[St. Pachomius Library]

St. Vincent of Lérins

V Century

Born into a noble Gallic family, Vincent may have been the brother of St. Lupus of Troyes and may have served in the army before entering the monastery of Lérins. He became a priest and is said to have educated Sts. Salonus and Veranus, the sons of Eucherius of Lyons. Known for his spiritual learning and command of dogma, Vincent wrote the Commonitorium (literally, memorandum), in which he presents the criteria for establishing the correctness of theological opinion---such have been believed everywhere, always, by the community of believers. He also presents the relationship between scripture and the church: scripture is the ground of the Christian faith, and the church's authority interprets the scripture. The work was published c. 434 under the pseudonym Peregrinus, Pilgrim.

Vincent was alarmed by some of the extreme arguments advanced against Pelagianism, and considered Augustine an innovator whose thinking is not completely consonant with the criteria for orthodoxy (especially on the issue of predestination). As a result, Vincent was attacked by St. Prosper of Aquitaine as a semi-Pelagian. His writings, however, are in accord with the conventional Eastern Orthodox theological position, and have enjoyed more popularity in Eastern than Western circles. Even in the West, however, he is venerated as a saint; his feast day is 24 May.

Karen Rae Keck and Norman Hugh Redington

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