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The Early Church Fathers on the Church's Unity.


  • Early Church Fathers
  • From the Scriptures


  1. St. Cyprian of Carthage, (A.D. 200-258)
    Pope St. Dionysius of Alexandria, (late second century - A.D. 268)
    Malchion, (lived during the 3rd century)
    St. Alexander of Alexandria, (c. A.D. 250-325)
    St. Victorinus, (A.D. 260-303)
    Council of Nicæa, (A.D. 325)
    Eusebius of Cæsarea, (A.D. c.263-338)
    St. Athanasius of Alexandria, (A.D. 296-372)
    St. Ephrem the Syrian, (of Edessa), (A.D. 306-378)
    St. Pacian of Barcelona, (A.D. c.310-375)
    St. Hilary of Poitiers, (A.D. 315-367)
    Lucifer of Cagliagi, (unknown-371)
    St. Zeno of Verona, (unknown- A.D. c.383)
    St. Optatus of Milevis, (unknown - A.D. 384)
    St. Cyril of Jerusalem, (A.D. 315-386)
    St. Gregory of Nazianzen, (A.D. 318-389)
    St. Basil the Great, (A.D. 328-379)
    St. Epiphanius of Salamis, (A.D. 332-403)
    St. Gregory of Nyssa, (A.D. c.335 - c.394)
    St. Ambrose of Milan, (A.D. 340-396)
    Pope St. Siricius, (A.D. c.334-398)
    St. Jerome, (A.D. 342-420)
    St. John Chrysostom, (A.D. 344 - 407)
    Council of Constantinople, (A.D. 360-754)
    St. Gaudentius of Brescia, (unknown - A.D. 410)
    St. Chromatius of Aquileia, (unknown- A.D. c.407)
St. Cyprian of Carthage, (A.D. 200-258), North African; bishop; biblical scholar, martyr.

"They now offer peace, who themselves have it not. They promise to restore and recall the lapsed into the Church, who have themselves receded from the Church. God is one, and Christ one, and the Church one, and the chair one, founded, by the Lord's word, upon a rock. Another altar, or a new priesthood, besides the one altar and the one priesthood, cannot be set up. Whosoever gathereth elsewhere, scattereth. It is adulterous, it is impious, it is sacrilegious, whatsoever, by human frenzy, is instituted so as to violate a divine arrangement. Far from the contagion of such men depart, and by flying shun their discourse as a cancer and a plague; according to God's warning word: "They are blind leaders of the blind. But if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the pit." (St. Matthew 15)

Ep. xl. ad Plebem. de Quinque Presbyteris, pp. 120, 121.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 133

"And as if there were to be no end to their frantic audacity, they are here too endeavoring to draw the members of Christ into their schismatical party, and to divide and mangle the body of the Catholic Church. ... To whom we have given this answer once for all, nor do we cease requiring that, abandoning their pernicious dissension and strife, they be aware that it is impiety to abandon their mother; and may acknowledge and understand, that when a bishop has once been made, and approved by the testimony and judgment of his colleagues and of the people, another can in no way be set up."

Ep. xli. ad Cornelium de Novatiano, p. 126.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 133-134

"We lately sent our colleagues, Caldonius and Fortunatus, that, not merely by the persuasions of my letters, but also by their own presence, and your unanimous council, they might use their best endeavors and strive effectually to reduce the members of the divided body to the unity of the Catholic Church, and unite them with the bond of Christian charity. But since the obstinate and unbending perverseness of the opposite party has not merely rejected the bosom and embrace of (her who is) the mother and the root, but even with increasing, and renewed, and more fatal discord, that party has set up a bishop for itself, and, contrary to the mystery of the divine appointment and of Catholic unity, once delivered, has made an adulterous and opposed head, without the Church, upon the receipt of your letter and of that of our colleagues, as also upon the arrival of Pompeius and Stephanus, men of worth, and colleagues most dear to us, by whom all these transactions have been, to our common joy, with firmness maintained and approved, according as the holiness, as well as the truth, of divine tradition and ecclesiastical institution required, we have sent this letter to you. . . . This is, my brother, and ought to be, our special study, to seek and to secure, as far as in us lies, the unity delivered by the Lord, and through the Apostles to us (their) successors; and, as far as we are able, to gather into the Church the straying and wandering sheep which the perverse factiousness and heretical efforts of certain persons have separated from the mother, those alone remaining without, who have sunk completely down under their obstinacy or madness, and will not return to us; men who will have to give an account to God of the rupture and separation caused by them, and of their abandonment of the Church."

Ep. xlii. ad Cornelium.pp. 127, 128.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 134-135

"It grieves and pains me ... to learn that, contrary to ecclesiastical regulation, contrary to the evangelical law, contrary to the unity of Catholic institution, you have consented that another bishop (besides Cornelius) be made; that is,— a thing which it is neither right nor lawful to do,— that another church be established, that Christ's members be torn asunder, that the one mind and body of the Lord's flock be rent by divided rivalry. Wherefore, I beseech you, let not this unlawful division of our brotherhood be persevered in, at least by you, but, mindful of your confession and of the divine tradition, return to the mother from whom you have gone forth, from whom, and to whose joy, you have come to so glorious a confession. Think not that you thus maintain Christ's Gospel, as long as you separate yourselves from Christ's flock, and from His peace and concord; whereas it rather beseems good and gallant soldiers to remain within their own encampment, and, stationed within, to do and give heed to those things which are to be performed in common. For since our unanimity and concord ought not on any account to be broken, and we cannot leave the Church and go forth from it to come over to you, we beg and entreat of you, by every motive that may avail with you, that you would rather return to your mother the Church, and to our brotherhood."

Ep. xliv. ad Confessores Romanes, pp. 131, 132.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 135

"And to give you their very words: "we", they say, "acknowledge Cornelius bishop of the most holy Catholic Church, chosen by Almighty God, and by Christ our Lord. We confess our error; we have suffered from imposture; we were circumvented by the ensnaring words of a faction. For though we appeared to hold as it were some sort of communion with a schismatic and a heretic, yet our mind was always sincerely in the Church. For we are not ignorant that God is one, and Christ, our Lord, is one, Him whom we have confessed; one Holy Ghost; and that there ought to be one bishop in a Catholic Church."

Ep. xlvi. Cornelii ad Cypr. p. 136..
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 135-136

"If the lapsed be harshly and cruelly separated from the Church, he may be take himself to the ways of the Gentiles, and to the works of the world; or, if rejected by the Church, he may pass over to the heretics or schismatics, where, though he should afterwards be slain for the name, being placed without the Church, and cut off from unity and charity, he could not be crowned in death."

Ep. lii. ad Antonianum, p. 153.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 136

"Novatian, after the manner of apes, which, though not men, yet imitate the actions of men, wishes to claim to himself the authority and truth of the Catholic Church, though he is not himself in the Church, yea, is moreover a rebel to the Church, and an enemy. For, knowing that there is but one baptism, this one baptism he claims to himself, to be able to say that with him is the Church, and to make us heretics. But we, who hold the head and root of the one Church, know for certain and are confident, that to him who is out of the Church nothing is lawful, and that baptism, which is one, is with us, amongst whom he too was originally baptized, when he held fast the real nature and truth of divine unity."

Ep. lxxiii. ad Jubaianum, p. 278.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 136-137

Pope St. Dionysius of Alexandria, (late second century - A.D. 268), bishop and pope from A.D. 259 to 268, born to a wealth pagan family, spent most of his life reading books and carefully studying the traditions of heretics, wrote many correspondence letters, many are found in the re-written works of Eusebius.

If, as thou sayest, (Novatian), thou hast come to this pass against thy will, thou wilt prove this if thou returnest of thine own will. For it behooved thee to suffer anything whatever, in order not to divide the Church of God; and martyrdom suffered on account of not sacrificing to idols were not more glorious than martyrdom endured in order not to cause a schism; yea, in my opinion, the latter is more glorious; for in one case martyrdom is endured for the sake of one's own soul, but, in the other, for the sake of the universal Church. But if thou, even now, persuade or compel thy brethren to return to unity, thy good deed will be greater than thy fault; and this will not be set against thee, and that praised. But if thou canst not gain over the obstinate, save thine own soul."

Ep. ad Novati. pp. 122, 130.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 147

"Know, brother, that all the eastern churches, and those beyond, which were previously in schism, are now united; and that all those who are set over (the churches) are everywhere of one mind, rejoicing beyond measure at the peace which, beyond all expectation, has taken place.

[He then names several bishops, and concludes:]

And to speak briefly, all, giving glory to God, are everywhere filled with joy at this unanimity and love amongst the brotherhood."

Ep. ad Steph. Papam, pp. 150, 153.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 147-148

Malchion, (lived during the 3rd century), a priest of the church of Antioch, during the reigns of Emperors Claudius II and Aurelian, was a well-known rhetorician most notable for his key role in the A.D. 272 deposition of the heretical bishop of Antioch, Paul of Samosata. The only remaining writing we have is a letter describing the evil conduct of Paul.

"Firmilian twice, on coming to Antioch, repudiated the novelties introduced by Paul of Samosata, as we who were present know and testify, and as many others are equally certified of. . . . But since Paul, having seceded from the rule (of faith), has passed to adulterate and spurious teachings, there is no need to judge the acts of one who is without (the Church)."

Epist. ex persona Synod. Antioch. pp. 558, 559, Galland. t. iii.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 148

St. Alexander of Alexandria, (c.A.D. 250-325), He succeeded to the chair of Alexandria about the year A.D. 312. He was the first to resist the heresy of Arius, whom he condemned, and whose against novelties he wrote numerous letters to the bishops of various churches; only two of these remain.

"As the body of the Church is one, and as it is a precept of the divine writings to keep the bond of unanimity and of peace, it is in accordance with this that we should write and make known to each other what has been done by each; in order that whether one member suffer, or rejoice, we may mutually suffer or rejoice with each other."

De Arian. Hæres. n. i. t. iv. Galland. p. 451.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 148-149

St. Victorinus, (A.D. 260-303), an ecclesiastical writer who flourished about A.D. 270, and who suffered martyrdom probably in A.D. 303, under Diocletian.

Explaining Revelation 1:4, he says:

"In these seven churches are the faithful of the one Catholic Church, because, by the nature of faith and election, there is one in seven."

Scholia in Apoc. Galland. t. iv. p. 53.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 148

Council of Nicaea, (A.D. 325), met for two months and twelve days in Nice, (or Nicsea), in Bithynia. Three hundred and eighteen bishops were present. This council gave us the Nicene Creed as a result of Arius' heretical opinions, defining the true Divinity of the Son of God (homoousios). They also fixed of the date for keeping Easter and passed several canons of ecclesiastical discipline.

Speaking of those ordained by Meletius, the synodal epistle says,

"They shall have no authority to designate those persons that please them, or to propose their names, or to do anything at all apart from the opinion of those bishops of the Catholic and Apostolic Church who are living under Alexander; but the authority both to designate and nominate those worthy of the clerical office, and in fine, to do all things agreeably to the law and custom of the Church, shall be theirs who, by the grace of God, and your prayers, have been found in no schism, but who are spotless in the Catholic and Apostolic Church."

Epist. Synod, pp. 249, 251, t. ii. Labbe.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 149

Eusebius of Cæsarea, (A.D. c.263-338), appointed Bishop of Cæsarea in A.D. 314, Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist, scholar of the Biblical canon who was deeply embroiled in the Arian controversy.

Speaking of the martyrs of Lyons, he says:

"Having ever loved peace, and ever recommended peace, they went to God with peace; leaving behind them, not grief to the mother, not faction and war to the brethren, but joy and peace, and oneness of mind and love."

H. E. l. v. c. 2.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 149

"The twelve Apostles are one; and the seventy, and the five hundred, one; and think not that I am reducing what is divine to the level of what is human: I am but using comparisons which will meet with indulgence amongst brethren, and let God remain as He is. Yet, should we say, even as the entire Church, which is everywhere, is one body, let no one blame me, for God lies not, who has said, "I in them, and thou in me." (St. John 17)

Lib. ii. de Fide contra Sabell. Galland, t. iv. p. 476.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 149-150

"Do not separate from the Church. If I am mad, what is that to thee? If I utter things that are alien, judge me, and lose me not. Seek not an opportunity for schisms. A sheep which is without the Church is the wolf's share. Even of one is a sheep of greater strength, it is more expedient to be within than without the walls of the fold. If you are strong, bear with my weakness: if you are infirm, accept a cure from the common Church. One drop does not make a torrent. Even if it falls, it is absorbed by the earth even before it reach it, but drop upon drop overturns mountains. One reed is easily broken, but many are stronger than iron. The eye by itself is not an eye. It is the blending of the members together that makes a whole that is excellent. For if though were an eye, taken from the body, it would be blind, or rather dead. Let us come together in the Church under a mother's wings, in the Church where the adornments are those of a bride, and the members are Christ's, not for the purpose of schisms or of heresies. . . . This house is not mine or yours. Why withdraw on my account from the Lord's house? Why assume to ourselves that we are wiser than the rest? Next, why give the devil what he so much wishes? If I am weak, you who are strong by not withdrawing, confirm the Church. If I utter things that are alien, why do you, who speak what is right, withdraw yourselves, in order that my words may seem to be deprived of force? . . . Brethren, let us not make conventicles nor caves. For the Apostles perhaps founded these things: I do not mean the stones of the buildings, but the matters treated within the Church. You go forth from the Church, and abandon your mother for me. But what am I, or what is Paul, or Apollos?"

Lib. ii. de Fide Adv. Sabell.; Galland. t.iv.p. 478.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 150

St. Athanasius of Alexandria, (A.D. 296-372), Egyptian; bishop, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. He was present, as an assistant to St. Alexander of Alexandria, at the council of Nicea who he succeeded in A.D. 326. During more than forty years he was the champion of orthodoxy, and suffered much severe persecution from the Arian party.

Having noticed the frequent variations made in their creeds by the Arians, he says:

"This, as the pastor has said, is the offspring of the Devil, and is the mark of vintners rather than of teachers. For that, as the Fathers have handed down, is truly teaching, and this the mark of those who teach truly, to confess mutually the same things, and not to have any controversy either amongst themselves, or with their Fathers. For they who are not thus disposed, are rather to be called wicked than truthful teachers. Whence the Gentiles, who confess not the same things, but are at variance with each other, possess not the true doctrine. But the holy and veritable heralds of truth are of one mind with each other, and differ not amongst themselves. For, though they lived at different periods, yet do they conspire together for the same object, being prophets of the one God, and evangelizing harmoniously the same word."

De Decretis Nicaen. n. 4, t. l, p. 166.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 153-154

"As for you, remaining on the foundation of the Apostles, and holding to the traditions of the Fathers, pray that now at length all contention and emulation may cease, and that all the insane questions, and logomachies of the heretics may be condemned, and that the nefarious and homicidal Arian heresy may disappear, and the truth shine in every heart, so that all may everywhere speak the same thing, and think the same thing, and that, no Arian blasphemies remaining, there may be proclaimed and confessed throughout every church one Lord, one faith, one baptism, in Christ Jesus our Lord."

De Synodis, n. 54, t. l, p. ii. p. 612.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 154

"Invent not, says he, for me your own courts and synagogues; the holy court of God is one."

In Ps. 28. t. iii. p. 66, in Montfaucons Nov. Collect, t. ii. p. 89.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 154

St. Ephrem the Syrian, (of Edessa), (A.D. 306-378), Syrian; born in Nisebis, deacon, hymnist, poet. His works were even during his own lifetime almost all translated into Greek, and were, as St. Jerome informs us, held in such high estimation, as to be read in some churches after the Holy Scriptures. We have his life by St. Gregory of Nyssa.

He thus applies the history of Solomon's judgment:

"The king of peace settled the dispute, not by dividing, but by bringing together the children of each of these mothers: so that, of Jews and Gentiles there should be composed but one body, of which Christ is the head. Further, both mothers are said to dwell in one house, because the Church and the synagogue inhabit the world with their tents united. Again, the opposite wishes of these women declare to us the opposite desires of the Church and of each of the sects. For all heresies delight in division; on the other hand, the true mother, and the alone Church of Christ, avoids dissensions and schisms, careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

T. 1, P. ii. Comm. in Lib. 1 (Al. iii.) Regn. p. 452.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 161

"Grant, I beseech Thee, to the whole world, that most desirable result, peace and tranquillity. Tear up by the roots, and extirpate schisms, and those most ruinous disputes which are utterly opposed to the holiness of Thy Church, and to the unity of its members, and we will celebrate the praises of Thy clemency."

T. iii. Syr. Paraen. 47 ,p. 510.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 161

St. Pacian of Barcelona, (A.D. c.310-375), bishop of Barcelona, Jerome praises his eloquence, learning, chastity, and holiness of life. He is also remembered from a phrase from one of his letters: "My name is Christian, my surname is Catholic.".

"If it be not a carnal motive, my lord, but, as I think, a spiritual call, that has led you to inquire from us the credibility of Catholic truth, it was your first duty (as you hold not to the source and fountain of the parent (principal) Church, but have sprung, as far as I can see, at some time or other, from a mere rivulet) to state what your opinions are, or in what you differ from us, and thus discover what was the cause that especially separated you from the unity of our body."

Galland. t. vii. Epist. i. n. 1, p. 257.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 165

"Grant that Novatian suffered somewhat, yet he was not put to death; and had he been put to death, he would not therefore have been crowned. Why? Because he was out of the peace of the Church, out of concord, out of that mother of whom he ought to be a part, who is a martyr. Hearken to the Apostle: "And if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."

Galland t. vii. Ep. ii. n. 7, p. 261.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 165-166

St. Hilary of Poitiers, (A.D. 315-367), French; husband, theologian, bishop of Poiters around A.D. 355, and Doctor of the Church. Referred to as the "Hammer of the Arians" and the "Athanasius of the West.". He was obviously a firm supporter of St. Athanasius.

"Moses and Solomon established a tabernacle; and then the Apostles set up many tabernacles, and in every part of the earth that can be penetrated to— yea, even in the islands of the ocean did they prepare unto God many dwelling-places. To the glory of these the Holy Spirit testifies: "How lovely are Thy tabernacles, God of hosts; my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord." (Psalm 83:23) Not therefore one tabernacle, whether that of leaves by Moses, or that desired by David, or that adorned by Solomon with every human labor, does the prophet seek after, but many yea, countless tabernacles; because, though in the universe there be but one Church, yet has every city its own church; and though there be many churches, there is one Church in them all, because there is one in many. For those, therefore, who are ascending to heavenly things, it is the first and greatest step to dwell in this tabernacle, and there, day and night, to pass the whole period of this life, aloof from the cares of the world, and relinquishing the affairs of it; like unto many saints who have never left the tabernacle, as is written of Joshua, who whilst a youth went not forth from the tabernacle, and Anna the prophetess departed not from the temple, by fasting and prayers serving night and day. (St. Luke 2:3) After this there will be rest in the mountain of the Lord; for they that go forth from the tabernacle journey toward that place, and there is no road thither except through this dwelling."

Tract, in Psalm 14. n. 3, 4, t. i. pp. 70, 71.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 151

Having quoted 1 Timothy 1:20, he says:

"For they who are cast forth from the body of the Church, which is the body of Christ, are delivered over to be ruled by the devil, as strangers and aliens from the body of God."

Tract, in Psalm cxviii. (Littera xvi.), n. 5, t. i. p. 379.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 151-152

"But since the body of the Church is one, not a body made up by a kind of confused mixture of bodies, nor by each of them being gathered together into an undistinguishable heap and shapeless mass, but through unity of faith, through the brotherhood of charity, through the concord of deeds and wills, through the gift of that sacrament which is one in all (of us), are we all one body, to which Paul exhorts us, saying, "I beseech, you, brethren, that ye be all of one mind, exercising the same charity." And when it shall be according to what is written, "And the multitude of believers had but one heart and one soul." (Acts 4:32) then shall we be the city of God, then the holy Jerusalem, because "Jerusalem is built as a city, whose participation is of the self-same thing." (Psalm 122:3) But dissenters from the assembly of the saints, and they who, urged on by their sins, separate themselves from the body of the Church, have no participation in this holy house, because the participation of this city is of the self-same thing. For they who are of one mind from the fellowship of a perfect city, cannot have participation in what is different, but in what is the same. Wherefore all who are one (body), will be in that (city), as the psalm testifies, for it says, "For thither did the tribes, the tribes go up— not one tribe, but many."

Tract, in Ps. 131. n. 5, p. 434.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 152

"Great is the power of truth, which, though it is capable of being understood by its own merits, yet does it shine forth by the very opposition raised against it; so that, whilst remaining in its nature immovable, when attacked, it daily adds to the firmness of its nature. For this is the peculiarity of the Church, that when it is wounded, it then conquers; when accused, it is then understood; when abandoned, it then gains. She could wish indeed all men to abide with her, and in her, and (wishes) not to cast off some, or to drop others, from her most tranquil bosom, when they become unworthy of the dwelling-place of so excellent a mother; but, whether heretics leave her, or are cast from her, as much as she loses in the way of opportunity of bestowing salvation from her bounty, so much does she gain in the way of faith that blessedness is to be sought from her. For the means of knowing this are at hand from the very devices of the heretics. For whereas the Church, instituted by the Lord, and settled by the Apostles, is one for all men, from which the frantic error of divers impieties has severed itself; and it is undeniable that difference of faith has arisen from the evil of a bad comprehension (incorrect interpretation), seeing that what is read is made to tally rather with their sentiments, than their sentiments made to obey what is read; yet, seeing that all these parties are mutually opposed to each other, she may be known not only by her own doctrines, but by those of her adversaries; even so as, while all are adverse to her, to confute the impious erroneousness of them all, by the fact of being alone and one. All heretics, then, advance against the Church; but whilst all heretics mutually overthrow each other, their victory brings them nothing for themselves. For their victory over each other is the Church's triumph over all (or, out of all), since heresy combats in some other heresy just so far as that which the faith of the Church condemns in that other heresy; for there is nothing that is common to (all the heretics); and, in the midst of all this, they assert our faith, while opposing one another."

[He then proceeds to exemplify this, in a singularly acute manner, from the heresies of the day]

De Trinitate, l. vii. n. 4, t. ii. pp. 177, 178.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 152-153

Lucifer of Cagliagi, (unknown-371), Italian; bishop of Cagliari, distinguished himself as a strenuous opponent of the Arians. He died about the year 371. His works, which consist almost solely of a few pieces addressed to the Emperor Constantius, are given by Gallandius in his sixth volume and from the Tillius edition. He is venerated as a Saint in Sardinia.

"If you, heretics, and indeed men of all sects, are to be admitted as witnesses against Christians, then ought the heathens also and the Jews; since, whether Jews, or heathens, or you heretics that are without the Church, ye are without God, as once were all who were not in holy Noah's ark. For as they, being out of the ark, could not be saved, so neither can you: but like them will you perish, unless, believing in the only Son of God, ye be found remaining together with us in the holy Church."

Pro. S. Athanas. l. ii. n. 28. Galland. t. vi. p. 190.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 161

St. Zeno of Verona, (unknown- A.D. c.383), Italian; African by birth, on coming to Italy was appointed bishop of Verona, in the year 362. He died about the year 383. His works were collected after his death, at the beginning of the fifth, or at the close of the fourth century. The brothers Ballerini gave an excellent edition, in 1739, Veronae.

"Ninive represents the Church, wherein even then our people of the Gentiles dwelt, which God has not vainly called a great city; for it was to come to pass that by the people of all nations believing in Christ, the whole universe should become one people unto God."

L. ii. Tract. xvii. n. 3, Galland, t.v.p. 144.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 154-155

St. Optatus of Milevis, (unknown - A.D. 384), bishop of Milevis, Numidia, in Africa; from Augustine's writings we can assume Optatus was a convert; he is best known for his opposition to the heresy of Donatism.

"One faith, most illustrious brethren, commends all of us who are Christians to Almighty God. . . . Before the Son of God ascended into Heaven, whence He had descended, He left behind Him, through the Apostles, to all Christians, triumphant peace, a peace which, for fear lest He might seem to have left it to the Apostles only, therefore said: "What I say to one of you, I say to all." (Mark 13:27)

2. "Had this peace continued whole and inviolate as it was given, and not been disturbed by the authors of schism, there would not now be any dissension between us and our brethren. . . . Neither should we be lamenting the overthrown, or slaughtered souls of the innocent.". . .

6. "You, Parmenianus, have said that the Church is one, to the exclusion of heretics; but you have not chosen to acknowledge where that Church is.". . . . .

7. "It is for me to state, which, or where, is that one Church; which is the Church, since besides that one, there is none other.". . . . .

10. "You have said that with heretics the marks of the Church cannot be; and you say truly; for we know that the churches of every one of the heretics are prostituted; are without any lawful sacraments; and without the rights of an honorable marriage; churches which Christ repudiates as unnecessary, He being the spouse of one Church; as in the Canticles Himself testifies; who, in that He praises one, condemns all others; because, besides the one, which is the true Catholic (Church), others are reckoned as being amongst heretics, though they exist not, agreeably to that which He points out, as has been said, in the Canticle of Canticles, that one is His dove; and that same one His chosen spouse; the same, a garden enclosed, and a fountain sealed up; as none of the heretics either has the keys which Peter alone received; or the ring with which the fountain is said to be sealed up; nor is there any of them to whom that garden belongs, wherein God plants His shoots. Concerning which heretics, though this belongs not to the matter before me, what you have some time ago said was abundantly enough. But, I wonder what you were at, to join yourselves also to them, you who are manifestly schismatics, and yet to deny the marks (gifts) of the Church, both to heretics and to yourselves who are schismatics. For you have, amongst other things, said, that schismatics are like branches cut off from the vine; that, doomed to punishment, they are reserved, like dry wood, for the fire of Hell. But I perceive that you are ignorant that a schism was made by your leaders, at Carthage. Seek into the origin of these things, and you will find that you have pronounced this sentence against yourselves, when you united heretics with schismatics. For it was not Caecilianus that went out from your ancestor Majorinus, but Majorinus from Caecilianus; neither did Caecilianus withdraw from the chair of Peter, or of Cyprian, but Majorinus did, whose chair you occupy, which chair, antecedently to Majorinus himself, had no original. And as it is most plainly certain that these things were thus transacted, it evidently appears that you are the heirs of traitors and schismatics.". . .

15. "And as it has been demonstrated that your leaders were guilty of delivering up the sacred books, the proof will follow that the same were the authors of the schism. That this may be made plain and manifest to all men, it will be for me to show out of what root the branches of error have, even unto the present hour, spread themselves out; and out of what fountain-head this rivulet of hurtful water, secretly gliding, has flowed on even unto these our days. I shall have to narrate whence, and where, and from whom, it is undeniable that this evil has originated; what were the concurrent causes, what persons influenced, who were the authors of this evil, and who its abettors; by whom judgment between the parties was required of an emperor; who the judges that presided; where the council was held; what the sentence passed. The matter now to be treated is the separation (the departure). In Africa, too, as in the other provinces, there was but one Church, prior to its being divided by the ordinations of that Majorinus, in whose chair you sit as heir. We have to see who remained in the root with the whole world; who went out; who established another chair, which until then had no existence; who set up altar against altar; who gave ordination, whilst the one already ordained was still living; who lies under the sentence of John the Apostle; who said that many antichrists would go out, because, says he, "they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us." He, therefore, that would not continue as one with the brethren, having followed heretics, he went forth as an antichrist.". . .

21. "Acknowledge then at length that, as it is undeniable that your predecessors were the authors of this other crime (of schism), so you also are striving to follow in their wicked footsteps: that what they were the first to do in the matter of schism, that you have also done, and are yet visibly doing. They, in their day, broke the peace; you utterly annihilate unity; of your forefathers and of you it may be said with justice, "If the blind lead the blind, they both fall into the pit." A frantic envy blinded the eyes of your predecessors; a spirit of rivalry has put out yours. That schism is the very greatest of evils even you cannot possibly deny. And yet have you fearlessly imitated your abandoned masters, Dathan and Abiron and Core; and would riot set before your eyes that this evil is both forbidden by the words of God, and when committed is grievously punished.

[He then narrates the punishment of Dathan and Abiron and Core and makes this application.]

And because there is now no such vengeance taken, do you claim for yourself, and for your party, impunity from guilt? God has, in individual cases, made examples, thereby to fix on all imitators their guilt; a present punishment, to serve as a warning, crushed the first instance of each kind of sin; all that follow He will reserve unto the judgment. What will you say to this, you who, after usurping the name of the Church, both secretly feed, and shamelessly defend, a schism? . . .

L. ii. n.

1. "Having shown wherein heresy differs from schism, we have next to point out which is that one Church which Christ calls the dove and spouse. The Church then is one of which the holiness is gathered from the sacraments, and not computed by the pride of individuals. This Church then alone Christ calls His dove and beloved spouse. This cannot be amongst all that are heretics and schismatics. It remains, therefore, that it be in one place. You, Parmenianus, have said that it is with your party only . . . consequently, for it to be with you, in a small portion of Africa, in a corner of a small district, will it not be with us in an other part of Africa? Will it not be in Spain, in Gaul, in Italy, where your party is not? If it be your pleasure that it be with you only, will it not be in the three districts of Pannonia, in Dacia, Maesia, Thrace, Achaia, Macedonia, and in the whole of Greece?

[Having enumerated almost every country of the then known world, he continues:]

Then where will be the propriety of the name Catholic, since the Church is called Catholic from this, that it is according to reason, and is everywhere diffused? For if you thus, at your pleasure, narrow the Church into so straitened limits, if you withdraw from it all nations, where will that be which the Son of God merited? Where that which the Father freely of His bounty bestowed on Him, saying in the second Psalm, "I will give Thee the nations for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession"

De Schism. Donat. l. 1, n. 1, 2, 7, 10, 15, 21, and Lib. ii. n. 1.
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[A little after the extracts given above, he continues:]

"Understand then at last, that you are undutiful children; that you are tendrils cut off from the vine; that you are a stream separated from its fountain-head. For a stream that is small, and does not spring from itself, cannot be a fountain-source; nor a lopped branch be a tree; since a tree flourishes resting on its own roots; and if a branch be cut off, it withers. Seest thou now, Parmenianus, that, in thine arguments, thou hast fought against thyself? Since it has been shown . . . that through the chair of Peter, which is ours, that through it the other marks (gifts) are also with us."

De Schism. Donat. l. ii. n. 9. 3
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"We see that Christ Himself preferred this unity to His vengeance, in that He wished all His disciples to be in one, in preference to inflicting punishment after being offended: desirous not to be denied, He warned that whosoever should deny Him, He would deny before the Father: and though this is written, yet, for the good of unity, blessed Peter, for whom, after his denial, it were enough if he obtained pardon, merited both to be preferred to all the Apostles, and he alone received of the kingdom of Heaven the keys to be communicated to the others. ... If the love of innocence were to be set above the advantage of peace and unity, the Apostles would have said that they ought not to hold communion with Peter, who had denied their Master and their Lord, the Son of God. They might have not communicated with Peter; they might have quoted against him the words of Christ, who had declared that He would deny before the Father, whomsoever should deny Him before men. . . . The head of the Apostles might so have governed himself as not to incur a crime of which he would have to repent; but his various errors are therefore seen under one head, that it might be shown that, for the good of unity, everything ought to be endured for God. . . . There stand so many without guilt, and a sinner receives the keys, that there might be a pattern in the matter of unity. It was provided that a sinner should open to the innocent, lest the innocent might shut the door against the guilty, and that unity, which is necessary, be not."

De Schis. Donat. l. vii. n. 3.
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St. Cyril of Jerusalem, (A.D. 315-386), Palestinian; ordained by Maximus, he was made bishop of Jerusalem in A.D. 345; scholar and Doctor of the Church. None of his writings have been preserved to us, except eighteen catechetical instructions addressed to catechumens, and five mystagogic discourses addressed to neophytes.

"We would next say something concerning the Holy Ghost, not to declare with precision His substance, for that is impossible; but to state the various errors of some concerning Him, lest we may at any time from ignorance fall into them; and to cut off the ways of error, that we may journey on the one royal road."

Catech. xvi. n. 5, p. 245.
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St. Gregory of Nazianzen, (A.D. 318-389), Cappadocian; archbishop, theologian, Doctor of the Church.

"This discord it is that has split the one Church into many parts; and has banded us, not to side with one Paul, or Cephas, or Apollos, or with some one that plants, or some one that waters, but has produced many Pauls, and Apollos, and Cephases, after whom we take our names, instead of that great and common name, Christ, and we are said to belong to these men."

T. 1, or. 26, p. 445.
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St. Basil the Great, (A.D. 328-379), Cappadocian; bishop of Cæsarea in A.D. 369, theologian, monk. Studied in Palestine, Constantinople, and Athens. Many of the subsequent years of his life were spent in the deserts of Egypt and Libya. His character and works have gained for him the surname of "the great".

"Adore ye the Lord in His holy court." (Psalm 28:2) Adoration is necessary, but adoration which is not out of the Church, but is offered in the very court of God. Invent not, He says, your own courts and synagogues for me. One is the holy court of God. The synagogue of the Jews was formerly that court, but, after their sin against Christ, their house became desolate. Hence does the Lord also say, "And other sheep I have that are not of this fold." (St. John 10:16), where speaking of those that are pre-ordained out of the Gentiles unto salvation, He points out a court of His own, besides that of the Jews. Wherefore out of that holy court, God is not to be worshipped, but in that court; lest he that is out of it, or is drawn out of it by those that are without, cease to be in the Lord's court."

T. 1, par. 1, Ps. xxviii. pp. 165, 166.
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"Since the only-begotten Son of God, and Lord and God Jesus Christ, by whom all things were made, cries aloud, "I came down from Heaven not to do my own will, but the will of Him that sent me, even the Father (St. John 6:38), and, of myself I do nothing (St. John 8:28), and, I have received a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak" (St. John 12:49); and as the Holy Ghost, who distributes gifts great and wonderful, who worketh all in all, speaketh nothing of Himself, but whatsoever He shall hear from the Lord that He speaks; how can it fail but be much more necessary for the whole Church of God, careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, to fulfill what is said in the Acts, "And the multitude of believers had but one heart and one soul" (Acts 4:32); no one, that is, setting up his own will, but all in common seeking, in one Holy Ghost, the will of that one Lord Jesus Christ, who says, "I came down from Heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of my Father." (John 6:38); and who says to the Father, "not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word believe in me, that they all may be one." (St. John 17:20) I am thus clearly, and past all debate, fully convinced by these, and many other (testimonies) which I pass over in silence, that concord, agreeably to the will of Christ in the Holy Ghost, throughout the whole Church of God together, is necessary."

Procaem. de Judico. Dei, t. ii. p. 1, n. 4, p. 302.
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"Since all who have hoped in Christ are one people, and they who are Christ's are now one people, though the people be named after different places, your country rejoices and is gladdened at the dispensation of the Lord, and accounts not itself to have lost one man (by Amphilochius being chosen bishop), but by one man to have entered into possession of all the churches."

Ep. clxi. ad Amphil. p. 364.
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"It is more just that we be judged, in what regards ourselves, not by one or two who walk not according to truth, but by the multitude of bishops, who, by the favor of Christ, are united with us. Let the question be put to those of Pisidia, Lycaonia, of the Isauris, of both Phrygias, of that part of Armenia that borders on your country, of Macedonia, of Achaia, of Illyricum, of Gaul, Spain, the whole of Italy, Sicily, Africa, the sound districts of Egypt, and what is left of Syria; they all both send letters to me, and receive mine: from which letters, whether sent by them or received from us, you may learn that we are all unanimous, and think the same thing. So that it will not escape your accuracy, that whosoever flies from communion with us, severs himself from the whole Church. ... It were better that we should be cast aside, and the churches be of one mind with each other, than that, through our puerile narrowness of mind, so great an evil should be brought upon the people of God."

T. iii. p. 2 Ep. cciv. ad Neocaesarienses, n. 1, pp. 444, 445.
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"We are indeed little and lowly, but, by God's grace, we are always the same, and are not molded by the changes of things. For our faith is not different in Seleucia, different in Constantinople, and different at Zelis, at Lampsacus different, and another at Rome, but always one and the same. For as we received of the Lord, so are we baptized; as we were baptized, so do we believe; as we believe, so is our doxology."

T. iii. p. 2 Ep. 251, n. 4, Evcesenis, p. 562.
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St. Epiphanius of Salamis, (A.D. 332-403), Palestinian; bishop, abbot, scholar.

Having stated that Marcion was, on account of his crimes, excommunicated by his own father, he gives the following as having taken place at Rome, where Marcion applied to be received into communion:

"Why will you not receive me? And then they told him that they could not do it without the concurrence of his venerable father, for one is the faith, and one our unanimity, neither can we act in opposition to our excellent fellow-minister, thy father. But he, being moved with envy, and excited to great rage and pride, brought about a schism; and secretly adding heresy, he declared, "I will divide your Church, and cast a schism into it that shall endure forever"; and in truth he did originate a no slight schism, not rending the Church, but himself, and those that sided with him."

T. i. Adv. Hæres. 42, p. 303.
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Having named five great trunks, or sources of heresy, he says,

"Hence the separated heresies have, as branches, been torn off; called indeed after Christ's name, yet not His, but are, some of them, at a very great distance from Him; whilst others, on account of some very slight matter, are disinherited, and have made themselves and their children aliens unto Him; they are not within the boundaries, but have established themselves without, and have nothing of Christ but the name. There but remains for us to show forth the truth, and the oneness of that dove which is praised by the bridegroom."

Adv. Hæres. 80, pp. 1076, 1077.
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"The Church is begotten from one faith, and brought forth by means of the Holy Ghost, the only child of her that is but one, the only child of her mother. And as many as have come after her, or have been before her, are called concubines; which though they may not have become utterly aliens from the covenant and inheritance, yet they have no dowry from the Word, and no indwelling of the Holy Ghost.

[Having enumerated the heresies, he adds:]

There remains the one, to wit, the holy Catholic Church, called also, with just cause, from the first, Christianity; and by Adam, and before Adam, before even all ages with Christ, by the will of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, believed in, and at His advent in the world clearly revealed, and by us now, after all these heresies, yea concubines, again celebrated, as the order of our discourse requires."

Adv. Hæres. 80, pp. 1083, 1084.
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"You that have gone through this whole work of mine, or part of it, pray for me that God may vouchsafe unto me a portion in that holy and one Catholic and Apostolic Church, the true, the life-giving, and the saving."

Adv. Hæres. (Exp. Fid.), p. 1102.
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St. Gregory of Nyssa, (A.D. c.335 - c.394), bishop of Nyssa in A.D. 371, an erudite theologian who made significant contributions to the doctrine of the Trinity and the Nicene creed. Gregory's philosophical writings were influenced by Origen. He was the brother of the great St. Basil.

"How beautiful art thou, my love, how beautiful art thou! thine eyes are dove's eyes." (Song of Songs 4:1) The whole Church is the one body of Christ, though in this one body, as the Apostle observes, there are many members, but all the members have not the same office, . . . and it is perfectly clear to those who hear me, to what members of the Church the praise bestowed on "the eyes" belongs. Samuel, the Seer, for so he was called, was "an eye", so was Ezekiel, . . . they, too, who were appointed to lead the people were all of them "eyes", whom the men of those days called seers. And they who now occupy this same post in the body of the Church, and who have been appointed overseers (bishops), are properly called "eyes", if they carefully look unto the Sun of Justice, being in no way blinded by works of darkness."

T. 1, Hom. vii. in Canticle of Canticles pp. 576, 577.
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"Whosoever has learned that Christ is the head of the Church, let him, before all things, bear this in mind, that the head is ever of the same nature and substance as the body beneath it; and that there is a certain coherence of each of the limbs with the whole. . . . Whence if any part be out of the body, it is utterly disconnected with the head."

T. iii. De Perfect. Chris, form. p. 289.
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St. Ambrose of Milan, (A.D. 340-396), German; reluctantly made bishop in the A.D. 374., Doctor of the Church. He closed a great and glorious career in A.D. 396. We have his life by Paulinus.

"The sea saw and fled." The water, at the Lord s command, knew both to gather together, to fear and to fly. Let us be likened unto this water, and we shall know the one congregation of the Lord, the one Church. Time was that the water here was gathered out of every valley, marsh, and lake. The valley is heresy, is Gentilism, because God is the God of the hills, not of the valleys. In fine, in the Church there is exultation; in heresy and Gentilism, weeping and mourning. Whence he says, "He hath set it in the vale of tears." Out of every valley therefore is the Catholic people gathered. And now the congregations are not many; but there is one congregation, one Church."

Hexaemer. lib. 3, c. i. n. 2, 3, p. 34.
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"He (Christ) also declares that they who divide the Lord's Church are moved by a devilish spirit; that thus He might at once comprise the heretics and schismatics of all times, to whom to deny forgiveness; for as much as every (other) sin has for its object individuals, whilst this is against all men. For they alone who tear in pieces the members of the Church, for which the Lord Jesus suffered and the Holy Ghost has been given unto us, seek to render void the grace of Christ."

T. ii. l. ii. de Paenitent, c. iv. n. 24 ,pp. 421, 422.
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"Learn from this that all heretics and schismatics are separated from the kingdom of God, and from the Church; and it is therefore manifest that all assemblies of schismatics and heretics are not of God, but of the unclean spirit."

T. i. Expos. Ev. St. Lucae, n. 95, p. 1432.
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Pope St. Siricius, (A.D. c.334-398), an active Pope, involved in the administration of the Church and the handling of various factions and viewpoints within it; author of two decrees concerning clerical celibacy. The decree of A.D. 385 stated that priests should stop cohabiting with their wives.

"It has been arranged by apostolic discipline, that one ought to be the confession (of faith) of the Catholic bishops. Wherefore, if the faith be one, one also ought the tradition to continue. If one the tradition, one ought to be the discipline observed throughout all the churches. The churches are indeed founded in different countries, but, by the oneness of the Catholic faith, through out the whole world has (the Church) been called one. For thus also do we read: "One is my dove, my perfect one is but one, she is the only one of her mother"

Galland, t. vii. Ep. viii. seu Canon. Synod. Rom. ad Episcopos. Gall. n. 9, p. 547.
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The Apostle says of the Church:

"We being many, are one bread (1 Corinthians 10); because, as one bread is formed out of many grains, so one church is congregated out of many nations."

Galland. t. vii. Incert. Auct. Brev. Fidei, p. 596.
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St. Jerome, (A.D. 342-420), Dalmatian; born in Strido; priest, hermit, abbot, biblical scholar, translator and Doctor of the Church. In an age distinguished by men of the greatest eloquence and learning, St. Jerome, especially in all matters connected with the Sacred Scriptures, was then preeminent, and has probably never since been equalled.

"Great the labor, but great the reward, to be what the martyrs, to be what the Apostles are, to be what Christ is. All which, indeed, is then of benefit, when done in the Church; when we celebrate the Passover in one house; if we go into the ark with Noah. ... As to virgins, such as are amongst divers heresies, and such as there are said to be in the party of the most impure Manichaens, they are to be accounted harlots, not virgins."

T. i. Ep. xxii. ad Eustochium, n. 38, col. 121.
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"She,— that with a firm root is planted upon the rock Christ, the Catholic Church, the one dove, she stands, the perfect one, and nighest to Him on His right hand; for she has nothing sinister in her; she stands in gilded robes, passing from the words to the meaning of the Scripture; and she is filled with every virtue, or, as we have translated it, with a diadem of gold. For she is a queen, and reigns together with the king; whose daughters we may understand to be the souls of believers in general, and of the choirs of virgins in particular."

T. i. Ep. lxv. ad Principiam, n. 15, col. 384.
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"Let one Eve be the mother of all the living, and one Church the parent of all Christians."

T. i. Ep. cxxiii. ad Agronchiam. n. 12, col. 902.
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"Through luxury and voluptuousness, and its profitableness, they are at discord with each other about the people, and one heresy becomes two, and they are again subdivided, that so they may lead away their distinct flocks, and may devour the houses of widows, and of sinful women, who are ever learning, and never attain to the knowledge of the truth."

T. iv. l. iv. Comm. in Is. col. 140.
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"That there is one altar in the Church, and one faith, and one baptism, the Apostle teaches; which altar the heretics having abandoned, They have built for themselves many altars, not to render God propitious, but to the multiplication of sins. For which cause they deserve not to receive the laws of God, seeing that the laws which they had received, they despised; and should they say anything concerning the Scriptures, it is not to be likened to the words of God, but to the sentiments of Gentiles. These men immolate numerous victims and eat their flesh, deserting the one victim of Christ; neither do they eat His flesh, whose flesh is the food of believers. Do they what they may whether simulating the order and rite of the sacrifices, or giving of alms, or promising chastity, or affecting humility, and with feigned kindness deceive the simple; the Lord will receive no part of these their sacrifices."

T. vi. l. ii. Comm. in Osee, col. 88, 89.
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Commenting on Osee 10:1, 2:

"That the hearts of heretics are divided, and that they oppose each other with opposite opinions, even themselves do not deny, seeing that their sentiments are conflicting. Therefore shall they be dispersed, and the Lord shall break down, or dig up, their idols or altars, which they have devised out of their own hearts, and He shall destroy their titles by which they are each called after their own names, and have imposed their own names upon their own lands, so as to be said to belong not to the Church of Christ, but to this man or that."

T. vi. l. ii. Comm. in. Osee, col. 107.
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St. John Chrysostom, (A.D. 344 - 407), Syrian; archbishop, Doctor of the Church. Born at Antioch in 344; he was ordained priest in A.D. 383, and raised to the see of Constantinople in the year A.D. 398. His eloquence gained him the title of Chrysostom, or the mouth of gold. His expositions of Scripture, especially the Epistles of St. Paul, are very valuable. This illustrious prelate died on his road to exile, in A.D. 407.

"To the Church of God that is at Corinth: . . . He calls it the Church of God, showing that it ought to be united. For if it be of God, it is united, and is one, not in Corinth only, but also in all the world. For the name of the Church, is a name not of separation, but of unity and concord . . . For though these words were written to the Corinthians, yet does he also make mention of all the faithful throughout the whole world, showing that the Church, though dispersed in diverse places, ought to be, throughout the whole world, one, and much more that which is at Corinth. For though places divide, yet the Lord binds them together, being common to them all."

T. x. Hom. i. in Ep. ad Cor. n. i. pp. 4, 5.
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"If it were not right to call themselves by the names of Paul and of Apollos and of Cephas, much less of any others. If under the teacher and the first of the Apostles, and one that had instructed so much people, it was not right to be enrolled, much less under those who were nothing."

T. x. Hom. iii. n. 1, p. 18.
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Commenting on 1 Corinthians 12:12:

"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. "

Seest thou the accurate comprehension? He points out the same thing as both one and many. Wherefore also he adds, striving more earnestly with the subject before him, "And all the members of that one body, whereas they are many, yet are one body." He said not, "being many are of that one body", but that "the one body itself is many, and those so many members are this one thing." If, therefore, one is many, and many are one, where is the difference? . . . And having said this, and having clearly demonstrated it from the common judgment of all, he added, "So also is Christ". And he ought to have said, "So also is the Church", for this came next in order; yet he does not say this, but instead of the Church he puts Christ, carrying the discourse on high, and moving the hearer to greater shame. But what he means is this: "So also is the body of Christ, which is the Church." For as both body and head are one man, so he declared the Church and Christ to be one. Therefore did he put Christ instead of the Church, designating in this way His body. As then, he says, "our body is one thing, although it be composed of many, so also in the Church we all are one thing. Yea, for though the Church be composed of many members, yet these many form one body."

[Having explained how by baptism we are made one body, he continues]:

And why do I speak, says he, of the Jews? for even the gentiles, who were so far distant from us, He has brought into the perfectness of one body. Wherefore, having said, "We all", he did not stop there, but added, "whether Jews or gentiles, whether bond or free." (verse 13). Now if, having before this been so separated, we have been united and become one, much more after having become one, we should not do right to grieve and despond: for the difference has no existence. For if He has accounted both gentiles and Jews, both bond and free, worthy of the same (blessings), how, after having so deemed them worthy, should He divide them, after having vouchsafed a greater perfection of unity by the bestowal of His gifts?"

T. x. Hom. xxx. in Ep. i. ad Cor. n. 1, 2, pp. 314-316.
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Commenting on 1 Corinthians 12:27:

"As he had said the body, and the whole body was, not the church of the Corinthians, but that which is everywhere throughout the world, for this cause did he say in part; that is, the Church that is among you is a part of the Church spread everywhere, and of the body which is constituted by means of all the churches; so that not only with each other, but also with all the Church throughout the world should you have peace, if at least ye be members of the whole body."

T. x. Hom. xxxii. n. 1, p. 333.
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"Nothing so provokes God as the division of the Church. Even though we may have done ten thousand good things, yet shall we, if we cut to pieces the fullness of the Church, suffer no less a punishment than they that mangled His body. For that happened for the benefit of the world, though not done with that intention, but this has no advantage in any case; but much is the injury. This do I say not to the governors only, but also to the governed. A certain holy man (St. Cyprian) said something that seems to be a bold thing, but yet he spoke it out. Now what is this? He declared, that not even the blood of martyrdom was able to blot out this sin. . . . Let these remarks be for those who give themselves up indiscriminately to those that rend the Church. For if they have doctrines also opposed (to ours), even for this cause it was not fitting to be mixed up with them; whereas if they hold the same opinions, the reason is much stronger. Why so? Because the disease is that of lust of power. Do you not know what Core, Dathan and Abiron suffered? What they alone? Did not those who were with them suffer the same? What sayest thou? The faith is the same, these men also are orthodox. Why, then, are they not with us? One Lord, one faith, one baptism. If their cause is good, ours is evil; but if ours is good, theirs is evil. "Children, says he, tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine." Tell me if you think it suffices to say, that they are orthodox; and that ordination has then passed away, and perished? And what is the advantage of the rest, if this be not accurately observed. Like the faith, we must also contend for this. Since, if it is lawful for each one to fill his hands, according to the phrase of those of old, and to become priests, let all approach; in vain has this altar been built, in vain the fullness of the Church, in vain the number of the priests. . . . Wherefore do I declare and testify, that the making a schism in the Church is not a less evil than the falling into heresy.

T. xi. Horn. xi. in Ep. ad Ephes. n. 3, 4, 5, pp. 96, 99-101.
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Council of Constantinople, (A.D. 360-754), can refer to any one of seven councils held within the patristic age, including three ecumencial councils of the Church held in A.D. 381/383, 553, and 680, the first dealing with the Nicene Creed, the Incarnation of Jesus and defining the Church as "One, holy, Catholic, and apostolical."

This second ecumenical council added to the creed of Nicaea the articles relative to the Church:

"We believe ... in (into) one holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church."

And in the synodal epistle addressed to the Western Church, which received the enlarged creed, they say:

"The word of faith being thus uttered as with one mouth, and Christian love being confirmed in us, let us cease from saying that which was condemned by the Apostles, "I am of Paul, and I am of Apollos, and I of Cephas", but all seen to be of Christ, who in us is not divided, we shall, God vouchsafing it, preserve the body of the Church undivided, and we shall stand with confidence at the tribunal of the Lord."

Ep. Synod. Damaso et Aliis, p. 966, t. ii. Labbe.
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St. Gaudentius of Brescia, (unknown - A.D. 410), Italian; became bishop around A.D. 387, theologian and author of many letters and sermons, held in high esteem by the people of Brescia.

"It is certain that all the men of that age perished in the deluge, save those who were found worthy to be within the ark, which was a type of the Church. For in like manner also now, they cannot be anyway saved who are aliens from the apostolic faith, and from the Catholic Church."

Serm. viii. De Lect. Evang. p. 955, t. v. Bib. Max. PP.
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St. Chromatius of Aquileia, (unknown- A.D. c.407), Italian; bishop (and scholar) of Aquileia, in which see he succeeded Valerian in the year 387; he was the friend of St. Ambrose and of St. Jerome.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."

The peacemakers are they who, keeping aloof from the scandal of dissension and discord, preserve the love of brotherly charity, and the peace of the Church, under the unity of the Catholic faith; a peace which the Lord in the Gospel especially commends to His disciples to keep, saying, "Peace I leave you, my peace I give unto you"; a peace which David of old testified that the Lord would bestow upon the Church. (Psalm 85) . . . For there is not anything so necessary to God's servants, so salutary to the Church, as to keep charity and to love peace, without which the Apostle says (writing) to the Hebrews, that no man can see God. Wherefore, it behooves us with all zeal and diligence to keep the peace of the Church, and to bring back, as far as in us lies, from zeal for peace and the faith, those who dissent from peace, unto the love of the Church; following in this the prophet, who says, "With them that hated peace I was peaceful."

Galland, t. viii. Tract, in Matt. n. 7, pp. 336,337.
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The Church is one because of her source:

"The highest exemplar and source of this mystery is the unity, in the Trinity of Persons, of one God, the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit."

— Vatican Council I

The Church is one because of her founder, Jesus: for "the Word made flesh, the prince of peace, reconciled all men to God by the cross, . . . restoring the unity of all in one people and one body."


The Church is one because of her "soul": It is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in those who believe and pervading and ruling over the entire Church, who brings about that wonderful communion of the faithful and joins them together so intimately in Christ that he is the principle of the Church's unity." Unity is of the essence of the Church:

What an astonishing mystery! There is one Father of the universe, one Logos of the universe, and also one Holy Spirit, everywhere one and the same; there is also one virgin become mother, and I should like to call her "Church."

— St. Clement Of Alexandria (A.D. 150-220), Greek; theologian.

The Church's Scriptures that support its Unity:


There are others that must hear Our Lord's Words and He will shephard them them under His one flock.

16 And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.

John 10:16

Caiaphas prophesies that Jesus should die for the one nation to gather into one, the children of God.

51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

John 11:51, 52

Jesus' priestly prayer for unity among all His future Apostles and disciples.

20 "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one."

John 17:20-22

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