Donatist controversy. What is the donatist controversy? 2022-10-18

Donatist controversy Rating: 8,8/10 1710 reviews

The Donatist controversy was a schism that arose in the early Christian Church in the 4th century AD. It centered on the issue of the validity of sacraments performed by priests who had compromised their faith during the persecutions of the Roman Empire. The controversy was named after Donatus Magnus, a bishop from the Roman province of Africa, who was a leading proponent of the view that sacraments performed by these "traditors" (priests who had handed over sacred texts to the authorities during the persecutions) were invalid.

The Donatist movement originated in the aftermath of the Diocletianic Persecution, in which many Christians were forced to choose between renouncing their faith or facing severe punishment. Some priests, known as traditors, handed over sacred texts to the authorities in order to avoid torture or death. However, when the persecutions ended and these priests were allowed to return to their positions, they were met with resistance from some members of the Church.

The Donatists argued that the sacraments performed by these traditors were invalid because they had betrayed their faith. They believed that only those who had remained faithful to the Church during the persecutions were worthy of administering the sacraments. The Donatists also rejected the authority of the bishops who had ordained the traditors, arguing that they had betrayed the Church by ordaining unworthy candidates.

The Donatist controversy was one of the first significant divisions within the Christian Church, and it had significant consequences for the unity of the Church. The issue was a major factor in the decision by the Roman Empire to adopt Christianity as its official religion in the 4th century. The controversy was eventually resolved through a series of councils and decisions by Church leaders, and the Donatist movement ultimately faded away.

Despite the resolution of the controversy, the legacy of the Donatist movement remains significant in the history of the Christian Church. It serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding the integrity and purity of the Church, and the need to remain faithful to the teachings of Jesus in the face of persecution and temptation.

What is the donatist controversy?

donatist controversy

She has also no delight in any who disregard Donatist discipline, by receiving members who have been ejected from that body for sin. Proculeianus, however, expressed a perfect readiness to have a friendly debate with Augustin in the presence of competent men. In each he confesses to the error of placing the purgation of Felix after instead of before the vindication of Cæcilian. The bishop replies, c. From the condemnation of Athanasius and Julius by this document, Augustin, to whom it was new, concluded that this was an Arian council, and was only the more damaging to their theory. This official had carried them out with telling earnestness. Such a combination of factors did not exist anywhere else in the Empire; hence, the controversy to come was unique to northern Africa.

Next

Donatist

donatist controversy

Further along in the year, a Donatist presbyter had sent to Generosus an ordo Christianitatis, or episcopal succession of Constantina, his native city, asserting that it had been delivered by an angel from heaven. The history is repeated, and all proof of the Donatist charges declared to be wanting. The authorized acts of the council of 411 were too unwieldy for either general or popular use, and a compendium framed from them was too obscure; so Augustin, about the close of 411, determined to make a digest, called the Breviculus collationis cum Donatistis. Setting the Stage In the last decade of the 3rd century CE, Emperor Diocletian ordered persecutions of various groups he blamed for a wave of plagues and pestilences which had swept the western Empire and resulted in economic and social instability. Augustin then justifies the system of correction adopted in loving care for their salvation, not failing to remind them of the Circumcelliones and their own action with regard to the Maximianists.


Next

Donatist Controversy

donatist controversy

If so, says Augustin, then the ancestors of the Donatists would have perished. Augustin is constrained to confess that there are no persecutions recorded in the New Testament as inflicted by Christians, but explains the omission as due to the fact that rulers were not yet members of the Church. On a journey to Cirta, possibly about the beginning of 398 A. Augustin addresses those devoted to the unity, and says that when he came to the city on the day before yesterday he found Emeritus returned from a journey. These acts should be read for the cure of the minds which have been perverted. How then can this universality be limited? The Rogatist is not suffering for righteousness but for unrighteousness.

Next

The New Donatism

donatist controversy

Near the close of the century Augustine did take pains to reply to their venomous words. After Christians regained power, some believed that those who obeyed the state rather than become martyrs should not be allowed to hold church offices, and that included Felix. Augustin claims on the other hand that many are compelled to take the good office of a bishop against their will. When in 337 Constans, the son of Constantine, became emperor, he found the Donatists as much a nuisance as father had. He exhorts him to read the archives and see how the schismatics initiated the appeal to the secular power, and how all things that have befallen them through that arm would have been the just fate of the Cæcilianists, had the Donatist course been approved.

Next

A New Donatist Controversy?

donatist controversy

Furthermore, it would have been impossible for Christianity to spread to places where it is much needed if they could not go forward because of this issue. The Mandatum Catholicorum, a sort of voucher and letter of instruction for the disputants on the side of the State Church, was undoubtedly the product of Augustin's pen. A Gateway to Hell, a Gateway to Paradise. Donatus and his faction declared the lapsed clergy ineligible to perform the sacraments, and that any which they may have performed, were invalid. For an organization founded on the blood of martyrs, chief of them is their master and founder Jesus Christ, this act of cowardice in the face of death is something that is unacceptable. Your charges you are unable to substantiate, and yet you avoid all conference with us, as if to shun fellowship with sinners; a false pride, which is rebuked by Paul's conduct, by the Lord's in his treatment of Judas; the Lord held conference even with the devil. He pleads that present interests alone may be touched upon.

Next

Donatist Controversy

donatist controversy

Cyprian while still active in church was leaning towards the idea brought forward by Donatists yet interestingly he was unwilling to justify the necessity of any form of schism within the church. He would rather leave the archives and elucidate the doctrine, in which he claims to have the book of the world; that the Catholics are the Lord's inheritance; that they stand in fellowship with the churches of the New Testament; they are the light of the world. And today, similarly to these fools, we have many versions of folly as well. The explanation of the field not as the Church, but rather as the world outside of the Church, had been supported at the Conference and is repeated by Gaudentius; and also its alternative, that were the field the Church then it must have perished from the tares which were in it. He is ready to concede this, and in his controversy with the philologist will use that form, but on all other occasion he would prefer the more familiar termination.

Next

What Was Donatism and What Did Donatists Believe?

donatist controversy

Some of the passages are: Is. The party of Donatus is cut off from the historic root of the Oriental churches, and therefore cannot bring forth the fruits of peace and love; indeed it suppresses Christ by its rebaptism. The note of persecution being resumed, he maintained that there was no approved suffering unless for a just cause, and hence the justice of the cause must first be established. The chief burden is a criticism of the Acts, highly important in its place, but it must be passed by here save to remark that in speaking of Bishop Secundus, he suggests that it would have been better to appeal to the principalities of Rome or of some other apostolic church, than to have proceeded as he did; he should have preserved the unity at all hazards; had the case been inexplicable, he should have left it to God; if definable, he should have addressed the transmarine bishops, after finding that his peers at home could not adjust the difficulty; disobedience on the part of Cæcilian to such an order, would have made him the author of the schism; but now the Donatist altar is set up against the Universal Church. The point is, What does the Lord say? Since the Retractations place it before De Gestis Pelagii, and De Correctione Donatistarum, it was most likely written in the beginning of 417 A. Even Circumcelliones had become steadfast Catholics. It is true that they have found fault with our use of the State; and yet the Scriptures vindicate such a recourse, and the Donatists themselves appealed to Constantine.

Next

Donatism

donatist controversy

An acquaintance of earlier days in Carthage, Vincentius, had become bishop of the little Rogatist fragment as the immediate successor of Rogatus himself at Cartenna. This occurred at Constantina, when that city and region were largely Donatist. He traces his own change of views from the non-coercive to the coercive policy, the success of the method in hastening conversions won him wholly as an enthusiastic and persistent supporter. Solicitude over the opposition is expressed; some seem disposed to present a hindrance to the peaceful progress of the Conference; and yet the writers hope that the thought and suspicion may not prove true, but that the desire of the whole body may after all be to press into the unity of the Catholic Church. First, in spite of the acrimony and notoriously violent character of the Donatist controversy, there were some matters both sides consistently agreed upon. The Church Restored After Diocletian, the persecutions died down, and Christianity began to poke its head above ground once again to use a cliché.

Next

THE DONATIST CONTROVERSY

donatist controversy

Further, if the contact of evil men within the fellowship really defiles the good, then the Church perished in Cyprian's time; where could Donatus then have been spiritually born? The first part is mainly an endeavor to give the true significance of I Cor. Men were created with free will; they believe or disbelieve according to that. Catholics must seek for the stolen sheep that had on them the mark of Christ. Up to this time Optatus of Milevis had been the only forcible opponent. With this conception of the tendency of their tenets he further says against them, that the cleansing in baptism does not depend on the man. Public registration of the facts were made by Augustin, all the more because the reported instructions, given by bishop Proculeianus to his presbyter Victor concerning the affair, had already been denied.


Next

North Africa

donatist controversy

If they counted the surrender of the sacred books so great a sin, how much more grievous a transgression ought the refusal to obey the plain commands of these books as to unity be considered. Gaudentius had vindicated his reference to the tribune's letter, as to the Donatists having the names of God and of his Christ, and quoted the passage in proof. Unfortunately neither treatise has been preserved. Both were joined in one book, although apparently afterwards separated. He brings forward the usual array of passages to demonstrate the universality of the Church, and that any limitation of this note, can only be at the end of the world.

Next