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Summary account of S. Meletius' history and status


The Episcopate of S. Flavian.

The Eastern bishops refuse to ratify the compact

The uncanonical consecration of Evagrius

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The spurious clause alleged, as from a Nicene canon, in its defence
The completeness of the breach between Rome and the East
Felix refuses to communicate with Euphemius.

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S. Macedonius of Constantinople

Notes on these saints .

The importance of their testimony

Catalogue of other Eastern saints who lived during the schism

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Pope Hormisdas waives his libellus, and peace ensues

Father Bottalla's extraordinary account of this episode
The witness of the East against the papal theory

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EDITION (1900)


I HAVE been asked by my dear and learned friend, Father Puller, to write a short letter by way of Introduction to the new edition of his excellent book, the Primitive Saints and the See of Rome.

I am very glad to know that the book has been so much approved that a third edition is asked for.

There is no real need for any commendatory letter from me. Father Puller's accurate learning and his fearless honesty in argument are sufficient to commend all that he writes. Nevertheless, as I wrote a short Preface to the first edition, and some considerable additions have been made to the book, it was desired that I should see what the additions are, in order that the original Preface, if possible, might stand.

The additions in the new edition are considerable, and show a great amount of careful work, including replies to such criticisms on the two earlier editions as had naturally come from Roman sources. But there is no change in the line of argument, or in the conclusion. The additions consist principally of certain new Lectures with Appendices, and a large number of explanatory notes. Attention may be specially called to Appendix M, which deals with "The Principle of Development."

The new Lectures are the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th, with their Appendices.

Some few portions of the other Lectures have been rewritten.

Thus the book remains substantially the same in its incontrovertible excellence.

It is sad to dwell upon any period of controversy, in which the Church has been engaged; but one can hardly look back again on the condition of Christendom in the fourth century without a feeling of thankfulness and renewed confidence, when one considers the divisions and suspicions and almost hopeless confusion, through which the Holy Spirit has led the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and has preserved her amongst us to the present time. The dangers arising from the teaching of Arius, Marcellus, Macedonius, and Apollinarius were vital; and even the new word ouoovoto, though the safeguard of orthodoxy, was not introduced without suspicions of Sabellian tendencies.

The disputes and anxieties connected with the history of S. Meletius were not of so fundamental a kind; but for that very reason the history of that holy Bishop is the more apposite to the recent claims of universal jurisdiction made by the Roman See. For this reason a considerable part of the added Lectures is devoted to a yet further investigation of the Meletian controversy. Dr. Bright has stated the case with his usual clearness and strength: "For here lay the pith of the whole question; while they both lived, was Meletius, or was Paulinus, the rightful occupant of the See? Rome had consistently upheld Paulinus; if he was the true Bishop, Meletius was, pro tanto, in schism; when did Rome change her mind as between these two claimants? There is no evidence of any such change; and there is clear evidence to the contrary." And this is the S. Meletius, the friend of S. Basil and S. Chrysostom, whose history Father Puller sums up in the following words :-" He died, as he had lived, outside the communion of Rome. He died president of a Council which the Church venerates as ecumenical. one may say with truth that from the day of his death, the Catholic East, and from some later date the Catholic West, have honoured him as a hero of sanctity and orthodoxy. His name has been inscribed both in the East and in the West on the roll of the canonized Saints."2 Could any

The Roman See in the Early Church, by Dr. Bright, p. 108. 2 p. 350.


history show more completely that the early Church knew nothing of the modern Roman claim of universal jurisdiction?

The facts of history being as they are, it was a clever attempt to remove the difficulty by suggesting the theory of Development: a theory which may be true enough in the domain of discipline and theological science, but not in the domain of "obligatory dogma." "In the Nicene definition there was no development of the substance of the Apostolic faith, though there was a development in regard to its expression." The same is true of all the great councils of the Church. New words may have obtained new value, but it was because they expressed the old faith, and excluded the accretions of new heresies. The theory of Development, like many other clever theories, is attractive, and has a certain amount of force; but when applied to the supposition which underlies the modern Roman claims of ecumenical jurisdiction, that supposition being enforced as an "obligatory dogma," the theory fails to satisfy, suggesting assumption and not truth. Bishop Lightfoot says:-"The claims of Rome in this early age were modest indeed compared with her later assumptions. It is an enormous stride from the supremacy of Gregory the Great to the practical despotism claimed by Hildebrand and Innocent III. in the eleventh and succeeding centuries, as it is again a still vaster stride from the latter to the absolute infallibility of Pius IX. in the nineteenth century." 2 The theory has indeed never been formally adopted by the Roman Church, and therefore, perhaps, enough has been said, if it has been shown to be deceptive and untrue in certain applications.

These few prefatory words are quite inadequate to convey any idea of the amount of careful labour that has been bestowed on this larger edition of Father Puller's work. The book should be read carefully, with its notes and appendices, and then it will, I believe, repay the student by giving him an exact knowledge of a most critical period of Church History, and a true representation of the mind of the early Church in the matter of the relation of the See of Rome to the other Sees of Catholic Christendom.


p. 426.

Leaders in the Northern Church, p. 51, quoted on p. 371 of this volume.

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