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Home > Fathers of the Church > Registrum Epistolarum (Gregory the Great) > Book IX, Letter 61

Book IX, Letter 61

Here begins the epistle of Rechared, King of the Goths, addressed to the blessed Gregory, Bishop of Rome .

Rechared to the holy lord and most blessed pope, the bishop Gregory.

At the time when the Lord in His compassion caused us to be dissociated from the impious Arian heresy, and the holy Catholic Church gathered us into her bosom ameliorated in the path of faith, it was then the desire of our mind to seek with delight and with the whole bent of our mind so very reverend a man; you who art powerful above all other bishops, that he might commend in all ways a thing so worthy and acceptable to God for us men. But, whereas we are engaged in many cares of government, being occupied by various occasions, three years passed without the desire of our mind being satisfied. And after this we chose, for the purpose of sending them to you, some abbots of monasteries, who should proceed to your presence, and offer gifts sent by us to Saint Peter, and bring us word more distinctly of your holy reverence's health. But, as they hastened on their way, and were almost in sight of the shores of Italy, it befell them that they struck on certain rocks near Marseilles, and were scarcely able to deliver their own souls. And now we have entreated a presbyter whom your Glory had sent as far as the city of Malaca (civitatem Malicitanam) to come into our sight. But he, detained by bodily infirmity, has in no wise been able to reach the soil of our kingdom. But, as we know most certainly that he was sent by your Holiness, we have sent a golden cup ornamented on the outside with gems for your Holiness (as I trust you will vouchsafe to do) to offer as worthy of the apostle who shines the first in dignity. For I also beg your Highness, when an opportunity is found, to seek us out by your sacred golden letters. For how much I truly love you I believe is not hidden, the Lord inspiring you, from the fecundity of your own breast. It is sometimes the case that those whom tracts of land or sea divide the grace of Christ glues together as if visibly. For to those who do not see you at all in person fame discloses your goodness.

Further, I commend with all veneration to your Holiness in Christ, Leander, the priest of the church of Hispalis, since through him your benevolence has been made clearly manifest to us; and when we talk of your life with this same bishop, we reckon ourselves as your inferiors in regard to your good deeds. I am delighted to hear of your health, most reverend and most holy man; and I beg of your Christian prudence that you would commend frequently in your prayers to our common Lord us and our people, who are ruled after God under our government, and have been acquired by Christ in your times; that hereby true charity to God-ward may establish in well-being those whom the breadth of the world separates.

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Source. Translated by James Barmby. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 13. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1898.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/360209061.htm>.

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