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Home > Fathers of the Church > Registrum Epistolarum (Gregory the Great) > Book VIII, Letter 24

Book VIII, Letter 24

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To Sabinianus, Bishop of Jadera.

Gregory to Sabinianus, etc.

I am well delighted in your sincerity, dearest brother, knowing how, with the discrimination of a careful judgment, it both obeys where obedience is due and resists where resistance is due with priestly zeal. For with what alacrity of devotion you have submitted to what we enjoined for the fault of your past transgression is disclosed to us by the contents of the letters which you have sent to us by the bearer of these presents. For indeed my beloved brother could not take it otherwise than as it was enjoined by one who loves him. Hence I trust in the compassion of Almighty God that His grace so protects you that, having been thus absolved also from other sins, you may rejoice in having wholesomely obeyed. But as to what your Charity has signified about being distressed by the jealousy of the excommunicated prevaricator Maximus, you ought not to be disturbed; but it becomes you by patiently enduring to bear up against the billows that swell vainly to some small degree, and by the virtue of perseverence to subdue the foaming of the waves. For patience knows how to smooth what is rough, and constancy to overcome fierceness. Let not, then, adversity deject your spirits, but inflame them. Let priestly vigour show you in all things the more bold. For this is a true evidence of truth, for one to exhibit himself as all the readier in hard circumstances, and all the braver in such as are adverse. Wherefore, that no blow may avail to upset the firmness of your rectitude from its good determination, plant, as you have begun to do, the steps of your soul on the solidity of that rock on which you know that our Redeemer has founded the Church throughout the world, that so the right footsteps of a sincere heart may not stumble on a devious way.

As to the things about which you have written, or which the bearer of these presents has explained in our presence, do not suppose that we are neglecting them: we are very carefully considering them.

Further, we have already, both before and now, given accurate information about everything to our most beloved son the deacon Anatolius ; exhorting him to lose no time, with the aid of our Creator, in acting strictly and zealously in whatever pertains to the advantage and quiet of your Charity and of your sons. And so let not sorrow affect your Fraternity, nor the enmity of any one whatever afflict you. For, with the assistance of Divine Grace, we trust that it will not be long before the presumption of the aforesaid excommunicated prevaricator will be more strictly repressed, and your quiet, as you desire, arrive. We have also by no means omitted to write about his perverseness to our most excellent son the Exarch , who is anxious to commend him to us.

As to the presbyter about whom your Fraternity has consulted us through the representation of the bearer of these presents, know that after his lapse he cannot by any means remain in, or be restored to, his sacred order. Still be ought to be somewhat mildly dealt with, inasmuch as he is said to have readily confessed his fault. Furthermore, this same bearer spoke at the same time of certain privileges of your Church granted by our predecessors.

About the writings thus referred to by your Charity we wish to be more accurately informed. Or, if any of them are lying in the registry of your Church, it is necessary that copies of them be transmitted hither; that we may be able with willing mind to renew whatever concerns reverence for your dignity or the genius of the aforesaid Church.

If our common son, the glorious lord Marcellus , should be minded to come hither, urgently persuade him to do so; for on all accounts I desire to see him. But, if he should choose to remain where he is, do you so exhibit yourselves to him in beseeming charity that you may be able to respond, as becomes you, to the affection which he has towards you. May Almighty God keep and protect you with the gift of His grace, and enflame your heart to do the things that are well pleasing to Him.

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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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