SELECTIONS FROM EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITERS: ILLUSTRATIVE OF CHURCH HISTORY TO THE TIME OF CONSTANTINE by Henry Melvill Gwatkin, M.A. First Edition, Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 1893. Reprinted with additions and corrections, 1897, 1902, 1905. Prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram, 2013.
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LVI. CYPRIAN, De Cath.Eccles.Unitate.5.

The Unity of the Church

Quam unitatem tenere firmiter et vindicare debemus, maxime episcopi qui in ecclesia praesidemus, ut episcopatum quoque ipsum unum atque indivisum probemus. Nemo fraternitatem mendacio fallat, nemo fidem veritatis perfida prevaricatione corrumpat. Episcopatus unus est, cuius a singulis in solidum pars tenetur. Ecclesia una est, quae in multitudinem latius incremento fecunditatis extenditur, quomodo solis multi radii sed lumen unum, et rami arboris multi sed robur unum tenaci radice fundatum, et cum de fonte uno rivi plurimi defluunt, numerositas licet diffusa videatur exundantis copiae largitate, unitas tamen servatur in origine. ... Qui reliquit ecclesiam Christi alienus est, profanus est, hostis est. Habere non potest Deum patrem qui ecclesiam non habet matrem. Si potuit evadere quisquis extra arcam Noe fuit, et qui extra ecclesiam fuerit evadet.

And this unity we ought firmly to hold and assert, especially those of us that are bishops who preside in the Church, that we may also prove the episcopate itself to be one and undivided. Let no one deceive the brotherhood by a falsehood: let no one corrupt the faithfulness of the truth by perfidious prevarication. The episcopate is one, each part of which is held by each one for the whole. The Church also is one, which is spread abroad far and wide into a multitude by an increase of fruitfulness. As there are many rays of the sun, but one light; and many branches of a tree, but one strength based in its tenacious root; and since from one spring flow many streams, although the multiplicity seems diffused in the liberality ot an overflowing abundance, yet the unity is still preserved in the source. ... He who has left the Church of Christ is an alien, a profane person, an enemy. He cannot have God for his Father who has not the Church for his mother. If he could escape who was outside the ark of Noah, then he too will escape who was outside the Church.


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