4th edition



Chapter XXI

In this chapter

523....The apostasy Manifest
526....Gregory’s Epistle to the Romans
528....Sabbath-Keepers in Rome
528....The Preachers of Antichrist
530....The fallible Pope
530....Traces of the Sabbath in the British Church
532....Their Suppression by the Papacy
535....Sabbath -Keepers on the Continent
536....The Anathema of Laodicea Repeated
537....The Council of Friul
538....Italian Peasants Observe the Sabbath
540....The Questions of the Bulgarians
542....Sabbath Fasting Causes Final Separation between East and West

Continue to page two for the rest of this chapter:
Sabbath During the Dark Ages
The Church in the Wilderness


At the council of Laodicea, the apostate church of the fourth century had already pronounced the anathema against the observance of the true Sabbath of Jehovah; and we shall now prove how, by the end of the fifth century, the bishop of Rome himself declared its further enjoinment the work of Antichrist. The time had indeed come when the apostasy had developed to such a degree that the man of sin might be plainly seen sitting in the temple of God’ for these proud words were now an acknowledged fact; “The Roman bishop is above every human tribunal, and I responsible only to God himself.” 1

After the Papacy had once gained its first royal convert and ardent supporter in Clovis, the promising king of the rising West, the emperor of the East did not delay to acknowledge the Roman bishop as the head of all the churches. This marks the date when the saints, the times, and the laws of the Most High were to be given into the hands of the papal power symbolized by the little horn, for “a time and times and the dividing of time,” or as the revelatory states it, for 1260 days; these, being prophetic, a day for a year, would give us 1260 years during which the papal power should cast down the truth to the ground. 2

The people of God, being persecuted by this power, should retire more and more to places of obscurity and seclusion, or, in the words of the Apocalypse, "The woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God." 3

The difficulty of tracing the genuine followers of Christ through this dark period is well set forth in the following language of a church historian:--

“As scarcely any fragment of their history remains, all we know of them is from accounts of their enemies, which were always uttered in the style of censure and complaint; and without which we should not have know that millions of them ever existed. It was the settled policy of Rome to obliterate every vestige of opposition to her doctrines and decrees, everything heretical, whether persons or writings, by which the faithful would be liable to be contaminated and led astray. In conformity to this, their fixed determination, all books and records of their opposes were hunted up, and committed to the flames. Before the art of printing was discovered in the fifteenth century, all books were made with the pen; the copies, of course, were so few that their concealment was much more difficult than it would be now; and if a few of them escaped the vigilance of the inquisitors, they would soon be worn out and gone. None of them could be admitted and preserved in the public libraries of the Catholics, from the ravages of time, and of the hands of barbarians with which all parts of Europe were at different periods overwhelmed.” 4

The true Israel, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, has been traced down to the fifth century in chapter 19, in our treatment of the Nazarenes. Their name, places of abode, and Hebrew education are evidences, as Dr. Ritschl demonstrates, “that the Nazarenes are derived from the first generations of the church at Jerusalem” 5
The anathema of the general council at Laodicea reveals that during the fourth century many Christians rested from all their work on the seventh day according to the commandment. The preaching of the Word, and the celebration of the communion services on the Sabbath in the church at large even down to the fifth century, are ample proof that there still lingered in the minds of many a true appreciation of the divine command, “Remember the Sabbath day,” although the evil one had tried his best to pervert the meaning, and to spiritualize away the practise, of this holy precept. But that, in spite of all the efforts of the roman bishop to the contrary, the Sabbath honoured by Peter and by Paul was still observed and preached by faithful Christian men in Rome itself, down to the beginning of the seventh century.

Gregory’s Epistle to the Romans

Pope Gregory I (A.D. 590-604) bears witness in his epistle against such, which he himself addressed to the citizens of Rome, as follows:--

“Gregory, servant of the servants of God, to his most beloved sons the Roman citizens. It has come to my ears that certain men of perverse spirit have sown among you some things that are wrong and opposed to the holy faith, so as to forbid any work being done on the Sabbath day. What else can I call these but preachers of Antichrist, who, when he comes, will cause the Sabbath day as well as the Lord's day to be kept free from all work. For, because he pretends to die and rise again, he wishes the Lord's day to be had in reverence; and, because he compels the people to Judaize that he may bring back the outward rite of the law, and subject the perfidy of the Jews to himself, he wishes the Sabbath to be observed.

For this which is said by the prophet, Ye shall bring in no burden through your gates on the Sabbath day (Jerem. xvii. 24), could be held to as long as it was lawful for the law to be observed according to the letter. But after that the grace of Almighty God, our Lord Jesus Christ has appeared, the commandments of the law which were spoken figuratively cannot be kept according to the letter. For, if any one says that this about the Sabbath is to be kept, he must needs say that carnal sacrifices are to be offered: he must say too that the commandment about the circumcision of the body is still to be retained. But let him hear the Apostle Paul saying in opposition to him, If ye be circumcised, Christ profiteth you nothing (Galat. v. 2).

We therefore accept spiritually, and hold spiritually, this which is written about the Sabbath. For the Sabbath means rest. But we have the true Sabbath in our Redeemer Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ. And whoso acknowledges the light of faith in Him, if he draws the sins of concupiscence through his eyes into his soul, he introduces burdens through the gates on the Sabbath day. We introduce, then, no burden through the gates on the Sabbath day if we draw no weights of sin through the bodily senses to the soul. For we read that the same our Lord and Redeemer did many works on the Sabbath day, so that he reproved the Jews, saying, Which of you doth not loose his ox or his ass on the Sabbath day, and lead him away to watering (Luke xiii. 15)? If, then, the very Truth in person commanded that the Sabbath should not be kept according to the letter, whoso keeps the rest of the Sabbath according to the letter of the law, whom else does he contradict but the Truth himself?

Another thing also has been brought to my knowledge; namely that it has been preached to you by perverse men that no one ought to wash on the Lord's day. And indeed if any one craves to wash for luxury and pleasure, neither on any other day do we allow this to be done. But if it is for bodily need, neither on the Lord's day do we forbid it. For it is written, No man ever hated his own flesh, but nourisheth it and cherisheth it (Ephes. v. 29). And again it is written, Make not provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof (Rom. xiii. 14). He, then, who forbids provision for the flesh in the lusts thereof certainly allows it in the needs thereof. For, if it is sin to wash the body on the Lord's day, neither ought the face to be washed on that day. But if this is allowed for a part of the body, why is it denied for the whole body when need requires? On the Lord's day, however, there should be a cessation of earthly labour, and attention given in every way to prayers, so that if anything is done negligently during the six days, it may be expiated by supplications on the day of the Lord's resurrection.

These things, most dear sons, being endowed with sure constancy and right faith, observe; despise the words of foolish men, and give not easy belief to all that you hear of having been said by them; but weigh it in the scale of reason, so that, while in firm stability you resist the wind of error you may be able to attain to the solid joys of the heavenly kingdom. 6

Sabbath-Keepers in Rome

A careful perusal of this epistle will furnish positive evidence that, according to the Pope himself, there were at the beginning of the seventh century no less than three distinct parties at Rome:
(1) some who forbade to do any work on the Sabbath day;
(2) some who insisted on a strict observance of Sunday as the lord’s day;
(3) the Pope and his party, who, in harmony with the theology of the church Fathers, influenced by gnosticism and philosophy, taught that the commandments are not to be according to the letter, that the Sabbath precept is to be understood spiritually, and that its real meaning is, to cease from sin.

The Preachers of Antichrist

Very striking, indeed, is the idea of Pope Gregory about Antichrist: as Antichrist would pretend to die and rise again, he would wish the Lord’s day to be had in reverence; but on the other hand, in order to attract “the perfidious Jews” unto himself, he would wish the Sabbath to be observed. ie., to compel the people to Judaize. The logical conclusion of his theory of Antichrist is, Those who preached the literal observance of the Sabbath were “the preachers of Antichrist.” Indeed, even those who forbade taking a bath on Sunday were “perverse men.” However, there should be cessation from earthly labour on Sunday to give time for prayers, that these Sunday supplication my expiate the sins of the six working days!

But while this Pope makes the true Israel of god to be the preachers of Antichrist for observing the Sabbath of Jehovah, he unwillingly attests that they did not circumcise nor offer sacrifices. By accusing them of inconsistency for teaching the observance of the Sabbath and not the observance of circumcision and sacrifices, her furnishes positive proof that the Christian Sabbath-keepers at Rome did not practise circumcision. Though the Decalogue was written in the human heart at creation; thought the ten commandments were engraved on the tables of stone with God’s own finger; though ministers preach this Decalogue to their youth; and though they even misapply the Sabbath commandment to enjoin Sunday observance without ever dreaming of associating with it the need of circumcision,-- none the less, the moment one begins to keep holy the Sabbath day of the Lord our God, they cry out with this Pope: “If any one says that this commandment about the Sabbath is to be kept, he must needs say that carnal sacrifices are to be offered, . . .that the commandment about the circumcision of the body is still to be retained.”

The fallible Pope

With Paul, with that Israel of God who followed his teachings, with this true church at Rome, yea, with the Christian Sabbath-keepers of all times, we say, “I ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing,” We also say, “circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.” 7 And there is where the Pope erred, in spite of his pretended infallibility, and there is where any one else will err -- by an attempt to associate circumcision with the observance of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment.

While the writers on “heretics” generally try to fasten upon the Christian Sabbath-keepers the stigma of “Jewish,” by charging them with circumcision, Pope Gregory most unwittingly testifies to the falsity of such a charge. Andy by this very epistle he reveals the wrong ideas entertained by him and the roman Church until that time, as to the observance of the Decalogue, teaching that its precepts are not to be observed according to the letter, but spiritual, How far he was given to spiritualising is illustrated by his threefold exposition of the book of Job, which Schaff calls “an exegetical curiosity.”

As the Sabbath was honoured in memory of the creation throughout the East and in parts of the West as late as the fifth century, and as we find observers of the Sabbath at Rome even as late as A.D. 600, we would certainly find many traces of its observance among the nations who divided Western Rome among themselves as their spoil, were it not that, as the epistle of Gregory shows, the Roman bishops had done their utmost to stamp out this “antichristian heresy,” and to wipe out ever trace of it. However, a few strong incidental references still survive.

Traces of the Sabbath in the British Church

The gospel must have been proclaimed in England as early as the second century, for at the close of that century Tertullian declared “that places in Britain not yet visited by Romans were subject to Christ.” But through the downfall of the roman empire and the invasion of the Anglo-Saxons, the British Christians were lost sight of until the sixth century, when we find a zealous, active church in Ireland, which set its missionaries (generally in groups of twelve with an additional leader) to Scotland and to the Continent.

This church had no connection with the Papacy; its missionaries were not bound by vows of celibacy, it did not agree with the Roman computation of Easter, and its forms were simpler-- more like those of the apostolic church.

One of the earliest companies sent out was that of Columbam, which settled on the wester coast of Scotland and on the small island of Hy, and with the monastery Iona, this body soon became a powerful factor in the conversion of northern Scotland, for Columb and his monks preached by example as well as in word. Schaff thus extols their work:--

“By the labors of Columba and his successors, Iona has become one of the most venerable and interesting spots in the history of Christian missions. It was a light-house in the darkness of heathenism. We can form no adequate conception of the self-denying zeal of those heroic missionaries of the extreme North, who, in a forbidding climate and exposed to robbers and wild beasts, devoted their lives to the conversion of savages.” 8

D;Aubigne says that Columba esteemed the cross of Christ higher than the royal blood which flowed in his veins, and that precious manuscripts were brought to Iona, where a theological school was founded and the Word was studied.

“Erelong a missionary spirit breathed over this ocean rock, so justly named ’the light of the western world.’” Iona…had become a missionary college. It has been sometimes called a monastery, but…in nowise resembled the popish convents.“ 9

British missionaries carried the light of the gospel to the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Germany, yea, even into Italy, and did more for the conversion of central Europe than the half-enslaved Roman church.

Their Suppression by the Papacy

Thirty years later forty roman monks, under Augustine’s leadership, landed in southern England, where they labored with success among the Anglo-Saxons. Dr. A. Ebrard says of their mission, which was supported by Pope Gregory I:

“Gregory well knew that there existed in the British isles, yea, in a part of the Roman dominion, a Christian church, and that his Roman messengers would come in contact with them. By sending these messengers, he was not only intent upon the conversion of the heathen but from the very beginning he was also bent upon bringing this Irish-Scotch church, which had hitherto been free from Rome, in subjection to the papal chair.” 10

Augustine left no means untried to subject this church to the papal yoke. But they would not yield.

“For the third time, they said, No--they knew no other master but Christ. Augustine, who expected to see these bishops prostrate their churches at his feet, was surprised and indignant.” “Animated by that insolent spirit which is found too often in the ministers of the Romish church Augustine exclaimed: ‘If you will not receive brethren who bring you peace, you shall receive enemies who will bring you war. If you will not unite with us in showing the Saxons the way of life, you shall receive from them the stroke of death.’ Having thus spoken, the haughty archbishop withdrew and occupied his last days in preparing the accomplishment of his ill-omened prophecy. Argument had failed: now for the sword!” 11

In A.D. 715 the noble monks of Iona were expelled, and more and more oppressed; but that this early Celtic church held fast to the Sabbath of Jehovah until the time of Queen Margaret, in the middle of the eleventh century, is thus attested by Andrew Lang:--

“They worked on Sunday, but kept Saturday in a Sabbatical manner.” 12

These Culdees (as they were called later), after an active crusade had been carried on against their institutions, entirely disappear from the records of history, no trace of them being found since A.D. 1332

Yet even the Roman Catholics, who wiped out this noble missionary church of the North, honor Columba as a saint, and Dr. A. Butler thus describes his death:--

“Having continued his labours in Scotland thirty-four years, he clearly and openly foretold his death, and on Saturday, the ninth of June, said to his disciple Diermit: ’This day is called the Sabbath, that is, the day of rest, and such will it truly be to me; for it will put an end to my labours.’” 13

These words plainly reveal that Columba believed Saturday to be the Sabbath of the Bible, and, as he made this statement with evident satisfaction in the face of approaching death, it is, of itself, sufficient proof that it had been to him also a day of sacred rest during his life; for a First-day observer on his death-bead would hardly refer with pleasure to the fact that Saturday is the Sabbath of the Scriptures, if he had never observed it.

The following review of the papal charges against the Culdean church, by W.T. Skene, brings out the point at issue:--

“It certainly cannot be said to be very consistent with modern theories to find the Roman Church reproving the so-called pure Culdean church fro celebrating the eucharist without communicating, and for desecrating the Sabbath.
“Her next point was that they did not duly reverence the Lord’s day, but in this latter instance they seemed to have followed a custom of which we find traces in the early monastic church of Ireland, by which they held Saturday to be the Sabbath on which they rested from all their labours, and on Sunday on the Lord’s day, they celebrated the resurrection by the service in church. Thus Adamnan tells us that St Columba, on the last Saturday of life, said to his attendant Diermit: ‘This day in the Holy Scriptures is called the Sabbath, which means rest, and this day is indeed a Sabbath to me, for it is the last day of my present laborious life, and on it I rest after the fatigues of my labours; and this night, at midnight, which commenceth the solemn Lord’s day, I shall, according to the sayings of the Scripture go the way of our fathers,”’14

This statement of Skene’s fully substantiates what one would infer from the dying words of Columba. The roman Church charged the Culdean monks with Sunday desecration because they rested on the Sabbath of the Bible from all their labours, and on Sunday held only a service in honor of the resurrection. And, according to Skene, this custom is traceable to the early monastic church of Ireland. The dying words of Columba, the charges of the Roman Church against the Culdeans, and the positive statement of Skene refuting theses charges, form a strong chain of evidence to show that the early church in the British Isles kept the Sabbath of Jehovah.

Gilfillan (page 389) twists this statement of Columba’s to make it apply to Sunday. But the editor of the best biography of Columba, says in a foot-note: “Our Saturday. The custom to call the Lord’s day Sabbath did not commence until a thousand years later.” 15

Sabbath -Keepers on the Continent

We shall find still further evidences of the correctness of our position as we follow the history of these British missionaries who went to the continent. As early as A.D. 612 the first company of twelve, under the leadership of Columbanus, left for the Continent, and a number of other companies followed, the same century, as pioneers of the gospel in Bavaria, Thuringia, Friesland, Switzerland, etc. Boniface, the papal legate, did not receive his commission to Christianize central Europe until A.D. 718, and when he arrived, he found these free missionaries from the North nearly everywhere.

Neander thus states the objects of Boniface’s mission:--

“The object for which he was sent was not merely the conversion of the heathen but the recovery of those who had been led astray by heretical teachers, their restoration to orthodoxy, and conformity to the discipline of the Romish Church.” 16 Thus we read in one record adduced by Neander: “That you proceed across the Alps, and in those parts where the heresy has sprouted up the most, eradicate the same by the root, through wholesome doctrine.”

In his forty-fifth epistle to the German dukes and bishops, Pope Gregory II warns them “against admitting the doctrine of the Britons arriving amongst them, or of false priests and heretics.”
Thus the same conflict was enacted here as in Britain. Those missionaries who labored without papal authority were denounced by Boniface as false prophets, seducers of the people, idolaters, and (because they married) adulterers, and with the aid of the Papacy and princes, several were charged by Boniface, and excommunicated or even imprisoned without a hearing.

The Anathema of Laodicea Against Sabbath observance Repeated

The Roman Church took good care that we possess only “vague and uncertain accounts” of all the points at issue, and yet we do know that these Irish Scotch clergy upheld the supreme authority of the Scriptures, would not submit to the servitude of papal rule, nor to the unscriptural practise of celibacy, auricular confession, or transubstantiation. And while we find it only hinted that these were seventh-day Sabbath observers and one of the charges was thus, that of Judaizing, a papal anathema in connection with their case and the place of their labours, furnishes us, again, the necessary and definite proof. The minutes of the council of Liftinae, Belgium, A.D. 745, give us specific information. Boniface attended this council, and Dr. Hefele states that

“the third allocution of this council warns against the observance of the Sabbath, referring to the decree of the council of Laodicea.” 17

The proofs adduced against the observance of the Sabbath were:
1. That the church Fathers command to work on the Sabbath;
2. That the Savior, by healing on the Sabbath, had shown that the Sabbath was not to be observed according to the letter;
3. Therefore, it should only be observed spiritually, by not stealing, murdering, etc. 18

Here we have the final link in the chain of evidences to prove that these faithful missionaries who were the first to carry the gospel truth to the pagans in the far North, as well as on the continent, ceased from their work on the Sabbath of Jehovah, and taught their converts to do so. And the anathema of Laodicea, repeated by this council at the end of the eighth century, shows that the Roman Church even bound itself under oath (as we know positively from Boniface) to stamp out this “antichristian heresy,” and to bring everybody under the subjection of the Papacy.

The Council of Friul

Right here, while we are considering the Sabbath among these northern nations who became heirs to the Roman dominion of the West, the following incidental inference concerning the King Theodoric of the Goths (A.D. 454-526) might be mentioned: Sidonius, in speaking of this king, says:--

“It is a fact that it was formerly the custom in the East to keep the Sabbath in the same manner as the Lord’s day, and to hold sacred assemblies: wherefore Asterius calls Sabbath and Sunday a beautiful span, and Gregory of Nyssa calls these days brethren, and therefore censures the luxury and the Sabbatarian pleasures; while on the other hand, the people of the West, contending for the Lord’s day, have neglected the celebration of the Sabbath, as being peculiar to the Jews. So also Tertullian in his apology: ‘We are only next to those who set apart the day of Saturn for rest and luxury.’ It is therefore possible for the Goths to have thought, as the foster-sons of the discipline of the Greeks, that they would keep the Sabbath after the manner of the Greeks.” “I would also not refrain from telling about that Sabbatarian luxury, for how is it possible to conceal that in public characters?” 19

The Goths represent one of the three horns plucked up at the instigation of the little horn, or the Papacy; and we know that the Roman bishop did his utmost to pluck out Arianism by the roots.

To stamp out the knowledge of the Sabbath among the nations even the Jews were forbidden to rest on it. The Spanish national council at Toledo, A.D. 681, sanctioned the twenty statutes which Eringius, king of the Western Gods had issued against the Jews. In tit. 12, it decreed--

“that the Jews shall not be permitted to keep the Sabbaths and festivals; but they must so far at least observe the Lord’s day as to do no manner of work on it, whereby they might express their contempt of the Christ or his worship.” 20

But we shall produce definite proof that the Sabbath was kept by Christians as late as A.D. 791, in Italy. We shall also see how Sunday came to be regarded in the West by that time. Canon 13 of the council at Friaul reads as follows:-

“We command all Christians to observe the Lord’s day with all reverence and due devotion, commencing Saturday evening at the sounding of a bell, which marks the hour of the vesper service to be held not in honor of the past Sabbath, but on account of that holy night of the first of the week called the Lord’s day. First of all, abstain from all sin and all works of the flesh, and from all cohabitation and all agricultural work, and let nothing else take u your time but to go to church, hear the sermon with the greatest of devotion, ceasing from all clamor of lawsuits, rendering thanks unto god the Father and praising his only begotten Son from the heart, who has sanctified this day by his glorious resurrection, and sing hymns unto the Holy Spirit, which has blessed it by his miraculous descent, when it came down in fiery tongues upon the happy apostles. For it is believed that on this most holy day nearly all the spiritual gifts have been imparted to the world. On this very day after the resurrection, the Lord breathed upon his disciples the Holy Spirit, for the forgiveness of sins. On this day the Lord fed five thousand people with five loaves in the desert. On it manna first rained from heaven in the desert. On other spiritual blessings have been bestowed on this day, which would be too numerous to mention in order. It is therefore that delightful Sabbath of which it is written: Whosoever does any work, ie sin, on it, he shall die.


Further, when speaking of the Sabbath which the Jews observe, the last day of the week, and which also our peasants observe, He said only Sabbath, and never added unto it, ‘delight,’ and ‘my’. But because he wanted to make a difference between that and this, which is the Lord’s a day, he therefore added ‘my’ as to say, my-- not your-- delight, not polluted by your old observances. Therefore, let us honor and keep it with all reverence.” 21

Bishop Hefele summarizes the essential part of this canon in these words:--

“The celebration of Sunday begins with Saturday evening. It is enjoined to keep Sunday and the other church festivals. The peasants kept Saturday in many cases.” 22

This lengthy canon proves positively that the country people in northern Italy, were the district of Friaul is located, kept the Sabbath as late as the beginning of the ninth century. It also further shows what arguments were used to convince people of their duty to observe the first day of the week. The time had come when the texts pertaining to the true Sabbath and setting forth its honourable character were so twisted by the clergy as to make them seemingly apply to Sunday.

The Questions of the Bulgarians

How the Sabbath question stood in the East is clearly seen from the circumstances in connection with the conversion of the Bulgarians. Occupying the plains between the Danube and the Balkan mountains, they came in contact with Eastern Christianity by their invasions of the Byzantine empire. The sister of the ruling prince, Bogaris, embraced Christianity during her captivity in Constantinople. After her return she won her brother who was baptized in A.D. 863, and he immediately entered upon a correspondence with Photius, the patriarch of Constantinople, who wrote him an elaborate letter, expounding to him the essential points of Christian doctrine. But the Greek priests did not make the most favourable impressions.

“Teachers of various nations and from distant regions also came to Bulgaria, preaching very different doctrines, so that the people hardly knew what to believe.” 23 In this extremity, Bogaris addressed (A.D. 865) a letter to Pope Nicolas I, in which he propounds one hundred six questions concerning Christian doctrine. Nicolas sent two bishops and an elaborate reply, from which we quote the following answers to the questions asked:--

Question #6 -- Bathing is allowed on Sunday.
Question #10 -- One is to cease from work on Sunday, but not also on the Sabbath.
Question #63 -- On the whole of Sunday (day and night) there is to be no cohabitation.” 24

Mansi, ix, 406, thus gives the answer to question 6 in more detail” --

“You would also like to know whether it be permitted to perform any work on the Sabbath or on the Lord’s day. This Pope Gregory often refers to, when he writes in his epistle to the Romans, etc. “ This answer furnishes positive evidence that at that time there were teachers in Bulgaria who taught that, according to the Bible, no work should be performed on the Sabbath of Jehovah. Nicolas, by quoting the epistle of Gregory (A.D. 600) indorses his statement that such persons are indeed the “preachers of Antichrist”. Thus we have produced historical evidence of the existence of Sabbath-keepers, in the West and in the East, until the ninth century.

Sabbath Fasting Causes Final Separation between East and West

For the time being Rome gained the victory, and the Greek priests were sent out of Bulgaria. But this only aggravated the personal controversy already existing between Pope Nicolas and Photius. In A.D. 858, when Ignatius was deposed as patriarch of Constantinople, Photius, an able lay member was elected as his successor. The case had been appealed to Nicolas, and he pronounced sentence against Photius in a council at Rome, A.D. 863. Photius seized upon this interference of Rome in the Bulgarian affairs, and in A.D. 867 called a counter synod, which, in turn, deposed Pope Nicolas. In his encyclical letter to the patriarchs, he thus accused the Papacy:--

“Wicked and vile men, having risen out of darkness (the west), came down on Bulgaria like a tempest and an earthquake, destroying the vineyard of the Lord like wild boars enticing the still tender plants away from the true faith and introducing accursed customs, contrary to the law. “Against the canons they induced the Bulgarians to fat on the Sabbath.” 25

These words show that when the Pope persuaded the Bulgarians to submit to him, one of the first things he did was to introduce the Sabbath fast in opposition to the true Sabbath. In a letter to Hincmar, dated Oct. 23, 867, Pope Nicolas tries to justify this measure, by asserting that it “had not been controverter since the days of St. Sylvester”. However, that was a falsehood, for the Trullian council held at Constantinople (A.D. 692) in conformity with the sixty-sixth apostolically canon, condemned the custom of the Roman Church, whereby fasting in Lent was extended also to the Sabbath,” Though Ignatius was for a time reinstated, yet in A.D. 871 the Roman bishops in Bulgaria had to give way to the Greeks. The contention which had been kindled, continued to smoulder.

The patriarch Cerularius, in connection with the Bulgarian metropolis tan Leo of Achrida, in A.D. 1053 addressed a letter to John, bishop of Trani, in southern Italy (which was under Greek jurisdiction), and through him to the Pope, charging that the churches of the West followed the practise of the Jews, and went contrary to the usage of Christ, because in the eucharist they employed unleavened bread; they fasted on Saturday during Lent; that they ate blood, and things strangled, etc. The following year, Nicetas, a learned monk, attacked the Roman Church for fasting on the Sabbath, for celibacy, etc.’ this was refuted by the Pope and by the Cardinal Humbert. Pope Leo IX sent to Constantinople, under the imperious Humbert, three legates with counter-charges; that Cerularius arrogated to himself the title “ecumenical” patriarch; that, like the Nicolaitans, they permitted their priests to live in wedlock; and finally--

“Because you observe the Sabbath with the Jews and the Lord’s day with us, you seem to imitate in such observance the sect of the Nazarenes, who in this manner accept Christianity in order that they be not obliged to leave Judaism.” 26

The end of this controversy was that the Roman legates excommunicated the patriarch and his adherents (July 16, 1054) and the patriarch answered by a synodical counter-anathema against the papal legates, accusing them of fraud. The patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem adhered tot the See of Constantinople, and thus the schism, between the East and the West was completed. The Sabbath observance played an important part indeed in this controversy, which ended in final division. And the words called forth by this controversy are a striking proof that as late as the eleventh century the true Israel was still existing under their old name, keeping the Sabbath of Jehovah; or the cardinal would not have mentioned them as a definite sect, differing from the Jews as well as from the Catholics.

1. Schaff, third period, 325, sec. 64 Return>

2. Dan. 7:25 Return>

3. Rev. 12:6,14 Return>

4. Benedict’s Hist. Of the Baptist Denomination, p. 50, edition 1849. Return>

5. Entstebung der altkatholischen Kirche, Bonn, 1857, p. 152. Return>

6. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian church vol. 13, b. 13, epist. I, p. 336 (Oxford and New York, 1898). Return>

7. Gal. 5:2, 1 Cor. 7:19 Return>

8. Schaff, Medieval Christianity, I, 67, sec.18 Return>

9. D’Aubigne, “History of the Reformation, vol. 5, bk. 17, chap. I par. 21 Return>

10. Bonifacius, p. 16, Guetershoh, 1882 Return>

11. D’Aubigne, History of the Reformation, vol. 5, bk. 17, chap. 2 par. 12 Return>

12. Lang, History of Scotland, I, 96, Queen Margaret, an English Catholic princess, persevered until the Celtic church succumbed. Return>

13. Butler’s Lives of the Saints, article, “St. Columba,” A.D. 597 Return>

14. Adamnan Life of St. Columba, 1874, p. 96 Return>

15. Id. P. 230 Return>

16. Neander, Vol. 5, third period, p. 62 Return>

17. Conciliengesch., 3, 512, sec. 362. Return>

18. Mansi, 12, 378. Return>

19. Apollinaris Sidonii epistolae, lib. 1,2, Migne 57, 448 Return>

20. Hefele, 3, 318. “Dialogues on the Lord’s Day,” p. 267. Return>

21. Mansi. 13, 851 Return>

22. Conciliengesh., 3, 720, sec.404. Return>

23. Neander, fourth period, vol. 6, 53. Return>

24. Hefele, 4, 346-352,sec. 478 Return>

25. Photius, von Kard, Hergenrother, I, 643 Return>

26. Migne, 145, 936; Photius, 3, 746 Return>

Contents for History of the Sabbath