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36 – Zenobia’s Bishop


Despite newfound peace, in the 260s A.D., theological controversies sprang up in the Great Church. First between Rome and Alexandria, and then around the infamous bishop of Antioch, Paul of Samosata. A series of events which would eventually culminate in the first intervention of a Roman emperor in Church affairs…

Links about Dionysius of Rome

Links about Paul of Samosata

Links about Aurelian

Links about Zenobia

Links about Christmas and December 25th





Zenobia overlooking Palmyra





The Roman Empire at the height of the Crisis of the Third Century (Palmyrene Empire in yellow). From the Penguin Atlas of Ancient Rome


35 – The Little Peace of the Church

Episode Link

In 260 A.D. the Roman Emperor Gallienus recognized Christianity as a lawful religion, ushering in a forty year period of unprecedented peace and prosperity for the Church.



The best discussion of Gallienus’ legalization of Christianity can be found in T.D. Barnes’ Early Christian Hagiography and Roman History 97-105. Bellow I’ve reproduced Barne’s translation of Gallienus’ rescript to the Egyptian bishops:


Imperator Caesar Publius Licinius Gallienus Pius Felix Augustus to Dionysius, Pinnas, Demetrius and the other bishops.

I have ordered that the benefits conferred by my gift should be spread throughout the whole world, so that they withdraw from the places of worship. Consequently you too can also use the ruling in my prescript so that no-one harasses you. This was granted by me long ago, as far as it is possible to be fulfilled by you, and therefore Aurelius Quirinius, the magister summae rei, will observce the ruling given by me. (HE 7.13)


Links about persons discussed:

Gallienus Augustus


Update Summer 2017


Update on the podcast for Summer 2017.

Summer 2017 Update

Hello listeners,

My most sincere apologies that you haven’t heard from me in a while. For the past many months I’ve been dealing with something of a podcasting/history/theology burn-out. Its been a bit of an uphill battle to get back into the proper headspace, but I’m getting there. I do plan to continue the podcast and re-ignite my passion and enthusiasm for the subject. Your continued support for the show has been very encouraging to me. As of now I already have scripts for the next 4 episodes that have either been completed, near completed, or outlined. Right now I’m working on an episode release schedule for the Summer 2017 and forward/ that will be more compatible with my schedule. I will be releasing an update on the audio podcast feed soon with further details. Thanks again for your continued support! God bless.

34- The Valerian Persecution

In 257 A.D., the Roman Emperor Valerian launched the second empire-wide persecution of Christianity…





Medieval depiction of Valerian (Left) executing Xystus II of Rome and his deacons (Right)


Laurence of Rome


Fructuosus of Tarraco


Rock-relief at Naqsh-e Rustam Valerian and Philip the Arab before the Persian King of King Shapur I



The History of Rome 112- Captured of Alive by Mike Duncan

Valerian and Gallienus

The English translations I used for the martyrdom accounts of Fructuous, Marian and James, and Montanus and Lucius can be found in the Appendix of Keresztes Imperial Rome and the Christians Vol. 2.

For the Proconsular Acts of Cyprian see A New Eusebius ed. by Stevenson and Frend.

For Dionysius of Alexandria’s letter Against Germanus see here

On Fulvius Macrianus see Dionysius’s letter here and here

Eusebius’ account of the Valerian Persecution can be found in book 7 of the Ecclesiastical History

A very good article on the reason for Valerian’s persecution is: “Imperial Religious Policy and Valerian’s Persecution of the Church, A.D. 257-260”- Christopher J. Haas; Church History, Vol. 52, No. 2 (Jun., 1983), pp. 133-144

33- The Baptismal Controversy

Cyprian of Carthage became engulfed in a controversy with Stephen of Rome, over the validity of heretical baptism, which nearly tore the Christian Church in half…



Pope Stephen I of Rome

Notes Update – 9/14/2016

How do we know that chapter 4 of Cyprian’s On the Unity of the Catholic Church was changed by Cyprian himself from the Primacy Text (PT) to the Received Text (RT). The main reasons hinge on two factors. First, the existence and authenticity of two different versions of chapter 4, and second, the historical context in which these versions were composed. The manuscripts of On Unity, witness to both the RT and PT, and many manuscripts conflate the two. This is important because it demonstrates that the conflated texts are, well, conflated, rather than the RT with interpolations. The Primacy Text is a separate textual tradition, not a group of interpolations. Also, both the PT and RT are characteristically Cyprian in terms of their style, syntax, vocabulary, use of scripture, etc. Therefore, both versions originated from Cyprian’s own hand. So now the question is, how do we know which one came first? The main answer is the different clues and references in each respective text. Remember, Cyprian wrote On Unity in 251 as an anti-Novatian work. But the RT version seems to be from a later time, 256, when Stephen and Cyprian were at odds over heretical baptism. For instance, Cyprian quotes Ephesians 4:5 which speaks of one baptism, and goes to great lengths to emphasizes the equality of all bishops. Thus, Cyprian writing both versions, with the PT being the original, and the RT being a rewriting during the baptismal controversy, explains all the historical evidence in a coherent way without forcing it to fit. If you want more information, checkout the “Books and Articles” page on the blog site and scroll down to  secondary sources section entitled “Carthage and Africa” where I have listed the books I used for my study of Cyprian. There is also a translation of On Unity in the Ancient Christian writers series which has a good introduction and lots of notes on the text.

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