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E06359: A letter of Pope Gregory the Great (Register 5.50) of 595, to Fortunatus, bishop of Naples, mentions the abbot of a monastery of Saint *Martin (ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397, S00050), and an oratory dedicated to *Peter (the Apostle, S00008) and *Michael (the Archangel, S00181), both presumably in the diocese of Naples (southern Italy). 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 5.50

Extract from the opening of the letter:

Theodosius abbas monasterii sancti Martini petitorii nobis insinuatione suggessit, quae habetur in subditis, in domo quondam Marini ex eius uoluntate secundum testamenti seriem oratorium decessorem suum Andream abbam, in qua monachi habitare debeant, construxisse. Et quia id in honore beati Petri principis apostolorum et sancti archangeli Michaelis postulat dedicari, dilectionem tuam praesentibus apicibus duximus adhortandam quatenus ad praedictum locum, cum postulauerit, ingrauanter accedas, uenerandae sollemnia dedicationis impendens, et, quotiens necesse fuerit, a presbyteris ecclesiae tuae in sancto loco deseruientibus celebrentur sacrificia ueneranda missarum.

‘Theodosius, abbot of the monastery of Saint Martin, suggested to us with his notification of a judicial claim (which is included below), that his predecessor, abbot Andrew, had constructed an oratory some time ago in the home of Marinus, according to his wishes as stated in his will, as a place for monks to live. And because he asks for it to be dedicated in honour of Saint Peter, the prince of the apostles, and of Michael, the holy archangel, we thought it proper to encourage your Beloved with the words of this letter to put all differences aside and go to the aforesaid place, when the abbot asks, and to apply the solemnities of a venerable dedication, so that when it is necessary, the revered sacrifices of masses may be celebrated by priests of your church serving in that holy place.’

Text: Norberg 1982, vol. 1, 344. Translation: Martyn 2004, vol. 2, 376, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Peter the Apostle : S00036 Martin, ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397 : S00050 Michael, the Archangel : S00181

Saint Name in Source

Petrus Martinus Michael

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

  • Ceremony of dedication

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - dependent (chapel, baptistery, etc.)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings


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).


Here Gregory doesn’t provide any details of what a consecration involves. Perhaps it looked something like the consecration he describes in E06330. The monastery dedicated to Saint Martin in Naples is also mentioned elsewhere in his letters (E06342). Theodosius, abbot of the monastery of Saint Martin (monasterii sancti Martini) also features in Register 5.33.


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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