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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 295: Pardon of Apiarius



Pardon of Apiarius

So far as is known the Council of Carthage (419) did not deal with the Apiarius affair. Certainly the matter was concluded before the African bishops wrote to Boniface.2 It was settled by common consent. Urban, Apiarius’ bishop, corrected his initial judgment without objection. His procedural defect against Apiarius could have prejudiced the issue. After Urban’s change, Apiarius asked pardon for his sins and was re-established in communion and the priesthood at the insistence of Faustinus.3 To provide for peace and security in the Church in the future as well as the present and lest a similar or even greater disorder than this occur, the African bishops judged it appropriate to remove Apiarius from the church at Sicca. This disorder had given rise to scandal. The council gave Apiarius a letter of communion to exercise the priesthood where and when he would and could be received. Apiarius formally requested this letter and it was quickly given him. This arrangement was the agreement reached between the sentence condemning Apiarius and Zosimus’ judgment returning him to communion.4

As all matters had then been settled, the council as a body wrote Boniface an account of what had occurred5 including what had happened on the Apiarius affair. The African bishops told him, albeit obscurely, they had written to the East to obtain the true canons of Nicea. They requested the pope also write to the East and communicate to the Africans what he...

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