“O Florinus, this teaching is not that transmitted to us by the ancients, the disciples of the apostles. I used to behold thee at the side of Polykarp; though shining at court thou didst none the less seek to be pleasing unto him. I was then but a child, yet the things that happened at that time are more vivid in my recollection than those of yesterday; for indeed childhood’s memories form, as it were, a part of the very soul; they grow with her. I could point out the very spot where sat blessed Polykarp while he conversed with us; I could describe exactly his bearing, his address, his manner of life, his every feature, and the discourses he made to the crowd. Thou remembers how he used to tell us of his intercourse with John and the rest of those that had seen the Lord, and with what a faithful memory he repeated their words; what he had learnt from them respecting our Lord, his miracles, his doctrine, all these things Polycarp transmitted to us, as having himself received them from the very men that had beheld with their eyes the Word of life; all of what he told us was conformable to the Scriptures. What a grace from God were these conversations of his! I used to listen so eagerly, noting everything down, not on parchment, but on my heart; and now, by the grace of God, I still live on it all. Hence, I can attest before God, if the blessed apostolic old man had heard discourses such as thine he would have stopped his ears, saying, as was his wont: ‘O God most good, to what sort of times hast thou reserved us!’ Then would he have got up quickly, and would have fled from that place of blasphemy.”

~ St. Irenaeus, Epist. ad Florinum

If we are willing to believe in virgin births, resurrections, and multiplications of loaves, then why not the transmission and preservation of the Gospel in an unwritten form?

Sts. Peter and Paul, pray for us!

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