Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 953
Caelestius, disciple of Pelagius wants to be ordained presbyter in Carthage (North Africa), but is not allowed to by the council in 411. Presbyter Orosius relates this case at the assembly in Jerusalem in AD 415. Orosius, Liber Apologeticus, AD 415.
Orosius refers the circumstances of the assembly concerning Pelagius presided over by Bishop John in Jerusalem in AD 415. He relates that he was invited to the assembly to refer the rise of the Pelagian controversy in North Africa (see [954]).
3. [...] exposui coronae uestrae breuiter ut potui, Caelestium iam ad honorem presbyterii subrepentem apud Carthaginem plurimis episcopis iudicantibus proditum auditum conuictum confessum detestatumque ab Ecclesia ex Africa profugisse; contra librum uero Pelagii beatum Augustinum discipulis ipsius Pelagii prodentibus ac petentibus plenissime respondere, extare etiam in manibus meis epistulam supra memorati episcopi, quam nuper ad Siciliam ordinasset, in qua multas quaestiones haereticorum retudit: quam etiam ibidem ut legerem praeceptistis et legi. ad haec Iohannes episcopus ut Pelagius coram intromitteretur expetiit. cui et propter paternitatis ipsius reuerentiam et propter actionis utilitatem, dum praesentem ab episcopo rectius crederetis confutandum, intromittendi coniuentia praestita est.
(ed. Zangemaister 1882: 607)
Orosius refers the circumstances of the assembly concerning Pelagius presided over by Bishop John in Jerusalem in AD 415. He relates that he was invited to the assembly to refer the rise of the Pelagian controversy in North Africa (see [954]).
3. [...] I explained as briefly as I could to your gathering that Caelestius, who was by this time stealthily advancing towards the office of the presbyterate, had been given a hearing at Carthage before a great number of bishops sitting in judgment, been found guilty, confessed, been denounced by the Church, and made his escape from Africa. I went on to say that the blessed Augustine wrote a most detailed response, indeed, to the book of Pelagius, addressed to Pelagius's own disciples who were appearing in public and making attacks. I stated that I also had in my possession a letter by the above-named bishop, which he not long ago had arranged to send on to Sicily and in which he refuted the many arguments of the heretics. You instructed me to read that letter then and there, and I did so. In response to this, Bishop John demanded that Pelagius be admitted in person. In deference to his position as patriarch and for the good of the proceedings, since you believed that it would be more proper for Pelagius to be condemned to his face by the bishop, approval for his admission was granted.
(trans. Hanson 1999: 118-119)


For detailed information on the case of Caelstius see [497] and [503]. See also the letter 157 of Augustine of Hippo (Orosius borrows phrase from this letter).

Place of event:

  • East
  • Latin North Africa
  • Jerusalem
  • Carthage

About the source:

Author: Orosius
Title: Liber apologeticus, Book in defense against the Pelagians
Origin: Jerusalem (East)Bethlehem (East),
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Orosius was born most probably in Spain (maybe in Braga) and was ordained presbyter some time before AD 415 (Augustine calls him compresbyter in his letter 166 [604]). He left Spain at the beginning of the fifth century, probably because of the barbarian invasions, and arrived in North Africa where he met Augustine of Hippo. Then he travelled to the Holy Land where he obtained the relics of St Stephen see [402] and [1341]. In Jerusalem in July 415 he took part in a conference organised by Bishop John on Pelagius and his teachings. Orosius and the other Latin visitors were strongly opposed to Pelagius, whereas Bishop John supported him. The conference ended inconclusively, but in the autumn John accused Orosius of blasphemy, saying that he had claimed that a person cannot live without sin even with God`s help. As a consequence, Orosius composed the Liber apologeticus in which he refuted John`s accusations and attacked Pelagius. Nevertheless the council in Diospolis in 415 declared Pelagius innocent of heresy. (Hanson 1999: 100–104).
K. Zangemaister, Orosius, Liber apologeticus, Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 5, Vienna 1882, ss. 603-664
C.L. Hanson trans., Orosius, Book in defence against the Pelagians, in: Iberian Fathers, v. 3, Washington 1999, pp. 115-167


Writing activity - Correspondence
Travel and change of residence
Religious grouping (other than Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian) - Pelagian
Impediments or requisits for the office - Heresy/Schism
Ecclesiastical administration - Participation in councils and ecclesiastical courts
Public law - Ecclesiastical
Relation with - Another presbyter
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Relation with - Heretic/Schismatic
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER953,