Gregory to Marinianus, Bishop of Ravennahyperlink .
We wonder why the discernment of thy Fraternity should have been so changed in a short time that it does not consider what it asks for. On this account we grieve, since thou affordest manifest proof that the words of evil counsellors have availed with thee more than the study of divine lore has profited thee. And, when thou oughtest to be protecting monasteries, and with all thy power congregating the religious therein so as to make gain from the gathering together of souls, thou art on the contrary desiring to exercise thyself in oppressing them, as thy letters testify; and, what is worse, art trying to make us partakers in thy fault; to wit, in wishing, with our consent, to oppress the monastery which thy predecessor founded under the name of looking after its property and business affairs.
For thou oughtest to call to mind that, in thy presence, and in the presence also of sundry of thy presbyters, deacons, and clerics, we granted, as they requested, a precept contrary to the testament of thy predecessor. Yet, though the disposition he had made with regard to the monastery itself was still therein confirmed, thou now dissemblest this, and demandest of us that we should order the contrary. And indeed we know that this device is not thine own; but, when thou refusest not to listen to those who say incongruous things, thou injurest not only thine own reputation, but also souls. Since, then, I love thee much, I urgently admonish thee-consider this attentively-that thou care not more formoney than for souls. The former should be regarded collaterally; but the latter should be regarded with the whole bent of the mind, and vehemently striven after. On this spend vigilantly thy labour and solicitude, since our Redeemer seeks from the priest's office notgold, but souls.
Further, it has reached our ears that monasteries which are constituted under thy Fraternity are oppressed by importunities and various annoyances from the clergy. That this may no longer be so, restrain it by strict prohibition, to the end that the monks who live therein may be able to exult freely in the praises of our God.
With regard to the clerics Romanus and Dominicus, who presumed with rash daring to depart from this city without our blessing, though they were to have been stricken with heavier punishment, nevertheless such relaxation ought to be made in a spirit of kindness that they be urged to come back to their duty. The month of April, Indict. 14.
Epistle XXX. To Secundus.
Gregory to Secundus, servant of God at Ravennahyperlink .
Now that Castoriushyperlink has returned and made known to us all that has been done between you and King Agilulph, we have taken care to send him back to you with all speed, lest any one should find an excuse against us on the ground of delay. Having learnt then from him all that is to be done, give the matter your earnest attention, and press in all ways for this peace to be arranged, since, as report goes, there are some who are trying to hinder it. On this account make haste to act strenuously, that your labour may not remain without effect. For both these parts and variousislands are already placed in great danger.
Stir up with such words as thou canst use our brother the bishop Marinianushyperlink : for Isuspect that he has fallen asleep. For certain persons have come to me, among whom were some aged mendicants, who were questioned by me as to what they had received and from whom they had received it; and they told me particularly how much had been given them on their journey, and by whom it had been given. But, when I enquired of them what my aforesaid brother had given them, they replied that they had asked him, but had received nothing at all from him; so that they did not get even bread on the way, though it has always been the familiar usage of that Church to give to all. For they said, He answered saying, I have nothing that I can give you. And I am surprised, if he who has clothes, money, and storehouses, has nothing to give to the poor.
Tell him, then, that with his place he should change his disposition too. Let him not believe reading and prayer alone to be enough for him, so that he should think to sit apart, and nowise fructify with his hand; but let him have a liberal hand; let him succour those who suffer need; let him believe the wants of others to be his own; since, if he has not these things, be bears but a bishop's empty name. I did indeed give him some admonitions about his soul in my letter; but he has sent me no reply whatever; whence I suppose that he has not even deigned to read them. For this reason it is needless now for me to admonish him at all in my letter to him; and so I have written only what 1 was able to dictate as his adviser in wordly matters. For it is not incumbent on me to tire myself, by dictation for a man who does not read what is said to him. Let, then, thy I ove speak to him about all these things privately, and admonish him how he ought to demean himself, lest through present negligence he lose the advantage of his former life, which God forbid.
Epistle XXXII. To Fortunatus, Bishop.
Gregory to Fortunatus, Bishop of Neapolis (Naples).
We have written before now to your Fraternity that, if any [slaves] by the inspiration of God, desire to come from Jewish superstition to the Christian faith, their masters have no liberty to sell them, but that from the time of their declaring their wish they have a full claim to freedom. But since, so far as we have learnt, they [i.e. Jewish masters], weighing with nice discrimination neither our wish nor the ordinances of the law, think that they are not bound by this condition in the case of pagan slaves, your Fraternity ought to attend to such cases, and, if any one of their slaves, whether he be a Jew or a pagan, should wish to become a Christian, after his wish has been openly declared, let not any one of the Jews, under cover of any device or argument whatever, have power to sell him; but let him who desires to be converted to the Christian faith be in all ways supported by you in his claim to freedom. Lest, however, those who have to lose slaves of this kind should consider that their interests are unreasonably prejudiced, it is fitting that with careful consideration you should observe this rule;-that if pagans when they have been brought out of foreign parts for the sake of traffic should chance to flee to the Church, and say that they wish to become Christians, or even outside tire Church should announce this wish, then, till the end of three months during which a buyer to sell them to may be sought for, they [the Jewish owners] may receive their price; that is to say, from a Christian buyer. But if after the aforesaid three months any one of such slaves should declare his wish and desire to become a Christian, let not either any one afterwards dare to buy him, or his master, under colour of any occasion whatever, dare to sell him; but let him unreservedly attain to the benefit of freedom; since he (i.e. the master) is in such case understood to have acquired him not for sale hut for his own service. Let, then, your Fraternity so vigilantly observe all these things that neither the supplication of any nor respect of persons may avail to inveigle youhyperlink .
Epistle XXXIV. To Castorius, Notary.
Gregory to Castorius, our notary at Ravenna.
When Florentinus, deacon of the Church of Ravenna, treated with us in behalf of our most reverend brother and fellow-bishop Marinianus concerning the use of the pallium, on our asking him what was the ancient custom, he replied that the bishop of the Church of Ravenna used the pallium in all litanieshyperlink . But that this was not so we both learnt from others, and it appeared evidently from the letters of the former bishop John, which we shewed to him. But he said what he had been ordered to say. For, at the time when this same John was inhibited by thee from presuming to use the pallium out of order and unadvisedly, he wrote to us that the ancient custom had been this; that the bishop of that city should use the pallium in solemn litanies. We send thee, for thy information, copies of his letters. But when Adeodatus, deacon of the aforesaid Church, at the time when he was here, in like manner pressed us strongly concerning this use of the pallium, we, desiring to ascertain the truth, in like manner had him questioned as to what the custom was: and he, that he might persuade us to believe him, and succeed in obtaining from us what he sought, testified under oath that it had been the ancient custom for the bishop of his city to use the pallium in four or five solemn litanies. Let therefore thy Experience look to the matter diligently, and enquire with all carefulness how many solemn litanies there have been from ancient times. Take care also to make enquiry by calling them, not the solemn, but the greater litanies; that when, through what the aforesaid deacon Adeodatus testified to us and what the letter of the aforesaid bishop John acknowledges, it shall appear how many of these solemn litanies there were, we, knowing how often the pallium used to be worn in litanies, may most willingly grant the privilege. But do not make this enquiry of those who are put forward by the ecclesiastics, but of others whom you know to be impartial: and whatever after careful investigation you discover communicate to us with accuracy, that having ascertained the truth, as we have said, we may relieve the mind of our brother and fellow-bishop, the most reverend Marinianus.
Epistle XXXV. To Anthemius, Subdeacon.
Gregory to Anthemius, our Neapolitan Sub-deaconhyperlink .
How great is our grief, and how great the affliction of our heart, from what has taken place in the regions of Campania we cannot express; but thou mayest thyself gather it from the greatness of the calamity. With regard to this state of things, we send thy Experience by the magnificent Stephen, bearer of these presents, money for the succour of the captives who have been taken, admonishing thee that thou give thy whole attention to the business, and carry it out strenuously; and, in the case of freemen whom thou knowest to have no sufficient means for their own redemption, that thou make haste to redeem them. But, should there be any slaves, and thou findest that their masters are so poor that they cannot come forward to redeem them, hesitate not to recover them also. In like manner also thou wilt take care to redeem the slaves of the Church who have been lost by thy neglect. Further, whomsoever thou shalt have redeemed, thou wilt by all means be at pains to make out a list, containing their names, and a statement of where each is staying, and what he is doing, and where he came from; which list thou mayest bring, with thee when thou comest. Moreover, hasten to shew thyself so diligent in this business that those who are to be redeemed may incur no risk through thy negligence, or thou come afterwards to be highly culpable before us. But work especially for this also; that, if possible, thou mayest be able to recover those captives at a moderate price. But set down in writing, with all clearness and nicety, the whole sum expended, and transmit to us this thy written account with speed. The month of May, Indiction 14.
The letters of your Fraternity, full of priestly sweetness, we have received at the hands of Rogatianus the deacon, the bearer of these presents. And their kind expressions rejoiced us much, especially as we were informed through them of what we long to hear of, your welfare. But the devotion of your Holiness we have both known of old; and as you now write, so we hold it to be. For of what kind the sincerity of your Fraternity towards us is we need nothing to satisfy us, since we know it from the love of our own heart which encircles you. We have given to the above-named hearer, whom you commended to us by letter, writings addressed to the Rector of the patrimony of Sicily, bidding him urge the opposite party to do what is just, to the end that, idle excuses being put aside, the whole case in dispute may be speedily brought to an end.
We now inform your Holiness that a certain man has come to us, Peter by name, who asserted that he was a bishop, and requested from us a remedy of his complaint. And at first indeed he related things that might have been deserving of pity; but on enquiry we found things to be very different from what he told us, and his behaviour has exceedingly distressed us. But, inasmuch as, separated as we are by so great a distance, we could by no means learn thoroughly the gist of his ca e, we have been unable to determine it, being in doubt. But now, seeing that the aforesaid deacon, who is returning to you, has asked that this person should be allowed to go with him, and he himself has requested to be sent to you, both of them knowing that your Holiness has, as becomes you, zeal for the faith and a love of justice, the proposal has been acceptable to us, and we have granted what they asked. Since, then, you being on the spot can ascertain the merits of the case more thoroughly, we exhort you so to observe what is just and canonical towards the same Peter that both the requirements of rectitude may be fulfilled by you in all respects, and his case may be seen to have been judged after the fear of God and the rules of the Church. But, if any one is said to have been privy to, or a partaker in, the things which the aforesaid Peter is accused of, accurate enquiry must be made, and, when the truth is known, judgment in like manner pronounced canonically.
Furthermore, a thing altogether hard to be borne, and hostile to the right faith, has come to our ears; namely that catholics (which is awful to be told and religious personshyperlink (which is worse) consent to their children and their slaves, or others whom they have in their power, being baptized in the heresy of the Donatists. And so, if this is true, let your Fraternity study with all your power to correctit, to the end that the purity of the faith maythrough your solicitude stand inviolate, and innocent souls who might be saved by catholic baptism perish not from the infection of heretics. Whosoever, then, of the persons above mentioned has suffered any one belonging to him to be baptized among the Donatists, study with all your power, and with all urgency, to recall such to the catholic faith. But, if any one of such persons should under any pretext endure the doing of this thing in the case of such as are his in future, let him be cut off entirely from the communion of the clergy.
Epistle XLIII. To Venantius, Patrician.
Gregory to Venantius, Patrician, and Ex-monkhyperlink .
Your communication to us has found us much distressed from having become aware that offence has arisen between you and John our brother and fellow-bishop, in whose agreement with you we were desirous of rejoicing. For, whatever the cause may have been, rage ought not to have broken out to such a pitch that your armed men, as we have heard, should have burst into the episcopal palace, and committed divers evil deeds in a hostile manner, and that this affair should meanwhile separate you from his paternal charity. Could not the dispute, whatever it may have been, have been quietly arranged, so that neither party might suffer disadvantage, nor good feeling be disturbed? Now it is not unknown to us gravity, of what holiness, of what gentlenessour above-named brother is. Whence we gather that, unless excessive force of vexation had compelled him, his Fraternity would by no means have resorted to the measure which you say that you are aggrieved. however, on hearing of it by letter from him, at once wrote to him, admonishing him to receive your offerings as before, and not only to allow masses to be celebrated in your house, but, if you wish it, even to officiate himself, and that he ought to have prosecuted his cause without breach of charity. And, inasmuch as we wish none to come or continue to be at variance, we have taken care to renew this same admonition. Hence it is necessary, dearest son, that you, as becomes sons, should shew him the reverence due to a priest, and not provoke his spirit to anger. For with whom will you have assured goodwill, it (which God forbid) you are at variance with your priest? Wherefore, putting away swelling of spirit, try ye so to transact the causes that ye have one with another that both charity may remain inviolate, and what is to your mutual advantage may be peaceably attained.
Although there may have been cause to provoke the spirit of your Fraternity not unreasonably to anger, so that you would neither receive the offerings of the Lord Venantius nor allow the sacred solemnities of mass to be celebrated in his house, yet, inasmuch as our earthly interests should be prosecuted in such a manner that no quarrel may avail to sever us from the bond of charity, we therefore exhort your Holiness, as we have already written, that you should both receive the offerings of the aforesaid man with all sweetness and God-pleasing sincerity, and allow the mysteries of the mass to be performed in his house; and that, as we have written, you should, if perchance he should wish it, go there in person, and by celebrating mass with him renew your former friendly feeling. For it is your duty to bestow priestly affection on sons, though still, in causes that may arise, by no means to pretermit, as reason approves, the jurisdiction of your Church. Wherefore, considering this, it is necessary that your Fraternity should try so to demean yourself with discreet moderation with respect to these matters as both to transact advantageously what the nature of the business requires, and not to recede from the grace of paternal charity.
Epistle XLVI. To Felix, Bishop of Pisaurum (Pesaro).
Gregory to Felix, Bishop, &c.
We wonder at your Fraternity, that, disregarding the tenor of the precept given you by our predecessor of holy memory, you, should consecrate the monastery constructed by John, the bearer of these presents, otherwise than as ancient use demands. For, while it is ordered among other things in the said precept that you should dedicate the place itself without a public mass, still, as we have heard. your chair has been placed there, and the sacred solemnities of mass are there publicly celebrated. If this is true, we hereby exhort you that, putting aside all excuse, you cause your chair to be altogether removed thence, and that henceforth you perform no public masses there. But, as both custom and the tenor of the precept direct, if they should wish mass to be celebrated for them there, let a presbyter be appointed by thee for the purposehyperlink .
Further, we desire that with the favour of God there shall always remain a congregation of servants of God in the same monastery, as the aforesaid John has requested, and as is now the case. As to the cup also which he informs me has been taken away by your Fraternity, if it be so, make haste to restore it. These things, then, let your Holiness so study to fulfil that the aforesaid bearer may have no need to resort to us again on the same account.
Epistle XLVIII. To Urbicus, Abbot.
Gregory to Urbicus, Abbot of Saint Hermes, which is situated in Panormus.
Whosoever, incited by divine inspiration, hastens to leave the employments of this world and to be converted to God should so be received with charity, and refreshed in all ways with kind consolations, that, by the help of God, he may delight in all ways to persevere in the state of life which he has chosen. Since, then, Agatho, the bearer of these presents, desires to be convertedhyperlink in thy Love's monastery, we exhort thee to receive him with all sweetness and love, and by assiduous exhortation kindle his longing for eternal life, and study to be diligently solicitous for his soul's salvation; to the end that, while by thy admonition he shall persist with devoted mind in the service of our God, it may both profit him to have left the world, and his conversion may be to the increase of thine own reward. Know, however, that he is to be so received only if his wife also should wish to be similarly converted. For, when the bodies of both have been made one by the tie of wedlock, it is unseemly that part should be converted and part remain in the worldhyperlink .
Epistle XLIX. To Palladius, Bishop.
Gregory to Palladius, Bishop of Santones in Gaul (Saintes).
Leuparic your presbyter, the bearer of these presents, when he came to us informed us that your Fraternity has built a church in honour of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and also of the martyrs Laurentius and Pancratius, and placed there thirteen altars, of which we learn that four have remained not yet dedicated because of your desiring to deposit there relics of the above-named saints. And, seeing that we have reverently supplied you with relics of the Saints Peter and Paul, and also of the martyrs Laurentius and Pancratius, we exhort you to receive them with reverence, and deposit them with the help of the Lord, providing before all things that supplies for the maintenance of those who serve there be not wanting.
Epistle L. To Queen Brunichild.
Gregory to Brunichild, Queen of the Franks.
The tenor of your letters, which evinces a religious spirit and the earnestness of a pious mind, causes us not only to commend the purpose of your request, but also to grant willingly what you demand. For indeed it would ill become us to refuse what Christian devotion and the desire of an upright heart solicits, especially as we know that you demand, and embrace with your whole heart, what may both protect the faith of believers, and work no less the salvation of souls. Accordingly, greeting your Excellency with befitting honour, we inform you that to Leuparic, the bearer of these presents, through whom we received your communication, and whom you described as a presbyter, we have handed over, according to your Excellency's request, with the reverence due to them, certain relics of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul. But, that laudable and religious devotion may be more and more conspicuous among you, you must see that these benefits of the saints be deposited with reverence and due honour, and that those who serve in attendance on them be vexed with no burdens or molestations, lest perchance, under the pressure of outward necessity, they be rendered unprofitable and slow in the service of God, and (which God forbid) the benefits of the saints that have been bestowed sustain injury and neglect. Let, then, your Excellency see to their quiet, to the end that, while they are guarded by your bounty from all disquietude, they may render praises to our God with minds undisturbed, and that reward may also accrue to you in the life eternal.
Epistle LI. To the Brethren Going to England (Angliam)hyperlink .
Gregory, servant of the servants of God, to the servants of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Since it had been better not to have begun what is good than to return back from it when begun, you must, most beloved sons fulfil the good work which with the help of the Lord you have begun. Let, then, neither the toil of the journey nor the tongues of evil-speaking men deter you; but with all instancy and all fervour go on with what under God's guidance you have commenced, knowing that great toil is followed by the glory of an eternal reward. Obey in all things humbly Augustine your provost (proeposito), who is returning to you, whom we also appoint your abbot, knowing that whatever may be fulfilled in you through his admonition will in all ways profit your souls. May Almighty God protect you with His grace, and grant to me to see the fruit of your labour in the eternal country; that so, even though I cannot labour with you, I may be found together with you in the joy of the reward; for in truth I desire to labour. God keep you safe, most beloved sons. Given the tenth day of the Kalends of August, the fourteenth year of the Emperor our Lord Mauricius Tiberius, the most pious Augustus, the thirteenth year of the consulship of our said Lord, Indiction 14.
Epistle LII. To Pelagius and Serenus, Bishops.
Gregory to Pelagius of Turnihyperlink and Serenus of Masilia (Marseilles) Bishops of Gaul. A paribushyperlink .
Although with priests who have the charity that is well pleasing to God religious men need no commendation, yet, since an apt time for writing has offered itself, we have thought well to send a letter to your Fraternity, mentioning that we have sent into your parts, with the help of the Lord, for the benefit of souls, the servant of God Augustine, of whose earnestness we are assured, with other servants of God. Him your Holiness must needs assist with priestly earnestness, and hasten to afford him your succour. We have also enjoined him, that so you may be the more ready to support him, to make you fully acquainted with the matter he has in hand, knowing that, when it is known to you, you will lend yourselves with entire devotion for God's sake to succour him as the case requires.
Moreover, we commend in all ways to your charity our common son the presbyter Candidus, whom we have sent for the government of the patrimony of our Church. Given on the tenth day of the Kalends of August, Indiction 14.
Epistle LIII. To Virgilius, Bishop.
Gregory to Virgilius, Bishop of Arelate (Arles), Metropolitan.
Although we are confident that your Fraternity is intent on good works, and that you come forward of your own accord in causes well-pleasing to God, we nevertheless deem it advantageous to address you with fraternal charity, that, being provoked also by our letters, you may increase the solace which it becomes you voluntarily to bestow. And accordingly we inform your Holiness that we have sent Augustine. the servant of God, the bearer of these presents, with other servants of God, for the winning of souls in the parts whither he is going, as he will be able himself to inform you face to face. In these circumstances you must needs aid him with prayer and assistance, and, where need may require, afford him the support of your succour, and refresh him, as is fit, with fatherly and priestly consolation, to the end that, when he shall have obtained the succour of your Holiness, if he should succeed in winning any gain for God, as we hope he may, you too may be able to gain a reward along with him, having devoutly administered to his good works the abundance of your support. Moreover, as to Candidus the presbyter, our common son, and the little patrimony of our Church, let your Fraternity, as being of one mind with us, study to hold both as commended to you; that so, with the help of your Holiness, something may thence accrue for the sustenance of the poor. Inasmuch, then, as your predecessor held this patrimony for many years, and kept in his own hands the collected payments, let your Fraternity consider whose the moneys are, and to whom they should be paid, and restore them to us, handing them to the above-written presbyter Candidus, our son. For it is very execrable that what has been preserved by the kings of the nations should be said to be taken away by bishops.
Epistle LIV. To Desiderius and Syagrius, Bishops.
Gregory to Desiderius of Vienna (Vienne), and Syagrius of Augustodunum (Autun), Bishops of Gaul. A paribushyperlink .
Having regard to your sincere charity we are well assured that out of love for Peter, the Prince of the apostles, you will devotedly afford your succour to our men; especially. since the nature of the case requires you to give assistance even of your own accord, and the more when you see them labour. Wherefore we inform your Holiness that, the Lord so ordering it, we have despatched Augustine, the servant of God, the bearer of these presents, whose zeal and earnestness are well known to us, with other servants of God, in behalf of souls in those parts; from whose account of things when you have fully learnt what is enjoined on him, let your Fraternity bestow your succour on him in all ways which the case may require, that you may be able, as is becoming and fit, to be helpers of a good work. Let, then, your Fraternity study to shew yourself so devoted in this matter that your action may prove to us the truth of the good report that we have heard of you. We commend to you in all respects our most beloved common son, Candidus the presbyter, to whom we have committed the patrimony of our Church situated in those parts.
Epistle LV. To Protasius, Bishop.
Gregory to Protasius, Bishop of Aquae in Gaul (Aix).
How great love of the blessed Peter, Prince of the apostles, distinguishes you is evident, not only from the prerogative of your office, but also from the devotion you bestow on what is to the advantage of his Church. And Having learnt that this is the case from the relation of Augustine, servant of God, the bearer of these presents, we rejoice exceedingly for the affection and zeal for truth that is in you; and we give thanks that, though absent in the body, you still shew that you are with us in heart and mind, seeing that you exhibit brotherly charity towards us, as is fit. In order then that actual fact may confirm the good report of you, tell our brother and fellow-bishop Virgilius to hand over to us the payments which his predecessor received for many years and retained in his own hands: for it is the property of the poor. And if perchance, as we do not believe will be the case, he should desire in any way to excuse himself, do you, who know the real truth more exactly, inasmuch as you acted as steward (vicedominus) at that time, explain to him how the matter stands, and urge him not to retain in his hands the property of Saint Peter and of his poor. But, though perhaps our men may not need this, do not refuse your testimony in the case; that so, with regard to the truth as well as to the devotion of your good will, the blessed apostle Peter, for whose love you do this, may respond to you by his intercession both here and in the life to come. We heartily commend to your Holiness the presbyter Candidus, our common son, to whom we have committed the charge of this patrimony.
The account given us by Augustine, servant of God, the bearer of these presents, has made us joyful, in that he has told us that your Love is vigilant as you ought to be; and he further affirms that the presbyters and deacons and the whole congregation live in unanimity and concord. And, since the goodness of presidents is the salutary rule of their subjects, we implore Almighty God to enkindle thee always in good works by the grace of His loving-kindness, and to keep those who are committed to thee from all temptation of diabolical deceit, and grant to them to live with thee in charity and in the manner of life that pleases Him.
But, since the enemy of the human race never rests from plotting against our doings, so as to deceive in some part souls that are serving God, therefore, most beloved son, we exhort thee to exercise vigilantly thy anxious care, and so to keep those who are committed to thee by prayer and heedfulness that the prowling wolf may find no opportunity for tearing the flock: to the end that, when thou shall have rendered to our God unharmed those of whom thou hast undertaken the charge, He may both of His grace repay thee with rewards for thy labour and multiply in thee longings for eternal life.
We have received the spoons and plates which thou hast sent us, and we thank thy Charity, because thou hast shewn how thou lovest the poor in having sent for their use such things as they need.
We have learnt from the servant of God, Augustine, the bearer of these presents, how great goodness, how great gentleness, with the charity that is well-pleasing to Christ, is in you resplendent; and we give thanks to Almighty God, who has granted you these gifts of His loving-kindness, through which you may have it in your power to be highly esteemed among men, and-what is truly profitable-glorious in His sight. We therefore pray Almighty God, that He would multiply in you these gifts which He has granted, and keep you with all yours under His protection, and so dispose the doings of your Glory in this world that they may be to your benefit both here, and-what is more to be wished-in the life to come. Saluting, then, your Glory with paternal sweetness, we beg of you that the bearer of these presents, and the servants of God who are with him, may obtain your succour in what is needful, to the end that, while they experience your favour, they may the better fulfil what has been enjoined on them to do.
Furthermore, we commend to you in all respects our son the presbyter Candidus, whom we have sent for the government of the patrimony of our Church which is in your parts; trusting that your Glory will receive a reward in return from our God, if with devout mind you lend your succour to the concerns of the poor.
Epistle LVIII. To Theodoric and Theodeberthyperlink .
Gregory to Theodoric and Theodebert, brethren, Kings of the Franks. A paribushyperlink .
Since Almighty God has adorned your kingdom with rectitude of faith, and has made it conspicuous among other nations by the purity of its Christian religion, we have conceived great expectations of you, that you will by all means desire that your subjects should be converted to that faith in virtue of which you are their kings and lords. This being so, it has come to our knowledge that the nation of the Angli is desirous, through the mercy of God, of being converted to the Christian faith, but that the priests in their neighbourhood neglect them, and are remiss in kindling their desires by their own exhortations. On this account therefore we have taken thought to send to them the servant of God Augustine, the bearer of these presents, whose zeal and earnestness are well known to us, with other servants of God. And we have also charged them to take with them some priests from the neighbouring parts, with whom they may be able to ascertain the disposition of the Angli, and, as far as God may grant it to them, to aid their wishes by their admonition. Now, that they may have it in their power to shew themselves efficient and capable in this business, we beseech your Excellency, greeting you with paternal charity, that these whom we have sent may be counted worthy to find the grace of your favour. And, since it is a matter of souls, let your power protect and aid them; that Almighty God, who knows that with devout mind and with all your heart you take an interest in His cause, may propitiously direct your causes, and after earthly dominion bring you to heavenly kingdoms.
Futhermore, we request your Excellency to hold as commended to you our most beloved son, Candidus, a presbyter, and the rector of the patrimony of our Church, to the end that the blessed Peter, Prince of the apostles, may answer you by his intercession, while, looking to the reward, you afford your protection in the concerns of his poor.
Epistle LIX. To Brunichild, Queen of the Franks.
Gregory to Brunichild, &C.
The Christianity of your Excellence has been so truly known to us of old that we do not in the least doubt of your goodness, but rather hold it to be in all ways certain that you will devoutly and zealously concur with us in the cause of faith, and supply most abundantly the succour of your religions sincerity. Being for this reason well assured, and greeting you with paternal charity, we inform you that it has come to our knowledge how that the nation of the Angli, by God's permission, is desirous of becoming Christian, but that the priests who are in their neighbourhood have no pastoral solicitude with regard to them. And lest their souls should haply perish in eternal damnation, it has been our care to send to them the bearer of these presents, Augustine the servant of God, whose zeal and earnestness are well known to us, with other servants of God; that through them we might be able to learn their wishes, and, as far as is possible, you also striving with us, to take thought for their conversion. We have alsocharged them that for carrying out this design they should take with them presbyters from the neighbouring regions. Let, then, your Excellency, habitually prone to good works, on account as well of our request as of regard to the fear of God, deign to bold him as in all ways commended to you, and earnestly bestow on him the favour of your protection, and lend the aid of your patronage to his labour and, that he may have the fullest fruit thereof provide for his going secure under your protection to the above-written nation of the Angli, to the end that our God, who has adorned you in this world with good qualities well-pleasing to Him, may cause you to give thanks here and in eternal rest with His saints.
Furthermore, commending to your Christianity our beloved son Candidus, presbyter and rector of the patrimony of our Church which is situated in your parts, we beg that he may in all things obtain the favour of your protection.
Epistle LX. To Eulogius, Bishop.
Gregory to Eulogius, Bishop of Alexandria.
Charity, the mother and guardian of all that is good, which binds together in union the hearts of many, regards not as absent him whom it has present in the mind's eye. Since then, dearest brother, we are held together by the root of charity, neither will bodily absence nor distance of places have power to assert any claim over us, inasmuch as we who are One are surely not far from each other. Now we wish to have always this common charity with the rest of our brethren. Yet there is something that binds us in a certain peculiar way to the Church of Alexandria, and compels us, as it were by a special law, to be the more prone to love it. For, as it is known to all that the blessed evangelist Mark was sent by SaintPeter the apostle, his master, to Alexandria, sowe are bound together in the unity of this master and his disciple, so that I seem to preside over the see of the disciple because of the master, and you over the see of the master because of the disciple.
Moreover to this unity of hearts we are bound also by the merits of your Holiness, since we know that you follow profitably the ordinances of your founder, and feel how you betake yourself with entire devotion to the bosom of your master, whence sprung the preaching of salvation in your parts. And so, when we received the letters of your Holiness, as much as our heart rejoiced in your brotherly visitation, so much is it oppressed with sadness for the untold burdens which you refer to, and we groan with you in brotherly sympathy for your grief. But, since a shaking of various kinds is extending itself everywhere, in the midst of a common need one should grieve less for one's own, but study rather, by patientlyenduring, to overcome what we cannot altogether avoid.
But what we ourselves are suffering from the swords of the Lombards in the daily plundering and mangling and slaying of our citizens, we refuse to tell, lest, while speaking of our own sorrows, we should increase yours from the sympathy which you bestow upon us.
Furthermore,a little time ago we sent to Sabinianus, who represents our Church in the royal city, a letter from ourselves, which he should have sent on to your Fraternityhyperlink . If you have received it, we wonder why you have sent us no reply to it. And accordingly, since caution must be taken lest the pride of any one whatever introduce offence in the Churches, it is needful that you should carefully peruse it, and with all diligence and full bent of mind maintain what pertains to your dignity and to the peace of the Church.
Now may Almighty God, who by the grace of His loving-kindness has conferred on you the disposition and charity that becomes a priest, protect you in His service, and keep you within and without from all adversity, and mercifully grant that the souls of wanderers may be converted to Himself by your preaching.
We have received with the charity that was due to the bearer of these presents, our common son the deacon Isidore, who brought to us the benedictionhyperlink of Saint Mark the evangelist. And you indeed, being resplendent in the merit of a good life, have sent to us the sweetly smelling word, which is nigh unto Paradise. But we, to wit because we are sinners, send you wood from the West, which, being suitable for the building of ships, signifies the tumult of our mind, as being ever tossed in the sea-waves; and we wished indeed to send larger pieces, but the ship was not large enough to hold themhyperlink . In the month of August, Indiction 14.
The magnificent Lord Andreas presses me continually about restoring the use of the pallium in the Church of Ravenna according to ancient custom. And thou knowest that the bishop John wrote to me that it had been the custom for the bishops of the said Church to use the pallium in solemn litanieshyperlink . Adeodatus, deacon of that church, when he besought me earnestly on the same subject,satisfied me by oath that the bishops of the said place were accustomed to use the pallium in litanies four times in the year. But the aforesaid Lord Andreas says in his letters that the bishop of Ravenna was in the habit of using the pallium in litanies at all times except in Lent. And these litanies, which he does not blush to say were daily, he asserts to be solemn ones. Whence I have been altogether astonished. But let thy Experience regard no man's person, no man's words; keep the fear of God and rectitude only before thine eyes, and enquire of senior persons, and of the Archdebon of that same Church, who would not, I think, perjure himself for the honour of another, and of others of older standing who had been in sacred orders before the times of bishop John, or if there are any others of riper age not in holy orders; and let them come before the body of Saint Apollinaris, and touching his sepulchre swear what had been the custom before the times of bishop John; since, as thou knowest, he was a man who presumed greatly and endeavoured in his pride to arrogate many things to himself. And whatever may be sworn to by faithful and grave men, according to the subjoined form, we desire to be retained in the same Church. But see that thou act not negligently, and that no one corrupt thy faithfulness and devotion in this matter; for thy zeal I know. Act assiduously, yet so that the aforesaid Church be not lowered in a way contrary to justice, but that it retain the usage that existed before the times of bishop John. Moreover, for satisfying thyself, do not enquire of two or three persons, but of as many as thou canst find of old standing and grave character, that so we may neither deny to that Church what has been of ancient custom, nor concede to it what has been coveted and attempted newly. But do all kindly and sweetly, so that both thy action may be strict and thy tongue gentle. The swordhyperlink which has been left at Ravenna, as we have already written, bring hither with thee; and carefully attend to what our son Boniface the deacon and the magnificent Maurentius the chartularius have written to thee about.I swear by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the inseparable Trinity of Divine Power, and by this body of the blessed martyr Apollinaris, that out of favour to no person, and without any advantage to myself intervening, I give my testimony. But this I know, and am personally cognizant of, that, before the times of the late bishop John, the Bishop of Ravenna, in the presence of this or that apocrisiarius of the Apostolic See, on such and such days, had the custom of using the pallium, and I am not aware that he had herein usurped latently, or in the absence of the apocrisiarius.
We doubt not that your Excellency members how two years ago we wrote in behalf of Paul our brother and fellow-bishop, asking you to afford him the support of your Dignity in his desire to come to us on account of the trouble he was said to be undergoing from persecution on the part of the Donatists, to the end that, since it had been reported to us that he could get no aid against them there, we might, after ascertaining the truth, give him advice with fraternal sympathy, and treat with him as to what should be done in the way a wholesome arrangement against the madness of pestiferous presumption. And, so far as our aforesaid brother gave us to understand, he not only failed to get succour from any one, but was prevented by various hindrances from being able to come with safety to the Roman city. Yet, when we had caused your epistle to be read to him, he replied that he is not suffering from the ill-will of certain persons because he repressed the Donatists, but rather says that he is in disfavour with many for his defence of the Catholic faith; and he told me many things besides, which, since this is not a fit time for mentioning them, we have thought best to keep to ourselves.
Since, then, the question before us is not one of earthly affairs, but of the health of souls, and your assertion and his are different, we have been unable to say anything particularly in reply, not having investigated the truth, seeing that, when we received the letters of your Excellency, we were confined by bodily sickness. But when Almighty God, if it should please Him, shall have restored us to our former health, we will sift the truth as we can by diligent enquiry. And according to what we may be able to learn we will so settle the case through the mercy of God that not only the health of souls in the cure whereof you deign to take an interest, lost now by them that err, may be restored, but also that which the maintainers of the true faith still possess may, through the protecting grace of our Redeemer, be preserved.
But with regard to the above-named bishop, whom you assert to be deprived of communion we greatly wonder how it is that a letter from your Excellency, and not from his primate, has announced this to us.
Epistle LXV. To Mauricius, Emperor.
Gregory to Mauricius Augustus.
Amidst the cares of warfare and innumerable anxieties which you sustain in your unweariedseal for the government of the Christian republic, it is a great cause of joy to me along with the whole world that your Piety ever watchesover custody of the faith whereby the empire of Our lords is resplendent. Whence I fully trust that, as you guard the causes of Godwith the love of a religious mind, so God guards and aids yours with the grace of His Majesty. Nowafter what manner the serenity of your Piety, out of regard to righteousness and zeal for the purest religion, has been movedagainst the most flagitious pravity of the Donatists, the tenor of the commands which you have sent most clearly shews. But the most reverend bishops who have come from the African province assert that these have been so disregarded through ill-advised connivance that neither is the judgment of God held in fear there, nor are the imperial commands so far carried into effect; adding also this: that in the aforesaid province, through the bribes of the Donatists prevailing, the Catholic faith is publicly let to sale. But on the other hand the glorius Gennadiushyperlink has likewise complained of one of those who made such complaints: and two others also have borne like testimony with him on the subject. But, inasmuch as in this case a secular judge was concerned, I have thought it right to send these bishops to the footsteps of your Piety, that they may represent in person to your most serene ears what they declare themselves to have endured for the catholic faith.
For these reasons I beseech the Christianity of my lords, for the weal of their souls and life of their most pious offspring, to give orders by a strict mandate for the punishment of such as you find to be such as have been described, and to arrest with the hand of rescue the ruin of those who are perishing, and to apply the medicine of correction to insane minds, and cure them of the poisonous bite of error; thatso, the darkness of pestiferous pravity having been driven away by the remedy of your pro vision, and the true faith having shed abroad in those parts the rays of its serenity, heavenly triumph may await you before the eyes of our Redeemer, because whomsoever you defend outwardly from the enemy, them you also set free inwardly from the poison of diabolical fraud; which is a still more glorious thing.
Epistle LXVI. To Athanasius, Presbyter.
Gregory to Athanasius, Presbyter of Isauria.
As we are afflicted and mourn for those whom the error of heretical pravity has cut off from the unity of the Church, so we rejoice with those whom their profession of the catholic faith retains within her bosom. And, as it is our duty to oppose the impiety of the former with pastoral solicitude, so it is fitting for us to bestow favour on the pious professions of the latter, and to declare their views to be sound. And accordingly, a suspicion of unsoundness in the faith having arisen against thee, Athanasius, presbyter of the monastery of Saint Mile, called Tamnacus, which is established in the province of Lycaonia, thou, in order that the integrity of the profession of faith might appear, didst elect to have recourse to the Apostolical See over which we preside, asserting also that, having been corporally chastised, thou hadst done some things unjustly and impetuously. And, although things done under compulsion by no means fall under the censure of the canons, and they are rightly accounted to be of no weight (since he himself invalidates them who compels what is unjust to be confessed and done), and though that confession is rather to be received and embraced which is shewn to proceed from the spontaneous will, as is known to be the case in that which thou madest before us;-yet still, to avoid the possibility of uncertainty, we took the precaution of writing about thee to our brother and fellow-bishop, the prelate of the city of Constantinople, that he might inform us by letter of what had been done. He, after being often admonished by us, wrote in reply to the effect that a volume had been found in thy possession, which contained many heretical statements, and that on this account he had been incensed against thee. He having lent this to us in his desire to satisfy us, we read the earlier portions of it attentively: and inasmuch as we found in it manifest poison of heretical pravity, we forbade its being read any more. But, since thou hast assured us that thou hadst read it in simplicity, and, in order to cut off all ground for uncertain suspicion, hast handed to us a paper in thine own handwriting in which expounding thy faith, thou hast most plainly condemned all heresies in general, or whatever is opposed to the integrity of the Catholic faith or profession, and hast declared that thou hadst always received and didst still receive all that the four holy Ecumenical synods receive, and hadst condemned and didst still condemn what they condemn, and hast promised also to accept and hold to that synod which was held in the times of the emperor Justinian concerning the Three Chapters, and, being forbidden by us to read that same volume in which the poison of pestiferous error is interwoven, rejecting also and condemning all that in it is said or latently implied against the integrity of the Catholic faith, thou hast promised that thou wilt not read it again;-we, moved by these reasons (thy faith also having clearly appeared to us from the paper under thine own hand, God guarding thee, to be catholic), decree thee to be, according to thy profession, free from all stain of heretical perversity, and catholic; and we pronounce that thou hast proved thyself, by the grace of Christ Jesus our Saviour to be in all things a professor and follower of the unadulterated faith: and we give thee free licence, notwithstanding all, to return to thy monastery, resuming thy place and rank.
We wish to write also on this matter to our most beloved brother, the prelate of the city of Constantinople, who has been ordained in the place of the aforesaid holy Johnhyperlink . But, since it is the custom that we should not write before his synodical epistle has reached us, we have therefore delayed. But, after it has reached us, we will inform him of these things when we find a convenient opportunity.
25 Cf. above, VI. 1.
26 Gregory appears to have communicated with this Secundus, rather than with the bishop of Ravenna, for reasons which appear below, and to have employed him in negotiations with the Exarch for peace with the Lombards.
27 A Castorius is mentioned in Gregory's letter to the Emperor as having been the magister militum in command at Rome during its siege by Agilulph. This may be the same person.
28 For his appointment to the see of Ravenna, cf. V. 48.
29 As to ownership by Jews of converted slaves, see Prolegom., p. xxi., and other Epistles there referred to.
30 Marinianus had succeeded John as bishop of Ravenna. For Gregory's dispute with John concerning the use of the pallium, see above, III. 56, 57; V. 11, 15, and below, VI. 61.
31 The occasion of this letter seems to have been some recent aggression of the Lombards in the Neopolitan district, resulting in the capture of many prisoners of war.
32 See II. 48, note 7.
33 Religiosi. See l. 61, note 7.
34 Cf. l. 34, note 8.
35 Cf. preceding Epistle. John, previously archdeacon of Catana, had been elected in the previous year (594) with Gregory's approval as the successor of Maximianus of Syracuse (V. 17), and had recently had the pallium sent him. (VI. 18.).
36 Cf II. 41.
37 Conversion has its usual sense of embracing monastic life.
38 See also on this subject, XI. 45, XI. 50.
39 This, with the eight following letters (51-59), were committed to Augustine, who is spoken of in several of them as the bearer , when he was sent back from Rome to rejoin his companions. Bede (H.E. I. 23), and John the deacon (Vit. S. Greg. II. 33), say that the missionaries-"cum aliquantulum itinerus confecissent" (Bede)- "post dies aliquot" (John Diac)- were deterred by what they had heard of the difficulties of their undertaking, and sent Augustine to Rome to request leave to give it up and that Gregory sent him back to them with letters of admonitionand of commendation. No commendatory letters seem to have been given them when they first set out. Those now sent are addressed to the bishops of Turni (al. Turon), Marseilles, Arles, Vienne, Autun, and Aix in Provenee, to the abbot of Lerins, to Arigius, Patrician of Gaul, to Theodoric and Theodebert, the two boy-kings of Burgundy and Austrasia, and to queen Brunechild their grandmother. who at this time ruled Austrasia as Theodebert's guardian. See Pedigree of Kings of Gaul, p. xxx. The letters which come first in order, 51 and 52, being dated 22 Julya.d.596, we may conclude that the misssionaries had been originally despatched in the spring of the same year. They appear to have got as far as the southern coast of Provence, since the letters to the bishop of Aix and the Abbot of Lerins shew that Augustine had already visited them, though not, apparently, any others to whom letters are now addressed. The mission was accompanied by Candidus, sent out as Rector of the patrimony in Gaul (cf. Ep. VII.), who is also commended in the letter. The patrimony appears to have been attended to previously in a way not satisfactory to Gregory by the bishops of Arles (see below, Epp. LIII., LV.). This letter is not found in the Registrum Epistolorum; but given by Bede (I. 23), and by John the Deacon (Vit. S. Greg. lib. ii. c. 34).
40 De Turnis; in Colbert. Turonis. The latter name itself would seem to denote Tours. But it is not easy to see why a common letter should have been addressed to the Bishops of Tours and Marseilles. And, further, would Tours on the Loire be likely to lie on the route which the missionaries would take to Britain ?
41 See I. 25, note 8.
42 See I. 25, note 8.
43 In Cod. Colbert. Stephen is described as "abbati de monasterio quod est Lirino;" i.e. the famous monastery on the island of that name (lerins) now known as L`ile de St. Honorat. This was probably Stephen's monastery.
44 The term Patricius was used to designate governors of provinces under the Frank kings. Cf. III. 33. "Dynamio patricio Galliarum," and Greg turon. (IV. 24), "Guntramnus rex, amoto Agricola patricio, Celsum patriciatus honore donavit. There were at this time two Burgundian Patricii, one called the Patricius absolutely, residing at Arles, the other at Marseilles (Greg. Turon).
45 Childebert II. son of Sigebert I. and Brunechild, who had reigned over nearly all the dominions of the Franks in Gaul (see VI. 5, note 5), died in this year.a.d.596. and was succeeded by his illegitimate son Theodebert II. as king of Austrasia, and by his second son Theoderic II. as king of Burgundy. These two kings were only ten and seven years of age respectively when their father died, and their grandmother Brunechild was appointed guardian of the former. Hence Gregory, writing now after the death of Childebert, addresses forma1 letter's in identical terms to the two minors, but another (Ep. LIX.) to Brunechild. See Pedigree of Kings of Gaul, p. xxx..
46 See I. 25, note 8.
47 See V. 43, which is probably the letter here referred to, being one sent to the two patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch, urging them to join in resisting the assumption of the title of universal Bishop by the patriarch of Constantinople.
48 Benedictionem, with reference to the present of sweet wood that had been sent. Cf. 2 Kings v. 15, "Take a blessing of thy servant."
49 Cf. VII. 40; IX. 78.
50 On the subject of this Epistle, cf. above, Ep. XXXIV., with references in note.
51 Cf. V. 11; VI. 34.
52 Spatam, a word usually signifying a kind of sword. Cf. VI. 24, where this same spata is referred to.
53 On the subject of this letter, see IV. 34, 35.
54 Gennadius was the Exarch of Africa.
55 Cyriacus (a.d.595) succeeded John the Faster as patriarch of Constantinop