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E02255: Augustine of Hippo preaches a sermon on the feast of *Vincent (deacon and martyr of Saragossa and Valencia, S00290), after the public reading of his Martyrdom. Sermon 275, preached in Latin, probably at Hippo Regius (North Africa) in c. 411.

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posted on 2017-01-16, 00:00 authored by mszada
Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 275

1. Magnum et multum mirandum spectaculum noster animus cepit: nec inanissimam et perniciosissimam, sicut solet in theatris quarumque nugarum, sed plane utilissimam et fructuosissimam uoluptatem oculis interioribus hausimus, cum beati Vincentii gloriosa passio legeretur. Erat uidere inuictam martyris animam contra insidias antiqui hostis, contra saeuitiam impii iudicis, contra dolores mortalis carnis, acerrima conflictatione certantem, et in adiutorio Domini cuncta superantem. Ita plane, charissimi, ita prorsus fuit: in Domino laudemus hanc animam, ut audiant mites, et iucundentur. Quas uoces audierit, quas reddiderit, quae tormenta deuicerit, decursa lectio declarauit, et nobis tanquam in conspectu quae gesta sunt posuit.

'Our spirits have just taken a great and very marvelous spectacle; it was not a wholly vain and pernicious pleasure that we derived from it, such as is usual in the theaters with all their tinsel triviality, but plainly a most useful and fruitful pleasure that we drank in with our inner eyes, when the glorious passion of blessed Vincent was being read. It was the pleasure of seeing the invincible soul of the martyr pitted in the fiercest conflict against the wiles of the ancient enemy, against the savagery of the impious judge, against the pains of the mortal flesh, and with the help of the Lord overcoming it all. That is plainly, my dearest friends, that is undoubtedly how it was; in the Lord let us praise this soul, that "the gentle may hear and rejoice' (Ps 34:2). [As the reading proceeded] it made clear what words he heard, what words he replied with, what torments he overcame, and practically placed before our very eyes everything that took place.'


3. Magnum autem Dominus testimonium praebet testibus suis, cum ille qui rexit corda certantium, nec corpora deserit mortuorum, uelut de huius ipsius beati Vincentii corpore praeclarissimum miraculum exhibuit; ut id quod inimicus omnino non apparere cupierat, sategerat, fecerat, tam praesenti nutu diuino proderetur, et religiosius humandum uenerandum que demonstraretur, ut uictricis pietatis et deuictae impietatis praeclara in eo memoria perduraret ... Quid enim agit Deus, mira opera faciendo circa sanctorum corpora defunctorum, nisi testimonium perhibet, sibi non perire quod moritur; et ut hinc intelligatur in quali honore se cum habeat animas occisorum, quando caro exanimis tanto effectu diuinitatis ornatur? Sicut enim de membris ecclesiae loquens apostolus, similitudinem adhibuit de membris corporis nostri, quoniam quae inhonesta sunt nostra, his abundantiorem honorem circumponimus: ita prouidentia creatoris cadaueribus martyrum tam praeclara miraculorum testimonia praestando, abundantiorem honorem exsanguibus reliquiis hominum circumponit, et quod uita emigrante tanquam deforme iam remanet, ibi euidentius praesens uitae dator apparet.

'The Lord, though, bears striking witness to his witness, when after stiffening their hearts for the struggle, he does not abandon their bodies once they are dead, like the outstanding miracle he performed over the body of blessed Vincent. The enemy desired, and took all necessary steps to ensure that it should completely disappear; but a divine sign gave its whereabouts away, and revealed it for religious burial and veneration so promptly, that it would continue as a lasting memorial to the victory of piety and impiety's defeat ... What, after all, God is doing, when he performs miracles in connection with the bodies of the departed saints, but bearing witness to the truth that what dies does not perish as far as he himself is concerned; and giving us to understand in what honor me must hold the souls of the slain, when their lifeless flesh is adorned with such a powerful mark of divinity? Just as the apostle, you see, speaking about the members of the Church, drew a likeness to them from the members of our bodies, since 'as regards those parts of ours which are unseemly, we confer upon them more abundant honor' (1 Cor 12:23); in the same way the providence of the creator, by bestowing on the corpses of the martyrs the testimony of such outstanding miracles, confers more abundant honor on lifeless human remains; and where with the departure of life only something without form, so to say, is left, he there appears more evidently than ever as the present giver of life.'

Text: Patrologia Latina 38, 1254 and 1255. Translation: Hill 1994, 26 and 28.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Vincent, deacon and martyr of Saragossa and Valencia, ob. c. 305 : S00290

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies


  • 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 - Liturgical Activity

  • Sermon/homily

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Transmission, copying and reading saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - unspecified


This sermon was probably preached in Hippo. Its dating to 411 is based on its relation with other Augustine's writings.


Text: Migne, J.P., Patrologia Latina 38 (Paris, 1865). Translation: Hill, E., The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, vol. III 8. Sermons 273-305A for the Saints ‬(New York: New City Press, 1994). Dating: Kunzelmann, A., "Die Chronologie der sermones des hl. Augustinus," Miscellanea Agostiniana, vol. 2 (Rome: Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana, 1931), 417-452.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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