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E06354: A letter of Pope Gregory the Great (Register 5.15) of 594, to Iohannes, bishop of Ravenna (northern Italy), refers to John's predecessors' use of the pallium outside the church of Ravenna when relics were being deposited. 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 5.15

An extract from a letter that concerns the presumption and rudeness of Iohannes, and his reluctance to listen to papal correction:

Vltimum uero est, quod tamen pondere elationis primum, quia de usu pallii extra ecclesiam, quod temporibus decessorum meorum facere numquam praesumpsit, numquam a decessoribus eius praesumptum est, sicut responsales nostri testantur, excepto si reliquiae conderentur – quod tamen de reliquiis unus tantummodo potuit inueniri qui diceret.

‘But the final point, although the foremost in its degree of arrogance, concerns his use of the pallium outside his church. This is something which he never presumed to do in the times of my predecessors, and was never adopted by his predecessors, as our delegates testify, except if relics were being deposited. And where the relics were concerned, only one person could be found to confirm it.’

Text: Norberg 1982, vol. 1, 280. Translation: Martyn 2004, vol. 2, 332, lightly modified.


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

Major author/Major anonymous work

Gregory the Great (pope)

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Other liturgical acts and ceremonies

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

Cult Activities - Relics

Unspecified relic Transfer, translation and deposition of relics


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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