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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IX:
The Epistles of Clement.: Chapter XLIV

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XLIV.—The Ordinances of the Apostles, that There Might Be No Contention Respecting the Priestly Office.

Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office 4232 of the episcopate.  For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, 4233 that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry.  We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, 4234 or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ, in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry.  For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate 4235 those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. 4236   Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them.  But we see that ye have removed some men of excellent behaviour from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honour.



Literally, “on account of the title of the oversight ”  Some understand this to mean, “in regard to the dignity of the episcopate;” and others simply, “on account of the oversight.”  I. for ἐπινομή gives ἐπιδομή   Bryennius conjectures ἐπιδοχή, which perhaps, may be rendered “Succession” (διαδοχή).


The meaning of this passage is much controverted.  Some render, “left a list of other approved persons;” while others translate the unusual word έπινομὴ, which causes the difficulty, by “testamentary direction,” and many others deem the text corrupt.  We have given what seems the simplest version of the text as it stands.


i.e. the apostles.


Or, “oversight.”


Literally, “presented the offerings.”

Next: Chapter XLV

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