Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1341
Avitus, presbyter of Braga (Iberian Peninsula) writes a letter to Bishop Balconius Braga and his clergy, in which he informs about the discovery of the relics of St. Stephen in Caphargamala (Palestine). He attaches to the letter his translation of the account about the discovery of relics, written by the presbyter Lucianus of Caphargamala, AD 416.
Epistula Aviti
(ed. S. Vanderlinden 1946: 188-189)
The letter of Avitus
1. To the most blessed and always loved in the Lord Pope Balconius and to all the clergy and people of the Church of Braga, presbyter Avitus in the Lord sends the eternal greeting. 2. I want you remember of me and I ask you for it. I too, as far as I can, do not stop to have you in memory in the holy [places], and I grieve about your tribulations and incessantly shed tears in the holy places for the collapse of your homeland, may the Lord either restore to you, whom He wanted to admonish, the freedom, or make clement those whom He allowed to prevail. 3. Oh blessed brothers, Our Lord Jesus Christ be my witness, I frequently wanted to come to you in order to endure misfortunes and benefit of the prosperity together with you. But my wish was hindered by the flood of the enemy in whole Spain. 4. I was afraid that leaving the holy places I will not be able to arrive to you and, being captured somewhere on my way, will suffer punishment for insane audacity. 5. But because God is merciful He will deign to give the indulgence of His grace to my prayer and to your merit, first because my beloved son and copresbyter Orosius was sent to this country from the African bishops. His love and consolation restored to me the presence of you all. Secondly because in those days when he was preparing with incredible eagerness his return to you, the blessed and holy Stephen, the First Martyr, truly a crown of our glory in Jesus Christ, condescended to reveal himself and manifest clearly his power in the signs and miracles that followed. 6. Whom I, seizing the opportunity that such events were ordered by God, considered right to dispatch to Your Charity so that this defender and patron, who condescended to pray even for his enemies while he suffered, deign to assist the prayers of those who serve him. 7. Therefore, my blessed and beloved brothers, having you always in mind and seeing such favourable order of God I deserved to obtain a particle of the discovered body from the presbyter to whom it was revealed. Having asked for it promptly and having received it in secret I did not delay to send it to you. 8. For this reason I dispatch to you through my holy son and copresbyter Orosius the relics from the body of blessed Stephen, first martyr, that is the dust of flesh and sinews, and what is more certain to believe and more convincing, the solid bones anointed in new colours and smells of his sanctity. 9. Lest there be any doubt, I am sending you, attached below, a letter of the holy presbyter to whom these things were revealed, which he first dictated to me (who requested it from him for the fuller proof of the truth) in his own words in Greek, and which I later translated into Latin. 10. I beg you, holy and blessed brothers, to deem these things as accurately related as truly they took place. I am sure that as the blessed martyr deigned to announce and reveal himself for the salvation of the endangered world, you helped by the presence of such a patron will live safely and quietly if you will love him as your pledge with a due diligence.
(trans. M. Szada)

Place of event:

  • Iberian Peninsula
  • East
  • Braga
  • Caphargamala
  • Jerusalem

About the source:

Author: Avitus of Braga
Title: Epistula Aviti, Epistula Aviti presbyteri de inventione sancti Stephani protomartyris, Epistula Aviti presbyteri de revelatione sancti Stephani protomartyris, Epistula Aviti ad Balconium
Origin: East
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Avitus was a presbyter in Braga who simalarly as his colleague Orosius travelled to the Holy Land at the beginning of the 5th c. He met with Jerome and took part in the council presided by Bishop John of Jerusalem in the case of Pelagius in AD 415 ([966]). In the same year in December the presbyter Lucianus of Caphargamala discovered the relics of St. Stephen, the first martyr. Avitus obtained some relics and sent them to Braga through Orosius (who brought them to Minorca, see [402]) together with the present explanatory letter and the translation of the account of Lucianus.
S. Vanderlinden, "Revelatio Sancti Stephani (BHG 7850-6)", Revue des études byzantines 4 (1946), 178-217
B. Altaner, "Avitus of Braga. A contribution to the history of Ancient Christian Literature", Classical Folia 22 (1968), 105-120.


Writing activity - Correspondence
Travel and change of residence
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Relation with - Another presbyter
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Education - Special skills
Devotion - Veneration of saints and relics
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1341,