Saturday, March 9, 2013

St. Fulgentius of Ruspe

Saint who? It is unfortunate that many of our Patristic forebears have been lost on the contemporary church. Yes, we all know St. Augustine, Jerome, Irenaeus, and Athanasius, but there are several writers who deserve attention that they are not afforded. One such writer is a little known Augustinian theologian known as Fulgentius of Ruspe.

Fulgentius was a North African theologian and bishop who wrote in the late 5th and early 6th centuries. He was known as the "second Augustine", being the most prominent North African theologian since the death of the great bishop of Hippo, and an ardent defender of Augustine's doctrine of grace. The major focus of his works were the discussion of grace and free will against the semi-Pelagians, and upholding catholic Trinitarian theology against Arian sects.

Here are some notable quotes from Fulgentius' surviving works:

"Therefore, in the saints, God crowns justice which he has freely given them, freely preserved for them, and freely perfected in them. The wicked, however, he will condemn for their impiety or injustice, which he did not work in them. For in the former, he glorifies his own works; in the latter, he condemns works that are not his own." To Monimus, Book I, XIII.2

"We have no good works in us unless they come from God." To Monimus, Book I, IX.1

"Thus in whatever age of the present life, any sinner or evil person will be converted to God with his whole heart, he will immediately receive forgiveness for all his past sins." On the Forgiveness of Sins, XVIII, 4

"Therefore, the hearing of his voice now gives life to the dead, when he gives the grace of faith to those who do not believe and those whom he finds evil he makes good; affectionately he justifies sinners; mercifully he saves sinners; kindly he makes the blind see." On the Forgiveness of Sins, X, 3

"For a human being would never receive the grace of salvation from God if the communion of divine and human nature did not remain in the one person in Christ." To Donatus XVI, 25

"Holy Scripture has forewarned each and shown that neither ought we to remain in sin nor to doubt the forgiveness of any sin... For our God is just and merciful and good as he is infinite and unconquered. Accordingly, the goodness of the unconquered is not conquered and the mercy of the infinite knows no bounds." To Venantia, 10

"If God is merciful, he can forgive all sins. A goodness which does not conquer every evil is not a perfect goodness nor is a medicine perfect for which any disease is incurable." To Venantia, 4

If you are interested in reading more from this North African bishop, he works are compiled in Vol. 95 of CUA Press's the Fathers of the Church Series.


Trent Demarest said...

This is fantastic! Thanks so much for providing this compendium of quotations.

Martin Yee said...


Thanks for sharing this.


J. Dean said...

Thank you, Jordan. The early Church Fathers are neglected by the modern church, and directing us back to the more obscure names like St. Fulgentius is a very good thing.

Steve Martin said...

I'd never heard of that guy.

Thanks so much! Good stuff.