University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E06371: A letter of Pope Gregory the Great (Register 6.58) of 596, to Brunhild, queen of the Franks, grants her relics of the Apostles *Peter and *Paul (S00036; S00008), and enjoins her that they be treated with due respect. Written in Latin in Rome.

online resource
posted on 2018-09-11, 00:00 authored by frances
Pope Gregory the Great, Register of Letters 6.58

Gregory responds to a request from Brunhild for relics (the extract is from the middle of the letter):

Atque ideo congruo honore uestram excellentiam salutantes indicamus latori praesentium Leparico, quem vos esse presbyterum scripsistis, per quem eloquia uestrarum suscepimus litterarum, reliquias nos beatorum apostolorum Petri ac Pauli iuxta excellentiae uestrae petitionem cum ea ueneratione qua dignum est praebuisse. Sed ut in uobis magis magisque laudabilis et religiosa possit clarere deuotio, prouidendum uobis est ut sanctorum beneficia cum reuerentia et debito honore condantur et seruientes ibidem nullis oneribus nullisque molestiis affligantur, ne forsitan necessitate exterius imminente in Dei seruitio inutiles segnes que reddantur et iniuriam, quod absit, neglectum que beneficia sanctorum collata sustineant.

‘And for that reason, we greet your Excellency with suitable honour, and we inform Leuparic, bearer of this letter, who is a priest as you tell us, through whom we have received your very eloquent letters, that we have provided you with relics of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, in accordance with the request of your Excellency, with that veneration which they deserve. But so that the devotion in you can shine forth more and more laudable and religious, you must take care that the relics of the saints are put in place with due honour, and those entrusted with their care are not afflicted by any burdens or troubles, in case perhaps, with the threat of external necessity, they may be rendered useless and idle in the service of God, and the relics of the saints brought there may sustain damage (Heaven forbid!) and neglect. Therefore, let your Excellency ensure their security, so that, when they are protected with your support, free from all disturbance, they may offer praises to our God with secure minds, and a reward may increase for you in eternal life.’

Text: Norberg 1982, vol. 1, 431. Translation: Martyn 2004, vol. 2, 443.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Peter the Apostle : S00036 Paul, the Apostle : S00008

Saint Name in Source

Petrus Paulus

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 - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Monarchs and their family

Cult Activities - Relics

Unspecified relic Transfer, translation and deposition of relics Transfer/presence of relics from distant countries


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).


Gregory distributed many small reliquaries to important correspondents for their personal protection and use, particularly in the form of small keys containing filings from the chains of Peter. The relics described here do not seem to be of that nature, but to be more 'major' relics designed for the consecration of an ecclesiastical building.


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: Dal Santo, M., Debating the Saints' Cult in the Age of Gregory the Great (Oxford: OUP, 2012). 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).

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager