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E06377: A letter of Pope Gregory the Great (Register 8.5) of 597, to Venantius, bishop of Luna, gives orders for the provisioning of a new female monastery within his city, dedicated to *Peter (the Apostle, S00036), *Iohannes and Paulus (brothers and eunuchs, martyrs of Rome, S00384), *Hermes (martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00404) and *Sebastianus (martyr of Rome, S05110); and for the consecration of the monastery's oratory in the countryside nearby; all at Luna (northern 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 8.5

Full text of the letter:

Fraternitatis uestrae insinuatione didicimus, quae habetur in subditis, intra ciuitatem Lunensem in domo propria monasterium ancillarum dei pro uestra deuotione fundasse, quod in honore beati Petri apostolorum principis et sanctorum martyrum Iohannis et Pauli atque Hermae et Sebastiani desideras consecrari. Et ideo, frater carissime, si nullum corpus ibidem constat humatum, data primitus a fraternitate tua donatione legitima, id est calicem argenteum unum habentem uncias ui, patenam argenteam habentem libras ii, sindones ii, coopertorium super altare unum, lecta strata numero x, in aeramentis capita xx, in ferramentis capita xxx, in caespite fundum Faborianum et Lumbricata in integro constitutum territorio Lunensi miliario ab urbe eadem plus minus secundo iuxta fluuium qui appellatur Macra cum seruis duobus, id est Maurum et Iohannem, et boues paria ii tantum, gestis que municipalibus allegata, praedicti monasterii oratorium absque missas publicas sollemniter consecrabis, et cetera secundum morem.

‘Gregory to Venantius, bishop of Luna
We have learnt from your Fraternity’s reference, that appears in the appendix, that you have founded a monastery within the city of Luna, in your own house, for nuns, as a mark of your devotion, and you desire to have it consecrated in honour of Saint Peter, prince of the apostles, and of the holy martyrs, John and Paul, Hermes and Sebastian. For that reason, my very dear brother, if it is certain that no human body has been buried there, your Fraternity should first of all give the donation fixed by law. That is, a silver chalice of six ounces, a silver plate of two ounces, two rolls of muslin, a single altar cloth, ten beds with blankets, twenty items in bronze pots and thirty items in iron utensils. Then, without public masses, you will solemnly consecrate the oratory of the aforesaid convent, established in untilled territory on a field at the farm of Favorianus and Lumbrica, two miles or so from the same city of Luna, beside the river called Magra, together with two slaves, that is Maurus and Iohannes, and just two oxen likewise, contributed by a municipal act. The rest will be done in the normal way.’

Text: Norberg 1982, vol. 2, 522. Translation: Martyn 2004, vol. 2, 505, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Peter the Apostle : S00036 Iohannes and Paulus, brothers and eunuchs, martyrs of Rome under the emperor Julian : S00384 Hermes, martyr of Rome : S00404 Sebastianus, martyr of Rome : S00400

Saint Name in Source

Petrus Iohannes, Paulus Hermes Sebastianus

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 - monastic

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


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).


This is one of a number of surviving papal letters - two from Pelagius I (556-561) and four from Gregory the Great (590-604) - permitting, while also carefully regulating, the consecration and dedication to saints of private oratories, either on aristocratic estates or in monasteries, by the use of a set form of wording: E06878 and E06880 (both from Pelagius); E06377, E06390, E06399, E06403 (all from Gregory).


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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