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Novatian, of Rome. A.D. 250.


Novatian, a presbyter and then a schismatical bishop of Rome, in opposition to Cornelius, from whom he dissented, in the middle of the third century, on a question of discipline concerning the readmission of the lapsed, explains, in his work De Trinitate s. De Regula Fidei (Bibl. PP. ed. Gallandi, Tom. III. pp. 287 sqq.), the 'rule of truth,' especially the divinity of Christ, in opposition to the heresies of his age, and states:

Regula exigit veritatis, ut primo omnium

The rule of truth demands that, first of all,

credamus in Deum Patrem et Dominum omnipotentem,

we believe in God the Father and Almighty Lord,

id est, rerum omnium perfectissimum conditorem.

that is, the most perfect Maker of all things.

Eadem regula veritatis docet nos credere, post Patrem, etiam

The same rule of truth teaches us to believe, after the Father, also

in Filium Dei, Christum Jesum,

in the Son of God, Christ Jesus,

Dominum Deum nostrum, sed Dei Filium.

our Lord God, but the Son of God.…

Sed enim ordo rationis et fidei auctoritas, digestis vocibus et literis Domini, admonet nos, post hæc credere etiam

Moreover, the order of reason and the authority of faith, in due consideration of the words and Scriptures of the Lord, admonishes us, after this, to believe also

in Spiritum Sanctum,

in the Holy Ghost,

olim Ecclesiæ repromissum, sed statutis temporum opportunitatibus redditum.

promised of old to the Church, but granted in the appointed and fitting time.


Note.—This rule is little more than the baptismal formula, and represents the Roman creed, which was shorter than the Eastern creeds, since Rome always loved power more than philosophy, and (as Rufinus remarks, De Symb. § 3) was less disturbed by heretical speculations than the Greek Church. Novatian, however, takes the knowledge of the whole creed for granted, and hence does not quote it literally and in full. He mentions also incidentally as articles of faith the holy Church, the remission of sins, and the resurrection. Comp. the notes in Hahn, pp. 74, 75.


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