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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIII:
Selected Epistles of Gregory the Great.: To Romanus, Guardian (Defensorem).

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Epistle XXV.

To Romanus, Guardian (Defensorem195 .

Gregory to Romanus, &c.

It is well known to thy Experience that Peter, whom we have made a guardian (defensorem), is sprung from the estate belonging to our Church which is called Vitelas.  And so, since we ought to shew kindness towards him in such a way that nevertheless the Church may suffer no disadvantage, we command thee by this order to charge him strictly not to presume, under any pretext or excuse, to marry his children anywhere but in that estate to which they are bound by law and their condition 196 .  In this matter, too, it is necessary for thy Experience to be very careful, and to threaten them, so that on no occasion whatever they may go out of the property to which by their birth they are subjected.  For, if any one of them (as we do not believe will be the case) should presume to depart from it, he may be assured that our assent will never be given to any of them dwelling or being married outside the estate on which they were born, but that also their land should be superscribed 197 .  And then know that you will run no slight risk, if through your negligence any of them should attempt to do any of the things which we forbid.



Romanus had been appointed guardian (defensor) of the patrimony in Sicily.  See IX. 18.


This was a case of a native of Sicily, who had been ascriptus glebæ, having been appointed a Defensor Ecclesiæ.  The purpose of the epistle is to guard against his supposing that such appointment exempted his children from the restrictions imposed by their birth.


Sed et superscribi terram eorum.  The meaning may be that notices should be put on the land to which such defaulters were attached, declaring that such and such persons belonged to it and were bound to remain on it.  Cf. V. 41, note 3, on the phrase titulos imponere.

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