The Work of St. Optatus opens the door to the tumultuous history of the Catholic church in the early 4th Century. Saint Optatus served as Bishop in what is today Mila, Algeria during the Diocletian persecutions of Christians between 302-311 A.D. . As an early Father of the Church, St. Optatus is unique in leaving only this work behind. It is an extensive critique against the Donatists - whose interpretation of Christianity was declared heresy by the Catholic church - and also serves as a history and narrative of the upheavals and the conflicts within early Christianity. The main argument Optatus makes is that the Donatist assertion that the church can be located in Africa around the locality of Carthage is wrong. That Peter was given the title of Bishop of Rome made Rome itself a better and more representative location for the church. Furthermore elements of Donatist doctrine - such as teachings derived from St. Cyprian stating that baptism outside of the church is acceptable - are lambasted as heresy.
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