THE EARLY GALLIGAN COUNCILS
'Concilia Lugdunensis: Irenaei
'Synodus divina et sancta provincialis,
dudodecim episcoporum, collecta
Lugduni metropoli Galliae, ad
Rhodanum flumen, ab Irenaeo
sancto martyre, ejusdem urbis
episcopo, contra praescriptos haereticos.'
'Concilia Lugdunensis: Irenaei
'Synodus divina et sacra privincialis
collecta Lugduni Galiae ab Irenaeo
sanctissimo ibedem episcopo,
aliisque tredecim episcopis: . . .
quae similiter de divino mystico
('Mansi', vol. i, pp. 723, 726)
c. A.D. 190
THE following is a part of a letter (preserved by Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History, bk. v, chap. 24) from Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, to Victor, bishop of Rome:
“An epistle ... of the Churches of Gaul over whom Irenaeus presided” (E.H., bk. v, c. 23) in which Irenaeus, “in the name of those brethren over whom he ruled throughout Gaul, maintains the duty of celebrating the mystery of the resurrection of our Lord only on the day of the Lord”, and holds that the Churches of Gaul 'observed' in this 'the tradition of an ancient custom' (E.H., bk. v, c. 24).
c. A.D. 190
“The controversy is not merely as regards the day, but also as regards the form itself of the fast. For some consider themselves bound to fast one day, others two days, others still more, while others do so during forty; the diurnal and nocturnal hours they measure out together as their (fasting) day. And this variety among the observers (of the fasts) had not its origin in our time, but long before in that of our predecessors, some of whom probably, being not very accurate in their observance of it, handed down to posterity the custom as it had, through simplicity of private fancy, been introduced among them. And yet nevertheless all these lived in peace one with another, and we also keep peace together. Thus, in fact, the difference in observing the fast establishes the harmony of our common faith. And the presbyters preceding Sotor in the government of the Church, which thou dost now rule -1 mean Anicetus and Pius, Hyginus, with Telesphorus and Xystus - did neither themselves observe it (after that fashion) nor permit those with them to do so. Notwithstanding this, those who did not keep (the feast in this way) were peacefully disposed towards those who came to them from other dioceses in which it was so observed, although such observance was felt to be in decided contrariety as presented to those who did not fall in with it. And when the blessed Polycarp was sojourning in Rome in the time of Anicetus, although a slight controversy had arisen among them as to certain other points, they were at once well inclined towards each other with regard to the matter in hand, not willing that any quarrel should arise between them on this head. For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp to forgo the observance in his own way inasmuch as these things had been always so observed by John the disciple of our Lord, and by other Apostles with whom he had been conversant; nor on the other hand could Polycarp succeed in persuading Anicetus to keep the observance in his way, for he maintained that he was bound to adhere to the usage of the presbyters who preceded him. And in this state of affairs they held fellowship with each other, and Anicetus conceded to Polycarp in the Church the celebration of the Eucharist by way of showing him respect, so that they parted in peace one from the other, maintaining peace with the whole Church, both those who did observe this custom and those who did not.”
(Note that in the marked passage Irenaeus, who was working with Pothinus before the great persecution in A.D. 177, speaks of his predecessors who had handed down a custom long before.)
AGAIN WE SEE AT THIS DATE OF THE SECOND CENTURY, ROME WAS DEPARTING FROM THE TEACHINGS OF THE FIRST APOSTLES; YET THEY STILL ALL MAINTAIN BROTHERLY CHARITY AMONG THEMSELVES.
SO IT IS VERY TRUE THAT THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH CAME OUT OF THE TRUE CHURCH OF GOD, FOUNDED BY THE FIRST APOSTLES OF CHRIST. SO INDEED THE ROMAN CHURCH GOES BACK TO THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW TESTAMENT; THE ONLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH THAT GOES BACK FURTHER WOULD BE THE VERY TRUE CHURCH OF GOD ITSELF.