Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 843
Januarius, a presbyter from Augustine`s monastic community in Hippo Regius (North Africa), makes a will before his death, disinherirting his children and leaving his property to the Church, although he was expected to distribute his property when entering the community. Augustine, Sermon 355, AD 425/426.
Sermon 355
3. Venit ad nos etiam presbyter Ianuarius. Quod uidebatur habere honeste, erogando quasi consumpsit, et non consumpsit:
remansit illi quaedam pecunia, id est, argentum, quod diceret esse filiae suae. [...]
Dum hoc exspectatur, coepit ille morti propinquare: quamdiu tamquam de suo iure, non filiae, testamentum fecit. Testamentum, inquam, fecit presbyter socius noster, nobiscum manens, de ecclesia uiuens, communem uitam profitens. [...]
Sed ecclesiam scripsit heredem. Nolo munera ista, non amo amaritudinis fructum. Ego illum Deo quaerebam, societatem professus erat, hanc teneret, hanc exhiberet. [...] Filia ipsius in monasterio feminarum est; filius ipsius in monasterio uirorum est. Ambos exheredauit: illam cum laude, istum cum elogio, id est, cum uituperatione. Commendaui autem ecclesiae ut non accipiant ipsas portiunculas, quae pertinent ad exheredatos, nisi cum ad legitimam aetatem peruenerint. [...]
(ed. Lambot 1950: 126-127)
Sermon 355
3. We were also joined by the priest Januarius. He seemed to get rid of all he had by honestly distributing it, but he didn't get rid of it all. Some assets, that is, some money, remained with him, which he said was his daughter's. […]
Before this time came, he himself drew near to death; and swearing consistently that it was his own, not his daughter's, he made a will about it. A priest, a companion of ours, staying together with us, living on the Church, professing the common life, made, I'm telling you, a will. […] He made the Church his heir. I don't want these gifts, I don't like the taste of such bitter fruit. I myself had recruited him for God, he had made profession in our company. […]
His daughter is in a monastery of women, his son in a monastery of men. He disinherited both of them; her, with words of praise, him with a clause in the will severely censuring him. Now I have recommended the Church not to accept such legacies, which really belong to disinherited children, except when they have come of age.
(trans. E. Hill, slightly altered)


Sermons 355 and 356 were delivered by Augustine in 425/426 when it turned out that some clerics of the monastery of Hippo had retained some private property.
It seems that Januarius joined Augustine's community while already a presbyter. We do not hear anything about his wife, presumably dead before he entered the monastery, especially as the children (under age at the time) were sent to other monasteries.
Augustine refers shortly to the case of Januarius in Sermo 356, 2 and 11 (when he repeats that the Church of Hippo forwent any claim to the money of Januarius, leaving it to his children).

Place of event:

  • Latin North Africa
  • Hippo Regius

About the source:

Author: Augustine of Hippo
Title: Sermons, Sermones, Homilies
Origin: Hippo Regius (Latin North Africa)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Copies of between 400 and 500 of Augustine`s sermons have survived to our times. Most of these 400-500 sermons were taken down by scribes as he preached without the use of a prepared script. They are a faithful stenographic record of what Augustine actually said, with probably no subsequent editing of them by himself.
They cover a wide range of topics. They are usually based on the Scripture passage read during the liturgy. The homilies on the Psalms and the Gospels have been preserved in separate collections.
C. Lambot ed., Sancti Aurelii Augustini Sermones selecti duodeviginti, Stromata Patristica et Mediaevalia 1, Utrecht - Brussels 1950.
Saint Augustine, Sermons (341-400) on Various Subjects, trans. E. Hill, New York 1995.


Family life - Offspring
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Monastic or common life - Clerical community
Economic status and activity - Inheritance
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Relation with - Children
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER843,