Polycarp and the Quartodecimen Controversy

   By the middle of the second century A.D., heresies based on pagan religious practices, as Paul had warned would happen in his letter to the Galations, began to overtake the true Gospel.   
   
    "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel; which is not another; but there be some that  trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ."   Gal 1:6-7
    Throughout each region where new churches were flourishing, local spiritual leaders yielded to public pressure or their own power hungry egos, and began to incorporate popular customs and festivals based on these ancient practices into church doctrine, creating many perversely syncretized religious sects which borrowed the name of "Christ", even declaring that He was "Christ", but were not at all, or only loosely based on Christ's teaching.   
  
    "For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many."   Mat 24:5 
    But nowhere was this more prevalent or detrimental to the True Church than at Rome, which was at that time the seat of power, wealth, and influence over most of the world.  It was at this point in Church history that the same Polycarp who had been a disciple of John (the Apostle of Jesus), now in his eighties and Bishop of Smyrna, journeyed to Rome.  There he met with Anicetus, Bishop of Rome, to discuss what came to be known as the "Quartodecimen Controversy".   
    In talks that were said to be amicable but unyielding, Polycarp tried to dissuade Anicetus from substituting what is celebrated today as Easter Sunday (the first Sunday following the vernal equinox), for the Passover (the 14th day of the sacred year), as prevailing traditions of old had them so doing.   
    He was not successful in this attempt and returned with the disappointing news to Smyrna and Ephesus where "The True Church" continued to worship in accordance with the teachings of John the apostle of Jesus.
 
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The Great Falling Away by Joseph Santora --- ©1998-2002 True Christian Ministries
 
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