Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 869
Leporius, a presbyter from Augustine`s monastic community in Hippo Regius (North Africa), comes from a wealthy family. He gave his property to the monastery he founded and later administered. He built a xenodochium and bought a house on Augustine`s command. Augustine, Sermon 356, AD 426.
Sermon 356
10. Vobis dico, qui forte nescitis, nam uestrum plurimi sciunt: presbyterum Leporium, quamuis saeculi natalibus clarum, et apud suos honestissimo loco natum, tamen iam Deo seruientem, cunctis quae habebat relictis, inopem suscepi: non quia nihil habuit, sed quia iam fecerat quod lectio ista persuadet. Hic non fecit, sed nos scimus ubi fecit. [...] Hortus est unus ubi nostis: ibi monasterium suis constituit, quia et ipsi deo seruiunt. Ille hortus ad ecclesiam non pertinet, sed nec ad ipsum. Et ad quem, dixerit aliquis? Ad illud quod ibi est monasterium. Sed quod uerum est, usque ad hoc tempus curam pro illis ita gerebat, ut sumpticulos, quibus sustentantur, apud se haberet, et ipse, ut uidebatur, impenderet.
[...] Ergo et ipse ullam pecuniam non habet, quam suam dicere possit aut audeat. Xenodochium aedificandum modo uidetis aedificatum. Ego illi iniunxi, ego iussi. Obtemperauit mihi libentissime, et sicut uidetis, operatus est: quomodo meo iussu etiam basilicam ad octo
martyres fabricauit, de his quae per uos Deus donat. [...]. De pecunia, quia non habet mihi credant, dentem compescant, ne frangant. Emerat de ipsa pecunia xenodochii quamdam domum in Carraria, quam sibi existimabat propter lapides profuturam, sed lapides eius domus fabricae necessarii non fuerunt, quoniam aliunde prouisi sunt. Domus ergo ipsa sic remansit, pensionem praestat, sed ecclesiae, non presbytero. Nemo amplius dicat: in domum presbyteri, ad domum presbyteri, ante domum presbyteri. Ecce ubi est domus presbyteri:
ubi est domus mea, ibi est domus eius: alibi non habet domum, sed ubique habet Deum.
(ed. Lambot 1950: 138-139)
Sermon 356
10. I will tell you what you may not know, although many of you know: while the presbyter Leporius came of a distinguished family in the world, and was born within the family to the most honorable position, he gave up everything he posssessed, so that I received him here quite penniless; not because ha never had anything, but because he had already done what this reading encourages people to do. He didn't do it here, but I know where he did do it.  There is a garden in a place you know; there he has established a monastery for his people. The garden does not belong to the Church, nor to him. Someone will ask: so to whom does it belong? It belongs to the monastery situated there. But what is true is that up until the present moment he was looking after them in such a way that he kept in his own hands the rents needed to support them, and paid them out, so it seemed, himself. [...]
He has no money that he could or dare call his. As for the building of the xenodochium which you can now see completed, I myself laid this task on him, I myself gave the orders for it.  He was most willing to comply with my wishes, and as you can see, he has done the work. It was also on my instructions that he has put up the basilica for the Eight Martyrs, with the resources God has provided through your generosity. […]
As for the money involved, let the critics believe me that he doesn't possess it; let them stop their backbiting, or they may break their teeth. With the xenodochium money he had bought a house in Carraria, which he thought he would find useful for its stones; but it turned out that the stones of this house weren't needed for the building, because stones were provided from elsewhere. So the house remains as it was, and brings in some rent, but to the Church, not to the priest. So nobody should say anymore, "In the presbyter's house, at the pesbyter's house, in front of the priest's house". Look, that's where the presbyter's house is; where my home is, that's where his home is. He hasn't got a home anywhere else – apart from wherever he has God.
(trans. E. Hill, slightly altered)


Sermons 355 and 356 were delivered by Augustine in AD 425/426 (Sermon 356 after Epiphany AD 426) when it turned out that some of the clerics of the monastery of Hippo had retained some private property. For the context, see [843].

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.


Social origin or status - Social elite
Food/Clothes/Housing - Type of housing
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Monastic or common life - Clerical community
Ecclesiastical administration - Administering Church property
Ecclesiastical administration - Construction/Renovation
Economic status and activity - Buying & selling
Economic status and activity - Ownership or possession of land
Economic status and activity - Indication of wealth
Economic status and activity - Indication of poverty
Economic status and activity - Gift
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: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER869,