Thraseas

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Saint Thraseas
Martyr and Bishop of Eumenia
Died 170
Smyrna
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church
Canonized Pre-congregation
Feast 5 October

Saint Thraseas (? - 170) was a martyr under the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Prior to his death he served as Bishop of Eumenia, Phrygia, in Asia Minor.

Marcus Aurelius Roman Emperor and philosopher

Marcus Aurelius, called the Philosopher, was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180. He ruled the Roman Empire with his adoptive brother Lucius Verus until Lucius' death in 169. He was the last of the rulers traditionally known as the Five Good Emperors. He is also seen as the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age of relative peace and stability for the Empire. His personal philosophical writings, now commonly known as Meditations, are a significant source of the modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy. They have been praised by fellow writers, philosophers, and monarchs – as well as by poets and politicians – centuries after his death.

Phrygia ancient kingdom in Anatolia

In classical antiquity, Phrygia was first a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now Asian Turkey, centered on the Sangarios River, later a region, often part of great empires.

Contents

Background

Eumenia was a titular see of Phrygia Pacatiana in Asia Minor. The city was founded by Attalus II Philadelphus (159-138 B.C.) at the sources of the Cludrus, near the Glaucus, and named after his brother Eumenes. Numerous inscriptions and many coins remain to show that Eumenia was an important and prosperous city under Roman rule. As early as the third century its population was in great part Christian, and it seems to have suffered much during the persecution of Diocletian. [1]

History

In a synodal letter written by Polycrates of Ephesus about the year 190, he speaks of seven of his relatives who had been bishops before him. Besides these he mentions Polycarp and Papirius of Smyrna, Thraseas of Eumenea, Sagaris of Laodicea and Melito of Sardes (Eusebius, "Hist. Eccles.", v, 24, 2 sq.) [2]

Thraseas was a Quartodeciman Christian leader, in Asia Minor in the second century. Quartodecimans kept Passover on the 14th of Ahib (also known as Nisan), in spite of the preferences of Roman Bishops who preferred a Sunday date which ultimately became Easter Sunday. Eusebius recorded that around 195 A.D. Polycrates of Ephesus, a letter of Polycrates to Pope Victor regarding the dating of Easter. In the letter Thraseas is mentioned chronologically between Polycarp (155) and Sagaris (under Sergius Paulus, 166-7). The date of Thraseas is therefore about 160. [3] Polycrates mentions that Thraseas was among those who observed the Passover on the date that was handed down from scriptures and the Apostle John, and thus, that he did not change to Sunday when some in Rome did. [4] [5]

Some Christians observe a form of the Jewish holiday of Passover. The practice is found among Assemblies of Yahweh, Messianic Jews, and some congregations of the Church of God. It is often linked to the Christian holiday and festival of Easter. Often, only an abbreviated seder is celebrated to explain the meaning in a time-limited ceremony. The redemption from the bondage of sin through the sacrifice of Christ is celebrated, a parallel of the Jewish Passover's celebration of redemption from bondage in the land of Egypt.

Nisan month of the Hebrew calendar

Nisan on the Assyrian calendar is the first month, and on the Hebrew calendar is the first month of the ecclesiastical year and the seventh month of the civil year. The name of the month is of Assyrian-Babylonian origin; in the Torah it is called the month of the Aviv. Assyrians today refer to the month as the "month of happiness." It is a spring month of 30 days. Nisan usually falls in March–April on the Gregorian calendar. In the Book of Esther in the Tanakh it is referred to as Nisan. Karaite Jews interpret it as referring to the month in which barley was ripe.

Eusebius also wrote that Apollonius of Ephesus spoke in his work of Zoticus, who had tried to exorcise Maximilla, but had been prevented by Themison; and of the martyr-Bishop Thraseas, another adversary of Montanism. [6] [7]

Apollonius of Ephesus Greek eccelesiastical writer

Apollonius of Ephesus was an anti-Montanist Greek ecclesiastical writer, probably from Asia Minor.

Although he was from Eumenia, Thraseas was, according to Polycrates and Jerome, martyred in Smyrna. [8]

The Life of Polycarp, attributed to St. Pionius, lists Thraseas of Eumenia, as a martyr who was buried at Smyrna. [9] Mention is made of a burial at the cemetery in Smyrna to the cemetery in front of the Ephesian Royal gate, that took place near where recently a myrtle tree sprung up after the burial of the body of Thraseas the martyr. [10]

See also

Related Research Articles

Easter Festival

Easter, also called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.

Pope Victor I pope

Pope Victor I was Bishop of Rome and hence a pope, in the late second century. He was of Berber origin. The dates of his tenure are uncertain, but one source states he became pope in 189 and gives the year of his death as 199. He was the first bishop of Rome born in the Roman Province of Africa—probably in Leptis Magna. He was later considered a saint. His feast day was celebrated on 28 July as "St Victor I, Pope and Martyr".

Polycarp Christian bishop of Smyrna

Polycarp was a 2nd-century Christian bishop of Smyrna. According to the Martyrdom of Polycarp he died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake, then stabbed when the fire failed to touch him. Polycarp is regarded as a saint and Church Father in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches. His name 'Polycarp' means 'much fruit' in Greek.

Pope Soter pope

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Pope Anicetus pope

Pope Anicetus was the Bishop of Rome from c. 157 to his death in 168. According to the Annuario Pontificio, the start of his papacy may have been 153. Anicetus actively opposed Gnosticism and Marcionism. He welcomed Polycarp of Smyrna to Rome, to discuss the controversy over the date for the celebration of Easter.

Melito of Sardis was the bishop of Sardis near Smyrna in western Anatolia, and a great authority in early Christianity. Melito held a foremost place in terms of Bishops in Asia due to his personal influence on Christianity and his literary works, most of which have been lost but of what has been recovered has provided a great insight into Christianity during the second century. Jerome, speaking of the Old Testament canon established by Melito, quotes Tertullian to the effect that he was esteemed as a prophet by many of the faithful. This work by Tertullian has been lost but Jerome quotes pieces regarding Melito for the high regard in which he was held at that time. Melito is remembered for his work on developing the first Old Testament Canon. Though it cannot be determined what date he was elevated to an episcopacy, it is probable that he was bishop during the arising controversy at Laodicea in regard to the observance of Easter, which resulted in him writing his most famous work, an Apology for Christianity to Marcus Aurelius. Little is known of his life outside what works are quoted or read by Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Eusebius. A letter of Polycrates of Ephesus to Pope Victor about 194 states that "Melito the eunuch [this is interpreted "the virgin" by Rufinus in his translation of Eusebius], whose whole walk was in the Holy Spirit", was buried at Sardis. His feast day is celebrated on April 1.

The Apostolic Fathers were Christian theologians who lived in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, who are believed to have personally known some of the Twelve Apostles, or to have been significantly influenced by them. Their writings, though popular in Early Christianity, were not included in the canon of the New Testament. Many of the writings derive from the same time period and geographical location as other works of early Christian literature which came to be part of the New Testament. Some of the writings found among the Apostolic Fathers appear to have been highly regarded as some of the writings which became the New Testament.

The term "Quartodecimanism" refers to the custom of early Christians celebrating Passover beginning with the eve of the 14th day of Nisan, which at dusk is biblically the "Lord's passover".

Lucian of Antioch Christian martyr, presbyter and theologian

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Saint Apollinaris Claudius, otherwise Apollinaris of Hierapolis or Apollinaris the Apologist, was a Christian leader and writer of the 2nd century.

The Audians or Anthropomorphites were a sect of Christians in the fourth century in Syria and Scythia, named after their founder Audius, who took literally the text of Genesis, i, 27, that God created mankind in his own image.

Polycrates of Ephesus was an Early Christian bishop who resided in Ephesus.

Anthimus of Nicomedia Bishop of Nicomedia

Anthimus of Nicomedia, was the bishop of Nicomedia in Bithynia, where he was beheaded during a persecution of Christians, traditionally placed under Diocletian, in which "rivers of blood" flowed.

The controversy over the correct date for Easter began in Early Christianity as early as the 2nd century AD. Discussion and disagreement over the best method of computing the date of Easter Sunday has been ongoing and unresolved for centuries. Different Christian denominations continue to celebrate Easter on different dates, with Eastern and Western Christian churches being a notable example.

Christianity in the 2nd century Christianity-related events during the 2nd century

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Metropolis of Smyrna

The Metropolis of Smyrna is an ecclesiastical territory (diocese) of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, modern Turkey. The Christian community of Smyrna was one of the Seven Churches of Asia, mentioned by Apostle John in the Book of Revelation. It was initially an archbishopric, but was promoted to a metropolis during the 9th century. Although the local Christian element was reduced during the 14th and 15th centuries, it retained its ecclesiastical autonomy continuously until 1922.

The Martyrdom of Pionius is an account dating from about 300 AD of the martyrdom of a Christian from Smyrna named Pionius. It is also known as The Martyrdom of Pionius the Presbyter and His Companions, The Acts of Pionius, and in Latin as Martyrium Pionii or Passio Pionii. Pionius was a presbyter, and was most likely killed between 249 and 251 AD during the rule of the Roman Emperor Decius. The feast day of Saint Pionius is kept on March 11 in Eastern Orthodox churches, and on February 1 in Roman Catholicism.

References

  1. Pétridès, Sophrone. "Eumenia." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 17 Jan. 2014
  2. Dunin-Borkowski, Stanislaus de. "Hierarchy of the Early Church." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 17 Jan. 2014
  3. Chapman, John. "Montanists." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 17 Jan. 2014
  4. Eusebius. Church History, Book V, Chapter 24. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight
  5. Wace, Henry. "Victor, bishop of Rome", Dictionary of Christian Biography, John Murray, London, 1911
  6. Eusebius. Church History, Book V, Chapter 1
  7. Grey, Francis. "Apollonius of Ephesus." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 17 Jan. 2014
  8. De Viris Illustribus (Jerome) (On Illustrious Men). Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 3. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1892. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight)
  9. Vailhé, Siméon. "Smyrna." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 17 Jan. 2014
  10. Pionius, Life of Polycarp, Chapter 20. Translated by J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 3.2, 1889, pp.488–506