Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1366
Firmus, a Manichaean, converts to Catholicism thanks to Augustine`s preaching in Hippo Regius (North Africa) and later becomes a presbyter in another region (at the insistence of the local populace). AD 396/430. Account of Possidius, "Life of Augustine", AD 432/437.
Chapter 15
[...] Venit quidam Firmus nomine negotiator, et intra monasterium sedenti sancto Augustino nobis coram ad pedes genibus provolutus sese iactavit, lacrimas fundens et rogans ut pro suis delictis sacerdos cum sanctis Dominum precaretur, confitens quod Manichaeorum sectam secutus fuisset et in ea quamplurimis annis vixisset, et propterea pecuniam multam ipsis Manichaeis vel eis quos dicunt electos incassum erogasset, ac se in ecclesia Dei misericordia fuisse eius tractatibus nuper correctum atque catholicum factum. [...]
Et ex eo ille homo proposito servorum Dei adhaerens negotiatoris dimisit actionem, et proficiens in ecclesiae membris, in alia regione ad presbyterii quoque Dei voluntate petitus et coactus adcessit officium, tenens atque custodiens propositi sanctitatem; et forte adhuc usque in rebus humanis vivat trans mare constitutus.
(ed. A.A.R. Bastiaensen 1975: 166-168)
Chapter 15
[...] There came a certain merchant, Firmus by name, to the holy Augustine, who was seated in the monastery, and in our presence fell down on his knees and prostrated himself at his feet, shedding tears and asking that the priest and his holy companions intercede with the Lord for his sins. For he confessed that he had followed the sect of the Manichaeans, had lived in it for many years and so had paid out much money in vain to the Manichaeans, or rather to those whom they call the Elect; but recently by the mercy of God he had been in the church and was converted and made a Catholic by Augustine's sermons. [...] And from that time on this man held fast to the manner of life of the servants of God, gave up his business as merchant and progressing among the members of the church, by the will of God he was called and constrained in another region to enter the office of presbyter, wherein he maintained and persevered in his sanctity of life. And perhaps he is still in active life across the sea.


The identification of this Firmus with the presbyter Firmus known from the letters of Augustine [268] is not certain.

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.


Social origin or status - Merchants and artisans
Travel and change of residence
Change of denomination
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Reasons for ordination - Involuntary ordination
Impediments or requisits for the office - Unwillingness
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Religious grouping (other than Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian) - Manichaean
Non-Christian Origin
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1366,