From The Lives of the Popes from the Time of our Saviour Jesus Christ to the Accession of Gregory VII. Written Originally in Latin by B. Platina, Native of Cremona, and translated into English (from an anonymous translation, first printed in 1685 by Sir Paul Rycaut), Edited by William Benham, Volume I, London: Griffith, Farran, Okeden & Welsh, [1888, undated in text]; pp. 101-103.
The Lives of the Popes,
CŒLESTINUS, a Campanian, lived in the times of Theodosius the younger. This Theodosius, upon the death of that excellent prince Honorius, creates the son of his aunt Placidia, Valentinian, Cœsar, and commits to his charge the Western Empire, who, being immediately, by the universal consent of all Italy acknowledged their emperor, and actually entering upon the government at Ravenna, was wonderfully prosperous in subduing the enemies of the Roman state, and particularly John the usurper. In the meantime the Vandals, Alemans and Goths, a barbarous and savage people, passing over out of Spain into Africa, under the conduct of their king Gensericus, not only miserably depopulated and harassed that province with fire and sword, but also corrupted the Catholic faith there with the mixture of Arianism, and banished some orthodox bishops; during which troubles St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, died in the third month of the siege of that city, August 28th, in the seventy-seventh year of his age. The Vandals having taken Carthage, sailed to Sicily, and made the like havoc in that island; as also did the Picts and Scots in the island of Britain. In this extremity the Britains implored the aid of Aetius, a patrician and a famous soldier, but he not only denied them his assistance, but having other ambitious designs to carry on, solicited the Huns to invade Italy. The Britains being thus deserted by Aetius, call over the Saxons or English to their help, whom they soon found more their enemies than assistants; for being in a little time overrun by them, they lost both their country and their name. While 102 these things were transacting, Theodosius, dying at Constantinople in the twenty-seventh year of his and his uncle Honorius’s reign, Bleda and Attila, two brothers kings of the Huns, invading Illyricum, laid waste and burned all places to which they came.
Notwithstanding our Cœlestine ordained several rites appertaining to divine worship, as that, besides the epistle and gospel before the Mass, the Psalms of David should be sung by all alternately. Martinus Cassinas tells us, that the Psalm Judica me Deus, “Give sentence with me, O God, and defend my cause,” &c., which is used at the beginning of the sacrifice, was introduced by him; as likewise the Gradual is ascribed to him. Many other ecclesiastical constitutions he made, to be seen in the archives of the Church. He also dedicated and enriched the Julian church. At this time Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople, endeavoured to sow a new error in the Church, asserting that Christ was born of the Virgin Mary a mere man, and that the Divinity was conferred upon him of merit. To this impious doctrine Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, and our Cœlestine, opposed themselves very strenuously. For in a synod of two hundred bishops, held at Ephesus, Nestorius himself, and the heresy denominated from him, together with the Pelagians, who were great favourers of the Nestorian party, were by universal consent condemned in thirteen canons levelled against their foolish opinions. Moreover, Cœlestine sent Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, into England to oppose the Pelagian heresy, and reduce the inhabitants to the orthodox faith; and Palladius, whom he had made a bishop, to the Scots, who desired to be instructed in the Christian religion. And indeed it cannot be denied but that, by his endeavours and the industry of those whom he employed to that purpose, a great part of the west were converted to Christianity. It is said that at this time the devil assumed human shape, and pretended himself to be Moses, and imposed upon a multitude of Jews, by undertaking to conduct them out of the island of Crete into the land of promise through the sea, as upon dry land, in imitation of the ancient miracle wrought for that people at the Red Sea. Many of them followed this false Moses, and perished in the waters, those only being reported to have been saved who presently owned Christ to be the true God. Our Cœlestine having, at three Decembrian ordinations, made thirty-two 103 presbyters, twelve deacons, sixty-two bishops, died, and was buried in the cemetery of Priscilla, in the Via Salaria, April 6th. He sat in the chair ten years, ten months, seventeen days, and by his death the see was vacant twenty-one days.
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