Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 318: Clerical Poverty (1)
Clerical Poverty (1)
Not quite two years before Augustine wrote De ciuitate dei XXII (finished probably at the end of 426) Augustine came into possession of relics of Stephen1 probably toward the end of 424 at the earliest. Sermo 317 may have been preached upon their reception. Sermo 318 was preached on the occasion of placing the relics in the altar in the chapel of his basilica. In the cupola four verses are engraved2 indicating the miracles performed there should be ascribed to God through the intercession and relics of Stephen.
To promulgate these miracles Augustine introduced into Africa the custom of memorializing them in a public reading by those in whose favor the miracle was performed.3 Approximately seventy such memorials came about at Hippo in fewer than two years. Among them Augustine specifies three resurrections from the dead and the cures of Paul and Palladia. Augustine had a small book (libellus) read on the occasion of Sermo 319.
Heraclius had commissioned a chapel to Stephen to be built in Hippo.4 Augustine designated him as his successor soon after. Very probably the relics of Stephen had been placed in that chapel. If so, Augustine’s two sermons on the life and morals of his clerics where he mentions a chapel of Heraclius were preached there, one at the end of 424 and the other at the beginning of 425. Whatever the case, Augustine certainly was already old and gaunt when he...