Explanatio Fidei ad Cyrillum - Marcus Celedensis

Steven Avery


Marcus Celedensis
Anainus of Celedensis

Roger Pearse

Marcus Celedensis has a key text
"filius eius verus deus et unus Spiritus sanctus verus Deus et hi tres unum sunt" -
omitted in Grantley ??
Yet he mentiones Marius Victorinus (no Afer)

Note that Bengel puts the two together
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Steven Avery

Explanatio Fidei ad Cyrillum (circa 400-425 AD)
”Expositio fidei Niceni concilii”
Marcus Celedensis

• Note: The story behind this HIT is complicated and was made even more complicated when the numbering of Jerome’s letters was changed in other editions. Originally the Letter to Presbyter Marcus was numbered 17, and the Explanatio Fidei ad Cyrillum was numbered 77. Also, since Explanatio Fidei ad Cyrillum is part of Jerome’s letters in many manuscripts and editions, it was originally claimed that Jerome wrote the work (hence the statement in Jerome’s letter to Presbyter Marcus). Nevertheless, the written work is ascribed to”Pseudo-Jerome”and dated early 5th century. The work is well attested in many manuscripts as early as the 9th century (though sometimes with a different title ”Expositio fidei Niceni concilii”. See Peter Damian’s Letters).

• Marcus, a presbyter who had some kind of pre-eminence and authority among the monks of the Chalcidian desert in Syria when Jerome lived among them, A.D. 375-379. He is called in some editions of Jerome, Teledensis, from Teleda, a city of Chalcis. He wrote to Jerome, though he had frequently seen and conversed with him on points of faith, to inquire as to his views in reference to the questions about the Trinity which then disquieted the monks in connection with the disputes about the see of Antioch. Jerome in reply complains of the condemnatory spirit of the monks, who from their caves and in their sack-cloth passed sentence on the world and all its best bishops. He begs that the hospitality of the desert may be allowed him and that he may be left free till the spring, when he will retire. He appeals to “the holy Cyril,” Zenobius, and Marcus himself as the witnesses of his faith. (Jerome, ep. 17, ed. Vall.)
(William Henry Fremantle,”Marcus [presbyter of Chalcidian desert in Syria]”in A Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects and Doctrines, ed. by William Smith, Henry Wace, vol 3, 1882, p. 826)

• [The hermit life. § 13. Jerome and the dogmatic battles in Antioch] In any case, Jerome did not spend much time in the desert, but soon returned to Antioch. ...In a letter he tells the Presbyter Marcus at Teleda in the Chalcis Desert his decision to leave the desert. (fn. ep. 17 ad Marcum presbyterum, Vallarsi I, 42) ... Marcus, urged by the Meletian monks, seems to have given Jerome a creed in which he should testify to his orthodoxy. Jerome has known his belief in the consubstantial Trinity and in three true, perfect, self-contained persons. But despite his agreement with Damasus of Rome and Peter of Alexandria with the whole Occident and Egypt, he was accused of Sabellian heresy. He was asked every day for his confession; he was not satisfied with the assurance of his orthodoxy; he was required to sign under the creed. Jerome told Marcus that he had signed it and given it to St. Cyril. (fn. This Cyril is not identical with the Bishop of Jerusalem, Cyril - Vallarsi I, 43, note a. It will be an unknown monk, who presented to Jerome the creed on behalf of Marcus
[Explanatio fidei ad Cyrillum]). (Grützmacher, Hieronymus: eine biographische Studie zur alten Kirchengeschichtevol, vol 1, 1901, p. 173-174)

• [Letter to Presbyter Marcus. Editor’s Preface] In this letter, addressed to one who seems to have had some preeminence among the monks of the Chalcidian desert, Jerome complains of the hard treatment meted out to him because of his refusal to take any part in the great theological dispute then raging in Syria. He protests his own orthodoxy, and begs permission to remain where he is until the return of spring, when he will retire from”the inhospitable desert.”Written in A.D. 378 or 379.
(Jerome. Letter To Presbyter Marcus. NPNF02 vol 6)

• [Letter to Presbyter Marcus. § 4] As regards the questions which you have thought fit to put to me concerning the faith, I have given to the reverend Cyril a written confession which sufficiently answers them. He who does not so believe, has no part in Christ. My faith is attested both by your ears and by those of your blessed brother, Zenobius, to whom, as well as to yourself, we all of us here send our best greeting.
(Jerome. Letter To Presbyter Marcus. NPNF02 vol 6)

• Date: Beginning of the 5th century. (Tim Geelhaar, Christianitas, 2015, p. 423-424) (Cf. 317-318. Explanatio fidei ad
Cyrillum, in Bibliotheca Hieronymiana Manuscripta (BHM) vol 3a, p. 89-95. <doi.org/10.1484/M.IPM-EB.4.001152>)


● Letter 17. So we have one Father and one Son of his the true God, and one Holy Spirit, the true God, and these three are one, one divinity and power and kingdom. But these are three persons, not two, not one, not as a result of revelation or combination or fusion, but always reminding divine persons. Faith in them is given by baptisms, from them remission of sin is granted, and eternal life is hoped for without the least doubt. By a true belief in the Trinity the holy and blessed patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs earned glory in martyrdom and obtained hope of eternal life, and have obtained their lot in the kingdom of heaven by an inheritance that isnot to be doubted.
(Marcus Celedensis, Epistola XVII. Marcus' exposition of the faith to Cyril III, Migne Latina, PL 30, 181C-D; CPL 633, nr. 1746.)

○ Latin: Nobis igitur unus Pater, et unus Filius eius verus Deus, et unus Spiritus sanctus verus
Deus: et hi tres unum sunt,
una divinitas, et (0181D) potentia, et regnum. Sunt autem tres personae,
non duae, non una, non secundum revelationem, aut collectionem, aut confusionem, sed semper
manentibus personis divinis. Harum fides datur in baptismo, ab his et remissio datur peccati, et vita
aeterna sine aliqua dubitatione speratur. Huic Trinitati credentes vere sancti et beati patriarchae,
prophetae, apostoli, martyres, et martyrii gloriam meruerunt, et spem vitae perennis adepti sunt, et
regnum coelorum haereditatione non ambigua sortiti sunt. (Marcus Celedensis, Epistola XVII. Seu
Expositione Fidei ad Cyrillum III, apud Hieronymum, Migne Latina, PL 30, 181C-D; CPL 633, Nr. 1746.)
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Steven Avery

Bengel in Burgess









Was this book actually published?

Ben David

Kenrick - Latin text

Boston Review

Daniel Mc'Carthy
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Steven Avery

Explanatio Fidei ad Cyrillum (circa 400-425 AD)
”Expositio fidei Niceni concilii”
Marcus Celedensis

Do you mean the one in PL 30:176–177? - It's in my new book - It's another forgery ... In any case, yes, I have the document from PL 30:176–177 in my new book. But it's not a citation of the comma. It's a citation of the Trinitarian homology "tres unum sunt", which is not the same thing.

Maybe Grantley means not written by Jerome? words like spurious and forger are very flexible.
It should be interesting to see his approach, since this was not in RGA at all.
"unus Pater, et unus Filius eius verus Deus, et unus Spiritus sanctus verus Deus: et hi tres unum sunt"
There has been some shifting and confusion in the reference, my source has it as Migne Latina, PL 30, 181C-D; CPL 633, nr. 1746.)


Henry Thomas Armfield

On the theory that the work under notice is by on imitator of the great Athanasius, a curious question arises which may not be without influence upon our ideas as to why St. John’s text has not been much quoted—IIow is it that while genuine Fathers avoided quoting the disputed text, an imitator did not shrink ?


Roger Pearse - 2011

Thanks, Roger, this is very helpful. Ananius appears to also be known as Marcus Celedensis in some earlier literature.
And you can see an early allusion to 1 John 5:7 (the heavenly witnesses) in his writing.
To us there is one ‘ Father,’ and his only ‘ Son,’ [who is] very [or true] God, and one ‘ Holy Spirit,’ [who in] very God, and these three are one; one divinity, and power, and kingdom. And they are three persons, not two nor one, (Inquiry into the Integrity of the Vulgate, 1815 Frederick Nolan)

Nobis igitur unus Pater, et unus Filius ejus verus Deus, et unus Spiritus Sanctus verus Deus: et hi tres unum sunt, una divinitas, et potentia et regnum. Sunt autem tres persona, non duæ, non una.

Here it is in a Jerome work:

Sancti Eusebii Hieronymi Operum tomus primus [-quintus], studio et labore …

Explanatio Fidei ad Cyrillum
So you may find material in that edition. When this was discussed more earnestly (today many of the scholars are trained to a type of numbness) there was special attention paid to the Jerome connection.
Steven Avery

Roger Pearse says:

Nolan’s “Enquiry into the integrity of the Vulgate” is on Google books here. Can you give us the page reference?
What is the connection of the Jerome with Anianus of Celeda?

Steven Avery says:

Hi Roger,
Yes, I meant to give a bit more in reference, here are the two editions.

An inquiry into the integrity of the Greek Vulgate

There is also a reference on p. 297, after 291 above.

Also there are references in Travis, Porson, Wetstein, Perrone and others. Other than the obligatory Porson harumph, they do not add very much to Nolan.


I thought I had seen a direct Marcus Celedensis == Anaianus connection. It is possible that one was the deacon and the other a priest in Celeda, wherever that was. Although I just noted that one scholar says that the manuscripts for Marcus do not actually have Celedensis but .. “Calcidae (with some variants) instead, ie probably Chalcis in Northern Syria.”

Jerome is connected with both gentlemen, though his writings, the question is whether they are connected, by locale or identity. For now I will retract my “appears” and go by the idea of separate individuals. Marcus seems to be obscure outside this writing on the faith to Cyril. Any help you can give on this is appreciated.

The first reference reads:
3. On 1 Joh. v. 7 we may cite … Marcus Celedensis [286], …
286. Marc. Celed. Expos. Fid. ad Cyril. “Nobis unus “Pater,” et unus ‘Filius’ eius verus Deus, et unus “Spiritus Sanctus” verus Deus, “et hi tres unum sunt;” una divinitas, et potentia et regnum.” Sunt autem tres personae, non duae, non una,” &c. Ap. S. Hier. Tom. IX, p.73 g. Cf. Ep. LXXVII. Tom. II., p.302.”

The quotation marks are very curiously laid out.

This seems to be a quotation from Jerome, “Tome 9” (of some unspecified edition), p.73 note g. I regret that my knowledge of 18th century patristic editions is insufficient to tell me certainly which edition is in view here. But Quasten vol. IV, p.220 tells me that an edition in 9 volumes appeared edited by D. Vallarsi at Verona in 1734-42, 2nd ed. 1766-1772, reprinted in the PL 22-30.

Page 297 gives us a footnote in which a letter by Jerome to “Marcus the presbyter of Celeda”, written in 375 AD, “De fide quam dignatus es scribere Sancto Cyrillo,” &c.

I can locate no information on Marcus of Celeda. A search on Marcus Celedensis gives various versions of certain arguments about 1 John 7, but no more information as to the actual primary source. This link, to The Christian Remembrancer vol. 4, p.340-1 states:
He [Jerome] who was so well versed in the Chaldee could not have been unacquainted with the Syriac be has indeed given some proofs of his skill in this language and is addressed as a proficient in it by Marcus Celedensis

Steven Avery says:
The letter to Marcus is :
Letter XVII. To the Presbyter Marcus.

This is a letter where Jerome says he is accused of being Sabellian. Interestingly he asserts “fluent knowledge of Syriac” which I think is not today’s generally accepted scholarship (GAS). And Jerome made a confession of faith at baptism (sounds like Acts 8:37) .

“As regards the questions which you have thought fit to put to me concerning the faith, I have given to the reverend Cyril a written confession which sufficiently answers them.”

The editor says
“the extant document purporting to contain this confession is not genuine”.

Thus we understand now how the Expositio was ascribed to Jerome. I have not yet seen the arguments of purported ungenuineness and often find such arguments quite unconvincing. (A point I believe you have noted, Roger.)

A reference to the heavenly witnesses is often a primary reason for scholarly shifting of authorship around. However, that may not be a factor here, since it is more allusion than direct reference.

Steven Avery

Roger Pearse says:

Thanks for the update, and especially for the link to the expositio — I was getting rather confused, I confess.
One query: what is “GAS”?

Welcome, it was a bit confusing here at first too. I would like to track down any arguments as to why Jerome is not the Expositio author, since he says he wrote such an exposition.
We have a major acronym.
GAAP == Generally Accepted Accounting Principles
so last night, thinking about the “scholarship” that claims this and that are forgeries, often against sense, I referred to :
GAS == Generally Accepted Scholarship
Any similarity with other uses of the letters “g-a-s” are surely not just coincidental.

Roger Pearse says:
Ah yes, well, I don’t believe in taking scholarship on trust, other than in technical and non-controversial areas. In the humanities the consensus on anything controversial merely reflects the wishes of those who control university appointments in the period in question.
Not that this is to disparage scholarship, of course; but to ensure that we don’t engage in blind faith.

This suggests a letter, to me, and probably “Marcus Celedensis” is simply one of the recipients of a letter from Jerome. It is quite annoying that the latter’s letters have never received a complete translation, by the way.

There seems nothing in this to connect this Marcus with Anianus of Celeda, who is, surely, belonging to a subsequent generation?

Vol 4 of Vallarsi is here: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=cjpFAAAAYAAJ

Vol 2 is here, and column.302: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=UTtFAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA1-PA202#v=onepage&q&f=false

which doesn’t relate to the topic under investigation.
Vallarsi would appear to be the Maurist editor.

I think that’s all I can give you at the moment. I think I would next examine Jerome’s letters, in the PL, and see if I could find the letter.

When Marcus Celedensis is referenced, it is with him as the author of the “Explanatio Fidei Ad Cyrillum” .. which has also been attributed at times to Jerome (one source gives Peter Lombard as taking this position).

The Explanatio is included in the Jerome writings here:

Sancti Eusebii Hieronymi Operum tomus primus

You can see the “nobis igitur..” section at the bottom of the Explanatio section, column 127 in the edition above.

As to how specifically this exposition of faith was considered to be Marcus Celedensis (or Calcidae) .. good question. I’ll see if I can develop any sort of historical perspective on this question.

I’m not sure why you would place Annanius and Marcus in different generations, or even how you would tell if one preceded the other.

Steven Avery says:

Ok, I see it is because Annanius would be in the later years of Jerome .. while references to Marcus may have been a decade or two earlier. Not sure how to pin that down from our current data stream, presumably by Marcus being referenced in earlier epistles of Jerome. There are really a few related issues .. how does Jerome reference Marcus, is there any other referencing, and exactly why and how is he considered the author of the Expositio. What threw me a bit earlier was Annanius also being referenced as writing to Cyril, my synapses clogged on that one.
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Steven Avery

Letter XVII. To the Presbyter Marcus.

About the cryptic note:

4. As regards the questions which you have thought fit to put to me concerning the faith, I have given to the reverend Cyril325
325 Who this was is unknown. The extant document purporting to contain this confession is not genuine.