Отто Барденхевер. Игнатий Антиохийский

§ 9. Ignatius of Antioch.


Ignatius, called also Theophorus, the second or (if we include St. Peter) the third bishop of Antioch 1, was exposed to wild beasts at Rome 2 under Trajan, i. e. between 98 and 117 3. He was taken from Antioch to Rome in the custody of soldiers, and on the way wrote seven Letters to the Christians of Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, Rome, Philadelphia, Smyrna, and to Polycarp, bishop of the latter city. The collection of these Letters that lay before Eusebius 4 has been lost; but later collections of Ignatian Letters have been preserved, in which much scoria is mixed with the pure gold. The oldest of these, usually called the Long Recension, contains seven genuine and six spurious Letters, but even the genuine ones do not appear in their original form; they are all more or less enlarged and interpolated.

The spurious Letters are those of a certain Maria of Cassobola to Ignatius, his reply, and Letters from him to the people of Tarsus, Philippi, Antioch, and to the deacon Hero of Antioch. This recension is extant in the original Greek, and in an ancient Latin version. It seems certain that we owe to one and the same hand the forgery of the spurious Letters, the interpolation of the genuine ones, and the union of all in the Long Recension. The forger was an Apollinarist, for he twice denies that the Redeemer possessed a human soul (Philipp, v. 2. Philad., vi. 6). According to the researches of Funk, he is very probably identical with the compiler of the Apostolic Constitutions that were put together in Syria early in the fifth century. Later on, a «Laus Heronis» was added to this collection, i. e. a panegyric of Ignatius in the form of a prayer to him made by Hero, very probably written in Greek; it has reached us only in a Latin and a Coptic (Lower Egyptian or Memphitic) text. Somewhere between this Long Recension of the Ignatian Letters and the collection known to Eusebius is a third collection that has also reached us in Greek and Latin. It contains the seven genuine Letters in their original form, and also the six spurious ones, with the exception of the Letter to the Philippians; it has been recently called by Funk, and not improperly, the Mixed Collection. In this collection the (genuine) Letter to the Romans is incorporated with the so-called Martyrium Colbertinum, a document that closes the collection, and pretends to be the account given by an eye-witness of the martyrdom of St. Ignatius. Closely related to this collection is another that has reached us only in Armenian; it too has the seven genuine and the six spurious letters. Its original is a Syriac text now lost. Similarly, there has been preserved in Syriac an abbreviated recension of the three genuine Letters to the Ephesians, the Romans, and to Polycarp. Finally we must mention four Letters preserved in Latin : two from Ignatius to the Apostle John, and one to the Blessed Virgin, with her reply. These four Letters may be traced back to the twelfth century; very probably they are of Western origin.

It is clear from the preceding that the authentic text of the seven genuine Letters must be gathered from the Mixed Recension ; whose Greek original is represented in a single codex that is, moreover, incomplete **— the Mediceo-Laurentianus of the eleventh century, preserved at Florence. The Letter to the Romans is lacking in this manuscript, but is found (as a part of the Martyrium Colbertinum) in the tenth century Codex Colbertinus (Paris). Two other codices are now known, but they present no substantial variation; cf. Funk, Patres Apostolici, 2. ed., torn. ii. lxxii sq. However, even the ancient Latin translation in the Mixed Recension may lay claim to the value of a Greek text. In addition, the text of the Syro-Armenian collection and that of the Long Recension merit consideration. There are several Greek codices of the latter; among which the Codex Monacensis (olim Augustanus) of the tenth or eleventh century must be regarded as the chief. J. Voss was the first to edit the original text of the genuine Letters, with the exception of that to the Romans, Amsterdam, 1646. Th. Ruinart published the text of the latter from the Martyrium Colbertinum, Paris, 1689. The text in Migne, PG., v. 625—728 is taken from Hefele, Opp. Patr. apostol. (3. ed. Tübingen, 1847). The most recent and best editions are those of Zahn, Ignatii et Polycarpi epistulae, martyria, fragmenta (Patr. apostol. opp. Rec. O. de Gebhardt, Harnack , Zahn, fasc. ii), Leipzig, 1876; Funk, Opp. Patr. apostol., i., Tübingen 1878, 1887, 1901 ; Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, Part ii: St. Ignatius, St. Polycarp, London 1885, 1889, 2 vol. Lightfoot’s edition presents most fully all ancient ecclesiastical tradition concerning the Letters. (Ignatii Antiocheni et Polycarpi Smyrnaei epistulae et martyria, edidit et adnotationibus instruxit A. Hilgenfcld, Berlin, 1902. Cf. also Ignatii et Polycarpi Epistulae in the Bibliotheca SS. Patrum of Vizzini, series I, vol. II, Roma, 1902.) See § 4 for the latest English and German versions of the genuine Letters. There is an English version in Lightfoot, ib. ii. 539—570, and in J. H. Srawley, London, 1900, 2 vol. A. Hilgenfeld, Die Ignatiusbriefe und die neueste Verteidigung ihrer Echtheit, in Zeitschr. für wissenschaftl. Theologie (1903), xlvi. 171—194. Id., ib. 499—505. T. Nicklift, Three Passages in SS. Ignatius and Polycarp, in Journal of Theological Studies (1902—1903), iv. 443. A. N. Jannaris, An Ill-used Passage of St. Ignatius (ad Philad. viii. 2), in Classical Review (1903), xviii. 24—35. J. Dräseke , Ein Testimonium Ignatianum, in Zeitschrift für wissenschaftl. Theol. (1903), xlvi, 506—512. The Greek text of the Long Recension was first edited by V. Härtung (Frid), Dillingen, 1557. The text of Migne , op. cit. v. 729—941 is taken from Cotelerius, Patres aevi apost. t. ii. For new editions cf. Zahn, op. cit. pp. 174—296; Funk, op. cit. ii. 46—213; Lightfoot, op. cit. ii. 709—857. For the author of the Long Recension, Iiis theological tendencies, and his identity with the compiler of the Apostolic Constitutions, see Funk, Die Apostolischen Konstitutionen, Rottenburg, 1891, pp. 281—355. Id., Kirchengeschichtliche Abhandlungen und Untersuchungen (1899), ii. 347 to 359; C. Holzhey, in Theol. Quartalschr. (1898), Ixxx. 380—390; A. Amelungk, in Zeitschr. für wissenschaftl. Theol. (1899), xlii. 508—581 (to the contrary: F. X. Funk, Theologie und Zeit des Pseudo-Ignatius, in Theol. Quartalschr. [1901], lxxxiii. 411—426, and Id., Le Pseudo-Ignace, in Revue d’hist. ecclesiast. [1900], i. 61—65). A. Stahl, Patristische Untersuchungen, II: Ignatius von Antiochien, Leipzig, 1901. The Latin text of «Laus Heronis» is in Migne, PL. v. 945—948; cf. Zahn/p. 297; Funk ii. 214; Lightfoot ii. 893. Lightfoot gives the prayer in a Lower Egyptian or Memphitic version (p. 881 f.), and attempts a reconstruction of the Greek text (p. 893 f.). For the Latin version of the Long Recension see Zahn p. 175—296; Funk ii. 47—213. The Latin version of the Mixed Recension is in Funk, Die Echtheit der Ignatianischen Briefe aufs neue verteidigt, Tübingen, 1883, p. 151—204, and in lightfoot ii. 597 — 652. F. de Lagarde published both Latin versions at Göttingen, 1882. The Lightfoot edition contains (ii. 659—687) the Syriac abbreviated recension of the three Letters to Polycarp, the Ephesians, and the Romans, first made known in 1845 by W. Cureton; it also contains some stray Syriac fragments of the genuine Letters in their original form, edited by W. Wright. For earlier editions and recensions of these Syriac texts see F. Nestle, Syrische Grammatik (Berlin, 1888), ii. 54, s. v. Ignatius Antiochenus. The Armenian version, derived from the Syriac, was first published at Constantinople in 1783. It also appeared at Leipzig in 1849, in J. H. Petermanris edition of the Ignatian Letters. The four Letters extant in Latin only are found in Migne, PL., v. 941—946; Zahn pp. 297—300; Funk pp. 214—217; Lightfoot, ii. 653—656. (Ad. Harnack, Zu Ignatius und Polycarp, in Miscellen [Texte und Untersuchungen, new series, v. 3] [Leipzig, 1900], pp. 80—86.)


On his way to martyrdom Ignatius probably embarked at Seleucia for some port in Cilicia or Pamphylia thence, as his Letters bear witness, he was taken by land through Asia Minor. At Smyrna there was a somewhat lengthy halt, and he met there the envoys from several Christian communities of Asia Minor come to express their veneration for the confessor of the faith. To the representatives of Ephesus, Magnesia, and Tralles, Ignatius gave Letters for those communities, in which, after making known his gratitude, he warned them to beware of heretics (Judaizers and Docetae, or rather, perhaps, Judaizing Docetae). He also exhorts them to be joyfully submissive to the ecclesiastical authorities. «Be. ye careful to do all things in divine concord (h bpovota too deoo). This, because the bishop presides in the place of God, and the priests are as the senate of the Apostles, and the deacons . . . have confided to them the ministry of Jesus Christ» (Magn., 6. 1). «Let all reverence the deacons as Jesus Christ, and also the bishop ; for he is the image of the Father, but the priests as the senate of God and the college of the xApostles. Without these (ecclesiastical superiors) one cannot speak of a church» (Trail, 3. 1). A fourth Letter was sent by Ignatius from Smyrna to the Christians of Rome, to induce them to abandon all attempts to prevent the execution of his death-sentence. «I fear that your love will cause me a damage» (i. 2). «For I shall not have such another occasion to enter into the possession of God» (2. 1). «I am the wheat of God, and I must be ground by the teeth of wild beasts that I may become the pure bread of Christ» (4. 1). The preamble of this Letter offers many difficulties. However, when he calls the Roman community (ixxXyaia) the TTpoxaäypLivq tvjq dyaTt^Q, it is clear that these words do not signify «first in charity» or in the exercise of love, but rather «presiding over the society of love», i. e. the entire Church. The word dydr.-q often signifies in Ignatius the entire community of Christians. — From Smyrna he went to Troas where he was met by a messenger of the Church of Antioch with the news that the persecution of the Christians had ceased in that city. From Troas he wrote to the Christians of Philadelphia and Smyrna, and also to Polycarp, the bishop of the latter city. In the first two Letters he expresses his thanks for the evidences of their love, recommends the sending of messengers to congratulate those of Antioch on the restoration of peace, and exhorts and warns them against the heretical ideas already mentioned. «I cried out (at Philadelphia) with a loud voice, with the voice of God : hold fast to the bishop, to the presbytery, to the deacons» (Philad., 7. 1). «Wherever the bishop is, there let the people be, as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church» (Smyrn., 8. 2; it is here that we first meet with the words «Catholic Church» in the sense of the entire body of the faithful). Ignatius meant to request the other communities of Asia Minor to express, by messenger or letter, their sympathies with the Christians of Antioch, but was prevented by an unexpected and hasty departure from Troas; he therefore asks Polycarp to appeal in his name to those communities of Asia. From Troas he went to Neapolis, crossing on his way Macedonia and Illyria. It was probably at Dyrrhachium (Durazzo), or at Apollonia, that he began his sea-voyage. From Brindisi he travelled afoot to Rome, where according to the unanimous evidence of antiquity he reached the goal of his desire. His literary remains are the outpouring of a pastoral heart, aflame with a consuming love for Jesus Christ and His Church. The style is original and extremely vivacious, the expression sonorous and often incorrect, while the strong emotions of the writer interfere frequently with the ordinary forms of expression. Very frequently he reminds us of certain epistles of the Apostle of the Gentiles.

Th. Dreher, S. Ignatii episc. Antioch. de Christo Deo doctrina (Progr.), Sigmaringen, 1877. J- Nirschl , Die Theologie des hl. Ignatius, Mainz, 1880. J. H. Newman, The Theology of St. Ignatius, in Hist. Sketches I (London, 1890), v. 222—262. E. Freiherr v. d. Goltz, Ignatius von Antiochien als Christ und Theologe, Leipzig, 1894 (Texte und Untersuchungen, xii. 3). E. Bruston, Ignace d’Antioche, ses epitres, sa theologie, Paris, 1897. The term irpoxo#7}jxev?) trjs a^a~-qc, in the inscription of the Letter to the Romans, is discussed by Ad. Harnack , in Sitzungsberichte der kgl. preuß. Akad. der Wissensch. (Berlin, 1896), 11 1—13 1 ; J. Chap?7ian , in Revue Benedictine (1896), xiii. 385 —400; Funk, Kirchengeschichtliche Abhandlungen und Untersuchungen (Paderborn, 1897), i. 1—23. (Cf. also the superficial and antiquated sketch of R. Mariano, II Primato del Pontefice romano istituzione divina? and L’Epistola ai Romani d’Ignazio d’ Antiochia, in his II Cristianesimo nei primi tre secoli [Scritti vari, iv—v.], Firence, 1902, pp. 390—403.)


For centuries the authenticity of the Ignatian Letters has been disputed. The successive discovery and publication of the collections and recensions described above caused the question to pass through many phases, while the incomparable value of the evidence that the Letters, if authentic, give concerning the constitution and organization of the primitive Christian communities continually fed the flame of discussion. Although it cannot be said that there is at present an absolute harmony of opinion, the end of the controversy is at hand, since even the principal non-Catholic scholars, Zahn, Lightfoot, Harnack, unreservedly maintain that the Letters are authentic. The evidence for their authenticity is simply overwhelming. Irenseus himself refers to a passage of the Letter to the Romans (c. 4. 1) in the following words 1 : «Quemadmodum quidam de nostris dixit propter martyrium in Deum adiudicatus ad bestias». The romance of Lucian of Samosata, De morte Peregrini, written in 167, agrees to such an extent with the Letters of Ignatius, both as to facts and phraseology, that the coincidence seems inexplicable except on the hypothesis that Lucian made a tacit use of these Letters. A significant phrase in the Letter of the Church of Smyrna, apropos of the death of Polycarp (c. 3) , has always recalled an expression in the Letter to the Romans (c. 5. 2). Polycarp himself says in his Letter to the Philippians: «The Letters of Ignatius that he sent to us, and such others as we had in hand, we have sent to you, according to your wish. They are added to this Letter. You will find them very useful; for they contain faith and patience and much edification relative to Our Lord.» These words, written shortly after the death of Ignatius, are so final and decisive that the opponents of the authenticity of the Ignatian Letters are obliged to reject the Letter, of Polycarp as a forgery, or at least to maintain that the passages concerning Ignatius are interpolated. They have sought to counterbalance external evidence by objections drawn from the Letters themselves. They argue that the portrait of the bishop of Antioch as presented in these Letters, has been disfigured by the addition of impossible features; that heresy was neither so important a matter nor so fully developed in the time of Ignatius; above all, that the ecclesiastical constitution exhibited in the Letters has attained a maturity which is really met with only in a later period. It is true that in these Letters the bishop is exhibited, in language of almost surprising precision, as distinct from the presbyters; that the monarchical, and not the collegiate or presbyteral, constitution of the Church is set forth as an accomplished fact. But if Irenaeus could compile a catalogue of the bishops of Rome that goes back to the Apostles 1 , it becomes impossible to maintain that the episcopate began only with the second century. Nor can it be said that the Letters were forged in the interest of episcopal power; the episcopate is set forth in them as something well-established and accepted, of whose legitimacy no one doubts. Still less can an argument be drawn from the history of heresy; the heretic Cerinthus flourished in the life-time of the Apostle John. All search for the traces of a polemic in these Letters against the Gnosis of Valentinian has proved fruitless. Finally, the pretended lack of naturalness in the person of Ignatius would become a positive mystery if such a figure had been created by a forger.

Not long after the discovery of the Mixed Recension the Anglican J. Pearson successfully vindicated the authenticity of the Seven Letters. (Vindiciae epistolarum S. Ignatii, Cambridge, 1672, Oxford, 1852; Migne, PC., v. 37—473) against the Reformer J. Dallaeus (De scriptis quae sub Dionysii Areop. et Ignatii Antioch. nominibus circumferuntur , Genevae, 1666). After editing (1845) tne Syriac text of the three abbreviated Letters to the Ephesians, Romans, and Polycarp, W. Cureton published a quite untenable apology for them as the genuine Letters of Ignatius. He maintained that the longer form of the same in the Mixed Recension was the work of an interpolator, and the remaining four simply forgeries (Vindiciae Ignatianae, London, 1846). For the more recent literature cf. J.Nirschl, Das Todesjahr des hl. Ignatius von Antiochien und die drei orientalischen Feldzüge des Kaisers Trajan, Passau, 1869. Th. Zahn, Ignatius von Antiochien, Gotha, 1873. In his Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur, ii. 1, 381—406, Ad. Harnack abandoned, as antiquated, the «hypothesis of his earlier work: Die Zeit des Ignatius (Leipzig, 1878), in which he had attempted to place the death of Ignatius about 138. F. X. Funk, Die Echtheit der Ignatianischen Briefe aufs neue verteidigt, Tübingen, 1883. W. D. Killen, The Ignatian Epistles entirely spurious, Edinburgh, 1866. R. C. Jenkins, Ignatian Difficulties and Historic Doubts, London, 1890. D. Völler, Die Ignatianischen Briefe, auf ihren Ursprung untersucht, Tübingen, 1892. J. Reville, fitudes sur les origines de l’episcopat. La valeur du temoignage d’Ignace d’Antioche, Paris, 1891. Id., Les origines de l’episcopat, Part, i (Paris, 1894), 442—520. L. Tonetti, II Peregrinus di Luciano e i cristiani del suo tempo, in Miscellanea di storia e coltura eccles. (1904), 72—84.