Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 2330
DRAFT Archpresbyter Epiphanius from Cagliari (Sardinia) informs Gregory . Gregory the Great, Letter 14.2, AD 603.
Letter 14.2 to defensor Vitalis of Sardinia (September 603)
Gregorius Vitali defensori Sardiniae
Experientia tua indicante comperimus xenodochia in Sardinia constituta grauem habere neglectum. Vnde reuerentissimus frater et coepiscopus noster ianuarius uehementissime fuerat obiurgandus, nisi nos eius senectus ac simplicitas et superueniens aegritudo, quam ipse retulisti, suspenderet. Quia ergo ita est positus, ut ad aliquam ordinationem esse non possit idoneus, oeconomum ecclesiae ipsius atque Epiphanium archipresbyterum ex nostra districte auctoritate commone ut eadem xenodochia ipsi in periculo suo sollicite ac utiliter studeant ordinare. Nam si quis illic post hoc neglectus exstiterit, nulla se posse nouerint apud nos ratione aliquatenus excusare.
(ed. Norberg 1982: )
Letter 14.2 to defensor Vitalis of Sardinia (September 603)
Gregory to Vitalis, defensor of Sardinia
From the report of your experience
(trans. Martyn 2004: 867–868, slightly altered by J. Szafranowski)


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.
In the earlier letters mentioning Epiphanius, Gregory refers to him only as a presbyter ([2327] and [2328]). It seems that in the meantime he was promoted to archpresbyterate, or that he simply became the oldest among Cagliari's presbyters, thus earning the prefix "arch". He is mentioned as archpresbyter also in the letter 9.198 ([2329]).

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.


Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER2330,