S. Gregory I, letters






Register of the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great.

Book I. The Month of September, Indiction IX., Being the First Year of His Ordination.


Epistle I. To All the Bishops of Sicily.

20101 Gregory, servant of the servants of God1 , to all the bishops constituted throughout Sicily.

We have plainly perceived it to be very necessary that, even as our predecessors thought fit to do, we should commit all things to one and the same person; and that, where we cannot be present ourselves, our authority should be represented through him to whom we send our instructions. Wherefore, with the help of God, we have appointed Peter, subdeacon of our See, our delegate in the province of Sicily. Nor can we doubt as to the conduct of him to whom, with the help of God, we are known to have committed the charge of the whole patrimony of our church.

This also we have plainly perceived to be a thing that ought to be done; that once in the year your whole fraternity should assemble, at Syracuse or Catana, receiving, as we have charged him, the honour due to you; to the end that, together with the aforesaid Peter, subdeacon of our See, you may settle with due discretion whatever things pertain to the advantage of the churches of the province, or to the relief of the necessities of the poor and oppressed, or to the admonition of all, and the correction of those whose transgressions may peradventure be proved. From which council far be animosities, which are the nutriment of crimes, and may inward grudges die away, and that discord of souls which is beyond measure execrable. Let concord well-pleasing to God, and charity, approve you as His priests. Conduct all things, therefore, with such deliberation and calmness that yours may most worthily be called an Episcopal Council.

1 “Sanctus Gregorius primus omnium se principio epistolarum suarum servum servorum. Dei satis humiliter definivit.” (Joan Diac. in Vit, S. Greg. 50,2,c. 1). The designation, however, had been used by others before him, as by Pope Damasus (Ep. IV. ad Stephanum et Africoe Episcopus), and Augustine ( Vitalem). Gregory may have been the first to use it habitually. It is true that in the Registrum Epistolarum we find it four times only, viz., in the headings of Epistles I. 1, I. 36, VI. 51, XIII. 1. But it may have been omitted in the copies of his letters preserved at Rome. This is probable from the fact that it occurs in the letters relating to the English Mission as given by Bede, though absent from the same letters in the Registrum.

Epistle II. To Justinus, Praetor of Sicily.

20102 Gregory to Justinus, Praetor of Sicily.

What my tongue speaks my conscience approves; since even before you had become engaged in the employments of any office of dignity, I have greatly loved and greatly respected you. For the very modesty of your deportment made certain incipient claims on affection even from one who had been loth. And, when I heard that you had come to administer the praetorship of Sicily, I greatly rejoiced. But, since I have discovered that a certain ill-feeling is creeping in between you and the ecclesiastics, I have been exceedingly distressed. But now that you are occupied with the charge of civil administration, and I with the care of this ecclesiastical government, we can properly love one another in particular so far as we do no harm to the general community. Wherefore I beseech you by Almighty God, before Whose tremendous judgment we must give account of our deeds, that your Glory have always the fear of Him before your eyes, and never allow anything to come in whereby even slight dissension may arise between us. Let no gains draw you aside to injustice; let not either the threats or the favours of any one cause you to deviate from the path of rectitude. See how short life is: think, ye that exercise judicial authority, before what judge ye must at some time go. It is therefore to be diligently considered that we shall leave all gains behind us here, and that of harmful gains we shall carry with us to the judgment the pleas only that are against us for them. Those advantages, then, are to be sought by us which death may in no wise take away, but which the end of the present life may shew to be such as will endure for ever.

As to what you write concerning the corn, the, magnificent Citonatus asserts very differently that no more has been transmitted than what was supplied for replenishing the public granary in satisfaction of what was due for the past indiction. Give attention to this matter, since, if what is transmitted be at all defective, it will be the death not of any one single person only, but of the whole people together2 .

Now for the management of the patrimony of Sicily I have sent, as I think under the guidance of God, such a man as you will be in entire accord with, if you are a lover of what is right, as I have found you to be. Moreover, as to your desire that I should remember you kindly, I confess the truth when I say that, unless any injustice should creep in from the snares of the ancient foe I have learnt thy Glory’s modesty to be such that I shah not blush to be thy friend.

2 The population of Rome had long been greatly dependent on Sicily for the supply of corn, which it was the duty of the proetor to purchase and transmit to Rome. Famine might result from failure of this supply. Hence what is said further on tbe subject in this Epistle. Cf. “Neminem vestrum proeterit, judices omnem utilitatem opportunitatemque provincioe Sicilioe quoe ad commoda populi Romani adjuncta sit consistere in re frumentaria maxime. Nam coeteris rebus adjuvamur ex illa provincia, hac vero alimur et sustinemur.”(Cicero in Verrem, Act II. lib. 3, c. 5).

Epistle III. To Paul, Scholasticus.

20103 Gregory to Paul, &c.

However strangers smile upon me on account of the dignity of my priestly office, thisI take not much account of; but I do grieve not a little at your smiling upon me on this account, seeing that you know what I long for, and yet suppose me to have received advancement. For to me it would have been the highest advancement, if what I wished could bare been fulfilled; if I could have accomplished my desire, which you have been long acquainted with, in the enjoyment of longed-for rest. Yet, since I am now detained in the city of Rome, tied by the chains of this dignity, I have something wherein I may even rejoice in addressing your Glory, seeing that, when the most eminent Lord the ex-consul Leo comes, I suspect that you will not remain in Sicily; and when thou thyself also, tied by thine own dignity, shalt come to be detained in Rome, thou wilt come to know what sorrow and what bitterness I suffer. But when the magnificent Lord Maurentius, the Chartularius, comes to you, I pray thee concur with him in regard to the present straits of the Roman city, since outside we are stabbed without cease by hostile swords. But we are still more heavily pressed by danger within through a sedition of the soldiers. Further, we commend to your Glory in all respects Peter our sub-deacon, whom we have sent to rule the patrimony of the Church.

Epistle IV. To John, Bishop of Constantinople3 .

20104 Gregory to John, Bishop of Constantinople.

If the virtue of charity consists in the love of one’s neighbour, and we are commanded to love our neighbours as ourselves, how is it that your Blessedness does not love me even as yourself? For I know with what ardour, with what anxiety, you wished to fly from the burden of the episcopate; and yet you made no opposition to this same burden of the episcopate being imposed on me. It is evident, then, that you do not love me as yourself, seeing that you have wished me to take on myself that load which you were unwilling should be imposed on you. But since I, unworthy and weak, have taken charge of an old and grievously shattered ship (for on all sides the waves enter, and the planks, battered by a daily and violent storm, sound of shipwreck), I beseech thee by Almighty God to stretch out the hand of thy prayer to me in this my danger, since thou canst pray the more strenuously as thou standest further removed from the confusion of the tribulations which we suffer in this land.

My synodical epistle I will transmit with all possible speed, having despatched Bacauda, our brother and fellow-bishop, immediately after my ordination, as the bearer of this letter, while pressed by many and serious engagements.

Epistle V. To Theoctista, Sister of the Emperor.

20105 Gregory to Theoctista, &c

With how great devotion my mind prostrates itself before your Venerableness I cannot fully express in words; nor yet do I labour to give utterance to it, since, even though I were silent, you read in your heart your own sense of my devotion. I wonder, however, that you withdrew your countenance, till of late bestowed on me, from this my recent engagement in the pastoral office; wherein, under colour of episcopacy, I have been brought back to the world; in which I am involved in such great earthly cares as I do not at all remember having been subjected to even in a lay state of life. For I have lost the deep joys of my quiet, and seem to have risen outwardly while inwardly falling down. Whence I grieve to find myself banished far from the face of my Maker. For I used to strive daily to win my way outside the world, outside the flesh; to drive all phantasms of the body from the eyes of my soul, and to see incorporeally supernal joys; and not only with my voice but in the core of my heart I used to say, My heart hath said unto Thee, I have sought Thy face, Thy face, Lord, will I seek (
Ps 26,8). Moreover desiring nothing, fearing nothing, in this world, I seemed to myself to stand on a certain summit of things, so that I almost believed to be fulfilled in me what I had learnt of the Lord’s promise through the prophet, I will lift thee up upon the high places of the earth (Is 58,14). For he is lifted up upon the high places of the earth who treads under foot through looking down upon them in his mind even the very things of the present world which seem lofty and glorious. But, having been suddenly dashed from this summit of things by the whirlwind of this trial, I have fallen into fears and tremors, since, even though I have no fears for myself, I am greatly afraid for those who have been committed to me. On every side I am tossed by the waves of business, and sunk by storms, so that I may truly say, I am come into the depth of the sea, and the storm hath overwhelmed me (Ps 68,3 4). After business I long to return to my heart; but, driven therefrom by vain tumults of thoughts, I am unable to return. From this cause, then, that which is within me is made to be far from me, so that I cannot obey the prophetic voice which says, Return to your heart, transgressors (Is 46,8). But, pressed by foolish thoughts, I am impelled only to exclaim, My heart hath failed me (Ps 39,13 Ps 39,5). I have loved the beauty of the contemplative life as a Rachel, barren, but keen of sight and fair (Gn 29)., who, though in her quietude she is less fertile, yet sees the light more keenly. But, by what judgment I know not, Leah has been coupled with me in the night, to wit, the active life; fruitful, but tender-eyed; seeing less, but bringing forth more. I have longed to sit at the feet of the Lord with Mary, to take in the words of His mouth; and lo, I am compelled to serve with Martha in external affairs, to be careful and troubled about many things (Lc 10,39, seq.). A legion of demons having been, as I believed, east out of me, I wished to forget those whom I bad known, and to rest at the feet of the Saviour; and lo it is said to me, so as to compel me against my will, Return to thine house, and declare how great things the Lord hath done for thee (Mc 5,19). But who in the midst of so many earthly cares may be able to preach the wondrous works of God, it being already difficult for me even to call them to mind? For, pressed as I am in this office of dignity by a crowd of secular occupations, I see myself to be of those of whom it is written, While they were being raised up thou didst cast them down (Ps 72,18 6). For he said not, Thou didst east them down after they had been raised up, but while they were being raised up; because all bad men fall inwardly, while through the support of temporal dignity they seem outwardly to rise. Wherefore their very raising up is their fall, because, while they rely on false glory, they are emptied of trueglory. Hence, again, he says, Consuming away as smoke shall they consume away (Ps 36,20 7). For smoke in rising consumes away, and in extending itself vanishes. And so indeed it comes to pass when present felicity accompanies the life of a sinner, since whereby he isshewn to be exalted, thereby it is brought about that he should cease to be. Hence, again, it is written, My God, make them like a wheel (Ps 82,148). For a wheel is lifted up in its hinder parts, and in its fore parts falls. But to us the things that are behind are the goods of the present world, which we leave behind us; but the things that are before are those which are eternal and permanent, to which we are called, as Paul bears witness, saying, Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before (Ph 3,13). The sinner, therefore, when he is advanced in the present life, is made to be as a wheel, since, while falling in the things which are before, he is lifted up in the things which are behind. For, when he enjoys in this life the glory which he must leave behind, he falls from that which comes after this life. There are indeed many who knowhow so to control their outward advancement as by no means to fall inwardly thereby. Whence it is written, God casteth not away the mighty, seeing that He also Himself is mighty (Jb 36,5). And it is said through Solomon, A man of understanding shall possess governments (Pr 1,5). But to me these things are difficult, since they are also exceedingly burdensome; and what the mind has not received willingly it does not control fitly. Lo, our most serene Lord the Emperor has ordered an ape to be made a lion. And, indeed, in virtue of his order it can be called a lion, but a lion it cannot be made. Wherefore his Piety must needs himself take the blame of all my faults and short-comings, having committed a ministry of power to a weak agent

3 For notice of him, see III. 53, note.
4 In English Bible, ixix. 2.
5 Ibid. 40,12.
6 In English Bible, 73,18.
7 Ibid. 37,20.

Epistle VI. To Narses, Patrician9 .

20106 Gregory to Narses, &c

In describing loftily the sweetness of contemplation, you have renewed the groans of my fallen state, since I hear what I havelost inwardly while mounting outwardly, though undeserving, to the topmost height of rule. Know then that I am stricken with so great sorrow that I can scarcely speak; for the dark shades of grief block up the eyes of my soul. Whatever is beheld is sad, whatever is thought delightful appears to my heart lamentable For I reflect to what a dejected height of external advancement I have mounted in falling from the lofty height of my rest. And, being sent for my faults into the exile of employment from the face of my Lord, I say with the prophet, in the words, as it were of destroyed Jerusalem, (He who should comfort me hath departed far from me (
Lm 1,16). But when, in seeking a similitude to express my condition and title, you frame periods and declamations in your letter, certainly, dearest brother, you call an ape a lion. Herein we see that you do as we often do, when we call mangy whelps pards or tigers. For I, my good man, have, as it were, lost my children, since through earthly cares I have lost works of righteousness. Therefore call me not Noemi. that is fair; but call me Mara, for I am full of bitterness (Rt 1,20). But as to your saying that I ought not to have written, “That you should plough with bubali10 in the Lord’s field,” seeing that when in the sheet shewn to the blessed Peter both bubali and all wild beasts were presented to view; thou knowest thyself that it is subjoined, Slay and eat (Ac 10,13). Thou, then, who hadst not yet slain these beasts, why didst thou already wish to eat them through obedience? Or knowest thou not that the beast about which thou wrotest refused to be slain by the sword of thy mouth? Thou must needs, then, satisfy the hunger of thy desire with those whom thou hast been able to prick and slay (Lit., to slay through compunction)11 .

Further, as to the case of our brethren, I think that, if God gives aid, it will be as thou hast written. It was not, however, by any means right for me to write about it at present to our most serene lords, since at the very outset one should not begin with complaints. But I have written to my well-beloved son, the deacon Honoratus12 , that he should mention the matter to them in a suitable manner at a seasonable time, and speedily inform me of their reply. I beg greetings to be given in my behalf to the Lord Alexander, the Lord Theodorus13 , my son Marinus, the lady Esicia, the lady Eudochia, and the lady Dominica.

8 Ibid. lxxxiii. 13.
9 There are other letters from Gregory to this Narses, viz. 4,32, 6,14, and perhaps 7,30. He may have been the same as the Narses who was a famous general of the Emperor Maurice, and who was eventually burnt alive by Phocas. (Theoph., Sim. V).
10 The animal called bouvbalo" is described by Pliny (l. 8, c. 15) as “animal ferum in Africa, vitulo ac cervo simile.” The reference in the text is to Am 6,12, where the Vulgate has, “Numquid currere queunt in petris equi, aut arari potest in bubalis?” The clause in the epistle, “ut in agro Dominico cum bubalis arares,” appears to be a quotation from a previous letter of Gregory’s, in which be may have announced his election to Narses.
11 The whole passage is rather obscure to us, not having before us the letter from Narses, which is replied to, or the previous ones from Gregory to which Narses had referred. The drift seems to be as follows. Gregory, in his former letter, had compared his being elected pope to a bubalis being set to plough in the Lord’s field. Narses had replied to the effect that even if he were a bubalus, he was not therefore unfit, since bubali, with other wild beasts, had been in St. Peter’s sheet, and pronounced clean. To this Gregory now rejoins, “Yes; but those beasts were to be slain before they might be eaten; and so you must first slay me, per compuctionem-i.e. by so pricking me with ‘the sword of your mouth0’ as to induce me to comply-before you may eat me per obedientiam-i.e. make use of me in the way you wish through my obedience to your desire. Not being thus so far slain, I have a right to protest against being made pope against my will.”
12 Honoratus was at this time Gregory’s apocrisiarius at Constantinople. We find several letters addressed to him in this capacity, but none throwing light on the case here referred to.
13 Theodorus was the court Physician at Constantinople, to whom Epistles III. 66, IV. 31, VII. 28, are addressed.

Epistle VII. To Anastasius, Patriarch of Antioch

20107 14 .

Gregory to Anastasius, &c.

I have found what your Blessedness has written to be as rest to the weary, as health to the sick, as a fountain to the thirsty, as shade to the oppressed with heat. For those words of yours did not seem even to be expressed by the tongue of the flesh, inasmuch as you so disclosed the spiritual love which you bear me as if your soul itself were speaking. But very hard was that which followed, in that your love enjoined me to bear earthly burdens, and that, having first loved me spiritually, you afterwards, loving me as I think in temporal wise, pressed me down to the ground with the burden you laid upon me; so that, losing utterly all uprightness of soul, and forfeiting the keen vision of contemplation, I may say, not in the spirit of prophecy, but from experience, I am bowed down and brought low altogether (
Ps 118,107 15). For indeed such great burdens of business press me down that my mind can in no wise lift itself up to heavenly things. I am tossed by the billows of a multitude of affairs, and, after the ease of my former quiet, am afflicted by the storms of a tumultuous life, so that I may truly say, I am come into the depth of the sea, and the storm hath overwhelmed me (Ps 68,3). 16 ). Stretch out, therefore, the hand of your prayer to me in my danger, you that stand on the shore of virtue. But as to your calling me the mouth and the lantern of the Lord, and alleging that I profit many, this also adds to the load of my iniquities, that, when my iniquity ought to have been chastised, I receive praises instead of chastisement. But with what a bustle of earthly business I am distracted in this place, I cannot express in words; yet you can gather it from the shortness of this letter, in which I say so little to him who I love above all others. Further, I apprize you that I have requested our most serene lords with all possible urgency to allow you to come to the threshold of Peter, the prince of the apostles, with your dignity restored to you, and to live here with me so long as it may please God; to the end that, as long as I am accounted worthy of seeing you, we may relieve the weariness of our pilgrimage by speaking to each other of the heavenly country

14 Anastasius had been threatened with deposition and exile (a.d. 563) by the Emperor Justinian, and the sentence had been carried into effect (a.d. 570) by Justinian’s successor, Justin II. Notwithstanding this, Gregory after his own accession acknowledged him as the true patriarch of Antioch; and, probably owing to his intercession with the Emperor Maurice, Anastasius wes restored to his patriarchal See on the death of Gregory, who had been intruded into it, a.d. 593. Other Epistles to, or concerning this Anastasius are I. 25, 26, 28; V. 39; VII. 27, 33; VIII. 2.
15 In English Bible, 119,107.
16 Ibib. 69,2.

Epistle IX. To Peter the Subdeacon.

20109 Gregory to Peter, &c.

Gregory, a servant of God, presbyter and abbot of the monastery of Saint Theodore in the province of Sicily constituted in the territory of Panormus, has given us to understand that men of the farm of Fulloniacus, which belongs to the holy Roman Church, are endeavouring to encroach on the boundaries of the farm of Gerdinia, bordering on the said farm of the holy Roman Church, which they [i.e. monks of St. Theodore] have possessed without dispute for innumerable years. And for this cause we desire you to go to the city of Panormus, and investigate the question in such sort (with the view of the right of possession remaining with those who have had it heretofore) that, if you shall find that the aforesaid monastery of Saint Theodore has possessed the boundaries concerning which the dispute has arisen without disturbance for forty years, you shall not allow it to suffer any damage, even though it were to the advantage of the holy Roman Church, but provide in all ways for its undisturbed security. But, if the agents of the holy Roman Church should shew that the monastery has not been in possession without dispute of its right for forty years, but that any question has been raised within that time concerning the said boundaries, let it be set at rest peaceably and legally by arbitrators chosen for the purpose. For not only do we wish that questions of wrong-doing that have never yet been mooted should be raised, but also that such as have been raised by others than ourselves should be speedily set at rest. Let thy Experience, therefore, cause all to be so effectively adjusted, that no question relating to this matter may be hereafter referred to us again. Further, we desire that the testament of Bacauda, late Xenodochus, continue valid as when first made.

The month of November: ninth Indiction.

Epistle X. To Bacauda and Agnellus, Bishops.

20110 Gregory to Bacauda, &c

The Hebrews dwelling in Terracina have petitioned us for licence to hold, under our authority, the site of their synagogue which they have held hitherto. But, inasmuch as we have been informed that the same site is so near to the church that even the sound of their psalmody reaches it, we have written to our brother and fellow-bishop Peter that, if it is the case that the voices from the said place are heard in the church, the Jews must cease to worship there. Therefore let your Fraternity, with our above-named brother and fellow-bishop, diligently inspect this place, and if you find that there has been any annoyance to the church, provide another place within the fortress, where the aforesaid Hebrews may assemble, so that they may be able to celebrate their ceremonies without impediment17 . But let your Fraternity provide such a place, in case of their being deprived of this one, that there be no cause of complaint in future. But we forbid the aforesaid Hebrews to be oppressed or vexed unreasonably; but, as they are permitted, in accordance withjustice, to live under the protection of theRoman laws, let them keep their observances as they have learnt them, no one hinderingthem: yet let it not be allowed them to have Christian slaves.

17 For the results of this order, see below, Ep. 35. For other instances of Gregory’s tolerant attitude towards Jews, and his deprecation of force being used for their conversion, see that Epistle, and also I. 47; IX. 6. But he is strict in prohibiting their possession of slaves who were already, or might become, Christians, and will allow them no compensation for the loss of such (cf. 3,38: IV. 9, 21: IX. 109, 110).

Epistle XI. To Clementina, Patrician

20111 18 .

Gregory to Clementina, &c.

Having received your Glory’s letter speaking of the passing away of the late Eutherius of magnificent memory, we give you to understand that our mind no less than yours is disturbed by such a sorrow, in that we see how men of approved repute are by degrees removed from this world, whose ruin is already evidenced in the actual effects of the causes thereof. But it becomes us to withdraw ourselves from it by the wise precaution of conversion19 , lest it involve us too in its own ruin. And indeed our sorrow for the loss of friends ought to be the more tolerable as our condition of mortality requires from us that we should lose them. Nevertheless, for the loss of aid to our carnal life He Who granted permission for its removal is powerful to console, and to come Himself as a comforter into the vacant place.

That we are unable to accede to your request that the deacon Anatholius should be sent to you is due to the circumstances of the case, and not to any rigorous austerity. For we have appointed him our steward20 , having committed our episcopal residence to his management.

18 Another Epistle, X. 15, is addressed to the same lady.
19 The word conversio commonly denotes entering a monastery.
20 Vicedominum.

Epistle XII. To John, Bishop of Urbs Vetus (Orvieto).

20112 Gregory to John, &c.

Agapitus, abbot of the monastery of St. George, informs us that he endures many grievances from your Holiness; and not only in things that might be of service to the monastery in time of need, but that you even prohibit the celebration of masses in the said monastery, and also interdict burial of the dead there. Now, if this is so, we exhort you to desist from such inhumanity, and allow the dead to be buried, and masses to be celebrated there without any further opposition, lest the aforesaid venerable Agapitus should be compelled to complain anew concerning the matters referred to.

Epistle XVI to Severus, Bishop of Aquileia

20116 21 .

Gregory to Severus, &c.

As, when one who walks through devious ways takes anew the right path, the Lord embraces him with all eagerness, so afterwards, when one deserts the way of truth, He is more saddened with grief for him than He rejoiced over him with joy when he turned from error; since it is a less degree of sin not to know the truth than not to abide in it when known: and what is committed in error is one thing, but what iS perpetrated knowingly is another. And we, from having formerly rejoiced in thy being incorporated in the unity of the Church, are now the more abundantly distressed for thy dissociation from the catholic society. Accordingly we desire thee, at the instance of the bearer of these presents, according to the command of the most Christian and most serene Emperor, to come with thy adherents to the threshold of the blessed Apostle Peter, that, a synod being assembled by the will of God, judgment may be passed concerning the doubt that is entertained among you.

21 The bishops of Istria, of whom the bishop Aquilea was Metropolitan, still refused to accept the decree of the fifth (Ecumenical Council, which had, under the dictation of the Emperor Justinian, condemned certain writings of three deceased prelates, Theodore of Mopsuesta, Theodoret and Ibas, called “the three chapters” (tria capitula). Severus the Metropolitan, summoned in this letter with his suffragans to Rome, disregarded the summons, going instead, at the instance of the Exarch Smaragdus, to Ravenna, where he remained a year. On his return to his See he still held out, though many of his bishops conformed. A schism hence ensued in Istria, which continued during the life of Gregory (Joan. Diac). Vit. S. Greg. 4,37, 38). Other Epistles referring to the Istrian schism are II. 46, 51; V. 51; IX. 9, 10; XIII. 33.

Epistle XVII. To All the Bishops of Italy.

Gregory to all, &c.

Inasmuch as the abominable Autharit22 during this Easter solemnity which has been lately completed, forbade children of Lombards being baptized in the catholic faith, for which sin the Divine Majesty cut him off, so that he should not see the solemnity of another Easter, it becomes your Fraternity to warn all the Lombards in your districts, seeing that grievous mortality is everywhere imminent, that they should reconcile these their children who have been baptized in Arian heresy to the catholic faith, and so appease the wrath of the Almighty Lord which hangs over them. Warn, then, those whom you can; with all the power of persuasion you possess seize on them, and bring them to a right faith; preach to them eternal life without end; that, when you shall come into the sight of the strict judge, you may be able, in consequence of your solicitude, to shew in your own persons a shepherd’s gains.

22 Autharit (al). Autharith, called by Paul. Diac). Authari). who died at Pavia in this year (a.d. 591) had been king of the Lombards for six years, having effected extensive conquests in Italy. “Rex Authari apud Ticinum Nonas Septembris veneno, ut tradunt, accepto moritur, postquam sex regnaverat annos.” (Paul. Diac. de gestis Longob. 3,36). It is he who is said to have advanced to Rhegium at the toe of Italy. And there, riding up to a pillar in the sea, to have touched it with the point of his spear, and said, “As far as this shall the boundaries of the Lombards extend.” (Paul. Diac. iii. 33). He had been a determined Arian. He was succeeded by Agilulph, whom his widow Theodelinda, a Catholic Bavarian princess, selected as her consort. With her Gregory carried on a very friendly correspondence and probably through her influence, Agilulph himself, originally an Arian is said to have been converted to Catholicity. Gregory’s letters to Theodelinda are IV. 4, 38; IX. 43; XIV. 12.

S. Gregory I, letters