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E05712: Pope Pelagius II in a letter to Bishop Aunacharius of Auxerre, says that he is sending relics of *unnamed saints (S00518) to Aunacharius and to one of the kings of the Franks. Letter written in Latin, at Rome, in 580.

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posted on 2018-06-12, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Letter of Pope Pelagius II to Bishop Aunacharius of Auxerre ('Laudanda tua', JK 1048/JH 2042)

In a letter dated 5 October 580, Pope Pelagius II writes to Bishop Aunacharius of Auxerre describing the miserable state of the city of Rome under attack by the Lombards. He asks Aunacharius to encourage the kings of the Franks to intervene militarily against the Lombards. Before concluding the letter, he writes:

Sacras autem reliquias, quas et tua caritas et gloriosissimus filius noster petiit dirigendas, cum quoherenti sibi sanctificatione transmisimus.

'The sacred relics, which both Your Charity and our most glorious son asked to be sent to you, we have sent together with their sanctifying power.'

Text: Gundlach 1892, 449. Summary and translation: David Lambert.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Saints, unnamed : S00518

Type of Evidence

Literary - Letters


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Rome Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Monarchs and their family

Cult Activities - Relics

Unspecified relic Transfer/presence of relics from distant countries


This letter by Pope Pelagius II (579-590) survives in a single 9th century manuscript (BnF Lat. 1564, fol. 133r-134r) containing a diverse collection of canonical and doctrinal texts. On the manuscript, see:


This brief reference to relics being sent to Aunarius and a Frankish king is included by Pope Pelagius in a letter appealing for Aunarius to try and obtain help from the kings of the Franks against the Lombards, who were attacking Rome. Pelagius does not name any of the kings he wishes Aunarius to appeal to, but evidently the relics must have been directed to a specific individual, perhaps Guntram (r. 561-592), whose links to Aunarius are mentioned in the bishop's Life (E05909). The unspecified relics mentioned in the letter were most likely contact relics of Peter and Paul, perhaps those known as sanctuaria (see E00615).


Editions and translations: Gundlach, W., Epistolae Merowingici et Karolini aevi (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Epistolae 3; Berlin 1892), 449.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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