Archive for the ‘Adoptionism’ Tag

Feast of Sts. Dionysius of Alexandria, Eusebius of Laodicea, and Anatolius of Laodicea (July 3)   Leave a comment

Above:  Ancient Alexandria

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT DIONYSIUS OF ALEXANDRIA (CIRCA 190-265)

Patriarch of Alexandria, and Church Father

Also known as Saint Dionysius the Great

His feast transferred from April 8 and November 17

mentor of

SAINT EUSEBIUS OF LAODICEA (DIED CIRCA 268)

Bishop of Laodicea 

Also known as Saint Eusebius of Alexandria

His feast days = July 3 and October 4

predecessor of

SAINT ANATOLIUS OF ALEXANDRIA (DIED 283)

Bishop of Laodicea

Also known as Saint Anatolius of Laodicea

His feast = July 3

St. Dionysius of Alexandria/the Great mentored St. Eusebius of Laodicea and St. Anatolius of Alexandria/Laodicea.

These three saints lived during times of imperial persecution and doctrinal formation.  Doctrines did not descend fully-formed from Heaven.  No, people, debated them.  Councils and synods convened and issued statements, thereby defining orthodoxy.

We modern Christians stand on the shoulders of Sts. Dionysius, Eusebius, and Anatolius, who, in turn, stood on the shoulders of others.

St. Dionysius the Great, born in Alexandria, Egypt, circa 190, learned the Christian faith there.  He studied under Origen (185-254) at the catechetical school.  St. Dionysius, a priest, succeeded Origen as the head of that school.  After Origen returned from a visit to Pope St. Zephyrinus (reigned 198/199-217) in Rome, St. Dionysius encouraged Origen to resume teaching at the catachetical school.  St. Dionysius served as the Patriarch of Alexandria, starting in 248.

St. Dionysius maintained orthodoxy while remaining gentle toward penitent heretics.  He argued against baptizing former heretics; laying on hands then welcoming penitent heretics back into the fold sufficed for our saint.  The heresies du jour were Novatianism, Sabellianism, and Adoptionism.

Novatianism led to a schism.  Circa 250, Novatian argued that the church had no power to pardon mortal sins, therefore there was no forgiveness after baptism.  He also held a subordinationist view of the relationships within the Trinity.  The second point was not unique to Novatian; literal readings of certain Pauline passages supported subordinationism.  And some of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, orthodox according to the standards of their time, were subordinationists.  The greater issue was the Novatianist schism, which persisted into the 500s.  St. Dionysius wrote to Novatian to encourage him to return to the fold.  Our saint also wrote to Fabian, the Bishop of Antioch, to discourage him from supporting the Novatianist schism.  St. Dionysius’s efforts partially healed the schism.

Sabellianism was a variety of Modalistic Monarchianism, another Trinity-related heresy.  Circa 215, Sabellius defined the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as temporal projections, or “dilations” in an attempt to maintain strict monotheism.  St. Dionysius wrote against this heresy, too.

St. Dionysius, as the Patriarch of Alexandria, endured imperial persecutions.  Decius (reigned 249-251) persecuted the church.  Our saint, incarcerated in 250, went on to live as a fugitive in the desert until 251.  A few years later, Gallienus (reigned 253-268) launched another persecution.  St. Dionysius spent 257-260 in exile in the Mareotis desert.

St. Dionysius left a written legacy.  Repentance was a favorite theme in many letters.  He also composed a commentary on Revelation.

St. Dionysius died of natural causes in Alexandria in 265.

St. Eusebius of Alexandria/Laodicea had been a deacon under St. Dionysius.  Circa 255, during the Valerian persecution, the imperium sentenced St. Eusebius to Kefro, Libya.  He avoided his sentence by going on the lam.  Years later, in 260, our saint risked his life as he ministered to the sick of Alexandria during a plague.

St. Dionysius was till ill to travel to the Second Council of Antioch (264), so he sent St. Eusebius in his stead.  The purpose of the council was to condemn Adoptionism, a heresy from the previous century.  As Paul of Samosota wrote in 260,

Mary did not bear the Word, for Mary did not exist before the ages.  Mary is not older than the Word; what she bore was a man equal to us, but superior in all things as a result of the Holy Spirit.

–Quoted in Linwood Urban, A Short History of Christian Thought (1995), 76

In other words, according to Adoptionists and Paul of Samosota in particular, Mary was not the Theotokos, the Bearer and Mother of God, for Jesus became the Son of God when God adopted him.  Adoptionists disagreed about when God adopted Jesus.

Sts. Dionysius and Eusebius disagreed with the Adoptionists.

St. Eusebius did not return to Alexandria.  Shortly after the Second Council of Antioch (264), he became the Bishop of Laodicea (now Latakia, Syria), near Antioch.  He died in Laodicea in Syria circa 268.

Above:  The Tetraporticus (Erected in 183), Latakia, Syria

Photographer = Allamlatakia

St. Anatolius of Alexandria/Laodicea was a polymath.  He was a famous writer, mathematician, scientist, philosopher, and teacher.  Our saint, an erstwhile public servant in Alexandria, was also the founder and head of the Aristotelean school in that great city.  During a Roman military siege of Alexandria in 263, Sts. Eusebius and Anatolius successfully negotiated with the army for the release of innocents.  In so doing, St. Anatolius became persona non grata in Alexandria.

St. Anatolius found greener political pastures in Caesarea, Palestine.  There he was the assistant to the bishop.  In that capacity, our saint was passing through Laodicea in Syria, en route to the Third Council of Antioch, in 268.  St. Eusebius had died recently.  St. Anatolius, much to his surprise, became the next Bishop of Laodicea.  He remained in that office for the rest of his life, until 283.

Emphasizing relationships and influences is one goal of mine here at the Ecumenical Calendar.  A particular chain of influences germane to this post follows:  St. Clement of Alexandria (circa 150-circa 210/215) to St. Alexander of Jerusalem (died 251) and Origen (185-254) to St. Dionysius the Great/of Alexandria (circa 190-265) to St. Eusebius of Alexandria/Laodicea (died circa 268) and St. Anatolius of Alexandria/Laodicea (died 283).  It is a chain of influences worth celebrating.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

THE FEAST OF JOHANN OLAF WALLIN, ARCHBISHOP OF UPPSALA, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT GENNARO MARIA SARNELLI, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MISSIONARY TO THE VULNERABLE AND EXPLOITED PEOPLE OF NAPLES

THE FEAST OF HEINRICH LONAS, GERMAN MORAVIAN ORGANIST, COMPOSER, AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF PAUL HANLY FURFEY, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, SOCIOLOGIST, AND SOCIAL RADICAL

THE FEAST OF SAINT PHILIP POWEL, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1646

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God of compassion, you have reconciled us in Jesus Christ, who is our peace:

Enable us to live as Jesus lived, breaking down walls of hostility and healing enmity.

Give us grace to make peace with those from whom we are divided,

that, forgiven and forgiving, we may ever be one in Christ;

who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns for ever, one holy and undivided Trinity.  Amen.

Genesis 8:12-17, 20-22

Psalm 51:1-17

Hebrews 4:12-16

Luke 23:32-43

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 737

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Feast of St. Paulinus II of Aquileia (January 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Paulinus II of Aquileia

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT PAULINUS II OF AQUILEIA (CIRCA 726-JANUARY 11, 802/804)

Roman Catholic Patriarch of Aquileia

Also known as Saint Paulinus of Aquileia

Alternative feast days = January 28, February 9, and March 2

I include “II” in this saint’s name for the sake of accuracy.  The historical record tells of Paulinus I of Aquileia, who served as the first Patriarch of Aquileia from 557 to 571.

St. Paulinus II of Aquileia was a bishop, a scholar, a poet, a missionary, and a defender of theological orthodoxy.  He, born circa 726 in Cividale, when the Lombards ruled that part of the Italian peninsula, received a fine education in pagan and Christian classics.  During the lifetime of St. Paulinus II, the Roman Empire, with its capital at Constantinople, survived in the East.  The dominant power in the West was the Frankish Kingdom/Carolingian Empire, the most famous ruler of which was Charles the Great (Charlemagne, in Latin), who reigned from 768 to 814.  His realm was an antecedent to modern-day nation-states such as France and Germany; his territory ranged from northern Spain into central Europe and into northern Italy.

The patronage of Charlemagne made the career of St. Paulinus II possible.  St. Paulinus II, a priest, was also a scholar of the Bible, theology, and patristics.  He was the kind of man Charlemagne wanted to hire to participate in the Carolingian Renaissance.  From 776 to 786 St. Paulinus II was the Master of Grammar in the court at Aix-en-Chapelle.  Our saint mentored other key figures of the Carolingian Renaissance.  One of these, St. Alcuin of York (c. 735-804), a friend of our saint, guided the rebirth of education in much of the Carolingian Empire.

The final job title of St. Paulinus II was Patriarch of Aquileia.  Charlemagne secured that position for him in 787, after the previous Patriarch had died.  Aquileia was a village on the Adriatic coast of Italy, but the basilica was there and the patriarchate was prestigious.  St. Paulinus II established his headquarters in Cividale instead.  Our saint was active in arguing against Adoptionism, which originated in Spain in the 700s.  The Adoptionist heresy stated that Jesus was the Son of God only because God had adopted him. (Adoptionism has persisted, unfortunately.  I have heard someone affirm it.)  St. Paulinus II also helped Charlemagne’s son, Pepin, King of the Lombards (reigned 781-810).  The Patriarch supported Pepin’s military campaign against the Avars, nomads of Eurasian ancestry who fought both the Carolingian and Roman (Byzantine) Empires.  After Pepin’s forces won, St. Paulinus II oversaw the peaceful conversion of the Avars and many Slavs in what has become Slovenia.  St, Paulinus II also represented Charlemagne to Pope Leo III (in office 795-816).

St. Paulinus II died on January 11, 802 or 804.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 2, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORG WEISSEL, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ANNA BERNADINE DOROTHY HOPPE, U.S. LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN GOTTFRIED GEBHARD, GERMAN MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND MUSIC EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF JULIAN EYMARD, FOUNDER OF THE PRIESTS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, THE SERVANTS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, AND THE PRIESTS’ EUCHARISTIC LEAGUE; AND ORGANIZER OF THE CONFRATERNITY OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [St. Paulinus II and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Sts. Benedict of Aniane and Ardo of Aniane (February 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  Northern France in 843

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT BENEDICT OF ANIANE (CIRCA 750-821)

The “Second Benedict” and “Restorer of Western Monasticism”

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SAINT ARDO OF ANIANE (DIED 843)

Roman Catholic Abbot

His feast transferred from March 7

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St. Benedict of Aniane, originally a cupbearer to the Frankish kings Pepin the Short (reigned 747-768) and Charlemagne (reigned 768-814), went on to serve in the army in Lombardy.  Then he became a Benedictine in 773, after the leaving the military.  Refusing to become abbot at St. Seine, near Dijon, in 779, he became a hermit on his estate at Languedoc.  A community grew up around him, so he built a monastery and a church.  Later, Emperor Louis I the Pious (reigned 814-840) built a monastery for him at Inde, near Aachen.

The saint became director of all Benedictine monasteries, which he reformed, in Europe.  So he has gone down in history as the “Second Benedict,” the first Benedict being St. Benedict of Nursia, and the “Restorer of Western Monasticism.”  He also argued against the Adoptionist heresy, which stated that Jesus was a good man whom God had adopted as Son of God because of his holiness.  Such matters might not seem important to some, but Adoptionism undercuts the Incarnation and therefore the Atonement; thus it was a vital matter.  And St. Benedict of Aniane argued for the orthodox Christian position in this debate.

St. Ardo (died 843), born as Smaragdus at Languedoc, became a monk at Ariane under St. Benedict.  St. Ardo served as director of the monastery school there, building up that school’s reputation for academic excellence.  He also traveled with his mentor, whom he succeeded as Abbot at Aniane in 814.  And St. Ardo wrote St. Benedict’s biography.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 5, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ALBERT GORE, SR., UNITED STATES SENATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF SAINT SABAS, ORTHODOX MONK

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AMENDED ON DECEMBER 13, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ELLA J. BAKER, WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

THE FEAST OF SAINT LUCY OF SYRACUSE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

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O God,

whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:

Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world,

that we, inspired by the devotion of your servant Saint Benedict of Aniane,

may serve you with singleness of heart,

and attain to the riches of the age to come;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34 or 34:1-8

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

–Adapted from The Book of Common Prayer (1979), pages 249 and 927

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Revised on November 30, 2016

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