Open main menu

OrthodoxWiki β

Aurelius of Carthage

Our father among the saints, Aurelius of Carthage was the Archbishop of Carthage during the late fourth and early fifth centuries. He was an active foe of the Pelagianism and of the Donatists. His feast day is July 20.


Little is known of his early life. Aurelius was an archdeacon in Carthage during the late fourth century. In 388, he was raised to the episcopate when he became the archbishop of Carthage, a see that then held jurisdiction over all the metropolitans of the Roman province of Africa. In the footsteps of St. Cyprian of Carthage, Bp. Aurelius confirmed the episcopal nominations in all the plenary councils of the Church of Africa which were held regularly, often yearly, and signed the synodal letters in the name of all the participants. This was a position of leadership that Aurelius possessed when Africa held the intellectual leadership of the Church. He also maintained a close relationship with St. Augustine.

Bp. Aurelius led the Church in Africa during the last efforts by the Donatists to uphold a cause that they were losing and during the first appearance of Pelagianism. These crises Aurelius met with decisiveness and wisdom. A man disposed to conciliation and peace, his tendency to an indulgent treatment of repentant Donatists was conspicuous in the synodal actions of his own church. In the plenary council over which he presided he consistently upheld the same moderate policy. But when the Donatists resorted to rebellion and murder, he joined his colleagues in appealing to the secular power.

Bp. Aurelius was among the first to unmask and denounce Pelagianism. In a council of 412, Aurelius excommunicated and drove from Carthage the disciple of Pelagius, Celestius. In a council of 416, Bp. Aurelius condemned them both. While Bishop of Rome Innocent I supported the condemnation by defining the necessity of grace and of infant baptism, Bp. Zosimus of Rome later allowed himself to be deceived by Pelagius' heretical professions. However, after a 418 council of the African episcopate, Aurelius, in their names, warned Zosimus of his error, who then in turn condemned the heresiarchs.

The date of the repose of Bp. Aurelius is uncertain, being noted as 423, 429 and c. 430.

Succession box:
Aurelius of Carthage
Preceded by:
Archbishop of Carthage
388 - c. 430
Succeeded by:
Help with box


External links