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Fathers of the Church

Letter XLII: to Ravennius, Bishop of Arles

Description

Leo asks Ravennius to deal with the imposture of a certain Petronianus.

Provenance

Leo's pontificate (440-461), next to that of St. Gregory I, is the most significant and important in Christian antiquity. At a time when the Church was experiencing the greatest obstacles to her progress in consequence of the hastening disintegration of the Western Empire, while the Orient was profoundly agitated over dogmatic controversies, this great pope, with far-seeing sagacity and powerful hand, guided the destiny of the Roman and Universal Church (Catholic Encyclopedia). His 143 extant letters, written during the period 442-460, reveal his great desire for the unity of the Church and his far-reaching influence.

by Leo the Great in 449 | translated by Charles Lett Feltoe, M.A

Leo the Pope to his well-beloved brother Ravennius.

We wish you to be circumspect and careful lest any blameworthy presumption should put forth undue claims: for, when it once finds an entrance by crafty stealth, it spreads itself into greater rashness in the name of the dignity it has assumed. We have learnt, on the trustworthy evidence of your clergy, that a certain wandering and vagabond Petronianus has boasted himself throughout the provinces of Gaul as our deacon, and under cover of this office is going about the various churches of that country. We desire you, beloved brother, so to check his abominable effrontery, as to disclose his imposture, by warning the bishops of the whole district. and to expel him from communion with all the Churches, lest he continue his claim. The Lord keep you safe, dearly beloved brother. Dated 26th, August, in the consulship of the illustrious Asturius and Protogenes .

Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in 1867. (LNPF II/XII, Schaff and Wace). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.