Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 431
Presbyters Moyses and Maximus are imprisoned after the death of Fabian, bishop of Rome (AD 250 AD). Moyses dies in prison. Novatus comes from Africa and separates Novatian from the Church. Account of the Liber Pontificalis (written in Rome), AD 530/546.
21. Fabianus: […] Hic regiones dividit diaconibus et fecit VII subdiaconos qui VII notariis inminerent ut gestas martyrum in integro fideliter colligerent, et multas fabricas per cimiteria fieri praecepit. Post passionem eius Moyses et Maximus presbyteri et Nicostratus diaconus comprehensi sunt et in carcerem missi sunt. Eodem tempore supervenit Novatus ex Africa et separavit de ecclesia Novatianum et quosdam confessores postquam Moyses in carcere defunctus est, qui fuit ibi menses XI; et sic multi christiani fugierunt. [...]
(ed. Duchesne 1886: 148)
21. Fabian: [...] He divided the regions between the deacons and made seven subdeacons to supervise seven notaries who would faithfully collect the complete acts of the martyrs; he ordered many works to be done in the cemeteries. After his passion the presbyters Moyses and Maximus and the deacon Nicostratus were arrested and sent to prison. In the same time Novatus came from Africa, and separated from the Church Novatian and some confessors, after Moyses died in prison, where he spent eleven months. And many Christians fled. [...]
(trans. S. Adamiak)


The passage recounts the events after the death of Bishop Fabian, and the beginnings of the Novatian schism. Moyses, Maximus, Nicostratus, Novatus and Novatianus are not mentioned in the Cononian abbreviation, and the Felician one also does not mention Novatus and Novatianus.
The name of the Presbyter Moyses suggests that he was of Jewish or Christian origin.
We know from other sources that Novatus [53] and Novatianus [167] were presbyters.

Place of event:

  • Rome
  • Rome

About the source:

Title: Liber Pontificalis, The Book of Pontiffs, Gesta Pontificum Romanorum
Origin: Rome (Rome)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Liber Pontificalis is a major source for the history of the papacy in the first millenium. It is a collection of the lives of popes, starting from St Peter and kept going through to 870. Liber Pontificalis is prefaced by two apocryphical letters of Pope Damasus and Jerome, but it cannot be dated to that period. Although Mommsen tended to put the date of the actual compilation as late as the seventh century, nowadays Duchesne`s view is generally accepted that there were two editions made in the 530s-540s. The first, presumably completed soon after 530, has not survived as such, though we have two epitomes made from it (known as “Felician” and “Cononian” from the names of the popes at which they end). Duchesne tried to reconstruct it in his edition, but we follow the second edition presented by him, which was completed by the siege of Rome in 546. The work was then left aside for some time, and taken up again probably under Honorius (625-638) or shortly afterwards; hence the additions were written shortly after each pontiff`s death.
Liber starts to provide some more reliable information with the times of Pope Leo I (440-461), and becomes very well informed with the end of the fifth century. The lives of earlier popes cannot be considered as a valid source of information about their lifetime. However, those notices are a precious source for the sixth century: we learn what was considered an old tradition at the time, and how the past of the Roman church was being seen and constructed then. It is especially important when we deal with the liturgy
 L. Duchesne ed., Le `Liber Pontificalis`, vol. 1., Paris 1886.
 T. Mommsen ed., Liber Pontificalis pars prior, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Gesta Pontificum Romanorum 1, Berlin 1898.
 The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis). The ancient biographies of the first ninety Roman bishops to AD 715, revised edition, translated with an introduction by R. Davis, Liverpool 2000.


Non-Christian Origin - Jewish
Religious grouping (other than Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian) - Novatianist
Functions within the Church - Urban presbyter
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Relation with - Heretic/Schismatic
Administration of justice - Secular
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER431,