Poenitentiam Agite


A Latin term that is perhaps best-known for being used in the first of the Ninety-Five Theses of Martin Luther. It is often translated into English as ‘repent’ or ‘do penance’.

1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.

Luther was not the first person to use this term; according to the 4th century Vulgate translation of the Bible by St. Jerome, the term was used by John the Baptist and repeated by Jesus of Nazareth: “Repent: the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).

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