Fathers of the Church

Epistle VI: to Amos, Patriarch of Jerusalem

Description

This epistle is from Book VIII of the Register of the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great. Gregory tells Amos that if Peter, who has committed some unmentioned offense, has fled to his church, then he should secure him and send him to Rome to be disciplined.

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 Christian 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 Amos, Bishop of Jerusalem.

Being confident that your Fraternity pays regard to the ordinances of the canons and the vigour of discipline, lest the falseness of one of your clerics should succeed in imposing on you so as to escape the strictness of ecclesiastical order, we have thought it right to inform you of his fault, that through your solicitude he may be subjected to the discipline from which he has fled. We understand, then, that Peter, an acolyte, whom we bad caused to serve under our son the deacon Sabinianus, our ecclesiastical representative in the royal city, has fled, and resorted to your Church. If this is true, let your Fraternity be at pains to secure him, and send him back hither when an opportunity occurs. But if by chance, fearing this, he shall have departed from your Church, and be lurking in various places to escape detection, order him to be diligently sought for in all your parishes, and, when found, send him back to us, as we have before said. And we desire also to notify through you that he is deprived of communion: nor let him dare to receive the mysteries of the Lord's body and blood until he shall return to us, unless by chance he should be in imminent peril of death.

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.