Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Selected Epistles of Gregory the Great.: To Callinicus, Exarch of Italy.
To Callinicus, Exarch of Italy 11 .
Gregory to Callinicus, &c.
In the midst of what you have announced to me of your victories over the Sclaves, know that I have been refreshed with great joy that the bearers of these presents, hastening to be joined to the unity of holy Church from the island of Capritana 12 , have been sent by your Excellency to the blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles. For hereby you will the more prevail over your enemies, if you recall under the yoke of the true Lord those whom you know to be the enemies of God; and you will prosecute your causes among men with all the more effect as with sincere and devout mind you maintain the causes of God.
Now as to your having desired that a copy should be shewn me of the order 13 that has been sent to you for the defence of the schismatic, your to me most sweet Excellency ought to have considered carefully how that, although that order has been elicited, you are still not therein enjoined to repel those who come to the unity of the Church, but only, at this unsettled time, not to compel those who are unwilling to come. Whence it is necessary for you with all speed to inform our most pious Emperors of these things, to the end that they may be aware how that in their times, through the succour of Almighty God and your exertions, schismatics are hastening to return of their own accord. What I have decided as to the ordering of things in the island of Caritana, your Excellency will learn through our most reverend brother and fellow-bishop Marinianus 14 . But I would have you know that this has caused me no slight distress; that your Majordomo, who took charge of the petition of the bishop who was wishing to return, declared that he had lost it, and that afterwards he was got hold of by the adversaries of the Church: which proceeding, in my opinion, was due not to his neglect but to his venality. Wherefore I wonder that your Excellency has not in any way visited his fault in him. And yet I soon blamed myself for wondering at this, for where the lord Justinus gives advice, there heretics cannot be arraigned.
Moreover you tell us that you wish to keep the anniversary of Peter, Prince of the apostles, in the city of Rome. And we pray Almighty God to protect you with His mercy, and grant you a fulfilment of your desires. But I beg that the aforesaid most eloquent man may come with you, or that, if he does not come, he may retire from attendance on you. Or certainly, if your Excellency should be unable to come owing to business that may arise, let him either communicate with the unity of holy Church, or I beg that he may not be a sharer of your counsels. For I hear of him as a good man, were he not in most mischievous error. As to the cause of Maximus, inasmuch as we can no longer stand against the importunity of your Sweetness, you will learn from Castorius, the notary, what we have determined.
Callinicus had recently succeeded Romanus at Ravenna as Exarch of Italy. The main purport of this letter to him is to secure his hoped-for co-operation in bringing back the Istrian and Venetian schismatics to Catholic communion. See I. 16, note 3; also II. 46, 51. The predecessor of Callinicus, viz. Romanus, had given great dissatisfaction to Gregory by his conduct with regard to the schismatics (see II. 46); but better things are expected from the new Exarch. See also below, Ep. XCIII., &c. As to the case of Maximus of Salona, briefly referred to at the end of the letter, see III. 47, note 2.5:12
Capritana was a small island in the Adriatic, not far from the shore of Venetia, containing the episcopal see of Capsula, or Cahorla. More about the desire of the church of this island to return to communion with Rome will be found in the letter which follows to Marinianus, bishop of Ravenna.5:13
Mention of a previous order from the emperors, during the exarchate of Romanus, to Gregory himself, bidding him refrain from compelling the Istrians to return to communion, will be found in II. 46.5:14
See the letter following.
Next: To Marinianus, Bishop of Ravenna.
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