St. Fulgentius of Ruspe

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Fulgentius of Ruspe (462-533) was a bishop of the city of Ruspe, a Roman province of North Africa, in modern-day Tunisia.  In 499 Fulgentius set out to become a monk and applied to Faustus, a bishop who had been forced from his diocese by the Vandal king Huneric and later set up a monastery at Byzacena. Faustus tried to dissuade Fulgentius because his physical weakness made him a poor candidate for the rigorous life of the monastery. When Fulgentius persisted, Faustus admitted him on a trial basis.  He was then forced to flee the monastery when a local Arian priest had the abbots arrested and tortured after learning the pair were preaching the orthodox Nicene teaching.  In 500, he returned to Byzacena, where he built a monastery, electing to live in an isolated cell. Fulgentius’s reputation quickly spread, and he was offered a bishopric several times due to dioceses being vacated through the actions of the Vandal King Thrasamund, who was Arian.

Fulgentius became Bishop of Ruspe in 502, but he was soon banished to Sardinia with sixty other bishops who did not hold the Arian position. Pope Symmachus knew of their plight and sent them annual provisions of food and money.   In 515, he returned to Africa, having been summoned there by Thrasamund for a public debate with his Arian replacement, but in 520 Thrasamund banished Fulgentius back to Sardinia.  In 523, following the death of Thrasamund and the accession of his Catholic son Hilderic, Fulgentius was allowed to return to Ruspe and try to convert the populace to the Catholic position. He worked to reform many of the abuses which had infiltrated his old diocese in his absence.  He died in 533.

Writings:

  • An Answer to Ten Objections
  • Three Books to King Thrasamund
  • Letter to Peter on the Faith

Quotes and Excerpts:

“Hold most firmly and never doubt that the same Holy Spirit, who is the one Spirit of the Father and the Son, proceeds from the Father and the Son. For the Son says, ‘When the Spirit of Truth comes, who has proceeded from the Father,’ where he taught that the Spirit is his, because he is the Truth.”  Letter to Peter on the Faith (

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