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E01768: Augustine of Hippo in a sermon preached at the feast of *Cyprian (bishop and martyr of Carthage, S00411), probably in Hippo Regius (North Africa), invites his audience to celebrate the feast with sobriety. Exposition on Psalm 88 (sermon 2), written in Latin in North Africa, 392/417.

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posted on 25.07.2016, 00:00 by robert
Augustine of Hippo, Exposition on Psalm 88, sermon 2

[Lemma in Cod. Vallicelanus, B 38:
Habitus per vigilia sancti Cypriani

'Preached at the vigil of saint Cyprian']

Ch. 11
... Dixerunt ista martyres, quorum natalitia celebramus.

'... So said these martyrs whose annual feast (natalitia) we are celebrating.'

Ch. 14
... Natalitia sanctorum cum sobrietate celebrate, ut imitemur eos qui praecesserunt et gaudeant de uobis qui orant pro uobis, ut benedictio Domini in aeternum maneat super uos.

'... Celebrate the annual feasts of martyrs in sobriety, in order to imitate those who went before us and who rejoice with you, and who pray that the blessing of the Lord rest with you for ever.'

Text: Dekkers and Fraipont 1956. Translation: Robert Wiśniewski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Cyprian, bishop of Carthage (Africa) and martyr, ob. 258 : S00411

Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies



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

  • Sermon/homily

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


The Expositions on the Psalms are based on Augustine's homilies preached either in Hippo or in other places in North Africa in the period from 392 to 417. The two sermons on Psalm 88 (see E01767) were preached the same day, that is, according to the lemma of a single manuscript (Vallicelianus B. 38), on the feast of *Cyprian of Carthage: Habitus in natale sancti Cypriani vigiliis. Yet in both sermons Augustine refers only generally to a feast of martyrs, always in plural. It is impossible to say where the sermon was preached, Hippo, Augustine's episcopal see, is just a default location. See La Bonnardière, 96-97.


The references to celebrating the feast in sobriety probably refer to the habit of drinking at feasts of martyrs, which was widespread in Africa.


Edition: Dekkers, E., and Fraipont, J., Enarrationes in psalmos (Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina, 38; Turnhout: Brepols, 1956). About the text: La Bonnardière, M.A., "Les Enarrationes in Psalmos prêchées par saint Augustin à l'occasion de fêtes des martyrs," Recherches Augustiniennes 7 (1971), 73-104.

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