Victorinus of Pettau

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Saint Victorinus of Pettau
Victorinus.jpg
Victorinus on a fresco in the parish church of Nova Cerkev (Slovenia)
Bishop of Poetovio and Martyr
BornLikely in Greece
Died303 or 304 AD
Modern Ptuj (Pettau or Poetovio)
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Orthodox Church
Feast 2 November
Attributes Palm, pontifical vestments

Saint Victorinus of Pettau or of Poetovio (died 303 or 304) was an Early Christian ecclesiastical writer who flourished about 270, and who was martyred during the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian. A Bishop of Poetovio (modern Ptuj in Slovenia; German: Pettau) in Pannonia, Victorinus is also known as Victorinus Petavionensis, Poetovionensis or Victorinus of Ptuj. [1]

Early Christianity Christianity up to 325 CE

Early Christianity developed in the period from Christian origins to the First Council of Nicaea (325). Church historians typically subdivide this period into the Apostolic Age and the Ante-Nicene Period.

Diocletian Augustus of the Eastern Roman Empire

Diocletian, born Diocles, was a Roman emperor from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in Dalmatia, Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become Roman cavalry commander to the Emperor Carus. After the deaths of Carus and his son Numerian on campaign in Persia, Diocletian was proclaimed emperor. The title was also claimed by Carus' surviving son, Carinus, but Diocletian defeated him in the Battle of the Margus.

Ptuj City in Styria, Slovenia

Ptuj is a town in northeastern Slovenia that is the seat of the Municipality of Ptuj. Ptuj, the oldest recorded city in Slovenia, has been inhabited since the late Stone Age and developed from a Roman military fort. Ptuj was located at a strategically important crossing of the Drava River, along a prehistoric trade route between the Baltic Sea and the Adriatic. Traditionally the area was part of the Styria region and became part of the Austria-Hungarian Empire. In the early 20th century the majority of the residents were ethnic Germans, but today the population is largely Slovene. Residents of Ptuj are known as Ptujčani in Slovene.

Contents

Life

Born probably in Greece on the confines of the Eastern and Western Empires or in Poetovio with rather mixed population, due to its military character, Victorinus spoke Greek better than Latin, which explains why, in St. Jerome's opinion, his works written in the latter tongue were more remarkable for their matter than for their style. [2] Bishop of the City of Pettau, he was the first theologian to use Latin for his exegesis.

Greece republic in Southeast Europe

Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, also known as Hellas, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2018; Athens is the nation's capital and largest city, followed by Thessaloniki.

Byzantine Empire Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages

The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural and military force in Europe. "Byzantine Empire" is a term created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire, or Romania (Ῥωμανία), and to themselves as "Romans".

Western Roman Empire Independently administered western provinces of the Roman Empire

In historiography, the Western Roman Empire refers to the western provinces of the Roman Empire at any time during which they were administered by a separate independent Imperial court; in particular, this term is used to describe the period from 395 to 476, where there were separate coequal courts dividing the governance of the empire in the Western and the Eastern provinces, with a distinct imperial succession in the separate courts. The terms Western Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire are modern descriptions that describe political entities that were de facto independent; contemporary Romans did not consider the Empire to have been split into two separate empires but viewed it as a single polity governed by two separate imperial courts as an administrative expediency. The Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476, and the Western imperial court was formally dissolved in 480. The Eastern imperial court survived until 1453.

His work is in the main exegetical. Victorinus composed commentaries on various books of Holy Scripture, such as Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Habakkuk, Ecclesiastes, the Canticle of Canticles, St. Matthew, and the Apocalypse, besides treatises against the heresies of his time. All that has survived is his Commentary on Apocalypse [3] and the short tract On the construction of the world (De fabrica mundi). [4] .

Book of Genesis first book of the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament

The Book of Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament, is Judaism's account of the creation of the world and the origins of the Jewish people.

Book of Exodus Second book of the Bible

The Book of Exodus is the second book of the Bible and describes the Exodus, which includes the Israelites' deliverance from slavery in Egypt through the hand of Yahweh, the revelations at biblical Mount Sinai, and the subsequent "divine indwelling" of God with Israel.

Book of Isaiah book of the Bible

The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible and the first of the Major Prophets in the Christian Old Testament. It is identified by a superscription as the words of the 8th-century BCE prophet Isaiah ben Amoz, but there is extensive evidence that much of it was composed during the Babylonian captivity and later. Bernhard Duhm originated the view, held as a consensus through most of the 20th century, that the book comprises three separate collections of oracles: Proto-Isaiah, containing the words of Isaiah; Deutero-Isaiah, the work of an anonymous 6th-century BCE author writing during the Exile; and Trito-Isaiah, composed after the return from Exile. While virtually no scholars today attribute the entire book, or even most of it, to one person, the book's essential unity has become a focus in more recent research. Isaiah 1–33 promises judgment and restoration for Judah, Jerusalem and the nations, and chapters 34–66 presume that judgment has been pronounced and restoration follows soon. It can thus be read as an extended meditation on the destiny of Jerusalem into and after the Exile.

Victorinus was a firm believer in the millennium. [5] He was also much influenced by Origen. [6] His works were ranked with the apocrypha in the decree, later attributed to Pope Gelasius I, which excluded and anathematized them with that of many other early fathers. That is to say they were not considered free of error. [7] By contrast, St. Jerome gives him an honourable place in his catalogue of ecclesiastical writers. Jerome occasionally cites the opinion of Victorinus (in Eccles. iv. 13; in Ezech. xxvi. and elsewhere), but considered him to have been affected by the opinions of the Chiliasts or Millenarians. [8]

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".

Apocrypha Works of unknown authorship or of doubtful origin

Apocrypha are works, usually written, of unknown authorship or of doubtful origin. Biblical apocrypha are a set of texts included in the Latin Vulgate and Septuagint but not in the Hebrew Bible. While Catholic tradition considers some of these texts to be deuterocanonical, Protestants consider them apocryphal. Thus, Protestant bibles do not include the books within the Old Testament but have sometimes included them in a separate section, usually called the Apocrypha. Other non-canonical apocryphal texts are generally called pseudepigrapha, a term that means "false attribution".

Pope Gelasius I pope

Pope Saint Gelasius I was the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church from 1 March AD 492 to his death on 19 November 496. He was probably the third and final Bishop of Rome of Berber descent. Gelasius was a prolific author whose style placed him on the cusp between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. His predecessor Felix III employed him especially in drafting Papal documents. During his pontificate he called for strict Catholic orthodoxy, more assertively demanded obedience to Papal authority, and, consequently, increased the tension between the Western and Eastern Churches.

According to Jerome, Victorinus died a martyr in 304. [9] He is commemorated in both the Eastern and Western Churches on 2 November. Until the 17th century he was sometimes confused with the Latin rhetorician, Victorinus Afer.

Eastern Christianity Christian traditions originating from Greek- and Syriac-speaking populations

Eastern Christianity comprises church families that developed outside the Occident, with major bodies including the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, the Eastern Catholic churches, and the denominations descended from the Church of the East.

Western Christianity Religious category composed of the Latin Church, Protestantism, and their derivatives

Western Christianity is a branch of Christianity, composed of the Latin Church and Protestantism, together with their offshoots such as Independent Catholicism and Restorationism. The large majority of the world's 2.1 billion Christians are Western Christians. The original and still major part, the Latin Church, developed under the bishop of Rome in the former Western Roman Empire in Antiquity. Out of the Latin Church emerged a wide variety of independent Protestant denominations, including Lutheranism and Anglicanism, starting from the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, as did Independent Catholicism in the 19th century. Thus, the term "Western Christianity" does not describe a single communion or religious denomination, but is applied to distinguish all these denominations collectively from Eastern Christianity.

Commentary on the Apocalypse

The commentary was composed not long after the Valerian Persecution, about 260. According to Claudio Moreschini, "The interpretation is primarily allegorical, with a marked interest in arithmology." [10] "It seems that he did not give a running commentary on the entire text but contented himself with a paraphrase of selected passages." [11]

Claudio Moreschini is an Italian expert in Classical Philology, Platonism and Patristics, often approaching early Christian authors from a literary perspective. After initial studies at the University of Pisa and at the Scuola Normale Superiore in the same city, Moreschini studied at Oxford, notably with E.R.Dodds and Eduard Fraenkel to whom he acknowledges a special debt.

Victorinus was apparently the first of the Church Fathers to ascertain the basic notion of repetition – that the Apocalypse is not one uninterrupted and developing line of prophecy, but rather that various subdivisions run parallel with each other. And he saw that the theme of the soon coming Second Advent was a continuous thread of thought throughout the Apocalypse. [12]

He wrote of the seven churches as representing seven classes of Christians within the church. The seven seals are explained as constituting a prophetic fore view of the spread of the gospel throughout the world. In connection with the Second Advent and the end of the world he looked for wars, famines, pestilences and persecution of the church.

The crowned rider of the four horsemen seated upon the white horse, going forth "conquering, and to conquer," is interpreted as prophetic of Christ's church going forth on its victorious mission, the triumph of Christianity over paganism. The red horse is explained as "coming wars," predicted as salient events preceding the end. The black horse, Victorinus avers, signifies "famines" in the time of the Antichrist. The pale horse meant "coming destructions." [13]

The angel with the seal in chapter 7 symbolizes Elias the prophet as the "precursor of the times of Antichrist." Then comes the kingdom of Antichrist and finally the angel reapers smite the kingdom of Antichrist delivering the saints. [14]

The great red dragon with seven heads of chapter 12 he sees as Rome, from which springs Antichrist in the last times, amid the ten horns. The Antichrist springs from the battle in heaven, and the expulsion and his earthly domination foIlow the three and half years of Elijah's preaching." [15]

The first and second angels of Revelation 14 are the predicted Elias and Jeremiah, witnessing before the Second Advent and end of the world, ushering in the eternal kingdom. The leopard beast of Revelation 14 signifies the kingdom of the time of Antichrist. Victorinus considers the 666 of verse 18 as the computation of letters, each of which comprise the equivalent number, of an assortment of possible names.

After the seven plagues of the last days in Revelation 15, Babylon, in Revelation 17, is identified as Rome seated upon her "seven hills," drunk with the blood of martyrs. The seven heads of the seven-hilled Rome are believed, in their immediate application, to represent seven emperors, the sixth being Domitian, with the eighth who is "of the seven," as Nero. [16] The ten horns of Daniel 7 are equated with those of the Apocalypse, with three of the kings killed by the Antichrist." [17]

Works

See also

Footnotes

  1. Erroneously, based on some bad manuscripts, also as Victorinus Pictaviensis. He was long thought to have belonged to the Diocese of Poitiers (France).
  2. Clugnet, Léon. "St. Victorinus." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 10 August 2018
  3. 1 2 "CHURCH FATHERS: Commentary on the Apocalypse (Victorinus)".
  4. 1 2 "CHURCH FATHERS: On the Creation of the World (Victorinus)".
  5. Tixeront, J., A Handbook of Patrology, (S. A. Raemers, trans.), St. Louis, Missouri, B. Herder Book Co., 1920, p. 135
  6. Bardenhewer, Otto. Patrology: The Lives and Works of the Fathers of the Church, B. Herder, 1908, p. 227
  7. "The Development of the Canon of the New Testament - The Decretum Gelasianum".
  8. Wilson, H.A., "Victorinus", Dictionary of Christian Biography, (Henry Wace, ed.), John Murray, London, 1911
  9. Butler, Alban. "St. Victorinus, Bishop Martyr", The Lives of the Saints, 1866
  10. Moreschini, Claudio and Norelli, Enrico. Early Christian Greek and Latin Literature, Vol. 1, Baker Academic, 2005, ISBN   978-0801047190, p. 397
  11. Quasten, Johannes. Patrology, Vol. 2, Thomas More Pr; (1986), ISBN   978-0870611414, p. 413
  12. Froom 1950, p. 338.
  13. Froom 1950, p. 339.
  14. Froom 1950, p. 340.
  15. Froom 1950, p. 342.
  16. Froom 1950, p. 343.
  17. Froom 1950, p. 344.

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