|Bishop of Calama in Numidia,
author of a short life of St. Augustine and of an indiculus or list of St.
Augustine's writings. The dates of his birth and death are unknown; he was alive
and in exile in 437 according to Prosper, who, in his "Chronicle",
records that Possidius and two other bishops were persecuted and expelled from
their sees by the Vandal king, Genseric, who was an Arian. Possidius (Vita S.
Augustini, xxxi), after describing the death of St. Augustine, speaks of his
unbroken friendship with him for forty years. He also, speaking of himself in
the third person, lets it be known that he was one of the clergy of St.
Augustine's monastery (ibid., xii). The date of his promotion to the episcopate
was, according to Tillemont, about 397. He followed St. Augustine's example and
established a monastery at Calama. At a council, held at Carthage, Possidius
challenged Crispinus, the Donatist Bishop of Calama, to a public discussion
which the latter declined. Shortly afterwards one of Crispinus's clergy, bearing
the same name as his bishop, attempted to assassinate Possidius. Legal
proceedings were instituted against Crispinus, the bishop, who refused to punish
his presbyter. He was proved to be a heretic and was heavily fined, but at the
intercession of Possidius the fine was not exacted ("Vita", xii; St.
Augustine, "Ep.", cv, 4; "Contra Crescon.", III, xlvi). In
407, Possidius served, with St. Augustine and five other bishops, on a committee
appointed to adjudicate upon some ecclesiastical matter, the particulars of
which are not known. In 408 he nearly lost his life in a riot stirred up by the
pagans at Callama (St. Augustine, "Epp.", xc, xci, xciii). In 409 he
was one of four bishops deputed to go to Italy to obtain the protection of the
emperor against the Donatists. He was one of the seven bishops chosen to
represent the Catholic party at the "Collatio" of 411. In 416 he
assisted at the Council of Milevum, where fifty-nine Numidian bishops addressed
a synodal letter to Innocent I, asking him to take action against Pelagianism.
He joined with St. Augustine and three other bishops in a further letter to
Innocent on the same subject, and was at the conference between St. Augustine
and the Donatist Emeritus. When the Vandals invaded Africa, he fled to Hippo and
was present at the death of St. Augustine (430). His "Vita S.
Augustini", composed before the capture of Carthage (439), is included in
all editions of the works of St. Augustine, and also printed in Hurter's "Opusc.
SS. Patr.". His indiculus will be found in the last volume of Migne's
edition of the works of St. Augustine and in the tenth volume of the Benedictine
edition. CEILLIER, Hist. des auteurs eccles., XII; TILLEMONT, Memoires, XIII.
From the Catholic Encyclopedia, copyright © 1913 by the Encyclopedia Press,
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