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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.: Epistle I

Early Church Fathers  Index     

p. 144b Book IV.

Epistle I.

To Constantius, Bishop.

Gregory to Constantius, Bishop of Mediolanum (Milan).

On receiving the letters of your Fraternity I returned great thanks to Almighty God, that I was counted worthy to be refreshed by the celebration of your ordination.  Truly that all, by the gift of God, with one accord concurred in your election, is a fact which thy Fraternity ought with the utmost consideration to estimate, since, after God, you are greatly indebted to those who with so submissive a disposition desired you to be preferred before themselves.

It becomes you, therefore, with priestly benignity to respond to their behaviour, and with kind sympathy to attend to their needs.  If perchance there are any faults in any of them, rebuke these with well-considered reproofs, so that your very priestly indignation be mingled with a savour of sweetness, and that so you may be loved by your subjects even when you are greatly feared.  Such conduct will also induce great reverence for your person in their judgment; since, as hasty and habitual rage is despised, so discriminate indignation against faults for the most part becomes the formidable in proportion as it has been slow.

Further, John our subdeacon, who has returned, has reported many good things of you as to which we beseech Almighty God Himself to fulfil what He has begun; to the end that He may shew thee to have advanced in good inwardly and outwardly both now among men and hereafter among the angels.

Moreover, we have sent thee, according to custom, a pallium to be used in the sacred solemnities of mass.  But I beg you, when you receive it, to vindicate its dignity and its meaning by humility.

Next: To Constantius, Bishop.

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