As unjust demands should not be conceded, so the petition of such as desire what is lawful ought not to be set aside. Now your Fraternity's presbyters, deacons and clergy have presented to us a petition complaining that the late John, your predecessor, made a will burdening his Church with various bequests. And they have petitioned that these, which are to the detriment of his Church, should under no excuse be paid, as being prohibited by law. And although, heredity and succession having been by him renounced, no reason binds thee to satisfy any such claims, nevertheless we hereby exhort thee over and above that with regard to such bequests as he has made, contrary to the ordinances of the laws, of property belonging to his Church, or acquired by him in his episcopate, your Fraternity neither lend your authority nor on any account consent to them. But, if he has wished or directed anything to be done with regard to his private property which he had before his episcopate, and which he had not previously bestowed upon his Church, it is necessary that this disposition should be held valid in all respects, and that no one of the ecclesiastics should attempt against reason on any pretext to set it aside.
But, inasmuch as during his life he often begged of us that we should confirm by our authority what he had conferred on the monastery which he had himself constructed near the church of Saint Apollinaris, and we promised to do this, we hold it needful to exhort your Fraternity to suffer nothing of what he has there conferred and constituted to be diminished, but to see to all being preserved and firmly established. Since, then, he is known to have made mention of this monastery, and of the property conferred on it, in the will which he made, you must know that we have not confirmed this part of it by reason of our following his last wishes, but because, as we have said, we promised it to him when he was alive. Let your Fraternity, therefore, make haste so carefully to accomplish all these things that both what was by him constituted and by us confirmed in the above-named monastery may be maintained, and what he has by will directed to be given or done to the detriment of his Church may have no validity, seeing that the law forbids it.
Epistle II to the Clergy and People of Ravenna.
Gregory to the clergy and people of the Church of Ravenna.
We have been informed that certain men, instigated by the malignant spirit, have wished to corrupt your minds by false speech with regard to the reputation of our brother and fellow-bishop Marinianushyperlink ; saying that this our brother venerates the holy synod of Chalcedon less than becomes himhyperlink . On this head both he himself in person will satisfy you all of the integrity of his faith, and we fully testify that, having been nursed from his cradle in the bosom of the holy Universal Church, he has held the right preaching of the faith with the attestation of his life. For he venerates the holy Nicene synod in which Arius, the Constantinopolitan, in which Macedonius, the first Ephesine, in which Nestorius, and the holy Chalcedonian, in which Dioscorus and Eutyches were condemned. And if any one presumes ever to speak anything against the faith of these four synods and against the tome and definition of pope Leo of holy memory, let him be anathema. Accordingly, receiving the fullest satisfaction, love ye your pastor in entire charity with a pure heart, that the intercession of the same your pastor, poured out purely before God, may avail to your profit.
Epistle III. To Maximus of Salona.
Gregory to Maximus, pretender to the Church of Salonahyperlink .
As often as anything is said to have been done contrary toecclesiastical discipline, we dare not leave it unexamined, lest we should be guilty before God for connivance. Now it has come to our ears that thou wast ordained by means of simoniacal heresy. Nay and many other things have been said of thee here, whereof there was one especially on account of which we held it needful to prohibit thee urgently by letter from celebrating the solemnities of mass until we might ascertain the state of the case more certainly. Wherefore, lest the children of the Church should be too long without a shepherd, and lest, in case of these things which are said remaining unexamined, vice of this nature should extend itself to many, we exhort thee to make haste to come to us, laying aside all excuses, to the end that with due regard to justice we may be able to gain knowledge of these things, and terminate them according to the canonical institutes, Christ shewing us the way. But do thou so act that there be no more of these successive delays of thy coming, lest thy very absence point thee out as the more obnoxious to these charges against t hee, and lest we should be thus compelled to pass in council a harder sentence on thee, not only for thy alleged crimes from which thou evadest purging thyself, but also for the fault of disobedience, to wit as one that is contumacious.
Epistle V. To Queen Brunichild.
Gregory to Brunichild, Queen of the Frankshyperlink .
The laudable and God-pleasing goodness of your Excellence is manifested both by your government of your kingdom and by your education of your sonhyperlink . To him you have not only with provident solicitude conserved intact the glory of temporal things, but have also seen to the rewards of eternal life, having planted his mind in the root of the true faith with maternal, as became you, and laudable care of his education. Whence not undeservedly it ensues that he should surpass all the kingdoms of the nationshyperlink , in that he both worships purely and confesses truly the Creator of these nations. But that faith may shine forth in him the more laudably in his works, let the words of your exhortation kindle him, to the end that, as royal power shews him lofty among men, so goodness of conduct may make him great before God.
Now inasmuch as past experience in many instances gives us confidence in the Christianity of your Excellence, we beg of you, for the love of Peter, Prince of the apostles, whom we know that you love with your whole heart, that you would cherish with the aid of your patronage our most beloved son the presbyter Candidushyperlink , who is the bearer of these presents, together with the little patrimony for the government of which we have sent him, to the end that, strengthened by the favour of your support, he may be able both to manage profitably this little patrimony, which is evidently beneficial towards the expenses of the poor, and also to recover into the possession of this little patrimony anything that may have been taken away from it. For it is not without increase of your praise that after so long a time a man belonging to Church has been sent for the management of this patrimony. Let your Excellency, then, deign so willingly to give your attention to what we request of you that the blessed Peter, Prince of the apostles, to whom the power of binding and loosing has been given by the Lord Jesus Christ, may both grant to your Excellence to rejoice here in your offspring, and after courses of many years cause you to be found, absolved from all ills before the face of the eternal Judge.
Epistle VI. To King Childebert.
Gregory to Childebert, King of the Frankshyperlink .As much as royal dignity is above that of other men, so much in truth does the high position of your kingdom excel that of the kingdoms of other nations. And yet to be a king is not extraordinary, there being others also; but to be a Catholic, which others are not counted worthy to be, this is enough. For as the splendour of a great lamp shines by the clearness of its light in the darkness of earth's night, so the clear light of your faith glitters and flashes amid the dark perfidy of other nations. Whatever the other kings glory in having you have. But they are in this regard exceedingly surpassed, because they have not the chief good thing which you have. In order, then, that they may be overcome in action as well as in faith, let your Excellence always shew yourself kind to your subjects. And, if there are any things such as to offend your mind, punish them not without enquiry. For then you will the more please the King of kings, that is the Almighty Lord, if, restraining your power, you feel that you may not do all that you can.
Now that you keep purity of faith both in mind and deed, the love that is in you of the blessed Peter, Prince of the apostles, evidently shews, whose property has been so far well governed and preserved under the sway of your supremacy. But since Dynamius the Patrician, who on our recommendation looked after this property, is not able, as we have learnt, to govern it now, lest the little patrimony which is in your parts should be ruined from neglect, we have therefore sent the bearer of these presents, our most beloved son the presbyter Candidushyperlink to govern it, whom we commend in all respects to your Excellency, greeting you in the first place with paternal charity, with the request that, if by any chance any wrong has been done there, or if the property of the same little patrimony is detained by any one, the matter may be set right, and what has been alienated may be restored to its original ownership; that so your equity, as well as your faith, may shine forth to all nations, which will be something very glorious and laudable.
Moreover we have sent to your Excellency Saint Peter's keys, containing a portion of his chains, to protect you from all evils, when hung on your neckhyperlink .
Epistle VII. To Candidus, Presbyter.
Gregory to Candidus, Presbyter, going to the patrimony of Gaul.
Now that thou art proceeding, with the help of our Lord God Jesus Christ, to the government of the patrimony that is in Gaul, we desire thy Love to procure with the money thou mayest receive clothing for the poor, or English boys of about seventeen or eighteen years of age, who may profit by being given to God in monasteries, that so the money of Gaul, which cannot be spent in our countryhyperlink , may he expended profitably in its own locality. Further, if you should succeed in getting anything from the moneys accruing to revenue which are called ablataehyperlink , from this too we desire thee to procure clothing for the poor, or, as we have before said, boys who may profit in the service of Almighty God. But, since such as can be found there are pagans, I desire that a presbyter be sent hither with them to provide against the case of any sickness occurring on the way, that he may baptize those whom he sees to be about to die. Wherefore let your Love so proceed as to lose no time in accomplishing these things diligently.
Epistle VIII. To the Bishops of Epirus.
Gregory to Theodorus, Demetrius, Philip, Zeno, and Alcissonus, Bishops of Epirus.
The notification of your letters, most dear brethren, has made known to us that our brother Andrew has, by the favour of God, been solemnly ordained bishop of the city of Nicopolis. And, since you signify that his consecration has taken place with the assent of the clergy and provincials, we rejoice; and we pray that the good which you testify of him may remain in him, and by the co-operation of God's grace receive increase, since the goodness of prelates is the safety of their subordinates. It is your duty then to make naste studiously to imitate what you show by your praises to be pleasing to you in his person. For it is faulty before men and penal before God for any one to be unwilling to imitate the good that pleases him. Wherefore let your obedience supply credit to your testimony. Let no one gainsay him in what, with preservation of integrity, be may enjoin for the common profit of the Church. Let each one of you willingly exhibit his devotion that, while there is among you priestly concord pleasing to God and constant, no ill feeling may avail to loose you from the bond of mutual charity, or difference disturb you. For neither will there be access to your hearts for the crafty foe, since he knows that he can in no degree be admitted or received, where sincere charity finds place.
Moreover be ye attentive, most dear brethren, and bestow on the flock committed to you the vigilance which ye have taken upon yourselves, and which ye owe; meet the frauds of the enemy by attention and prayer. Surrender with uncontaminated faith to our God the people over which ye are, that your priestly office may avail you not for a penalty but for a crown before the sight of the eternal Judge.
Know ye then that we have sent a pallium to the above-written Andrew our brother and fellow-bishop, and have granted him all the privileges which our predecessors conferred on his predecessors.
Furthermore, it has come to our ears that sacred orders in your parts are conferred for a consideration given. And, if this is so, I say it with tears, I declare it with groans, &c.[See Lib. V. Ep. 53, to "become a heretic"]hyperlink . On this account I admonish and conjure you to be altogether attentive to this, that no givingof a consideration, no favour, no supplication of any persons whatsoever, put in any claim in regard to sacred orders, but that one be promoted to this office whom gravity of manners and behaviour commends. For if, as we do not believe will be the case, we should perceive anything of the kind to be done, we will correct it, as is fit, with canonical severity. Now may Almighty God, who orders all things wonderfully by the power of His wisdom, and guards what He has ordered, grant unto you both to will and to do what He commands.
Epistle IX. To Donus, Bishop.
Gregory to Donus, Bishop of Messana (Messene).
Moved by the benevolence of the Apostolic See, and by the order of ancient custom, we have thought fit to grant to thee, who art known to have undertaken the office of government in the Church of Messana, the use of the pallium; to wit, at such times and in such manner as we dispute not that thy predecessor used it; at the same time warning thee that, as thou rejoicest in having received from us a decoration of this kind to the honour of thy priestly office, so also thou strive, by probity of manners and deeds, to adorn, to the glory of Christ, the office which thou hast undertaken under our authority. For so wilt thou be conspicuous for decorations mutually answering to each other, if with such an habiliment of the body as this all good qualities of thy soul also agree. For all the privileges which are known to have been granted of old to thy Church we confirm by our authority, and decree that they shall continue inviolate.
Epistle XII. To Montana and Thomas.
Gregory to Montana, &c.
Since our Redeemer, the Maker of every creature, vouchsafed to assume human flesh for this end, that, the chain of slavery wherewith we were held being broken by the grace of His Divinity, He might restore us to pristine liberty, it is a salutary deed if men whom nature originally produced free, and whom the law of nations has subjected to the yoke of slavery, be restored by the benefit of manumission to the liberty in which they were born. And so, moved by loving-kindness and by consideration of this case, we make you, Montana and Thomas, servants of the holy Roman Church which with the help of God we serve, free from this day, and Roman citizens, and we release to you all your private property.
And, inasmuch as thou, Montana, declarest that thou hast applied thy mind to monastic profession, we therefore this day give and grant to thee two unciae, which the presbyter Gaudiosus by the disposition of his last will is known to have left to thee in the way of institutionhyperlink , provided that all go in all respects to the advantage of the monastery of Saint Laurence, over which the abbess Constantina presides, and in which by the mercy of God thou art about to make profession. But, if it should appear that thou hast in any way concealed any part of the property left by the above-written Gaudiosus, the whole of this must undoubtedly be transferred to the possession of our Church.
Moreover to thee, Thomas above-written, whom for enhancement of thy freedom we desire also to serve among the notaries, we in like manner this day give and grant by this writ of manumission the five unciae which the aforesaid presbyter Gaudiosus by his last will left to thee under the title of inheritance, together with the dowry which he had bestowed upon thy mother; to wit with this annexed law and condition, that, in case of thy dying without legitimate children, that is children born in lawful wedlock, all that we have granted thee shall revert without any diminution to the possession of the holy Roman Church. But, if thou shouldest have children both in wedlock, as we have said, and recognized by the law, and shouldest leave them surviving thee, then we appoint thee to remain master of this same property without any condition, and give thee full power to make a will with respect to it. These things, then, which we have appointed and granted by this charter of manumission, know ye that we and our successors will observe without any demur. For the rule of justice and reason suggests that one who desires his own orders to be observed by his successors should undoubtedly keep to the will and ordinances Of his predecessor. This writ of manumission we have dictated to the notary Paterius to be put in writing, and for the fullest security have subscribed it with our own hand, together with three chief presbyters and three deacons, and have delivered it to you.Done in the city of Rome.
Your Charity, being anxious to learn our opinion, has been at the pains of writing to us to ask what we think of the book against the presbyter Athanasius which was sent to us. Having thoroughly perused some parts of it, we find that he has fallen into the dogma of Manichaeus. But he who has noted some places as heretical by a mark set against them slips also himself into Pelagian heresy; for hehas marked certain places as heretical which are catholicly expressed and entirely orthodox. For when this is written; that when Adam sinned his soul died, the writer shews afterwards how it is said to have died, namely thatit lost the blessedness of its condition Whosoever denies this is not a Catholic. For God had said, In the hour ye eat thereof, in death ye shall die (Gen. ii. 17). When, therefore, Adam ate of the forbidden tree, we know that he did not die in the body, seeing that after this he begat children and lived many years. If, then, he did not die in the soul, the impious conclusion follows that He himself lied who foretold that in the day that he sinned he should die. But it is to be understood that death takes place in two ways; either from ceasing to live, or with respect to the mode of living. When, then, man's soul is said to have died in the eating of the forbidden thing, it is meant, not in the sense of ceasing to live, but with regard to the mode of living;-that he should live afterwards in pain who had been created to live happily in joyhyperlink . He, then, who has marked this passage in the book sent to me by my brother the bishop John as heretical is a Pelagian; for his view is evidently that of Pelagius, which the apostle Paul plainly confutes in his epistles. The particular passages in his epistle I need not quote, as I write to one who knows. But Pelagius, who was condemned in the Ephesine synod, maintained this view with the intention of shewing that we were redeemed by Christ unreally. For, if we did not through Adam die in the soul, we were redeemed unreally, which it were impious to say. Further, having examined the acts of the synod of Ephesus, we find nothing at all about Adelphius and Sava, and the others who are said to have been condemned there, and we think that, as the synod of Chalcedon was in one place falsified by the Constantinopolitan Churchhyperlink so something of the kind has been done with regard to the synod of Ephesus. Wherefore let your Charity make a thorough search for old copies of the acts of this synod, and thus see whether anything of the kind is found there, and send such copy as you may find to me, which I will return as soon as I have read it. For recent copies are not entirely to be trusted; and it is for this reason that I have been in doubt, and have not wished as yet to reply in this case to my aforesaid brother the bishop John. Further, the Roman copies are much more correct than the Greek ones, since, as we have not your cleverness, so neither have we any impostures.
Now concerning the presbyter John, know that his case has been decided in synod, whereby I have clearly ascertained that his adversaries have wished and long endeavoured to make him out a heretic, but have entirely failed.
Salute in my name your friends, who are ours: ours also, who are yours, salute you heartily through me. May Almighty God protect thee with His hand in the midst of somany thorns, that thou mayest, unhurt, gather those flowers which the Lord hath chosen.
Epistle XV. To John, Bishop.
Gregory to John, Bishop of Constantinople.
As the pravity of heretics is to be repressed by the zeal of a right faith, so the integrity of a true confession is to be embraced. For, if one who declares himself sound in the faith is scorned, the faith of all is brought into doubt, and fatal errors are generated from inconsiderate strictness. And hence not only are wandering sheep not recalled to their Lord's folds, but even those that are within them are exposed to be cruelly torn by the teeth of wild beasts. Let us then fully consider this, most dear brother, and not suffer any one who truly professes the catholic faith to be distressed under pretext of heresy, nor (which God forbid) allow heresy to grow the more under shew of correcting it.
But we have wondered much why those who were deputed by you as judges in a matter of faith against John, presbyter of the church of Chalcedon, believed report, disregarding truth, and would not believe him when he distinct professed his faith; especially as his accusers, when asked what was the heresy of the Marcionists which they spoke of, and on the ground of which they endeavoured to make him out guilty, replied by a plain confession that they did not know. From which circumstance it evidently comes out that, without regard to God, not justly, but against their own souls, they were desirous only of injuring him personally of their own mere will. We therefore, after Council held (as the tenor of the proceedings before us shews), having thoroughly examined and considered all that was necessary. inasmuch as we have been unable to find the aforesaid presbyter in any respect guilty, and especially as the plea which he delivered to the judges delegated by you is in entire accordance with the integrity of a right faith, we I say on this account, disapproving the sentence of the said judges, through the revealing grace of Christ our God and Redeemer, pronounce him by our definite sentence catholic and free from all charge of heresy. Seeing, then, that we have sent him back to your Holiness, it is for you to receive him with the kindness which you shew to all, and bestow on him your priestly charity, and defend him from all molestation, nor allow any one to busy himself in causing him trouble: but, as you defend others from oppression, so from him ought you not to withold your succour.
Epistle XVI. To Mauricius, Augustus.
Gregory to Mauricius, &c.
Seeing that in you, most Christian of princes, uncorrupt soundness of faith shines as a beam sent down from heaven, and that it is known to all that your Serenity embraces fervently and loves with entire devotion of heart the pure profession in which by God's favour you are powerful, we have perceived it to be very necessary to make request for those whom one and the same faith enlightens, to the end that the Piety of our lords may protect them with its favour, and defend them from all molestation. When certain men scorn the confession of faith of such persons they are shewn to contradict the true faith. For, since the Apostle declares that confession of the mouth is made unto salvation, he who will not consent to believe a right profession accuses himself in rejecting others (Rom. x. 10).
Now all the proceedings against John, presbyter of the church of Chalcedon, having been read in council and considered in order, we have found that he has suffered the greater injustice in that, when he declared and shewed himself to be a Catholic, it was not his guilt, but an uncertain accusation of long standing, that crushed him; and this to such an extent that his accusers declared in their open reply that they did not know the heresy of the Marcionists which they referred to. And, whereas they ought therefore to have been rejected from the very beginning of the trial, they were allowed, vague as they were, to remain in court for his accusation. But, lest at any rate alleged report might injure him, he produced a written confession of his faith with the purpose of shewing evidently that he was a professor and follower of the right faith. But this the judges deputed by the most holy John, our brother and fellow-bishop, unjustly and unreasonably disregarded; and so, in doing all they could to put him down, shewed themselves more to blame than he. For no one doubts that it is unfaithfulness not to have faith in the faithful. Seeing then that, everything having been thoroughly enquired into and considered, the decision of the holy Council with me, by the revealing grace of Divine power, has declared tile above-written John the presbyter to be a Catholic, and that no spot of heretical pravity has been found in him, I entreat that the pious protection of your Serenity may order him to be kept unharmed from all annoyance, nor allow a professor of the catholic faith to suffer any molestation. For not to believe one who professes truly is not to purge heresy, but to make it. If this should be allowed, occasion of infidelity will arise, and people will themselves incur the guilt which they would correct unwarily.
These things therefore let the most Serene Lord with pious precaution consider, and, as I have already requested, with profuse entreaties I again implore, that he allow not an innocent man to be afflicted anew as though he were guilty; to the end that Almighty God, who sees your Clemency love and defend the purity of catholic rectitude, may cause you both to rule over a pacified republic with your foes subdued, and to reign with His saints in life eternal.
Epistle XVII. To Theotistus.
Gregory to Theotistus, kinsman of the Emperor.
We know that the Christianity of your Excellency is always intent on good works and therefore we provide for you occasions for reaping reward, which you are certain to be glad of, so that we by so providing may have a share in your merits.
We therefore inform you that John the presbyter, the bearer of these presents, has come out free from those by whom he had been accused. For having, according to his request held a council, and subjected his faith to a subtle scrutiny, we found him guiltless of any wrong confession. And, inasmuch as he appeared to be, by the mercy of God, a professor and follower of the right faith, we absolved him by our definite sentence; especially as his accusers professed that they did not know what the heresy of the Marcionists, which they spoke of, was. On this account, saluting you with paternal affection, we request you to protect him with the grace of your favour. And, lest any one hereafter should be disposed to afflict him to no purpose, or in any way to cause him annoyance in this matter, let the advocacy of your Excellency so protest and defend him-and this the more instantly in consideration of your own reward-that no unjust affliction may any more consume him. and that the Creator and Redeemer of the human race, whom you worship with a sincere confession, may recompense your action in this behalf among your many good works. The month of October. Indiction 14.
Epistle XVIII. To John, Bishop.
Gregory to John, Bishop of Syracuse.
Moved by the benevolence of the Apostolic See and by the order of ancient custom, we have thought fit to grant to thy Fraternity, who art known to have received the office of government in the Church of Syracuse, the use of the pallium; that is, at such times and in such manner as thou knowest without doubt that it was used by thy predecessor; nevertheless admonishing thee that, as thou rejoicest in having received from us the use of this decoration for the honour of thy priestly office, so also by probity of manners and deeds thou strive to adorn the office thou hast received unto our glory in Christ. For thus wilt thou be conspicuous for decorations mutually answering to each other, if with this habit for the body the excellence also of thy mind agrees.
For all privileges which are known to have been granted formerly to thy Church we confirm by our authority, and decree that they shall remain inviolate.
Epistle XXII. To Peter, Bishop.
Gregory to Peter, Bishop of Aleria in Corsica.
Inasmuch as in the isle of Corsica, at the place Nigeunum, in the possession which is called Cellas Cupias belonging to the holy Roman Church, which by the providence of God we serve, we have ordered to be founded a basilica, with a baptisteryhyperlink , to the honour of the blessed Peter, Prince of the apostles, and of Laurentius the martyr, we therefore hereby exhort thy Fraternity to proceed at once to the aforesaid place, and with observance of the venerable solemnities of dedication to consecrate solemnly the aforesaid church and baptistery. Deposit also reverently the holy relics (sanctuaria) which you have received.
Epistle XXIV. To Marinianus, Bishop.
Gregory to Marinianus, Bishop of Ravenna.
We have received by the deacon Virgilius the letter of your Fraternity, in which you inform us that certain of the clergy and people have cried out that it is contrary to the laws and canons that the cause between your Church and the abbot Claudius should be examined and decided here. But, had they paid attention to ecclesiastical order and to the persons between whom the case is pending, they would by all means have abstained from needless complaint; especially as the cause could not be pleaded there, where the aforesaid abbot has complained of having endured injustice from your predecessor and of still suffering from it. For the objection might perhaps have been made if he had not appealedto a superior authority, and sought to have therights of his case determined before it. Nay,but dost thou not thyself know that the casewhich arose on the part of the presbyter Johnagainst John of Constantinople, our brother and fellow-bishop, came before the Apostolic See, and was decided by our sentence?hyperlink If, then, a cause was brought under our cognizance from that city where the prince is, how much more should an affair between you have the truth about it ascertained and be terminated here? But as for you, let not the words of foolish men there move you, and believe not that through us any detriment to your Church is caused. For, if you will enquire of the servant of God Secundinus your deacon and of Castorius our notary, you will learn from them how your predecessor had already desired to arrange this case. But your Fraternity has done wisely in sending persons hither for this business, and in not listening to vain words. Now we trust in Almighty God that this cause may be terminated in a way well-pleasing to God, so that no room may be left for renewed complaint and that neither party may be aggrieved unjustly. The swordhyperlink which our most beloved son Peter, then deacon and guardian (defensor) in your parts, had left for us with your predecessor, please to send to us by the servant of God Secundinus, and Castorius the notary, the bearers of these presents.
Epistle XXV. To Maximus of Salona.
Gregory to Maximus, intruder in the Church of Salonahyperlink .
While, seeking this or that excuse, thou deferrest obedience to our letters, while thou puttest off coming to us for ascertainment of the truth after being so often admonished, thou lendest credibility all the more to what is alleged against thee; and, even though there had been nothing else to go against thee and do thee harm, thy delay alone would render thee culpable and accuse thee. Humble thyself at length, and submit thyself to obedience, and make haste to come to us without any excuses, that, the truth being investigated and ascertained, in the fear of God, whatever may be fair and canonical may be decided. For be assured that we will observe towards thee justice and the ordinances of the canons, and, by the revelation of God, who is the Author of truth, will terminate thy cause agreeably to justice. For, as to thy demand that we should send some one to your city, in whose presence there might be proof of the things alleged, this would be in some degree excusable, if reason ever imposed on the accused the necessity of proof. But, inasmuch as this burden lies not on thee but on thine accusers, do not thou hesitate to come to us, as we have before said, putting it off no longer; and either thine accuser will be present without delay to support with suitable proof what has been alleged as to simoniacal heresy or other things; or certainly, as far as regards a sound settlement of this business, a just dealing with it will, through the intervention of Peter, Prince of the apostles, ensue; that so no guiltiness may confound us before God for any connivance, now that these things have come to our knowledge. But, as to thy allegation that our most serene lords have ordered cognizance of the matter to be taken in your city, we indeed have received no other commands of theirs on the subject except that thou weft to come to us. But, even if by chance, occupied as they are by many thoughts and anxieties for the good of their republic which by the divine bounty has been granted to them, this has been suggested to them, and a command has been surreptitiously elicited from them, yet, inasmuch as it is known to us and to all how our most pious lords love discipline, observe degrees, venerate the canons, and refrain from mixing themselves up in the causes of priests, we will still execute with instancy what is for the good both of their souls and of the republic, and what we are driven to by regard to the terrible and tremendous judgment.
Cease then from all excuses, and delay not to appear here, that, fortified by investigation of the truth, we may at length bring thy cause to a termination. But, whereas we have been informed that thou art greatly afraid and altogether in trepidation lest we should avenge on thee the known fact of thy having forced thy way irregularly into the order of priesthood without our consent, this was indeed an intolerable misdemeanour: but, in accordance with the commands of our most serene Lord the Emperor, we forgive thee this, provided that thou in no wise persist any longer in the error of thy contumacy; and we are by no means moved against thee on this account. But other things that have been reported to us we cannot suffer to pass without enquiry.
Now inasmuch as we long ago sent thee a letter warning thee by no means to dare to celebrate the solemnities of mass till we should ascertain the will of the said our most serene Lord, and as thou hast cunningly contrived that this letter should not come into thy hands, though thou nevertheless knewest in one way or another what its purport was, but hast refused to comply with it;-we therefore confirm what was before sent thee in writing, that thou must not dare to celebrate the solemnities of mass until all that has been alleged against thee has been thorougly enquired into and sifted. And, if, with perverse daring, thou shouldest presume to celebrate, know that thou art not free from the former threat of interdiction from communion. For, even though there were no other transgressions, we deprive thee of the communion of the body and blood of the Lord for this sin of pride alone. Wherefore, shewing the obedience that becomes thee, make haste, as we have said, with all diligence to come to us; but so as to have a space of thirty days for preparing for thy journey; and so, laying aside all excuses, defer not thy appearance here.
Moreover, if any occasion of hindering thy journey has arisen from the judges, or the military force, or the people, we acknowledge the skilfulness with which things are done. Do thou thyself, then, see what account of this obligation, thou canst render either to men here or to Almighty God in the future judgment, having by thy contempt provoked a strict sentence against thee.
Furthermore, it has come to my knowledge that my brother and fellow-bishop Paulinus, and Honoratus, archdeacon of the Church of Salonahyperlink , for having refused to give assent to thy presumption are suffering grievous molestation at thy hands, so as to have been constrained to give sureties to the end that may not be at liberty to leave the city or their own houses. If this is so, do thou on receipt of this present writing, returning at last, though late, to a sound mind, desist from molesting either of them, that they may have free license either to come to me if they wish, or to go anywhere else for their advantage.
Epistle XXVI. To the Salonitans.
Gregory to his most beloved sons, the clergy and nobles dwelling at Salonahyperlink .
It has come to my ears, that certain men of perverse disposition, in order to poison your minds, beloved, have tried to insinuate to you that I am moved by some grudge against Maximus, and that I am desiring to carry out not so much what is canonical as what anger dictates. But far, far be it from the priestly mind to be moved in any cause by private feeling. It is on the contrary as taking thought for you, beloved, and as fearing the judgment of Almighty God on my own soul, that I desire the case of this same Maximus to be thoroughly investigated, as to whether he is burdened by no such crimes as are a bar to ordination, and makes no attempt to attain to the priestly office through simoniacal heresy; that is by giving bribes to some of his electors. He will then be a free intercessor for you before the Lord, if he shall come to the place of intercession bound by no sins of his own.
And yet his sin of pride is already manifestly shewn, in that, having been summoned to come to us, he resists under various excuses, shuns coming, is afraid to come. What then is he afraid of, if his conscience does not accuse him with respect to the things he is charged with? Lo, beloved, ye have now been long without a pastor, and may Almighty God make known to you how earnestly and from the bottom of my heart I sympathize with you in your destitution. For I hear what ravages are being made in the Lord's flock. But, when there is no shepherd, who may watch against the wolves? Wherefore urge ye the aforesaid Maximus to come hither to us, to the end that we may confirm him if we are able to find him innocent; but, if the things that are said of him should turn out to be true, that you, beloved, may be no longer left destitute through the interposition of his person.
For as to me, be assured that I am not moved against him by any grudge or any animosity of private feeling; but whatever may be canonical and just with the help of God I will determine.
But I have been greatly astonished that among so many clergy and people of the Church of Salona hardly two in sacred orders have been found-to wit our brother and fellow-bishop Paulinus and my most beloved son Honoratus, archdeacon of the same Church-who refused to communicate with Maximus when he seized the priesthood, and who remembered that they were Christians.
For you ought, most dear sons, to have considered your own orders, and recognized as rejected him whom the Apostolical See rejected, that he might first be purged, if he could be, from the charges brought against him, and that then your Love might communicate with him without being partakers in his liability. We however are bound to your Charity in the bowels of loving-kindness; and, since we have learnt that some of you were pressed by force to accept him and communicate with him, we implore Almighty God to absolve you from all guilt of your own sins and from all implication in the liability of others, and to give you the grace of His protection in the present life, and grant to us to rejoice for you in the eternal country.
Epistle XXVII. To the Clergy and People of Jaderahyperlink .
Gregory to the presbyters, deacons, and clergy, nobles and people, dwelling at Jadera, and who have communicated with the prevaricator Maximus.
It has come to my knowledge that some of you, deceived by ignorance or under compulsion, have communicated with those who, their fault as you know requiring it, have been deprived of communion by the Apostolic See, but that others, with wholesome discretion, have under the Lord's protection abstained; and as much as I rejoice in those that have been constant so much do I groan for those who have gone astray, since they have partaken of the mysteries of holy communion, which have been granted to us by Divine loving-kindness for absolution, rather to the detriment of their souls. And because (as I pray Almighty God to make known to you) I earnestly and from the bottom of my heart sympathize will your Charity, I adjure and entreat you with fatherly affection, that every one of you abstain from unlawful communion, and altogether shun those whom the Apostolic See does not receive into the fellowship of its communion, lest any one should stand guilty in the sight of the eternal Judge from that whereby he might have been saved.
Moreover I have discovered that certain men of perverse mind in your parts have tried to insinuate that I am moved against Maximus by some grudge, and that I desire to carry out not what is canonical, but what anger dictates. But far, far be this from the priestly mind, that it should be moved in any cause by private animosity. But as for me, it is as taking thought for the people dwelling in those parts and for my own soul, and as fearing the judgment of Almighty God, that I wish to have the cause of this Maximus enquired into, and, God shewing me the way, to decide canonically. Now, inasmuch as I have written to him frequently that he was not to celebrate the sacred solemnities of mass until I had been able to obtain knowledge of his case, he would in any case be deprived of communion; and now his sin of pride is openly shewn from this,-that, having (as I have said) been often admonished to come to us, under various excuses he refuses, he shuns, he fears coming. What then is he afraid of, if his conscience does not accuse him with regard to the things that have been said? Since then you know these things, now that you can make no excuse on the plea of ignorance, I beseech, I exhort, I warn you, that you altogether refrain from fellowship with forbidden communion, and that not one of you presume, against his own soul, to communicate with any priest who communicates with the above written Maximus.
Since however I hear, as I have said before, hat some of you fell in ignorance, and that some were even driven by force to communicate, I implore the Almighty Lord, that He would keep with His perpetual protection, and answer with His wished for bounty, those who have given no assent to this iniquity; and as to those whom either party spirit, or ignorance, or any other cause soever, has drawn into a fault, that He would absolve hem from all guilt of their sins, and from all implication in the liability of others, and both give them all the grace of His protection in the present life, and grant to me to rejoice for them in the eternal country. Wherefore, that this intercession may avail for you with God our Saviour, do ye shew obedience to our exhortations for the weal of your souls, and receive the holy communion from those whom ye know to have abstained, and to abstain still, from communion with the aforesaid Maximus.
1 See above, V. 48, note 3.
2 The ground of this charge against Marinianus was doubtless his aceptance of the condemnation of the "Three Chapters' by the fifth council, which condemenation, notwithstanding Rome's approval of it, was still objected to in many quarters as contravening the council of Chalcedon. See I. 16, note 3; IV. 2, note 1; IV. 38, 39; XIV. 12.
3 Cf. III. 47, note 2. As is there stated, Maximus does not seem to have paid the slightest attention to this letter.
4 This is the first of ten letters of Gregory to the notoriousBrunechild. A daughter of Athanagild, king of the Visigoth in Spain she had married Sigebert I., one of the grandsons of Clovis, who reigned over that part of the dominion of the Franks which was called Austrasia, having on her marriage renounced Arianism for Catholicity. Sigebert having been assassinateda.d.575, his son Chidebert II., then only five years old, was proclaimed King of Austrasia; whereupon Brunechid herself became the virtual ruler of the kingdom. So she was again after the death of Childebert,a.d.596, as guardian of Theodebert II., his illegitimate son, who succeeded him at the age of ten years. See Pedigree of Kings of Gaul, p. xxx. The praises lavished on her by Gregory in this and his other epistles to her appear strangely inconsistent with the character given her by the historians of the time. It has been suggested in explanation; 1. That the historians may have maligned her, attributing to her crimes that were not her own; 2. That, whatever her misdemeanours, Gregory might not have heard of them, knowing of her only as a faithful Catholic, and a supporter of the Church; 3. That no such misdemeanours had become notorious when Gregory wrote to her in such flattering terms, the worst doings imputed to her having in fact been after his death. She survived him some nine years. Still, when we consider Gregory's diplomatic turn, together with his habitual deference to potentates apparent elsewhere, we cannot think it unlikely that he might ignore purposely in his addresses to them even their known moral delinquencies, so long as he could enlist their support of religion and orthodoxy, or their loyalty to the see of Rome. And, after all, Brunechild may not have been much worse than some other Frank royalties, all of whom he would be naturally and properly desirous of conciliating, and making the best of them he could. A less defensible instance of apparently politic flattery is found in his letters to the Emperor Phocas and his Empress Leontia after the deposition and murder of Mauricius. See XIII. 31, 38, 39, and Proleg., p. xxvii.
5 Childebert II. (see last note), who had been a minor when he came to the throne. He would now, if the epistle was written, as supposed, in the 14th Indiction (595-6), be about 25 years old.
6 Since the death of his uncle Gruntramn,a.d.593, he had become King of Burgundy as well as of Austrasia.
7 It was the sending of Candidus, a presbyter from Rome, to take charge of the patrimony in Gaul in place of Dynamius, a patrician, who had previously managed it (see Ep. 6), that offered occasion for this and the following letter.
8 Cf. last Epistle, notes 5, 6, 7.
9 See last Epistle note 8.
10 See IV. 30.
11 Probably because of the inferior value in Italy of Gallic gold. "Nullus solidum integri ponderis calumniosoe approbationis obtentu recuset exactor, excepto eo Gallico cujus aurum minore oestimatione taxatur." Novella Majoriani.
12 Some kind of due, so-called. See Du Cange under Ablata: -"Abatio, Exactio, Tolta. . . 'Liberos deinceps esse constituimus ab omni tallia, ablatione et exactione, et questu.' (A. 1173).'
13 This form of protest against simony is found, in the same words, in several other letters.
14 Institutionis; a legal term, denoting apparently the constituting of a person as an inheriter.
15 On the case of John of Chalcedon and Athanasius of Isaura, referred to in this and the three following letters, see III. 53, note 9.
16 Cf. VII. 34 and IX. 49, where the same argument, in nearly the same words, is set forth.
17 The reference may be to Canon xxviii. of the Council ofChalcedon, assigning rank and jurisdiction to the patriarchs of Constantinople, which was protested against by the Roman legates at the Council and afterwards disallowed by Pope Leo. It is omitted in the Latin version of the canons published by Dionysius Exiguus about the beginning of the sixth century, though it had been in the Prisca Versio which he amended.It appears as if Gregory, not finding it in the Latin version before him, supposed it to have been interpolated at Constantinople; the fact being that it had been purposely omitted at Rome, as not having the Pope's sanction. If such is the allusion, it may seem strange that Gregory did not know the circumstances better. But this is not the only instance of his imperfect knowledge of past events, even in ecclesiastical matters. Cf. II. 51, note 2.
18 Baptisteries were anciently buildings contiguous to but apart from the churches. Cf. III. 59, note 7.
19 See III. 53, note 9, and reff there. It seems from what Gregory here says, that it was not in the East only, but also in Italy, at Ravenna, that the authority of the Roman See met with opposition, perhaps mainly on the ground of Ravenna having been an Imperial city, and being still the seat of the Exarch, of Italy. Cf. III. 57, note 4.
20 Spatam. Cf. VI. 61, note 8.
21 See III 47, note. 2.
22 In the letter to the Salonitans, which follows, it appears that Honoratus only among the clergy of Salona (having been the rival candidate for the bishopric and supported by the Pope), and Paulinus only among the suffragan bishops, had refused to communicate with Maximus.
23 See III. 47, note 2.
24 See III. 47, note 2. Jadera was one of the sees in the province of Dalmatia of which Salona was the Metropolis. The bishop of Jadera, Sabinianus, had communicated with Maximus, and probably assisted in ordaining him, but afterwards repented. See below, VII. 17; VIII. l0, 24. It may have been because Gregory had heard that there was already a party in Jadera prepared to renounce Maximus that he wrote this letter to strengthen it.