The Nineteenth Century
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1802 Georg Friderich Grotefend decifered the cuneiform writing of ancient Sumeria.
1804Alexis Khomiakov (1804-60) born. Khomiakov looked to Orthodox sources for theology, rather than employing Roman Catholic arguments against Protestants and vice versa.
1808St. Nikita the Albanian martyred. In Serres, Nikita went to the Church of Divine Wisdom, which the Moslems had turned into a mosque. He met a cripple, and told him he would be healed if he believed in Jesus and was baptized. The cripple told the chief teacher of the mosque, who turned him over to the authorities. Nikita was tortured in prison, then hanged. His relics have performed many miracles.
1808 Joseph Bonaparte suppressed the Spanish Inquisition.
1809 Members of Thomas Campbell's Christian Association of Washington, Pennsylvania, formed a church under the pastorship of Thomas' son, Alexander. Working with Walter Scott, who developed a five-step plan of salvation, and with Barton Stone, who pushed a simple and non-creedal form of Christianity, Alexander Campbell began the “Restoration Movement.” Groups that derive from this origin include the Disciples of Christ, the Churches of Christ, and the Christian Churches.
1812 Napoleon’s French Grand Army invaded Russia. When Napoleon reached Moscow, the city was in flames. On October the 19th, the Grand Army began its retreat.
1814 Abdication of Napoleon and his exile to Elba. In 1815, he returned, but was defeated and sent as a prisoner to the island of St. Helena.
1814 Ferdinand VII restored the Spanish Inquisition.
1815St. Seraphim of Sarov (1759-1833) turned from a life of seclusion and began to receive visitors, providing advice and healing the sick. Holy men such as this are called as startsy in Russia.
1817 Publication of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences in Outline.
1819 A council at Constantinople endorsed the standpoint of the Kollyvades. This was a movement against the influence of the Western Enlightenment in Greece. The Kollyvades endorsed the study of the church fathers and Orthodox liturgical life, along with frequent communion.
After William Ellery Channing’s sermon “Unitarian Christianity” in this year, many New England congregationalist bodies became Unitarian.
1820 Joseph Smith had a vision in Palmyra, New York, which led to the founding of the Mormon religion. The first congregation of Mormons was formed in 1830. Smith himself was killed in Carthage, Illinois, in 1844. Under the leadership of Brigham Young, his followers arrived in Utah in 1847.
1820 The Spanish Inquisition was again suppressed.
1822 The Vicar Apostolic in England, Bishop Baines, wrote that “Bellarmine and some other divines, chiefly Italians, have believed the Pope infallible, when proposing ex cathedra an article of faith. But in England or Ireland I do not believe that any Catholic maintains the infallibility of the Pope.”
1823 The Spanish Inquisition again restored.
1826 Thirty Roman Catholic bishops and archbishops in Ireland signed a declaration that “The Catholics of Ireland declare on oath their belief that it is not an article of the Catholic faith, neither are they required to believe that the pope is infallible.” They presented testimony before a committee of the English Parliament that they and their congregations rejected both papal infallibility and the notion that the bishop of Rome could relieve subjects from their civil allegiance. As a result, the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 was enacted.
1827The British and Foreign Bible Society resolved never to print or distribute Bibles containing the Apocrypha. Prior to this time, the Authorized Version had been printed without these books, but from this year copies with the Apocrypha became even more rare.
1827 An Anglican priest named John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) concluded that the visible church was apostate. He began to meet with others, the group eventually becoming known as the Plymouth Brethren. Darby taught a radical distinction between Israel and the church, which laid the seed for dispensational premillenialism, popularized by the notes in the Scofield Reference Bible.
1829St. John of Kronstadt (1829-1908) born. Like St. Seraphim or Sarov, he possessed the gifts of spiritual insight and healing.
1830 Greece liberated from Turkish rule.
1830 Mary McDonald, a 15-year-old Scottish girl living in Port Glasgow, had visions in which it was revealed that believers would be taken out of the world (a “secret rapture”) prior to the appearance of the anti-Christ. It is reported that John Darby (see 1827 above) was influenced by McDonald’s visions.
1830 A twenty-four year old nun named Catherine Laboure in a convent of the Sisters of Charity in Paris reportedly saw a vision of the Virgin Mary. Mary appeared to her standing on a half-globe with a globe topped with a cross in her hands. She commanded Catherine to have a medal struck after the model of the image she had seen. The medal, first produced in 1832, came to be known as the Miraculous Medal.
1834 The Spanish Inquisition again suppressed.
1835 Publication of David Friedrich Strauss’s Das Leben Jesu kritisch bearbeitet (The Life of Jesus Critically Examined). A Hegelian, Strauss viewed Christianity as the synthesis of conflicting forces. In particular, he denied the Gospels had historical value, since, in his view, they were second-century creations, historical myths embodying the hopes of early Christians.
1836 Pope Gregory XVI (1831-46) in effect overturned Benedict XIV’s 1757 proclamation on reading the Scriptures in the vernacular. Benedict had allowed such translations if they were approved by the papacy or contained notes from the Fathers. Gregory noted that Pope Clement VIII’s requirement for papal approval for reading the Scriptures in the vernacular was still in effect.
1839 The Marquis de Custine visited Russia. While there, he recorded his observations in a series of letters. These letters provide insight into one nineteenth century Westerner’s blindness toward the central message of Orthodox spirituality:
The Marquis de Custine depicts a Russian prince as attributing Russia's backwardness to the fact that it successfully resisted conquest by the Teutonic Knights: “Think at each step you take in this land of Asiatic people that the influence of chivalry and Catholicism has been missed by the Russians.”
Later, he himself opines: “Separated from the Occident by its adhesion to the Greek schism, Russia has come back after many centuries, with the inconsistency of a disillusioned self-esteem, to ask from the nations formed by Catholicism the civilization that she has been deprived of by an entirely political religion. This Byzantine religion, issued from a palace to help maintain order in a camp, does not satisfy the most sublime needs of the human soul; it helps the police deceive the nation - that is all. It has made these people unworthy of the degree of culture to which they aspire.” The reader is left wondering if de Custine thought of religion solely as a tool for the improvement of civilization. He was plainly oblivious to Orthodox spirituality.
1839 The Uniate Church in Ukraine abolished. Clergy who refused to re-unite to Orthodoxy (593 of 1898) were exiled to Siberia or the Russian interior. Eventually, Uniates existed only in Austrian-controlled areas of Ukraine (Galicia).
Known as the Reunion of Polotsk, Greek Catholic dioceses in Lithuania and Belarus also re-entered the Orthodox Church in this year, led by Iosif Semashko, bishop of Lithuania.
1839 The first French diocese to drop its local breviary in favor of the Roman, Langres, did so in this year. Orleans was the last, in 1875.
1840 John Wilson’s Lectures on Our Israelitish Origin published. Wilson is regarded as the founder of the British-Israelite movement, which relies on the notion that the British are descended from one or more of the ten lost tribes of Israel. The influence of British Israelitism peaked around 1900 with perhaps 2,000,000 believers worldwide.
1843 A baptist pastor from Vermont named William Miller calculated that Christ's second coming would occur this year. He later revised the date to 1844. The Seventh Day Adventist church rose from these false predictions.
1845 Publication of Ferdinand Christian Baur’s Paulus, der Apostel Jesu Christi (Paul, the Apostle of Jesus Christ). Baur argued that only Galatians, the two Corinthian letters, and Romans were genuine. He held that the relative harmony between Jews and Gentiles portrayed in Acts indicated that it was composed after the apostolic period, when the details of such conflicts had been forgotten. A Hegelian, Baur saw Jewish Christianity (led by Peter) as thesis, Gentile (Pauline) Christianity as antithesis, and the catholic Christianity that emerged as synthesis. This notion of early Christian development is known as the Tubingen theory.
1846 Two children (Melanie Mathieu (14) and Maximin Giraud (11)) herding cattle near La Salette, France, reportedly saw a vision of a lady dressed in white who predicted crop failures and disease in the area if people failed to attend mass regularly and to cease using Jesus’ name as a curse. Subsequently, crops did fail, and cholera struck many children in the region.
1846-60 Keenan’s Catechism was popular in Britain during this period. Approved for use by four Roman Catholic bishops, to the question, “Must not all Catholics believe the Pope in himself to be infallible?” the response is, “This is a Protestant invention: it is no article of the Catholic faith; no decision of his can oblige, under pain of heresy, unless it be received and enforced by the teaching body; that is, by the bishops of the Church.”
1847 A professor of dogmatic theology in the Collegium Romanum, Giovanni Perrone, argued in a book published this year that dogmas could be defined even if they lacked direct evidence in both Scripture and written tradition. It was only requisite that the dogmas exist as a secret tradition in the consciousness of believers. Pope Pius IX set up a commission to examine Perrone’s theory. The commission concluded that Tradition alone was sufficient to establish a doctrine, and that “the existence of a Catholic tradition was proved when the general agreement of the Church at any period could be verified, or when a certain number of decisive pieces of evidence which presume it could be produced.” Thus the ground was prepared for the Bull Ineffabilis Deus, issued in 1854.
1848 Pius IX (1846-78) sent an encyclical to the Eastern Churches in an attempt to corrupt them from the Orthodox faith. Selections from the Eastern Patriarchs’ response:
“Of these heresies diffused, with what sufferings the LORD hath known, over a great part of the world, was formerly Arianism, and at present is the Papacy. This, too, as the former has become extinct, although now flourishing, shall not endure, but pass away and be cast down, and a great voice from heaven shall cry: It is cast down (Rev. xii. 10).”
“Some of the Bishops of that City, styled Popes, for example Leo III and John VIII, did indeed, as has been said, denounce the innovation, and published the denunciation to the world, the former by those silver plates, the latter by his letter to the holy Photius at the eighth Ecumenical Council, and another to Sphendopulcrus, by the hands of Methodius, Bishop of Moravia. The greater part, however, of their successors, the Popes of Rome, enticed by the antisynodical privileges offered them for the oppression of the Churches of God, and finding in them much worldly advantage, and ‘much gain,’ and conceiving a Monarchy in the Catholic Church and a monopoly of the gifts of the Holy Ghost, changed the ancient worship at will, separating themselves by novelties from the old received Christian Polity. Nor did they cease their endeavors, by lawless projects (as veritable history assures us), to entice the other four Patriarchates into their apostasy from Orthodoxy, and so subject the Catholic Church to the whims and ordinances of men.”
“The Throne of Rome is esteemed that of St. Peter by a single tradition, but not from Holy Scripture, where the claim is in favor of Antioch, whose Church is therefore witnessed by the great Basil (Ep. 48 Athan.) to be ‘the most venerable of all the Churches in the world.’ Still more, the second Ecumenical Council, writing to a Council of the West (to the most honorable and religious brethren and fellow-servants, Damasus, Ambrose, Britto, Valerian, and others), witnesseth, saying: ‘The oldest and truly Apostolic Church of Antioch, in Syria, where first the honored name of Christians was used.’ We say then that the Apostolic Church of Antioch had no right of exemption from being judged according to divine Scripture and synodical declarations, though truly venerated for the throne of St. Peter. But what do we say? The blessed Peter, even in his own person, was judged before all for the truth of the Gospel, and, as Scripture declares, was found blamable and not walking uprightly. What opinion is to be formed of those who glory and pride themselves solely in the possession of his Throne, so great in their eyes? Nay, the sublime Basil the great, the Ecumenical teacher of Orthodoxy in the Catholic Church, to whom the Bishops of Rome are obliged to refer us (p. 8, 1.31), has clearly and explicitly above (§ 7) shown us what estimation we ought to have of the judgments of the inaccessible Vatican: — ‘They neither,’ he says, ‘know the truth, nor endure to learn it, striving against those who tell them the truth, and strengthening themselves in their heresy.’ So that these our holy Fathers whom his Holiness the Pope, worthily admiring as lights and teachers even of the West, accounts as belonging to us, and advises us (p. 8) to follow, teach us not to judge Orthodoxy from the holy Throne, but the Throne itself and him that is on the Throne by the sacred Scriptures, by Synodical decrees and limitations, and by the Faith which has been preached, even the Orthodoxy of continuous teaching. Thus did our Fathers judge and condemn Honorius, Pope of Rome, and Dioscorus, Pope of Alexandria, and Macedonius and Nestorius, Patriarchs of Constantinople, and Peter Gnapheus, Patriarch of Antioch, with others. For if the abomination of desolation stood in the Holy Place, why not innovation and heresy upon a holy Throne? Hence is exhibited in a brief compass the weakness and feebleness of the efforts in behalf of the despotism of the Pope of Rome. For, unless the Church of Christ was founded upon the immovable rock of St. Peter’s Confession, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God (which was the answer of the Apostles in common, when the question was put to them, Whom say ye that I am? (Matt. xvi. 15,) as the Fathers, both Eastern and Western, interpret the passage to us), the Church was built upon a slippery foundation, even on Cephas himself, not to say on the Pope, who, after monopolizing the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, has made such an administration of them as is plain from history. But our divine Fathers, with one accord, teach that the sense of the thrice-repeated command, Feed my sheep, implied no prerogative in St. Peter over the other Apostles, least of all in his successors. It was a simple restoration to his Apostleship, from which he had fallen by his thrice-repeated denial. St. Peter himself appears to have understood the intention of the thrice-repeated question of our Lord: Lovest thou Me, and more, and than these?. (John xxi. 16;) for, calling to mind the words, Thou all shall be offended because of Thee, yet will 1 never be offended (Matt. xxvi. 33), he was grieved because He said unto him the third time, Lovest thou Me? But his successors, from self-interest, understand the expression as indicative of St. Peter's more ready mind.”
“... yet are we convinced from the words of our LORD, that the time will come when that divine prayer concerning the denial of Peter, ‘that his faith might not fail for ever’ will operate also in some one of the successors of his Throne, who will also weep, as he did, bitterly, and being sometime converted will strengthen us, his brethren, still more in the Orthodox Confession, which we hold from our forefathers;—and would that his Holiness might be this true successor of the blessed Peter! To this our humble prayer, what hinders that we should add our sincere and hearty Counsel in the name of the Holy Catholic Church? We dare not say, as does his Holiness (p. x. 1.22), that it should be done ‘without any delay;’ but without haste, after mature consideration, and also, if need be, after consultation with the more wise, religious, truth-loving, and prudent of the Bishops, Theologians, and Doctors, to be found at the present day, by God's good Providence, in every nation of the West.”
“His Holiness says that the Bishop of Lyons, St. Irenaeus, writes in praise of the Church of Rome: ‘That the whole Church, namely, the faithful from everywhere, must come together in that Church, because of its Primacy, in which Church the tradition, given by the Apostles, has in all respects been observed by the faithful everywhere.’ Although this saint says by no means what the followers of the Vatican would make out, yet even granting their interpretation, we reply: Who denies that the ancient Roman Church was Apostolic and Orthodox? None of us will question that it was a model of orthodoxy. We will specially add, for its greater praise, from the historian Sozomen (Hist. Eccl. lib. iii. cap. 12), the passage, which his Holiness has overlooked, respecting the mode by which for a time she was enabled to preserve the orthodoxy which we praise:—‘For, as everywhere,’ saith Sozomen, ‘the Church throughout the West, being guided purely by the doctrines of the Fathers, was delivered from contention and deception concerning these things.’ Would any of the Fathers or ourselves deny her canonical privilege in the rank of the hierarchy, so long as she was guided purely by the doctrines of the Fathers, walking by the plain rule of Scripture and the holy Synods! But at present we do not find preserved in her the dogma of the Blessed Trinity according to the Creed of the holy Fathers assembled first in Nicaea and afterwards in Constantinople, which the other five Ecumenical Councils confessed and confirmed with such anathemas on those who adulterated it in the smallest particular, as if they had thereby destroyed it. Nor do we find the Apostolical pattern of holy Baptism, nor the Invocation of the consecrating Spirit upon the holy elements: but we see in that Church the eucharistic Cup, heavenly drink, considered superfluous, (what profanity!) and very many other things, unknown not only to our holy Fathers, who were always entitled the catholic, clear rule and index of Orthodoxy, as his Holiness, revering the truth, himself teaches (p. vi), but also unknown to the ancient holy Fathers of the West. We see that very primacy, for which his Holiness now contends with all his might, as did his predecessors, transformed from a brotherly character and hierarchical privilege into a lordly superiority. What then is to be thought of his unwritten traditions, if the written have undergone such a change and alteration for the worse? ... he who is cited by his Holiness as a witness of the primacy of the Roman Church, shows that its dignity is not that of a lordship, nor even appellate, to which St. Peter himself was never ordained, but is a brotherly privilege in the Catholic Church, and an honor assigned the Popes on account of the greatness and privilege of the City. Thus, also, the fourth Ecumenical Council, for the preservation of the gradation in rank of Churches canonically established by the third Ecumenical Council (Canon 8),—following the second (Canon 3), as that again followed the first (Canon 6), which called the appellate jurisdiction of the Pope over the West a Custom,—thus uttered its determination: ‘On account of that City being the Imperial City, the Fathers have with reason given it prerogatives’ (Canon 28). Here is nothing said of the Pope's special monopoly of the Apostolicity of St. Peter, still less of a vicarship in Rome's Bishops, and an universal Pastorate. This deep silence in regard to such great privileges—nor only so, but the reason assigned for the primacy, not ‘Feed my sheep,’ not ‘On this rock will I build my Church,’ but simply old Custom, and the City being the Imperial City; and these things, not from the LORD, but from the Fathers—will seem, we are sure, a great paradox to his Holiness entertaining other ideas of his prerogatives. The paradox will be the greater, since, as we shall see, he greatly honors the said fourth Ecumenical Synod as one to be found a witness for his Throne; and St. Gregory, the eloquent, called the Great (lib. i. Ep. 25), was wont to speak of the four (Ecumenical Councils [not the Roman See] as the four Gospels, and the four-sided stone on which the Catholic Church is built.”
“But, finally, his Holiness says (p. ix. l.12) that the fourth Ecumenical Council (which by mistake he quite transfers from Chalcedon to Carthage), when it read the epistle of Pope Leo I, cried out, ‘Peter has thus spoken by Leo.’ It was so indeed. But his Holiness ought not to overlook how, and after what examination, our fathers cried out, as they did, in praise of Leo. Since however his Holiness, consulting brevity, appears to have omitted this most necessary point, and the manifest proof that an Ecumenical Council is not only above the Pope but above any Council of his, we will explain to the public the matter as it really happened. Of more than six hundred fathers assembled in the Counci1 of Chalcedon, about two hundred of the wisest were appointed by the Council to examine both as to language and sense the said epistle of Leo; nor only so, but to give in writing and with their signatures their own judgment upon it, whether it were orthodox or not ... And thus all in succession: ‘The epistle corresponds,’ ‘the epistle is consonant,’ ‘the epistle agrees in sense,’ and the like. After such great and very severe scrutiny in comparing it with former holy Councils, and a full conviction of the correctness of the meaning, and not merely because it was the epistle of the Pope, they cried aloud, ungrudgingly, the exclamation on which his Holiness now vaunts himself: But if his Holiness had sent us statements concordant and in unison with the seven holy Ecumenical Councils, instead of boasting of the piety of his predecessors lauded by our predecessors and fathers in an Ecumenical Council, he might justly have gloried in his own orthodoxy, declaring his own goodness instead of that of his fathers. Therefore let his Holiness be assured, that if, even now, he will write us such things as two hundred fathers on investigation and inquiry shall find consonant and agreeing with the said former Councils, then, we say, he shall hear from us sinners today, not only, ‘Peter has so spoken,’ or anything of like honor, but this also, ‘Let the holy hand be kissed which has wiped away the tears of the Catholic Church.’
1850 Pius IX (1846-78) set up a rival episcopal hierarchy in England. He appointed Nicholas Wiseman, formerly a vicar apostolic, as archbishop of Westminster. Wiseman was responsible for the rising acceptance of the concept of papal infallibility among Catholics in England, in part through the quarterly, the Dublin Review, which he had founded in about 1835.
1852 For the crime of reading the Bible in an Italian translation and distributing this translation in Florence, Francesco Madiai and his wife were sentenced to four years of imprisonment by the government of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. They were released when Lord Palmerston threatened Tuscany with English warships.
1853 The Crimean War began. Lasted through 1856. The war was caused by a French demand that the Turks restore Latin rights in the Holy Land as described in a 1740 treaty. When the Turks complied, they dispossessed the Orthodox Christians of their accustomed rank. The Russian tsar, Nicholas I, reacted by demanding that the Orthodox privileges be restored and, in addition, he be guaranteed a protectorate over all Orthodox Christians (estimated at 12 million) in the Ottoman Empire. It was this demand for a protectorate over the laity, and not the clergy alone, which the Turks, backed by the British and the French, refused to admit, which led to the war.
The Roman Catholic church had a hand in moving the British and French against the Russians. The Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Sibor, at the start of the Crimean War, said, “It is a sacred deed, a God-pleasing deed, to ward off the Photian heresy [Orthodoxy], subjugate it and destroy it with a new crusade. This is the clear goal of today's crusade. Such was the goal of all the crusades, even if all their participants were not fully aware of it. The war which France is now preparing to wage against Russia is not a political war but a holy war. It is not a war between two governments or between two peoples, but is precisely a religious war, and other reasons presented are only pretexts.”
Dostoyevsky wrote: “Militant Roman Catholicism savagely takes the side of the Turks. At the moment, there are no more savage haters of Russia than these militant clerics. It was not some prelate but the Pope himself, who loudly and with joy, spoke of the ‘victories of the Turks’ and predicted a ‘fateful future’ for Russia at various Vatican meetings. This dying old man, the ‘head of Christianity’ was not ashamed to admit in public that every time he hears of a Russian defeat he experiences joy.”
1854 On December 8, Pius IX issued Ineffabilis Deus defining the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception: “that the most blessed Virgin Mary, in the first moment of her conception, by a special gift of grace from Almighty God, in consideration of the merits of Jesus Christ the Savior of mankind, was preserved pure from all taint of original sin.”
1858 Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year old French girl, claimed to have seen a white figure with a rosary who spoke to her in French, saying, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” The figure showed Bernadette where to find a previously unknown spring of water. Thus began the pilgrimage destination of Lourdes.
1858 A Christian nurse in a Jewish family’s home in Bologna (at that time, within the Papal States), baptized their small son without their consent. The boy was taken from his parents and raised at Rome in a home for converted Jews. Indignation at this act was widespread in Europe, but ineffectual.
1859 Tischendorf discovered Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph) at the Monastery of Saint Catherine, at the foot of Mount Sinai. Aleph is of the Alexandrian text type, with some Western readings. (See 350 for contents, 130 for a remark on the Epistle of Barnabas.)
1859 Charles Robert Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection published.
1860 On July 9, a Muslim mob attacked the Christian quarter in Damascus. Over 2500 men were killed, apart from women and children. Many of the latter were sold into slavery. The patriarchal cathedral was burned, and those who had fled there for safety died. Turkish troops were involved in the slaughter.
1861 On February 19, Tsar Alexander II emancipated the serfs.
1864 Pope Pius IX (1846-78) presented his syllabus of errors. One error is that it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion be held as the only religion of the state, to the exclusion of all others. The syllabus also disapproves of secular public education and the separation of church and state. Catholics are forbidden to consider that the pope’s conduct may have contributed to the schism between East and West. It is held to be an error that, “Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true.”
1866 John Mason Neale (born 1818) died this year. Neale translated many ancient Latin and Greek hymns into English.
Protestant attitudes toward other Christians were sometimes smugly triumphant
in this era. The third volume of Philip Schaff's History of the Church
was published in this year. Of the Monophysite churches of the East, Schaff
wrote, "They have long since fallen into stagnation, ignorance, and superstition,
and are to Christendom as a praying corpse to a living man. They are isolated
fragments of the ancient church history, and curious petrifactions from the Christological
battle-fields of the fifth and sixth centuries .... But Providence has preserved
them, like the Jews, and doubtless not without design .... Their very hatred
of the orthodox Greek church makes them more accessible both to Protestant and
Roman missions, and to the influences of Western Christianity and Western civilization.
1870 The first Vatican Council defined the doctrine of Papal Infallibility.
The statement on papal infallibility, Pastor Aeturnus: “We teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman pontiff speaks ex cathedra, that is, when in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith and morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by consent of the church, irreformable.”
Pastor Aeturnus claims to be “in accordance with the ancient and constant faith of the universal church” and to faithfully adhere “to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith.” There is thus no recourse here to Newman’s system of doctrinal development. It teaches also that the jurisdiction of the bishop of Rome “is truly episcopal, is immediate; to which all, of whatever rite and dignity, both pastors and faithful, both individually and collectively, are bound.” Those who disagree are assured that “This is the teaching of Catholic truth, from which no one can deviate without loss of faith and salvation.”
The Melkite Patriarch Maximos IV subsequently disclosed, that in the aftermath of the then patriarch's opposition to the definition of Papal infallibility at the first Vatican council, His Beatitude had been forced to the ground before the Papal throne while Pius IX (1846-78) placed his foot on his head.
The Archbishop of Bologna, Cardinal Guidi, made a speech at the council urging the Pope to exercise his infallibility only after taking counsel with the bishops of the Church. Pius IX scolded him afterwards. Guidi responded that he simply maintained that bishops are the witness of tradition. “Witnesses of tradition?” responded the Pope, “There is only one; that's me.”
1870-74 Publication of Albrecht Ritschl’s Die christliche Lehre von der Rechtfertigung und Versohnung (The Christian Doctrine of Justification and Reconciliation). Ritschl saw Christianity as an ellipse. One focus is the reconciliation of God and man through the life and death of Jesus (the religious focus). The other (the ethical focus) is the Kingdom of God. In Ritschl’s view, modern Christianity placed insufficient emphasis on doing God’s will as the means of advancing the Kingdom of God.
1871 At Portmain, France, the Virgin Mary reportedly appeared to Eugene Barbadette, age 12, his brother Joseph, 10, and two girls: Francoise Richer, 11, and Jeanne-Marie Lebosse, 9. It was thought that the vision was related to the halt of the German army’s advance on Laval.
1873 Jerusalem Codex. Philotheos Byrennios, Head Master of the higher Greek school in Constantinople and later Metropolitan of Nicomedia, discovered a collection of manuscripts in the hand of a certain Leon, dated 1056, in the Jerusalem Monastery of the Holy Sepulchre in Constantinople. The collection included (1) a summary of the Bible by St. John Chrysostom, (2) The Epistle of Barnabas, (3) the two Epistles of Clement to the Corinthians, (4) The Didache of the Twelve Apostles, (5) The Epistle of Mary of Cassoboli to Ignatius, and (6) Twelve Epistles of Ignatius. The discovery provided the second copy of Barnabas (the first being in Sinaiticus). It completed the text of 2 Clement (the epistles of Clement are included in Alexandrinus, though 2 Clement in that uncial is only 3/5 the length of the same epistle in the Jerusalem Codex.) The Didache was previously unknown.
1876St. Theophan the Recluse (1815-94) began issuing a translation of the Philokalia, in five volumes, in Russian.
1877St. Arsenios of Paros (1800-1877) died. Forty days after his death, his remains were incorrupt and wonderously fragrant.
1879 At Knock, Ireland, several people reportedly saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, and (possibly) St. John the Evangelist, all motionless. Some witnesses also saw a lamb, an altar, and a cross in the same scene.
1879 Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) promoted the philosophy and theology of Thomas Aquinas. Before this time, Thomism had been in decline.
1881Westcott and Hort published their New Testament. Their classification of textual witnesses into four categories - Neutral (Aleph and B), Alexandrian, Western (D, Old Syrian, Old Latin, and the Western Fathers), and Syrian (Ae and the majority of manuscripts) - along with their low regard for the Syrian type, has been criticized in the twentieth century with the discovery of older (papyrus) manuscripts containing Syrian readings. The Westcott and Hort text relies primarily on B (Vaticanus) and Aleph (Sinaiticus).
1883-84 The first three parts of Friedrich Nietsche’s Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra) were published. (The complete work appeared in 1892.) The work begins with Zarathustra, descending from 10 years’ solitude in the mountains, meeting a saint in the forest. After they part, Zarathustra says to himself, “Could it be possible! This old saint in the forest hath not yet heard of it, that God is dead!”
1884 The Candid Narrations of a Pilgrim to His Spiritual Father first published, in Kazan. Now published as The Way of a Pilgrim, the books tells of the spiritual journey of a Russian peasant into the ways of Orthodox mysticism.
1885 Revised Version published. American Edition published in 1901 as the American Standard Version.
1889 Dutch Catholics who had separated from Rome early in this century and German and other European Catholics who rejected the dogma of Papal Infallibility formed the Old Catholic Church in the Union of Utrecht.
1891 Father Alexis Toth, priest at St. Mary’s Greek Catholic Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, led his congregation into the Russian Orthodox Church. Father Toth had arrived in the United States in 1889. When his archbishop, John Ireland, learned that Toth had been married, he forbade him from serving his parish. This unwillingness on the part of a Roman Catholic prelate to accommodate Greek Catholic practices led to the congregation’s return to the Orthodox faith.
1893 Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) published his encyclical On the Study of Holy Scripture. It takes a quite fundamentalist tone in the following passage:
“It is true, no doubt, that copyists have made mistakes in the text of the Bible; this question, when it arises, should be carefully considered on its merits, and the fact not too easily admitted, but only in those passages where the proof is clear. It may also happen that the sense of a passage remains ambiguous, and in this case good hermeneutical methods will greatly assist in clearing up the obscurity. But it is absolutely wrong and forbidden, either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture, or to admit that the sacred writer has erred. For the system of those who, in order to rid themselves of these difficulties, do not hesitate to concede that divine inspiration regards the things of faith and morals, and nothing beyond, because (as they wrongly think) in a question of the truth or falsehood of a passage, we should consider not so much what God has said as the reason and purpose which He had in mind in saying it - this system cannot be tolerated. For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost; and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true. This is the ancient and unchanging faith of the Church, solemnly defined in the Councils of Florence and of Trent, and finally confirmed and more expressly formulated by the Council of the Vatican. These are the words of the last: ‘The Books of the Old and New Testament, whole and entire, with all their parts, as enumerated in the decree of the same Council (Trent) and in the ancient Latin Vulgate, are to be received as sacred and canonical. And the Church holds them as sacred and canonical, not because, having been composed by human industry, they were afterwards approved by her authority; nor only because they contain revelation without error; but because, having been written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their author.’ ”
1895 The Turks assaulted the Armenian quarter of the town of Urfa. About 3000 who escaped fled to a cathedral. The Turks shot at them through the windows, broke through the iron doors, fired upon the Armenians from the raised altar, and set the cathedral on fire.
1896 Pope Leo XIII, in his Apostolicae Curae, declared Anglican orders invalid.
1897 Papyri were discovered at Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, in an ancient rubbish heap. During the excavation, which continued until 1907, 28 papyri containing portions of the New Testament were unearthed, most of which date between 200 and 400: P1, 5, 9, 10, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 39, 51, 69, 70, 71, 77, 78, and 90.
1900 Pope Leo XIII, on the possibility of salvation outside of the Roman Catholic Church, in his Tametsi (1 November 1900): “All who would find salvation apart from the Church, are led astray and strive in vain.”1900 Adolf von Harnack’s most popular work, Das Wesen des Christentums (What is Christianity?) published. A liberal theologian, Harnack emphasized the historical development of Christianity and held that dogmas related to God and Christ, developed in the Hellenistic culture of the Roman Empire, were unnecessary in the modern world.