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Epistle LVIII.

To Theodoric and Theodebert16721672    Childebert II. son of Sigebert I. and Brunechild, who had reigned over nearly all the dominions of the Franks in Gaul (see VI. 5, note 5), died in this year, a.d. 596, and was succeeded by his illegitimate son Theodebert II. as king of Austrasia, and by his second son Theoderic II. as king of Burgundy.  These two kings were only ten and seven years of age respectively when their father died, and their grandmother Brunechild was appointed guardian of the former.  Hence Gregory, writing now after the death of Childebert, addresses formal letters in identical terms to the two minors, but another (Ep. LIX.) to Brunechild.  See Pedigree of Kings of Gaul, p. xxx..

Gregory to Theodoric and Theodebert, brethren, Kings of the Franks.  A paribus16731673    See I. 25, note 8..

Since Almighty God has adorned your kingdom with rectitude of faith, and has made it conspicuous among other nations by the purity of its Christian religion, we have conceived great expectations of you, that you will by all means desire that your subjects should be converted to that faith in virtue of which you are their kings and lords.  This being so, it has come to our knowledge that the nation of the Angli is desirous, through the mercy of God, of being converted to the Christian faith, but that the priests in their neighbourhood neglect them, and are remiss in kindling their desires by their own exhortations.  On this account therefore we have taken thought to send to them the servant of God Augustine, the bearer of these presents, whose zeal and earnestness are well known to us, with other servants of God.  And we have also charged them to take with them some priests from the neighbouring parts, with whom they may be able to ascertain the disposition of the Angli, and, as far as God may grant it to them, to aid their wishes by their admonition.  Now, that they may have it in their power to shew themselves efficient and capable in this business, we beseech your Excellency, greeting you with paternal charity, that these whom we have sent may be counted worthy to find the grace of your favour.  And, since it is a matter of souls, let your power protect and aid them; that Almighty God, who knows that with devout mind and with all your heart you take an interest in His cause, may propitiously direct your causes, and after earthly dominion bring you to heavenly kingdoms.

Furthermore, we request your Excellency to hold as commended to you our most beloved son, Candidus, a presbyter, and the rector of the patrimony of our Church, to the end that the blessed Peter, Prince of the apostles, may answer you by his intercession, while, looking to the reward, you afford your protection in the concerns of his poor.

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