Translated from the original by Costas Balomenos
The Christians was believed about themselves that they are the new Israel (=people of salvation), Israel of God, that guided by the spirit and the grace˙ that they are not citizens of the Roman Empire, but they constitute a new nation – certainly within its territory – for this reason moreover was praying for the stability of the state and its Governor. They (for the Romans) were saying that they are alien residents and pilgrims - as highlighted very nicely in letter to Diogniton - in this world, for which they believed that will soon be elapsed because it was going to come the Second Coming of the Lord...
This faith, i.e. for a rapid return of the Lord, largely determined and configuration of their lifestyle, and their difference from the Gentiles (idolaters) was distinguishable and evident. But from the middle of the second century, the moral rigor of the first Christians began to decline and so the distance from the Gentiles has started to ease enough. And it happened because many who were coming anymore to Christianity they had secular mindset that do not abandon it, by entering in this, but on the other hand there were many Christians who were forgotten the spirit of renunciation of the world. But it should not be considered that the effect of faith was ceasing completely in their lives, because in fact this effect was remaining significant.
The marriage, from a simple contract that it was, was refined by the spirit of Christian morality and the divorce strictly was banned, except of course in case of adultery, according to the word of the Lord in the Sermon on the Mount. The Church was blessing the marriage, without yet a special service of marriage, and disapproved the second marriage as well as the marriage to an unbeliever, i.e. a National (an idolater).
During this era, the Christians were distinguished for the manifestation of their love towards others, especially to the poor, the destitute, the widows and the orphans with works, a fact that Tertullian emphasized to the Gentiles: "Our philanthropy gives more in the streets, despite as many as gives your religion in the churches." So were visiting and were helping the sick and the poor in their homes, the witnesses who were closeted in prisons, they were accepting the foreigners and hosted them in their homes. In the temples, were mobilizing voluntarily money and food which later for distribution to thosewas in need. Also they were collecting money for specific purposes, such as the liberation of prisoners, sometimes even without distinguishing if those prisoners were Christians or pagans. Other Christians have made generous donations, such as for example Marcion, who later became a heretic of the Church, who was a wealthy ship owner and gave 200 sistertious – remarkable amount for that time - when he entered in the Church of Rome. Also, Cyprian the bishop of Carthage, who after his baptism and his entrance in Christianity, he distributed the bulk of his possessions. Various financially robust Christian churches, by imitating the apostle Paul, who applied the famous "logies", i.e. fundraisers for alleviating of poor community of Jerusalem, by showing their solidarity by helping financially the Christian churches who were suffering. Also, all churches were showing special care for widows and unprotected orphans˙ from testimonies that we have, for instance in Rome, we are informed that in 250 AD were fed by the Church on a daily basis around 1500 poor. In the service of this love were employed widows and virgins˙ but also the bishop, after a mention of his deacon, repeatedly he was visiting those who were sick and helpless. Indeed, the Church of Carthage was distinguished for the care of patients and the burying the dead, like the Christians of Alexandria, when pestilence was presented in North Africa and Egypt.
From the Church were condemned various pageants, which were considered as "procession of the devil", such as the duels and the beast fights, the tragedies, the comedies and the mimes, and was forbidden to Christians to visit the theaters and the Hippodrome. Also the slightly merriment, dancing and gambling were considered as secular and inappropriately to Christians. Professions that in any way were connected with the above, received the disapproval of the Church, like this of the gladiator, of the actor and others that they had close contact with idolatry. Therefore, those who were exercising these professions and was going to be baptized Christians ought to have abandon immediately. The Church was skeptical and guarded in two professions that were relating closely to idolatry: of the soldier and of the state employee.
The attitude of the Church was negative for the cosmetics and the adornment of women. Tertullian was saying that those of them are not natural do not come from God the Creator, but – by the other party - of this, i.e. from the devil, who distorts the nature. Likewise was rejecting the colored fabrics, the carpets etc., by arguing that God did not create red or blue sheep. The same was saying for coloring hair, coloring of eyes and face, the headdress, the false hair (wig), which – for him – probably came from the head of someone who was destined about hell, the shaving and hairdressing of men or the habit that had at that time, i.e. to cut, dye and perfume the hair. All this was quite difficult for Christians and especially for women, because the habit of society was requiring these, particularly the circle of those Christian women, who were married with idolater husbands.
John E. Anastasiou: Ecclesiastical History 1975