Hippolytus of Rome

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Saint Hippolytus
Paris Louvre Retable Hippolyte 285.jpg
The Martyrdom of Saint Hippolytus (French altarpiece c.1225–1250)
Martyr
Bornc. 170 AD
unknown
Diedc. 235 AD
unknown
Venerated in
Canonized Pre-congregation
Feast
Patronage Bibbiena, Italy; horses

Hippolytus (c. 170–235 AD) was one of the most important second-third century Christian theologians, whose provenance, identity and corpus remain elusive to scholars and historians. Suggested communities include Palestine, Egypt, Anatolia, Rome and regions of the mideast. The best historians of literature in the ancient church, including Eusebius of Caesarea and Jerome, openly confess they cannot name where Hippolytus the biblical commentator and theologian served in leadership. They had read his works but did not possess evidence of his community. 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 so styled himself. [1] This assertion is doubtful. [2] One older theory asserts he came into conflict with the popes of his time and seems to have headed a schismatic group as a rival to the Bishop of Rome, thus becoming an Antipope. In this view, he opposed the Roman Popes who softened the penitential system to accommodate the large number of new pagan converts. However, he was reconciled to the Church before he died as a martyr. [2]

Photios I of Constantinople Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople

Photios I, , also spelled Photius or Fotios, was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 858 to 867 and from 877 to 886; He is recognized in the Eastern Orthodox Church as Saint Photios the Great.

<i>Bibliotheca</i> (Photius) 9th century work of Byzantine Patriarch Photius

The Bibliotheca or Myriobiblos was a ninth-century work of Byzantine Patriarch of Constantinople Photius, dedicated to his brother and composed of 279 reviews of books which he had read.

Irenaeus Bishop and saint

Irenaeus was a Greek bishop noted for his role in guiding and expanding Christian communities in what is now the south of France and, more widely, for the development of Christian theology by combatting heresy and defining orthodoxy. Originating from Smyrna, now Izmir in Turkey, he had heard the preaching of Polycarp, who in turn was said to have heard John the Evangelist.

Contents

Starting in the fourth century, various legends arose about him, identifying him as a priest of the Novatianist schism or as a soldier converted by Saint Lawrence. He has also been confused with another martyr of the same name. [2] Pope Pius IV identifies him as "Saint Hippolytus, Bishop of Pontus" who was martyred in the reign of Severus Alexander through his inscription on a statue found at the Church of Saint Lawrence in Rome and kept at the Vatican as photographed and published in Brunsen. [3]

Novatianism was an Early Christian sect devoted to the theologian Novatian that held a strict view that refused readmission to communion of Lapsi. The Church of Rome declared the Novatianists heretical following the letters of Saint Cyprian of Carthage.

Saint Lawrence 3rd-century Christian saint, martyr and deacon of ancient Rome

Saint Lawrence or Laurence was one of the seven deacons of the city of Rome, Italy, under Pope Sixtus II who were martyred in the persecution of the Christians that the Roman Emperor Valerian ordered in 258.

Pope Pius IV Pope from 1559 to 1565

Pope Pius IV, born Giovanni Angelo Medici, was Pope from 25 December 1559 to his death in 1565.

Life

Little is known for certain about his community of origin. One Victorian theory suggested that as a presbyter of the church at Rome under Pope Zephyrinus (199–217 AD), Hippolytus was distinguished for his learning and eloquence. It was at this time that Origen, then a young man, heard him preach. [4] [1]

In the New Testament, a presbyter is a leader of a local Christian congregation. The word derives from the Greek presbyteros, which means elder or senior. The Greek word episkopos literally means overseer; it refers exclusively to the office of bishop. Many understand presbyteros to refer to the bishop functioning as overseer. In modern Catholic and Orthodox usage, presbyter is distinct from bishop and synonymous with priest. In predominant Protestant usage, presbyter does not refer to a member of a distinctive priesthood called priests, but rather to a minister, pastor, or elder.

Pope Zephyrinus pope

Pope Zephyrinus was Bishop of Rome or pope from 199 to his death in 217. He was born in Rome. His predecessor was Pope Victor I. Upon his death on 20 December 217, he was succeeded by his principal advisor, Pope Callixtus I. He is known for combatting heresies and defending the divinity of Christ.

Origen 3rd-century Christian scholar from Alexandria

Origen of Alexandria, also known as Origen Adamantius, was an early Christian scholar, ascetic, and theologian who was born and spent the first half of his career in Alexandria. He was a prolific writer who wrote roughly 2,000 treatises in multiple branches of theology, including textual criticism, biblical exegesis and biblical hermeneutics, homiletics, and spirituality. He was one of the most influential figures in early Christian theology, apologetics, and asceticism. He has been described as "the greatest genius the early church ever produced".

In this view, Hippolytus accused Pope Zephyrinus of modalism, the heresy which held that the names Father and Son are simply different names for the same subject. Hippolytus championed the Logos doctrine of the Greek apologists, most notably Justin Martyr, which distinguished the Father from the Logos ("Word"). An ethical conservative, he was scandalized when Pope Callixtus I (217–222 AD) extended absolution to Christians who had committed grave sins, such as adultery. [5]

Justin Martyr 2nd century Christian apologist and martyr

Justin Martyr was an early Christian apologist, and is regarded as the foremost interpreter of the theory of the Logos in the 2nd century. He was martyred, alongside some of his students, and is considered a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Oriental Orthodox Churches.

Pope Callixtus I Pope from 217 to 222

Pope Callixtus I, also called Callistus I, Hijazi Arabic: كاليكطس(Kaliktus), was the Bishop of Rome from c. 218 to his death c. 222 or 223. He lived during the reigns of the Roman Emperors Elagabalus and Alexander Severus. Eusebius and the Liberian catalogue gave him five years of episcopate (217–222). He was martyred for his Christian faith and is venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church.

Some suggest Hippolytus himself advocated a pronounced rigorism. [6] At this time, he seems to have allowed himself to be elected as a rival Bishop of Rome, and continued to attack Pope Urban I (222–230 AD) and Pope Pontian (230–235 AD). [2] G. Salmon suggests that Hippolytus was the leader of the Greek-speaking Christians of Rome. [7] Allen Brent sees the development of Roman house-churches into something akin to Greek philosophical schools gathered around a compelling teacher. [8]

Pope Urban I pope

Pope Urban I was Bishop of Rome or Pope from 222 to 23 May 230. He was born in Rome and succeeded Pope Callixtus I, who had been martyred. It was previously believed for centuries that Urban I was also martyred. However, recent historical discoveries now lead scholars to believe that he died of natural causes.

Pope Pontian pope

Pope Pontian was Pope from 21 July 230 to 28 September 235. In 235, during the persecution of Christians in the reign of the Emperor Maximinus Thrax, Pontian was arrested and sent to the island of Sardinia. He resigned to make the election of a new pope possible.

Also under this view: during the persecution at the time of Emperor Maximinus Thrax, Hippolytus and Pontian were exiled together in 235 to Sardinia, [9] likely dying in the mines. [7] It is quite probable that, before his death there, he was reconciled to the other party at Rome, for, under Pope Fabian (236–250 AD), his body and that of Pontian were brought to Rome. The so-called Chronography of 354 (more precisely, the Liberian Catalogue ) reports that on August 13, probably in 236, the two bodies were interred in Rome, that of Hippolytus in a cemetery on the Via Tiburtina, [9] his funeral being conducted by Justin the Confessor. This document indicates that, by about 255, Hippolytus was considered a martyr and gives him the rank of a priest, not of a bishop, an indication that before his death the schismatic was received again into the Church. [2] [1]

Maximinus Thrax 3rd-century Roman Emperor

Maximinus Thrax, also known as Maximinus I, was Roman Emperor from 235 to 238.

Sardinia Island in the Mediterranean and region of Italy

Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of the Italian Peninsula and to the immediate south of the French island of Corsica.

Pope Fabian pope

Pope Fabian was the Bishop of Rome from 10 January 236 to his death in 250, succeeding Anterus. He is famous for the miraculous nature of his election, in which a dove is said to have descended on his head to mark him as the Holy Spirit's unexpected choice to become the next pope. He was succeeded by Cornelius.

Legends

The name Hippolytus appears in various hagiographical and martyrological sources of the early churches. The facts about the life of the writer Hippolytus, as opposed to other celebrated Christians who bore the name Hippolytus, were eventually lost in the West, perhaps partly because he wrote in Hellenic Greek. Pope Damasus I dedicated to a Hippolytus one of his famous epigrams, [1] referring to a priest of the Novatianist schism, a view later forwarded by Prudentius in the 5th century in his "Passion of St Hippolytus". In the Passionals of the 7th and 8th centuries he is represented as a soldier converted by Saint Lawrence, a legend that long survived in the Roman Breviary. He was also confused with a martyr of the same name who was buried in Portus, of which city he was believed to have been a bishop, [2] who was put to death by drowning in a deep well. [9]

According to Prudentius' account, a martyr Hippolytus was dragged to death by wild horses, [10] a striking parallel to the story of the mythological Hippolytus, who was dragged to death by wild horses at Athens. He described the subterranean tomb of the saint and states that he saw there a picture representing Hippolytus' execution. He also confirms August 13 as the date on which a Hippolytus was celebrated but this again refers to the convert of Lawrence, as preserved in the Menaion of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The latter account led to a Hippolytus being considered the patron saint of horses. During the Middle Ages, sick horses were brought to St Ippolyts, Hertfordshire, England, where a church is dedicated to him. [11]

Writings

Roman sculpture, maybe of Hippolytus, found in 1551 and used for the attribution of the Apostolic Tradition HippolytusStatue.JPG
Roman sculpture, maybe of Hippolytus, found in 1551 and used for the attribution of the Apostolic Tradition

Controversy surrounds the corpus of the writer Hippolytus. In the Victorian Era, scholars claimed his principal work to be the Refutation of all Heresies . [2] Of its ten books, Book I was the most important. [5] It was long known and was printed (with the title Philosophumena) among the works of Origen. Books II and III are lost, and Books IV–X were found, without the name of the author, [1] in a monastery of Mount Athos in 1842. E. Miller published them in 1851 under the title Philosophumena, attributing them to Origen of Alexandria. Recent scholarship prefers to treat the text as the work of an unknown author, perhaps of Roman origin.

In 1551 a marble statue of a seated figure (originally female, perhaps personifying one of the sciences) was purportedly found in the cemetery of the Via Tiburtina and was heavily restored. On the sides of the seat was carved a paschal cycle, and on the back the titles of numerous writings by Hippolytus. [6] [1] Many other works are listed by Eusebius of Caesarea and Jerome. The research of Guarducci showed the original statue was a representation of a female figure, reopening the question of its original purpose. Allen Brent analyzed the title list of the statue, questioning Hippolytan authorship of some works.

Hippolytus' voluminous writings, which for variety of subject can be compared with those of Origen, embrace the spheres of exegesis, homiletics, apologetics and polemic, chronography, and ecclesiastical law. The Apostolic Tradition, if it is the work of Hippolytus, recorded the first liturgical reference to the Virgin Mary, as part of the ordination rite of a bishop. [12]

Of exegetical works attributed to Hippolytus, the best preserved are the Commentary on the Prophet Daniel and the Commentary on the Song of Songs . [2] This is the earliest attested Christian interpretation of the Song, covering only the first three chapters to Song 3:7.

The commentary on the Song of Songs survives in two Georgian manuscripts, a Greek epitome, a Paleo-Slavonic florilegium, and fragments in Armenian and Syriac as well as in many patristic quotations, especially in Ambrose of Milan's Exposition on Psalm 118 (119). It is generally regarded as an instruction relating to a post-Baptismal rite of anointing with oil as a symbol of receiving the Holy Spirit. The commentary was originally written as part of a mystagogy, an instruction for new Christians. Scholars have usually assumed the Commentary On the Song of Songs was originally composed for use during Passover, a season favored in the West for Baptism. [13] Hippolytus supplied his commentary with a fully developed introduction known as the schema isagogicum, indicating his knowledge of the rhetorical conventions for teachers discussing classical works. [14] He employs a common rhetorical trope, ekphrasis, using images on the walls or floors of Greco-Roman homes, and in the catacombs as paintings or mosaics. [15] Origen felt that the Song should be reserved for the spiritually mature and that studying it might be harmful for the novice.

Older scholars claimed Hippolytus authored a work now entitled the Apostolic Tradition , which contains the earliest known ritual of ordination. [9] The influence of Hippolytus was felt chiefly through his works on chronography and ecclesiastical law. [1] His chronicle of the world, a compilation embracing the whole period from the creation of the world up to the year 234, formed a basis for many chronographical works both in the East and West. [16] [1] It is from the Apostolic Tradition that the current words of episcopal ordination in the Catholic Church come from, as updated by Pope Paul VI.

In the great compilations of ecclesiastical law that arose in the East since the 3rd century, the Church Orders many canons were attributed to Hippolytus, for example in the Canons of Hippolytus or the Constitutions through Hippolytus. How much of this material is genuinely his, how much of it worked over, and how much of it wrongly attributed to him, can no longer be determined beyond dispute, [1] however a great deal was incorporated into the Fetha Negest , which once served as the constitutional basis of law in Ethiopia — where he is still remembered as Abulides. During the early 20th century the work known as The Egyptian Church Order was identified as the Apostolic Tradition and attributed to Hippolytus; presently this attribution is hotly contested.

Differences in style and theology lead some scholars to conclude that some of the works attributed to Hippolytus actually derive from a second author. [2] Two small but potentially important works, On the Twelve Apostles of Christ and On the Seventy Apostles of Christ, are often neglected because the manuscripts were lost during most of the church age and then found in Greece in the 19th century. As most scholars consider them to not have been written by him, they are often ascribed to "Pseudo-Hippolytus". The two are included in an appendix to the works of Hippolytus in the voluminous collection of Early Church Fathers. [17] The work on the 70 apostles is noteworthy as a (potentially) early source.

A consensus of scholarship agrees on a core of authentic texts composed by the second-third century writer Hippolytus, regardless of disputes concerning his community, or the exact dates of his biography: these are the biblical commentaries, including On Daniel, On David and Goliath, On the Song of Songs (partially extant), On the Blessings of Isaac and Jacob, and On the Antichrist. These form a sound basis for exploring and understanding his theology and biblical doctrines.

Eschatology

Hippolytus is an important figure in the development of Christian eschatology. In his biblical compendium and topical study On Christ and the Antichrist and in his Commentary on the Prophet Daniel Hippolytus gave his interpretation of the second advent of Christ. [18]

With the onset of persecutions during the reign of Septimius Severus, many early Christian writers treated topics of apocalyptic eschatology. On Christ and the Antichrist is one of the earliest works. It is thought Hippolytus was generally influenced by Irenaeus. [19] However, unlike Irenaeus, Hippolytus focuses on the meaning of prophecy for the Church in his own time. Of the dogmatic works, On Christ and the Antichrist survives in a complete state and was probably written about 202.

Hippolytus follows the long-established usage in interpreting Daniel's seventy prophetic weeks to be weeks of literal years. Hippolytus gave an explanation of Daniel's paralleling prophecies of chapters 2 and 7, which he, as with the other fathers, specifically relates to the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. His interpretation of events and their significance is Christological. [20] He stated that Rome would be partitioned into ten kingdoms and these in turn would be followed by the rise of the dread Antichrist, who would oppress the saints. This would be ended by Christ's Second Advent, the resurrection of the righteous, and the destruction of said Antichrist. After which would come the judgment and burning up of the wicked. [21]

Hippolytus did not subscribe to the belief that the Second Coming was imminent. [22] He was apparently the first to set a specific date for the second Advent through calculation—AD 500—which was 260 years after his time. He assumed, like Irenaeus his teacher, that inasmuch as God made all things in six days, and these days symbolize a thousand years each, in six thousand years from the creation the end will come. He apparently based his calculation on the Septuagint which had the world beginning about 5500 BC. [23] [24]

Feast days

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the feast day of St Hippolytus falls on August 13, which is also the Apodosis of the Feast of the Transfiguration. Because on the Apodosis the hymns of the Transfiguration are to be repeated, the feast of St. Hippolytus may be transferred to the day before or to some other convenient day. The Eastern Orthodox Church also celebrates the feast of "St Hippolytus Pope of Rome" on January 30, who may or may not be the same individual.

The Roman Catholic Church celebrates St Hippolytus jointly with St Pontian on August 13. The feast of Saint Hippolytus formerly celebrated on 22 August as one of the companions of Saint Timotheus was a duplicate of his 13 August feast and for that reason was deleted when the General Roman Calendar was revised in 1969. [25] Earlier editions of the Roman Martyrology referred to the 22 August Hippolytus as Bishop of Porto. The Catholic Encyclopedia sees this as "connected with the confusion regarding the Roman presbyter resulting from the Acts of the Martyrs of Porto. It has not been ascertained whether the memory of the latter was localized at Porto merely in connection with the legend in Prudentius, without further foundation, or whether a person named Hippolytus was really martyred at Porto, and afterwards confounded in legend with Hippolytus of Rome." [26] This opinion is shared by a Benedictine source. [27]

Earlier editions of the Roman Martyrology also mentioned on 30 January a Hippolytus venerated at Antioch, but the details it gave were borrowed from the story of Hippolytus of Rome. [28] Modern editions of the Roman Martyrology omit all mention of this supposed distinct Saint Hippolytus of Antioch.

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Hippolytus (writer)". Encyclopædia Britannica . 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 519.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Cross 2005
  3. Hippolytus and His Age, Volume I, frontispiece, 1852, p. 424.
  4. Jerome's De Viris Illustribus # 61; cp. Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica vi. 14, 10.
  5. 1 2 "Saint Hippolytus of Rome." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 15 Aug. 2010
  6. 1 2 Kirsch, Johann Peter. "St. Hippolytus of Rome." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 16 February 2016
  7. 1 2 "Hippolytus Romanus", Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature (Henry Wace, ed.), John Murray, London, 1911
  8. Brent, Allen. Hippolytus and the Roman church in the third century : communities in tension before the emergence of a monarch-bishop, 1995, Brill, ISBN   9004102450
  9. 1 2 3 4 Fr. Paolo O. Pirlo, SHMI (1997). "Sts. Pontian & Hippolytus". My First Book of Saints. Sons of Holy Mary Immaculate - Quality Catholic Publications. pp. 179–180. ISBN   978-971-91595-4-4.
  10. John Foxe, Book of Martyrs (E. Hall, 1833) p41.
  11. Ippollitts (A Guide to Old Hertfordshire)
  12. McNally, Terrence, What Every Catholic Should Know about Mary 2009 ISBN   1-4415-1051-6 pages 68–69
  13. Hippolytus' Commentary on Daniel 1.17
  14. Mansfeld 1997 notes Origen's use of the schema, but not Hippolytus'.
  15. Smith, Yancy. The Mystery of Anointing: Hippolytus' Commentary On the Song of Songs in Social and Critical Contexts. Gorgias Studies in Early Christianity and Patristics 62. 2015. ISBN   978-1-4632-0218-7 page 9, 34
  16. The Chronicon of Hippolytus T.C. Schmidt and Nick Nicholas, 2010, second edition (rough draft)
  17. Ante-Nicean Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson and A. Cleaveland Coxe, vol. 5 (Peabody MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1999), 254–6
  18. Dunbar, David G.. “The Delay of the Parousia in Hippolytus”. Vigiliae Christianae 37.4 (1983): 313–327
  19. Dunbar, David G., The Eschatology of Hippolytus of Rome, (Ann Arbor: University Press, 1979)
  20. Daley, Brian. The Hope of the Early Church: A Handbook of Patristic Eschatology, CUP, 1991 ISBN   9780521352581
  21. Froom 1950, p. 271.
  22. Cummings, Owen F., Eucharistic Doctors: A Theological History, Paulist Press, 2005 ISBN   9780809142439
  23. Froom 1950, p. 278.
  24. Hippolytus, On Daniel, ch. 2, 4–6
  25. Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 135
  26. Catholic Encyclopedia:Sts. Hippolytus
  27. Saint of the Day, 22 August
  28. Saint of the Day, 30 January

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References

Further reading