Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 339: Quoduultdeus; Honoratus
Most admirably Augustine’s personal pain over the evils in Africa did not diminish his faith and episcopal generosity. His sentiments appear in a letter to Quoduultdeus.1 This bishop had consulted him concerning prelates’ moral obligations during these misfortunes. Could they leave their people and retreat to avoid peril? Augustine responded in a few words containing the instruction Quoduultdeus required. He should not prevent the laity wishing to leave for safer places, but bishops should not abandon their churches nor break the chains of Christian love linking them to their ministry. Since their presence was necessary, bishops should do nothing other than deliver themselves over to God’s will and trust in his help.
Bishop Honoratus is called a holy man by Possidius. Later he requested the same guidance for bishops and clerics telling Augustine he did not see remaining in these cities could bear any other fruit, neither for themselves nor for others, than being spectators at human death, violence to women, and destruction of churches.2 They would only be exposing themselves to death by torture which barbarians would compel them to suffer so as to oblige Africans to give them gold or silver which in fact they did not possess. Augustine had already sent a letter to Quoduultdeus, but Honoratus found this letter insufficient since Christ had commanded flight and had practiced it himself.3 Augustine wrote Letter 228. Possidius calls this letter necessary and useful for the conduct of prelates...