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E01892: Augustine of Hippo preaches a sermon for the feast of *Laurence (deacon and martyr of Rome, S00037), and mentions the feast of *Sixtus/Xystus II (bishop and martyr of Rome, S00201), celebrated five days earlier, emphasising the sufferings of the martyrs. Homily on the Gospel of John 27, preached possibly in Hippo Regius (North Africa), 413/420.

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posted on 2016-10-04, 00:00 authored by robert
Augustine of Hippo, Homily on the Gospel of John 27.12

Sed quid est quod ait: qui manet in me, et ego in illo? Quid, nisi quod martyres audiebant: qui perseuerauerit usque in finem, hic saluus erit? Quomodo mansit in illo sanctus Laurentius, cuius hodie festa celebramus? Mansit usque ad tentationem, mansit usque ad tyrannicam interrogationem, mansit usque ad acerrimam comminationem, mansit usque ad peremtionem; parum est, usque ad immanem excruciationem mansit. Non enim occisus est cito, sed cruciatus est in igne; diu uiuere permissus est; immo non diu uiuere permissus est, sed tarde mori compulsus est. In illa ergo longa morte, in illis tormentis, quia bene manducauerat et bene biberat, tamquam illa esca saginatus et illo calice ebrius, tormenta non sensit. Ibi enim erat qui dixit: spiritus est qui uiuificat. Caro enim ardebat, sed spiritus animam uegetabat. Non cessit, et in regnum successit. Dixerat autem illi Xystus martyr sanctus, cuius diem quinto ab hinc retro die celebrauimus: noli moerere, fili. Triduum autem dixit medium inter diem passionis sancti Xysti, et diem hodiernae passionis sancti Laurentii.

'But what is this that He says: He that abides in me, and I in him? What, but that which the martyrs heard: 'He that perseveres unto the end, the same shall be saved?' How did Saint Laurence, whose feast we celebrate today, abide in Him? He abode even to temptation, abode even to tyrannical questioning, abode even to bitterest threatening, abode even to destruction—that were a trifle, abode even to savage torture. For he was not put to death quickly, but tormented in the fire: he was allowed to live a long time; nay, not allowed to live a long time, but forced to die a slow, lingering death. Then, in that lingering death, in those torments, because he had well eaten and well drunk, as one who had feasted on that meat, as one intoxicated with that cup, he felt not the torments. For He was there who said, It is the Spirit that quickens. For the flesh indeed was burning, but the Spirit was quickening the soul. He shrunk not back, and he mounted into the kingdom. But the holy martyr Xystus, whose day we celebrated five days ago, had said to him, Mourn not, my son; for Xystus was a bishop, he was a deacon. Mourn not, said he; you shall follow me after three days. He said three days, meaning the interval between the day of Saint Xystus's suffering and that of Saint Laurence's suffering, which falls on today.'

Text: Willems 1954. Translation: Gibb 1888.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Laurence, martyr of Rome, ob. 258 : S00037 Xystus II, martyr and bishop of Rome, ob. c. 258 : S00201

Saint Name in Source

Laurentius Xystus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies



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 - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Oral transmission of saint-related stories

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Augustine preached the Homilies (Tractatus) on the Gospel of John in diverse moments in the second decade of the 5th century. The series to which this specific homily belongs is tentatively dated, on the basis on the resemblance of themes and motifs to those in other works of Augustine, to either 413 (Berrouard) or 419-420 (La Bonnardière).


Edition: Willems, R., In Iohannis euangelium tractatus (Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina, 36; Turrnhout: Brepols, 1954). English Translation: Gibb, J., Tractates on the Gospel of John (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, vol. 7; Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1888). Hill, E., Homilies on the Gospel of John 1-40 (The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, vol. III/12; New York: New City Press, 2009). Further reading: Berrouard, M.-F., "La Date des Tractatus I-LIV in Iohannis Evangelium de Saint Augustin)," Recherches Augustiniennes 7 (1971), 105-168. La Bonnardière, A.M., Recherches de chronologie augustinienne (Paris: Études Augustiniennes, 1965), 46-51.

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