Image of Christ the Good Shepherd found in the Catacombs

From Harnack – “Mission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries”.

In the official writing sent by the Roman to the Corinthian church c. 96 A.D., there is a description of the first-rate condition       of the latter up till a short time previously (1 Clem. i., ii.), a description which furnishes the pattern of what a Christian church should be, and the approximate realization of this ideal at Corinth. “Who that had stayed with you did not approve your most virtuous and steadfast faith? Who did not admire your sober and forbearing Christian piety? Who did not proclaim the splendid style of your hospitality?  Who did not congratulate you on your perfect and assured knowledge? For you did everything without respect of persons; you walked by the ordinances of God, submitting to your rulers and rendering due honor to your senior men. Young persons also you charged to have a modest and grave mind; women you instructed to discharge all their tasks with a blameless, grave, and pure conscience, and to cherish a proper affection for their husbands, teaching them further to look after their households decorously, with perfect discretion. You were all lowly in mind, free from vainglory, yielding rather than claiming submission, more ready to give than to take; content with the supplies provided by God and holding by them, you carefully laid up His words in your hearts, and His sufferings were ever present to your minds.  Thus a profound and unsullied peace was bestowed on all, with an insatiable craving for beneficence. . . . . Day and night you agonized for all the brotherhood, that by means of compassion and care the number of God’s elect might be saved. You were sincere, guileless, and void  of malice among yourselves. Every sedition and every schism was an abomination to you. You lamented the transgressions of your neighbors and judged their shortcomings to be your own. You never rued an act of kindness, but were ready for every good work.”

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