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Encyclopedia > Agrippinus of Alexandria

Agrippinus served as Patriarch of Alexandria (head of the church that became the Coptic Church and the Orthodox Church of Alexandria) between 167 and 178.


Bishop of Carthage at the close of the second and beginning of the third century. During his episcopacy the question arose in the African Church as to what should be done with regard to converts from schism or heresy. If they had previously been Catholics, ecclesiastical discipline held them subject to penance. But if it were a question of receiving those who had been baptized outside the Church, was their baptism to be regarded as valid? Agrippinus convoked the bishops of Numidia and Africa for the First Council of Africa (probably 215-217) which resolved the question negatively. He consequently decided that such persons should be baptized, not conditionally but absolutely. Heretics, it was argued, have not the true faith; they cannot absolve from sin; the water in their baptism cannot cleanse from sin. These reasons seemed to him to warrant the conclusion arrived at, but it was not the Roman usage. The point, however, had not yet been raised and definitely settled. But assuming their good faith, Agrippinus and the others were not excluded from the unity of the Church. Half a century later, St. Cyprian speaks of the continuous good repute of Agrippinus (bonŠ memoriŠ vir); and St. Augustine in writing against the Donatists defends Agrippinus and Cyprian by showing that, although they were mistaken, they had not broken the unity of the Church.


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Carthage (3100 words)
A council of seventy bishops held at Carthage by Bishop Agrippinus at the epoch (variously dated between 198 and 222), substantially corroborates the testimony of Tertullian as to the general progress of Christianity in Africa in the early years of the third century.
Agrippinus, already mentioned, was Bishop of Carthage about 197, and the immediate predecessor of St. Cyprian was Donatus, who presided over a council of ninety African bishops which condemned as a heretic Privatus, Bishop of Lambesa.
His views, however, were received with little favour, and eventually, through the efforts of Dionysius of Alexandria, Cyprian, and Pope Cornelius, the Roman confessors from whom he had derived his prestige deserted his party and were admitted to communion.
CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: The Church of Alexandria (2326 words)
The Church of Alexandria, founded according to the constant tradition of both East and West by St.
Demetrius governed the Church of Alexandria for forty-two years, and it was he who deposed and excommunicated Origen, notwithstanding his great work as a catechist.
It was doubtless in their behalf that in the pontificate of Innocent III (1198-1216) a patriarch of the Latin rite was appointed for Alexandria.
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