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E06366: A letter of Pope Gregory the Great (Register 6.22) of 596, to Petrus, bishop of Aleria in Corsica, orders the foundation of a church and baptistry in honour of *Peter (the Apostle, S00036) and *Laurence (deacon and martyr of Rome, S00037) in Negeunus (Corsica), and the deposition of relics therein. 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 6.22

Full text of the letter:

In insula Corsica in loco Nigeuno in possessione quae Cellas Cupias appellatur iuris sanctae Romanae cui Deo auctore deseruimus ecclesiae basilicam cum baptisterio in honore beatorum Petri apostolorum principis atque Laurentii martyris pro lucrandis animabus fundari praecepimus, idcirco fraternitatem tuam his hortamur affatibus quatenus ad praedictum locum debeat incunctanter accedere, uenerandae sollemnia dedicationis impendens. Praedictam ecclesiam et baptisterium sollemniter consecrare te uolumus, sanctuaria uero suscepta sui cum reuerentia collocabis.

‘In the island of Corsica, at the place called Negeunus, there is a property called Cellas Cupias that belongs to the holy Roman Church, which we serve with God’s authority. There we have ordered a church with a baptistry to be founded, in honour of Saint Peter, the prince of the apostles, and Saint Laurence the martyr, to benefit the souls living there. For that reason, with these words, we exhort your Fraternity, that you should visit the aforesaid place without delay, providing the solemnities of a venerable dedication. We want you to solemnly consecrate the aforesaid church and baptistry and place therein, with due reverence, the relics you have received.’

Text: Norberg 1982, vol. 1, 392. Translation: Martyn 2004, vol. 2, 418, lightly adapted.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Peter the Apostle : S00036 Laurence/Laurentius, deacon and martyr of Rome : S00037

Saint Name in Source

Petrus Laurentius

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 - independent (church)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

Cult Activities - Relics

Unspecified relic


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).


The description of the process required for consecration and provision of the monastery is formulaic and appears in several other letters (E06330 and E06390). This provides a clear account of the procedure for consecrating a foundation dedicated to a saint. In this case, on a papal estate, it is unsurprising that it is Roman saints who are being honoured. In this context, the word sanctuaria refers to relics. John McCulloch highlights how Gregory uses this word throughout the Register not only to refer to holy places, but also relics. Very possibly the ones mentioned here were of Peter and Laurence.


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: McCulloch, J., "The Cult of Relics in the Letters and Dialogues of Gregory the Great," Traditio 32 (1976), 145-184. 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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