Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 238: Demetriada
Proba and her sister Juliana informed Augustine of Demetriada’s resolution and sent him this gift of herself as a mark of the solemnity of her consecration.1 They assured him that this divine gift was the result of his efforts and exhortations.2 Their letter reached him before the report of Demetriada’s intentions had spread; Augustine was pleased to be assured of such good news.3 He might have doubted its truth had he learned of it by rumor. In his return letter to Proba and Juliana his joy over this miracle of grace can be easily seen.4
Proba and Juliana regarded Demetriada as a brilliant light of splendor for their family.5 They concerned themselves almost exclusively with her, encouraging her with attentiveness to fulfill the obligations of her state worthily. Proba had more care and solicitude for Juliana and Demetriada than for herself, but more for Demetriada than for her mother.6 According to Jerome it was common knowledge that Proba and Juliana had turned over to Demetriada the wealth they had set aside for her marriage so as not to offend Christ, her divine spouse, by giving her to him with less wealth than an earthly spouse would have received.7 She could use what she would have used for secular expenses for the subsistence of the servants of God. The reason she sold the family estates was a generosity all the more praiseworthy because it was opposed to the faults of others.