FAUSTUS OF RIEZ (Lat. Reji; Faustus Rejensis):
Prominent representative of Semi-Pelagianism in the south of Gaul; b. between 405 and 410; d. toward the end of the fifth century. He was probably of British origin, according to the positive assertions of Avitus and Sidonius; against this there is nothing but the description of him as a Gaul by men at a distance like Possessor and Facundus. He received a good philosophical education, and knew not a little of the Scriptures, but he was neither an original thinker nor a thorough theologian. At an early age he entered the monastery of Lérins (q.v.), then in a very flourishing state under Abbot Maximus, whom he succeeded in 433. He kept his monks in strict discipline, and defended the interests of his monastery against the bishop of the diocese, Theodore of Fréjus, winning his case when it came before a synod held by the metropolitan Ravennius (the Third Synod of Arles, probably in 456). He was subsequently chosen bishop of Riez (in Basses Alpes, 50 m. n.e. of Marseilles), not later than 462, in which year he appears in Rome as a bishop; the date of his election is probably between 458 and 460. He continued to distinguish himself by his ascetic life, and became known as a preacher. A synod was held at Arles c. 475 to deal with the case of Lucidus, a teacher of thoroughgoing predestinarianism, and another one soon after at Lyons. Acting at the request of these synods, Faustus succeeded in inducing Lucidus to sign a fairly complete retractation, and also wrote a large work De gratia in which he took a Semi-Pelagian position. He was also a prominent figure in the Christological and Pneumatological controversies of his day. In 474, with other bishops, he conducted negotiations in the emperor's name with Euric, king of the Visigoths, and later, probably by Euric's conquests, was driven into an exile which apparently terminated in the year of Euric's death, 485. His own death probably followed from five to ten years later. The Church of his province honored him as a saint, although the title was not sanctioned by the wider body on account of his Semi-Pelagian teachings.
In his catalogue of authors Gennadius gives a list, avowedly incomplete, of the writings of Faustus [NPNF, 2 ser., iii. 399] This includes first a treatise in two books De Spiritu sancto, defending the divinity of the Holy Ghost against Macedonius, and the two books De gratia, in the extant text of which there are evident gaps; and Bergmann brings forward, though unconvincingly, the theory that it has suffered from interpolations of an Augustinian tendency. Gennadius further mentions "a small book against the Arians and the Macedonians," which, in spite of various attempts at identification, may be taken as lost; another "against those who say that there is something incorporeal in creatures, affirming by Scriptural and patristic testimony that there is nothing incorporeal except God," which is extant as the fourth epistle of Faustus; a letter addressed "to a certain deacon named Græcus who, leaving the Catholic faith, went over to the Nestorian impiety"; and "a religious epistle to Felix, the pretorian prefect, exhorting to the fear of God," given by Engelbrecht as Epist. vi., and related to his Epist. ix. Besides those mentioned by Gennadius, there are other letters undeniably authentic--that to Paulinus of Burdegala (Epist. v. in Engelbrecht), that to Lucidus (Epist. i.), and five to Ruricius (viii.-xii.). Of special interest are the two homilies on the baptismal symbol, which since Caspari's investigations have been generally attributed to Faustus, although more recently W. Bergmann, Studien zu einer kritischen Sichtung der südgallischen Predigtlitteratur der 5. and 6. Jahrhunderten, Leipsic, 1898, has contested this attribution, on grounds which are worthy of notice if not conclusive. It remains to mention a large number of sermons which are said to have been current, although the obscurity which still rests upon the whole question of early Latin homiletical literature prevents the determination of the exact extent of this activity. Engelbrecht, indeed, asserts that there are extant two collections of the sermons of Faustus, one of twenty-two in the ninth or tenth century manuscript known as Durlach 36 (now Carlsruhe 340), and seventy-four originally attributed to Eusebius (printed in the Bibliotheca maxima,. VI. 618 sqq.). But this assumption is hazardous. In the Durlach codex, nine sermons bear the name of Faustinus, but it is both uncertain whether this name points to Faustus and whether the remaining sermons are even by the same author; while both here and in the other collection certain sections may be certainly identified as the work of Cæsarius.
The historical position of Faustus is conditioned by his support of the Semi-Pelagian theology (see SEMI-PELAGIANISM). According to him, all men are born in original sin; but although the freedom of the human will is weakened by sin, it yet remains an integral part of human nature even in the sinner. Grace cooperates with free will to establish good in man; but man, through his freedom, takes the initial step. In Faustus' mind grace connotes practically preaching with its promises and warnings; grace as an adjutorium divinum, in the Augustinian conception, an interior transforming power, is unknown to him. The passages which seem to recognize such a power are to be explained by the fact that Faustus regards the natural power of the will as a gift of grace, or looks upon the leadings of the circumstances of life in something of the same light, as in his treatment of the parable of the prodigal son. In spite of a casual mention (in the same sense) of gratia cooperans or cooperans adjutorium, and of his strong condemnation of Pelagius, he really takes a Pelagian position, further removed than Cassian from Augustine. Predestination is made dependent on foreknowledge. God wills only what is just and right, but permits freedom to terminate in evil. In Trinitarian and Christological questions Faustus adheres to the orthodox Augustinian formulas.