Sacred Texts  Christianity  Early Church Fathers  Index  Previous  Next 

Chapter XIX.—The Rulers of the Churches of Rome and Alexandria during the Reign of Verus.

1. In the eighth year of the above-mentioned reign 1208 Soter 1209 succeeded Anicetus 1210 as bishop of the church of Rome, after the latter had held office eleven years in all. But when Celadion 1211 had presided over the church of Alexandria for fourteen years he was succeeded by Agrippinus. 1212



The reign of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus mentioned at the end of chap. 14.


As was remarked in chap. 11, note 18, Anicetus held office until 165 or 167, i.e. possibly until the seventh year of Marcus Aurelius. The date therefore given here for the accession of Soter is at least a year out of the way. The Armenian Chron. puts his accession in the 236th Olympiad, i.e. the fourth to the seventh year of this reign, while the version of Jerome puts it in the ninth year. From Bk. V. chap. 1 we learn that he held office eight years, and this is the figure given by both versions of the Chron. In chap. 23 Eusebius quotes from a letter of Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, addressed to Soter, in which he remarks that the Corinthian church have been reading on the Lord’s day an epistle written to them by Soter. It was during his episcopate that Montanus labored in Asia Minor, and the anonymous author of the work called Prædestinatus (written in the middle of the fifth century) states that Soter wrote a treatise against him which was answered by Tertullian, but there seems to be no foundation for the tradition. Two spurious epistles and several decretals have been falsely ascribed to him.


On Anicetus, see above, chap. 11, note 18.


On Celadion, see above, chap. 11, note 17.


Of Agrippinus we know only what Eusebius tells us here and in Bk. V. chap. 9, where he says that he held office twelve years. Jerome’s version of the Chron. agrees as to the duration of his episcopate, but puts his accession in the sixth year of Marcus Aurelius. In the Armenian version a curious mistake occurs in connection with his name. Under the ninth year of Marcus Aurelius are found the words, Romanorum ecclesiæ XII. episcopus constitutus est Agrippinus annis IX., and then Eleutherus (under the thirteenth year of the same ruler) is made the thirteenth bishop, while Victor, his successor, is not numbered, and Zephyrinus the successor of the latter, is made number fourteen. It is of course plain enough that the transcriber by an oversight read Romanorum ecclesiæ instead of Alexandrinæ ecclesiæ, and then having given Soter just above as the eleventh bishop, he felt compelled to make Agrippinus the twelfth, and hence reversed the two numbers, nine and twelve, given in connection with Agrippinus and made him the twelfth bishop, ruling nine years, instead of the ninth bishop, ruling twelve years. He then found himself obliged to make Eleutherus the thirteenth, but brought the list back into proper shape again by omitting to number Victor as the fourteenth. It is hard to understand how a copyist could commit such a flagrant error and not discover it when he found himself subsequently led into difficulty by it. It simply shows with what carelessness the work of translation or of transcription was done. As a result of the mistake no ninth bishop of Alexandria is mentioned, though the proper interval of twelve years remains between the death of Celadion and the accession of Julian.

Next: Chapter XX