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E06055: Anonymous Latin sermon on the feast of *Peter and *Paul (the Apostles, S00036 and S00008). Probably written in Gaul in the 5th c. Part of the collection of Gallic sermons known as 'Eusebius Gallicanus'.

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posted on 2018-07-27, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Eusebius Gallicanus, Sermon 33 (In natale apostolorum Petri et Pauli)

(§ 1) The preacher begins by stating that the deeds of the martyrs 'are stimuli and examples' (inciitamenta sunt et exempla) for the faithful. They illustrate 'to us, tepid and sleeping' (tepidis ac dormientibus nobis) the urgency with which we should seek eternal life.

(§§ 2-3) Inflamed with this ardour, Peter and Paul lent out at interest on behalf of God, and gained an eternal profit. Chosen to bring salvation to two peoples, Peter to the Jews, Paul to the gentiles, they scattered wealth in every land: the silver tried in a furnace [= the word of the Lord, Ps. 12:6 (Vg 11)], the gold of wisdom, the pearl of faith; they opened the treasure of eternal life and offered it for free. They were like two trumpets sounding the glory of God; they shot out spears and arrows into the hard hearts of the unbelievers; they were like two fountains bubbling up from the same river and refreshing the souls of the thirsty. They were like two doctors fallen from heaven, healing the eyes of those blinded by lack of faith, the ears of those deaf to the word of Christ, the veins of those feverish with carnal desires. Their medicine healed those suffering from all kinds of moral and spiritual ills.

(§ 4) They were like lamps, lighting the whole world. Peter holds the keys to the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 16:19); Paul was caught up to the third heaven (2 Cor. 12:2). Someone may worry that they cannot enter heaven because they don't have the keys: they should know that the true keys of heaven are the virtues of merits (meritorum uirtutes). Therefore we all possess the keys of heaven: faith, humility, patience and chastity are like keys opening the door of God. But pride, anger and lust are also keys, except that they lock the door. Paul entered the third heaven with the keys of humility and piety. He was equal in all virtues with Peter, ' for while one was first, the other was surpassing' (nam etsi ille primus, iste praecipuus).

(§ 5) They will lead us along the path of salvation, driving off the enemies on all sides, and never falling aside either to the right or the left. Their instruction will show us how we may be inwardly be armed or cured, because weapons and medicines are drawn from the same store, to repel wounds or heal them.

Text: Glorie 1970. Summary: David Lambert.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Peter the Apostle : S00036 Paul, the Apostle : S00008

Saint Name in Source

Petrus Paulus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

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

Tours Tours Toronica urbs Prisciniacensim vicus Pressigny Turonorum civitas Ceratensis vicus Céré

Major author/Major anonymous work

Eusebius Gallicanus

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast


The sermon was preached in Gaul, probably at some point in the 5th century, though a date in the 6th century is not impossible. It survives as part of the large collection of anonymous Gallic sermons known as the 'Eusebius Gallicanus' collection. This was compiled in southern Gaul at some point between the late 5th and early 7th centuries, but the precise date and circumstances remain uncertain.


This sermon would have been preached on the feast of Peter and Paul on 29 June.


Edition: Glorie, F., Eusebius 'Gallicanus'. Collectio Homiliarum I (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 101; Turnhout: Brepols, 1970), 377-380. Further Reading: Bailey, L.K., Christianity's Quiet Success: The Eusebius Gallicanus Sermon Collection and the Power of the Church in Late Antique Gaul (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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