Roman Emperors Issue Law Aimed at Heretic and Former Monk Jovinian

Roman Emperors Issue Law Aimed at Heretic and Former Monk Jovinian

Emperor Honorius
Source: Wikipedia

Roman emperors Arcadius and Honorius issue a new law specifically targeting a Christian heretic named Jovinian (or Jovinianus). A former monk, Jovinian opposed (monastic) aceticism that was developing within the Christian community and had been condemned as a heretic by Pope Siricius.

St. Jerome called Jovinian the "Epicurus of Christianity". Among his "crimes" appears to have been his ability and willingness to use secular literature as part of his arguments.

This new Roman law states:

"We command that [Jovinianus] be arrested and beaten with leaden whips and that he shall be forced into exile along with the remaining adherents and ministers.

He himself, as the instigator, shall be transported with all haste to the island of Boa; the rest, as seems best, provided only that the band of superstitious conspirators shall be dissolved by the separation in exile, shall be deported for life to solitary islands situated at great distance from each other.

Moreover, if any person with obstinate depravity should repeat such forbidden and condemned acts, he shall incur a more severe sentence." [CTh 16.5.53]

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