University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E07233: In his Sermon 214, On the anniversary of the burial of St. Honoratus, Caesarius bishop of Arles (southern Gaul) explains how *Honoratus (founder of Lérins and bishop of Arles, ob. 429/430, S00438) has the status of a martyr; he enjoins his congregation to court the favour of Arles' patron martyrs and bishops. Written in Latin at Arles, 503/542.

online resource
posted on 2018-12-30, 00:00 authored by kwojtalik
Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 214, Homelia in depositione Sancti Honorati

1. Among many spiritual lamps given by the Lord, Honoratus was distinguished in Arles, and, without suffering the death of a martyr, achieved martyrdom:

Cuius dum recolimus inexpugnabilem in operibus fidem, mirabilem in contemtu mundi rigorem, singularem in misericordia caritatem, indubitanter credimus eum implesse etiam non impleta passione martyrium. Non enim martyrium sola sanguinis consummat effusione, nec sola dat palmam exustio illa flammarum: pervenitur, non solum occasu, se etiam contemptu corporis ad coronam.’

‘As we remember his unconquerable faith in good works, his extraordinary rigour in despising the world, his unique and loving compassion, we believe that he undoubtedly reached martyrdom, even though he did not experience its sufferings. For not only the shedding of blood effects martyrdom, and not only the burning of flames grants a martyr’s palm. That crown is reached, not only through death but even through contempt of the body.’

2. The Lord has provided this city with both martyrs and bishops as helpers and protectors. Therefore let us seek the favour of these patrons:

[…] quantum possumus cum dei adiutorio laboremus, peculiares apud deum patronos magis bonis operibus laetificare, quam de peccatis vel de negligentiis nostris contristare videamur. Tunc enim pro nobis sancti martyres et egregii pontifices fiducialiter apud dominum suis orationibus poterunt conmendare […]

’ … with God’s help let us strive as much as we can to give joy to our special patrons before God by our good deeds rather than sadden them through our sins and failings. Then the holy martyrs and distinguished bishops will be able to intercede for us with the Lord through their prayers and with confidence ...

3. If we act as good Christians should, at the Last Judgement our martyrs and bishops will be able to present us with confidence to the Lord.

Text: Morin, vol.2, 853-4. Trans: Mueller, vol. 3, 111-12. Summary: Katarzyna Wojtalik.

The next sermon in Morin's edition, Sermon 215, which is entitled as a sermon on the feast of a Saint Felix, in fact opens with almost the same words as Sermon 214, even naming Honoratus (and with no reference to Felix). Morin concludes, reasonably enough, that the attribution to Felix is an error.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Honoratus, founder of Lérins and bishop of Arles, ob. 429/30 : S00438

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

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

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

Major author/Major anonymous work

Caesarius of Arles

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of a community


After an early career as an ascetic monk, first at the island monastery of Lérins, Caesarius became bishop of Arles in 503, and held this post, through many political vicissitudes, until his death in 542 (for his Life see E06283). Caesarius acquired a considerable reputation as a preacher, delivering sermons in a straightforward style and language, with limited use of rhetorical effects; most of his sermons address issues of Christian morality and practice, and the handful that he delivered on the feast days of saints are often concerned with proper behaviour at their festivals. His sermons were popular, and are widely attested in the manuscript tradition. Germain Morin, the most recent collector and editor of his sermons, attributed nearly 250, in whole or in part, to Caesarius; many, according to Morin, are reworkings of earlier sermons, with shorter or longer additions by Caesarius. Although Morin's attributions are not always certain, we have accepted them without question, since to look into this issue is beyond the scope of our project. Morin divided the sermons into five groups: sermons or admonitions on various topics (1-80), sermons on Scripture (81-186), seasonal sermons (187-213), sermons on the saints and feast days (214-232), and sermons to monks (233-238).


Edition: Morin, G., Sancti Caesarii Arelatensis sermones: nunc primum in unum collecti et ad leges artis criticae ex innumeris mss. recogniti (Corpus christianorum. Series Latina, 103-104; Turnholti: Brepols, 1953). Translations: Caesarius of Arles, Sermons, vol. 1-3, trans. M. Mueller (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 31, 47 and 66; Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2004). Césaire d’Arles, Sermons au peuple, vol. 1, ed. and transl. M.-J. Delage (Sources Chrétiennes, Volume 175; Paris: Éd. du Cerf, 1971), 13-216. Further reading: Klingshirn, W.E., Caesarius of Arles: the Making of a Christian Community in Late Antique Gaul (Cambridge, 1994).

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager