« Coelestinus, commonly called Celestine, bp. of Rome Coelestius, heretic of Hibernian Scots Coelicolae »

Coelestius, heretic of Hibernian Scots

Coelestius occupies a unique position among the Hibernian Scots, as he taught not the faith, but heresy. The general belief is that he was a native of Ireland, of noble birth, and, in early years, of singular piety. About a.d. 405 he is found attached to Pelagius at Rome, and the names of these two figure largely in the history of the church, till they are finally condemned in the Ephesine council, a.d. 431. Coelestius had for some time studied law, and then become a monk, when his speculations upon the conditions of grace and nature attracted attention, as he affirmed the leading points of what were afterwards known as the Pelagian heresy upon the fall of man and the need of supernatural assistance, in effect denying both. These errors he had partly learned, as he said, from a holy presbyter, Rufinus, of whom nothing else is known. From Rome, on the approach of the Goths, he passed to Sicily, and thence to Carthage; by a council at Carthage, under Aurelius the bishop, his teaching was condemned, a.d. 412, though St. Augustine of Hippo had not yet taken up the controversy against him. He soon after retired to Ephesus, where he obtained the priesthood which he had sought in vain at Carthage. On an appeal to pope Zosimus, a.d. 417, he presented his teaching in such a light as to procure acquittal before the pope, who, however, in the following year saw good reason to condemn him. At Carthage he always met with a determined opposition, and at Constantinople and Rome both the imperial and the ecclesiastical powers were finally arrayed against him. After the condemnation of the doctrines of Pelagius by the oecumenical council at Ephesus, Coelestius passed from sight. His chief opponents were St. Augustine and St. Jerome Mosheim, Eccl. Hist. i. cent. v. c. 23 seq.; Gennadius, de Script. Eccl. c. 44; Robertson, Ch. Hist. i. B. ii. c. 8; O'Conor, Rer. Hib. Scrip. iv. 97 n.; Gieseler, i. 2; Dupin, Hist. Ch. cent. v. c. 2. [Pelagius; Zosimus.]

[J.G.]

« Coelestinus, commonly called Celestine, bp. of Rome Coelestius, heretic of Hibernian Scots Coelicolae »





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