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E02615: Augustine of Hippo preaches in Latin a sermon on the feast of the Apostles *Peter (S00036) and *Paul (S00008). Sermon 299, preached possibly in Carthage (North Africa), c. 418.

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posted on 2017-03-27, 00:00 authored by robert
Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 299

1. Praedicandis praedicatoribus, et tantis praedicatoribus, de quibus audiuimus et cantauimus, quod in omnem terram exiuit sonus eorum, et in fines orbis terrae uerba eorum, procul dubio nulla nostra uerba sufficiunt. Deuotionem debemus, uestram exspectationem non implemus. Exspectatis enim a nobis hodie praedicari apostolos Petrum et Paulum, quorum solemnis hic dies est. Agnosco quid exspectetis; et ubi agnosco, succumbo. Video enim exspectari quid, a quo. Sed quia Deus eorum laudari dignatur ab omnibus nobis, non dedignentur serui eius utcumque praedicari ab eis qui seruiunt uobis.

'It is certain that no words of ours will suffice to pronounce the praises of these preachers, and such great preachers too, about whom we have been hearing and singing that "their sound has gone forth into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the whole wide world' (Psalm 19:4). We owe them our devotion, but we cannot fulfill your expectation. After all, what you are expecting from me today is to pronounce praises of the apostles Peter and Paul, whose feast day (solemnis dies) it is. I acknowledge what you are expecting; and in acknowledging it, I give in. I mean, I can see what is expected, and from whom. But because their God is good enough to be praised by all of us, I trust his servants will not be too proud to have their praises proclaimed by those who are at your service.'

In what follows, Augustine emphasises that Peter was the first and Paul the last of Jesus' disciples and that they both followed Christ by sacrificing their lives, though neither of them wanted to die. The last chapters are devoted to polemic against the Pelagians, without any direct link to the feast or the story of the apostles.

Text: Patrologia Latina 38, 1367. Translation: Hill 1994, 229. Summary: Robert Wiśniewski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Peter the Apostle : S00036 Paul, the Apostle : S00008

Saint Name in Source

Petrus Paulus

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


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

Carthage Carthage Carthago Karthago قرطاج‎ Qarṭāj Mçidfa Carthage

Major author/Major anonymous work

Augustine of Hippo

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


The sermon is dated to the 418 on the basis of intertextual references, especially to the Pelagian controversy, and its place in the collection of Augustine's sermons. Augustine seems to be specially invited to preach, which suggests that he was not then in Hippo. Possibly the sermon was pronounced in Carthage.


In his sermons on the saints Augustine quite often refers to the readings which preceded them. In this specific case we can see that Psalm 19 was sung.


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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