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IV To the Romans DGNATIUS THEOPHORUS to the Church on which the majesty of the most high Father and of Jesus Christ, His only Son, has had mercy; to the Church beloved and enlightened by the faith and charity of Jesus Christ, our God, through the will of Him who has willed all things that exist-the Church in the place of the country! of the Romans which holds the primacy. I salute you in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father. You are a Church worthy of God, worthy of honor, felicitation and praise, worthy of attaining to God, a Church without blemish, which holds the primacy of the community of love/ obedient to Christ's law, bearing the Father's name. To you who are united, outwardly The reading en tapa choriou, 'in the place of the country,' makes very poor sense. It was suggested by P. S. Phillimore in an article in the Journal of Theological Studies 19 (1919) 276 that we should read Christou for choriou. In this case the meaning would be 'the Church of the Romans that holds the primacy in the place of Christ.' This should be compared with the expression in the Letter to the Magnesians 6 which means either 'the bishop having the primacy in the place (tapo) of God' or 'having the primacy according to the pattern (typo) of God.' the reading with tapos has the authority of our present Greek text and of the Latin translation. The reading with typo is suggested by the Syriac and Armenian versions. 2 It has been well argued by F. X. Funk that the word agape, 'love' has often the meaning in St. Ignatius of 'the community.' The Greek verb prokathelllai, 'I preside over,' is always found followed, as in Plato (Laws 758 D), by some such word as 'city' and never by a merely abstract noun like 'love.' Whether St. Ignatius has in mind a preĀ·eminence of authority or of charity, the context seems to imply that he means a universal and not merely a local pre-eminence_ It will be noted that, unlike the other Letters in this series, the one to the Roman Church contains no hint of doctrinal or disciplinary disunion. 107 108 SAINT IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH and inwardly, in the whole of His commandment and filled with grace, in union with God and with every alien stain filtered away, I wish every innocent joy in Jesus Christ, our God. (1) In answer to my prayer and beyond all I asked for, I have at last seen the faces I have longed to see.3 In chains as I am for Jesus Christ, I hope to salute you, if only it be His will to grant me grace to reach my goal. I shall know that the beginning is providential4 if, in the end, without hindrance, I am to obtain the inheritance. But I am afraid of your love; it may do me wrong. It is easy for you to have your way, but if you do not yield to me, it will be hard for me to reach God. (2) I would have you think of pleasing God-as indeed you do-rather than men. For at no later time shall I have an opportunity like this of reaching God; nor can you ever have any better deed ascribed to you-if only you remain silent. If only you will say nothing in my behalf, I shall be a word of God. But, if our love is for my body, I shall be once more a mere voice.5 You can do me no greater kindness than to suffer me to be sacrificed to God while the place of sacrifice is still prepared. Thus forming yourselves into a chorus of love, you may sing to the Father in Jesus Ch!ist 3 This may, mean simply 'your holy faces.' Axidtheos means 'worthy of God, holy' and axiotheos means 'worth seeing.' The Armenian version takes the meaning 'worth seeing.' 4 Literally, 'well ordained.' 5 SI. Ignatius seems to have in mind the difference between the 'word: logos, that was made flesh (John 1.14), and the 'voice: phone, of one crying in the wilderness (John 1.23). The choice for St. Ignatius was between dying, and so making his life meaningful, in some sense like the Logos, the 'only begotten Son, who abides in the bosom of the Father' and who 'has himself brought us...


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