Early Church Fathers
42 Anastasius, bishop of the Metropolitan See of Corinth, had been deposed for some serious crime, the nature of which is not mentioned, Secundinus, bishop of some other see, having apparently been commissioned by Gregory to investigate the charges against him. John, to whom this letter is addressed had now succeeded him. See also Epp. LVII., LVIII.
43 Gregory here asserts the view of his day, which after his manner he takes for granted that Gaul had derived its Christianity from Rome. Similarly, long before him, pope Zosimus (417- 418), writing to the bishops of Gaul in support of the jurisdiction over them of Patroclus of Arles, speaks of such jurisdiction being of ancient right, derived from Trophimus having been sent from Rome as first bishop of Arles, and all Gaul having received the stream of faith from that fountain. Gregory of Tours (Hist. Franc. i. 28), referring to Pasio S. Saturnini Episc. Solos., speaks of seven missionary bishops having been sent from Rome to Gaul "Decio et Grato consulibus," i.e.a.d.250, including Trophimus, who is said to have founded the see of Arles. But the see of Arles must have existed before the date assigned, since it appears from Cyprian (Ep. VI. 7), that in 254 Marcian had long been its bishop. And generally, the well-known differences of tbe Gallican liturgy and usages from the Roman, to which pope Gregory himself alludes in his letter to Augustine. (XI. 64), as well as Irenoeus of Lyons, in the second century, being said to have been a disciple of Polycarp points to an Asiatic rather than Roman origin of the Church in Gaul.
44 Religiosorum. The appellation is applied to persons generally who gave themselves to a religious life, including monks, nuns, dedicated virgins, and the like. It must be here taken to include the clergy.
45 Childebert II., the son of Sigebert I. and Brunehild, was at this time the ruler of nearly all the dominions of the Franks in Gaul. Having been proclaimed by the Austrasian nobles king of Austrasia on the death of his father,a.d.575. he acquired also Burgundy on the death of his uncle Guntramn in 593. These kingdoms at this time comprised by far the greatest part of Gaul, the kingdom of what was called Neustria under Clotaire II. including only a small territory on the north-west coast.
46 See preceeding Epistle, note 9.
47 See Ep. LIII., note 9.
48 With regard to the use of the pallium claimed by, and allowed to, John, the preceding bishop of Ravenna, see III. 56, 57; V. 11, 15. For further contentions with Marinianus on the subject, see VI. 34, 61.
49 Salutatario: called in previous letters to Archbishop John, secretarium. See III. 56, note 2.
50 See above, V. 52, and Ep. LVIII., below.
51 See III. 6, 7.
52 Meaning, we may suppose, the province of Achaia, of which Corinth was the metropolis.
53 In English Bible, xxii.
1 See above, V. 48, note 3.
2 The ground of this charge against Marinianus was doubtless his aceptance of the condemnation of the "Three Chapters' by the fifth council, which condemenation, notwithstanding Rome's approval of it, was still objected to in many quarters as contravening the council of Chalcedon. See I. 16, note 3; IV. 2, note 1; IV. 38, 39; XIV. 12.
3 Cf. III. 47, note 2. As is there stated, Maximus does not seem to have paid the slightest attention to this letter.
4 This is the first of ten letters of Gregory to the notoriousBrunechild. A daughter of Athanagild, king of the Visigoth in Spain she had married Sigebert I., one of the grandsons of Clovis, who reigned over that part of the dominion of the Franks which was called Austrasia, having on her marriage renounced Arianism for Catholicity. Sigebert having been assassinateda.d.575, his son Chidebert II., then only five years old, was proclaimed King of Austrasia; whereupon Brunechid herself became the virtual ruler of the kingdom. So she was again after the death of Childebert,a.d.596, as guardian of Theodebert II., his illegitimate son, who succeeded him at the age of ten years. See Pedigree of Kings of Gaul, p. xxx. The praises lavished on her by Gregory in this and his other epistles to her appear strangely inconsistent with the character given her by the historians of the time. It has been suggested in explanation; 1. That the historians may have maligned her, attributing to her crimes that were not her own; 2. That, whatever her misdemeanours, Gregory might not have heard of them, knowing of her only as a faithful Catholic, and a supporter of the Church; 3. That no such misdemeanours had become notorious when Gregory wrote to her in such flattering terms, the worst doings imputed to her having in fact been after his death. She survived him some nine years. Still, when we consider Gregory's diplomatic turn, together with his habitual deference to potentates apparent elsewhere, we cannot think it unlikely that he might ignore purposely in his addresses to them even their known moral delinquencies, so long as he could enlist their support of religion and orthodoxy, or their loyalty to the see of Rome. And, after all, Brunechild may not have been much worse than some other Frank royalties, all of whom he would be naturally and properly desirous of conciliating, and making the best of them he could. A less defensible instance of apparently politic flattery is found in his letters to the Emperor Phocas and his Empress Leontia after the deposition and murder of Mauricius. See XIII. 31, 38, 39, and Proleg., p. xxvii.
5 Childebert II. (see last note), who had been a minor when he came to the throne. He would now, if the epistle was written, as supposed, in the 14th Indiction (595-6), be about 25 years old.
6 Since the death of his uncle Gruntramn,a.d.593, he had become King of Burgundy as well as of Austrasia.
7 It was the sending of Candidus, a presbyter from Rome, to take charge of the patrimony in Gaul in place of Dynamius, a patrician, who had previously managed it (see Ep. 6), that offered occasion for this and the following letter.
8 Cf. last Epistle, notes 5, 6, 7.
9 See last Epistle note 8.