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'''Novatian''' was a Roman [[bishop]] and [[theologian]] of the third century who took a strict position on readmission of apostates during the persecutions of the time. His followers formed a schismatic group that continued into the fifth century. He was the first writer of the Western church to use Latin.
Novatian was born about the year 200. He was a man of considerable learning, apparently educated in literary composition. His immediate rival in Rome, Bishop [[Corneliusof Rome|Cornelius]], spoke of him sarcastically as " that maker of dogmas, that champion of ecclesiastical learning". His ecclesiastical career is unclear. Cornelius related that he was [[ordination|ordained]] a [[priest]] by a predecessor [[bishop]] of Rome (probably Fabian) over the protests of the [[clergy]] and [[laity]] of Rome.
During the persecutions of emperor Decius in mid third century, Novatian took the position that those who had stopped practicing Christianity during the persecutions could not be accepted back into the church even if they repented and that the only way to reenter the church would be by re-[[baptism]]. Cornelius and [[Cyprian of Carthage ]] did not believe in the need for re-baptism. Instead they thought that the sinners should only need to show contrition and true repentance to be welcomed back into the church
During the election of the bishop of Rome in 251, Novatian opposed Cornelius because he was too lax in accepting the return of Christians who had lapsed during the persecutions. His party then consecrated him as a rival bishop (antipope) to Cornelius. He announced throughout the empire his election, as had Cornelius, as both parties appointed bishops and priests in cities where the incumbent favored his rival, thus creating a widespread [[schism]] in the Church.

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