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E01443: The short Life of *Honorius (bishop of Rome, ob. 638, S01459) in the Liber Pontificalis, written in Latin in Rome soon after his death, lists his construction of, and offerings to, the churches of many saints in Rome and its region.

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posted on 2016-06-04, 00:00 authored by Bryan
Liber Pontificalis 72


Temporibus suis renovavit omnem cymiliam beati Petri apostoli et investivit confessionem beati Petri ex argento puro, qui pens. lib. CLXXXVII; investivit regias in ingressu ecclesie maiores, qui appellatur mediana, ex argento, qui pens. lib. DCCCCLXXV; fecit et cereostatos maiores paria dua, qui sunt ante corpus beati Petri apostoli, pens. sing. lib. LXII.
Fecit et ad beatum Andream apostolum, ubi supra, ante confessionem, tabula ex argento, qui pens. lib. LXXIII. Huius temporibus levatae sunt trabes in ecclesia beati Petri apostoli numero XVI. Hic cooperuit ecclesiam omnem ex tegulis aereis, quas levavit de templo, qui appellatur Romae, ex concessu piissimi Heraclii imperatoris.
'In his days he renewed all the sacred equipment of the blessed Peter the apostle and covered the confessio of the blessed Peter with fine silver weighing 187 lb. He covered the great main doors into the church—the ones called Mediana —with silver weighing 975 lb. He provided two pairs of great silver candlesticks, which are in front of the body of the blessed Peter the apostle, each weighing 62 lb. In the same place at St Andrew the apostle’s, in front of the confessio, he provided a silver panel weighing 73 lb. In his time 16 roofbeams were hoisted up in the church of the blessed Peter the apostle; he roofed the whole church with bronze tiles which he removed from the temple called that of Rome, with the assent of the pious emperor Heraclius.'


Eodem tempore fecit ecclesiam beatae Agne martyris via Numentana miliario ab urbe Roma III, a solo, ubi requiescit, quem undique ornavit exquisivit, ubi posuit dona multa. Ornavit autem sepulcrum eius ex argento, qui pens. lib. CCLII; posuit desuper cyburium aereum deauratum mirae magnitudinis; fecit et gavatas aureas III pens. sing. lib. sing.; fecit abside eiusdem basilicae ex musibo, ubi etiam et multa dona optulit.

'Then he built from the ground up the church of the blessed Agnes the martyr at the 3rd mile from Rome on the via Nomentana, where she rests. He decorated it to perfection on every side, and there he placed many gifts. He also decorated her tomb with silver weighing 252 lb; over it he placed a bronze-gilt canopy of marvellous size, and he provided 3 gold bowls each weighing 1 lb; the apse of the same basilica he made of mosaic, and there too he presented many gifts.'


Item fecit basilicam beati Apollenaris martyris in urbe Roma, in porticum beati Petri apostoli qui appellatur Palmata, a solo, ubi dona multa largitus est. Hic fecit constitutum in ecclesia et decrevit, ut omnem ebdomadam sabbato die exeat laetania a beato Apollenare ad beatum Petrum apostolum, cum hymnis et canticis populus omnis occurri debeat.

'In Rome he also built from the ground up the basilica of the blessed Apollinaris the martyr, in the portico of St Peter’s which is called Palmata, and there he bestowed many gifts. In the church he issued a decree, that every week on Saturday a procession should come out from the blessed Apollinaris to the blessed Peter the apostle with hymns and chants, and the whole people should join in it.'


Fecit ecclesiam beato Cyriaco martyri a solo, via Ostense, miliario VII, ubi et donum optulit. Eodem tempore fecit ecclesia beatorum martyrum Quattuor Coronatorum, quem et dedicavit, et donum.

'He built from the ground up the church to the blessed Cyriacus the martyr at the 7th mile on the via Ostiensis, and there he presented a gift. At that time he built a church to the holy martyrs the Four Crowned ones (Quattuor Coronati); he dedicated it and presented a gift.'


Fecit ecclesiam beato Severino a solo, iuxta civitate Tiburtina miliario ab urbe Roma XX, quem ipse dedicavit et dona multa optulit.

'He built from the ground up a church to the blessed Severinus close to the city of Tibur [Tivoli] at the 20th mile from Rome; he dedicated it and presented many gifts.'


Renovavit et cymiterium beatorum martyrum Marcellini et Petri via Lavicana.

'He also renewed the cemetery of the blessed martyrs Marcellinus and Peter on the via Labicana.'


Eodem tempore fecit basilica beato Pancratio martyri via Aurelia miliario ab urbe Roma secundo a solo et ornavit sepulchrum eius ex argento, qui pens. lib. CXX. Fecit et ciburium super altare ex argento, qui pens. lib. CLXXXVII. Fecit arcos argenteos V, qui pens. sing. lib. XV. Fecit et candelabra aurea III, qui pens. sing. libras sing., ubi multa dona simul optulit.
'At that time he built from the ground up a basilica to the blessed Pancratius the martyr at the 2nd mile from city of Rome on the via Aurelia, and decorated his tomb with silver weighing 120 lb; and he built a silver canopy above the altar, weighing 187 lb. He provided 5 silver arches each weighing 15 lb, and 3 gold candelabra each weighing 1 lb; he also presented many gifts there.'


Fecit ecclesiam beate Luciae in urbe Roma iuxta sanctum Silvestrum, quem et dedicavit et dona multa optulit.

'In Rome he built the church of the blessed Lucia close to saint Silvester; he also dedicated it and presented many gifts.'


Fecit ecclesiam beati Adriani in Tribus Fatis, quem et dedicavit et dona multa optulit.

'He built the church of the blessed Adrianus at the 'Three Fates'; he also dedicated it and presented many gifts.'


Sed et multa alia fecit, quas enumerare longum est.

' And he did also many other things which it would take long to enumerate.'

Text: Duchesne 1886, 323-324. Translation: Davis 2010, 62-63, lightly modified.

The passage in brackets, <>, is an interpolation, recorded in only some manuscripts of the Liber Pontificalis; it is uncertain when it was added to the text.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Peter the Apostle : S00036 Andrew, the Apostle : S00288 Agnes, martyr in Rome (ob. c. 304) : S00097 Apollinaris, bishop of Ravenna and martyr, ob. 69/79 : S00331 Four Crowned Martyrs (Secundus, Carpophorus, Victorinus, Severianus), martyrs at Rom

Saint Name in Source

Petrus Andreas Agna Apollenaris Quattuor Coronati Quattuor Coronati Pancratius Marcellinus, Petrus Lucia Silvester Bartholomeus Severinus Adrianus Cyriacus Honorius

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Rome Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Major author/Major anonymous work

Liber Pontificalis

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Procession

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - cemetery/catacomb

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult activities - Use of Images

  • Commissioning/producing an image

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Monarchs and their family Crowds

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Oil lamps/candles Precious material objects Chalices, censers and other liturgical vessels


The Liber Pontificalis consists of a series of very short lives of popes. The preface attributes it to pope Damasus (366-384), but this attribution is obviously false. According to Louis Duchesne, the first modern editor of the Liber Pontificalis, the original series of lives was written in Rome by an anonymous author, probably a member of the lesser clergy, in the 530s, and contained the lives from *Peter the Apostle to Felix IV (ob. 530). Shortly after, before 546, the text was re-edited by another anonymous author and only this edition survives. The first edition, however, can be reconstituted on the basis of its two epitomes (and the second edition). The second edition started to be continued systematically from the time of pope Honorius (625–638). It should be noted that Theodor Mommsen dated both editions of the Liber Pontificalis to the 7th century, but his opinion is widely rejected and the commonly accepted dating is that of Duchesne. For the pre-Constantinian period (before 312), the credibility of the Liber Pontificalis is very low. The chronology is confused, and details concerning the personal lives, decisions and ordinations of the bishops of Rome at best reflect what people in the 6th century trusted to be true, at worst are a pure invention of the author. The situation changes with the later lives. Already the information of 4th-century papal foundations and offerings are generally trustworthy. The early 6th-century evidence, based on the author's first hand knowledge is even better, though still imperfect.


The Cyriacus commemorated at the seventh mile of the via Ostiensis is not the famous Cyriacus/Kyrikos (child martyr of Tarsus, S00007), but a local martyr of Rome (S00678), for whom see, for instance, E01052 (8 August).


Edition: Duchesne, L., Le Liber pontificalis. 2 vols (Paris: E. Thorin, 1886-1892) (with substantial introduction and commentary). Translation: Davis, R., The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis) (Translated Texts for Historians 6; 3rd ed.; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2010). Further reading: Krautheimer, R., Corpus Basilicarum Christianarum Romae: The early Christian Basilicas of Rome (IV–IX Centuries), Vatican City 1937–1977 Brandenburg, H., Ancient churches of Rome from the fourth to the seventh century: the dawn of Christian architecture in the West, Turnhout 2005.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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