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E02686: Augustine of Hippo preaches in Latin a sermon on the feast of the *Scillitan Martyrs (martyrs in Carthage from Scillium, S00913), referring to their Acts. Sermon 299F, preached in an unknown place in North Africa, c. 391/430.

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posted on 2017-04-11, 00:00 authored by robert
Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 299 F

[In natale sanctorum martyrum Scillitanorum

'On the birthday of the holy Scillitan martyrs']

1. De martyribus Christi, hoc est de testibus Christi, qui non sunt confusi confiteri nomen eius coram hominibus, dies huius sollemnitatis hortatur ...

'This solemn feast day is calling for something about the martyrs of Christ, that is about the witnesses of Christ, who were not ashamed to confess his name before men ...'

Augustine explains that the Greek term martyr means 'witness' and says:

Confessiones martyrum quorum hodie sollemnitas celebratur, cum recitarentur, audistis.

'You heard the confessions of the martyrs whose feast is celebrated today, when they were recited.'

Subsequently he refers to the Acts of the Scillitan martyrs, quoting the dialogue between the judge and the martyrs.

'4. Orent pro nobis martyres sancti ut non solum eorum sollemnia , uerum etiam eorum mores imitemur.'

'May the holy martyrs pray for us that we should not only celebrate their feasts, but also imitate their virtues.'

In the last part of the sermon Augustine persuades his audience to follow the example of the martyrs.

Text: Patrologiae Latinae Supplementum 2, 788-789 and 791. Translation: Hill 1994, 271 and 273. Summary: Robert Wiśniewski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Scilitan martyrs, ob. 180 in Carthage (North Africa) : S00913

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 name in other Language(s)

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 - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Oral transmission of saint-related stories

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


The dating of this sermon is uncertain. The Scillitan martyrs were buried in Carthage, but it is difficult to say whether the sermon was preached there.


Text: Hamman, A., Patrologiae Latinae Supplementum, vol. 2 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1960). Translation: Hill, E., The Works of Saint Augustine. A Translation for the 21st Century, vol. III 9, Sermons 273-305A on 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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