Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Selected Epistles of Gregory the Great.: Epistle XII
To Theodelinda, Queen of the Lombards.
Gregory to Queen Theodelinda.
The letters which you sent us a little time ago from the Genoese parts have made us partakers of your joy on account of our learning that by the favour of Almighty God a son has been given you, and, as is greatly to your Excellencys credit, has been received into the fellowship of the catholic faith 238 . Nor indeed was anything else to be supposed of your Christianity but that you would fortify him whom you have received by the gift of God with the aid of Catholic rectitude, so that our Redeemer might both acknowledge thee as His familiar servant, and also bring up prosperously in His fear a new king for the nation of the Lombards. Wherefore we pray Almighty God both to keep you in the way of His commandments, and to cause our most excellent son, Adulouvald 239 , to advance in His love, to the end that, as he is in this world great among men, so also he may be glorious for his good deeds before the eyes of our God.
Now as to what your Excellency has requested in your letter, that we should reply in full to what our most beloved son, the abbot Secundus has written 240 , who could think of putting off his petition or your wishes, knowing how profitable they would be to many, did not sickness stand in the way? But so great an infirmity from gout has held us fast as to render us hardly able to rise, not only for dictating, but even for speaking, as also your ambassadors, the bearers of these presents, are aware, who, when they arrived, found us weak, and when they departed, left us in the utmost peril and danger of our life. But, if by the ordering of Almighty God I should recover, I will reply in full to all that he has written. I have, however, sent by the bearers of these presents the Synod that was held in the time of Justinian of pious memory, that my aforesaid most-beloved son may acknowledge on reading it that all that he had heard against the Apostolic See or the Catholic Church was false. For far be it from us to p. 107 accept the views of any heretic whatever, or to deviate in any respect from the tome of our predecessor Leo, of holy memory; but we receive whatever has been defined by the four holy synods, and condemn whatever has been rejected by them.
Further, to our son the King Adolouvald we have taken thought to send some phylacteries; that is, a cross with wood of the holy cross of the Lord, and a lection of the holy Gospel enclosed in a Persian case. Also to my daughter, his sister, I send three rings, two of them with hyacinths, and one with an albula 241 , which I request may be given them through you, that our charity towards them may be seasoned by your Excellency.
Furthermore, while paying you our duty of greeting with fatherly charity, we beg you to return thanks in our behalf to our most excellent son the King your consort for the peace that has been made, and to move his mind to peace, as you have been accustomed to do, in all ways for the future; that so, among your many good deeds, you may be able in the sight of God to find reward in an innocent people, which might have perished in offence.
i.e. the child had been baptized a catholic. It would seem from Gregorys way of speaking, and the absence of allusion to the conversion of the father, that king Agilulph had not yet announced his Arianism. Paul Diaconus alleges that he did so eventually through the influence of Theodelinda.106:239
The child who had been baptized (al. Adaloaldus, or Adoaldus). He succeeded his father as king of the Lombards, a.d. 616, being still a boy, reigning under his mothers guardianship. According to Paul Diaconus, Gregorys hopes were for a short time fulfilled:—“Under them Churches were restored, and many endowments were bestowed on venerable places;”—but before long he became insane, and after ten years (a.d. 626) was deposed, Arioald being appointed to succeed him (Hist. Longob. iv. 43).106:240
On the subject of the “Three Chapters,” as appears from what follows. It is evident that the able and conscientious queen Theodelinda never found herself able to accept the ruling of the See of Rome on this question (cf. IV. 2, note 3); and she seems now to have employed the abbot Secundis to draw up a statement of the arguments on her side, inviting Gregory to reply to them. He did not, however, on this account cease to address her cordially as a good catholic. He seems to have condoned in her what he so strongly condemned in others as involving them in schism. On the schism arising from the matter of the “Three Chapters,” see I. 16, note 3; and Prolegom., p. x.107:241
Some precious stone, probably of a white colour.
Next: To Alcyson, Bishop of Corcyra.
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