Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 284: Pelagian Requests for an Ecumenical Council
Pelagian Requests for an Ecumenical Council
The Pelagian bishops appealed for an ecumenical council. In effect they addressed Honorius and requested ecclesiastical judges to examine their case.1 They claimed their condemnation had taken them by surprise and they were punished without being informed of their guilt. Count Valerius opposed their requests. Augustine apparently learned of this appeal toward the middle of 418.2 The Pelagians had asked for an ecumenical council after they had been condemned by both Honorius and Zosimus.
Evidently Zosimus had indicated the request of the Pelagian bishops to Honorius in a letter of October 3, 418.3 He advised the priests and deacons he had sent to Ravenna to see the emperor to look for those whom the Apostolic See had anathematized. They should be careful not to allow them to trouble the Church by their audacity. “As for those united with them, after your return we shall see how they should be treated.” The remainder of the letter concerns Roman priests who had risen up against the pope.4 The dissident Romans had solicited the imperial court against him by a damaging letter. Apparently they had been received badly at the court. The pope sent a decree to his legates and declared these priests excommunicated. The legates reported this excommunication to them. According to Baronius, these priests were Pelagians.5
Valerius’ reputation and reasoning triumphed over Pelagian importunity.6 He prevented the emperor from assigning a time and place for...