Lecture 13 notes
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The imposter (Callistus) ... established a school in antagonism to the teachings of the
church. He was the first to think up a way of colluding with the sinful pleasures of men,
saying to all that he himself would remit their sins... And those hearing him, overjoyed with
his tenets, continue deluding themselves and many others, and crowds stream into his
school. So his followers multiply, and they exult in throngs attending for the sake of
pleasures that Christ did not permit. For in contempt of him they forbid no kind of sin
alleging that Christ will remit the offenses they have approved of
The Decian Persecution (249 – 51)
Imperial edict demands universal sacrifices to the gods leads to widespread apostasy in the
Christian churches across the empire
•Emperor believed the reason empire was collapsing was because Rome turned away
from traditional religious values and religion. Were initially very religious believed
that gods gave them their imperial power. When undergoing turmoil attempt to
revive tradition. Tried to make Christians make tribute to Roman gods which was
idolatry a eternal sin.
the novatianist schism
•Novatian an elder of the church claimed that there is no way people who returned to
polytheism can return back into the church. A very grave sin, no way you can forgive
it. He is elected bishop. Others believed they can be brought back if they feel true
•Presbyter Novatian rejects the moderate policy of readmitting apostates and
•The ‘Catholic’ mainstream chooses to allow readmission, so the mortal sins of
apostasy/idolatry are forgivable within the Church
The Great Persecution (303 – 313) Melitianist and Donatist schims
Basically: must priest remain pure? Can sinful still administer the sacraments effectively?
Catholic Christians distinguish “office” from “person” = the Church is holy, not all the
members or clergy. Traditionalist say Holy spirit will not respond to the sacrements carried
out by impure clerics.
Constantive and A Christian Empire
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