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E05094: Paulinus of Nola, writing in Latin between 399 and 408 in Nola (southern Italy) and Rome, states that he regularly visits Rome to venerate the apostles and martyrs. Initially these visits took place on the feast of the Apostles *Peter (S00036) and *Paul (S00008) in June, later he made them shortly after Easter.

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posted on 2018-02-19, 00:00 authored by frances
Paulinus of Nola, Letter 17.1-2 [to Sulpicius Severus]

Romam ad uenerabilem sollemnitatis Apostolicae diem profecti sumus...

‘I departed for Rome for the venerable feast day of the Apostles...'

Paulinus remained in Rome for ten days. In this time, Paulinus tells Severus, he and his companions spent ‘the time before noon in prayer at the sacred memorials (memoriae) of the apostles and martyrs, whom we venerated with care’

Paulinus of Nola, Letter 18.1 [to Victricius, bishop of Rouen]

Accidit enim Romae nobis ad celeberrimum natalis Apostolici diem concurrere benedictum diaconum fratrem nostrum Paschasium.

‘In Rome, on the celebrated occasion of the feast day of the Apostles, I happened to bump into our brother the blessed deacon Paschasius.’

Paulinus of Nola, Letter 20.2 [to Delphinus, bishop of Bordeaux]

Deinde nos ipsos Romae, cum sollemni consuetudine ad beatorum Apostolorum natalem uenissemus, tam blande quam honorifice excepit.

‘And then in Rome, where we came – in line with our sacred habit - for the feast of the blessed Apostles, he [Pope Anastasius I] received us with flattery as much as with honour’

Paulinus goes on to say that Anastasius invited him to the celebration of the anniversary of his ordination – a great honour.

Paulinus of Nola, Letter 43.1 [to Desiderius]

Victor the messenger fell ill. Because of this, he remained with Paulinus for longer than usual, which meant he joined him for his routine celebration of the feast of the Apostles in Rome.

...ut, cum Apostolicam sollemnitatem uoti nostri et itineris annui socius celebrasset, huius quoque ad uos negotii nostri nuntius reuerteretur.

‘he had joined me in celebrating the feast of the Apostles - in line with my vow and annual pilgrimage - so that when he returned he might tell you of these duties.'

Paulinus of Nola, Letter 45.1 [to Augustine, bishop of Hippo]

...cum eo [Roma] iuxta sollemnem meum morem post pascha domini pro apostolorum et martyrum ueneratione uenissem...

‘I had come there [Rome], as it is my sacred custom to do regularly after Easter, to venerate the Apostles and the martyrs ...’

Text: Hartel 1894. Translation: Frances Trzeciak.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Paul, the Apostle : S00008 Peter the Apostle : S00036

Type of Evidence

Literary - Letters


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region Italy south of Rome and Sicily

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Rome Nola

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Rome Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē Nola Adriatic Sea Adriatic Sea Adriaticum Mare

Major author/Major anonymous work

Paulinus of Nola

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Martyr shrine (martyrion, bet sāhedwātā, etc.)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Visiting graves and shrines

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics – unspecified Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy


Letters 17, 20, 43, 45 in the letter collection of Paulinus of Nola (ob. 431). These are letters which Paulinus addressed to aristocratic and ascetic Roman circles in the later fourth and early fifth centuries. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Paulinus did not curate any collection of his letters: instead collections were compiled by friends and admirers. Letter 17 was addressed to Sulpicius Severus, his friend who was based at Primuliacum (modern Prémillac) in southern Gaul. Letter 20 was addressed to Delphinus, bishop of Bordeaux, who baptised Paulinus in c. 388. Letter 43 was addressed to Desiderius, an Aquitanian who was a close friend of Sulpicius Severus, in c. 406. In each of these letters, he refers to his regular trip to Rome in June to celebrate the feast of the Apostles, Peter and Paul. Letter 45, addressed to Augustine, suggests that sometime before 408 he had moved this regular trip earlier in the year, to shortly after Easter.


Edition: Hartel, W., Sancti Pontii Meropii Paulini Epistulae, 2nd ed., revised M. Kamptner (Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 29; Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna, 1999). Translation: Walsh, P.G., Letters of St. Paulinus of Nola, vol. 1-2 (Ancient Christian Writers 35; Westminster MD: Newman Press, 1967). Further Reading: Conybeare, Catherine, Paulinus Noster: Self and Symbols in the Letters of Paulinus of Nola (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). Trout, Dennis, Paulinus of Nola: Life, Letters and Poems (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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