The unity of the Church in the Divine Eucharist and the Bishop as a fundamental historical question

Throughout the entire period of the first three centuries, unity was bound up at the deepest level with the faith, the prayers and the activities of the Church. St John's Gospel reflects this fact when it presents the unity of the Church as an agonized petition in the prayer of the Lord.1 The Acts of the Apostles expresses the same reality when they emphatically stress unity as the element characteristic of the Church's life in her first years2 while the existence of a "theology of unity" at a period as early as that of St Paul's Epistles3 cannot be interpreted otherwise than as an indication of the importance which the Church from the beginning attached to her unity. During the years following apostolic times, the Church regarded her unity as a matter of constant concern and an object of vehement faith. The texts of the so-called Apostolic Fathers present the unity of the Church as an object of teaching, and something for which they struggled against every divisive force.4 Around the end of the second century, Irenaeus attempts in a work especially devoted to the subject to show that the Church was and has been preserved as one,5 and that unity constitutes the necessary condition for her existence.6  A few generations later, St Cyprian devotes a special study to the subject of church unity7 while in the various creedal documents, unity early assumes the character of an article of faith.8

Once one sees the tremendous importance of unity for the Church of the first three centuries, the question arises for history - was this unity a historical reality, or was there simply an unfulfilled desire and a nostalgic quest for a unity which proved in reality a perpetually and increasingly unattainable ideal? As we shall see below, almost all modern historiography has contributed through its various theses to a picture of the Church of the first three centuries as a society from the first deeply divided in such a way as to create the impression that schism was an innate part of the Church organism.

There are thus two aspects to the overall theme of the unity of the Church. One concerns the ideal or the teaching of the early Church concerning her unity. The other concerns what the Church experienced as unity during the period under examination. The first theme may be characterized as the theology of unity as it was conceived and formulated by the early Church. The second constitutes the history of unity, as it can be reconstructed from study of the sources with the aid of objective historical research.

It is precisely within the context of this historical problem of the existence and form of unity in the Church that the subject of the present work finds its place. If, during the highly critical first three centuries examined here, the Church experienced her unity as a historical reality, what was the significance of the Eucharist and the Bishop who led it for the expression of this reality? Church historiography in recent years has attached no importance to this question. If we follow its development, we shall be amazed at the lack of any kind of historical study of this subject even in recent years when church unity has occupied a central place in theological concerns. Why, when so much has been written about unity, has virtually nothing been written specifically about unity in the Eucharist and in the Bishop? This perplexing omission has a substantial influence on the importance of our theme. For this reason it is necessary by way of introduction to look at the reasons for this position taken by modern historiography on the subject under examination before going on to define the presuppositions underlying our own research.

If we attempt to penetrate quite deeply into the body of Western Theology in recent years, we shall discover that its writing of church history is still working within schemes and presuppositions the foundations of which were laid down in the last century without really having been revised since in the light of more recent data. These schemes and presuppositions within which unity in the Eucharist and in the Bishop can find no place might be summarized as follows on the basis of a critical review of the principal positions adopted by modern historiography.

a) Under the influence of the Tübingen School which looked at primitive Christianity through the lens of idealism, as a projection of certain ideas and values in history, the unity of the Church was placed on foundations such that it was natural for the Eucharist and the Bishop to be wholly absent. In the whole conception of the subject of church unity, it is ideas that dominate. Through being placed in the framework of the Hegelian scheme of the philosophy of history, the whole question of church unity was presented as a synthesis of ideological currents which had long been fighting each other. Well-known is the theory of F. G Bauer and the Tübingen School. According to which, on the basis of St Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, early Christianity exhibited the form thesis-antithesis-synthesis. The first two elements being represented respectively by the "Jewish Christianity" of the Church of Jerusalem and the "Hellenizing Christianity" of Paul, and the synthesis being achieved only in the person of Irenaeus.9 This approach to the subject of unity in early Christianity has been maintained by church historians of the generations following Bauer even to this day. It is noteworthy that distinguished modern historians continue to talk about deep and unbridgeable divisions between a movement led by Paul on the one hand, and another led by the Twelve and in particular Peter and James in Jerusalem,10 while the conclusion is emphatically drawn that "there were Christianities before there was one Christianity" - unity having appeared as the result of a dialectical development only around the end of the second century.11 Even the strong reaction in our own day against the Tübingen  theories about Paul's "Hellenism" and the "Judaism" of Peter and the others was working within just the same framework of the scheme marked out by Tübingen  with its antithesis between "Judaizing" and "Hellenizing" Christianity.12 It is Christianity were not in a position to draw the forces decisive for its formation from itself as a third agent independent of Judaism and Hellenism alike.13

This idealist view of the essence of Christianity misled church historiography into the antithetical scheme of Judaism versus Hellenism something which was alien to the mentality of the primitive Church,14 while at the same time providing a point of departure for the extreme theories of the supposed original prevalence of heresy in the Church 15 and the division of early Christianity into groups which coexisted for a long time despite their fundamental differences in faith.16 Of course, confronting such theories is not part of the purpose of this study, but they have come in for serious criticism even among Protestant historians.17 What is of great importance for us is that behind these theories lies the notion that the unity of the Church consists essentially in a synthesis of ideas. It is precisely this assumption that explains why modern church history in its study of the unity of the Church attaches almost no significance to the person of the Lord and union with Him through the Eucharist.

b) In parallel with the idealism of Tübingen , the subject of the Church's unity also came to be strongly influenced by the school of A. Harnack, who introduced a different antithetical scheme destined, as it proved in retrospect, to have a profound effect on church historiography and one which has yet to be redressed. This scheme consists in the antithesis between "localism" and "universalism" which is another form of the antithesis between individual and totality. Thus the unity of the Church was conceived of and posed as a question within the context of these antithetical schemes. And for Harnack and the pricipal Protestant historians after him,18 placing the question in this context led to the view that the whole evolution of the Church's unity passed first through individualism19  and then through localism so as to end up as a world-wide organization.20 For Roman Catholic historiography which was represented by early the great historian P. Batiffol, an author of a notable work 21 countering the views on unity of Sohm and Harnack, unity consisted in submission of the individual to the authority of the clergy on the one hand, and on the other, in the world-wide character of the Church with Rome at its center.22

Thus Protestant and Roman Catholic historiography alike viewed the unity of the Church through the lens of these antitheses, and have not been able to free themselves from them completely even today.23 This has had the result that for Protestant and Roman Catholic historians alike, the unity and catholicity of the Church is essentially identified with the universality of the Church and her Romanization 24 with the further consequence that the Protestants place the "catholicizing" of the Church as late as possible, as if catholicity were something bad for the essential nature of Christianity.25

This view of the unity and catholicity of the Church was to the detriment of an understanding of the spirit and mind of the early Church. Oppositions between individual and totality or between localism and universality were never predominant in the mentality of the early Church, 26 but were products of modern ideals of human rights and cosmopolitanism. Harnack's transference of these schemes to the study of the early Church, and the faithful continuation of the dialogue between Protestants and Roman Catholics on church unity within this same context, have imposed on research the blinders which have not allowed proper priority to be given to the unity of the Church in the Divine Eucharist and the bishop who leads it.

c) All this happened at a time when, and perhaps because, the Divine Eucharist and the bishop had long since ceased to be connected either with each other, or with the essence of the Church and her unity, in the consciousness of Western theology. To believe that the bishop is an instrument of the Church indispensable for her administration, is a different matter from connecting him with the nature of the Church and ascribing ecclesiological content to the institution of bishops. Again, it is one thing to say that the Eucharist is indispensable as one of the "seven sacraments" of the Church, and quite another to regard it as the supreme revelation of the Church herself. Only if we regard the Eucharist as the revelation of the Church in her ideal and historical unity, and the bishop first and foremost as the leader and head of the eucharist assembly which unites the Church of God in space and time, do we recognize in each of these their profound ecclesiological content.

But Western theology, since scholasticism, had ceased to see things in this way. Relegated to the order of the "seven sacraments" the Eucharist became one means among many to human salvation,27 being considered in an individualistic sense,28 rather than the very expression of salvation which essentially consists in the union of man with God in Christ.29 And the bishop, divorced from his principal task of leading the Eucharist and becoming a mainly administrative figure, was necessarily divorced also from the ecclesiological content of the Eucharist.

The state of Western theology in modern times, as set out with all possible brevity in the foregoing three points, explains, we believe, the curious fact that all modern theological study on the unity of the Church has to such an extent overlooked what ought to be the starting-point for such study: the unity of the Church in the Divine Eucharist and in the bishop.

The recognition of unity in the Eucharist and the bishop as the starting-point for any historical research on the unity of the Church follows automatically once historical research frees itself from the antithetical schemes outlined above, and looks at the unity of the Church in the light of certain basic ecclesiological assumptions whose importance is now increasingly   being   recognized.   As   to   the   scheme "Judaism-Hellenism" and the relation between individual and totality, there is already evident particularly in Orthodox theology, the tendency to avoid the extremes 30 which turn these relationships into antitheses.31 While as to the relationship between universality and localism, although the question has yet to be dealt with in its fundamentals 32 there can be seen a tendency for Orthodox theology, too to become embroiled in the dilemma placed before us when this relationship is presented as an antithesis.33 As to the ecclesiological principles which have been given particular prominence of late and make it difficult if not impossible to view the unity of the Church through the lens of the foregoing schemes and assumptions, we shall confine ourselves to the following basic remarks.

An ecclesiological view, which is increasingly prevalent, today, holds that the first appearance and the essence of the Church — and consequently also of her unity, since Church without unity is, in principle and theoretically at least, inconceivable - should be placed not at the time when people first consciously turned to Christ and their first community was formed, i.e. on the day of the Pentecost, as was once believed, but before that.34 For, as is also strongly stressed today, the essence of Christianity and the Church should be sought in the very person of the Lord35 on which the Church was founded.36 But if this principle is accepted, then the revelation in Christ ceases to be a system of ideas as the Tübingen  School conceived it, and becomes a truth ontological in character.37 Accordingly, what is paramount in ecclesiology is not this or that doctrine, idea or value revealed by the Lord, but the very person of Christ and man's union with Him. In this way, the Church is described as Christ Himself, the whole Christ in Augustine's apt phrase,38 while ecclesiology ceases to be a separate chapter for theology and becomes an organic chapter of Christology.39

Once ontology thus takes precedence over ideology or systems of values in an ecclesiology which is understood Christologically, this makes it impossible to study the unity of the Church within the framework of the antitheses introduced by F.C. Baur, R.Sohm, A.Harnack etc.. If the unity of the Church is to be firstly regarded as a unity in the person of Christ; as an incorporation in Him and an augmenting or edification of Him, then the starting-point is a different one. The starting-point of research on the unity of the Church will no longer belong to the aforementioned antithetic schemes.

This Christological view of the mystery of the Church also renders impossible any research on the unity of the Church, in the context of a Spirit-centred Ecclesiology;40  an Ecclesiology which is at risk of becoming a “Charismatic Sociology”41 . In an Ecclesiology of this kind, the unity of the Church is at risk of becoming confined to a societas fidei et Spiritus sanctus in cordibus42.  This observation does not signify that the Holy Spirit or the entire Holy Trinity do not have a primary place in Ecclesiology, because undoubtedly the Holy Trinity comprises the supreme source of the Church43  The issue is a different one, and it pertains to our starting-point as regards how we view the Church and Her unit:  What is correct?  To begin with the phenomenon of the Church as a “society”? Or to begin with the meaning of “the person of Christ as the Incarnate Logos, Who includes the “many” “in Him”?

This question is of an opportune importance for research into the unity of the Church, because in the first instance, this question leads to a Spirit-centred Ecclesiology; an Ecclesiology in which the church is perceived as: “The Body of Christians” “in the Holy Spirit”, whereas in the second instance, the Church is perceived as: “The Body of Christ” in an ontological sense.

But if the Christological concept of the Church is accepted, an extremely important consequence appears automatically, for the research on the unity of the Church: the need to regard this unity above all mystically; in other words, it has to be regarded as an incorporation of people “In Christ”. This, for historical research, signifies an obligation: to begin with the question “How was this incorporation of the people in the person of Christ expressed, topically  and temporally? And especially after His Ascension into heaven?” However, this precise question that the Christological (and subsequently mystic) perception of the Church leads to, on its own denotes a necessity: that all historical research regarding the unity of the ancient Church must begin from the Divine Eucharist.

To regard the Divine Eucharist as the par excellence perceptible topical and temporal incorporation of the Church “in Christ”, indeed constitutes an imperative prerequisite for all research on the unity of the Church. Given that “only during the sacrament of the divine Eucharist do we have a certain perceptible portrayal of the mystic union and incorporation of Christ with the faithful members of His Body who are in communion with Him”44 as has been appropriately observed, the close association between Eucharist and unity of the Church is already broadly acknowledged, especially among Orthodox Theologians.45  And this has led some to the point of fully and exclusively relating the Church and the Eucharist. We can see this, in the so-called Eucharistic Ecclesiology46, whose chief representatives nowadays are N. Afanassieff êáé Á. Schmemann.47  Undoubtedly, the stressing of the ecclesiological character of the Eucharist, but also of the Eucharistic character of the church48, are both a significant, positive element; one that cannot leave the historian of the unity of the Church indifferent. However, we are limiting ourselves here to merely stressing this fact only, and reserve the right to place this theory under the scrutiny of the general conclusions of our research.

However, we are obliged – while acknowledging this positive element of a Eucharistic Ecclesiology – to beware of the underlying danger of onesidedness49, given that onesidedness can prove to be damaging, for Historical research. Undoubtedly, the unity of the Church is expressed in place and time by the par excellence perceptible incorporation of the faithful “in Christ”, and this indeed occurs in a truly unique manner, in the Eucharist. However, the notion of the church and its unity are not fully covered by a Eucharistic unity, without any prerequisites whatsoever. The church has always felt Herself united in other things also: in faith50, in love51, in the one Baptism52, in the holiness of life, etc. And it is true of course that all these things had been incorporated in the Eucharist53 from a very early stage.  This is a fact which denotes the primacy that the Church acknowledges in the Eucharist as a unifying factor; and not only that. It also proves that the Eucharist cannot be studied as an isolated object, separated from the contents of ecclesiastic life as a whole and its influence on the whole of man's life in the Church and in the world.54 If, however, we decide for methodological reasons to isolate the Eucharist as the primary factor in unity and trace it through history, as we propose to do here, we need to be constantly aware that in so doing we restrict ourselves to just one part of the large subject of the unity of the Church.55 In this way, we shall avoid the danger of onesidedness inherent in the recognition, correct in principle, of the ecclesiological character of the Eucharist.

When the historian looks at the Eucharist as the supreme incorporation of the Church in Christ in space and time,56 this necessarily leads to an examination also of the bishop as the center of unity in each Church. Historical research views the Eucharist not simply as a vertical communion of each of the faithful with God in Christ, but also as a horizontal union of the members of the Church with each other through which each person's communion with God necessarily has to pass being, thus, made into an ecclesial expression instead of an individual one. For this reason, the Eucharist is examined by the historian not so much as a thing,57 but rather as an action: not so much as a communion in "holy things," but rather as a "communion of saints" (i.e. of "holy people"),58 expressed as such through the eucharistic synaxis of which the visible center and head has always been the bishop, as the one who "presides" and "offers."

This connection of the bishop with the Eucharist and of both with the unity of the Church becomes even more necessary in view of the fact that the whole canonical unity of the Church, which, being concerned mainly with the Church's outward life on earth, is of immediate concern to historical research, cannot in principle be understood apart from the Divine Eucharist.59 It is no accident that although the Church detached from the Eucharist many sacraments which were at one time connected with it, she never did this with entry into the priesthood. Transmission of priesthood, or the consolidation and continuation of the canonical unity of the Church outside the Eucharist, was and has remained inconceivable. Thus the bishop, understood not just as the visible head of the eucharistic assembly but also as the sole transmitter of priesthood in the Church and in this way the expression and guard of canonical unity, remains for the historian indissolubly bound up with the Eucharist when this is understood principally as an assembly "in the same place" (epi to auto),60 expressing in space and time the unity of the Church of God.

The foregoing remarks outline not only the fundamental significance of unity in the Eucharist and the bishop for historical research into the unity of the Church, but also the way in which our subject is to be approached. Our theme is in principle historical, since it looks at the unity of the Church not as an ideal or an object of teaching, but as something in the Church's experience, and indeed during a particular period in the past. But because history is bound up with the factor of development, the unity of the Church, looked at historically, must therefore be studied as something that is developing as a dynamic rather than a static reality operating within space and time and subject to the fundamental laws of history. In consequence, it will have to be a basic principle of methodology to examine the sources by the simple historical method of tracing development in space and time which is also the most reliable.61

Nevertheless, the history of the Church is not ordinary history and is not ultimately determined by the usual course of human affairs. The character of church history is composite, both theological and secular,62 just as the nature of the Church is composite, both divine and human. As a theandric reality the Church preserves her essence unchanged even though she operates in space and time.63 This is especially true of those aspects of her history which bear a direct and organic relation to her very essence. One such is her unity or catholicity which frequently coincides with the very concept of the Church.64 In consequence, the historian studying the unity of the Church should not be content with establishing the facts and their developments. Behind the motion of the Church's "becoming," he needs to discover her stable being, in other words, the fundamental ecclesiological principles through which the essence of the Church is preserved unchanged.65

In consequence, investigation of our theme will be approached in two ways. The initial question will be: what exactly happened, what events go to make up the unity of the Church which we are examining and what developments have they seen during the period under investigation? To this end, the sources will be examined in strict chronological order. Comparisons of texts according to period and content will be essential so as to ascertain what developments may have taken place. A similar observation of events place by place will necessitate comparison of sources so as to ascertain whether the information they give us represents the situation in only one locality or in more. In this way, we shall attempt to determine whether, when and in what way the unity of the Church in the Eucharist and the bishop constituted an historical reality. But in parallel with this task and for the reasons explored above, the historical events must also be placed under the light of ecclesiological principles - they must be evaluated ecclesiologically. In particular, the fundamental burning issue facing us is whether and in what way the oneness and catholicity of the Church contained in her essence were preserved beneath the surface of the various historical events and developments. If and to what extent, for example, the forms and institutions through which unity around the bishop and Eucharist was expressed or shaped in history are constructs of passing significance serving a particular purpose, and capable of being replaced when the needs of the time require it; or whether on the contrary they are organically connected with the essence of the Church, as inescapable consequences of ecclesiological principles.

Such a linkage of historical events with ecclesiological principles makes our research exceedingly difficult because, as has already been stressed, the existing sources especially from the first centuries do not provide us with definitions and theories concerning the unity of the Church, and besides, these sources are so few and fragmentary66 as to make the first three centuries the most difficult period of history to research. It is essential, then, to use all existing sources67 and to make a special effort to ascertain the ecclesial consciousness at work behind events and texts which at first glance bear no relation to the unity of the Church. For this reason, the various liturgical and canonical regulations will prove exceptionally useful for our work. We must add to this that we are not examining the subject of unity dogmatically and systematically, and in consequence we should not look for answers to all our questions about the unity of the Church, but only to those which are answered by the historical sources. It is, therefore, natural that our research will often appear deficient in the eyes of systematic theology, but this will be because the sources themselves which ought not to be forced have nothing to say about our questions.68

The questions encompassed by our theme as they appear from the sources of the first three centuries, can be grouped under three main headings. Firstly, we must examine the general presuppositions underlying the formation of each Church into a unity in the Eucharist and the bishop.69 The fundamental question here is this: in the consciousness of the primitive Church, how were the Eucharist and the bishop connected with the Church and her unity? In order for there to develop, in the post-Apostolic period and later, the strong consciousness expressed by Ignatius of Antioch that each Church finds her unity and fullness in the one Eucharist "under the leadership of the bishop," this must have been preceded by a consolidation of the relationship between Eucharist, bishop and Church. The first part of our study will be devoted to the investigation of precisely this relationship in the consciousness of the first Apostolic Churches. More specifically, in the two chapters of Part I we shall examine (Chapter 1) the relationship of the Eucharist to the Church, and (Chapter 2) the relationship of the bishop to the Eucharist in the years up to and including Ignatius.

The second set of questions which will be examined in Part II of our study has to do with the actual formation of the early Church into a unity in the Eucharist and the bishop, and the implications of this fundamental event for the formation of the early Catholic Church. Here we encounter many questions of an historical and ecclesiological nature. The principle, laid down by Ignatius, of one Eucharist and one bishop in each Church, gives rise to the serious historical problem of whether, in the period under examination, this principle actually corresponded to historical reality, or whether it is simply an exhortation on Ignatius' part.

This problem is compounded if one takes into account the existence of "household Churches" and of Christians in country areas. How is it possible that all the Christians of one Church came together for one Eucharist under the bishop when there existed on the one hand "household churches" usually regarded as being several semi-official eucharistic assemblies within one and the same city, and on the other, Christians in the villages who were far away from the city and could not, therefore, participate in the Eucharist under the bishop? Furthermore, it should be investigated whether this principle applied to all geographical areas, given certain indications in Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History that some places, such as Egypt, Pontus etc., had their own organization. These questions will be looked at in the first chapter of Part II. Following on from this, the second chapter will deal with the question of ecclesiological concern: what were the implications of unity in the Eucharist and the bishop for the emergence and establishment of the consciousness concerning a "Catholic Church"? Here the problems that arise are immense. It will be necessary first to determine the content of the term "Catholic Church" as it appears in the sources from the years we are studying, and not as it came to be defined in later times. The content of this term will have to provide the basis for examining the relation of Eucharist and bishop to the consciousness of a "Catholic Church" at that period. Thus, we shall try on the basis of the sources to throw light on the main theme of our study; the significance of unity in the Eucharist and the bishop for the formation of the early Catholic Church. Questions such as the catholicity of each episcopal Church and it relationship with the "Catholic Church throughout the world"70 and with schism and heresy, will come up in this second part of our study.

Finally, the third set of questions is dictated by the developments over time of the initial unity of the Church in one Eucharist centered on the bishop. Because, as is obvious from the situation prevailing in the Church today, the original gathering of each Church into one Eucharist under the bishop at some point ceased to exist. Its place was taken by the institution of parishes which signalled the breakup of the one episcopocentric eucharistic assembly into many assemblies headed by presbyters. This led to the weakening of the originally indissoluble link between bishop and Eucharist. Thus the Eucharist, from being the business of the episcopate par excellence,71 was later (it remains to be seen when) largely transformed into the principle task of the parish and the presbyter. While the bishop, from being par excellence the "president" of the Eucharist, was largely transformed into an administrator and coordinator of the life of the parishes. This event, one of the most momentous in the history of the Church, has yet to receive from scholars the attention it deserves.72

Thus we should look in vain for a historical study of when and how the parish arose in history. We shall have to deal with this thorny problem in the first chapter of Part III. This chapter will present the problem of the transition from one eucharistic assembly to many, as this appears from comparative study of the texts, and will go on to examine how the ground was prepared for the parishes historically and when they finally appeared. Beyond this, however, we have to touch on the delicate subject of the ecclesiological implications of this event which likewise have not been examined to date. This is to pose the question: how did the early Church receive the proliferation of eucharistic assemblies at a time when she had a firmly established sense that the one Eucharist under the leadership of the bishop unites the whole people of God in a given place "in the unity of God and of the episcopate"? Did the breakup of the one Eucharist not mean breaking up the unity in each Church? This question leads directly into the fundamental question of the relationship which exists between the parish and the unity of the diocese. Did the parish appear in history as a self-contained and ecclesiologically self-sufficient unity within the diocese? To this crucial question, we shall attempt to give an answer in the second chapter of Part 3 as far as the sources from the period under examination permit. Given that the fourth century marks a watershed in these developments, as will be established in the appropriate place, in conjunction with the fact that with St Cyprian the consciousness concerning the unity and catholicity of the Church reaches the stage of full and explicit maturity, our whole study will confine itself principally to the first three centuries73 which were anyway the most decisive for the formation of the early Catholic Church. 



         1. John 17.11 and 20 f.: "Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one even as We are one... I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one, that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me." It is worth noting that St John's Gospel links the "agony" (Luke 22.4) of the prayer before the Passion with the unity of the Church as is shown by the emphatic repetition of "that they may be one".

2. Acts 2.44f.: "And all who believed were together (epi to auto) and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need."

3. Paul is aptly characterized as "the theologian of the Church's unity". See V. Ioannidis, 'The Unity of the Church According to the Apostle Paul" (in Greek) in Efcharisterion, Essays in Honour of Professor H. Alivizatos, 1958. p. 172.

4. See inter alia 1 Clement 49.5; 46.5-7; 54.1-2; Ignatius To the Philadelphians; 3.2; 6.2; To the Magnesians 14.1; 13.2; 1.2; To theEphesians 8.1, etc.; Didache 8.4; 10.5 etc.

5. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. 1.10.2.

6. op. rif. ÐÉ.7.1-2; IV.31.3 etc.

7. Cyprian, De Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitate, passim. One could give other examples from nearly all the writers of the first three centuries as the analysis of their work in the main body of this study will demonstrate.

8. The first appearance of a confession of faith in one Church may perhaps be placed very early, in St Irenaeus' Letter to the Smyrneans (1.1-2), where the phrase "in one body of the Church" forms part of a paraphrase of a baptismal creed in the view of T.Zahn (Das apostolische Symbolum, 1893, p. 42f.|, A. Harnack (Appendix to Hahn's Bibliothek), R. Seeberg (Zeitschrift fur Kirchengeschichte, 40 (1933) 3) et ai But even if we accept the opinion of J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Creeds, 1952, p. 69, according to which this is not a paraphrase of an official creed, the second century seems the most likely time for this belief to have been formulated into a confession (cf. V. Ioannidis, op. cit. p. 172). The expression of faith in the "holy Church," which occurs in ancient creeds of the second century such as those of the Roman Church preserved by Hippolytus and of the Alexandrian Church preserved in the Der Balyzeh papyrus also suggests the acceptance of the "one" Church. The first clear mention of the "one" Church in a creed is found in the Jerusalem Creed put forward by Macarius of Jerusalem at the First Ecumenical Council. For this see I. Karmiris, Dogmatic and Credal Documents of the Orthodox Catholic Church (in Greek), I, I9602, p. 64. On the theological background to the appearance of the confession of faith in "one Church," see J. Danielou, "Mia Ekklesia chez les peres grecs des premiers siecles," in 1054-1954. L’ Eglise et les eglises, 1,1954, p. 129-139.

9. F.C. Bauer first attempted to establish his theory in his article "Die Christuspartei in der Korinthischen Gemeinde, der Gegensatz des petrinischen und paulinischen Christentums in der altesten Kirche," in Tübinger Zeitschrift, 1831, No. 4, pp. 61-206. For the fur ther development of his views as they are set out here, see apart from his hermeneutical works, his writings in Kirchengeschichte des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts, 1862, pp. 395-9; cf. also E. Zeller, "Die Tubinger historische Schule," and "Ferdinand Christian Bauer" in Vonrage und Abhandlungen geschichtlichen Inhalts, 1,1865, pp. 267-353 and 354-434, as also H. Schmidt and Haussleiter in Realencyklopadie furprotestantische Theohgie und Kirche, II, 1897, p.475 and 29-31. Cf. also V. Ioannidis, Introduction to the New Testament (in Greek), 1960, p. 77. The division of early Christianity into two by historians went so deep at that time that there was talk of two different religions, the religion of Jesus Christ and the "religion of Paul." See e.g. W. Wrede, Paulus, 1907, esp. p. 104. It is also well known that Harnack divided early Christianity into Evangelium Christi and Evangelium de Christo. The appearance of the so-called history of religion school, initially in the person of R. Reitzenstein (Die hellenistischen Mysterienreligionen. Ihre Grundgedanken und Wirkungen, 1910), lent support to Baur's view concerning Paul's extreme Hellenism, albeit modified on the basis of theories about the more general influence of the mystery religions on Christianity (cf. W. Bousset's classic work Kyrios Christos: Geschichte des Christusglaubens von den Anfangen des Christetitums bis Irenaeus, 1913. Similarly A. Deissmann, Paulus, 1911). The first reaction against these theories on Paul's "Hellenism" can be seen with the advancement of eschatology as the characteristic par excellence of the early Church. On this see A. Schweitzer, Geschichte der Paulinischen Forschung, 1911, pp. 45-50.

10. As typical examples we may cite H. Lietzmann, Geschichie der alien Kirche, 1,1937, p. 53-60,154-6,107-111; A. Nock, Si Paul, 1946, pp. 52,67,63,168 f-, 110 f. M. Dibelius-W.G. Kiimmel, Paulus, 1951, pp. 25,82,114,131,120. WX. Knox, St Paul, 1932, pp. 64,94,120. M. Goguel, Les premiers temps de VEglise, 1949, p. 53, 68,106 etc The division of ancient Christianity into "judaizzng" and "hellenizing" can also be observed in the work of the late Professor V. Stephanidis, Church History (in Greek), 1948, pp. 20f., 27f., 21 and esp. 41, where we even have the impression that there was no communion between Jewish and Gentile Christians.

11. See M. Goguel, op. cit. p. 19: "The movement in the formation of Christianity was from diversity to unity. There were Christianities before there was one Christianity. It was only around the end of the second century with the early Catholicism of Irenaeus and Tertullian that the movement towards unification reached a conclusion which was subsequently confirmed and fixed." For this writer, the unity of the primitive Church was more a "yearning for unity than the sense of its complete realization." See his study "Unite et diversite du Christianisme primitif," in Revue d'Histoire et de Philosophie religieuses 19 (1939), 5. The idea of a progression from division and diversity to unity is one that we constantly find as a cornerstone of Protestant church historiography. Thus inter altos M. Hornschuh, "Die Apostel als Trager der Uberlieferung," in E. Hennecke, Neutestamentliche Apokryphen, ed. W. Schneemelcher, II, 1964, p. 41 f.

12. See inter alia the works of G. Dix, few and Greek, 1953 and J.Danielou, Theologie du Judeochristianisme, 1958 and Message Evangelique et Culture Hellenistique aux IF et IW Siecles, 1961, which work within the same antithetical scheme.

13. The subject is of great importance and exceptionally difficult, and has yet to be dealt with in our own history of dogma. Cf. J. Karmiris' review of a study by E. Benz in Theologia 30 (1559), 520 f., esp. 522f. For the present, it is sufficient here to recall the two-pronged thrust of church literature during the first three centuries taking a position opposed equally to Gentile-Hellenizing and to Judaizing.

14. On this see the excellent study by B. Sundkler, "Jesus et les Patens," in Revue d'Histoire et de Philosophie Religieuses 6 (1936), 473f.

15. As for example by W. Bauer, Rechtglaubigkeit und Ketzerei im altesten Christentum, 19642 and W. Nigg, Das Buch der Ketzer, 1949. Cf. W.G. Kummel, Das Neue Testament. Geschichte der Erforschung seiner Probleme, 1958, pp. 145-243.

16. On the "group" theory, besides the above see also H. Schoeps, Urgemeinde, Judenchristentum, Gnosis, 1956, pp. 3-8. Cf. also below.

17. For a serious critique of these theories, particularly those of W. Bauer, see H.E.W. Turner, The Pattern of Christian Truth. A Study in Relations Between Orthodoxy and Heresy in the Early Church, 1954; A. Ehrhardt, "Christianity Before the Apostles' Creed," in The Harvard Theological Review 55, (1962) 73-119 and E. Kasemann, "Ketzer und Zeuge. Zum johannischen Verfasserproblem," in Zeitschnft fur Theologie und Kirche, 48 (1951), 292-311.

18. For the present, see the theories on early Catholicism of H. Lietzmann, op. cit. I, p. 234; J. V. Bartlet, Church Life and Church Order (ed. Cadoux), 1942, pp. 4, 40,167-171; K. Heussi, Kompendium der Kirchengeschichte, 194910, p. 25 and M. Goguel, La Naissance du Christianisme, 1946, p. 282. For an excellent analysis of the position of earner modern research on this subject, see O. Linton, Das Problem der Urkirche in der neueren Forschung, 1932, passim. See also H.Kung, "Der Fruhkatholizismus im N.T. als Kontroversstheologisches problem", in Tubinger Theolog. Quartalschrift (1962) 385-424.

19. The foundations for individualism in ecclesiology had already been laid by R. Sohm, for whom, consistent as he was with the whole pietistic theology of Lutheranism (Schleiermacher etc.), the Church is in essence nothing but an invisible reality; a number of the predestined and the believers (predestinatorum et credentium) whose groups form parallel lines meeting only at infinity. The gravest misfortune in the whole development of the Church therefore took place, according to Sohm, when "through 1 Clement" the spirit of organization and law entered into Christianity, elements which he regarded as incompatible with the essence of religion (see his views on the subject set out in his work Kirchenrecht, 1,1892, passim and esp. p. 161). A. Harnack was certainly opposed to Sohm's extreme position on the incompatibility of religion and law {see Entstehung und Entwicklung der Kirchenverfassung und der Kirchenrechts in den zweiersten ]ahrhunderten, 1910, p. 149), but without disagreeing with the individualistic view of Christianity, the essence of which, as set out in Harnack's own work Das Wesen des Christentums (see second edition, 1950, passim), is nothing more than the inner moral renewal of each human being. Protestant theology after Harnack continued along the same lines of an individualistic view of the essence of Christianity. The "life in Christ" was regarded as an inner, psychological state of each individual (see e.g. A. Deissmann, Die neutestamentliche Formel "in Christo Jesu" untersucht, 1892 and eiusdem Licht vom Osten..., 1923, p. 257. Despite the prominence given to the communal character of primitive Christianity by the so-called eschatological school, which is first found in J. Weiss' work Die Predigt Jesus vom Reich Gottes, 1892 and especially in its second edition (1900), and was reinforced by the influence of supporters of the so-called "New Consensus" (cf. K. Mouratidis, The Essence and Polity of the Church in the Teaching of John Chrysostom, 1958, p. 145, n. 2), the individualistic interpretation of ecclesiology was never abandoned altogether. We see this from e.g. R. Bultmann's theories on the Church in Glauben und Verstehen Ð, 1958, pp. 13 and 18, and even more strongly from the work of E. Brunner, Das Missverstandniss der Kirche, 1951, esp. Ch. 8 § 6 etc., where we come back to the extreme position of R. Sohm on the relation between religion and law.

20. Because of the influence this view of Harnack's has had on modern historiography, we give the complete passage from his Dogmengeschichte, 1,18942 (ET Buchanan, History of Dogma, 1905, p. 45): "if again we compare the Church about the middle of the third century with the condition of Christendom 150 or 200 years before, we shall find that there is now a real religious commonwealth (ein religidses Gemeinwesen), while at the earlier period there were only communities (Gemeindeti) who believed in a heavenly Church, whose earthly image they were, endeavoured to give it expression with the simplest means, and lived in the future as strangers and pilgrims on the earth, hastening to meet the Kingdom of whose existence they had the surest guarantee. We now find a new commonwealth, politically formed and equipped with fixed forms of all kinds... We find the Church as a political union (politischen Band) and worship institute (Kultusanstalt), a formulated faith and a sacred learning (Gottesgeiehrsamke); but one thing we no longer find, the old enthusiasm and individualism which had not felt itself fettered by subjection to the authority of the Old Testament. Instead of enthusiastic independent Christians, we find a new literature of revelation, the New Testament, and Christian priests."

21. See P. Batiffol, L' Eglise Naissante et le Catholicisme, 19093.

22. The idea that the unity and catholicity of the Church consist precisely in her being a worldwide body with Rome at her center, in such a way that Rome alone remains the Church of the Lord par excellence, is maintained by certain Roman Catholic historians even at the time of this writing. See e.g. G. Bardy, "Die Religion Jesu" in Christus und die Religionen der Erde. Handbuch der Religionsgeschichte, ed. DDr F. Koning, III, 1951, pp. 547-642, esp. p. 632. Cf. also the scathing critique of this by Professor L. Philippidis, "Incredible!" (in Greek), in Orthodoxos Skepsis 1 (1958), 51-54.

23. See e.g J. Colson, L' Eveque dans les Communautes Primitives, 1951. This study concludes that the ministry of the bishop took shape under the influence of two traditions: on the one hand, the Pauline tradition which, according to the writer, emphasized the universal unity of the Church and the charismatics, and on the other, the Johannine which, according to the same writer, emphasized the local Church and the permanent ministers, the two traditions being brought together into one by Irenaeus. It is evident that this author, although a Roman Catholic, is a prisoner of the models introduced by Harnack with their antithesis between localism and universalism, and has not altogether escaped the influence of the Hegelian model of the Tübingen School as discussed above.

24. This coincidence in the views of Protestant and Roman Catholic historians as to the essence of Catholicism is revealed, we think, by the following admission by Harnack in his review of Batiffol, op. cit.: "That Roman = Catholic is something that I as a Protestant historian first put forward 22 years ago in my History of Dogma, with certain reservations which the author admittedly seeks for the most part to remove." (Theologische Ltteraturzeitung 34 (1909), 52).

25. See above, note 18. Certainly things are different today, with the increasing recognition of the significance of Church unity within the Ecumenical Movement. There is already a tendency evident in Protestantism for its churches to claim catholicity for themselves, giving the term a peculiar sense which has yet to be fully clarified. Study of the subject of the Church's catholicity is thus extremely important and useful today.

26. See once again B. Sundkler, op. cit.

27. Cf. A. Schmemann, "Theology and Eucharist" (in Greek), in Theology, Truth and Life (ed. Zoe Brotherhood, in Greek), 1962. It is characteristic of that kind of Roman Catholic theological position that in the valuable entries on the Divine Eucharist in the D.T.C., one looks in vain for a paragraph on the ecclesiological character of the Eucharist. The same goes /or the rich recent work by J. Betz, Eucharistie in der Zeit der griechischen Voter, I/I, 1955 who does not intend to examine the relationship between Eucharist and Church unity even in the ensuing second volume of his work judging by the preface to the first volume (p. viii). It is, however, worthy of special note that this work of Betz's revives the emphasis on the active presence (Actualprasentz) of the work and also the person of the Lord, in place of the scholastic emphasis on the Real Presence in the elements of the Eucharist. This is perhaps a definite step to wards an ontological view of the mystery which also leads naturally to an ecclesiological view. The only strong voice of protest in modern Roman Catholic theology against the scholastic doctrine of the Eucharist, which has, therefore, been considered revolutionary for Western theology, is the teaching of Odo Casel, who was the first to oppose the view of the Eucharist as an "object" and a mere means of salvation underlining its character as an assembly and an action of the Church. See his work Das christliche Kultmysteriutn, 19352, p. 27. For his teaching on the Eucharist more generally, see his works: Die LiturgiealsMysterienfeier, 5th ed. 1935, and "DieKirchealsBraut Christi nach Schrift, Vaterlehre und liturgie," in Theotogie der Zeit, ed. Karl Rudolph, 1,1936,91-111.

28. Cf. H. Fries, "Die Eucharistie und die Einheit der Kirche," in Pro Mundi Vita. Festschrift zum eucharistischen Weltkongress, 1960, p. 176. This study came to the attention of the present writer when his research had already been completed and submitted for examination. It is a noteworthy study, and its strong emphasis on the ecclesiological character of the Eucharist lends support to the present work. See esp. p. 169.

29. Undoubtedly, a major factor in this position taken by Western theology regarding the Eucharist was the whole soteriology of the West as it developed from the Middle Ages onwards. The theological systems of the West saw man as being saved by a juridical action on God's part and did not regard as an absolutely basic necessity the "continuous, real and life-giving operation of Christ in the bodies of the faithful" (see J. Romanides, The Original Sin (in Greek), 1957, p. 13f.) - the operation or energy which is offered par excellence through the Eucharist. On the relationship between Church unity and Eucharist according to ancient and medieval church writers, see H. de Lubac, Katholizismus als Gemeinschaft, 1943, p. 81 f.

30. See above, note 13, and V. Ioannidis, Introduction to the New Testament (in Greek), 1960, p. 264 and elsewhere, and G. Konidaris, General Church History from )esus Christ to our own times (in Greek), 1,2nd ed. 1957 (hereafter referred to as G.C.H.), pp. 102,103f., 108 note 3,109. See also eiusdem The Formation of the Catholic Church up to the Beginning of the Fifth Century and the Three Hierarchs (in Greek), 1955 p. 18f.

31. Particularly, in regard to the relationship between the individual and the totality, which is essentially linked to the concept of unity, it should be noted that the presentation of this relationship as an antithesis in modern theology is frequently due to the confusion we habitually make between the notions of "individual" and "person," treating the two as identical. The crucial distinction between individual and person has been to a great extent illuminated by modern existentialist philosophy (even though this distinction occurs already, from a different standpoint, in Thomas Aquinas) developed in modern times by J. Maritain (Du Regime temporal et de liberte, 1933). The individual is a natural category referring not only to man but even to inanimate objects. The person is a category proper to man, a concept which is spiritual and involves a value judgement, an expression of the purpose of existence, the image and likeness of God (cf. N. Berdyaev, Solitude and Society, 1938, p. 168). Further, the individual is an arithmetical category, a concept relating to quantity. The person is a qualitative category which abolishes or transcends the laws of arithmetic. One person may be worth two or more individuals; and consequently the law of arithmetic according to which two men are twice one man, while true for individuals, is not applicable to persons. Still more importantly, the individual contains the idea of combination and ultimately of serving a purpose. Ten individuals added together go to make up a certain purpose (collectivism). By contrast, the person, as an image of God, cannot be a means to the realization of any end. Any exploitation of the person to achieve certain ends, even the most exalted, turns him into an individual and degrades him from the greatness of God's image. But the paradox in this distinction between individual and person is this: it seems at first sight that the person, as an end in himself, should always be understood in himself while the individual as being subject to combination should be understood in relation to others; whereas, in actual fact the opposite is true. For, although the individual can be added to other individuals, nevertheless, he cannot be really united with others. In the words of M. Buber (I and Thou, 1958, p. 62): "individuality makes its appearance by its differentiation from other individualities." The person, by contrast, cannot be added and become part of a whole since, as an end in himself, he constitutes the whole. Yet not only can he be really united with others, but he cannot even exist as person without unity with others: "A person makes his appearance by entering into relation with other persons" (ibid.). An essential element in the concept of person is his reflection in the other, the discovery of the "I" within the "Thou." This creates for the person the necessity of unity. Once the individual is isolated from other individuals, it finds its justification. Once the person is deprived of its communion with others, it meets its destruction. For the person cannot set boundaries around itself (egocentricity) without automatically becoming an individual: a part instead of a whole, a means instead of an end in itself. Thus, egocentricity is the death of personhood, while denial of the "I" and its placing within the "Thou" and the "We" is its confirmation. (Cf. N. Nissiotis, Existentialism and Christian Faith (in Greek) 1956, p. 299: "as Christian personality, the true subject is conceived of and created in communion with other such persons who are called to salvation")- In this way, the paradox is elucidated. Individualism is the enemy of personhood and - however strange this may seem at first sight - the essential concomitant of collectivism since the latter in a mechanical unity produced by adding together units independent of each other which serve as means to common ends. By contrast, unity as communion forms the confirmation of personhood. Christianity was identified from the beginning with the second kind of unity and for this reason required the burial of the "I" as individual in order that the "I" might be found as person in die "Thou" and the "we" of the Kingdom of God. In consequence, Christianity was a religion not of the individual but of the person which means a religion of unity. This is why the dilemma of modern research between individual and collective finds so many difficulties in the texts of early Christianity, and has trouble with the paradox encountered in these texts that the many are expressed through the One and vice versa (see below). These texts have in view a situation of persons. In this situation, the relationship of the individual with the whole ceases to be an antithesis because through the burial of individualism, it is transformed into a relationship of the person with the unity, in which, as has been said above, the person presupposes the unity and the unity the person.

32. To Orthodox theology, this seems at first glance a clash between two fundamental ecclesiological principles. Thus according to one of these principles, abandoned by Rome at the First Vatican Council, each bishop is absolutely equal to all the other bishops in every way as presiding over a complete Church and not a partial Church; and according to the other, equally basic principle of Orthodox ecclesiology, all the Churches in the world make up only one Church. It is evident, then, that neither the Roman Catholic concept of the unity of incomplete parts (= local churches - bishops) added together into a universal grouping (= universal Church - universal bishop), nor the Protestant concept of local Churches (= communities) entirely independent of each other, accords with the ecclesiological principles of Orthodoxy. For this reason, the usual characterization of the local Churches as "particular" (epimerous) Churches can introduce the notion, foreign to Orthodox ecclesiology, of a unity of "parts," i.e. a unity formed by addition. There is a manifest need to define the relationship of unity existing between the one Church in the world and the complete churches in various places from the viewpoint of Orthodox ecclesiology.

33. The Orthodox canonist N. Milasch, Canon Law of the Eastern Orthodox Church (in Greek), 1906, pp. 294-298, holds that there is a purely spiritual unity on the universal level and independence in the administration of the local Churches. This position is based exclusively on the distinction between spiritual and administrative unity. But once one maintains the correct view that administration cannot be understood without an ecclesiological basis, then we have to ask ourselves: what are the facts of ecclesiology that support the administrative independence of each local Church? This is the heart of the problem.

34. I. Karmiris, The Ecclesiology of the Three Hierarchs (in Greek), 1961, p. 37, note 1: "From what has been said, we may draw the firm conclusion that what happened at Pentecost was, to be precise, the official public appearance of the Church and the inauguration of her saving work, but not her rebirth or foundation, as it is less than aptly put in our Dogmatics and Catechisms..."; V. loannidis, "The Kingdom of God in N.T. Teaching," in E.E.Th.S. 1956, p. 160: "So the Church already existed and Jesus Christ was born and lived within this Church." Cf. also G. Konidaris, C.C.H. pp. 85 and 101- Likewise K. Mouratidis, The Essence and Polity, p. 68 f., and I. Kalogirou, On the Character of the Orthodox Catholic Church according to the Basic Soteriological Principles in theN.T., 1961, p. 16. Roman Catholic theology, today, also recognizes the existence of the Church before Pentecost. See M. Schmaus, Kathoiische Dogmatik, HI/1,1958, p. 16 f.

35. V. loannidis, "The Kingdom of God" p. 131: "The entirely new and entirely different element that Christianity has to present relative to other religions, or to the teachings of the prophets and later teachers in Judaism, is not this or that teaching of Jesus but the very person of Jesus Christ Himself." See likewise G. Konidaris, G.C.H. pp. 85 and 87, where the person of Jesus Christ is seen as preceding and taking precedence over His teaching from the viewpoint of the historical foundation of Christianity. Cf. also the remark by W.G. Kummel, ("Jesus und die Anfange der Kirche," in Studia Theologica Cura Ordinum Theologorum Scandinavorum edxta, VII/1 1953, -1954, p. 27): "It is not the teaching of Jesus, but the person of Jesus as the hidden Messiah-Man and the Risen One which became historically the root of the Church."

36. A highly illuminating and original interpretation of the ecclesiological passage Mt 16:18 is given by Prof. L. Philippidis (History of the N.T. Period, 1958, p. 74 f.), according to which on the basis of the Hebrew term translated in Matthew's Gospel as "rock" (petra), "when Jesus said to Peter... [that] on this rock... He would build His Church, He meant Himself..." This interpretation agrees with the biblical understanding of the Church as the Body of Christ and as His building-up and increase (see below). It is notable that the earliest church writers who spoke of the pre-existence of the Church, such as the author of 2 Clement (2:1 and 14:1), locate this pre-existence primarily in the person of the Lord (2 Clem. 2:3 and 7).

37. See M. Siotis, History and Revelation..., 1953, p. 28. Cf. also the apt remark of T. W. Manson, that Jesus taught His disciple simply by being with them. Thus, He was not only the Teacher, but also the teaching (Ministry and Priesthood, 1958, p. 8 f.). It is hence an observation of vital importance that "Christianity is not a world view or an ideology, as is commonly and inaccurately stated; it is not a sterile system of religious knowledge and moral rules... Anything that is a truth of faith and a rule of life circulates and appears in the world "in person". It is "in the person of Jesus" that we see God and have the Gospel...". Metropolitan Dionysios of Servies and Kozani, in Oikodomi: weekly written sermon..., 1965, p. 223 f. cf. ibid. p. 139 f.

38. Tract, on the Gospel of John 21:8 (P.L. 35:1568. Cf. 35:1622 and 37:1679). Cf. likewise John Chrysostom, Homily on I Corinthians 30 (P.G. 61:249-253) and esp. Homily on Ephesians 3 (P.G. 62:29). Thus K. Adam is correct in remarking (Das Wesen des Katholizismus, 1927, p. 24), that "Christ the Lord is the proper Ô of the Church." For the views of Roman Catholic theology on this subject see H. Schmaus, Katholische Dagmatik, HI/1, p. 9 f.

39. Cf. the fundamental remark of Prof. G. Florovsky: "The theology of the Church is nothing but a chapter, and one of the principal chapters, of Christology. Without this chapter, Christology itself would not be complete. It is within the framework of Christology that the mystery of the Church is proclaimed in the New Testament. It was presented in the same way by me Greek and the Latin Fathers." ("Le corps du Christ vivant," in La sainte Eglise universelle. Confrontation oecumenique, 1948, p. 12.)

40. J. Mohler, Die Einheit der Kirche, 1824 (French translation by A. Libienfeld, L'uniti dans VEglise in the series Unam Sanctam No. 2, to which we refer here), and A. Khomiakov, in WJ. Birkbeck, Russia and the English Church, Ú895, Ch. 23. On a connection between Mohler's ecclesiology and that of Khomiakov, see G. Florovsky, op. cit. p.ll. Cf. also the critique of Khomiakov's ecclesiology by J. Romanides, "Orthodox Ecclesiology according to Alexis Khomiakov," in Greek Orthodox Theological Review 2 (1956), 57-73; also Archim. S. Charkianakis, On the Infallibility of the Church in Orthodox Theology, 1965, p. 133 f., where in his very interesting critique of Khomiakov's theology he notes the latter's "pneumatocratic ecclesiology" (pp. 138,152), which should however be attributed primarily to a lack of the Christological approach which characterized the Fathers in their ecclesiology (cf. the criticism of J. Romanides, op. cit. p. 73).

41. See G. Florovsky, "Christ in His Church. Suggestions and Comments," in 1054-1954. L’ Eglise et les Eglises, II, 1954, p.164. It is characteristic that the Pauline term "spiritual body" (1 Cor. 15:44) never took on an ecclesiological meaning as happened with the term "body of Christ."

42. So the unity of the Church is denned in the Augsburg Confession. See Ch. Androutsos, Symbolics from an Orthodox Perspective, 19302, p. 96.

43. See K. Mouratidis, The Essence and Polity... (in Greek) pp. 125-135.

44. I. Karmiris, Summary of the Dogmatics of the Orthodox Catholic Church (in Greek), 1960, p. 80. Karmiris brings out the relationship between Eucharist and unity even more clearly and emphatically in his article "The Body of Christ, Which is the Church" (in Greek), in Ekklesia 39 (1962), 365f., where he writes: "The Divine Eucharist is the centre of the unity of Christians with Christ in the body of the Church. For it is through this par excellence that the Church is revealed as the body of Christ and the communion of the Holy Spirit, and the 'present' age and world is joined with that which is to come, the earthly Church with the heavenly. In the Divine Eucharist is contained the whole body of Christ..."

45. See ibid., and inter alia M. Siotis, Divine Eucharist. N.T. information on the Divine Eucharist in the light of the Church's interpretation (in Greek), 1957, p. 69; P. Trembelas, Dogmatics..., Ill, 1961, p. 154. Cf. G. Florovsky, "Le corps du Christ," p. 36 f.; J. Meyendorff, The Orthodox Church, p. 22 f.; as also G. Bebis, "The Divine Eucharist according to Patristic Interpretation," in Ekklesia 36 (1959), 143-145.

46. See P.B. Schultze, "Eucharistie und Kirche in der russischen Theologie der Gegenwart," in Z.L.T., 77, (1955) 257-300 and E. Lanne, "Die Kirche als Mysterium in der orthodoxen Theologie," in Holbock-Sartory, Mysterium Kirche in der Sicht der theologischen Oisziplinen, II, 1962, pp. 891-925.

47. Unfortunately, we do not have access to the works of these two theologians written in Russian, and have, therefore, drawn our information about their theory mainly from the following articles (as far as we know, only articles exist): 1) N. Afanassieff, "L'Apotre Pierre et l'eveque de Rome," in Theologia 26 (1955), 464 {.; 2) eiusdem "La doctrine de la Primaute a la lumiere de l'ecclesiologie," in Istina 4 (1957) 401-20; 3) eiusdem "The Church which presides in Love," in The Primacy of Peter in the Orthodox Church, ET 1963, pp. 57-110; eiusdem "Le Concile dans la Theologie orthodoxe russe", in Irfnikon 35 (1962) 316 f.; 5) eiusdem, "Una Sancta," in Irenikon 36 (1963), 436; 6) A. Schmemann, "Unity, Division, Reunion in the Light of Orthodox Ecclesiology" in Theologia 22 (1951) 242 f.; 7) eiusdem, "The Idea of Primacy in Orthodox Ecclesiology," in The Primacy of Peter (as above); 8) eiusdem, "Theology and Eucharist" (in Greek), in Theology, Truth and Life, (ed.Zoe Brotherhood) 1962, and 9) eiusdem, 'Towards a Theology of Councils," in Si Vladimir's Seminary Quarterly 6 (1962) 170-184.

48. As Prof. I.Karmiris puts it (Orthodox Doctrine of the Church, 1964, p. 16), the Divine Eucharist constitutes "as it were the very mystery of the Church." Cf. G. Florovsky's comment (in Ways of Worship, ed. P. EdwaU et alv 1951, p. 58): "The Church lives in the Eucharist and by the Eucharist."

49. Cf. P. Trembelas, "Unacceptable Theories concerning the Una Sancta," in Ekklesia 41 (1964), 167f.

50. Eph. 4:5 and 13. cf. Rom. 12:16; 15:5; 2 Cor. 13:11; Phil. 2:2; 4:2.

51. Jn 13:35; Eph. 4:16; 2 Cor. 5:14 and elsewhere.

52. Eph. 4:5.

53. Thus a) on faith, the confession of faith and Holy Scripture see examples in K. Federer, Liturgie und Glaube. Eine theologiegeschichtliche Untersuchung, 1950, p.59f.; C.F.D. Moule, The Birth of the New Testament, 1962, and C. Peifer, "Primitive Liturgy in the Formation of the New Testament," in Bible Today, 1 (1962), 14-21; b) on love and the works of mercy inspired by it, see Acts 2:42, 4:32, Heb. 13:10-16, Jn 13:29, and also the institution of the agape or "love-feast" which was initially connected with the Eucharist. Cf. G. Williams, "The Role of the Layman in the Ancient Church," in Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 1 (1958), 33f.; O.Cullmann, Urchristentum und Gottesdienst, 1950, pp. 102-106 and B.O. Beicke, Diakonie, Festfreude und Zelos in Verbindung mit der alchristlichen Agapenfeier, 1961, p. 24; c) on the connection between martyrdom and Eucharist see J. Betz, Die Eucharistie..., p. 184f.; d) on the connection of worship as a whole with the Eucharist, see P. Trembelas, "The Divine Eucharist in its connection with the other Mysteries and Sacramental Rites" (in Greek), in Efcharisterion, Essays in Honor of Professor H. Alivizatos, 1958. pp. 462-472.

54. See N. Nissiotis, "Worship, Eucharist and Intercommunion: An Orthodox Reflection" in Studia Liturgica 2 (1963), 197 f.

55. The more general question of Church unity, and the consciousness of it, in the context of the formation of the early Catholic Church, was first posed in Prof. G. Konidaris' study The Formation... p. 32, n. 1. The present work appears as part of this broader subject, other aspects of which have been addressed in other works by this author.

56. Such a view necessarily belongs, of course, within the biblical understanding according to which the mystical life of the Church in time and history is a "pledge" and "foretaste" of the life in the "age to come". See S. Agouridis, "Time and Eternity (eschatology and mysticism) in the Theological Teaching of John the Theologian," in E.E.Th.S.Th. IV (1959), 60.

57. The sacramental aspect of the elements of the Eucharist is a subject in itself. On this see Professor M. Siotis, Efcharistia (in Greek), passim.

58. The early Church did not see the Eucharist only as a communion in the "holy things", but mainly as a communion of the "holy ones". See the excellent work of W. Elert, Abendmahl und Kirchengemeinschaft in deralien Kirche hauptsachlich des Ostens, 1954.

59. The connection of the Eucharist with the ministries in the Church (the Greek term liturgema is indicative in itself) was only natural, given that "the Eucharist forms the centre of all life in the Church" (G. Konidaris, The Historian, the Church and the Content of Tradition during the First Two Centuries (in Greek), 1961, p. 8). The connection of the origin of Canon Law with the Eucharist had already been emphasized by R. Sohm (K. Morsdorff, "Altkanonisches Sakramentsrecht? Eine Anseinandersetzung mit den Anschauungen Rudolph Sohms iiber die inneren Grundlagen...", in Studia Gratiana, I, 1953, pp. 485-502); but because of his ideas about the relationship between Law and Church (see note 19 above), he was not able to see in the sources all those elements which give the Eucharist ecclesiological content For this reason, the whole question still remains open for the historian who perceives in the Eucharist an ecclesiological character.

60. See 1 Cor. 11. Cf. also below.

61. G. Konidaris, On the Supposed Difference in Forms in the Polity of Primitive Christianity, 1959.

62. G. Konidaris, G.C.H., p. 20 f.

63. The view that the Church evolves, put forward by both Roman Catholic and Anglican theologians (see e.g. L. Cerfaux, La theologie de I' Eglise suivant s. Paul, 1948, p. 140; EM. Braun, Neues Licht auf die Kirche, 1946, p. 166; G. Dix, jew and Greek, pp. 67 and 80), cannot be accepted without the gravest reservations. This cannot be an evolution of the Church in her essence, but rather of her outer covering even though there are aspects and "coverings" of the Church's essence which are inseparably bound up with that essence (e.g. the literary form of Scripture, the basic order of the Eucharist, the organization of the Church around the bishop, etc-)

64. Cf. Y. Congar, The Mystery of the Church, 1960 and F. Heiler, Urkirche und Ostkirche, 1937, p. 826.

65. We have already made a distinction in principle between the history of unity and the theology of unity (see above, p. 12f.). Yet, despite the fact that it is imperative for this reason carefully to distinguish what relates to the historical reality from what the early Church taught or aspired to, it must be admitted here that on the subject of Church unity, history and theology often touch on one another, given that the Church is an integral reality, whether she is understood as a conceptual or an empirical state, and her unity forms an inalienable element of her essence. This is why in the present case it becomes very difficult and often impossible to isolate the evolving "becoming" of the Church from her stable "being" without the risk of misinterpreting or distorting history.

66. Cf. G. Konidaris, On the Supposed Difference, p. 23.

67. On the subject of the sources used for this study, it should be explained here that we shall mainly be using those sources which are purely Christian and ecclesial. This is not because we underrate the value of outside sources for the history of early Christianity such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, but on account of the nature of our theme which relates mainly to the Church's self-understanding which can be reflected faithfully only in her own documents- Besides, theories about a direct relationship between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Church do not seem well-founded. On this subject see K. Stendahl, "Kirche: II. Im Urchristentum" in Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 3, Aufl. ÐÉ (1959), 1300. But more generally, the relationship of these texts to the Holy Scriptures will remain unknown, as Prof. V. Vellas observes, until all the texts discovered are published in full, and others perhaps come to light (V. Vellas, Commentary on the Book of Habakkuk (in Greek), 1958,30,43). In consequence, it would be at least premature to place these texts alongside the already existing sources of primitive Christianity in studying the unity of the Church. On the relation of the Dead Sea Scrolls to early Christianity, the interested reader may see, inter alia, P. Simotas, The Discoveries ofKirbet Qumran (in Greek), 1952; S Agouridis, "Judaic Eschatology in N.T. Times" (in Greek), in Theologia, 1956, p. 408 n. 2; eiusdem, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the N.T. (in Greek), 1959; A. Chastoupis, The Dead Sea Scrolls in relation to Holy Scripture (in Greek), 1958; Th. Kirkasios, The Dead Sea Scrolls (in Greek), 1959; eiusdem. "The Damascus or Sadokic text" (in Greek), in Theologia (1960), 151-166; M. Siotis, The Dead Sea Scrolls. Story of their discovery and Description (in Greek), 1961.

68. It should be noted that many of the problems of systematic theology are later constructs of the philosophizing mind and not infrequently altogether alien to the mentality of the early Church. Allowing these problems to interfere with historical research will not only fail to serve contemporary Orthodox theology, which is trying to purge itself of alien influences, but will do it great harm.

69. It should be noted that a full examination of the presuppositions and foundations of the Church in the Eucharist and the bishop needs to go back into the history of Israel. The sources and the history of the Church demand such a connection between the Church and Israel, given that the primitive Church regarded herself as the true Israel, and saw the Old Testament and the history of Israel as her own. In this regard, it is sufficient to read carefully the beginning of Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians (1:4), the beginning of Hebrews and John's Gospel, the genealogies of Jesus included in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke etc., to satisfy oneself that the primitive Church saw herself as an organic part of the history of Israel "from the foundation of the world," or as the very "seed of Abraham" (Gal. ^4. Cf. Jn 5:39, 46). The Church had the same consciousness in the second century: "We are the true race of Israel" (Justin, Dial. 1135:36 and 123:9), and also in the third: "to us the... true Hebrews" (Origen, On Mart. 33). The Christological character of the O.T. was already stressed by the Fathers (Augustine, On Ps. 30, P.L. 36:244) and is underlined today by research (e.g. L. Philippidis, History of the N.T. Period (in Greek), p. 825 and V. Ioannidis, "The Kingdom of God," p. 160. For this reason, it is strongly stressed today that from a methodological viewpoint too, the correct starting point for any discussion of primitive ecclesiology consists in the question; what does the Old Testament have to say about God and His people? (See R. Newton Flew, "Jesus and the Kingdom of God," in The Expository Times, (1934-35), 217). While recognizing this fact, we shall not go into a detailed investigation here of the history of Israel, both because the Divine Eucharist and the Bishop make their appearance as historical institutions after the O.T. period, and also for practical reasons. This subject will therefore be treated on its own in a special study to appear shortly.

70. See the formulation of the problem above, note 31.

71. It is not accidental that in 1 Clement (96 Á.¼.) it was called "the gifts of the episcopos." See below for greater detail.

72. Research for the present work had already been completed when A. Schmemann's study 'Towards a Theology of Councils" was published (St Vladimir's Seminary Quarterly 6 (1962), 170-184), On the enormous importance of the question of the origin of the parish and the scant attention afforded it hitherto by research, he writes as follows (p. 177): "This process (which transformed the original episcopal structure of the local Church into what we know today as parish) although it represents one of the most radical changes that ever took place in the Church, remained, strange as it may seem, virtually unnoticed by ecdesiologists and canonists.

73. To determine what developments have occurred, it will often be necessary to use sources later than the first three centuries. This is required sometimes because they throw light on earlier conditions, or else because by their contrast or agreement with the sources of the first three centuries, they either make clear what developments have taken place, or connect the later developments with the original situation. Sources later than the third century will be used in this way only insofar as this aids the investigation of problems which go back to the first three centuries. As to the unity of the Church from the fourth century on, a special study will be needed.




Article published in English on: 30-10-2007.

Last update: 3-11-2007.