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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

from its origins to circa AD 700, across the entire Christian world

In his sermon to catechumens, preached in Latin probably in Carthage, 429/439, Quodvultdeus, bishop of this city, refers to *Mary (mother of Christ, S00033) as holy, and emphasises her role as both mother and virgin.

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies

Major author/Major anonymous work


Sermon 1, De Symbolo I, ch. 2

The preacher compares diverse aspects of pagan and Christian religion and in this context says what follows:

Illic fingitur quod idem Iouis Iunonem habeat sororem et coniugem: hic praedicamus sanctam Mariam matrem simul et uirginem.

'There they imagine that Juno was both sister and wife of the same Jupiter, here we proclaim holy Mary to be both mother and virgin'.

Text: Braun 1976. Translation: Robert Wiśniewski.

Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

Theorising on Sanctity

Considerations about the hierarchy of saints


Quodvultdeus' sermons were most probably preached during his episcopate in Carthage which started at some point between 429 and 439 and was terminated in the latter year by his exile to Italy, although it is not impossible that they were delivered in exile. In that case the terminus ante quem would be Quodvultdeus' death in 454.


This mention cannot be considered to be evidence of cult. Yet, the sermon was probably preached in the same period during which, in the East, the role of Mary and especially the issue of her being Mother of God (Theotokos) was extensively debated. The vivacity of this debate both bore witness to a emerging cult of the Mother of God and gave it an additional stimulus. In this context Quodvultdeus' remark, otherwise quite banal, is worth mentioning.


Braun, R., Quodvultdeus Carthaginiensis, Opera Tributa (Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina 60; Turnhout, 1976), 305-334.

Record Created By

Robert Wiśniewski

Date Last Modified


Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of ChristMariaCertain

Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Robert Wiśniewski, Cult of Saints, E00961 -