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Home > Fathers of the Church > Registrum Epistolarum (Gregory the Great) > Book IV, Letter 18

Book IV, Letter 18

To Maurus, Abbot.

Gregory to Maurus, etc.

The care of churches which is evidently inherent in the priestly office compels us to be so solicitous that no fault of neglect may appear with regard to them. Since, however, we have learned that the church of Saint Pancratius, which had been committed to presbyters, has been frequently neglected, so that people coming there on the Lord's day to celebrate the solemnities of mass have returned murmuring on finding no presbyter, we therefore, after mature deliberation, have determined to remove those presbyters, and with the favour of God constitute for the same church a congregation of monks in a monastery, to the end that the abbot who shall preside there may give care and attention in all respects to the aforesaid church. And we have also thought fit to put you, Maurus, over this monastery as abbot, ordaining that the lands of the aforesaid church, and whatever may have come into its possession, or accrued from its revenues, be applied to this your monastery, and belong to it without any diminution; but on condition whatever needs to be effected or repaired in the church above written may be so effected and repaired by you without fail.

But lest, after the removal of the presbyters to whom this church had previously been committed, it should seem to be without provision for divine service, we therefore enjoin you by the tenour of this authority to supply it with a peregrine presbyter to celebrate the sacred solemnities of mass, who, nevertheless, must needs both live in your monastery, and have from it provision for his maintenance.

But let this also above all be your care, that there over the most sacred body of the blessed Pancratius the work of God be executed daily without fail. These things, then, which by the tenour of this precept we depute you to do, we will that not only thou perform, but that they be also so observed and fulfilled for ever by those who shall succeed you in your office and place, that there may be no possibility henceforth of neglect being found in the aforesaid church.

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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/360204018.htm>.

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