Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1358
The people of Hippo Regius (North Africa) force Augustine to accept the presbyterial ordination, AD 391. Account of Possidius, "Life of Augustine", AD 432/437.
Chapter 4
Eodem itaque tempore in ecclesia Hipponiensi catholica Valerius sanctus episcopatum gerebat.Qui cum flagitante ecclesiastica necessitate de providendo et ordinando presbytero civitati plebem Dei adloqueretur et exhortaretur, iam scientes catholici sancti Augustini propositum et doctrinam, manu iniecta, quoniam et idem in populo securus et ignarus quid futurum esset adstabat - solebat autem laicus, ut nobis dicebat, ab eis tantum ecclesiis, quae non haberent episcopos, suam abstinere praesentiam -; eum ergo tenuerunt et, ut in talibus consuetum est, episcopo ordinandum intulerunt, omnibus id uno consensu et desiderio fieri perfici que petentibus magno que studio et clamore flagitantibus, ubertim eo flente; nonnullis quidem lacrimas eius, ut nobis ipse retulit, tunc superbe interpretantibus et tamquam eum consolantibus ac dicentibus quia et locus presbyterii, licet ipse maiori dignus esset, propinquaret tamen episcopatui; cum ille homo Dei, ut nobis retulit, et maiori consideratione intellegeret et gemeret, quam multa et magna suae vitae pericula de regimine et gubernatione ecclesiae inpendere iam ac provenire speraret, atque ideo fleret. Et eorum, ut voluerunt, completum est desiderium.
(ed. A.A.R. Bastiaensen 1975: 138-140)
Chapter 4
Now at this time the holy Valerius was bishop in the Catholic church at Hippo. But owing to the increasing demands of ecclesiastical duty he addressed the people of God and exhorted them to provide and ordain a presbyter for the city. The Catholics, already acquainted with the life and teaching of the holy Augustine, laid hands on him—for he was standing there among the people secure and unaware of what was about to happen. For while a layman he was careful, as he told us, to withhold his presence solely from those churches which had no bishops. So they laid hands on him and, as is the custom in such cases, brought him to the bishop to be ordained, for all with common consent desired that this should be done and accomplished; and they demanded it with great zeal and clamor, while he wept freely. But some, as he himself later told us, at the time ascribed his tears to wounded pride and by way of consolation told him that while he was worthy of greater honor the office of presbyter was but little inferior to the bishopric. But the man of God, as he told us, understood with greater comprehension and mourned as he apprehended the many imminent dangers which threatened his life in the direction and government of the church, and for this reason he wept. But their desire was accomplished as they wished.


For the description of the events by Augustine himself see [836]. See also Hermanowicz 2008: 32-35.

Place of event:

  • Latin North Africa
  • Hippo Regius

About the source:

Author: Possidius
Title: Life of Augustine, Vita Augustini
Origin: Calama (Latin North Africa)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Possidius lived from 391 in the monastic community of Augustine in Hippo. After 397 he became bishop of Calama. Between AD 432 (the death of the Roman General Bonifatius) and AD 437 (the exile of Catholic bishops by the Vandal King Geiseric) he composed "The Life of Augustine", a substantially reliable biography of Augustine.
A.A.R. Bastiaensen ed., Vita dei santi III, Roma-Milano 1975, 130-240.
 E.T. Hermanowicz, Possidius of Calama, Oxford 2008.


Reasons for ordination - Involuntary ordination
Reasons for ordination - Pastoral needs of the Christian community
Impediments or requisits for the office - Unwillingness
Act of ordination
Episcopal ambitions
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1358,