Faustus of Riez

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Faustus of Riez (400-490 A.D.) was born in Britain, but entered the monastery at Lérins in southern France at an early age, eventually becoming the abbot in 433 A.D.  In 466 A.D., he was ordained a bishop and opposed himself against the heretical Arianism that still persisted in the area, but was forced into exile by Furic, the king of the Visigoths, who was an Arian sympathizer.  Faustus was also a staunch opponent against Pelagianism and at the request of Leontius of Arles and the bishops who composed the synods of Arles and Lyons in 475 A.D., Faustus wrote the Libri duo de Gratia Dei et humanae mentis libero arbitrio, in which he argued against the doctrines of the predestinarians as well as those of Pelagius.  The work was marked, however, by Semipelagianism, and came under later criticism, but because the theology had not yet been fully developed during his lifetime, modern theologians have softened on Faustus’ understanding.


  • Libri duo de Gratia Dei et humanae mentis libero arbitrio (Treatise on the Grace of God)
  • Libri duo de Spiritu Sancto (Treatise on the Holy Spirit
  • Libellus parvus adversus Arianos et Macedonianos
  • Sermons

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Quotes and Excerpts:

An Anthology of Historical Sources
Volumes 1-4
Lawrence J. Johnson
Liturgical Press Collegeville, Minnesota

123-A. Treatise On the Grace of God (472 A.D.)

I.XIv. Heretics who convert to the Christian faith are not to be re-baptized. They are to be judged as cleansed by the working of grace so that they are clothed only with the chrismal blessing.

123-B. Treatise On the Holy Spirit (470 A.D.)

MI. In baptism sins are removed. Through the coming of the Holy Spirit the gifts of strength [virtutum munera] are given, and miracles are performed by those who have been strengthened [confirmatis]. (i.e. through Confirmation)


[…] Public penance is not necessary for a person who has renounced the world. Having converted, such a person has shown sorrow and has entered into an everlasting agreement with God. From the day on which the monk promised God to henceforth live justly, the sins committed in the world are no longer remembered. Therefore from the day on which the monk promised to carry out most faithfully the obligations that were put in writing. Even though as a believer he sinned while in the world, yet after his second renunciation he should not hesitate to receive the Lord’s Body lest under the pretext of humility he be separated from the Body and Blood of him to whom he has united himself so that there be one body. For this reason whoever ceases to sin should not cease to receive communion provided he henceforth does not sin. [. . .]

I. To be sure, there is only one perfect victim who is to be valued under the light of faith and not according to outward appearance, only one victim whose worth depends not on what is seen outwardly but on what is within. Therefore heavenly authority rightly asserts that “my flesh is truly food, and my blood is truly drink.” And so may all uncertainty of belief be absent because the giver of the gift also witnesses its truth.
For the invisible priest by his word, by his special power, converts visible created things into the substance of his Body and Blood, saying, ‘Take and eat, this is my Body’; repeating the sanctification he says, ‘Take and drink, this is my Blood.’”

VIN. May no one doubt that the most excellent created things at the command of power, by the presence of majesty, can pass over into the nature of the Lord’s Body since we see mankind made into the Body of Christ by the artistry of heavenly goodness.
Just as when someone comes to the faith, before the words of baptism he or she is still bound by the old debt. Yet by recalling these things he or she is soon set free from all impurity of sin. So it is that created things, when placed on the holy altar to be blessed by the heavenly words, have the substance of bread and wine before the invocation of the divine name; yet after Christ’s words they are his Body and Blood.

I. During the confirmation of the neophytes the imposition of the hand gives to each of them what the descent of the Holy Spirit at that time gave to all the people. Now that I have said that the laying-on of the hand and that confirmation can confer something upon a person who has already been reborn in Christ, perhaps someone might ask, ‘What benefit can I gain from having someone confirm me after the mystery of baptism?’ As I see it, we have not received everything from the font if afterwards there is still something to be added, something we need.’
This, beloved, is not so. Just listen. Military service requires that when an emperor receives a soldier into his army, the emperor should not only place a mark on the soldier but should also furnish him with arms appropriate for battle. So it is that the blessing [of confirmation] protects the one who has been baptized. You enlisted a soldier; now give him what is needed to fight. Nothing is gained if a parent grants much to a child and yet fails to supply a protector. So the Paraclete is the guardian, the consoler, and the protector of those who have been reborn in Christ. As the Scriptures say,
“Unless the Lord builds the city, the builders keep watch in vain.”
Therefore the Holy Spirit, who descends upon and in a salutary way flows into the baptismal waters, grants all innocence at the font. In confirmation the Spirit gives an increase of grace because in this world those who will conquer–no matter what their age–will walk among dangers and invisible enemies. In baptism we are reborn unto life; after baptism we are strengthened for battle. In baptism we are nourished; after baptism we are
strengthened. And so the benefits of rebirth are sufficient for those who will immediately pass on [to heaven]. The help given by confirmation, however, is necessary for those who will be victorious. Regeneration in itself saves those who will soon be received into the peaceful abode of the holy ones; confirmation arms us and instructs us on how we are to keep ourselves safe from the struggles and battles of this world.”

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