Pelagius‏


Pelagius (born circa 354, died after 418) was a British monk and theologian whose heterodox theological system known as Pelagianism emphasized the primacy of human effort in spiritual salvation. In short, he opposed the idea of predestination and asserted a strong version of the doctrine of free will.

A17th century Calvinist print depicting Pelagi...

A 17th century Calvinist print defaming Pelagius

After the fall of Rome to the Visigoth chieftain Alaric in 410, Pelagius and his closest collaborator Celestius went to Africa. There they encountered the hostile criticism of Augustine, who published several denunciatory letters concerning their doctrine, particularly Pelagius’ insistence on man’s basically good moral nature and on man’s own responsibility for voluntarily choosing Christian asceticism for his spiritual advancement.

Eventually, in 417, Pope Innocent I endorsed the condemnations and excommunicated made against Pelagius and Celestius. The proposal of the basic goodness in man was disposed of in Christian doctrine for centuries to come.

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