Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Article 325: Heraclius (1)
Severus, bishop of Mileve, was Augustine’s close friend.1 He died in 426. Before his death Severus designated his successor, but instead of speaking to the people as he would seemingly be proper, he believed it sufficient to declare his successor before his clergy. Because of this method, after his death trouble arose among the people. As a result, the brothers (apparently clerics) and the servants of God (monks) asked Augustine to keep the peace. By his mercy God aided Augustine and, although some people were discontent that Severus had not made them part of his plan, their sadness turned to joy when they realized who the bishop designate was. They willingly accepted him and he was ordained in peace and content.
Augustine reflected on this incident and the frequent troubles in other churches after a bishop’s death because of ambition in some or a conscientious spirit in others. He resolved to look for and then name his successor. He judged at seventy-two he was not likely to live much longer. The Church had in later times prohibited naming a successor. In indifferent matters, the Church should fear dangerous consequences but approve useful methods. Augustine acted with the good of the Church in view and certainly would not have named a successor who possessed a spirit of ambition or self-interest.
For this purpose he chose Heraclius named last for some reason among Hippo’s clergy. Apparently, he was a young...