Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 633
Augustine, bishop of Hippo Regius (North Africa), writes to Sixtus, presbyter at Rome, mentioning also the presbyter Firmus who carried his and Sixtus' letters. Letter 194, 418 AD.
Letter 194
Domino in domino dominorum dilectissimo fratri sancto et conpresbytero Sixto Augustinus in domino salutem.
1. In epistula, quam per carissimum fratrem nostrum Albinum acolithum misi, prolixiorem me missurum esse promisi per sanctum fratrem et conpresbyterum nostrum Firmum, qui nobis litteras adtulit sinceritatis tuae plenas sinceritate fidei tuae, quae nobis tantum gaudium contulerunt, quantum magis possumus habere quam dicere. Quod enim fatendum est caritati tuae, tristes eramus nimis, cum fama iactaret inimicis Christianae gratiae te fauere. Sed ut haec tristitia de nostris cordibus tergeretur, primo te priorem anathema eis in populo frequentissimo pronuntiasse eadem fama non tacuit; deinde cum litteris apostolicae sedis de illorum damnatione ad Africam missis tuae quoque litterae ad uenerabilem senem Aurelium consecutae sunt, quae tametsi breues erant, tuum tamen uigorem aduersus eorum errorem satis indicabant [...].
(ed. Goldbacher 1911: 176-177)
Letter 194
To his lord who is most beloved in the Lord of lords, his holy brother and fellow presbyter Sixtus, Augustine sends greetings in the Lord.
1. In the letter that I sent by means of our dearest brother, the acolyte Albinus, I promised that I would send a lengthier one by means of our holy brother and fellow presbyter Firmus, who brought us the letter of Your Holiness full of the purity of your faith, which provided us with such great joy that we can more easily possess it than we can express it. For I must admit to Your Charity that we were very sad when rumor spread it about that you sided with the enemies of the grace of Christ. But in order that this sadness might be wiped from our hearts, first of all, that same rumor was not silent about the fact that you first declared them anathema in a large crowd of people; secondly, along with the letter of the Apostolic See sent to Africa concerning their condemnation, your letter also was delivered to the primate, Aurelius. Although it was short, it sufficiently indicated the strength of your opposition to their error.
(trans. R. Teske, slightly altered)


Although it obviously does not result from this letter, the presbyter Sixtus is the future Pope Sixtus III (432-440). He is mildly reproached by Augustine for his earlier writings that may have been considered pro-Pelagian. The rest of the letter is a long anti-Pelagian treatise. Augustine mentions it in "The Gift of Perseverance", 55 (PL 45, 1027). See also the previous letter of Augustine to Sixtus [625].
As far as "the declaring of the Pelagians to be anathema" by Sixtus, it certainly does not refer to any formal decision or action by the presbyter, but only to his public declaration of considering the Pelagian views as heretical.

Place of event:

  • Latin North Africa
  • Rome
  • Hippo Regius
  • Carthage
  • Rome

About the source:

Author: Augustine
Title: Letters, Epistulae
Origin: Hippo Regius (Latin North Africa)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The letters of Augustine of Hippo cover a wide range of topics: Holy Scripture, dogma and liturgy, philosophy, religious practice and everyday life. They range from full-scale theological treatises to small notes asking someone for a favour. The preserved corpus includes 308 letters, 252 written by Augustine, 49 that others sent to him and seven exchanged between third parties. 29 letters have been discovered only in the 20th century and edited in 1981 by Johannes Divjak; they are distinguished by the asterisk (*) after their number.
The preserved letters of Augustine extend over the period from his stay at Cassiciacum in 386 to his death in Hippo in 430.
A. Goldbacher ed., S. Augustini Hipponiensis Episcopi Epistulae, Pars 4, Ep. 185-270, Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 57, Vienna-Leipzig 1911.
Saint Augustine, Letters 156-210, trans. R. Teske, New York 2004.


Writing activity - Correspondence
Travel and change of residence
Further ecclesiastical career - Bishop
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Described by a title - Titles of respect
Reverenced by
Relation with - Another presbyter
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Relation with - Heretic/Schismatic
Administration of justice - Excommunication/Anathema
Described by a title - Conpresbyter
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER633,