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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 324: Appeals to Rome



Appeals to Rome

After the African bishops had so sadly concluded the Apiarius affair they sent the result together with the acts to the pope.2 The bishops indicated in no uncertain terms their displeasure over his absolution of Apiarius. They pleaded even more strongly against Faustinus. They wanted to assure themselves of papal probity and moderation and that Faustinus would no longer harass Africa. It would wound fraternal charity to act otherwise.

They spoke in detail on the subject of appeals to Rome. Zosimus had claimed the power as neighboring bishop to know the affairs of the African clergy and to receive juridically as bishop of Rome episcopal appeals. This right was founded on two canons of the Council of Sardica cited by him as from the council of Nicea. The canons of these two councils were not well distinguished in the Roman Code. The African bishops did not find these canons among the canons of the Council of Nicea. They sent a legate to consult the Eastern churches and promised the pope to cede to him the right to receive episcopal appeals until verification of the canon cited by the pope and confirmation of the canon in the acts of the Council of Nicea. If the right were not found there the African bishops would decide in council on appropriate action. As for priests as the canon of Sardica could easily be understood to concern only provincial bishops this sense could...

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