d. 1st century, feastday: March 22
d. 425, feastday: October 30
Hermas, a disciple of the apostle Paul, and one of the apostolic fathers. So at
least it is generally believed, and it is further supposed that he is the same
person as the Hermas who is mentioned in St. Paul's epistle to the Romans (xvi.
14). This opinion arose from the fact that at the beginning of the second century
of our era a Greek work entitled Hermae Pastor (poimen) was circulated from Rome,
and acquired a great reputation in the Christian church. We possess the work only
in a Latin translation, which seems to have been made at a very early period,
though there still exist some fragments of the Greek original, which have been
collected by Fabricius (Cod. Apocryph. N. T. iii. p. 738) and Grabe (Spicileg.
Patr. i.). The object of the author of this treatise is to instruct his readers
in the duties of the Christian life, the necessity of repentance, man's relation
to the church, fasts, prayer, constancy in martyrdom, and the like; but the manner
in which he inculcates his doctrines is of a singular kind, for he represents
them as divine revelations, which were made to him either in visions or by his
own guardian angel, whom he calls pastor angelicus, and from whom his work derives
its name. The whole.work is divided into three books: the first is entitled Visiones,
and contains four visions, which he pretends to have been ordered to commit to
writing. The subjects are mostly of an ethical nature, or the church. The second
contains 12 Mandata, which were given to Hermas by his guardian angel as answers
to questions which he had put to him. The third book, entitled Similitudines,
contains ten similes, which were likewise revealed to Hermas by his angel; and
the similes themselves are taken from a tree and a tower. By these three means,
visions, commands and similes, the author endeavours to show that a godly life
consists in observing the commands of God and doing penance; that he who leads
a godly life is safe against all temptations and persecutions, and will ultimately
be raised into heaven. The objects of the writer were thus evidently good and
noble, but some of his opinions have been very severely censured by theologians,
and the character of the author has been the subject of lively controversies down
to the present time. Most theologians are of opinion that, if not an impostor,
he was at least a person of a weak understanding, but of a lively and enthusiastic
imagination. Mosheim judges of him most severely, and treats him as a person guilty
of a most unpardonable pious fraud, and whose production is of scarcely any value.
The doctrines, however, are, on the whole, sound; and as to the form in which
they are clothed, it is impossible for us to say what induced him to adopt it.
The book itself is a sort of devotional treatise, and contains many a lesson,
encouragement and warning, which must have been useful to the early Christians,
and have comforted them under the sufferings to which they were exposed in those
times. The high estimation in which the work was held is attested by Irenaeus
(adv. Haeres. iv. 3), Clemens of Alexandria (Strom. i. 29), and Origen. (Explan.
Epist. ad Rom. 16.) According to Eusebius (Hist. Eccles. iii. 3), many indeed
doubted the genuineness of the Pastor, but others had it read in public, and regarded
it as a necessary introduction to Christianity. This latter was the case, according
to Hieronymus (de Script. Eccles. 10), more especially in those countries where
Greek was spoken; but Hieronymus himself is uncertain in his opinion, for sometimes
he calls it a useful book, and sometimes a follish one. (Comment. in Habac. i.
1.) Tertullian (de Pudicit. 10), who had judged it very severely, does not appear
to have made any deep impression upon his readers, for the fact of the Pastor
being declared an apocryphal work by several synods, does not imply any opinion
as to its value or worthlessness, but only shows that they did not regard it as
a canonical work.
One of the main reasons why the Pastor was generally held in such high esteem was undoubtedly the belief that its author, Hermas, was the same as the one mentioned by St. Paul, an opinion which has been maintained in modern times by Dodwell, Wake, and others. But although there is no internal evidence to prove that the author of the Pastor was a different person, yet the uncertainty of the early church (see Tertull. l. c.; Euseb. Hist. Eccels. iii. 25 seems to show that the author himself had given no clue to ascertain the identity, and perhaps intentionally avoided giving any. Another opinion, which is based on ancient authorities (Carm. c. Marcionem, iii. in fin.; Muratori, Antiq. Ital. mcd. aevi, iii.), is that Hermas, the author of the Pastor, was a brother of Pius II., bishop of Rome, who entered upon his office about the middle of the second century after Christ. But in the first place, the authorities on which this opinion is founded are of a very doubtful nature; and secondly, a writer of that time could not have avoided mentioning some of the heresies which were then spreading, but of which there is not a trace in the Pastor. Considering, moreover, that the work already enjoyed considerable reputation in the time of Irenaeus and Clemens of Alexandria, we must suppose that it was written either in the time of the apostles or soon after, and that its author was either the person mentioned by St. Paul, or one who assumed the name of that person for the purpose of acquiring a greater influence upon the minds of his readers.
The first edition of the Pastor is that by J. Faber, Paris, 1513, which was afterwards often reprinted. A better edition is that of Cotelier in his Patres Apostol. Paris, 1672. It is also printed in other collections of the fathers; but a very good separate edition, together with the Epistle of Barnabas, appeared at Oxford, 1685, 12mo. (Cave, Hist. Lit. vol. i.; Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. vii.; Mosheim, Comment. de Reb. Christ. ante Constant.; Neander, Kirchengeschichte, vol. i.)
This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
TRAIANOPOLI (Ancient city) EVROS
Glykeria was a 21 year old Christian girl whose prayers toppled a pagan idol in the second century. Her father was a Roman senator, so at first her Christianity was kept secret. After he died, she moved to Trajanoupolis. While there, she was summoned by the governor to offer sacrifices to Zeus. In front of the idol, she traced the sign of the cross on her forehead and the idol was broken into pieces. The pagans tried to stone her, but none hit her. Enraged, they suspended her by her hair, cut her, and sealed her in a prison for a period long enough that she would starve. An angel of God fed her and when the governor entered the prison, there were containers of milk, bread, and water. She was then burned in a furnace, but God preserved her again completely unharmed. Her scalp was cut as a torture and an angel healed it. This converted the prison guard and he was beheaded. Finally, she was thrown to lions and when one attacked her, she surrendered her soul. Miraculous, healing myrrh flowed from her relics.
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