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From Cyprian the Donatists likewise received a solid episcopal tradition, giving great authority to whatever their bishops taught Quod volumus sanctum est, cit. by Aug., C. Ep. Parmeniani II, 13,30 and confirmed by Crispinus of Calama, who spoke with patriarchali sermone, Aug., C. Cresc. III, 46,50. Parmenian, like Cyprian, taught that the bishop was an intermediary between the Christian people and God Aug., C. Ep. Parmen. II, 8,15: PL 43, 59-60. In the Donatist conception, the bishop was a biblical man who always had the gospel on his lips and martyrdom in his heart Passio Marculi: PL 8, 762. Still following Cyprian, communion with Rome was maintained through a succession of true bishops Opt., II, 4, which lasted until the conference of Carthage. Urban Honolulu Metro Map The Donatist bishop of Rome, though, came after the primates of Carthage and Numidia in importance. Finally, the Donatists rejected the heresies condemned by the church in the past.

From another important perspective, however, the roots of the Donatist doctrinal tradition went beyond Cyprian to the original ideas of N African Christianity. Like Tertullian, Donatists considered separation from lapsi and persecution by the state as distinctive signs of rectitude. To cite again the Donatist Mandatum of 411, they claimed above all that they were bishops of the Catholic truth, which suffers persecution, but does not persecute Januarianus et caeteri, episcopi veritatis catholicae quae persecutionem patitur, non quae facit: SC 224,1194; PL 11, 1408 B. They did not acknowledge the Christian times resulting from the conversion of the emperors to Christianity. Urban Honolulu Metro Map Petilian of Constantine, like Donatus himself Quid est imperatori cum ecclesia?: Opt., III, 73, considered secular magistrates irrevocably hostile to the church, and the Donatist church as continuing the tradition of the just sufferer, traceable back to the time of Cain and Abel Petilian of Constantine, cit. by Aug., C. litt. Petiliani II, 92,202. The role of the suffering people of God implied the ideal of martyrdom, including voluntary martyrdom, which Cyprian deprecated Ep. 81. As with other themes, the matter is clear in Petilian: So I say that he Christ has ordained that we must undergo death for the faith that each must keep in order to be in communion with the church. In fact Christianity progresses through the death of its followers Aug., C. litt. Petiliani II, 89,196; cf. Tertull., Apol. 50,13: the blood of Christians is seed. Urban Honolulu Metro Map In rural Numidia, Donatist chapels invariably had the body of a martyr real or presumed under the altar and, close by, a sealed vase or an urn containing relics for many examples, see A. Berthier et al., Les Vestiges du Christianisme. It was the succession of martyrs that mattered Acta Saturnini 20: PL 8, 703 and, as in Tertullian’s time, martyrdom was willingly accepted as a sign of the Holy Spirit’s continuing work in the church. In our church, claimed the author of the Acta Saturnini ch. 20 the virtues of the people are multiplied by the presence of the Spirit. The joy of the Spirit is to conquer in the martyrs and triumph in the confessors Tertull., De Spect. 29, ad tubam angeli erigere, ad martyrum palmas gloriare. For this reason the Donatist liturgy seems to have left room for ecstatic or enthusiastic songs of praise, along with the celebration of the Eucharist.

Praise the Lord and exalt him, you just, let us glory in the Lord and rejoice; this inscription in a church at Thamallula in Mauretania sums up the conviction of many ordinary Donatists in the 4th c. S. Gsell, Bull. arch. du Comit des travaux historiques et archologiques 1908 CCXVI; praise God, Deo laudes, was the password and war cry of the Donatists, immediately recognizable as such Aug., Ep. 108,5,14; C. litt. Petiliani II, 65,146; 84,188; Enarr. in Ps. 132,6; cf. Monceaux, Histoire littraire, IV, 439-443 and Berthier et al., Vestiges, 77. At the same time the Donatists produced intellectual and well-educated laymen see Aug., Ep. 43 and 44 like Cresconius, in reply to whose treatise in defense of Petilian Augustine dedicated four books, and able theologians like Vitellius Afer Gennad., De Script. Eccles. 4: PL 59, 1059 and Tyconius.

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