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Epistle XXIII.

To Hospito, Duke of the Barbaricini15421542    The Barbaricini appear to have been a native tribe in Sardinia, having its own duke, Zabardas (see Ep. 24) being the duke of the island..

Gregory to Hospito, &c.

Since no one of thy race is a Christian, I hereby know that thou art better than all thy race, in that thou in it art found to be a Christian.  For, while all the Barbaricini live as senseless animals, know not the true God, but adore stocks and stones, in the very fact that thou worshippest the true God thou shewest how much thou excellest them all.  But carry thou out the faith which thou hast received in good deeds and words, and offer what is in thy power to Christ in whom thou believest, so as to bring to Him as many as thou canst, and cause them to be baptized, and admonish them to set their affection on eternal life.  And if perchance thou canst not do this thyself, being otherwise occupied, I beg thee, with my greeting, to succour in all ways our men whom we have sent to your parts, to wit my fellow-bishop Felix, and my son, the servant of God, Cyriacus15431543    These two ecclesiastics had been sent into Sardinia to promote the conversion of the natives, which seems to have been remissly attended to, not only by the Christian lay proprietors, but also by the bishops of the island.  See below, Epp. 25, 26.  The bishop Felix was not commissioned to supercede the ordinary episcopal jurisdiction, but to act as a missionary bishop in aid.  Cf. V. 41., so that in aiding their labours thou mayest shew thy devotion to Almighty God, and that He whose servants thou succourest in their good work may be a helper to thee in all good deeds.  We have sent you through them a blessing15441544    Benedictio, here as elsewhere, means a present;—in this case, being said to be from St. Peter, containing doubtless something that had acquired sanctity from him; probably, as in other cases, filings from his chains.  Cf. I. 26, note 3. of St. Peter the apostle, which I beg you to receive, as you ought to do, kindly.  The month of June, Indiction 12.

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