were made, several of the ancient dioceses might be united together, yet it appears from the Subscriptions of the Roman Councils under Eugenius II. and Leo IV. in the ninth century, that there were above double the number to what the Notitiæ mention. So that it must be owned that they give but an imperfect account of the Latin or Western Church. But the account of the Greek and Eastern Churches is more complete, and agrees very well with the Subscriptions collected out of the ancient Councils : and so they one confirm another, and both together fully make out the account that has been given both of the number and extent of dioceses in the ancient Church.

Of the division of dioceses into parishes, and the first

original of them. 1. THERE remains but one thing more to be inquired into on of the anthis head, which is the division of dioceses into such lesser pre- of parish

cient names cincts as we now call parishes and parish-churches. Con-churches. cerning which I shall here need to say the less, because so much has already been said incidentally in speaking of the extent of ancient dioceses, which we have generally found too large to be confined to a single congregation. All that I shall add upon this subject therefore in this place, is only to make a few remarks upon the ancient names of parishes, because some of them are a little ambiguous, and shew when, and upon what account, and by what degrees, dioceses were divided into parishes, to bring them to the present state and form of the Church.

As to the ancient names, I have had occasion to shew before 63, that the words Tapolkia and olsiknots, for the three first ages, were of the same importance, denoting not what we now call a parish-church, but a city with its adjacent towns or country region. But in the fourth and fifth ages we find both names promiscuously given as well to country-parishes as episcopal or city-churches. For now these lesser divisions of dioceses began to be called parochiæ, as may be seen in the Council of

63 See ch. 2. s. 2, last clause. p. 253 of this volume.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Chalcedon 64, which ordered that in every church such country parishes, as belonged of old time to any bishop, should continue in his possession without any molestation. And in the Council of Vaison 65, anno 442, a decree was made that country parishes should have presbyters to preach in them, as well as the city-churches.' And so the word parochia is often used by St. Jerom 66, Sulpicius Severus 67, Theodoret 68,

68, Innocentius 69, and other writers of those ages. Though still the name parochia continued to signify properly an episcopal diocese, from which it was transferred to denote those lesser parochiæ, because they were a sort of imitation of the former. Which is the account that Socrates 70 seems to give of them, when speaking of the villages of the region of Mareotes that were subject to the bishop of Alexandria, he says, “they were as so many Tapolkiai, or lesser dioceses, under his city. And upon the same reason the name diocesis was sometimes given to a parish-church also, though it most properly belongs to an episcopal diocese. Thus Sidonius Apollinaris 71 speaks of his own - visiting his dioceses,' meaning only the parish-churches under his episcopal jurisdiction. And so in the Collation of Carthage 72 it is said of one place, that there was perfect unity not only in the city, but in all the dioceses, that is, the country-parishes or villages belonging to it. Baluzius 73 has

[ocr errors]

64 C. 16. [al. 17.) (t. 4. p. 763 b.)


Ep. ad Decent. c. 5. See beΤας καθ' εκάστην εκκλησίαν αγροικι- fore, ch. 5. 8. Ι. p. 335. n. 15. κάς παροικίας, η εγχωρίους, μένειν 70 L. 1. c. 27. (v. 2. p. 64. 1.) απαρασαλεύτως τοις κατέχουσιν αυτάς Τάττονται δε αύται αι εκκλησίαι υπό επισκόποις, κ. τ.λ.

το της Αλεξανδρείας επισκόπω, και 65 Vasens. I. c.2. (ibid. p. 1680 a.) eloiv ÚTÒ Try aŭtoû mów ós ma

p Hoc etiam.... placuit ut non solum polkiai. in civitatibus, sed etiam in omnibus 71 L. 9. Ep. 16. (p. 611.) Peraparochiis, verbum faciendi daremus gratis forte diocesibus cum domum presbyteris potestatem.

veni, &c. 66 Cont. Vigilant. c. 2. [al. 3.] 72 Die. 1. c. 176. (CC. t. 2. p. 1398 (t. 2. p. 389 d.) Auctores sunt hujus c.).... Unitas illic perfecta est, non dictatiunculæ meæ sancti presbyteri solum in ipsa civitate, verum etiam Riparius et Desiderius, qui paro- in omnibus diocesibus. chias suas vicinia istius scribunt 73 Not. ad Gratian. p. 510. (Oper. esse maculatas.

Ant. August. t. 3. p. 194. col. dextr.) 67 Dialog. I. C. 4. (p. 520.) Eccle- Diocesim, id est, paræciam, ecclesiam loci illius Hieronymus presby- siam. Nam sicut paræciæ vocabuter regit: nam parochia est episcopi, lum usurpabatur antiquitus ad sigqui Hierosolymam tenet.

nificandam integram episcopi dioce68 Ep. 113. ad Leon. (t. 4. part. 2. sim.... ita diæcesis vocabulo exprip. 1190.)... Togaútas yàp Ý Kúppos mebantur interdum singulares presπαροικίας έχει,

byterorum ecclesiæ, quæ nunc vulgo observed the same in Ruricius Lemovicensis 74, and Gregory of Tours 75, and some other writers; the reason of this appellation being, as I said before, for that these churches, whereupon presbyters were fixed, were a sort of lesser dioceses, as the author of the Pontifical 76 under the name of Damasus terms them; and some canons 77 give them the name of ecclesiæ diæcesana, diocesan churches, and others, country or village churches, whence the presbyters residing on them were termed énixóploi Trpeoßútepol, country-presbyters, by the Council of Neocæsarea 78, in opposition to the city-presbyters in the cathedral or mother-church. Parish-churches were also peculiarly called tituli, as has been noted before 79, in contradistinction to the bishop's church, being such churches as had particular presbyters and deacons assigned to them, who upon that account are said to have a title ; and some learned persons so are of opinion, that cardinal presbyters and deacons at first were no more but presbyters and deacons so deputed and affixed to the service of particular parish-churches, and that as well at Rome as at other places.

2. As to the original of parish-churches, there is no doubt Theoriginal but it was necessity, and the conveniences of celebrating Chris- of parish

churches tian offices, and holding Christian communion with greater owing to ease, that first gave occasion to them. For when the multitude

necessity, of believers increased so in large and populous cities, that one ed upon the

and found

vocantur ecclesiæ paræciales. Ruri- sumpto episcopatu, confestim Ursicius Lemovicensis, &c. See the cinum, Cadurcinæ urbis episcopum, next note.

lacessere cæpit, dicens, quia diæ74 L. 2. Ep. 6. (ap. Baluz. ut supr. ceses Rutenæ ecclesiæ debitas retiq. v.)... Has (ecclesias] ad sanctita- Deret. tem vestram per presbyterum meum

76 Vit. Marcelli. (CC. t. 1. p. 946 pro diæcesi Gemiliacensi, unde jam c.) Viginti quinque titulos in Urbe pridem vobis scripseram, destinavi. Roma constituit, quasi diæceses,

75 Hist. Francor. 1. 4. C. 13. (p. propter baptismum et pænitentiam 152 e. 1.) Erant autem quadrage- multorum. simæ dies, et Cautinus episcopus in 77 Vid. C. Tarracon. c. 8. See beBrivatensem diæcesim psallendo a- fore, ch. 6. 8. 22. p. 388. n. 55. dire disposuerat. [Conf. Ruinart. ad 78 C. 13. See before, ibid. s. 21. h. 1. Diæcesis hic pagum designat ; p. 386. n. 46. nam Brivas, ubi celebris ecclesia S. 79 B.8. ch. I. s. 10. p. 19. Juliani, ex diæcesi erat Avernensi. 80 Vid. Joan. Fronto, Ep. de CaGrischov.]-It. 1. 6. c. 38. (p. 315 a. nonicis Cardinalibus. Paris. 1661. 6.)... Transobadus presbyter rejici- (p. 5.) Aio presbyteros cardinales tur, et Innocentius Gabalitanorum eos fuisse, qui apud veteres titulis comes eligitur ad episcopatum, opi- potiti sunt. Fuere. presbyteri uni tulante Brunichilde regina. Sed, ad- loco affixi, &c.



apostolical church could not contain them, there was a necessity for dirules of Christian viding the assembly, and erecting other churches, where all

the solemnities of the Christian worship and the usual offices nion.

of divine service might be performed, as well as in the motherchurch, to answer the apostolical ordinance of holding Christian communion one with another; which was according to what we read, Acts 2, 42, that men should “ continue stedfastly in the Apostles' doctrine, and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." The author of the Pontifical under the name of Damasus, in the Life of Marcellus, [cited in the preceding section,) seems to say that several of the Roman tituli, or parish-churches, were erected for the conveniency of baptizing great multitudes that were converted from paganism, and for burying the martyrs. But if there was any necessity upon that account, there was doubtless a greater necessity upon another : for in those days the whole body of the Christian Church was used to communicate weekly at the Lord's table; and it being impossible that one church should suffice in large cities for this purpose, there was an absolute necessity of building more, that Christians might live in communion one with another. And so parish-churches must be as ancient as the necessities of the Church, and he that knows how to date the one, may easily date the original of the other, for any

particular city or diocese in the universe. Some of 3. But as cities and their appendent dioceses differed very them pro- much in their size and extent, so it is reasonable to believe bably as ancient as the that some of them were obliged to build parish-churches much Apostles.

sooner than others. And in such places as Jerusalem and
Rome, there is great probability, from several passages in the
Acts and St. Paul's Epistles, that there were more churches
than one from the days of the Apostles. However, it is unde-
niably evident from Optatus, as I have shewed before 81, that
Rome had above forty churches in it before the end of the
third century, or in the beginning of the Diocletian persecu-
tion. As for the lesser cities, it will be no wonder to find some
of them which had but one church whilst the persecution
lasted; such as that city in Phrygia which Lactantius speaks
of, where - he says, the church and all the people were burnt

81 See b. 8. ch. I. 8. 17. p. 35

82 Instit. 1. 5. c. 11. (t. 1. p. 390.) n. 71.

Aliqui ad occidendum præcipites

times of the

together by one of the barbarous prefects in the last persecution.' Valesius thinks Eusebius 53 speaks of the same city, who says, 'it was all Christian at that time, both magistrates and people, and therefore an army was sent against them, which burnt them all together, men, women, and children, as they were making their supplications to Christ their God.' From which it may be concluded, that there were some cities which were but what Eusebius calls this, trolixval, so very

small as to need no other church besides the bishop's cathe· dral, even when all the members of them were become universally Christian. And this may seem an argument to some that there were anciently many episcopal dioceses that never had ny parish-churches.

4. But here it must be remembered what has been abund- Some lesser antly proved before, that generally the ancient cities had their

countrysuburbs or country-region belonging to them; and some that parishes were very small cities, as Cyrus in Comagene where Theodoret was bishop, had upon this account very large territories under persecutheir jurisdiction. And we find a great many instances of such country-regions having country-parishes, and country-presbyters and deacons residing on them, even in the hottest times of persecution; as appears from the canons of the Council of Eliberis 84, and those of Neocæsarea 85, the former of which was held while the Diocletian persecution lasted, and the latter immediately after it was over, and yet both of them speak of country-presbyters and deacons, to whom the care of Christian assemblies was committed. Epiphanius 86 also speaks of villagepresbyters belonging to the city Caschara, in Mesopotamia, in the middle of the third century, and Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria, about the same time, frequently mentions such

cities had

even in times of


exstiterunt, sicut unus in Phrygia, Xplotlavoùs opas omoloyoûvtes, ood' qui universum populum cum ipso οπωστιούν τους προστάττουσιν ειδωpariter conventiculo concremavit. λολατρεϊν έπειθάρχουν.

83 L. 8. c. II. (v. 1. p. 390. 17.) 84 C. 77. (t. 1. p. 978 e.) Si quis "Ηδη χούν όλην Χριστιανών πολίχνην diaconus regens plebem, sine epiαύτανδρον αμφί την Φρυγίαν εν κύκλο scopo vel presbytero aliquos bapπεριβαλόντες οπλίται, πυρ τε υφά- tizaverit, episcopus eos per beneψαντες, κατέφλεξαν αυτούς άμα νη- dictionem perficere debebit. πίοις και γυναιξί, τον επί πάντων 85 C. 13. See before, ch. 6. 8. 21. θεόν Χριστόν επιβοωμένους ότι δη p. 386. n. 46. πανδημεί πάντες, οι την πόλιν οικουν- 86 Hær. 66. Manich. n. 11. (t. I. τες, λογιστής τε αυτός και στρατηγός p. 627 d.) 'Αναχωρήσας δε, κ.τ.λ. oùv rois év felel tãou kai orq shua, See ch. 2. 8. 15. p. 291. n. 96.

« ForrigeFortsett »