Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 342: Maximus, Elpidius, and Felicianus
Maximus, Elpidius, and Felicianus
Augustine had written against the Arian heresy on several occasions. His dispute with Count Pascentius2 and Contra sermones Arianorum are among these writings. The letters to Maximus and Elpidius also concern Arianism.
The physician Maximus was involved in Arianism over a long period.3 He had persuaded other members of his family to fall into this heresy. Members of this sect were accustomed to assemble in his house. Manuscripts report him as a Eunomian, the most impious of the Arians, from Thenes, Byzacena.4 God would deliver him from this error in his old age and reunite him to the Catholic Church in the presence of Augustine and Alypius.5 Without doubt they contributed to this conversion and rejoiced with the people of God. Apparently Maximus was zealous in gathering his dependents and those he had formerly misled to the truth. The Catholic community had hoped these Arians would follow him back to the fold. Augustine and Alypius wrote Peregrinus, the bishop where Maximus lived, to apprize him of the conversion. They received a satisfactory response concerning Maximus, though not of his family. Augustine and Alypius wrote Maximus directly, exhorting him to work zealously for the conversion of his family, to press them, and to pray for them and the others formerly accustomed to assemble in his house to lead them to the Church. In the remainder of the letter they dealt with the mystery of the Trinity to strengthen his...