Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 509
Augustine, bishop of Hippo (North Africa), gathers the presbyters, the clergy and the people of Hippo to designate the presbyter Heraclius as his successor. Augustine, Letter 213 (or the record of the proceedings of the convocation of the clergy and people of Hippo), AD 426.
Letter 213
1. Gloriosissimo Theodosio duodecies et Valentiniano Augusto iterum consulibus, VI Kl Octo, cum Augustinus episcopus una cum Religiano et Martiniano coepiscopis suis consedisset in ecclesia pacis Hipponensium Regiorum praesentibus Saturnino, Leporio, Barnaba, Fortunatiano, Rustico, Lazaro, et Eraclio presbyteris, adstanti clero et frequenti populo, Augustinus episcopus dixit. [...]
Nonnulli contristabantur, quia frater Seuerus credidit posse sufficere, ut successorem suum apud clericos designaret; ad populum inde non est locutus. [...]
Presbyterum Eraclium mihi successorem uolo.
5. Erit presbyter, ut est, quando Deus uoluerit, futurus episcopus. [...] Obsecro uos et constringo per Christum, ut huic iuueni, hoc est Eraclio presbytero, quem hodie in nomine Christi designo episcopum successorem mihi, patiamini refundere onera occupationum mearum.
(ed. Goldbacher 1911: 372-373. 378)
Letter 213
1. Under the most glorious Theodosius, consul for the twelfth time, and Valentinian Augustus, consul for the second time, on the twenty-sixth of September, after Bishop Augustine, along with his fellow bishops Religianus and Martinianus, had sat down in the Church of Peace in Hippo Regius, with the presbyters Saturninus, Leporius, Barnabas, Fortunatianus, Rusticus, Lazarus, and Heraclius present, along with the clergy and a crowd of people, Bishop Augustine said: [...]
Some were disappointed, for Brother Severus thought that it could suffice to designate his successor in the presence of his clerics, but he did not speak to the people about this [...] I want the presbyter Heraclius as my successor.
5. He will remain a presbyter as he is; when God wills, he will become a bishop. [...] I beseech you and by Christ I place you under obligation to allow me to transfer the burdens of my tasks to this young man, that is, to the presbyter Heraclius, whom today, in the name of Christ, I designate as the bishop who will succeed me.
(trans. R. Teske, slightly altered)


Although preserved in the corpus of Augustine's correspondence, this is not exactly a letter, but a record of the proceedings of the convocation of the clergy and people of Hippo on 26 September 426, when Augustine designated the presbyter Heraclius as his successor and arranged for him to take on most administrative duties.
It can be presumed that at the time there were seven presbyters at Hippo, whose names have been given here, whereas the "clergy" refers here to lower clerics.
Augustine refers also to the recent events at Milevis, where Bishop Severus performed a similar ceremony in the presence of the clergy alone, which was deemed insufficient by some people.

Place of event:

  • Latin North Africa
  • Hippo Regius
  • Milevis

About the source:

Author: Augustine of Hippo
Title: Letters, Epistulae
Origin: Hippo Regius (Latin North Africa)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The letters of Augustine of Hippo cover a wide range of topics: Holy Scripture, dogma and liturgy, philosophy, religious practice and everyday life. They range from full-scale theological treatises to small notes asking someone for a favour. The preserved corpus includes 308 letters, 252 written by Augustine, 49 that others sent to him and seven exchanged between third parties. 29 letters have been discovered only in the 20th century and edited in 1981 by Johannes Divjak; they are distinguished by the asterisk (*) after their number.
The preserved letters of Augustine extend over the period from his stay at Cassiciacum in 386 to his death in Hippo in 430.
A. Goldbacher ed., S. Augustini Hipponiensis Episcopi Epistulae, Pars 4, Ep. 185-270, Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 57, Vienna-Leipzig 1911.
Saint Augustine, Letters 211–270, 1*–29*, trans. R. Teske, New York 2005.


Further ecclesiastical career - Bishop
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Specific number of presbyters from the same church
    Ecclesiastical administration - Administering Church property
    Ecclesiastical administration - Election of Church authorities
    Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
    Equal prerogatives of presbyters and bishops
    Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER509,