Early Church Fathers
10 Fanum Fortunoe in Picenum (Fano).
11 See VI. 27, note 6.
12 Concerning the election of Marinianus, see V. 48.
13 Viz. Castorius. See II. 41.
14 Cf. XI. 47 as to the supersession of a bishop incapacitated by illness, except at his own written request, being uncanonical.
15 See Ep. XX., which follows.
16 See preceeding Epistle.
17 Viz. a bishop Sebastian, who had been commissioned, as was usual in such cases, to visit the church of Ariminum during the incapacity of its proper bishop. The Epistle which follows this (Ep. XXl., which, as not throwing further light on the proceedings, has not been translated) is addressed to him, directing him to see to the due election, &c., of a successor to Castorius.
18 As Metropolitan. See preceding Epistle.
19 Fortunatis was bishop of Naples, and Anthemius a subdeacon, and Defensor of Campania.
20 Conversam fuisse; the usual phrase for taking to monastic life.
21 It will be observed that Gregory identifies the woman who had been a sinner in the city with the sister of Martha, and also with the Magdalene.
22 This patrician lady was sister of the Emperor Mauricius (see I. 5), and appears from what is said in this letter to have been governess of the imperial children, and in close attendance on the Empress Constantina. The letter is in many respects interesting and characteristic. In it may be noted Gregory's way of retaining influence over devout ladies in high circles, and through them hoping to influence others; his favourite method of allegorizing the Old Testament Scriptures; his tendency to regard remarkable incidents as miracutlous; and his allusion to the very large number of females at that time leading a monastic life in Rome. Cf. XI. 45, addressed to the same lady.
23 Ps. lxix. 2.
24 The whole passage which follows about two kinds of compunction, with the allegorical interpretation of the story of Achsah, is found, word for word, in the Dialogues Lib. III. chap. 34.
25 In Joshua xv. 18, instead of "and she lighted off her ass," as in the English Version, the Vulgate has "suspiravitque ut sedebat in asino."
26 See I. 17, note 4.
27 Gregory's apocrisiarius at Constantinople, and eventually his successor in the See of Rome. See III. 53.
28 On the designation religiosus cf. l. 61. note 7. The Narses here addressed as "Religiosus" was probably the same as the "Narses Comes" of I. 6, and VI. 14. and the "Narses Patricius" of IV. 32 (see note to I. 6). For it is evident from the letters that he was of high rank at Constantinople, and greetings are sent through him to the same persons as in the other letters. He had now, we may suppose, devoted himself to the service of the Church in some capacity.
29 Ps. lxxxi. 7.
30 Cf. I. 6, where greetings were sent to this lady, there also designated as Domna.
31 The Emperor Maurice is said to have had a sister called Gordia, who may have been the lady here referred to. Her daughter Theoctista may be concluded from the epithet "sanctissima" to have been piously disposed; and it may have been a fear lest her piety should suffer through the temptations of fashionable life that had led Narses, who was himself religious, to suggest to Gregory that he should write letters of admonition to the husbands of these ladies, as well as to themselves. Gregory's reluctauce to do so may have arisen from a fear of giving offence to such distinguished people from the purport of what he could only write in Latin being misunderstood. Elsewhere apparent are his caution and delicacy in dealing with great people.
32 This epistle appears to have been in reply to one from a presbyter. Anastasius (al. Athanasius), of Jerusalem announcing his promotion to the abbacy of a monastery there. There had been, it seems, a standing feud between the abbots of this monastery and the bishops of Jerusalem, the continuance of which Gregory gracefully deprecates in the course of his letter.
33 See III. 56 note 3.