Page 33


Another historian, Dio Cassius (lx, 6) informs us that the edict of expulsion, owing to the hardship that it caused, was only partially carried out, but that the synagogues were closed. The fifth century Christian historian Paul Orosius (Histor., 7:6, 15) dated this edict of expulsion to the ninth year of Claudius, i.e. 49. 26

Origen (In Luc. 6) and St. Gregory (Epistulae, 7, 40) tell us that St. Peter’s absence from Rome lasted seven years. Perhaps it was at the request, and with the assistance, of Aquila of Pontus that St. Peter evangelised Pontus first. The churches of two seaside cities of Pontus Amasea and Sinope - had always claimed St. Peter as their founder. 29

A total of seven examples of this famous Latin cryptogram (called a ‘palindrome’ because its letters read the same backwards) have been found in places as far apart as Cirencester and Manchester in Britain and Dura Europos in Mesopotamia. Like the famous ‘fish’ symbol, the ROTAS square was a sign which only Christians could read. A Christian seeing this sign posted or scratched on the wall outside a house knew that fellow-Christians were within. P This cryptogram reads as: ROTAS and solves as: A OPERA T TENET E AREPO R SATOR PATERNOSTER O S T E ARA O O (Note that ‘arā oro’ means ‘I pray by the altar’. Was this an intended extra part of the reading?) The Datiana Historia, a history of the church in Milan from 51 to 304, names St. Barnabas as having first evangelised the city. It names one St. Anatelon as St. Barnabas’ disciple and as the first bishop of Milan from 51 to 63 and as being succeeded by Caius as bishop from 63 to 84. In his fifth year, i.e. 67, this Caius visited Rome. 31

The house of Pudens seems to have been the normal residence of the Bishops of Rome during the first two centuries. The apocryphal but very ancient letters of Pastor and Timotheus tell us that Pudens had a kinswoman named Priscilla, and that this Priscilla gave her name to the catacombs by the Via Salaria. In the ‘Catacombs of Priscilla’ the tombs of a Pudens and his two daughters Pudentia and Praxedes have been discovered. This hypogeum also contains sepulchres bearing the names of Aquila and Prisca. The archaeologist de Rossi identified these two with the saints the site of whose house on the Aventine is now occupied by Sta. Prisca. Very likely it was as a son-in-law of Pudens, or else as a fellow Christian, that the Jew Aquila came to be interred in a burial place belonging to members of the Roman nobility. The oldest parts of the Catacomb of Priscilla are regarded by the archaeologists de Rossi, Marucchi, Lanciani and the best authorities as dating from the middle of the first century, i.e. from the time of St. Peter. The 2nd century Ebionite and Gnostic apocryphas, which invented a thousand fables concerning Saint Peter, never located his Episcopal See anywhere else but in Rome.

How the Apostles Wrote the New Testament  

This survey of how the New Testament came to be written is also a chronicle of the first 40 years of the history of the Christian Church. It...