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Religious figures biography (9)



ATHENS (Ancient city) GREECE
The first of the Christian apologists. He is said by Eusebius (Chron. ad ann. Abrah. 2041, 124 A.D.) to have been a disciple of the Apostles (auditor apostolorum). He addressed a discourse to the Emperor Hadrian containing an apology for the Christian religion, during a visit which the latter made to Athens in 124 or 125. With the exception of a short passage quoted by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., IV, iii), this apology has entirely disappeared. Eusebius states (Chron.) incorrectly, however, that the appeal of Quadratus moved the emperor to issue a favourable edict. Because of the similarity of name some scholars have concluded (e.g. Bardenhewer, "Patrology", p. 40) that Quadratus the apologist is the same person as Quadratus, a phrophet mentioned elsewhere by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., III, xxxvii). The evidence, however, is too slight to be convincing. The later references to Quadratus in Jerome and the martyrologies are all based on Eusebius or are arbitrary enlargements of his account.

Patrick J. Healy, ed.

This text is cited July 2005 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

Quadratus (Kodratos, or Kouadratos), one of the Apostolic Fathers and an early apologist for the Christian religion. The name of Quadratus occurs repeatedly in Eusebius (H. E. iii. 37, iv. 3, 23, v. 17, Chron. lib. ii.), but it is questioned whether that father speaks of one person or of two. Valesius, and others (including Tillemont) after him, contend for the existence of two Quadrati, one the disciple of the Apostles and the Apologist, the other, bishop of Athens and contemporary with Dionysius of Corinth, who was of somewhat later date than the Apologist. But Jerome, among the ancients, and Cave, Grabe, Le Clerc, and Fabricius, among the moderns, refer the different notices, and we think correctly, to one person.
  Quadratus is said by Eusebius (Chron. l. c.), Jerome (De Viris Illustr. c. 19, and Ad Magnum, c. 4, Epistol. 84), and Orosius (Hist. vii. 13), to have been a hearer or disciple "of the Apostles," an expression which Cave would limit by referring the term "Apostles" to the Apostle John alone, or by understanding it of men of the apostolic age, who had been familiar with the Apostles. But we see no reason for so limiting or explaining the term. Quadratus himself, in his Apology (apud Euseb. H. E. iv. 3), speaks of those who had been cured or raised from the dead by Jesus Christ, as having lived to his own days (eis tous emeterous chronous, "ad tempora nostra"), thus carrying back his own recollections to the apostolic age. And as Eusebius. in a passage in which he ascribes to him the gift of prophecy, seems to connect him with the daughters of the Apostle Philip, we may rather suppose him to have been a disciple of that Apostle than of John. Cave conjectures that he was an Athenian by birth; but the manner in which an anonymous writer cited by Eusebius (H. E. v. 17) mentions him, in connection with Ammias of Philadelphia and with the daughters of Philip, would lead us to place him in early life in the central districts of Asia Minor. He afterwards (assuming that Eusebius speaks of one Quadratus, not two) became bishop of the Church at Athens, but at what time we have no means of ascertaining. We learn that he succeeded the martyr Publius; but, as the time of Publius' martyrdom is unknown, that circumstance throws no light on the chronology of his life. Quadratus presented his Apology to Hadrian, in the tenth year of his reign (A. D. 126), according to the Chronicon of Eusebius, but we know not whether he had yet attained the episcopate. As Eusebius does not give him in this place the title of bishop, the probable inference is that he had not; but, as the passage seems to intimate that he and the Athenian Aristeides presented their respective Apologies simultaneously, it is likely that Quadratus was already connected with the Athenian Church. The Menseec of the Greeks (a. d. Sept. 21) commemorate the martyrdom under the emperor Hadrian of the "ancient and learned" Quadratus, who had preached the gospel at Magnesia and Athens, and being driven away from his flock at Athens, obtained at length the martyr's crown; and the Menologium of the emperor Basil commemorates (a. d. 21 Sept.) the martyrdom of a Quadratus, bishop of Magnesia, in the persecution under Decius. That our Quadratus was a martyr is, we think, from the silence of Eusebius and Jerome to such a circumstance, very questionable; and that he was martyred under Hadrian, is inconsistent with the statement of those writers (Euseb. Chron. ; Hieronym. Ad Magnum c. 4), that the Apologies of Quadratus and Aristeides led that emperor to put a stop to the persecution. We think it not an improbable [p. 631] conjecture that Publius fell a victim during the brief persecution thus stopped, and that Quadratus having been appointed to succeed him, made those exertions which Dionysius of Corinth, in his letter to the Athenians (apud Euseb. iv. 23), commemorates, to rally the dispersed members of the Church, and to revive their faith. Many of the Athenians, however, had apostatized; and the Church continued in a feeble state till the time when Dionysius wrote. Nothing further is known of Quadratus: the few and doubtful particulars recorded of him have, however, been expanded by Halloix (Illustr. Eccles. Oriental. Sariptor. Vitae) into a biography of seven chapters.
  The Apology of Quadratus is described by Eusebius as generally read in his time, and as affording clear evidence of the soundness of the writer's judgment and the orthodoxy of his belief It has been long lost, with the exception of a brief fragment preserved by Eusebius (H. E. iv. 3), and given by Grabe, in his Spicilegium SS. Patrum, Saec. ii. p. 125; by Galland, in the first volume of his Bibliotheca Patrum ; and by Routh, in his Reliquiae Sacrae, vol. i. p. 73. (Cave, Hist. Litt. ad ann. 108, vol. i. p. 5; Tillemont, Memoires, vol. ii. pp. 232, &c., 588, &c.; Grabe, .l. c. ; Galland, Bibl. Patrim, vol . i . rolg. c 13; Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. vii. p. 154; Lardner, Credib. part ii. book i. c. 28. § 1.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited July 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Athenagoras, 2nd c. AD

Athenagoras. A Father of the Church, a native of Athens, and in philosophy a Platonist. He wrote a treatise on the doctrine of the resurrection of the body and a defence of the Christians, blending the teachings of the Greek philosophers with those of the Church. He flourished in the second half of the second century.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Athenagoras, a Grecian philosopher converted to the Christian religion, flourished in the second century of our era His name is unaccountably passed over by Eusebius and Jerome; and the only ancient biographical notice of him is contained in a fragment of Philippus Sidetes, published by Henry Dodwell along with his Dissertationes in Irenaeum. In this document it is stated, that Athenagoras was the first master of the catechetical school at Alexandria, and that he flourished in the days of Hadrian and Antoninus, to whom he addressed an Apology on behalf of the Christians. It is added that he had, before Celsus, intended to write against the Christians ; but when he examined the Holy Scriptures with this view, he became a convert to the faith he had purposed to destroy. It is further asserted by this writer, that Clemens Alexandrinus was tho disciple of Athenagoras, and Pantaenus the disciple of Clemens. The authority of Philippus Sidetes was lightly esteemed, even in ancient times; and there are some manifest inaccuracies in the foregoing statement. Athenagoras's defense of the Christians was certainly not addressed to Hadrian and Antoninus. It has been contended by some modern scholars, that it was presented to Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus; but it has been shewn by irrefragable proofs, that the emperors to whom it was addressed were Marcus Aurelius and his son Commodus. In this view Baronius, Petavius, Tillemont, Maranus, Fabricius, Lumper, and many others concur. It is certain, again, that Clemens Alexandrinus was the pupil, not the master, of Pantaenus. And it is very improbable that Athenagoras was in any way conneeted with the celebrated catechetical school of Alexandria. All that we know respecting him is, that he was an Athenian by birth, a proselyte to Christianity, and the author of the abovementioned Apology, and of a treatise in defence of the tenet of the resurrection. Both of these are written with considerable ability and elegance, and in a pure Attic style. In the first, he vigorously combats the charges of atheism, profligacy, and cannibalism, which were preferred against the early Christians. In the second, he shews with no little ingenuity, that the presumptive arguments against the Christian doctrine of the resurrection are inconclusive.
  The best edition of the works of Athenagoras is that of the Benedictines, superintended by Maranus, and published, together with the writings of Justin Martyr, Theophilus of Antioch, and Hermias, in one volume, folio, Paris, 1742. The other editions of Athenagoras are these: H. Stephani, 1557, reprinted at Zurich in 1559, and at Cologne in 1686; Bishop Fell's, Oxford, 1682 ; Rechenberg's, Leipzig, 1684-85; Dechair's, Oxford, 1706. His works are also given in the edition of Justin Martyr, published at Paris in 1615, and in the collections of de la Bigne, Gallandi, and Oberthiir. J. G. Lindner's notes to his edition of the Apology for the Christians (Longosal. 1774-75) deserve particular recommendation. The writings of Athenagoras, with fragments from other ancient authors, were translated into English by David Humphreys, London, 1714. There is an old translation of the treatise on the Resurrection by Richard Porder, London, 1573. See T. A. Clarisse, Commentatio de Athenagorae Vita et Scriptis, Lugd. Batav. 1819; Polycarp Leyser, Dissertatio de Athenagora, Lips. 1736.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited July 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Athenagoras. A Christian apologist of the second half of the second century of whom no more is known than that he was an Athenian philosopher and a convert to Christianity. Of his writings there have been preserved but two genuine pieces -- his “Apology” or “Embassy for the Christians“ and a “Treatise on the Resurrection”. It may be that his treatises, circulating anonymously, were for a time considered as the work of another apologist.
  His writings bear witness to his erudition and culture, his power as a philosopher and rhetorician, his keen appreciation of the intellectual temper of his age, and his tact and delicacy in dealing with the powerful opponents of his religion. The “Apology“, the date of which is fixed by internal evidence as late in 176 or 177, was not, as the title “Embassy” (presbeia) has suggested, an oral defence of Christianity but a carefully written plea for justice to the Christians made by a philosopher, on philosophical grounds, to the Emperors Marcus Aurelius and his son Commodus, conquerors, “but above all, philosophers”.
  He first complains of the illogical and unjust discrimination against the Christians and of the calumnies they suffer, and then meets the charge of atheism. He establishes the principle of monotheism, citing pagan poets and philosophers in support of the very doctrines for which Christians are condemned, and demonstrates the superiority of the Christian belief in God to that of pagans. This first strongly reasoned demonstration of the unity of God in Christian literature is supplemented by an able exposition of the Trinity. Assuming then the defensive, the apologist justifies the Christian abstention from worship of the national deities on grounds of its absurdity and indecency, quoting at length the pagan poets and philosophers in support of his contention. Finally, he meets the charges of immorality by exposing the Christian ideal of purity, even in thought, and the inviolable sanctity of the marriage bond. The charge of cannibalism is refuted by showing the high regard for human life which leads the Christian to detest the crime of abortion.
  The treatise on the “Resurrection of the Body”, the first complete exposition of the doctrine in Christian literature, was written later than the “Apology”, to which it may be considered as an appendix. Athenagoras brings to the defence of the doctrine the best that contemporary philosophy could adduce. After meeting the objections common to his time, he demonstrates the possibility of a resurrection in view either of the power of the Creator, or of the nature of our bodies. To exercise such powers is neither unworthy of God nor unjust to other creatures. He shows that the nature and end of man demand a perpetuation of the life of body and soul.

John B. Peterson, ed.

This extract is cited June 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.


Aristeides, of Athens, one of the earliest Christian apologetic writers, was at first a philosopher, and continued such after he became a Christian. He is described by Jerome as a most eloquent man. His apology for Christianity, which he presented to the Emperor Hadrian about 123 or 126 A. D., was imbued with the principles of the Greek philosophy. It is said that the apology of Justin, who was also a philosopher, was, to a great extent, an imitation of that of Aristeides. The work of Aristeides is entirely lost. (Euseb. Hist. Eccles. iv. 3, Chron. Armen.; Hieron. de Vir. Illust. 20; Epist. ad Magn. Orat. 84)

Monks & ascetics

Marcus the Ascetic

Mark the ascetic, or Mark of Athens, was a recluse, who had fixed his habitation in the Interior Aethiopia, in Mount Thrace, beyond the nation of the Chettaeans, apparently in the course of the fourth century. A life of him is given by the Bollandists in the Acta Sanctorum Martii, vol. iii. in a Latin version, at p. 778, &c., and in the original Greek at p. 40*, &c.


Neophytos o Talantiou (Nikolaos Metaxas)

1762 - 1861


St. Dionysis the Areopagite

ATHENS (Ancient city) GREECE

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