Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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Donatus the Great
(3,582 words)

Donatus the Great (d. 355 CE) was a Carthaginian bishop who led the eponymous Donatist faction of the African church for nearly 40 years. He was a popular minister and an effective leader, considered a successor to Cyprian of Carthage by both friend and foe (see Aug. Serm. 33.3). Even Augustine of Hippo, who opposed the Donatist faction throughout his life, named Donatus one of the “precious stones” of the African church (Serm. 37.3; see Mandouze, 2003).


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Bass, Alden, “Donatus the Great”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 07 June 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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