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Home > Fathers of the Church > Registrum Epistolarum (Gregory the Great) > Book I, Letter 4

Book I, Letter 4

To John, Bishop of Constantinople.

Gregory to John, Bishop of Constantinople.

If the virtue of charity consists in the love of one's neighbour, and we are commanded to love our neighbours as ourselves, how is it that your Blessedness does not love me even as yourself? For I know with what ardour, with what anxiety, you wished to fly from the burden of the episcopate; and yet you made no opposition to this same burden of the episcopate being imposed on me. It is evident, then, that you do not love me as yourself, seeing that you have wished me to take on myself that load which you were unwilling should be imposed on you. But since I, unworthy and weak, have taken charge of an old and grievously shattered ship (for on all sides the waves enter, and the planks, battered by a daily and violent storm, sound of shipwreck), I beseech you by Almighty God to stretch out the hand of your prayer to me in this my danger, since you can pray the more strenuously as you stand further removed from the confusion of the tribulations which we suffer in this land.

My synodical epistle I will transmit with all possible speed, having dispatched Bacauda, our brother and fellow bishop, immediately after my ordination, as the bearer of this letter, while pressed by many and serious engagements.

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Source. Translated by James Barmby. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 12. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1895.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/360201004.htm>.

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