Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1246
Tertullian describes penitence, including prostration before presbyters. Tertullian, "On Repentance", Carthage (North Africa), AD 200/206.
Chapter 9
3. Itaque exomologesis prosternendi et humilificandi hominis disciplina est conuersationem iniungens misericordiae inlicem de ipso quoque habitu atque uictu:
4. Mandat sacco et cineri incubare, corpus sordibus obscurare, animum maeroribus deicere, illa quae peccant tristi tractatione mutare; ceterum pastum et potum pura nosse, non uentris scilicet sed animae causa; plerumque uero ieiuniis preces alere, ingemiscere, lacrimari et mugire dies noctes que ad dominum deum tuum, presbyteris aduolui, [et] aris dei adgeniculari, omnibus fratribus legationem deprecationis suae iniungere. [...]
(ed.  Borleffs 1954: 336)
Chapter 9
3. And thus exomologesis is a discipline for man's prostration and humiliation, enjoining a demeanor calculated to move mercy. With regard also to the very dress and food,
4. it commands (the penitent) to lie in sackcloth and ashes, to cover his body in mourning, to lay his spirit low in sorrows, to exchange for severe treatment the sins which he has committed; moreover, to know no food and drink but such as is plain, not for the stomach's sake, to wit, but the soul's; for the most part, however, to feed prayers on fastings, to groan, to weep and make outcries unto the Lord your God; to bow before the feet of the presbyters, and kneel to God's dear ones; to enjoin on all the brethren to be ambassadors to bear his deprecatory supplication (before God). [...]

Place of event:

  • Latin North Africa
  • Carthage

About the source:

Author: Tertullian
Title: On Repentance, On Penitence, De Paenitentia
Origin: Carthage (Latin North Africa)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Tertullian was born and active in Carthage (North Africa). He was most probably trained as a lawyer. He converted to Christianity before AD 197. His rigorist views drew him towards the Montanists (before AD 207), and eventually he distanced himself even from them, creating a party of his own. He died after AD 220. He may have been a presbyter [402]. He left many writings, both from the Catholic and Montanist period.
“On Repentance” was written in the Catholic period. It deals with the “first” penance, before baptism, and the possibility of a single “second” penance, after baptism.
J.G. Ph. Borleffs ed., Q.S. Fl. Tertulliani De Paenitentia, Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina 1, Turnhout 1954, 299-340.


Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
    Ritual activity - Reconciliation/Administering penance
      Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1246,