Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1363
Bishop Valerius of Hippo Regius (North Africa), AD 391, allows the presbyter Augustine to preach. Account of Possidius, "Life of Augustine", AD 432/437.
Chapter 5
[...] Sanctus vero Valerius ordinator eius, ut erat vir pius et Deum timens, exsultabat et Deo gratias agebat suas exauditas a Domino fuisse preces, quas se frequentissime fudisse narrabat, ut sibi divinitus homo concederetur talis, qui posset verbo Dei et doctrina salubri ecclesiam Domini aedificare, cui rei se homo natura Graecus minus que Latina lingua et litteris instructus minus utilem pervidebat.
Eidem presbytero potestatem dedit se coram in ecclesia evangelium praedicandi ac frequentissime tractandi, contra usum quidem et consuetudinem Africanarum ecclesiarum; unde etiam nonnulli episcopi detrahebant.
Sed ille vir venerabilis ac providus, in orientalibus ecclesiis id ex more fieri sciens et certus, et utilitati ecclesiae consulens, obtrectantium non curabat linguas, dummodo factitaretur a presbytero, quod a se episcopo inpleri minime posse cernebat.
Unde adcensa et ardens levata super candelabrum lucerna omnibus qui in domo erant lucebat.
Et postea currente et volante huiusmodi fama, bono praecedente exemplo, adcepta ab episcopis potestate, presbyteri nonnulli coram episcopis populis tractare coeperunt.
(ed. A.A.R. Bastiaensen 1975: 140-142)
Chapter 5
[...] But the holy Valerius who ordained him, a good man fearing God, rejoiced and gave thanks to God. He said the Lord had heard the prayers which he had unceasingly poured forth that divine Providence would grant him such a man, who by his salutary teaching of the Word of God could edify the Church of the Lord. For Valerius, a Greek by birth and less versed in the Latin language and literature, saw that he himself was less useful for this end. Therefore he gave his presbyter the right of preaching the Gospel in his presence in the church and very frequently of holding public discussions—contrary to the practice and custom of the African churches. On this account some bishops found fault with him. But the venerable and prudent man knew well that this was the custom in the Eastern churches and considered only the welfare of the Church and took no notice of the words of his detractors, if only his presbyter might do that which he saw could not be accomplished by himself as bishop. Wherefore this burning and shining light was placed upon a candlestick and gave light to all who were in the house. And after the report of this had rapidly spread by reason of the good example which preceded it, some other presbyters by permission of their bishops began to preach to the people in their presence.

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 AD 391 in the monastic community of Augustine in Hippo. After AD 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.


Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Reverenced by
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Education - Theological interest
Pastoral activity - Preaching
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1363,