Erasmus of Arcadia

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This article is about the Greek Orthodox bishop. For other uses, see Erasmus (disambiguation).
Erasmus
Έρασμος
Bishop of Arcadia
Church Greek Orthodox Church
Archdiocese Patriarchate of Smyrna
Diocese Diocese of Arcadia
In office 1700s
Personal details
Born Crete

Erasmus of Arcadia (Greek: Έρασμος της Αρκαδίας), also known as Gerasimos Avlonites (Greek: Γεράσιμος Αυλωνίτης),[1] was a Greek Orthodox bishop of the Diocese of Arcadia in Crete,[2][3] operating under the Metropolitan of Smyrna.[4][5]

He [Erasmus] had abundant unexceptionable credentials as to his episcopal character.[4]

John Wesley

Erasmus' monastery, located south of Rethymon in central Crete, was a centre of resistance to foreign domination by the Turkish régime.[6] As such, the bishop was driven into exile around 1739.[6] He is regarded as the founder of the first Greek Orthodox congregation in Amsterdam.[6] In 1763, the Greek bishop, who was visiting London at the time,[7] consecrated Rev. John Wesley a bishop,[8][9] and ordained several Methodist lay preachers as priests, including John Jones.[10][11] However, Wesley could not openly announce his episcopal consecration without incurring the penalty of the Præmunire Act.[12] In light of Wesley's episcopal consecration by Erasmus, the Methodist Church can lay a claim on apostolic succession, as understood in the traditional sense,[13] since the Rt. Rev. John Wesley ordained and sent forth every Methodist preacher in his day, who preached and baptized and ordained, and since every Methodist preacher who has ever been ordained as a Methodist was ordained in this direct "succession" from Erasmus.[14] Nevertheless, there are some individuals who dispute Wesley's consecration by Bishop Erasmus or condemned it, most notably Augustus Montague Toplady.[15][16] According to The Greek Orthodox Theological Review, Bishop Erasmus of the Diocese of Aracadia also ordained other famous clergymen, including Samson Staniforth, Thomas Bryant, Alexander Mather, among other men, as presbyters:[17][18][19]

Our measure from the grace, gift, and power of the all-holy and life-giving Spirit, given by our Saviour Jesus Christ to His divine and holy apostles, to ordain sub-deacons and deacons, and also to advance to the dignity of a priest! Of this grace, which hath descended to our humility, I have ordained sub-deacon and deacon, at Snow Fields Chapel, on the 19th day of November 1764, and at West Street Chapel, on the 24th of the same month, priest, the Rev. Mr. W.C., according to the rules of the holy apostles and of our faith. Moreover, I have given him power to minister and teach, in all the world, the gospel of Jesus Christ, no one forbidding him in the Church of God. Wherefore for that very purpose, I have made this present letter of recommendation from our humility, and have given it to the ordained Mr. W.C. for his certificate and security. —Given and written at London, in Britain, Nov. 24, 1764.[20]

— Erasmus of Arcadia, Certificate presented to Rev. W.C. after ordination

The eastern prelate was also well respected in London, by men who had known Erasmus in the Ottoman Empire.[4][5] Greek Orthodox Christians in Amsterdam attribute Erasmus with establishing Orthodox there.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society. Wesley Historical Society. Retrieved 2007-12-31. Gerasimos Avlonites [Bishop Erasmus] 81, 97 
  2. ^ Notes and Queries. Office, 32 Wellington Street, Strand, W.C. Retrieved 2007-12-31. Erasmus, "Bishop of Arcadia in Crete", visited London in 1763, according to Myles' Chronology of the Wesyleyan Methodists. 
  3. ^ Wesley as sociologist, theologian, churchman. The Methodist Book Concern. Retrieved 2007-12-31. In 1763 Bishop Erasmus, of Crete, of the Greek Church, visited England, and at the request of Wesley ordained as presbyter John Jones, an able and learned preacher of Wesley's band. It seems also that Samson Staniforth and Thomas Bryant were also ordained by Erasmus, but whether at Wesley's request, we do not know. 
  4. ^ a b c The life and times of the Rev. John Wesley, founder of the Methodists, Volume 2. Hodder & Stoughton. Retrieved 2007-12-31. By his direction, Jones wrote to the patriarch of Smyrna on the subject and received an answer, stating that Erasmus was bishop of Arcadia in Crete. To this was added the testimony of several gentlemen who had met the eastern prelate in Turkey. Wesley says, "he had abundant unexceptionable credentials as to his episcopal character." 
  5. ^ a b The Churchman, Volume 40. English Churchman. Retrieved 2007-12-31. Erasmus was the Bishop of Arcadia, in Crete. In 1763 he visited London. Wesley found his credentials unexceptionable, and Dr. Jones, one of the preachers who he ordained, obtained testimonials concerning him from Smyrna. There were also various gentlemen in London who had known him well in Turkey. 
  6. ^ a b c Authority and Order: John Wesley and his Preachers. Ashgate Publishing. Retrieved 2007-12-31. Sackett asserted that Gerasimos Avlonites of Arkadia would have been a resident of the monastery south of Rethymon in central Crete. This place was a centre of resistance to foreign domination so he had probably been driven into exile around 1739 by the oppressive Turkish régime. The Greeks in Amsterdam, rather than denounce him as an imposture, acknowledged him as founding the first Greek Church there. He was not an ignorant man, but a renowned scholar, having participated in the publication of a serious work in London and Amsterdam. 
  7. ^ The life and times of the Rev. John Wesley, founder of the Methodists, Volume 2. Regent College Publishing. Retrieved 2007-12-31. Just at this juncture, Erasmus a bishop of the Greek church, visited London. 
  8. ^ Wesleyan-Methodist magazine: being a continuation of the Arminian or Methodist magazine first publ. by John Wesley. Wesleyan Methodist Magazine. Retrieved 2007-12-31. Mr. Wesley thus became a Bishop, and consecrated Dr. Coke, who united himself with ... who gave it under his own hand that Erasmus was Bishop of Arcadia, ... 
  9. ^ English Spirituality in the Age of Wesley. Regent College Publishing. Retrieved 2007-12-31. By 1763, Wesley was desperate to obtain ordination for some of his lay preachers and when bishop after bishop refused, he took the dubious expedient -against the council of all his close friends and associates-of asking one Easmus, who claimed to be bishop of Arcadia in Crete, to do the job. Erasmus knew no English, but agreed. 
  10. ^ "Early Methodism in Newfoundland". Memorial University of Newfoundland. Retrieved 2007-12-31. During Wesley's absence from London in 1764, several Methodist lay preachers were ordained by the Greek emigr‚ from Amsterdam. 
  11. ^ The Churchman, Volume 40. University of Michigan. Retrieved 2007-12-31. Erasmus was the Bishop of Arcadia, in Crete. In 1763, he visited London. Wesley found his credentials unexceptionable, and Dr. Jones, one of the preachers whom he had ordained, obtained testimonials concerning him from Symrna. 
  12. ^ The historic episcopate: a study of Anglican claims and Methodist orders. Eaton & Mains. Retrieved 2007-12-31. Dr. Peters was present at the interview, and went with and introduced Dr. Seabury to Mr. Wesley, who was so far satisfied that he would have been willingly consecrated by him in Mr. Wesley would have signed his letter of orders as bishop, which Mr. Wesley could not do without incurring the penalty of the Præmunire Act. 
  13. ^ Separated Brethren: A Review of Protestant, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox & Other Religions in the United States. Our Sunday Visitor. Retrieved 2007-12-31. Today the World Methodist Council represents twenty-nine million members of some sixty churches that trace their heritage to Wesley and his brother Charles. 
  14. ^ SWhy two Episcopal Methodist churches in the United States?: A brief history answering this question for the benefit of Epworth leaguers and other young Methodists. Publishing House of the M.E. Church, South. Retrieved 2007-12-31. And since he himself ordained and sent forth every Methodist preacher in his day, who preached and baptized and ordained (except such as, like himself, had been ordained by a bishop of the established Church), and since every Methodist preacher who has ever been ordained as a Methodist was ordained in this direct "succession" from Wesley, then have we all the direct merits coming from apostolic succession, if any such there be. 
  15. ^ "Article V - Was Wesley Ordained a Bishop by Erasmus?". Sprinkle Publications. Archived from the original on 2007-12-01. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  16. ^ "Toplady: Letter - Relative to his Pretended Abridgement of Zanchius on Predestination". Northwest Nazarene University. Archived from the original on 2007-06-21. Retrieved 2007-12-31. [dead link]
  17. ^ The Greek Orthodox theological review, Volumes 1-2. Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Retrieved 2007-12-31. Erasmus obliged and ordained John Jones, Samson Staniforth, Thomas Bryant, Alexander Mather, and others. 
  18. ^ The True Latter-Day-Saints' herald, Volume 22. Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Retrieved 2007-12-31. It would further appear from Mr. Tyerman's "Life and Times of Wesley," that, Mr. Wesley procured the ordination of John Jones, by Erasmus, Bishop of Arcadia, in Crete. Samson Staniforth and Thomas Bryant, were also so ordained: 
  19. ^ A heart set free: the life of Charles Wesley. Crossway Books. Retrieved 2007-12-31. The bishop also ordained two other lay preachers, Sampson Staniforth and Thomas Bryant 
  20. ^ The life of Wesley: and the rise and progress of Methodism. Frederick Warne & Co. Retrieved 2007-12-31. Our measure from the grace, gift, and power of the all-holy and life-giving Spirit, given by our Saviour Jesus Christ to His divine and holy apostles, to ordain sub-deacons and deacons, and also to advance to the dignity of a priest! Of this grace, which hath descended to our humility, I have ordained sub-deacon and deacon, at Snow Fields Chapel, on the 19th day of November 1764, and at West Street Chapel, on the 24th of the same month, priest, the Rev. Mr. W.C., according to the rules of the holy apostles and of our faith. Moreover, I have given him power to minister and teach, in all the world, the gospel of Jesus Christ, no one forbidding him in the Church of God. Wherefore for that very purpose, I have made this present letter of recommendation from our humility, and have given it to the ordained Mr. W.C. for his certificate and security. —Given and written at London, in Britain, Nov. 24, 1764. 
  21. ^ Authority and Order: John Wesley and his Preachers. Ashgate Publishing. Retrieved 2007-12-31. Tyerman has told that John Jones wrote to the patriarch of Smyrna and received confirmation that Erasmus was indeed Bishop of Arcadia, in Crete. The Greeks in Amsterdam, rather than denounce him as an imposture, acknowledged him as founding the first Greek Church there. He was not an ignorant man, but a renowned scholar, having participated in the publication of a serious work in London and Amsterdam.