Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 806
Augustine of Hippo (North Africa) describes the improper behaviour of Manichaean presbyters. Augustine, "The Catholic Way of Life and the Manichean Way of Life", AD 387/389.
Book 2
71. [...] Duo quidam erant existimationis satis bonae, facili ingenio atque in illis suis disputationibus principes, nobis amplius quam ceteri familiariusque coniuncti. Quorum unus qui propter studia etiam liberalia nobis arctius adhaerebat, hic nunc ibi esse presbyter dicitur. Hi sibi grauiter inuidebant et obiciebat alter alteri, non accusatione manifesta sed sermone apud quos poterat et susurris, ab eo uiolenter attentatam cuiusdam auditoris uxorem. [...]
72. Postremo in theatris electos et aetate et, ut uidebantur, moribus graues cum sene presbytero saepissime inuenimus. [...]
(ed. Bauer 1992: 151-152)
Book 2
71. [...] There were two men of fairly good reputation, men of quick wit and leaders in those discussions of theirs, who were closer and friendlier to us than to others. One of them who was also more closely attached to us on account of his studies of the liberal arts is now said to be a presbyter in your sect. These men were very envious of each other, and one reproached the other, not with public accusations but with words and whispers in the ears of those he could reach, on the ground that the other man had violently attacked the wife of a certain Hearer.
72. Finally, we often encountered in the theaters, along with an old presbyter, members of the Elect who were, we thought, quite respectable in terms of their age and their way of life. [...]
(trans. R. Teske)


The first of the presbyters mentioned here must have served the Manichaean community in Africa, since he studied with Augustine, presumably in Carthage, and he is a presbyter "now here" ("nunc ibi"). The episode with the Manichaean presbyter seen by Augustine in a theatre could have very well taken place either in Rome and in Africa.

Place of event:

  • Latin North Africa
  • Rome
  • Carthage
  • Rome

About the source:

Author: Augustine of Hippo
Title: De moribus ecclesiae Catholicae et de moribus Manichaeorum, The Catholic Way of Life and the Manichean Way of Life
Origin: Thagaste (Latin North Africa)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The book was written after the return of Augustine to Africa (to Thagaste), but before his ordination as presbyter in Hippo.
J.B. Bauer, De moribus ecclesiae Catholicae et de moribus Manichaeorum, Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 90, Vienna 1992.
Saint Augustine, The Catholic Way of Life and the Manichean Way of Life, in The Manichean Debate, introduction and notes R. Teske, editor B. Ramsey, New York 2006, 31-103.


Education - Saecular school
Entertainment - Spectacles
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Religious grouping (other than Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian) - Manichaean
Former ecclesiastical career - None
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER806,