Not much comment from me. The writings of the Fathers speak for themselves.
To: Knitting A Conundrum
Hope you don,t mind if I add a few more?
The Early Fathers on "The Church is Visible and ONE"
Those, therefore, who desert the preaching of the Church, call in question the knowledge of the holy presbyters
It behooves us, therefore, to avoid their doctrines, and to take careful heed lest we suffer any injury from them; but to flee to the Church, and be brought up in her bosom, and be nourished with the Lord's Scriptures. For the Church has been planted as a garden (paradisus) in this world; therefore says the Spirit of God, 'Thou mayest freely eat from every tree of the garden,' that is, Eat ye from every Scripture of the Lord; but ye shall not eat with an uplifted mind, nor touch any heretical discord." Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 5:20 (A.D. 180).
"I shall at once go on, then, to exhibit the peculiarities of the Christian society, that, as I have refuted the evil charged against it, I may point out its positive good. We are a body knit together as such by a common religious profession, by unity of discipline, and by the bond of a common hope. We meet together as an assembly and congregation, that, offering up prayer to God as with united force, we may wrestle with Him in our supplications. This violence God delights in
We assemble to read our sacred writings, if any peculiarity of the times makes either forewarning or reminiscence needful. However it be in that respect, with the sacred words we nourish our faith, we animate our hope, we make our confidence more steadfast; and no less by inculcations of God's precepts we confirm good habits." Tertullian, Apology, 39:1 (A.D. 197).
"To sum up all in one word--what the soul is in the body, that are Christians in the world. The soul is dispersed through all the members of the body, and Christians are scattered through all the cities of the world. The soul dwells in the body, yet is not of the body; and Christians dwell in the world, yet are not of the world. The invisible soul is guarded by the visible body, and Christians are known indeed to be in the world, but their godliness remains invisible." Letter to Diognetus, 6:1 (A.D. 200).
"You may learn, if you will, the crowning wisdom of the all-holy Shepherd and Instructor, of the omnipotent and paternal Word, when He figuratively represents Himself as the Shepherd of the sheep
Such are the promises of the good Shepherd. Feed us, the children, as sheep. Yea, Master, fill us with righteousness, Thine own pasture; yea, O Instructor, feed us on Thy holy mountain the Church, which towers aloft, which is above the clouds, which touches heaven." Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, I:9 (A.D. 202).
"We are not to give heed to those who say, Behold here is Christ, but show him not in the Church, which is filled with brightness from the East even unto the West; which is filled with true light; is the 'pillar and ground of truth'; in which, as a whole, is the whole advent of the Son of Man, who saith to all men throughout the universe, 'Behold, I am with you all the days of life even unto the consumption of the world.'" Origen, Commentary on Matthew, Tract 30 (A.D. 244).
"The spouse of Christ cannot be adulterous; she is uncorrupted and pure. She knows one home; she guards with chaste modesty the sanctity of one couch. She keeps us for God. She appoints the sons whom she has born for the kingdom. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is a stranger; he is profane; he is an enemy. He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother. If any one could escape who was outside the ark of Noah, then he also may escape who shall be outside of the Church. The Lord warns, saying, 'He who is not with me is against me, and he who gathereth not with me scattereth.' Cyprian, On Unity, 6 (A.D. 251).
"Separate a ray of the sun from its body of light, its unity does not allow a division of light; break a branch from a tree,--when broken, it will not be able to bud; cut off the stream from its fountain, and that which is cut off dries up. Thus also the Church, shone over with the light of the Lord, sheds forth her rays over the whole world, yet it is one light which is everywhere diffused, nor is the unity of the body separated. Her fruitful abundance spreads her branches over the whole world. She broadly expands her rivers, liberally flowing, yet her head is one, her source one; and she is one mother, plentiful in the results of fruitfulness: from her womb we are born, by her milk we are nourished, by her spirit we are animated." Cyprian, Unity of the Church, 5 (A.D. 256).
"'A city built upon a mountain cannot be hid' The light, or lamp of Christ, is not now to be hidden under a bushel, nor to be concealed by any covering of the synagogue, but, hung on the wood of the Passion, it will give an everlasting light to those that dwell in the church. He also admonishes the apostles to shine with like splendour, that by the admiration of their deeds, praise may be given to God." Hilary of Poitiers, Commentary on Matthew, 5:13 (A.D. 355).
"'And his throne as the sun before me.' Understand, by the 'throne' of Christ, the Church; for in it he rests. The Church of Christ, then, he says, shall be refulgent and enlighten all under heaven, and be abiding as the sun and the moon. For this passage says so: 'His throne as the sun before me, and as the moon perfect forever, and a faithful witness in heaven.'" Athanasius, Exposition in the Psalms, 88 (ante A.D. 373).
"'And in the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be prepared on the top of the mountains' The house of the Lord, 'prepared on the top of the mountains,' is the church, according to the declaration of the apostle, 'Know,' he says, 'how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God' Whose foundations are on the holy mountains, for it is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. One also of these mountains was Peter, upon which the rock the Lord promised to build his church." Basil, Commentary on Isaiah, 2:66 (A.D. 375).
"Not therefore on that Mount Zion does Isaias look down upon the valley, but on that holy mountain which is the church, that mountain which lifts its head over the whole Roman world under heaven...a church which is throughout the world, wherein there is one Catholic church." Optatus of Mileve, Against the Donatist, 3:2 (A.D. 384).
"Petilianus said: 'If you declare that yon hold the Catholic Church, the word 'catholic' is merely the Greek equivalent for entire or whole. But it is clear that you are not in the whole, because you have gone aside into the part.' Augustine answered: I too indeed have attained to a very slight knowledge of the Greek language, scarcely to be called knowledge at all, yet I am not shameless in saying that I know that means not 'one,' but 'the whole;' and that means "according to the whole:" whence the Catholic Church received its name, according to the saying of the Lord, 'It is not for you to know the times, which the Father hath put in His own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and even in the whole earth.' Here you have the origin of the name 'Catholic.' Augustine, Answer to Letters of Petilian, 2:38  (A.D. 400).
"It is an easier thing for the sun to be quenched, than for the church to be made invisible." John Chrysostom, In illud: vidi Dom. (ante A.D. 407).
"For the church is in lofty and conspicuous, and well known to all men in every place. It is also lofty in another sense; for her thoughts have nothing earthly, but she is above all that is earthly, and with the eyes of the understanding, looks upon, as far as it is possible, the glory of God, and glories in doctrines truly exalted, concerning God ... Wherefore, with justice may the house of God be called a mountain (known) by the understanding, and it is perfectly visible, as being raised upon the hills; and one may say of it, and with great cause, what as a notable illustration was uttered by the mouth of the Saviour: 'A city placed upon a hill cannot be hidden'" Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on Isaias, (ante A.D. 429).
The Early Fathers on "The Churchs Ecumenical Councils are Infallible"
"Are they not then committing a crime, in their very thought to gainsay so great and ecumenical a Council? Are they not in transgression, when they dare to confront that good definition against Arianism, acknowledged, as it is, by those who had in the first instance taught them irreligion? " Athanasius, Defence of the Nicene Definition, 2 (A.D. 351).
"This gave occasion for an Ecumenical Council, that the feast might be everywhere celebrated on one day, and that the heresy which was springing up might be anathematized. It took place then; and the Syrians submitted, and the Fathers pronounced the Arian heresy to be the forerunner of Antichrist, and drew up a suitable formula against it. And yet in this, many as they are, they ventured on nothing like the proceedings of these three or four men. Without pre-fixing Consulate, month, and day, they wrote concerning Easter, 'It seemed good as follows,' for it did then seem good that there should be a general compliance; but about the faith they wrote not, 'It seemed good,' but, 'Thus believes the Catholic Church;' and thereupon they confessed how they believed, in order to shew that their own sentiments were not novel, but Apostolical; and what they wrote down was no discovery of theirs, but is the same as was taught by the Apostles." Athanasius, Councils of Ariminum & Seleucia, 5( A.D. 362).
"But the word of the Lord which came through the ecumenical Synod at Nicaea, abides for ever." Athanasius, To the Bishops of Africa, 2 (A.D. 372).
"[T]hat you should confess the faith put forth by our Fathers once assembled at Nicaea, that you should not omit any one of its propositions, but bear in mind that the three hundred and eighteen who met together without strife did not speak without the operation of the Holy Ghost, and not to add to that creed the statement that the Holy Ghost is a creature, nor hold communion with those who so say, to the end that the Church of God may be pure and without any evil admixture of any tare." Basil, To Cyriacus, Epistle 114 (A.D. 372).
"Synods create security on the point that falls under notice from time to time." Epiphanius, Panarion, 74 (A.D. 377).
"And therefore, first in the holy Synod of Nicaea, the gathering of the three hundred and eighteen chosen men, united by the Holy Ghost, as far as in him lay, he [St. Athanasius] stayed the disease. Though not yet ranked among the Bishops, he held the first rank among the members of the Council, for preference was given to virtue just as much as to office." Gregory of Nazianzen, Oration 21:14 (A.D. 379).
The Faith of the Three Hundred and Eighteen Fathers assembled at Nice in Bithynia shall not be set aside, but shall remain firm. And every heresy shall be anathematized, particularly that of the Eunomians or [Anomoeans, the Arians or] Eudoxians, and that of the Semi-Arians or Pneumatomachi, and that of the Sabellians, and that of the Marcellians, and that of the Photinians, and that of the Apollinarians. Ecumenical Council of Constantinople I, Canon 1 (A.D. 381).
"This was decreed at the Synod of Ariminum, and rightly do I detest that council, following the rule of the Nicene Council, from which neither death nor the sword can detach me, which faith the father of your Clemency also." Ambrose, To the Emperor Valentinian, Epistle 21:14 (A.D. 386).
"Some of the brethren whose heart is as our heart told us of the slanders that were being propagated to our detriment by those who hate peace, and privily backbite their neighbour; and have no fear of the great and terrible judgment-seat of Him Who has declared that account will be required even of idle words in that trial of our life which we must all look for: they say that the charges which are being circulated against us are such as these; that we entertain opinions opposed to those who at Nicea set forth the right and sound faith." Gregory of Nyssa, To Sebasteia, Epistle 2 (ante A.D. 394).
"As to those other things which we hold on the authority, not of Scripture, but of tradition, and which are observed throughout the whole world, it may be understood that they are held as approved and instituted either by the apostles themselves, or by plenary Councils, whose authority in the Church is most useful, e.g. the annual commemoration, by special solemnities, of the Lord's passion, resurrection, and ascension, and of the descent of the Holy Spirit from heaven, and whatever else is in like manner observed by the whole Church wherever it has been established." Augustine, To Januarius, Epistle 54:1 (A.D. 400).
"[H]e, I say, abundantly shows that he was most willing to correct his own opinion, if any one should prove to him that it is as certain that the baptism of Christ can be given by those who have strayed from the fold, as that it could not he lost when they strayed; on which subject we have already said much. Nor should we ourselves venture to assert anything of the kind, were we not supported by the unanimous authority of the whole Church, to which he himself would unquestionably have yielded, if at that time the truth of this question had been placed beyond dispute by the investigation and decree of a plenary Council. For if he quotes Peter as an example for his allowing himself quietly and peacefully to be corrected by one junior colleague, how much more readily would he himself, with the Council of his province, have yielded to the authority of the whole world, when the truth had been thus brought to light?" Augustine, On Baptism against the Donatist, 2:5 (A.D. 401).
"What the custom of the Church has always held, what this argument has failed to prove false, and what a plenary Council has confirmed, this we follow!" Augustine, On Baptism against the Donatist, 4:10 (A.D. 401).
"And in no wise do we suffer to be shaken by any one, the faith defined, or the symbol of faith settled, by our fathers, who assembled, in their day, at Nicea. Neither do we allow ourselves, or any other to alter a word there set down, or even to omit a single syllable, mindful of that saying: 'Remove not the ancient land-marks which thy fathers have set.' " Cyril of Alexandria, To John of Antioch, 5 (A.D. 433).
"[C]leave to the holy synod which assembled at Nicea, nothing added (thereto), nothing diminishing; for that synod being divinely inspired, taught the true doctrine." Isidore of Pelusium, Epistle 99:4 (ante A.D. 435).
"So have I learnt not only from the apostles and prophets but also from the interpreters of their writings, Ignatius, Eustathius, Athanasius, Basil, Gregory, John, and the rest of the lights of the world; and before these from the holy Fathers in council at Nicea, whose confession of the faith I preserve in its integrity, like an ancestral inheritance, styling corrupt and enemies of the truth all who dare to transgress its decrees." Theodoret of Cyrus, To Florentius, Epistle 89 (A.D. 449).
"The great and holy and universal Synod, which by the grace of God and the sanction of our most pious and Christ-loving Emperors has been gathered together in the metropolis of Chalcedon
For if 'where two or three are gathered together in His name,' He has said that 'there He is in the midst of them,' must He not have been much more particularly present with 520 priests, who preferred the spread of knowledge concerning Him to their country and their ease? Of whom you were, chief, as the head to the members, showing your goodwill in the person of those who represented you; whilst our religious Emperors presided to the furtherance of due order, inviting us to restore the doctrinal fabric of the Church, even as Zerubbabel invited Joshua to rebuild Jerusalem." Council of Chalcedon to Pope Leo the Great, Epistle 98:1 (A.D. 451).
"Anatolius' attempts to subvert the decisions of Nicea are futile. But at the present time let it be enough to make a general proclamation on all points, that if in any synod any one makes any attempt upon or seems to take occasion of wresting an advantage against the provisions of the Nicene canons, he can inflict no discredit upon their inviolable decrees: and it will be easier for the compacts of any conspiracy to be broken through than for the regulations of the aforesaid canons to be in any particular invalidated." Pope Leo the Great [regn. A.D. 440-461], To Maximus, Epistle 119:3 (A.D. 453).
"[T]he Sacred Synod of Nicea...Ephesus...[and] Chalcedon...to be received after those of the Old or New Testament, which we regularly accept." Pope Gelasius [regn. A.D. 492-496], Epistle 42 (A.D. 492).
"Besides those which are contained in the Decretal of Gelasius, here, after the Synod of Ephesus 'Constantinople(I)' was also inserted: then was added: But even if any councils thus far have been instituted by the holy Fathers, we have decreed that after the authority of those four they must be both kept and received." Pope Hormisdas [regn. A.D. 514-523], Epistle 125 (A.D. 520).
"We confessed that we hold, preserve, and declare to the holy churches that confession of faith which the 318 holy Fathers more at length set forth, who were gathered together at Nicea, who handed down the holy anathema or creed. Moreover, the 150 gathered together at Constantinople set forth our faith, who followed that same confession of faith and explained it. And the consent of fire 200 holy fathers gathered for the same faith in the first Council of Ephesus. And what things were defined by the 630 gathered at Chalcedon for the one and the same faith, which they both followed and taught. And all those wile from time to time have been condemned or anathematized by the Catholic Church, and by the aforesaid four Councils, we confessed that we hold them condemned and anathematized." Ecumenical Council of Constantinople II, Sentence of the Synod (A.D. 553).
"I confess that I receive and revere, as the four books of the Gospel so also the four Councils: to wit, the Nicene, in which the perverse doctrine of Arius is overthrown; the Constantinopolitan also, in which the error of Eunomius and Macedonius is refuted; further, the first Ephesine, in which the impiety of Nestorius is condemned; and the Chalcedonian, in which the pravity of Eutyches and Dioscorus is reprobated. These with full devotion I embrace, and adhere to with most entire approval; since on them, as on a four-square stone, rises the structure of the holy faith
The fifth council also I equally venerate, in which the epistle which is called that of Ibas, full of error, is reprobated; Theodorus, who divides the Mediator between God and men into two subsistences
and the writings of Theodoritus, in which the faith of the blessed Cyril is impugned, are refuted as having been published with the daring of madness. But all persons whom the aforesaid venerable Councils repudiate I repudiate; those whom they venerate I embrace; since, they having been constituted by universal consent, he overthrows not them but himself, whosoever presumes either to loose those whom they bind, or to bind those whom they loose. Whosoever, therefore, thinks otherwise, let him be anathema. But whosoever holds the faith of the aforesaid synods, peace be to him from God the Father, through Jesus Christ His Son, Who lives and reigns consubstantially God with Him in the Unity of the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen." Pope Gregory the Great [regn. A.D. 590-604], To John of Constantinople, Epistle 24 (A.D. 591).
posted on 03/04/2007 11:11:58 AM PST
("Above all gifts that Christ gives his beloved is that of overcoming self"St Francis Assisi)
To: Knitting A Conundrum
posted on 03/04/2007 11:51:51 AM PST
(†With God all things are possible.†)
To: Knitting A Conundrum
Very good, but one correction:
"Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church."
The Greek says "catholic church", not "Catholic Church". Since 1054 the difference is important.
posted on 03/04/2007 11:53:02 AM PST
(Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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