A COPY OF THE GENERAL LETTER CONCERNING THE CASE OF THE ISLAND OF LÉRINS WHICH WAS SENT TO THE BISHOPS INVITED [TO THE COUNCIL]
Whenever one of the members is troubled by whatever kind of sickness, nothing should be done that could put also other members of the body in harm's way. And hence we, who are without doubt one in Christ, cannot ignore the disagreement which arose between holy Bishop Theodore and holy Valerianus and holy Maximus, also bishops, and abbot Faustus and other brothers from the island of Lérins, unless we urge that this [dispute] is dealt with and settled. And so, to remedy this scandal, after your prayers the day of third Kalends of the January was chosen for the hearings. We plead therefore that Your Sanctity would deign to trouble himself [with the travel] to Arles, since so great an evil, which multiplies when neglected, will be surely terminated by the presence of Your Holiness. For this great disagreement, which begot so great a scandal, affected many with its atrocity, just as it demanded that those who find hope in Christ would increase in number.
To those who live on the island [of Lérins]: truly, it is particularly proper for Your Holinesses to come, who, warmed by the island itself as if by the mother’s bosom, by the Lord’s inspiration were led to such grace as now can be found within you.
To holy Rusticus: and above all we especially beg Your Holiness to come, because the graver the sickness the more skilful the physicians who are required.
HERE BEGINS THE VERDICT OF THE HOLY BISHOPS REVENNIUS, RVSTICUS, NECTARIUS, FLORUS, CONSTANTIUS, ASCLEPIUS, MAXIMUS, IVSTUS, SALONIUS, INGENUUS, ENANTIUS, ZOTICUS, AND CHRYSANTIUS GIVEN IN THE CASE OF THE ISLAND OF LÉRINS.
When we were gathered in Arles, in the secretarium of the basilica, having offered prayers to the Lord, without the interference of any outside authority, we sat in council discussing a remedy to the scandal which broke on the island of Lérins. Guided by, as we believe, the Holy Ghost, and having investigated and discussed thoroughly everything which was related to this disagreement, we decided [as follows]: holy and most blessed brother Theodore, the bishop, was first persuaded by us, that, in order for this scandal, which pained both him and us, not to continue any longer, he should swiftly accept the remedies of satisfaction [for Faustus' offence] and absolve holy presbyter Faustus, abbot of the aforementioned monastery, if he was at fault. He should receive him in the former peace with the entirety of the loving affection, and send him back with his grace and love to the island and to the congregation entrusted to him by God. And let no one in the future repeat in words or keep in soul any of those things he [Theodore] argued brother Faustus had done against him. What is more, as a venerable father [abba] and a bishop, he should exhibit union [collatio], as it is pious and necessary, and, consequently, should exhibit a full support [solacia] and fulfill in acts what he had deigned to promise in words in all the things that the custom dictates.
He should retain the right only to what his predecessor, Bishop Leontius of the holy memory, reserved for himself, which is that the clerics and ministers of the altar were ordained by no one other than him or the person he had chosen. [Likewise], chrism can be consecrated by no one else but him, only he can confirm the neophytes (if there are any), and foreign clerics should not be admitted to communion or service [at the altar] without his permission.
The multitude of the lay people in the monastery should remain under the abbot's supervision, and the bishop should not punish them in any way or dare [to ordain] someone of them a cleric if not by the request of the abbot.
This, indeed, is full of reason and piety that clerics should respect their submission to the will [ordinatio] of the bishop; all belonging to the lay congregation, however, should remain in the sole and free ordination and disposition of their own abbot whom they elected for themselves, [just as] the rule which was instituted by the founder of this monastery should be observed in all cases.
(trans. J. Szafranowski)