Aspects of Church History

George Florovsky

Volume IV, pp. 31-129, pp. 286-297



The Fathers of the Church and the Old Testament.

The Unity of the Bible.

The Old Testament as Allegory.

History or Preaching.

The Old Testament and Christian Worship.

The Old Testament as the Word of God.

St. Athanasius’ Concept of Creation.

The Patristic Age and Eschatology: An Introduction.

St. John Chrysostom: The Prophet of Charity.

The Anthropomorphites in the Egyptian Desert. Part I.

Theophilus of Alexandria and Apa Aphou of Pemdje.

The Anthropomorphites in the Egyptian Desert. Part II.

A Postscript.

Notes and References.

The Patristic Age And Eschatology: An Introduction.

The Anthropomorphites In The Egyptian Desert

Theophilus of Alexandria and Αρα Aphou of Pemdje.



The Fathers of the Church and the Old Testament.

The famous phrase of St. Augustine can be taken as typical of the whole Patristic attitude towards the Old Dispensation. Novum Testamentum in Vetere latet. Vetus Testamentum in Novo patet. The New Testament is an accomplishment or a consummation of the Old. Christ Jesus is the Messiah spoken of by the prophets. In Him all promises and expectations are fulfilled. The Law and the Gospel belong together. And nobody can claim to be a true follower of Moses unless he believes that Jesus is the Lord. Anyone who does not recognize in Jesus the Messiah, the Anointed of the Lord, does thereby betray the Old Dispensation itself. Only the Church of Christ keeps now the right key to the Scriptures, the true key to the prophecies of old. Because all these prophecies are fulfilled in Christ.

St. Justin rejects the suggestion that the Old Testament is a link holding together the Church and the Synagogue. For him quite the opposite is true. All Jewish claims must be formally rejected. The Old Testament no longer belongs to the Jews. It belongs to the Church alone. And the Church of Christ is therefore the only true Israel of God. The Israel of old was but an undeveloped Church. The word "Scriptures" itself in early Christian use meant first of all just the Old Testament and in this sense obviously this word is used in the Creed: "according to the Scriptures," i.e. according to the prophecies and promises of the Old Dispensation.

The Unity of the Bible.

The Old Testament is copiously quoted by all early writers. And even to the Gentiles the message of salvation was always presented in the context of the Old Testament. This was an argument from antiquity. The Old Covenant was not destroyed by Christ, but renewed and accomplished. In this sense Christianity was not a new religion, but rather the oldest. The new Christian "Scriptures" were simply incorporated into the inherited Hebrew Bible, as its organic completion. And only the whole Bible, both Testaments together, was regarded as an adequate record of Christian Revelation. There was no break between the two Testaments, but a unity of Divine economy. And the first task of Christian theology was to show and to explain in what way the Old Dispensation was the preparation and the anticipation of this final Revelation of God in Jesus Christ. The Christian message was not merely a proclamation of some doctrines, but first of all a record of mighty acts and deeds of God through the ages. It was a history of Divine guidance, culminating in the person of Christ Jesus whom God has sent to redeem His people. God has chosen Israel for His inheritance, to be His people, to be the keeper of His truth, and to this Chosen People alone the Divine Word was entrusted. And now the Church receives this sacred heritage.

The Old Testament as a whole was regarded as a Christian prophecy, as an "evangelical preparation." Very early some special selections of the Old Testament texts were compiled for the use of Christian missionaries. The Testimonia of St. Cyprian is one of the best specimens of the kind. And St. Justin in his Dialogue with Trypho made an attempt to prove the truth of Christianity from the Old Testament alone. The Marcionite attempt to break the New Testament away from its Old Testament roots was vigorously resisted and condemned by the Great Church. The unity of both Testaments was strongly emphasized, the inner agreement of both was stressed. There was always some danger of reading too much of Christian doctrine into the writings of the Old Testament. And historical perspective was sometimes dangerously obscured. But still there was a great truth in all these exegetical endeavors. It was a strong feeling of the Divine guidance through the ages.

The Old Testament as Allegory.

The history of Old Testament interpretation in the Early Church is one of the most thrilling but embarrassing chapters in the history of Christian doctrine. With the Greek Old Testament the Church inherited also some exegetical traditions. Philo, this Hellenized Jew from Alexandria, was the best exponent of this pre-Christian endeavor to commend the Old Testament to the Gentile world. He adopted for this task a very peculiar method, a method of allegory. Philo himself had no understanding of history whatever. Messianic motives were completely overlooked or ignored in his philosophy of the Bible. For him the Bible was just a system of the Divine Philosophy, not so much a sacred history. Historical events as such were of no interest and of no importance for him. The Bible was for him just a single book, in which be failed to discern any historical perspective or progress. It was treated by him rather as a collection of glorious parables and didactic stories intended to convey and to illustrate certain philosophical and ethical ideas.

In such an extreme form this allegorical method was never accepted by the Church. One has however to recognize a strong influence of Philo on all exegetical essays of the first centuries. St. Justin made a large use of Philo. Pseudo-Barnabas (early 2nd century) once went so far as to deny the historical character of the Old Testament altogether. Philonic traditions were taken up by the Christian school of Alexandria. And even later St. Ambrose was closely following Philo in his commentaries and could be justly described as Philo latinus. This allegorical exegesis was ambiguous and misleading.

It took a long time before the balance was established or restored. And still one must not overlook the positive contribution of this method. The best exponent of allegorical exegesis in the Church was Origen and his influence was enormous. One may be shocked sometimes by his exegetical daring and licence. He used indeed to read too much of his own into the sacred text. But it would be a grave mistake to describe him as a philosopher. He was first of all and throughout a Biblical scholar, certainly in the style of his own age. He spent days and nights over the Bible. His main purpose was just to base all doctrine and all theology on a Biblical ground. He was responsible to a great extent for the strength of the Biblical spirit in the entire patristic theology. He did much more for an average believer; he made the Bible accessible to him. He steadily introduced the Old Testament into his preaching. He helped the average Christian to read and to use the Old Testament for their edification. He always stressed the unity of the Bible, bringing both Testaments into a closer relation. And he made a new attempt to build the whole doctrine of God on a Biblical basis.

Origen's limitations are obvious. But his positive contribution was much greater. And it was he who by his example taught Christian theologians to go back always for their inspiration to the sacred text of Scriptures. His line was followed by most of the Fathers. But he met strong opposition at once. There is no room to dwell at length on the controversy between the two exegetical schools in the Early Church. The main features are commonly known. The Antiochene school stood for "history," Alexandrinians rather for "contemplation." And surely both elements had to be brought together in a balanced synthesis.

History or Preaching.

The main Alexandrinian presumption was that, as being Divinely inspired, the Scriptures must carry in them some universal message, for all nations and ages. Their purpose was just to exhibit this message, to discover and to preach all these riches of Divine wisdom which have been providentially stored in the Bible. Beneath the letter of the Holy Writ there are some other lessons to be learned only by the advanced. Behind all human records of manifold revelations of God one can discern the Revelation, to apprehend the very Word of God in all its eternal splendor.

It was assumed that even when God was speaking under some special circumstances there was always something in His word that passes all historical limitations. One has to distinguish very carefully between a direct prophecy and what one might describe as an application. Many of the Old Testament narratives can be most instructive for a believer even when no deliberate "prefiguration" of Christian truth has been intended by the sacred writers themselves. The main presupposition was that God meant the Holy Writ to be the eternal guide for the whole of mankind. And therefore an application or a standing re-interpretation of the Old Testament was authorized.

The Antiochene exegesis had a special concern for the direct meaning of the old prophecies and stories. The chief exponent of this "historical" exegesis was Theodore of Mopsuestia, known in the East simply as "the Interpreter." And although his authority was gravely compromised by his condemnation for his erroneous doctrines, his influence on the Christian exegesis of the Old Testament was still very considerable. This "historical" exegesis was often in danger of missing the universal meaning of Divine Revelation by overemphasis of the local and national aspects of the Old Testament. And even more, to lose the sacred perspective, to deal with the Old Testament history as if it were merely the history of one single people among the nations of the earth and not a history of the only true Covenant of God. St. John Chrysostom has combined the best elements of both schools in his exegetical endeavor. He was an Antiochene scholar himself, but he was in many respects a follower of Origen as well. Allegories may be misleading. But one has not to overlook the "typical" meaning of events themselves. Old Testament institutions and personalities were also the "types" or "figures" of the things to come. History was prophetic itself. Events themselves do prophesy, they did and do point out to something else, beyond themselves. The Early Fathers can hardly be described as "fundamentalists." They were always after the Divine truth, after the Divine message itself, which is often rather concealed under the cover of the letter. The belief in Inspiration could rather discourage the fundamentalist tendency. The Divine truth cannot be reduced to the letter even of Holy Writ. One of the best specimens of Patristic exegesis was the Hexaemeron of St. Basil, who has succeeded in bringing forward the religious truth of the Biblical narrative of the creation with real balance and sound moderation.

The Old Testament and Christian Worship.

The Patristic attitude towards the Old Testament was reflected in the history of Christian worship. The Jewish roots of Christian Liturgy are obvious. But the whole system of Christian public worship was linked closely to the practice of the Synagogue as well. The Psalms were inherited from the Jews, and they became a pattern of the whole Christian hymnography in the early Church. The Psalms form the skeleton of Christian offices until now. They were the basis of all devotional literature in old days.

The student of public worship in the Eastern Orthodox Church would be impressed by the amount of Old Testament references, hints and images, in all offices and hymns. The unity of the two Testaments is stressed throughout. Biblical motives are superabundant. Many hymns are but variations on the pattern of the Old Testament songs, from the song of Moses at the crossing of the Red Sea up to the song of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. On great festivals numerous lessons from the Old Testament are appointed and actually read to stress that Christian perfection was but a consummation of what was pre-figured and foreshadowed, or even directly predicted of old. And especially in the offices of Holy Week this Old Testament preparation is particularly emphasized. The whole worship is based upon this conviction that the true Covenant was always one, that there was a complete agreement between the Prophets and the Apostles. And all this system was established just in the later Patristic age.

One of the most striking examples of this devotional Biblicism is the glorious Great Canon of St. Andreas of Crete, read at the Great Compline in Lent. It is a strong exhortation, an appeal for repentance, composed with a real poetical inspiration and based upon the Bible. The whole series of Old Testament sinners, both penitent and impenitent, is remembered. One can be almost lost in this continuous stream of names and examples. One is emphatically reminded that all this Old Testament story belongs to one as a Christian. One is invited to think over again and again this wonderful story of Divine guidance and human obstinacy and failures. The Old Testament is kept as a great treasure. One has to mention as well the influence which the Song of Songs had on the development of Christian mysticism. Origen's commentary on this book was in St. Jerome's opinion his best composition, in which he surpassed himself. And St. Gregory of Nyssa's mystical commentary on the Song of Songs is a rich mine of a genuine Christian inspiration.

The Old Testament as the Word of God.

It has been more than once suggested that in the Greek Fathers the primitive Christian message was hellenized too much. One has to be very cautious with all such utterances. In any case it is the Fathers who have kept all the treasures of the Old Testament and made them the indispensable heritage of the Church, both in worship and in theology. The only thing they never did is this: they never kept fast to the Jewish limitations. The Holy Writ for them was an eternal and universal Revelation. It is addressed to all mankind now simply because it was addressed to all nations by God Himself even when the Divine Word was delivered by the prophets to the Chosen People alone. It means that one cannot measure the depth of Divine Revelation with the measure of some past time only, however sacred those times may be. It is not enough to be sure that the ancient Hebrews understood and interpreted the Scriptures in a certain way. This interpretation can never be final. New light has been thrown on the old revelations by Him Who came just to accomplish and to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. The Scriptures are not merely historical documents. They are really the Word of God, the Divine message to all generations. And Christ Jesus is the Alpha and Omega of the Scriptures, both the climax and the knot of the Bible. This is the standing message of the Fathers to the Church Universal about the Old Dispensation.


St. Athanasius' Concept of Creation.


The idea of Creation was a striking Christian innovation in philosophy. The problem itself was alien and even unintelligible to the Greek mind: de rerum originatione radicali. The Greek mind was firmly addicted to the conception of an Eternal Cosmos, permanent and immutable in its essential structure and composition. This Cosmos simply existed. Its existence was "necessary," it was an ultimate or first datum, beyond which neither thought nor imagination could penetrate. There was, indeed, much movement within the world — "the wheel of origin and decay." But the Cosmos as a whole was unchangeable, and its permanent structure was repeatedly and unfailingly exhibited in its rotation and self-iteration. It was not a static world, there was in it an intense dynamism: but it was a dynamism of inescapable circulation. The Cosmos was a periodical, and yet a "necessary" and "immortal" being. The "shape" of the world might be exposed to changes, it was actually in a constant flux, but its very existence was perennial. One simply could not ask intelligently about the "origin" or "beginning" of the Cosmic fabric in the order of existence.

It was precisely at this point that the Greek mind was radically challenged by Biblical Revelation. This was a hard message for the Greeks. Indeed, it is still a hard message for philosophers.

The Bible opens with the story of Creation. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." This has become a credal statement in the Christian Church. The Cosmos was no more regarded as a "self-explanatory" being. Its ultimate and intrinsic dependence upon God's will and action has been vigorously asserted. But much more than just this relation of "dependence" was implied in the Biblical concept: the world was created ex nihilo, i.e., it did not exist "eternally." In retrospect one was bound to discover its "beginning" — post nihilum, as it were. The tension between the two visions, Hellenic and Biblical, was sharp and conspicuous. Greeks and Christians, as it were, were dwelling in different worlds. Accordingly, the categories of Greek philosophy were inadequate for the description of the world of Christian faith. The main emphasis of Christian faith was precisely on the radical contingency of the Cosmos, on its contingency precisely in the order of existence. Indeed, the very existence of the world pointed, for Christians, to the Other, as its Lord and Maker. On the other hand, the Creation of the world was conceived as a sovereign and "free" act of God, and not as something which was "necessarily" implied or inherent in God's own Being. Thus, there was actually a double contingency: on the side of the Cosmos — which could "not have existed at all," and on the side of the Creator — who could "not have created" anything at all. In the fine phrase of Etienne Gilson, "it is quite true that a Creator is an eminently Christian God, but a God whose very existence is to be a creator is not a Christian God at all."2 The very existence of the world was regarded by the Christians as a mystery and miracle of Divine Freedom.

Christian thought, however, was maturing but gradually and slowly, by a way of trial and retraction. The early Christian writers would often describe their new vision of faith in the terms of old and current philosophy. They were not always aware of, and certainly did not always guard against, the ambiguity which was involved in such an enterprise. By using Greek categories Christian writers were forcing upon themselves, without knowing it, a world which was radically different from that in which they dwelt by faith. Thus they were often caught between the vision of their faith and the inadequacy of the language they were using. This predicament must be taken quite seriously. Etienne Gilson once suggested that Christianity has brought the new wine, but the old skins were still good enough, i.e., the skins of Greek Philosophy. "La pensée chrétienne apportait du vin nouveau, mais les vieilles outres étaient encore bonnes."3 It is an elegant phrase. But is it not rather an optimistic overstatement? Indeed, the skins did not burst at once, but was it really to the benefit of nascent Christian thought? The skins were badly tainted with an old smell, and the wine acquired in them had an alien flavor. In fact, the new vision required new terms and categories for its adequate and fair expression. It was an urgent task for Christians "to coin new names," το καινοτομεΐν τά ονόματα, in the phrase of St. Gregory of Nazianzus.

Indeed, the radical contingency of the created world was faithfully acknowledged by Christian writers from the very beginning. The Lordship of God over all His Creation was duly emphasized. God alone was mighty and eternal. All created things were brought into existence, and sustained in existence, solely by the grace and pleasure of God, by His sovereign will. Existence was always a gift of God. From this point of view, even the human soul was "mortal," by its own "nature," i.e. contingent, because it was a creature, and was maintained only by the grace of God. St. Justin was quite explicit at this point — in opposition to Platonic arguments for "immortality." Indeed, "immortal" would mean for him "uncreated."4 But it was not yet clear how this creative "will" of God was related to His own "being." And this was the crucial problem. In early Christian thinking the very idea of God was only gradually released out of that "cosmological setting," in which it used to be apprehended by Greek philosophical thought. The mystery of the Holy Trinity itself was often interpreted in an ambiguous cosmological context — not primarily as a mystery of God's own Being, but rather in the perspective of God's creative and redemptive action and self-disclosure in the world. This was the main predicament of the Logos-theology in the Apologists, in Hippolytus, and in Tertullian. All these writers could not distinguish consistently between the categories of the Divine "Being" and those of Divine "Revelation" ad extra, in the world. Indeed, it was rather a lack of precision, an inadequacy of language, than an obstinate doctrinal error. The Apologists were not just pre-Arians or pro-Arians. Bishop George Bull was right in his Defensio Fidei Nicenae against the charges of Petavius. And yet, as G. L. Prestige has pointed out, "the innocent speculations of Apologists came to provide support for the Arian school of thought."5

The case of Origen is especially significant. He also failed to distinguish between the ontological and cosmological dimensions. As Bolotov has aptly stated, "the logical link between the generation of the Son and the existence of the world was not yet broken in the speculation of Origen."6 It can be even contended that this very link has been rather reinforced in Origen's thinking. The ultimate question for Origen was precisely this: Is it possible or permissible to think of God without conceiving Him at once as Creator? The negative answer to this question was for Origen the only devout option. An opposite assumption would be sheer blasphemy. God could never have become anything that He has not been always. There is nothing simply "potential" in God's Being, everything being eternally actualized. This was Origen's basic assumption, his deepest conviction. God is always the Father of the Only Begotten, and the Son is co-eternal with the Father: any other assumption would have compromised the essential immutability of the Divine Being. But God also is always the Creator and the Lord. Indeed, if God is Creator at all — and it is an article of faith that He is Lord and Creator — we must necessarily assume that He had always been Creator and Lord. For, obviously, God never "advances" toward what He had not been before. For Origen this implied inevitably also an eternal actualization of the world's existence, of all those things over which God's might and Lordship were exercised. Origen himself used the term παντοκράτωρ, which he borrowed surely from the Septuagint. Its use by Origen is characteristic. The Greek term is much more pointed than its Latin or English renderings: Omnipotens, "Almighty." These latter terms emphasize just might or power. The Greek word stresses specifically the actual exercise of power. The edge of Origen's argument is taken off in Latin translation. “Παντοκράτωρ is in the first place an active word, conveying the idea not just of capacity but of the actualization of capacity.”7 Παντοκράτωρ means just κύριος, the ruling Lord. And God could not be παντοκράτωρ eternally unless τα πάντα also existed from all eternity. God's might must have been eternally actualized in the created Cosmos, which therefore appears to be an eternal concomitant or companion of the Divine Being. In this context any clear distinction between "generation" and "creation" was actually impossible — both were eternal relations, indeed "necessary" relations, as it were, intrinsic for the Divine Being. Origen was unable, and indeed reluctant and unwilling, to admit anything "contingent" about the world itself, since, in his conception, this would have involved also a certain "change" on the Divine level. In Origen's system the eternal being of the Holy Trinity and the eternal existence of the world are indivisibly and insolubly linked together: both stand and fall together. The Son is indeed eternal, and eternally "personal" and "hypostatic." But He is eternally begotten in relation to the eternally created world.8

Origen's argument is straight and consistent, under his basic assumptions. It would be flagrantly impious to admit that God could ever have existed without His Wisdom, even for a single moment — ad punctum momenti alicujus. God is always the Father of His Son, who is born of Him, but "without any beginning" — sine ullo tamen initio. And Origen specifies: "not only of that kind which can be distinguished by intervals of time — aliquibus temporum spatiis, but even of that other kind which the mind alone is wont to contemplate in itself and to perceive, if I may say so, with the bare intellect and reason" — nudo intellectu. In other words, Wisdom is begotten beyond the limit of any imaginable "beginning" — extra omne ergo quod vel dici νel intelligi potest initium. Moreover, as Origen explained elsewhere, the "generation" of Wisdom could not be interpreted as an accomplished "event," but rather as a permanent and continuous relationship — a relation of "being begotten," just as radiance is perpetually concomitant with the light itself, and Wisdom is, in the phrase of Sap. Sal. 7, 26, an απαύγασμα φωτός άϊδίου (In Jerem. hom. IX 4: ουχί έγέννησεν ό πατήρ τον υίόν ... άλλ' αεί γεννά αυτόν, 70 Klostermann; cf. Latin translation in the "Apology" of Pamphilus, PG 17, 564). Now, according to Origen, in the very subsistence of Wisdom the whole design of creation is already implied. The whole creation, universa creatura, is pre-arranged in Wisdom (De princ. I 2, 2; 29 — 30 Koetschau). The text of this important passage might have been somewhat edited by the Latin translator, but surely the main argument was faithfully reproduced (cf. the fragment in Greek, in Methodius, De creatis, quoted by Photius, Cod. 235). Origen spoke of "prevision": virtute praescientiae. But, according to his own basic principle, there could be no temporal order or sequence. The world as "pre-viewed" in Wisdom had to be also eternally actualized.9 It is in this direction that Origen continued his argument. And here the terms "Father" and "Pantokrator" are conspicuously bracketed together. "Now as one cannot be father apart from having a son, nor a lord apart from holding a possession or a slave, so we cannot even call God almighty if there are none over whom He can exercise His power. Accordingly, to prove that God is Almighty we must assume the existence of the world." But, obviously, God is Lord from all eternity. Consequently, the world, in its entirety, also existed from all eternity: necessario existere oportet (De princ. I 2, 10; 41-42 Koetschau; cf. the Greek quotation in Justinian, Epist. ad Mennam, Mansi IX 528). In brief, the world must be always co-existent with God and therefore co-eternal. Of course, Origen meant the primordial world of spirits. Actually, in Origen's conception there was but one eternal hierarchical system of beings, a "chain of being." He could never escape the cosmological pattern of Middle Platonism.10

Moreover, Origen seems to have interpreted the Generation of the Son as an act of the Father's will: έκ του θελήματος του ιτατρός έγεννηθη (quoted by Justinian, Mansi IX 525). On the other hand he was utterly suspicious of the phrase: έκ της ουσίας -πατρός, and probably even formally repudiated it. For him it was a dangerous and misleading phrase, heavily overloaded with gross "materialistic" associations, and suggesting division and separation in the Divine substance (In Ioh. XX 18; 351 Preuschen; De princ. IV 4, 1; 348 Koetschau; cf. the quotation by Marcellus, given in Eusebius, c. Marcellum I 4; 21 Klostermann). The textual evidence is confused and inconclusive.11 It may be true that at this point Origen was opposing the Gnostics, especially the Valentinian conception of προβολή, and only wanted to vindicate the strictly spiritual character of everything Divine.12 Yet, there was a flagrant ambiguity. Both the generation of the Son and the creation of the world are equally attributed to the will or counsel of the Father. "And my own opinion is that an act of the Father's will — voluntas Patris — ought to be sufficient to ensure the subsistence of what He wills. For in willing He uses no other means than that which is produced by the deliberation of His will — nisi quae consilio voluntatis profertur. Thus, it is in this way that the existence of the Son also is begotten of Him — ita ergo et filii ab eo subsistentia generatur" (De princ. I 2, 6; 35 Koetschau). The meaning of this passage is rather obscure, and we have no Greek text.13 But, in any case, once again the Son is explicitly bracketed together with creatures.14

There was an unresolved tension, or an inner contradiction, in the system of Origen. And it led to an inner conflict, and finally to an open split, among those theologians who were profoundly influenced by his powerful thought. It may be contended, indeed, that his trinitarian theology was intrinsically orthodox, that is, pro-Nicene, so that the interpretation of his views by St. Athanasius and the Cappadocians was fair and congenial to his ultimate vision. Indeed, Origen strongly defended the eternity of the Divine Generation and, at this point, was definitely anti-Arian. If we can trust St. Athanasius, Origen explicitly denounced those who dared to suggest that "there was when the Son was not," ττοτε δτε ουκ ήν ό υιός, whosoever these people might have been (see the quotation from Origen in St. Athanasius, De decretis 27). Yet, on the other hand, the general scheme of his theology was utterly inadequate at many crucial points. In any case, the controversies of the fourth century can be properly understood only in the perspective of Origen's theology and its problematic. The crucial philosophical problem at the bottom of that theological controversy was precisely that of time and eternity. Within the system itself there were but two opposite options: to reject the eternity of the world or to contest the eternity of the Logos. The latter option was taken by Arius and all those who, for various reasons, sympathized with him. His opponents were bound to insist on the temporality of the world. The problem of creation was the crucial philosophical problem in the dispute. No clarity could be reached in the doctrine of God until the problem of creation had been settled. Indeed, the essence of the controversy was religious, the ultimate issue was theological. But faith and piety themselves could be vindicated at this historic juncture only by philosophical weapons and arguments. This was well understood already by St. Alexander of Alexandria: φιλοσόφων έθεολόγει, says Socrates of him (I 5). St. Alexander made the first attempt to disentangle the doctrine of God out of the traditional cosmological context, while keeping himself still close to the tenets of Origen.15

Arius himself contended that the Logos was a “creature,” a privileged creature indeed, not like others, but still no more than a κτίσμα originated by the will of God. Accordingly, God for him was primarily the Creator, and apart from that, little, if anything, could be said of the unfathomable and incomprehensible Being of God, unknown even to the Son. Actually, there was no room for "theology" in his system. The only real problem was that of "cosmology" — a typically Hellenic approach. Arius had to define the notion of creation. Two major points were made: (a) the total dissimilarity between God and all other realities which "had beginning," beginning of any kind; (b) the "beginning" itself. The Son had a "beginning," simply because He was a son, that is — originated from the Father, as His αρχή : only God (the Father) was άναρχος in the strict sense of the word. It seems that with Arius the main emphasis lay on the relation of dependence as such, and the element of time was comparatively irrelevant for his argument. Indeed, in his famous letter to Eusebius of Nicomedia, Arius stated plainly that the Son came into existence "before all times and ages" — προ χρόνων και προ αιώνων (apud Epiph., Haeres. LXIX 6; 156 Holl, and Theodoret, Hist. eccl. I 4, 63; 25 Parmentier). St. Athanasius himself complained that the Arians evaded the term χρόνος (Contra Arianos I 13). Yet, they obviously contended that all things "created" did somehow "come into existence," so that the state of "being" has been preceded, at least logically, by a state of "non-being” out of which they have emerged, έξ ούκ δντων. In this sense “they did not exist before they came into existence” — ούκ πρίν γεννηθη. Obviously, “creatureliness” meant for the Arians more than just “dependence": it implied also an "essential" dissimilarity with God, and a finitude, that is — some limitation in retrospect. On the other hand, it was strongly stressed that all Creation was grounded in the will and deliberation of God: θελήματι καΐ βουλή, as Arius himself wrote to Eusebius. The latter motive was Origenistic. Indeed, Arius went much further than Origen: Origen rejected only the Gnostic προβολή, but Arius repudiated any “natural” affinity of Logos with God. Arius simply had nothing to say about the life of God, apart from His engagement in Creation. At this point his thought was utterly archaic.

It is highly significant that the Council of Antioch in 324/5 — that is, before Nicaea — took up all these major points. The Son is begotten "not from that which is not but from the Father," in an ineffable and indescribable manner, "not as made but as properly offspring," and not "by volition." He existed everlastingly and "did not at one time not exist." Again, "He is the express image, not of the will or anything else, but of His Father's very hypostasis."16 For all these reasons the Son could not be regarded as "creature." Nothing has been said about Creation. But one can easily guess what "Creation" and "creatureliness" meant for the Fathers of the Council. All elements, of which the later clear distinction between "begetting" and "creating" (or "making") has been construed, are already implied in the conciliar statement.

St. Athanasius made a decisive contribution at the next stage of the dispute.


Already in his early writings, before the outbreak of the Arian strife, St. Athanasius was wrestling with the problem of Creation. For him it was intimately related to the crucial message of the Christian faith: the redemptive Incarnation of the Divine Word. Indeed, his interpretation of Redemption, as it was expounded in De Incarnatione Verbi, is grounded in a distinctive conception of the Cosmos. There was, in the vision of St. Athanasius, an ultimate and radical cleavage or hiatus between the absolute Being of God and the contingent existence of the World. There were actually two modes of existence, radically different and totally dissimilar. On the one hand — the Being of God, eternal and immutable, "immortal" and "incorruptible." On the other — the flux of the Cosmos, intrinsically mutable and "mortal," exposed to change and "corruption.” The ultimate ontological tension was precisely between the Divine αφθαρσία and the φθορά of the Cosmic flux. Since the whole Creation had once begun, by the will and pleasure of God, “out of nothing,” an ultimate “meonic” tendency was inherent in the very "nature" of all creaturely things. By their own "nature," all created things were intrinsically unstable, fluid, impotent, mortal, liable to dissolution: Των μεν γαρ γενη-τών ή φύσις, ατε δη εξ ούκ δντων ύποστδσα, ρευστή τις καΐ ασθενής και θνητή καθ εαυτή ν συγκρινω-μένη τυγχάνει. Their existence was precarious. If there was any order and stability in the Cosmos, they were, as it were, super-imposed upon its own "nature," and imparted to created things by the Divine Logos. It was the Logos that ordered and bound together the whole Creation — συνέχει και συσφίγγει — counter-acting thereby, as it were, its inherent leaning toward disintegration. Indeed, the creaturely "nature" itself is also God's creation. But it was inwardly limited by its creaturely condition: it was inescapably "mortal” and mutable. St. Athanasius formally disavowed the notion of seminal λόγοι, immanent and inherent in the things themselves. Creation stood only by the immediate impact of the Divine Logos. Not only was the Cosmos brought into existence "out of nothing," by an initial and sovereign creative fiat of God, but it was maintained in existence solely by the continuous action of the Creator. Man also shared in this "natural" instability of the Cosmos, as a "composite" being and originated “out of the non-existing”: έκ του μη δντος γενόμενοι. By his very “nature,” man also was “mortal” and “corruptible” — κατά φύσιν φθαρτός — and could escape this condition of mortality only by God's grace and by participation in the energies of the Logos: χάριτι δε της του Λόγου μετουσίας τοΟ κατά φύσιν έκφυγόντες. By himself man was unable “to continue forever” — ούχ Ικανόν εΐη κατά τον της Ιδίας γενέσεως λόγο ν διάμενε ιν άεί (Contra gentes 40 to 43; De incarn. 2, 3, 5). The pattern of this exposition is conspicuously "Platonic." But St. Athanasius used it judiciously. The cosmic or "demiurgic" function of the Logos was strongly stressed in his conception. But His Divine transcendence was also vigorously stressed. Indeed, the Divine character of the Logos was the main presupposition of the whole argument. The Logos was, in the phrase of St. Athanasius, "the Only-begotten God," originating eternally from the Father as from a spring, a πηγή. There was an absolute dissimilarity between the Logos and the creatures. The Logos is present in the world, but only "dynamically,” that is, by His “powers.” In His own “substance” He is outside of the world: έκτος μέν έστι του παντός κατ' ούσίαν, έν πδσι δε έστι ταΐς έαυτοΰ δυνάμεσι (De incarn. 17). Now, this distinction between "essence" and "powers" can be traced back to Philo and Plotinus, and, indeed, to the Apologists and Clement of Alexandria. But in St. Athanasius it has a totally new connotation. It is never applied to the relationship between God and Logos, as had been done even by Origen. It serves now a new purpose: to discriminate strictly between the inner Being of God and His creative and "providential" manifestation ad extra, in the creaturely world. The world owes its very existence to God's sovereign will and goodness and stands, over the abyss of its own nothingness and impotence, solely by His quickening "Grace" — as it were, sola gratia. But the Grace abides in the world.17

In his struggle with the Arians St. Athanasius proceeded from the same presuppositions. The main demarcation line passes between the Creator and the Creation, and not between the Father and the Son, as Arians contended. Indeed, the Logos is Creator. But He is Creator precisely because He is fully Divine, an "undistinguishable Image" of the Father, απαράλλακτος εΐκών. In creation He is not just an “instrument,” όργανον. He is its ultimate and immediate efficient cause. His own Being is totally independent of creation, and even of the creative design of the world. At this point St. Athanasius was quite formal. The crucial text is in Contra Arianos II 31: Ό τοΰ θεοΰ γαρ Λόγος ού δι ή μας γέγονεν, άλλα μάλλον ήμεΐς δι αυτόν γεγόναμεν, και 'έν αύτω έκτίσθη τά πάντα'“ ουδέ δια την ημών άσθένειαν οδτος, ών δυνατός, υπό μόνου τοΰ Πατρός γέγονεν, ΐν ή μας δι αύτοΰ ώς δι οργάνου δημιουργήση' μη γένοιτο! ουκ εστίν ούτως. ΚαΙ γαρ και εΐ δόξαν η” ν τώ θεώ μη ποιήσαι τά γενητά, άλλ ή ν ουδέν ήττον ό Λόγος 'προς τον θεόν, και έν αύτω fjv ό Πατήρ. Τά μέντοι γενητά αδύνατον ήν χωρίς του Λόγου γενέσθαι” ούτω γάρ και γέγονε δι αύτου, καΐ είκότως. 'Επειδή γάρ Λόγος εστίν ίδιος φύσει της ουσίας τοΰ Θεοΰ ό Υιός, έξ αύτοΰ τέ έστι, και 'έν αύτω' έστιν, ώς εΐπεν αυτός” ουκ ήδύνατο μή δι αύτοΰ γενέσθαι τά δημιουργήματα. — Even supposing that the Father had never been disposed to create the world, or a part of it, nevertheless the Logos would have been with God and the Father in Him . . . This was the core of the argument. In fact, St. Athanasius carefully eliminates all references to the οικονομία of creation or salvation from his description of the inner relationship between the Father and the Son. This was his major and decisive contribution to Trinitarian theology in the critical situation of the Arian dispute. And this left him free to define the concept of Creation properly, θεολογία, in the ancient sense of the word, and οικονομία must be clearly and strictly distinguished and delimited, although they could not be separated from each other. But God's “Being” has an absolute ontological priority over God's action and will.

God is much more than just "Creator." When we call God "a Father," we mean something higher than His relation to creatures (Contra Arianos I 33). “Before” God creates at all, πολλω πρότερον, He is Father, and He creates through His Son. For the Arians, actually, God was no more than a Creator and Shaper of creatures, argued St. Athanasius. They did not admit in God anything that was “superior to His will,” το ύπερκείμενον της βουλήσεως. But, obviously, "being" precedes "will," and "generation,” accordingly, surpasses the “will” also: ύπεραναβέβηκε δέ της βουλήσεως το πεφυκέναι (II 2). Of course, it is but a logical order: there is no temporal sequence in Divine Being and Life. Yet, this logical order has an ontological significance. Trinitarian names denote the very character of God, His very Being. They are, as it were, ontological names. There are, in fact, two different sets of names which may be used of God. One set of names refers to God's deeds or acts — that is, to His will and counsel — the other to God's own essence and being. St. Athanasius insisted that these two sets of names had to be formally and consistently distinguished. And, again, it was more than just a logical or mental distinction. There was a distinction in the Divine reality itself. God is what He is: Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an ultimate reality, declared and manifested in the Scriptures. But Creation is a deed of the Divine will, and this will is common to and identical in all Three Persons of the One God. Thus, God's Fatherhood must necessarily precede His Creatorship. The Son's existence flows eternally from the very essence of the Father, or, rather, belongs to this "essence," ουσία. The world's existence, on the contrary, is, as it were, “external” to this Divine essence and is grounded only in the Divine will. There is an element of contingency in the exercise and disclosure of the creative will, as much as His will reflects God's own essence and character. On the other hand, there is, as it were, an absolute necessity in the Trinitarian being of God. The word may seem strange and startling. In fact, St. Athanasius did not use it directly. It would have embarrassed Origen and many others, as offensive to God's perfection: does it not imply that God is subject to certain "constraint" or fatalistic determinism? But, in fact, "necessity" in this case is but another name for "being" or "essence." Indeed, God does not "choose" His own Being. He simply is. No further question can be intelligently asked. Indeed, it is proper for God "to create," that is, to manifest Himself ad extra. But this manifestation is an act of His will, and in no way an extension of His own Being. On the other hand, "will" and "deliberation" should not be invoked in the description of the eternal relationship between Father and Son. At this point St. Athanasius was definite and explicit. Indeed, his whole refutation of Arianism depended ultimately upon this basic distinction between "essence" and "will," which alone could establish clearly the real difference in kind between "Generation" and "Creation." The Trinitarian vision and the concept of Creation, in the thought of St. Athanasius, belonged closely and organically together.18

Let us examine now in detail some few characteristic passages in the famous Athanasian Discourses against the Arians. The accurate dating of these "Discourses" is irrelevant for our present purpose.

I 19: God is described in the Scripture as the Fountain of Wisdom and Life. The Son is His Wisdom. Now, if one admits with the Arians that "there was when He was not," this would imply that once the Fountain was dry, or, rather, that it was not a fountain at all. The spring from which nothing flows is not a spring at all. — The simile is characteristic of St. Athanasius. It reappears often in the "Discourses." See, for instance, II 2: if the Word was not the genuine Son of God, God Himself would no longer be a Father, but only a Shaper of creatures. The fecundity of the Divine nature would have been quenched. The nature of God would be sterile, and not fertile: έρημος... μη καρπογόνος. It would be a barren thing, a light without shining, a dry font: ώς φώς μη φωτίζον καΐ πηγή ξηρά. See also I 14: άγονος ήν ή πηγή και ξηρά, φως χωρίς αυγής; or II 33: ήλιος χωρίς του απαυγάσματος. — Both the argument and the imagery can be traced back to Origen. Otiosam enim et immobilem dicere naturam Dei impium est simul et absurdum (De princ. Ill 5 2; 272 Koetschau). But, as we have already seen, in Origen the argument was ambiguous and misleading. It was ambiguous because there was no room for any clear discrimination between "being" and "acting." It was misleading because it coupled "generation" and "creation" so closely and intimately together as not to allow any demarcation line. This ambiguity is avoided carefully by St. Athanasius. He never uses this argument — from the Divine "fertility" — in reference to the will of God. On the contrary, he formally refuses to follow Origen at this point, — of course, without quoting him.

I 20: God was never without anything that is His own: Πότε γοΰν του ιδίου χωρίς ήν ό θεός; On the other hand, created things have no affinity or similarity with the Creator: ουδέν δμοιον κατ' ούσίαν έχει προς τον πεποιηκότα. They are outside God: έξωθεν αυτοΰ. They have received their existence by the grace and appointment of the Word: χάριτι και βουλήσει αύτοΟ τω λόγω γενόμενα. And, St. Athanasius characteristically adds, “they could again cease to exist, if it pleased their Creator” — ώστε πάλιν δύνασθαι και παύεσθαί ποτέ, ει θελήσειεν ό ποιήσας. For, he concludes, “such is the nature of created things” — ταύτης γαρ έστι φύσεως τα γενητά. See also II 24 and 29: πάντων έκ του μη δντος εχόντων την σύστασιν. Now, at this very point St. Athanasius had to face an objection of his opponents. They said: Is it not so that God must be Creator always, since the “power of creating” could not have come to God, as it were, subsequently? ούκ έπιγέγονεν αυτω του δημιουργεΐν ή δύναμις. Therefore, all creatures must be eternal. It is significant that this counter-argument of the Arians was actually Origen's famous argument, based on the analysis of the term παντοκράτωρ. Only the conclusion was different. Origen's conclusion was that, indeed, creatures were eternal. For the Arians that was blasphemy. By the same argument they wanted to reduce ad absurdum the proof of the eternal generation. It was an attack both on Origen and on St. Athanasius. St. Athanasius meets the charge on his own ground. Is there really such a “similarity” between generation and creation — τί δμοιον — that what must be said of God as Father must also be said of Him as Creator: ίνα τά επί του πατρός ταΟτα και έπί των δημιουργών εΐπωσι? This is the sting of the Athanasian rejoinder. In fact, there is total disparity. The Son is an offspring of the substance: ίδιον της ουσίας γέννημα. Creatures are, on the contrary, "external" to the Creator. Accordingly, there is no "necessity" for them to exist eternally: ούκ ανάγκη αεί εΐναι. But generation is not subject to will (or deliberation): το δε γέννημα ού βουλήσει υπόκειται. It is, on the contrary, a property of the substance: άλλα της ουσίας έστιν ϊδιότης. Moreover, a man can be called “a maker,” ποιητής, even before he has made anything. But nobody can be called “a father” before he has a son. This is to say that God could be described as Creator even "before" Creation came into existence. It is a subtle but valid point in the argument. St. Athanasius argues that, although God could, indeed, have created things from all eternity, yet created things themselves could not have existed eternally, since they are “out of nothing,” έξ ούκ δντων, and consequently did not exist before they were brought into existence: ούκ πριν “γένηται. “How can things which did not exist before they originated be co-eternal with God?” — Πώς ήδύ-νατο συνυπάρχειν τω άεΐ δντι θεω; This turn of the argument is highly significant. Indeed, if one starts, as Origen did, with the eternity and immutability of God, it is difficult to see, how anything truly "temporal" could have existed at all. All acts of God must be eternal. God simply could not "have started." But in this case the proper "nature" of temporal things is ignored and disregarded. This is precisely what St. Athanasius wanted to say. "Beginning" belongs to the very "nature" of temporal things. Now, it is the beginning of temporal existence, of an existence in time and flux. For that reason creatures cannot "co-exist" with the Eternal God. There are two incomparable modes of existence. Creatures have their own mode of subsistence: they are outside God. Thus creatures, by their very nature, cannot "co-exist" with God. But this inherent limitation of their nature does not, in any sense, disparage the power of the Creator. The main point of St. Athanasius was precisely this. There is an identity of nature in generation, and a disparity of natures in creation (cf. I 26).

I 36: Since created beings arise "out of nothing,” their existence is bound to be a state of flux: άλλοιουμένην έχει την φύσιν. Cf. I 58: Their existence is precarious, they are perishable by nature: τά δυνάμενα άπολέσθαι. This does not imply that they will actually and necessarily perish. Yet, if they do not actually perish, it is only by the grace of the Creator. The Son alone, as an offspring of the substance, has an intrinsic power “to co-exist” eternally with the Father: ίδιον δε το άεί εΐναι και συνδιαμένειν συν τω Πατρί. See also II 57: The being of that which has existence "according to a beginning" can be traced back to a certain initial instant.

In the later part of his third "Discourse" St. Athanasius discusses at great length the Arian contention that the Son has been begotten by "the will and deliberation” of the Father: βουλήσει και θελήσει γεγενήσθαι τον Υίόν ύπό τοΟ Πατρός (III 59). These terms, protests St. Athanasius, are quite out of place in this connection. Arians simply attempt to hide their heresy under the cover of these ambiguous words. St. Athanasius suggests that they borrowed their ideas at this point from the Gnostics and mentions the name of Ptolemy. Ptolemy taught that God first thought, and then willed and acted. In a similar way, St. Athanasius contends, Arians claim that the will and deliberation of the Father preceded the generation of the Word. He quotes Asterius at this point.19 In fact, however, these terms — "will" and "deliberation" — are only applicable to the production of creaturely things. Now, Arians claim that unless the Son's existence depended upon the "deliberation" of the Father, it would appear that God has a Son "by necessity” and, as it were, “unwillingly” — ανάγκη και μη θέλων. This kind of reasoning, St. Athanasius retorts, only shows their inability to grasp the basic difference between "being" and "acting." God does not deliberate with Himself about His own being and existence. Indeed, it would be absurd to contend that God's goodness and mercy are just His voluntary habit, and not a part of His nature. But does it mean that God is good and merciful unwillingly? Now, what is "by Nature” is higher than that which is only “by deliberation” — ύπέρκειται και προηγείται τοΰ βου-λεύεσθαι το κατά φύσιν. The Son being an offspring of the Father's own substance, the Father does not “deliberate" about Him, since it would mean "deliberation" about His own being: τόν δε ίδιον Λόγον εξ αύτου φύσει γεννώ-μενον ού ττροβουλεύεται. God is the Father of His Son “by nature and not by will — ού βουλήσει άλλα φύσει τόν ίδιον έχει Λόγον. Whatever was “created," was indeed created by the good will and deliberation of God. But the Son is not a deed of will, like creatures, but by nature is an offspring of God's own substance: οΰ θελήματος έστι δημιούργημα έπιγεγονώς, καθάπερ ή κτίσις, άλλα φύσει της ουσίας ίδιον γέννημα. It is an insane and extravagant idea to put "will" and "counsel" between the Father and the Son (III 60, 61, 62).

Let us summarize. The theological writings of St. Athanasius were mainly occasional tracts, tracts for the time. He was always discussing certain particular points, the burning issues of the current debate. He was interpreting controversial texts of the Scripture, pondering and checking phraseology, answering charges, meeting objections. He never had time or opportunity for a dispassionate and systematic exposition. Moreover, the time for systems had probably not yet come. But there was a perfect consistency and coherence in his theological views. His theological vision was sharp and well focused. His grasp of problems was unusually sure and firm. In the turmoil of a heated debate he was able to discern clearly the real crux of the conflict. From tradition St. Athanasius inherited the catholic faith in the Divinity of the Logos. This faith was the true pivot of his theological thought. It was not enough to correct exegesis, to improve terminology, to remove misunderstandings. What needed correction, in the age of St. Athanasius, was the total theological perspective. It was imperative to establish "Theology," that is — the doctrine of God, on its proper ground. The mystery of God, "Three in One," had to be apprehended in itself. This was the main preoccupation of St. Athanasius in his great "Discourses." Père Louis Bouyer, in his admirable book on St. Athanasius, has rightly stated that, in the "Discourses," St. Athanasius forces the reader "to contemplate the Divine life in God Himself, before it is communicated to us." This was, according to Père Bouyer, the main emphasis in the book. In this perspective one can see the radical difference between the Divine and the creaturely. One sees the absoluteness of the Divine transcendence: God does not need His creatures. His own Being is perfect and complete in itself. And it is this inner Being of God that is disclosed in the mystery of the Trinity.20 But the actual mystery is double. There is, indeed, the mystery of the Divine Being. But there is another concomitant mystery, the mystery of Creation, the mystery of the Divine οικονομία. No real advance can be achieved in the realm of “Theology” until the realm of “Oikonomia” had been properly ordered. This, surely, was the reason why St. Athanasius addressed himself to the problem of Creation even in his early treatises, which constituted, in a sense, his theological confession. On the one hand, the meaning of the redemptive Incarnation could be properly clarified only in the perspective of the original creative design of God. On the other, in order to demonstrate the absolute sovereignty of God it was necessary to show the ultimate contingency of the created Cosmos, fully dependent upon the Will of God. In the perspective of the Arian controversy two tasks were closely related to each other: to demonstrate the mystery of the Divine Generation as an integral feature of the Divine Being itself, and to emphasize the contingency of the creaturely Cosmos, which contingency can also be seen in the order of existence. It was precisely in the light of this basic distinction — between "Being" and "Will" — that the ultimate incommensurability of the two modes of existence could be clearly exhibited. The inner life of God is in no way conditioned by His revelatory self-disclosure in the world, including the design of Creation itself. The world is, as it were, a paradoxical "surplus" in the order of existence. The world is "outside" God; or rather it is precisely this "outside" itself. But it does exist, in its own mode and dimension. It arises and stands only by the will of God. It has a beginning precisely because it is contingent, and moves toward an end for which it has been designed by God. The Will of God is manifested in the temporal process of the Divine Οικονομία. But God's own Being is immutable and eternal. The two modes of existence, the Divine and the creaturely, can be respectively described as "necessary" and "contingent," or "absolute" and "conditional," or else, in the apt phraseology of a distinguished German theologian of the last century, F. A. Staudenmeier, as das Nicht-nicht-sehn-könnende and das Nicht-sehn-könnende. This corresponds exactly to the distinction between the Divine Being and the Divine Will.21 This distinction was made and consistently elaborated, probably for the first time in the history of Christian thought, in the heat of the Arian debate by St. Athanasius of Alexandria. It was a step beyond Origen. St. Athanasius was not only an expert controversialist, but a great theologian in his own right.


The Athanasian distinction between "Generation" and "Creation," with all its implications, was already commonly accepted in the Church in his own time. A bit later, St. Cyril of Alexandria simply repeated his great predecessor. Indeed, his Thesaurus de sancta et consubstantiali Trinitate depended heavily upon the Athanasian "Discourses."22 Only instead of "will" and "deliberation," St. Cyril spoke of Divine "energy”: το μεν ΐΐοιεΐν ενεργείας εστί, φύσεως δε το γενναν' φύσις δε καΐ ενέργεια ου ταύτόν (Thesaurus, ass. 18, PG 75, 313; cf. ass. 15, PG 75, 276: το γέννημα ... εκ της ουσίας τοΰ γεννωντος πρόεισι φυσικώς — (το κτίσμα) ... εξωθέν έστιν ώς άλλό-τριον; also ass. 32, PG 75, 564-565). And finally, St. John of Damascus, in his great Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, repeated St. Cyril. "For we hold that it is from Him, that is, from the Father's nature, that the Son is generated. And unless we grant that the Son co-existed from the beginning with the Father, by Whom He was begotten, we introduce change into the Father's subsistence, because, not being the Father, He subsequently became the Father. For the creation, even though it originated later, is nevertheless not derived from the essence of God, but is brought into existence out of nothing by His will and power, and change does not touch God's nature. For generation means that the begetter produces out of his essence offspring similar in essence. But creation and making mean that the creator and maker produces from that which is external, and not of his own essence, a creation which is of an absolutely dissimilar nature.” The Divine Generation is an effect of nature, της φυσικής γονιμότητος. Creation is, on the contrary, an act of decision and will — θελήσεως έργον (De fide orth. I 8, PG 94, 812-813). This antithesis: γονιμότης and θελησις or βούλησις is one of the main distinctive marks of Eastern theology.23 It was systematically elaborated once more in late Byzantine theology, especially in the theology of St. Gregory Palamas (1296-1359). St. Gregory contended that unless a clear distinction had been made between the "essence" and "energy" in God, one could not distinguish also between "generation" and "creation."24 And once again this was emphasized, somewhat later, by St. Mark of Ephesus.25 It was a true Athanasian motive, and his arguments again came to the fore.

Now, the question arises: Is the distinction between "Being" and "Acting" in God, or, in other terms, between the Divine "Essence" and "Energy," a genuine and ontological distinction — in re ipsa; or is it merely a mental or logical distinction, as it were, κατ' έπίνοιαν, which should not be interpreted objectively, lest the Simplicity of the Divine Being is compromised.26 There cannot be the slightest doubt that for St. Athanasius it was a real and ontological difference. Otherwise his main argument against the Arians would have been invalidated and destroyed. Indeed, the mystery remains. The very Being of God is "incomprehensible" for the human intellect: this was the common conviction of the Greek Fathers in the Fourth century — the Cappadocians, St. John Chrysostom, and others. And yet there is always ample room for understanding. Not only do we distinguish between "Being" and "Will"; but it is not the same thing, even for God, "to be" and "to act." This was the deepest conviction of St. Athanasius.


The Patristic Age and Eschatology: An Introduction.

Four "last things" are traditionally listed: Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell. These four are "the last things of man." And there are four "last things" of mankind: the Last Day, the Resurrection of the Flesh, the Final Judgment, and the End of the World.1 The major item, however, is missing in this listing, namely "the Last Adam," Christ Himself, and His Body, the Church. For indeed Eschatology is not just one particular section of the Christian theological system, but rather its basis and foundation, its guiding and inspiring principle, or, as it were, the climate of the whole of Christian thinking. Christianity is essentially eschatological, and the Church is an "eschatological community," since she is the New Testament, the ultimate and the final, and, consequently, "the last."2 Christ Himself is the last Adam because He is "the New Man" (Ignatius, Ephes. 20. 1). The Christian perspective is intrinsically eschatological. "The Old has passed away. Behold, the New has come." It was precisely "in these last days" that God of the Fathers had ultimately acted, once for all, once for ever. The “end” had come, God's design of human salvation had been consummated (John 19.28, 30: τετέλεσται). Yet, this ultimate action was just a new beginning. The greater things were yet to come. The "Last Adam" was coming again. "And let him who heareth say, Come." The Kingdom had been inaugurated, but it did not yet come in its full power and glory. Or, rather, the Kingdom was still to come, — the King had come already. The Church was still in via, and Christians were still "pilgrims" and strangers in "this world." This tension between "the Past" and "the Coming" was essential for the Christian message from the very beginning. There were always these two basic terms of reference: the Gospel and the Second Advent. The story of Salvation was still in progress. But more than a "promise" had been granted unto the Church. Or, rather, "the Promise of the Father" was the Holy Spirit, which did come and was abiding in the Church for ever. The Kingdom of the Spirit had been already inaugurated. Thus, the Church was living in two dimensions at once. St. Augustine describes this basic duality of the Christian situation in a remarkable passage of his "Commentary" on the Gospel of St. John, interpreting the XXIst chapter. "There are two states of life that are known to the Church, preached and commended to herself from heaven, whereof one is of faith, the other of sight. One — in the temporal sojourn in a foreign land, the other in the eternity of the (heavenly) abode. One — on the way, the other — in the fatherland. One — in active work, the other — in the wages of contemplation . . . The one is anxious with the care of conquering, the other is secure in the peace of victory . . . The whole of the one is passed here to the end of this world, and then finds its termination. The other is deferred for its completion till after the end of this world, but has no end in the world to come" (in Johan. tr. 124.5). Yet, it is essentially the same Church that has this dual life, duas vitas. This duality is signified in the Gospel story by two names: Peter and John.


Christianity was recently described as an "experience of novelty," a "Neuheitserlebnis." And this "novelty" was ultimate and absolute. It was the Mystery of the Incarnation. Incarnation was interpreted by the Fathers not as a metaphysical miracle, but primarily as the solution of an existential predicament in which mankind was hopelessly imprisoned, i.e. as the Redemptive act of God. It was "for us men and for our salvation" that the Son of God came down, and was made man.3 Redemption has been accomplished, once for all. The union, or "communion," with God has been re-established, and the power of becoming children of God has been granted to men, through faith. Christ Jesus is the only Mediator and Advocate, and His sacrifice on the Cross, in ara cruets, was "a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction." The human situation has been radically changed, and the status of man also. Man was re-adopted as the son of God in Christ Jesus, the Only Begotten Son of God Incarnate, crucified and risen. The catholic doctrine of the Incarnation, elaborated by the Fathers, from St. Irenaeus to St. John of Damascus, emphasizes first of all this aspect of finality and uniqueness, of accomplishment and achievement. The Son of God "was made man" for ever. The Son of God, "One of the Holy Trinity," is man, by the virtue of the Incarnation, for ever and ever. The Hypostatic Union is a permanent accomplishment. And the victory of the Cross is a final victory. Again, the Resurrection of the Lord is the beginning of the general resurrection. But precisely for these reasons the "History of Salvation" should go and is going on. The doctrine of Christ finds its fulness and completion in the doctrine of the Church, i.e. of "the Whole Christ," — totus Christus, caput et corpus, to use the glorious phrase of St. Augustine. And this immediately introduces the historical duration. The Church is a growing body, till she comes to "mature manhood,” εις άνδρα τέλειον. In the Church the Incarnate is unfailingly “present.” It was precisely this awareness of His abiding presence that necessitated the orientation towards the future. It was in the Church, and through the Church, that God was still pursuing His redemptive purpose, through Jesus Christ, the Lord. Again, the Church was a missionary body, sent into the world to proclaim and to propagate the Kingdom, and the ''whole creation" was expected to share or to participate in that ultimate "re-novation," which was already inaugurated by the Incarnate Lord, and in Him. History was theologically vindicated precisely by this missionary concern of the Church. On the other hand, history, i.e. the "History of Salvation," could not be regarded as an endless process. The "End of times" and the "Consummation" were faithfully anticipated. "The End" was clearly predicted in the Scriptures, as the Early Christians read them. The goal was indeed "beyond history," but history was inwardly regulated and organized precisely by this super-historical and transcendent goal, by a watchful expectation of the Coming Lord. Only an ultimate and final "con-summation," an ultimate and final re-integration or "re-capitulation" could have given meaning to the flux of happenings and events, to the duration of time itself. The strong corporate feeling compelled the Early Christians to look for an ultimate and inclusive integration of the Redemptive process in the Kingdom to come. This was plainly stated already by Origen. "Omne ergo corpus Ecclesiae redimendum sperat Apostolus, nec putat posse quae perfecta sunt dari singulis quibusdam membris, nisi universum corpus in unum fuerit congregatum" (in Rom. VII. 5). History goes on because the Body has not yet been completed. "The fulness of the Body" implies and presupposes a re-integration of history, including the Old dispensation, i.e. "the end." Or, in the phrase of St. John Chrysostom, "then is the Head filled up, then is the Body rendered perfect, when we are all together, all knit together and united" (in Ephes. hom. III, ad I. 23). Erit unus Christus, amans seipsum (St. Augustine, in Ps. 26, sermo 2, n. 23). The other reason for looking forward, to a future consummation, was the firm and fervent belief in the Resurrection of the dead. In its own way it was to be a "re-integration" of history. Christ is risen indeed, and the sting of death has been taken away. The power of death was radically broken, and Life Eternal manifested and disclosed, in Christo. The "last enemy," however, is still active in the world, although death does not "reign" in the world any more. The victory of the Risen Christ is not yet fully disclosed. Only in the General Resurrection will Christ's redemptive triumph be fully actualized. "Expectandum nobis etiam et corporis ver est" (Minucius Felix, Octavius, 34). This was the common conviction of the Patristic age, from Athenagoras and St. Irenaeus and up to St. John of Damascus. St. Athanasius was most emphatic on this point, and St. Gregory of Nyssa also. Christ had to die in order to abrogate death and corruption by His death. Indeed, death was that "last enemy" which he had to destroy in order to redeem man out of corruption. This was one of the main arguments of St. Athanasius in his De Incarnatione. "In order to accept death He had a body" (de incarn. 21). And St. Gregory of Nyssa says the same: "if one inquires into the mystery, he will say rather, not that death happened to Him as a consequence of birth, but that birth itself was assumed on the account of death" (orat. cat. 32). Or in the sharp phrase of Tertullian: Christus mori missus, nasci quoque necessario habuit, ut mori posset (de carne Christi, 6). The bodily Resurrection of man was one of the main aims of Redemption. The coming and general Resurrection will not be just a "re-statement" to the previous condition. This would have been rather an "immortalization of death," as St. Maximus sharply pointed out (epist. 7). The coming Resurrection was conceived rather as a new creative act of God, as an integral and comprehensive "re-novation" of the whole Creation. "Behold, I make all things new." In the phrase of St. Gregory of Nazianzus, it was to be the third and final "transformation” of human life (“μετάστασις”), completing and superseding the two previous, the Old and the New testaments, a concluding eschatological σεισμός (orat. theol. V. 25).


The new vision of human destiny, in the light of Christ, could not be accurately and adequately expressed in the terms of the current philosophies of that time. A new set of concepts had to be elaborated before the Christian belief could be fully articulated and developed into a coherent system of theological propositions. The problem was not that of adjustment, but rather of a radical change of the basic habits of mind. Greek Philosophy was dominated by the ideas of permanence and recurrence. In spite of the great variety of trends, a common pattern can be detected in all systems. This was a vision of an "eternal" Cosmos. Everything which was worthy of existence had to have actually existed in the most perfect manner before all time, and nothing could be added to this accomplished fulness. No basic change was possible, and no real "novelty" could ever emerge. The whole, the Cosmos, was perfect and complete, and nothing could be perfected or completed. There could be but a disclosure of the pre-existing fulness. Aristotle made this point with a complete frankness. "What is 'of necessity' coincides with what is 'always', since that which 'must be' cannot possibly 'not-be'. Hence a thing is eternal if its 'being' is necessary; and if it is eternal, its 'being' is necessary. And if, therefore, the 'coming-to-be' of a thing is necessary, its 'coming-to-be' is eternal; and if eternal, necessary. It follows that the 'coming-to-be' of anything, if it is absolutely necessary, must be cyclical, i.e. must return upon itself ... It is in circular movement therefore, and in cyclical coming-to-be', that the 'absolutely necessary' is to be found" (de gen. et corr. II. 2, 338a). The argument is perfectly clear. If there is any "sufficient reason" for a certain thing to exist ("necessity"), this reason must be "eternal," i.e. there can be no reason whatever, why this thing should not have existed "from eternity," since otherwise the reason for its existence could not have been "sufficient" or "necessary." And consequently "being" is simply "necessary." No increase in "being" is conceivable. Nothing truly real can be "innovated." The true reality is always "behind" ("from eternity"), and never "ahead." Accordingly, the Cosmos is a periodical being, and there will be no end of cosmic "revolutions." The highest symbol of reality is exactly the recurrent circle. The cosmic reality, of which man was but a part, was conceived as a permanent cyclical process, enacted, as it were, in an infinite series of self-reproducing instalments, of self-reiterating circles. Only the circle is perfect.4 Obviously, there was no room for any real "eschatology" in such a scheme. Greek Philosophy indeed was always concerned rather with the "first principles" than with the "last things." The whole conception was obviously based on astronomical experience. Indeed, the celestial movements were periodical and recurrent. The whole course of rotation would be accomplished in a certain period ("the Great Year"), and then will come a "repetition," a new and identical cycle or circle. There was no "pro-gress" in time, but only eternal returns, a "cyclophoria."5 Time itself was in this scheme but a rotation, a periodical reiteration of itself. As Plato put it in the Timaeus, time "imitates" eternity, and rolls on according to the laws of numbers (38a, b), and in this sense it can be called "a mobile image of eternity" (37 d). In itself, time is rather a lower or reduced mode of existence. This idea of the periodical succession of identical worlds seems to be traditional in Greek Philosophy. The Pythagoreans seem to have been the first to profess an exact repetition. With Aristotle this periodical conception of the Universe took a strict scientific shape and was elaborated into a coherent system of Physics. Later on this idea of periodical returns was taken up by the Stoics. They professed the belief in the periodical dissolution and "rebirth” of all things, παλιγγενεσία, and then every minute detail will be exactly reproduced. This return was what the Stoics used to call the “Universal Restoration,” άττοκατάστασις των πάντων. And this was obviously an astronomical term.” There was a kind of a cosmic perpetuum mobile, and all individual existences were hopelessly or inextricably involved in this cosmic rotation, in these cosmic rhythms and "astral courses" (this was precisely what the Greeks used to call "destiny” or fate, ή ειμαρμένη, vis positionis astrorum). The Universe itself was always numerically the same, and its laws were immutable and invariable and each next world therefore will exactly resemble the earlier ones in all particulars. There was no room for history in this scheme. "Cyclical motion and the transmigration of souls is not history. It was a history built on the pattern of astronomy, it was indeed itself a kind of astronomy."7 Already Origen protested most vigorously against this system of cosmic bondage. "If this be true, then free will is destroyed" (contra Celsum, IV. 61 etc.; cf. V. 20-21). Oscar Cullmann, in his renowned book, Christus und die Zeit, has well depicted the radical divergence between the "circular" concept of time in Greek thought and the "linear" concept in the Bible and in Christian doctrine. The ancient Fathers were fully aware of this divergence. Circuitus illi jam explosi sunt, exclaims St. Augustine. Let us follow Christ, "the right way," and turn our mind away from the vain circular maze of the impious. — Viam rectam sequentes quae nobis est Christus. Eo duce et salvatore, a vano et inepto impiorum circuitu iter fidei mentemque avertamus (de Civ. Dei, XII. 20). — Now, this circular conception of the Universe, as "a periodical being," was closely connected with the initial conviction of the Greeks that the Universe, the Cosmos, was "eternal," i.e. had no beginning, and therefore was also "immortal," i.e. could have no end. The Cosmos itself was, in this sense, "Divine." Therefore, the radical refutation of the cyclical conception was possible only in the context of a coherent doctrine of Creation. Christian Eschatology does inextricably depend upon an adequate doctrine of Creation. And it was at this point that Christian thought encountered major difficulties.8 Origen was probably the first to attempt a systematic formulation of the doctrine of Creation. But he was, from the outset, strongly handicapped by the "hellenistic" habits of his mind. Belief in Creation was for him an integral article of the Apostolic faith. But from the absolute "perfection" of God he felt himself compelled to deduce the "eternity" of the world. Otherwise, he thought, it would be necessary to admit some changes in God Himself. In Origen's conception, the Cosmos is a kind of an eternal companion of God. The Aristotelian character of his reasoning at this point is obvious. Next, Origen had to admit "cycles" and a sort of rotation, although he plainly rejected the iterative character of the successive "cycles." There was an unresolved inconsistency in his system. The "eternity" of the world implied an infinite number of "cycles" in the past, but Origen was firmly convinced that this series of "cycles" was to come to an end, and therefore there had to be but a finite number of "cycles" in the future. Now, this is plainly inconsistent. On the other hand, Origen was compelled to interpret the final "con-summation" as a "re-turn" to the initial situation, "before all times." In any case, history was for him, as it were, unproductive, and all that might be "added" to the preexistent reality had to be simply omitted in the ultimate summing up, as an accidental alloy or vain accretion. The fulness of Creation had been realized by the creative fiat "in eternity" once for all. The process of history could have for him but a "symbolic" meaning. It was more or less transparent for these eternal values. All links in the chain could be interpreted as signs of a higher reality. Ultimately, all such signs and symbols will pass away, although it was difficult to see why the infinite series of "cycles" should ever end. Nevertheless, all signs have their own function in history. Events, as temporal happenings, have no permanent significance. The only valid interpretation of them is "symbolical." This basic assumption led Origen into insuperable difficulties in Christology. Could the Incarnation itself be regarded as a permanent achievement, or rather was it no more than an "episode" in history, to be surpassed in "eternity"? Moreover, "manhood" itself, as a particular mode of existence, was to be interpreted precisely as an "episode," like all differentiation of beings. It did not belong to the original plan of Creation and originated in the general disintegration of the Fall. Therefore, it was bound to disappear, when the whole of Creation is restored to its initial integrity, when the primordial world of pure spirits is re-stated in its original splendor. History simply has nothing to contribute to this ultimate "apocatastasis." — Now, it is easy to dismiss this kind of Eschatology as an obvious case of "acute Hellenization." The true historical situation, however, was much more complex. Origen was wrestling with a real problem. His "aberrations" were in fact the birth-pangs of the Christian mind. His own system was an abortive birth. Or, to change the metaphor, his failures themselves were to become signposts on the road to a more satisfactory synthesis. It was in the struggle with Arianism that the Fathers were compelled to a clear conception of "Creation," as distinguished from other forms of "becoming" and "being." The contribution of St. Athanasius was decisive at this point. St. Augustine, from another point of view, was wrestling with the same problem, and his discovery that Time itself had to be regarded as a creature was one of the most relevant achievements of Christian thought. This discovery liberated this thought from the heavy heritage of Hellenistic habits. And a safe foundation was laid for the Christian theology of History.


No comprehensive integration of human existence is possible without the Resurrection of the dead. The unity of mankind can be achieved only if the dead rise. This was perhaps the most striking novelty in the original Christian message. The preaching of the Resurrection as well as the preaching of the Cross was foolishness and a stumbling block to the Gentiles. The Christian belief in a coming Resurrection could only confuse and embarrass the Greeks. It would mean for them simply that the present imprisonment in the flesh will be renewed again and forever. The expectation of a bodily resurrection would befit rather an earthworm, suggested Celsus, and he jeered in the name of common sense. He nicknamed Christians “a flesh-loving crew,” φιλο-σώματον γένος, and treated the Docetists with far greater sympathy and understanding (apud Origen, contra Celsum, V. 14; VII. 36, 39). Porphyrius, in his "Life of Plotinus," tells that Plotinus, it seemed, "was ashamed to be in the flesh," and with this statement he begins his biography. "And in such a frame of mind he refused to speak either of his ancestors or parents, or of his fatherland. He would not sit for a sculptor or painter." "It was absurd to make a permanent image of this perishable frame. It was already enough that we should bear it now" (Life of Plotinus, 1). This philosophical asceticism of Plotinus should be distinguished from Oriental dualism, Gnostic or Manichean. Plotinus himself wrote very strongly "against Gnostics." Yet, it was rather a difference of motives and methods. The practical issue in both cases was one and the same — a "flight" or "retreat" from this corporeal world, an "escape" from the body. Plotinus himself suggested the following simile. Two men live in the same house. One of them blames the builder and his handiwork because it is made of inanimate wood and stone. The other praises the wisdom of the architect because the building is so skillfully constructed. For Plotinus this world was not evil, it was the "image" or reflection of the world above, and probably the best of images. Still, one had to aspire beyond all images, from the image to the prototype. One should cherish not the copy, but the pattern (V. 8.8). "He knows that when the time comes, he will go out and will no longer have any need of a house." It is to say that the soul was to be liberated from the ties of the body, to be disrobed, and then only it could ascend to its proper sphere (II. 9. 15). "The true awakening is the true resurrection from the body, and not with the body," άπό σώματος, ού μετά σώματος άνάστασις, — since the body is by nature opposite to the soul (το άλλότριον). A bodily resurrection would be just a passage from one “sleep” to another (III. 6. 6). The polemical turn of these phrases is obvious. The concept of the bodily resurrection was quite alien and unwelcome to the Greek mind. The Christian attitude was just the opposite. "Not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life" (2 Cor. 5.4). St. Paul was pleading for an άπολύτρωσις του σώματος (Rom. 8.23).9 As St. John Chrysostom commented on these passages, one should clearly distinguish the body itself and "corruption." The body is God's creation, although it had been corrupted. The "strange thing" which must be put off is not the body, but corruption (de resurr. mortuor. 6). There was a flagrant "conflict in anthropology" between the Christian message and Greek wisdom. A new anthropology had to be elaborated in order to commend the Christian hope of Resurrection to the Gentiles. In the last resort it was Aristotle and not Plato who could offer help to Christian philosophers. In the philosophical interpretation of its eschatological hope, Christian theology from the very beginning clings to Aristotle.10 Such a biased preference may appear to be unexpected and strange. For, strictly speaking, in Aristotle there was no room for any "after-death" destiny of man. In his interpretation man was entirely an earthly being. Nothing really human passes beyond the grave. Man is mortal through and through. His singular being is not a person and does not survive death. But yet in this weakness of Aristotle was his strength. He had a real understanding of the unity of human existence. Man was to him, first of all, an individual being, a living unit. Man was one just in his duality, as an "animated body," and two elements in him exist only together, in a concrete and indivisible correlation. Soul and body, for Aristotle they are not even two elements, which are combined or connected with each other, but rather simply two aspects of the same concrete reality. "Soul and body together constitute the animal. Now it needs no proof that the soul cannot be separated from the body" (de anima, 413a). Once the functional unity of the soul and body has been broken by death, no "organism" is there any more, the corpse is no more a body, and a dead man can hardly be called man at all (meteor. IV. 12, 389b: νεκρός άνθρωπος ομώνυμος; cf. de part. anim. 64la). No "transmigration" of souls to other bodies was possible for Aristotle. Each soul abides in its "own" body, which it creates and forms, and each body has its "own" soul, as its vital principle, "eidos" or form. This anthropology easily lends itself to a biological simplification when man is almost completely equated with any other living being. Such indeed was the interpretation of many followers of the Stagirite, including the famous Alexander of Aphrodisias. Aristotle himself has hardly escaped these inherent dangers of his conception. Of course, man was for him an “intelligent being,” and the faculty of thinking was his distinctive mark. But the doctrine of νους does not fit very well into the general frame of Aristotelian psychology, and probably is a survival of his early Platonism. It was possible to adapt the Aristotelian conception for Christian purposes, and this was just what was done by the Fathers, but Aristotle himself obviously "was not a Moslem mystic, nor a Christian theologian."11 The real failure of Aristotle was not in his "naturalism," but in that he could not admit any permanence of the individual. But this was rather a common failure of Greek philosophy. Beyond time Greek thought visualized only the "typical," and nothing truly personal. Hegel suggested, in his Aesthetics, that Sculpture gives the true key to the whole of Greek mentality.12 Recently, a Russian scholar, A. Th. Lossev, pointed out that the whole of Greek philosophy was just "a sculptural symbolism." He was thinking especially of Platonism, but his suggestion has a wider relevance. "Against a dark background, as a result of an interplay of light and shadow, there stands out a blind, colorless, cold, marble and divinely beautiful, proud and majestic body, a statue. And the world is such a statue, and gods are statues; the city-state also, and the heroes, and the myths, and ideas; all conceal underneath them this original sculptural intuition . . . There is no personality, no eyes, no spiritual individuality. There is a 'something', but not a 'someone', an individualized 'it', but no living person with his proper name . . . There is no one at all. There are bodies, and there are ideas. The spiritual character of ideas is killed by the body, but the warmth of the body is restrained by the abstract idea. There are here beautiful, but cold and blissfully indifferent statues."13 And yet Aristotle did feel and understand the individual more than anyone else in his tradition. He provided Christian philosophers with all the elements out of which an adequate conception of personality could be built up. His strength was just in his understanding of the empirical wholeness of human existence. Aristotle's conception was radically transformed in this Christian adaptation, for new perspectives were opened, and all the terms were given a new significance. And yet one cannot fail to acknowledge the Aristotelian origin of the main anthropological ideas in early Christian theology. Such a christening of Aristotelianism we find already in Origen, to a certain extent in St. Methodius of Olympus as well, and later in St. Gregory of Nyssa, who in his thrilling De Anima et Resurrectione attempted a daring synthesis of Origen and Methodius. The break between the "Intellect," impersonal and "eternal," and the soul, individual but mortal, was overcome and healed in the new self-consciousness of a spiritual personality. The idea of personality itself was probably the greatest Christian contribution to philosophy. And then the tragedy of death could be visualized in its true dimension. For Plato and Platonists death was just a welcome release out of the bodily bondage, "a flight to the fatherland." For Aristotle and his followers it was a natural end of earthly existence, a sad but inevitable end, "and nothing is thought to be any longer either good or bad for the dead" (ethic. Nicom. III. 6, III. 5a). For Christians it was a catastrophe, a frustration of human existence, a reduction to a sub-human state, abnormal and rooted in the sinful condition of mankind, out of which one is now liberated by the victory of Christ. The task of Christian theologians was now to relate the hope of Resurrection to the new conception of man. It is interesting to observe that the problem was clearly seen and stated in the first theological essay on the Resurrection which we possess. In his brief treatise De resurrectione mortuorum, Athenagoras of Athens begins with the plain statement that "God gave independent being and life neither to the nature of the soul itself, nor to the nature of the body separately, but rather to men, composed of soul and body." There would no longer be a man, if the completeness of this structure were broken, for then the identity of the individual would be broken also. "And if there is no resurrection, human nature is no longer human" (de resurr. mort. 13, 15). Aristotle concluded from the mortality of the body to the mortality of the soul, which was but the vital power of the body. Both go down together. Athenagoras, on the contrary, infers the resurrection of the body from the immortality of the reasonable soul. Both are kept together.14 Thus, a safe foundation was laid for further elaboration.

The purpose of this brief paper was not to give a complete summary of the eschatological thought and teaching of the Fathers. It was rather an attempt to emphasize the main themes and the main problems with which the Fathers had to wrestle. Again, it was also an attempt to show how deeply and closely all eschatological topics are related to the core of the Christian message and faith, to the Redemption of man by the Incarnate and Risen Lord. Only in this wider perspective, in the total context of Christian doctrine, can one fully and faithfully understand all the variations of Patristic thought. The eschatological hope is rooted in the faith, and cannot be understood except in this context. The Fathers never attempted a systematic exposition of Eschatology, in a narrow and technical sense. But they were fully aware of that inner logic which had to lead from the belief in Christ the Redeemer to the hope for the age to come: the end of the world, the final consummation, the resurrection of the dead, and life everlasting.


St. John Chrysostom: The Prophet of Charity.

Chrysostom was a powerful preacher. He was fond of preaching, and regarded preaching as the duty of a Christian minister. Priesthood is authority, but it is authority of word and conviction. This is the distinctive mark of Christian power. Kings compel, and pastors convince. The former act by orders, the latter by exhortations. Pastors appeal to human freedom, to human will and call for decisions. As Chrysostom used to say himself, "We have to accomplish the salvation of men by word, meekness, and exhortation." The whole meaning of human life for Chrysostom was in that it was, and had to be, a life in freedom, and therefore a life of service. In his preaching he spoke persistently about freedom and decision. Freedom was for him an image of God in man. Christ came, as Chrysostom used to remind, precisely to heal the will of man. God always acts in such a way as not to destroy our own freedom. God Himself acts by calls and exhortations, not by compulsion. He shows the right way, calls and invites, and warns against the dangers of wickedness, but does not constrain. Christian pastors must act accordingly. By temperament, Chrysostom was rather a maximalist, sharp and rigoristic, but he was always against compulsion, even in the struggle with heretics. Christians are forbidden, he used to insist, to apply violence even for good aims: "Our warfare does not make the living dead, but rather makes the dead to live, because it is conducted in the spirit of meekness and humility. I persecute by word, not by acts. I persecute heresy, not heretics. It is mine more to be persecuted, than to persecute. So Christ was victorious as a Crucified, and not as a crucifier." The strength of Christianity was for him in humility and toleration, not in power. One had to be strict about oneself, and meek to the others.

Yet, Chrysostom was in no sense a sentimental optimist. His diagnosis of the human situation was stern and grim. He lived in a time when the Church was suddenly invaded by crowds of nominal converts. He had an impression that he was preaching to the dead. He watched the lack of charity and the complacent injustice and saw them almost in an apocalyptic perspective: "We have quenched the zeal, and the body of Christ is dead." He had an impression that he was speaking to people for whom Christianity was just a conventional fashion, an empty form, a manner and little more: "Among the thousands one can hardly find more than a hundred of them who are being saved, and even about that I am doubtful." He was rather embarrassed by the great number of alleged Christians: "an extra food for fire."

Prosperity was for him a danger, the worst kind of persecution, worse than an open persecution. Nobody sees dangers. Prosperity breeds carelessness. Men fall asleep, and the devil kills the sleepy. Chrysostom was disturbed especially by an open and deliberate lowering of standards and requirements, even among the clergy. Salt was losing its savour. He reacted to this not only by a word of rebuke and reprimand, but by deeds of charity and love. He was desperately concerned with the renewal of society, with the healing of social ills. He was preaching and practising charity, founding hospitals and orphanages, helping the poor and destitute. He wanted to recover the spirit of practising love. He wanted more activity and commitment among Christians. Christianity for him was precisely "the Way," as it had been sometimes described in Apostolic times, and Christ Himself was "the Way." Chrysostom was always against all compromises, against the policy of appeasement and adjustment. He was a prophet of an integral Christianity.

Chrysostom was mainly a preacher of morality, but his ethics was deeply rooted in the faith. He used to interpret Scripture to his flocks, and his favorite writer was St. Paul. It was in his epistles that one could see this organic connection between faith and life. Chrysostom had his favorite dogmatic theme, to which he would constantly return--first of all, the theme of the Church, closely linked to the doctrine of Redemption, being the sacrifice of the High-Priest Christ; the Church is the new being, the life in Christ, and the life of Christ in men. Secondly, the theme of Eucharist, a sacrament and a sacrifice. It is but fair to call Chrysostom, as he was actually called, "the teacher of Eucharist," doctor eucharisticus. Both themes were linked together. It was in the Eucharist, and through it, that the Church could be alive.

Chrysostom was a witness of the living faith, and for that reason his voice was so eagerly listened to, both in the East and in the West; but for him, the faith was a norm of life, and not just a theory. Dogmas must be practised. Chrysostom was preaching the Gospel of Salvation, the good tidings of the new life. He was not a preacher of independent ethics. He preached Christ, and Him crucified and risen, the Lamb and the High Priest. Right life was for him the only efficient test of right beliefs. Faith is accomplished in the deeds, the deeds of charity and love. Without love, faith, contemplation, and the vision of the mysteries of God are impossible. Chrysostom was watching the desperate struggle for truth in the society of his own days. He was always concerned with living souls; he was speaking to men, to living persons. He was always addressing a flock, for which he felt responsibility. He was always discussing concrete cases and situations.

One of his constant and favorite subjects was that of wealth and misery. The theme was imposed or dictated by the setting in which Chrysostom had to work. He had to face the life in great and overcrowded cities, with all the tensions between the rich and the poor. He simply could not evade social problems without detaching Christianity from life, but social problems were for him emphatically religious and ethical problems. He was not primarily a social reformer, even if he had his own plans for Christian society. He was concerned with the ways of Christians in the world, with their duties, with their vocation.

In his sermons we find, first of all, a penetrating analysis of the social situation. He finds too much injustice, coldness, indifference, and suffering and sorrow in the society of his days. And he sees well to what extent it is connected with the acquisitive character of the contemporary society, with the acquisitive spirit of life. This acquisitive spirit breeds inequality, and therefore injustice. He is not only upset by fruitless luxury of life; he is apprehensive of wealth as a standing temptation. Wealth seduces the rich. Wealth itself has no value. It is a guise, under which the real face of man is concealed, but those who hold possessions come to cherish them, and are deceived; they come to value them and rely on them. All possessions, not only the large ones, are dangerous, in so far as man learns to rely upon what is, by its very nature, something passing and unreal.

Chrysostom is very evangelical at this point. Treasures must be gathered in heaven, and not on earth, and all earthly treasures are unreal and doomed to corruption. "A love for wealth is abnormal," says Chrysostom. It is just a burden for the soul, and a dangerous burden. It enslaves the soul; it distracts it from the service to God. The Christian spirit is a spirit of renunciation, and wealth ties man to inanimate things. The acquisitive spirit distorts the vision, perverts the perspective. Chrysostom is closely following the injunctions of the Sermon on the Mount. "Do not be anxious for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. . ." Life is greater than clothing or food, but it is anxiety which is the prevailing temper of the acquisitive society.

Christians are called to renounce all possessions and to follow Christ in full confidence and trust. Possessions can be justified only by their use: feed the hungry, help the poor, and give everything to the needy. Here is the main tension, and the main conflict, between the spirit of the Church and the mood of the worldly society. The cruel injustice of actual life is the bleeding wound of this society. In a world of sorrow and need, all possessions are wrong — they are just proofs of coldness, and symptoms of little faith. Chrysostom goes so far as to denounce even the splendor of the temples. "The Church," he says, "is a triumphant company of angels, and not a shop of a silversmith. The Church claims human souls, and only for the sake of the souls does God accept any other gifts. The cup which Christ offered to the disciples at the Last Supper was not made of gold. Yet it was precious above all measure. If you want to honor Christ, do it when you see Him naked, in the person of the poor. No use, if you bring silk and precious metals to the temple, and leave Christ to suffer cold and nakedness in the outside. No use, if the temple is full of golden vessels, but Christ himself is starving. You make golden chalices, but fail to offer cups of cold water to the needy. Christ, as a homeless stranger, is wandering around and begging, and instead of receiving Him you make decorations."

Chrysostom was afraid that everything kept aside was in a sense stolen from the poor. One cannot be rich, except at the cost of keeping others poor. The root of wealth is always in some injustice. Yet, poverty was not for Chrysostom just a virtue by itself. Poverty meant for him first of all need and want, and suffering and pain. For this reason Christ can be found among the poor, and he comes to us in the guise of a beggar, and not in that of a rich man. Poverty is a blessing only when it is cheerfully accepted for Christ's sake. The poor have less anxiety than the rich and are more independent — or at least may be. Chrysostom was fully aware that poverty can be tempting too, not only as a burden, but as an incentive of envy or despair. For that very reason he wanted to fight poverty, in order not only to ease the suffering, but to remove temptations also.

Chrysostom was always concerned with ethical issues. He had his own vision of a just society, and the first prerequisite was, in his opinion, equality. It is the first claim of any genuine love. But Chrysostom would go much further. He felt that there was but one owner of all things in the world — God Himself, the Maker of all. Strictly speaking, no private property should exist at all. Everything belongs to God. Everything is loaned rather than given by God in trust to man, for God's purposes. Chrysostom would add: Everything is God's except the good deeds of man — it is the only thing that man can own. As everything belongs to God, our common Master, everything is given for common use. Is it not true even of worldly things? Cities, market-places, streets — are they not a common possession ? God's economy is of the same kind. "Water, air, sun and moon, and the rest of creation, are intended for common use. Quarrels begin usually when people attempt to appropriate things which, by their very nature, were not intended for the private possession of some, to the exclusion of others.

Chrysostom had serious doubts about private property. Does not strife begin when the cold distinction between "mine" and "thine" is first introduced? Chrysostom was concerned not so much with the results, as with causes — with the orientation of the will. Where is man going to gather his treasures? Chrysostom was after justice in defense of human dignity. Was not every man created in God's image? Did God not wish salvation and conversion of every single man, regardless of his position in life, and even regardless of his behavior in the past? All are called to repentance, and all can repent. There was, however, no neglect of material things in his preaching. Material goods come also from God, and they are not bad in themselves. What is bad, is only the unjust use of goods, to the profit of some, while others are left starving. The answer is in love. Love is not selfish, "is not ambitious, is not self-seeking." Chrysostom was looking back to the primitive Church. "Observe the increase of piety. They cast away their riches, and rejoiced, and had great gladness, for greater were the riches they received without labor. None reproached, none envied, none grudged; no pride, no contempt. No talk of 'mine' and 'thine.' Hence gladness waited at their table; no one seemed to eat of his own, or another's. Neither did they consider their brethren's property foreign to themselves; it was a property of the Master; nor again deemed they ought their own, all was the brethren's." How was this possible, Chrysostom asks: By the inspiration of love, in recognition of the unfathomable love of God.

In no sense was Chrysostom preaching "communism." The pattern itself may be deceitful and misleading as any other. The real thing is the spirit. What Chrysostom was preaching in the cities, monks were fervently practising in their communities, professing by deeds that God was the only Master and owner of everything. Chrysostom did not regard monastic life just as an advanced course for the select, but rather as a normal evangelical pattern intended for all Christian. At this point he was in full agreement with the main tradition of the early Church, from St. Basil and St. Augustine up to St. Theodore of Studium in the later times. But the strength of monasticism is not in the pattern itself, but in the spirit of dedication, in the choice of a "higher calling." Was this calling only for the few? Chrysostom was always suspicious of inequality. Was it not dangerous to discriminate between the "strong" and the "weak"? Who could judge and decide in advance? Chrysostom was always thinking about real men. There was some kind of individualism inherent in his approach to people, but he valued unanimity most highly — the spirit of solidarity, of common care and responsibility, the spirit of service. No person can grow in virtue, unless he serves his brethren. For that reason he always emphasized charity. Those who fail to do charity will be left outside the bridal chamber of Christ. It is not enough, he says, to lift our hands to heaven — stretch them to the needy, and then you will be heard by the Father. He points out that, according to the Parable of the Last Judgment, the only question which will be asked then is that about charity. But again it was not just a moralism with him. His ethics had an obvious mystical depth. The true altar is the body of men itself. It is not enough to worship at the altars. There is another altar made of living souls, and this altar is Christ Himself, His Body. The sacrifice of righteousness and mercy should be offered on this altar too, if our offerings are to be acceptable in God’s sight. The deeds of charity had to be inspired by the ultimate dedication and devotion to Christ, who came into the world to relieve all want, and sorrow, and pain.

Chrysostom did not believe in abstract schemes; he had a fiery faith in the creative power of Christian love. It was for that reason that he became the teacher and prophet for all ages in the Church. In his youth he spent some few years in the desert, but would not stay there. For him monastic solitude was just a training period. He returned to the world to proclaim the power of the Gospel. He was a missionary by vocation; he had an apostolic and evangelistic zeal. He wanted to share his inspiration with his brethren. He wanted to work for the establishment of God's Kingdom. He prayed for such things in common life so that nobody would need to retire to the wilderness in search for perfection, because there would be the same opportunity in the cities. He wanted to reform the city itself, and for that purpose he chose for himself the way of priesthood and apostolate.

Was this a utopian dream? Was it possible to reshape the world, and to overrule the worldliness of the world ? Was Chrysostom successful in his mission? His life was stormy and hard, it was a life of endurance and martyrdom. He was persecuted and rejected not by the heathen, but by false brethren, and died homeless as a prisoner in exile. All he was given to endure he accepted in the spirit of joy, as from the hand of Christ, Who was Himself rejected and executed. The Church gratefully recognized that witness and solemnly acclaimed Chrysostom as one of the "ecumenical teachers" for all ages to come.

There is some unusual flavor of modernity in the writings of Chrysostom. His world was like ours, a world of tensions, a world of unresolved problems in all walks of life. His advice may appeal to our age no less than it did to his own. But his main advice is a call to integral Christianity, in which faith and charity, belief and practice, are organically linked in an unconditional surrender of man to God's overwhelming love, in an unconditional trust in His mercy, in an unconditional commitment to His service, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

The Anthropomorphites in the Egyptian Desert. Part I.

In his tenth "Conference" John Cassian tells the story of a certain Sarapion, a monk of high distinction: antiquissimae distinctionis atque in actuali disciplina per omnia consummatus. By inadvertence, however, he lapsed into the errors of the "Anthropomorphites." It was a great scandal in the community. All efforts were made to restore Sarapion to the right way. It appears that the main issue involved was that of certain devotional practices. But some points of exegesis were also implied. At that time, a certain Photinus, a deacon from Cappadocia and a man of profound learning, was staying with the brethren. His testimony was sought concerning the meaning of the scriptural phrase: man was created "in the image and likeness of God." In an eloquent and elaborate speech, Photinus explained that in the East "all leaders of the churches" used to interpret this phrase "spiritually" — non secundum humilem litterae sonum, sed spiritualiter. Finally, Sarapion was persuaded to discontinue his erroneous practices in worship. Yet he was sorely distressed by the new method. He felt himself utterly confounded and frustrated, when, as it is stated, "the anthropomorphic image of the Godhead, which he used to set before him in prayer, was removed from his heart." In great despair, prostrating himself on the ground, weeping and groaning, he complained: "they have taken my God from me, and I have now none to behold, and whom to worship and address I know not" — tulerunt a me Deum meum, et quem nunc teneam non habeo vel quem adorem aut interpellem jam nescio (Coll. X. 3, p. 288-289 Petschenig).

What is the meaning of this striking episode? What were, in fact, those "anthropomorphite" practices to which the unfortunate Sarapion had been addicted, and which he was dissuaded from employing? What was the point of his distress and confusion?

Our information about the disputes in the Desert, between the "Origenists" and the alleged "Anthropomorphites," is scarce and biased. Indeed, it comes mainly from the "Origenistic" side. Cassian himself was strongly prejudiced in his description of monastic Egypt. His great treatises, the ''Institutions" and the "Conferences," were written in order to present a particular doctrine of spirituality, "Origenistic" and Evagrian. The story in Socrates (VI. 7) and Sozomen (VIII. 11-12) was derived probably from the oral reports, and also gossip, circulated in Constantinople by the refugees from Egypt, including the Tall Brothers, and also by Theophilus and his group (cf. Palladius, Dialogus, VII). These reports, of course, were tendentiously unfair to the "Anthropomorphites." Indeed, the name itself was a polemical slogan, a derogatory label, invented in the heat of the strife and used as a demagogical weapon. As Owen Chadwick has said recently, "in Egypt 'anthropomorphite' is a malicious term applied by their Origenistic opponents to the literalist Egyptian majority."1 Its purpose was not to define a group properly, but to discredit it in advance. Indeed, the "Anthropomorphite" monks in the Desert in no sense were a "sect." They had no relation whatever to the heretical sect of Audians, which had spread in Mesopotamia and Syria and by the time of John Cassian was already in steady decay (see Epiphanius, Haeres. LXX). Nor should the "literalism" of the alleged "Anthropomorphites" be attributed to their "ignorance" and "simplicity." We are told, in the sources available, about rude and rustic monks who, misled by their crude understanding of certain passages of the Scripture, came to conceive of God in material shape. This aspect of the controversy is grossly misrepresented in our sources. No doubt, "simple" and rustic people were numerous in the monastic ranks, especially among those of Coptic origin, hardly touched at all by any Greek learning. And certain abuses, indeed, might have crept into their practices. But the actual problem was much deeper and more complex than that. The "Anthropomorphites" could quote in their support an old and venerable tradition, which could not be summarily discarded by the charge of "ignorance."

The story of Sarapion, in fact, is an integral part of that great treatise on Prayer which Cassian presents in his ninth and tenth "Conferences," on behalf of the Abbot Isaac. The "Origenistic" character of this treatise is obvious, and close parallels in Origen's writings can be easily found to every point of the discourse. There are stages and grades in spiritual growth. There is an ascension from earthly things to the heavenly. There is an alternative between beholding Jesus "still in His humility and in the flesh" — humilem adhuc et carneum — and contemplating Him in His Divine glory and majesty. The former attitude is described as a kind of "Judaic weakness" — quodammodo ludaica infirmitate detenti. At this point II Cor. 5. 16 is quoted: "Those cannot see Jesus coming in His Kingdom who are still kept in a state of Jewish weakness, and cannot say with the Apostle: 'and if we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know Him so no more.' But only those can look with purest eyes on His Godhead, who rise with Him from low and earthly works and thoughts and go apart in the lofty mountain of solitude, which is free from the disturbance of all earthly thoughts and troubles." The main emphasis in the argument is precisely at this point: "no more in the flesh" (Coll. I. 6, 291-292 P). Accordingly, not only all "images" of the Godhead must be eliminated from prayer (nullam divinitatis effigiem — "which it is a sin even to mention"), but "one should not admit any memory of something said, or any kind of a deed, or an outline of any character" — ne ullam quidem in se memoriam dicti cujusque vel facti speciem seu formam cujuslibet characteri admittet (X. 5, p. 291 P). The phrase is by no means clear. It refers primarily, of course, to the katharsis of the mind, which must be ever cleansed from the flux of fleeting thoughts and "images," — and this, indeed, was Cassian's permanent concern in the whole system of spiritual discipline. But more than that was obviously implied in these strictures. No memoria dicti cujusque, and no species facti, — these injunctions, if carried out strictly and consistently, would exclude from prayer, especially at its climax, also any reference to, and any link with, the scriptural "image" of Christ Jesus, His own dicta and facta, His saving oikonomia "in the flesh." No more in the flesh . . . This seems to have been the root of Sarapion's perplexity, which could not be easily solved or calmed down by any exegetical arguments. "They have taken away my God from me," he complained. Presumably, he was urged to abstain from using in his devotions any mental image of "Jesus after the flesh," as he was accustomed to do previously in order to fix his attention in prayer and to know "whom to adore." Such practice of his was, from the strict "Origenistic" point of view, just a "Judaic weakness," a mark of imperfection. But to dismiss this "anthropomorphic" image of the Saviour meant for Sarapion to lose ground in prayer. "Whom should I invoke now?" — quem interpellem nescio. Indeed, no crude "anthropomorphism" was involved at this point. The basic alternative in the argument of Abbot Isaac was between the infirmitas ]udaica and the jam non. The main question seems to have been about the Christological orientation in prayer. To what extent, and in what manner, should prayer be constantly anchored in the "memory" of the historic Jesus, of Jesus "in the flesh"? In what manner, and to what extent, should this historic "image" be permissibly "transcended" in devotional practice and exercise? And this was, indeed, the crucial problem of "Origenistic" spirituality, beginning with Origen himself.

Now, Origen himself never denied that "history" had to be the starting point, both in theology and in devotion. But it had to be no more than a starting point. And one inevitably moves away from the start more and more, while one really progresses. The past events, even the events of the Gospel story, must be left behind in this process of spiritual climbing — to the mountain of solitude. These "images" must be transcended in the new "spiritual" vision. One must not look back any more, but steadily forward, to the glorious things to come. The ultimate goal of contemplation, according to Origen, is the knowledge of the Father, — indeed, through the knowledge of the Son. But His historic oikonomia, in "the flesh," must be transcended at this point. In spite of all his ardent love for the Crucified Jesus, and all his emphasis on the mystery of the Incarnation, on the higher stages of contemplation Origen claims to move beyond the Incarnation, in order that the Divine glory of the Son would not be obscured by His oikonomia2 In this sense, the "Christ-mysticism" was for Origen just a stage on the road toward the "God-mysticism." "Die Christusmystik ist also Durchgangsstadium zur Gottesmystik," as Walter Voelker has well stated.3 And here lies the major danger of "Origenism." This danger is especially acute in the realm of devotion. "Origenism" tends towards a certain "de-christologization" of worship. Devotion is no more focussed on the historic oikonomia of salvation. This tendency is obvious in John Cassian. As Owen Chadwick rightly observes, Cassian is so much concerned with the method of contemplation that he has but little to say about its actual object. "In these monastic books we hear little, surprisingly little, of the Gospel, of the earthly life of Jesus Christ, of the revelation of God."4 The "simple," the simpliciores of Origen, utterly resisted this tendency to move away from the "historic" Gospel. And this was, probably, the true core of the "Anthropomorphite" movement, or rather the "resistance-movement," in the Egyptian Desert. It was a striking example of that conflict between the "faith of the people" and "learned theology" which was one of the distinctive features of Christian life in the third century.5 This tension continued in the Nicene age. The ultimate mystery of the Christian faith is, indeed, in that "God was manifest in the flesh." The truth of this crucial "manifestation" is in no way contradicted by that other truth that Christ "was received up into glory" (I Tim. 3. 16).

The struggle against the "Anthropomorphites" was initiated already by Origen himself: qui in Ecclesia positi imaginem corpoream hominis Dei esse imaginem dicunt (Comm. in Rom. 1. 19, MG XIV, c. 870-871). In his commentary on Genesis Origen quotes Melito, as one of those who were committed to this erroneous view. Judging by Origen's rejoinder, we must conclude that Melito's main argument was derived from the fact of corporeal theophanies of the Old Testament and from the "anthropomorphic" phraseology of the Bible (Selecta in Gen., ad 1. 26, quoted by Theodoret, Lomm. VIII. 49-52). There is no text in the extant writings of Melito to support that charge. And it seems highly improbable that Melito was really so crudely "anthropomorphite" as Origen's remarks seem to suggest. He was probably close to that view which has been so emphatically expounded by St. Irenaeus.6 According to Origen, that man which was created "in the image of God" was not a "bodily man": hunc sane hominem . . . non intelligimus corporalem. There is no "image of God" in the body, but only in the soul of man. Only the "inner man" was made "in the image": interior homo noster est, invisibilis, et incorporalis, et incorruptus atque immortalis. Otherwise, one might be tempted to attribute corporeal features to God himself, as has been actually done by certain carnal men: carnales isti homines qui intellectum divinitatis ignorant. Indeed, the "image" in which man has been created was the Son of God, our Saviour, who is "the firstborn of every creature" (In Genes. hom. 1. 13, p. 15-18 Baehrens). For Origen it only meant that all intellectual or "logical" beings were made in the shape of the Divine Logos.7 The same idea has been quite differently elaborated by St. Irenaeus. Here we have a clear opposition of two different views and approaches. According to St. Irenaeus, man was indeed shaped in the image of the Word. But Irenaeus refers here to the Word Incarnate. Man was created in the image of the Incarnate Word, as it were, by anticipation, or proleptically. Accordingly, the bodily figment is also included in the "image": caro quae est plasmata secundum imaginem Dei. . . imaginem habens in plasmate. The whole man is created in the "image of God" (Adv. haeres. V. 6. 1). "In the times long past, it was said that man was created after the image of God, but it was not yet manifested. For the Word was as yet invisible, after whose image man was created. Wherefore also man has easily lost the similitude. When, however, the Word of God became flesh, He confirmed both these: for He showed forth the true image, since He became Himself what was His image; and He re-established the similitude after a sure manner, by assimilating man to the invisible Father through the means of the visible Word" (Adv. haeres. V. 16. 2). This text is of capital importance. The "image of God" in man has been fully manifested precisely through the Incarnation, in the exemplary manhood of the Incarnate God. In his catechetical treatise, St. Irenaeus is quite formal and precise. "He gave his frame the outline of His own form in order that even the visible appearance should be Godlike — for it was as an image of God that man was fashioned and set on earth" (Demonstr. II, p. 54 Smith's translation). "And the 'image' is the Son of God, in whose image man was made. And therefore He was manifested in the last times to show that the image was like unto Himself" (Demonstr. 22, p. 61 Smith). The concept of "image" has in St. Irenaeus an obvious "somatic" connotation, — "a strongly physical emphasis," in the phrase of David Cairns.8 This emphasis is not accidental for Irenaeus. It is directly related to his basic idea of recapitulation. Indeed, the Word Incarnate, the God-Man, is the center of his theological vision and scheme. This emphasis encourages the use of "visible" and "somatic" images in theological thought and language, without committing Christians to any "anthropomorphite" conception of Divinity. The "image" is in the total structure of man; "likeness" is confined to his spiritual sphere.9

The "Anthropomorphite" monks stood in a venerable tradition. The conflict in the Desert was not just a clash between the "ignorant" and the "learned." It was the conflict between the two traditions: Evangelical realism and "Origenistic" symbolism.


Theophilus of Alexandria and Apa Aphou of Pemdje.

The Anthropomorphites in the Egyptian Desert. Part II.


The "Life of blessed Aphou," an Egyptian hermit and eventually Bishop of Pemdje, or Oxyrhynchus, was published for the first time by Eugene Revillout in 1883 from a Turin manuscript. Revillout was aware of the historical value of this hagiographical document and intended to discuss it in detail. But his essay was never completed. He only printed the Coptic text (in Sahidic), with a brief preface.1 The "Life" was republished again in 1886 by Francesco Rossi, from the same Turin manuscript, together with an Italian translation, but without any commentary or notes.2 In the same year V.V. Bolotov published a Russian translation of Revillout's text, with an extensive introduction. Bolotov stressed the interest of the document. "A modest hagiological document of the Egyptian Church, the 'Life of Blessed Aphou' must occupy, in our opinion, an important place in the history of dogma: it throws a totally new and peculiar light on the Anthropomorphite controversy (which developed later into the Origenistic struggle).... Only now the history of the Anthropomorphites becomes really comprehensible." Bolotov planned a special excursus on this particular topic, but the second part of his article never appeared, and we do not know what this great master had actually to say.3 The only special study of the "Life" of Aphou is by E. Drioton. He was interested primarily in the story of the Anthropomorphites. In his article Drioton reprinted the relevant part of the Coptic text, following Rossi's edition, and also supplied a French translation.4 Unfortunately, Drioton was misguided by his gratuitous assumption that Egyptian "Anthropomorphites" were actually Audians, and this assumption marred considerably and distorted his analysis of the text itself.

There is no adequate paleographic description of the Turin papyri, even in the catalogue of Rossi.5 The date of the manuscripts remains uncertain, and their origin is still rather obscure. Indeed, the same may be said of many other collections. Already Zoëga, in his famous Catalogue of the Borgian collection, complained: Quibus Aegypti locis quibusve in bibliothecis olim adservati fuerint codices, quorum fragmenta sunt in museo Borgiano, plane ignoratur . . . Arabes ex monasteriis (eos) rapuisse videntur vel potius in dirutorum olim monasteriorum ruderibus invenisse. . . Hujusmodi fasciculi vere chaotici cum subinde ex Aegypto adveherentur mihique ordinandi traderentur6 In fact, the Turin papyri were acquired somewhere by Bernardino Drovetti, the French consul in Egypt, and then purchased for the Turin museum.7 Amedeo Peyron, the first to handle the manuscripts, soon after they were brought to Turin in 1821, had very little to say. They were in miserable condition, sorely mutilated and even torn to small pieces — piccolissimi pezzi. For transportation they were carelessly packed in a box — quam cum aperuissem infandam vidi ac deploravi papyrorum cladem, exclaims Peyron. Peyron was able, however, to fit the scattered fragments together, and fixed them on transparent sheets8 Unfortunately, varnish used for fixation deteriorated with time, the paper grew even more fragile, and the text did not read easily. This was one of Rossi's reasons for precipitating the publication.9

Among the papyri — en tete de la masse de ces papyres — Revillout found an interesting note, on a separate scrap of paper. It appears that these papers were once deposited by a certain pious lady, whose name is known to God, "in this place of St. John the Baptist," with the intention that prayers should be said for her and for her family. No date is given, and it is not certain at all whether this note refers to the whole collection or only to some particular documents in it. One must recall that the documents came to Turin in a poor and confused state, and in complete disorder. Revillout, however, took for granted that the whole collection, as we know it now, was deposited at St. John's already in the first decades of the fifth century, or, in any case, before the Schism.10 The Church of St. John in Alexandria is, of course, the famous Serapeum. It was made into a church under Theophilus, and in 398 the relics of St. John the Baptist were transferred to the new martyrion. For that reason the church came to be known under the name of St. John. There was a library in this church.11 Now, it seems that the Turin papyri are of a later date, probably of the seventh century.12 In this case the dating of Revillout is untenable.

Bolotov contested the early dating for other reasons. Certain documents in the collection seem to be of a later date, as, for instance, a spurious "Life" of St. Athanasius. Again, it is hardly probable that numerous homilies of St. John Chrysostom (authentic or spurious) could be included in an Alexandrinian collection in the times of St. Cyril and Dioscoros. Bolotov suggested that the Drovetti collection was, in fact, a part of a Coptic Menologion, or Lectionary, compiled in some monastery. The part preserved covers the months tout and paopi, — that is, the first months of the liturgical year. The "Life of Blessed Aphou" is to be read on the 21st day of the month tout, which corresponds to September 18. Now, Zoëga already has shown that most of the Memphitic (or Bohairic) documents in the Borgian and Vatican collections were actually but disjecta membra of a Lectionary, which originated in the monastery of St. Macarius in Scete: olim pertinuisse videantur ad lectionarium, quod secundum menses diesque digestum adservabatur in monasterio S. Macarii in Scetis.13 Bolotov suggested that a similar Lectionary, or Menologion, existed also in Sahidic. In its content and composition it seems to have differed considerably from the Macarian version. In any case, the names of Aphou and some others do not occur at all in the later Synaxaria of the Coptic Church in Arabic.14 At any rate, particular documents in the Menologion can easily be of quite different dates, including some early material. But the whole collection, the Menologion as such, could hardly have been completed by 444 or 451, as Revillout contended.15

Thus, the date of each particular document must be examined separately. The date of the collection may only provide the ultimate terminus ante quem. And, in our case, when precisely this date is doubtful and uncertain, it is rather irrelevant.

Now, the "Life of Blessed Aphou" was written some time after his death, but hardly by a close contemporary, although still at a time when memories of the saint were fresh. The style of the writer is both naive and pathetic, but plain and sober, without legendary adornments and without any emphasis on the miraculous, which are so characteristic of later Coptic hagiography. Bolotov regarded the "Life" as generally reliable.16 Drioton was of the same opinion: le papyrus porte en lui-même un cachet indubitable d'historicité. Drioton suggested that the unknown hagiographer might have had at his disposal certain official documents; his description of the dispute between Aphou and Theophilus was based probably on an official record taken formally by an episcopal clerk: un procès-verbal de quelque notaire épiscopal. On the other hand, the writer was unaware of that complex and controversial situation in which the dispute had taken place and therefore had no incentive to be tendentious: he had a "blind accuracy" — une exactitude aveugle, as Drioton puts it.17 It may be added that his description of Aphou's episcopate, in the final section of the "Life," has the character of an historic narrative.

The only safe date in the biography of Aphou is that of his disputation with Theophilus. It could have taken place only in 399. At that time Aphou was already an aged man, a renowned hermit. According to the "Life," three years later he was made bishop by Theophilus, and his episcopate seems to have been of considerable duration. He died as an old man. This would bring us at least into the second decade of the fifth century. The "Life" seems to have been written in a day when the turbulent events of the times of Theophilus had been forgotten in monastic circles. Some time must have elapsed before the "Life" could be included in a Menologion. Thus, it seems most probable that the whole collection was completed in the later part of the fifth century.


Aphou was conspicuously a simple and rustic man: his conversation was "with the wild beasts." He did not dwell with the people and rigorously avoided their company. Only on the day of Easter he used to appear in the city, at Oxyrhynchus, "to hear the preaching" in the church. He led a solitary life, among the beasts, and they were friends together — the hermit and the beasts. The beasts were even looking after him. In winter time they would gather around him and warm him with their breathing. They would even bring him food. When, later in life, Aphou was nominated by Theophilus for the episcopal office in Oxyrhynchus, he could not be found. People in the city did not know him. They asked local monks about him, and one of the monks happened to have known him before. He suggested that Aphou must be in the wilderness, as "he did not dwell with men, but with the beasts," and warned in advance that Aphou, surely, would run away if he was told the reason for which he was sought. Finally, Aphou was caught in the net which hunters had set for the beasts. So much we learn from the "Life of Blessed Aphou." The picture is at once coarse and idyllic.

An interesting episode is included in the Narratio Ezechielis monachi de vita magistri sui Pauli. The Coptic text was published already by Zoëga with a Latin paraphrase, from a Borgian manuscript, and was republished once more by Amélineau, who also supplied a French translation.18 Apa Paul of Tamwah (or Thmoui) was notorious for his ascetical excesses, of an almost suicidal character. He dwelt on the Mount of Antinoe. In his later years Paul was intimately associated with Apa Bishai (= Psois), one of the earliest settlers in Scete and the founder of one of the main monasteries there.19 Ezechiel, a close disciple of Apa Paul, wrote a description of their common journey in the desert, in the course of which they met Aphou. Amélineau was inclined to disavow the narrative as a fiction, un livre de pure imagination. The name of Ezechiel was just a disguise, and the story was compiled much later. Amélineau admitted, however, that certain features in the story were of real interest for the history of ideas.20 Now, whatever may be said about the literary form of the narrative, there is no valid reason to deny its realistic core. The journey in the desert may be a literary device, a means to chain together various dicta and episodes, but dicta and episodes may still be genuine and authentic. At the present we are concerned only with one episode in the story of Ezechiel, the meeting of Apa Paul with Apa Aphou. We have here a close parallel to the "Life."

We travelled southward from Mount Terab until we came to Mount Terotashans, south of Kos. We found some antelopes down in the valley, and in their midst was a monk. My father went forward, greeted him, and said to him, "What is your name?" He said, "My name is Aphou. Remember me, my father, Apa Paul, and may the Lord bring my life to a good finish." My father said to him, "How many years have you been in this place?" He said, "Fifty-four years." My father then said, "Who placed the scheme upon you?" He said, "Apa Antonios of Scete." My father said to him, "How have you lived, travelling with these antelopes?" He said, "My nourishment and that of these antelopes is the same nourishment, namely the plants of the field and these vegetables." My father said to him, "Do you not freeze in the winter or roast in the summer?" He said to him, "When it is winter, I sleep in the midst of these antelopes, and they warm me with the vapor which is in their mouth. When it is summer, they gather together and stand and make shade for me, so that the heat should not bother me." My father said to him, "Truly are you given the epithet: Apa Aphou the Antelope." At that moment a voice came to us saying, "This is his name unto all the rest of the eternities of the earth." We were amazed at what had happened so suddenly and we greeted him. Then we left.21

Aphou was not the only one in the Egyptian desert to practise this peculiar form of ascetical estrangement, ξενι-τεία. Hermits dwelling with the beasts in the wilderness are mentioned often in hagiographical documents of that time.22 Now, Wilhelm Bousset contended that all these stories were but legends or novels. The paradisiac hermits, wandering with the beasts, existed only in poetical imagination, not in real life: "nur in der Gestalt legendarischer Erzählungen und nicht in greifbarer Wirklichkeit." The monks of Scete were more sound and sober in their ascetical endeavor and did not approve of wandering monks.23 This peculiar and rough manner of asceticism — "das tierartige Umherschweifen in der Wüste," in the phrase of Bousset, — originated probably in Syria and Mesopotamia, and for that area it is so well attested in the authentic sources that no reasonable doubts can be raised about its historicity. Sozomen speaks of hermits in Syria and in the adjacent part of Persia which were called βοσκοί, because of their manner of life: they had no houses and dwelt constantly on the mountains. “At the usual hours of meals, they each took a sickle, and went to the mountains to cut some grass on the mountains, as though they were flocks in pasture — καθόπτερ νεμόμε-νοι.” Sozomen enumerates by names those who have chosen this kind of “philosophy” (VI, 33). The primary meaning of the word βοσκός was herdsman or shepherd. But in this connection it was used rather in the sense of βοσκόμενος νεμόμενος.24 In Palestine also there were numerous ascetics who practiced this or a similar way of life. There were those who dwelt in mountains, dens, and caves of the earth, and others used to live with the beasts — σύνοικοι θηρίοις γενόμενοι. Again, some others led even a harder life — νέμονται οέ την γήν, βοσκούς καλοΰσι... ώστε τω χρόνω καΐ θηρίοις συναφομοιοΟσθαι (Evagrius Schol., hist. eccl., I, 21).

There are good reasons to assume that the same rigid and radical method of ascetical retirement was practiced also in Egypt. It is curious to know that Apa Aphou was not the only one to be given the nickname "the Antelope." According to John Cassian, the same nickname was given also to Apa Paphnutius, who was, in any case, a historical personality. The passage must be quoted in full. Coll. III. I). Ubi rursum tanto fervore etiam ipsorum anachoretarum virtutes superans desiderio et intentione jugis ac divinae illius theoriae cunctorum devinabat aspectus, vastiora et inaccessibilia solitudinis penetrans loca multoque in eis tempore delitescens, ut ab ipsis quoque anachoretis difficulter ac rarissime deprehensus angelorum cotidiano consortio delectari ac perfrui crederetur, atque ei merito virtutis hujus ab ipsis inditum fuerit Bubali cognomentum. The last sentence is rather puzzling: what is the link between the consortium angelorum and Bubali cognomentum? Obviously, there must be another reason for this peculiar nickname. Paphnutius used to retire in the inaccessibilia solitudinis loca, beyond the reach of hermits themselves. Would it be too much to suggest that there he was dwelling with the beasts? — in this case the cognomentum would be well motivated. It should be added at this point that the story of a journey in the wilderness, known as the "Life and Conversation" of Apa Onouphrius, in which "naked hermits" were encountered, is attributed to Paphnutius. On the other hand, Apa Paphnutius of Scete was the only leader there who, according to John Cassian, opposed the monks revolting against Theophilus in connection with his Epistle of 399 against the Anthropomorphites.

In fact, the basic principles of the anchorites was: φεΰγε τους ανθρώπους και σώζη (Apophthegmata, Arsenius I, Cotelerius, Ecclesiae Graecae Monumenta, I, p. 353). Retirement and renunciation was usually justified by Biblical examples: the images of Elijah and other prophets, of St. John the Baptist, and even of the Apostles were often recalled and their names quoted.25 The Epistle to the Hebrews could be also recalled. The way of the anchorites was the way of prophets and apostles. It was precisely in this manner that Apa Aphou used to explain his strange and peculiar mode of life. He was asked by people, in his later years, when he was already bishop, about the reasons of his peculiar life. In reply he simply quoted Scripture. Is it not said in the Gospel about Christ himself that He was in the wilderness "with the wild beasts" (Mk 1:13)? Did not the blessed David say about himself: "I was as a beast before Thee" (Ps. 73:22) ? Did not Isaiah, by the Lord's command, walk naked and barefoot (Is. 20:2) ? Now, if Christ himself and His great saints had so condescended and humbled themselves, it was much more imperative for him to do the same — a poor and weak man.

A simple and rustic man, Aphou was a man of genuine piety, of resolute will, and of penetrating mind. According to the "Life" Theophilus was much impressed by Aphou: he appeared before him as a "common man,” an ιδιώτης, but his speech was that of a wise man. In his later years, when he was made bishop — indeed, against his own will, Aphou displayed an unusual pastoral wisdom and zeal. The image depicted in the "Life of Blessed Aphou" is quite impressive. Aphou was an active and efficient bishop, although he accepted this charge reluctantly. He still maintained his peculiar habits. He did not reside in the city, but in a "monastery" outside — in this connection the word "monastery" means obviously just a solitary cell, which was actually the primary meaning of this word.26 Only on weekends did he appear in the city. On Saturdays he used to gather people into the church and instruct them the whole day. Then he would spend the night in prayer and psalmody, till the time of celebration. And after the service he used to continue instruction till the close of the day. Then, in the evening he would retire to his own place, till the next weekend. In this way he endeavored to combine his anachoresis with the episcopal duties. It should be kept in mind that Oxyrhynchus was at that time a very peculiar city. According to Rufinus, there multo plura monasteria quam domus vide-bantur (Hist. monach., ch. V, — of course, in this text monasterium denotes the solitary cells; cf. the Greek text, ed. Festugière, Subsidia Hagiographica, 34 [1961], 41-43). The city was rather a monastic city: sed nec portae ipsae, nec turres civitatis, aut ullus omnino angulus ejus, monachorum habitationibus vacat, quique per omnem partem civitatis, die ac nocte hymnos ac laudes Deo referentes, urbem totam quasi unam Dei ecclesiam faciunt. And it was a large city: according to Rufinus, there were 20,000 virgins and 10,000 monks.27

Aphou was especially concerned with the poor and the needy, and also with all those who have suffered from injustice. He organized the material life of his church, by appointing a special officer for this task, in such a way that he always had means to help the needy, and he almost abolished poverty in his flock altogether.28 He enforced strict discipline in the church: no woman was allowed to receive communion if she appeared in a colored dress or wearing jewels. Aphou was concerned not only with the offended but also with the offenders, as they were transgressing the law of God and were in peril of damnation. He was quite strict about the order of the divine service. From his candidates for ordination he used to require a solid knowledge of Scripture, and examined them himself. Occasionally he had raptures, and in this manner used to learn what was going on in the city. His last admonition to his clergy, already on his death-bed, was not to seek high positions. He could hardly himself preserve that which he had achieved as a hermit, when he became bishop, and, while being bishop, he did not achieve anything. Obviously, it is not just an idealized portrait, but a picture of a living person, with distinctive individual features.

There is an interesting pericope concerning Aphou in the alphabetic Apophthegmata, a close parallel to that last admonition of his which is recorded in the "Life."29 As a hermit, Aphou led a severe life. He wanted to continue the same after he had become bishop, but was unable to do so — ούκ ίσχυσε. In despair, he prostrated himself before God and asked, whether it was because of his episcopacy that grace had departed from him: μη δρα δια την έπισκοττήν άπηλθεν ή χάρις άττ έμου. No, was the answer in a revelation. But, when he was in the desert, and there was no man — μη δντος άνθρωπου — God was helping him: ό θεός άντελαμβάνετο. Now, when he is in the world, people are taking care of him (Cotelerius, pp. 398-399; cf. Verba Seniorum, XV. 13, ML LXXIII, c. 956). The emphasis is here on the antithesis: έρημος and κόσμος. This episode is quoted, without the name of Aphou, by St. Isaac of Nineveh, and this shows its popularity. The context in which the quotation appears in St. Isaac helps to grasp its full meaning. It appears in the "Treatise in Questions and Answers," concerning the life of those who dwell in the wilderness, or in solitude. The question is asked: why are "visions and revelations" sometimes given to certain people, while to others they are not given at all, although they may have labored more. Now, visions and visitations are granted often to those who on account of their fervent zeal have fled from the world, "abandoning it entirely in despair and retiring from any part inhabited by men, following God, naked, without hope or help from anything visible, assailed by the fear of desolation or surrounded by the peril of death from hunger or illness or any other evil whatever, and near to dejection." On the other hand, "as long as a man receives consolation from his fellowmen or from any of these visible things, such (heavenly) consolation does not happen to him." This is the answer; and then follow the illustrations. The second is the story of Aphou (but the name is not given). "Another witness to this is he who led a solitary life in reclusion, and often tasted of consolations granted by grace, and divine care often became visible to him in manifest apperception; but when he came near the inhabited world and sought these things as usual, he did not find them. He besought God that the truth concerning this matter might become known to him, saying: perhaps, my Lord, grace has been withdrawn from me on account of my episcopal rank? It was said to him: No. But then, there was the desert, there were no men, and God provided for thee. Now, there is the inhabited world, and men provide for thee."30

In this context the pericope of the Apophthegmata comes into a clearer light. The "grace" which had been granted to Aphou in the wilderness was actually a charisma, or rather charismata — of visions and consolations. The term "grace" is ambiguous in this context, meaning at once "help" and "consolation." With Divine help Aphou was able, in the wilderness, to afford his rigid σκληραγωγία. But now it became impossible — “in the inhabited world,” in a community of men. Aphou was a charismatic, a πνευματικός, but charismatics must dwell in solitude, or in the desert and not “in the world.” It is interesting to note that the author of the "Life" of Aphou mentions his "ecstasies" only in passing. He is much more interested in his pastoral exploits. Was this author a monk himself?

According to the "Life," in his early years Aphou lived "in obedience" with certain chosen and faithful people — some of them taught by the "disciples of the Apostles." After their death Aphou alone was left, except for one brother, probably a novice, whom he was instructing in the ways to heaven. Thus, originally Aphou lived in a community, and only later chose the solitary life. It is possible, however, that he lived in a company of hermits. It was not unusual at that time that even members of a coenobitical community would retire to the solitary life. There was nothing peculiar in the change. Unfortunately, at this very point the Coptic text is deficient: there is a lacuna of an indefinite length. But we have additional information in the "Life of Apa Paul": Aphou was made monk by Apa Antonius of Scete and stayed in the desert for fifty-four years.

Now, at this very point Drioton makes a hasty conclusion that it was an Audian community in which Aphou had been reared. His argument is strained and peculiar, vague and shaky.31 First, he contends that teachers of Aphou are so "mysteriously" designated in the "Life" as to give an impression that they were a "separate" group: "ces hommes que le papyrus désigne si mysterieusement donnent bien l'impression d'être des séparés." In fact, there is simply nothing "mysterious" in the text at all. The phrasing is rather trivial and conventional: Aphou came from the company of venerable and "faithful" masters. These masters themselves were instructed by the "Apostolic disciples." This phrase may seem, at the first glance, rather peculiar. For Drioton it is a conspicuous Audian link: "un trait bien Audien." In this connection Drioton recalls the Audian claim to follow the "Apostolic tradition" concerning the Paschal practices. He admits himself, however, that actually there is no slightest hint in the "Life" of Aphou (which is, indeed, the only document in which Aphou's teachers are mentioned) of any peculiar Paschal usages. It is evident, on the contrary, that Aphou himself followed the regular calendar of the Church of Alexandria. Moreover, in the "Life" there is no reference to any Apostolic tradition. It is only stated that Aphou's own masters were instructed by the disciples of the Apostles, the mathetai. The question arises as to what connotation this term has had, or may have had, in the ecclesiastical or monastic idiom of the fourth century. And it is not difficult to find it out.

In fact, early monasticism, in Egypt and elsewhere, always claimed to have followed the Apostolic pattern, and the term "apostolic" was used, widely and persistently, to denote ascetical endeavor — renunciation, poverty, the wandering life, and the like. The term was applied especially to hermits. The retreat from the world itself was regarded as an apostolic action, as an imitation of the disciples who left everything and followed Christ (cf. Luke 5:11 — αφέντες πάντα). This idea is plainly implied in the great “Life of Anthony,” although the term itself is not used.” Eusebius reports that Origen emphatically insisted on the evangelical command of poverty — not to possess anything (VI, 3, 10), Speaking of the Therapeutai, Eusebius uses the term: cnroσχολικοί έχνδρες, precisely because they were committed to ascetical practices (II, 17, 2). Richard Reitzenstein already has shown that for Eusebius the term “apostolic life" had a definite and established meaning: it meant asceticism.33 And asceticism also implied a pneumatic endowment. In the phrase of Reitzenstein, “der vollkommene Asket ist εμπνευσθείς ύπό ΊησοΟ ώς οί απόστολοι, er ist der άνήρ αποστολικός.”34 Hermits in particular are the Apostolic people, and their life is apostolic. It was a commonplace in the literature of the fourth and fifth centuries.35 Two examples will suffice at this point. Speaking of the persecutions under Valens, Socrates mentions the Novatian bishop Agelius: "he had led an apostolic life- — βίον άποστολικόν β ιούς- — because he always walked barefoot, and used but one coat, observing the injunctions of the Gospel” (IV, 9). Fpiphanius uses the term in the same sense: άποταξάμενοι και άποστολικόν βίον βιουντες. Renunciation and “apostolic life" are equated. Actually Epiphanius was discussing the encratite sect of Apostolics: this name emphasizes their commitment to the Apostolic pattern of life. Epiphanius sharply exposes their exclusiveness and intolerance, but admits that the pattern of renunciation is truly apostolic. Apostles had no possessions: ακτήμονες υπάρχοντες. And the Saviour himself, while in the flesh never acquired anything earthly: ουδέν άπό της γης έκτήσατο (Panar., haeres. XLI, al. LXI, c. 3, 4).

It is safe to conclude that the expression “the disciples of the Apostles” is used in the “Life of Blessed Aphou” only to denote their strict ascetical manner of life. They were αποστολικοί άνδρες. Surely, there is nothing “bien Audien" in the phrase, and the whole argument of Drioton is based on a sheer misunderstanding.

Finally, Drioton calls attention to the fact that the community of Aphou's teachers probably came to its end approximately at the time in which, according to Epiphanius, Audian communities declined. It is a lame argument: a mere coincidence in time does not prove anything, neither identity nor even connection. Moreover, there is no evidence that the Audian movement ever expanded to Egypt. It is significant that no enemy of the Egyptian "Anthropomorphites" ever suggested that they had any sectarian connection, even in the heat of strife, although, of course, it would have been a good argument in the struggle. Drioton simply begins with the assumption that Audians were the only source from which "Anthropomorphite" convictions could have come. He does not consider the possibility that the allegedly "Anthropomorphite" arguments could be derived from some other source. Drioton is compelled to admit that Aphou's own position was much more qualified than that of the historic Audians. And yet he finds his position to be "heretical," although it is not clear what exactly he regards as heretical in the exposition given in the "Life."

To sum up, Drioton's arguments cannot substantiate his claim that Aphou came from the Audian background, that his teachers were but "authentic adherents of a disappearing sect" — "les adhérents authentiques d'un schisme finissant." One cannot but regret that Drioton put his unwarranted assumption into the very title of his otherwise competent and interesting article: "La discussion d'un moine anthropomorphite audien...." This assumption so blinded Drioton that he failed to grasp the true subject of this "discussion" and to discern its actual theme and its internal structure.


The theological discussion between Apa Aphou and Archbishop Theophilus is the crucial and most significant part of the "Life." Let us, first of all, quote the relevant part of the document in full.36

And it came to pass, then, that, while yet abiding with the wild beasts, he went out for the preaching of Holy Easter. And he heard an expression (λέξις) which was not in accord with the knowledge of the Holy Spirit, so that he was much troubled by that discourse. And, indeed, all those who heard it were afflicted and troubled. But the angel of the Lord commanded the blessed Aphou not to disregard the word, saying to him: "Thou art ordered by the Lord to go to Alexandria to set this word aright." And that word was as follows: the preacher, as if he were exalting the glory of God in his address, had recalled the weakness of man and had said: "It is not the image of God which we men bear."

When he heard that, the blessed Aphou was filled with the Holy Spirit and departed for the city of Alexandria, wearing a wornout tunic. Blessed Aphou stood at the bishop's gate for three days, and no one let him in, for they took him for a common man (ιδιώτης). Then one of the clerics took notice of him, observing his patience and perceived that he was a man of God. He entered within and informed the archbishop, saying, "Behold, a poor man is at the gate and says that he wishes to meet you, but we have not dared to take him to you, for he has not suitable clothing upon him." But immediately, as though he had been impelled by God, the archbishop ordered that they bring him to him. And when the latter was before him, he asked him to state his case. He answered: “May my Lord bishop bear the word of his servant with love and patience (έν άγάιττ) καΐ άνοχη).” He said to him: “Speak.” Blessed Aphou replied: “I know of your soul's kindness (χρηστότητα) and that you are a thoughtful man. That is the reason for my approaching your highness. I am certain that you will not contemn the word of piety, even though it come from such a poor man as I.” And Theophilus, the archbishop, said to him: "How reprobate is he who shall be mad enough to reject God's word for the sake of a trifle."

Aphou answered him: “Let my Lord command that the original (ίσον) of the sermon be read to me, wherein I heard the sentence (λέξις) that was not in agreement with the Scriptures inspired by God. Personally, I did not believe (ού πιστεύω) that it had come from you, but I thought that the clerk (συγγραφεύς) had committed a scribal error, regarding which a goodly number of pious people blunder to the point of being greatly troubled."37 Then Apa Theophilus, the archbishop, gave an order. The original (ίσον) of the sermon was brought to him. When the reading had begun, that phrase was reached. Then Apa Aphou bowed down, saying: “This sentence like that is not correct; I, on the other hand, will maintain that it is in the image of God that all men have been created." The Archbishop replied: "How is it that you alone have spoken against this reading, and that there has not been anyone in agreement with you?" Apa Aphou said: "But indeed I am sure that you will be in agreement with me and will not argue with me."

The Archbishop said: "How could you say of an Ethiopian that he is the image of God, or of a leper, or of a cripple, or of a blind man?"

Blessed Aphou replied: "If you proclaim that in such fashion, you will be denying that which He said, namely, 'Let us make man in our likeness and in our image' (Gen. 1:26)."

The Archbishop replied: "Far be it! but I believe that Adam alone was created in His likeness and image, but that his children whom he begot after him do not resemble him." Apa Aphou replied, saying: "Moreover, after God had established the covenant with Noah following the flood, He said to him: 'whoever sheds human blood, his own will be shed in return, for man had been created in the image of God' (Gen. 9:6)."

The Archbishop said: "I hesitate to say of an ailing man or ... that he bears the image of God, Who is impassible and self-sufficient, while (the former) squats outside and performs his necessities (παρασκευάζει — cf. I Sam. 24:4, LXX). How could you think of him (as being one) with God, the true light whom nothing can surpass?”

Aphou said to him: "If you mention this too, one may say of the body of Christ that it is not what you say it is. For the Jews will claim: 'How do you take a bit of bread which the earth had so laboriously produced, and then believe and say that this is the body of the Lord?' " The Archbishop said to him: "That is not the case, for it is truly bread before we elevate it above the altar (θυσιαστή -ριον); only after we have elevated it above the altar and have invoked God upon them, does the bread become the body of Christ and the cup become the blood, according as He said to His disciples: 'Take ye and eat, this is my body and my blood'. And then do we believe.” Apa Aphou said to him: “Just as it is necessary to have faith in that, it is necessary to have faith . . . that man has been created ... in the likeness (and) image (of) God. For He Who said, Ί am the bread which is come from heaven', is also He Who said, 'whoever will shed human blood, his own will be shed in return, for man has been created in the image of God'. Because of the glory of God's greatness, whoever. . . capable of arranging that something. . . to him. . . his. . . (will establish) it... and because of the weakness of man's insignificance according to the natural frailty of which we are aware. If we think, for example, of a king who will give orders and a likeness (εΐκών) will be painted, and all will proclaim that it is the image of the king, but at the same time all know that it is wood and colors, for it does not raise its nose (head), like man, nor are its ears like those of the king's countenance, nor does it speak like the king. And all these weaknesses which belong to it nobody remembers out of respect for the king's judgment, because he has proclaimed: 'it is my image'. On the contrary, if anyone dare deny it (άρνεΐν), on the plea that it is not the king's image, he will be executed (killed) for having slighted it. Furthermore, the authorities are mustered concerning it and give praise to bits of wood and to colors, out of respect to the king. Now, if such things happen to an image which has no spirit, neither does it stir, being... delusive (αντίθετος), how much more, then, (to) man, in whom abides the Spirit of God, and who is active and honored above all the animals which are upon the earth; but because of the diversity of elements and colors . . . and of weaknesses which in us are. . . for us on account of our salvation; for it is not possible for any one of these latter to slight the glory which God has given us, according to the word of Paul: 'As for man, it is not proper that he cover his head (because he is the image and glory of God)' (I Cor. 11:7)."

When he heard these words, the blessed Archbishop arose and bent his head, saying: "This is fitting that instruction come from those who search in solitude, for, as for us, the reasonings of our hearts are mixed in us, to the point that we err completely in ignorance."

And immediately he wrote within all the country, retracting that phrase, saying: "It is erroneous and proceeds from my lack of intelligence in this respect."

It is not difficult to put this episode in a proper chronological setting. The preaching which Aphou attended on Easter day was, obviously, the reading of that Festal "Epistle" of Theophilus, which, according to Sozomen, so strongly offended and irritated the Desert monks. In this epistle, says Sozomen, Theophilus "took occasion to state that God ought to be regarded as incorporeal, and alien to human form" (VIII. 11). To the same effect he preached himself in his church (cf. also Socrates, VI. 7). This Festal Epistle of Theophilus — for the year 399· — is not preserved. Yet, Gennadius gives an extensive resumé of it: sed et Adversum Anthropomorphitas haereticos, qui dicunt Deum humana figura et membris constare, disputatione longissima confutans, et divinarum Scripturarum testimoniis arguens et convincens, ostendit Deum incorruptibilem et incorporeum juxta fidem Patrum credendum, nec ullis omnino membrorum lineamentis compositum, et ob id nihil ei in creaturis simile per substantiam, neque cuiquam incorruptibilitatem suae dedisse naturae, sed esse omnes intellectuales naturas corporeas, omnes corruptibiles, omnes mutabiles, ut ille solus corruptibilitati et mutabilitati non subjacet, "qui solus habet immortalitatem" (de scriptoribus ecclesiasticis, XXXIV, p. 74 Richardson). The same Epistle is mentioned by John Cassian. Coll. X. 2: Theophili praedictae urbis episcopi solemnes epistulae commearunt, quibus cum denuntiatione paschali ineptam quoque Anthropomorphitarum haeresim longa disputatione disseruit eamque copioso sermone destruxit. Cassian then proceeds to the description of the commotion produced in monastic circles by this sharp and heavy epistle, especially in heremo Scitii: in no monastery there, except one, was this epistle permitted to be read, publicly or privately: legi- aut recitari. The Archbishop himself was suspected and condemned — velut haeresi gravissima depravatus: he contradicted the Holy Scripture — impugnare sanctae scripturae sententiam videretur. Was it not written that man was created in the image of God?

The meeting between Aphou and Theophilus took place, surely, before that tumultuous intervention of angry monks which is so vividly described both by Socrates and Sozomen.38 Indeed, it is difficult to conceive that such a peaceful interview as is described in the "Life of Blessed Aphou" could have taken place at a time when a hectic controversy was already raging everywhere in the monastic colonies of Egypt. Moreover, this interview would have been superfluous after Theophilus had changed his attitude. Again, according to the "Life," Aphou was the first to present objections to Theophilus concerning his "preaching." Aphou's intervention was his individual move, based on a private revelation. At that time Aphou was dwelling, apparently, somewhere in the neighborhood of Oxyrhynchus — he calls himself "a man of Pemdje," which refers rather to his residence than to his origin. It was in Oxyrhynchus that he heard the reading of Theophilus's epistle. Aphou's intervention had no direct connection with that general commotion in eremo Scitii of which John Cassian spoke.

There is an obvious discrepancy between our sources. Socrates and Sozomen present the story as that Theophilus was frightened by the monks and then yielded to their pressure — to condemn Origen. The name of Origen does not occur in the "Life" of Aphou. The hagiographer insists that Theophilus was moved by Aphou's arguments and "immediately" retracted his unfortunate statement — "has written to all in the country." It is reasonable to assume that Theophilus had various contacts with individuals before the monastic multitudes arrived. In any case, Aphou is nowhere mentioned in this connection, apart from the "Life." On the other hand, it is highly improbable that the whole episode of the monastic tumult could be completely omitted by a close contemporary of the event. It is more probable that the "Life of Blessed Aphou" was written much later, when the memories of the trouble had faded away, and by a writer who was interested only in the ascetical exploits of his saintly hero and in his pastoral work in the community of Oxyrhynchus. Aphou's visit to Theophilus is presented in the context of his biography, and not in the perspective of the history of his time.

It is both curious and significant that, according to the “Life,” Aphou took exception to one particular expression, or a λέξις, in the epistle of Theophilus. In his conversation with the Archbishop he was concerned solely with the concept of God's image in man. He did not develop or defend any "Anthropomorphite" thesis. The sting of his argument was directed against the denial of God's image in man, and there was no word whatever about any "human form" in God. Aphou only contended that man, even in his present condition and in spite of all his misery and destitution, had to be regarded still as being created in the image of God, and must be, for that reason, respected. Aphou was primarily concerned with man's dignity and honor. Theophilus, on the other hand, was embarrassed by man's misery and depravity: could an Ethiopian or a cripple be regarded as being "in the image of God," he asked.

Theophilus appears to have held the view that the "image of God" had been lost by man in the Fall and that, accordingly, the children of Adam were not (pro) created in the image. It is precisely this opinion which was sharply exposed and refuted by Epiphanius, both in his Ancoratus and in the Panarion, in the section on the Audians. Let us recall that both works were written in the seventies, that is, long before the outbreak of the Origenistic and the Anthropomorphite troubles in Egypt.39 Epiphanius's own position in this matter was balanced and cautiously qualified. Man was created in the image of God, κατ' εικόνα, — this is a Scriptural truth which cannot be doubted or ignored. But one should not attempt to decide in which part of man this κατ” εικόνα is situated, nor should one restrict this image to one part or aspect of the human constitution, to the exclusion of others. One has to confess faithfully the presence of this "image" in man, lest we despise the Divine grant and appear unfaithful to Him: ίνα μη την χάριν του ΘεοΟ άθετήσωμεν και άπιστήσωμεν θεω. What God has said is truth, even if it escapes our understanding in certain respects: ει και έξέφυγε την ημών εννοιαν έν ολίγοις λόγοις. In any case, to deny the κατ' εικόνα is contrary to Catholic faith and to the mind of the Holy Church: ου πιστόν οϋτε της άγιας τοΰ ΘεοΟ εκκλησίας (Ancoratus, 55; Ρanarion, haeres. LXX., al. L, ch. 2). Now, proceeds Epiphanius, there are many who would attempt to localize the image, either only in the soul, or in the body alone, or else in the virtues of man. All these attempts go astray from tradition. The κατ' εικόνα is not exclusively in the soul, nor exclusively in the body, but it would be wrong to deny that it is also in the body and in the soul: άλλ' οϋτε λέγομεν το σώμα μη είναι κατ' εικόνα ούτε την ψυχήν. In other words, the “image" is in the whole man: man is created κατ' εικόνα ΘεοΟ, and not just one part of man. Finally, there are also those who concede that God's image was in Adam, but it was lost when Adam was expelled from Paradise: απώλεσε. Great is the licentious phantasy of those people, exclaims Epiphanius: πολλή τίς έστι των ανθρώπων μυθοποιία. Indeed, we are obliged to believe that το κατ' εΙκόνα is still in man, and in the whole man: έν παντί δέ μάλιστα και ούχ απλώς (εν τινι μέρει). But how and where exactly it resides is known to God alone, Who has granted it by His grace, κατά χάριν. The “image” does not perish, although it may be polluted and marred by sins. Then Epiphanius gives his Scriptural references: Gen. 2:6, I Cor. 11:4, Jas. 3:8 (Panar. LXX, ch. 3; cf. Ancor., 56, 57). It should be noted at this point that the same texts (except for Jas.) were quoted also by Aphou, in his conversation with Theophilus. Even more significant is the fact that in his Ancoratus Epiphanius uses the same Eucharistic analogy which we find in the "Life" of Aphou. The κατ' εικόνα is the grant of God, and God must be trusted. The κατ' εικόνα can be understood by analogy: άπό τών όμοιων. Then comes a brief description of the Institution. Now, says Epiphanius, όρώμεν δτι ούκ ίσον εστίν ουδέ δμοιον ού τη ένσάρκω είκόνι ου τη άοράτω θεότητι ού τοις χαρακτήρα ι τών μελλών. But we simply trust the words of Christ (Ancoratus, 57).

Epiphanius takes a firm stand: according to Scripture man is created "in the image" of God, and it is against the Catholic rule of faith to doubt or to deny that. But this “image,” το κατ' εικόνα, is, as it were, a mystery, a gracious gift of God, and this mystery must not be rationalized — it must be apprehended by faith. From this point of view Epiphanius objects both to "Anthropomorphite" literalism in exegesis, and to the vagaries of Origenistic spiritualism. This was the position he maintained at Jerusalem in 394. He stated plainly his argument in his letter to John, which is extant only in the Latin translation of St. Jerome. Among various errors of Origen Epiphanius mentions also this: ausus est dicere perdidisse imaginem Dei Adam. . . et illum solum factum esse ad imaginem Dei qui plasmatus esset ex humo et uxorem ejus, eos vero qui conciperentur in utero et non ita nascerentur ut Adam Dei non habere imaginem. Against this "malicious interpretation" — maligna interpretatione — Epiphanius quotes Scripture: an array of texts follows: Gen. 9:4-6; Ps. 38:7; Sap. 2:23; Jas. 3:8-9; I Cor. 11:7. Epiphanius concludes: nos autem, dilectissime, credimus his quae locutus est Dominus, et scimus quod in cunctis hominibus imago Dei permaneat, ipsique concedimus nosse in qua parte homo ad imaginem Dei conditus est (Epiph. ad Iohannem episcopum, inter epist. Hieronymi, LI, 6.15-7.4). It was but natural that John suspected Epiphanius of an "Anthropomorphite" leaning, as Jerome informs us: volens illum suspectum facere stultissimae haereseos. Jerome recalls the dramatic clash between John and Epiphanius, and the sermon of John directed against the Bishop of Cyprus. Epiphanius had to restate his position: cuncta (inquit) quae locutus est collegio frater, aetate filius meus, contra Anthropomorphitarum haeresin, bene et fideliter locutus est, quae mea quoque damnantur voce; sed aequum est, ut quomodo hanc haeresin condemnamus, etiam Origenis perversa dogmata condemnemus (Hieron., Contra Iohannem Hierosolymitanum, cap. II). Although Jerome wrote some years after the events and his treatise is an emotional and venomous invective, we may assume that the position of Epiphanius was stated correctly. It should be added that Theophilus was originally suspicious of Epiphanius too, and "accused him of entertaining low thoughts of God, by supposing Him to have a human form." He reconciled himself and even allied with Epiphanius, but later, after 399, when he changed his position (Socr. VI. 10).

Now, let us return to the "Life of Blessed Aphou." Aphou's position in the dispute appears to be very similar to that of Epiphanius. His crucial emphasis is simply this: the reality of the "image" in general is not compromised by its factual inadequacy. An image of the king, which is itself lifeless and material, is still the king's image, the image of a living person, and must be, accordingly, respected. Moreover, man is not a lifeless image, but in him abides the Spirit of God. Again, an official image of the king must be regarded as such on account of the king's declaration, "this is my image." And, in regard to man, this is warranted by God himself, according to the Scriptures. Unfortunately, the text of the "Life" is in this passage corrupt and deficient, but it seems that Aphou had here also a reference to the Incarnation. Aphou's Eucharistic argument was to the same effect: do not trust appearances, but trust the word of God. In the Eucharist we actually see bread, but by faith we behold the Body, and believe it in obedience to the Dominical witness: "this is my Body." In the same way has God declared concerning man: "he is created in My image." In fact, Aphou does not go beyond this statement and does not try to locate the image or to rationalize the mystery. There is nothing specifically "Anthropomorphite" in his exposition. On the other hand, Aphou's reasoning is so close to that of Epiphanius that it may suggest a direct dependence. It is fair to assume that Epiphanius' writings and letters had considerable circulation at that time, and that, if certain people in the Egyptian communities were reading at that time Origen, others read his opponents, of which Epiphanius was the most venerable and conspicuous.

We have to identify now those people denying το κατ' εικόνα in man after the Fall whom Epiphanius was so sharply and angrily refuting already in the Panarion. He probably had in view Origen and his followers, those especially among the hermits in Egypt. In the section of the Panarion on Origen Epiphanius accused him briefly of the contention that Adam had lost the κατ' εικόνα (haeres. LXIV, al. XLIV, cap. 4). In fact, the thought of Origen was more complex and qualified than a blunt denial. Moreover, one finds in his writings certain passages in which Origen strongly insisted that the "image" simply cannot have been totally lost or effaced and remains even in the soul, in which a “terrestrial image” is, by ignorance or resistance, superimposed over the κατ' εικόνα θεοΰ (Contra Celsum, IV. 83; Homil. in Gen., XIII. 3, 4). However, Origen spoke primarily of the “interior man” — the κατ εικόνα was restricted to the νους or the ήγεμονικόν, and the body was emphatically excluded.40 In the Greek theology of the fourth century there was an unresolved ambiguity concerning the image of God. One must be very careful at this point: the writers of that time did not claim that man was an image, but rather that he was created or shaped in the image. Thus, the emphasis was on conformity: an image is a true image when it actually mirrors or reflects adequately that reality of which it is held or expected to be the image. Accordingly, there was always a strong dynamic stress in the concept of the image. The question could not fail to arise, in what sense and to what extent could this dynamic relationship continue or persist when the conformity was conspicuously broken, and fallen man went astray and frustrated his vocation. This ambiguity could be obviated by distinguishing carefully the "image" and the "likeness," or "similitude." But this was never done consistently, nor by all. In fact, the theology of the image was intimately related to the theology of Sin and Redemption, and, again, the theology of Sin was not yet adequately elaborated at that time, either in the East or in the West. There was an obvious tension between different motives in the thought of St. Athanasius, especially in his early period. In the de Incarnatione St. Athanasius presents the Fall as a total and radical catastrophe: το μεν των ανθρώπων γένος έφθείρετο. Ό δε λογικός και κατ εικόνα γενόμενος άνθρωπος ήφανίζετο (6. I). Fallen man was, as it were, reduced to a sub-human status: ή γαρ παράδασις της εντολής ε'ις το κατά φύσιν αυτούς έπέστρεφεν, ίνα ωσπερ ούκ δντες γεγόνασιν (4. 4). The κατ' εικόνα was a grant of grace, and this grant was lost or withdrawn. The κατ' εικόνα had to be restored or even re-created: the verbs used by St. Athanasius were: άνακαινίζειν and άνα-κτ[ζειν. According to St. Athanasius, τό κατ' εΙκόνα was, as it were, superimposed over the “nature” in man which was intrinsically mutable and fluid — φύσις ρευστή καΐ δια-λυομένη. The stability of human composition was insured, in the state of innocence, by its "participation" in the Logos. In the state of estrangement, which was the root of sin, this participation was discontinued.41 Actually, St. Athanasius wanted to emphasize the depth and radicalness of sin: fallen man is no more man in the full sense, and this is manifested most conspicuously in his actualized mortality, an inherent consequence of the estrangement, the ultimate sting of corruption, on the very verge of annihilation.42 The same ambiguity remains in the theology of St. Cyril of Alexandria. In a sense, according to his interpretation, man still is κατ' εικόνα, as a “rational” creature endowed with freedom. But other basic aspects or features of the “image,” and above all — incorruptibility, were lost, and the “image” itself was distorted or “falsified” — παρεχαράττετο, like a counterfeit coin or seal. Like St. Athanasius, St. Cyril uses the ambiguous word: αφάνιζειν to characterize the impact of sin on τό κατ' ε'ικόνα, and it is difficult to detect his proper intention, since the word may mean both a superficial obliteration and total destruction.43

It is beyond the scope of the present study to analyze at full length the problem of the κατ εικόνα in the Greek theology of the fourth and following centuries. This brief and rather sketchy survey will suffice, however, for our immediate objective: to explain the position of Theophilus. Obviously, he followed St. Athanasius, just as St. Cyril did later. The brief summary of his controversial epistle given by Gennadius, which we have quoted earlier, is helpful. The emphasis of Theophilus was the same as that of St. Athanasius: the basic contrast between God, Eternal and "Immortal," and man, mutable, corruptible, and unstable, in man's fallen condition. He is no longer "in the image" after the Fall. Moreover, the Alexandrinian Fathers always tended to restrict τό κατ' εικόνα to the “interior man,” to the spiritual aspect of his existence. This was, undoubtedly, an inheritance from Origen.

To sum up: in the conversation between Aphou and Theophilus we have a confrontation of two different conceptions concerning τό κατ' ε'ικόνα θεού, that is, concerning the nature and character of “the image of God in man.” And we may guess that this was the major issue in that violent conflict which came to be known as the “Anthropomorphite Controversy." No doubt, there were in Egypt also rustic monks who were addicted to literal interpretation of Scriptural images — simplicitate rustica, in the phrase of St. Jerome, which refers, however, to the situation in Palestine. But there was a deeper core of theological contention: there was an opposition to the whole tradition of Origen. W. Bousset observed rightly: "Wenn des Theophilus Bekämpfung des Anthropomorphismus eine so grosse Erregung bei den sketischen Mönchen hervorruft (Cassian, Coll. X), so handelt es hier eigentlich nicht um das Dogma, sondern um eine Lebensfrage für die von der Gottesschau lebende enthusiastische Frömmigkeit."44 The story of Sarapion, told by Cassian (Coll. X. 3), is illuminating in this respect.45

In the light of the information we can derive from the "Life of Blessed Aphou" we can understand that rather enigmatic phrase with which Theophilus, according to both Socrates and Sozomen, managed to placate the angry monks. "Going to the monks, he in a conciliatory tone thus addressed them: 'In seeing you, I behold the face of God'. The utterance of this saying moderated the fury of these men and they replied: if you really admit that God's countenance is such as ours, anathematize Origen's book” (Socr. VI. 7 — ούτως ύμδς, εφη, εΐδον ώς θεοΰ πρόσωπον; cf. Sozom. VIII. 11). Indeed, it could be no more than a flattering compliment, as Tillemont has interpreted it.46 And, of course, it was a Biblical phrase: Gen. 33:10 — Jacob meeting Esau — "for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God." But it does seem to be more than just a compliment. Let us remember now the phrase in the epistle of Theophilus to which Aphou took exception: "It is not the image of God which we men bear." In his rejoinder Aphou insisted that the glory of God could be perceived even in that inadequate image which is man. It seems strange that angry monks be placated by the address of Theophilus, if it was no more than a courteous phrase. In fact, it was just to the point, it was a disguised retraction of his offensive phrase in the controversial epistle that had irritated the monks. It seems that the monks understood it.47

According to the "Life" of Aphou, Theophilus was impressed by his arguments, admitted his error, and issued a new encyclical. No such encyclical epistle is known. In his later Festal Epistles, which are preserved only in the Latin translation of Jerome, Theophilus did not discuss the problem of the image at all. They were concerned mainly with the refutation of Origen.48 But we can trust the "Life" and admit that Theophilus was impressed by Aphou himself. This rustic anchorite was a wise man. Aphou, on his side, praised the humility of Theophilus which allowed him to acknowledge his error. The story may be embellished a bit. Aphou declined the invitation to stay in Alexandria for a longer time and went back to his own place. After three years the see of Pemdje became vacant and Theophilus appointed Aphou, although another candidate had been nominated by the community. There is nothing improbable in that. Already in the time of St. Athanasius it was usual to appoint monks to episcopal position. Theophilus had done this not once. The best known case is, of course, that of Dioscurus, one of the Tall Brothers, whom he made bishop of Hermopolis.

The "Life of Blessed Aphou" comes, obviously, from Coptic circles.

The information on the Anthropomorphite Controversy which we derive from Greek and Latin sources is biased and onesided. This is true especially of John Cassian, a "pious journalist," as René Draguet has labelled him.49 He was on the Origenist side in the conflict. He wrote from the Evagrian point of view: "noi in Cassiano rileggiamo Evagrio," rightly says a modern student of John Cassian.50 The picture of Egyptian monasticism presented in the Historia Lausiaca is also drawn from the Greek point of view, "in the spirit of Evagrius," as Draguet puts it." The case of the "Anthropomorphites" has been polemically misrepresented since that time. The controversy was presented as a clash between the rustic simpliciores and the learned. This aspect of the case should not be ignored or denied. But there was much more than that: there was also a clash of theological traditions, and a clash of spiritual conceptions. The "Life" of Aphou helps us to grasp this theological perspective of the controversy, and this constitutes the high historical value of this peculiar hagiological document.

A Postscript.

1. The valuable book by Antoine Guillaumont, Les 'Kephalaia Gnostica' d'Evagre le Pontique et l'Histoire de l’Origénisme chez les Grecs et les Syriens (= "Patristica Sorbonensia" 5, Editions du Seuil, Paris, 1962), appeared after the present article had been delivered for publication. Guillaumont has a brief paragraph on the Anthropomorphite controversy (pp. 59-61). He does not believe that the Anthropomorphites of Egypt had any relation to the Audians: "Cette filiation est difficile à établir historiquement. II parait plus naturel de ne voir dans ce mouvement qu'une réaction spontanée contre la théorie evagrienne de la prière pure — réaction comprehensible de la part de gens simples qui pouvaient craindre que le Dieu de la Bible, qui a fati l'homme à son image, n'ait plus de place dans une piété si haute," p. 61, note 62. Guillaumont quotes my article of 1960 with general approval, but regrets that I have limited myself to the text of Cassian and did not mention Evagrius and his treatise "On Prayer." In fact, my only purpose in that article of mine — a brief communication at the Congress in Munich, sorely restricted in space — was to describe the position of Sarapion and to stress the importance of the conception of the "image of God" in man for the understanding of the whole conflict. On the other hand, Guillaumont refers to the article of Drioton, but does not seem to have appreciated the significance of the "Life of Aphou," le "curieux document," as he labels it (p. 62, note 63).

2. βούβαλος (or βούβαλις) is not a buffalo (as it has been often mistranslated, for instance by Dom E. Pichery, in his edition of the ‘Conferences’ of Cassian, in the "Sources Chrétiennes" — le boeuf sauvage!), but antelope, bubalis mauretanica; see the Lexicon of Liddell-Scott, sub voce. In English the word "buffalo" may denote both a kind of African stag or gazelle, and the wild ox (cf. Webster's Dictionary).

Notes and References.

The Patristic Age And Eschatology: An Introduction.

1. See e.g. Msgr Joseph Pohle, Eschatology, Adapted and edited by Arthur Preuss (Herder Book Co., St. Louis, Mo., & London, 1947), p. 2.

2. See Kittel's Theologisches Wörterbuch, vol. Ill, p. 451/452, s. ν. καινός (Behm).

3. The question whether this redemptive purpose was the only reason or motive of the Incarnation, so that it would not have taken place if man had not sinned, was never raised by the Fathers, with one single exception. The Christian message was from the very beginning the message of Salvation, and Christ was described precisely as the Saviour or Redeemer of mankind and the world, who had redeemed His people from the bondage of sin and corruption. It was assumed that the very meaning of Salvation was that the intimate union between man and God had been restored, and it was inferred therefrom that the Redeemer Himself had to belong to both sides, i.e. had to be at once both Divine and human, for otherwise the broken communion would not have been recovered. This line of reasoning was taken by St. Irenaeus, later by St. Athanasius, and by all the writers of the IVth century, in their struggle against the Arians. Only in St. Maximus the Confessor we find the suggestion that Incarnation belonged to the original plan of Creation and in this sense was independent of the Fall: quaest. ad Thalassium, qu. 60, PG XC, c. 621; cf. Ambigua, XCI, 1097, 1305, 1308 sq. Cf. the remarks of Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar, Liturgie Cosmique, Maxime le Confesseur (Paris, Aubier, 1947), p. 204-205 (German edition, S. 267-268). See also Aloysius Spindeler, Cur Verbum caro factum? Das Motiv der Menschwerdung und das Verhältnis·. der Erlösung zur Menschverdung Gottes in den christologischen Glaubenskämpfen des vierten und fünften christlichen Jahrhunderts (Forschungen zur Christlichen Literatur- und Dogmengeschichte, herausgegeben von Erhard und Kirsch, XVIII. 2), 1938.

4 On the notion of the circular motion in Aristotle see O. Hamelin, Le Système d'Aristote (2 ed., Paris 1831), p. 336ss.; J. Chevalier, La Notion du Necessaire chez Aristote et chez ses prédecesseurs, particulièrement chez Platon (Paris 1915), p. l60ss., 180ss.; R. Mugnier, La Théorie du Premier Moteur et 1'Évolution de la Pensée Aristotelienne (Paris 1930), p. 24ss.

5 See Pierre Duhem, Le Système du Monde, Histoire des Doctrines Cosmologiques de Platon à Copernic (t. I, Paris 1914), pp. 65ss., 275-296, and especially t. II, Paris 1914, p. 447ss., — Les Pères de l'Église et la Grande Année. Cf. Hans Meyer, Zur Lehre von der ewigen Wiederkunft aller Dinge, in Festgabe A. Ehrhard (Bonn 1922), p. 359ff.

6 See Oepke, s. ν. άττοκατάστασις, in Kittel, I, S. 389: “Vor allem wird άποκστάστασις terminus technicus fόr die Wiederherstellung des kosmischen Zyklus."

7 A. Lossev, Essays in Ancient Symbolism and Mythology (t. I, Moscow 1930 [in Russian]), p. 643. This book is one of the most valuable contributions to the modern discussion of Platonism, including Christian Platonism. It is utterly rare. The book, and other valuable writings of Lossev in the same field, is obtainable in Fritz Lieb's Library, at the University of Basel.

8 Cf. my article, "The Idea of Creation in Christian Philosophy," in the Eastern Churches Quarterly (Vol. VIII. 1949). 3 Supplementary issue, "Nature and Grace."

9 See Büchsel, s. ν. άπολύτρωσις, in Kittel, IV, 355.

10 Cf. the most interesting remarks of E. Gilson in his Gifford lectures: L'Esprit de la Philosophie Medièvale (2nd edition, Paris, 1944), the whole of chapter IX, "L'anthropologie chrétienne," p. 175 ss. Gilson seems to have underestimated the Aristotelian elements in Early Patristics, but he gives an excellent mis au point of the whole problem.

11 "R. D. Hicks, in the Introduction to his edition of De anima, Cambridge, at the University Press, 1934, p. LVI. Cf. Anton C. Pegis, Saint Thomas and the Greeks, The Aquinas Lecture, 1939, 3rd printing (Marquette University Press, Milwaukee, 1951), p. 171. Already E. Rohde, Psyche, Seelencult und Unsterblichkeitsglaube der Griechen (3. Aufl. 1903, Bd. II), p. 305, suggested that the whole doctrine of Nous was simply a survival of Aristotle's early Platonism. This idea was recently upheld by Werner Jäger, Aristotle, Fundamentals of the History of his Development, translation, by Richard Robinson, 2nd edition (Oxford, at the Clarendon Press, 1948), p. 332f.

12 "Hegel, Vorlesungen über die Asthetik, Sämtliche Werke, Bd. X. 2, p. 377; cf. the whole section on Sculpture, which was for Hegel a peculiarly "classical art," p. 353f.

13 "Lossev, Essays in Ancient Symbolism and Mythology, I, p. 670, 632, 633, — in Russian.

14 On the Aristotelian background of Athenagoras' conception see Max Pohlenz, in Zeitschrift für die wissenschaftliche Theologie, Bd. 47, p. 241ff.; cf. E. Schwarz, index graecus to his edition of Athenagoras, in Texte und Untersuchungen, IV. 2, 1891, s. ν. είδος, S. 105. Cf. E. Gilson, L'Esprit de la Philosophie Médièvale, ρ .197. "Lorsqu'on pèse les expressions d'Athénagoras, la profondeur de l'influence exercée par la Bonne Nouvelle sur la pensée philosophique apparait à plein. Crée par Dieu comme une individualité distincte, conservé par un acte de création continuée dans l'être qu'il a reçu de lui, l'homme est desormais le personnage d'un drame qui est celui de sa propre destinée. Comme il ne dependait pas de nous d'exister, il ne depend pas de nous de ne pas exister. Le décret divin nous a condamné a l'être; faits par la création, refraits par la redemption, et à quel prix. Nous n'avons le choix qu'entre une misère ou une béatitude également éternelles. Rien de plus resistant qu'une individualité de ce genre, prévue, voulue, élue par Dieu, indestructible comme le décret divin lui-même qui l'a fait naître; mais rien aussi qui soit plus étranger à la philosophie de Platon comme à celle d'Aristote. Là encore, à partir du moment ou elle visait une pleine justification rationelle de son espérance, la pensée chrétienne se trouvait constrainte à l'originalité."

The Anthropomorphites In The Egyptian Desert

1 O. Chadwick, John Cassian. A Study in Primitive Monasticism (Cambridge, 1950), p. 16, n. 3; cf. p. 34-35.

2 A. Lieske, "Die Theologie der Logosmystik bei Origenes," Münsterische Beiträge zur Theologie (Heft 22, 1938), p. 45 ff., 133 ff. "Bei aller Liebe zum gekreuzigten Christus und zum Gottmenschen . . . tritt auf dieser höheren Stufe der Glaubenserkenntnis doch das Interesse und die Hochschätzung für das Gottmenschentum Jesu Christi zurück" (p. 47).

3 W. Voelker, Das Vollkommenheitsideal des Origenes (Tübingen 1931), pp. 109-110. The opposite view is strongly presented by H. De Lubac, Histoire et Esprit. L’intelligence de l'Écriture d'après Origene (Paris 1950), and also by F. Bertrand, Mystique de Jesus chez Origène (Paris 1951).

4 Chadwick, p. 149.

5 See J. Lebreton, Le désaccord de la foi populaire et de la théologie savante dans 1'église chrétienne du III siècle, Rev. Hist.Eccl. 19 (1923) and 20 (1924); cf. also his earlier article, "Les Degrés de la connaissance d'après Origène," Recherches de Science Religieuse 13 (1922).

6 A. Struker, Die Gottebenbildlichkeit des Menschen in der christlichen Literatur der ersten zwei Jahrhunderte (Münster i. W. 1913), pp. 39-42.

7 Cf. H. Crouzel, Théologie de L’Image de Dieu chez Origène (Paris 1956), p. 153-179, 257ss.

8 D. Cairns, The Image of God in Man (New York 1953), p. 77.

9 Cf. Struker, s. 76-128; also E. Klebba, Die Anthropologie des hl. Irenaeus (Münster i. W. 1894 [ = Kirchengeschichtliche Studien, II. 3]), p. 22 ff.; J. Lawson, The Biblical Theology of Saint Irenaeus (London 1948), p. 198 ff.; G. Wingren, Maenniskan och Inkarnationen enligt Irenaeus (Lund 1947), p. 37-49; Engl. transl.: Man and the Incarnation. A study in the Biblical Theology of Irenaeus (Edinburgh-London 1959), pp. 14-26.

Theophilus of Alexandria and Αρa Aphou of Pemdje.

1 E. Revillout, "La Vie du bienheureux Aphou, Evêque de Pemdje (Oxyrinque)," in Revue Egyptologique, III, 1, 27-33.

2 Francesco Rossi, "Trascrizione di tre manoscritti Copti del Museo Egizio di Torino, con traduzione italiana," in Memorie della Reale Accademia delle Scienze di Torino, Serie II, XXXVII, 67-84 (text) and 145-150 (translation). Rossi published in the same Memorie several other documents from the Turin collection. There is a separate edition: I papiri copti del Museo egizio di Torino, trascritti e tradotti, 2 vols. (Torino, 1887, 1892). Cf. Robert Atkinson, "On Professor Rossi's Publication of South Coptic texts," in the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, III (Dublin, 1895-1898), 25-99. — A minor, but rather important, emendation of Rossi's text was suggested by Oscar von Lemm, "Koptische Miscellen," XLVI, in Bulletin de L'Académie Impériale des Sciences de St. Petersbourg, VI série, II, 7, 15 Avril 1908, 596-598.

3 V. Bolotov, "Iz. tserkovnoj istorii Egipta: II. Zhitie blazhennago Afu, episkopa Pemdzhskago," in Khristianskoe Chtenie (1886, 3/4), 334-377..

4 E. Drioton, "La discussion d'un moine anthropomorphite audien avec le Patriarche Théophile d'Alexandrie en l'année 399," in Revue de L'Orient Chrétien, Deuxième série, X [XX], (1915-1917), 92-100 and 113-128.

5 "Manoscritti copti esistenti nel Museo Egizio nella Biblioteca Nazionale di Torino, raccolti da Bernardino Drovetti e indicati dal Prof. Francesco Rossi," in Rivista delle Biblioteche e degli Archivi, X, 9, Settembre 1899, 114.

6 Catalogus Codicum Copticorum manu scriptorum qui in Museo Borgiano Veletris adservantur, auctore Georgio Zoega Dano (Romae, MDCCCX), p. 169.

7 See Francesco Rossi, "Trascrizione di un Codice Copto del Museo Egizio di Torino," in Memorie, Ser. II, XXXV (1884), 165-167, and also: "Trascrizione di alcuni testi copti tirati dai papiri del Museo Egizio di Torino," in Memorie, Ser. II, XXXVI (1885), 89-91.

8 Amedeo Peyron, "Saggio di studi sopra papiri codici cotti ed un stella trilingue del Reale Museo Egiziano," in Memorie, XXIX (1825), 78, and also: Lexicon Linguae Copticae, studio Amedei Peyron (Taurini, 1835), pp. XXV-XXVI.

9 Rossi, in Memorie, Serie II, XXXV (1884), 166.

10 E. Revillout, "Le Concile de Nicée, d'après les textes coptes," in Journal Asiatique, VII serie, I (1873), 2, 217-222: Revillout gives here a transcription of the dedicatory note; at that time he thought that the whole collection was completed already in the early years of St. Cyril. Later on he became more cautious and spoke of the end of St. Cyril's pontificate: Le Concile de Nicée d'après les textes coptes et les divers collections canoniques (Paris, 1881), p. 112, note I. In the preface to his publication of the "Life" of Aphou he says simply: before the schism, — Revue Egyptologique, III, I, p. 28.

11 Cf. V. Bolotov, "Iz tserkovnoj istorii Egipta: I. 'Razskasy Dioskora ο Khalkidonskom Sobore,'” in Kristianskoe Chtenie 1/2 (1885), 89-92.

12 See Th. Lefort, "" \oov = Exemplum, Exemplar," in Le Muséon, XLVII, 1/2, 58: "vraisemblablement aux environs du VIIe siècle." It is just a casual remark: Lefort gives no reasons for his dating.

13 Zoëga, Catalogus, p. 4.

14 Bolotov assumed that the Arabic Synaxarion of Michael, Bishop of Atrib and Malig (XIII century), was based on the Macarian version. See now Georg Graf, Geschichte der Christlichen Arabischen Literatur, II (Città del Vaticano, 1947), 416 ff. The history of the Arabic Synaxaria, however, cannot be traced in full.

15 Bolotov, Zhitie, pp. 340-343.

16 Bolotov, ibid., pp. 343-346.

17 Drioton, pp. 93-94. Marcel Richard thinks that Drioton had exaggerated a bit the historical value of the "Life": "Les Écrits de Théophile d'Alexandrie," in Le Muséon, LII, 1/2 (1937), 36, note 16.

18 Zoëga, Catalogus, pp. 363-370 (Codex. Sahid.CLXXII); E. Amélineau, "Monuments pour servir à l’Histoire de l’Egypte Chrétienne," in Mémoires publiés par les members de la Mission Archéologique Français au Caire, IV, 2 (Paris, 1895), 515-516 (Introduction) and 759-769 (text and translation).

19 See De Lacy O'Leary, The Saints of Egypt (London, 1937), pp. 223-224 and 106-107; Hugh G. Evelyn White, The Monasteries of the Wadi 'n Natrun, Part II: The History of the Monasteries of Nitria and Scete (New York, 1932), pp. 158 ff; also in the Arabic Synaxarium Alexandrinum, under the 7 Paopi, — Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium, Scriptores Arabici, Ser. III, t. 18 (Roma, 1922), Latin translation by J. Forget, pp. 58-59.

20 Amélineau, Monuments, p. 516.

21 The English translation quoted in the text was kindly made for me by Professor Thomas O. Lambdin, of Harvard University, to whom I want to extend my warmest thanks.

22 See, for instance, the chapter "On Holy Anchorites." The Greek text was published by F. Nau: "Le chapitre περί αναχωρητών άγιων et les sources de la Vie de Saint Paul de Thèbes," in Revue de L'Orient Chrétien, X (1905), 387-417. Nau contended that it was one of the earliest ascetical writings in Egypt, and was used by St. Jerome: "un des premiers écrits ascetiques de l’Egypte" (387). A certain Anchorite is relating his experiences in the desert: δρώ βουβάλους ερχόμενους κσΐ τόν δοΰλον του θεοΰ γυμνόν (4ιο); fjv τις αναχωρητής βοσκόμενος μετά τών βουβάλων (4l4, note 22). An ancient Latin version of this chapter, by subdeacon John, was published already by Rosweyde, De vitis Patrum, liber VI, libellus 3, — reprinted in ML LXXIII, 1004-1014: "vidi bubalos venientes, et illum servum Dei venientem cum eis nudum" (1009); "vidit. . . hominem pascentem tanquam bestiam" (1008). Some fragments of a Coptic translation were published already by Mingarelli, Aegyptiorum Codicum Reliquiae Venetis in Bibliotheca Naniana asservatae (Bononiae, 1785), pp. CCCXXXVII-CCCXLIII. A Syriac version is in Anon Isho's Paradisus Patrum: published by Bedjan, Acta Martyrum et Sanctorum, VII (Paris, 1897), 252-260, and, together with an English translation, by E. W. Budge, The Book of Paradise etc., (London, 1904), I, 358-362 (translation). There are several stories told by different people; one of them is attributed to Apa Macarius of Egypt. The same material is used in the "Life and Conversation" of Apa Onouphrius (or Benofer). The Coptic text was published twice: by E. Amélineau, "Voyage d'un moine égyptien dans le désert," in Recueil de Travaux relatifs à la Philologie et à l'Archéologie Egyptiennes et Assyriennes V (Paris, 1884), 166-194, and then by E. W. Budge, Coptic Martyrdoms, etc., in the dialect of Upper Egypt (London, 1914), pp. 455-473. In fact, it is a description of a journey in the desert by Apa Paphnutius. An ancient Latin translation was also published by Rosweyde, — reprinted in ML LXXIII, 211-222. — An interesting pericope on wandering hermits is found among the new Apophthegmata in the Greek manuscript in the archives of the Library Company in Philadelphia (Greek Commentary 1141), — see Edwin C. Tappert, "A Greek Hagiological Manuscript in Philadelphia," in Transactions of the American Philological Association LXVIH (1937), 264-276. A selection of passages from this manuscript is given in English translation by E. Tappert, "Desert Wisdom: The Sayings of the Anchorites," in The Lutheran Quarterly IX (1957), 157-172. "Now men set snares there and caught antelopes, and the monk, too, was caught. And his reasoning said to him, "Put forth thy hand and release thyself.' But he said to his reasoning, "If thou art a man, release thyself and go to men. But if thou art an antelope, thou hast no hands.' And he stayed in the snare until morning. When the men came to catch the antelopes and saw the monk ensnared, they were struck with fear. He himself said nothing, and they released him and let him go. And he went off, running behind the antelopes into the wilderness" (p. 168).

23 W. Bousset, "Das Mönchtum der sketischen Wüste," in Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte XLII (1923), 31 ff.; cf. Hans Frhr. von Campenhausen, Die asketische Heimatslösigkeit im altkirchlichen und frühmittelalterlichen Mönchtum (1930), now reprinted in Tradition und Leben, Kräfte der Kirchengeschichte, Aufsätze und Vorträge (Tübingen, 1960), pp. 293-294.

24 See Arthur Vööbus, History of Asceticism in the Syrian Orient, I (Louvain, 1958 — C.S.C.O., Subsidia 14), 138 ff., and II (Louvain, 1960 — C.S.C.O., Subsidia 17), 19 ff. Professor Vööbus discusses at length the wild and exotic character of the early Syrian anchoritism: "The same wildness also becomes manifest in the way in which these texts draw a comparison between the life in monasticism and the life of animals. A frequently occurring feature in these sources is this, that the monks have become the companions of wild animals. Ephrem invites his readers to make the tour with him to see these monks and adds: 'Behold, they mingle with stags and are leaping with fawns.' Moreover it is stated that a life close to animals and nature is the prerequisite to that sole sphere in which repentance can be obtained" (II, p. 27).

25 See B. Steidle, O.S.B., "Homo Dei Antonius," in Antonius Magnus Eremita (356-1956); Studia Anselmiana, 38 (Roma, 1956), 148-200.

26 The word μοναστήριον appears for the first time in Philo, De Vita Contemplativa, M. 475.13: οίκημα ιερόν, δ καλείται σεμνεΐον καΐ μοναστήριον. It denoted here a private chamber, or a closet, reserved for solitary meditation and worship (cf. ταμεΐον in Mt. 6:6, 24:26, Lk. 12:3). This passage of Philo was quoted by Eusebius, HE, II, 17, 9. The word does not occur in any other Greek text till the end of the third century, and at that time it acquires the meaning of an accommodation for a single monk or hermit. In this sense the word was used by St. Athanasius, and also in the Historia Lausiaca. See the note of Fred. C. Conybeare, in his edition, Philo About the Contemplative Life (Oxford, 1895), p. 211. Cf. also Vita Epiphanii, cap. 27: Epiphanius visited Hierakas έν τω μοναστηρίω αύτοο. But by the end of the fourth century the word μοναστήριον came to mean “monastery.”

27 Cf. Georg Pfeilschifter, "Oxyrhynchos, Seine Kirchen und Klöster, Auf Grund der Papyrfunde," in Festgabe Alois Knöpfler (Freiburg i/Br., 1917), pp. 248-264.

28 Cf. Hist, monach., V: ipsi quoque magistratus et principales civitatis et reliqui cives studiose per singulas portas statuunt qui observent ut sicubi apparuit peregrinus aut pauper, certatim ad eum qui praeoccupaverit adductus quae sunt necessaria consequatur. — This description of Oxyrhynchus refers to the last decades of the fourth century.

29 The Greek spelling of the name is Άπφΰ.

30 Mystic Treatises by Isaac of Nineveh, translated from Bedjan's Syriac text, with an Introduction and Registers, by A.J. Wensinck (Amsterdam, 1923) (=Verhandelingen der K. Akademie van Wetenschappen, Afdeeling Letterkunde, N.R. Deel XXIII), pp. 166-167; cf. the Greek version, ed. Nicephorus Theotoki (Leipzig, 1770), pp. 500-501.

31 Drioton, pp. 116-118. — The best up-to-date summary of information on the Audians is by H.-Ch. Puech, in the Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum, sub voce, I (1950), coll. 910-915. Puech warns against the indiscriminate identification of Audians with the Egyptian Anthropomorphites, but admits, referring to Drioton's article, a possibility of some Audian influence in Egypt. The Audian movement, which only gradually developed into a "sect," originated in Mesopotamia, and then expanded to Syria and later to Scythia, where Audius was banished. — H. G. Opitz, in his article on Theophilus, in Pauly-Wissowa-Kroll Realenzydopädie, II R., Hb. 10 (1934), sp. 2154, reserves his opinion on this point: "es ist nicht leicht zu entscheiden, ob Aphou wirklich Audianer war"; Agostino Favale, Teofilo d'Alessandria (345-412), Scritti, Vita e Dottrina (Torino, 1958), quotes Drioton, but is not certain about the Audian character of the Anthropomorphite monks (pp. 93-95). Giuseppe Lazzati, Teofilo d' Alessandria (Milano, 1935), does not mention Aphou at all and only briefly mentions the Anthropomorphite conflict (pp. 31-33).

32 Cf. Karl Holl, Enthusiasmus und Bussgewalt beim Griechischen Mönchtum (Leipzig, 1898), pp. 141 ff., 18} ff.

33 R. Reitzenstein, "Des Athanasius Werk über das Leben des Antonius," in Sitzungsberichte der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, Phil.-Hist. Klasse (1914), No. 8, pp. 54 ff.

34 R. Reitzenstein, Historia Monachorum und Historia Lausiaca (Göttingen, 1916), p. 89; cf. the whole chapter 4, "Der Mönch als Apostel."

35 Cf. Les Pères du Désert. Textes choisis et présentés par René Draguet (Paris 1942), p. XXXV: "Dans les documents pachomiens, le cenobitisme strict est communément appelé 'la voie apostolique, la voie supérieure des apôtres.'  See also Louis Bouyer, La Spiritualité du Nouveau Testament et des Pères (Paris, 1960), p. 369, and Dom Germain Morin, L'idéal monastique et la vie Chrétienne des premiers jours, Troisième édition (Paris, 1921), pp. 66 ff. In this sense the word "apostolic life" was used still by Rupert of Deutz in his treatise De vita vere apostolica (ML CLXX, 611-664).

36 The "Life of Blessed Aphou" was never translated into English. Père Pierre de Bourguet, S.J., of the Μusιe du Louvre, was kind enough to provide me with a French translation from the original. I wish to express my warmest gratitude for his gracious assistance. The English version given in the text was established on the basis of Pére de Bourguet's translation, collated with the earlier translations: Russian by Bolotov and Italian by Rossi. Professor Thomas O. Lambdin checked the translation against the Coptic original, for which I am deeply thankful. My best and cordial thanks to my friend and colleague, Ralph Lazzaro, of Harvard Divinity School, for his generous and devoted help in translation. I have to thank also Père Jean Danielou, S.J., for introducing me and my query to Père de Bourguet.

37 This passage was misunderstood by all previous translators: Bolotov, Rossi, and Drioton. They missed the point: τό ίσον is a legal term and denotes the original of a document, which is supposed to be deposited in the archives, as an exemplum, as scriptum authenticum, as a standard. Aphou wanted to check whether that to which he so firmly objected was in the original (ίσον) or whether it was only in that particular copy which was sent to Oxyrhynchus, having crept in there by a lapsus calami of the scribe, συγγροιφεύς. He wanted to know the official text. In fact, the "preaching" to which he objected was not a sermon, but rather the formal Paschal Epistle of the Archbishop, that is, an official document which had to be deposited in the archives of the Archdiocese. See Bernhard Kübler, ""Ισον und Απογραφή” in Zeitchrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte, Roman. Abt., LIII (1933), 64-98, and Th. Lefort, ““Ισον — Exemplum, Exemplar,” in Le Muséon, XLVII, 1/2, 57-60.

38 Drioton also puts the conversation before the intervention of monks, ρ 121. On the contrary, Felix Haase suggested that it took place shortly after — kurz nachher, which is hardly probable: Altchristliche Kirchenge-schichte nach Orientalischen Quellen (Leipzig, 1925), p. 201.

39 Cf. Berthold Altaner, Patrologie, 5th edition (München, 1958), p. 282, and Johannes Quasten, Patrology, III (I960), pp. 386-388.

40 Cf. Henri Crouzel, Théologie de Dieu chez Origène (Paris, 1956), especially pp. 206-211; a brief summary of the book is given in the article of Crouzel "L'image de Dieu dans la théologie d'Origène," in Studia Patristica, II (Berlin, 1957), 194-201. See also Th. Camelot, "La Théologie de l'Image de Dieu," in Revue des Sciences Philosophiques et Théologiques, XL (1956), 443-471.

41 Cf. my essay, "The Concept of Creation in St. Athanasius," in Studia Patristica,VI (1962), 36-57. Also in this volume.

42 Cf. Régis Bernard, L'image de Dieu d'après St. Athanase (Paris, 1952), pp. 48-54, 62-79, 131 ff. See also the article of Père Camelot, quoted above, and Julius Gross, Entstehungsgeschichte des Erbsündendogmas, I (München-Basel, 1960), pp. 125-132.

43 Cf. Walter J. Burghardt, S.J., The Image of God in Man according to Cyril of Alexandria (Washington, 1957), pp. 141-159. — It should be mentioned here that Saint Cyril continued the struggle against the Anthropo-morphites in the monastic circles of Egypt. His treatise Adversus Anthropomorphitas is actually a later compilation in which his two epistles addressed to a certain Deacon Tiberius and his associates were fused together; see the critical edition by Philip E. Pusey, Cyrilli Archiepiscopi Alexandrini in D. Ioannis Evangelium, III (Oxonii, 1872).

44 W. Bousset, Apophthegmata, Studien zur Geschichte des ältesten Mönchtums (Tübingen, 1923), p. 83.

45 See my essay, "The Anthropomorphites in the Egyptian Desert," in the Akten des XI Internationalen Byzantinisten-Kongresses, 1958 (München, 1960), pp. 154-159. Also in this volume.

46 Tillemont, Mémoires pour servir a l'Histoire Ecclésiastique des six premiers siècles, XI (Paris, 1706), 463.

47 We find a similar phrase in the Coptic record of conversations of Cyril and Theophilus with the monks, published and translated in German by W. E. Crum: Theophilus says to Apa Horsiesius; "So wie der Herr der Sonne, Christus, als er zu dem Himmel auffuhr, ebenso bist du vor mir heute" — Der Papyruscodex saec. VI-VII der Phillippsbibliothek in Cheltenham, herausgegeben und übersetzt von W. E. Crum (Strassburg, 1915) (= Schriften der Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft in Strassburg, Heft 15), p. 67; also quoted in Haase, op. cit., p. 201.

48 They are for the years 401 (=Hieron. ep. 96) and 404 (=ep. 100). See Marcel Richard, the article quoted above, and also R. Delobel & Marcel Richard, under the name of Theophilus, in the Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique, XV, I (1946).

49 Draguet, Les Pères du Désert, p. XV: "Écrivant vingt ou trente ans après son voyage, le pieux journaliste a mis du sien dans son reportage: le mythe de la parfaite objectivité ne pourrait d'ailleurs tromper que les pauvres psychologues que nous sommes. Cassien ne cache pas que c'est à travers sa propre expérience qu'il se remémore celle de ses maîtres égyptiens; ce qu'il savait moins, peut-être, et qui ne l'aurait troublé d'aucune sorte, c'est que, dans les Conferences, il peignait le rustique asceticisme de Scète avec la palette brillante des Alexandrins plus savants."

50 D. Salvatore Marsili, O.S.B., Giovanni Cassiano ed Evagrio Pontico, Dottrina sulla carità e contemplazione (Romae, 1936) (=Studia Anselmiana, V), p. 161; cf. also Owen Chadwick, John Cassian, A Study in Primitive Monasticism (Cambridge, 1950).

51 See especially R. Draguet, "L'Histoire Lausiaque, une oeuvre écrite dans l'esprit d'Evagre," in Revue d'Histoire Ecclésiastique (Louvain, 1946), 321-364, and (1947), 5-49.



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