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E03597: Augustine of Hippo delivers a Latin sermon at the feast of *Stephen (the First Martyr, S00030), referring to miracles which occur at his relics. Sermon 316, preached between AD 425 and 430, probably in Hippo Regius (North Africa).

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posted on 2017-08-23, 00:00 authored by robert
Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 316

[In solemnitate Stephani martyris

'On the feast of the martyr Stephen']

1. Beatissimus et in Christo gloriosissimus martyr Stephanus iam sermone suo saginauit nos: sed post illam saginam appono uobis de sermone ministerii mei quasi secundam mensam.

'The most blessed and glorious martyr in Christ, Stephen, has now given us our fill with his sermon; but after that satisfying meal, I am setting before you, with the sermon my ministry requires of me, a kind of dessert.'

Augustine recalls and comments upon Stephen's story and refers to the miracles that he performed, emphasising that they were performed by Christ's power.

Numquid enim legimus, aut in doctrina sana alicubi legere possumus, quia faciebat aut facit signa iesus per nomen Stephani? Fecit Stephanus, sed per nomen Christi. Hoc facit et modo: quidquid uidetis quia fit per memoriam Stephani, in nomine Christi fit; ut Christus commendetur, Christus adoretur, Christus exspectetur iudex uiuorum et mortuorum, et ab eis qui illum diligunt ad dexteram stetur.

'Have we ever read, after all, or can we possibly read anywhere in sound teaching, that Jesus ever performed, or still performs, signs by the name of Stephen? Stephen performed them, but by the name of Christ. That is what he is doing even now; whatever you see done by the relics (memoria) of Stephen, is done by the name of Christ; do that Christ may be drawn to the world's attention, Christ may be worshipped, Christ expected as judge of the living and the dead, and a stand be taken on the right by those who love him.'

Text: Patrologia Latina 38, 1431-1432. Translation: Hill 1994, 137-138, slightly changed. 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

  • Sermon/homily

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Unspecified miracle

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

Cult Activities - Relics

Unspecified relic


The sermon was preached most probably after AD 425, when the relics of St Stephen were brought to Hippo.


Augustine used the term memoria in reference to to place in which relics were deposited (martyrium), a reliquary, and relics themselves. In this passage he evidently thinks about relics which were brought to Africa probably by Orosius, and deposited in several cities, including Hippo, Calama, and Uzalis.


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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