Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 912
DRAFT: Bishop Fortis accuses Silvanus and other Donatist leaders of having betrayed during the persecutions, accepting money from Lucilla to foment the schism, and ordaining the fuller Victor presbyter for money. 320 AD.
[...] Testis est Christus et angeli eius, quoniam tradiderunt, quibus communicastis, id est Siluanus a Cirta traditor est et fur rerum pauperum; quod omnes uos episcopi, presbyteri, diacones, seniores scitis de quadrigentis follibus Lucillae, clarissimae feminae, pro quo uobis coniurastis, ut fieret Maiorinus episcopus, et inde factum est schisma; nam et Uictor fullo uestri praesentia et populi dedit folles uiginti, ut factus esset presbyter, quod scit Christus et angeli eius. [...]
(ed. Ziwsa 1893: 189)
[...] Christ and his angels are witnesses that those with whom you are in communion, have betrayed, that is Silvanus of Cirta, who is a traitor and a thief of what belongs to the poor. All of you, bishops, presbyters, deacons, seniors, know about forty folles of Lucilla, the noble woman, for whom you have conspired to make Maiorinus the bishop, and hence the schism began. And Victor the fuller gave  in the presence of you and of the people twenty folles to be made presbyter, what knows Christ and his angels. [...]
(trans. M. Edwards 1997: 156-157)


The same text is given by Augustine in "Against Cresconius" III, 33.

Place of event:

  • Latin North Africa
  • Constantina

About the source:

Title: Gesta apud Zenophilum
Origin: Milevis (Latin North Africa)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
In 320 AD the process was staged before Zenophilus, against Silvanus, the Donatist bishop of Cirta, accused of many crimes, among them simony. The proceedings of the process were preserved and transmitted in the dossier of anti-Donatist documents, probably gathered by the Catholics between 330 and 347. Their only complete text comes from the 9th c. manuscript of the work of Optatus (the manuscript of Cormery), so they are usually edited together with the works of Optatus; their authenticity is discussed, but rather accepted. They were known to Optatus and to Augustine, who uses them in "Against Cresconius".
K. Ziwsa ed., S. Optati Milevitani libri VII accedunt decem monumenta vetera ad Donatistarum historia pertinentia, Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 26, Prague-Wien-Leipzig 1893.
Optatus: Against the Donatists, translated and edited by Mark Edwards, Liverpool 1997.
Y. Duval, Chrétiens d’Afrique à l’aube de la paix constantinienne: les premiers échos de la grande persécution, Paris 2000.


Social origin or status - Merchants and artisans
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Simony/Buying office
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER912,