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E00217: Fulgentius, bishop of Ruspe, writing in Latin in Ruspe (North Africa) c. 523, in his treatise On the Truth of Predestination, refers to holy monks of Egypt, whom he knows most probably from monastic hagiography, as examples of saintly life. Contains references to *Paul (the First Anchorite, S00089), *Antony ('the Great', monk of Egypt, ob. 356, S00098), *Hilarion (anchorite in Palestine and Cyprus, ob. 371, S00099), *Makarios (probably Makarios 'the Egyptian', monastic founder in the Sketis, ob.391, S00863), and *Ioannes/John (probably of Lycopolis, anchorite of Egypt, S00102).

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posted on 2014-11-26, 00:00 authored by Bryan
Fulgentius of Ruspe, On the Truth of Predestination 2.43

Sed quis usque adeo sit diuinae fidei et caritatis inimicus, ut Paulum, Antonium, Iohannem, Hilarionem, Macarium, alios que similis uitae ac sanctitatis monachos, in quibus et rectae fidei ueritas et sanctae conuersationis refulsit integritas, uasa contumeliae non metuat appellare?

'But who would be such an enemy of the divine faith and love and would not fear to call "the vessel of dishonour" Paul, Antony, John, Hilarion, Macarius, and other monks resembling them in life and sanctity, who shone both by the truth of faith and the soundness of their holy customs?'

Text: Fraipont 1968. Translation: Robert Wiśniewski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Antony, 'the Great', monk of Egypt, ob. 356 : S00098 Paul, the First Anchorite : S00089 Hilarion, anachorite in Palestine and Cyprus (ob. 371) : S00099 Makarios the Egyptian, ascetic and monastic founder in Sketis, ob. 391 : S00863 Macarius of Al

Saint Name in Source

Antonius Paulus Hilarion Iohannes Macarius

Type of Evidence

Literary - Theological works


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Latin North Africa

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Ruspe Carthage Carthago Karthago قرطاج‎ Qarṭāj Mçidfa Carthage

Major author/Major anonymous work

Fulgentius of Ruspe

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Transmission, copying and reading saint-related texts


On the Truth of Predestination is a theological treatise which Fulgentius wrote in 523, in the context of the Semi-Pelagian controversy, when he returned to Ruspe after his second exile.


The men named in this passage are four famous monks from Egypt and one from Palestine: Antony the Great, Paul of Thebes, John of Lycopolis, Hilarion of Gaza, and either Makarios 'the Egyptian' or Makarios of Alexandria, all known from monastic hagiography and apophthegmata. The Life of Antony was written by Athanasius (see E00631) and had two Latin translations before 374 (see E00260 and E00930), the lives of Paul and Hilarion by Jerome (E00750 and E00694), John of Lycopolis and the two Makarioi had their short biographies in the anonymous History of the Monks in Egypt, translated into Latin by Rufinus of Aquileia (see E###). Fulgentius does not promote their cult, he just presents them as examples of those whom God 'prepared for glory'. Yet, this passage bears testimony to the spread of monastic hagiography which later on and only in some cases ultimately gave rise to regular cults (see E###).


Edition: Fraipont, J., De ueritate praedestinationis et gratiae libri III, in: Fulgentius Ruspensis: Opera II (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 91A; Turnhout: Brepols, 1968).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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