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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 285: Pelagius’ Condemnation and Exile



Pelagius’ Condemnation and Exile

Astonishingly neither Augustine nor Prosper knew of another important declaration made by the Eastern Church in favor of the truth and against Pelagius. He had earlier been apparently absolved by the Council of Diospolis because of his deception.2 He was pursued by his accusers prior to another council where Theodosius, bishop of Antioch, presided. Pelagius could not hide from this council. He was clearly convicted of heresy and exiled from Jerusalem. Mercator tells us of this significant event. To this purpose he cites the letters of Theodosius and Prayle, bishop of Jerusalem. They may have assisted at the council and then written the pope.

Surely the accusers of Pelagius were Heros and Lazarus, his only declared denouncers. Mercator had spoken of them previously but not by name. Their personal interest and the interest of the Church had brought them to request justice from the church of Antioch. The beginning of the Council of Theodosius can not be dated prior to 417, probably toward the end of the year. Jerome may be speaking of Pelagius when he writes: “The new Cataline had been exiled from the city of Jerusalem, not by human power, but by the will of Christ alone. It was painful that many of his associates had remained at Joppé with Lentulus.”3

Silicy lies in the patriarchate of Antioch. The Pelagians were condemned there in a provincial council. Theodore of Mopsuestia, who served as...

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