Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/69

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ABERCROMBY
ABERDEEN
41

in one quarter or another; the following conclusions are indisputably historical. The epitaph of Abercius is generally, and with good reason, regarded as older than that of Alexander, the son of Anthony, i.e. prior to the year of Our Lord 216. The subject of it may be identified with a writer named Abercius Marcellus, author of a work against the Montanists, some fragments of which have been preserved by Eusebius. As the treatise in question was written about the year 193, the epitaph may be assigned to the last years of the second, or to the beginning of the third, century. The writer was bishop of a little town, the name of which is wrongly given in the "Life", since he belongs to Hieropolis in Phrygia Salutaris, and not to Hierapolis in Phrygia Pacatiensis. The proof of this fact given by Duchesne is all that could be wished for.

The text of the inscription itself is of the greatest possible importance in connection with the symbolism of the early Church. The poem of sixteen verses which forms the epitaph shows plainly that the language used is one not understood by all; "Let the brother who shall understand this pray for Abercius." The bishop's journey to Rome is merely mentioned, but on his way home he gives us the principal stages of his itinerary. He passed along the Syrian coast and, possibly, came to Antioch, thence to Nisibis, after-having traversed the whole of Syria, while his return to Hieropolis may have been by way of Edessa. The allusion to St. Paul the Apostle, which a gap in the text renders indecipherable, may originally have told how the traveller followed on his way back to his country the stages of St. Paul's third missionary journey, namely: Issus, Tarsus, Derbe, Iconium, Antioch in Pisidia, and Apamea Cibotus, which would bring him into the heart of Phrygia.

The inscription bears witness of no slight value to the importance of the Church of Rome in the second century. A mere glance at the text allows us to note: (1) The evidence of baptism which marks the Christian people with its dazzling seal; (2) The spread of Christianity, whose members Abercius meets with everywhere; (3) The receiving of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and of Mary, in the Eucharist, (4) under the species of Bread and Wine.

The liturgical cultus of Abercius presents no point of special interest; his name appears for the first time in the Greek menologies and synaxaries of the tenth century, but is not found in the Martyrology of St. Jerome.

Pitra, in the Spicilegium Solesmense (Paris, 1855, III, 533; IV, 483); Duchesne, Abercius, évéque d'Hieropolis, in the Revue des questions historiques (1883), XXXIV, 5–33; Leclercq, in Dict. d'archéol. chrét. et de liturgie, I, 66–87; Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers (London, 1889), II, i, 492–501.

Abercromby, John, d. 1561. During the Scottish Reformation we know that the Catholic clergy were treated with great violence, but particulars of their misfortunes are hard to find. Thomas Dempster, a diligent writer of the next century, whose accuracy, however, cannot always be trusted, in his "Historia Centis Scotorum" (Edinburgh, 1829), 28, names Abercromby as having lost his life from such violence. He adds that he thinks the sufferer was a Benedictine, and that he had written in behalf of the Faith.

Abercromby, Robert, sometimes known as Sanders and as Robertson, a Jesuit missionary in Scotland in the time of the persecutions, born 1532; died at Braunsberg, in Prussia, 27 April, 1613. He was brought into prominence chiefly by the fact that he converted the Queen of James I of England, when that monarch was as yet James IV of Scotland. The Queen was Anne of Denmark, and her father, an ardent Lutheran, has stipulated that she should have the right to practice her own religion in Scotland, and for that purpose sent with her a chaplain named John Lering who, however, shortly after his arrival, became a Calvinist. The Queen, who abhorred Calvinism, asked some of the Catholic nobles for advice, and it was suggested to call Father Abercromby, who, with some other Jesuits, was secretly working among the Scotch Catholics and winning many illustrious converts to the Church. Though brought up a Lutheran, Queen Anne had in her youth lived with a niece of the Emperor Charles V, and not only knew something of the Faith, but had frequently been present at Mass with her former friend. Abercromby was introduced into the palace, instructed the Queen in the Catholic religion, and received her into the Church. This was about the year 1600. As to the date there is some controversy. Andrew Lang, who merely quotes Mac Quhirrie as to the fact of the conversion, without mentioning Abercromby, puts it as occurring in 1598. Intelligence of it at last came to the ears of the King, who, instead of being angry, warned her to keep it secret, as her conversion might imperil his crown. He even went as far as to appoint Abercromby Superintendent of the Royal Falconry, in order that he might remain near the Queen. Up to the time that James succeeded to the crown of England, Father Abercromby remained at the Scottish Court, celebrating Mass in secret, and giving Holy Communion nine or ten times to his neophyte. When the King and Queen were crowned sovereigns of Great Britain, Anne gave proof of her sincerity by absolutely refusing to receive the Protestant sacrament, declaring that she preferred to forfeit her crown rather than take part in what she considered a sacrilegious profanation. Of this, Lang, in his "History of Scotland", says nothing. She made several ineffectual attempts to convert the King. Abercromby remained in Scotland for some time, but as a price of 10,000 crowns was put upon his head he came to England, only to find that the King's kindly dispositions toward him had undergone a change. The alleged discovery of a Gunpowder Plot in 1605, and the attempts made to implicate the Jesuits in the conspiracy had excited in the mind of the King feelings of bitter hostility to the Society. He ordered a strict search to be made for Abercromby, who consequently left the country and betook himself to Braunsberg, in Eastern Prussia, where he died, in his eighty-first year.

Bellesheim, Hist. of the Cath. Church in Scotland, VIII, 346; Rostowski, Lituanic, S. J., Hist., 236; Abercromby's Narrative in the Biblioth. Nation., Paris, Fonds latins, 6051, fol. 50.


Aberdeen, Breviary of. See Breviary.

Aberdeen, The Diocese of (Scotland).—A see was founded in 1063 at Mortlach by Bl. Beyn. The earliest mention of the old See of Aberdeen is in the charter of the foundation, by the Earl of Buchan, of the Church of Deer (c. 1152), which is witnessed by Nectan, Bishop of Aberdeen. But the first authentic record of the see is in the Bull of Adrian IV (1157), confirming to Edward, Bishop of Aberdeen, the churches of Aberdeen and St. Machar, with the town of Old Aberdeen and other lands. The granite cathedral was built between 1272 and 1277. Bishop Thomas Spence founded a Franciscan house in 1480, and King's College was founded at Old Aberdeen by Bishop Elphinstone, for eight prebendaries, chapter, sacristan, organist, and six choristers, in 1505. The see was transferred to Old Aberdeen about 1125, and continued there until 1577, having had in that time a list of twenty-nine bishops. From 1653, when the Scottish clergy were incorporated into a missionary body by the Congregation of the