Fathers of the Church

Letter LXXXVI

Description

”Augustine’s correspondence, the mark and expression of the influential personality and apostolic zeal of the author, is rich in historical, philosophical, theological, exegetical, spiritual, literary, and autobiographical content” (Agostino Trapè). Here he asks Caecilianus, a secular official, to take action against the disturbances causes by heretics in Hippo and the surrounding areas, as he has elsewhere in Africa.

Provenance

The extant correspondence of St. Augustine includes more than 270 letters, including well over 200 written by him. Those numbered 31-123 span the period from his episcopal ordination until the conference between Catholic and Donatist bishops held in 411.

by Augustine of Hippo in 405 | translated by J. G. Cunningham

TO MY NOBLE LORD CAECILIANUS, MY SON TRULY AND JUSTLY HONOURABLE AND ESTEEMED IN THE LOVE OF CHRIST, AUGUSTIN, BISHOP, SENDS GREETING IN THE LORD.

The renown of your administration and the fame of your virtues, as well as the praiseworthy zeal and faithful sincerity of your Christian piety, — gifts of God which make you rejoice in Him from whom they came, and from whom you hope to receive yet greater things, — have moved me to acquaint your Excellency by this letter with the cares which agitate my mind. As our joy is great that throughout the rest of Africa you have taken measures with remarkable success on behalf of Catholic unity, our sorrow is proportionately great because the district of Hippo and the neighbouring regions on the borders of Numidia have not enjoyed the benefit of the vigour with which as a magistrate you have enforced your proclamation, my noble lord, and my son truly and justly honourable and esteemed in the love of Christ. Lest this should be regarded rather as due to the neglect of duty by me who bear the burden of the episcopal office at Hippo, I have considered myself bound to mention it to your Excellency. If you condescend to acquaint yourself with the extremities to which the effrontery of the heretics has proceeded in the region of Hippo, as you may do by questioning my brethren and colleagues, who are able to furnish your Excellency with information, or the presbyter whom I have sent with this letter, I am sure you will so deal with this tumour of impious presumption, that it shall be healed by warning rather than painfully removed afterwards by punishment.

Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in 1867. (NPNF I/I, Schaff). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.