Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 237: Demetriada and Augustine
Demetriada and Augustine
Augustine first came to know Proba and Juliana through their letters1 and later he met them. In them he saw religious Catholics and genuine members of the body of Christ. No doubt these meetings took place in 411 during his trips to Carthage. He spread the seed of salutary instruction from divine inspiration in their hearts. They received it not as the word of man but the word of God himself, as in fact it was.
Through the grace of God Augustine’s exhortations produced fruit in that house. Shortly after he left Carthage, Demetriada profited from his instruction and professed virginity. She preferred a chaste and heavenly union with Christ to the earthly spouse selected for her. Augustine speaks for himself and Alypius when he says they had exhorted Demetriada to embrace virginity. Augustine’s reward is not diminished in sharing it with his intimate friend.
Jerome reports details of Demetriada’s activity.2 He had spiritually formed the family of distinguished and holy ladies. These ladies were obliged to leave Gaul because of the havoc instigated apparently by the Goths who entered Gaul in 412. They settled in Jerusalem. They passed through Africa where they saw Demetriada. Jerome writes of Demetriada’s frame of mind from the time God touched her heart through Augustine’s exhortations: