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E03260: Augustine of Hippo delivers a Latin sermon on the feast of *Cyprian (bishop and martyr of Carthage, S00411). Sermon 313C, preached in Carthage, at an unknown date, probably between 396 and 410.

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posted on 12.07.2017, 00:00 by robert
Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 313C

[Tractatus de natale sancti Cypriani

'Discourse on the Birthday of St Cyprian']

1. Insignem martyrem Christi, per quem maxime istam rexit, auxit, ornauit atque inlustrauit ecclesiam, hodiernus dies anniuersaria celebratione passionis eius memoriae nostrae, non elapsum reuocat, sed fixum et manentem laetius gratius que commendat. Oportet itaque nos sermone sollemni in domino laudare animam serui eius...

'Today's anniversary celebration of this outstanding martyr of Christ, through whom above all others he governed this Church, increased it, adorned it and made it illustrious, does nor recall him to our minds as though he had dropped out of them, but rather commends him to us all the more happily and gratefully, fixed permanently as he is in our memories. And so it is my duty with a formal sermon to praise in the Lord the soul of his servant ...'

2. Augustine emphasises that Cyprian should be praised not only for his death, but also for his teaching and living. He is renowned in the entire world:

Quae enim regio in terris inueniri potest, ubi non eius eloquium legitur, doctrina laudatur, caritas amatur, uita praedicatur, mors ueneratur, passionis festiuitas celebratur?

'What region in all the lands can be found, after all, where his eloquent words are not read, his teaching not praised, his charity not loved, his life not extolled, his death not venerated, the feast of his martyrdom not celebrated'

Augustine continue to praise Cyprian as prolific writer who crushed the heretics. At the end of the sermons he says thus:

Multi usquequaque habent magnum corpus librorum eius. sed nos uberiores gratias domino agamus, quod habere meruimus sanctum corpus membrorum eius.

'Many people everywhere have the great corpus of his works. But let us, here, give more thanks than ever to God, because we have been found worthy to have with us the holy corpus of his body.'

Text: Morin 1930, 101-103. Translation: Hill 1994, 529-531. Summary: Robert Wiśniewski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

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

Saint Name in Source


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


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

Carthage 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

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body


The sermon is tentatively dated to the late 390s or early 400s on the basis of intertextual references, but this dating if far from being certain. Since Augustine addresses the community which possesses Cyprian's body, he certainly preaches in Carthage.


Text: Morin, G., Sancti Augustini Sermones post Maurinos reperti (Miscellanea Agostiniana, vol. 1; Rome: Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana, 1930). Translation: Hill, E., The Works of Saint Augustine. A Translation for the 21st Century, vol. III 9, Sermons 306-340A on the Saints (New York: New City Press, 1994). Dating: Kunzelmann, A., "Die Chronologie der sermones des hl. Augustinus," Miscellanea Agostiniana, vol. 2 (Rome: Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana, 1931), 417-452.

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