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Hippolytus of Rome (170 - 235) was the most important 3rd-century theologian in the Christian Church in Rome, where he was probably born. Photios I of Constantinople describes him in his Bibliotheca (cod. 121) as a disciple of Irenaeus, who was said to be a disciple of Polycarp, and from the context of this passage it is supposed that he suggested that Hippolytus himself so styled himself. However, this assertion is doubtful. He came into conflict with the popes of his time and seems to have headed a schismatic group as a rival bishop of Rome. For that reason he is sometimes considered the first Antipope. He opposed the Roman bishops who softened the penitential system to accommodate the large number of new pagan converts. However, he was very probably reconciled to the Church when he died as a martyr. He is the person usually understood to be meant by Saint Hippolytus. Starting in the 4th century, various legends arose about him, identifying him as a priest of the Novatianist Schism or as a soldier converted by Saint Laurence. He has also been confused with another martyr of the same name. [article link]

Tertullian.org: The 'Noddy' guide to Tertullian - Tertullian lived in the ancient city of Carthage [North Africa] in what is now Tunisia, sometime around 200 A.D. - Tertullian was the first Christian writer to write in Latin - He was deeply conscious of his own failings, and had a burning desire for truth and integrity - His most important work is the Apologeticum, in defense of the Christians - Running it close must be Adversus Praxean, in which the doctrine of the Trinity comes into clear focus for the first time, in response to a heretic who was twisting the biblical balance between the persons of the Godhead - In this work, he created most of the terminology with which this doctrine was to be referred and is still, such as Trinitas (Trinity), etc. - Tertullian had grown angry at what looked like compromise creeping into the church - unwillingness to be martyred, willingness to forgive more serious public sins - and aligned himself with the Montanists - It is unclear whether this involved actually leaving the church - As such he was not recognised as a Saint, despite his orthodoxy, and his works were all marked as condemned in the 6th Century Decretum Gelasianum

Tertullian lived in the ancient city of Carthage in what is now Tunisia, sometime around 200 AD. Very little is known about his life - that little comes either from writers two centuries later, or from the scanty personal notes in his works. Much of it has been asserted to be untrue anyway by some modern writers. He was born a member of the educated classes, and clearly gained a good education. Life in his times wasn't very different in some ways to the modern day - he indulged his passions as he saw fit, including sex, and like everyone else attended the games where gladiators killed each other and criminals were eaten alive, for the enjoyment of the spectators. But among the sights he saw, was that of Christians being executed this way. He was struck with the courage with which stupid and contemptible slave men and little slave girls faced a hideous death, against all nature; and after investigating, became a Christian himself, and turned his budding talents to writing in defense of this despised and victimised group. Tertullian was the first Christian writer to write in Latin, and was described three centuries later as writing 'first, and best, and incomparably', of all the writers to do so. (by the unknown author of 'Praedestinatus'). His writing is aggressive, sarcastic and brilliant, and at points very funny even after 2000 years. He was deeply conscious of his own failings, and had a burning desire for truth and integrity. He was described by Jerome as celebrated in all the churches as a speaker; and his works bear the marks of the need to keep an audience awake! His erudition was immense. Much of what he read is lost, but what remains gives a picture of wide reading, which was celebrated even in antiquity. He wrote a great number of works - how many is unknown. Thirty-one are extant; lists of known lost works are elsewhere on this site; but we have no reason to suppose this to be anything like an exhaustive list. Most of those extant have come down to us by the slenderest of threads, and the very nature of Tertullian's terse and ironic style, means that copyists made many errors, and in some cases his text is beyond certain restoration. Not all of his works were ever completed. His most important work is the Apologeticum, in defense of the Christians. Running it close must be Adversus Praxean, in which the doctrine of the Trinity comes into clear focus for the first time, in response to a heretic who was twisting the biblical balance between the persons of the Godhead. In this work, he created most of the terminology with which this doctrine was to be referred (and is still), such as Trinitas, etc. His discussion of how heretical arguments are in general to be handled in De praescriptio haereticorum also deserves wider recognition. Tertullian wrote no systematic theology; all of his works are brought forth by a local event, a persecution, or a heretic. In his time, the church finally decided to reject a movement calling itself 'The New Prophecy', and known later as Montanism. The New Prophecy made no doctrinal innovations, but said that the Holy Spirit was calling Christians to a more ascetic position. But obeying the prophets inevitably meant a problem, if the bishop did not recognise their authority. Tertullian had grown angry at what looked like compromise creeping into the church - unwillingness to be martyred, willingness to forgive more serious public sins - and aligned himself with the Montanists [it was a prophetic movement that called for a reliance on the spontaneity of the Holy Spirit and a more conservative personal ethic. Parallels have been drawn between Montanism and modern day movements such as Pentecostalism and the charismatic movement - wiki.com]. It is unclear whether this involved actually leaving the church, but his later works are avowedly Montanist, and one or two explictly attack the mainstream church on these points. As such he was not recognised as a Saint, despite his orthodoxy, and his works were all marked as condemned in the 6th Century Decretum Gelasianum. His later life is unknown, and we do not know if he was martyred or died of old age as Jerome says. [article link]

Clement of Alexandria (150-211 A.D.) - Clement of Alexandria was one of the major Greek-speaking thinkers of the early church - He came from a pagan background at Athens and his Christian theology was strongly influenced by Greek philosophy - Clement taught at the catechetical school in Alexandria, Egypt, where he was succeeded by another great teacher, Origen of Alexandria - Clement's best-known work is a set of three treatises entitled Protrepticus, Paedagogus, and Stromata - According to a tradition cited by Eusebius, St. Mark [writer of the Gospel of Mark] is the founder of the Church of Alexandria -- Between St. Mark and Bishop Demetrius, who governed that church in 221 A.D., Julius Africanus counts ten bishops - {The heretics} Valentine [the Valentinians], Carpocrates, and Basilides went out from Alexandria to establish their dissident sects, a circumstance which alone implies that, already in the middle of the second century (150 A.D.), the intellectual activity there was intense

Clement was born probably c. 150 A.D. of heathen parentage at Athens. The circumstances of his conversion are not known. It is supposed that he was troubled, like Justin, by the problem of God and, like him, was attracted to Christianity by the nobility and purity of the evangelical doctrines and morals. His conversion, if it had not yet taken place, was at least imminent when he undertook the journeys spoken of in his writings. He set out from Greece and travelled through southern Italy, Palestine, and finally Egypt, seeking everywhere the society of Christian teachers. -- Towards 180 A.D., he met Pantaenus at Alexandria, and took up his permanent residence in that city. There he was ordained a presbyter and, from being a disciple of Pantaenus, became, in 190, his associate and fellow-teacher. In 202 A.D. or 203 A.D., he was forced to suspend his lessons on account of the persecution of Septimius Severus, which closed the Christian school of Alexandria. He withdrew into Cappadocia, residing there with his former disciple, Bishop Alexander. We meet him again in 211 A.D., carrying to the Christians of Antioch a letter from Alexander, in which are mentioned the services he, Clement, had rendered in Cappadocia.-- In 215 A.D. or 216 A.D.the same Alexander, now bishop of Jerusalem, writes to Origen and speaks of Clement as having gone to his rest. Clement must therefore have died between 211 A.D. and 216 A.D. Ancient authors speak of him as St. Clement, but his name was not admitted to the Roman Martyrology by Benedict XIV. [article link]

Origen Adamantius of Alexandria (184-254 A.D.) - Origen was an early Christian Alexandrian scholar and theologian, and one of the most distinguished writers of the early Church - As early as the fourth century, his orthodoxy was suspect, in part because he believed in the pre-existence of souls - Today he is regarded as one of the Church Fathers

Origen was probaby born in Alexandria, to Christian parents. Origen was educated by his father, St. Leonides, who gave him a standard Hellenistic education, but also had him study the Christian Scriptures. In 202, Origen's father was martyred in the outbreak of the persecution during the reign of Septimius Severus. A story reported by Eusebius has it that Origen wished to follow him in martyrdom, but was prevented only by his mother hiding his clothes. The death of Leonides left the family of nine impoverished when their property was confiscated. Origen, however, was taken under the protection of a woman of wealth and standing; but as her household already included a heretic named Paul, the strictly orthodox Origen seems to have remained with her only a short time. -- Eusebius of Caesarea, our chief witness to Origen's life, says that in 203 Origen revived the Catechetical School of Alexandria where Clement of Alexandria had once taught but had apparently been driven out during the persecution under Severus. Many modern scholars, however, doubt that Clement's school had been an official ecclesiastical institution as Origen's was and thus deny continuity between the two. But the persecution still raged, and the young teacher visited imprisoned Christians, attended the courts, and comforted the condemned, himself preserved from persecution because the persecution was probably limited only to converts to Christianity. His fame and the number of his pupils increased rapidly, so that Bishop Demetrius of Alexandria, made him restrict himself to instruction in Christian doctrine alone. -- His own interests became more and more centered in exegesis, and he accordingly studied Hebrew, though there is no certain knowledge concerning his instructor in that language. From about this period (212-213) dates Origen's acquaintance with Ambrose of Alexandria, whom he was instrumental in converting from Valentinianism to orthodoxy. Later (about 218 A.D.) Ambrose of Alexandria {not to be confused with Saint Ambrose (337 - 4 April 397 A.D.) Bishop of Milan}, a man of wealth, made a formal agreement with Origen to promulgate his writings, and all the subsequent works of Origen (except his sermons, which were not expressly prepared for publication) were dedicated to Ambrose. In 213 or 214, Origen visited Arabia at the request of the prefect, who wished to have an interview with him; and Origen accordingly spent a brief time in Petra, after which he returned to Alexandria. In the following year, a popular uprising at Alexandria caused Caracalla to let his soldiers plunder the city, shut the schools, and expel all foreigners. The latter measure caused Ambrose to take refuge in Caesarea, where he seems to have made his permanent home; and Origen left Egypt, apparently going with Ambrose to Caesarea, where he spent some time. Here, in conformity with local usage based on Jewish custom, Origen, though not ordained, preached and interpreted the Scriptures at the request of the bishops Alexander of Jerusalem and Theoctistus of Caesarea. When, however, the confusion in Alexandria subsided, Demetrius recalled Origen, probably in 216 A.D. -- Origen excelled in multiple branches of theological scholarship, including textual criticism, biblical interpretation, philosophical theology, preaching, and spirituality. Some of his teachings, however, quickly became controversial. Notably, he frequently referred to his hypothesis of the pre-existence of souls. As in the beginning all intelligent beings were united to God, Origen also held out the possibility, though he did not assert so definitively, that in the end all beings, perhaps even the arch-fiend Satan, would be reconciled to God in what is called the apokatastasis ("restitution"). Origen's views on the Trinity, in which he saw the Son of God as subordinate to God the Father, became controversial during the Arian controversy of the fourth century, though a subordinationist view was common among the ante-Nicene Fathers. A group who came to be known as Origenists, and who firmly believed in the preexistence of souls and the apokatastasis, were declared anathema in the 6th century. This condemnation is attributed to the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople, though it does not appear in the council's official minutes. Few scholars today believe that Origen should be blamed, as he commonly was in the past, for tentatively putting forward hypotheses, later judged heretical, on certain philosophical problems during a time when Christian doctrine was somewhat unclear on said problems. [article link]

Eusebius of Caesarea (263 - 339 A.D.) also called Eusebius Pamphili - a Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist - He became the Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine [Israel] about the year 314 A.D. - Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon

Eusebius of Caesarea (c. AD 263 - 339) also called Eusebius Pamphili, was a Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist. He became the Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine about the year 314. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon. He wrote Demonstrations of the Gospel, Preparations for the Gospel, and On Discrepancies between the Gospels, studies of the Biblical text. As "Father of Church History" he produced the Ecclesiastical History, On the Life of Pamphilus, the Chronicle and On the Martyrs. ... Little is known about the life of Eusebius. His successor at the see of Caesarea, Acacius, wrote a Life of Eusebius, but this work has been lost. Eusebius' own surviving works probably only represent a small portion of his total output. Since he was on the losing side of the long 4th-century contest between the allies and enemies of Arianism (Eusebius was an early and vocal supporter of *Arius), posterity did not have much respect for Eusebius' person and was neglectful in the preservation of his writings. Beyond notices in his extant writings, the major sources are the 5th-century ecclesiastical historians Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret, and the 4th-century Christian author Jerome. There are assorted notices of his activities in the writings of his contemporaries Athanasius, Arius (Arianism heresy), Eusebius of Nicomedia, and Alexander of Alexandria. Eusebius' pupil, Eusebius of Emesa, provides some incidental information. -- By the 3rd century, Caesarea had a population of about 100,000. It had been a pagan city since Pompey had given control of the city to the gentiles during his command of the eastern provinces in the 60s BC. The gentiles retained control of the city in the three centuries since that date, despite Jewish petitions for joint governorship. Gentile government was strengthened by the city's refoundation under Herod the Great (r. 37-4 BC), when it had taken on the name of Augustus Caesar. In addition to the gentile settlers, Caesarea had large Jewish and Samaritan minorities. Eusebius was probably born into the Christian contingent of the city. Caesarea's Christian community presumably had a history reaching back to apostolic times, but it is a common claim that no bishops are attested for the town before about AD 190, even though the Apostolic Constitutions 7.46 states that Zacchaeus was the first bishop. -- Through the activities of the theologian Origen (185/6-254) and the school of his follower Pamphilus (later 3rd century - 309 AD), Caesarea became a center of Christian learning. Origen was largely responsible for the collection of usage information regarding the texts which became the New Testament. The information used to create the late-fourth-century Easter Letter, which declared accepted Christian writings, was probably based on the Ecclesiastical History [HE] of Eusebius of Caesarea, wherein he uses the information passed on to him by Origen to create both his list at HE 3:25 and Origen’s list at HE 6:25. Eusebius got his information about what texts were accepted by the third-century churches throughout the known world, a great deal of which Origen knew of firsthand from his extensive travels, from the library and writings of Origen. In fact, Origen would have possibly included in his list of “inspired writings” other texts which were kept out by the likes of Eusebius, including the Epistle of Barnabas, Shepherd of Hermas, and 1 Clement. On his deathbed, Origen had made a bequest of his private library to the Christian community in the city. Together with the books of his patron Ambrosius, Origen's library (including the original manuscripts of his works formed the core of the collection that Pamphilus established. Pamphilus also managed a school that was similar to (or perhaps a re-establishment of) that of Origen. Pamphilus was compared to Demetrius of Phalerum and Pisistratus, for he had gathered Bibles "from all parts of the world". Like his model Origen, Pamphilus maintained close contact with his students. Eusebius, in his history of the persecutions, alludes to the fact that many of the Caesarean martyrs lived together, presumably under Pamphilus. [article link]

{Conclusion} Early Christianity: A Brief Overview of the (before 325 A.D.) Ante-Nicene Era - The Council of Nicea in A.D. 325 is a natural time to end "early Christianity" the post-Apostolic period (100 AD. - 325 AD) - Almost every history book will refer to the period from A.D. 100, which is about the time of John the Apostle's death, to A.D. 325 as the "Pre-Nicene" or "Ante-Nicene" era -- Nicea (325 AD) serves as a [Church History] dividing line because the [occult leader] Emperor Constantine, though never becoming a Christian until his deathbed, greatly [pretended to] favor Christianity during his reign - As a result, the number of Christians increased from about 10% of the Roman Empire to about 90% - *Most of these converts were simply following the emperor, not submitting themselves to Jesus - The effect on early Christianity [after 325 A.D.] was dramatic {Note: the New Testament era is 0 A.D. to 33 A.D. -- The Apostolic era is 33 A.D. to 100 A.D. -- The Ante-Nicene era is 100 A.D. to 325 A.D. -- The Emergent Holy Roman Empire era is 313 A.D. to about 1521 A.D. -- The Protestant Reformation era is about 1522 A.D. to 1880 A.D. and the current epoch of time is the Modern Emergent return to occult/paganism era of 1881 A.D. to the Present Time (2012)}

Unity and Apostolic Truth in the Early Christianity: If I have to pick the outstanding feature of this era, then I choose the independence of the churches. People like to say that a hierarchy began to form before Nicea. It began in the 3rd century, but not in the 2nd. The ante-Nicene churches were simple and free. They found their unity in wholehearted devotion to Christ, not in a systematic theology or set of doctrines. ... Holiness in the Early Churches: The other notable thing about this era was the holiness of the early churches. Christians were still subject to intermittent persecution in the early Christianity. As a result, those who chose to follow Christ were those willing to commit everything to the kingdom of God. It could cost them their lives! Holiness and perseverance lessened as the 3rd century wore on; however, the remarkable lives of Christians during the 2nd century-their deep love for one another and their endurance during persecution-were powerful testimonies to the Romans around them. -- By the 3rd century, Christianity was becoming popular: The result was that there were Christians who were not so separated from the world as others before them. Tracts can be found calling Christians to separate from Roman entertainment and other worldly pursuits. ... Evangelism in Early Christianity: It is worth noting that unlike the apostolic era, Ante-Nicene Christianity had no famous evangelists or apostles. When Justin Martyr describes those converted to Christianity in the mid-2nd century, he says it was caused by: • The consistency they witnessed in their neighbors' lives, • the extraordinary forbearance they saw in fellow travelers when defrauded, • and the honesty of those with whom they conducted business. (First Apology 16) [article link]

OrthodoxWiki.org: Timeline of Church History: Ante-Nicene Era 100 A.D. - 325 A.D.

The History of the Church is a vital part of the Orthodox Christian faith. Orthodox Christians are defined significantly by their continuity with all those who have gone before, those who first received and preached the truth of Jesus Christ to the world, those who helped to formulate the expression and worship of our faith, and those who continue to move forward in the unchanging yet ever-dynamic Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church. [article link]

313 A.D. - 1521 A.D. - Birth of Revised Rome and the Holy Roman Empire

Introduction [1 of 2]: 313 A.D. - 1521 A.D. The Birth of Revised Rome [the 7th Global Gentile Kingdom] and the Emergence of the Holy Roman Empire -- As we have already noticed the Anti-Nicene (Church Fathers) era wasn't all doctrinally good and likewise the doctrines of the Holy Roman Empire won't be universally all bad and in fact with the many Church Councils and tight oversight of Rome the Church was able to Biblically smooth out and remove some of the wrinkles and the rough edges of Anti-Nicene doctrines to the extent that the early doctrines of the Holy Roman Empire would correctly guide and direct the Christian Church for the next nearly two millennium up until today and on into the future
Background: As the Christian Church was closing in on its first 300 years of existence the Church itself was mostly a tightknit community but its ideology and practices were a bit of a loose collection of fellowships, doctrines and theologies. The independence, uniqueness and vast dispersion of the Church fellowships left a power vacuum that the Roman Empire, seeing the gaining popularity of Christianity, would soon be very willing to exploit and take advantage of as Rome itself in just a few moves would swoop in and overcome Christianity as the new Church master for the majority of the Christian world. Rome would accomplish their secular takeover of the Christian Church in a relatively short period of time and with just a few simple steps. First by heavily opposing and persecuting the Church the government of Rome was creating the very oppression, confusion and vacuum within the Church structure that Roman leaders intended to fill for themselves. Next in 313 A.D. Rome [Emperor Constantine] issued an Edict of Toleration [the Edict of Milan] providing some relief to the persecuted Church but only if the Church would in a sense submit to Roman secular authority. Finally once in authority and starting with the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. then Rome could and did easily infiltrated the Church at the top positions with their own secular scholars, secular leaders, secular priests, secular monks and even some secular popes. Secular Rome would create a dual system [the two headed eagle] of Church and State that exists to this present day. [article link]

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