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E02275: Augustine of Hippo preaches a sermon on the feast of *Perpetua and Felicitas (martyrs of Carthage, S00009), after the public reading of their Martyrdom. Sermon 280, preached in Latin, possibly at Hippo Regius (North Africa), 391/430.

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posted on 2017-01-26, 00:00 authored by robert
Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 280

[In natali martyrum Perpetuae et Felicitatis

'On the birthday of Perpetua and Felicitas']

1. Hodiernus dies anniuersaria replicatione nobis in memoriam reuocat, et quodam modo repraesentat diem, quo sanctae famulae dei Perpetua et Felicitas coronis martyrii decoratae, Perpetua felicitate floruerunt, tenentes nomen Christi in praelio, et simul inuenientes etiam suum nomen in praemio. Exhortationes earum in diuinis reuelationibus, triumphos que passionum, cum legerentur, audiuimus; ea que omnia uerborum digesta et illustrata luminibus, aure percepimus, mente spectauimus, religione honorauimus, charitate laudauimus. Debetur tamen etiam a nobis tam deuotae celebritati sermo solemnis, quem si meritis earum imparem profero, impigrum tamen affectum gaudio tantae festiuitatis exhibeo.

'This day, coming round year after year, is a reminder to us, and after a certain fashion represents for us the day on which God's holy servants Perpetua and Felicity, adorned with the garlands of martyrdom, burst into bloom in perpetual felicity, holding onto the name of Christ in the war, and at the same time also finding their won names in the reward. We heard of the encouragement they received in divine revelations, and of their triumph in their sufferings, as it was all being read; and all those things, recounted in such glowing words, we perceive with our ears, and actually saw with our minds; we honoured them with our devotion, and praised them with love. However, a solemn sermon is also owed by me at a celebration of such universal devotion. If what I can offer is quite unequal to the merits of these saints, I can still contribute my enthusiastic feelings to the joy of this great feast.'

In what follows, Augustine frequently refers to the story of Perpetua's martyrdom.

Text: Patrologia Latina 38, 1281. Translation: Hill, 72. Summary: Robert Wiśniewski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Perpetua, Felicitas and their companions, martyrs in Carthage, ob. 203 : S00009

Saint Name in Source

Perpetua, Felicitas

Type of Evidence

Literary - Letters



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 - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


This sermon was possibly preached in Hippo, Augustine's episcopal see. Its dating cannot be established with any certainty.


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 9. Sermons 306-340A 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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