S. Gregory I, letters 20731

Epistle XXXI. To Cyriacus, Bishop.

20731 Gregory to Cyriacus, Bishop of Constantinople.

We have received the letters of four Blessedness, which speak to us in words not of the tongue but of the soul. For they open to me your mind, which, however, was not closed to me, since of myself I retain experience of the same sweetness. Wherefore I return thanks continually to Almighty God, since, if charity the mother of virtues abides in your heart towards us, you will never lose the branches of good works, seeing that you retain the very root of goodness. You ought, then, to shew the beauty of this charity to me and to all your brethren by this good work in the first place,— your hastening to discard that word of pride whereby grave offence is engendered in the Churches, thus fulfilling in all ways what is written, Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (
Ep 4,3): and again, Give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully (1Tm 5,14). For then will true charity be displayed, if there is no schism among us through an example of pride, For, as for me, I call Jesus to witness in my soul, that to no one among men from the highest to the lowest do I wish to give occasion of offence. I desire that all should be great and honourable, yet so that their honour detract not from the honour of Almighty God. For whoso covets to be honoured against God to me is not honourable. But, that you may learn what good will I have towards your Blessedness, I have sent my son the deacon Anatolius to the feet of our most pious lords, for satisfying their Piety and your Fraternity that I desire to injure no man in this matter, but to keep the humility that is pleasing to God, and the concord of holy Church. And because Antichrist, the enemy of God, is near at hand, I studiously desire the he may not find anything belonging. to himself, not only in the manners, but even in the titles of priests. Let then what has been introduced after a new fashion be removed in like manner as it was brought in, and peace in the Lord will remain with us inviolate. For what pleasantness, what charity, will there be amongst us, if we cheer ourselves up with words, while we are galled by facts? Let then your Holiness so act that we may feel in our inmost hearts the good things you speak of, to the end that, the hearts of priests being in unanimity, when we supplicate for the life of our most pious lords, we may be counted worthy to be heard all the more as peace illuminates your prayers before the eyes of God, and no stain of discord darkens them.

Epistle XXXII. To Anastaslus, Presbyters\232\0 .

20732 Gregory to Anastasius, &c.

That a good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things (
Mt 12,35; Lc 6,45), this thy Charity has shewn, both in thy habitual life and lately also in thy epistle; wherein I find two persons at issue with regard to virtues; that is to say, thyself contending for charity, and another for fear and humility. And, though occupied with many things, though ignorant of the Greek language, I have nevertheless sat as judge of your contention. But, in very truth, thou hast, in my judgment, thyself conquered thy opponent by the apostolical sentence, which I proffered to you during your contention, That there is no fear in charity,, but perfect charity casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in charity. I know then how much thy Fraternity is made perfect in charity. And, since thou lovest Almighty God much, thou oughtest to presume on thy neighhour much. For it is not places or ranks that make us neighbours to our Creator; but either our good deserts join us to Him, or our bad deserts separate us from Him. Since, then, it is still uncertain what any one is inwardly, how was it that thou wast afraid to write, ignorant as thou art as to which of us two is the superior? And indeed that thou livest well I know, but I am conscious myself of being burdened by many sins. And though thou art thyself a sinner, still thou art much better than I, since thou bearest thine own sins only, but I those also of the persons committed to me. In this, then, I look upon thee as lofty, in this I look upon thee as great, that in a great place and lofty before human eyes thou hast not felt thyself advanced at all. For therein, while honour is paid thee by men outwardly, thy mind is sunk into depths, because burdened by distracting cares. But tO thee Almighty God has done as it is written; He hath laid down ascents in the heart, in the valley of tears (Ps 83,6). To me, however, thou mightest have appeared far loftier, far more sublime, hadst thou never undertaken the leadership of the monastery which is called Neas, seeing that in that monastery, as I hear, there is indeed an appearance of monks kept up, but many secular things are done under the garb of sanctity. But even to this I shall think that heavenly grace has brought thee, if what in that place displeases Almighty God should be corrected under thy guidance.

But, since there have been wont to be quarrels between the father of this same monastery and the pastor of the Church of Jerusalem, I believe that Almighty God has willed that thy Love and my most holy brother and fellow-priest Am should be at the same time at Jerusalem for this end, that the quarrels which I have spoken of should be put an end to. Shew, then, now how much you loved before. For I know that both of you are abstinent, both learned, both humble; whence the glory of our Saviour must needs be praised, according to the language of the Psalm, in timbrel and chorus (Ps 150,4). For in a timbrel the sound from the skin is dry, but in a chorus there is a concord of voices. What therefore is denoted by a timbrel but abstinence, and what by a chorus but unanimity? Since then by abstinence ye praise the Lord in timbrel, I beg that by unanimity ye praise Him in chorus. The Truth also in person says, Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another (Mc 9,50). What is denoted by salt but wisdom, as Paul attests, who says, Let your speech be alway in grace, seasoned with salt (Col 4,6)? Since, then, we know that you have salt through the teaching of the heavenly word, it remains that through thegrace of charity you keep with all your heartspeace between yourselves. All this I say, dearest brother, because I love you both exceedingly, and am much afraid lest the sacrifices of your prayers should be stained by any dissension between you.

The blessing which you sent, first by Exhilaratus the Secundicerius33 , and afterwards by Sabinianus the deacon, I received with thanksgiving, since from a holy place it became you to send holy things, and to shew by your very gift whom you serve continually. May Almighty God protect you with His right hand, and preserve you scatheless from all evils.

Epistle XXXIII. To Mauricius Augustus.

20733 Gregory to Mauricius Augustus.

The provident piety of my lords, test perchance any scandal might be engendered in the unity of Holy Church by the dissension of priests, has once and again deigned to admonish me to receive kindly the representatives of my brother and fellow-priest Cyriacus, and to give them liberty to return soon. And although, most pious Lord, all your injunctions are suitable and provident, yet I find that by such an admonition I am reproved as being in your judgment indiscreet. But, even though my mind has been wounded in no slight degree by a proud and profane title, could I possibly be guilty of so great indiscretion as not to know what I owed to the unity of the faith and to ecclesiastical concord, and to refuse to receive the representatives and the synodical letter of my brother on account of bitterness from whatever cause intervening? Far be this from me. Such wisdom had been unwisdom. For what is due from us for conserving unity of faith isone thing; what is due for restraining elation is another. Times therefore were to be distinguished, lest the newness of my aforesaid brother might in any point be disturbed34 . Whence also I received his representatives with great affection. Whatever charity I owed to them I displayed, and honoured them more than it had been the ancient custom to do, and caused them to celebrate the sacred solemnities of mass with me; since, even as my deacon ought not to serve, for exhibition of the sacred mysteries, him who has either committed the sin of elation or corrects it not himself when committed by others, so it was right that his ministers should attend, in the celebration of mass, on me, who, under the keeping of God, have not fallen into the error of pride.

I have however taken care to admonish earnestly the same my brother and fellow-bishop that, if he desires to have peace and concord with all, he must refrain from the appellation of a foolish title. As to this, the piety of my lords has charged me in their orders, saying that offence ought not to be engendered among us for the appellation of a frivolous name. But I beseech your imperial Piety to consider that some frivolous things are very harmless, and others exceedingly harmful. Is it not the case that, when Antichrist comes and calls himself God, it will be very frivolous, and yet exceedingly pernicious? If we regard the quantity of the language used, there are but a few syllables; but if the weight of the wrong, there is universal disaster. Now I confidently say thatwhosoever calls himself, or desires to be called, Universal Priest, is in his elation the precursor of Antichrist, because he proudly puts himself above all others. Nor is it by dissimilar pride that he is led into error; for, as that perverse one wishes to appear as above all men, so whosoever this one is who covets being called sole priest, he extols himself above all other priests. But, since the Truth says, Every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled (
Lc 14,11 Lc 18,14), I know that every kind of elation is the sooner burst as it is the more inflated. Let then your Piety charge those who have fallen into an example of pride not to generate any offence by the appellation of a frivolous name. For I, a sinner, who by the help of God retain humility, need not to be admonished to humility. Now may Almighty God long guard the life of our most serene Lord for the peace of holy Church and the advantage of the Roman republic. For we are sure, that if you live who fear the). Lord of heaven, you will allow no proud doings to prevail against the truth.

Epistle XXXIV. To Eulogius, Bishop.

Gregory to Eulogius, Bishop of Alexandria, and Anastasius, Bishop of Antioch35 .

The charity wherewith I am greatly bound to you allows me by no means to keep silence, that your Holiness may know all that is going on among us, and, deceived by no false rumours, may keep more perfectly the way of your justice and rectitude, as you have perfectly begun to do. Now the representatives (responsales) of our brother and fellow-bishop Cyriacus came to me, bringing me his synodical epistle. And indeed between us and him there is, as your Blessedness knows, serious difference on account of the appellation of a profane name; but I thought that his representatives sent in the cause of the faith ought to be received, lest the sin of elation which has arisen in the Constantinopolitan Church almost against all priests, might cause l a shaking of the faith and a breach in ecclesiastical unity. I also caused the same representatives, inasmuch as they very humbly requested it, to celebrate with me the solemnities of mass, because, as I have taken care to intimate to the most serene Lord the Emperor, it was right that the representatives of our brother and fellow priest Cyriacus should communicate with me, since by God’s help I have not fallen into the error of elation. But my deacon ought not to celebrate the solemnities of mass with our aforesaid-brother Cyriacus, since, through a profane title, he has either committed or accedes to the sin of pride; lest if he (my deacon) proceeds36 with one who is in such a position of elation, we might seem (which God forbid) to confirm the vanity of that foolish name. But I have taken care to admonish our said brother to correct himself of such elation, since, if he does not correct it, he will in no way have peace with us.

Furthermore, our said brother in his synodical letters has by the grace of God expressed himself in all respects as a Catholic. But he has condemned a certain Eudoxius, whom we find neither condemned in synods, nor repudiated by his predecessors in their synodical letters37 . It is true that the canons of the council of Constantinople condemn the Eudoxiaus; but they say nothing as to who their author Eudoxius was. But the Roman Church does not possess so far these same canons, or the acts of that council, nor has it accepted them, though it has accepted this same synod with regard to what was defined by it against Macedonius. It does certainly repudiate the other heresies therein spoken of, which had already been condemned by other Fathers: but so far it knows nothing about the Eudoxians. Some things are indeed told in Sozomen’s history about a certain Eudoxius, who is said to have usurped the episcopate of the Church of Constantinople. But this history itself the Apostolic See refuses to accept, since it contains many false state ments, and praises Theodore of Mopsuestia too much, and says that he was a great doctor of the Church even to the day of his death. It remains then that, if any one receives that history, he contradicts the synod held in the times of Justinian of pious memory concerning the three chapters. But one who cannot contradict this synod must needs reject that history. Moreover in the Latin language we have so far found nothing about this Eudoxius, either in Philaster or in the blessed Augustine, who wrote much about heresies, Let therefore your Charity inform me in your letters if any one of the approved Fathers among the Greeks has made mention of him.

Furthermore three years ago, with reference to the case of the monks of Isauria, who were accused as being heretics38 , my brother and fellow-bishop the Lord John once sent me letters for my satisfaction, in which he attempted to shew that they had contradicted the definitions of the synod of Ephesus; and he forwarded to me certain chapters, purporting to be those of the same synod, which they were said to oppose39 . Now among other things it was in these chapters asserted concerning the soul of Adam, that by sin it did not die, in that the devil does not enter into the heart of man; and that whoso said it was so was anathema. When this was read to me I was much grieved. For if the soul of Adam, who was the first to sin, did not die by sin, how was it said to him concerning the forbidden tree, In the day that ye eat thereof ye shall surely die (
Gn 2,17)? And certainly Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden tree, and yet in their flesh they lived afterwards more than nine hundred years. It is therefore evident that in his flesh he did not die. If then he did not die in his soul, the impious conclusion follows that God pronounced a false sentence concerning him, when He said that in the day that he ate he should die. But far be this error, far be it from the true faith. For what we say is, that the first than died in soul in the day that he sinned, and that through him the whole human race is condemned in this penalty of death and corruption. But through the second man we trust that we can be freed, both now from the death of the soul, and hereafter from all corruption of the flesh in the eternal resurrection:—as moreover we said to the aforesaid representatives; ‘We say that the soul of Adam died by sin, not from the substance of living, but from the quality of living. For, inasmuch as substance is one thing, and quality another, his soul did not so die as not to be, but so died as not to be blessed. Yet this same Adam returned afterwards to life through penitence.’

But that the devil enters into the heart of man cannot be denied, if the Gospel is believed. For it is there written, And after the sop Satan entered into him (Jn 13,27). And again it is therein also said, When the devil had now put himself into the heart of Judas, that Judas should betray Him (Jn 2). He that denies this falls into Pelagian heresy. Seeing then that, having examined the Ephesine synod, we found nothing of the kind to be contained therein, we caused to be brought to us also a very old Codex of the same synod from the Church of Ravenna, and we found it to agree with the report of the synod which we have so as to differ in no respect, and to contain nothing else in its decree of anathema and rejection, except that they reject the twelve chapters of Cyril of blessed memory.But this whole argument we set forth much more fully and particularly to his representatives when they were with us, and most fully satisfied them. Wherefore lest either these or any like things should creep in yonder, so as to cause offence to holy Church, it is necessary for us to indicate these things to your Holiness. And, although we know our brother and fellow-bishop Cyriacus to be orthodox, yet on account of others we ought to be cautious, that the seeds of error may be trampled down before they spring up to public view.

I received the letters of your Holiness on the arrival here of our common son the deacon Sabinianus; but, as their bearer is already prepared for departure and cannot be detained, I will reply when the deacon, my responsalis, comes.

Epistle XXXV. To Dominicus, Bishop.

20735 Gregory to Dominicus, Bishop of Carthage.

Though we believe that thy Fraternity gives attention with pastoral vigilance to the care of monasteries, yet we think it necessary to inform you of what we have learnt about a monastery in the African province. Now the abbot Cumquodeus, the bearer of these presents, complaints that, if at any, time he wishes to restrain under regular discipline the monks over whom he presides, they at once leave the monastery, and are allowed to wander wherever they will. Seeing, then, that this is both altogether pernicious to themselves and also sets an example of perdition to others, we exhort your Fraternity that, if it is so, you should bring ecclesiastical censure to bear upon them, and withhold them by suitable punishment from such undoubted presumption; and that you should so bring them to obedience by salubrious provision, subduing their proud minds to the yoke of discipline, that correction may recall from guilt others whom their example might have provoked to similar transgression, and teach them to obey their superiors, as is fit. But, since he tells us that stray monks are defended by some bishops, let your Fraternity give careful attention to this, and restrain them by your menaces in all ways from such defence. The month of July, Indiction 15.

Epistle XXXVIII. To Donus, Bishop.

20738 Gregory to Donus, Bishop of Messana (Messene).

The ordinances both of the sacred canons and of the laws allow the utensils of the Church to be sold for the redemption of captives. And so, seeing that Faustinus, the bearer of these presents, is proved to have contracted a debt of three hundred and thirty solidi for the purpose of redeeming his daughters from the yoke of captivity, and that, thirty thereof having been repaid, it is certain that he has not sufficient means for the repayment of the remaining sum, we exhort thy Fraternity by this communication that thou by all means give him fifteen pounds, taking his receipt for the same, out of the silver in thy hands belonging to the Meriensian Church, of which he is known to be a soldier; so that, it being sold, and the debt paid, he may be freed from the bond of his obligation. But of this also your Fraternity should be careful, that in case of the aforesaid Church having so much current coin, he should receive from it the amount above-written; but otherwise you must needs supply him for the purpose in view with the sum we have stated from the consecrated vessels. For, as it is a very serious thing to sell idly ecclesiastical utensils, so on the other hand it is wrong, under pressing necessity of this kind, for an exceedingly desolated Church to prefer its property to its captives, or to loiter in redeeming them.

Epistle XXXIX. To John, Bishop.

20739 Gregory to John, Bishop of Syracuse.

Lest attention to secular affairs should disjoin the hearts of religious men (which God forbid) from mutual charity, very earnest endeavour should be made to bring any matter that has come into dispute to the easiest possible termination. Since, then, from the information of Caesarius, abbot of St. Peter’s monastery, constituted in a place called Baias, we find that between him and John, abbot of St. Lucia’s monastery, constituted in the city of Syracuse, there has arisen a serious question about certain boundaries, we, lest this contention should be prolonged between them, have taken thought for their dispute being terminated by the determination of a land-measurer. And accordingly we have written to the defensor Fantinus, bidding him direct John the land-measurer, who has gone from Rome to Panormus, to resort to your Fraternity.

We exhort, therefore, that you go with him to the places about which there is contention, and, both parties having been brought together, cause the places in dispute to have their boundaries defined in your presence, though still with a claim of prescription for forty years preserved to either party. But, whatever may be determined, let it be your Fraternity’s anxious and studious care to have it so observed that no strife may henceforth be stirred up anew, nor any further complaint reach us.

We believe that it is not unknown to your Fraternity that the venerable abbot Caesarius was formerly our friend; and therefore, saving equity, we commend him to you in all respects, And, seeing that he is entirely inexperienced in secular causes, it is needful for him to be aided by your solicitude; yet so that, in this as in all cases, you observe, as is fit, reason and justice.

Epistle XL. To Eulogius, Bishop.

20740 Gregory to Eulogius, Bishop of Alexandria.

Your most sweet Holiness has spoken much in your letter to me about the chair of Saint Peter, Prince of the apostles, saying that he himself now sits on it in the persons of his successors. And indeed I acknowledge myself to be unworthy, not only in the dignity of such as preside, but even in the number of such as stand. But I gladly accepted all that has been said, in that he has spoken to me about Peter’s chair who occupies Peter’s chair. And, though special honour to myself in no wise delights me, yet I greatly rejoiced because you, most holy ones, have given to yourselves what you have bestowed upon me. For who can be ignorant that holy Church has been made firm in the solidity of the Prince of the apostles, who derived his name from the firmness of his mind, so as to be called Petrus from petra. And to him it is said by the voice of the Truth, To thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven (
Mt 16,19). And again it is said to him, And when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren (Mt 22,32). And once more, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? Feed my sheep (Jn 21,17). Wherefore though there are many apostles, yet with regard to the principality itself the See of the Prince of the apostles alone has grown strong in authority, which in three places is the See of one40 . For he himself exalted the See in which he deigned even to rest and end the present life. He himself adorned the See to which he sent his disciple as evangelist. He himself stablished the See in which, though he was to leave it, he sat for seven years. Since then it is the See of one, and one See, over which by Divine authority three bishops now preside, whatever good I hear of you, this I impute to myself. If you believe anything good of me, impute this to your merits, since we are one in Him Who says, That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee that they also may be one in us (Jn 17,21). Moreover, in paying you the debt of salutation which is due to you, I declare to you that I exult with great joy from knowing that you labour assiduously against the barkings of heretics; and I implore Almighty God that He would aid your Blessedness with His protection, so as through your tongue. to uproot every root of bitterness from the bosom of holy Church, lest it should germinate again to the hindrance of many, and through it many should be defiled. For having received your talent you think on the injunction, Trade till I come (Lc 19,13). I therefore, though unable to trade at all nevertheless rejoice with you in the gains of your trade, inasmuch as I know this, that if operation does not make me partaker, yet charity does make me a partaker in your labour. For I reckon that the good of a neighbour is common to one that stands idle, if he knows how to rejoice in common in the doings of the other.

Furthermore, I have wished to send you some timber: but your Blessedness has not indicated whether you are in need of it: and we can send some of much larger size, but no ship is sent hither capable of containing it: and I think shame to send the smaller sort. Nevertheless let your Blessedness inform me by letter what I should do.

I have however sent you, as a small blessingfrom the Church of Saint Peter who loves you, six of the smaller sort of Aquitanian cloaks (pallia), and two napkins (oraria); for, my affection being great, I presume on the acceptableness of even little things. For affection itself has its own worth, and it is quite certain that there will be no offence in whatout of love one has presumed to do.

Moreover I have received the blessing of the holy Evangelist Mark, according to the note appended to your letter. But, since I do not drink colatum41 and viritheum42 with pleasure, I venture to ask for cognidium43 , which last year, after a long interval, your Holiness caused to be known in this city. For we here get from the traders the name of cognidium, but not the thing itself. Now I beg that the prayers of your Holiness may support me against all the bitternesses which I suffer in this life, and defend me from them by your intercessions with Almighty God.

1 On the subject of this letter, see IV. 34, 35: also VI. 63.
2 What follows about Isaiah and Jeremiah occurs also in the Pastoralis Cura, I. 7.
4 It is a sign of Gregory’s scanty knowledge of the history of controversies that so far he seems never to have heard of so noted an Arian leader as Eudoxius, whose followers under the name of Eudoxians, had been specifically condemned in the 1st Canon of the first general Council of Constantinople. But it appears from a subsequent letter (VII. 34), that there was no copy at Rome of the canons of that Council, which had not in fact been accepted there, probably because of the 3rd Canon, which assigned a primacy of honour after Rome to the See of Constantinople as being new Rome. When he wrote this subsequent letter, he had become aware that the Eudoxians had been so condemned, but still had no idea who Eudoxius had been. The fact was that he was not well versed in past ecclesiastical history and, being totally ignorant of Greek, could only consult such Latin writings as were within his reach; and in these he hadfailed to find Eudoxius mentioned. We applied, however, to the patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch for further information on the subject (see (VII. 34, and VIII. 30), and was at length satisfied that Eudoxius had been a veritable heretic, having been condemned be many Greek Fathers of repute, and concluded that he was “manifestly slain, against whom our heroes have cast so many darts” (VIII. 30)).
5 What is said here shews that the appointment of the Patriarchs of Constantinople rested in fact entirely with the Emperor).
6 Who these bishops were, who had assisted at the ordination of Cyriacus and sent a report of it to Gregory, does not appear. In the objection taken by the latter to the language of laudation with which the new patriarch had been hailed at Constantinople we may perhaps detect something of his habitual jealousy of the assumptions of the Constantinopolitan See. Of Cyriacus himself he appears to have had a high opinion and to have welcomed his accession, hoping at first that he would renounce the offensive title of oecumenical bishop which had been assumed by John Jejunatur. In this, however, he was disappointed, and afterwards inveighed against the new patriarch for proud presumption no less than against the old one.
7 cxviii. 24.
8 lv. 5.
9 cxviii. 22.
10 Fanum Fortunoe in Picenum (Fano).
11 See VI. 27, note 6.
12 Concerning the election of Marinianus, see V. 48.
13 Viz. Castorius. See II. 41).
14 Cf. XI. 47 as to the supersession of a bishop incapacitated by illness, except at his own written request, being uncanonical.
15 See Ep. XX., which follows.
16 See preceeding Epistle.
17 Viz. a bishop Sebastian, who had been commissioned, as was usual in such cases, to visit the church of Ariminum during the incapacity of its proper bishop. The Epistle which follows this (Ep. XXl., which, as not throwing further light on the proceedings, has not been translated) is addressed to him, directing him to see to the due election, &c., of a successor to Castorius.
18 As Metropolitan. See preceding Epistle.
19 Fortunatis was bishop of Naples, and Anthemius a subdeacon, and Defensor of Campania.
20 Conversam fuisse; the usual phrase for taking to monastic life).
21 It will be observed that Gregory identifies the woman who had been a sinner in the city with the sister of Martha, and also with the Magdalene.
22 This patrician lady was sister of the Emperor Mauricius (see (I. 5), and appears from what is said in this letter to have been governess of the imperial children, and in close attendance on the Empress Constantina. The letter is in many respects interesting and characteristic. In it may be noted Gregory’s way of retaining influence over devout ladies in high circles, and through them hoping to influence others; his favourite method of allegorizing the Old Testament Scriptures; his tendency to regard remarkable incidents as miracutlous; and his allusion to the very large number of females at that time leading a monastic life in Rome. Cf. XI. 45, addressed to the same lady).
23 (Ps 69,2,
24 The whole passage which follows about two kinds of compunction, with the allegorical interpretation of the story of Achsah, is found, word for word, in the Dialogues Lib. III. chap. 34.
25 In Joshua Jos 15,18, instead of “and she lighted off her ass,” as in the English Version, the Vulgate has “suspiravitque ut sedebat in asino.”
26 See I. 17, note 4).
27 Gregory’s apocrisiarius at Constantinople, and eventually his successor in the See of Rome. See III. 53.
28 On the designation religiosus cf. 50,61. note 7. The Narses here addressed as “Religiosus” was probably the same as the “Narses Comes” of I. 6, and VI. 14. and the “Narses Patricius” of IV. 32 (see (note to I. 6). For it is evident from the letters that he was of high rank at Constantinople, and greetings are sent through him to the same persons as in the other letters. He had now, we may suppose, devoted himself to the service of the Church in some capacity.
29 (Ps 81,7.
30 Cf. I. 6, where greetings were sent to this lady, there also designated as Domna.
31 The Emperor Maurice is said to have had a sister called Gordia, who may have been the lady here referred to. Her daughter Theoctista may be concluded from the epithet “sanctissima” to have been piously disposed; and it may have been a fear lest her piety should suffer through the temptations of fashionable life that had led Narses, who was himself religious, to suggest to Gregory that he should write letters of admonition to the husbands of these ladies, as well as to themselves. Gregory’s reluctauce to do so may have arisen from a fear of giving offence to such distinguished people from the purport of what he could only write in Latin being misunderstood. Elsewhere apparent are his caution and delicacy in dealing with great people.
32 This epistle appears to have been in reply to one from a presbyter. Anastasius (al.Athanasius), of Jerusalem announcing his promotion to the abbacy of a monastery there. There had been, it seems, a standing feud between the abbots of this monastery and the bishops of Jerusalem, the continuance of which Gregory gracefully deprecates in the course of his letter).
33 See III. 56 note 3.
34 (So literally; - “(Ne proedicti fratri mei ex quolibet articulo novitas turbaretur.” The meaning seems to be, Lest Cyriacus should be troubled immediately on his accession. He was to be remonstrated with in due time; but rejection at once of his synodical letter and of his emissaries would have been premature).
35 As to the first subject of this epistle, with references to others on the same subject, see Prolegom., p. xxii.
36 Procedit, the usual term for proceeding to the Holy Table for celebration. See III. 57, note 5.
37 Cf. VII. 4).
38 See III. 53, note 9.
39 Cf. VI. 14, where the same doctrinal questions are similarly discussed in the same connexion.
40 As to the view here expressed of the unity of the three Sees of Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria, see Prolegom., p. xii.
41 “COLATICUS. Lapides quoque medicinalium, mortariarum, et pigmentariarum usibus apti (Isid. Lib. 16). Orig. cap. 4).” Du Cange. But colatum here appears to have been some drink.
42 Genus potionis, Papioe, Aegyptios vel Alexandrinos - Illud forte de quo S. Hieronymus de Vita Clericorum cum palmarum fructus exprimuntur in liquorem, coatisque frugibus aqua pinguior coloratur." Du Cange.
43 “Potionis species apud Aegyptianos, vel saltem Alexandrinos.” Du Cange.

S. Gregory I, letters 20731