Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 714
Honoratus, presbyter from Thiave, joined a monastery at Thagaste (both in North Africa) and died without making a will. Augustine, bishop of Hippo Regius, writes to Alypius, bishop of Thagaste, explaining to him that the inheritance should be given to the people of Thiave. Augustine, Letter 83, AD 404/405.
Letter 83
3. [...] quod nullo modo intellecturi sunt, nisi illam rem, quam semper presbyteri esse putauerunt, eorum usibus relinquamus, quia et, si eius non erat, hoc ab initio scire debuerant.
4. Videtur itaque mihi haec regula esse in rebus huiusce modi retinenda, ut, quicquid eo iure, quo talia possidentur, eius fuerit, qui alicubi clericus ordinatur, ad eam pertineat ecclesiam, in qua ordinatur. Usque adeo autem eodem iure presbyteri Honorati est illud, unde agitur, ut non solum alibi ordinatus sed adhuc in Tagastensi monasterio constitutus si re sua non uendita nec per manifestam donationem in quempiam translata moreretur, non nisi heredes eius in eam succederent, sicut frater Aemilianus in illos triginta solidos fratri Priuato successit.
(ed. Goldbacher 1898: 390)
Letter 83
3. [...] And they [the people of Thagaste] will never understand this unless we leave for their use that property that they thought always belonged to the presbyter, because, even if it was not his, they ought to have known this from the beginning.
4.  It seems to me, then, that this rule should be observed in matters of this sort: whatever belongs to the man who is ordained a cleric anywhere, by whatever law he owns such things, should belong to the church in which he is ordained. Now that property we are dealing with belongs to the presbyter, Honoratus, by the same law so that, having been ordained elsewhere, but still living in the monastery of Thagaste, if he died with some property not sold nor transferred to someone by a public gift, only his heir would enter into possession of it, just as Brother Aemilian came into possession of those thirty solids of Brother Privatus.
(trans. R. Teske, slightly altered)


The whole affair is complicated and the role of Augustine in it is hardly explainable, unless Thiave was a part of the diocese of Hippo (but we know about bishops of Thiave; perhaps they lived later or in another place with the same name?) or Honoratus was originally from Hippo. Anyway, Augustine regrets that Honoratus did not dispose of his property before entering the monastery at Thagaste (was it the clerical community around Alypius, similar to Augustine's in Hippo?), but insists that the whole amount must be given to the Church of Thiave (not half of it, as Alypius was suggesting).

Place of event:

  • Latin North Africa
  • Hippo Regius
  • Thiave
  • Thagaste

About the source:

Author: Augustine of Hippo
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 2, Ep. 31-123, Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 34/2,  Prague-Vienna-Leipzig 1898.
 Saint Augustine, Letters 1-99, trans. R. Teske, New York, 2001.


Travel and change of residence
Ecclesiastical transfer
Monastic or common life - Clerical community
Economic status and activity - Indication of wealth
Economic status and activity - Inheritance
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER714,