Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 2022
According to Pope Gelasius I, when the deacons decline to be promoted to presbyterate, suitable acolytes and subdeacons should be chosen, and more material profits should be given to the presbyters than to the deacons. Gelasius I, Fragment 10, Rome, AD 492/496.
Fragment 10
Gelasius Victori episcopo.
Consuluit dilectio tua de suorum promotione clericorum perhibens, quod diaconi ad presbyterii gradum, quo ecclesiam tuam memoras indigere, venire detrectant. Quapropter quia invitos fieri ecclesiastica moderatio gravitasque non patitur, ut ex nolentibus fiant volentes, ordinatio illa potest perficere: scilicet si quos habes vel in acolythis vel in subdiaconibus maturioris aetatis et quorum sit vita probabilis, hos in presbyteratum studeas promovere: ut qui in suis ordinibus proficere noluerint, reddantur suis inferioribus post minores; ipsaque commoda presbyteri propensius quam diacones consequantur, ut hac saltem ratione constricti, et honorem, quem refugerant, appetere nitantur et quaestum.
(ed. Thiel 1868: 488-489)
Fragment 10
Your Charity has sought advice about the promotions of clerics. You revealed that the deacons who stay in your Church decline to come to the grade of presbyterate. The ecclesiastical moderation and seriousness does not allow the ordination of the unwilling. However, this can be done to make the willing from the unwilling: if you have some acolytes or subdeacons of more mature age and commendable life, try to promote them to presbyterate. In this way those who did not want to advance in their orders themselves, will in result be subordinate to those who were inferior to them. In the same way the profits [of the Church] should be given more readily to the presbyters than to the deacons, so that the latter will be constrained to desire and strive for the dignity from which they escaped, and the gain [connected with it].
(trans. S. Adamiak)


There is no indication of the see of Victor. He may have been the bishop of Luni (Luna) in Liguria (Northern Italy) mentioned in other sources from the period (PCBE Italie 2: Victor 11).

Place of event:

  • Italy north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia

About the source:

Author: Gelasius I
Title: Epistulae, Letters
Origin: Rome (Rome)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Gelasius I was the bishop of Rome between AD 492 and 496.
Thiel A. ed., Epistulae Romanorum pontificum genuinae et quae ad eos scriptae sunt a S. Hilario usque ad Pelagium II, 1, Braunsberg 1868, 287-510.
B. Neil, P. Allen edd.,  The Letters of Gelasius I (492-496): Pastor and Micro-Manager of the Church of Rome, Turnhout 2014.
B. Neil, P. Allen edd.,  The Letters of Gelasius I (492-496): Pastor and Micro-Manager of the Church of Rome, Turnhout 2014.


Former ecclesiastical career - Lower clergy
    Former ecclesiastical career - Deacon
      Impediments or requisits for the office - Unwillingness
        Relation with - Deacon
            Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER2022,