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Fathers of the Church

Epistle LVII: to Severus, Bishop

Description

This epistle is from Book I of the Register of the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great. In it Gregory discusses the choosing of a bishop for some unmentioned city.

Provenance

St. Gregory (b. 540 in Rome) was elected pope at the age of 50, serving from 590 to 604. In 14 years he accomplished much for the Church. England owes her conversion to him. At a period when the invasion of the barbarian Lombards created a new situation in Europe, he played a great part in winning them for Christ. At the same time, he watched equally over the holiness of the clergy and the maintenance of Church discipline, the temporal interests of his people of Rome and the spiritual interests of all Christendom. He removed unworthy priests from office, forbade the taking of money for many services, and emptied the papal treasury to ransom prisoners of the Lombards and to care for persecuted Jews and victims of plague and famine. Gregory also reformed the liturgy, and it still contains several of his most beautiful prayers. The name "Gregorian chant" recalls this great Pope's work in the development of the Church's music. His commentaries on Holy Scripture exercised a considerable influence on Chsdsristian thought in the Middle Ages. Following his death in 604, his numerous epistles, including the following letter, were compiled into the Papal Register of Letters.

by Gregory the Great in 590-604 | translated by James Barmby, D.d

Gregory to Severus, &c.

We learn from thy Fraternity's epistle that, with regard to the choice of a bishop, some are agreed in favour of Ocleatinus, with whom, since we disallow him, they need not further concern themselves. But give notice to the inhabitants of that city that, if they should find any one in their own Church fit for that work, they all transfer their choice to him. Otherwise the bearer of these presents will point out a person, of whom I have told him, in favour of whom the notification of the election should be made. Do you, moreover, be prudent and careful with regard to your visitation of the same Church, that its property may be preserved inviolate, and its interests attended to after the accustomed manner under your management.

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.