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E02626: Augustine of Hippo preaches in Latin a sermon on the feast of the Apostles *Peter (S00036) and *Paul (S00008). Sermon Dolbeau 4, preached 403/406, probably in Carthage or in Hippo (North Africa).

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posted on 2017-03-29, 00:00 authored by robert
Augustine of Hippo, Sermon Dolbeau 6 (=299A auctus)

1. Sancti diei festiuitatem quae nos hodie congregat, ualde notam et auribus et mentibus et actibus uestris, eiusdem gratulationis uobis cum participes et uobis cum laeti commemoramus. Petri et Pauli Apostolorum natalis illuxit, natalis non qui mundo implicauit, sed qui de mundo liberauit ... Et hic dies ob eorum meritum festus est nobis propositus ad celebrandi sollemnitatem et ad imitandi sanctitatem, ut recordantes martyrum gloriam amemus in eis quod oderant qui occiderunt, et amantes uirtutem honoremus passionem... Vnus dies duorum martyrum et duorum apostolorum: quantum ecclesiae traditione percepimus, non uno die ambo passi sunt, et uno die ambo passi sunt.

'I am delighted to be sharing in your joy and your gratitude, as we commemorate this holy day, which has brought us all together today for its celebration: it is of course very familiar to your ears, your minds and your actions. It is the birthday (natalis) of the Apostles Peter and Paul, which has dawned today, not the birthday which entangled them in the world, but the one which set them free from the world ... And it is on account of their merits that this day has been set before us for the solemn celebration of their feast and the imitation of their holiness, so that by recalling the glory of the martyrs we might love in them what those who slew them hated, and by loving their manly courage we might honour their sufferings. One day for two martyrs and two apostles; as far as we have gathered from the tradition of the Church, they did not suffer on one and the same day, and yet they did suffer on one and the same day. Peter was the first to suffer on this day, Paul suffered on this day later on.'

In what follows Augustine comments upon to the New Testament stories of Peter and Paul, strongly emphasising that they should be taken as an example for the Christians. In § 8 he refers to the the texts, having been read publicly, in which some martyrs confessed their faith faith before the judge. Occasionally he mentions the Donatists, and returns to them in the last phrase of the sermon, in which he comments upon Psalm 19:4 saying that 'their (here: the Apostle's) voice has gone to the ends of the world':

9. ... Quid contra ista haeretici recitabunt? Puto quia et ipsi hodie celebrant natalem apostolorum; adfectant quidem istum diem celebrare, sed non audent istum psalmum cantare.

'What will the heretics chant against this? I imagine that they too are celebrating the birthday of the apostles today; they pretend, indeed, to celebrate this day, but they certainly daren't sing this psalm.'

Text: Dolbeau 1996, 511 and 520. Translation: Hill 1997, 264 and 272. Summary: Robert Wiśniewski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Paul, the Apostle : S00008 Peter the Apostle : S00036

Saint Name in Source

Paulus Petrus

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 Latin North Africa

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Carthage Hippo Regius

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

Carthage Carthage Carthago Karthago قرطاج‎ Qarṭāj Mçidfa Carthage 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


Because of the nature of its anti-Donatist content, Dolbeau 1996, 506-7, dates this sermon to 403/406, most probably 404/405. If delivered in 404 the sermon would have been preached in Carthage; if in any other of the possible years, in Hippo.


Edition and commentary: Dolbeau, F., Augustin d'Hippone, Vingt-six sermons au peuple d'Afrique (Etudes Augustiniennes, Antiquité, vol. 147; Paris, 1996), 511-520. Translation: Hill, E., The Works of Saint Augustine. A Translation for the 21st Century, vol. III 11, Newly discovered sermons (New York: New City Press, 1997).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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