2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
Donatism began about 312 CE, when a group known as the Donatists (so named after their leader Donatus) split away from the Catholic Church of North Africa because of the election of Caecilian as bishop of Carthage. The Donatists believed that Caecilian's ordination was invalid because one of his consecrators had been a traditor, one of those who surrendered copies of the sacred scriptures during the great persecution. Like Cyprian, the Donatists believed that the validity of the sacrament depended upon the holiness of the celebrant. The Donatists were opposed to state interference in church affairs and the secularization of the church. Despite persecution (317-321) and the Vandal invasion of 429, Donatism remained into the seventh century, when it and Catholicism were overcome by the Islamic religion and Christianity became extinct in North Africa.
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