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E06396: A letter of Pope Gregory the Great (Register 9.131) of 599, to the defensor Romanus in Syracuse, mentions a bequest to a hostel (xenodochium) dedicated to *Peter (the Apostle, S00036), possibly in Syracuse (Sicily). 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 9.131

Extract from the opening of letter concerned with the will of numerarius Bonifatius:

Experientiam non latet in rationibus quondam Bonifatii numerarii nostrum secundum aliquid interesse, propter quod partem aliquam substantiae suae xenodochio, quod ad beatum Petrum apostolorum principem constitutum est, dereliquit et suam nobis coniugem commendauit.

‘It is not unknown to your Experience that we have some interest in the affairs of the late accountant, Boniface, because he left part of his fortune to a hostel, established for Saint Peter, the prince of the apostles, and commended his wife to our care.’

Text: Norberg 1982, vol. 2, 681. Translation: Martyn 2004, vol. 2, 619, modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Peter the Apostle : S00036

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 - Places

Cult building - secondary installation (fountain, pilgrims’ hostel)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Officials Women


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).


The letter is addressed to Romanus, who we know (from other letters) was in Syracuse, and it is clear that Bonifatius' estate was based in that region; it is, however, not explicit that the xenodochium here discussed was in Syracuse.


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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