Faustus of Riez

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Fifth-century monk, bishop, and theological writer; b. Britain, c. 410; d. between 490 and 500. Faustus was a monk at Lérins and became abbot c. 433; he took part in the Synod of Arles (455) and was selected as bishop of Riez in Provence c. 458. A renowned preacher and opponent of arianism among the Goths, and of Macedonianism, Faustus is considered, with John cassian, a chief proponent of semi-pelagianism. He was wrongly accused of favoring a strict predestinationism dependent upon augustine of hippo, and, in Synods at Arles (473) and Lyons (474), he successfully opposed the Gallic priest Lucidus, who was condemned for teaching that God withheld grace from those destined for damnation.

Faustus wrote two books De Spiritu Sancto against the Macedonians; and two books De gratia Dei against Lucidus. Ten of his letters have been preserved, five of them in the correspondence of Bp. Ruricius of Limoges (d. c. 508). He is the author of numerous sermons; A. Engelbrecht credits him with 31 (Corpus scriptorum ecclesiasticorum latinorum 21), while G. Morin maintains that 75 other sermons attributed to Eusebius of Emesa should be recognized as belonging to Faustus (Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche 1935:92115).

Faustus interpreted the grace by which the Father draws souls to salvation (Jn 6.44) more as an attraction given through revelation, sermons, and the Scriptures (De grat. 1.16); but he combatted Augustine's doctrine of predestination by insisting on God's salvific will for all (ibid. 2.4, 10). He saw predestination as based on God's foreknowledge alone (ibid. 2.23). In the matter of original sin, failing to achieve a notion of total spirituality of the soul, he followed justin martyr, tertullian, and John cassian and accepted traducianism (Epist. 3). He was opposed by claudianus mamertus (d. 474), whose De statu animae reflected Neoplatonist and Augustinian thought on the nature of spiritual reality.

In 477 Faustus was expelled from Gaul by the Arian Visigoth King Euric and lived in exile until 485. He is venerated as a saint in southern France, but his questionable doctrine on grace prevented his cult spreading to the universal Church.

Bibliography: Patrologia Latina 58:775890. a. engelbrecht, ed., Corpus scriptorum ecclesiasticorum latinorum 21 (1891). j. huhn, Theologische Quartalschrift 130 (1950) 176183; 133 (1953) 408426, de fide. b. altaner, Patrology 566567. p. godet, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique 5.2:210105. g. weigel, Faustus of Riez (Philadelphia 1938). a. g. elg, In Faustum Riensen studia (Upsala 1937); In epistolam Fausti Riensis tertiam adnotationes (Lund 1945). h. hagendahl, La Correspondance de Ruricius (Göteborg 1952). f. bÖmer, Der lateinische Neuplatonismus und Neupythagorismus (Leipzig 1936).

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