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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 XVII

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Epistle XVII.

To Cyprian, Deacon 1583 .

Gregory to Cyprian, &c.

I received your letters of most bitter import about the death of the Lord Maximianus 1584 in the month of November.  And he indeed has reached the rewards he longed for, but the unhappy people of the city of Syracuse is to be commiserated as not having been counted worthy to have such a pastor long.  Accordingly let thy Love take anxious heed that such a one may be chosen for ordination in the same church as may not seem to obtain undeservedly the same place of rule after the lord Maximianus.  And indeed I believe that the majority would choose the presbyter Trajan, who, as is said, is of a good disposition, but, as I suspect, not fit for ruling in that place.  Yet, if a better cannot be found, and if there are no charges against him, he may be condescended to under stress of very great necessity.  But, if my wishes are asked with regard to this election, I inform thee privately of what I do wish:  for no one in this same church appears to me so worthy after the lord Maximianus as John the archdeacon of the church of Catana.  And, if his election can be brought about, I believe that he will be found an exceedingly fit person.  But he too must first be enquired about by thee privately as to any charges against him that may stand in the way.  If he should be found free from any, he may be rightly chosen.  Should this be done, our brother and fellow-bishop Leo 1585 will also have to give him leave to go, that he may be found p. 166b free to be ordained.  These things, then, I have taken care to intimate to thy Love; and it will now be thy concern to look round thee on all sides carefully, and arrange what is pleasing to God.



The deacon Cyprian had succeeded the sub-deacon Peter as rector patrimonii in Sicily, and Gregory’s general agent there, through whom he acted in ecclesiastical as well as temporal matters, at any rate now, after the death of Maximianus of Syracuse.


See II. 7, note 5.


Bishop of Catana where this John was archdeacon.

Next: To John, Bishop.

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