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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 323: Apiarius




426 A.D.

Apparently in 426 and certainly after 423, the Council of Africa wrote to Pope Celestine concerning appeals to Rome. They probably would not have written at the beginning of the year in which Celestine was elected. If the letter had been written in April, 423, the bishops would have complimented to the pope on his promotion, as Augustine did when he wrote him concerning Anthony of Fussale. The subject of the council’s letter gives reason to believe Celestine had been governing some time. Honorius had died in August, 423 and John’s usurpation troubled the west until July, 425. Problems of imperial authority doubtless had broken Roman commerce with Africa. Count Boniface supported Placidia. This relationship obliged John to send troops to Africa on a useless mission. The war against the Vandals erupted again in 427 in Africa. Neither Augustine nor Celestine would see its end. If John‘s revolt were not considered, the council could be dated in 424 when Augustine spent April, May, and June at Carthage.

Apiarius was the occasion of the beginning and end of this celebrated dispute between Rome and Africa. In 419, Apiarius had been re-established in the priesthood through Faustinus, bishop of Potentia and legate of Zosimus, upon the condition he left the church of Sicca and moved to another.2 Evidently he went to Tabraca in Proconsular. There he was accused of criminal activity again and was excommunicated. Instead of attempting...

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