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Yuri Koszarycz


Already within the Pauline community tensions had became apparent between the Church's leadership and certain charismatic individuals. With emphasis Paul had once written:"...for God has not called us to be disorderly, but peaceful" (1 Cor 14:33).

He definitely defended his own teaching authority, and would stand no opposition to this interpretations. Sharply he says: "even if an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel that is different from the one we preached to you, may he be damned!" (Gal 1:8). Towards the end of the first century it became more important to reaffirm the need for believers to maintain fidelity to the teachings of "true teachers" (1 Tim 1:10; 2 Tim 4:3) though the belief was still strong that the end-times were upon them, and that the imminent return of Jesus necessitated an urgent and fervent preaching of the Good News (2 Tim 4:2).

As this message was received by more and more people, it became necessary to structure the community in such a way that the needs of the group could be satisfactorily met. Various ministries were instituted, with authority granted, to exercise services of alms-giving and caring for the poor, the widowed, and the less fortunate. Taking the example that Jesus had given in his love for the sinner and the poor, the Apostolic fellowship was confronted by practical issues that demanded leadership and internal re-organization. The people of God began to have a organic identity: "look at these Christians; see how they love one another."

After the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., and the dispersal of the Judeo-Christian Church, the early Christian community began to identify more and more with the city which witnessed the martyrdom of Peter and Paul: Rome itself. Ignatius of Antioch at the beginning of the second century called the Roman Church "the protectors and dispenser of love." Irenaeus of Lyon (c 115- 202 A.D.) referred to the Roman Church as being superior and pre-eminent in relation to all other sister Churches (propter potiorem principalitatem). Cyprian of Carthage (200-258) spoke of a necessary union of faith with Rome: "To be bound to the Catholic faith, means to be bound to the Roman bishop".


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Copyright ©1999, Yuri Koszarycz. This file may be copied on the condition that the entire contents,including the header and this copyright notice, remain intact.The contents of ORB are copyright © 1995-1999 Laura V. Blanchard and Carolyn Schriber except as otherwise indicated herein.