Polycrates insisted that all believers should do as the Scriptures said, rather than accept a man-made tradition.

We observe the exact day; neither

adding, nor taking away. For in Asia

also great lights have fallen asleep,

which shall rise again on the day of

the Lord’s coming, when he shall

come with glory from heaven, and

shall seek out all the saints. Among

these are Philip, one of the twelve

apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis;

and his two aged virgin daughters, and

another daughter, who lived in the

Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus;

and, moreover, John, who was both a

witness and a teacher, who reclined

upon the bosom of the Lord, and,

being a priest, wore the sacerdotal

plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus. And

Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop

and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and

martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep

in Smyrna. Why need I mention the

bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell

asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed

Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who

lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and

who lies in Sardis, awaiting the

episcopate from heaven, when he shall

rise from the dead? All these observed

the fourteenth day of the Passover

according to the Gospel, deviating in

no respect, but following the rule of

faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least

of you all, do according to the tradition

of my relatives, some of whom I have

closely followed. For seven of my

relatives were bishops; and I am the

eighth. And my relatives always

observed the day when the people put

away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren,

who have lived sixty-five years in the

Lord, and have met with the brethren

throughout the world, and have gone

through every Holy Scripture, am not

affrighted by terrifying words. For

those greater than I have said ‘We

ought to obey God rather than man’.

[Eusebius, Church History, Book V,

Chapter 24. Translated by Arthur

Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from

Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers,

Series Two, Volume 1.]

Despite the fact that the assemblies of Asia had

learned to keep Passover on the Hebrew calendar, the

Roman Bishop Victor decided to excommunicate every

assembly which did not agree to hold the Passover on

a Sunday, on the Roman calendar. While this greatly

displeased many of the other bishops (who knew what

Polycrates was saying to be true) the power of the

Roman bishopric prevailed over Scripture. As sad as it

was, unity was preserved in the church, albeit on false

pretenses, and on false festival days. The practice of

holding the Passover on the 14th of Nisan (on the

Hebrew calendar) was ultimately driven underground,

and countless seminary students have since been

taught that the Quartodeciman Controversy was merely

one example of the right of the Church to change the

festival days away from the commanded in Scripture.

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