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)

[[Book 4, Chapter 3, section 3, location 4 (page 140 = 2nd German ed p. 116) (scanned and proofed, Elana Newberger 4/2004), edited RAK 5/2004; checked by Francisco Lameiro 2/2005; Greek added,  some ETs still needed]]


4. CYPRUS\1/

At Salamis (=Constantia) and Paphos Barnabas the Cypriote and Paul had once done mission-work (Acts 13.), while Barnabas and Mark returned to the island later on as missionaries (Acts 15.). Jews abounded in Cyprus, so that the way lay open for the Christian propaganda. It was Cypriote Jewish Christians who brought the gospel to Antioch (Acts 11.20). The heretic Valentinus is said ultimately to have labored in Cyprus, and during the great persecution Christians from the mainland were banished to the mines of Cyprus (Mart. Pal. 13.2). Three Cypriote bishops-Gelasius from Salamis, [[141]] Cyril from Paphos, and Spyridon from Trimithus-were present at the council of Nicæa, and three bishoprics for an island of no great size meant a strong church. Nor were these all; for in the history of Spyridon we hear of "bishops of Cyprus," amongst whom was Triphyllius, bishop of Ledræ\2/ (Sozom., 1.l1, cp. Jer., de Vir. Ill. 92). Besides, Sozomen (7.19) relates that there were bishops in Cyprus even in the villages, while at the synod of Sardica the signatures show that there were no fewer than twelve Cypriote bishops in attendance.\3/ We do not know to what lengths the claim of Cyprus went, which insisted on autocephaly (i.e., the right of self-ordination) as against the jurisdiction of Antioch. The Cypriote bishops at Ephesus (431 C.E.) declared they had exercised this right since the apostolic age. But bishop Alexander of Antioch explained (in his letter to Innocent I.) that the Cypriotes had not broken off from Antioch until the Arian controversy (cp. Lübeck's Reichseint. und kirchl. Hierarchie, pp. 165 f.). Rufinus, Socrates (1.12), and Sozomen all tell us about the facetious and breezy Spyridon. He was a wealthy yeoman and herdsman, and remained so even after he was elected a bishop-which throws light upon the classes of the population to which Christianity had penetrated. Triphyllius, his colleague, again, was a man of high culture who had studied jurisprudence at Berytus. Sozomen relates a good story about the relations between the two men. At a provincial synod in Cyprus, Triphyllius was preaching, and in describing the story of the paralytic man he used the word σκίμπους ("bed") instead of the popular term κράββατον ("pallet"). καὶ ὁ Σπυρίδων ἀγανακτήσας «οὐ σύ γε», ἔφη, «ἀμείνων τοῦ κράββατον εἰρηκότος, ὅτι ταῖς αὐτοῦ λέξεσιν ἐπαισχύνῃ κεχρῆσθαι;» ("Whereupon Spyridon wrathfully exclaimed, 'Are you greater than he who spoke the word "bed," that you art ashamed to use the very words which he used?'" Sozomen 1.11.9). The story illustrates a phase of the history of culture. Luke had already deleted the "vulgarisms" in [[142]] Mark and Matthew, but a number of terms in the gospels were still offensive to cultured Greeks.

\1/ Cp. Map 4.

\2/ Ἀνὴρ ἄλλως τε ἐλλόγιμος καὶ διὰ νόμων ἄσκησιν πολὺν χρόνον ἐν τῇ Βηρυτίων πόλει διατρίψας ("Αn eloquent and learned man who had spent many years at Berytus in studying law"). Cp. the Life of Gregory Thaumaturgus. -- Ledræ=Leucontheon.

\3/ Athanas., Apol. c. Arian. 50.