Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Article 225: Council of Zerte
Council of Zerte
After Augustine had written his long letter to the Donatists, the Council of Cirrta (according to the Leuven edition) or Zerte (according to all other manuscripts) was held.1 There were two cities of this name in Africa, one in Proconsular and another doubtless in Numidia. In the conference Gaudentius and Salustus were called Donatist bishops of Zerte; at the same time Petilianus was Donatist bishop of Cirrta.2 The diocese of Gaudentius was not a Catholic bishopric. Perhaps the Council of Zerte was held to appoint a Catholic bishop there.
Nothing about this council is known other than the letter written to the Donatists.3 Donatist bishops had told their congregations the Catholics had bribed the judge (Marcellinus) at the conference. Thus he was obligated to pronounce in their favor. Such a ridiculous calumny should not have prevented the people from turning to the truth. Nothing was stronger in destroying this calumny than the acts of the conference.4 At the conference the Donatists had produced many documents against themselves. Even if Marcellinus were capable of being bribed, it still would have been impossible for him not to condemn them.
Some laity could not read the acts of the conference; their length hindered even those who were literate.5 The conciliar fathers believed they ought to indicate to their people the important matters accomplished in the conference in an abridgement of the acts. Such an abridgement would contribute to the salvation...