Historical region of Country
One of a group of martyrs buried in the coemeterium majus on the Via Nomentana, known from an inscription ICUR 21590 and included in Mart. hier. on 16 September. In Gaul she is given prominence by the historical martyrologies and by the late manuscripts of the Mart. hier., New Orleans Map on the basis of a chapter added to the Passio of St. Agnes in which Emerentiana is considered her foster sister; she was stoned while still a catechumen, during her sister’s funeral in the catacomb BHL 2527. These events led to the institution of a feast in her honor on 23 January. The 7th-c. Roman itineraries also attest her cult CCL 175, 306. 319. 326. Emerentiana’s body was translated by Pope Paschal I to the basilica of S. Prassede Duchesne LP 2, 64; Emerentiana is also included in the procession of martyrs in the mosaics of S. Apollinare Donatist bishop of Carthage and leader of the Donatist cause at the Conference of Carthage of 411. Apparently a lawyer by training.
He first came to the fore in 394, when he drew up the decree of the Primianist majority at the Council of Bagai, which excommunicated the followers of Maximian. His language was both ornate and virulent see Aug., C. Cresc. III, 19, 22; New Orleans Map De Gestis cum Emerito 10-11. At the Conference of Carthage in 411 he was one of six bishops who spoke for the Donatists and, with Petilian of Constantine, he upheld the Donatist cause from start to finish. On this occasion he showed himself a master of procedural tactics and an effective orator, New Orleans Map speaking 64 times, often at length, in the first three days of the debate.
Deprived, like other Donatist bishops, of his see by order of the imperial government CTh XVI, 5, 52, he nonetheless remained active around Caesarea Cherchel. In September 418 Augustine, visiting that city, met him by chance in the forum and tried to persuade him to accept union with the Catholics. In a tense scene in the cathedral of Caesarea, Emeritus refused, and despite Augustine’s exhortations remained to the end firmly attached to Donatist principles De Gestis cum Emerito, 12. Augustine, De Gestis cum Emerito ed. Petschenig, CSEL 53, 181-196 and Sermo ad Caesariensis ecclesiae plebem ibid., 167- 178; see also Contra Cresconium III, 19, 22 sentence of the Council of Bagai; Monceaux VI, 145-189; S. Lancel, Actes de la confrence de Carthage en 411, I, Paris 1972 SC 194, 208-221 list of Emeritus’s interventions during the conference of Carthage, 208, n. 5; PCBE I, 340-349; P. Langa, Actas del debate con el donatista Emerito. Introducci³n, bibliografa y notas, BAC 34, Madrid 1994, 569-614; S. Lancel, Emeritum episcopum Donatistarum post conlationem Ad- and Emeritus in AugL, II5-6, Basel 2001, 801-804.