The Roman governor Pliny the Younger

Pliny was the governor of the Roman province of Bithynia, in present-day Turkey. In about 112 AD, he wrote (in Epistles X.96) to the emperor Trajan, asking for advice on how to deal with the followers of Christ in his province, because he was executing so many of them. Pliny wrote:

They were in the habit of meeting before dawn on a fixed day. They would recite in alternate verse a hymn to Christ as to a god, and would bind themselves by a solemn oath, not to do any criminal act, but rather that they would not commit any fraud, theft or adultery, nor betray any trust nor refuse to restore a deposit on demand. This done, they would disperse, and then they would meet again later to eat together (but the food was quite ordinary and harmless.)

Notice from what Pliny says that:

  • By the beginning of the second century, there was already a Christian community in Bithynia large enough to come to the attention of the Roman governor.
  • They worshipped Christ as a god.

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