Pelagius in Roman Biography
Pe-la'gl-us, [Gr. IbAayioc ; Fr. Pelage, pl'lSzh',] the
founder of the sect of Pelagians, or rather the chief
advocate of a system of doctrines called Pelagianism,
was born probably in Britain. He began to propagate
his doctrines at Rome about 400 A.D., and formed a
friendship with Celestius, who became his ardent disciple.
He was an admirer of Origen, and an adversary of Saint
Augustine in relation to grace and election. Pelagius
rejected the dogmas of original sin and absolute
He maintained that the effects of Adam's first
sin were confined to himself, and that man's salvation
depends on his own exertions. He was condemned by
several councils, and was banished from Italy in 418.
The eminent purity of his life was freely admitted by
his opponents. A system called Semi-Pelagianism prevailed
widely in the middle ages, and has many adherents
at the present day. As the numerous works of Pelagius
are nearly all lost, it is difficult to ascertain exactly
doctrines he taught. His adversaries complained of
the haze of subtle dialectics with which he involved
every subject of dispute. Among his extant works is a
Commentary on the Epistles of Saint Paul."
" Historia Pelagians;" I.. Patouillet, "Vie de
Pelage," 1751 ; Bayi.e,
Historical and Critical Dictionary ;" Saint
Augustine, "De Gratia Christi" and "De Peccato Originali;" "
Nouvelle Biographie Generale.