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Home > Fathers of the Church > Registrum Epistolarum (Gregory the Great) > Book VIII, Letter 10

Book VIII, Letter 10

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To Sabinianus, Bishop of Jadera.

Gregory to Sabinianus, etc.

As to one who perseveres in a fault punishment is rightly due, so pardon should be granted to those who return to a better mind. For, as in the former case anger against the culprit is deservedly provoked, so in the latter good-will displayed is wont to promote concord. And so, inasmuch as a recollection of the gravity of the priestly office has now withdrawn your Fraternity from fellowship and communion with Maximus, into which thoughtlessness had before betrayed you; and this to such an extent that you could by no means allow yourself to be content with mere separation from him without also bewailing your past transgression by betaking yourself to the retirement of a monastery, therefore doubt not that you are received again into our favour and communion: for, as much as your fault had before offended us, so much has your penitence appeased us. We exhort you, therefore, most beloved brother, that you be instant in bestowing pastoral solicitude on the Lord's flock, and be diligently on the watch to make profit of the sheep committed to your charge; that so the retribution of a copious reward may abound to you in proportion as you shall offer multiplied fruits of your labour at the coming of the eternal Judge. Strive then to rescue those who have fallen into sin; strive to show the way of retracing their steps to those that go astray; strive to recall salubriously to the grace of communion those who have been deprived of communion. Let the coming back of your Charity lay on you the duty of rescuing others, and be an example of salvation; to the end that, while your anxious care shall direct the wandering steps of sheep to the folds of the chief shepherd, both they themselves may not be left exposed to the teeth of wolves, and (what is above all things to be desired) that the compensation of condign retribution may await you in the life eternal.

As to the cause about which you wrote to us, requesting us to guard against any clandestine proceedings against you in the royal city, let not this matter disturb your mind. For we have with all possible care given orders to our responsalis to show himself solicitous and on his guard. And we trust in the power of our God that things are being so conducted that the opposition of no one shall avail against reason, so as in any way to trouble you or to bear hard upon you.

Furthermore, the inhabitants of the city of Epidaurus have most urgently requested us to restore to them Florentius, whom they allege to be their bishop, asserting that he was driven into exile invalidly by the mere will of the bishop Natalis. And so, if your Fraternity has any knowledge of his case, please to inform us accurately by letter. But, if so far you have no knowledge of it, make enquiry, and report to us, that we may be able, with the Lord's help, to deliberate with full knowledge before us as to what should be determined concerning him. In the month of February, first Indiction.

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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. <>.

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