Chapter

Constantine and the Donatist Church <span class="smallCaps">a.d.</span> 312–37<sup>1</sup>

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/9780198264088.003.0012
Constantine and the Donatist Church a.d. 312–371

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By the turn of the fourth century, while the theory of Church discipline remained as severe as it had been in the time of Cyprian, its practice tended to sink to the standard of the laxer members. This changed with the influence of Donatus. Whatever may have been Donatus' attitude towards individual prelates, he did not attempt to exercise ‘tyrannical terror’ over bishops assembled under the inspiration of the Spirit in a Council. Here again, one can see the follower of the traditions of Cyprian, a tradition that tended to be abandoned by Caecilian and his apologist Optatus of Milevis. The death of Constantine saw Donatus in the ascendant. Caecilian disappears into obscurity after Nicaea. The Church presided over by Donatus seemed to be founded upon a rock.

Keywords: Great Persecution; Cyprian; Carthage; African Church; Doanatus; Nicaea

Chapter.  12347 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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