S. Gregory I, letters 20912

Epistle XII.

TO John, Bishop OF Syracuse.

Gregory to John, &c.

One coming from Sicily has told me that some friends of his, whether Greeks or Latins I know not, as though moved by zeal for the holy Roman Church, murmur about my arrangements [i.e. of divine service], saying, How can he be arranging so as to keep the Constantinopolitan Church in check, when in all respects he follows her usage? And, when I said to him, What usages of liners do we follow? he replied; you have caused Alleluia to be said at mass out of the season of Pentecost25 ; you have made appointment for the sub-deacons to proceed disrobed26 , and for Kyrie Eleison to be said, and for the Lord’s Prayer to be said immediately after the canon. To him I replied, that ill none of these things have we followed another Church.

For, as to our custom here of saying the Alleluia, it is said to be derived from the Church of Jerusalem by the tradition of the blessed Jerome in the time of pope Damasus of blessed memory; and accordingly in this matter we have rather curtailed the former usage which had been handed down to us here from the Greeks.

Further, as to my having caused the sub-deacons to proceed disrobed, this was the ancient usage of the Church. But it pleased one of our pontiffs, I know not which, to order them to proceed in linen tunics. For have your Churches in any respect received their tradition from the Greeks? Whence, then, have they at the present day the custom of the subdeacons proceeding in linen tunics, except that they have received it from their mother, the Roman Church?

Further, we neither have said nor now say the Kyrie Eleison, as it is said by the Greeks: for among the Greeks all say it together; hut with us it is said by the clerks, and responded to by the people; and as often as it is said, Christe Eleison is said also, which is not said at all among the Greeks. Further, in daily masses we suppress some things that are usually said, and say only Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison, so as to devote ourselves a little longer to these words of deprecation. But the Lord’s prayer (orationem Dominicam) we say immediately after the prayer (mox post precem) for this reason, that it was the custom of the apostles to consecrate the host of oblation to (ad) that same prayer only. And it seemed to me very unsuitable that we should say over the oblation a prayer which a scholastic had composed, and should not say the very prayer27 which our Redeemer composed over His body and blood28 . But also the Lord’s Prayer among the Greeks is said by all the people, but with us by the priest atone. Wherein, then, have we followed the usages of the Greeks, in that we have either amended our own old ones or appointed new and profitable ones, in which, however, we are not shewn to be imitating others? Wherefore, let your Charity, when an occasion presents itself, proceed to the Church of Catana; or in the Church of Syracuse teach those who you believe or understand may possibly be murmuring with respect to this matter, holding a conference there, as though for a different purpose, and so desist not from instructing them. For as to what they say about the Church of Constantinople, who can doubt that it is subject to the Apostolic See, as both the most pious lord the emperor and our brother the bishop of that city continually acknowledge? Yet, if this or any other Church has anything that is good, I am prepared in what is good to imitate even my inferiors, while prohibiting them from things unlawful. For he is foolish who thinks himself first in such a way as to scorn to learn whatever good things he may see

Epistle XVII.

TO Demetrian And Valerian.

Gregory to Demetrian and Valerian, clerks of Firmum (Fermo).

Both the ordinances of the sacred canons and legal authority permit that ecclesiastical property may be lawfully expended for the redemption of captives. And so, since we are informed by you that, nearly eighteen years ago, the most reverend Fabius, late bishop of the Church of Firmum, paid to the enemy eleven pounds of the silver of that Church for your redemption, and that of your father Passivus, now our brother and fellow-bishop, but then a clerk, and also that of your mother, and that you have some fear on this account, lest what was given should at any time be sought to be recovered from you;—we have thought fit by the authority of this precept to remove your suspicion, ordaining that you and your heirs shall henceforth sustain no annoyance for recovery of the debt, and that no process shall be instituted against you by any one; since the rule of equity requires that what has been paid with a pious intent should not be attended with burden or distress to those who have been redeemed.

Epistle XVIII.

TO Romanus, Guardian (Defensorem).

Gregory to Romanus, &c.

Our care for the purpose before us prompts us to commit the looking after ecclesiastical interests to active persons. And so, since we have found thee, Romanus, to have been a trusty and diligent guardian, we have thought fit to commit to thy government from this present second indiction the patrimony of the holy Roman Church, which by the mercy of God we serve, lying in the parts about Syracuse, Catana, Agrigentum, and Mile (partibus Milensibus). Hence it is needful that thou go thither immediately, that, in consideration of the divine judgment, and in memory also of our admonition, thou mayest study to acquit thyself so efficiently and faithfully that thou mayest be found to incur no risk for negligence or fraud, which God forbid should be the case. But act thus all the more in order that thou mayest be commended to divine grace for thy faithfulness and industry. Moreover, we have sent orders according to custom to the familia of the same patrimony29 , that there may be nothing to hinder thy carrying out what has been enjoined thee.

Epistle XIX.

TO The Husbandmen (Colonos) OF The Syracusan Patrimony30 .

Gregory to the Coloni, &c.

I would have you know that we have arranged for you to be put under the care of our guardian (defensoris). And accordingly we order you to obey him without any reluctance in what he may see fit to do, and enjoin on you to be done, for the advantage of the Church. We have given him such power as to enable him to inflict strict punishment on those who may attempt to be disobedient or contumacious. And we have likewise charged him that he delay. not with instant attention to recover to ecclesiastical jurisdiction any slaves who are in hiding outside their limits, or any one by whom boundaries have been invaded. For know that he has been warned on his peril, that he presume not ever under any kind of excuse to do any wrong or robbery in regard to what belongs to others.

Epistle XXIII.

TO John, Bishop OF Syracuse.

Gregory to John, &c.

Our son the glorious exconsul Leontius has made a serious complaint to us of our brother and fellow-bishop Leo; and his complaint has altogether disturbed us, since a bishop ought not to have acted so precipitately and lightly. This case we have committed, to be thoroughly enquired into, to our Guardian (defensoris) Romanus when he comes to you. Further, the messenger who was sent by him (i.e. by Leontius) complains of your Fraternity, that in the defence of the illustrious physician Archelaus the interests of our brother and fellow-bishop, the Metropolitan Domitian, suffer damage31 . And indeed your Fraternity ought justly to protect your sons, or it may be in this case the interests of holy Church, and to give no occasion for evil-speaking to adversaries. I doubt not, however, even while thus speaking, that you do take heed to this: yet we have enjoined on the same Romanus, when he comes to you, to arrange with you what is right with regard to this case also

Epistle XXIV.

TO Romanus, Guardian (Defensorem).

Gregory to Romanus, &c.

Our son Theodosius, abbot of the Monastery founded by the late Patrician Liberius in Campania, is known to have intimated to us that the late illustrious lady Rustica about one and twenty years ago, in the will that she made, appointed in the first place Felix, her husband, to be her heir, and delegated to him the foundation of a Monastery in Sicily; but on this condition,—that if he should not within the space of one year pay all the legacies bequeathed to her freedmen, or establish the aforesaid Monastery as she desired, then the holy Roman Church should have undisputed claim to the portion which she was understood to have in the farm of Cumas, and that it should lend aid for paying the above legacies, and for the construction of the said monastery. Hence, seeing that, as is said, the bequeathed property has not so far been made over in full to this same monastery, and some part of the possession is up to this time detained by her heirs, let thy Experience thoroughly enquire into and examine the case. And in the first place indeed, if under the conditions of the will any heirship comes in wherein our Church may have a plea, we desire thee to investigate and clearly ascertain it, and act for the advantage of the poor, as the order of the business may require; and then to be instantly solicitous for the due establishment of that cell, and the recovery of the bequeathed property, to the end that the pious desire of the testatrix may be fulfilled in both respects, and the unjust detainers of the property may learn from just loss the guilt of their undue retention. With all vivacity, then, we desire thee both to enquire into this case and, with the help of the Lord, to bring it to an issue, that the pious devotion of the ordainer may at length take effect. But we desire thee also, as far as justice allows, to succour this monastery in all ways, that lay persons who ought to have rendered the succour of their assistance may not, as is asserted, have power of doing hurt in the name of the founder.

Epistle XXVI.

TO Romanus, Guardian (Defensorem).

Gregory to Romanus, &c.

Although the law with reason allows not things that come into possession of the Church to be alienated, yet sometimes the strictness of the rule should be moderated, where regard to mercy invites to it, especially when there is so great a quantity that the giver is not burdened, and the poverty of the receiver is considerably relieved. And so, inasmuch as Stephania, the bearer’ of these presents, having come hither with her little son Calixenus (whom she asserts that she hare to her late husband Peter, saying also that she has laboured trader extreme poverty), demanded of us with supplication and tears that we should cause to he restored to the same Calixenus the possession of a house in the city of Catana, which Ammonia, her late mother-in-law, the grandmother of Calixenus, had offered by title of gift to our Church; asserting that the said Ammonia had not power to alienate it, and that it belonged altogether to the aforesaid Calixenus, her son; which assertion our most beloved son Cyprian, the deacon, who was acquainted with the case, contradicted, saying that the complaint of the aforesaid woman had not justice to go on, and that she could not reasonably claim or seek to recover that house in the name of her son; but, lest we should seem to leave the tears of the above named woman without effect, and to follow the way of rigour rather than embrace the plea of pity, we command thee by this precept to restore the said house to the above-named Calixenus, together with Ammonia’s deed of gift with respect to this same house, which is known to be there in Sicily;—since, as we have said, it is better in doubtful cases not to execute strictness, but rather to be inclined to the side of benignity, especially when by the cession of a small matter the Church is not burdened, and succour is mercifully given to a poor orphan.

Given in the mouth of November, Indiction 2.

Epistle XXVII.

TO Romanus, Guardian (Defensorem).

Gregory to Romanus, &c.

It has come to our ears that certain men, having altogether too little discernment, desire us to become implicated in their risks, and wish to be so defended by ecclesiastical persons, that the ecclesiastical persons themselves may be bound by their guilt. Wherefore I admonish thee by tills present injunction, and through thee our brother and fellow-bishop, the lord John, or others whom it may concern, that with regard to ecclesiastical patronage of people (whether you should have received letters from me, or none should have been addressed to you), you should bestow it with such moderation that, if any have been implicated in public peculations, they may not appear to be unjustly defended by us, lest we should in any way transfer to ourselves, by venturing on indiscreet defence, the ill repute of evil doers: but so far as becomes the Church, by admonishing and applying the word of intercession, succour whom you can; so that you may both give them aid, and not stain the repute of holy Church.

Epistle XXXIII.

TO Andrew32 .

Gregory to Andrew.

On hearing that your Glory had been severely afflicted with grief and sickness, I condoled with you exceedingly. But learning presently that the malady had entirely left you, I soon turned my sorrow into joy, and returned great thanks to Almighty God lot that He smote that He might heal, afflicted that He might lead to true joys. For hence it is written, Whom the Lord Loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth (He xii. 6). Hence the Truth in person says, My Father is the husbandman, and every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he will take away; but every branch that beareth fruit, he will purge it, that it may bring forth more fruit (Job. xv. 1, 2). For the unfuitful branch is taken away, because a sinner is utterly rooted up. But the fruitful branch is said to be purged, because it is cut down by discipline that it may be brought to more abundant grace. For so the grain of the ears of corn, beaten with the threshing instrument, is stript of its awn and chaff. So the olives, pressed in the oil-press, flow forth into the fatness of oil. So the bunches of grades pounded with the heels, liquify into wine. Rejoice, therefore, good man, for that in this thy scourge and this thy advancement thou seest that thou art loved by the Eternal Judge.

Furthermore, I beg that my daughter Gloriosa, your wife, be greeted in my name. Now may Almighty God keep you under heavenly protection, and comfort you both now with abundance of gifts and hereafter with the retribution of reward.

Epistle XXXVI.

TO Fortunatus, Bishop OF Neapolis(Naples).

Gregory to Fortunatus, &c.

Having learnt what zeal inflames your Fraternity in behalf of Christian slaves whom Jews buy from the territories of Gaul, we apprize you that your solicitude has so pleased us that it is also our own deliberate judgment that they should be inhibited from traffic of this kind. But we find from Basilius, the Hebrew, who has come here with other Jews, that such purchase is enjoined on them by divers judges of the republic, and that Christians along with pagans come to be thus procured. Hence it has been necessary for the business to be adjusted with such cautious arrangement that neither they who give such orders should be thwarted, nor those who say they obey them against their will should bear any expense unjustly. Accordingly, let your Fraternity with watchful care provide for this being observed and kept to; that, when they [i.e. the Jewish dealers] return from the aforesaid province, Christian slaves who may happen to be brought by them be either handed over to those who gave the order, or at all events sold to Christian purchasers within forty days. And after the completion of this number of days let none of them in any way whatever remain in the hands of the Jews. But, should any of these slaves perchance fall into such sickness that they cannot be sold within the appointed days, care is to be taken that, when they are restored to their former health, they be by all means disposed of as aforesaid. For it is not fit that any should incur loss for a transaction that is free from blame. But since, as often as anything new is ordained, it is usual so to lay down the rule for the future as not to condemn the past in large costs, if any slaves have remained in their hands from the purchase of the previous year, or have been recently taken away from them by you, let them have liberty to dispose of them while they are with you. So may there be no possibility of their incurring loss for what they did in ignorance before the prohibition, such as it is right they should sustain after being forbidden.

Further, it has been reported to us that the above-named Basilius wishes to concede to his sons, who by the mercy of God are Christians, certain slaves, under the title of a gift, with the view that, under cover of the opportunity thus afforded, they may serve him as their master all but in name; and that, if after this any should perchance have believed that they might fly to the Church for refuge in order to become Christians, they may not be reclaimed to freedom, but to the dominion of those to whom they had before been given. In this matter it befits your Fraternity to keep becoming watch. And, if he should wish to give any slaves to his sons, that all occasion of fraud may be removed, let them by all means become Christians, and let them not remain in his house; but, when circumstances may require that he should have their services, let them be commanded to render him what, even in any case, from his sons, and for God’s sake, it is fitting should be supplied to him.

Epistle XLI.

TO Julianus, Scribo33 .

Gregory to Julianus, &c.

If in secular offices order and the discipline handed down by our ancestors is observed, who may bear to see ecclesiastical order confounded, to disregard such things when heard of, and postpone their amendment by improperly condoning them? And indeed you do well to love charity and to persuade to concord. But, since we are compelled by consideration of our position, and for God’s sake, by no means to leave uninvestigated the things that have come to our knowledge, we shall take care, when Maximus comes, to require a strict account from him of the things that have been said about him. And we trust in the guardianship of our Creator, that we shall not be turned aside by either the favour or the fault of any man from maintenance of the canons and the straight path of equity, but willingly observe what is agreeable to reason. For if (which God forbid) we neglect ecclesiastical solicitude and vigour, indolence destroys discipline, and certainly harm will be done to the souls of the faithful, while they see such examples set them by their pastors. But with regard to your saying in your letter that the good will of the palace and the love of the people are not alienated from him, this circumstance does not recall us from our zeal for justice, nor shall it cause our determination to enquire into the truth to fail through sin of ours. Every one, then, should strive, magnificent son, to conciliate to himself the love of God. For without divine favour what can I say that human love will do for us hereafter, when even among ourselves it harms us the more?

Epistle XLII.

TO Agilulph, King OF The Lombards.

Gregory to Agilulph, &c.

We return thanks to your Excellency, that, hearkening to our petition, you have concluded such a peace as may be of advantage to both parties, as we had confidence in you that you would. On this account we greatly commend your prudence and goodness, since in choosing peace you have shewn that you love God, who is its author. For, if unhappily peace had not been made, what else could have ensued but, with sin and danger on both sides, the shedding of the blood of miserable peasants , whose labour profits both? But, that we may feel the advantage to us of this peace, as it has been made by you, we beg you, greeting you with paternal charity, that as often as opportunity offers itself, you would enjoin by letters on your dukes in divers places, and especially those who are constituted in these parts, that they keep this peace inviolate, as has been promised, and not seek for themselves any occasions whence either any contention or any ill-feeling may arise, to the end that we may be able to give thanks still more for your good will. We received the bearers of these presents, as being in very truth your own people, with the affection that was becoming, since it was right both to receive and dismiss with charity men who are wise, and who announced that by the favour of God peace had been concluded.

Epistle XLIII.

 TO Theodelinda, Queen OF The Lombards.

 Gregory to Theodelinda, &c.

How your Excellency has laboured earnestly and kindly, as is your wont, for the conclusion of peace we have learnt from the report of our son, the abbot Probus. Nor indeed was it otherwise to be expected of your Christianity than that you would in all ways skew your assiduity and goodness in the cause of peace. Wherefore we give thanks to Almighty God, who so rules your heart with His loving-kindness that, as He has given you a right faith, so He also grants you to work always what is pleasing in His sight. For you may be assured, most excellent daughter, that for the saving of so much bloodshed on both sides you have acquired no small reward. On this account, returning thanks for your goodwill, we implore the mercy of our God to repay you with good in body and soul here and in the world to come.

Moreover, greeting you with fatherly affection, we exhort you so to deal with your most excellent consort that he may not reject the alliance of the Christian republic. For, as I believe you know yourself, it is in many ways profitable that he should be inclined to betake himself to its friendship. Do you then, after your manner, always strive for what tends to goodwill and conciliation between the parties, and labour wherever an occasion of reaping a reward presents itself, that you may commend your good deeds the more before the eyes of Almighty God.

Epistle XLIX.

TO Anastasius, Bishop OF Antioch34 .

Gregory to Anastasius, &c.

I received the letters of thy Fraternity, rightly holding fast the profession of the faith; and I returned great thanks to Almighty God, who, when the shepherds of His flock are changed, still, even after such change, guards the faith which He once delivered to the holy Fathers. Now the excellent preacher says, Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus (
1Co 3,2). Whosoever, then, with love of God and his neighbour, holds firmly the faith that is in Christ, he has laid for himself the same Jesus Christ, the Son of God and man, as a foundation. It is to be hoped therefore that, where Christ is the foundation, the edifice also of good works may follow. The Truth also in person says, (He that entereth not by the door into the sheep-fold, but claimbeth up some other way, the same thief and a robber; but he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep (Joh. 10,1). And a little after He adds, I am the door. He, then, enters into the sheep-fold through the door who enters through Christ. And he enters through Christ who thinks and preaches what is true concerning the same Creator and Redeemer of the human race, and holds fast what he preaches; who takes upon him the topmost place of rule for the office of carrying a burden, not for the desire of the glory of transitory dignity. He also watches wisely over the sheep-fold of which he has taken charge, lest either perverse men tear the sheep of God by speaking froward things, or malignant spirits ravage them by persuading to vicious delights.

Of a truth we remember how the blessed Jacob, who had served long for his wives, said, This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not been barren. The rams of thy flock have I not eaten, nor shewn unto thee that which had been seized by a beast. I made good every loss; whatever had been lost by theft, from me didst thou require it. By day and night I was consumed by drought and frost; sleep fled from mine eyes (Gn 31,38). If, then, he who feeds the sheep of Laban labours and watches thus, on what labour, on what watches, should he be intent who feeds the sheep of God? But in all this let Him instruct us who for our sake became a man, who vouchsafed to become what he had made. May He pour both into my weakness and into thy charity the spirit of His own love, and in all carefulness and watchfulness of circumspection open the eye of our heart.

But for men of a right faith being advanced to sacred orders thanks are to be paid without cease to the same Almighty God, and prayer ever made for the life of our most pious and most Christian lord the Emperor, and for his most tranquil spouse, and their most gentle offspring, in whose times the mouths of heretics are silent; since, though their hearts seethe with the madness of perverse thought, yet in the time of the Catholic Emperor they presume not to speak out the bad things which they think.

Furthermore, in speaking of your maintenance of the holy councils, your Fraternity declares that you maintain the first holy Ephesine synod. But, seeing that from the account given in an heretical document which has been sent me from the royal city, I have found that, according to it, certain Catholic positions had been censured along with heretical ones, because some suppose that to have been the first Ephesine synod which was got together at some time or other by the heretics in the same city, it is altogether necessary that your Charity should apply to the Churches of Alexandria and Antioch for the acts of this synod, and find how the matter really stands. Or, if you please, we will send you hence what we have here, preserved from of old in our archives. For that synod which was held under pretence of being the first Ephesine asserts that certain positions submitted to it were approved, which are the declared tenets of Coelestius and Pelagius. And, Coelestius and Pelagius having been condemned in that synod, how could those positions be approved, the authors of which were condemned35 ?

Further, since it has come to our ears that in the Churches of the East no one attains to a sacred order except by giving of bribes, if your Fraternity finds it to be so, offer your first oblation to Almighty God by restraining in the Churches subject to you the error of simoniacal heresy. For, to pass over other considerations, what manner of men can they be in sacred orders who are raised to them not by merit, but by bribes? May Almighty God guard thy Love with heavenly grace, and grant to you to carry with you to eternal joys multiplied fruit and overflowing measure from those who are committed to your charge.

Epistle LV.

TO Fantinus, Guardian (Defensorem), OF Panormus (Palermo).

Gregory to Fantinus, &c.

A little time ago we wrote to Victor, our brother and fellow-bishop, that—inasmuch as certain of the Jews have complained in a petition presented to us that synagogues with their guest-chambers, situated in the city of Panormus, had by him been unreasonably taken possession of—he should keep aloof from their congregation until it could be ascertained whether this thing had been justly done, lest perchance injury should appear to have been alleged by them of their own mere will. And indeed, having regard to his priestly office, we could not easily believe that our aforesaid brother had done anything unsuitably. But, since we find from the report of Salarius, our notary, who was afterwards there, that there had been no reasonable cause for taking possession of those synagogues, and that they had been unadvisedly and rashly consecrated, we therefore enjoin thy Experience, since what has been once consecrated cannot any more be restored to the Jews, that it be thy care to see that our aforesaid brother and fellow-bishop pay the price at which our sons, the glorious Venantius the Patrician, and Urbicus the Abbot, may value the synagogues themselves with the guest-chambers that are under them or annexed to their walls, and the gardens thereto adjoining; that so what be has caused to be taken possession of may belong to the Church, and they may in no wise be oppressed, or suffer any injustice. Moreover, let books or ornaments that have been abstracted be in like manner sought for. And, if any have been manifestly taken away, we desire them also to be restored without any ambiguity. For, as there ought to be no licence for them, as we have ourselves already written, to do anything in their synagogues beyond what is decreed by law, so neither damage nor any cost ought to be brought upon them contrary to justice and equity

Epistle LVIII.

TO Martin, Scholasticus.36 .

Gregory to Martin, &c.

Seeing that questions arising in civil affairs need, as is known to thy Greatness, very full enquiry, let thy wisdom consider with what care and vigilance the causes of bishops should be investigated. But, in the letter which thou hast sent us by the bearer of these presents on the questions with respect to which thou wert sent to us by our brother and fellow-bishop Crementius, thou hast given only a superficial account of them, and hast been entirely silent about their root. But, had their origin and intrinsic character been manifest to us, we should have known what should be decided about them, and would then settle the mind of our aforesaid brother by a plain and suitable reply. This, however, is altogether displeasing to us, that thou givest us to understand that some of the bishops have gone to the court37 without letters from their primate, and that they hold unlawful assemblies. But since, as we have before said, the origin and nature of the questions are entirely unknown to us, we cannot pronounce anything definitely, lest, as would be very reprehensible, we should seem to pass sentence about things imperfectly known. Hence it was very needful that, for our complete information, thy Greatness should have proceeded hither to reply to our questions during the time of thy lingering in Sicily. Nevertheless, now that thou hast seen our brother and fellow-bishop John, we believe that in him thou hast seen us also. And so since he has been at pains himself also to write to us about the same questions, we have written in reply to him what seemed to us right. And, since he is a priest of ripe and caution judgment, if you are willing to treat with him on the questions which he has been commissioned to entertain, we are sure that you will find in him what is both advantageous and reasonable.

Epistle LIX.

TO John, Bishop OF Syracuse38 .

Gregory to John, &c.

I have received your Fraternity’s letter, wherein you inform me that the most eloquent Martin has come from the African province and communicated something to you privately. And indeed your Fraternity, as often as you find occasion, ceases not to shew your love towards the blessed apostle Peter. Wherefore we give thanks to Almighty God, that where you are, there we are not found absent. Nevertheless, your Holiness is not yet fully cognizant of the case in hand. For the Byzacene primate39 had been accused on some charge, and the most pious Emperor wished him to be judged by us according to canonical ordinance. But then, on the receipt of ten pounds of gold, Theodorus the magister militum opposed this being done. Yet the most pious Emperor admonished us to commission some one, and do whatever was canonical. But, seeing the contrarieties of men, we have been unwilling to decide this case. Now, moreover, this same primate says something about his own intention. And it is exceedingly doubtful whether he says such things to us sincerely, or in fact because he is being attacked by his fellow-bishops: for, as to his saying that he is subject to the Apostolic See, if any fault is found in bishops, I know not what bishop is not subject to it. But when no fault requires it to be otherwise, all according to the principle of humility are equal. Nevertheless, do you speak with the aforesaid most eloquent Martin as seems good to your Fraternity. For it is for you to consider what should be done; and we have replied to you briefly on the case, because we ought not to believe indiscriminately men that are even unknown to us. If, however, you, who see him before you in person, are of opinion that anything more definite should be said to him, we commit this to your Charity, being sure of your love in the grace of Almighty God. And what you do regard without doubt as having been done by us.

S. Gregory I, letters 20912