«Wealth is like a Snake»: Money, Martyrdom, Apostasy and Struggle for Power in Early Christian Tradition (1st – early 4th century)

Aleksey Dmitrievich Panteleev phd in history, associate professor, Saint Petersburg State University, Institute of History (7/9 Universitetskaya nab., Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russia)
a.panteleev@spbu.ru

Panteleev A. V. «Wealth is like a Snake»: Money, Martyrdom, Apostasy and Struggle for Power in Early Christian Tradition (1st – early 4th century), Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2023, vol. 12, pp. 180–201.

doi: 10.24412/2308-0698-2022-11-174-193

Language: Russian

The article is devoted to the consideration of questions about how Church writers of the 1st – beginning of the 4th century perceived wealthy Christians, place of the rich Christians in the life of the community, and what dangers were associated with the possession of wealth. Main sources for analysis are the writings of the New Testament, the «Shepherd» of Hermas, the works of Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian and Eusebius of Caesarea. The accusation of rich Christians of a tendency to apostasy, both during persecution and tranquility, is studied. For all these authors, the possession of wealth is a problem. In peace time, wealth distracts from the salvation of the soul and weakens faith, creating the illusion of well-being and security, and forces you to communicate with pagans beyond measure. In times of persecution, wealth tempts you to defect. This attitude is based on their personal practical experience. But apostasy was not the only cause of concern for church hierarchs and intellectuals. The rich Christians could disrupt the normal course of community life, demand special treatment for themselves because of the benefits they provided. There was also a second reason for dissatisfaction with the rich within the community — insubordination to the church authorities. If a rich layman was not satisfied with his position, he could strive for leadership by taking on the role of a priest, or move to a heretical group where it was easier to achieve the desired position. Finally, he could simply loosen his ties with the church without severing them completely.

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Key words: early Christianity, Roman Empire, wealth, poverty, persecution, apostasy

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/en/en-panteleev-2023/

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Cyprian of Carthage: a bishop or an urban elite?

Alekaey Vital’evich Kargaltsev PhD in History, senior lecturer, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia (naberezhnaya reki Moiki, 48/20a, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 191186)
akargaltsev@herzen.spb.ru

Kargaltsev A. V. Cyprian of Carthage: a bishop or an urban elite?, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2022, vol. 10, pp. 212–221.

doi: 10.24412/2308-0698-2022-10-212-221

Language: Russian

The article analyzes the social status of Bishop Cyprian of Carthage as a representative of the urban aristocracy. In our opinion, it was his education and reputation as well as professional skills that predetermined the election of Cyprian as bishop, contrary to the existing church traditions. The head of Carthaginian See used both his authority and wealth to change the position of Christians in the city, especially during the period of the epidemic known as the Plague of Cyprian. Also, he did so and in the matter of church transformations and relationships with other Christian pulpits. Another issue under consideration is the trial of Cyprian in 258. It is shown that although the bishop was sentenced to death, the attitude of the city authorities towards him was fundamentally different in comparison with other clergy of the city. Undoubtedly, the Roman governor perceived him in a friendly way, which was reflected in the type of his imprisonment before the execution, and in the last itself. Moreover, Cyprian retained ties with the urban aristocracy during the period of his episcopacy. Friends were ready to save him from death, which obviously indicates the stability of these ties. Thus, we can talk about a fairly stable social stratum to which the bishop belonged, even during the height of the crisis of the 3rd century. Its representatives could become Christian hierarchs, which explains the transfer of the initiative of anti-Christian persecutions from local authorities, as prescribed by the Edict of Trajan, to the imperial authorities.

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Key words: Christianity, Early Church, Roman Empire, Cyprian of Carthage, persecution, urban space

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/en/kargaltsev-2022-en/

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The religious policy of Septimius Sever in the light of anti-Christian persecution

Alekaey Vital’evich Kargaltsev PhD in History, senior lecturer, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia (naberezhnaya reki Moiki, 48/20a, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 191186)
akargaltsev@herzen.spb.ru

Kargaltsev A. V. The religious policy of Septimius Sever in the light of anti-Christian persecution, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2018, vol. 7, pp. 168–181.

doi: 10.24411/2308-0698-2018-00009

Language: Russian

The name of Emperor Septimius Severus is associated with the tradition of local anti-Christian persecution (202–203), when an edict prohibiting Christian and Jewish proselytism appeared. After that many believers suffered: Perpetua, Felicitas and their comrades in Carthage, Origen’s father, the rhetoric Leonidas, Potamina and Basilides in Alexandria and others — as evidenced by the authentic hagiographic tradition and the messages of Christian historians. However, a detailed consideration of the circumstances of the death of Christian heroes causes considerable difficulties for researchers. If the martyrdom of the Carthaginian Christians is respectively well dated, the time of the death of Alexandrian comrades has been longly discussed in the scientific literature. Although formally Christianity at the beginning of the 3rd century continued to be a «forbidden religion», notable outbreaks of persecution rarely occurred, and the dramatic, according to Christian historians, change in the policy of Septimius Severus regarding the Church deserves special attention. The influence of Eastern cults on the emperor (Dio. LXXVI, 13, 2) or of his fears of possible unrest in the east of the Empire are usually mentioned. The article analyzes the extant evidence of Septimius Severus in the Roman and Christian traditions and answers the questions about the causes and circumstances of the anti-Christian persecution. A detailed analysis of the historiography on the subject is given, with diametrical divergence in the positions of individual researchers being noted. The main attention is paid to the testimony of Tertullian, who, according to the author, in his treatise «On Baptism» gave instructions to catechumens who were in real danger.

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Key words: Christianity, persecution, martyrs, Roman Empire, Septimius Severus

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/kargaltsev-2018-en/

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Martydom of St. Marian and James: Introductory article, Russian translation and commentary

Alexey Vital’evich Kargaltsev, senior lecturer, TheologicalInstitute of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria (der. Kolbino, d. 25a, Leningrad region, Vsevolozhsk district, Russia, 188680)
kargaltsev@gmail.com

Kargaltsev A. V. Martydom of St. Marian and James: Introductory article, Russian translation and commentary, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2013, vol. 2, pp. 208–239.

DOI: 10.24411/2308-0698-2013-00004

Language: Russian

The publication presents a translation of the early Christian hagiographic monument «The Martyrdom of Marian and Jacob» (Passio Sanctorum Mariani et Iacobi) (BHL 131–132) with comments and an introductory article, which dealt with the main issues of authenticity, dating and specifics of the text. The translation is based on the latest edition: The Martyrdom of Marian and James // The Acts of the Christian Martyrs / Ed. by H. Musurillo. Vol. 2. Oxford, 1972. p. 194–213. The focus of the introductory article lays on the problem of the Christian perception of prophetic visions. The work of the Roman authorities during the persecutions of Valerian is analyzed. The “Martyrdom” tells of the events in Numidia in the spring of 259, the history of the arrest, the suffering and the glory of the main characters – Marian and Jacob, and contains a lot of details, revealing the behavior of the Roman authorities and Christians during the persecution. This text is the only source that tells about the death of famous bishops: Agapius and Secundin. Finally, the text in a new way reveals the specifics of dreams and visions, which are one of the most important features of African hagiography. The text, written in exquisite rhetorized language, opens with traditional for African hagiography arguments about the high position of a martyr and about those heavenly rewards that are assumed to be accepted as suffering for Christ.

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Key words: North Africa, Numidia, martyrdom, early Church, Valerian, persecution

Permanent link: http://rcs-almanac.ru/kargaltsev-2013-en/

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«Some of the heresies have a great many martyrs»: Martyrdom in the non-orthodox Christianity (II–III cent.)

Panteleev Alexey Dmitrievich, PhD, assistant professor, Institute of History, Saint-Petersburg State University (Saint-Petersburg, Russia)

a.panteleev@spbu.ru

alpant@hotmail.com

Panteleev A. D. «Some of the heresies have a great many martyrs»: Martyrdom in the non-orthodox Christianity (II–III cent.), Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2014, vol. 3, pp. 234–249.

doi: 10.24411/2308-0698-2014-00011

Language: Russian

This article is a collection of evidences of Christian authors on martyrdom among the 2–3rd century heretics. The main examined groups are Montanists (Quintus (Mart. Pol. 3), Themiso (Eus. HE V, 18, 5), Alexander (Eus. HE V, 18, 6), Eutychian (Mart. Pionii, 11, 2)), Marcionites (Metrodorus (Mart. Pionii, 21, 5–6; Eus. IV, 15, 46), Asclepius (Eus. Mart. Pal. 10, 3)), Monarchians (Praxeas (Tert. Adv. Prax. 1)) and the Gnostics. The first three groups recognized the importance of martyrdom; Gnostics, on the contrary, believed that it wasn’t necessary. Martyrdom played a important role in intra-Church controversy: the presence of the martyrs was to reliably evidence of a true doctrine. Orthodox historical and polemical tradition (Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Eusebius and others) preserved only a few names of martyrs among heretics and almost all references to them are provided with notes and comments aimed to humble their claim to title of martyr or confessor. It can be assumed that in reality their number was greater, and in the polemical literature belonging to heretical groups Church martyrs were similarly criticized. However, according to the author, appearance of Marcionites’ presbyter Metrodorus in “Martyrdom of Pionius” wasn’t due to internal church controversy, but disputes with the Jews. Jews tried to entice away fallen Christians, and this fact became reason for big and angry Pionius’ speech. Marcionites were in the same position, in addition, their doctrine originally was of anti-Jewish character. The presence of a common enemy can explain reference to Metrodorus and hint at his possible salvation (Mart. Pionii 21, 6).
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Key words: early Christianity, persecutions, martyrdom, montanism, Marcion, gnosticism, polemic

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/panteleev-2014-en/

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Christian-Jewish Polemics in the 2nd–3rd centuries and Necromancy (Mart. Pionii 13–14)

Aleksey Dmitrievich Panteleev, PhD in history, assistant professor, Institute of History, Saint-Petersburg State University (Mendeleevskaya linia, dom 5, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 199034)

a.panteleev@spbu.ru

alpant@hotmail.com

Panteleev  A. D. Christian-Jewish Polemics in the II–III centuries and Necromancy (Mart. Pionii 13–14), Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2015, vol. 4, pp. 158–197.

doi: 10.24411/2308-0698-2015-00009

Language: Russian

The article deals with the passage of the “Martyrdom of Pionios the Presbyter and his com-panions” (BHG 1546), where the martyr called Christians who came to him in prison to remain faithful to Christ and not to succumb to the Jews seeking to convert them to their religion. He paid special attention to claim of the Jews that they were able to raise Christ by means of necromancy, and He appeared before them like a common criminal or self-murderer (biothanes). This is compared with a story about raising of Samuel by the witch of Endor for king Saul (1 Sam. 28). The belief in necromancy in the Ancient East and in the Ancient World provided the basis for the credibility of the story both for the Jews and the Christians, but it could be interpreted in different ways. This story attracted attention of Justin, Tertullian, Origenes, Zeno of Verona, st. Ambrose, Augustin, Eustathius of Antioch, Gregory of Nyssa, Evagrius Ponticus and others. Some authors thought, that it was true and it was Samuel himself, the second group decided that it was Samuel, but he raised by the will of the God, and the third group claimed that it was daemon of hell. Pionios linked these two stories for controversy with the Jewish propaganda and preventing apostasy from Christianity. It was necessary both for those who resisted in the time of persecution and for apostates. Pionios said that forced apostasy was the venial sin, but voluntary avoidance of true faith is deadly sin.
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Key words: Early Christianity, persecutions, martyrdom, necromancy, Martyrdom of Pionios

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/panteleev-2015-en/

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