Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Pope #5 was Pope Saint Evaristus (c. 101- c. 109), a Greek from Antioch, the son of a Jew named (surprise!) Juda from Bethlehem. One of my favorite things about him is that in his first epistle, addressed to the bishops of Africa, he decreed that seven deacons were to monitor a bishop's preaching in order to ensure that he did not lapse from the authentic traditions and teachings of the Faith. (Is that not cool, or what?!!) Of course he reserved to the See of Rome the power to terminate any bishop as a result of such an indiscretion, but the practice has something to commend it in keeping a bishop on his toes. It reminds me of how Dutch Reformed churches used to have elders from the congregation give immediate feedback to the local pastor after his delivery of the Sunday sermon; and if he made any doctrinal mis-steps or flirted with danger a bit by pushing the edge of the envelope, they would let him know it in no uncertain terms.