Q. 1. What is the heresy of "Donatism?"
A. 1. The heresy of "Donatism" consisted of rigorists members of a sect that believed church must be one of saints, not sinners, and that the Sacraments administered by the traditores were invalid. They also regarded martyrdom as the supreme Christian virtue and regarded those that actively sought martyrdom as saints.
The word "Donatism" originates from the name of the second leader of their group, one called Donatus Magnus. He was also known as Donatus of Casae Nigrae. History tells us that Donatus was consecrated in 313 A.D. as Bishop of Carthage and Primate of North Africa, as leader of the Christian sect which came to be known as the Donatist sect, even though Donatus was not the founding leader, but rather followed the founding leader Majorinus. It is believed that he died in exile around 355.
Donatism was condemned by Pope Melchiades during his reign, from July 2, A.D. to his death in 314.
The Donatist sect was a force at the time of Saint Augustine of Hippo and disappeared only after the Arab conquest.