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Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume IV: April. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

April 7

St. Hegesippus

[A primitive Father, near the times of the Apostles.]  HE was by birth a Jew, and belonged to the church of Jerusalem, but, travelling to Rome, he lived there nearly twenty years from the pontificate of Anicetus to that of Eleutherius, in 177, when he returned into the East, where he died very old, probably at Jerusalem, in the year of Christ 180, according to the chronicle of Alexandria. He wrote in the year 133 a History of the Church, in five books, from the passion of Christ down to his own time, the loss of which work is extremely regretted. In it he gave illustrious proofs of his faith, and showed the apostolical tradition, and that though certain men had disturbed the church by broaching heresies, yet down to his time no episcopal see or particular church had fallen into error, but had in all places preserved inviolably the truths delivered by Christ, as he assures us. 1 This testimony he gave after having personally visited all the principal churches both of the East and West. He was a man replenished with the spirit of the apostles, and a love of Christian humility, which, says Jerom, he expressed by the simplicity of his style. The five books on the destruction of Jerusalem, compiled chiefly from the history of Josephus, are not the work of this father, as some have imagined; but of a younger Hegesippus, who wrote before the destruction of the Western empire, but after Constantine the Great. See Mabillon, Musæum Italicum, t. 1, p. 14, and Cave, Hist. Liter. t. 1, p. 265.  1
Note 1. Apud Eus. Hist. l. 4. c. 22. ed. Vales. [back]