Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 2328
Gregory informs Bishop Januarius of Cagliari (Sardinia) that his Presbyter Epiphanius, who was seemingly accused of some indecent relations with a woman, has been acquitted. Gregory the Great, Letter 4.24, AD 594.
Letter 4.24 to Bishop Januarius of Cagliari (May 594)
Gregorius Ianuario episcopo Sardiniae
Gregory admonishes Januarius for not inspecting the xenodochia in his diocese regularly, and describes the people suitable for running them.
Praeterea nosti praesentium latorem epiphanium presbyterum quorundam sardorum litteris criminaliter accusatum. Cuius nos ut ualuimus discutientes causam, nihil que in eo obiectorum repperientes, ut ad locum suum reuerteretur absoluimus. Criminis ergo eius auctores te uolumus perscrutari. Et nisi qui easdem transmisit epistulas paratus fuerit hoc quod obiecit canonicis atque districtissimis probationibus edocere, nullatenus ad sanctae mysterium communionis accedat.
(ed. Norberg 1982: )
Letter 4.24 to Bishop Januarius of Cagliari (May 594)
Gregory to Januarius, bishop of Sardinia
Gregory admonishes Januarius for not inspecting the xenodochia in his diocese regularly, and describes the people suitable for running them.
Furthermore, you know that the presbyter Epiphanius, who is bearing this letter, has been accused of a criminal act, in the letters of some Sardinians. We have investigated his case ourselves, as best we could, and finding nothing in the charges against him, we have allowed him to return to his position. And so we want you to search out those responsible for the charge against him, and unless the person who sent these letters is prepared to support his charge with very strict, canonical proof, he must not on any account approach the mystery of the holy communion.
(trans. Martyn 2004: 306, slightly altered by J. Szafranowski)


In the light of this letter, it is likely that Epiphanius was suspended during the course of investigation into his alledged crimes which seem to involve some indecent relations with a certain woman (Gregory's letter 3.36 [2327]).
It seems that Epiphanius was called to Rome, for Gregory to investigate his case personally, or, just possibly, the presbyter fled to Rome to avoid punishment at Sardinia, seeking Gregory's protection.
Dey 2008 argues that xenodochium was a type of a monastic institution whose everyday obligation was the care for the sick. Thus, Martyn's translation of xenodochia as "hostelries" might be misleading.

Place of event:

  • Italy north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia
  • Rome
  • Cagliari
  • 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.
H.W. Dey, "Diaconiae, xenodochia, hospitalia and monasteries: 'social security' and the meaning of monasticism in early medieval Rome", Early Medieval Europe 16 (2008), pp. 398–422.


Travel and change of residence
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Ecclesiastical administration - Ecclesiastical envoy
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Relation with - Noble
Relation with - Townsman
Administration of justice - Ecclesiastical
Administration of justice - Suspension
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER2328,