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Home > Fathers of the Church > Registrum Epistolarum (Gregory the Great) > Book VI, Letter 12

Book VI, Letter 12

To Montana and Thomas.

Gregory to Montana, etc.

Since our Redeemer, the Maker of every creature, vouchsafed to assume human flesh for this end, that, the chain of slavery wherewith we were held being broken by the grace of His Divinity, He might restore us to pristine liberty, it is a salutary deed if men whom nature originally produced free, and whom the law of nations has subjected to the yoke of slavery, be restored by the benefit of manumission to the liberty in which they were born. And so, moved by loving-kindness and by consideration of this case, we make you, Montana and Thomas, servants of the holy Roman Church which with the help of God we serve, free from this day, and Roman citizens, and we release to you all your private property.

And, inasmuch as thou, Montana, declarest that you have applied your mind to monastic profession, we therefore this day give and grant to you two unciæ, which the presbyter Gaudiosus by the disposition of his last will is known to have left to you in the way of institution , provided that all go in all respects to the advantage of the monastery of Saint Laurence, over which the abbess Constantina presides, and in which by the mercy of God you are about to make profession. But, if it should appear that you have in any way concealed any part of the property left by the above-written Gaudiosus, the whole of this must undoubtedly be transferred to the possession of our Church.

Moreover to you, Thomas above-written, whom for enhancement of your freedom we desire also to serve among the notaries, we in like manner this day give and grant by this writ of manumission the five unciæ which the aforesaid presbyter Gaudiosus by his last will left to you under the title of inheritance, together with the dowry which he had bestowed upon your mother; to wit with this annexed law and condition, that, in case of your dying without legitimate children, that is children born in lawful wedlock, all that we have granted you shall revert without any diminution to the possession of the holy Roman Church. But, if you should have children both in wedlock, as we have said, and recognized by the law, and should leave them surviving you, then we appoint you to remain master of this same property without any condition, and give you full power to make a will with respect to it. These things, then, which we have appointed and granted by this charter of manumission, know that we and our successors will observe without any demur. For the rule of justice and reason suggests that one who desires his own orders to be observed by his successors should undoubtedly keep to the will and ordinances of his predecessor. This writ of manumission we have dictated to the notary Paterius to be put in writing, and for the fullest security have subscribed it with our own hand, together with three chief presbyters and three deacons, and have delivered it to you.

Done in the city of Rome.

About this page

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/360206012.htm>.

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