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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XII:
The Book of Pastoral Rule, and Selected Epistles, of Gregory the Great.: To Anastasius, Patriarch of Antioch.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Epistle XXVI.

To Anastasius, Patriarch of Antioch.

[The beginning of this epistle is the same as that of Epistle VII. to the same Anastasius as far as the words “stand on the shore of virtue”; after which it is continued as follows.]

But, as to your calling me the mouth and lantern of the Lord, and alleging that I profit many by speaking, and am able to give light to many, I confess that you have brought me into a state of the greatest doubt in my estimate of myself.  For I consider what I am, and detect in myself no sign of all this good.  But I consider also what you are, and I do not think that you can lie.  When, then, I would believe what you say, my infirmity contradicts me.  When I would dispute what is said in my praise, your sanctity contradicts me.  But I pray you, holy man, let us come to some agreement in this our contest, that, though it is not as you say, it may be so because you say it.  Moreover, I have addressed my synodical epistle to you, as to the other patriarchs, your brethren 1324 ; inasmuch as with me you are always what it has been granted you to be by the gift of Almighty God, without regard to what you are accounted not to be by the will of men 1325 .  I have given some instructions to Boniface the guardian (defensori), who is the bearer of these presents, for him to communicate to your holiness in private.  Moreover, I have sent you keys of the blessed apostle Peter, who loves you, which are wont to shine forth with many miracles when placed on the bodies of sick persons 1326 .



The Benedictine Editors adopt the reading patribus instead of fratribus.  But the sense seems to require the latter.


See Ep. 7, note 1.


Keys of St. Peter’s sepulchre, in which had been inserted filings from his alleged chains preserved at Rome, were often sent by Gregory to distinguished friends (cf. III. 48; VI. 6; VII. 26; VIII. 35; IX. 122; XI. 66), to be hung round the neck (VI. 6) or deposited (XI. 66), or used for healing.  For an account of how the filings were obtained, see IV. 30.  In one instance the key is described as being of gold (VII. 26).  To Eulogius of Alexandria is sent a small cross containing filings from the chains, to be applied to his sore eyes.

Next: To Anastasius, Archbishop of Corinth.

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