Definition of Donatist in English:



  • A member of a schismatic Christian group in North Africa, formed in 311, who held that only those living a blameless life belonged in the Church. They survived until the 7th century.

    • ‘His episcopate was marked by his continual opposition to the heresies of the Pelagians, Donatists, and Manichees.’
    • ‘The quotation, though referring to the Donatists, came to indict the Anglicans for separating themselves from the rest of the church.’
    • ‘The Donatists, Saint Augustine's foes, believed that errant priests have automatically ceased to be qualified as priests, whereas Augustine defended what became the Catholic position, that even errant priests are still priests.’
    • ‘Also included are biographical essays on individuals and social groups of Augustine's time, from the schismatic Donatists to the Manichees, of whom Augustine himself had been a member, to the Pelagians with whom he battled.’
    • ‘John's mood is something we find more with the Montanist and Donatist movements than with the church universal, guided by the bishops.’
    • ‘Not far from his mind was his battle with the schismatic Donatists, whose vision of a pure Church led them to cut themselves off from the sometimes faithless impurity of others who claimed the name Christian.’
    • ‘Moreover, the Donatists included many Christians of honest and good heart, among whom he felt sure that God numbered some of his elect.’
    • ‘There was much discussion of the theology of the sacraments, beginning in the late fourth century in Augustine's debate with the Donatists, but there was little or no discussion of the theology of preaching before Luther.’
    • ‘Blaming them is to forget that Augustine called the Donatists brothers, and encouraged his congregation to do the same.’
    • ‘Efforts to bring the Donatists back into full communion continued for centuries.’
    • ‘He became bishop of Hippo and was engaged in constant theological controversy, combating Manichaeans, Donatists, and Pelagians.’
    • ‘He helps readers to understand the Manichean, Donatist and Pelagian controversies that Augustine confronted, but he focuses on aspects of the conflicts that are of interest to the modern reader.’
    • ‘His accurate and clear translations follow, centered on the following themes: Christianity and citizenship, bishops and civil authority, judicial authority, the Donatist controversy, and war and peace.’
    • ‘Some of their rhetoric does appear to use Donatist ideas.’
    • ‘In Africa he confronted the Donatist schism: the Donatists objected to the largess for their opponents and appealed to him.’
    • ‘It was consolidated in the fourth century in its conflict with the North African millennialist Donatist sect.’
    • ‘What makes a sacrament a sacrament is the administration of it which came out of St. Augustine's teachings during the Donatist controversy.’
    • ‘The Donatists had a good idea: in order to reflect for people the best virtues of their faith, clergy need to conduct their lives, including their financial lives, as well as possible.’
    • ‘It was the issue over which St. Augustine clashed with the Donatists, who insisted that their priests had to be pure.’
    • ‘The notion that clergy could be holy was rejected with the settlement of the Donatist controversy.’


From Donatus (died c 355), a Christian prelate in Carthage and the group's leader, + -ist.