First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…

Fabian (Fabianus), the pope, was a Roman. When, after the death of Pope Anterus, the election of a future pope was under discussion, a dove, wonderfully white, appeared upon the head of Fabian. And after he was chosen in this divine manner, he divided his jurisdiction among seven deacons, who through notaries were to collect the experiences of the martyrs as an example for others who acknowledged faith in Christ. He also built a cemetery in honor of the martyrs. He also ordained that annually, on Holy Thursday, at the Lord’s Supper, the chrism[Oil usually mixed with balm, or balm and spices, consecrated by the bishop on Maundy Thursday (the day before Good Friday) and used in the administration of baptism, confirmation, ordination, etc., according to the ritual of the Roman Catholic church, Maundy Thursday is so called from the ancient custom of washing the feet of the poor on this day, which was taken to be the fulfillment of the "new commandment" (John 13:5-24).] should be renewed, and the old burned in the church. The heresy of Novatus originated in his time. After having consecrated 22 priests, seven deacons, and eleven bishops in the month of December, he was crowned with martyrdom, and buried in the cemetery of Calixtus. He sat (in office) for 14 years, 11 months, and 11 days, and the chair was vacant six days. His day and that of St. Sebastian are celebrated on the 20th day of the month of January.[]

The first schism, or division, in these times, occurred when Novatus the priest at Rome, undertook to trouble and divide the church of God. Through greed for episcopal honors he confused matters human and divine. In order that the papacy might not pass to Cornelius, he separated from the church, and styled himself and his retainers the pure ones. He also said that those who seceded from the faith should not be again admitted, even though repentant. On this account a council was held, consisting of sixty bishops, and as many priests with their deacons, in which the words of Novatus were decreed to be false, for by the example of our Savior, forgiveness is not to be denied a penitent. And so ended the first schism of the Roman Church.[]At this time also other heresies originated. Origen held those to be heretics who said man’s soul does not leave his body, but in the resurrection will rise with the body. Also at this time was the heresy of the Helcesaites (Helchesatarum), who entirely ignored the apostle Paul, and said that it was no sin to deny Christ under torture if one did not do so in one’s heart.[]

Cornelius the pope, was also a Roman and a very highly educated man, who sent many letters and epistles to numerous persons and places. During his term, Novatus ministered outside the church, and Nicostratus in Africa. For that reason the confessors who had fallen away from Cornelius returned to the Church; and thus they attained to the names of true confessors and ministers. But Cornelius was afterwards sent into exile through the instigation of the heretics. After he was imprisoned, Cyprianus, the bishop of Carthage, sent him letters, through which he understood his friend’s opposition and the reason for his misfortune. Before he was sent into exile, at the solicitation of the virgin Lucina, he removed the bodies of Saints Peter and Paul at night from places where they were hardly secure, and Lucina buried Paul on her own soil where he was slain, and Cornelius buried Peter where he had undergone his martyrdom of crucifixion in the temple of Apollo at the roots of a golden mountain on the 29th day of the month of June. This Cornelius was tortured in many ways by order of the emperor Decius, and urged to worship the idols. Finally he was slain on the fifth day of the month of May. The blessed Lucina buried his body, together with those of certain priests, at night in a sand-pit on her estate. He sat in office for two years and three days. And the seat was vacant for 35 days.

Cornelius was elected pope in 251, after the Holy See had been vacant for sixteen months. He had passed through all the degrees of ecclesiastical offices, and when offered the bishopric shrank from the burden, perhaps the dangers, it entailed; for the edict of Decius was in force against bishops and priests. He was elected by sixteen bishops, then at Rome, and they wrote to all the churches to announce his election. There was at this time at Rome one Novatian, who had been a Stoic philosopher, who finally found peace in Christianity, and was ordained a priest. For a while he remained in severe ascetic seclusion, but later became involved in a quarrel with Cornelius on matters of church doctrine—the principles of penitence and the essence of a true Church. Novatian contended that the Church had no right to grant absolution to a person who had willfully committed a mortal sin, and could only absolve sins of infirmity. Against this doctrine Cyprian wrote with wrath and eloquence, assembled a council in Africa, and condemned Novatian. On receipt of the decrees of the council and the letters of Cyprian, Cornelius convoked a council at Rome; and, in spite of the persecution then raging, it was attended by sixty bishops. This council condemned the schism and errors of Novatian.

Decius died in 251, and was succeeded by Gallus. Persecution did not cease with the death of Decius. Cornelius was banished to Centumcella (Civita Vecchia), where he died in the year 253. He is commemorated with his friend Cyprian on September 16.

The last three sentences of this paragraph are not in the German edition of the Chronicle.

Dionysius, bishop of the Alexandrine church, a highly learned man and a disciple of Origen, the master, was ordained as a bishop at this time; and he sat 17 years. He too was of the opinion that heretics should be rebaptized. He sent very many letters; but to Pope Fabian (Fabianus) he sent one letter on the topic of penitence; and to various other individuals he sent letters on the topics of exile, death, the Sabbath, the persecution of Decius, and two books against the bishop Nepos and to Origen his teacher he sent a book about martyrdom as well as many other things.

Dionysius of Alexandria (bishop of Alexandria), called "Dionysius the Great," (c. 190-265), became a Christian at an early age, and studied under Origen. In 231 he was made head of the Catechetical school of Alexandria, and in 247 a bishop of that city. During the Decian persecution in 251 he fled to the Libyan desert, while under Valerian he was banished to Cethro in 257, returning when toleration was decreed by Gallienus in 260. He was engaged in controversy over the restoration of Christians who had lapsed during the persecution, and over the iteration of baptism by heretics. In opposing the bishops of Upper Libya, who supported Sabellianism, Dionysius over-emphasized the unity of the Godhead. Eusebius often cites him in his ecclesiastical history.

The last sentence of this paragraph in the German edition reads: "As a highly learned man he also wrote and sent out many letters to various persons on diverse subjects."—a typical abridgment/summation clearly designed for that intended audience’s (the German bourgeois’) taste (i.e., simple facts, light on details).

(The Latin inscription reads: ‘Council at Rome. 60 bishops.’)

Here we have the First Council called by a Bishop of Rome. Upon the election of Cornelius to the episcopate of Rome, Novatian, a Presbyter of that church, and others protested against him on the ground of laxity of principle as to the readmission of lapsed heretics, they themselves maintaining the strict view of the case, by which, without denying that it was possible for such penitents to make their peace with God, their open reception into the Church was regarded as a sinful breach of discipline. They elected Novatian as their own bishop, but this election was not finally confirmed. Cornelius called a council of sixty bishops, and a large number of priests. Novatian was condemned, and the question concerning the lapsed heretics was decided in favor of the more moderate party. The Novatians became a distinct sect, distinguished by severity of discipline. They subsisted until the sixth century, and were called Cathari or ‘Puritans’ / ‘The Pure Ones’ (History of the Papacy, J. E. Riddle, Vol. I, pp. 74-74).

Here we see the Council in session, and we may assume that the central figure in the pontificals, with papal tiara and staff, is Cornelius. He holds an open book and is surrounded by a close group of friendly churchmen. A dove, symbolizing the Holy Spirit, hovers over the gathering.