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E06388: A letter of Pope Gregory the Great (Register 9.49) of 598, to Bishop Chrysantus, asks him to consecrate relics of *Hermes (martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00404), *Hyacinthus (companion of Protus, and martyr of Rome, S01556) and *Maximus (martyr of Rome, buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00173) at a font within a church dedicated to *Mary (the mother of Christ, S00033) in Rieti (central 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 9.49

Full text of the letter:

Paulus ecclesiae Reatinae diaconus petitoria nobis insinuatione poposcit ut ad fontes in basilica beatae Mariae semper uirginis genetricis Dei et domini nostri Iesu Christi, quae est intra ciuitatem Reatinam posita, reliquiae beatorum martyrum Hermes, Hyacinthi et Maximi debeant collocari. Et ideo, frater carissime, si in eodem loco nullum corpus constat humatum, sanctuaria praedictorum martyrum cum reuerentia sine ambiguitate suscepta diligenter consecrabis.

Paul, deacon of the church of Rieti, requested in a petition to us that relics of the blessed martyrs Hermes, Hyacinthus and Maximus should be located at the fonts of the church of Saint Mary, ever virgin and mother of God, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, which lies inside the city of Rieti. And so, dearest brother, if it is established that no human body has been buried in the same place, you will diligently consecrate the relics of the aforesaid martyrs with reverence and without any equivocation.’

Text: Norberg 1982, vol. 2, 608. Translation: Martyn 2004, vol. 2, 575, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Hermes, martyr of Rome : S00404 Maximus, presbyter and martyr of Rome : S00173 Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033 310 martyrs of Persia : S02341 Protus and Hyacinthus, eunuchs and martyrs of Rome : S00464

Saint Name in Source

Hermes Maximus Maria

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 - secondary installation (fountain, pilgrims’ hostel)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy

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).


Hermes, Maximus/Maximilianus and Hyacinthus were all martyrs buried in the same cemetery of the via Salaria (see, for instance, E06999).


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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