Sidebilder
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

has built upon this supposition, in order to subject the Britons to the Pope, at once falls to the ground.

I will not now stand disputing with him, whether the word diocese was never about this time taken in any author for one of the great dioceses of the Roman empire. He says Constantine so uses it in one place 65, speaking of the Asiatic and Pontic dioceses : and if that will do him any service, I can help him to another; for Constantine also speaks of a civil officer, called kaboAckÒS OLOLKÝDEUS, or rationalis of the diocese 66, where, I agree with Valesius, we are to understand one of the great dioceses of the Roman empire. Nay, I have said before that I think there were patriarchs too in the Church at that time, and that they had the great dioceses of the Roman empire divided among them. But does it hence follow, that because the word diocese is sometimes so used, that therefore it must needs signify so in this place, when there is plain demonstration to the contrary! All the world knows that about the same time the name diocese was given to single episcopal churches also, and they too were called greater dioceses in opposition to the tituli, or parishes, which were quasi diæceses, the lesser dioceses, under them, as the Pontifical words it in the Life of Pope Marcellus 67, who was one of Sylvester's predecessors. So that Sylvester's holding greater dioceses, may mean no more than his being a metropolitan, or having several episcopal dioceses under his jurisdiction, to whom he was to signify according to custom the time of keeping Easter, and other things decreed in the Council. Or if we suppose him to have been a patriarch at that time, then his greater dioceses may signify those ten suburbicary provinces, which were the

65 Ep. ad Omnes Ecclesias, ap. 66 Ibid. l. 4. c. 36. (p. 646. 20.) Euseb. de Vit. Constant. 1. 3. c. 19. 'Aneotán ypáupata rapà this (ν. Ι. p. 588. 35.) Τούτου ένεκεν επί ημετέρας ημερότητος προς τον της του παρόντος καλώς έχειν άπαντες διοικήσεως καθολικών, όπως άπαντα ηγήσαντο, και αυτός δε τη υμετέρα τα προς επισκευήν αυτών επιτήδεια άγχινοία αρέσειν υπεσχόμην ίν' όπερ παρασχεϊν φροντίσειεν. δ' άν κατά την των Ρωμαίων πόλιν τε 67 Pontifical. (CC. t. 1. p. 946 c.) και 'Αφρικής, Ιταλίαν τε άπασαν, Ηic fecit cemeterium Via Salaria, Αίγυπτον, Σπανίαν, Γαλλίας, Βρεττα- et viginti quinque titulos in Urbe νίας, Λιβύας, όλην Ελλάδα, Ασια- Roma constituit, quasi dieceses, νήν τε διοίκησιν και Ποντικών, και Κι- propter baptismum et penitentiarm λικίαν, μια και συμφώνω φυλάττεται multorum, qui convertebantur ex γνώμη, ασμένως τούτο και η υμετέρα paganis, et propter sepulturas marπροσδέξηται σύνεσις.

tyrum.

ancient bounds of his patriarchal jurisdiction. But whatever meaning they have, it is certain they cannot be understood in our author's sense, of the great dioceses of the Roman empire : because it were absurd to think that Africa should acknowledge itself to be one of the Pope's dioceses, which never was reckoned among the suburbicary provinces, and, what is more, always resolutely opposed the Pope's pretences to the least shadow of power over it, claiming an absolute and independent power within itself in all matters of ecclesiastical cognizance and jurisdiction. And the case of the Britannic Church being

. the same with that of Afric, it follows that it was as independent of Rome as the other was, notwithstanding any pretended confession of subjection made by its bishops in the Council of Arles ; upon which our author lays the main strength of his cause, though there is nothing in it when fairly canvassed and examined, as I doubt not I have made it appear to every unprejudiced reader.

I was the more willing to consider here some of the chief exceptions of this celebrated writer against the liberties of the Britannic Church, because I know not whether any one else has made a reply to them; and these strictures will serve to suggest at once to the reader the true grounds upon which our ancient liberties were founded, and the contrary pretences, which would subject us to the power of the bishop of Rome, as patriarch of the Western empire, though the Britannic diocese had as just a title to be independent at that time as Rome itself, or Afric, or any other diocese in the empire. I make no further inquiry here into the bounds of other patriarchs or metropolitans, or their dioceses, because no such momentous disputes have been raised about them, and they may be easily learned from the Notitia of the Church here subjoined in the latter part of this Book. Therefore I proceed in the next place to examine the ordinary extent of the ancient episcopal dioceses, or, as we now call them, diocesan churches.

[ocr errors]

CHAP. II.

called

A more particular account of the number, nature, and extent

of dioceses, or episcopal churches, in Africa, Egypt, and other Eastern provinces.

1. It is evident from what has been discoursed in the last Dioceses chapter that the most ancient and apostolical division of the

anciently Church was into dioceses, or episcopal churches; that is, such rapoulai, precincts or districts as single bishops governed, with the as

paræchiæ. sistance of their presbyters. But yet we are to make a little further inquiry into the nature and extent of these, because great errors have been committed by some late writers about them. There are who pretend that a diocese, for the three first ages, was never more than such a number of people as could meet, and ordinarily did meet, in a single congregation. Others extend the limits of ancient dioceses further than this at first, to include a city and the whole region about it: but then they reckon that upon the general conversion of heathens to Christianity, such dioceses ought to have been divided into single congregations, and a new bishop and clergy set over every one.

There is no difference betwixt these two opinions, save only this, that the one wholly mistakes the Church's first and primitive model, and the other quarrels with her practice. But the truth of the matter was, that the Church, in settling the bounds of dioceses, went by another rule, not that of single assemblies or congregations, but the rule of government in every city, including not only the city itself, but the suburbs, or region lying round about it within the verge of its jurisdiction. Which seems to be the plain reason of that great and visible difference which we find in the extent of dioceses ; some being very large, others very small, according as the civil government of each city happened to have a larger or lesser jurisdiction.

There are two things indeed that commonly impose upon unwary readers in this matter. One is, that the ancient name of an episcopal diocese for three hundred years is commonly trapoikia, which they mistake for a parish-church, or single

congregation : whereas, as learned men 68 have rightly ob

: , served, it signified then not the places or habitations near a church, but the towns or villages near a city, which, together with the city, was the bishop's παροικία, or, as we now call it, his diocese, the bounds of his ordinary care and jurisdiction. That thus it was, appears evidently from this, that the largest dioceses, such as those of Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria, which had many particular churches in them, were called by the same name, as the reader

may
find an hundred

passages

in Eusebius 69, where he uses the word παροικία, when he speaks of those large and populous cities which had many particular churches in them. The city of Alexandria, in the time of Alexander and Athanasius, was divided into several districts called lauræ, in every one of which there was a church, with a presbyter fixed upon it; and yet all these were but one παροικία,

; as Alexander calls it in his Circular Epistle 70 against Arius. The reader may see the word so used by Epiphanius 71, St. Jerom 72, the Councils of Antioch 73, Ancyra 74, and many others 75

, ,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

68 Patriarchal Government, quest. bantur ecclesiam pertinere, &c. 1. (Brief Treatises, p. 102.)... For 72 Ep. 53. [al. ιο9.] ad Ripar. which cause, the jurisdiction of a (t. 1. p. 720 d.) Miror sanctum epibishop was anciently known by.no scopum, in cujus parochia esse presother name but παροικία, signifying byter dicitur [vigilantius,] acquiesnot, as many ignorant novelists cere furori ejus, &c. think, a parish, as now the word is 73 C. 9. (t. 2. p. 565 b.) "Εκαστον taken, that is the places or habita- γάρ επίσκοπον εξουσίαν έχεις της tions near a church, but the towns εαυτού παροικίας, διοικείν τε κατά την and villages near a city, all which εκάστο επιβάλλουσαν ευλάβειαν, και together, with the city, the bishop πρόνοιαν ποιείσθαι πάσης της χώρας had in charge.

της υπό την εαυτού πόλιν. 69 Vid. 1. 1. C. Ι.

(ν. 1. p. 1. 3.)... 74 C. 18. (t. Ι. p. 1461 e.) Εί τινες "Οσα τε και πηλίκα πραγματευθήναι επίσκοποι κατασταθέντες, και μη δεχκατά την εκκλησιαστικής ιστορίαν λέ- θέντες υπό της παροικίας εκείνης, εις γεται, και όσοι ταύτης διαπρεπώς έν ήν ωνομάσθησαν, ετέραις βούλoιντο ταϊς μάλιστα επισημοτάταις παροι- παροικίας έπιέναι, και βιάζεσθαι τους κίαις ηγήσαντό τε και προέστησαν, καθεστώτας, και στάσεις κινείν κατ' κ.τ.λ.-L. 2. c. 24. (ibid. p. 82. 1.) αυτών, τούτους αφορίζεσθαι. Νέρωνος δε όγδοον άγοντος της βασι- August. Εp. 261. [al. 209.] (t. λείας έτος, πρώτος μετά Μάρκον τον 2. p. 777 c.) Fussala dicitur Hipαπόστολος και ευαγγελιστής, της εν ponensi territorio confine castellum: 'Αλεξανδρεία παροικίας 'Αννιανός την antea ibi nunquam episcopus fuit : λειτουργίαν διαδέχεται.

sed simul cum contigua sibi regione 70 Ap. Socrat. 1. 1. c. 6. (v. 2. p. ad paræciam Hipponensis ecclesiæ 10. 30.) 'Εν τη ημετέρα τοίνυν παροι- pertinebat.-Basil. Εp. 264. [al. 95.] κία εξήλθον νύν άνδρες παράνομοι και ad Euseb. Samosat. (t. 3. part. 2. Χριστομάχοι, κ. τ.λ.

p. 528 b.) Περιοδευόντων ημών την 71 Ep. ad Joan. Hierosol. (t. 2. παροικίαν, κ. τ.λ. P. 313 c.) Ad meæ parochiæ vide

75

[ocr errors]

name dio

used.

[ocr errors]

in after-ages, when it is certain episcopal dioceses were something larger than parish churches, as those are taken to signify single congregations. So that nothing can be plainer than the use of the word trapolkia for a diocese to the fourth century.

2. And now about this time the name diocese began to be When the used likewise. For the Council of Arles, which was held in

cese began the beginning of the fourth century, writing to the bishop of first to be Rome, says 76, that he did majores diæceses tenere, possess greater dioceses ;' which though Schelstrate and other Romish writers interpret patriarchal dioceses, to aggrandize the Pope's jurisdiction; yet it is more probable, as Dr. Cave observes 77, that it means only single bishoprics; though I grant Constantine might have made the division of the empire into civil dioceses, from whence patriarchal dioceses took their name in the following ages. The word is used frequently for a single diocese in the African Councils, as where it is said 78, a bishop shall not leave his principal seat, and betake himself to any other church in the diocese :' so likewise often in the African Code, and the Collation of Carthage. From which it appears that the words parochia and diæcesis were of the same import

76 C. Arelat. 1. Epist. Synod. See thage, where nothing is more comch. 1. 8. 12. n. 63, preceding. mon and obvious than the

usage

of 77 Ancient Church-Government, the word diocese for a single episcoch. 3. pp. 129, 130. (s. 6. p. 402.) pal see. The places are too numerWhen the Synod at Arles, in their ous to be reckoned up. Letter to Pope Sylvester, say, that 78 C. Carth. 5. c.5. (t. 2. p.1216 b.) he did majores diæceses tenere, (a Placuit ut nemini sit facultas, repassage frequently quoted by the licta principali cathedra, ad aliquam writers of the Roman Church), pos- ecclesiam in diæcesi constitutam se sess greater dioceses : besides, that conferre.-Conf. Cod. Afric. c. 17. the place, as Salmasius observes, is (ibid. p. 1025. Corrige, 1125 d.) very corrupt, and affords no current Oιαιδήποτε εκκλησίαι εν διοικήσει καsense, it is plain that the word dio- Deot@gal.-C. 118. Inscriptio : (e.) cese there cannot be understood of Περί του, πως μεταξύ άλλήλων μερίpatriarchal dioceses, (Constantine σονται τας διοικήσεις οι επίσκοποι, not having yet made the division of K. 7.d.-C. 119. Inscriptio : (ibid. the empire, nor dioceses come up in p. 1127 b.) Περί του, εάν τινα διοίa civil, much less in an ecclesiastical κησιν εξ αιρέσεως ελευθερώση επίsense,) and must therefore be meant σκοπος, και περί τριετίαν κατάσχη, of single bishoprics, in the modern undéva taúrny dvaśnteiv.-C. 123. use of the word, and which was not Inscriptio: (ibid. p. 1130 c.) "POTE unusual in those days, as is evident τον καταφρονούντα της ίδιας διοικήfrom the Code of the African σεως επίσκοπον στερείσθαι της κοιChurch, and the Conference between vwvías. the Catholics and Donatists at Car

« ForrigeFortsett »