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Home > Fathers of the Church > Registrum Epistolarum (Gregory the Great) > Book II, Letter 49

Book II, Letter 49

To Januarius, Archbishop.

Gregory to Januarius, archbishop of Caralis (Cagliari).

If with integrity of heart we consider the priestly office which we administer, the concord of personal charity ought so to unite us with our sons that, as we are fathers in name, so we should be proved by our affection to be so in deed. While, then, we ought to be such as has been said above, we wonder why such a mass of complaints has arisen against your Fraternity. We still indeed hesitate to believe it: but, that we may be able to ascertain the truth, we have sent to your parts John the notary of our See, supported by our injunction, who may compel all parties to abide the judgment of chosen arbitrators, and by his own execution carry their judgments into effect. Wherefore we exhort your Fraternity by this present writing to consider well with yourself beforehand the merits of the cases; and, if you find that you have taken or hold anything unjustly, in consideration of your priesthood to restore it before trial.

Now, among numerous complaints, the most distinguished Isidore has complained of having been excommunicated and anathematised by your Fraternity for invalid reasons. And, when we had wished to learn from one of your clergy who was here for what cause this had been done, he gave us to understand that it had been done for no other cause than that the man had done you an injury. This distresses us exceedingly; since, if it is so, thou show that you not think of heavenly things, but givest signs of having your conversation among things of earth, having brought to bear the malediction of anathema to avenge a private wrong; which is a thing forbidden by the sacred rules. Wherefore for the future be thoroughly circumspect and careful, and presume not to inflict any such penalty again for vindication of your own wrongs. For, should you do anything of the kind, know that it will afterwards be avenged on yourself.

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Source. Translated by James Barmby. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 12. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1895.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/360202049.htm>.

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