Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 975
Bishop John of Jerusalem (Palestine) accuses Presbyter Orosius who came to pay him his respects on the day of the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem of blasphemy (12 September 415). Orosius, Book in Defence against the Pelagians, AD 415.
Orosius gives an account about the assembly concerning Pelagius which was presided over by Bishop John of Jerusalem in July 415. Then he continues:
7. Nunc autem cum post dies XL et vn primo enoaeniorum die, ut solitus eram quando aderam, ad obsequium Iohannis episcopi cucurrissem, statim ab eo notam falsi criminis pro gratia salutationis accepi. ait enim mihi: "quare ad me uenis, homo qui blasphemasti?" uolens, ut credo, intellegi: noli me tangere, quia mundus sum et absque peccato. at ego nihil mihi conscius interrogaui: cquando aut quo audiente aut cuiusmodi illud est dictum, quod blasphemiae possit adscribi? episcopus respondit: "ego te audiui dixisse, quia nec cum Dei adiutorio possit esse homo sine peccato". ego quidem, beatissimi sacerdotes, sicut et nos testes estis et uniuersa fraternitas et praeterea sancti uiri qui huic testimonio amore ueritatis adsistunt, statim testificatus sum dicens, quia eiusmodi uerbum, quod nunc a me dictum episcopus intenderit, numquam de ore meo antea processisset. [...]
(ed. Zangemaister 1882: 611)
Orosius gives an account about the assembly concerning Pelagius which was presided over by Bishop John of Jerusalem in July 415. Then he continues:
7. However, forty-seven days later, when I approached Bishop John on the first day of the Festival of Dedication to pay my respects, as I have been accustomed to do ever since my arrival, in response to my greeting I immediately received from him the brand of a false accusation. For he said to me, "Why do you, as a man who has blasphemed, come before me?"— wishing, I believe, to be understood as meaning, "Do not touch me because I am pure and without sin." But since I was not conscious of any guilt, I asked, "When did anyone hear anything or what kind ofthing was said that it could be regarded as blasphemy?" The bishop replied, "I myself heard you say that not even with God's assistance can a person be without sin." Now, most reverend fathers, as you are my witnesses, and as it has been witnessed by all of our brothers and those saintly men as well who are standing as my supporters in this testimony out of their love for the truth, I responded immediately, saying that such a declaration as now has been asserted by the bishop to have been made by me, never in the past came out of my mouth. [...]
He continues his apology against John.
(trans. Hanson 1999: 122)


The Festival of Dedication commemorated the dedication of the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem. It was celebrated on 12 September (see Hanson 1999: 122, n. 27).

Place of event:

  • East
  • Latin North Africa
  • Jerusalem

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 ed., 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


Ritual activity - Celebrating feasts
Disrespected by
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Education - Theological interest
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER975,