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E01120: Augustine of Hippo, in his City of God (22.8), tells how a dead boy in Hippo Regius (North Africa), anointed 'with oil of the martyr' *Stephen (the First Martyr, S00030), was brought back to life. Written in Latin in Hippo, c. 426/427.

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posted on 2016-02-14, 00:00 authored by robert
Augustine of Hippo, City of God 22.8

Rursus ibidem apud nos Irenaei cuiusdam collectarii filius aegritudine extinctus est. Cum que corpus iaceret exanime atque a lugentibus et lamentantibus exequiae pararentur, amicorum eius quidam inter aliorum consolantium uerba suggessit, ut eiusdem martyris oleo corpus perungueretur. Factum est, et reuixit.

'There [sc. in Hippo], too, the son of a man, Irenaeus, one of our tax-gatherers, took ill and died. And while his body was lying lifeless, and the last rites were being prepared, amidst the weeping and mourning of all, one of the friends who were consoling the father suggested that the body should be anointed with the oil of the same martyr [sc. Stephen]. It was done, and he revived.'

Text: Dombart and Kalb 1955. Translation: Dods 1887.


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

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Hippo Regius

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

Hippo Regius Carthage Carthago Karthago قرطاج‎ Qarṭāj Mçidfa Carthage

Major author/Major anonymous work

Augustine of Hippo

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Power over life and death

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Officials Children

Cult Activities - Relics

Contact relic - oil


Augustine wrote the Book 22 of the City of God in Hippo, c. 426/427. Chapters 8-9 enumerate a number of contemporary miracles, most of which took place in Hippo and other cities of North Africa, either at the relics of Stephen, the first martyr or those of *Gervasius and Protasius, martyrs in Milan.


This passage does not say where precisely the oil came from. Most probably, it could be either taken from lamps in the memoria of Stephen, or had more direct contact with the relics.


Edition: Dombart, B., and Kalb, A., Augustinus, De civitate dei, 2 vols. (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 47-48; Turnhout: Brepols, 1955). English translation: Dods, M., Augustine, The City of God (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, vol. 2; Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887). Further reading: Meyers, J., Les miracles de saint Etienne. Recherches sur le recueil pseudo-augustinien (BHL 7860-7861), avec édition critique, traduction et commentaire (Turnhout: Brepols, 2006).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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