Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1255
Martin, bishop of Braga (Iberian Peninsula) in the letter to Bishop Bonifatius "On Triple Immersion" mentions the presbyter Ausentius who is in possession of an old book with Jerome's commentary on the letters of Paul. Braga, ca AD 561/580.
3. Nunc ais: tertio nomen invocari et tertio tingi certissime Arianum est. Audi ergo. In uno autem Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti nomine tertio tingi antiqua et apostolica est traditio, quam ex Romani antistitis auctoritate sacerdotes huius provinciae retinent scriptam, et a Constantinopolitanae urbis praesule, praesentibus huius regni legatis qui ad Imperium fuerant destinati, in ipsa Paschali festivitate pervisa est. Nam et nos epistolam beati Pauli Apostoli, in qua scriptum est: Unus Deus, una fides, unum baptisma, legimus, et expositionem beati Hieronimi, in qua sub unius nominis invocatione tertio tingendos esse confirmat. Et ipsum librum iam vetustissimum chartaceum apud virum venerabilem sanctumque fratrem nostrum Ausentium presbyterum, si requiras, invenies: similiter et apud Acta S. Silvestri Constantinus admonitus in visione ter mergi iubetur.
(ed. Barlowe 1950: 256-257)
3. Now you say: "The triple invocation of the name and the triple immersion is certainly Arian." Here is my answer: to be immersed thrice in the single name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is an ancient and apostolic tradition, which the priests of this province possess in written form on the authority of the Bishop of Rome. This same custom was observed at Easter by the Bishop of Constantinople in the presence of delegates appointed from this kingdom to the imperial court. We have also read the letter of blessed Paul the Apostle, in which it is written: "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph 4:5) and the exposition of the blessed Jerome, in which he confirms that they are to be immersed thrice with the invocation of the single name. If you wish to see it, you will find the book itself, written on papyrus and very old, in the possession of our venerable and holy brother the presbyter Ausentius. Likewise, in the Acts of Saint Silvester warning was given to Constantine in a vision and he was commanded to be immersed three times.
(trans. Barlowe 1969: 100-101)


"The exposition of the blessed Jerome" to which Martin refers is in fact the "Altercatio Luciferiani et Orthodoxi". In chapter 8 the Luciferian interlocutor says (and is not in this point refuted by his orthodox opponent): "Don't you know that the laying on of hands after baptism and then the invocation of the Holy Spirit is a custom of the Churches? Do you demand Scripture proof? You may find it in the Acts of the Apostles. And even if it did not rest on the authority of Scripture the consensus of the whole world in this respect would have the force of a command. For many other observances of the Churches, which are due to tradition, have acquired the authority of the written law, as for instance the practice of dipping the head three times in the laver, and then, after leaving the water, of tasting mingled milk and honey in representation of infancy" (trans. W.H. Frementale et al. 1892: 324).  (An nescis etiam Ecclesiarum hunc esse morem ut baptizatis manus postea imponatur, et ita inuocetur Spiritus Sanctus? Exigis ubi scriptum sit? In Actibus Apostolorum! Etiamsi Scripturae auctoritas non subesset, totius orbis in hac parte consensus instar praecepti obtineret.Nam multa et alia quae per traditionem in Ecclesiis obseruantur, auctoritatem sibi scriptae legis usurpauerunt, uelut in lauacro ter caput mergitare, deinde egressos lactis et mellis praegustare concordiam ad infantiae significationem, die dominica et omni Pentecoste nec de geniculis adorare et ieiunium soluere. (ed. A. Canellis 2000: 26).

Place of event:

  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Braga

About the source:

Author: Martin of Braga
Title: De trina mersione, On triple immersion, Epistola ad Bonifatium de trina mersione
Origin: Braga (Iberian Peninsula)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The letter of Martin is directed to Bishop Bonifatius whose see remains unknown, but it was most probably outside Galicia, as Martin makes distinction between his own territory and the territory of Bonifatius. Martin wrote the letter during his episcopacy in Braga, which started somewhere between AD 561 (the First Council of Braga was presided over by Bishop Lucretius, Martin was present there as a bishop of Dumio) and AD 572 (Martin presides over the Second Council of Braga as the bishop of this city).
C. Barlowe ed., Martini episcopi Bracarensis opera omnia, New Haven 1950.
Barlowe, Claude W. ed., Iberian Fathers, v. 1, Martin of Braga, Paschasius of Dumium, Leander of Seville, Washington D.C. 1969
Jerome, Altercatio Luciferiani et Orthodoxi, ed. A. Canellis, Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 79B, Turnhout 2000
Jerome, The Dialogue Agains the Luciferians, trans. by W.H. Frementale et al., in: Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. Second series, vol. 6, ed. P. Schaff and H. Wace, Grand Rapids 1982, 319-334


Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Education - Theological interest
Devotion - Reading the Bible and devotional literature
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1255,