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Мамонтов А. Л. Константин и донатистский раскол: первые шаги императора (313–314 гг.) // Вестник ПСТГУ. Серия II: История. История Русской Православной Церкви. 2019. Вып. 86. С. 9-24. DOI: 10.15382/sturII201986.9-24
The Donatist schism was the fi rst church confl ict encountered by Constantine the Great. This article studies the emperor’s policy as to the discord in Africa in 313‒314. Alongside a detailed reconstruction of the events, special attention is paid to clarifying the motives of the ruler and the signifi cance of two assemblies of bishops convoked to resolve the issue (in 313 in Rome and in 314 in Arles). Soon after the victory over Maxentius, Constantine learnt about the disagreement in the African churches. At the beginning of the year 313, he received the fi rst petition from Donatists, who asked the emperor to consider their complaint against the Carthago bishop Caecilianus. He was accused of apostasy during the time of persecution, and the council in Africa did condemn Caecilianus. Though the aims of the opposition were rather church-political and economic, Constantine decided to arrange the second examination of the core of the accusations. For this reason a council in Rome (313) convened and declared Caecilianus not guilty. A year after, as a response to new petitions, the emperor convoked a council in Arles (314) which again supported Caecilianus. Constantine’s policy as to Donatists was at the same time conservative and innovative. The emperor’s motives were quite similar to those of his predecessor, Diocletianus. Both strived after religious unity in the state. However, in order to achieve his aims, Constantine employed other instruments, i.e. councils and the exile of bishops. These councils were not at all similar to the councils of the fi rst centuries of Christianity. Due to the increased role of the state, they have more in common with ecumenical councils of the 4th and 5th centuries.
Donatism, Constantine, synod of Rome, council of Arles, North Africa, edict of Milan, late antiquity, dominate, church councils, Christianity in Roman Empire
  1. Barnes T. (1975). “The Beginnings of Donatism”. The Journal of Theological Studies, 1975, vol. 26, № 1, pp. 13–22.
  2. Barnes T. (2011). Constantine: Dynasty, Religion and Power in the Later Roman Empire. Malden.
  3. Birley A. (1987). “Some Notes on the Donatist Schism”. Libyan Studies, 1987, vol. 18, pp. 29–41.
  4. Caspar E. (1930). Geschichte des Papsttums, Bd. 1. Tübingen.
  5. Dearn A. (2004). “The Abitinian Martyrs and the Outbreak of the Donatist Schism”. The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 2004, vol. 55, pp. 1‒18.
  6. Diligenskii G. (1961). Severnaia Afrika v IV–V vekakh [North Africa in 4th and 5th Centuries]. Moscow (in Russian).
  7. Dolbeau F. (ed.) (1992). “La Passio Sancti Donati (BHL 2303b): une tentative d’edition critique”. Studi di Antichita Christiana, 1992, № 48, pp. 251‒267.
  8. Drake H. (2011). “Intolerance, Religious Violence, and Political Legitimacy in Late Antiquity”. Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 2011, vol. 79, № 1, pp. 193–235.
  9. Fernández Ubiña J. (2013). “The Donatist Confl ict as Seen by Constantine and the Bishops”, in A. Fear, J. Fernández Ubiña, M. Marcos (eds.). The Role of the Bishop in Late Antiquity: Conflict and Compromise. London; New Delhi; New York; Sydney, pp. 31–46.
  10. Fournier É. (2016). “Constantine and Episcopal Banishment: Continuity and Change in the Settlement of Christian Disputes”, in J. Hillner, J. Ulrich, J. Engberg (eds.). Clerical Exile in Late Antiquity. New York, pp. 47–65.
  11. Frend W., Clancy K. (1977). “When did the Donatist Schism begin?”. The Journal of Theological Studies, 1977, vol. 28, № 1, pp. 104–109.
  12. Frend W. (1997). “Donatus ‘paene totam Africam decepit’. How?”. Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 1997, vol. 48, № 4, pp. 611–627.
  13. Frend W. (1971). The Donatist Church: A Movement of Protest in Roman North Africa. Oxford.
  14. Girardet K. (2010). Der Kaiser und sein Gott: Das Christentum im Denken und in der Religionspolitik Konstantins des Großen. Berlin.
  15. Girardet K. (1975). Kaisergericht und Bischofsgericht: Studien zu den Anfängen des Donatistenstreites (313–315) und zum Prozeß des Athanasius von Alexandrien (328–346). Bonn.
  16. Grasmück E. (1964). Coercitio: Staat und Kirche im Donatistenstreit. Bonn.
  17. Hogrefe А. (2009). Umstrittene Vergangenheit: Historische Argumente in der Auseinandersetzung Augustins mit den Donatisten. Berlin.
  18. Kechkin I. (2016). “Raskol’nicheskaia deiatel’nost’ i literaturnye trudy Donata Karfagenskogo” [Schismatic Activities and Literary Works by Donatus of Carthago]. Bogoslovskii vestnik. № 20–21, рp. 169–184 (in Russian).
  19. Kraft H. (1955). Kaiser Konstantins religiöse Entwicklung. Tübingen.
  20. Kriegbaum B. (1992). “Die Religionspolitik des Kaisers Maxentius”. Archivum Historiae Pontificiae, 1992, vol. 30, pp. 7–54.
  21. Kriegbaum B. (1986). Kirche der Traditoren oder Kirche der Martyrer? Die Vorgeschichte des Donatismus. Innsbruck.
  22. Lenski N. (2016). “Constantine and the Donatists: Exploring the Limits of Religious Toleration, in M. Wallraff (ed.). Religiöse Toleranz: 1700 Jahre nach dem Edikt von Mailand. Göttingen, pp. 101–139.
  23. Lenski N. (2017). “The Signifi cance of the Edict of Milan”, in E. Siecienski (ed.). Constantine: Religious Faith and Imperial Policy. London, pp. 27–56.
  24. Maier J.-L. (1987). Le Dossier du Donatisme. T. I: Des origines a la mort de Constance II (303–361). Berlin.
  25. Pietri C. (1976). Roma Christiana. Recherches sur l’Église de Rome, son organisation, sa politique, son idéologie, de Miltiade à Sixte III (311–440). Rome.
  26. Roethe G. (1937). Zur Geschichte der römischen Synoden im 3. und 4. Jahrhundert. Forschungen zur Kirchen- und Geistesgeschichte, Bd. 11. Stuttgart, 1937.
  27. Shaw B. (2011). Sacred Violence: African Christians and Sectarian Hatred in the Age of Augustine. Cambridge; New York.
  28. Turner C. (1926). “Adversaria Critica: Notes on the Anti-Donatist Dossier and on Optatus Books I, II”. The Journal of Theological Studies, 1926, vol. 27, pp. 283–296.
Mamontov Andrei
Student status: Graduate student;
Place of study: St Petersbur g State University; 5 Mendele evskaya liniya, St. Petersbur g, 199034, Russian Federation;
Post: Graduate Student, Department of Ancient History of Gr e ece and Rome;
ORCID: 0000-0002-1172-7649;
Email: andrey-2006@mail.ru.
Мамонтов А. Л. Мученичество в Северной Африке IV–V вв.: самоидентификация и полемика // Вестник ПСТГУ. Серия I: Богословие. Философия. Религиоведение. 2019. Вып. 83. С. 107-123. DOI: 10.15382/sturI201983.107-123
The impact of martyrdom on the Christian identity did not disappear with the end of the persecutions. The 4th century saw many transformations of the classical conception of martyrdom as a testimony for Christ; one of these took place in Donatist literature. Everything started during the years of the Great Persecution (303‒313). Under the threat of execution, the clergymen were behaving very diff erently, which made the discourse about martyrdom and apostasy more active. Numidian bishops and particularly Secundus of Tigisi took a stricter position. When a schism began among the African Christians, the adherents of Donatus adopted this view; after a while, the Donatist conception of martyrdom came to be diff erent from the traditional, as its bearers were persecuted in a Christian empire. Apart from the Great Persecution, the milestone in the history of the schism was the persecution in the time of Constans (337‒350) or, as it is termed according to the executioner, the “times of Macarius”. All Donatist literature is replete with memories of these events. Hagiographic texts show that martyrdom for Donatists was an important element of their identity and simultaneously an instrument in polemic. One can clearly see the intention to build succession with martyrs of the past and justify the isolation, mixing the opponents (Catholics and the empire) together and condemning them all. Thus, in addition to the criticism for apostasy, the Catholics were accused of the organisation of blood-shedding. Having been created in the atmosphere of struggle and hatred, these texts replicated them and prepared the fl ock for the imitation of the heroes. Main attempts of the Catholics were, on the opposite, focused on the criticism against the Donatist martyrdom as being void of sense. The Catholics also had a positive agenda, by means of which they were trying to keep the link with the legacy of the era of persecutions and to make use of it. In his sermons, Augustine portrayed martyrs as ideal believers thus cultivating Christian virtues in his listeners. One can make a conclusion that both for the Catholics and particularly for the Donatists, martyrdom was an important component of their identity, and it is not surprising that this theme was recurrent in the polemic. The African discourse on martyrdom looks harmonious against the Mediterranean background; however, it was only in African church disputes that the theme of persecution and martyrdom came to be decisive, as in other regions it was, on the whole, less visible.
Donatists, hagiography, Augustine, Optate, martyrs and martyrdom, Great Persecution, North Africa, Late Antiquity, history of Christianity
  1. Barnes T. (1975) “The Beginnings of Donatism”. The Journal of Theological Studies, vol. 26/1, pp. 13–22.
  2. Dearn A. (2016) “Donatist Martyrs, Stories and Attitudes”, in The Donatist Schism: Controversy and Contexts. Liverpool, pp. 70–100.
  3. Dearn A. (2011) “The ‘Passio S. Typasii Veterani’ as a Catholic Construction of the Past”. Vigiliae Christianae, 55 (1), 86–98.
  4. Croix G. de (1954) “Aspects of the ‘Great’ Persecution”. Harvard Theological Review, vol. 47 (2), pp. 75–113.
  5. Gaddis M. (2005) There is No Crime for Those Who Have Christ: Religious Violence in the Christian Roman Empire. Berkeley and Los Angeles.
  6. Franchi de’Cavalieri P. (ed.) (1935) “La Passio dei martiri Abitinensi”. Note agiografiche, vol. 8, pp. 3–71.
  7. Dolbeau F (ed.) (1992) “La Passio Sancti Donati (BHL 2303b): une tentative d’edition critique”. Studi di Antichita Christiana, vol. 48, pp. 251–267.
  8. Kargal’tsev A. (2012) “Montanizm v rimskoi Severnoi Afrike: k probleme vospriiatiia muchenichestva” [Montanism in Roman Norhtern Africa: The Problem of Understanding Martyrdom]. Religiia. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniia i publikatsii po teologii i religii, vol. 1, pp. 116–132 (in Russian).
  9. Mamontov A. (2017) “Donatistskaia agiografi ia i rimskoe gosudarstvo” [Donatist Hagiography and the Roman State]. Religiia. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo, vol. 6, pp. 126–149 (in Russian).
  10. Mamontov A. (2019) “Konstantin i donatistskii raskol: pervye shagi imperatora (313–314 gg.)” [Constantine and the Donatist Schism: Emperor’s First Steps (313‒314)]. Vestnik PSTGU. Ser. II: Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi, vol. 86, pp. 9–24 (in Russian).
  11. Maier J.-L. (1987). Le Dossier du Donatisme. T. I: Des origines a la mort de Constance II (303–361) Berlin.
  12. Middleton P. (2013) “Early Christian Voluntary Martyrdom: A Statement for the Defence”. Journal of Theological Studies, vol. 64, pp. 556–573.
  13. Moss C. (2012) “The Discourse of Voluntary Martyrdom: Ancient and Modern”. Church History, vol. 81 (3), pp. 531–551.
  14. Mastandrea P. (1995) “Passioni dei martiri Donatisti (BHL 4473 e 5271)”. Analecta Bollandiana, vol. 113, pp. 39–88.
  15. Panteleev A. (2007) “Muchenichestvo i samoubiistvo: problemy vospriiatiia rannego khristianstva iazychnikami” [Martyrdom and Suicide: Problems of Pagans’ Understanding of Early Christian Martyrdom]. Problemy istorii, filologii i kul’tury, vol. 17, pp. 136–145 (in Russian).
  16. Panteleev A. (ed.) (2017) Rannie muchenichestva. Perevody, kommentarii, issledovaniia [Early Cases of Martyrdom. Translations, Commentaries, Studies]. St. Petersburg (in Russian).
  17. Ployd A. (2018) “«Non poena sed causa»: Augustine’s Anti-Donatist Rhetoric of Martyrdom”. Augustinian Studies, vol. 49 (1), pp. 25–44.
  18. Sághy M. (2012) “Martyr Bishops and the Bishop’s Martyrs in Fourth-Century Rome”, in J. Ott, T. Vedriš (eds.). Saintly Bishops and Bishops’ Saints. Zagreb, pp. 13–30.
  19. Shaw B. (2011) Sacred Violence: African Christians and Sectarian Hatred in the Age of Augustine. Cambridge; New York.
  20. Tilley M. (1995) “Sustaining Donatist Self-Identity: From the Church of the Martyrs to the Collecta of the Desert”. The Journal of Early Christian Studies, vol. 5, pp. 21–35.
  21. Tilley M. (1996) Donatist Martyr Stories. Liverpool.
  22. Tilley M. (1997). The Bible in Christian North Africa. The Donatist World. Minneapolis.
  23. Woods D. (1993). “Historical Source of the Passio Typasii”. Vigiliae Christianae, vol. 47 (1), pp. 78–84.
Mamontov Andrei
Student status: Graduate student;
Place of study: St. Petersburg State University; 5 Mendeleevskaya liniya, St. Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation;
Post: Department of Ancient History of Greece and Rome;
ORCID: 0000-0002-1172-7649;
Email: andrey-2006@mail.ru.