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E00985: Quodvultdeus of Carthage tells a story of a possessed girl whom the bishop locked in a female monastery in Carthage, in which relics of *Stephen (the First Martyr, S00030) were deposited, in 434. Account in the Book of Promises, written in Latin, probably during Quodvultdeus' exile in Italy in 440/454.

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posted on 2015-12-14, 00:00 authored by robert
Quodvultdeus, Book of Promises (Liber promissionum), Dimidium temporis 6.38

Nostris quoque temporibus, Aspare u. c. cons. [viro clarissimo consule] Karthagine constituto, hoc signum diabolicum monstruosumque quod illic accidit quis illius patriae ciuis ignorat?

'Also who of the citizens of this country have not heard about this diabolic and monstrous sign which occurred in Carthage in our times, when the consul Aspar, vir clariissimus, resided in city [AD 434]'

When visiting the baths a girl is possessed by the devil. After seventy days her parents bring her to the bishop.

Cumque incredibilia uiderentur quae dicebantur, habito consilio, monasterio puellarum in quo reliquiae sancti Stephani sitae sunt, sacerdos puellam inclusit simul et praeposito commendauit.

'What people say may appear even more difficult to believe, for upon reflection the bishop locked the girl in the monastery of virgins in which relics of St Stephen are deposited and entrusted her to the superior.'

After two weeks the devil is expelled by the power of the Eucharist rather than the relics.

Text: Braun 1976. Translation and summary by Robert Wiśniewski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Stephen, the First Martyr : S00030

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Other


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Latin North Africa Italy south of Rome and Sicily

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Carthage Carthage Carthago Karthago قرطاج‎ Qarṭāj Mçidfa Carthage Adriatic Sea Adriatic Sea Adriaticum Mare

Major author/Major anonymous work


Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult Activities - Miracles


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Ecclesiastics - bishops

Cult Activities - Relics

Unspecified relic


The Book of Promises collects biblical prophecies, some of which are already fulfilled, others concerning the future to come. The author is not named in any manuscript, but the text suggests that he was a bishop of Carthage and then settled in Campania. All this points to Quodvultdeus, who started his episcopate between 429 and 439, and was exiled in the latter year from his see by the Vandals. He settled in Naples where he died most probably in 454, because in this year his successor in Carthage was chosen. The Book of Promises was written almost certainly some time after 439, for in Book of Promises 5.6 (E00997) the author claims that he is already settled in Campania.


Although the story ends with the devil being chased away, the author does not suggest that it happened through the power of relics. He apparently mentions them only to specify in which monastery the episode took place. This monastery is otherwise unknown. The episode is securely dated thanks to the statement that it took place during the consulate of Flavius Ardabur Aspar (434).


Edition: Braun, R., Quodvultdeus Carthaginensis, Opera Tributa (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 60; Turnhout: Brepols, 1976). French translation: Braun, R., Livre des promesses et des prédictions de Dieu, 2 vols. (Sources Chrétiennes 101-102; Paris: Cerf, 1964).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity