What did Qaudratus of Athens teach?

He is the first Christian apologist and is counted as one of the 70 Apostles in the Eastern Orthodox churches and was a friend of the Apostles according to Eusebius of Caesarea.  He would have known John and by style of writing he was directly influenced by John and Paul’s writings. He wrote an apology (argument for) letter to Roman Emporer Hadrian when he came and visited Qaudratus’ city.  Eusebius had an copy of his letter and stated he was very orthodox with the other Apostles.  Eusebius then quotes him:
But the works of our Saviour were always present, for they were
genuine:— those that were healed, and those that were raised from the
dead, who were seen not only when they were healed and when they were
raised, but were also always present; and not merely while the Saviour
was on earth, but also after his death, they were alive for quite a
while, so that some of them lived even to our day.”
  Eusebius called him a “man of understanding and of Apostolic faith.” and Jerome supported the apostolic connection, calling him “disciple of the apostles”.  The author who wrote against the Montanists used Quadratus as an example of a true prophet of the church.  He was the bishop of Athens and according to Jerome he was martyred by locals who hated Christians; he died around 129AD.

What Did He Write?

His Apology seems to have survived until 6th cent.,
for several passages were quoted in controversy between the monk Andrew and Eusebius.  According to P. Andriessen and supported by Michael W. Holmes, Qaudratus is the author of the Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus.  “Mathetes” literally means “a disciple”.  The subject and ideas used are very similar to Johannine and Pauline style and is the earliest copy of an apologetic writing dated around the time of his death. An ancient manuscript of Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus was burned in 1870 but fortunately it was published and printed in the 16th century.

What Did He Teach?

Key Teachings:

  • God’s Sovereignty in Salvation, Grace alone
  • God’s Omniscience
  • God’s calling and election
  • Anti-legalism
  • Diversity & Equality in the church
  • Total Depravity
  • Saved by Faith in Christs works, Justification
  • The Word theology
  • Deity of Jesus
  • Jesus the Son of God
  • Limited Atonement 
  • Apostolic Authority & Lineage

Sovereignty of God
Chp1.  I
cordially welcome this thy desire, and I implore God, who enables us both to
speak and to hear, to grant to me so to speak,…we
might through the power of God be made able…you shall know
those things which the Word teaches, by whom He wills, and when He pleases…For
whatever things we are moved to utter by the will of the Word commanding us

when our wickedness had reached
its height, and it had been clearly shown that its reward, punishment and death,
was impending over us; and when the time had come which God had before appointed
for manifesting His own kindness and power,

the Christians do not observe the same forms of divine worship as do
the Jews. The Jews, then, if they abstain from the kind of service above
described, and deem it proper to worship one God as being Lord of all, [are
right]; but if they offer Him worship in the way which we have described, they
greatly err. 

Levatical Law & Jewish Observances
He that made
heaven and earth, and all that is therein, and gives to us all the things of
which we stand in need, certainly requires none of those things which He Himself
bestows on such as think of furnishing them to Him. But those who imagine that,
by means of blood, and the smoke of sacrifices and burnt-offerings, they offer
sacrifices [acceptable] to Him, and that by such honours they show Him
respect,–these, by supposing that they can give anything to Him who stands in
need of nothing… their scrupulosity concerning meats, and their superstition as
respects the Sabbaths, and their boasting about circumcision, and their fancies
about fasting and the new moons, which are utterly ridiculous and unworthy of

to glory in the circumcision of
the flesh as a proof of election, and as if, on account of it, they were
specially beloved by God

Diversity & Equality
the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor
language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of
their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked
out by any singularity.


inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of
them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to
clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their
wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. They dwell in their own
countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with
others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to
them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of

They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not
destroy their offspring

Social Justice
They obey the prescribed laws, and at
the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are
persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and
restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all
things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured, and yet in their very
dishonour are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they
are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay the insult with honour;
they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers.

Sin Nature
flesh hates the soul, and wars against it, though itself suffering no injury,
because it is prevented from enjoying pleasures; the world also hates the
Christians, though in nowise injured, because they abjure pleasures. The soul
loves the flesh that hates it, and [loves also] the members; Christians likewise
love those that hate them. The soul is imprisoned in the body, yet preserves
that very body; and Christians are confined in the world as in a prison, and yet
they are the preservers of the world. The immortal soul dwells in a mortal
tabernacle; and Christians dwell as sojourners in corruptible [bodies], looking
for an incorruptible dwelling in the heavens…Having
therefore convinced us in the former time that our nature was unable to attain
to life

Saved by Grace, not works & Depravity
this was no mere earthly invention which was delivered to
them, nor is it a mere human system of opinion, which they judge it right to
preserve so carefully, nor has a dispensation of mere human mysteries been
committed to them, but truly God Himself, who is almighty, the Creator of all
things, and invisible, has sent from heaven, and placed among men, [Him who is]
the truth… so that being convinced in
that time of our unworthiness of attaining life through our own works, it should
now, through the kindness of God, be vouchsafed to us; and having made it
manifest that in ourselves we were unable to enter into the kingdom of God…Having
therefore convinced us in the former time that our nature was unable to attain
to life

Christs Works alone in Faith
God Himself, who is almighty, the Creator of all
things, and invisible, has sent from heaven, and placed among men, [Him who is]
the truth, and the holy and incomprehensible Word, and has firmly established
Him in their hearts…This [messenger] He sent to them.
Was it then, as one might conceive, for the purpose of exercising tyranny, or of
inspiring fear and terror? By no means, but under the influence of clemency and
meekness. As a king sends his son, who is also a king, so sent He Him; as God He
sent Him; as to men He sent Him; as a Saviour He sent Him…And He has manifested Himself through faith, to which alone it
is given to behold God.

Deity of Jesus & Son of God
God Himself, who is almighty, the Creator of all
things, and invisible, has sent from heaven, and placed among men, [Him who is]
the truth, and the holy and incomprehensible Word.  He did not, as one might have imagined, send to men any
servant, or angel, or ruler, or any one of those who bear sway over earthly
things, or one of those to whom the government of things in the heavens has been
entrusted, but the very Creator and Fashioner of all things–by whom He made the
heavens…This does
not seem to be the work of man: this is the power of God; these are the
evidences of His manifestation…and no man has either seen Him, or made Him known, but He has
revealed Himself…He revealed and laid open, through His beloved Son, the things
which had been prepared from the beginning,…He was
aware, then, of all things in His own mind, along with His Son, according to the
relation subsisting between them…He
sent His only-begotten Son

Limited Atonement 
He Himself took on Him the burden of our iniquities, He gave His own Son as
a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors, the blameless One for the
wicked, the righteous One for the unrighteous, the incorruptible One for the
corruptible, the immortal One for them that are mortal…that the wickedness of many should be hid in a single righteous
One, and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors!

what other thing was
capable of covering our sins than His righteousness? By what other one was it
possible that we, the wicked and ungodly, could be justified, than by the only
Son of God?

Christs Second coming
For He will yet send Him to judge us, and who shall
endure His appearing?

He permitted us to be borne along by
unruly impulses, being drawn away by the desire of pleasure and various lusts.
This was not that He at all delighted in our sins, but that He simply endured
therefore convinced us in the former time that our nature was unable to attain
to life

Christian Living
he who takes upon himself the
burden of his neighbour; he who, in whatsoever respect he may be superior, is
ready to benefit another who is deficient; he who, whatsoever things he has
received from God, by distributing these to the needy, becomes a god to those
who receive [his benefits]: he is an imitator of God. Then thou shalt see, while
still on earth, that God in the heavens rules over [the universe]; then thou
shall begin to speak the mysteries of God; 

Apostolic Authority & Lineage
I do not speak of things strange to me, nor do I aim at anything inconsistent
with right reason; but having been a disciple of the Apostles,…I minister the things delivered to me to those that are
disciples worthy of the truth. For who that is rightly taught and begotten by
the loving Word, would not seek to learn accurately the things which have been
clearly shown by the Word to His disciples, to whom the Word being manifested
has revealed them, speaking plainly [to them], not understood indeed by the
unbelieving, but conversing with the disciples, who, being esteemed faithful by
Him, acquired a knowledge of the mysteries of the Father? For which s reason He
sent the Word, that He might be manifested to the world; and He, being despised
by the people [of the Jews], was, when preached by the Apostles..the grace of the prophets is known, and the faith of
the gospels is established, and the tradition of the Apostles is preserved, and
the grace of the Church exults

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