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Donatism was a Christian sect leading to a schism in the Church, in the region of the Church of Carthage, from the fourth to the sixth centuries. Donatists argued that Christian clergy must be faultless for their ministry to be effective and their prayers and sacraments to be valid. Donatism had its roots in the long-established Christian community of the Roman province Africa Proconsularis (present-day Tunisia, the northeast of Algeria, and the western coast of Libya) and Mauretania Tingitana (roughly with the northern part of present-day Morocco),[1] in the persecutions of Christians under Diocletian. Named after the Berber Christian bishop Donatus Magnus, Donatism flourished during the fourth and fifth centuries.[2] Donatism mainly spread among the indigenous Berber population,[3] and Donatists were able to blend Christianity with many of the Berber local customs.[4]

Painting of Augustine of Hippo arguing with a man before an audience
Charles-André van Loo's 18th-century Augustine arguing with Donatists