Chapter

African Church Divisions in the Time of Tertullian <span class="smallCaps">a.d</span>. 197–225

W. H. C. Frend

in The Donatist Church

Published in print November 1985 | ISBN: 9780198264088
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191682704 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198264088.003.0010
African Church Divisions in the Time of Tertullian a.d. 197–225

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As long as the threat of persecution remained, no permanent schism broke out in the African Church. But victory over paganism, and the exclusive favour shown by Constantine to the Caecilianist party in 312–13 , set free forces of division within the Church that had long been active. At each successive crisis, under Septimius Severus, under Decius and Valerian, and under Diocletian, the Church in Africa split apart. The division produced two rival parties, the Catholics and the austerer party of the Confessors. In the long periods of quiet that separated the persecutions, the peace of the Church was continually interrupted by fierce feuds among the clergy. The final breach over the question of Caecilian's election to the see of Carthage must be judged not as an isolated event but as the outcome of divisions in the African Church inherent since its foundation.

Keywords: North Africa; paganism; Catholic Church; Montanism; schism; Caecilian

Chapter.  5712 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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