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E06379: A letter of Pope Gregory the Great (Register 8.17) of 598, to Marinianus, bishop of Ravenna, seeks to regulate the affairs of a monastery dedicated to *John (probably the Baptist, S00020) and *Stephen (the first martyr, S00030) in Classe (the port of Ravenna, northern Italy). Written in Latin in Rome.

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posted on 2018-09-11, 00:00 authored by Bryan
Pope Gregory the Great, Register of Letters 8.17

Extract from the opening of the letter:

Quam sit necessarium monasteriorum quieti prospicere et de eorum perpetua securitate tractare, anteactum uos officium quod in regimine monasterii exhibuistis informat. Et ideo quia monasterium beatorum Iohannis et Stephani, quod in Classitana ciuitate est constitutum, cui communis filius Claudius abbas praeesse dinoscitur, multa a decessoribus uestris praeiudicia atque grauamina pertulisse cognouimus.

‘The previous office that you held in governing a monastery tells us how necessary it is to provide for the tranquillity of monasteries, and to deal with their permanent security. On that, we have learnt that the monastery of Saints John and Stephen, which was established in the city of Classe, and over which our common son, the abbott Claudius, is known to preside, has endured many disadvantages and grievances from your predecessors.’

Text: Norberg 1982, vol. 2, 536. Translation: Martyn 2004, vol. 2, 514.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John the Baptist : S00020 Stephen, the First Martyr : S00030 John, the Apostle and Evangelist : S00042

Saint Name in Source

Iohannes Stephanus

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 - Places

Cult building - monastic


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).


Troubles between this monastery and Ravenna’s bishops are also referred to in other letters (2.38, 5.25 and 6.24), although none of these refer to the dedication of the monastery to John and Stephen. The John of the dedication is almost certainly John the Baptist who, as a proto-martyr, could readily be paired with Stephen the first martyr.


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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