Elected pope 10 September 422 in a quick election. During the ten years of his pontificate Celestine carried out a very intense activity. At Rome he intervened decisively against the Novatian Bishop Rusticus. He had the basilica of S. Maria in Trastevere restored, while on the Aventine S. Sabina was built with the financial backing of the Illyrian priest Peter. The Petrine ministry, based on the Roman interpretation of the canons of Serdica, became even more important, though, as in the renewed case of Apiarius, priest of Sicca Veneria, Munich Metro Map not always with happy results v. Mirbt, n. 425. Above all Celestine tried to impose Roman influence on Narbonese and Viennese Gaul, taking a stand against a hierarchy dominated by the monks of Lrins and other monasteries. As for the ascetic party at Arles, it was not a question of Pelagianism but rather a rigorism incompatible with ecclesiastical discipline. Trying to recover his influence over the church of Marseille, in 431 he opposed the monks of that city, accused by Prosper and Hilary of a false doctrine of grace, and defended Augustine’s authority on that subject Ep. 21. The so-called Capitula Caelestini, added to this letter in the collections of decretals, were only composed after Celestine’s death, probably by Prosper DS 238-249. The sources exaggerate the importance of Celestine’s missionary activity, but, by sending Palladius to Ireland in 431, he did begin evangelization beyond the imperial frontiers. The Nestorian controversy broke out during his pontificate. Consulted by both Nestorius, whom he had previously answered about Pelagians who had taken refuge in the East Ep. 6-7; 13, and Cyril of Alexandria, he sided with the latter. In the Roman synod of 430 he condemned Nestorius’s errors and instructed Cyril to take the necessary measures against him Ep. 11-14. At the Council of Ephesus, called by Theodosius II for June 431, Celestine was represented by three legates who, arriving late, approved in his name the decisions taken under Cyril’s leadership. Celestine himself, evaluating the synod’s work in his letters to the East, declared that Peter had not abandoned them in their need Ep. 25,9; cf. 22,6. No Roman bishop before him had so clearly affirmed the supreme authority of the apostolic see.
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