Epistle II.--To Novatus. 1
Dionysius to Novatus 2 his brother, greeting. If you were carried on against your will, as you say, you will show that such has been the case by your voluntary retirement. For it would have been but dutiful to have suffered any kind of ill, so as to avoid rending the Church of God. And a martyrdom borne for the sake of preventing a division of the Church, would not have been more inglorious than one endured for refusing to worship idols; 3 nay, in my opinion at least, the former would have been a nobler thing than the latter. For in the one case a person gives such a testimony simply for his own individual soul, whereas in the other case he is a witness for the whole Church. And now, if you can persuade or constrain the brethren to come to be of one mind again, your uprightness will be superior to your error; and the latter will not be charged against you, while the former will be commended in you. But if you cannot prevail so far with your recusant brethren, see to it that you save your own soul. My wish is, that in the Lord you may fare well as you study peace.
Eusebius, Hist. Eccles., vi. 45. ↩
Jerome, in his Catalogus, where he adduces the beginning of this epistle, gives Novatianus for Novatus. So in the Chronicon of Georgius Syncellus we have Dionusios Nauatiano. Rufinus' account appears to be that there were two such epistles,--one to Novatus, and another to Novatianus. The confounding of these two forms seems, however, to have been frequent among the Greeks. [See Lardner, Credib., sub voce Novat. Wordsworth thinks the Greeks shortened the name, on the grounds which Horace notes ad vocem "Equotuticum." Satires, I. v. 87.] ↩
We read, with Gallandi, kai en ouk adoxutera tes heneken tou me idololatreusai (sic) ginomenes, he heneken tou me schisai marturia. This is substantially the reading of three Venetian codices, as also of Sophronius on Jerome's De vir. illustr., ch. 69, and Georgius Syncellus in the Chronogr., p. 374, and Nicephorus Callist., Hist. Eccles., vi. 4. Pearson, in the Annales Cyprian., Num. x. p. 31, proposes thusai for schisai. Rufinus renders it: "et erat non inferior gloria sustinere martyrium ne scindatur ecclesia quam est illa ne idolis immoletur." ↩