Fathers of the Church
Epistle XLII: to Marinianus, Bishop
by Gregory the Great in 590-604 | translated by James Barmby, D.d
Gregory to Marinianus, Bishop of Ravenna.
We find from the information given in your Fraternity's letter that the sons of the Church of Cornelium are continually supplicating you to consecrate a bishop for them in place of their former bishop who has lapsed, and that you are in doubt as to what should be done in the matter, and await our plain command. Inasmuch, then, as no sort of reason allows any one who has departed criminally to be recalled to the place from which he has lapsed, and as the ordinances of the sacred canons allow not a Church to be without a bishop beyond three months, lest (which God forbid) the ancient foe should lie in wait to tear the Lord's flock, your Fraternity ought to comply with their entreaty, and ordain a bishop in the place of the lapsed one. For, seeing that you ought to have admonished them to this thing by your exhortations before they asked you, you can have no excuse for refusing them when they demand it of you, since a Church of God ought not to remain long widowed of a bishop of its own.
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.