Click to donate today!
A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography
Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus
Polycrates (1) , bp. of Ephesus in the last decade of 2nd cent. When Victor of Rome sought to unify the practice of the whole Christian world in the matter of Easter celebration, he first asked for meetings of bishops in different places to report on the practice of their localities. This request was made in the name of his church, as we learn from the use of the plural in the reply of Polycrates. From every other place, as far as we can learn, the answer was that they celebrated the feast of our Lord's Resurrection on no other day than Sunday; but Polycrates, writing in the name of the bishops of Asia, declared that they had preserved untampered the tradition to celebrate only on the 14th day of the month, the day when the Jewish people put away their leaven. He appeals to the authority of the great luminaries which the Asian church could boast, and whose bodies lay among them, Philip, one of the twelve apostles, and his three daughters, John, who lay on our Lord's breast, a priest who wore the πέταλον , Polycarp of Smyrna, Thraseas of Eumenia, Sagaris, Papirius, Melito, all of whom had observed the 14th day, according to the Gospel, walking according to the rule of faith. Polycrates himself had followed the traditions of his kindred, seven of whom had been bishops before him, and had been confirmed in his view by his own study of the whole Scripture and by conference with brethren from all the world. Although his letter bore no signature but his own, he claims that it had received the assent of a great number of bishops (Eus. H. E. v. 24). For the sequel see IRENAEUS.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hwd/p/polycrates-bishop-of-ephesus.html. 1911.
the Second Week of Advent