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

Year of the World 5593

Year of Christ 394

Anastasius the pope, a Roman, successor to Siricius (Syricium), elected under the Emperor Gratian (Graciano), ordained that the priests should in no event sit, but stand with heads bowed while the Gospel was being read or sung in the churches of God; also that pilgrims, and most of all those who wandered overseas, should not be admitted to the clergy or to consecration, unless they could produce the signatures of the five bishops. This came about (as they say) because of the Manichean heretics, who were in great veneration at that time in Africa, to the destruction of the faith because of the letters they sent forth. He also ordained that those who were physically weak[The Latin adjective debilis usually refers to physical weakness or frailty (including those who are crippled, lame, etc.), but can also refer to a general sense of helplessness or weakness.], and those who lacked an arm, or any other member, should not be accepted in the number of the clergy or the consecrated. After he had made a number of priests, deacons and bishops, he died on the 5th day of the Kalends of May; and the chair was vacant 21 days at that time.[Anastasius I, pope from 399 to 401, condemned the writings of Origen shortly after their translation into Latin.]

Year of the World 5603

Year of Christ 404

Innocent (Innocentius), the first pope with this name, was born in Albano in the time of Theodosius the emperor. He was a holy man, who understood many good things pertaining to the Christian and spiritual being. He was esteemed during the peace of the Roman Empire, and was favored with the good will of the emperor. He ordained that one should fast on Saturday, because Christ was laid in his grave on that day, and his disciples fasted. He made certain rules concerning the Jews, the pagans, and monks. He desired that a church once consecrated should not be consecrated again. He drove the Cathaphrygian heretics out of home, and condemned Pelagius, the monk or hermit; also Celestinus, another heretic; because they denied the necessity of divine grace, and said that for the fulfillment of the divine commandments the will alone was sufficient. This pope also ordained that on all festive days observed by the churches, before partaking of the Holy Sacrament, peace was to be given to all believers in Christ. He died and was buried in the cemetery Ad Ursum Pileatum[Ad Ursum Pileatum is Latin for 'to the bear wearing a helmet.' ] on the 5th Kalends of August. He sat 15 years, 2 months and five days. And the chair was vacant for 22 days.

Innocent I, son of Anastasius I, was pope from 402 to 417. During his papacy the siege of Rome by Alaric took place. He maintained and extended the authority of the Holy See as the ultimate resort for the settlement of all disputes. He took a decided view on the Pelagian controversy, confirming the decisions of the synod of the province of pro-consular Africa held in Carthage in 416 which had been sent to him. He wrote in a similar sense to the fathers of the Numidian synod of Mileve who, Augustine being one of their number, had addressed him. He died March 12, 417. His successor was Zosimus.

The text speaks of the controversies among the theologians on the question of grace and free will, but the Pelagian doctrine is rather vaguely stated. In one sense grace is described as inspiration, in another as favor, or as power, or as pity; but the fundamental feature of the experience is man's perception that he is in touch with a wider Self from which there flow into him streams of rich and full energy. Some of his greatest achievements seem to have come to him from external sources, and he feels that he could never have attained them without that external influence. In Christianity the conception of grace has developed proportionately to the richness of the experiences of the believers. The Christian believes himself in touch with a deity whose character and influence are equivalent to the historical Jesus.

The largest single contribution on this question was made by Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo in Africa. The experiences of his stormy youth and impressive conversion led him to stress the irresistible power of God, and he therefore undervalued the importance of the co-operation of the free human will. According to his own past wickedness, interpreted as evidence of the correctness of the meaning of the early chapters of Genesis describing the Fall, man is not only by nature inclined to evil, but is now in such condition that he cannot by his own natural strength and good works carry out the will of God. According to the Roman Catholic catechism, we can do no good works of our own accord, but need the help of God's grace.

But Pelagius, a native of Britain, a learned layman and monk, contemporary with Augustine, saw no safeguard for righteousness unless men recognized the complete freedom of the will and realized that they were accountable for their own actions. In 417 Augustine secured the condemnation of Pelagius by imperial decree, which was confirmed by the Council of Ephesus fourteen years later. In the sixteenth century Erasmus tended to the side of Pelagius, but Luther, and even to a greater extent Calvin, leaned to the side of Augustine. Calvin seemed to insist that God predestines some to blessedness, others to damnation, and that man himself is so helpless and corrupt that all he can do is to thankfully receive whatever grace and mercy may be dealt out to him. The teaching and experience of Luther, however, that faith alone was needed to receive grace, was a great simplification of life.

Modern psychology has led to a clearer apprehension of the reality of grace. The notion that behind consciousness lies a large realm has suggested to some that grace is the inflow into consciousness (as through a mental sluice) of spiritual power existing in the realm of the subconscious or superconscious. Extension of Protestant principles has led many to discard sacraments, services, and institutions as means of grace, and to assert that the individual can find the power he needs ready to hand at all points in ordinary daily life.

Zosimus the pope, a Greek, succeeded Innocent in the time of Arcadius and Honorius, the emperors. He was a holy and pious man, and not unmindful of the many perplexities which affected divine matters. He ordained that in celebrating (the mass), the deacons should use a covering of cloth woven from flax and wool; that on holy Easter Eve the Easter candles be blessed in the parishes; that the clergy and consecrated ones do not drink in public; although this was quite permissible in the homes of the faithful. He also ordained that serfs and servants shall not be admitted to the clergy. It is said that Zosimus sent Faustinus the bishop and two priests of the city of Rome to the Council held at Carthage, in order to indicate that nothing was to be done there without the acquiescence of the Roman Church. He died after having sat one year, three months and twelve days; and then the chair rested eleven days.[Zosimus, bishop of Rome from March 18, 417 to December 26, 418, succeeded Innocent I. He took a decided part in the protracted dispute in Gaul as to the jurisdiction of the see of Arles over that of Vienne, but without settling the controversy. Of his attitude in the Pelagian controversy we have already spoken elsewhere.]

Year of the World 5613

Year of Christ 414

Boniface the First, a pope, and a Roman, whose father was Jucundus, lived in the time of Honorius. After he was chosen pope a schism occurred among the churchmen, for Boniface had been elected at one place, and Eulalius at another; and this is said to have been the fourth schism in the Church. When the emperor Honorius, then at Milan, became aware of this, both men were driven out of Rome. Seven months later, however, Boniface was recalled, and he alone was installed as pope, at Rome. And now having peacefully entered upon his pontificate, he made a number of laws for the benefit and honor of the clergy—particularly one to the effect that no one, during his absence, should under any circumstances be accused or condemned in court; also, that no man should be ordained as a priest until he had attained the age of thirty years. Boniface died and was buried on the Salarian Way with the body of Saint Felicity on the 8th of the Kalends of November. He sat three years, eight months and seven days. Immediately afterwards some chose Eulalius from the priesthood, and called him to Rome; but either because he was unwilling to act, or because he scorned worldly affairs, he ignored the summons. He died one year after Boniface.[Boniface I occupied the pontificate from 418 to 422. When his predecessor died, the clergy were divided, one faction electing Eulalius, the other Boniface. In the interest of public order the imperial government commanded the competitors to leave the town, the decision being reserved to a council. Eulalius having broken his ban, Honorius decided to recognize Boniface, and the council was countermanded.]