Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1364
Presbyter Augustine of Hippo Regius (North Africa) holds a public dispute with the Manichaean Presbyter Fortunatus, AD 392. Account of Possidius, "Life of Augustine", AD 432/437.
Chapter 6
Sane in illa tunc Hipponiensi urbe Manichaeorum pestilentia quamplurimos vel cives vel peregrinos et infecerat et penetraverat, seducente et decipiente eiusdem haeresis quodam presbytero, nomine Fortunato, ibidem conversante atque manente.
Interea Hipponienses cives vel peregrini Christiani, tam catholici quam etiam Donatistae, adeunt presbyterum ac deposcunt, ut illum hominem Manichaeorum presbyterum, quem doctum credebant, videret et cum eodem de lege tractaret.
Quod idem, ut scriptum est, paratus ad responsionem omni poscenti se rationem de fide et spe quae in Deum est, potens que exhortari in doctrina sana et contradicentes redarguere, minime renuit; sed utrum etiam ille hoc fieri vellet sciscitatus est.
At illi confestim ad ipsum Fortunatum id detulerunt, petentes et exhortantes ac flagitantes quod id minime recusaret.
Sane quoniam idem Fortunatus iam apud Carthaginem sanctum noverat Augustinum adhuc in eodem se cum errore constitutum, cum eodem congredi pavitabat.
The discussion follows, won by Augustine.
(ed. A.A.R. Bastiaensen 1975: 142-144)
Chapter 6
Now in the city of Hippo at this time the plague of the Manichaeans had infected and permeated very many, both citizens and strangers, who were seduced and deceived by a certain presbyter of that heresy, Fortunatus by name, who lived and dwelt there. Meanwhile the Christians of Hippo, whether citizens or strangers, Catholics and even Donatists, came to the presbyter Augustine and demanded that he should meet this presbyter of the Manichaeans, whom they regarded as a learned man, and argue with him about the Law. This he in no wise refused; for, as it is written, he was "ready to give an answer to every man that asked him a reason of the hope and faith that is toward God, and was able by sound doctrine both to exhort and refute the gainsayers." But he sought to learn whether Fortunatus were willing that this should take place. So they at once reported the matter to Fortunatus asking, urging and even demanding that he should on no account refuse. But since Fortunatus had previously known the holy Augustine at Carthage when he was still involved with himself in this same error, he was afraid to meet him.
The debate  follows, won by Augustine.


See also [798] and [896].

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.


Change of denomination
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Relation with - Heretic/Schismatic
Religious grouping (other than Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian) - Manichaean
Education - Theological interest
Pastoral activity
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1364,