(d. 258)
Letter 1 (to Donatus);
On the Lord’s Prayer
Letters 10
and 14.

 The Martyrdom of Saints Savin and Cyprian,  c. 1110

CONTENTS 1. Letter to Donatus  lectio /contempl.; 2. Treatise on Lord's Prayer ; 3.Prayer Five Times / Day
 4. Pagan Libellus 5. Letter 10 on Episcopal Libelli; 6. Letter 14 on Martyr's Libelli  7. Unity CathCh. Petrine Primacy



[1] from LETTER 1
(to Donatus)

(Letter 1),
PL 4



   1.13. OR do you think that even those are secure,—that those at least are safe with some stable permanence among the chaplets of honour and vast wealth, whom, in the glitter of royal palaces, the safeguard of watchful arms surrounds? They have greater fear than others. A man is constrained to dread no less than he is dreaded. Exaltation exacts its penalties equally from the more powerful, although he may be hedged in with bands of satellites, and may guard his person with the enclosure and protection of a numerous retinue. Even as he does not allow his inferiors to feel security, it is inevitable that he himself should want the sense of security. The power of those whom power makes terrible to others, is, first of all, terrible to themselves. It smiles to rage, it cajoles to deceive, it entices to slay, it lifts up to cast down. With a certain usury of mischief, the greater the height of dignity and honours attained, the greater is the interest of penalty required.

XIII. An tu vel illos putas tutos, illos saltem inter honorum infulas et opes largas stabili firmitate securos, quos regalis aulae splendore fulgentes armorum excubantium tutela circumstat? Major illis quam caeteris [0219B] metus est. Tam ille timere cogitur quam timetur. Exigit poenas pariter de potentiore sublimitas, sit licet satellitum manu septus , et clausum [0220A] ac protectum latus numeroso stipatore tueatur. Quam securos non sinit esse subjectos, tam necesse est non sit et ipse securus. Ante ipsos terret potestas sua quos facit esse terribiles. Arridet ut saeviat, blanditur ut fallat, illicit ut occidat, extollit ut deprimat. Foenore quodam nocendi, quam fuerit amplior summa dignitatis et honorum, tam major exigitur usura poenarum.


  1.14. Hence, then, the one peaceful and trustworthy tranquillity, the one solid and firm and constant security, is this, for a man to withdraw from these eddies of a distracting world, and, anchored on the ground of the harbour of salvation, to lift his eyes from earth to heaven; and having been admitted to the gift of God, and being already very near to his God in mind, he may boast, that whatever in human affairs others esteem lofty and grand, lies altogether beneath his consciousness.

XIV. Una igitur placida et fida tranquillitas, una solida et firma et perpetua securitas, si quis, ab his inquietantis saeculi turbinibus extractus, salutaris portus statione fundatus, ad coelum oculos tollat a terris, et ad Domini munus admissus, ac Deo suo mente jam proximus, quicquid apud caeteros in rebus humanis sublime ac magnum videtur, infra [0220B] suam jacere conscientiam glorietur.

        He who is actually greater than the world can crave nothing, can desire nothing, from the world. How stable, how free from all shocks is that safeguard; how heavenly the protection in its perennial blessings,—to be loosed from the snares of this entangling world, and to be purged from earthly dregs, and fitted for the light of eternal immortality! He will see what crafty mischief of the foe that previously attacked us has been in progress against us.

Nihil appetere jam, nihil desiderare de saeculo potest qui saeculo major est. Quam stabilis, quam inconcussa tutela [0221A] est, quam perennibus bonis caeleste praesidium, implicantis mundi laqueis solvi, in lucem immortalitatis aeternae de terrena faece purgari! Viderit quae in nos prius infestantis inimici pernicies insidiosa grassata sit.

 lectio divina


LECTIO DIVINA is contemplative



We are constrained to have more love for what we shall be,

Plus amare conpellimur, quod futuri sumus,

by being allowed to know and to condemn what we were.

dum et scire conceditur et damnare, quod eramus.

Neither for this purpose is it necessary to pay a price either in the way of bribery or of labor; so that human elevation or dignity should be engendered with elaborate effort; but it is a gratuitous gift from God, and it is accessible [ to all].

Nec ad hoc pretiis aut ambitu aut manus opus est, ut hominis summa uel dignitas uel potestas elaborata mole pariatur: et gratuitum de Deo munus et facile est.

AS the sun shines spontaneously,

     as the day gives light,

     as the fountain flows,

     as the shower yields moisture,

so does the heavenly Spirit infuse itself into us

Vt sponte sol radiat,

dies luminat,

 fons rigat,

 imber inrorat,

ita se spiritus caelestis infundit.

When the soul, in its gaze into heaven, has recognized its Author, it rises higher than the sun, and far transcends all this earthly power, and begins to be that which it believes itself to be.

Postquam auctorem suum caelum intuens anima cognouit, sole altior et hac omni terrena potestate sublimior id esse incipit, quod esse se credit.


  1.15. Do you, however, whom the celestial warfare has enlisted in the spiritual camp, only observe a discipline uncorrupted and chastened in the virtues of religion.

 (15)  Tu tantum, quem iam spiritalibus castris caelestis militia signauit, tene incorruptam, tene sobriam religiosis uirtutibus disciplinam.

BE constant as well


as in READING;


Sit tibi uel




now speak with God,

now let God [speak] with you,

let Him instruct you in His precepts,

  let Him direct you. 

Nunc cum Deo loquere,

nunc Deus tecum.

Ille te praeceptis suis instruat,

ille disponat.

WHOM He has made rich,

     none shall make poor;

for, in fact, there can be no poverty to him

whose breast has once been supplied with heavenly food.

Quem ille diuitem fecerit,

nemo pauperam faciet

Penuria esse nulla iam poterit,

cum semel pectus caelestis sagina saturauit.

   TO you, then, ceilings enriched with gold, and houses adorned with mosaics of costly marble, will seem cheap, now that you know that it is you yourself who are rather to be perfected, you who are rather to be adorned; and that that dwelling in which God has dwelt as in a temple, in which the Holy Spirit has begun to make His abode, is of more importance than all others.

Iam tibi auro distincta laquearia et pretiosi marmoris crustis uestita domicilia sordebunt, cum scieris te excolendum magis, te potius ornandum, domum tibi hanc esse, quam Dominus insedit templi uice in qua Spiritus sanctus coepit habitare.

        Let us embellish this house with the colors of innocence, let us enlighten it with the light of justice: this will never fall into decay with the wear of age, nor shall it be defiled by the tarnishing of the colors of its walls, nor of its gold. Whatever is artificially beautified is perishing; and such things as contain not the reality of possession afford no abiding assurance to their possessors. But this remains in a beauty perpetually vivid, in perfect honour, in permanent splendour. It can neither decay nor be destroyed; it can only be fashioned into greater perfection when the body returns to it.

Pingamus hanc domum pigmentis innocentiae, luminemus luce justitiae: haec umquam procumbet in lapsum senio vetustatis, nec, pigmento parietis aut auro exolescente foedabitur. Caduca sunt quaecumque fucata sunt, nec fiduciam praebent possidentibus stabilem quae possessionis non habent veritatem. Haec manet cultu jugiter vivido, honore integro, splendore diuturno. Aboleri non potest nec extingui, potest tantum in melius corpore redeunte formari.


 lectio divina


On Psalmody with Prayer


  1.16. These things, dearest Donatus, briefly for the present. For although what you profitably hear delights your patience, indulgent in its goodness, your well-balanced mind, and your assured faith—and nothing is so pleasant to your ears as what is pleasant to you in God,—yet, as we are associated as neighbours, and are likely to talk together frequently, we ought to have some moderation in our conversation; and since this is a holiday rest, and a time of leisure, whatever remains of the day, now that the sun is sloping towards the evening,14 let us spend it in gladness, nor let even the hour of repast be without heavenly grace.

XVI. Haec interim brevibus, Donate charissime: [0222B] nam, etsi facilem de bonitate patientiam , mentem solidam , fidem tutam salutaris auditus oblectat, nihilque tam tuis auribus gratum est quam quod in Deo gratum est, moderari tamen dicenda debemus simul juncti et saepius collocuturi . Et, quoniam feriata nunc quies ac tempus est otiosum, quicquid inclinato jam sole in vesperam diei superest, ducamus hanc diem laeti, nec sit vel hora convivii gratiae coelestis immunis.

Let the temperate meal resound with psalms;15 and as your memory is tenacious and your voice musical, undertake this office, as is your wont. You will provide a better entertainment for your dearest friends, if, while we have something spiritual to listen to, the sweetness of religious music charm our ears. Sonet psalmos [0223A] convivium sobrium; et ut tibi tenax memoria est, vox canora, aggredere hoc munus ex more . Magis charissimos pasces, si sit nobis spiritalis auditio, prolectet aures religiosa mulcedo.

Treatise on the Lord’s Prayer 


[2]  TREATISE on the

204 [0519]



[2.]4. But let our speech and petition when we pray be under discipline, observing quietness and modesty. Let us consider that we are standing in God’s sight. We must please the divine eyes both with the habit of body and with the measure of voice. For as it is characteristic of a shameless man to be noisy with his cries, so, on the other hand, it is fitting to the modest man to pray with moderated petitions. Moreover, in His teaching the Lord has bidden us to pray in secret—in hidden and remote places, in our very bed-chambers—which is best suited to faith, that we may know that God is everywhere present, and hears and sees all, and in the plenitude of His majesty penetrates even into hidden and secret places, as it is written, “I am a God at hand, and not a God afar off. If a man shall hide himself in secret places, shall I not then see him? Do not I fill heaven and earth? ”(Jer. 23.23,24) And again: “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”(Prov.15.3) And when we meet together with the brethren in one place, and celebrate divine sacrifices with God’s priest, we ought to be mindful of modesty and discipline—not to throw abroad our prayers indiscriminately, with unsubdued voices, nor to cast to God with tumultuous wordiness a petition that ought to be commended to God by modesty; for God is the hearer, not of the voice, but of the heart. Nor need He be clamorously reminded, since He sees men’s thoughts, as the Lord proves to us when He says, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? ”(Mat.9.4) And in another place: “And all the churches shall know that I am He that searches the hearts and reins.”(Rev.2.23)

IV. Sit autem orantibus sermo et precatio cum disciplina, quietem continens et pudorem. Cogitemus nos sub conspectu Dei stare. Placendum est divinis oculis et habitu corporis et modo vocis. Nam, ut impudentis est clamoribus strepere, ita contra congruit [0521C] verecundo modestis precibus orare. Denique magisterio suo Dominus secreto orare nos praecepit, in abditis et semotis locis, in cubiculis ipsis, quod magis convenit fidei; ut sciamus Deum ubique esse praesentem, audire omnes et videre, et majestatis suae plenitudine in 205 abdita quoque et occulta penetrare, sicut scriptum est: Ego Deus approximans, [0522A] et non Deus de longinquo. Si absconditus fuerit homo in absconditis, ego ergo non videbo eum? Nonne coelum et terram ego impleo (Hierem. XXIII, 23, 24)? Et iterum: In omni loco oculi Dei speculantur bonos et malos (Prov. XV, 3). Et quando in unum cum fratribus convenimus, et sacrificia divina cum Dei sacerdote celebramus, verecundiae et disciplinae memores esse debemus, non passim ventilare preces nostras inconditis vocibus, nec petitionem commendandam modeste Deo tumultuosa loquacitate jactare, quia Deus non vocis sed cordis auditor est. Nec admonendus est clamoribus qui cogitationes hominum videt, probante Domino et dicente: Quid cogitatis nequam in cordibus vestris (Luc. V, 22)? Et alio loco: Et scient omnes ecclesiae quia ego sum scrutator renis [0522B] et cordis (Apoc. II, 23).

[2.]5. And this Hannah in the first book of Kings, who was a type of the Church, maintains and observes, in that she prayed to God not with clamorous petition, but silently and modestly, within the very recesses of her heart. She spoke with hidden prayer, but with manifest faith. She spoke not with her voice, but with her heart, because she knew that thus God hears; and she effectually obtained what she sought, because she asked it with belief. Divine Scripture asserts this, when it says, “She spake in her heart, and her lips moved, and her voice was not heard; and God did hear her.”(1Sam.1.13) We read also in the Psalms, “Speak in your hearts, and in your beds, and be pierced.”(Ps.4.4) The Holy Spirit, moreover, suggests these same things by Jeremiah, and teaches, saying, “But in the heart ought God to be adored by thee.”( Baruch 6.6.)

V. Quod Anna, in primo Regnorum libro, Ecclesiae typum portans, custodit et servat; quae Dominum non clamosa petitione , sed tacite et modeste intra ipsas pectoris latebras precabatur. Loquebatur prece occulta, sed manifesta fide; loquebatur, non voce, sed corde, quia sic Deum sciebat audire: et impetravit efficaciter quod petiit, quia fideliter postulavit. Declarat Scriptura divina quae dicit: Loquebatur in corde suo, et labia ejus movebantur, et vox ejus non audiebatur; et exaudivit eam Deus (I Reg. I, 13). Item legimus in Psalmis: Dicite in cordibus et in stratis vestris, et transpungimini (Psal. IV, 5). Per Hieremiam quoque haec eadem Spiritus sanctus suggerit et docet dicens: In sensu autem tibi debet adorari Deus (Baruch, [0522C] VI, 5).




Office of Readings, Wednesday, 11th Week in Ordinary Time
Commenting on Thy Will be Done

[2.]15. NOW that is the will of God which Christ both did and taught. XV. Voluntas autem Dei est quam Christus et fecit et docuit.

Humility in [our] way of life (conversatio);

Humilitas in conversatione,

stability in faith;

stabilita sin fide,

modesty in words;

verecundia in verbis,

justice in deeds;

in factis justitia,

mercifulness in works;

in operibus misericordia,

discipline in morals;

in moribus disciplina,

to be unable to do a wrong,

injuriam facere non nosse,

and to be able to bear a wrong when done;

 et factam posse tolerare,

to keep peace with the brethren;

cum fratribus pacem tenere;

to love God with all one’s heart; Deum toto corde diligere,

to love Him in that He is a Father;
to fear Him in that He is God;
[RB 72.9]

amare in illo quod pater est, timere quod Deus est;

 to prefer nothing whatever to Christ,[RB 72.11]

because He did not prefer anything to us;

Christo nihil omnino praeponere,

quia nec nobis quicquam ille praeposuit;

             [cf RB 72.9,11; (4.21).    Life of Antony 14(/15)]


to adhere inseparably to His love to stand by His cross bravely and faithfully; when there is any contest on behalf of His name and honour, to exhibit in discourse that constancy wherewith we make confession; in torture, that confidence wherewith we do battle; in death, that patience whereby we are crowned;—this is to desire to be fellow-heirs with Christ; this is to do the commandment of God; this is to fulfil the will of the Father.

charitati ejus inseparabiliter adhaerere, cruci ejus fortiter ac fidenter assistere ; quando de ejus nomine et honore certamen est, exhibere in sermone constantiam, qua confitemur, in quaestione fiduciam, qua congredimur, in morte patientiam, [0529C] qua coronamur. Hoc est cohaeredem Christi esse velle, hoc est praeceptum Dei facere, hoc est voluntatem 209 Patris adimplere.

[2.]16. Moreover, we ask that the will of God may be done both in heaven and in earth, each of which things pertains to the fulfilment of our safety and salvation. For since we possess the body from the earth and the spirit from heaven, we ourselves are earth and heaven; and in both—that is, both in body and spirit—we pray that God’s will may be done. For between the flesh and spirit there is a struggle; and there is a daily strife as they disagree one with the other, so that we cannot do those very things that we would, in that the spirit seeks heavenly and divine things, while the flesh lusts after earthly and temporal things; and therefore we ask41 that, by the help and assistance of God, agreement may be made between these two natures, so that while the will of God is done both in the spirit and in the flesh, the soul which is new-born by Him may be preserved. This is what the Apostle Paul openly and manifestly declares by his words: “The flesh,” says he, “lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: for these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adulteries, fornications, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, murders, hatred, variance, emulations, wraths, strife, seditions, dissensions, heresies, envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in times past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, magnanimity, goodness, faith, gentleness, continence, chastity.”42 And therefore we make it our prayer in daily, yea, in continual supplications, that the will of God concerning us should be done both in heaven and in earth; because this is the will of God, that earthly things should give place to heavenly, and that spiritual and divine things should prevail.

XVI. Fieri autem petimus voluntatem Dei in coelo et in terra; quod utrumque ad consummationem nostrae incolumitatis pertinet et salutis. Nam, cum corpus e terra et spiritum possideamus e coelo, ipsi terra et coelum sumus; et in utroque, id est et corpore et spiritu, ut Dei voluntas fiat oramus. Est enim inter carnem et spiritum colluctatio, et discordantibus advers us se invicem quotidiana congressio, ut non quae [0530A] volumus ipsa faciamus, dum spiritus coelestia et divina quaerit, caro terrena et saecularia concupiscit. Et ideo petimus impense inter duo ista ope et auxilio Dei concordiam fieri, ut dum et in spiritu et in carne voluntas Dei geritur, quae per eum renata est anima servetur. Quod aperte atque manifeste apostolus Paulus sua voce declarat: Caro, inquit, concupiscit adversus spiritum, et spiritus adversus carnem. Haec enim invicem adversantur sibi, ut non quae vultis ipsa faciatis. Manifesta autem sunt opera carnis, quae sunt adulteria, fornicationes, immunditiae, spurcitiae, idololatria, veneficia, homicidia, inimicitiae, contentiones, aemulationes, animositates, provocationes, simultates, dissensiones, haereses, invidiae, ebrietates, comessationes, et his similia, quae praedico vobis sicut praedixi, quoniam [0530B] qui talia agunt regnum Dei non possidebunt. Fructus autem spiritus est charitas , gaudium, pax, magnanimitas, bonitas, fides, mansuetudo, continentia, castitas (Gal. V, 17-22). Et idcirco quotidianis, immo continuis orationibus hoc precamur, et in coelo et in terra voluntatem circa nos Dei fieri, quia haec est voluntas Dei, ut terrena coelestibus cedant, spiritalia et divina praevaleant.


     [2.]18. As the prayer goes forward, we ask and say, “Give us this day our daily bread.” And this may be understood both spiritually and literally, because either way of understanding it is rich in divine usefulness to our salvation. For Christ is the bread of life; and this bread does not belong to all men, but it is ours. And according as we say, “Our Father,” because He is the Father of those who understand and believe; so also we call it “our bread,” because Christ is the bread of those who are in union with His body.45 And we ask that this bread should be given to us daily, that we who are in Christ, and daily46 receive the Eucharist for the food of salvation, may not, by the interposition of some heinous sin, by being prevented, as withheld and not communicating, from partaking of the heavenly bread, be separated from Christ’s body, as He Himself predicts, and warns, “I am the bread of life which came down from heaven. If any man eat of my bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.”47 When, therefore, He says, that whoever shall eat of His bread shall live for ever; as it is manifest that those who partake of His body and receive the Eucharist by the right of communion are living, so, on the other hand, we must fear and pray lest any one who, being withheld from communion, is separate from Christ’s body should remain at a distance from salvation; as He Himself threatens, and says, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you shall have no life in you.”48 And therefore we ask that our bread—that is, Christ—may be given to us daily, that we who abide and live in Christ may not depart from His sanctification and body.49

XVIII. Procedente oratione postulamus et dicimus: PANEM NOSTRUM QUOTIDIANUM DA NOBIS HODIE. Quod potest et spiraliter et simpliciter intelligi, quia et uterque intellectus utilitate divina proficit ad salutem. Nam panis vitae Christus est; et panis hic omnium non est, sed noster est. Et quomodo dicimus Pater noster, quia intelligentium et credentium pater est, sic et panem nostrum vocamus, quia Christus eorum qui corpus ejus contingunt panis est. Hunc autem panem dari nobis quotidie postulamus, ne qui in Christo sumus et Eucharistiam quotidie ad cibum salutis accipimus, intercedente aliquo graviore delicto, dum abstenti et non communicantes a coelesti pane prohibemur, a Christi corpore separemur, ipso [0531B] praedicante et monente : Ego sum panis vitae qui de coelo descendi. Si quis ederit de meo pane, vivet in aeternum. Panis autem quem ergo dedero caro mea est pro saeculi vita (Joan. VI, 51). Quando ergo dicit in [0532A] aeternum vivere si quis ederit de ejus pane, ut manifestum est eos vivere qui corpus 210 ejus attingunt et Eucharistiam jure communicationis accipiunt, ita contra timendum est et orandum ne, dum quis abstentus separatur a Christi corpore, procul remaneat a salute, comminante ipso et dicente: Nisi ederitis carnem Filii hominis et biberitis sanguinem ejus, non habebitis vitam in vobis (Joan. VI, 53). Et ideo panem nostrum, id est Christum, dari nobis quotidie petimus, ut, qui in Christo manemus et vivimus, a sanctificatione ejus et corpore non recedamus.


  [2.]29. Nor was it only in words, but in deeds also, that the Lord taught us to pray, Himself praying frequently and beseeching, and thus showing us, by the testimony of His example, what it behoved us to do, as it is written, “But Himself departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”80 And again: “He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.”81 But if He prayed who was without sin, how much more ought sinners to pray; and if He prayed continually, watching through the whole night in uninterrupted petitions, how much more ought we to watch82 nightly in constantly repeated prayer!

XXIX. Nec verbis tantum, sed et factis Dominus [0538C] orare nos docuit, ipse orans frequenter et deprecans, et quid facere nos oporteret exempli sui contestatione demonstrans, sicut scriptum est: Ipse autem fuit secedens in solitudinem et adorans (Luc. V, 16). Et iterum: Exivit in monte orare, et fuit pernoctans in oratione Dei (Luc. VI, 12). Quod si ille orabat qui sine peccato erat, quanto magis peccatores oportet orare? Et si ille per totam noctem jugiter vigilans continuis precibus orabat, quanto nos magis in frequentanda oratione debemus nocte vigilare?


   [2.]31. Moreover, when we stand praying, beloved brethren, we ought to be watchful and earnest with our whole heart, intent on our prayers. Let all carnal and worldly thoughts pass away, nor let the soul at that time think on anything but the object only of its prayer. For this reason also the priest, by way of preface before his prayer, prepares the minds of the brethren by saying, “Lift up your hearts,” that so upon the people’s response, “We lift them up unto the Lord,” he may be reminded that he himself ought to think of nothing but the Lord.86 Let the breast be closed against the adversary, and be open to God alone; nor let it suffer God’s enemy to approach to it at the time of prayer. For frequently he steals upon us, and penetrates within, and by crafty deceit calls away our prayers from God, that we may have one thing in our heart and another in our voice, when not the sound of the voice, but the soul and mind, ought to be praying to the Lord with a simple intention. But what carelessness it is, to be distracted and carried away by foolish and profane thoughts when you are praying to the Lord, as if there were anything which you should rather be thinking of than that you are speaking with God! How can you ask to be heard of God, when you yourself do not hear yourself? Do you wish that God should remember you when you ask, if you yourself do not remember yourself? This is absolutely to take no precaution against the enemy; this is, when you pray to God, to offend the majesty of God by the carelessness of your prayer; this is to be watchful with your eyes, and to be asleep with your heart, while the Christian, even though he is asleep with his eyes, ought to be awake with his heart, as it is written in the person of the Church speaking in the Song of Songs,” I sleep, yet my heart wakes.”87 Wherefore the apostle anxiously and carefully warns us, saying, “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same; ”88 teaching, that is, and showing that those are able to obtain from God what they ask, whom God sees to be watchful in their prayer.

XXXI. Quando autem stamus ad orationem, fratres dilectissimi, vigilare et incumbere ad preces toto corde debemus. Cogitatio omnis carnalis et saecularis abscedat, nec quicquam tunc animus quam id solum cogitet quod precatur. Ideo et sacerdos, ante orationem praefatione praemissa, parat fratrum mentes dicendo: Sursum corda; ut, dum respondet plebs, Habemus ad Dominum, admoneatur nihil aliud se quam Dominum cogitare debere. Claudatur contra adversarium pectus, et soli Deo pateat, nec ad se hostem Dei tempore orationis adire patiatur. Obrepit enim frequenter et penetrat, et subtiliter fallens preces nostras a Deo avocat, ut aliud habeamus in corde, aliud in voce, quando intentione sincera Dominum [0539C] debeat, non vocis sonus, sed animus et sensus, orare. Quae autem segnitia est alienari et rapi ineptis cogitationibus et profanis cum Dominum deprecaris, 214 quasi sit aliud quod magis debeas cogitare quam quod cum Deo loqueris? Quomodo te audiri a Deo postulas, cum te ipse non audias? Vis esse Deum memorem tui cum rogas, quando tu ipse memor tui non sis? Hoc est ab hoste in totum non cavere: hoc est, quando oras Deum, majestatem Dei negligentia orationis offendere: hoc est vigilare oculis et corde dormire, cum debeat Christianus et cum dormit oculis corde vigilare, sicut [0540A] scriptum est ex persona Ecclesiae loquentis in Cantico Canticorum: Ego dormio , et cor meum vigilat (Cant. V, 2). Quapropter sollicite et caute Apostolus admonet dicens: Instate orationi, vigilantes in ea (Coloss. IV, 2), docens scilicet et ostendens eos impetrare quod postulant de Deo posse, quos Deus videat in oratione vigilare.



Prayer Five Times Each


The Little Hours

  [2.]34. And in discharging the duties of prayer, we find that the three children with Daniel, being strong in faith and victorious in captivity, observed the third, sixth, and ninth hour, as it were, for a sacrament of the Trinity, which in the last times had to be manifested. For both the first hour in its progress to the third shows forth the consummated number of the Trinity, and also the fourth proceeding to the sixth declares another Trinity; and when from the seventh the ninth is completed, the perfect Trinity is numbered every three hours, which spaces of hours the worshippers of God in time past having spiritually decided on, made use of for determined and lawful times for prayer. And subsequently the thing was manifested, that these things were of old Sacraments, in that anciently righteous men prayed in this manner.  XXXIV. In orationibus vero celebrandis invenimus observasse cum Daniele tres pueros in fide fortes et in captivitate victores, horam tertiam, sextam, 215 nonam, sacramento scilicet Trinitatis, quae in novissimis temporibus manifestari habebat. Nam et prima hora in tertiam veniens consummatum numerum trinitatis ostendit: itemque ad sextam quarta procedens declarat alteram trinitatem; et quando a septima nona completur, per ternas horas trinitas perfecta numeratur. Quae horarum spatia jampridem spiritaliter determinantes adoratores Dei statutis et [0541C] legitimis ad precem temporibus servabant . Et manifestata postmodum res est sacramenta olim fuisse quod ante sic justi precabantur. 

 For upon the disciples at the third hour the Holy Spirit descended, who fulfilled the grace of the Lord’s promise. Moreover, at the sixth hour, Peter, going up unto the house-top, was instructed as well by the sign as by the word of God admonishing him to receive all to the grace of salvation, whereas he was previously doubtful of the receiving of the Gentiles to baptism. And from the sixth hour to the ninth, the Lord, being crucified, washed away our sins by His blood; and that He might redeem and quicken us, He then accomplished His victory by His passion.

Nam super discipulos hora tertia descendit Spiritus sanctus, qui gratiam Dominicae repromissionis implevit. Item Petrus, hora sexta in tectum superius ascendens, signo pariter et voce Dei monentis instructus est ut omnes ad gratiam salutis admitteret, cum de emundandis gentilibus ante dubitaret. Et Dominus hora sexta crucifixus, ad nonam peccata nostra sanguine suo abluit, et ut redimere et vivificare nos posset, tunc victoriam suam passione perfecit.


 lectio divina


 Morning and Evening

   [2.]35. But for us, beloved brethren, besides the hours of prayer observed of old, both the times and the sacraments have now increased in number. For we must also pray in the morning, that the Lord’s resurrection may be celebrated by morning prayer. And this formerly the Holy Spirit pointed out in the Psalms, saying, “My King, and my God, because unto Thee will I cry; O Lord, in the morning shalt Thou hear my voice; in the morning will I stand before Thee, and will look up to Thee.”96 And again, the Lord speaks by the mouth of the prophet: “Early in the morning shall they watch for me, saying, Let us go, and return unto the Lord our God.”97 XXXV. Sed nobis, fratres dilectissimi, praeter horas antiquitus observatas, orandi nunc et spatia et [0541D] sacramenta creverunt. Nam et mane orandum est, [0542A] ut resurrectio Domini matutina oratione celebretur. Quod olim Spiritus sanctus designabat in Psalmis dicens: Rex meus et Deus meus, quoniam ad te orabo , Domine, mane exaudies vocem meam, mane assistam tibi, et contemplabor te (Psal. V, 2). Et iterum per Prophetam loquitur Dominus: Diluculo vigilabunt ad me dicentes: Eamus et revertamur ad Dominum Deum nostrum (Ose. VI, 1).

   Also at the sunsetting and at the decline of day, of necessity we must pray again. For since Christ is the true sun and the true day, as the worldly sun and worldly day depart, when we pray and ask that light may return to us again, we pray for the advent of Christ, which shall give us the grace of everlasting light. Moreover, the Holy Spirit in the Psalms manifests that Christ is called the day. “The stone,” says He, “which the builders rejected, is become the head of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing; and it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us walk and rejoice in it.”98 Also the prophet Malachi testifies that He is called the Sun, when he says, “But to you that fear the name of the Lord shall the Sun of righteousness arise, and there is healing in His wings.”99 But if in the Holy Scriptures the true sun and the true day is Christ, there is no hour excepted for Christians wherein God ought not frequently and always to be worshipped; so that we who are in Christ—that is, in the true Sun and the true Day—should be instant throughout the entire day in petitions, and should pray; and when, by the law of the world, the revolving night, recurring in its alternate changes, succeeds, there can be no harm arising from the darkness of night to those who pray, because the children of light have the day even in the night. For when is he without light who has light in his heart? or when has not he the sun and the day, whose Sun and Day is Christ?

 Recedente item sole ac die cessante necessario rursus orandum est: nam, quia Christus sol verus et dies est verus, sole ac die saeculi recedente, quando oramus et petimus ut super nos Iux denuo veniat, Christi precamur adventum lucis aeternae gratiam praebiturum. Christum autem diem dictum declarat in Psalmis Spiritus sanctus: Lapis, inquit, quem reprobaverunt aedificantes, hic factus [0542B] est in caput anguli. A Domino factus est iste et est admirabilis in oculis nostris. Iste est dies quem fecit Dominus, ambulemus et jucundemur in eo (Psal. CXVII, 22, 23). Item, quod sol appellatus sit Malachias propheta testatur dicens: Vobis autem qui timetis nomen Domini, orietur sol justitiae, et in alis ejus curatio est (Malach. IV, 2). Quod si in Scripturis sanctis sol verus et dies verus est Christus, hora nulla a Christianis excipitur quominus frequenter ac semper Deus debeat adorari; ut qui in Christo, hoc est in sole et in die vero, sumus, insistamus per totum diem precibus et oremus, et quando mundi lege decurrens vicibus alternis nox revoluta succedit, nullum de nocturnis tenebris esse orantibus damnum potest, quia filiis lucis et in noctibus dies est. Quando enim sine lumine [0542C] est cui lumen in corde est? aut quando sol ei et dies non est cui sol et dies Christus est?


   [2.]36. Let not us, then, who are in Christ—that is, always in the lights cease from praying even during night. Thus the widow Anna, without intermission praying and watching, persevered in deserving well of God, as it is written in the I Gospel: “She departed not,” it says, “from the temple, serving with fastings and prayers night and day.”100 Let the Gentiles look to this, who! are not yet enlightened, or the Jews who have remained in darkness by having forsaken the light. Let us, beloved brethren, who are always in the light of the Lord, who remember and hold fast what by grace received we have begun to be, reckon night for day; let us believe that we always walk in the light, and let us not be hindered by the darkness which we have escaped. Let there be no failure of prayers in the hours of night—no idle and reckless waste of the occasions of prayer. New-created and newborn of the Spirit by the mercy of God, let us imitate what we shall one day be. Since in the kingdom we shall possess day alone, without intervention of night, let us so watch in the night as if in the daylight. Since we are to pray and give thanks to God for ever, let us not cease in this life also to pray and give thanks.101  

XXXVI. Qui autem in Christo, hoc est in lumine, semper sumus, nec noctibus ab oratione cessemus. Sic Anna vidua sine intermissione rogans semper et vigilans perseverabat in promerendo Deo, sicut in Evangelio scriptum est: Non recedebat, inquit, de templo, jejuniis et orationibus serviens nocte ac die (Luc. II, 37). Viderint vel gentiles, qui necdum illuminati sunt, vel Judaei, qui, deserto lumine, in tenebris remanserunt. Nos, fratres dilectissimi, qui in Domini luce semper sumus, qui meminimus et tenemus quid esse accepta gratia coeperimus, computemus noctem pro die. Ambulare nos credamus semper [0542D] in lumine, non impediamur a tenebris quas evasimus. [0543A] Nulla sint horis nocturnis precum damna, nulla orationum pigra et ignava dispendia. Per Dei indulgentiam recreati 216 spiritaliter et renati, imitemur quod futuri sumus. Habituri in regno sine interventu noctis [0544A] solum diem, sic nocte quasi in lumine vigilemus. Oraturi semper et acturi gratias Deo, hic quoque orare et gratias agere non desinamus.






 A certificate in Greek issued during the Decian persecution to a woman and her daughter from the village of Theadelphia in Egypt. It testifies that they had obeyed the imperial edict to participate in pagan sacrifices as proof of their loyalty to the government.

   Since faithful Christians would not sacrifice to pagan gods, the edict served as a means for identifying Christians and making them liable for punishment or imprisonment.
Decius, emperor from A.D. 249 to 251, conducted vigorous persecutions of Christians in an effort to revive the Roman state religion. The official who signed this wrote his name boldly: Hermas.

P. Mich. Inv. 263, Libellus, A.D. 250  [»cont]



Letter 10


  [4] LETTER 10
[on Episcopal Libelli ]

(Erasm., III, 15; Pamel., XI; Rig., Baluz., Paris., X; Oxon., Lips., XV.)



To the Martyrs and Confessors Who Sought that Peace Should Be Granted to the Lapsed.


[Argument.—The Occasion of This Letter is Given Below in Epistle XIV. As Follows:—”When I Found that Those Who Had Polluted Their Hands and Mouths with Sacrilegious Contact, or Had No Less Infected Their Conscience with Wicked Certificates That these were everywhere soliciting the martyrs, and were also corrupting the confessors with importunate and excessive entreaty, so that, without any distinction or examination of the individuals, thousands of certificates were given, against the Gospel law, I wrote letters in which I recalled by my advice as much as possible the martyrs and confessor’ to the Lord’s commands.]

[0253C] ARGUMENTUM---hujus Epistolae habes infra in haec verba, Epistola XVI: »Cum comperissem eos qui sacrilegis contactibus manus suas atque ora maculassent, vel nefandis libellis nihilominus conscientiam polluissent, exambire ad martyres passim, confessores quoque importuna et gratiosa deprecatione corrumpere, ut sine discrimine et examine singulorum darentur libellorum millia, contra Evangelii legem, litteras feci quibus martyres et confessores consilio meo quantum possem ad Dominica praecepta revocarem.«

   4.1. Cyprian to the martyrs and confessors, his beloved brethren, greeting. The anxiety of my situation and the fear of the Lord constrain me, my brave and beloved brethren, to admonish you in my letters, that those who so devotedly and bravely maintain the faith of the Lord should also maintain the law and discipline of the Lord. For while it behoves all Christ’s soldiers to keep the precepts of their commander; to you it is more especially fitting that you should obey His precepts, inasmuch as you have been made an example to others, both of valour and of the fear of God. And I had indeed believed that the presbyters and deacons who are there present with you would admonish and instruct you more fully concerning the law of the Gospel, as was the case always in time past under my predecessors; so that the deacons passing in and out of the prison controlled the wishes of the martyrs by their counsels, and by the Scripture precepts. But now, with great sorrow of mind, I gather that not only the divine precepts are not suggested to you by them, but that they are even rather restrained, so that those things which are done by you yourselves, both in respect of God with caution, and in respect of God’s priest with honour, are relaxed by certain presbyters, who consider neither the fear of God nor the honour of the bishop. Although you sent letters to me in which you ask that your wishes should be examined, and that peace should be granted to certain of the lapsed as soon as with the end of the persecution we should have begun to meet with our clergy, and to be gathered together once more; those presbyters, contrary to the Gospel law, contrary also to your respectful petition, before penitence was fulfilled, before confession even of the gravest and most heinous sin was made, before hands were placed upon the repentant by the bishops and clergy, dare to offer on their behalf, and to give them the eucharist, that is, to profane the sacred body of the Lord, although it is written, “Whosoever shall eat the bread and drink the cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.”4 .

                I. Cyprianus martyribus et confessoribus charissimis fratribus salutem. Sollicitudo loci nostri et timor Domini [0254A] compellit, fortissimi ac beatissimi fratres, admonere vos litteris nostris ut a quibus tam devote et fortiter servatur fides Domini , ab iisdem lex quoque et disciplina Domini reservetur. Nam, cum omnes milites Christi custodire oporteat praecepta imperatoris 20 sui, tum vos magis praeceptis ejus obtemperare plus convenit, qui exemplum caeteris facti estis et virtutis et timoris Dei. Et credideram quidem presbyteros et diaconos qui illic praesentes sunt monere vos et instruere plenissime circa Evangelii legem, sicut in praeteritum semper sub antecessoribus nostris factum est, ut diaconi, ad carcerem commeantes, martyrum desideria consiliis suis et Scripturarum praeceptis gubernarent. Sed nunc cum maximo animi dolore cognosco non tantum illic vobis non suggeri divina praecepta, [0254B] sed adhuc potius impediri , ut ea quae a vobis ipsis et circa Deum caute et circa sacerdotem Dei honorifice fiunt, a quibusdam presbyteris resolvantur, qui nec timorem Dei nec episcopi honorem cogitantes (cum vos ad me litteras direxeritis, quibus examinari desideria vestra et quibusdam lapsis pacem dari postulatis cum, persecutione finita, convenire in unum cum clero et recolligi coeperimus), illi, contra Evangelii legem, contra vestram quoque honorificam petitionem, ante actam poenitentiam, ante exomologesim, gravissimi atque extremi delicti factam, ante manum ab episcopo et clero in poenitentiam impositam, offerre pro illis et Eucharistiam dari, id est, sanctum Domini corpus profanare audeant, cum scriptum sit: Qui ederit panem aut biberit calicem Domini indigne, reus erit corporis [0254C] et sanguinis Domini (I Cor. XI, 27).

   4.2. And to the lasped indeed pardon may be granted in respect of this thing. For what dead person would not hasten to be made alive? Who would not be eager to attain to his own salvation? But it is the duty of those placed over them to keep the ordinance, and to instruct those that are either hurrying or ignorant, that those who ought to be shepherds of the sheep may not become their butchers. For to concede those things which tend to destruction is to deceive. Nor is the lapsed raised in this manner, but, by offending God, he is more urged on to ruin. Let them learn, therefore, even from you, what they ought to have taught; let them reserve your petitions and wishes for the bishops,5 and let them wait for ripe and peaceable times to give peace at your requests. The first thing is, that the Mother should first receive peace from the Lord, and then, in accordance with your wishes, that the peace of her children should be considered.

                II. Et lapsis quidem potest in hoc venia concedi. Quis enim non mortuus vivificari properet ? quis non ad salutem suam venire festinet? Sed praepositorum est praeceptum tenere, et vel properantes vel ignorantes instruere, ne qui ovium pastores esse debent lanii fiant. Ea enim concedere quae in perniciem vertant, decipere est; nec erigitur sic lapsus, sed per Dei offensam magis impellitur ad ruinam. Vel ex vobis itaque discant quod docere debuerant. Petitiones et desideria vestra episcopo servent, et ad pacem vobis petentibus dandam maturum et pacatum tempus exspectent [0255A] . Ante est ut a Domino pacem mater prior sumat, tunc secundum vestra desideria de filiorum pace tractetur .

   4.3. And since I hear, most brave and beloved brethren, that you are pressed by the shamelessness of some, and that your modesty suffers violence; I beg you with what entreaties I may, that, as mindful of the Gospel, and considering what and what sort of things in past time your predecessors the martyrs conceded, how careful they were in all respects, you also should anxiously and cautiously weigh the wishes of those who petition you, since, as friends of the Lord, and hereafter to exercise judgment with Him, you must inspect both the conduct and the doings and the deserts of each one. You must consider also the kinds and qualities of their sins, lest, in the event of anything being abruptly and unworthily either promised by you or done by me, our Church6 should begin to blush, even before the very Gentiles. For we are visited and chastened frequently, and we are admonished, that the commandments of the Lord may be kept without corruption or violation, which I find does not cease to be the case there among you so as to prevent the divine judgment from instructing very many of you also in the discipline of the Church. Now this can all be done, if you will regulate those things that are asked of you with a careful consideration of religion, perceiving and restraining those who, by accepting persons, either make favours in distributing your benefits, or seek to make a profit of an unlawful trade.

III. Et quoniam audio, fortissimi et charissimi fratres, impudentia vos quorumdam premi et verecundiam vestram vim pati, oro vos quibus possum precibus ut, Evangelii memores et considerantes quae et qualia in praeteritum antecessores vestri martyres concesserint , quam solliciti in omnibus fuerint, vos quoque sollicite et caute petentium desideria ponderetis, utpote amici Domini et cum illo postmodum judicaturi, inspiciatis et actum et opera et merita singulorum, ipsorum quoque delictorum genera et qualitates cogitetis, ne, si quid abrupte et indigne vel a nobis promissum vel a nobis factum fuerit, apud gentiles [0255B] quoque ipsos ecclesia nostra erubescere incipiat. Visitamur enim et castigamur frequenter, et ut Domini mandata incorrupta et inviolata permaneant admonemur. Quod quidem nec illic apud vos cessare cognosco quominus plurimos quoque ex vobis instruat ad Ecclesiae diciplinam divina censura. Hoc autem totum potest fieri, si ea quae a vobis petuntur religiosa contemplatione moderemini, intelligentes et comprimentes eos qui, personas accipientes, in beneficiis vestris aut gratificantur , aut illicitae negotiationis nundinas aucupantur.

   4.4. Concerning this I have written both to the clergy and to the people, both of which letters I have directed to be read to you. But you ought also to bring back and amend that matter according to your diligence, in such a way as to designate those by name to whom you desire that peace should be granted. For I hear that certificates are so given to some as that it is said, “Let such a one be received to communion along with his friends,” which was never in any case done by the martyrs so that a vague and blind petition should by and by heap reproach upon us. For it opens a wide door to say, “Such a one with his friends; ”and twenty or thirty or more, may be presented to us, who may be asserted to be neighbours and connections, and freedmen and servants, of the man who receives the certificate. And for this reason I beg you that you will designate by name in the certificate those whom you yourselves see, whom you have known, whose penitence you see to be very near to full satisfaction, and so direct to us letters in conformity with faith and discipline. I bid you, very brave and beloved brethren, ever heartily in the Lord farewell; and have me in remembrance. Fare ye well.

   IV. De hoc et ad clerum et ad plebem litteras feci, quas utrasque vobis legi mandavi. Sed et illud ad diligentiam vestram redigere et emendare debetis, ut nominatim designetis eos quibus pacem dari desideratis. [0255C] Audio enim quibusdam sic libellos fieri ut 21 dicatur: »Communicet ille . . . cum suis,« quod numquam omnino a martyribus factum est, ut incerta et caeca [0256A] petitio invidiam nobis postmodum cumulet. Late enim patet quando dicitur, »ille cum suis,« et possunt nobis viceni et triceni et amplius offerri qui propinqui et affines et liberti ac domestici esse asseverentur ejus qui accipit libellum. Et ideo peto ut eos quos ipsi videtis, quos nostis, quorum poenitentiam satisfactioni proximam conspicitis, designetis nominatim libello, et sic ad nos fidei ac disciplinae congruentes litteras dirigatis. Opto vos, fortissimi ac dilectissimi fratres, in Domino semper bene valere et nostri meminisse. Valete.


Letter 14


[5] LETTER 14
[on Matryrs' Libelli ]

[0261C] EPISTOLA XIV. (Erasm., III, 5. Pamel., XV; Rigalt., Baluz., Pariss., XIV; Oxon., Lips., XX.)



To the Presbyters and Deacons Assembled at Rome.

Ad presbyteros et diaconos romae consistentes.

Argument.—He Gives an Account of His Withdrawal and of the Things Which He Did Therein, Having Sent to Rome for His Justification, Copies of the Letters Which He Had Written to His People; Nay, He Makes Use of the Same Words Which He Had Employed in Them. [Comp. Ep, 13. to the Roman clergy.]

[0262A] Argumentum.---Secessus sui et eorum quae in illo gessit, rationem reddit, missis Romam in sui purgationem, quas ad suos scripserat, epistolarum exemplis, imo iisdem quibus illic verbis utitur. Cf. Ep. XXII, ad Cler. Rom.


  5.1. Cyprian to his brethren the presbyters and deacons assembled at Rome, greeting. Having ascertained, beloved brethren, that what I have done and am doing has been told to you in a somewhat garbled and untruthful manner, I have thought it necessary to write this letter to you, wherein I might give an account to you of my doings, my discipline, and my diligence; for, as the Lord’s commands teach, immediately the first burst of the disturbance arose, and the people with violent clamor repeatedly demanded me, I, taking into consideration not so much my own safety as the public peace of the brethren, withdrew for a while, lest, by my over-bold presence, the tumult which had begun might be still further provoked. Nevertheless, although absent in body, I was not wanting either in spirit, or in act, or in my advice, so as to fail in any benefit that I could afford my brethren by my counsel, according to the Lord’s precepts, in anything that my poor abilities enabled me.

I. Cyprianus presbyteris et diaconibus Romae consistentibus fratribus salutem. Quoniam comperi, fratres charissimi, minus simpliciter et minus fideliter vobis renuntiari quae hic a nobis et gesta sunt et geruntur, necessarium duxi has ad vos litteras facere, quibus vobis actus nostri et disciplinae et diligentiae ratio redderetur. Nam, sicut Domini mandata instruunt, orto statim turbationis impetu primo, cum me clamore violento frequenter populus flagitasset, non tam meam salutem quam quietem fratrum publicam [0262B] cogitans, interim secessi, ne per inverecundam praesentiam nostram, seditio quae coeperat, plus provocaretur. Absens tamen corpore, nec spiritu nec actu nec monitis meis defui quominus secundum Domini praecepta, fratribus nostris in quibus possem mea mediocritate consulerem.


  5.2. And what I did, these thirteen letters sent forth at various times declare to you, which I have transmitted to you; in which neither counsel to the clergy, nor exhortation to the confessors, nor rebuke, when it was necessary, to the exiles, nor my appeals and persuasions to the whole brotherhood, that they should entreat the mercy of God, were wanting to the full extent that, according to the law of faith and the fear of God, with the Lord’s help, nay poor abilities could endeavour.

II. Et quid egerim loquuntur vobis epistolae pro temporibus emissae numero tredecim, 24 quas ad vos transmisi; in quibus nec clero consilium, nec confessoribus exhortatio, nec extorribus, quando oportuit, objurgatio, nec universae fraternitati ad deprecandam Dei misericordiam allocutio et persuasio nostra defuit, quantum, secundum legem fidei et timorem Dei, Domino suggerente, nostra mediocritas potuit eniti.

     But afterwards, when tortures came, my words reached both to our tortured brethren and to those who as yet were only imprisoned with a view to torture, to strengthen and console them. Moreover, when I found that those who had polluted their hands and mouths with sacrilegious contact, or had no less infected their consciences with wicked certificates, were everywhere soliciting the martyrs, and were also corrupting the confessors with importunate and excessive entreaties, so that, without any discrimination or examination of the individuals themselves, thousands of certificates were daily given, contrary to the law of the Gospel, I wrote letters in which I recalled by my advice, as much as possible, the martyrs and confessors to the Lord’s commands. 

 [0262C] Posteaquam vero et tormenta venerunt, sive jam tortis [0263A] fratribus nostris, sive adhuc ut torquerentur inclusis, ad corroborandos et confortandos eos noster sermo penetravit. Item, cum comperissem eos qui sacrilegis contactibus manus suas atque ora maculassent, vel nefandis libellis nihilominus conscientiam polluissent, exambire ad martyres passim, confessores quoque importuna et gratiosa deprecatione corrumpere, ut sine ullo discrimine atque examine singulorum darentur quotidie libellorum millia contra Evangelii legem, litteras feci quibus martyres et confessores consilio meo quantum possem ad Dominica praecepta revocarem.

     To the presbyters and deacons also was not wanting the vigour of the priesthood; so that some, too little mindful of discipline, and hasty, with a rash precipitation, who had already begun to communicate with the lapsed, were restrained by my interposition. Among the people, moreover, I have done what I could to quiet their minds, and have instructed them to maintain ecclesiastical discipline.

Item presbyteris et diaconibus non defuit sacerdotii vigor, ut quidam, minus disciplinae memores et temeraria festinatione praecipites, qui cum lapsis communicare jam coeperant, comprimerentur, [0263B] intercedentibus nobis. Plebi quoque ipsi quantum potuimus animum composuimus, et ut ecclesiastica disciplina servaretur instruximus.


   5.3. But afterwards, when some of the lapsed, whether of their own accord, or by the suggestion of any other, broke forth with a daring demand, as though they would endeavour by a violent effort to extort the peace that had been promised to them by the martyrs and confessors; concerning this also I wrote twice to the clergy, and commanded it to be read to them; that for the mitigation of their violence in any manner for the meantime, if any who had received a certificate from the martyrs were departing from this life, having made confession, and received the imposition of hands on them for repentance, they should be remitted to the Lord with the peace promised them by the martyrs.

III. Postmodum vero, cum quidam de lapsis, sive sua sponte, sive aliquo incitatore, audaci flagitatione proruerent ut pacem sibi a martyribus et confessoribus promissam extorquere violento impetu niterentur, de hoc etiam bis ad clerum litteras feci et legi eis mandavi, ut ad illorum violentiam interim quoquo genere mitigandam, si qui libello a martyribus accepto de saeculo excederent, exomologesi facta et manu eis in poenitentiam imposita, cum pace sibi a martyribus promissa ad Dominum remitterentur.

Nor in this did I give them a law, or rashly constitute myself the author of the direction; but as it seemed fit both that honour should be paid to the martyrs, and that the vehemence of those who were anxious to disturb everything should be restrained; and when, besides, I had read your letter which you lately wrote hither to my clergy by Crementius the sub-deacon, to the effect that assistance should be given to those who might, after their lapse, be seized with sickness, and might penitently desire communion; I judged it well to stand by your judgment, lest our proceedings, which ought to be united and to agree in all things, should in any respect be different.4

Nec in hoc legem dedi, aut me auctorem temere constitui. Sed, cum videretur et honor martyribus habendus [0263C] et eorum qui omnia turbare cupiebant impetus comprimendus, et praeterea vestra scripta legissem quae huc ad clerum nostrum per Crementium hypodiaconum nuper feceratis, ut iis qui post lapsum infirmitate apprehensi essent, et poenitentes communicationem desiderarent, subveniretur, standum putavi [0264A] et cum vestra sententia, ne actus noster, qui adunatus esse et consentire circa omnia debet, in aliquo discreparet.

        The cases of the rest, even although they might have received certificates from the martyrs, I ordered altogether to be put off, and to be reserved till I should be present, that so, when the Lord has given to us peace, and several bishops shall have begun to assemble into one place, we may be able to arrange and reform everything, having the advantage also of your counsel. I bid you, beloved brethren, ever heartily farewell.

                Plane caeterorum causas, quamvis libello a martyribus accepto, differri mandavi et in nostram praesentiam reservari, ut, cum, pace a Domino nobis data, plures praepositi convenire in unum coeperimus, communicato etiam vobiscum consilio, disponere singula et reformare possimus. Opto vos, fratres charissimi, semper bene valere.



Robert Ernest Wallis, tr.. Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5.

De ecclesiae catholicae unitate CCSL, 3 (M. Bévenot, 1972), p. 249-268

4. IF any one consider and examine these things, there is no need for lengthened discussion and arguments. There is easy proof for faith in a short summary of the truth. The Lord speaks to Peter, saying, I say unto you, that you are Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Mt. 16:19)

Quae si quis consideret et examinet, tractatu longo adque argumentis opus non est.Probatio est ad fidem facilis conpendio ueritatis; loquitur dominus ad petrum: 'ego tibi dico inquit quia tu es petrus et super istam petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam, et portae inferorum non uincent eam.  Tibi dabo claues regni caelorum, et quae ligaueris super terram erunt ligata et in caelis, et quaecumque solueris super terram erunt soluta et in caelis'

The First Recension on Petrine Primacy

De ecclesiae catholicae unitate: capitula 5 - 6 secundum priorem recensionem - CC SL, 3 (M. Bévenot, 1972), p. 251-252

AND again after the resurrection He says to him, “Feed my sheep” On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep (Jn.21:17),

Et idem post resurrectionem suam dicit illi: 'pasce oues meas'.Super illum aedificat ecclesiam et illi pascendas oues mandat

and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and a rationale for that unity.

et, quamuis apostolis omnibus parem tribuat potestatem, unam tamen cathedram constituit et unitatis originem adque rationem sua auctoritate disposuit. 

Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair.

Hoc erant utique et ceteri quod fuit petrus, sed primatus petro datur et una ecclesia et cathedra una monstratur;

So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he were to desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?

et pastores sunt omnes, sed grex unus ostenditur qui ab apostolis omnibus unianimi consensione pascatur.  Hanc petri unitatem qui non tenet, tenere se fidem credit?qui cathedram petri, super quem fundata ecclesia est, deserit, in ecclesia se esse confidit?


The Later Recension


And again to the same He says, after His resurrection, Feed my sheep. And although to all the apostles, after His resurrection, He gives an equal power, and says, As the Father has sent me, even so send I you: Receive the Holy Ghost: Whosoever sins you remit, they shall be remitted him; and whosoever sins you retain, they shall be retained (Jn 20:21)

Super unum aedificat ecclesiam et, quamuis apostolis omnibus post resurrectionem suam parem potestatem tribuat et dicat: 'Sicut misit me Pater et ego mitto uos.  Accipite Spiritum sanctum: si cuius remiseritis peccata remittentur illi; si cuius tenueritis tenebuntur',

yet, that He might set forth unity, He arranged by His authority the origin of that unity, as beginning from one. Assuredly the rest of the apostles were also the same as was Peter, endowed with a like partnership both of honor and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity.

tamen, ut unitatem manifestaret, unitatis eiusdem originem ab uno incipientem sua auctoritate disposuit.  Hoc erant utique et ceteri apostoli quod fuit Petrus, pari consortio praediti et honoris et potestatis, sed exordium ab unitate proficiscitur ut ecclesia Christi una monstretur. 



WHICH one Church, also, the Holy Spirit in the Song of Songs designated in the person of our Lord, and says, My dove, my spotless one, is but one. She is the only one of her mother, chosen of her that bore her. (Song of Songs 6:9)

Quam unam ecclesiam etiam in Cantico Canticorum Spiritus sanctus ex persona Domini designat, et dicit: 'Vna est columba mea perfecta mea, una est matri suae, electa genetrici suae'.

Does he who does not hold this unity of the Church think that he holds the faith? Does he who strives against and resists the Church trust that he is in the Church, when moreover the blessed Apostle Paul teaches the same thing, and sets forth the sacrament of unity, saying, There is one body and one spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God (Eph. 4:4)

Hanc ecclesiae unitatem qui non tenet, tenere se fidem credit?  Qui ecclesiae renititur et resistit, in ecclesia se esse confidit, quando et beatus apostolus Paulus hoc idem doceat et sacramentum unitatis ostendat dicens: Vnum corpus et unus Spiritus, una spes uocationis uestrae, unus Dominus, una fides, unum baptisma, unus Deus? 

5. And this unity we ought firmly to hold and assert, especially those of us that are bishops who preside in the Church, that we may also prove the episcopate itself to be one and undivided. 

Quam unitatem tenere firmiter et uindicare debemus maxime episcopi, qui in ecclesia praesidemus, ut episcopatum quoque ipsum unum adque indiuisum probemus.

Let no one deceive the brotherhood by a falsehood: let no one corrupt the truth of the faith by perfidious prevarication. The episcopate is one, each part of which is held by each one for the whole. The Church also is one, which is spread abroad far and wide into a multitude by an increase of fruitfulness. Nemo fraternitatem mendacio fallat, nemo fidei ueritatem perfida praeuaricatione corrumpat.  Episcopatus unus est cuius a singulis in solidum pars tenetur.  Ecclesia una est quae in multitudinem latius incremento fecunditatis extenditur:
As there are many rays of the sun, but one light; and many branches of a tree, but one strength based in its tenacious root; and since from one spring flow many streams, although the multiplicity seems diffused in the liberality of an overflowing abundance, yet the unity is still preserved in the source. quomodo solis multi radii sed lumen unum, et rami arboris multi sed robur unum tenaci radice fundatum, et cum de fonte uno riui plurimi defluunt, numerositas licet diffusa uideatur exundantis copiae largitate, unitas tamen seruatur in origine.
Separate a ray of the sun from its body of light, its unity does not allow a division of light; break a branch from a tree — when broken, it will not be able to bud; cut off the stream from its fountain, and that which is cut off dries up. Auelle radium solis a corpore, diuisionem lucis unitas non capit; ab arbore frange ramum, fractus germinare non poterit; a fonte praecide riuum, praecisus arescit.
Thus the Church, stoo, hone over with the light of the Lord, sheds forth her rays over the whole world, yet it is one light which is everywhere diffused, nor is the unity of the body separated. Her fruitful abundance spreads her branches over the whole world. She broadly expands her rivers, liberally flowing, yet her head is one, her source one; and she is one mother, plentiful in the results of fruitfulness: from her womb we are born, by her milk we are nourished, by her spirit we are animated. Sic et ecclesia, domini luce perfusa, per orbem totum radios suos porrigit, unum tamen lumen est quod ubique diffunditur nec unitas corporis separatur; ramos suos in uniuersam terram copia ubertatis extendit; profluentes largiter riuos latius spandit, unum tamen caput est et origo una, et una mater fecunditatis successibus copiosa: illius fetu nascimur, illius lacte nutrimur, spiritu eius animamur. 











42 Gal. v. 17–22.

47 John vi. 58.

48 John vi. 53.

80 Luke v. 16.

81 uke vi. 12.

87 Cant. v. 2.

88 Col. i. 2.

96 Ps. v, 2.

97 Hos. vi. 1.

98 Ps. cxviii. 22.

99 Mal. iv. 2.

100 Luke ii. 37.

4 1 Cor. xi. 27.

5 [He refers to his comprovincials, not arrogating all au

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