University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E06425: A letter of Pope Gregory the Great (Register 11.57) of 601, to Petrus, bishop of Otranto, orders the return from Brindisi (southern Italy) of the body of a 'saint Leucius' (perhaps *Lucius, soldier and martyr of Rome, S01396), stolen from a monastery dedicated to the same saint, five miles from Rome. Written in Latin in Rome.

online resource
posted on 2018-09-11, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Pope Gregory the Great, Register of Letters 11.57

Full text of the letter:

Oportunus abbas monasterii sancti Leucii, quod in quinto Romanae urbis miliario situm est, sanctuaria eiusdem martyris, quae de ecclesia nomini ipsius dicata, ut astruit, furto ablata sunt, sibi denuo postulat debere concedi, ut in loco eodem recondantur. Et ideo, frater carissime, quia eiusdem beatissimi martyris corpus in Brindisii ecclesia, cui uisitationis impendis officium, esse dinoscitur, praefati uiri desideriis ex nostra praeceptione conuenit oboedire, ut in deuotione quam postulat sortiatur effectum.

‘Gregory to Petrus, bishop of Otranto
Oportunus, abbot of the monastery of Saint Leucius, which is situated five miles from the city of Rome, asks that the holy relics of the same martyr that have been stolen from the church of the same name, as he affirms, should be granted to him again, to be buried in the same place. And for that reason, dearest brother, because the body of that blessed martyr is known to be in the church of Brindisi, for which you hold the office of visitor, it is right for you to obey the desires of the aforesaid man, following our injunction, so that he may obtain the outcome that he demands through devotion.’

Text: Norberg 1982, vol. 2, 963. Translation: Martyn 2004, vol. 3, 803-4.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Lucius, martyr of Brundisi, southern Italy : S02418

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 - monastic

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - abbots

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Transfer, translation and deposition of relics Theft/appropriation of relics


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 identity of this saint, supposedly the victim of an early theft of relics, is uncertain.


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