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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 292: Apiarius




The Apiarius affair began In 418.2 Apiarius was a priest of Sicca in Proconsular whose ordination, deposition, and appeal would cause trouble in Sicca and the whole of Africa. Nothing is known of his ordination. He was found guilty of several faults, was defrocked, and excommunicated by Urbanus, bishop of Sicca and disciple of Augustine. Urbanus himself may have erred in the judicial process of excommunication.3

Apiarius appealed his excommunication to the pope, although several African councils, and in particular this council of 418, had prohibited such action.4 No ecclesiastical canon authorizes such an appeal.5 The Council of Nicea had ordered such ecclesiastical affairs to be settled in the respective provinces, not by papal appeal. Baronius believes with great likelihood Zosimus received Apiarius’ appeal and re-established him in communion and the priesthood.6 According to a contemporary author Zosimus sent Faustinus to Africa partially to justify his actions in the eyes of the African bishops.7 The Africans pleaded that, in receiving Apiarius, the pope had violated ecclesiastical discipline. Church rules do not allow one bishop to admit to communion someone who had been excommunicated by his own bishop.8 Some believe the pope, as a neighboring bishop. claimed the right to participate in the affair from some council’s decree,9 perhaps a canon of the Council of Sardica.10 However, little likelihood exists that this canon gave the pope such a right.11

Certainly Zosimus sent Faustinus to Africa.12 Faustinus was bishop of...

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