The Centuries of Persecution and the First Gothic Invasions
regard to Macedonia’s contribution to the evolution of Christian doctrine in its first centuries, it is significant, perhaps, that none of the early fathers whose writings were the basis of the formulation of this doctrine wrote from the province. Possibly there was no one with anything particularly constructive to add to that which was coming from other centres. Possibly there was no one with an exceptional gift of the pen. On the other hand it must be remembered that Macedonia and the Via Egnatia were of vital strategic importance to the Roman Empire during the second and third centuries. Roman control over the civil population would have been strict, and would have allowed little latitude to the activities of ‘subversive’ religions. Even so, Tertullian, writing his De Prescriptione Haereticorum
at the beginning of the third century, rated Philippi as the leading Christian ecclesia
of Macedonia and placed it on a level of orthodoxy and authority with those of Rome, Corinth and Ephesus:
Age jam, qui voles curiositatem melius exercere in negotio salutis suae, percurre ecclesias apostolicas, apud quas ipsae adhuc cathedrae apostolorum suis locis praesident; apud quas ipsae authenticae litterae eorum recitantur, sonantes voces et repraesentantes faciem uniuscujusque. Proxima est tibi Achais: habes Corinthum; si non longe es a Macedonia, hahes Philippos ; si potes in Asiam tendere, habes Ephesum; si autem Italiae adjaces, habes Romam.
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A full Greek version of this extract from Ignatius is given in S. Pelekanides, ΠAΛAIOXPIΣTIANIKA MNHMEIA ΘEΣΣAΛONIKHΣ (Thessalonica, 1949).Google Scholar
P. Collart, Philippes, ville de Macédoine depuis ses origines jusqu’à la fin de l’époque romaine
(Paris, 1937), p. 522.Google Scholar