Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 402
Orosius, presbyter from Galicia (Iberian Peninsula), travels from Africa to Minorca (Balearic Isles) with relics of St Stephen. Being unable to cross over to Spain because of war he leaves the relics in the church in Magona, and goes back to Africa, in AD 418. Account of Severus of Minorca, Letter on the Conversion of the Jews, AD 418.
Epistula Severi
4. Namque diebus paene isdem, quibus ego tanti sacerdotii nomen, licet indignus, adeptus sum, presbyter quidam sanctitate praecipuus ab Hierosolyma veniens, Magonae non longo tempore immoratus est. Qui postquam transvehi ad Hispanias, sicut desiderabat, nequivit, remeare denuo ad Africam statuit. (2) Hic beati martyris Stephani reliquias, quae nuper revelatae sunt, cum ad Hispanias portare constituisset, ipso sine dubio martyre inspirante, in memorati oppidi ecclesia collocavit. (3) Quo facto, protinus ille, quem Dominus "venit mittere in terram" et quem valde ardere cupit, caritatis eius ignis accensus est. (4) Statim siquidem tepor noster incaluit et factum est cor nostrum, sicut scriptum est, "ardens in via". Nunc enim iam illud fidei amburebat zelus, nunc spes salvandae multitudinis erigebat.
(ed. Bradbury 1996: 81, 83)
The letter of Severus
4. At about that same period when I, although unworthy, assumed the title of episcopal office, a certain priest (presbyter), conspicuous for his sanctity, came from Jerusalem and sojourned for a brief time in Magona. After he was unable to cross over to Spain, as he wished to do, he decided to go back to Africa again. (2) Doubtless at the inspiration of the martyr himself, he placed in the church of Magona some relics of St Stephen the martyr, which recently had come to light and which he had intended to transport to Spain. (3) When this was done, straightaway the fire of His love was kindled, the fire which the Lord "came to cast upon the earth" (Luke 12: 49) and which He wishes to blaze forth. (4) Immediately our complacency heated up, and, as it is written, our hearts were "burning by the way" (Luke 24: 32). At one moment, zeal for the faith would fire our hearts; at another moment, the hope of saving a multitude would spur us on.
(trans. Bradbury 1996: 82, 84)


On the travels of Orosius, their chronology, and Orosius' role in dissemination of the relics of St Stephen see Gauge 1998.

Place of event:

  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Latin North Africa
  • East
  • Mago
  • Iamo
  • Jerusalem

About the source:

Author: Severus of Minorca
Title: Letter on the Conversion of the Jews, Commonitorium, Epistula Severi, The Letter of Severus of Minorca
Origin: Iberian Peninsula
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Severus`s, bishop of Minorca wrote a letter to the whole church on the conversion of the Jews of Minorca in 418. The bishop alleged this conversion to the power of the relics of st. Stephen that were just brought to the island by "a certain presbyter" travelling from the East. This presbyter is quite unanimously identified by scholars as Orosius (Bradbury 1996: 24-25; Fear 2007: 3-7; Van Nuffelen 2012: 3; Arnoud-Lindet 1990: i-ix).
Edition and translation:
S. Bradbury ed. and trans., Severus of Minorca, Letter on the Conversion of the Jews, Oxford 1996.
V. Gauge, "Les routes d’Orose et les reliques d’Etienne", Antiquité Tardive 6 (1998), 265-286.
M.-P. Arnoud-Lindet ed., Orose, Histoires (contre les paiens), v. 1: Livres I-III, Paris 1990.
P. Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the rhetoric of history, Oxford 2012.
Fear A.T. trans., Orosius, Seven books of history against the Pagans, Liverpool 2010.


Travel and change of residence
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Fame of sanctity
Reverenced by
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
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, ER402,