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Home > Fathers of the Church > Registrum Epistolarum (Gregory the Great) > Book I, Letter 50

Book I, Letter 50

To Anthemius the Subdeacon.

Gregory to Anthemius, etc.

Even as, through the ordering of God as it has pleased Him, we have received the place of government, so ought we to be solicitous for the souls committed to us. Now we find that in the Eumorphian island , in which, as is well known, there is an oratory of the blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, a large number of men with their wives from various patrimonies have fled to it for refuge, through stress of barbarian ferocity. This we consider inexpedient: for, there being other places of refuge near at hand, why should women have their abode there with monks? Wherefore we enjoin your Experience by this present order from this time forward to allow no woman, whether she be under ecclesiastical jurisdiction or any other, to take up her abode or tarry there; but let them provide for themselves a place of refuge (there being, as has been said above, so many in the neighbourhood) wherever they may choose; so that all intercourse with women may henceforth be put an end to; lest, if we should desist from taking all the care we can, and guarding against the snares of the enemy, we henceforth (which God forbid) should be culpable in case of anything wrong taking place. Delay not, therefore, to give to the abbot Felix, the bearer of these presents, one thousand five hundred pounds of lead, which he is known to be in want of in the same island, which may be charged afterwards in your accounts, when the whole quantity shall be known. So proceed, then, that you may provide yourself with some, if any can be profitably used for the buildings of the same island. Moreover, since congregations of monks in the islands are exposed to hardship, we forbid boys under eighteen years of age to be received into these monasteries. Or, if there are any now there, let your Experience remove them, and send them to the city of Rome. We desire you in all respects to observe this in Palmaria also and the other islands.

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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/360201050.htm>.

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