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E06369: A letter of Pope Gregory the Great (Register 6.45) of 596, to Leontius, bishop of Rimini, instructs him to dedicate a restored church of *Stephen (the First Martyr, S00030) in Rimini (northern Italy), and to properly locate its relics within it. 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 6.45

Extract from the opening of the letter:

Basilicam beati Stephani martyris, quam fraternitas uestra incendio asserit concrematam, quam etiam nuper restauratam esse commemorat, facultatem tribuimus dedicandi, in qua etiam reliquiarum sanctuaria eiusdem beati Stephani martyris uolumus collocari. Et ideo, frater carissime, ad praedictam te ecclesiam ire necesse est et tam ecclesiae quam etiam altaris noviter constructi dedicationem sollemniter exhibere [...]

‘We have attributed to you the power of dedicating the church of Saint Stephen the martyr. Your Frathernity asserts that the church was consumed by fire, but you also report that it has recently been restored. We also want a sanctuary for the relics of Saint Stephen the martyr to be located inside it. For that reason, my very dear brother, it is necessary for you to go to the aforesaid church, and to make a solemn dedication both of the church and of the recently constructed altar ...’

Text: Norberg 1982, vol. 1, 418. Translation: Martyn 2004, vol. 2, 434.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Stephen, the First Martyr : S00030

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

  • 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).


According to the 9th century author Agnellus of Ravenna, this church was originally founded in the mid 5th century by Galla Placidia. See E05784.


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).

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity