Council of Orange (529)

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The Second Council of Orange (or Second Synod of Orange) was held at Orange, then part of the Ostrogothic Kingdom, in 529. It affirmed much of the theology of Augustine of Hippo, and made numerous proclamations against semi-Pelagian doctrine.

Questions regarding Pelagianism[edit]


Pelagian theology was condemned in 418 at the Council of Carthage,[1] and these condemnations were ratified at the Council of Ephesus in 431. After that time, a more moderate form of Pelagianism persisted which claimed that man's faith was an act of free will unassisted by previous internal grace. On 3 July 529 a synod took place at Orange. The occasion was the dedication of a church built at Orange by Liberius (praetorian prefect) of Narbonensian Gaul. It was attended by fourteen bishops under the presidency of Caesarius of Arles. The question at hand was whether this moderate form of Pelagianism could be affirmed, or if the doctrines of Augustine were to be affirmed.

Conclusions of the Council[edit]

The determination of the Council could be considered "semi-Augustinian".[2][3] It defined that faith, though a free act, resulted even in its beginnings from the grace of God, enlightening the human mind and enabling belief.[4][5][6] However, it also explicitly denied double predestination (of the equal-ultimacy variety), stating, "We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema." The document links grace with baptism, which was not a controversial subject at the time. It received papal sanction.


The canons of the Second Council played a role in interpreting Augustine by the later church in the West. Protestantism accepts the Second Council of Orange as an Ecumenical Council and use it to show that what later came to be known as the Lutheran, and Calvinistic views of sola gratia ,sola fide , and solus Christus, doctrines of original sin and total depravity had already been taught much earlier in the church. Arminian theologians [7][8] also refer to the Council of Orange as a historical document that strongly affirms grace but yet does not present grace as irresistible or adhere to a strictly Augustinian view of predestination.


  1. ^ Reese, William L (1980), Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion, Humanities Press, p. 421 .
  2. ^ Oakley, Francis (Jan 1, 1988), The Medieval Experience: Foundations of Western Cultural Singularity, University of Toronto Press, p. 64 .
  3. ^ Thorsen, Don (2007), An Exploration of Christian Theology, Baker Books, 20.3.4 .
  4. ^ Cf. Second Council of Orange ch.5-7; H.J. Denzinger Enchiridion Symbolorum et Definitionum, 375-377
  5. ^ Pickar, C. H. (1981) [1967]. "Faith". The New Catholic Encyclopedia 5. Washington D.C. p. 797. 
  6. ^ Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  7. ^ "Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities", By Roger E. Olson (InterVarsity Press, Aug 20, 2009), Page 81
  8. ^ "Jacob Arminius: Theologian of Grace", By Keith D. Stanglin, Thomas H. McCall (Oxford University Press, Nov 15, 2012), page 153


  • Canons of the Second Council of Orange. A.D. 818, London, 1882
  • Hefele, Consiliengeschichte, ii. 291-295, 724 sqq., Eng. transl., iii. 159-184, iv. 152 sqq.
  • J. Sirmond, Concilia antiqua Gallia, i. 70 sqq., 215 sqq., Paris, 1829.

External links[edit]