Historical region of Country
In 311 12, Mensurius, bishop of Carthage, died, and Caecilian was elected in his place Opt., De schismate donatistarum I, 18: CSEL 26,20. Opposition was immediate, even if partially motivated by factionalism Opt., ibid.. Caecilian had evidently been consecrated in great haste, and in particular without the presence of the bishops of Numidia, whose primate had obtained the privilege of consecrating every new bishop of Carthage see Aug., Psalmus contra partem Donati 11,44-46: PL 43, 26; moreover, one of the consecrating bishops, Felix of Aptunga, was suspected of being a traditor. Sydney Map Tourist Attractions In 312, after the murder of the interventor temporary administrator he had appointed for the see of Carthage Aug., Ep. 44,4,8, the primate of Numidia, Secundus of Tigisis, called a council of 70 bishops and declared Caecilian deposed Opt., 1,19; Aug., Ad catholicos Epist. 18,46: CSEL 52,291; Anon., Sydney Map Tourist Attractions Contra Fulgentium donatistam 26: PL 43, 774 and CSEL 53,309. A lector named Maiorinus, chaplain to Lucilla, a rich Spanish matron whom Caecilian had once deeply offended Opt., I, 16, was elected in his place.
One altar was erected against another Opt., I, 15 and 19: this was the situation that faced Constantine in late autumn 312 when N Africa came over to him without a blow being struck. Perhaps at the suggestion of his adviser Bishop Ossius of Cordoba Aug., Sydney Map Tourist Attractions Contra Ep. Parmeniani I, 4,6 and 5,10, Constantine supported Caecilian from the start and threatened his opponents with punishment Euseb., HE X, 6; von Soden, Sydney Map Tourist Attractions Urkunden, 8. But when the emperor showed his intention of freeing clergy in communion with Caecilian from municipal financial burdens munera; Euseb., HE X, 7; von Soden, Urkunden, 9, his opponents appealed to him 15 April 313 to allow the bishops of Gaul, who had not been affected by the persecution, to judge the question Opt., I, 22: Aug., Ep. 88,2: CSEL 24,2, 408, and von Soden, Urkunden, 11. Not long after, Maiorinus died and was succeeded by the much more formidable Donatus of Casae Nigrae Gesta apud Zenophilum 1; Opt., De schismate, app. 1: CSEL 26,185.
Constantine delegated the case to Bishop Miltiades of Rome, himself an African, whose council of 2-5 October 313 pronounced in favor of Caecilian Opt., I, 23-24. On 1 August 314 a fuller council, meeting at Arles by order of the emperor, also absolved Caecilian and showed horror at the violent attitudes of his opponents Opt., app. 4; von Soden, Urkunden, 16. On 15 February 315, Felix of Aptunga too was formally acquitted of the charge of traditio, in an audience at Carthage before the proconsul Aelianus Acta Purgationis Felicis: Opt., app. 2; von Soden, Urkunden, 19; cf. Aug., Ep. 88,4 and C. Cresc. III, 70,81. After another appeal to Constantine and a reexamination of the whole case, the emperor himself gave a final judgment in Caecilian’s favor, 10 November 316 C. Cresc. III, 56,67 and 71,82. For the sequence of events, see Frend, Donatist Church, 141- 159. After this, Constantine promulgated a very severe law against the Donatists Aug., Ep. 105,2,9; cf. von Soden, Urkunden, 26. There were attacks on Donatist assemblies at Carthage Passio Donati: PL 8, 753ff.. In December 320 the Donatist cause found itself in a potentially even more difficult position when Nundinarius, a deacon of the church of Constantine-Cirta, capital of Numidia, accused his bishop Sylvanus and other Numidian Donatist leaders of themselves being traditores and guilty of other grave crimes Gesta apud Zenophilum: Opt., app. 1; cf. von Soden, Urkunden, 28. The case was submitted to Zenophilus, consularis of Numidia, and proven, but apparently the Donatists were not disadvantaged by it, and in May 321 Constantine desisted from his attempts at coercion Euseb., Vita Constantini I, 45; Aug., Ad Donat. post Collat. 31,54 and 33,56; von Soden, Urkunden, 30.