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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 315: Anthony, Bishop of Fussale



Anthony, Bishop of Fussale

Baronius dates the death of Pope Boniface on October 25, 423, and the election of Celestine as his successor on November 3 of the same year.1 These events are difficult to date but it is at least probable Boniface died on September 4, 422 and that Celestine succeeded him in the same year. This obliges us to date 422 as the beginning of the saga of Anthony of Fussale, one of the more memorable events of Augustine’s life.

Fussale was a market town near Hippo, sixteen leagues from the city itself but in the same diocese.2 Fussale had never had a bishop until Augustine’s time. He reports miracles there during his episcopacy after the conversion of Maximus of Sinite in 405.

Hesperus, a tribune living in Hippo, governed the territory of Fussale [Zubedi]. He saw evil spirits tormenting his slaves and cattle and asked our priests in my absence that someone go there to evict them by prayer. One of them went and offered the sacrifice of the mass and prayed earnestly to stop this vexing problem. By God’s mercy it immediately ceased.3

Through a friend in Jerusalem, Hesperus had received a piece of earth from Christ’s tomb. He hung it in his room lest a demon attack it. After delivery from this infestation he thought of what to do with this piece of earth. Out of respect he no longer wished to keep...

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