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Pacianus [1]

a Spanish prelate of the 4th century, who among the Church writers of the West previous to Augustine figures not inconspicuously, is supposed to have become bishop about A.D. 350, and to have died at an advanced age under Theodosius (about 390). For information regarding the personal history of Pacianus we rely mainly on Jerome (in cap. 106 and 132 of his Lib. de Viis illustrisbus also contr. Ruffin. t. i, c. 24). He describes Pacianus as the descendant of a noble family, and married in early life, for Pacianus had a son, Flavius Dexter, a friend of Jerome, who dedicated to him his work De Viris Illustribus. About the time Ambrose of Milan became an ecclesiastic Pacianus entered the service of the Church, and soon rose to positions of influence. He finally became bishop of Barcelona. Pacianus was especially renowned for his chastity and eloquence. Jerome says also that Pacianus wrote several works, of which he expressly mentions those against the Novatians, and one entitled Κέρβος . A work of Pacianus against the Novatians is still extant in the form of three letters addressed to a Novatian of the name of Sympronianus, or Sempronianus as some read it. The work called by Jerome Κέρβος , that is Cervus, is no longer extant. But Pacianus tells us, in a treatise of his which has come down to us, and which is entitled Parcenesis Sive Exhortatorius Libellus ad Panitentiam, that he had written a book called Cervulus. We also possess a sermon by Pacianus on baptism (Sermon de baptismo), intended for the use of catechumens. The style of all these writings, so far as extant, prove Pacianus to have been a master of the Latin language, and Jerome's estimate of Pacianus as "Scriptor eloquens" is not overdrawn. But there is not much evidence of great scholarship or originality, nor anything striking in the writings of Pacianus. What we still possess of them were first brought out by Tilius (Paris, 1537, 4to). Next came Galland in his Bibliotheca Patrum, 7:257-276; and likewise the Bibl. Patr. maximna Lugdunensis, vol. 4, and Migne, 13:1051 sq. See, besides Jerome's works referred to above, Acta Script. Boll. ad 9 Mart. p. 44; Cave, Scriptor. ecclesiasticorum hist. liter. i, 234; Tillemont, Memoires, 8:539; Ceillier, Hist. des Auteurs Sacrgs et Eccles. v, 156 sq.; Alzog, Patrologie, § 61; Smith, Dict. of Greek and Roman Biog. and Mythol. s.v.