us a picture of the ideas and intercourse of educated Christians in Lycia. The newly discovered inscription of Arycanda (Maximinus Daza) also informs us that there were Christians in that locality, and that . the town joined in presenting servile petitions against them.104 Finally, it is probable, from the Acta Pauli, that there were Christians in Myrrha, while similar evidence is perhaps afforded by Eusebius (Mart. Pal. 4-5) with regard to Gaga -- not far from Olympus.105 Nothing is heard of the churches in Pamphylia, [[227]] however, from the allusion to Perge in Acts down to the council of Nicaea, apart from one martyrdom in Attalia ; while all we know of Isauria is the notice in Eusebius (6.19) which has been already cited (cp. p. 214). The following is a list of the churches throughout the three provinces, known to us for the most part from the council of Nicaea :

104 Archaeol.-epigraph. Mittheil. aus Oesterreich-Ungarn., ed. von Benndorf u. Bormann (1893), PP. 93 f., rob.

" Gagae " (not Pagae) is to be read ; cp. Mercati's I Martini di Palestina del Codice Sinailico (Estratto dai "Rendiconti" del R. Inst. Lomb., Serie 2, vol. 30, 1897),

Lycia : Patara (Method., Martyr., Nic. bishop Eudemus), Olympus (Method.), Arycanda (inscr. from reign of Daza), [Gagae] (Euseb.), Myrrha (Acta Pauli), Perdikia ? (Nic., but doubtful).

Pamphylia : Perge (Acts, Nic. bishop Callicles), Termessus, Uarba106 = Syarba (where ?), Aspendus, Seleucia, Maximianopolis, Magydus (all six, with bishops Heuresius, Zeuxius, Domnus, Quintianus, Patricius and Aphrodisius, from Nic., though Magydus is also supported by the tradition of St Conon's martyrdom under Decius ; cp. von Gebhardt's Acta Mart. Sel., pp. 129 f.), Side (since this town is mentioned shortly afterwards as the metropolis of Pamphylia, it probably had a church circa 325 C.E.),107 Attalia (Mart.).

106 Perhaps= Lyrbe, north-east of Side (cp. Ramsay's map of Pisidia).

Side was also the birthplace of Eustathius, afterwards bishop of Bercea and Sebaste. As Athanasius calls him a confessor, he must have attested his Christianity in Side during the Diocletian persecution.

Isauria : It is amazing that Christianity had spread so far in this wild province that thirteen bishops and four chor-episcopi came from it to the council of Nicaea. For Ramsay's investigations, cp. above, pp. 215, 220. Laranda (Alex. of Jerus., in Eus., H.E. 6.19, Nic. bishop Paulus), Barata, Koropissus, Claudiopolis, Seleucia (Tracheia)108 Metropolis (?), Panemon Teichos, Antioch, Syedra, Humanades (= Umanada),109 Ilistra (the last signature runs, Εὑσέβιος διοικήσεως τῆς παροικίας 'Ισαυρίας). The Isaurian bishops are called Stephanus, Athenaeus, Aedesius, Agapius, Silvanus, Faustus, Antoninus, Nestor, Cyril, Theodorus, Tiberius, Eusebius. The chor-episcopi are called : Hesychius, Anatolius, Quintus, and Aquila. Obviously they are purely [[228]] Greco-Roman names. The Christianizing of Isauria meant an increase of Hellenizing, as was always the case in Asia Minor. Perhaps the name of a (Lycian) locality is also hidden in the surname of " Amasceunites " borne by Sistelius (Method., de Resu..., 1.1. 2 ; Bonwetsch, p. xxxiii).

108 Seleucia was the starting-point of the Thekla-cultus. Thekla dispossessed the Athena and the Apollo of Seleucia.

Here follows, in the Nicene list, Theodorus of Vasada -- probably the same as Theodorus of Usada=Vasada in Pisidia (see above). The connection with Isauria is more probable than with Pisidia, however.

We cannot get any clear idea (cp. Lubeck, p. 96) of the political and ecclesiastical capitals of these provinces. The Nicene lists suggest Patara (Lycia : yet this was the only Lycian bishop at Nicaea), Perge (Pamphylia), and Barata (Isauria). Gelzer's map makes Seleucia the metropolis of Isauria, without any basis for this ; it was probably the political capital. Lubeck calls attention to the fact that no city "Metropolis" occurs in Isauria ; hence, it is argued, the bishop who signed from "Metropolis" was simply the bishop of the unnamed political capital of Isauria at that period (which perhaps was not the same as the ecclesiastical). But it is unexampled to find μητρόπολις in the Nicene lists instead of the name of a town or city. The second difficulty lies in the last signature. Schwartz (Zu. Gesch. des Athan. 6, pp. 283 f.), who has recently discussed these problems in connection with the synodal document, which he discovered, of a synod at Antioch held shortly before the Nicene council (immediately after the death of Philogonius, bishop of Antioch), holds the Syrian reading Εὐσέβιος παροικίας Ἰσαυροπόλεως to be original. With the aid of the 190th letter of Basil (to Amphilochius), which mentions small localities near Isaura which had bishops, he proves that while Eusebius was the bishop of the town of Isaura, his authority extended beyond the town, and his parish did not coincide with that of the municipal church, though he was not the metropolitan of the province. The latter was, in Schwartz's judgment, the Σιλουανὸς Μητροπόλεως mentioned fifth in order. This position Schwartz thinks he can explain by the fact that the sees already mentioned, i.e., Barata, Coracesion (Coropissus), Claudiopolis, and Seleucia were autocephalous at the date of the Nicene council." They did not lie in Isauria proper, and the ecclesiastical organization did not exactly follow the political at this point." This does not seem to me to solve the problem yet. For what town was the metropolis? Cp. Ramsay's Lycaonia [[229]] (p. 77), and his Pisidia and the Lycaonian Frontier (pp. 266 f.), on this question. The latter scholar thinks that the two neighbouring cities of Isaura nova and Coma had bishops at an earlier period, "but were submerged in the great autocephalous bishoprics of Isaura palaea sometime after 381."110

110  For Isaura nova = Dorla, cp. Ramsay, Topogr. and Epigr. of Nova Isaura (1905), and the above-mentioned essay of Miss Ramsay. In this extremely interesting essay the monument sketched and discussed on pp. 264 f. is of special importance. It belongs to a bishop (ὁ μακάριοs πάπας) called on the inscription ὁ θεοῦ φίλος. By a custom of the pagan priests, his name is not given. Or was he called Theophilus? The monument must be pre-Constantine, as its general character and the ornaments prove. The inscription for τὸν πᾶσι φίλον ἐπίσκοπον Μάμμαν (pp. 269 f.) also seems to be pre- Constantine, possibly too that on bishop Sisamoas (p. 272). The other antique monuments which have been discovered and described belong also to the years 250-400 CE. The rarity of Greek names on them is extremely striking; the Latin are more numerous. For that very reason, one must not go too far with them.

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