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The Life of Augustine of Hippo

Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)

Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren

The seventeenth century was the century of Saint Augustine. In 1695, Louis Sébastien, Le Nain de Tillemont, finished volume 13 of his Mémoires ecclésiastique, entitled La vie de saint Augustin. The volume consisted of approximately 1200 pages wherein Louis Sébastien gathered from the works of Augustine and elsewhere all extant passages relevant to the biography of Augustine of Hippo. Completed in 1695, the biography was published posthumously in 1700. The work lies in the tradition of Jansenism from Port-Royal and the Leuven. Though an ascetic recluse on the family estate for the last twenty years of his life, he was in touch with important French scholars and the ecclesiastical movements of his time. Louis’ work is the first modern biography of Augustine and the most comprehensive of all Augustinian biographies, even today. Modern authors consult him and frequently adopt his theories without citation. His method exercises influence on contemporary Parisian scholarship on Augustine. This English translation has been divided into three volumes covering three time periods: part 1: birth to episcopal consecration (354–396); part 2: the Donatist controversy (396–411); part 3: the Pelagian controversy (411–430).
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Article 257: Pope Zosimus and the Gallic Bishops



Pope Zosimus and the Gallic Bishops

John of Jerusalem’s reproaches to Orosius and Orosius‘ Apologia where he speaks strongly against John and declares his severing communion with Pelagius became well known. Even if nothing else had occurred, these two matters would have violated the measures taken at the conference of Jerusalem. There it had been agreed over a deputation to the pope and silence until final papal judgment of the affair. Unsurprisingly Pelagius was denounced as a heretic by the bishops of Palestine.

Bishop Heros and Bishop Lazarus, both bishops from Gaul, became well known because of their denunciation of Pelagius.1 Pope Zosimus was surprised by those speaking against Pelagius and Caelestius and treated those badly who denounced them. He called Heros and Lazarus two pests disturbing ecclesial harmony and tranquility by fantasies and tempests which left no one in peace. “It would be strange were they to have no difficulty in attacking through false letters a layman who had served God for a long time with brilliant virtue (that is Pelagius). These bishops had awakened thunder in the Church and used many of their brothers and colleagues in the episcopacy.”2

Zosimus’ anger soon fell personally upon Lazarus. Zosimus says of him he customarily lied about the innocent and in several councils was recognized as a diabolical accuser of Brice, bishop of Tours. Lazarus had been condemned as a calumniator in the Council of Turino by Proculius of Marseilles...

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