Skip to main content

Libellatici

LIBELLATICI

Christians in possession of libelli or certificates stating that, particularly during the Decian persecution (251253), they had offered or were willing to offer sacrifice in the prescribed fashion. Copies of the official certificates signed by an imperial commissioner have been discovered in Egypt, though they may have belonged to pagans for whom they posed no moral problem. The term was also applied earlier to requests for pardon (libelli pacis ) given to the lapsi or fallen Christians by incarcerated confessors of the faith demanding that the bishop admit them to reconciliation. Tertullian mentions the practice of the martyrs' granting libelli pacis asking pardon for sinners (Ad mart. 1.6); but he later condemned their misuse (De pud. 22.12). The request was based on the notion that the martyrs' sufferings in themselves gave him power to forgive sins, and that the bishop had merely to take note of this fact (cyprian, Epist. 21.3). Cyprian of Carthage strongly opposed this movement (Epist. 27.12) while admitting the value of the martyrs' intercessory prayers and sufferings to abbreviate the time of penance for the lapsi, particularly for those seeking reconciliation before death. The practice seems to have been known but early repudiated in Rome; it apparently spread from the Church in North Africa to Egypt and Asia Minor.

Bibliography: h. leclercq, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie (Paris 190753) 9.1:7879. a. d'alÈs, l'Édit de Calliste (Paris 1914). b. poschmann, Paenitentia secunda (Bonn 1940). l. faulhaber, Zeitschrift für katholische Theologie 43 (Vienna 1919) 439466, 617657. e. bourque, Histoire de la pénitence-sacrament (Quebec 1947) 8892, 98104. j. r. knipfing, "Libelli of the Decian Persecution," Harvard Theological Review 16 (1923) 345390.

[f. hauser]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Libellatici." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Libellatici." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/libellatici

"Libellatici." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/libellatici

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.