Councils of Carthage

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Councils of Carthage, also referred to as Synods of Carthage were church synods held during the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries in the city of Carthage in Africa. The most important of these are described below.

  • In May 251 a synod, assembled under the presidency of Cyprian to consider the treatment of the lapsi, excommunicated Felicissimus and five other Novatian bishops (Rigorists), and declared that the lapsi should be dealt with, not with indiscriminate severity, but according to the degree of individual guilt. These decisions were confirmed by a synod of Rome in the autumn of the same year. Other Carthaginian synods concerning the lapsi were held in 252 and 254.[1]
  • Two synods, in 255 and 256, held under Cyprian, pronounced against the validity of heretical baptism, thus taking direct issue with Stephen I, bishop of Rome, who promptly repudiated them. A third synod in September 256, possibly following the repudiation, unanimously reaffirmed the position of the other two. Stephen's claims to authority as bishop of bishops were sharply resented, and for some time the relations of the Roman and African Sees were severely strained.[2]
  • Around 348 a synod of orthodox bishops, who had met to record their gratitude for the effective official repression of the Circumcelliones (Donatists), declared against the rebaptism of any one who had been baptized in the name of the Trinity, and adopted twelve canons of clerical discipline.[3]
  • The Council of Carthage, called the third by Denzinger,[4] on 28 August 397 issued a canon of the Bible. The primary source of information about the third council of Carthage comes from the Codex Canonum Ecclesiæ Africanæ, which presents a compilation of ordinances enacted by various church councils in Carthage during the fourth and fifth centuries. In one section of this code the following paragraph concerning the canon of Scripture appears.[5]
  • The Conference of Carthage, held by the command of the Emperor Honorius in 411 with a view to terminating the Donatist schism, while not strictly a synod, was one of the most important assemblies in the history of the African sees, and of the whole Catholic Church. It was presided over by Marcellinus of Carthage who found in favour of the Catholic party, which led to the violent suppression of the Donatists.[6]
  • On 1 May 418 a great synod (St Augustine calls it A Council of Africa), which assembled under the presidency of Aurelius, bishop of Carthage, to take action concerning the errors of Caelestius, a disciple of Pelagius, denounced the Pelagian doctrines of human nature, original sin, grace, and perfectibility; and it fully approved the contrary views of Augustine. Prompted by the reinstatement by the bishop of Rome of a deposed African priest(Apiarius of Sicca), the synod enacted that whoever appeals to a court on the other side of the sea (meaning Rome) may not again be received into communion by any one in Africa (canon 17).[7]
  • Two synods, one in 419, the other in 424 met regarding the question of appeals to Rome. The latter addressed a letter to the bishop of Rome, Pope Celestine I, protesting against his claim to appellate jurisdiction, and urgently requesting the immediate recall of his legate, and advising him to send no more judges to Africa.[8] The Roman See refused, citing its apostolic authority.

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

  1. ^ Hefele, 2nd ed., i. pp. 111 sqq. (English translation, i. Section 5, pp. 93 sqq.); Mansi, i. pp. 863 sqq., 905 sqq.; Hardouin, i. pp. 133 sqq., 147 sqq.; Cyprian, Epp. 52, 54, 55, 68.
  2. ^ Hefele, 2nd ed., i. Section 6, pp. 117-119 (English translation, i. pp. 99 sqq.); Mansi, i. pp. 921 sqq., 951 sqq.; Hardouin, i. pp. 153 sqq.; Cyprian, Epp. 69-75.
  3. ^ Hefele, 2nd. ed., i. pp. 632-633 (English translation, ii. pp. 184-186); Mansi, iii. pp. 143 sqq.; Hardouin, i. pp. 683 sqq.
  4. ^ Denzinger 186 in the new numbering, 92 in the old
  5. ^ The Latin text and English translation are from B.F. Westcott, A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament (5th ed. Edinburgh, 1881), pp. 440, 541-2.
  6. ^ Hefele, 2nd ed., ii. pp. 103-104 (English translation, ii. pp. 445-446); Mansi, iv. pp. 7-283 ; Hardouin, i. pp. 1043-f 190.
  7. ^ Hefele, 2nd ed., ii. pp. 116 sqq. (English translation, ii. pp. 458 sqq.); Mansi, iii. pp. 810 sqq., iv. pp. 377 sqq., 45I sqq.; Hardouin, i. pp. 926 sqq. Link to English translation below.
  8. ^ Hefele, 2nd ed., ii. pp. 120 sqq., 137 sqq. (English translation, ii. pp. 462 sqq., 480 sqq.); Mansi, iii. pp. 835 sqq., iv. pp. 401 sqq., 477 sqq.; Hardodin, i. pp. 943 sqq., 1241 sqq. (L F. C.)

External links[edit]

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.