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E02878: Augustine of Hippo delivers a Latin sermon on the feast of *Cyprian (bishop and martyr of Carthage, S00411). Sermon 313A, preached in Carthage, on an unknown date between 397 and 430.

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posted on 2017-06-01, 00:00 authored by robert
Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 313A

[Habitus Carthagine and mensam beati martyris Cypriani de eius natale, XVIII Kalendas octobris

'Preached in Carthage, at the Table of the blessed martyr Cyprian, on his birthday, on the 18th day before the Kalends of October' [= 14 September]

1. Sancta sollemnitas beatissimi martyris, quae nos in nomine Domini congregauit, de meritis et gloria tanti martyris exigit aliquid dici: sed non potest aliquid digne dici; uirtutibus enim eius et gloriae posset forte humana lingua sufficere, si se uoluisset ipse laudare. Verumtamen et nos deuotione magis quam facultate laudemus eum, immo Dominum laudemus in eo: dominum in illo, et illum in Domino.

'The holy festival of this most blessed martyr, which has brought us here together in the name of the Lord, requires something to be said about the merits and glory of so great a martyr. But it is impossible to say anything really worthy of him; perhaps, I suppose, a human tongue could have measured up to his virtues and glory, if he had been willing to praise himself. Nonetheless, let me too praise him, more by my devotion than by any ability I may have; or rather, let me praise the Lord in him – the Lord in him, and him in the Lord.'

In what follows Augustine praised Cyprian for his rejection of pleasure and endurance in suffering, and then preaches against greed and lust. He returns to Cyprian though at the end of the sermon:

5. Beatus ergo laudetur in Domino. Quando hoc posset, si non adiuuisset Dominus? Quando uinceret, si non spectator, qui coronam parabat uincenti, subministraret uires laboranti? Gaudet plane et ipse, gaudet pro nobis, non pro se, quando in domino laudatur ... Sancte celebretur, tamquam a christianis celebretur. Non enim aram constituimus tamquam Deo Cypriano, sed uero Deo aram fecimus Cyprianum.

'So, let the blessed [Cyprian] be praised in the Lord. When could he have overcome all this, if the Lord had not come to his aid? When could he have been victorious, if the spectator, who was preparing a crown for him in his victory, had not provided him with the necessary strength in toils? He too certainly rejoices, rejoices for us, not for himself, when he is praised in the Lord ... Let us celebrate in a holy way, let us celebrate as Christians. After all, we have not erected an altar (ara) to Cyprian as though he were God, but we have made an altar to the true God out of Cyprian.'

Text: Morin 1930, 65 and 69. Translation: Hill 1994, 90 and 94. Summary: Robert Wiśniewski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Cyprian, bishop of Carthage (Africa) and martyr, ob. 258 : S00411

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


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

  • Sermon/homily

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


According to the lemma this sermon was preached in Carthage. Its dating is highly uncertain.


Text: Morin, G., Sancti Augustini Sermones post Maurinos reperti (Miscellanea Agostiniana, vol. 1; Rome: Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana, 1930). Translation: Hill, E., The Works of Saint Augustine. A Translation for the 21st Century, vol. III 9, Sermons 306-340A 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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