The Development of the Canon of the New Testament

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Places in Early Christianity

Alexandria, Egypt
Antioch, Syria
Edessa, Syria
Lyons, Gaul
Pepuza, Phrygia
Rome, Italy
Map of the Spread of Christianity

Lyons, Gaul

At the time of Caesar, the settlement at Lyons was a village inhabited by fishermen and boatmen at a spot where the Saône narrowed. This early dwelling site bore the name of Condate. In 43 BCE Lucius Munatius Plancus, a former lieutenant of Caesar, founded a military colony, Lugdunum, on the nearby hill of Fourvière, overlooking the Rhône-Saône confluence. The Roman emperor Augustus subsequently made Lyons the capital of the Gauls, while his son-in-law, Agrippa, created a network of roads converging on the city.

In the 2nd century CE, Lyons was a cosmopolitan center of trade. The missionaries who established the church there, from which the Christian faith spread little by little to other parts of Gaul, had come from Asia Minor. Many of the members of the Lyons church bore Greek names. Irenaeus, originally of Asia Minor and representing the Eastern tradition, was a living bond between Asia and Gaul Furthermore, the church at Lyons used the Greek language, though the mother tongue of most of the population was a Celtic dialect.

During the early summer of 177 CE, feeling among the populace of Lyons gradually seethed up against the Christians. First they were banned from the baths and the market places; later they were excluded from all public places. Then, at a moment when the provincial governor was away from the city, the mob broke loose. Christians were assaulted, beaten, and stoned. After the governor had returned, a public trial of the Christians was ordered. The governor ordered the Roman citizens to be beheaded and the rest to be exposed to the beasts in the amphitheater.

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