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bishop Heraclides and the bishops who suspected him.86 His examination of Beryllus ofBostra may have been comparable, and another debate in Arabia is alleged by Eusebius to have involved a large gathering (synodos).87 In all three cases, Origen appears to have talked round the opposition into agreement. Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria 247/8-264/5, was similarly successful in a three-day conference with the presbyters (bishops?) of the nome of Arsinoe, where schism had arisen over the authority and meaning of the Revelation of John.88

These consultations all fit the formula emphasised by Hess, that the object was consensus. Sometimes persuasion did not work. Noetus89 was first warned by 'the blessed presbyters' about his christological views, but, when he persisted and gathered followers, they condemned him and expelled him from the church; whereat he 'formed a school' (didaskaleion), in other words set up a separate church.90 We cannot tell whether Noetus was a bishop, though he was deposed from 'holy clerical office';91 and, although it is likely that the 'blessed elders' are bishops of distinct churches and not the officials of a single congregation, we cannot be sure.92

In the case of the dispute between bishop Victor of Rome and the Quar-todecimans, probably soon after 190, it is now certain that Eusebius read the dossier of letters anachronistically.93 An attempt was made by a leading bishop to impose uniformity of paschal observance on other congregations in Rome, and correspondence with foreign bishops, in Ephesus, Lyons, Corinth, Palestine and elsewhere ensued. In Eusebius' narrative (aided perhaps by adjustments to the texts he quotes), 'synods and meetings together of bishops were held, and all with one consent set out an ecclesiastical ruling (dogma) that the mystery of the Lord's rising from the dead should never be celebrated on any but the Lord's day, and that on that day alone we should observe the conclusion of the paschal fasts.'94 It is likely that the letters Eusebius saw were the fruit of discussion with local colleagues, not just personal episcopal exchanges: unless the text has been tampered with, Polycrates of Ephesus says as much.95 But

89 See further ch. 25, below.

92 Hess, Early development, 11-12.

93 Euseb. HE 5.23-5; Hess, Early development, 8-10; Brent, Hippolytus, 412-27, presents the argument fully, if controversially in some details.

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