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E04552: Augustine of Hippo preaches in Latin a sermon on the feast of *Quadratus (martyr and bishop of Utica, one of the *Martyrs of Massa Candida S00904). Sermon Dolbeau 18 (= 360F), delivered in North Africa, probably either in Hippo or in Utica, probably between 397 and 430.

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posted on 2018-01-03, 00:00 authored by robert
Augustine of Hippo, Sermo Dolbeau 18 (= 360F)

[Sermo Sancti Augustini episcopi de natali Quadrati martyris

'Sermon of Saint Augustine the bishop on the birthday of the martyr Quadratus']

1. De martyrum ergo apud Deum et homines gloria tam saepe loquimur, quam saepe eorum sollemnia celebramus. Adsidua celebratio crebra sit exhortatio, ut possit esse exsultatio. Psalmum cantauimus congruum sane martyrum festo ...

'We speak about the glory of the martyrs with God and among people as frequently as we celebrate their solemnities. Let assiduous celebration turn into frequent exhortation and and make us rejoice. We have sung an indeed relevant psalm for the feast of the martyrs ...'

Augustine reminds his audience that they do not pray for the martyrs, but seek their prayers:

Non solum autem pro ipsis non oramus, sed eorum nos orationibus commendamus.

'Not only we do not pray for them, but we trust ourselves to their prayers.'

In the following part of the sermons Augustine explains that temptations of these days are similar to the persecutions of old. People who win over temptations imitate the martyrs. Only once (in § 3) does he refer to Quadratus, and reflect on the meaning of his name ('square'), emphasising that the square cannot fall. He expresses his hope that all his audience will become square and turn into Massa Quadrati ('Mass of Quadratus' or 'Square Mass' - an obvious allusion to 'Massa Cadida', the White Mass'.

Text: Dolbeau 1996, 296. Translation and summary: Robert Wiśniewski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Martyrs of Massa Candida (Utica), ob. c. 258 : S00904

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 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 - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


This sermon was probably preached in Hippo, Augustine's episcopal see or in Utica, when the martyrs of Massa Candida and their bishop Quadratus were venerated.


Edition: Dolbeau, F., Augustin d'Hippone, Vingt-six sermons au peuple d'Afrique (Etudes Augustiniennes, Antiquité, vol. 147; Paris, 1996), 296-304.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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