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Additional Note to p. 12.

Jerome (in his letter ad Evangelum) is responsible for the assertion that Dionysius was the last who, in accordance with the original custom of the Church of Alexandria, was nominated as Bishop by his fellow-presbyters there. Subsequently the Bishop was chosen (at least in theory) by the whole body of the faithful in the diocese, as in other parts of Christendom. Jerome’s words do not seem to include consecration also by a fresh laying of hands by the presbytery, though Bishop Lightfoot (Philippians, p. 231) inferred from certain other evidence of a not very decisive kind that this was the case and that it was rendered necessary at first by the Bishop of Alexandria having had no other Bishops with him in Egypt until 190. Others hold that no fresh laying on of hands at all had been considered necessary, which is hardly probable. Mr. C. H. Turner (Cambridge Medieval History, vol. i.) has suggested that Jerome was misled by Arians who had their own interests to serve in making the assertion, while he himself was too ready to credit it in his zeal to uphold the presbyterate against the arrogant claims of the Roman deacons at that time. The present writer ventures to think that Jerome’s statement, if correct, refers only to nomination and that an episcopal consecrator had been found elsewhere (e. g. in Africa or Palestine or Syria) for the laying on of hands as usual.


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