University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E01156: Augustine of Hippo, in his treatise On the Care of the Dead, mentions the desire of a pious woman to bury her son in the basilica of *Felix (priest and confessor of Nola, S00000) at Nola (southern Italy). Written in Latin in Hippo Regius (North Africa), c. 420/422.

online resource
posted on 2016-02-26, 00:00 authored by Bryan
Augustine, On the Care of the Dead 1

Diu sanctitati tuae, coepiscope uenerande Pauline, rescriptorum debitor fui, ex quo mihi scripsisti per homines filiae nostrae religiosissimae Florae, quaerens a me, utrum prosit cuique post mortem, quod corpus eius apud sancti alicuius memoriam sepelitur. Hoc enim abs te uidua memorata petiuerat pro defuncto in eis partibus suo filio et rescripseras consolans eam: id que etiam nuntians de cadauere fidelis iuuenis Cynegii, quod materno et pio affectu desiderauit, esse conpletum, ut scilicet in beatissimi Felicis confessoris basilica poneretur.

'Long time, my venerable fellow bishop Paulinus, have I been your Holiness's debtor for an answer; even since you wrote to me by them of the household of our most religious daughter Flora, asking of me whether it profit any man after death that his body is buried at the memorial shrine (memoria) of some saint. This, namely, had the said widow begged of you for her son deceased in those parts, and you had written her an answer, consoling her, and announcing to her concerning the body of the faithful young man Cynegius, that the thing which she with motherly and pious affection desired was done, to wit, by placing it in the basilica of most blessed Felix the Confessor.'

Text: Zycha 1900. Translation: Browne 1887.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Felix priest and confessor of Nola (southern Italy) : S00000

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Other Literary - Letters


  • 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 - Places

Burial site of a saint - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Visiting graves and shrines

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Other lay individuals/ people

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - unspecified


Augustine wrote the treatise On the Care of the Dead c. 420-422, in response to a letter in which Paulinus of Nola asked whether burials ad sanctos bring any profit to the dead. The response was nuanced. If Augustine rejected any direct advantage for such interments and argued that even the total lack of burial cannot affect directly the posthumous fate of the soul, he acknowledged that the practice can bring consolation to the living and indirectly help the dead for whom people visiting the graves of saints will pray.


For the cult of Felix in Nola see especially Paulinus' poems (E04741 for overview).


Edition: Zycha, J. De cura pro mortuis gerenda (Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 41; Vienna: Tempsky, 1900), 619-660. English translation: Browne, H., On the Care of the Dead (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, vol. 3; Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887). Further reading: Duval Y., Auprès des saints corps et âme. L'inhumation « ad sanctos » dans la chrétienté d'Orient et d'Occident du IIIe siècle au VIIe siècle (Paris: Études Augustiniennes 1988)

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager