Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 4.djvu/663

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


CYPRIAN


585


CYPRIAN


mi (ion, and the whole council was to await their re- turn — such was the importance of a papal election. Meantime another message arrived with the news that Novatian, the most eminent among the Roman cIiTgjf, had been made pope. Happily two African prelates, Pompeius and Stephanus, who had been present at the election of Cornelius, arrived also, and were able to testify that he had been validly set "in the place of Peter", when as yet there was no other claimant. It was thus possible to reply to the re- crimination of Novatian's envoys, and a short letter was sent to Rome, explaining the discussion which had taken place in the council. Soon afterwards came the report of Caldonius and Fortunatus together with a letter from Cornelius, in which the latter com- plained somewhat of the delay in recognizing him. Cyprian wrote to Cornelius explaining his prudent conduct. He adtled a letter to the confessors who were the main support of the antipope, leaving it to Cornelius whether it should be delivered or no. He sent also copies of his two treatises, " De U nitate "and "De Lapsis" (this had been composed by him imme- diately after the other"), and he wishes the confessors to read these in order that they may understand what a fearful thing is schism. It is in this copy of the "De Unitate" that Cyprian appears most probably to have added in the margin all alternative version of the fourth chapter. The original passage, as found in most MSS. and as printed in Hartel's edition, rims thus:

" If any will consider this, there is no need of a long treatise and of argimients. The Lord saith to Peter: 'I say unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will buikl Mj- Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it ; to thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and what thou shalt have boimd on earth shall be boimd in heaven, and what thou shalt have loosed shall be loosed in heaven.' Upon one He builds His Church, and though to all His Apostles after His resurrection He gives an equal power and says: 'As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you: Receive the Holy Ghost, who.sesoever sins you shall have remitted they shall be remitted unto them, and whose.soever sins you .shall have retained they shall be retained', yet that He might make imity manifest, He disposed the origin of that unity begin- ning from one. The other Apostles were indeed what Peter was, endowed with a like fellowship both of honour and of power, but the commencement pro- ceeds from one, that the Church may be shown to be one. This one Ch\iroh the Holy Ghost in the person of the Lord designates in the Canticle of Canticles, and says. One is My Dove, My perfect one, one is she to her Mother, one to her that bare her. He that holds not this unity of the Church, does he believe that he holds the Faith? He who strives against and resists the Church, is he confident that he is in the Church?" The substituted passage is as follows: "... boimd in heaven. T'pon one He builds His Church, and to the same He says after His resurrection, 'feed My sheep'. And though to all His Apostles He gave an equal power net did He set up one chair, and disposed the origin and nuinnrr of unity by his authority. The other Apostles were indeed what Peter was, but the primary is girrii to Peter, and the Church and the chair is shown to be one. And all are pastors, but the flock U shown to be one, which is fed by all the Apostles with one mind and heart. He who holds not this imity of the Church, does he think that he holds the faith? He who deserts the chair of Peter, upon whom the Church is founded, is he confident that he is in the Church?"

These .alt<-rnative versions are given one after the other in the chief family of MSS. which contains them, while in simie other families tlie two hiivv. been par- tially or wholl}- combined into one. Tlie combinesarea, and Jerusa- lem, Tyre and Laodicea, all Cilicia and Cappadocia, Syria and Arabia, Mesopotamia, Pontus, and Bithy- nia, had returned to union and that their bishops were all in concord (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., VII, v). From this we gauge the area of disturbance. Cyprian says that Novatian "assumed the primacy" (Ep. Ixix, 8) and sent out his new apostles to very many cities; and where in all provinces and cities there were long estab- lished, orthodox bishops, tried in persecution, he dared to create new ones to supplant them, as though he could range through the whole world (Ep. Iv, 24). Such was the power assumed by a third-century anti- pope. Let it be remembered that in the first days of the schism no question of heresy was raised and that Novatian only enunciated his refusal of forgiveness to the lapsed after he had made himself pope. Cy- prian's reasons for holding Cornelius to be the true bishop are fully detailed in Ep. Iv to a bishop, who had at first yielded to Cyprian's argtiments and had commissioned him to inform Cornelius that "he now communicated with him, that is with the Catholic Church", but had afterwards wavered. It is evi- dently implied that if he did not communicate with Cornelius he would be outside the Catholic Church. Writing to the pope, Cyprian apologizes for his delay in acknciwlcilging him; he had at lea.st urged all those who sailrd to Rome to make sure that they acknowl- edged and held the womb and root of the Catholic Church (Ep. xlviii, .3). By this is probably meant "the womb and root which is the Catholic Church",