Question to Protestants: Apostolic Succession


#1

I’ve never been able to understand how non Catholic Christians dismiss the authority of Apostolic Succession and the Primacy of the Pope. At the very lease, Succession was NOT in doubt from even the beginning of Christianity. It is extremely strong justification that Jesus was speaking of this CHURCH when he said the gates of hell would not prevail against it.


#2

Speaking as a Lutheran, I do recognize that succession. I do believe that during the reformation, as during any period in world and religious history, some people question the direction that their Church or their Government is going. As is set-up in the US Constitution, if we don’t agree with our leaders and the direction they lead us, we have an obligation to try to change the direction. All Christians have an obligation to Jesus Christ first, and to man second. Men do make mistakes. Men have judgement in error and have to make apologies for wrong stands they have taken. It is our sinful nature. I for one do not question the authority of the Pope. I may question (as you may from time to time) his opinions on issues, you may even disagree from time to time. That is why I choose to follow the Bible and the lessons Christ gave us. The practices of the church may change from time to time, but His sacrifice for us remains the same.


#3

Eric - Is the belief then that things were WRONG in the practices of the church for 1500 years, and it took Luther to straighten things out?


#4

Eric - Is the belief then that things were WRONG in the practices of the church for 1500 years, and it took Luther to straighten things out?

You might want to ask an Apologist about the “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification” October 31, 1999 – signed by both the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church.

elca.org/ea/Ecumenical/romancatholic/jddj/jddj.html

Do Lutheran’s believe in Apostolic Succession…yes the ELCA does but it is difficult to explain.
You also should look up the “Historic Episcopate” – I have always thought this sounded more like a toothpaste ingredient than a religious doctrine, but who am I to judge.

fact-index.com/a/ap/apostolic_succession.html


#5

Shibboleth,

I’m not 100 percent sure what direction you are coming from, but if I understand, is it your view is that the catholic church made concessions on its doctrinal teaching about salvation through that document you cited in your post? I would totally dispute that - I think they found the common ground, for example, I saw that it indicated salvation is through faith and grace. Its not the earth shattering of a statement. Catholic have always believe we are saved by grace and it is that grace that gives us faith.

OK, So LUTHERANS believe in apostolic succession, so why not the Primacy of the Pope? To me, this idea MUST follow…


#6

[quote=GordonBOPS]I’ve never been able to understand how non Catholic Christians dismiss the authority of Apostolic Succession and the Primacy of the Pope. At the very lease, Succession was NOT in doubt from even the beginning of Christianity.

**At least three different religious groups that I am aware of (Orthodox, Coptic, and Roman Catholic) claim to have a “unique line of succession to the time of the Apostles.” And each of the three claims a distinct Canon of scripture. **


I have yet to read of a single authoritative account of Peter as “the bishop of Rome” that describes him as such that can be conclusively proven as having been written while he was allegedly acting as " the bishop of Rome" . Moreover, I have yet to see a document, universally recognized among Christian scholars of different persuasions as having been written at the time of Peter’s alleged episcopacy ,that declares his episcopal primacy among the Apostles, and that such primacy should be inherited among future claimants of Petrine succession. Of course, if such documents exist, I’d like to know all about them.


As with any proffered evidence, the chain of custody for that set forth in support of this argument is only as strong as its weakest link. Accounts of “what Peter was”, or “what Peter did”, conceded even by their proponants as having been written after his death (when he obviously was not in any position to refute them), fall short in conclusively establishing such claims.
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#7

[quote=Binky Brown]Moreover, I have yet to see a document, universally recognized among Christian scholars of different persuasions as having been written at the time of Peter’s alleged episcopacy ,that declares his episcopal primacy among the Apostles, and that such primacy should be inherited among future claimants of Petrine succession. Of course, if such documents exist, I’d like to know all about them.
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Hmm, for any such document to have been written at the time of Peter’s episcopacy, it most certainly has to have been written during his lifetime (i.e. sometime prior to the year 67). Perhaps, too, any such document might also have to have been written only after Peter arrived in Rome (i.e. sometime after the year 42). Since I would think that the books of the Bible would be counted among those documents that are “universally recognized among Christian scholars of different persuations,” I did a quick search for when the books of the Bible were written and found (among other links) scborromeo.org/truth/b2.htm – which shows that pretty much every New Testament book except Revelation falls within this window. So here’s what I could find in these books regarding the primacy of Peter among the apostles:

In Matt. 16:17-19 Jesus tells Peter “You are Peter and upon this Rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” In John 21:15-17 Jesus tells Peter “…feed My lambs…tend my sheep…feed my sheep…”

In Matt. 10:1-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16, and Acts 1:13 (which lists the apostles), Peter is the one who is named first. Luke 9:32 talks about “Peter and his companions.” In Matt. 18:21, Mark 8:29, Luke 12:41, and John 6:68-69, Peter is the one doing the speaking for the group.

In Acts 1:13-26, Peter is the one who presides over the meeting to elect Matthias in place of Judas. In Acts 2:14-40, Peter is the first of the Twelve to speak on Pentecost. In Acts 3:6-7, Peter is the first of the Twelve to perform a healing miracle.

I also recommend New Advent’s article at newadvent.org/cathen/12260a.htm

Hope this helps!


#8

I have yet to read of a single authoritative account of Peter as “the bishop of Rome” that describes him as such that can be conclusively proven as having been written while he was allegedly acting as " the bishop of Rome" . Moreover, I have yet to see a document, universally recognized among Christian scholars of different persuasions as having been written at the time of Peter’s alleged episcopacy ,that declares his episcopal primacy among the Apostles, and that such primacy should be inherited among future claimants of Petrine succession. Of course, if such documents exist, I’d like to know all about them.

As with any proffered evidence, the chain of custody for that set forth in support of this argument is only as strong as its weakest link. Accounts of “what Peter was”, or “what Peter did”, conceded even by their proponants as having been written after his death (when he obviously was not in any position to refute them), fall short in conclusively establishing such claims.
So, you refute any eye witness evidence? :hmmm:
(I hope you never sit on my jury!)
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#9

[quote=DianJo]So, you refute any eye witness evidence? :hmmm:
(I hope you never sit on my jury!)
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**Doubt that I’d have to "sit"long: the motion for directed finding by your opponant would be granted for failure to state a prima- facie case. The matter would never get to the jury.:rotfl: **


#10

[quote=Erich]Hmm, for any such document to have been written at the time of Peter’s episcopacy, it most certainly has to have been written during his lifetime (i.e. sometime prior to the year 67). Perhaps, too, any such document might also have to have been written only after Peter arrived in Rome (i.e. sometime after the year 42). Since I would think that the books of the Bible would be counted among those documents that are “universally recognized among Christian scholars of different persuations,” I did a quick search for when the books of the Bible were written and found …

In Matt. 16:17-19 Jesus tells Peter “You are Peter and upon this Rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” In John 21:15-17 Jesus tells Peter “…feed My lambs…tend my sheep…feed my sheep…”

In Matt. 10:1-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16, and Acts 1:13 (which lists the apostles), Peter is the one who is named first. Luke 9:32 talks about “Peter and his companions.” In Matt. 18:21, Mark 8:29, Luke 12:41, and John 6:68-69, Peter is the one doing the speaking for the group.

In Acts 1:13-26, Peter is the one who presides over the meeting to elect Matthias in place of Judas. In Acts 2:14-40, Peter is the first of the Twelve to speak on Pentecost. In Acts 3:6-7, Peter is the first of the Twelve to perform a healing miracle.

Hope this helps!
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**Does scripture explicitly state that Peter was ever a bishop? :nope: **


**Does scripture explicitly state that Peter was a “bishop of Rome”? :nope: **


**Does scripture explicitly state that Peter enjoyed primacy as a "pontiff"over other bishops ? :nope: **


**Does scripture explicitly state that there is a particular right of Petrine succession that bestows any “primacy” enjoyed by Peter to subsequent bishops of Rome? :nope: **


As you cited scripture as your source, any such authority to support your proposition must appear explicitly within scripture. Not inferred. Not implied. Explicitly and expressly stated.


(BTW… the fact that you attempt to gleen your authority for Petrine succession within scripture is a de facto admission of scripture as the final authority in matters of doctrine…but perhaps that’s a subject for another thread.)


Thank you, however, for a thoughtful presentation of your position.
:blessyou:


#11

Binky Brown said:

Does scripture explicitly state that Peter was ever a bishop?

Does scripture explicitly state that Peter was a “bishop of Rome”?

Does scripture explicitly state that Peter enjoyed primacy as a "pontiff"over other bishops ?

Does scripture explicitly state that there is a particular right of Petrine succession that bestows any “primacy” enjoyed by Peter to subsequent bishops of Rome?

As you cited scripture as your source, any such authority to support your proposition must appear explicitly within scripture. Not inferred. Not implied. Explicitly and expressly stated.

(BTW… the fact that you attempt to gleen your authority for Petrine succession within scripture is a de facto admission of scripture as the final authority in matters of doctrine…but perhaps that’s a subject for another thread.)

Binky Brown:

If Scripture is the sole source of Truth, then, by definition it has to clearly state this, right? If it doesn’t state this, then, obviously how can it be the only source of Truth? :slight_smile:

In Christ,

Jorge.


#12

Binky Brown

According to you the Christian church has failed since the first century because they have taught the Primacy of the pope. They have been teaching heresy according to you.
Jesus would disagree with you. He did say that the gates of hell would never prevail against his church. This was right after he gave the keys to Peter.
So according to you all early christian theologians are going to hell because they taught heresy, unless heresy is okay with you.


#13

[quote=jimmy]Binky Brown

According to you the Christian church has failed since the first century because they have taught the Primacy of the pope. They have been teaching heresy according to you.
Jesus would disagree with you. He did say that the gates of hell would never prevail against his church. This was right after he gave the keys to Peter.
So according to you all early christian theologians are going to hell because they taught heresy, unless heresy is okay with you.
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Not the Christian Church : the Roman Catholic Church. Protestant, Orthodox, and Coptic Christians would certainly object as to what both “Jesus would disagree” about and what"all early Christian theologians" taught about papal primacy and Petrine succession.

**And no, “heresy is not okay” with me: that’s why I’m a former Roman Catholic. And you’re right: the gates of hell did not prevail against His church, as the Reformation took place despite Rome’s best-- or perhaps worst–efforts.


#14

There has been a pope since the first century. The eastern Orthodox were part of that church for over a thousand years. They would agree with the primacy of Peter. But they think it is more of a primacy of honor. It is pretty obvious that it was more than that though. There were many tims where the pope settled the decisions.

Here is a site with quotes from the bible to prove the primacy of Peter.

Here are some quotes from early church fathers that prove the primacy of Peter.

Tatian the Syrian

“Simon Cephas answered and said, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said unto him, 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah: flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee also, that you are Cephas, and on this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it” (The Diatesseron 23 [A.D. 170]).

Tertullian

“Was anything withheld from the knowledge of Peter, who is called ‘the rock on which the Church would be built’ [Matt. 16:18] with the power of ‘loosing and binding in heaven and on earth’ [Matt. 16:19]?” (Demurrer Against the Heretics 22 [A.D. 200]).

Tertullian

“[T]he Lord said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18-19] . . . What kind of man are you, subverting and changing what was the manifest intent of the Lord when he conferred this personally upon Peter? Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys” (Modesty 21:9-10 [A.D. 220]).

The Letter of Clement to James

“Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus Himself, with His truthful mouth, named Peter” (Letter of Clement to James 2 [A.D. 221])

The Clementine Homilies

“[Simon Peter said to Simon Magus in Rome:] For you now stand in direct opposition to me, who am a firm rock, the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]” (Clementine Homilies 17:19 [A.D. 221]).


#15

Heres the site.
scripturecatholic.com/primacy_of_peter.html

Origen
"Look at [Peter], the great foundation of the Church, that most solid of rocks, upon whom Christ built the Church [Matt. 16:18]. And what does our Lord say to him? ‘Oh you of little faith,’ he says, ‘why do you doubt?’" [Matt. 14:31] (Homilies on Exodus 5:4 [A.D. 248]).

Cyprian of Carthage

“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, 'that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18-19] On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was *, but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. . . . If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?” (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]). *

[size=3]Cyprian of Carthage

“There is one God and one Christ, and one Church, and one chair founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering” (Letters 43[40]:5 [A.D. 253]).

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#16

Heres the site
scripturecatholic.com/primacy_of_peter.html

Cyprian of Carthage

“There [John 6:68-69] speaks Peter, upon whom the Church would be built, teaching in the name of the Church and showing that even if a stubborn and proud multitude withdraws because it does not wish to obey, yet the Church does not withdraw from Christ. The people joined to the priest and the flock clinging to their shepherd are the Church. You ought to know, then, that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishop, and if someone is not with the bishop, he is not in the Church. They vainly flatter themselves who creep up, not having peace with the priests of God, believing that they are secretly * in communion with certain individuals. For the Church, which is one and Catholic, is not split nor divided, but it is indeed united and joined by the cement of priests who adhere one to another” (Letters 66[69]:8). *
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Firmilian

“But what is his error . . . who does not remain on the foundation of the one Church which was founded upon the rock by Christ [Matt. 16:18], can be learned from this, which Christ said to Peter alone: ‘Whatever things you shall bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:19]” (collected in Cyprian’s Letters 74[75]:16 [A.D. 253]).

“[Pope] Stephen * . . . boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid [Matt. 16:18] . . . [Pope] Stephen . . . announces that he holds by succession the throne of Peter” (ibid., 74[75]:17).*

Ephraim the Syrian

“[Jesus said:] Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on Earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples” (Homilies 4:1 [A.D. 351]).

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#17

Optatus

“You cannot deny that you are aware that in the city of Rome the Episcopal chair was given first to Peter; the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head - that is why he is also called Cephas “Rock”] - of all the apostles; the one chair in which unity is maintained by all” (The Schism of the Donatists 2:2 [A.D. 367]).

Ambrose of Milan

“[Christ] made answer: 'You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church . . . ’ Could he not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on his own authority, he gave the kingdom, whom he called the rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]?” (The Faith 4:5 [A.D. 379]).

Ambrose of Milan

“It is to Peter that he says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ [Matt. 16:18]. Where Peter is, there is the Church. And where the Church, no death is there, but life eternal” (Commentary on Twelve Psalms of David 40:30 [A.D. 389]).

Pope Damasus I

“Likewise it is decreed . . . that it ought to be announced that . . . the holy Roman Church has not been placed at the forefront [of the churches] by the conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: 'You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18-19]. The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it” (Decree of Damasus 3 [A.D. 382]).

Jerome

“‘But,’ you [Jovinian] will say, ‘it was on Peter that the Church was founded’ [Matt. 16:18]. Well . . . one among the twelve is chosen to be their head in order to remove any occasion for division.” (Against Jovinian 1:26 [A.D. 393]).

Jerome

“I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark on Noah will perish when the flood prevails” (Letters 15:2 [A.D. 396]).


#18

Augustine

“If the very order of Episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them [the bishops of Rome] from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord said, ‘Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not conquer it.’ Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement . . . In this order of succession a Donatist bishop is not to be found” (Letters 53:1:2 [A.D. 412]).

Council of Ephesus

“Philip, the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See [Rome], said: ‘There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the Apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to to-day and forever both lives and judges in his successors’” (Acts of the Council, session 3 [A.D. 431]).

Sechnall of Ireland

“Steadfast in the fear of God, and in faith immovable, upon [St. Patrick] as upon Peter the [Irish] church is built; and he has been allotted his apostleship by God; against him the gates of hell prevail not” (Hymn in Praise of St. Patrick 3 [A.D. 444]).

Pope Leo I

“Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . has placed the principal charge on the blessed Peter, chief of all the apostles . . . He wished him who had been received into partnership in his undivided unity to be named what he himself was, when he said: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ [Matt. 16:18], that the building of the eternal temple might rest on Peter’s solid rock, strengthening his Church so surely that neither could human rashness assail it nor the gates of hell prevail against it” (Letters 10:1 [A.D. 445]).

Council of Chalcedon

“Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod, together with the thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the Apostle, who is the rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the orthodox faith, has stripped him [Dioscorus] of the episcopate” (Acts of the Council, session 3 [A.D. 451]).


#19

Primacy of St. Peter:

Clement of Alexandria

“[T]he blessed Peter, the chosen, the pre-eminent, the first among the disciples, for whom alone with himself the Savior paid the tribute [Matt. 17:27], quickly grasped and understood their meaning. And what does he say? `Behold, we have left all and have followed you’” [Matt. 19:27; Mark 10:28] (Who Is the Rich Man That is Saved? 21:3-5 [A.D. 200]).

Tertullian

“For though you think that heaven is still shut up, remember that the Lord left the keys of it to Peter here, and through him to the Church, which keys everyone will carry with him if he has been questioned and made a confession [of faith]” (Antidote Against the Scorpion 10 [A.D. 211]).

Tertullian

“[T]he Lord said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18-19] . . . Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys, not to the Church; and whatever you shall have bound or you shall have loosed, not what they shall have bound or they shall have loosed” (Modesty 21:9-10 [A.D. 220]).

The Letter of Clement to James

“Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus Himself, with His truthful mouth, named Peter, the first-fruits of our Lord, the first of the apostles; to whom first the Father revealed the Son; whom the Christ, with good reason, blessed; the called, and elect” (Letter of Clement to James 2 [A.D. 221])

Origin

"f we were to attend carefully to the gospels, we should also find, in relation to those things which seem to be common to Peter . . . a great difference and a preeminence in the things [Jesus] said to Peter, compared with the second class [of apostles]. For it is no small difference that Peter received the keys not of one heaven but of more, and in order that whatsoever things he binds on earth may be bound not in one heaven but in them all, as compared with the many who bind on earth and loose on earth, so that these things are bound and loosed not in [all] the heavens, as in the case of Peter, but in one only; for they do not reach so high a stage with power as Peter to bind and loose in all the heavens" (Commentary on Matthew 13:31 [A.D. 248]).


#20

Cyprian of Carthage

“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ . . . On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was *, but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?” (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]). *

[size=3]**Cyril of Jerusalem **

“The Lord is loving toward men, swift to pardon but slow to punish. Let no man despair of his own salvation. Peter, the first and foremost of the apostles, denied the Lord three times before a little servant girl, but he repented and wept bitterly” (Catechetical Lectures 2:19 [A.D. 350]).

Cyril of Jerusalem

“[Simon Magus] so deceived the city of Rome that Claudius erected a statue of him . . .While the error was extending itself, Peter and Paul arrived, a noble pair and the rulers of the Church, and they set the error aright. . . . [T]hey launched the weapon of their like-mindedness in prayer against the Magus, and struck him down to earth. It was marvelous enough, and yet no marvel at all, for Peter was there–he that carries about the keys of heaven [Matt. 16:19]” (ibid., 6:14).

Cyril of Jerusalem

“In the power of the same Holy Spirit, Peter, both the chief of the apostles and the keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, in the name of Christ healed Aeneas the paralytic at Lydda, which is now called Diospolis” [Acts 9:32-34] (ibid., 17:27).

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