NOVA:TIAN, a priest of the Roman church in the 3d c., and the of a sect called after his name. The place and time of his birth are not known with certainty. Novatian had been a stoic philosopher, but after his arrival in Rome was converted to Christianity, and being seized with sudden illness while still a catechumen, received what was called clinical baptism, that is, baptism administered on a sick-bed, and with out the solemn ceremonial. Such baptism was, in ordinary circumstances, an impedi ment to holy orders. Notwithstanding this irregular baptism, Noyatian was promoted to orders by Fabian the Roman bishop; and soon afterwards showed his weakness by flying during a persecution. At this time a controversy arose about the manner of deal ing with the lapsed; that is; those who fell away in persecution. Novatian at first inclined to the milder side, but on the election of Cornelius to the Roman bishopric to which Novatian had aspired. and on Cornelius taking the indulgent course toward the lapsed, Novatian, together with Novatus and some other discontented priests of Car thage, opposed his authority, and eventually Novatian was chosen by a small party, and actually ordained bishop, in opposition to Cornelius. The party who espoused his cause was called by his name. They were confined mainly, in the first instance to Rome and to Carthage, where a kindred conflict had arisen. They held that in the grievous crime of idolatry through fear of persecution, the church had no power to absolve the penitent: and therefore, although it does not appear that they excluded such sinners from all hope of heaven, yet they denied the lawfulness of re-admitting them to the communion of the church. This doctrine they extended at a later period to all grievous sins, of
whatever character. Novatian may thus be regarded as the first antipope. The churches throughout Italy, Africa, and the East adhered to Cornelius; but the Nova 'flan party set up bishops and established churches not only at Carthage, but at Constan tinople, Alexandria, Nicomedia, Phrygin, Gaul, Spain, and elsewhere. They claimed for themselves a character of especial purity, and assumed the appellation of Cathari (Puritans). The time and manner of the death of Novatian is uncertain. According to Socrates (Hist. Ece. iv. 28; v. 21; vii. 5, 12, 25), he died it martyr in the persecution of Valerian, but this is improbable. He was a man of considerable learning, and the work recently discovered in one of the monasteries of mount Athos, and published by Mr. Miller at Oxford in 1851, under the title of Origenis Philosophuneria, is by some ascribed to him. His sect survived long after his death. An unsuccessful effort was made in the council of Nice to re-unite them to the church; and traces of them are still discov erable in the end of the gth century._ ..