DURING the years 254-2there was a controversy between the see of Rome on the one hand and the Asiatic and African churches on the other as to the validity of baptisms administered by heretics. Pope Stephen maintained that those who had, in an heretical medium, been baptised either in the name of Jesus Christ alone, or in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, ought, after a bishop had laid hands on them, to be admitted to communion; whereas Cyprian of Carthage and Firmilian of Caesarea maintained that heresy on the part of the baptiser rendered baptism null and void. The pope accused his antagonists of rebaptising (a)nabapti/zein),thereby to some extent begging the question at issue, and excommunicated them both in Asia and in Africa. In this controversy Dionysius, patriarch of Alexandria, intervened, and wrote, as Euse-bius relates in the seventh book of his Ecclesiastical History, one letter to Pope Stephen and as many as three to his successor Xystus (257-8). Eusebius has also preserved to us brief extracts from the one letter to Stephen, and from the first and second to Xystus.
In the library of Valarshapat in Russian Armenia is preserved a bulky refutation of the Tome of Leo and of the decrees of Chalcedon by Timotheus (called Aelurus), the patriarch of Alexandria. The original was composed by him in exile at Gangra and Cherson about the year 460, and was translated into Armenian some time between the years 506 and 54This version has just been edited from an old uncial codex which contains it, No. 19in the Catalogue of Karinian, by two of the archimandrites of Etshmiadsin, Dr. Karapet Ter-Mekerttshian and Dr. Erwand Ter-Minassiantz. The method of Timotheus is to adduce the Chalcedonian positions, and to confront them first with extracts from orthodox fathers, especially from the works of his own predecessors in the see of Alexandria ; and, secondly, with passages from writers declared by his antagonists (as he assumes) to be heretical, especially Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Nestorius, Paul of Samosata, and Diodore of Tarsus.
Among the former set of extracts we find one long fragment 12 of Dionysius' letter to Stephen, and two from his first and third letters to Xystus, of which the following is a literal translation: