Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 2339
Gregory urges Bishop Columbus of unknown see in Numidia (Africa) to be vigilant in cases of unlawful ordination of clerics. Gregory the Great, Letter 3.47, AD 593.
Letter 3.47 to Bishop Columbus of unknown see in Numidia in Africa (July 593)
Gregorius Columbo episcopo
Gregory praises Columbus' faith and aknowledges the unity of love and thought between both of them.
Praemisso siquidem debita ex caritate salutationis alloquio, hortor ut eorum, quae beato Petro apostolorum principi promisisti, memor esse non desinas. Itaque erga primatem synodi tuae esto sollicitus, ut pueri ad sacros ordines nullatenus admittantur, ne tanto periculosius cadant, quanto citius conscendere altiora festinant. Nulla sit in ordinatione uenalitas, potentia uel supplicatio personarum nihil aduersus haec quae prohibemus obtineat. Nam proculdubio Deus offenditur, si ad sacros ordines quisquam non ex merito sed ex fauore, quod absit, aut uenalitate prouehitur. Haec autem si fieri cognoscis, non taceas, sed instanter obsiste. Quoniam si haec aut inuestigare fortasse neglexeris, aut intellecta celaueris, non solum illos qui haec agunt peccati uinculum illigabit, sed et te huius rei non leuis ante Deum culpa respiciet. Oportet ergo canonica ultione si quid tale committitur coerceri, ne tantum facinus cum aliorum peccato uires ex dissimulatione percipiat.
(ed. Norberg 1982: )
Letter 3.47 to Bishop Columbus of unknown see in  Numidia in Africa (July 593)
Gregory to Bishop Columbus
Gregory praises Columbus' faith and aknowledges the unity of love and thought between both of them.
Indeed, after starting with an address of welcome due to the affection I owe you, I encourage you not to forget about the things you promised to Saint Peter, the prince of the apostles. Therefore, by wary of the primate of your synod, [and make sure?] that boys should on no account be admitted to holy orders, in case they slip all the more dangerously, the more quickly they rush to rise to higher ranks. Let no bribery, force, or plea of some people achieve anything in case of ordinations we prohibit. For without doubt God is offended, if someone is promoted to holy orders not through merit but through favour or (Heaven forbid!) through bribe. Yet if you realize that it is being done, do not keep quiet, but object to it instantly. Since if you fail to investigate such cases or conceal what you have found out, not only will a chain of sin bind those who do this, but no light blame for this matter will befell also on you in the eyes of God. If such sin is committed, it should be therefore punished with canonical retribution, so that through concealment such a great crime will not gain strength with the sin of others.
(trans. Martyn 2004: 266, altered and summarized by J. Szafranowski)



Place of event:

  • Italy south of Rome and Sicily
  • Rome
  • Tarentum
  • Gallipoli
  • 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.


Impediments or requisits for the office - Age
    Impediments or requisits for the office - Improper/Immoral behaviour
      Impediments or requisits for the office - Heresy/Schism
        Simony/Buying office
            Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
              Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER2339,