Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 2325
Gregory the Great informs the presbyter Magnus from Milan that his excommunication, imposed by the recently deceased Bishop Laurentius of Milan, has been lifted. Gregory the Great, Letter 3.26, AD 593.
Letter 3.26 to Presbyter Magnus of Milan (March 593)
Gregorius Magno presbytero ecclesiae mediolanensis
Sicut exigente culpa digne quis a sacramento communionis erigitur, ita insontibus nullomodo talis debet irrogari uindicta. Comperimus siquidem quod Laurentius quondam frater et coepiscopus noster nullis te culpis exstantibus communione priuauerit, ideo que huius praecepti nostri auctoritate munitus officium tuum securus perage, et communionem sine aliqua sume formidine.
Illud te praeterea necessario duximus adhortandum ut ita te in cunctis utilitatibus ecclesiae tuae pure ac diligenter exhibeas, quatenus nec offensa te aliqua de neglecto respiciat, et culpam, si qua in te propter quam dominici corporis et sanguinis communione fueras priuatus uel latens inuenta est, fidei tuae puritate detergas. Admone igitur clerum et populum ut ad eligendum nullatenus dissentiant sacerdotem, sed uno consensu talem sibi eligant consecrandum episcopum, cuius et actus laudabiles et grata deo et hominibus possit esse persona, ne, si aliter actum fuerit, in diuersis, quod absit, studiis damnum ecclesiasticis rebus eueniat.
(ed. Norberg 1982: )
Letter 3.26 to Presbyter Magnus of Milan (March 593)
Gregory to Magnus, presbyter from the church of Milan
Just as someone is rightly driven from the sacrament of the communion when a sin demands it, even so, in no way should such a punishment be required for the innocent. For indeed we have discovered that Laurentius, once our brother and fellow-bishop, deprived you of communion with no sign of any sin. And so, defended by the authority of this command of ours, carry out your duty without worry, and take communion without any fear.
Furthermore, we have decided that you should necessarily be encouraged to show yourself so pure and dilligent in all services to your church, that no offence over neglect might point at you, and so that, with purity of your faith, you might wipe away any fault found in you, even if hidden, for which you had been deprived of the communion of our Lord's body and blood. So warn the clerics and people not to disagree at all in their election of a bishop, but with total consensus let them elect for themselves such a bishop for consecration whose acts are praiseworthy, and whose character may be welcome to God and to men, in case, if it were done differently, with divided loyalties (Heaven forbid!), a loss might result for Church income.
(trans. Martyn 2004: 252, slightly altered by J. Szafranowski)


Martyn follows PL and not Norberg with the word abigitur instead of erigitur in the first line.
Laurentius was the bishop of Milan till his death that occured certainly before this letter was written, that is, March 593. The catalogue of the bishops of Milan from the ninth/tenth century puts Laurentius death on 21 August 592.

Place of event:

  • Italy north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia
  • Rome
  • Milan
  • Rome

About the source:

Author: Gregory the Great
Title: Letters, Epistulae, Epistolae, Registrum epistularum, Registrum epistolarum
Origin: Rome (Rome)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Gregory, later called the Great (Gregorius Magnus), was born ca 540 to an influential Roman family with some connection to the ancient gens Anicia. His great-great-grandfather was Felix III, who served as the bishop of Rome from 526 to 530. Possibly, Agapetus I, pope between 535 and 536, was his relative as well. Little is known about his early career, but in 573 Gregory ascended to the high office of city prefect. Shortly afterwards, however, he resigned from his post and adopted the monastic way of life. He founded a monastery dedicated to St. Andrew within his family estate on Coelian Hill, next to the library established by Agapetus and Cassiodorus. Six other monasteries were founded in the estates his family owned in Sicily. Soon after his monastic conversion, he started to be given various tasks by Popes Benedict I (575–578) and Pelagius II (578–590). At that time, he was ordained a deacon. Between 579 and 585/6, Gregory acted as Pelagius` envoy in Constantinople. In 590, he was elected Pelagius` successor to the bishopric of Rome. The registry of his letters contained copies of Gregory`s papal correspondence up to his death in 604. The scope of Gregory`s original registry is still the subject of scholarly speculation. There are 854 extant letters gathered in fourteen volumes, most of them (686 letters) originating from the collection compiled at the time of Pope Hadrian I (772–795).
It is worth remembering that the majority of Gregory’s correspondence was jointly produced by the pope and his subordinates, see Pollard 2013.
D. Norberg ed., S. Gregorii Magni Registrum Epistularum, Corpus Christianorum: Series Latina 140, 140A, Turnhout 1982.
The Letters of Gregory the Great, trans. J.R.C. Martyn, Mediaeval Sources in Translation 40, Toronto 2004.
R.M. Pollard, A Cooperative Correspondence: The Letters of Gregory the Great, in: M. Dal Santo, B. Neil (eds.), A Companion to Gregory the Great, Leiden-Boston 2013, pp. 291–312.


Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Described by a title - Clericus
    Ecclesiastical administration - Election of Church authorities
    Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
    Administration of justice - Ecclesiastical
    Administration of justice - Excommunication/Anathema
    Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER2325,