The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great

By Henry Chadwick | Go to book overview

33 Religious Division: A Note on Intolerance

The language of mutual condemnation used by the two rival synods at Serdica was strong. There was no inclination on either side to make concessions or to plead for mutual toleration on some such ground as the transcendent mysteriousness of the matters on which east and west were expressing disagreement. Moreover, the western bishops were in a substantial degree the instruments of Constans' ambitions to be rid of his brother Constantius II and to rule the entire empire in the manner of his father, not merely two- thirds of it. Underlying the dispute was an emperor's aspiration to control the east as he was already master of the west. At the same time there was a looming tension between the Roman claim that the bishop of Rome had a unique authority to decide dogmatic and indeed any church questions without needing to be respectful towards synods of the eastern churches and, on the other hand, the Greek assumption that the Roman see was certainly to be respected but should never overrule the customary procedures and synodical authority of Greek assemblies. Naturally it was non-controversial that in questions of fundamental doctrine the eastern and western churches were and at all times needed to be in complete agreement. There might, of course, be room for discussion on the question of defining 'fundamental'. That issue once surfaces in Origen, but did not become prominent until the Pelagian controversy of the fifth century and then only briefly.

The internal dissensions of the Christians offered strong contrast with the peaceful rapprochement of Church and Empire that the Constantinian dynasty (other than Julian) wanted to encourage. That programme of reconciliation derived impetus and drive from the Christian aspiration to be the one faith of every nation and tribe under heaven. A missionary determination to make proselytes underlay the Church's gospel. Constantine the Great had thought this a profoundly congenial imperial theme, since he could use monotheism to justify his own supreme rule (as in Eusebius' panegyric On the Life of Constantine). He liked to be told that he was the representative on earth of the unique supreme Deity. When people commonly called the empire by the name oikoumene, the inhabited world, it could seem natural to

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The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Church in Ancient Society iii
  • Prefatory Note vi
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: The First Followers of Jesus 5
  • 2: The Jewish Matrix 13
  • 3: Jews and Christians Survive Rome's Crushing of Revolts 21
  • 4: The Hebrew Scriptures in the Church 27
  • 5: Interpreting Scripture 32
  • 6: Apostles and Evangelists 43
  • 7: Women Among Jesus' Followers 53
  • 8: 'Barnabas', Jewish Christianity, Trouble at Corinth 56
  • 9: Ignatius of Antioch 65
  • 10: Didache 84
  • 11: Marcion 89
  • 12: Justin 93
  • 13: Irenaeus of Lyon 100
  • 14: The New Testament Text 108
  • 15: Celsus: A Platonist Attack 110
  • 16: Montanism: Perpetua 114
  • 17: Tertullian, Minucius Felix 118
  • 18: Clement of Alexandria 124
  • 19: Julius Africanus 130
  • 20: Hippolytus and Liturgy 132
  • 21: Origen 135
  • 22: Cyprian of Carthage 145
  • 23: Dionysius of Alexandria 161
  • 24: Paul of Samosata 166
  • 25: Mani 170
  • 26: Plotinus, Porphyry 173
  • 27: Diocletian and the Great Persecution; Rise of Constantine 176
  • 28: Constantine 190
  • 29: The Seeds of Reaction 201
  • 30: The Church at Prayer 212
  • 31: Athanasius, Marcellus, and the Gathering Storm 226
  • 32: A Fiasco at Serdica 240
  • 33: Religious Division 254
  • 34: Athanasius' Return 260
  • 35: Constantius' Double Council of Unity 279
  • 36: Julian and the Church 295
  • 37: Damasus, Siricius, Papal Authority, Synesius of Cyrene 314
  • 38: Basil of Caesarea (Cappadocia) 331
  • 39: Ambrose 348
  • 40: Ambrosiaster 379
  • 41: Donatism 382
  • 42: Monks: The Ascetic Life 394
  • 43: Messalians 411
  • 44: Schism at Antioch 415
  • 45: Jerome and Rufinus 433
  • 46: Pelagius, Caelestius, and the Roman See in Gaul and North Africa 446
  • 47: Julian of Eclanum 464
  • 48: Augustine 473
  • 49: John Chrysostom 479
  • 50: Innocent I and John Chrysostom's Honour 499
  • 51: The Christological Debate, I 515
  • 52: The Christological Debate, Ii 538
  • 53: The Christological Debate, Iii 557
  • 54: The Aftermath of the Council of Chalcedon 592
  • 55: Justinian, Origen, and the 'Three Chapters' 612
  • 56: The Ancient Oriental Churches 628
  • 57: The Church and the Barbarian Invasions in the West 633
  • 58: Pope Gregory the Great (590-604) 658
  • 59: Worship After Constantine 675
  • 60: Pilgrims 684
  • 61: Penance 688
  • Further Reading 694
  • Dates of Roman Emperors 714
  • Index 721
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