S. Gregory I, letters 20438
20438 Gregory to Theodelina, Queen of the Lombards46 .
It has come to our knowledge from the report of certain persons that your Glory has been led on by some bishops even to the offence against holy Church of suspending yourself from the communion of Catholic unanimity. Now the more we sincerely love you, the more seriously are we distressed about you, that you believe unskilled and foolish men, who not only do not know what they talk about, but can hardly understand what they have heard; who, while they neither read themselves, nor believe those who do, remain in the same error which they have themselves feigned to themselves concerning us For we venerate the four holy synods; the Nicene, in which Arius, the Constantinopolitan, in which Macedonius, the first Ephesine, in which Nestorius, and the Chalcedonians, in which Eutyches and Dioscorus, were condemned; declaring that whosoever thinks otherwise than these four synods did is alien from the true faith. We also condemn whomsoever they condemn, and absolve whomsoever they absolve, smiting, with interposition of anathema, any one who presumes to add to or take away from the faith of the same four synods, and especially that of Chalcedon, with respect to which doubt and occasion of superstition has arisen in the minds of certain unskilled men.
Seeing, then, that you know the integrity of our faith from my plain utterance and profession, it is right that you should have no further scruple of doubt with respect to the Church of the blessed Peter, Prince of the apostles: but persist ye in the true faith, and make your life firm on the rock of the Church; that is on the confession of the blessed Peter, Prince of the apostles, lest all those tears of yours and all those good works should come to nothing, if they are found alien from the true faith. For as branches dry up without the virtue of the root, so works, to whatsoever degree they may seem good, are nothing, if they are disjoined from the solidity of the faith.
It therefore becomes your Glory to send a communication with all speed to our most reverend brother and fellow-bishop Constantius, of whose faith and life I have long been well assured, and to signify by your letters addressed to him how kindly you accept his ordination, and that you are in no wise separated from the communion of his Church, so that we may truly rejoice with a common exultation, as for a good and faithful daughter. Know also that you and your works will please God, if, before his assize comes, they be approved by the judgment of his priests.
20439 Gregory to Constantius, Bishop of Mediolanum (Milan).
Having read the letter of your Holiness, we find that you are in a state of serious distress, principally on account of the bishops and citizens of Briscia (Brescia)who bid you send them a letter in which you are asked to swear that you have not condemned the Three Chapters47 . Now, if your Fraternity’s predecessor Laurentius did not do this, it ought not to be required of you. But, if he did it, he was not with the universal Church, and contradicted what he had sworn to in his security48 . But, inasmuch as we believe him to have kept his oath, and to have continued in the unity of the Catholic Church, there is no doubt that he did not swear to any of his bishops that he had not condemned theThree Chapters. Hence your Holiness may conclude that you ought not to be forced to do what was in no wise done by your predecessor. But, lest those who have thus written to you should be offended, send them a letter declaring under interposition of anathema that you neither take away anything from the faith of the synod of Chalcedon nor received those who do, and that you condemn whomsoever it condemned, and absolve whomsoever it absolved. And thus I believe that they may be very soon satisfied49
Further, as to what you write about many of them being offended because you name our brother and fellow-bishop John of the Church of Ravenna during the solemnities of mass, you should enquire into the ancient custom; and, if it has been the custom, it ought not now to be found fault with by foolish men. But, if it has not been the custom, a tiring ought not to be done at which some may possibly take offence. Yet I have been at pains to make careful enquiry whether the same John our brother and fellow-bishop names you at the altar; and they say that this is not done. And, if he does not make mention of your name, I know not what necessity obliges you to make mention of his. If indeed it can be done without any one taking offence, your doing anything of this kind is very laudable, since you shew the charity you have towards your brethren.
Further, as to what you write of your having been unwilling to transmit my letter to QueenTheodelinda on the ground that the fifth synod was named in it, if you believed that she might thereby be offended, you did right in not transmitting it. We are therefore doing now as you recommend, namely, that we should only express approval of the four synods. Yet, as to the synod which was afterwards held in Constantinople, called by many the fifth, I would have you know that it neither ordained nor held anything in opposition to the four most holy synods, seeing that nothing was done in it with respect to the faith, but only with respect to persons; and persons, too, about whom nothing is contained in the acts of the Council of Chalcedon50 but, after the canons had been promulged, discussion arose, and final action was ventilated concerning persons. Yet still we have done as you desired, making no mention of this synod. But we have also written to our daughter the queen what you wrote to us about the bishops. Ursicinus, who wrote something to you against our brother and fellow-bishop John, you ought by your letters addressed to him, with sweetness and reason, to restrain from his intention. Further, concerning Fortunatus51 , we desire your Fraternity to be careful, lest you be in any way surreptitiously influenced by bad men. For I hear that he ate at the table of the Church with your predecessor Laurentius for many years until now, that he sat among the nobles, and subscribed, and that with our brother’s knowledge he served in the army. And now, after so many years, your Fraternity thinks that he should be driven from the position which he now occupies. This seems to me altogether incongruous. And so I have given you this order through him, but privately. Still, if there is anything reasonable that can be alleged against him, it ought to be submitted to our judgment. But, if it please Almighty God, we will send letters through your man to our son the Lord Dynamius.
20446 Gregory to Rusticiana, &c.
On receiving your Excellency’s letters I was glad to hear that you had reached Mount Sinai. But believe me, I too should have liked to go with you, but by no means to return with you. And yet I find it very difficult to believe that you have been at the holy places and seen many Fathers. For I believe that, if you had seen them, you would by no means have been able to return so speedily to the city of Constantinople. But now that the love of such a city has in no wise departed from your heart, I suspect that your Excellency did not from the heart devote yourself to the holy things which you saw with the bodily eye. But may Almighty God illuminate your mind by the grace of His lovingkindness and give unto you to be wise, and to consider how fugitive are all temporal things, since, while we are thus speaking, both time runs on and the Judge approaches, and lo the moment is even now near when against our will we must give up the world which of our own accord we will not. I beg that the Lord Apio and the lady Eusebia, and their daughters, be greeted in my behalf. As to that lady my nurse, whom you commend to me by letter, I have the greatest regard for her, and desire that she should be in no way incommoded. But we are pressed by such great straits that we cannot excuse even ourselves from exactions (angariis)52 and burdens at this present time.
20447 Gregory to Sabinianus, &c.
Thou knowest what has been done in the case of the prevaricator Maximus54 . For after the most serene Lord the Emperor had Sent orders that he should not be ordained55 , then he broke out into a higher pitch of pride. For the men of the glorious patrician Romanus56 received bribes from him, and caused him to be ordained in such a manner that they would have killed Antoninus, the sub-deacon and rector of the patrimony, if he had not fled. But I despatched letters to him, after I had learnt that he had been ordained against reason and custom, telling him not to presume to celebrate the solemnities of mass unless I should first ascertain from our most serene lords what they had ordered with regard to him. And these my letters, having been publicly promulged or posted in the city, he caused to be publicly torn, and thus bounced forth more openly into contempt of the Apostolic See. How I was likely to endure this thou knowest, seeing that I was before prepared rather to die than that the Church of the blessed apostle Peter should degenerate in my days. Moreover thou art well acquainted with my ways, that I bear long; but if once I have determined not to bear, I go gladly in the face of all dangers. Whence it is necessary with the help of God to meet danger, lest he be driven to sin to excess. Look to what I say, and consider what great grief inspires it.
But it has come to my ears that he has sent [to Constantinople] a cleric, I know not whom, to say that the bishop Malchus57 was put to death in prison for money. Now as to this there is one thing that thou mayest shortly suggest to our most serene lords;—that, if I their servant had been willing to have anything to do with the death of Lombards, the nation of the Lombards at this day would have had neither king nor dukes nor counts, and would have been divided in the utmost confusion. But, since I fear God, I shrink from having anything to do with the death of any one. Now the bishop Malchus was neither in prison nor in any distress; but on the day when he pleaded his cause and was sentenced he was taken without my knowledge by Boniface the notary to his house, where a dinner was prepared for him, and there he dined, and was treated with honour by the said Boniface, and in the night suddenly died, as I think you have already been informed. Moreover I had intended to send our Exhilaratus to you in connection with that business; but, as I considered that the case was now done with, I consequently abstained from doing so).
1 As to the schism from Rome in the province of Istria consequent on the condemnation of “The Three Chapters” by the fifth General Council, see I.16, note 3. It appears that in the adjacent province of Liguria, of which Mediolanum (Milan) was the metropolis, there was a like rejection of the fifth council on the part at least of some bishops, who had consequently declined communion with their newly-appointed Metropolitan Constantius, who was believed to have agreed formally to the condemnation of The Three Chapters.
2 Cautionem fecisse: i.e. had pledged himself to the pope by a formal document to uphold the fifth council in its condemnation of the said Chapters.
3 Theodelinda the Lombard queen was a catholic Christian, though her husband Agilulph was still an Arian. Ticinum (or Pavia), which was the residence of the Lombard Kings, was under the Metropolitan jurisdiction of Milan; and it appears that, under the influence of the dissentient bishops of the province, she too had refused to communicate with the new Metropolitan. Gregory’s anticipation, expressed in what follows, that she would easily be brought round, was premature: for ten years later (a.d.603–4) we find Gregory still taking pains to overcome her scruples with regard to the fifth council. See XIV. 12.
4 Viz. Epistle 4 below. This letter, however, was not delivered to the queen by the bishop Constantius, to whom it had been sent, because of the allusion contained in it to the fifth council, which she appears to have been resolute in rejecting. The new bishop thought she would be more likely to accept him as orthodox, if it were only said that he adhered in all respects to the faith of the four previous councils, including that of Chalcedon. See below, Ep. 39. Accordingly another letter (Ep 38), in which allusion to the fifth council was omitted, was prepared and sent in accordance with the advice of Constantius. See further, note 8, under Epistle 3.
5 I.e. Agilulph the Lombard King. The time (Indict. XII. i.e.a.d.593–4) was after he had invested Rome and returned to Pavia, and when Gregory had in vain urged Romanus Patricius, the Exarch at Ravenna, to come to terms with him. Gregory appears prepared to approach him now with a view to a separate peace with himself, which he says afterwards (see (V. 36, 40) he could have made if he had been so minded. Letters bearing on the subject are V. 36, 40, 41, 42; VI. 30; IX. 4, 6, 42, 43, 98. See also Proleg. p. xxi.
6 I.e. Romanus Patricius, the Exarch.
7 Cautionem fecisse. See Ep. 2, note 2.
8 The contention of those who disapproved of the condemnation of “The Three Chapters” by the fifth council was not only that the condemnation of deceased persons was wrong as wellas useless, but also that it impugned the faith of the Council of Chalcedon. For that Council had not condemned the writers who were now condemned; and two of them, Theodoret of Cyrus and Ibas of Edessa, had even appeared before it, and been accepted as orthodox. Further, the condemnation was regarded as a concession to the Monophysites who had been condemned at Chalcedon, the writers in question having been peculiarly obnoxious to the Monophysite party. And it does appear to be the case that a main motive of the Emperor Justinian in forcing the condemnation of The Three Chapters on the Church had been to conciliate the Monophysites, and to induce them to conform. Hence Gregory’s anxiety to shew that what had been done at the fifth did not touch the faith as previously defined.
9 This letter was not delivered to Theodelinda, Epistle XXXVIII. having been afterwards substituted for it. See note 4 under Ep. 2).
10 See 1. 44, p. 91; also below, Ep.36.
11 Conversam, with the usual sense of monastic profession).
12 See II. 48, note 1.
13 For subsequent proceedings with regard to this intended monastery, see IV. 15; V. 2).
14 For the meaning of this order, and its subsequent modification, see note IV. 26.
15 The word damnosa, meaning perhaps injuriously excessive.
16 On the occasion of this Epistle, see III. 47, note 2).
17 See II. 7.
18 For the canonical rule as to the fourfold division of the Church funds, cf. Gregory’s letter to Augustine, XI. 64 Responsio prima).
19 See also IV. 8, and V. 2.
20 The farm Piscenas appears to have been held by the tenure called Emphyteusis, according to which the, possessor of the land (called also Emphyteuta) was not its real owner, though on condition of his cultivating it properly and paying certain fixed dues to the owner (dominus), he had a perpetual right of possession (jus in re), which passed to his heirs, and could be sold by him to others. In the latter case, however, the dominus had the option of himself buying up the possessor’s right at the price offered by the proposed purchaser, and he could object to the transference of possessio to persons unable to maintain the property in good condition. In all cases of transference, other than devolution to heirs, a fiftieth part of the purchase money, or of the value of the property, was also payable to the dominus. (Article on Emphyteusis in Smith’s Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities). In the case before us the lord of the property seems to have refused his consent to any part of it being alienated in Mortmain to a monastery. It may be supposed that the possession of the farm Piscenas had been in Stephen the testator himself when he directed a monastery to be founded on it, and that it had passed after his death into other hands.
21 Peregrinum presbyterum; meaning apparently one not belonging to the house as a member of it, though living and maintained there.
22 See III. 47, note 2.
23 Sacerdotii ordinem, meaning here, as elsewhere, the order of episcopacy).
24 On the holding of Christian slaves by Jews, and the treatment of Jews generally, cf). Proleg. p. xxi.
25 The Barbaricini appear to have been a native tribe in Sardinia, having its own duke, Zabardas (see (Ep 24) being the duke on the island.
26 These two ecclesiastics had been sent into Sardinia to promote the conversion of the natives, which seems to have been remissly attended to, not only by the Christian lay proprietor but also by the bishops of the island. See below, Epp. 25, 26. The bishop Felix was not commissioned to supercede the ordinary episcopal jurisdiction, but to act as a missionary bishop in aid. Cf. V. 41.
27 Benedictio, here as elsewhere, means a present:-in this case, being said to be from St. Peter, containing doubtless something that had acquired sanctity from him probably, as in other cases, filings from his chains. Cf. I. 26, note 3).
28 See preceeding Epistle.
29 See above, Ep. 23.
30 As to rustici, or coloni, see 50,44, note 1.
31 Cf. IV. 23, note 8).
32 The rustici, or coloni, who cultivated the land, made their living out of it, having to pay dues in money or in kind (see (I. 44). Gregory’s suggestion is that such dues should be made so heavy in the case of natives who refused to be converted as to starve them into compliance. Elsewhere we find him deprecating compulsion, or any kind of persecution, for the conversion of Jews and heretics, on the ground that forced conversions were unreal. But he appears to have had no such conpunctions in the case of these illiterate pagans. This is not the only instance of religious zeal betraying him into a certain human inconsistency. Cf. IX. 65.
33 See above, IV. 9. There is some doubt as to what the practice was which Gregory had forbidden in his former epistle but now allows. In Ep IX. he had said, “Episcopi baptizatos infantes signare bis in fronte chrismate non proesumant; sed presbyteri baptizandos ungant in pectore, ut episcopi postmodum ungere debeant in fronte.” There is obvious reference here to the two unctions, before and after baptism. The first, in preparation for baptism, was with simple oil, on the breast and other parts of the body, and was administered by presbyters both in the East and West: the second for confirmation after baptism, was with chrism (a mixture of oil and balsam) on the forehead, and in the Eastern Churches might be, as it still is, administered immediately after baptism by the baptizing presbyter, but in the West was usually reserved for the bishop in person. It would seem that in Sardinia the Eastern usage had been followed with regard to the presbyter signing the baptized child on the forehead with chrism immediately after baptism, but that it had been also customary for the bishop afterward to repeat the rite (“signare bis in fronte chrismate ”). Such repetition Gregory, in Ep. IX.,appears to forbid in cases where the presbyter had already administered the rite; but, in the second clause of the sentence, he directs that the Western usage should thenceforth be observed: the presbyter who baptized was to anoint on the breast before the baptism; but the bishop, and he alone, on the forehead with chrism afterwards. Such being the most obvious meaning of what is said in Ep. IX. the equally obvious meaning of the concession in Ep. XXVI. would be allowance for presbyters in the absence of bishops, to confirm with chrism after baptism, according to the Eastern usage, but for the fact that the expression now used is not baptizatos, but baptizandos. Hence one opinion is that all that is here allowed to presbyters is the anointing of the forehead with chrism, as well as the breast with oil, previously to baptism; in which case of course it would not be confirmation. But it seems more likely that the intention to allow presbyters to administer confirmation in the absence of bishops, the term baptizandos being used loosely to denote candidates for baptism. The fact that it is only where bishops could not be had (ubi desunt episcopi) that the practice is allowed adds probability to this view; and also his sayinig that in his previous prohibition he had been following the ancient custom of the Roman Church, which was to reserve the signing the forehead with chrism after baptism, i.e. confirmation, to the bishop. Innocent I. (Ep 1, ad 1, Ep c . lays down the rule thus; “Presbyteris, qui, seu extra episcopum seu proesente episcopo, baptizant, chrismate baptizatos ungere licet, sed quod episcopo fuerit consecratum; non tamen frontem ex eodem oleo signare, quod solis debetur episcopis, quum tradunt Spiritum Sanctum Paracletum.” Here, we observe, the usage of the Roman Church allows the baptizing presbyter to anoint with chrism after baptism, only not therewith to sign the forehead for actual confirmation; and this is still the Roman usage. It should observed further that in all cases, in the East as well in the West confirmation was regarded as belonging peculiarly to the Bishop’s office, the chrism used having always been consecrated by him, though it might applied by presbyters: and thus Gregory, in allowing presbyters to administer the rite in Sardinia would not regard any essential principle of Church order as being infringed. He only shews the same wise liberality as we find evidence of in other cases, allowing varieties of usage in various churches, where no important principle seemed to involved. Thus he approves of single instead of triune immersion in baptism being practised in Spain (I. 43), and bids Augustine in England adopt according to his discretion the customs of other Churches (XI. 64). With regard to the essential form of confirmation recognized in the time of Gregory, it appears evidently from these epistles to have been unction, and not mere imposition of hands. It is also evident that it was administered, as in the East now, to infants; cf. XIII. Is 18, where the phrase is “ consignandos imantes.”
34 For what was meant by religiosi and religoisoe, see I. 61, note 7. It appears from what is said here that persons recognized as such were ordinarily exempt from certain claims upon them by the state to which others might be liable.
35 For the meaning of religiosi, see I. 61, n. 7. They were not of necessity clerici. In X. 54, we find religiosi laico).
36 “Mansionarius). Sacristain d’une église, chargé de la garder, de sonner les cloches pour l’office divin, de préparer les reliquaires, etc.” D’Arnis).
37 Benedictionem in the sense of a present, as elsewhere in the epistles. Cf. Gn 33,11 2R 5,14.
38 Probably Athanasius and John. See III. 53.
39 In English Bible, 102,4.
40 As to imperial edicts against the African Donatists, see I. 74, note 8. It would seem from this and the following letter that enforcement of the laws for their repression had been relaxed of late. It will be observed from this and other instances that Gregory, though often in general terms deprecating the use of force in matters of faith, did not scruple, when occasion arose to call in the aid of the secular arm; and in this case with some heat and acrimony. Cf. IV. 35, below.
41 This Paul was one of the bishops of Numidia, against whom some charges of misconduct, not specified, had been brought. His case has some significance as shewing that, though the spiritual authority of the bishop of Rome over the Church in Africa had now come to be acknowledged in a way that it had not been in the age of Cyprian, yet there seems to have been still some resistance to its exercise. This appears also from the fact that it was not the primate of Numidia, but Columbus, a bishop notable for his devotion to the Roman See, that Gregory mainly and most confidentially corresponded with in relation to ecclesiastical affairs (see (II. 48, note 1), and that this Columbus complained of being in disfavour with many on the ground of the frequent communications he received from Rome (VII. 2). In the case before us Gregory’s desire (urgently expressed in this letter to Pantaleo, and in that which follows to the primate and Columbus, jointly), that Paul should at once be sent to Rome for trial was not complied with. For two years later (VI. 61) Gregory complains of this, and also expresses surprize that the accused bishop should have been excommunicated by the African authorities, and no news sent thereof to himself by the pimate. Then, in the following year (VII. 2), writing to Columbus, he finds himself unable to refuse his assent to Paul’s resorting to Constantinople to lay his case before the Emperor. However in the year after this it seems that he did go at length to Rome, but not so as to have his case decided there: for Gregory sends him back to Africa to have his case inquired into, only enjoining Columbus, to whom he writes, to do his utmost to see justice done, he himself believing the accused to be innocent, and attributing the charges against him to odium incurred by his measures against the Donatists. The final issue does not appear. See also XII. 8).
42 Victor was now primate of Numidia, having succeeded Adeodatus (see (III. 49). As to the African custom with respect to primates, see I. 74, note 9. For notice of Columbus, see II. 48, note 7.
43 See Last Epistle, note 4.
44 Catana was one of the sees in Sicily.
45 This order had been given by pope Pelagius II.a.d.588. In I. 44 Gregory had seen fit to relax the stringency of this order in the case of existing subdeacons who had not on their ordination pledged themselves to chastity).
46 This letter was substituted for Ep. IV. which had been previously written, but not delivered. See note 4 under Epistle II. above.
47 See above, Epistle II., note 1.
48 Cautionis suoe, as to the meaning of which express, see above, Epistle II., note 2. It appears certain from what Gregory says, here and in Epistle II., that Laurentius, the predecessor of Constantius, had pledged himself by oath to the bishop of Rome to uphold the condemnation of “The Three Chapters.” But it seems that some of his suffragans now asserted that he had sworn to them that he had not assented to such condemnation, and that on this understanding they had remained in his communion. Gregory does not seem certain how the matter stood: but he goes on the supposition that he could not have perjured himself as the bishops alleged.
49 See above, Ep.11., note 4.
50 Here Gregory is in error, for in the eighth, ninth, and tenth sessions of the council of Chalcedon Theodoret and Ibas, whose writings were anathematized in that fifth council, were heard in their own defence, and definitely acquitted of heresy. It is true that there is no mention of them in the Definition of faith, agreed upon in the fifth session of Chalcedon, or in the Canons which were perhaps all that Gregory had before him. It is true also that there was no reference at Chalcedon to Theodore of Mopsuestia, who was especially and personally anathematized at the fifth council, he having died many years before the council of Chalcedon was held. But the cases of Theodoret and Ibas had been prominently before the synod; and this not, as Gregory here goes on to intimate, in a supplementary sort of way at the end of the main proceedings: for the eighth, ninth, and tenth sessions had been occupied with them, after which there had been other sessions. For similar inaccuracy on Gregory’s part in referring to past events, see II. 51, note 2; and for an instance of his imperfect acquaintance with the history of past controversies, see VII. 4.
51 Concerning this Fortunatus, see also V. 4.
52 The word angaria, which is of frequent occurrence, denotes exactions and forced services of various kinds.
53 (He was the pope’s apocrisiarius at Constantinople.
54 See III. 47, note 2.
55 In his letter to Maximus (IV. 20), Gregory had only expressed a suspicion that the alleged order of the Emperor for his consecration had been fictitious. He now seems to have satisfied himself that it was so. For a review of the whole case, see III. 47, note 2.
56 Romanus Patricius was the Exarch of Italy. See I. 33; II. 46; III. 31; V. 24.
57 See II. 20, note 5.
20502 Gregory to Felix, &c.
The tenor of the report submitted to you sufficiently explains the complaint of the religious lady Theodosia, in which we have found on reading it many heads of accusation, not befitting priestly gentleness, against our brother and fellow-bishop Januarius; so much so that, after the foundation by her of a monastery for servants of God, all that pertains to avarice, turbulence, and wrong is said to have been exhibited at the time of the very dedication of the oratory. Wherefore, if the case is as we find in her aforesaid representation, and if you are aware that anything at all unbecoming has been committed besides, we exhort you that, all wrongs having first been redressed, you press upon Musicus, the abbot of the monastery of Agilitanus2 , that he lose no time in giving the greatest attention to his monks whom he had began to settle there, to the end that, this venerable place being with the Lord’s help set in order by you in a decent and regular manner, neither may we be disturbed by the frequent complaints of the aforesaid religious lady that her good desires are not fulfilled, nor may it be to the detriment of your soul that so pious a design should languish, as we do not believe it will, through any neglect of yours.
20504 Gregory to Constantius, Bishop of Mediolanum (Milan).
If licence to be restored to their rank be granted to the lapsed, the force of ecclesiastical discipline is undoubtedly broken, while in the hope of restoration each person fears not to give way to his evil inclinations. Your Fraternity, for instance, has consulted us as to whether Amandinus, ex-presbyter and ex-abbot, who was deposed by your predecessor for fault requiring it, should be called back to his rank; which thing is not allowable; and we decree that it cannot on any account be done. Yet, if it should be the case that his manner of life deserves it, seeing that he has been deprived altogether of his sacred office, assign him a place in a monastery, as you may see fit, before other monks. Above all things, then, take care that no one’s supplication persuade you in any way to restore the lapsed to their sacred orders, lest such punishment should be supposed not to be definitely ordained for them, but only a temporary expedient.
As to Vitalianus the ex-presbyter, about whom you write that he should be strictly guarded, we will cause him to be sent into Sicily, that, being deprived of all hope of departure thence, he may then at least constrain himself to penitential bewailing. Jobinus also, of Portus Veneris, once deacon and abbot, we have decreed to be deprived of his office, and written that another should be ordained in his place In like manner also we decree that the three subdeacons, whom your Fraternity has notified to us as having lapsed, shall ever cease from and stand deprived of their office, and that nothing beyond lay communion be allowed them. Further, we have adjudged the ex-presbyter Saturninus to give security that he will not ever presume to approach the ministry of his sacred order. And we desire him to remain, with deprivation of his sacred order, in the same island in which he was, permitting him to have and exercise care and solicitude with respect to monasteries; for we believe that, his lapse having made him more wary, he will now the more carefully keep guard over those who are committedto him.
Further, concerning John, notary of your church, the charity wherewith we love you and have long loved you warns us to write, lest you should order anything with regard to him while you are still provoked by his fault. Guarding, then, against this, enquire fully by all means in your power into the possessions of your church; by which melons neither may you offend God, nor may lie be able to find a ground for accusing you before men. For we write, not as defending John or commending him personally without reason, but lest your soul should be in any way burdened with sin under the incitement of anger. Whence it is needful, as we have, before said, that you should by no means neglect to enquire, in the fear of God, with a full investigation into the possessions of your church.
Furthermore, the epistle of your most dear Fraternity has caused us to wonder much with respect to the person of Fortunatus3 . But either that letter was not dictated by you, or certainly, if it is yours, we by no means recognize in it our brother the Lord Constantius. For you ought to have paid, and still ought to pay, attention to the fact that it is in behalf of your reputation that we write. For, when he asserts that he suffers wrong among you, and has been unable to procure the guardian’s (defensoris) aid, what else does he intimate but ill-will on your part? Wherefore, that neither this affair may dim your reputation in some quarters nor damage possibly ensue in any way with good cause to your church, you ought to send hither a person instructed by you, that the nature of the case may be examined, and the matter terminated, without ill-will on your part. And for this reason especially, that if, after his complaint, sentence should be pronounced among yourselves in your favour, he will be believed to have been defeated, not reasonably, but by power alone. But we, out of the charity wherewith we are bored to you, desist not from admonishing you to do what will be for your good repute, knowing that, though this exhortation saddens you for the time, it will afterwards cause you joy, when the animosity of contention has passed away. In the month of September, Indiction 13. (In Vatic). The month of December, Indict. 13).
S. Gregory I, letters 20438