Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 12: 32.02.12 Book I Part III

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Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 12: 32.02.12 Book I Part III

TOPIC: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 12 (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 32.02.12 Book I Part III

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Epistle XLVI. To Peter the Subdeacon.

Gregory to Peter, &c.

The divine precepts admonish us to love our neighbours as ourselves; and, seeing that we are enjoined to love them with this charity, how much more ought we to succour them by supplies to their carnal needs, that we may relieve their distress, if not in all respects, yet at least with some support. Inasmuch, then, as we have found that the son of the most worthy Godiscalchus is in distress, not only from loss of sight, but also from want of food, we hold it necessary to provide for him as far as possible. Wherefore we enjoin thy Experience by this present order to supply to him for sustaining life twenty-four modii of wheat every year, and also twelve modii of beans and twenty decimateshyperlink of wine; which may afterwards be debited in thy accounts. So act, therefore, that the bearer of these presents may have to complain of no delay in receiving the gifts of the Lord, and that thou mayest be found partaker in the well administered benefit.

Epistle XLVII. To Virgilius, Bishop of Arelate (Arles) and Theodorus, Bishop of Massilia (Marseilles).

Gregory to Virgilius, Bishop of Arelate, and Theodorus, Bishop of Massilia, in Gaul.

Though the opportunity of a suitable time and suitable persons has failed me so far for writing to your Fraternity and duly returning your salutation the result has been that I can now at one and the same time acquit myself of what is due to love and fraternal relationship, and also touch on the complaint of certain persons which has reached us, with respect to the way in which the souls of the erring should be saved. Very many, thoughindeed of the Jewish religion, resident in this province, and from time to time travelling lot various matters of business to the regions of Massilia, have apprized us, that many of the Jews settled in those parts have been brought to the font of baptism more by force than by preaching. Now, I consider the intention in such cases to be worthy of praise, and allow that it proceeds from the love of our Lord. But I fear lest this same intention, unless adequate enforcement from Holy Scripture accompany it, should either have no profitable result, or even (which God forbid) the loss of the souls which we wish to save should further ensue. For, when any one is brought to the font of baptism, not by the sweetness of preaching, but by compulsion, he returns to his former superstition, and dies the worse from having been born again. Let, therefore, your Fraternity stir up such men by frequent preaching, to the end that through the sweetness of their teacher they may desire the more to change their old life. For so our purpose is rightly accomplished, and the mind of the convert returns not again to his former vomit. Wherefore discourse must be addressed to them, such as may burn up the thorns of error in them, and illuminate what is dark in them by preaching, so that your Fraternity may through your frequent admonition receive a reward for them, and lead them, so far as God may grant it, to the regeneration of a new life.

Epistle XLVIII. To Theodorus, Duke of Sardinia.

Gregory to Theodorus, &c.

The justice which you bear in your mind you ought to shew in the light of your deeds. Now Juliana, abbess of the monastery of Saint Vitus which Vitula of venerable memory had once built, has intimated to us that possession of the aforesaid monastery is claimed by Donatus, your official; who, seeing himself to be fortified by your patronage, scorns to have resort to a judicial examination of the case. But now let your Glory enjoin this same official, with the aforesaid hand-maiden of God, to submit the matter to arbitration to the end that whatever may be decided as to the question in dispute by the judgment of the arbitrators may be carried into effect; so that, whatever he may find he has to lose or keep, what he does may not be done as a deed of virtue, but set down to the justice of the law.

Further, Pompeiana, a religious lady, who is known to have established a monastery in her own house, has complained that the mother of her deceased son-in-law wishes to annul his will, to the end that her son's last disposition of his property may be made of none effect. On this account we hold it necessary with paternal charity to exhort your Glory to lend yourself willingly, with due regard to justice, to pious causes, and kindly order that whatever these persons have a rightful claim to be secured to them. Now, we beseech the Lord to direct the way of your life propitiously, and grant you a prosperous administration of your dignified office.

Epistle XLIX. To Honoratus, Deaconhyperlink .

Gregory to Honoratus, &c.

Since we have undertaken, however undeserving, a place of government, it is our duty to succour our brethren in need, so far as our power extends. Januarius, then, our brother and fellow-bishop of the metropolitan city of Caralis (Cagliari), has been here in the city of Rome, and informed us that the glorious magister militum, Theodorus, who is known to have received the dukedom of the island of Sardinia, is doing many things there contrary to the commands of our most pious lords, whereby with fitting clemency and gentleness they removed many hardships of proprietors, or of citizens of their empire. Wherefore we desire you at a suitable time to represent the case to our most pious lords in accordance with what the provincials of the aforesaid island justly and reasonably demand; seeing that on a previous occasion also their sacred imperial letters were sent to the glorious Magister militum Edancius, who was in the seventh indiction duke of Sardinia, in which they ordered all these present grievances to be redressed, to the end that their commands, proceeding from the bountifulness of their piety, might be observed unshaken by dukes who might come in course of time to be in power, and that the benefit thereof might not be squandered away by administrators; that so a quiet life might be led under the clement empire of our lords, and for the ordinance which with tranquil mind they grant to their subjects they might receive multiplied compensation at the coming of the eternal judge.

Epistle L. To Anthemius the Subdeaconhyperlink .

Gregory to Anthemius, &c.

Even as, through the ordering of God as it hath pleased Him, we have received the place of government, so ought we to be solicitous for the souls committed to us. Now we find that in the Eumorphian islandhyperlink , in which, as is well known, there is an oratory of the blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, a large number of men with their wives from various patrimonies have fled to it for refuge, through stress of barbarian ferocityhyperlink This we consider inexpedient: for, there being other places of refuge near at hand, why should women have their abode there with monks? Wherefore we enjoin thy Experience by this present order from this time forward to allow no woman, whether she be under ecclesiastical jurisdiction or any other, to take up her abode or tarry there; but let them provide for themselves a place of refuge (there being, as has been said above, so many in the neighbourhood) wherever they may choose; so that all intercourse with women may henceforth be put an end to; lest, if we should desist from taking all the care we can, and guarding against the snares of the enemy, we henceforth (which God forbid) should be culpable in case of anything wrong taking place. Delay not, therefore, to give to the abbot Felix, the bearer of these presents, one thousand five hundred pounds of lead, which he is known to be in want of in the same island, which may be charged afterwards in thy accounts, when the whole quantity shall be known. So proceed, then, that thou mayest provide thyself with some, if any can be profitably used for the buildings of the same island. Moreover, since congregations of monks in the islands are exposed to hardship, we forbid boys under eighteen years of age to be received into these monasteries. Or, if there are any now there, let thy Experience remove them, and send them to the city of Rome. We desire thee in all respects to observe this in Palmaria also and the other islands.

Epistle LII. To Symmachus the Defensorhyperlink .

Gregory to Symmachus, &c.

My son Boniface the deacon has told me that thy Experience had written to say that a monastery built by Labina, a religious lady, is now ready for monks to be settled in it. And indeed I praised thy solicitude; but we wish that some other place than that which has been assigned for the purpose should be provided; but with the condition, in view of the insecurity of the time, that one above the sea be looked out for, which is either fortified by its position, or at all events can be fortified without much labour. So may we send monks thither, to the end that the island itself, hitherto without a monastery, may be improved by having this way of life upon it.

For carrying out and providing for this business we have given directions to Horosius, the bearer of this present order, with whom thy Experience must go round the shores of Corsica, and if any more suitable place in the possession of any private person should be found, we are prepared to give a suitable price, that we may be able to make some secure arrangement. We have enjoined the aforesaid Horosius to proceed to the island Gorgonia; and let thy Experience accompany him, and do you so avenge the evils that we have ascertained to have found entrance there that through the punishment you shall inflict the aforesaid island may remain corrected for the future also. Let the same abbot Horosius set in order the monasteries of this island, and so hasten to return to us. Let, then, thy Experience so act that in both these matters, that is, both in providing for monasteries in Corsica, and in correcting the monks of Gorgonia, thou mayest make haste to obey, not our will, but that of Almighty God.

Moreover we desire that the priests who abide in Corsica shall be forbidden to have any intercourse with women, except it may be a mother, or a sister, or a wife, towards whom chastity should be observedhyperlink . But to the three persons about whom thy Experience has written to my son the aforesaid deacon Boniface, give whatsoever thou deemest sufficient for them, since they are in grievous need; and this we will allow thee afterwards in thy accounts. Given in the month of July.

Epistle LVI. To Peter, Subdeacon.

Gregory to Peter, &c.

Being exceedingly desirous of observing the festivals of saints, we have thought it needful to address this our letter of direction to thy Experience, informing thee that we have arranged for the dedication with all solemnity, with the help of the Lord, in the month of August, of the Oratory of the Blessed Mary lately built in the cell of brethren where the abbot Marinianus is known to preside, to the end that what we have begun may through the Lord's operation be completed. But, inasmuch as the poverty of that cell requires that we should assist in that day of festival, we therefore desire thee to give for celebrating the dedication, to be distributed to the poor, ten solidi in gold, thirty amphoroe of wine, two hundred lambs, two orcoe of oil, twelve wethers, and a hundred hens, which may be afterwards charged in thy accounts. Provide therefore for this being done at once without any delay, that our desires, God granting it,may take speedy effect.

Epistle LVII. To Severus, Bishop.

Gregory to Severus, &c.

We learn from thy Fraternity's epistle that, with regard to the choice of a bishop, some are agreed in favour of Ocleatinus, with whom, since we disallow him, they need not further concern themselveshyperlink . But give notice to the inhabitants of that city that, if they should find any one in their own Church fit for that work, they all transfer their choice to him. Otherwise the bearer of these presents will point out a person, of whom I have told him, in favour of whom the notification of the election should be made. Do you, moreover, be prudent and careful with regard to your visitation of the same Church, that its property may be preserved inviolate, and its interests attended to after the accustomed manner under your management.

Epistle LVIII. To Arsicinus Duke, the Clergy, Nobility, and Common People (Ordini Et Plebi) of the City of Ariminum.

Gregory to Arsicinus, &c.

How ready is the devotion of your love in expectation of a pontiff the text of the report which you have addressed to us shews. But, since the ordainer ought in such cases to be exceedingly careful, we are watching over thiscase with due deliberation. And so we warn your Charity by this present writing that no one need trouble himself to apply to us in favour of Ocleatinus: but, if any one is found in your own city to undertake this work with profit, so that he cannot be objected to by us, let your choice concur in his favour. But, if no one should be found fit for it, we have mentioned to the bearers of these presents one to whom you may no less accord your consent. But do you with one accord pray faithfully, that, whosoever may be ordained, he may be able both to be profitable to you and to display priestly service worthy of our God.

Epistle LXI. To Gennadius, Patrician and Exarch of Africa.

Gregory to Gennadius, &c.

That you have unceasingly the fear of God before your eyes, and pursue justice, the subdued necks of enemies testify; but, that the grace of Christ may keep your Glory in the same prosperity, restrain, as you have been wont, with speedy prohibition whatever things you discover to be committed wrongfully, so that, fortified with the arms of justice, you may overcome hostile attacks with the power of faith, which is the top of all virtue. Now Marinianus, our brother and fellow-bishop of the city of Turrishyperlink has tearfully representedto us that the poor of his city are being vexed everywhere, and afflicted by expenses in the way of gifts or paymentshyperlink ; and further that the religioushyperlink of his church endure serious molestation from the men of Theodorus the magister militum, and suffer bodily injuries; and that this thing is breaking out to such a pitch that (shocking to say) they are thrust into prison, and that he himself also is seriously hindered by the aforesaid glorious person in causes pertaining to his Church. How opposed such things are, if indeed they are true, to the discipline of the republic you yourselves know. And, since it befits your Excellency to amend all these things, greeting your Eminence I demand of you that you suffer them to be done no more; but straightly order him to abstain from harming the Church, and that none be aggrieved by burdens laid upon them, or paymentshyperlink , beyond what reason allows, and that, if there should be any suits, they be determined not by the terror of power, but by order of law. I pray you, then, so correct all these things, the Lord inspiring you, by the menace of your injunction that the glorious Theodorus and his men may abstain from such things, if not out of regard to rectitude, yet at any rate out of fear inspired by your command; that so, to the advancement of your credit and reward, justice with liberty may flourish in the parts committed to your charge.

Epistle LXII. To Januarius, Archbishop of Caralis (Cagliari) in Sardinia.

Gregory to Januarius, &c.

If our Lord Himself by the testimony of Holy Scripture declares Himself to be the husband of widows and father of orphans, we also, the members of His body, ought with the soul's supreme affection to set ourselves to imitate the head, and saving justice, to stand by orphans and widows if need be. And, having been given to understand that Catella, a religious woman who has a son serving here in the holy Roman Church over which under God we preside, is being troubled by the exactions and molestations of certain persons, we think it needful to exhort your Fraternity by this letter not to refuse (saving justice) to afford your protection to this same woman, knowing that by things of this kind you both make the Lord your debtor and bind us to you the more in the bonds of charity. For we wish the causes of the aforesaid woman, whether now or in future, to be terminated by your judgment, that she may be relieved from the annoyance of legal proceedings, and yet be by no means excused from submitting to a just judgment. Now I pray the Lord to direct your life in a prosperous course towards Himself, and Himself to bring you in His mercy to the kingdom of glory which is to come.

Epistle LXIII. To Januarius, Bishop of Caralis (Cagliari) in Sardiniahyperlink .

Gregory to Januarius, &c.

Though your Fraternity in the zeal of right eousness gives fitting attention to the protection of divers persons, yet we believe that you will be the more prone to succour those whom a letter from us may commend to you. Know then that Pompeiana, a religious woman, has represented to us through one of her people that she endures many grievances continually and unreasonably from certain men, and on this account has petitioned us to commend her in our letters to you. Wherefore, greeting your Fraternity with the affection of charity that is due to you, we have felt that we must needs commend the aforesaid woman to you, that, with due regard to justice, thy Fraternity may not allow her to be aggrieved in any way contrary to equity, or to be subjected to any expense unadvisedly. But if it should happen that she has any suits, let the matter of dispute be debated before chosen arbitrators, and whatsoever shall be decided, let it be so carried into effect quietly through your assistance that both reward may accrue to you for such a work, and she who has been commended by our letters may rejoice in having found justice.

Epistle LXVI. To Felix, Bishop of Messana (Messene).

Gregory to Felix, &c.

Customs which are found to bring a burden upon churches it becomes us in our consideration to discontinue, lest any should be forced to contribute to quarters from which they ought rather to look for contributions. Accordingly, it is thy duty to preserve intact the custom of the clergy and others, and to transmit to them every year what has been accustomed: but for the future we forbid thee to transmit anything to us. And, since we take no delight in presents (xeniis)hyperlink , we have received with thanks the Palmatianoehyperlink which thy Fraternity has sent us, but have caused them to be sold for an adequate price, which we have transmitted separately to thy Fraternity, for fear lest thou shouldest have felt the expense. Further, since we have learnt that thy Charity is desirous of coming to us, we admonish thee by the present letter not to take the trouble of coming: but pray for us, that the more we are separated by length of way, the more we may be joined one to another in mind, with the help of Christ, by charity; to the end that, siding each other by mutual supplication, we may resign our office unimpaired to the Judge that is to come.

Epistle LXVII. To Peter, Subdeacon.

Gregory to Peter, &c.

If with kind disposition we meet the needs of our neighbours by shewing compassion, we shall undoubtedly find the Lord mercifully inclined to our petitions. Now we have learnt that Pastor, who labours under exceeding weakness of sight, having a wife and two slaves, who also bad formerly been with the glorious lady Jonatha, is suffering from great need. Wherefore, we admonish thy Experience, by the writing of this present order, not to delay giving him for his sustenance three hundred modii of wheat, and also as many modii of beans, which may afterwards be charged in thy accounts. So act, then, as both thyself to obtain the benefit of reward for thy good service, and to carry our orders into effect. In the month of August.

Epistle LXXII. To Peter, Subdeacon.

Gregory to Peter, &c.

Thou hast learnt from a former letterhyperlink that we have desired our brethren and fellow-bishops dwelling in the island of Sicily to assemble here for the anniversary of the blessed Peter the apostle. But, seeing that their suit with the magnificent Justin the ex-praetorhyperlink has meanwhile hindered them, and that there is not now sufficient time for coming and returning, we do not wish them to be troubled before winter. But Gregory of Agrigentum, Leo of Catana, and Victor of Panormus, we by all means desire to come to us before winterhyperlink . Further, get together from strangershyperlink corn of this year's growth to the value of fifty pounds of gold, and lay it up in Sicily in places where it will not rot, that we may send thither in the month of February as many ships as we can to convey this corn to us. But, in case of our delaying to send ships, do thou thyself provide some, and, with the help of the Lord, transmit this same corn to us in February, with the exception, however, of the corn which we expect to have sent to us now, according to custom, in the months of September or October. Let thy Experience, then, so proceed that, without annoyance to any husbandman (colonus) of the Churchhyperlink , the corn may be collected, since there has been here such a scanty crop that, unless by God's help corn be collected from Sicily, there is a serious prospect of famine. But keep guard in all ways over the ships that have always been assigned to the use of Holy Church, as the letters also addressed to thee by the glorious ex-consul Leo concur in directing thee to do. Moreover, many come hither desiring sundry lands or islands belonging to our Church to be leased to them; and some, indeed, we refuse, but to others we have already granted their request. But let thy Experience see to the advantage of Holy Church, remembering that thou hast before the most sacred body of the blessed apostle Peter received power over his patrimony. And, though letters should reach you from hence, allow nothing to be done in any way to the disadvantage of the patrimony, since we neither remember to have given, nor are disposed to give away, any thing without good reason.

Epistle LXXIV. To Gennadius, Patrician and Exarch of Africa.

Gregory to Gennadius, &c.

As the Lord hath made your Excellency to shine with the light of victories in the military wars of this life, so ought you to pose the enemies of the Church with all activity of mind and body, to the end that from both kinds of triumph your reputation may shine forth more and more, when in forensic wars, too, you firmly resist the adversaries of the Catholic Church in behalf of the Christian people, and bravely fight ecclesiastical battles as warriors of the Lord. For it is known that men heretical in religion, if they have liberty allowed them to do harm (which God forbid), rise strenuously against the catholic faith, to the end that they may transfuse, if they can, the poison of their heresy to the corrupting of the members of the Christian body. For we have learnt that they are lifting up their necks against the Catholic Church, the Lord being opposed to them, and desire to pervert the faith of the Christian profession. But let your Eminence suppress their attempts, and subdue their proud necks to the yoke of rectitudehyperlink . Moreover, order the council of catholic bishops to be admonished not to appoint their primate on the ground of his standing, without regard to the merits of his life, since before God it is not the more distinguished rank, but the action of a better life, that is approvedhyperlink . But let the primate himself live, not, as is customary, here and there in the country, but in one city according to their selection, to the end that he may be better able to bring to bear the influence of the dignity that has fallen to him in resisting the Donatists. Moreover, if any from the Council of Numidia should desire to come to the Apostolic See, permit them to do so; and stop any who may be disposed to bring charges against their character. Great increase of glory will accrue to your Excellency with the Creator, if through you the union of the divided churches could be restored. For when He beholds the girls granted by Him given back to His glory, He bestows gifts so much the more abundantly as He sees the dignity of His religion to be thereby enlarged. Furthermore, bestowing on you, as is due, the affection of our paternal charity, we beseech the Lord to make your arm strong for subduing your enemies, and to sharpen your soul with zeal for the faith like the edge of a quivering sword.

Epistle LXXV. To Gennadius, Patrician, and Exarch Throughout Africa.

Gregory to Gennadius, Patrician, &c.

Had not such great success of the military exploits of your Excellency arisen from the merit of your faith and from the grace of the Christian religion, it would not have been so greatly to be wondered at, since we know that the like has been granted to military leaders of old time. But when, God granting it, you forestall future victories, not by carnal provision,but rather by prayers, it becomes a matter of astonishment how your glory comes down upon you, not from counsels of this world, but from God, who bestows it from above. For where is not the renown of your deserts in people's mouths? And report goes that it is not from a desire of, shedding blood that you constantly court thesewars, but for the sake of extending the republicin which we see that God is worshipped, to the · end that the name of Christ may be spread abroad through subject nations by preaching of the faith. For, as your outward deeds of valour make you eminent in this life, so also the inward adornment of your character, proceeding from a clean heart, glorifies you in making you partaker of celestial joys to come. For we have learnt that your Excellency has done very many things of advantage for feeding the sheep of the blessed Peter, Prince of the apostles, so as to have restored to him no small portions of his patrimony, which had been denuded of their proper cultivators, by supplying them with Datitian settlers. Whatever, then, with Christian disposition you confer on him, you receive retribution for through hope in the judgment to come. Wherefore we have thought fit to commend to your Eminence Hilarushyperlink , who is also the hearer of these presents, that you may bestow on him (though ever with regard to justice) your accustomed affection in matters wherein he may intimate his need of your help. Now, addressing to you the greeting of our paternal charity, we beseech our God and Saviour mercifully to protect your Eminence for the consolation of the holy republic, and to fortify you with the strength of His arm for spreading His name more and more through the neighbouring nations.

Epistle LXXVII. To All the Bishops of Numidia.

Gregory to all the Bishops of Numidia.

If ever, most dear brethren in Christ, a troublesome mixture of tares intrudes itself among green corn, it is necessary for the hand of the husbandman to root it up entirely, lest the future fruit of the fertile corn should be obstructed. Wherefore let us too, who, however unworthy, have undertaken the cultivation of the field of the Lord, hasten to render the corn pure from all offence of tares, that the field of the Lord may fructify with more abundant increase. Now you requested through Hilarus our chartularyhyperlink from our predecessor of blessed memory that you might retain all the customs of past time, which, from the beginnings of the ordinances of the blessed Peter, Prince of the apostles, long antiquity has so far retained. And we, indeed, according to the tenour of your representation, allow your custom (so long as it clearly makes no claim to the prejudice of the catholic faith)to remain undisturbed, whether as to constituting primates or as to other points; save that with respect to those who attain to the episcopate from among the Donatists, we by all means forbid them to be advanced to the dignity of primacy, even though their standing should denote them for that positionhyperlink . But let it suffice them to take care of the people committed to them, without aiming at the topmost place of the primacy in preference to those prelates whom the Catholic faith hath both taught and engendered in the bosom of the Church. Do you, therefore, most dear brethren, anticipate our admonitions in the zeal of the charity of theLord, knowing that the strict Judge will bring into examination all we do, and will approve every one of us with regard not to the prerogative of a higher rank, but to the merits of our works. I beseech you, therefore, love ye one another mutually, having peace among yourselves in Christ, and with one purpose of heart oppose ye heretics and enemies of the Church. Be ye solicitous for the souls of your neighbours: persuade all ye can to faith by the preaching of charity, holding before them also the terror of the future judgment; inasmuch as ye are appointed to be shepherds, and the Lord of the docks expects from the shepherds to whom He has committed them the fruit of a multiplied flock. And if He should foresee an augmentation of His own flock through your bestowal of more diligent care upon it, He will assuredly adorn you with manifold gifts of the heavenly kingdom. Furthermore, addressing to you the greeting of fraternal love, I pray the Lord that He would make you, whom He has chosen to be shepherds of souls, worthy in His sight, and Himself so order our deeds here that He may accept them as they deserve in the future life.

Epistle LXXVIII. To Leo, Bishop in Corsica.

Gregory to Leo, &c.

Our pastoral charge constrains us to come with anxious consideration to the succour of a church that is destitute of the control of a priesthyperlink . And, inasmuch as we have learnt that the church of Saona for many years, since the death of its pontiff, has been thus entirely destitute, we have thought it needful to enjoin on thy Fraternity the work of visiting it, to the end that through thy ordering its welfare may be promoted. In this church also and in its parishes we grant thee licence to ordain deacons and presbyters; concerning whom, however, let it be thy care to make diligent enquiry, that they be not personally in any respect such as are rejected by the sacred canons. But whomsoever thy Fraternityhas perceived to be worthy of so great a ministry, having ascertained that their manners and actions fit them for ordination, them, by permission of our authority, thou mayest freely promote to the aforesaid office. We desire thee, therefore, to make use of all the property of the above named church as though thou wert its proper pontiff, until we write to thee again. Be, then, so diligent and careful in all these matters that through thy ordering all things may, with the help of God, be salubriously arranged to the Church's profit.

Epistle LXXIX. To Martinus, Bishop in Corsica.

Gregory to Martinus, &c.

To those who ask for what is just it behoves us to lend a kindly ear, to the end both that the petitioners may find the remedies they hope for, and that the anxious care of a shepherd be not wanting to the Church. And inasmuch as the church of Tanates, in which thy Fraternity was formerly adorned with sacerdotal dignity, has for its sins been so taken possession of and ruined by hostile savagery that no further hope remains of thy returning thither, we appoint thee, by authority of these presen's, undisputed cardinal priesthyperlink in the Church of Saona, which has now been long deprived of the aid of a pontiff. Do thou therefore so arrange and order all things according to the injunctions of the canons with vigilant care in the love of God, that both thy Fraternity may rejoice in having attained thy desires, and the Church of God may be filled with answering joy for having received thee as Cardinal pontiff.

Epistle LXXX. To the Clergy and Nobles of Corsica.

Gregory to the Clergy, &c. . . . A paribushyperlink .Although for a long time it has caused you no sorrow that the Church of God should be without a pontiff, yet as for us, we are both compelled by the charge of the office we bear and bound especially by the charity of our love for you, to take thought for its government, knowing that in its supervision lies at the same time advantage to your souls. For, if the care of a shepherd be wanting to a flock, it easily falls into the snares of the lier in wait. Accordingly, inasmuch as the church of Saona has long been deprived of the aid of a priest, we have held it necessary to constitute Martinus, our brother and fellow-bishop, cardinal priest of the samehyperlink , but to enjoin on Leo our brother and fellow-bishop the work of its visitation. To the latter we have also granted licence to ordain presbyters and deacons in it and in its parishes, and have permitted him to make use of its property so long as be shall be there, as though he were its proper pontiff. And so we admonish you by these present writings that your Charity receive the aforesaid visitor with all devotion, and shew him obedience in whatever is reasonable, as becomes sons of the Church, to the end that, supported by your devotion, he may be able to accomplish all that is found to conduce to the advantage of the above-named church.


70 "Decimatas vini duas pensantes per unamquamque decimatam libras 60 (Ap. Anastasium in Hadriano). . . mensuroe vinarioe species videtur." Du Cange.

71 Honoratus was Gregory's apocrisiarius at Constantinople.

72 Anthemius was Defensor ecclesioe in Campania.

73 An island, as well as Palmaria mentioned afterwards, near the Campanian coast, and hence under the care of Anthemius.

74 Alluding to the Lombards, who at this time were ravaging Italy.

75 I.e. of the Church in Corsica, as appears from the letter.

76 The clergy who had been married before ordination were not required to put away their wives. Can. Apostol. V. expressly forbids their doing so under pain of excommunication. The 3rd Nicene Canon, which forbids any bishop, presbyter, or any of the clergy, to have a woman dwelling with him except a mother, or sister, or aunt, or such persons only as are above suspicion, does not touch the case of wives, being directed against the custom of the clergy having females who where neither wives nor of their own kindred, to live with them who were called synesactoe, or agapetoe. Accordingly A law of Honorius and the younger Theodosius, made in pursuance of the Nicene Canon, adds to the above injunction, "That those who were married before their husbands where ordained should not be relinquished upon pretence of chastity, it being reasonable that those should be joined to the clergy who by their conversation had made their husbands worthy of the priesthood." (Cod. Theodor. lib. xvi. tit. ii. de Episc. l. xliv. Also Cod. Just. lib. i. tit. iii. leg. xix. See Bingham, Bk. vi. ch. ii. sect. 13). But in the West it was now the established rule that neither bishops, priests, nor deacons should have conjugal intercourse with their wives after ordination: and it has been seen under Ep. XLIV. how this rule had been extended to subdeacons. Gregory tells us in his Dialogues(Lib, iv. cap. 11)of a holy presbyter in the province of Nursia, who at the time of his ordination had a wife (presbyteram suam), whom he thenceforth loved as a sister. but avoided as an enemy, never suffering her to come near him for fear of temptation: and he adds, "For this is the way of holy men, that in order to keep far away from what is unlawful they cut themselves off even from what is lawful." Cf. IX. 60. "Hoc tantummodo adjecto ut hi, sicut canonica decrevit auctoritas, uxores quas caste debent regere non relinquant."

77 The vacant See referred to was that of Ariminum. See following epistle. Severus, who had been commisioned to act as visitor during the vacancy, was bishop of Ficulum, or Ficocle in the same province. See V. 25.

78 Turritana civitas, a city in Sardinia, called by Pliny (lib. iii. c. 7) Turris Lybissonis, and by Ptolemy (lib. iii. c. 5) Turris Byssonis.

79 Commodalibus dispendiis. The word commodum is used not only for a stipend, or a present or gratuity, but also for exacted payments, "Pro quavis pensitatione vel etiam exactione usurpat Gregor. M." Du Cange.

80 Religiosos ecclesiae. By the terms religiosi and religisoe were denoted not only monks, nuns, dedicated virgins, and clergy, but also other persons devoted to piety and good works in connection with the Church. Cf. xi 54, "laico religioso." See reff. in Index under Religiosus.

81 Angariis seu commodis. Angarium, or angaria, denotes any forced service imposed on people, either rendered in person or in money payment. See also V. 8, note 4.

82 Other letters addressed to or relating to this bishop, who was an old man of very unsatisfactory character are I. 63; II. 49; III. 36; IV. 8, 9, 15, 26, 27, 29; V. 2; IX. 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 25, 65; XIV. 2.

83 See II. 23, note 8.

84 Probably vestes palmatoe, i.e. robes interwoven or embroidered with palm leaves.

85 See Ep. XXXVI.

86 See Ep. II. If this Epistle is rightly assigned to the ninth Indiction, the title ex-proetor may possibly be an error in the text since Justin is still addressed as proetor in the following Indiction (II. 33). Libertinus appears to have succeeded him as Proetor of Sicily in the eleventh Indiction. See III. 38.

87 Two of these bishops, Gregory and Leo, are referred to afterwards as having been at Rome to answer to certain charges. See II. 33, and III. 12.

88 Extraneis, i.e. growers or vendors of corn outside the patrimony of the Church.

89 See I, 44, note 1.

90 The heretics (so called, though they were really rather schismatics than heretics) were the Donatists, who still lingered in Africa in spite of imperial edicts for their suppression. What Gregory here urges the Exarch to do is to put in force the existing laws against them. A series of imperial laws against the Donatists will be found in Cod. Theod. Bk. xvi. tit. 5, that of Honorius,a.d.414, being especially severe.

91 It was the immemorial custom in the provinces of Africa generally for the senior bishop of the province according to the date of his consecration to be appointed primate, instead of the bishop of the civil metropolis being such in virtue of his See, as was the rule elsewhere. (The province of Africa proper, or Africa Proconsularis, was however an exception; for in it the bishop of Carthage was always the primate). Hence in Africa the designation Metropolitan was not used, but that of Primate or Senior (senex). Gregory here, though allowing the old custom of movable primacies, forbids the necessary election of the senior bishop: and this in order to guard against the appointment of unfit persons. His main motive, as appears from Epistle LXXVI., addressed to the bishops of the province of Numidia, was to preclude the elevation to the primacy of any bishop who had once been a Donatist. For in it he allows the retention of the old African custom in all respects, save only that no bishop who had been a Donatist was ever to be appointed primate.

92 See I. 77, note.

93 "Chartularius. Qui chartas tractant, qui chartis deserviunt.... Dignitas ecclesiastica etiam u fuit." Du Cange. This Hilary is commended to Gennadius the Exarch of Africa, I. 75, and again mentioned as Gregory's Chartulary in Africa, II. 48: X. 37; XII. 28, 29.

94 See I. 74, note 9.

95 Sacerdotis. The term includes bishops as well as presbyters, and is used in this and the two following Epistles, as usually elsewhere by Gregory, to denote the former in distinction from the latter. The occasion of this And the two following Epistls will be seen to be as follows. The See of Saona in Corsica had been for some time vacant. It rested with the clergy and nobles of the island ( See above, Ep. LXXX.), to elect a new bishop; but they had failed to do so; and consequently Gregory remedied their neglect by himself filling up the vacancy. His right to do so would not be questioned there, Corsica as well as Sicily being among the Suburbicarian provinces which were under the acknowledged patriarchal jurisdiction of the See of Rome. Meanwhile he also commissioned Leo, the bishop of a neighbouring See (to whom this letter is addressed), to make a vistitation of the Church of Saona, and exercise episcopal authority there, till the new bishop should take possession. There are several other Epistles, not included in this translation, appointing visitors of various churches.

96 Cardinal bishops, presbyters, or deacons, meant formerly such as were regularly instituted and attached to some particular see, parish, or church, which, constituted their title (titulas). They were then said to be incardinati, the act of so instituting them being called incardinatio. Cf. II. 37; XIV. 7.

97 See I, 25, note 8.

98 See note under Ep. LXXIX.