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Home > Fathers of the Church > Registrum Epistolarum (Gregory the Great) > Book V, Letter 17

Book V, Letter 17

To Cyprian, Deacon.

Gregory to Cyprian, etc.

I received your letters of most bitter import about the death of the Lord Maximianus in the month of November. And he indeed has reached the rewards he longed for, but the unhappy people of the city of Syracuse is to be commiserated as not having been counted worthy to have such a pastor long. Accordingly let your Love take anxious heed that such a one may be chosen for ordination in the same church as may not seem to obtain undeservedly the same place of rule after the lord Maximianus. And indeed I believe that the majority would choose the presbyter Trajan, who, as is said, is of a good disposition, but, as I suspect, not fit for ruling in that place. Yet, if a better cannot be found, and if there are no charges against him, he may be condescended to under stress of very great necessity. But, if my wishes are asked with regard to this election, I inform you privately of what I do wish: for no one in this same church appears to me so worthy after the lord Maximianus as John the archdeacon of the church of Catana. And, if his election can be brought about, I believe that he will be found an exceedingly fit person. But he too must first be enquired about by you privately as to any charges against him that may stand in the way. If he should be found free from any, he may be rightly chosen. Should this be done, our brother and fellow bishop Leo will also have to give him leave to go, that he may be found free to be ordained. These things, then, I have taken care to intimate to your Love; and it will now be your concern to look round you on all sides carefully, and arrange what is pleasing to God.

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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/360205017.htm>.

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