Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 239: Jerome, Pelagius, and Demetriada
Jerome, Pelagius, and Demetriada
The universal admiration for Demetriada’s decision brought commentary from the most prominent members of the Church.1 They rightly believed they should employ their voices to instruct and strengthen her in so generous a resolve. We can judge what must have been the discourses of others no longer extant by Jerome’s extant letter of 414.2 He attributed her decision to the continual prayers and repeated requests of this maiden’s mother and grandmother whom he knew only by the eyes of faith. Likely Proba and Juliana themselves requested of others instructions for their daughter.
Among Jerome’s various counsels was an earnest recommendation to attach herself to the faith of Pope Innocent and avoid falling into the trap of those who, after having been confounded by Pope Anastasius, were re-establishing themselves and secretly spreading the poison of their doctrine in the West. Several reasons lead us to believe Jerome is referring to the Pelagians whom he habitually sees as descendants of the Origenists. He considers their heresy as relating to the pre-existence of souls. Origen committed this error but Pelagians were not accused of it.
It is difficult to believe Proba did not request a work from Augustine. He informs Juliana that if Demetriada wanted something for her profession she had only to read De uirginitate.3 It is unknown whether this work satisfied them.
Pelagius set out to mingle his voice with those...
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