Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 291: Celestine, Sixtus, and Arians
Celestine, Sixtus, and Arians
Albinus, the acolyte, carried Letter 193 to Mercator and Letter 192 to the deacon Celestine. The latter had written Augustine through the notary Projectus. This notary had come to Hippo when Augustine was in Caesarean Mauretania. Upon his return Augustine read Celestine’s letter and responded at his earliest convenience through Albinus. His letter is a compliment to their friendship. The same circumstances and the same porter are encountered in this letter, Letter 193 to Mercator, and Letter 191 to Sixtus. Celestine was apparently a deacon in Rome and became Pope Boniface in 423. Augustine wrote him respectfully. Sixtus was apparently a Roman priest at that time.1 He used his authority to fight the opponents of grace by fear as Augustine was combating them by teaching. Augustine’s short letter was joyfully received. Sixtus had written to Aurelius while the Council of Carthage (418) was in session.
Later Sixtus wrote a longer letter. There he expressed clearly and at some length his thinking and the thinking of the Roman church on Pelagian teaching. Against them he clearly defended the teaching on grace.2 This letter was addressed to Augustine and Alypius and was carried by Firmus, a priest whom Augustine calls a holy and faithful courier of this correspondence. He had carried Sixtus’ letters to Augustine and had witnessed the former’s conduct as a historian. Firmus was a Manichean convert, a former merchant ordained outside of Africa. Augustine was not at...