Christian History Institute

Sharing our story of faith across the ages

items tagged with bishops


In Context

  1. They who belong to Christ destroy the property of Christ more than enemies.
    John Chrysostom (ca. 345–407), from On the Priesthood.
  2. You who dress your walls, and let your fellow-creatures go bare, what will you answer to the judge?
    Basil the Great (ca. 330–379), in a sermon.
  3. For he was made man that we might be made God.
    Athanasius (ca. 296–373), from On the Incarnation.
  4. Fourscore and six years have I served him, and he has never done me injury.
    Polycarp of Smyrna (ca. 69–ca. 155). Quoted in a letter from the church of Smyrna.
  5. I am the wheat of God and am ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of Christ.
    Ignatius of Antioch (died ca. 107), in his letter to the Romans.

Study Modules


26 May 2015

A new kind of Methodism and a new kind of bishop

by Scott Kisker | Issue 114

Cadiz, Ohio, was one of those western towns where Francis Asbury sent a corps of itinerant preachers to share a simple gospel. There young Matthew Simpson (1811–1884) lived with his pious Methodist, Irish immigrant grandmother and extended family.

As a youth Simpson had the problem of many second-generation Methodists; despite being steeped in Methodism from childhood, he still was not “converted” in the Methodist sense. Educated by his Methodist uncle, he attended Sunday services, read the Bible, avoided grosser sins, and even went briefly...

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15 May 2012

Clothes fit for a bishop

by Reprinted from the Oxford History of Christian Worship | Resource Guide

A BISHOP of the eleventh century could expect to spend a significant amount of time in preparation for the celebration of Mass. Each action of preparation, including the donning of each separate vest ment, would be accompanied by a specific prayer, psalm verses, or other short versicle.

After the bishop entered the church and prayed for a short time at the altar, he would enter the sacristy. The vesting rite would begin with a ritual handwashing, and then the removal of his ordinary outerwear. He would then don a series of liturgical...

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15 May 2011

Master of language: Lancelot Andrewes

by Chris R. Armstrong | Issue 100

THE TOP TRANSLATOR and overseer of the KJV translation, Lancelot Andrewes was perhaps the most brilliant man of his age, and one of the most pious. A man of high ecclesiastical office during both Elizabeth’s and James’s reigns, bishop in three different cities under James, Andrewes is still highly enough regarded in the Church of England to merit his own minor feast on the church calendar.

Though Andrewes never wrote “literature,” modern writers as diverse as T. S. Eliot and Kurt Vonnegut Jr. have called him one of the great literary...

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25 May 2013

Breaking bread for the church

by Ed Smither | Issue 105

WHEN AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO (354–386) is studied in universities and seminaries, it is most often as Augustine the philosopher or Augustine the theologian. But what about Augustine the pastor? Without a doubt, the African church leader was one of the greatest thinkers in Christian history. However, his “day job” for nearly 40 years was serving first as priest and then bishop in the church at Hippo Regius (modern Annaba, Algeria ) in North Africa. 

when the bishop calls

In 391 Augustine traveled from his hometown of Tagaste (modern Souk Ahras,...

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31 Aug 1996

Why Bishops Should Be Trusted

by Irenaus of Lyon | Issue 51

IT IS NOT RIGHT to say that [the apostles] preached before they had come to perfect knowledge, as some dare to say, boasting that they are the correctors of the apostles. For after our Lord had risen from the dead, and they were clothed with the power from on high when the Holy Spirit came upon them, they were filled with all things and had perfect knowledge. They went out to the ends of the earth, preaching the good things that come to us from God.

The tradition of the apostles can be clearly seen in every church by those who wish to...

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15 Aug 2003

The Brilliant Career of Joseph Kiwanuka

by Sarah E. Dahl | Issue 79

TULIDDE BUDDU —we have eaten Buddu; we have made it our own!” The cry spread through the ranks of the native Ugandan Catholic clergy on a bright day in May 1939, when the news broke that Joseph Kiwanuka, a young Ganda (ethnic Ugandan) missionary-priest, had been nominated bishop of Masaka. This British East African region was prime real estate—it encompassed Buddu County, the heart of the Catholic mission to Uganda—and it was to be led by the first native African bishop of modern times.

However, as the native clergy rejoiced, many European...

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31 Aug 2000

The Bishop at Work

by Bruce L. Shelley | Issue 67

IN THE TENTH BOOK of his Confessions, Augustine tells us that his life as a bishop was a life of sin, and he repents of all the sins of his ministry—all the rancor and conflict, all the failures at love and peace.

A striking example of Augustine’s ministerial errors occurred in 423 as he was turning 70. When Antonius, a pastor he had ordained, turned out to be a destructive scoundrel, Augustine offered to retire.

He confessed, “In my haste and lack of due precaution, I have inflicted a tragedy.”

The pope, of course, declined the bishop’s...

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15 Aug 2003

Bishop Before His Time

by Ted Olsen | Issue 79


For the millions of Africans taken as slaves between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, this sad statement is their story. But not so with Ajayi. In 1821, the 13-year-old member of the Yoruba tribe, from what is now western Nigeria, was eating breakfast when word came that Muslim slave raiders from another tribe were attacking his town.

“The most sorrowful scene imaginable was to be witnessed,” Ajayi would later recall. “Women, some with three, four, and six children clinging to their arms, with the...

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31 Aug 2000

The Dark Heart Filled With Light

by Robert Payne | Issue 67

AUGUSTINE BELONGS TO OUR TIME. The most wanton of the saints, the man with the clearest mind, the most exalted opinion of himself, the subtlest knowledge of himself, he speaks a language we know only too well. He belongs to the times of crisis, when human minds go wheeling after the final purposes.

There is no leisure in him: he burns himself up with the fury to know all things, to determine all things. Named for two ruthless emperors, Augustine and Aurelius, he could be ruthless as well. And like the great modern psychological novelists,...

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30 Nov 1994

Golden Tongue & Iron Will

by Robert A. Krupp | Issue 44

JOHN CHRYSOSTOM had little patience with sins of any sort, but he was especially piqued at the misuse of wealth:

“It is foolishness and a public madness,” he once preached, “to fill the cupboards with clothing and allow men who are created in God’s image and our likeness to stand naked and trembling with the cold so that they can hardly hold themselves upright. . . . You are large and fat, you hold drinking parties until late at night, and sleep in a warm, soft bed. And do you not think of how you must give an account of your misuse of the...

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15 May 2006

Uniting Personal Faith and the Larger Church

by Patrick Henry Reardon | Issue 90

I was raised in a serious and devout Christian home, and among my earliest memories was the deep conviction that Jesus was my Friend and Savior. I vividly recall my childhood home as a school of piety. We also belonged to a local church, where the things I learned at home were very much reinforced. In most ways, in fact, our congregation was just an extension of our family.

But there was another element to be found at church, something different and somewhat alien from the experience of the home. I gradually learned that our local church...

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