Pacian of Barcelona, St.
PACIAN OF BARCELONA, ST.
Bishop; b. Spain, c. 310; d. Barcelona, Spain, before 392. Though married, and the father of the praetorian prefect, Dexter, Pacian became bishop of Barcelona and was praised by jerome for his learning, sanctity, and pastoral zeal (De vir. illus. 106). Of his writings, only three works are certainly authentic: De Baptismo or sermon to catechumens, which speaks of the spiritual renewal and purification effected by baptism and describes the effects of original sin with a clarity that was rare before the time of augustine; a Contra Novatianos, in three letters to Sympronian, a rigorist propagating the condemned doctrines of novatian; and a Paraenesis sive exhortatorius libellus, an earnest plea in favor of penance, and a stern reminder of the far more severe punishments awaiting those who die without having fulfilled the penances imposed on them. This work presents invaluable source material for the study of the penitential system then in vogue throughout Spain. Pacian's other writings have disappeared, and the treatises attributed to him by Dom G. morin are of doubtful authenticity.
Pacian's doctrine on penance elaborated the teaching of Scripture and tradition—particularly as set forth by tertullian and cyprian—to assert that the Church has the power from God to forgive all sins committed after baptism. In his first letter to Sympronian occurs the famous phrase "My name is Christian; but my surname, Catholic." By Catholic he meant the worldwide expansion of the Church, the unity of faith among all its members, and their submission to one supreme head.
Feast: March 9.
Bibliography: Obras, tr. and ed. l. rubio fernÁndez (Barcelona 1958). b. altaner, Patrology, tr. h. graef from 5th German ed. (New York 1960) (Span. ed. 1949) appendix. É. amann, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 1903–50; Tables générales 1951–) 11.2:1718–21. g. morin, "Traité inédit de Pacien de Barcelone," Revue Bénédictine 29 (1912) 1–28; "Un nouvel opuscule de Saint Pacien" ibid., 30 (1913) 286–293. Revue d'histoire ecclésiastique 38 (1942) 414–417.
[s. j. mckenna]