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E06349: A letter of Pope Gregory the Great (Register 4.18) of 593, to Maurus, abbot of Saint Pancratius, entrusts the care of the burial church at Rome of *Pancratius (martyr of Rome, S00307) to him and a newly established monastery, and orders that divine office be held daily before the saint's body. Written in Latin in Rome.

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posted on 2018-09-11, 00:00 authored by frances
Pope Gregory the Great, Register of Letters 4.18

From the opening of the letter:

Ecclesiarum cura, quae sacerdotalibus officiis euidenter infixa est, ita nos cogit esse sollicitos, ut nulla in eis culpa neglectus appareat. Quoniam uero ecclesiam sancti Pancratii, quae erat commissa presbyteris, frequenter neglectum habuisse cognouimus, ita ut uenientes dominicorum die populi missarum sollemnia celebraturi, non inuento presbytero, murmurantes redirent.

‘The care of churches, which has clearly been established among priestly duties, forces us to be very much concerned that no fault of neglect should appear in them. But we have learnt that the church of Saint Pancratius, which was entrusted to priests, has frequently suffered from neglect, to the extent that when the people came on a Sunday to celebrate solemn Mass, they found no priest and went home muttering.’

Gregory continues, entrusting the church, and its property, to a new monastery under Maurus as abbot. Towards the end of the letter he writes:

Sed et hoc prae omnibus curae tuae sit ut ibidem ad sacratissimum corpus beati Pancratii cotidie opus dei proculdubio peragatur.

‘But take care over this before all else, that each day the work of God [the Opus Dei or Divine Office] is carried out there without question, before the most sacred body of Saint Pancratius’.

Text: Norberg 1982, vol.1, 236-7. Translation: Martyn 2004, vol. 1, 301, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Pancratius, martyr of Rome : S00307

Saint Name in Source


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

Major author/Major anonymous work

Gregory the Great (pope)

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Other liturgical acts and ceremonies

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body


A letter transmitted as part of Gregory the Great’s Register of Letters. This letter collection, organised into fourteen books, is large and contains letters to a variety of recipients, including prominent aristocrats, members of the clergy and royalty. The issues touched on in the letters are equally varied, ranging from theological considerations to mundane administrative matters. This collection of letters, which was possibly curated by Gregory, was originally much larger. The surviving Register comprises several groups of letters which were extracted at several later moments in history, the largest of which took place in the papacy of Hadrian I (772-795).


Edition: Norberg, D., S. Gregorii Magni, Registrum epistularum. 2 vols. (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 140-140A; Turnhout: Brepols, 1982). English translation: Martyn, J.R.C., The Letters of Gregory the Great, 3 vols. (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2004). Further Reading: Neil, B., and Dal Santo, M. (eds.), A Companion to Gregory the Great (Leiden: Brill, 2013).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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