Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 278: Council of Africa (417)
Council of Africa (417)
In all likelihood after Aurelius had received Zosimus’ letter concerning Caelestius, he sent a request to the bishops of Proconsular and the neighboring provinces of Numidia and Byzacena to assemble in Carthage to determine their response in so important an affair.2 When the nearest bishops had arrived, Aurelius wrote Zosimus to request he do nothing rash. The other bishops arrived and formed a council of two hundred and fourteen. According to Prosper the council preceded the condemnation of Caelestius by Zosimus.3 Several times Augustine calls it the Council of Africa.4 It was composed of several, but not all African provinces. This state of affairs causes Augustine to distinguish it from a general council.5
This council took place in Carthage.6 Zosimus responded on March 21, 418 to the bishops of the Council of Carthage. Apparently this council was held at the beginning of November, 417. The sub-deacon Marcellinus who carried the resolutions to the pope was prepared to depart on November 8. However, the council could have been concluded only some time later because of the importance of the necessary resolutions and the preparation of written pieces to be sent to Rome.
In this council decrees were enacted against the Pelagians.7 Decrees were approved to be embraced by Rome and the emperors Honorius and Arcadius. According to Prosper one of these decrees of the two hundred and fourteen council fathers declared that the grace which God accords...