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E03587: Augustine of Hippo delivers a Latin sermon on *Stephen (the First Martyr, S00030), probably at his feast. He emphasises that the story of Stephen is well known from the canonical text which is read at his feast, whereas at the feasts of other martyrs relevant texts are often inaccessible. Sermon 315, preached probably in 416 or 417 in Hippo Regius (North Africa).

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posted on 2017-08-21, 00:00 authored by robert
Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 315

[In solemnitate Stephani martyris

'On the feast of the martyr Stephen']

1. Beatissimus Stephanus quomodo fuerit diaconus ordinatus cum aliis sex etiam ipse septimus, et quomodo peruenerit ad supernam coronam, cum ipsa lectio legeretur, audistis. Hoc primum primi martyris meritum commendatum est charitati uestrae: quia cum aliorum martyrum uix gesta inueniamus, quae in solemnitatibus eorum recitare possimus, huius passio in canonico libro est.

'How the blessed Stephen was ordained deacon with six others, himself being the seventh, and how he won through to his heavenly crown, you all heard when the reading was being read. This is the first special privilege of the first martyr, that has to be drawn to your graces' attention; that while we can scarcely lay hands on the stories of other martyrs, to be able to have read them as we celebrate their feasts, the passion of this one is to be found in a canonical book.'

In what follows Augustine compares the death of Christ and Stephen, and exhorts his audience to follow the example of both of them.

Text: Patrologia Latina 38, 1426. Translation: Hill 1994, 129. Summary: Robert Wiśniewski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Stephen, the First Martyr : S00030

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

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

  • Service for the Saint

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


The sermon is tentatively dated to AD 416 or 417 on the basis of intertextual references with other writings of Augustine. Hippo, his episcopal see, is just a default location.


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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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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