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E04548: Augustine of Hippo preaches in Latin, recalling the old ways of celebrating vigils when even in the memorial shrine of Cyprian (bishop and martyr of Carthage, S00411) men mixed with women and impudent songs were sung. Sermon Dolbeau 2, delivered in Carthage (North Africa), the day after the feast of *Vincent (deacon and martyr of Saragossa and Valencia, S00290), probably in AD 404.

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posted on 2018-01-02, 00:00 authored by robert
Augustine of Hippo, Sermo Dolbeau 2 (= 359B,5)

5. Augustine praises his Carthaginian audience for their obedience to bishop Aurelius. This obedience is proved by the abandonment of the old ways of celebrating vigils in which men mixed with women, which led young people into temptation.

In ecclesia Mappaliensi apud memoriam beati episcopi et martyris Cypriani, quanta fieri solebant, si meminerimus, fortasse adhuc dolebimus; si obliuiscamur, minus Deo gratias agimus. Recolat nobiscum caritas uestra, fratres: beneficia Dei commemoro in uos per episcopum uestrum. Vbi tunc impudicae cantiunculae perstrepebant, nunc hymni personant; ubi uigilabatur ad luxuriam, uigilatur ad sanctitatem; postremo ubi offendebatur Deus, propitiatur Deus.

'Up to now we grieve when we recall how often this happened in the church of Mappalia, at the memorial shrine of the blessed bishop and martyr Cyprian. We would fail to give thanks to God if we forgot about it. Let Your Charity, brothers, recollect with us: I'm recounting the good deeds on God in you through your bishop. The hymns resound now where impudent songs were heard. Vigils are kept for sanctity where vigils were kept for lust. And finally, God is venerated where God was offended.'

13. ... Hesterna die martyris ueri laudes audiuimus: quae tormenta pertulit, quam ingentia, quam multa, quam densa!

'Yesterday we heard praises of a true martyr. What torments he suffered, how refined, how numerous, how intense!'

14. Vnde ergo oboediens, unde sanctus, unde adeptor uerae coronae Vincentius, unde uictor tot passionum et suo nomini congruus?

'That is why Vincent was obedient, why he was saint, why he obtained a true crown, why he won over all the sufferings and was equal to his name.'

Text: Dolbeau 1996, 330, 337 and 338. Translation and summary: Robert Wiśniewski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Vincent, deacon and martyr of Saragossa and Valencia : S00290 Cyprian, bishop and martyr of Carthage : S00411

Saint Name in Source

Vincentius Cyprianus

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

  • Chant and religious singing

Cult activities - Activities Accompanying Cult

  • Feasting (eating, drinking, dancing, singing, bathing)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Transmission, copying and reading saint-related texts

Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Condemnation of other activity associated with cult

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


In this sermon mentions Aurelius as a bishop of the place and so it was evidently preached in Carthage (§ 2), certainly the day after the feast of Vincent (22 January), probably in 404, when Augustine attended a synod in this city.


The Basilica of the Mappalia was certainly devoted to Cyprian. It was most probably the place when his body was deposited (see Ennabli 1997, 21-24).


Edition and commentary: Dolbeau, F., Augustin d'Hippone, Vingt-six sermons au peuple d'Afrique (Etudes Augustiniennes, Antiquité, vol. 147; Paris, 1996), 328-344. 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). The basilica Mappalia and the topography of Christian Carthage: Ennabli, L., Carthage, une métropole chrétienne du IVe à la fin du VIIe siècle (Paris: CNRS Éditions, 1997). Leone, A., Changing Townscapes in North Africa from Late Antiquity to the Arab Conquest (Bari: Edipuglia, 2007).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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