Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 906
Augustine, bishop of Hippo Regius confirms that while a presbyter (391-395), he was accused of misconduct by Megalius, the bishop of Calama, who later withdrew his accusation. Augustine, "Against Petilianus", Book 3, AD 401/403.
Book 3
19. [...] Eulogias panis simpliciter et hilariter datas ridiculo nomine uenenosae turpitudinis ac furoris infamet et de uestro corde tam male sentiat, ut amatoria maleficia data mulieri marito non solum conscio, uerum etiam fauente credi sibi posse praesumat. Quod de me adhuc presbytero scripsit iratus ordinator futurus episcopatus mei, uelit ualere aduersus me, quod autem a sancto concilio de hoc, quod in nos ita peccauit, ueniam petiuit et meruit, nolit ualere pro me, ita christianae mansuetudinis et praecepti euangelici uel nescius uel oblitus, ut etiam, quod fratri ut sibi ignosceretur humiliter postulanti clementer ignotum est, criminetur.
(ed. Petschenig 1909: 177)
Book 3
19. [...] When I acknowledge certain eulogies of bread, uttered in all simplicity and merriment, let him take away my character with the absurd imputations of poisonous baseness and madness. And let him entertain so bad an opinion of your understanding, as to imagine that he can be believed when he declares that pernicious love-charms were given to a woman, not only with the knowledge, but actually with the complicity of her husband. What the man who was afterwards to ordain me bishop wrote about me in anger, while I was as yet a presbyter, he may freely seek to use as evidence against me. That the same man sought and obtained forgiveness from a holy Council for the wrong he thus had done me, he is equally at liberty to ignore as being in my favour — being either so ignorant or so forgetful of Christian gentleness, and the commandment of the gospel, that he brings as an accusation against a brother what is wholly unknown to that brother himself, as he humbly entreats that pardon may in kindness be extended to him.
(trans. J.R. King)


The Donatists used also personal arguments in their polemics against Augustine. This passage, and another one in Contra Cresconium, III, 80, 92 are the only testimonies of the accusations raised against Augustine before his episcopal ordination, among others by Bishop Megalius of Calama, the primate of Numidia (not mentioned here by name). They were probably somehow connected with the eulogia (blessed bread) sent by Augustine to Paulinus of Nola and his wife Therasia (Letter 31,9).

Place of event:

  • Latin North Africa
  • Hippo Regius

About the source:

Author: Augustine of Hippo
Title: Against Petilianus, Contra Litteras Petiliani, Contra Petilianum Revisions
Origin: Hippo Regius (Latin North Africa)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Petilianus was a Donatist bishop of Constantina (Cirta) in Numidia at the end of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth century. He wrote a letter to his clergy, in which he provided  them with arguments against the Catholics. Augustine responded to it gradually, when he was able to obtain copies of Petilianus`s work, and so he wrote the first book of his answer in 400, the second in 401, and the third between 401 and 403.
M.Petschenig ed., Sancti Aureli Augustini Contra litteras Petiliani libri tres, Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 52, Vienna-Leipzig 1909, 1-122.
Saint Augustine, Answer to Petilian the Donatist, translated by J.R. King and revised by Chester D. Hartranft, Buffalo 1887;


Writing activity - Correspondence
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Disrespected by
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Relation with - Woman
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER906,