§ 102. Religion and Art.


Man is a being intellectual, or thinking and knowing, moral, or willing and acting, and aesthetic, or feeling and enjoying. To these three cardinal faculties corresponds the old trilogy of the true, the good, and the beautiful, and the three provinces of science, or knowledge of the truth, virtue, or practice of the good, and art, or the representation of the beautiful, the harmony of the ideal and the real. These three elements are of equally divine origin and destiny.

Religion is not so much a separate province besides these three, as the elevation and sanctification of all to the glory of God. It represents the idea of holiness, or of union with God, who is the original of all that is true, good, and beautiful. Christianity, as perfect religion, is also perfect humanity. It hates only sin; and this belongs not originally to human nature, but has invaded it from without. It is a leaven which pervades the whole lump. It aims at a harmonious unfolding of all the gifts and powers of the soul. It would redeem and regenerate the whole man, and bring him into blessed fellowship with God. It enlightens the understanding, sanctifies the will, gives peace to the heart, and consecrates even the body a temple of the Holy Ghost. The ancient word: "Homo sum, nihil humani a me alienum puto," is fully true only of the Christian. "All things are yours," says the Apostle. All things are of God, and for God. Of these truths we must never lose sight, notwithstanding the manifold abuses or imperfect and premature applications of them.

Hence there is a Christian art, as well as a Christian science, a spiritual eloquence, a Christian virtue. Feeling and imagination are as much in need of redemption, and capable of sanctification, as reason and will.

The proper and highest mission of art lies in the worship of God. We are to worship God "in the beauty of holiness."  All science culminates in theology and theosophy, all art becomes perfect in cultus. Holy Scripture gives it this position, and brings it into the closest connection with religion, from the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of the Revelation, from the paradise of innocence to the new glorified earth. This is especially true of the two most spiritual and noble arts, of poetry and music, which proclaim the praise of God—in all the great epochs of the history of his kingdom from the beginning to the consummation. A considerable part of the Bible: the Psalms, the book of Job, the song of Solomon, the parables, the Revelation, and many portions of the historical, prophetical, and didactic books, are poetical, and that in the purest and highest sense of the word. Christianity was introduced into the world with the song of the heavenly host, and the consummation of the church will be also the consummation of poetry and song in the service of the heavenly sanctuary.

Art has always, and in all civilized nations, stood in intimate connection with worship. Among the heathen it ministered to idolatry. Hence the aversion or suspicion of the early Christians towards it. But the same is true of the philosophy of the Greeks, and the law of the Romans; yet philosophy and law are not in themselves objectionable. All depends on the spirit which animates these gifts, and the purpose which they are made to serve.

The great revolution in the outward condition of the church under Constantine dissipated the prejudices against art and the hindrances to its employment in the service of the church. There now arose a Christian art which has beautified and enriched the worship of God, and created immortal monuments of architecture, painting, poetry, and melody, for the edification of all ages; although, as the cultus of the early church in general perpetuated many elements of Judaism and heathenism, so the history of Christian art exhibits many impurities and superstitions which provoke and justify protest. Artists have corrupted art, as theologians theology, and priests the church. But the remedy for these imperfections is not the abolition of art and the banishment of it from the church, but the renovation and ever purer shaping of it by the spirit and in the service of Christianity, which is the religion of truth, of beauty, and of holiness.

From this time, therefore, church history also must bring the various arts, in their relation to Christian worship, into the field of its review. Henceforth there is a history of Christian architecture, sculpture, painting, and above all of Christian poetry and music.


 § 103. Church Architecture.


On the history of Architecture in general, comp. the works of Kugler, Kinkel, Schnaase, and others, on the plastic arts; also Kreuser: Der christliche Kirchenbau, seine Geschichte, Symbolik u. Bildnerei, Bonn, 1851. 2 vols., and the English works of Knight, Brown, Close, J. Ferguson (A Hist. of Architecture, Lond. 1865, 3 vols.), etc.


Architecture is required to provide the suitable outward theatre for the public worship of God, to build houses of God among men, where he may hold fellowship with his people, and bless them with heavenly gifts. This is the highest office and glory of the art of building. Architecture is a handmaid of devotion. A beautiful church is a sermon in stone, and its spire a finger pointing to heaven. Under the old covenant there was no more important or splendid building than the temple at Jerusalem, which was erected by divine command and after the pattern of the tabernacle of the wilderness. And yet this was only a significant emblem and shadow of what was to come.

Christianity is, indeed, not bound to place, and may everywhere worship the omnipresent God. The apostles and martyrs held the most solemn worship in modest private dwellings, and even in deserts and subterranean catacombs, and during the whole period of persecution there were few church buildings properly so called. The cause of this want, however, lay not in conscientious objection, but in the oppressed condition of the Christians. No sooner did they enjoy external and internal peace, than they built special places of devotion, which in a normal, orderly condition of the church are as necessary to public worship as special sacred times. The first certain traces of proper church buildings, in distinction from private places, appear in the second half of the third century, during the three-and-forty years’ rest between the persecution of Decius and that of Diocletian.1125 But these were destroyed in the latter persecution.

The period of church building properly begins with Constantine the Great. After Christianity was acknowledged by the state, and empowered to hold property, it raised houses of worship in all parts of the Roman empire. There was probably more building of this kind in the fourth century than there has been in an period since, excepting perhaps the nineteenth century in the United States, where, every ten years, hundreds of churches and chapels are erected, while in the great cities of Europe the multiplication of churches by no means keeps pace with the increase of population.1126  Constantine and his mother Helena led the way with a good example. The emperor adorned not only his new residential city, but also the holy Places in Palestine, and the African city Constantine, with basilicas, partly at his own expense, partly from the public treasury. His successors on the throne, excepting Julian, as well as bishops and wealthy laymen, vied with each other in building, beautifying, and enriching churches. This was considered a work pleasing to God and meritorious. Ambition and self-righteousness mingled themselves here, as they almost everywhere do, with zeal for the glory of God. Chrysostom even laments that many a time the poor are forgotten in the church buildings, and suggests that it is not enough to adorn the altar, the walls, and the floor, but that we must, above all, offer the soul a living sacrifice to the Lord.1127  Jerome also rebukes those who haughtily pride themselves in the costly gifts which they offer to God, and directs them to help needy fellow-Christians rather, since not the house of stone, but the soul of the believer is the true temple of Christ.

The fourth century saw in the city of Rome above forty great churches.1128  In Constantinople the Church of the Apostles and the church of St. Sophia, built by Constantine, excelled in magnificence and beauty, and in the fifth century were considerably enlarged and beautified by Justinian. Sometimes heathen temples or other public buildings were transformed for Christian worship. The Emperor Phocas (602–610), for example, gave to the Roman bishop Boniface IV, the Pantheon, built by Agrippa under Augustus, and renowned for its immense and magnificent dome (now called chiesa della rotonda), and it was thenceforth consecrated to the virgin Mary and the martyrs.

But generally the heathen temples, from their small size and their frequent round form, were not adapted for the Christian worship, as this is held within the building, and requires large room for the congregation, that the preaching and the Scripture-reading may be heard; while the heathen sacrifices were performed before the portico, and the multitude looked on without the sanctuary. The sanctuary of Pandrosos, on the Acropolis at Athens, holds but few persons, and even the Parthenon is not so capacious as an ordinary church. The Pantheon in Rome is an exception, and is much larger than most temples. The small round pagan temples were most easily convertible into Christian baptisteries and burial chapels. Far more frequently, doubtless, was the material of forsaken or destroyed temples applied to the building of churches.


 § 104. The Consecration of Churches.


New churches were consecrated with great solemnity by prayer, singing, the communion, eulogies of present bishops, and the depositing of relics of saints.1129  This service set them apart from all profane uses, and designated them exclusively for the service and praise of God and the edification of his people. The dedication of Solomon’s temple,1130 as well as the purification of the temple after its desecration by the heathen Syrians,1131 furnished the biblical authority for this custom. In times of persecution the consecration must have been performed in silence. But now these occasions became festivals attended by multitudes. Many bishops, like Theodoret, even invited the pagans to attend them. The first description of such a festivity is given us by Eusebius: the consecration of the church of the Redeemer at the Holy Sepulchre,1132 and of a church at Tyre.1133

After the Jewish precedent,1134 it was usual to celebrate the anniversary of the consecration.1135

Churches were dedicated either to the holy Trinity, or to one of the three divine Persons, especially Christ, or to the Virgin Mary, or to apostles, especially Peter, Paul, and John, or to distinguished martyrs and saints.

The idea of dedication, of course, by no means necessarily involves the superstitious notion of the omnipresent God being inclosed in a definite place. On the contrary, Solomon had long before said at the dedication of the temple at Jerusalem: "Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded."  When Athanasius was once censured for assembling the congregation on Easter, for want of room, in a newly built but not yet consecrated church, he appealed to the injunction of the Lord, that we enter into our closet to pray, as consecrating every place. Chrysostom urged that every house should be a church, and every head of a family a spiritual shepherd, remembering the account which he must give even for his children and servants.1136  Not walls and roof, but faith and life, constitute the church,1137 and the advantage of prayer in the church comes not so much from a special holiness of the place, as from the Christian fellowship, the bond of love, and the prayer of the priests.1138  Augustine gives to his congregation the excellent admonition: "It is your duty to put your talent to usury; every one must be bishop in his own house; he must see that his wife, his son, his daughter, his servant, since he is bought with so great a price, continues in the true faith. The apostle’s doctrine has placed the master over the servant, and has bound the servant to obedience to the master, but Christ has paid a ransom for both."1139


 § 105. Interior Arrangement of Churches.


The interior arrangement of the Christian churches in part imitated the temple at Jerusalem, in part proceeded directly, from the Christian spirit. It exhibits, therefore, like the whole catholic system, a mixture of Judaism and Christianity. At the bottom of it lay the ideas of the priesthood and of sacrifice, and of fellowship with God administered thereby.

Accordingly, in every large church after Constantine there were three main divisions, which answered, on the one hand, to the divisions of Solomon’s temple, on the other, to the three classes of attendants, the catechumens, the faithful, and the priests, or the three stages of approach to God. The evangelical idea of immediate access of the whole believing congregation to the throne of grace, does not yet appear. The priesthood everywhere comes between.

1. The portico: In this again must be distinguished:

(a) The inner portico, a covered hall which belonged to the church itself, and was called provnao", or commonly, from its long, narrow shape, navrqhx, ferula, i.e., literally, staff, rod.1140  The name paradise also occurs, because on one side of the wall of the portico Adam and Eve in paradise were frequently painted,—probably to signify that the fallen posterity of Adam find again their lost paradise in the church of Christ. The inner court was the place for all the unbaptized, for catechumens, pagans, and Jews, and for members of the church condemned to light penance, who might hear the preaching and the reading of the Scriptures, but must withdraw before the administration of the Holy Supper.

(b) The outer portico, aujlhv, atrium, also locus lugentium or hiemantium, which was open, and not in any way enclosed within the sacred walls, hence not a part of the house of God properly so called. Here those under heavy penance, the "weepers"1141 as they were called, must tarry, exposed to all weather, and apply with tears to those entering for their Christian intercessions.

In this outer portico, or atrium, stood the laver,1142 in which, after the primitive Jewish and heathen custom, maintained to this day in the Roman church, the worshipper, in token of inward purification, must wash every time he entered the church.1143

After about the ninth century, when churches were no longer built with spacious porticoes, this laver was transferred to the church itself, and fixed at the doors in the form of a holywater basin, supposed to be an imitation of the brazen sea in the priest’s court of Solomon’s temple.1144  This symbolical usage could easily gather upon itself superstitious notions of the magical virtue of the holy water. Even in the pseudo-Apostolic Constitutions the consecrated water is called "a means of warding off diseases, frightening away evil spirits, a medicine for body and soul, and for purification from sins;" and though these expressions related primarily to the sacramental water of baptism as the bath of regeneration, yet they were easily applied by the people to consecrated water in general. In the Roman Catholic church the consecration of the water1145 is performed on Easter Sunday evening; in the Greco-Russian church, three times in the year.

2. The temple proper,1146 the holy place,1147 or the nave of the church,1148 as it were the ark of the new covenant. This part extended from the doors of entrance to the steps of the altar, had sometimes two or four side-naves, according to the size of the church, and was designed for the body of the laity, the faithful and baptized. The men sat on the right towards the south (in the men’s nave), the women on the left towards the north (in the women’s nave), or, in Eastern countries, where the sexes were more strictly separated, in the galleries above.1149  The monks and nuns, and the higher civil officers, especially the emperors with their families, usually had special seats of honor in semicircular niches on both sides of the altar.

About the middle of the main nave was the pulpit or the ambo,1150 or subsequently two desks, at the left the Gospel-desk, at the right the Epistle-desk, where the lector or deacon read the Scripture lessons. The sermon was not always delivered from the pulpit, but more frequently either from the steps of the altar (hence the phrase: "speaking from the rails"), or from the seat of the bishop behind the altar-table.1151

Between the reading-desks and the altar was the odeum,1152 the place for the singers, and at the right and left the seats for the lower clergy (anagnosts or readers, exorcists, acolytes). This part of the nave lay somewhat higher than the floor of the church, though not so high as the altar-choir, and hence was also called the lower choir, and the gradual, because steps (gradus) led up to it. In the Eastern church the choir and nave are scarcely separated, and they form together the naov", or temple hall; in the Western the choir and the sanctuary are put together under the name cancelli or chancel.

3. The most holy place,1153 or the choir proper;1154 called also in distinction from the lower choir, the high choir,1155 for the priests, and for the offering of the sacrifice of the Eucharist. No layman, excepting the emperor (in the east), might enter it. It was semi-circular or conchoidal1156 in form, and was situated at the eastern end of the church, opposite the entrance doors, because the light, to which Christians should turn themselves, comes from the east.1157  It was separated from the other part of the church by rails or a lattice,1158 and by a curtain, or by sacred doors called in the Greek church the picture-wall, iconostas, on account of the sacred paintings on it.1159  While in the Eastern churches this screen is still used, it in time gave place in the West to a low balustrade.

In the middle of the sanctuary stood the altar,1160 generally a table, or sometimes a chest with a lid; at first of wood, then, after the beginning of the sixth century, of stone or marble, or even of silver and gold, with a wall behind it, and an overshadowing, dome-shaped canopy,1161 above which a cross was usually fixed. The altar was hollow, and served as the receptacle for the relics of the martyrs; it was placed, where this was possible, exactly over the grave of a martyr, probably with reference to the passage in the Revelation: "I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held."1162  Often a subterranean chapel or crypt1163 was built under the church, in order to have the church exactly upon the burial place of the saint, and at the same time to keep alive the memory of the primitive worship in underground vaults in the times of persecution.

The altar held therefore the twofold office of a tomb (though at the same time the monument of a new, higher life), and a place of sacrifice. It was manifestly the most holy place in the entire church, to which everything else had regard; whereas in Protestantism the pulpit and the word of God come into the foreground, and altar and sacrament stand back. Hence the altar was adorned also in the richest manner with costly cloths, with the cross, or at a later period the crucifix, with burning tapers, symbolical of Christ the light of the world,1164 and previously consecrated for ecclesiastical use,1165 with a splendid copy of the Holy Scriptures, or the mass-book, but above all with the tabernacle, or little house for preserving the consecrated host, on which in the middle ages the German stone-cutters and sculptors displayed wonderful art.

Side altars did not come into use until Gregory the Great. Ignatius,1166 Athanasius, Gregory Nazianzen, and Augustine know of only one altar in the church. The Greek church has no more to this day. The introduction of such side altars, which however belong not to the altar space, but to the nave of the church, is connected with the progress of the worship of martyrs and relics.

At the left of the altar war, the table of prothesis,1167 on which the elements for the holy Supper were prepared, and which is still used in the Greek church; at the right the sacristy,1168 where the priests robed themselves, and retired for silent prayer. Behind the altar on the circular wall (and under the painting of Christ enthroned, if there was one) stood the bishop’s chair,1169 overlooking the whole church. On both sides of it, in a semicircle, were the seats of the presbyters. None but the clergy were allowed to receive the holy Supper within the altar rails.1170


 § 106. Architectural Style. The Basilicas.


Comp. the works on the Basilicas by P. Sarnelli (Antica Basilicografia. Neapoli, 1686), Ciampini (Rom. 1693), Guttensohn & Knapp (Monumenta di Rel. christ., ossia raccolta delle antiche chiese di Roma. Rom. 1822 sqq. 3 vols.; also in German, München, 1843), Bunsen (Die Basiliken des christlichen Roms. München, 1843, a commentary on the preceding), Von Quast (Berl. 1845), and Zestermann (Die antiken und die christlichen Basiliken. Leipz. 1847).


The history of church building, from the simple basilicas of the fourth century to the perfect Gothic cathedrals of the thirteenth and fourteenth, exhibits, like the history of the other Christian arts and the sciences, a gradual subjection and transformation of previous Jewish and heathen forms by the Christian principle. The church succeeded to the inheritance of all nations, but could only by degrees purge this inheritance of its sinful adulterations, pervade it with her spirit, and subject it to her aims; for she fulfils her mission through human freedom, not in spite of it, and does not magically transform nations, but legitimately educates them.

The history of Western architecture is the richer. The East contented itself with the Byzantine style, and adhered more strictly to the forms of the round temples, baptisteries, and mausoleums; while the West, starting from the Roman basilica, developed various styles.

The style of the earliest Christian churches was not copied from the heathen temples, because, apart from their connection with idolatry, which was itself highly offensive to the Christian sentiment, they were in form and arrangement, as we have already remarked, entirely unsuitable to Christian worship. The primitive Christian architecture followed the basilicas, and hence the churches built in this style were themselves called basilicas. The connection of the Christian and heathen basilicas, which has been hitherto recognized, and has been maintained by celebrated connoisseurs,1171 has been denied by some modem investigators,1172 who have claimed for the Christian an entirely independent origin. And it is perfectly true, as concerns the interior arrangement and symbolical import of the building, that these can be ascribed to the Christian mind alone. Nor have any forensic or mercantile basilicas, to our knowledge, been transformed into Christian churches.1173  But in external architectural form there is without question an affinity, and there appears no reason why the church should not have employed this classic form.

The basilicas,1174 or royal halls, were public judicial and mercantile buildings, of simple, but beautiful structure, in the form of a long rectangle, consisting of a main hall, or main nave, two, often four, side naves,1175 which were separated by colonnades from the central space, and were somewhat lower. Here the people assembled for business and amusement. At the end of the hall opposite the entrance, stood a semicircular, somewhat elevated niche (apsis, tribune), arched over with a half-dome, where were the seats of the judges and advocates, and where judicial business was transacted. Under the floor of the tribunal was sometimes a cellar-like place of confinement for accused criminals.

In the history of architecture, too, there is a Nemesis. As the cross became changed from a sign of weakness to a sign of honor and victory, so must the basilica in which Christ and innumerable martyrs were condemned to death, become a place for the worship of the crucified One. The judicial tribune became the altar; the seat of the praetor behind it became the bishop’s chair; the benches of the jurymen became the seats of presbyters; the hall of business and trade became a place of devotion for the faithful people; the subterranean jail became a crypt or burial place, the superterrene birth-place, of a Christian martyr. To these were added other changes, especially the introduction of a cross-nave between the apse and the main nave, giving to the basilica the symbolical form of the once despised, but now glorious cross, and forming, so to speak, a recumbent crucifix. The cross with equal arms is called the Greek; that with unequal arms, in which the transept is shorter than the main nave from the entrance to the altar, the Latin. Towers, which express the heavenward spirit of the Christian religion, were not introduced till the ninth century, and were then built primarily for bells.

This style found rapid acceptance in the course of the fourth century with East and West; most of all in Rome, where a considerable number of basilicas, some in their ancient venerable simplicity, some with later alterations, are still preserved. The church of St. Maria Maggiore on the Esquiline hill affords the best view of an ancient basilica; the oldest principal church of Rome—S. Giovanni in Laterano (so named from the Roman patrician family of the Laterans), dedicated to the Evangelist John and to John the Baptist; the church of St. Paul, outside the city on the way to Ostia, which was burnt in 1823, but afterwards rebuilt splendidly in the same style, and consecrated by the pope in December, 1854; also S. Clemente, S. Agnese, and S. Lorenzo, outside the walls—are examples. The old church of St. Peter (Basilica Vaticana), which was built on the spot of this apostle’s martyrdom, the Neronian circus, and was torn down in the fifteenth century (the last remnant did not fall till 1606), surpassed all other churches of Rome in splendor and wealth, and was rebuilt, not in the same style, but, as is well known, in the Italian style of the sixteenth century.

Next to Rome, Ravenna is rich in old church buildings, among which the great basilica of S. Apollinare in Classe (in the port town, three miles from the main city, and built about the middle of the sixth century) is the most notable. The transept, as in all the churches of this city, is wanting.

In the East Roman empire there appeared even under Constantine sundry departures and transitions toward the Byzantine style. The oldest buildings there, which follow more or less the style of the Roman basilica, are the church at Tyre, begun in 313, destroyed in the middle ages, but known to us from the description of the historian Eusebius;1176 the original St. Sophia of Constantine in Constantinople; and the churches in the Holy Land, built likewise by him and his mother Helena, at, Mamre or Hebron, at Bethlehem over the birth-spot of Christ, on the Mount of Olives in memory of the ascension, and over the holy sepulchre on Mount Calvary. Justinian also sometimes built basilicas, for variety, together with his splendid Byzantine churches; and of these the church of St. Mary in Jerusalem was the finest, and was destined to imitate the temple of Solomon, but it was utterly blotted out by the Mohammedans.1177


 § 107. The Byzantine Style.


Procopius: De aedificiis Justiniani. L.i.c. 1–3. Car. Dufresne Dom. du Cange: Constantinopolis Christiana. Venet. 1729. Salzenberg und Kortüm: Altchristliche Baudenkmale Constantinopels vom V. bis XII Jahrh. (40 magnificent copperplates and illustrations). Berlin, 1854.


The second style which meets us in this period, is the Byzantine, which in the West modified the basilica style, in the East soon superseded it, and in the Russo-Greek church has maintained itself to this day. It dates from the sixth century, from the reign of the scholarly and art-loving emperor Justinian I. (527–565), which was the flourishing period of Constantinople and of the centralized ecclesiastico-political despotism, in many respects akin to the age of Louis XIV. of France.

The characteristic feature of this style is the hemispherical dome, which, like the vault of heaven with its glory, spanned the centre of the Greek or the Latin cross, supported by massive columns (instead of slender pillars like the basilicas), and by its height and its prominence ruling the other parts of the building. This dome corresponds on the one hand to the centralizing principle of the Byzantine empire,1178 but at the same time, and far more clearly than the flat basilica, to that upward striving of the Christian spirit from the earth towards the height of heaven, which afterwards more plainly expressed itself in the pointed arches and the towers of the Germanic cathedral. "While in the basilica style everything looks towards the end of the building where the altar and episcopal throne are set, and by this prevailing connection the upward direction is denied a free expression, in the dome structure everything concentrates itself about the spacious centre of the building over which, drawing the eye irresistibly upward, rises to an awe-inspiring height the majestic central dome. The basilica presents in the apse a figure of the horizon from which the sun of righteousness arises in his glory; the Byzantine building unfolds in the dome a figure of the whole vault of heaven in sublime, imposing majesty, but detracts thereby from the prominence of the altar, and leaves for it only a place of subordinate import."

The dome is not, indeed, absolutely new. The Pantheon in Rome, whose imposing dome has a diameter of a hundred and thirty-two feet, dates from the age of Augustus, b.c. 26. But here the dome rises on a circular wall, and so strikes root in the earth, altogether in character with the heathen religion. The Byzantine dome rests on few columns connected by arches, and, like the vault of heaven, freely spans the central space of the church in airy height, without shutting up that space by walls.

Around the main central dome1179 stand four smaller domes in a square, and upon each dome rises a lofty gilded cross, which in the earlier churches stands upon a crescent, hung with all sorts of chains, and fastened by these to the dome.

The noblest and most complete building of this kind is the renowned church of St. Sophia at Constantinople, which was erected in lavish Asiatic splendor by the emperor Justinian after a plan by the architects Anthemius of Tralles and Isidore of Miletus (a.d. 532–537), and consecrated to the Redeemer,1180 but was transformed after the Turkish conquest into a Mohammedan mosque (Aja Sofia). It is two hundred and twenty-eight feet broad, and two hundred and fifty-two feet long; the dome, supported by four gigantic columns, rises a hundred and sixty-nine feet high over the altar, is a hundred and eight feet in diameter, and floats so freely and airily above the great central space, that, in the language of the Byzantine court biographer Procopius, it seems not to rest on terra firma, but to hang from heaven by golden chains.1181  The most costly material was used in the building; the Phrygian marble with rose-colored and white veins, the dark red marble of the Nile, the green of Laconia, the black and white spotted of the Bosphorus, the gold-colored Libyan. And when the dome reflected the brilliance of the lighted silver chandeliers, and sent it back doubled from above, it might well remind one of the vault of heaven with its manifold starry glories, and account for the proud satisfaction with which Justinian on the day of the consecration, treading in solemn procession the finished building, exclaimed: "I have outdone thee, O Solomon!"1182  The church of St. Sophia stood thenceforth the grand model of the new Greek architecture, not only for the Christian East and the Russian church, but even for the Mohammedans in the building of their mosques.

In the West the city of Ravenna, on the Adriatic coast, after Honorius, (a.d. 404) the seat of the Western empire, or of the eparchate, and the last refuge of the old Roman magnificence and art, affords beautiful monuments of the Byzantine style; especially in the church of St. Vitale, which was erected by the bishop Maximian in 547.1183

In the West the ground plan of the basilica was usually retained, with pillars and entablature, until the ninth century, and the dome and vaultings of the Byzantine style were united with it. Out of this union arose what is called the Romanesque or the round-arch style, which prevailed from the tenth to the thirteenth century, and was then, from the thirteenth to the fifteenth, followed by the Germanic or pointed-arch style, with its gigantic masterpieces, the Gothic cathedrals. From the fifteenth century eclecticism and confusion prevailed in architecture, till the modern attempts to reproduce the ancient style. The Oriental church, on the contrary, has never gone beyond the Byzantine, its productivity almost entirely ceasing with the age of Justinian. But it is possible that the Graeco Russian church will in the future develop something new.


 § 108. Baptisteries, Grave-Chapels, and Crypts.


Baptisteries or Photisteries,1184 chapels designed exclusively for the administration of baptism, are a form of church building by themselves. In the first centuries baptism was performed on streams in the open air, or in private houses. But after the public exercise of Christian worship became lawful, in the fourth century special buildings for this holy ordinance began to appear, either entirely separate, or connected with the main church (at the side of the western main entrance) by a covered passage; and they were generally, dedicated to John the Baptist. The need of them arose partly from the still prevalent custom of immersion, partly from the fact that the number of candidates often amounted to hundreds and thousands; since baptism was at that time administered) as a rule, only three or four times a year, on the eve of the great festivals (Easter, Pentecost, Epiphany, and Christmas), and at episcopal sees, while the church proper was filled with the praying congregation.

These baptismal chapels were not oblong, like the basilicas, but round (like most of the Roman temples), and commonly covered with a dome. They had in the centre, like the bathing and swimming houses of the Roman watering places, a large baptismal basin,1185 into which several steps descended. Around this stood a colonnade and a circular or polygonal gallery for spectators; and before the main entrance there was a spacious vestibule in the form of an entirely walled rectangle or oval. Generally the baptisteries had two divisions for the two sexes. The interior was sumptuously ornamented; especially the font, on which was frequently represented the symbolical figure of a hart panting for the brook, or a lamb, or the baptism of Christ by John. The earliest baptistery, of the Constantinian church of St. Peter in Rome, whose living flood was supplied from a fountain of the Vatican hill, was adorned with beautiful mosaic, the green, gold, and purple of which were reflected in the water. The most celebrated existing baptistery is that of the Lateran church at Rome, the original plan of which is ascribed to Constantine, but has undergone changes in the process of time.1186

After the sixth century, when the baptism of adults had become rare, it became customary to place a baptismal basin in the porch of the church, or in the church itself, at the left of the entrance, and, after baptism came to be administered no longer by the bishop alone, but by every pastor, each parish church contained such an arrangement. Still baptisteries also continued in use, and even in the later middle ages new ones were occasionally erected.

Finally, after the time of Constantine it became customary to erect small houses of worship or memorial chapels upon the burial-places of the martyrs, and to dedicate them to their memory.1187  These served more especially for private edification.

The subterranean chapels, or crypts, were connected with the churches built over them, and brought to mind the worship of the catacombs in the times of persecution. These crypts always produce a most earnest, solemn impression, and many of them are of considerable archaeological interest.


 § 109. Crosses and Crucifixes.


Jac. Gretser. (R.C.): De cruce Christi. 2 vols. Ingolst. 1608. Just. Lipsius: De cruce Christi. Antw. 1694. Fr. Münter: Die Sinnbilder u. Kunstvorstellungen der alten Christen. Altona, 1825. C. J. Hefele (R.C.): Alter u. älteste Form der Crucifixe (in the 2d vol. of his Beiträge zur Kirchengesch., Archäologie u. Liturgik. Tübingen, 1864, p. 265 sqq.).


The cross, as the symbol of redemption, and the signing of the cross upon the forehead, the eyes, the mouth, the breast, and even upon parts of clothing, were in universal use in this period, as they had been even in the second century, both in private Christian life and in public worship. They were also in many ways abused in the service of superstition; and the nickname cross-worshippers,1188 which the heathen applied to the Christians in the time of Tertullian,1189 was in many cases not entirely unwarranted. Besides simple wooden crosses, now that the church had risen to the kingdom, there were many crosses of silver and gold, or sumptuously set with pearls and gems.1190

The conspicuous part which, according to the statements of Eusebius, the cross played in the life of Constantine, is well known: forming the instrument of his conversion; borne by fifty men, leading him to his victories over Maxentius and Licinius; inscribed upon his banners, upon the weapons of his soldiers in his palace, and upon public places, and lying in the right hand of his own statue. Shortly afterwards Julian accused the Christians of worshipping the wood of the cross. "The sign of universal detestation," says Chrysostom,1191 "the sign of extreme penalty, is now become the object of universal desire and love. We see it everywhere triumphant; we find it on houses, on roofs, and on walls, in cities and hamlets, on the markets, along the roads, and in the deserts, on the mountains and in the valleys, on the sea, on ships, on books and weapons, on garments, in marriage chambers, at banquets, upon gold and silver vessels, in pearls, in painting upon walls, on beds, on the bodies of very sick animals, on the bodies of the possessed [—to drive away the disease and the demon—], at the dances of the merry, and in the brotherhoods of ascetics."  Besides this, it was usual to mark the cross on windows and floors, and to wear it upon the forehead.1192  According to Augustine this sign was to remind believers that their calling is to follow Christ in true humility, through suffering, into glory.

We might speak in the same way of the use of other Christian emblems from the sphere of nature; the representation of Christ by a good Shepherd, a lamb, a fish, and the like, which we have already observed in the period preceding.1193

Towards the end of the present period we for the first time meet with crucifixes; that is, crosses not bare, but with the figure of the crucified Saviour upon them. The transition to the crucifix we find in the fifth century in the figure of a lamb, or even a bust of Christ, attached to the cross, sometimes at the top, sometimes at the bottom.1194  Afterwards the whole figure of Christ was fastened to the cross, and the earlier forms gave place to this. The Trullan council of Constantinople (the Quinisextum), a.d. 692, directed in the 82d canon: "Hereafter, instead of the lamb, the human figure of Christ shall be set up on the images."1195  But subsequently the orthodox church of the East prohibited all plastic images, crucifixes among them, and it tolerates only pictures of Christ and the saints. The earlier Latin crucifixes offend the taste and disturb devotion; but the Catholic art in its flourishing period succeeded in combining, in the figure of the suffering and dying Redeemer, the expression of the deepest and holiest anguish with that of supreme dignity. In the middle age there was frequently added to the crucifix a group of Mary, John, a soldier, and the penitent Magdalene, who on her knees embraced the post of the cross.


 § 110. Images of Christ.


Fr. Kugler: Handbuch der Geschichte der Malerei seit Constantin dem Berlin, 1847, 2 vols.; and other works on the history of painting. Also C. Grüneisen: Die bildliche Darstellung der Gottheit. Stuttgart 1828. On the Iconoclastic controversies, comp. Maimbourg (R.C.): Histoire de l’hérésie de l’Iconoclastes. Par. 1679 sqq. 2 vols. Dallaeus (Calvinist): De imaginibus. Lugd. Bat. 1642. Fr. Spanheim: Historia imaginum restituta. Lugd. Bat. 1686. P. E. Jablonski († 1757): De origine imaginum Christi Domini, in Opuscul. ed. Water, Lugd. Bat. 1804, tom. iii. Walch: Ketzergesch., vols. x. and xi. J. Marx: Der Bildersturm der byzantinischen Kaiser. Trier, 1839. W. Grimm: Die Sage vom Ursprunge der Christusbilder. Berlin, 1843, L. Glückselig: Christus-Archäologie, Prag, 1863. Hefele: Beiträge zur Kirchengeschichte, vol. ii. Tüb. 1861 (Christusbilder, p. 254 sqq.). Comp. the liter. in Hase’s Leben Jesu, p. 79 (5th ed. 1865).


While the temple of Solomon left to the Christian mind no doubt concerning the lawfulness and usefulness of church architecture, the second commandment seemed directly to forbid a Christian painting or sculpture. "The primitive church," says even a modern Roman Catholic historian,1196 "had no images, of Christ, since most Christians at that time still adhered to the commandment of Moses (Ex. xx. 4); the more, that regard as well to the Gentile Christians as to the Jewish forbade all use of images. To the latter the exhibition and veneration of images would, of course, be an abomination, and to the newly converted heathen it might be a temptation to relapse into idolatry. In addition, the church was obliged, for her own honor, to abstain from images, particularly from any representation of the Lord, lest she should be regarded by unbelievers as merely a new kind and special sort of heathenism and creature-worship. And further, the early Christians had in their idea of the bodily form of the Lord no temptation, not the slightest incentive, to make likenesses of Christ. The oppressed church conceived its Master only under the form of a servant, despised and uncomely, as Isaiah, liii. 2, 3, describes the Servant of the Lord."

The first representations of Christ are of heretical and pagan origin. The Gnostic sect of the Carpocratians worshipped crowned pictures of Christ, together with images of Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, and other sages, and asserted that Pilate had caused a portrait of Christ to be made.1197  In the same spirit of pantheistic hero-worship the emperor Alexander Severus (a.d. 222–235) set up in his domestic chapel for his adoration the images of Abraham, Orpheus, Apollonius, and Christ.

After Constantine, the first step towards images in the orthodox church was a change in the conception of the outward form of Christ. The persecuted church had filled its eye with the humble and suffering servant-form of Jesus, and found therein consolation and strength in her tribulation. The victorious church saw the same Lord in heavenly glory on the right hand of the Father, ruling over his enemies. The one conceived Christ in his state of humiliation (but not in his state of exaltation), as even repulsive, or at least "having no form nor comeliness;" taking too literally the description of the suffering servant of God in Is. lii. 14 and liii. 2, 3.1198  The other beheld in him the ideal of human beauty, "fairer than the children of men," with "grace poured into his lips;" after the Messianic interpretation of Ps. xlv. 3.1199

This alone, however, did not warrant images of Christ. For, in the first place, authentic accounts of the personal appearance of Jesus were lacking; and furthermore it seemed incompetent to human art duly to set forth Him in Whom the whole fulness of the Godhead and of perfect sinless humanity dwelt in unity.

On this point two opposite tendencies developed themselves, giving occasion in time to the violent and protracted image controversies, until, at the seventh ecumenical council at Nice in 787, the use and adoration of images carried the day in the church.

1. On the one side, the prejudices of the ante-Nicene period against images in painting or sculpture continued alive, through fear of approach to pagan idolatry, or of lowering Christianity into the province of sense. But generally the hostility was directed only against images of Christ; and from it, as Neander justly observes,1200 we are by no means to infer the rejection of all representations of religious subjects; for images of Christ encounter objections peculiar to themselves.

The church historian Eusebius declared himself in the strongest manner against images of Christ in a letter to the empress Constantia (the widow of Licinius and sister of Constantine), who had asked him for such an image. Christ, says he, has laid aside His earthly servant-form, and Paul exhorts us to cleave no longer to the sensible;1201 and the transcendent glory of His heavenly body cannot be conceived nor represented by man; besides, the second commandment forbids the making to ourselves any likeness of anything in heaven or in earth. He had taken away from a lady an image of Christ and of Paul, lest it should seem as if Christians, like the idolaters, carried their God about in images. Believers ought rather to fix their mental eye, above all, upon the divinity of Christ, and, for this purpose, to purify their hearts; since only the pure in heart shall see God.1202  The same Eusebius, however, relates of Constantine, without the slightest disapproval, that, in his Christian zeal, he caused the public monuments in the forum of the new imperial city to be adorned with symbolical representations of Christ, to wit, with figures of the good Shepherd and of Daniel in the lion’s den.1203  He likewise tells us, that the woman of the issue of blood, after her miraculous cure (Matt. ix. 20), and out of gratitude for it, erected before her dwelling in Caesarea Philippi (Paneas) two brazen statues, the figure of a kneeling woman, and of a venerable man (Christ) extending his hand to help her, and that he had seen these statues with his own eyes at Paneas.1204  In the same place he speaks also of pictures (probably Carpocratian) of Christ and the apostles Peter and Paul, which he had seen, and observes that these cannot be wondered at in those who were formerly heathen, and who had been accustomed to testify their gratitude towards their benefactors in this way.

The narrow fanatic Epiphanius of Cyprus († 403) also seems to have been an opponent of images. For when he saw the picture of Christ or a saint1205 on the altar-curtain in Anablatha, a village of Palestine, he tore away the curtain, because it was contrary to the Scriptures to hang up the picture of a man in the church, and he advised the officers to use the cloth for winding the corpse of some poor person.1206  This arbitrary conduct, however, excited great indignation, and Epiphanius found himself obliged to restore the injury to the village church by another curtain.

2. The prevalent spirit of the age already very decidedly favored this material representation as a powerful help to virtue and devotion, especially for the uneducated classes, whence the use of images, in fact, mainly proceeded.

Plastic representation, it is true, was never popular in the East. The Greek church tolerates no statues, and forbids even crucifixes. In the West, too, in this period, sculpture occurs almost exclusively in bas relief and high relief, particularly on sarcophagi, and in carvings of ivory and gold in church decorations. Sculpture, from its more finite nature, lies farther from Christianity than the other arts.

Painting, on the contrary, was almost universally drawn into the service of religion; and that, not primarily from the artistic impulse which developed itself afterwards, but from the practical necessity of having objects of devout reverence in concrete form before the eye, as a substitute for the sacred books, which were accessible to the educated alone. Akin to this is the universal pleasure of children in pictures.

The church-teachers approved and defended this demand, though they themselves did not so directly need such helps. In fact, later tradition traced it back to apostolic times, and saw in the Evangelist Luke the first sacred painter. Whereof only so much is true: that he has sketched in his Gospel and in the Acts of the Apostles vivid and faithful pictures of the Lord, His mother, and His disciples, which are surely of infinitely greater value than all pictures in color and statues in marble.1207

Basil the Great († 379) says "I confess the appearance of the Son of God in the flesh, and the holy Mary as the mother of God, who bore Him according to the flesh. And I receive also the holy apostles and prophets and martyrs. Their likenesses I revere and kiss with homage, for they are handed down from the holy apostles, and are not forbidden, but on the contrary painted in all our churches."1208  His brother, Gregory of Nyssa, also, in his memorial discourse on the martyr Theodore, speaks in praise of sacred painting, which "is wont to speak silently from the walls, and thus to do much good."  The bishop Paulinus of Nola, who caused biblical pictures to be exhibited annually at the festival seasons in the church of St. Felix, thought that by them the scenes of the Bible were made clear to the uneducated rustic, as they could not otherwise be; impressed themselves on his memory, awakened in him holy thoughts and feelings, and restrained him from all kinds of vice.1209  The bishop Leontius of Neapolis in Cyprus, who at the close of the sixth century wrote an apology for Christianity against the Jews, and in it noticed the charge of idolatry, asserts that the law of Moses is directed not unconditionally against the use of religious images, but only against the idolatrous worship of them; since the tabernacle and the temple themselves contained cherubim and other figures; and he advocates images, especially for their beneficent influences. "In almost all the world," says he, "profligate men, murderers, robbers, debauchees, idolaters, are daily moved to contrition by a look at the cross of Christ, and led to renounce the world, and practise every virtue."1210  And Leontius already appeals to the miraculous fact, that blood flowed from many of the images.1211

Owing to the difficulty, already noticed, of worthily representing Christ Himself, the first subjects were such scenes from the Old Testament as formed a typical prophecy of the history of the Redeemer. Thus the first step from the field of nature, whence the earliest symbols of Christ—the lamb, the fish, the shepherd—were drawn, was into the field of pre-Christian revelation, and thence it was another step into the province of gospel history itself. The favorite pictures of this kind were, the offering-up of Isaac—the pre-figuration of the great sacrifice on the cross; the miracle of Moses drawing forth water from the rock with his rod—which was interpreted either, according to 1 Cor. x. 4, of Christ Himself, or, more especially—and frequently, of the birth of Christ from the womb of the Virgin; the suffering Job—a type of Christ in His deepest humiliation; Daniel in the lion’s den—the symbol of the Redeemer subduing the devil and death in the underworld; the miraculous deliverance of the prophet Jonah from the whale’s belly—foreshadowing the resurrection;1212 and the translation of Elijah—foreshadowing the ascension of Christ.

About the middle of the fifth century, just when the doctrine of the person of Christ reached its formal settlement, the first representations of Christ Himself appeared, even said by tradition to be faithful portraits of the original.1213  From that time the difficulty of representing the God-Man was removed by an actual representation, and the recognition of the images of Christ, especially of the Madonna with the Child, became even a test of orthodoxy, as against the Nestorian heresy of an abstract separation of the two natures in Christ. In the sixth century, according to the testimony of Gregory of Tours, pictures of Christ were hung not only in churches but in almost every private house.1214

Among these representations of Christ there are two distinct types received in the church:

(1) The Salvator picture, with the expression of calm serenity and dignity, and of heavenly gentleness, without the faintest mark of grief. According to the legend, this was a portrait, miraculously imprinted on a cloth, which Christ Himself presented to Abgarus, king of Edessa, at his request.1215  The original is of course lost, or rather never existed, and is simply a mythical name for the Byzantine type of the likeness of Christ which appeared after the fifth century, and formed the basis of all the various representations of Christ until Raphael and Michael Angelo. These pictures present the countenance of the Lord in the bloom of youthful vigor and beauty, with a free, high forehead, clear, beaming eyes, long, straight nose, hair parted in the middle, and a somewhat reddish beard.

(2) The Ecce Homo picture of the suffering Saviour with the crown of thorns. This is traced back by tradition to St. Veronica, who accompanied the Saviour on the way to Golgotha, and gave Him her veil to wipe the sweat from His face; whereupon the Lord miraculously imprinted on the cloth the image of His thorn-crowned head.1216

The Abgarus likeness and the Veronica both lay claim to a miraculous origin, and profess to be eijkovne" ajceiropoivhtai, pictures not made with human hands. Besides these, however, tradition tells of pictures of Christ taken in a natural way by Luke and by Nicodemus. The Salvator picture in the Lateran chapel Sancta Sanctorum in Rome, which is attributed to Luke, belongs to the Edessene or Byzantine type.

With so different pretended portraits of the Lord we cannot wonder at the variations of the pictures of Christ, which the Iconoclasts used as an argument against images. In truth, every nation formed a likeness of its own, according to its existing ideals of art and virtue.

Great influence was exerted upon the representations of Christ by the apocryphal description of his person in the Latin epistle of Publius Lentulus (a supposed friend of Pilate) to the Roman senate, delineating Christ as a man of slender form, noble countenance, dark hair parted in the middle, fair forehead, clear eyes, faultless mouth and nose, and reddish beard.1217  An older, and in some points different, description is that of John of Damascus, or some other writer of the eighth century, who says: "Christ was of stately form, with beautiful eyes, large nose, curling hair, somewhat bent, in the prime of life, with black beard, and sallow complexion, like his mother."1218

No figure of Christ, in color, or bronze, or marble, can reach the ideal of perfect beauty which came forth into actual reality in the Son of God and Son of man. The highest creations of art are here but feeble reflections of the original in heaven, yet prove the mighty influence which the living Christ continually exerts even upon the imagination and sentiment of the great painters and sculptors, and which He will exert to the end of the world.


 § 111. Images of Madonna and Saints.


Besides the images of Christ, representations were also made of prominent characters in sacred history, especially of the blessed Virgin with the Child, of the wise men of the east, as three kings worshipping before the manger,1219 of the four Evangelists, the twelve Apostles, particularly Peter and Paul,1220 of many martyrs and saints of the times of persecution, and honored bishops and monks of a later day.1221

According to a tradition of the eighth century or later, the Evangelist Luke painted not only Christ, but Mary also, and the two leading apostles. Still later legends ascribe to him even seven Madonnas, several of which, it is pretended, still exist; one, for example, in the Borghese chapel in the church of Maria Maggiore at Rome. The Madonnas early betray the effort to represent the Virgin as the ideal of female beauty, purity, and loveliness, and as resembling her divine Son.1222  Peter is usually represented with a round head, crisped hair and beard; Paul, with a long face, bald crown, and pointed beard; both, frequently, carrying rolls in their hands, or the first the cross and the keys (of the kingdom of heaven), the second, the sword (of the word and the Spirit).

Such representations of Christ, of the saints, and of biblical events, are found in the catacombs and other places of burial, on sarcophagi and tombstones, in private houses, on cups and seal rings, and (in spite of the prohibition of the council of Elvira in 305)1223 on the walls of churches, especially behind the altar.

Manuscripts of the Bible also, liturgical books, private houses, and even the vestments of officials in the large cities of the Byzantine empire were ornamented with biblical pictures. Bishop Asterius of Amasea in Pontus, in the second half of the fourth century, protested against the wearing of these "God-pleasing garments,"1224 and advised that it were better with the proceeds of them to honor the living images of God, and support the poor; instead of wearing the palsied on the clothes, to visit the sick; and instead of carrying with one the image of the sinful woman kneeling and embracing the feet of Jesus, rather to lament one’s own sins with tears of contrition.

The custom of prostration1225 before the picture, in token of reverence for the saint represented by it, first appears in the Greek church in the sixth century. And then, that the unintelligent people should in many cases confound the image with the object represented, attribute to the outward, material thing a magical power of miracles, and connect with the image sundry superstitious notions—must be expected. Even Augustine laments that among the rude Christian masses there are many image-worshippers,1226 but counts such in the great number of those nominal Christians, to whom the essence of the Gospel is unknown.

As works of art, these primitive Christian paintings and sculptures are, in general, of very little value; of much less value than the church edifices. They are rather earnest and elevated, than beautiful and harmonious. For they proceeded originally not from taste, but from practical want, and, at least in the Greek empire, were produced chiefly by monks. It perfectly befitted the spirit of Christianity, to begin with earnestness and sublimity, rather than, as heathenism, with sensuous beauty. Hence also its repugnance to the nude, and its modest draping of voluptuous forms; only hands, feet, and face were allowed to appear.

The Christian taste, it is well known, afterwards changed, and, on the principle that to the pure all things are pure, it represented even Christ on the cross, and the holy Child at His mother’s breast or in His mothers arms, without covering.

Furthermore, in the time of Constantine the ancient classical painting and sculpture had grievously degenerated; and even in their best days they reached no adequate expression of the Christian principle.

In this view, the loss of so many of those old works of art, which, as the sheer apparatus of idolatry, were unsparingly destroyed by the iconoclastic storms of the succeeding period, is not much to be regretted. It was in. the later middle ages, when church architecture had already reached its height, that Christian art succeeded in unfolding an unprecedented bloom of painting and sculpture, and in far surpassing, on the field of painting at least, the masterpieces of the ancient Greeks. Sculpture, which can present man only in his finite limitation, without the flush of life or the beaming eye, like a shadowy form from the realm of the dead, probably attained among the ancient Greeks the summit of perfection, above which even Canova and Thorwaldsen do not rise. But painting, which can represent man in his organic connection with the world about him, and, to a certain degree, in his unlimited depth of soul and spirit, as expressed in the countenance and the eye, has waited for the influence of the Christian principle to fulfil its perfect mission, and in the Christs of Leonardo da Vinci, Fra Beato Angelico, Correggio, and Albrecht Dürer, and the Madonnas of Raphael, has furnished the noblest works which thus far adorn the history of the art.


 § 112. Consecrated Gifts.


It remains to mention in this connection yet another form of decoration for churches, which had already been customary among heathen and Jews: consecrated gifts. Thus the temple of Delphi, for example, had become exceedingly rich through such presents of weapons, silver and golden vessels, statues, &c. In almost every temple of Neptune hung votive tablets, consecrated to the god in thankfulness for deliverance from shipwreck by him.1227  A similar custom seems to have existed among the Jews; for I Sam. xxi. implies that David had deposited the sword of the Philistine Goliath in the sanctuary. In the court of the priests a multitude of swords, lances, costly vessels, and other valuable things, were to be seen.

Constantine embellished the altar space in the church of Jerusalem with rich gifts of gold, silver, and precious stones. Sozomen tells us1228 that Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem, in a time of famine, sold the treasures and sacred gifts of the church, and that afterwards some one recognized in the dress of an actress the vestment he once presented to the church.

A peculiar variety of such gifts, namely, memorials of miraculous cures,1229 appeared in the fifth century; at least they are first mentioned by Theodoret, who said of them in his eighth discourse on the martyrs: "That those who ask with the confidence of faith, receive what they ask, is plainly proved by their sacred gifts in testimony of their healing. Some offer feet, others hands, of gold or silver, and these gifts show their deliverance from those evils, as tokens of which they have been offered by the restored."  With the worship of saints this custom gained strongly, and became in the middle age quite universal. Whoever recovered from a sickness, considered himself bound first to testify by a gift his gratitude to the saint whose aid he had invoked in his distress. Parents, whose children fortunately survived the teething-fever, offered to St. Apollonia (all whose teeth, according to the legend, had been broken out with pincers by a hangman’s servant) gifts of jawbones in wax. In like manner St. Julian, for happily accomplished journeys, and St. Hubert, for safe return from the perils of the chase, were very richly endowed; but the Virgin Mary more than all. Almost every church or chapel which has a miracle-working image of the mother of God, possesses even now a multitude of golden and silver acknowledgments of fortunate returns and recoveries.


 § 113. Church Poetry and Music.


J. Rambach: Anthologie christl. Gesänge aus allen Jahrh. der christl. Kirche. Altona, 1817–’33. H. A. Daniel: Thesaurus hymnologicus. Hal. 1841–’56, 5 vols. Edélestand du Méril: Poésies populaires latines antérieures au douzième siècle. Paris, 1843. C. Fortlage: Gesänge der christl. Vorzeit. Berlin, 1844. G. A. Königsfeld u. A. W. v. Schlegel: Altchristliche Hymnen u. Gesaenge lateinisch u. Deutsch. Bonn, 1847. Second collection by Königsfeld, Bonn, 1865. E. E. Koch: Geschichte des Kirchenlieds u. Kirchengesangs der christl., insbesondere der deutschen evangel. Kirche. 2d ed. Stuttgart, 1852 f. 4 vols. (i. 10–30). F. J. Mone: Latein. Hymnen des Mittelalters (from MSS.), Freiburg, 1853–’55. (Vol. i., hymns of God and angels; ii., h. of Mary; iii., h. of saints.)  Bässler: Auswahl Alt-christl. Lieder vom 2–15ten Jahrh. Berlin, 1858. R. Ch. Trench: Sacred Latin Poetry, chiefly lyrical, selected and arranged for use; with Notes and Introduction (1849), 2d ed. improved, Lond. and Cambr. 1864. The valuable hymnological works of Dr. J. M. Neale (of Sackville College, Oxford): The Ecclesiastical Latin Poetry of the Middle Ages (in Henry Thompson’s History of Roman Literature, Lond. and Glasgow., 1852, p. 213 ff.); Mediaeval Hymns and Sequences, Lond. 1851; Sequentiae ex Missalibus, 1852; Hymns of the Eastern Church, 1862, several articles in the Ecclesiologist; and a Latin dissertation, De Sequentiis, in the Essays on Liturgiology, etc., p. 359 sqq. (Comp. also J. Chandler: The Hymns of the Primitive Church, now first collected, translated, and arranged, Lond. 1837.)


Poetry, and its twin sister music, are the most sublime and spiritual arts, and are much more akin to the genius of Christianity, and minister far more copiously to the purposes of devotion and edification than architecture, painting, and sculpture. They employ word and tone, and can speak thereby more directly to the spirit than the plastic arts by stone and color, and give more adequate expression to the whole wealth of the world of thought and feeling. In the Old Testament, as is well known, they were essential parts of divine worship; and so they have been in all ages and almost all branches of the Christian church.

Of the various species of religious poetry, the hymn is the earliest and most important. It has a rich history, in which the deepest experiences of Christian life are stored. But it attains full bloom in the Evangelical church of the German and English tongue, where it, like the Bible, becomes for the first time truly the possession of the people, instead of being restricted to priest or choir.

The hymn, in the narrower sense, belongs to lyrical poetry, or the poetry of feeling, in distinction from the epic and dramatic. It differs also from the other forms of the lyric (ode, elegy, sonnet, cantata, &c.) in its devotional nature, its popular form, and its adaptation to singing. The hymn is a popular spiritual song, presenting a healthful Christian sentiment in a noble, simple, and universally intelligible form, and adapted to be read and sung with edification by the whole congregation of the faithful. It must therefore contain nothing inconsistent with Scripture, with the doctrines of the church, with general Christian experience, or with the spirit of devotion. Every believing Christian can join in the Gloria in Excelsis or the Te Deum. The classic hymns, which are, indeed, comparatively few, stand above confessional differences, and resolve the discords of human opinions in heavenly harmony. They resemble in this the Psalms, from which all branches of the militant church draw daily nourishment and comfort. They exhibit the bloom of the Christian life in the Sabbath dress of beauty and holy rapture. They resound in all pious hearts, and have, like the daily rising sun and the yearly returning spring, an indestructible freshness and power. In truth, their benign virtue increases with increasing age, like that of healing herbs, which is the richer the longer they are bruised. They are true benefactors of the struggling church, ministering angels sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation. Next to the Holy Scripture, a good hymn-book is the richest fountain of edification.

The book of Psalms is the oldest Christian hymn-book, inherited by the church from the ancient covenant. The appearance of the Messiah upon earth was the beginning of Christian poetry, and was greeted by the immortal songs of Mary, of Elizabeth, of Simeon, and of the heavenly host. Religion and poetry are married, therefore, in the gospel. In the Epistles traces also appear of primitive Christian songs, in rhythmical quotations which are not demonstrably taken from the Old Testament.1230  We know from the letter of the elder Pliny to Trajan, that the Christians, in the beginning of the second century, praised Christ as their God in songs; and from a later source, that there was a multitude of such songs.1231

Notwithstanding this, we have no complete religious song remaining from the period of persecution, except the song of Clement of Alexandria to the divine Logos—which, however, cannot be called a hymn, and was probably never intended for public use—the Morning Song1232 and the Evening Song1233 in the Apostolic Constitutions, especially the former, the so-called Gloria in Excelsis, which, as an expansion of the doxology of the heavenly hosts, still rings in all parts of the Christian world. Next in order comes the Te Deum, in its original Eastern form, or the kaq j eJkavsthn hJmevran, which is older than Ambrose. The Ter Sanctus, and several ancient liturgical prayers, also may be regarded as poems. For the hymn is, in fact, nothing else than a prayer in the festive garb of poetical inspiration, and the best liturgical prayers are poetical creations. Measure and rhyme are by no means essential.

Upon these fruitful biblical and primitive Christian models arose the hymnology of the ancient catholic church, which forms the first stage in the history of hymnology, and upon which the mediaeval, and then the evangelical Protestant stage, with their several epochs, follow.


 § 114. The Poetry of the Oriental Church.


Comp. the third volume of Daniel’s Thesaurus hymnologicus (the Greek section prepared by B. Vormbaum); the works of J. M. Neale, quoted sub § 113; an article on Greek Hymnology in the Christian Remembrancer, for April, 1859, London; also the liturgical works quoted § 98.


We should expect that the Greek church, which was in advance in all branches of Christian doctrine and culture, and received from ancient Greece so rich a heritage of poetry, would give the key also in church song. This is true to a very limited extent. The Gloria in excelsis and the Te Deum are unquestionably the most valuable jewels of sacred poetry which have come down from the early church, and they are both, the first wholly, the second in part of Eastern origin, and going back perhaps to the third or second century.1234  But, excepting these hymns in rhythmic prose, the Greek church of the first six centuries produced nothing in this field which has had permanent value or general use.1235  It long adhered almost exclusively to the Psalms of David, who, as Chrysostom says, was first, middle, and last in the assemblies of the Christians, and it had, in opposition to heretical predilections, even a decided aversion to the public use of uninspired songs. Like the Gnostics before them, the Arians and the Apollinarians employed religious poetry and music as a popular means of commending and propagating their errors, and thereby, although the abuse never forbids the right use, brought discredit upon these arts. The council of Laodicea, about a.d. 360, prohibited even the ecclesiastical use of all uninspired or "private hymns,"1236 and the council of Chalcedon, in 451, confirmed this decree.

Yet there were exceptions. Chrysostom thought that the perverting influence of the Arian hymnology in Constantinople could be most effectually counteracted by the positive antidote of solemn antiphonies and doxologies in processions. Gregory Nazianzen composed orthodox hymns in the ancient measure; but from their speculative theological character and their want of popular spirit, these hymns never passed into the use of the church. The same may be said of the productions of Sophronius of Jerusalem, who glorified the high festivals in Anacreontic stanzas; of Synesius of Ptolemais (about a.d. 410), who composed philosophical hymns; of Nonnus of Panopolis in Egypt, who wrote a paraphrase of the Gospel of John in hexameters; of Eudoxia, the wife of the emperor Theodosius II.; and of Paul Silentiarius, a statesman under Justinian I., from whom we have several epigrams and an interesting poetical description of the church of St. Sophia, written for its consecration. Anatolius, bishop of Constantinople († 458), is properly the only poet of this period who realized to any extent the idea of the church hymn, and whose songs were adapted to popular use.1237

The Syrian church was the first of all the Oriental churches to produce and admit into public worship a popular orthodox poetry, in opposition to the heretical poetry of the Gnostic Bardesanes (about a.d. 170) and his son Harmonius. Ephraim Syrus († 378) led the way with a large number of successful hymns in the Syrian language, and found in Isaac, presbyter of Antioch, in the middle of the fifth century, and especially in Jacob, bishop of Sarug in Mesopotamia († 521), worthy successors.1238

After the fifth century the Greek church lost its prejudices against poetry, and produced a great but slightly known abundance of sacred songs for public worship.

In the history of the Greek church poetry, as well as the Latin, we may distinguish three epochs: (1) that of formation, while it was slowly throwing off classical metres, and inventing its peculiar style, down to about 650; (2) that of perfection, down to 820; (3) that of decline and decay, to 1400 or to the fall of Constantinople. The first period, beautiful as are some of the odes of Gregory of Nazianzen and Sophronius of Jerusalem, has impressed scarcely any traces on the Greek office books. The flourishing period of Greek poetry coincides with the period of the image controversies, and the most eminent poets were at the same time advocates of images; pre-eminent among them being John of Damascus, who has the double honor of being the greatest theologian and the greatest poet of the Greek church.

The flower of Greek poetry belongs, therefore, in a later division of our history. Yet, since we find at least the rise of it in the fifth century, we shall give here a brief description of its peculiar character.

The earliest poets of the Greek church, especially Gregory Nazianzen, in the fourth, and Sophronius of Jerusalem in the seventh century, employed the classical metres, which are entirely unsuitable to Christian ideas and church song, and therefore gradually fell out of use.1239  Rhyme found no entrance into the Greek church. In its stead the metrical or harmonic prose was adopted from the Hebrew poetry and the earliest Christian hymns of Mary, Zacharias, Simeon, and the angelic host. Anatolius of Constantinople († 458) was the first to renounce the tyranny of the classic metre and strike out a new path. The essential points in the peculiar system of the Greek versification are the following:1240

The first stanza, which forms the model of the succeeding ones, is called in technical language Hirmos, because it draws the others after it. The succeeding stanzas are called Troparia (stanzas), and are divided, for chanting, by commas, without regard to the sense. A number of troparia, from three to twenty or more, forms an Ode, and this corresponds to the Latin Sequence, which was introduced about the same time by the monk Notker in St. Gall. Each ode is founded on a hirmos and ends with a troparion in praise of the Holy Virgin.1241  The odes are commonly arranged (probably after the example of such Psalms as the 25th, 112th, and 119th) in acrostic, sometimes in alphabetic, order. Nine odes form a Canon.1242  The older odes on the great events of the incarnation, the resurrection, and the ascension, are sometimes sublime; but the later long canons, in glorification of unknown martyrs are extremely prosaic and tedious and full of elements foreign to the gospel. Even the best hymnological productions of the East lack the healthful simplicity, naturalness, fervor, and depth of the Latin and of the Evangelical Protestant hymn.

The principal church poets of the East are Anatolius († 458), Andrew of Crete (660–732), Germanus I. (634–734), John Of Damascus († about 780), Cosmas of Jerusalem, called the Melodist (780), Theophanes (759–818), Theodore of the Studium (826), Methodius I. (846), Joseph of the Studium (830), Metrophanes of Smyrna († 900), Leo VI. (886–917), and Euthymius († 920).

The Greek church poetry is contained in the liturgical books, especially in the twelve volumes of the Menaea, which correspond to the Latin Breviary, and consist, for the most part, of poetic or half-poetic odes in rhythmic prose.1243  These treasures, on which nine centuries have wrought, have hitherto been almost exclusively confined to the Oriental church, and in fact yield but few grains of gold for general use. Neale has latterly made a happy effort to reproduce and make accessible in modern English metres, with very considerable abridgments, the most valuable hymns of the Greek church.1244

We give a few specimens of Neale’s translations of hymns of St. Anatolius, patriarch of Constantinople, who attended the council of Chalcedon (451). The first is a Christmas hymn, commencing in Greek:


Mevga kai; paravdoxon qau'ma.


"A great and mighty wonder,
The festal makes secure:

The Virgin bears the Infant
With Virgin-honor pure.


The Word is made incarnate,
And yet remains on high:

And cherubim sing anthems
To shepherds from the sky.


And we with them triumphant
Repeat the hymn again:

’To God on high be glory,
And peace on earth to men!’


While thus they sing your Monarch,
Those bright angelic bands,

Rejoice, ye vales and mountains!
Ye oceans, clap your hands!


Since all He comes to ransom,
By all be He adored,

The Infant born in Bethlehem,
The Saviour and the Lord!


Now idol forms shall perish,
All error shall decay,

And Christ shall wield His sceptre,
Our Lord and God for aye."


Another specimen of a Christmas hymn by the same, commencing ejn Bhqleevm:


"In Bethlehem is He born!

Maker of all things, everlasting God!
He opens Eden’s gate,

Monarch of ages!  Thence the fiery sword
Gives glorious passage; thence,

The severing mid-wall overthrown, the powers
Of earth and Heaven are one;

Angels and men renew their ancient league,
The pure rejoin the pure,

In happy union!  Now the Virgin-womb
Like some cherubic throne

Containeth Him, the Uncontainable:
Bears Him, whom while they bear

The seraphs tremble! bears Him, as He comes
To shower upon the world

The fulness of His everlasting love!


One more on Christ calming the storm, zofera'" trikumiva", as reproduced by Neale:


"Fierce was the wild billow
Dark was the night;

Oars labor’d heavily;
Foam glimmer’d white;

Mariners trembled
Peril was nigh;

Then said the God of God
—’Peace!  It is I.’


Ridge of the mountain-wave,
Lower thy crest!

Wail of Euroclydon,
Be thou at rest!

Peril can none be—
Sorrow must fly

Where saith the Light of Light,
—’Peace!  It is I.’


Jesu, Deliverer!
Come Thou to me:

Soothe Thou my voyaging
Over life’s sea!

Thou, when the storm of death
Roars, sweeping by,

Whisper, O Truth of Truth!
 – ’Peace!  It is I.’ "


 § 115. The Latin Hymn.


More important than the Greek hymnology is the Latin from the fourth to the sixteenth century. Smaller in compass, it surpasses it in artless simplicity and truth, and in richness, vigor, and fulness of thought, and is much more akin to the Protestant spirit. With objective churchly character it combines deeper feeling and more subjective appropriation and experience of salvation, and hence more warmth and fervor than the Greek. It forms in these respects the transition to the Evangelical hymn, which gives the most beautiful and profound expression to the personal enjoyment of the Saviour and his redeeming grace. The best Latin hymns have come through the Roman Breviary into general use, and through translations and reproductions have become naturalized in Protestant churches. They treat for the most part of the great facts of salvation and the fundamental doctrines of Christianity. But many of them are devoted to the praises of Mary and the martyrs, and vitiated with superstitions.

In the Latin church, as in the Greek, heretics gave a wholesome impulse to poetical activity. The two patriarchs of Latin church poetry, Hilary and Ambrose, were the champions of orthodoxy against Arianism in the West.

The genius of Christianity exerted an influence, partly liberating, partly transforming, upon the Latin language and versification. Poetry in its youthful vigor is like an impetuous mountain torrent, which knows no bounds and breaks through all obstacles; but in its riper form it restrains itself and becomes truly free in self-limitation; it assumes a symmetrical, well-regulated motion and combines it with periodical rest. This is rhythm, which came to its perfection in the poetry of Greece and Rome. But the laws of metre were an undue restraint to the new Christian spirit which required a new form. The Latin poetry of the church has a language of its own, a grammar of its own, a prosody of its own, and a beauty of its own, and in freshness, vigor, and melody even surpasses the Latin poetry of the classics. It had to cast away all the helps of the mythological fables, but drew a purer and richer inspiration from the sacred history and poetry of the Bible, and the heroic age of Christianity. But it had first to pass through a state of barbarism like the Romanic languages of the South of Europe in their transition from the old Latin. We observe the Latin language under the influence of the youthful and hopeful religion of Christ, as at the breath of a second spring, putting forth fresh blossoms and flowers and clothing itself with a new garment of beauty, old words assuming new and deeper meanings, obsolete words reviving, new words forming. In all this there is much to offend a fastidious classical taste, yet the losses are richly compensated by the gains. Christianity at its triumph in the Roman empire found the classical Latin rapidly approaching its decay and dissolution; in the course of time it brought out of its ashes a new creation.

The classical system of prosody was gradually loosened, and accent substituted for quantity. Rhyme, unknown to the ancients as a system or rule, was introduced in the middle or at the end of the verse, giving the song a lyrical character, and thus a closer affinity with music. For the hymns were to be sung in the churches. This accented and rhymed poetry was at first, indeed, very imperfect, yet much better adapted to the freedom, depth, and warmth of the Christian spirit, than the stereotyped, stiff, and cold measure of the heathen classics.1245  Quantity is a more or less arbitrary and artificial device; accent, or the emphasizing of one syllable in a polysyllabic word, is natural and popular, and commends itself to the ear. Ambrose and his followers, with happy instinct, chose for their hymns the Iambic dimeter, which is the least metrical and the most rhythmical of all the ancient metres. The tendency to euphonious rhyme went hand in hand with the accented rhythm, and this tendency appears occasionally in its crude beginnings in Hilary and Ambrose, but more fully in Damasus, the proper father of this improvement.

Rhyme is not the invention of either a barbaric or an overcivilized age, but appears more or less in almost all nations, languages, and grades of culture. Like rhythm it springs from the natural esthetic sense of proportion, euphony, limitation, and periodic return.1246  It is found here and there, even in the oldest popular poetry of republican Rome, that of Ennius, for example.1247  It occurs not rarely in the prose even of Cicero, and especially of St. Augustine, who delights in ingenious alliterations and verbal antitheses, like patet and latet, spes and res, fides and vides, bene and plene, oritur and moritur. Damasus of Rome introduced it into sacred poetry.1248  But it was in the sacred Latin poetry of the middle age that rhyme first assumed a regular form, and in Adam of St. Victor, Hildebert, St. Bernard, Bernard of Clugny, Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventura, Thomas a Celano, and Jacobus de Benedictis (author of the Stabat mater), it reached its perfection in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; above all, in that incomparable giant hymn on the judgment, the tremendous power of which resides, first indeed in its earnest matter, but next in its inimitable mastery of the musical treatment of vowels. I mean, of course, the Dies irae of the Franciscan monk Thomas a Celano (about 1250), which excites new wonder on every reading, and to which no translation in any modern language can do full justice. In Adam of St. Victor, too, of the twelfth century, occur unsurpassable rhymes; e.g., the picture of the Evangelist John (in the poem: De, S. Joanne evangelista), which Olshausen has chosen for the motto of his commentary on the fourth Gospel, and which Trench declares the most beautiful stanza in the Latin church poetry:


"Volat avis sine meta

Quo nee vates nec propheta
Evolavit altius:

Tam implenda,1249 quam impleta1250

Nunquam vidit tot secreta
Purus homo purius."

The metre of the Latin hymns is various, and often hard to be defined. Gavanti1251 supposes six principal kinds of verse:

1. Iambici dimetri (as: "Vexilla regis prodeunt").

2. Iambici trimetri (ternarii vel senarii, as: "Autra deserti teneris sub annis").

3. Trochaici dimetri ("Pange, lingua, gloriosi corporis mysterium," a eucharistic hymn of Thomas Aquinas).

4. Sapphici, cum Adonico in fine (as: "Ut queant axis resonare fibris").

5. Trochaici (as: "Ave maris stella").

6. Asclepiadici, cum Glyconico in fine (as: "Sacris solemniis juncta sint gaudia").

In the period before us the Iambic dimeter prevails; in Hilary and Ambrose without exception.


 § 116. The Latin Poets and Hymns.


The poets of this period, Prudentius excepted, are all clergymen, and the best are eminent theologians whose lives and labors have their more appropriate place in other parts of this work.

Hilary, bishop of Poitiers (hence Pictaviensis, † 368), the Athanasius of the West in the Arian controversies, is, according to the testimony of Jerome,1252 the first hymn writer of the Latin church. During his exile in Phrygia and in Constantinople, he became acquainted with the Arian hymns and was incited by them to compose, after his return, orthodox hymns for the use of the Western church. He thus laid the foundation of Latin hymnology. He composed the beautiful morning hymn: "Lucis largitor splendide;" the Pentecostal hymn: "Beata nobis gaudia;" and, perhaps, the Latin reproduction of the famous Gloria in excelsis. The authorship of many of the hymns ascribed to him is doubtful, especially those in which the regular rhyme already appears, as in the Epiphany hymn:


"Jesus refulsit omnium

Pius redemptor gentium."


We give as a specimen a part of the first three stanzas of his morning hymn, which has been often translated into German and English:1253


"Lucis largitor splendide,

"O glorious Father of the light,


Cuius serene lumine

From whose efflugence, calm and bright,


Post lapsa noctis tempora

Soon as hours of night are fled,


Dies refusus panditur:

The brilliance of the dawn is shed:



"To verus mundi Lucifer,

"Thou art the dark world’s truer ray:


Non is, qui parvi sideris,

No radiance of that lesser day,


Venturae lucis nuntius

That heralds, in the morn begun,


Augusto fulget lumine:

The advent of our darker sun:



"Sed toto sole clarior,

"But, brighter than its noontide gleam,


Lux ipse totus et dies,

Thyself full daylight’s fullest beam,


Interna nostri pectoris

The inmost mansions of our breast


Illuminans praecordia."

Thou by Thy grace illuminest."


Ambrose, the illustrious bishop of Milan, though some-what younger († 397), is still considered, on account of the number and value of his hymns, the proper father of Latin church song, and became the model for all successors. Such was his fame as a hymnographer that the words Ambrosianus and hymnus were at one time nearly synonymous. His genuine hymns are distinguished for strong faith, elevated but rude simplicity, noble dignity, deep unction, and a genuine churchly and liturgical spirit. The rhythm is still irregular, and of rhyme only imperfect beginnings appear; and in this respect they certainly fall far below the softer and richer melodies of the middle age, which are more engaging to ear and heart. They are an altar of unpolished and unhewn stone. They set forth the great objects of faith with apparent coldness that stands aloof from them in distant adoration; but the passion is there, though latent, and the fire of an austere enthusiasm burns beneath the surface. Many of them have, in addition to their poetical value, a historical and theological value as testimonies of orthodoxy against Arianism.1254

Of the thirty to a hundred so-called Ambrosian hymns,1255 however, only twelve, in the view of the Benedictine editors of his works, are genuine; the rest being more or less successful imitations by unknown authors. Neale reduces the number of the genuine Ambrosian hymns to ten, and excludes all which rhyme regularly, and those which are not metrical. Among the genuine are the morning hymn: "Aeterne rerum conditor;"1256 the evening hymn: "Deus creator omnium;"1257 and the Advent or Christmas hymn: "Veni, Redemptor gentium."  This last is justly considered his best. It has been frequently reproduced in modern languages,1258 and we add this specimen of its matter and form with an English version:


"Veni, Redemptor gentium,

"Come, Thou Redeemer of the earth,


Ostende partum Virginis;

Come, testify Thy Virgin Birth:


Miretur omne saeculum:

All lands admire—all times applaud:


Talis partus decet Deum.

Such is the birth that fits a God.



"Non ex virili semine,

"Begotten of no human will,


Sed mystico spiramine,

But of the Spirit, mystic still,


Verbum Dei factum est caro,

The Word of God, in flesh arrayed,


Fructusque ventris floruit.

The promised fruit to man displayed.



"Alvus tumescit Virginis,

"The Virgin womb that burden gained


Claustrum pudoris permanet,

With Virgin honor all unstained


Vexilla virtutum micant,

The banners there of virtues glow:


Versatur in templo Deus.

God in His Temple dwells below.



"Procedit e thalamo suo,

"Proceeding from His chamber free,


Pudoris aulâ regiâ,

The royal hall of chastity,


Geminae Gigas substantiae,

Giant of twofold substance, straight


Alacris ut currat viam.1259

His destined way He runs elate.



"Egressus ejus a Patre,

"From God the Father He proceeds,


Regressus ejus ad Patrem,

To God the Father back He speeds:


Excursus usque ad inferos

Proceeds—as far as very hell:


Recursus ad sedem Dei.

Speeds back—to light ineffable.



"Aequalis aeterno Patri,

"O equal to the Father, Thou!


Carnis tropaeo1260 cingere,

Gird on Thy fleshly trophy (mantle) now


Infirma nostri corporis

The weakness of our mortal state


Virtute firmans perpeti.

With deathless might invigorate.



"Praesepe jam fulget tuum,

"Thy cradle here shall glitter bright,


Lumenque nox spirat novum,

And darkness breathe a newer light,


Quod nulla nox interpolet,

Where endless faith shall shine serene,


Fideque jugi luceat."

And twilight never intervene."


By far the most celebrated hymn of the Milanese bishop, which alone would have made his name immortal, is the Ambrosian doxology, Te Deum laudamus. This, with the Gloria in excelsis, is, as already remarked, by far the most valuable legacy of the old Catholic church poetry; and will be prayed and sung with devotion in all parts of Christendom to the end of time. According to an old legend, Ambrose composed it on the baptism of St. Augustine, and conjointly with him; the two, without preconcert, as if from divine inspiration, alternately singing the words of it before the congregation. But his biographer Paulinus says nothing of this, and, according to later investigations, this sublime Christian psalm is, like the Gloria in excelsis, but a free reproduction and expansion of an older Greek hymn in prose, of which some constituents appear in the Apostolic Constitutions, and elsewhere.1261

Ambrose introduced also an improved mode of singing in Milan, making wise use of the Greek symphonies and antiphonies, and popular melodies. This Cantus Ambrosianus, or figural song, soon supplanted the former mode of reciting the Psalms and prayers in monotone with musical accent and little modulation of the voice, and spread into most of the Western churches as a congregational song. It afterwards degenerated, and was improved and simplified by Gregory the Great, and gave place to the so-called Cantus Romanus, or choralis.

Augustine, the greatest theologian among the church fathers († 430), whose soul was filled with the genuine essence of poetry, is said to have composed the resurrection hymn: "Cum rex gloriae Christus;" the hymn on the glory of paradise: "Ad perennis vitae fontem melis sitivit arida;" and others. But he probably only furnished in the lofty poetical intuitions and thoughts which are scattered through his prose works, especially in the Confessions, the materia carminis for later poets, like Peter Damiani, bishop of Ostia, in the eleventh century, who put into flowing verse Augustine’s meditations on the blessedness of heaven.1262 Damasus, bishop of Rome († 384), a friend of Jerome, likewise composed some few sacred songs, and is considered the author of the rhyme.1263

Coelius Sedulius, a native of Scotland or Ireland, presbyter in the first half of the fifth century, composed the hymns: "Herodes, hostis impie," and "A solis ortus cardine," and some larger poems.

Marcus Aurelius Clemens Prudentius († 405), an advocate and imperial governor in Spain under Theodosius, devoted the last years of his life to religious contemplation and the writing of sacred poetry, and stands at the head of the more fiery and impassioned Spanish school. Bently calls him the Horace and Virgil of Christians, Neale, "the prince of primitive Christian poets."  Prudentius is undoubtedly the most gifted and fruitful of the old Catholic poets. He was master of the classic measure, but admirably understood how to clothe the new ideas and feelings of Christianity in a new dress. His poems have been repeatedly edited.1264  They are in some cases long didactic or epic productions in hexameters, of much historical value;1265 in others, collections of epic poems, as the Cathemerinon,1266 and Peristephanon.1267  Extracts from the latter have passed into public use. The best known hymns of Prudentius are: "Salvete, flores martyrum," in memory of the massacred innocents at Bethlehem,1268 and his grand burial hymn: "Jam moesta quiesce querela," which brings before us the ancient worship in deserts and in catacombs, and of which Herder says that no one can read it without feeling his heart moved by its touching tones.1269

We must mention two more poets who form the transition from the ancient Catholic to mediaeval church poetry.

Venantius Fortunatus, an Italian by birth, a friend of queen Radegunde (who lived apart from her husband, and presided over a cloister), the fashionable poet of France, and at the time of his death (about 600), bishop of Poitiers, wrote eleven books of poems on various subjects, an epic on the life of St. Martin of Tours, and a theological work in vindication of the Augustinian doctrine of divine grace. He was the first to use the rhyme with a certain degree of mastery and regularity, although with considerable license still, so that many of his rhymes are mere alliterations of consonants or repetitions of vowels.1270  He first mastered the trochaic tetrameter, a measure which, with various modifications, subsequently became the glory of the mediaeval hymn. Prudentius had already used it once or twice, but Fortunatus first grouped it into stanzas. His best known compositions are the passion hymns: "Vexilla regis prodeunt," and "Pange, lingua, gloriosi proelium (lauream) certaminis," which, though not without some alterations, have passed into the Roman Breviary.1271  The "Vexilla regis" is sung on Good Friday during the procession in which the consecrated host is carried to the altar. Both are used on the festivals of the Invention and the Elevation of the Cross.1272  The favorite Catholic hymn to Mary: "Ave maris stella,"1273 is sometimes ascribed to him, but is of a much later date.

We give as specimens his two famous passion hymns, which were composed about 580.


Vexilla Regis Prodeunt.1274


"Vexilla regis prodeunt,

"The Royal Banners forward go:


Fulget crucis mysterium,

The Cross shines forth with mystic glow:


Quo carne carnis conditor

Where He in flesh, our flesh who made,


Suspensus est patibulo.1275

Our sentence bore, our ransom paid.



"Quo vulneratus insuper

"Where deep for us the spear was dyed,


Mucrone diro lanceae,

Life’s torrent rushing from His side:


Ut nos lavaret crimine

To wash us in the precious flood,


Manavit unda et sanguine.

Where mingled water flowed, and blood.



"Impleta sunt quae concinit

"Fulfilled is all that David told


David fideli carmine

In true prophetic song of old:


Dicens: in nationibus

Amidst the nations, God, saith he,


Regnavit a ligno Deus.

Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree.



"Arbor decora et fulgida

"O Tree of Beauty!  Tree of Light!


Ornata regis purpura,

O Tree with royal purple dight!


Electa digno stipite

Elect upon whose faithful breast


Tam sancta membra tangere.

Those holy limbs should find their rest!



"Beata cuius brachiis

"On whose dear arms, so widely flung,


Pretium pependit saeculi,

The weight of this world’s ransom hung


Statera facta saeculi

The price of human kind to pay,


Praedamque tulit tartaris."1276

And spoil the spoiler of his prey!"


Pange, Lingua, Gloriosi Proelium Certaminis.1277


"Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle,1278 with completed victory rife,

And above the Cross’s trophy, tell the triumph of the strife;

How the world’s Redeemer conquer’d, by surrendering of His life.


"God, his Maker, sorely grieving that the first-born Adam fell,

When he ate the noxious apple, whose reward was death and hell,

Noted then this wood, the ruin of the ancient wood to quell.


"For the work of our Salvation needs would have his order so,

And the multiform deceiver’s art by art would overthrow;

And from thence would bring the medicine whence the venom of the foe.


"Wherefore, when the sacred fulness of the appointed time was come,

This world’s Maker left His Father, left His bright and heavenly home,

And proceeded, God Incarnate, of the Virgin’s holy womb.


"Weeps the Infant in the manger that in Bethlehem’s stable stands;

And His limbs the Virgin Mother doth compose in swaddling bands,

Meetly thus in linen folding of her God the feet and hands.


"Thirty years among us dwelling, His appointed time fulfilled,

Born for this, He meets His Passion, for that this He freely willed:

On the Cross the Lamb is lifted, where His life-blood shall be spilled.


"He endured the shame and spitting, vinegar, and nails, and reed;

As His blessed side is opened, water thence and blood proceed:

Earth, and sky, and stars, and ocean, by that flood are cleansed indeed.


"Faithful Cross! above all other, one and only noble Tree!

None in foliage, none in blossom, none in fruit thy peers may be;

Sweetest wood and sweetest iron, sweetest weight is hung on thee!1279


"Bend thy boughs, O Tree of Glory!  thy relaxing sinews bend;

For awhile the ancient rigor, that thy birth bestowed, suspend;

And the King of heavenly beauty on thy bosom gently tend.


"Thou alone wast counted worthy this world’s ransom to uphold;

For a shipwreck’d race preparing harbor, like the Ark of old:

With the sacred blood anointed from the wounded Lamb that roll’d.


"Laud and honor to the Father, laud and honor to the Son,

Laud and honor to the Spirit, ever Three and ever One:

Consubstantial, co-eternal, while unending ages run.



Far less important as a poet is Gregory I. (590–604), the last of the fathers and the first of the mediaeval popes. Many hymns of doubtful origin have been ascribed to him and received into the Breviary. The best is his Sunday hymn: "Primo dierum omnium."1280

The hymns are the fairest flowers of the poetry of the ancient church. But besides them many epic and didactic poems arose, especially in Gaul and Spain, which counteracted the invading flood of barbarism, and contributed to preserve a connection with the treasures of the classic culture. Juvencus, a Spanish presbyter under Constantine, composed the first Christian epic, a Gospel history in four books (3,226 lines), on the model of Virgil, but as to poetic merit never rising above mediocrity. Far superior to him is Prudentius († 405); he wrote, besides the hymns already mentioned, several didactic, epic, and polemic poems. St. Pontius Paulinus, bishop of Nola († 431), who was led by the poet Ausonius to the mysteries of the Muses,1281 and a friend of Augustine and Jerome, is the author of some thirty poems full of devout spirit; the best are those on the festival of S. Felix, his patron. Prosper Aquitanus († 460), layman, and friend of Augustine, wrote a didactic poem against the Pelagians, and several epigrams; Avitus, bishop of Vienne († 523), an epic on the creation and the origin of evil; Arator, a court official under Justinian, afterwards a sub-deacon of the Roman church (about 544), a paraphrase, in heroic verse, of the Acts of the Apostles, in two books of about 1,800 lines. Claudianus Mamertus,1282 Benedictus Paulinus, Elpidius, Orontius, and Draconti



* Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997. This material has been carefully compared, corrected¸ and emended (according to the 1910 edition of Charles Scribner's Sons) by The Electronic Bible Society, Dallas, TX, 1998.

1125  Euseb. Hist. Eccl. viii. 1.

1126  The cities of New York, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia, for instance, have more churches than the much older cities of Berlin, Vienna, and Paris. New York has some three hundred, Berlin and Paris each hardly fifty. This is a noble triumph of the voluntary principle in religion.

1127  Homil. lxxxi in Matth. § 2, and l. § 3.

1128  Optatus of Mileve, De schism. Donat. ii. 4: "Inter quadraginta et quod excurris basilicas."

1129  I This last was, according to Ambrose, Epist. 54, the custom in Rome, and certainly wherever such relics were to be had.

1130  2 Chron. c. 5-7.

1131  Macc. iv. 44 ff.

1132  Vita Constant. iv. 43-46.

1133  Hist. Eccl. x. 2-4. Eusebius speaks here in general of the consecration of churches after the cessation of persecution, and then, c. 4, gives an oratio panegyriea, delivered probably by himself, in which he describes the church at Tyre in a minute, but pompous way.

1134  TaV ejgkaivnia, in memory of the purification of the temple under the Maccabees, I Macc. iv. 59; John x. 22.

1135  Sozomen, H. E. ii. 25 (26). Gregory the Great ordered: "Solemnitates ecclesiarum dedicationum per singulos annos sunt celebrandae."

1136  Hom. vi. in Gen., § 2 jEkklhsivan poivhsovn sou th;n oijkivan kai; ga;r kai; ejpeuvquno" ei\ kai; th'" tw'n paidivwn kai; th'" oijketw'n swthriva" .

1137  Serm. in Eutrop.:JH ejkklhsiva ouj teu'co" kai; o[rofo" , ajlla; pivsti" kai; bivo" .

1138  De incomprehensibili: jEntau'qa ejstiv ti plevon, oi|on hJ oJmovnoia kai; hJ sumfwniva kai; th'" ajgavph" oJ suvndesmo" kai; aiJ tw'n iJerevwn eujcaiv.

1139  Serm. 94.

1140  Sometimes the narthex again was divided into two rooms, the upper place for the kneelers (locus substratorum), i.e., catechumens who might participate, kneeling, in the prayers after the sermon (hence genuflectentes, gonuklivnonte" and the lower place, bordering on the outer portico, for mere hearers, Jews, and pagans (locus audientium).

1141  Flentes, hiemantes.

1142  Krhvnh, cantharus, phiala.

1143  In Num. xix. 2 ff.; xxxi. 19 ff. (comp. Heb. ix. 13) the sprinkling-water, or "water of separation" (i.e., water of purification, LXX.: u{dwr rjantismou'), already appears, prepared from the ashes of the burned red heifer and water, and used for the cleansing of those made unclean by contact with a corpse. The later Jews were very strict in this; no one could appear in the temple or synagogue, or perform any act of worship, prayer, or sacrifice, without being washed, 1 Sam. xvi. 6; 2 Chron. xxx. 17. Therefore synagogues were built by preference in the neighborhood of streams. The Pharisees were very paltry and pedantic in the matter of these washings; comp. Matt. xv. 2; Mark vii. 3; Luke xi. 38. The same custom of symbolical purification before worship we find among the ancient Egyptians, Persians, Brahmans (who ascribed to the water of the Ganges saving virtue), Greeks, and Romans, and among the Mohammedans. At the entrance of every Turkish mosque stands a large font for this purpose.

1144  1 Kings vii. 23-26; 2 Chron. iv. 2-5.

1145  Benedictio fontis.

1146  Naov".

1147  JIerovn..

1148  Nau'", navis ecclesiae. Many derive this expression from a confusion of the Greek naov" with nau'" and navis. Not till the ninth and tenth centuries is navis used in this way. The more exact equivalent in English would be long-room, or hall.

1149  Called ejperw'a, the elevated galleries on the side walls. Besides this the women’s places were protected by wooden lattices from all curious or lascivious glances of the men. Chrysostom says, Homil. 74 in Matth.: "Formerly these lattices certainly did not exist; for in Christ there is neither male nor female (Gal. iii. 28), and in the time of the apostles men and women were together with one accord. But then men were still men, and women were women; now women have sunk to the level of prostitutes, and men are like horses in rutting." A sad commentary on the moral and religious condition of that time!

1150  [Ambwn from ajnabaivnw, pulpitum, suggestus. Hence the English pulpit, while the corresponding German Kanzel is derived from cancelli.

1151  Bh'ma, exedra.

1152  jWdei'on. Subsequently the singers were usually placed in the galleries of upper-church.

1153  Ta; a{gia tw'n aJgivwn, ta; a[duta, iJeratei'on,, sacrarium, sanctuarium.

1154  Corov", bh'ma, (ascensus).

1155  Hence the terms high mass, high altar.

1156  Hence called also kovgch, shell.

1157  Thus so early as this was the line of east and west established as the sacred (or church-building) line. Yet there were exceptions. Socrates, H. E. v. 22, notes it as peculiar in the church of Antioch, that the altar here stood not in the eastern end, but in the western (ouj ga;r pro;" ajnatola;" to; qusiasthvrion, ajlla; pro;" duvsin oJra'/).

1158  jAmfivqura, kigklivde", cancelli, whence the name chancel.

1159  Eusebius mentions, in his description of the church of the bishop Paulinus in Tyre, H. E. x. 4, an elegantly wrought lattice, and Athanasius mentions the curtains. Indeed, the pictures placed upon these curtains date back even to the fourth century, since Epiphanius, Ep. ad Joann. Hierosolymit., inveighed against a painted curtain in a village of Palestine. The lattice has perpetuated itself to this day in the picture wall or iconostas (eijkonovstasi") in the Russo-Greek church. It bears, on the right the picture of Christ, and on the left that of the Virgin Mary, and is pierced with three doors; the middle one, called the Emperor’s gate (dweri Zarskija), because only the emperor, besides the chief priest, may pass through it to take the holy Supper, is decorated and distinguished with the utmost splendor; oftentimes a golden sun with a thousand rays appears, which suddenly separates during the worship, and discloses the altar; or a Mount Zion with innumerable temples and battlements; or a network of golden garlands of flowers and fruits, among which especially clusters of grapes, probably with reference to the sacramental wine, frequently occur.

1160  Altare, mensa sacra, qusiasthvrion, aJgiva travpeza The altar-cloth, palla, pallia, covers the whole upper face of the altar. This must not be confounded with the corporale (ei[lhton, from eijlevw, involvo), i.e., a white linen cloth, with which the oblations prepared upon the altar are covered.

1161  Purgo", tower; kibwvrion (of doubtful origin), ciborium, umbraculum. Subsequently the ciborium gave place to the steeple-shaped tabernaculum for the preservation of the body of Christ. With the ciborium the dove-shaped form of the receptacle for the body of Christ (hence called peristhvrion) also gradually disappeared.

1162  Rev. vi. 9. In the Greek and Roman churches every altar must contain some relics, be they never so unimportant.

1163  Kruptaiv, memoriae, confessiones, testimonia.

1164  This usage also no doubt came from Judaism into the Christian church; for in the temple at Jerusalem, and in the tabernacle before it, a lamp was perpetually burning according to divine command, Exod. xxvii. 30f. Probably lamps were in earlier use in the church. But tapers also were already in use in the time of Chrysostom, especially for lighting the altar, while lamps were rather employed in chapels and before images of saints.

1165  In the Roman church the second of February, or the fortieth day after Christmas, when Mary presented the Lord in the temple, and when the aged Simeon prophetically called the child Jesus "a light to lighten the Gentiles," is appointed for this consecration, and is hence called Candlemas of Mary, a contraction of the two names, Purification of Mary and Candlemas.

1166  He even expressly (Ep. ad Philad. c. 4) likens the unity of the church in the episcopate to the unity of the altar: [En qusiasthvrion, wJ" ei|" ejpivskopo".

1167  Provqesi". oblationarium, still used in the Greek church.

1168  Skeuofulavktion, diakonikovn, sacristia, sacrorum custodia, salutatorium, etc.

1169  Qrovno", cathedra.

1170  Before Ambrose the emperors were permitted to take their seats within the altar-space. But Ambrose, with the approval of Theodosius, abolished this custom, and assigned to the emperors a special place at the head of the congregation, just outside the rails. Sozomen, H. E. vii. 25.

1171  Bunsen, Schnaase, Kugler, Kinkel, Quast, &e.

1172  Zestermann (1847) and Krauser (1851).

1173  The passage quoted for this view from Ausonius in his address of thanks to the emperor Gratian, his pupil, c. 2: "Forum et basilica olim negotiis plena, nunc votis, votisque pro tua salute susceptis," implies only, according to the connection, that now all houses and public places are full of good wishes for the emperor.

1174  Stoai; basilikaiv The name comes from that of the highest civil magistrate, the a[rcwn basileuv", who held court in these buildings. In the church this designation was very naturally transferred to Christ, as the supreme King and Judge. Though of Greek origin, the basilicas first reached their full development in Rome, and, properly speaking, arose from the forum Romanum. They were strictly fora for the people, but roofed, and so protected from rain and heat. The city of Rome had ten of them: the Bas. Julia, Ulpia, Porcia, Marciana, &c. Zestermann, however, denies the connection of the Roman basilica with the Athenian stoa; basivleio" , from the later times of Roman luxury, when the name basilicus was applied to everything grand and costly.

1175  Basilicas with a single nave are very rare. The pagan basilica of Trier is an instance, and the small church of St. Balbina in Rome, said to have been built by Gregory I. in the beginning of the seventh century.

1176  In the panegyric addressed to Paulinus, bishop of Tyre, Hist. Eccl. x. c. 4.

1177  Comp. the more minute descriptions of these churches in the above-mentioned illustrated work of Guttensohn and Knapp: Monumenta di religione christ., etc., 1822-’27, and the explanatory text by Bunsen: Die Basiliken des christl. Roms. München, 1848. Also Gottfried Kinkel: Geschichte der bildenden Künsten bei der christlichen Völkern, i. p. 61 sqq., and Ferd. von Quast: Die Basilika der Alten.

1178  Kurtz, in his large Handbuch der K. Gesch., 3d ed. i. 372, well says: "The Byzantine state, in that maturity of it which Constantine introduced and Justinian completed, was, in polity, as astonishing, gorgeous, majestic a centralized edifice, as the church of St. Sophia in architecture. The imperial power, as absolute autocracy, was the all-ruling, all-moving centre of the whole state life. The main dome, over-topping all, the full expression of the majesty of the centre, towards which all parts of the building strove, to which all were subservient, in the splendor of which all basked, was the court and the residence; on it the provinces and the authorities set over them leaned, as the subordinate side-domes or half-domes on the main one."

1179  Qovlo".

1180  The Wisdom, the Logos, of God; called in Proverbs and the Book of Wisdom sofiva. Hence the name of the church. There is still standing in Constantinople a small church of St Sophia, which was likewise erected by Justinian.

1181  In 557, the 32d year of Justinian, the eastern part of the dome fell in, and destroyed the altar, together with the tabernacle and the ambo, but was restored in 561. A similar misfortune befell it by an earthquake in the twelfth century, and again in 1346. The Turks let the grand structure gradually decay, till finally, by command of the Sultan, a.d. 1847-’49, a thorough restoration was undertaken under the direction of an Italian architect, Fossati. This brought to light the magnificence of the Mosaic pictures which Mohammedan picture-hatred and Turkish barbarism had in part destroyed, in part plastered over. The Sultan now caused them to be covered with plates of glass, cemented with lime; so that they are secure for a time, till the pile shall come again into the service of Christianity.

1182  Nenivkhkav se Solomwvn. Comp. the descriptions in Evagrius: Hist. Eccl. l iv. cap. 31; Procopius: De aedific. i. 1; and the poem of Paul Silentiarius: !Ekfrasi" naou' th'" Sofiva" (a metrical translation of it in the above cited work of Salzenberg and Kortüm).

1183  Comp. on these Byzantine churches Kinkel, l. c., i. p. 100 sqq. and p. 121 sqq., and the splendid work of Salzenberg and Kortüm, Altchristliche Baudenkmale Konstantinopels, etc.

1184  Fwtisthvria, places of enlightening; because the baptized were, according to Heb. vi. 4, called "enlightened."

1185  Kolombhvqra, piscina fons baptismalis.

1186  In it, according to tradition, the emperor received baptism from pope Silvester I But this must be an error; for Constantine did not receive baptism until he was on his death-bed in Nicomedia. Comp. § 2, above.

1187  Hence the name martuvria, martyrum memoriae, confessiones. The clergy who officiated in them were called klhrikoi; marturivwn, martyrarii. The name capellae occurs first in the seventh and eighth centuries, and is commonly derived from the cappa (a clerical vestment covering the head and body) of St. Martin of Tours, which was preserved and carried about as a precious relic and as a national palladium of France.

1188  Religiosi crucis.

1189  Tert. Apolog. c. 16.

1190  The cross occurs in three forms: the crux decussata x (called St. Andrew’s cross, because this apostle is said to have died upon such an one); the crux commissa T; and the crux immissa, either with equal arms + (the Greek cross), or with unequal † (the Roman).

1191  In the homily on the divinity of Christ, § 9, tom. i. 571.

1192  jEktupou'n tovn stauro;n ejn tw'/ metwvpw/, effingere crucem in fronte, postare in fronte, which cannot always be understood as merely making the sign with the finger on the forehead. Comp. Neander, iii. 547, note.

1193  Vol. i. § 100 (p. 377 sqq.).

1194  Crosses of this sort, colored red, with a white lamb, are thus described by Paulinus of Nola in the beginning of the fifth century, Epist. 32:

"Sub cruce sanguinea niveo stat Christus in agno."

1195  Kata; to;n ajnqrwvpinon carakth'ra. Hefele (l.c. 266 sq.) proves that crucifixes did not make their first appearance with this council, but that some existed before. The Venerable Bede, for example (Opp. ed. Giles, tom. iv. . p. 376), relates that a crucifix, bearing on one side the Crucified, on the other the serpent lifted up by Moses, was brought from Rome to the British cloister of Weremouth in 686. Gregory of Tours, also († 595), De gloria martyrum, lib. i. c. 23, describes a crucifix in the church of St. Genesius in Narbonne, which presented the Crucified One almost entirely naked (pictura, quae Dominum nostrum quasi praecinctum linteo indicat crucifixum). But this crucifix gave offence, and was veiled, by order of the bishop, with a curtain, and only at times exposed to the people.

1196  Hefele, 1. c. p. 254.

1197  Irenaeus, Adv. haer. 1, 25, § 6: "Imagines quasdam quidem depictas, quasdam autem et de reliqua materia fabricatas habent, dicentes formam Christi factam a Pilato illo in tempore, quo fuit Jesus cum hominibus. Et has coronant et proponunt eas cum imaginibus mundi philosophorum, videlicet cum imagine Pythagorae et Platonis et Aristotelis et reliquorum; et reliquam observationem circa eas, similiter ut gentes, faciunt." Comp. Epiphanius, Adv. haer. xxvi. no. 6; August., De haer. c. 7.

1198  So Justin Martyr, Dial. c. Tryph.; Clement, Alex., in several places of the Paedagogus and the Stromata; Tertullian, De carne Christi, c. 9, and Adv. Jud. c. 14; and Origen, Contra Cels. vi. c. 75. Celsus made this low conception of the form of the founder of their religion one of his reproaches against the Christians.

1199  So Chrysostom, Homil. 27 (al. 28) in Matth. (tom. vii. p. 371, in the new Paris ed.): Oujde; ga;r qaumatourgw'n h\n qaumasto;" movnon, ajlla; kai; fainovmeno" aJplw'" pollh'" e[geme cavrito": kai; tou'to oJ profhvth" (Ps. xlv.) dhlw'n e[legen: wJrai'o" kavllei para; tou;" uiJou;" tw'n ajnqrwvpwn. The passage in Isaiah (liii. 2) be refers to the ignominy which Christ suffered on the cross. So also Jerome, who likewise refers Ps. xlv. to the personal appearance of Jesus, and says of him: "Absque passionibus crucis universis [hominibus] pulchrior est .... Nisi enim babuisset et in vultu quiddam oculisque sidereum, numquam cum statim secuti fuissent apostoli, nec qui ad comprehendendum cum venerant. corruissent (Jno. xviii.)." Hieron. Ep. 65, c. 8.

1200  Kirchengesch., vol. iii. p. 550 (Germ. ed.).

1201  Comp. 2 Cor. v. 16.

1202  In Harduin, Collect. concil. tom. iv. p. 406. A fragment of this letter of Eusebius is preserved in the acts of the council of the Iconoclasts at Constantinople in 754, and in the sixth act of the second council of Nice in 787.

1203  Vita Const. iii. c. 49.

1204  Hist. Eccl. lib. vii. cap. 18. According to Philostorgius (vii. 3), it was for a long time unknown whom the statues at Paneas represented, until a medicinal plant was discovered at their feet, and then they were transferred to the sacristy. The emperor Julian destroyed them, and substituted his own statue, which was riven by lightning (Sozom. v. 21). Probably that statue of Christ was a monument of Hadrian or some other emperor, to whom the Phoenicians did obeisance in the form of a kneeling woman. Similar representations are to be seen upon coins, particularly of the time of Hadrian.

1205  "Imaginem quasi Christi vel sancti cujusdam."

1206  Epiph. Ep. ad Joann Hierosolym., which Jerome has preserved in a Latin translation. The Iconoclastic council at Constantinople in 754 cited several works of Epiphanius against images, the genuineness of which, however, is suspicious.

1207  Jerome, in his biographical sketch of Luke, De viris illustr. c. 7, is silent concerning this tradition (which did not arise till the seventh century or later), and speaks of Luke merely as medicus, according to Col. iv. 4.

1208  Epist. 205. Comp. his Oratio in Barlaam, Opp. i. 515, and similar expressions in Gregory Naz., Orat. 19 (al. 18).

1209  Paulinus, Carmen ix. et x. de S. Felicis natali.

1210  See the fragments of this apology in the 4th act of the second council of Nicaea, and Neander, iii. 560 (2d Germ. ed.), who adds the unprejudiced remark: "We cannot doubt that what Leontius here says, though rhetorically exaggerated, is nevertheless drawn from life, and is founded on impressions actually produced by the contemplation of images in certain states of feeling."

1211  Pollavki" aiJmavtwn rJuvsei" ejx eijkovnwn gegovnasi.

1212  Comp. Matt. xii. 39, 40.

1213  The image-hating Nestorians ascribed the origin of iconolatry to their hated, in opponent, Cyril of Alexandria, and put it into connection with the Monophysite heresy (Assem., Bibl. orient. iii. 2, p. 401).

1214  De gloria martyrum, lib. i. c. 22.

1215  4 First mentioned by the Armenian historian Moses of Chorene in the fifth century, partly on the basis of the spurious correspondence, mentioned by Eusebius (H. E i. 13), between Christ and Abgarus Uchomo of Edessa. The Abgarus likeness is said to have come, in the tenth century, into the church of St. Sophia at Constantinople, thence to Rome, where it is still shown in the church of St. Sylvester. But Genoa also pretends to possess the original. The two do not look much alike, and are of course only copies. Mr. Glückselig (Christus-Archaeologie, Prag, 1863) has recently made an attempt to restore from many copies an Edessenum redivivum.

1216  This Veronica likeness is said to have come to Rome about a.d. 700, where it is preserved among the relics in St. Peter’s, but is shown only to noble personages. According to the common view, advocated especially by Mabillon and Papebroch, the name Veronica arose from the simple error of contracting the two words vera icon (eijkwvn), the true image. W. Grimm considers the whole Veronica story a Latin version of the Greek Abgarus legend.

1217  The letter of Lentulus has been rightly known in its present form only since the eleventh century. Comp. Gabler: De aujqentiva/ Epistolae Publii Lentuli ad Senatum R. de J. C. scriptae. Jenae, 1819, and 1822 (2 dissertations).

1218  Epist. ad Theoph. imper. de venerandis imag. (of somewhat doubtful origin), in Joh. Damasc. Opera, tom. i. p. 631, ed. Le Quien. A third description of the personal appearance of Christ, but containing nothing new, occurs in the fourteenth century, in Nicephorus Callisti, Hist. Eccl. lib. i. cap. 40.

1219  Into the representation of the child Jesus in the manger the ox and ass were almost always brought, with reference to Is. i. 3: "The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider."

1220  Usually Christ in the middle, and the leading apostles on either side. Augustine, De consensu Evangelist. i. 16: "Christus simul cum Petro et Paulo in pictis parietibus."

1221  Especially the pillar-saint, Symeon. The Antiochians had the picture of their deceased bishop Meletius on their seal rings, bowls, cups, and on the walls of their apartments. Comp. Chrysostom, Homil. in Miletium.

1222  The earliest pictures of the Madonna with the child are found in the Roman catacombs, and are traced in part by the Cavaliere de Rossi (Imagini Scelte, 1863) to the third and second centuries.

1223  Conc. Eliberin. or Illiberitin. can. 36: "Placuit picturas in ecclesia esse non debere, ne quod colitur aut adoratur, in parietibus depingatur." This prohibition seems to have been confined, however, to pictures of Christ Himself; else we must suppose that martyrs and saints are accounted objects of cultus and adoratio.

1224  @Imanvtia kecarismevna tw'/ Qew'/..

1225  Proskuvnhsi".

1226  De moribus ecclesiae cath. i. 75: "Novi multos esse picturarum adulatores." The Manichaeans charged the entire catholic church with image-worship.

1227  Comp. Horace, Ars poet. v. 20.

1228  H. E. iv. 25.

1229  !Ektupwvmata.

1230  E.g., Eph. v. 14, where either the Holy Spirit moving in the apostolic poesy, or (as I venture to suggest) the previously mentioned Light personified, is introduced (dio; levgei) speaking in three strophes:

[Egeire oJ kaqeuvdwn,

Kai; ajnavsta ejk tw'n nekrw'n:

Kai; ejpifauvsei soi oJ Cristov".

Comp. Rev. iv. 8; 1 Tim. iii. 16; 2 Tim. ii. 11; and my History of the Apostolic Church, § 141.

1231  2 Comp. Euseb. H. E. v. 28.

1232  {Umno" eJwqinov", beginning: Dovxa ejn uJyivstoi" Qew'/, in Const. Apost. vii. 47 (al, 48), and in Daniel’s Thesaur. hymnol. iii. p. 4.

1233  {Umno" ejsperinov", which begins: Fw'" iJlaro;n aJgiva" dovxh", see Daniel, iii 5.

1234  That the so-called Hymnus angelicus, based on Luke ii. 14, is of Greek origin, and was used as a morning hymn, is abundantly proven by Daniel, Thesaurus hymnol. tom. ii. p. 267 sqq. It is found in slightly varying forms in the Apostolic Constitutions, l. vii. 47 (al. 48), in the famous Alexandrian Codex of the Bible, and other places. Of the so called Ambrosian hymn or Te Deum, parts at least are Greek, Comp. Daniel, l. c. p. 276 sqq.

1235  We cannot agree with the anonymous author of the article in the "Christian Remembrancer" for April, 1859, p. 282, who places Cosmas of Maiuma as high as Adam of S. Victor, John of Damascus as high as Notker, Andrew of Crete as high as S. Bernard, and thinks Theophanes and Theodore of the Studium in no wise inferior to the best of Sequence writers of the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

1236  Can. 59: Ouj dei' ijdiwtikou;" yalmou;" levgesqai ejn th'/ ejkklhsiva/. By this must doubtless be understood not only heretical, but, as the connection shows, all extrabiblical hymns composed by men, in distinction from the kanonika; bibliva th'" kainh'" kai; palaia'" diaqhvkh" .

1237  Neale, in his Hymns of the Eastern Church, p. 3 sqq., gives several of them in free metrical reproduction. See below.

1238  On the Syrian hymnology there are several special treatises, by Augusti: De hymnis Syrortim sacris, 1814; Hahn: Bardesanes Gnosticus, Syrorum primus hymnologus, 1819; Zingerle: Die heil. Muse der Syrer, 1833 (with German translations from Ephraim). Comp. also Jos. Six. Assemani: Bibl. orient. i. 80 sqq. (with Latin versions), and Daniel’s Thes. hymnol. tom. iii. 1855, pp. 139-268. The Syrian hymns for Daniel’s Thesaurus were prepared by L. Splieth, who gives them with the German version of Zingerle. An English version by H. Burgess: Select metrical Hymns and Homilies of Ephraem S., Lond. 1853, 2 vols.

1239  See some odes of Gregory, Euthymius and Sophronius in Daniel’s Thes. tom. iii. p. 5 sqq. He gives also the hymn of Clement of Alex. (u{mno" tou' swth'ro" Cristou'), the u[mno" eJwqinov" , and u{mno" eJsperino;", of the third century.

1240  See the details in Neale’s works, whom we mainly follow as regards the Eastern hymnology, and in the article above alluded to in the "Christian Remembrancer" (probably also by Neale).

1241  Hence this last troparion is called Theotokion, from qeotovko", the constant predicate of the Virgin Mary. The Stauro-theotokion celebrates Mary at the cross.

1242  Kanwvn. Neale says (Hymns of the East. Ch. Introd. p. xxix.): "A canon consists of Nine Odes—each Ode containing any number of troparia from three to beyond twenty. The reason for the number nine is this: that there are nine Scriptural canticles employed at Lauds (eij" to;n [Orqron), on the model of which those in every Canon are formed. The first: that of Moses after the passage of the Red Sea—the second, that of Moses in Deuteronomy (ch. xxxiii.)- the third, that of Hannah—the fourth, that of Habakkuk—the fifth, that of Isaiah (ch. xxvi. 9-20)—the sixth, that of Jonah—the seventh, that of the Three Children (verses 3-34, our "Song" in the Bible Version)—the eighth, Benedicite—the ninth, Magnificat and Benedictus."

1243  Neale, l. c. p. xxxviii., says of the Oriental Breviary: "This is the staple of those three thousand pages—under whatever name the stanzas may be presented forming Canons and Odes; as Troparia, Idiomela, Stichera, Stichoi, Contakia, Cathismata, Theotokia, Triodia, Stauro-theotokia, Catavasiai—or whatever else. Nine-tenths of the Eastern Service-book is poetry." Besides these we find poetical pieces also in the other liturgical books: the Paracletice or the Great Octoechus, in eight parts (for eight weeks and Sundays), the small Octoechus, the Triodion (for the Lent season), and the Pentecostarion (for the Easter season). Neale (p. xli.) reckons that all these volumes together would form at least 5,000 closely-printed, double column quarto pages, of which 4,000 pages would be poetry. He adds an expression of surprise at the "marvellous ignorance in which English ecclesiastical scholars are content to remain of this huge treasure of divinity—the gradual completion of nine centuries at least." Respecting the value of these poetical and theological treasures, however, few will agree with this learned and enthusiastic Anglican venerator of the Oriental church.

1244  Neale, in his preface, says of his translations: "These are literally, I believe, the only English versions of any part of the treasures of Oriental Hymnology. There is scarcely a first or second-rate hymn of the Roman Breviary which has not been translated: of many we have six or eight versions. The eighteen quarto volumes of Greek church-poetry can only at present be known to the English reader by my little book."

1245  Archbishop Trench (Sacred Latin Poetry, 2d ed. Introd. p. 9): "A struggle commenced from the first between the form and the spirit, between the old heathen form and the new Christian spirit—the latter seeking to release itself from the shackles and restraints which the former imposed upon it; and which were to it, not a help and a support, as the form should be, but a hindrance and a weakness—not liberty, but now rather a most galling bondage. The new wine went on fermenting in the old bottles, till it burst them asunder, though not itself to be spilt and lost in the process, but to be gathered into nobler chalices, vessels more fitted to contain it—new, even as that which was poured into them was new." This process of liberation Trench illustrates in Prudentius, who still adheres in general to the laws of prosody, but indulges the largest license.

1246  Comp. the excellent remarks of Trench, l. c. p. 26 sqq., on the import of rhyme. Milton, as is well known, blinded by his predilection for the ancient classics, calls rhyme (in the preface to "Paradise Lost") "the invention of a barbarous age, to set off wretched matter and lame metre; a thing of itself to all judicious ears trivial and of no true musical delight." Trench answers this biassed judgment by pointing to Milton’s own rhymed odes and sonnets," the noblest lyrics which English literature possesses."

1247  "It is a curious thing," says J. M. Neale (The Eccles. Lat. Poetry of the Middle Ages, p. 214), "that, in rejecting the foreign laws in which Latin had so long gloried, the Christian poets were in fact merely reviving in an inspired form, the early melodies of republican Rome;—the rhythmical ballads which were the delight of the men that warred with the Samnites, and the Volscians, and Hannibal."

1248  In his Hymnus de S. Agatha, see Daniel, Thes. hymnol. tom. i. p. 9, and Fortlage, Gesänge christl. Vorzeit, p. 365.

1249  The Apocalypse.

1250  The Gospel history.

1251  Thesaur. rit sacr., cited in the above-named hymnological work of Königsfeld and A. W. Schlegel, p. xxi., first collection.

1252  Catal. vir. illustr. c. 100. Comp. also Isidore of Seville, De offic. Eccles. l. i., and Overthür, in the preface to his edition of the works of Hilary.

1253  The Latin has 8 stanzas. See Daniel, Thesaur. hymnol. tom. i. p. 1.

1254  Trench sees in the Ambrosian hymns, not without reason (I. c. p. 86), "a rocklike firmness, the old Roman stoicism transmuted and glorified into that nobler Christian courage, which encountered and at length overcame the world." Fortlage judged the same way before in a brilliant description of Latin hymns, l. c. p. 4 f., comp. Daniel, Cod. Lit. iii. p. 282 sq.

1255  Daniel, ii. pp. 12-115.

1256  The genuineness of this hymn is put beyond question by two quotations of the contemporary and friend of Ambrose, Augustine, Confess. ix. 12, and Retract. i. 12, and by the affinity of it with a passage in the Hexaëmeron of Ambrose, xxiv. 88, where the same thoughts are expressed in prose. Not so certain is the genuineness of the other Ambrosian morning hymns: "Aeterna coeli gloria," and "Splendor paternae gloriae."

1257  The other evening hymn: "O lux beata Trinitas," ascribed to him (in the Roman Breviary and in Daniel’s Thesaur. i. 36), is scarcely from Ambrose: it has already the rhyme in the form as we find it in the hymns of Fortunatus.

1258  Especially in the beautiful German by John Frank: "Komm, Heidenheiland, Lösegeld," which is a free recomposition rather than a translation. For another English version (abridged), see "The Voice of Christian Life in Song," p. 97:

"Redeemer of the nations, come;

Pure offspring of the Virgin’s womb,

Seed of the woman, promised long,

Let ages swell Thine advent song."

1259  This is an allusion to the "giants" of Gen. vi. 4, who, in the early church, were supposed to have been of a double substance, being the offspring of the "sons of God," or angels, and the "daughters of men," and who furnished a forced resemblance to the twofold nature of Christ, according to the mystical interpretation of Ps. xix. 5. Comp. Ambr. De incarnate Domini, c. 5.

1260  On the difference of reading,tropaeo, trophaeo, and stropheo or strophio (strophium = "cincugulum aureum cum gemmis"), see Daniel, tom. i. p. 14.

1261  "For instance, the beginning of a morning hymn, in the Codex Alexandrinus of the Bible, has been literally incorporated into the Te Deum:

Kaq j eJkavsthn hJmevran eujloghvsw se,
Per singulas dies benedicimus te,

Kai; aijnevsw to; o[nomav sou eij" to;n aijw'na
Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum

Kai; eij" to;n aijw'na tou' aijw'no".
Et in saeculum saeculi.

Kataxivwson, kuvrie, kai; th;n hJmevran tauvthn
Dignare, Domine, die isto

!Anamarthvtou" fulacqhvnai hJma'".
Sine peccato nos custodire.

Comp. on this whole hymn the critical investigation of Daniel, l.c. vol. ii, p. 289

1262  This beautiful hymn, "De gloria et gaudiis Paradisi," is found in the appendix to the 6th volume of the Benedictine edition of the Opera Augustini, in Daniel’s Thesaurus, tom. i. p. 116, and in Trench’s Collection, p. 315 sqq., and elsewhere. Like all the new Jerusalem hymns it derives its inspiration from St. John’s description in the concluding chapters of the Apocalypse. There is an excellent German translation of it by Königsfeld and an English translation by Wackerbarth, given in part by Neale in his Mediaeval Hymns and Sequences, p. 59. The whole hymn is very fine, but not quite equal to the long poem of Bernard of Cluny (in the twelfth century), on the contempt of the world, which breathes the same sweet home-sickness to heaven, and which Neale (p. 58) justly regards as the most lovely, in the same way that the Dies irae, is the most sublime, and the Stabat Mater the most pathetic, of mediaeval hymns. The original has not less than 3,000 lines; Neale gives an admirable translation of the concluding part, commencing "Hic breve vivitur," and a part of this translation: To thee, O dear, dear Country" (p. 55), is well worthy of a place in our hymn books. From these and similar mediaeval sources (as the "Urbs beata Jerusalem," &c.) is derived in part the famous English hymn: " O mother dear, Jerusalem!" (in 31 stanzas), which is often ascribed to David Dickson, a Scotch clergyman of the seventeenth century, and which has in turn become the mother of many English hymns on the new Jerusalem. (Comp. on it the monographs of H. Bonar, Edinb. 1852, and of W. C. Prime: " O Mother dear, Jerusalem," New York, 1865.)—To Augustine is also ascribed the hymn: "O gens beata ccelitum," a picture of the blessedness of the inhabitants of heaven, and: Quid, tyranne! quid miraris? " an antidote for the tyranny of sin.

1263  Jerome (De viris ill.c. 103) says of him: "Elegans in versibus componendis ingenium habet, multaque et brevia metro edidit." Neale omits Damasus altogether. Daniel, Thes. i. pp. 8 and 9, gives only two of his hymns, a Hymnus de S. Andrea, and a Hymnus de S. Agatha, the latter with regular rhymes, commencing:

"Martyris ecce dies Agathae
Christus eam sibi qua sociat

Virginis emicat eximiae,
Et diadema duplex decorat."

1264  2 E.g., by Th. Obbarius, Tub. 1845; and by Alb. Dressel, Lips. 1860.

1265  The Apotheosis, a celebration of the divinity of Christ against its opponents (in 1,063 lines); the Harmatigenia, on the origin of sin (in 966 lines); the Psychomachia, on the warfare of good and evil in the soul (915 lines); Contra Symmachum, on idolatry, &c.

1266  Kaqhmerinw'n = Diurnorum (the Christian Day, as we might call it, after the analogy of Keble’s Christian Year), hymns for the several hours of the day.

1267  Peri; stefavnwn, concerning the crowns, fourteen hymns on as many martyrs who have inherited the crown of eternal life. Many of them are intolerably tedious and in bad taste.

1268  3 De SS. Innocentibus, from the twelfth book of the Cathemerinon, in Prudentii Carmina, ed. Obbarius, Tüb. 1845, p. 48, in Daniel, tom. i. p. 124, and in Trench, p. 121.

1269  It is the close of the tenth Cathemerinon, and was the usual burial hymn of the ancient church. It has been translated into German by Weiss, Knapp, Puchta, Königsfeld, Bässler, Schaff (in his Deutsches Gesangbuch, No. 468), and others. Trench, p. 281, calls it "the crowning glory of the poetry of Prudentius." He never attained this grandeur on any other occasion. Neale, in his treatise on the Eccles. Latin Poetry, l.c. p. 22, gives translations of several parts of it, in the metre of the original, but without rhyme, commencing thus:

"Each sorrowful mourner be silent!

Fond mothers, give over your weeping!

None grieve for those pledges as perished:

This dying is life’s reparation."

Another translation by E. Caswall: "Cease, ye tearful mourners."

1270  Such as prodeunt—mysterium, viscera—vestigia, fulgida—purpura, etc.

1271  Daniel, Thes. i. p. 160 sqq., gives both forms: the original, and that of the Brev. Romanum.

1272  Trench has omitted both in his Collection, and admitted instead of them some less valuable poems of Fortunatus, De cruce Christi, and De passione Domini, in hexameters.

1273  3 Daniel, i. p. 204.

1274  The original text in Daniel, i. p. 160. The translation by Neale, from the Hymnal of the English Ecclesiological Society and Neale’s Mediaeval Hymns p. 6. it omits the second stanza, as does the Roman Breviary.

1275  The Roman Breviary substitutes for the last two lines:

Qua vita mortem pertulit

Et morte vitam protulit."

1276  Brev. Rom.: "Tulitque praedam tartari."

1277  See the original, which is not rhymed, in Daniel, i. p. 163 sqq., and in somewhat different form in the Roman Breviary. The masterly English translation in, the metre of the original is Neale’s, l.c. p. 237 sq., and in his Mediaeval Hymns and Sequences, p. 1. Another excellent English version by E. Caswell commences:
Sing, my tongue, the Saviour’s glory; tell His triumph far and wide."

1278  Proelium certaminis, which the Roman Breviary spoiled by substituting lauream. The poet describes the glory of the struggle itself rather than the glory of its termination, as is plain from the conclusion of the verse.

1279  The Latin of this stanza is a jewel:

Crux fidelis, inter omnes arbor una nobilis

Nulla talem silva profert fronde, flore, germine:

Dulce lignum, dulci clavo, dulce pondus sustinens."

(In the Roman Breviary: "Dulce ferrum, dulce lignum, dulce pondus sustinent.")

1280  See Daniel’s Cod. i. p. 175 sqq. For au excellent English version of the hymn above alluded to, see Neale, l. c. p. 233.

1281  Ausonius yielded the palm to his pupil when he wrote of the verses of Paulinus:

"Cedimus ingenio, quantum praecedimus aevo:

Assurget Musae nostra camoena tuae."

1282  Not to be confounded with Claudius Claudianus, of Alexandria, the most gifted Latin poet at the end of the fourth and beginning of the fifth century. The Christian Idyls, Epistles, and Epigrams ascribed to him, were probably the work of Claudianus Mamertus, of Vienne (Comp. H. Thompson’s Manual of Rom. Lit. p. 204, and J. J. Brunet’s Manual du libraire, tom. iii. p. 1351 of the 5th ed. Par. 1862). For Claudius Claudianus was a heathen, according to the express testimony of Paulus Orosius and of Augustine (De Civit. Dei, v. p. 26: "Poeta Claudianus, quamvis a Christi nomine alienus," &c.), and in one of his own epigrams, In Jacobum, magistrum equitum, shows his contempt of the Christian religion.