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Epistle II.

To Constantius, Bishop.

Gregory to Constantius, Bishop of Mediolanum.

My most beloved son, the deacon Boniface, has conveyed to me certain private information through thy Fraternity’s letter; namely that three bishops, having sought out rather than found an occasion, have separated themselves from the pious communion of your Fraternity, saying that you have assented to the condemnation of the Three Chapters15181518    As to the schism from Rome in the province of Istria consequent on the condemnation of “The Three Chapters” by the fifth General Council, see I. 16, note 3.  It appears that in the adjacent province of Liguria, of which Mediolanum (Milan) was the metropolis, there was a like rejection of the fifth council on the part at least of some bishops, who had consequently declined communion with their newly-appointed Metropolitan Constantius, who was believed to have agreed formally to the condemnation of The Three Chapters., and have given a security15191519    Cautionem fecisse:  i.e. had pledged himself to the pope by a formal document to uphold the fifth council in its condemnation of the said Chapters..  And, indeed, whether there has been any mention made of the Three Chapters in any word or writing whatever thy Fraternity remembers well; although thy Fraternity’s predecessor, Laurentius, did send forth a most strict security to the Apostolic See, to which most noble men in legitimate number subscribed; among whom I also, at that time holding the prætorship of the city, likewise subscribed; since after such a schism had taken place about nothing, it was right that the Apostolic See should take heed, with the view of guarding in all respects the unity of the Universal Church in the minds of priests.  But as to its being said that our daughter, Queen Theodelinda, after hearing this news, has withdrawn herself from thy communion, it is for all reasons evident that, though she has been seduced to some little extent by the words of bad men, yet, on the arrival of Hippolytus the notary, and John the abbot, she will seek in all ways the communion of your Fraternity15201520    Theodelinda, the Lombard queen, was a catholic Christian, though her husband Agilulph was still an Arian.  Ticinum (or Pavia), which was the residence of the Lombard Kings, was under the Metropolitan jurisdiction of Milan; and it appears that, under the influence of the dissentient bishops of the province, she too had refused to communicate with the new Metropolitan.  Gregory’s anticipation, expressed in what follows, that she would easily be brought round, was premature:  for ten years later (a.d. 603–4) we find Gregory still taking pains to overcome her scruples with regard to the fifth council.  See XIV. 12..  To her also I have addressed a letter15211521    Viz. Epistle 4 below.  This letter, however, was not delivered to the queen by the bishop Constantius, to whom it had been sent, because of the allusion contained in it to the fifth council, which she appears to have been resolute in rejecting.  The new bishop thought she would be more likely to accept him as orthodox, if it were only said that he adhered in all respects to the faith of the four previous councils, including that of Chalcedon.  See below, Ep. 39.  Accordingly another letter (Ep. 38), in which allusion to the fifth council was omitted, was prepared and sent in accordance with the advice of Constantius.  See further, note 8, under Epistle 3., which I beg your Fraternity to transmit 145bto her without delay.  Further, with regard to the bishops who appear to have separated themselves, I have written another letter, which when you have caused to be shewn to them, I doubt not that they will repent of the superstition of their pride before thy Fraternity.

Furthermore, you have accurately and briefly informed me of what has been done, whether by King Ago15221522    I.e. Agilulph the Lombard King.  The time (Indict. XII., i.e. a.d. 593–4) was after he had invested Rome and returned to Pavia, and when Gregory had in vain urged Romanus Patricius, the Exarch at Ravenna, to come to terms with him.  Gregory appears prepared to approach him now with a view to a separate peace with himself, which he says afterwards (see V. 36, 40) he could have made if he had been so minded.  Letters bearing on the subject are V. 36, 40, 41, 42; VI. 30; IX. 4, 6, 42, 43, 98.  See also Proleg. p. xxi. or by the Kings of the Franks.  I beg your Fraternity to make known to me in all ways what you have so far ascertained.  But, if you should see that Ago, King of the Lombards, is doing nothing with the Patrician15231523    I.e. Romanus Patricius, the Exarch., promise him on our part that I am prepared to give attention to his case, if he should be willing to arrange anything with the republic advantageously.

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