Early Church Fathers
25 I.e. the fifty days between Easter and Whitsuntide. It appears from St. Augustine (see Migne Patrolog. note in loc.) that it was the custom everywhere to sing the Allelula between Easter and Pentecost, but that its use at other tinses varied. The point of what Gregory here says seeems to be that the Roman custom of saying it at other times had not been derived from the Greeks; but that, on the contrary it was said at other times less frequently at Rome than among the Greeks.
26 Procedere spoliatos: i.e. to proceed to the altar for celebration without linen tunics on. The verb procedere and the noun processio are commonly used by Gregory and others in the special sense of approaching the altar for mass. It would seem from what is here said that the subdeacons at mass had not been originally distinguished by a vestment, and that some pope before Gregory had first vested them at Rome. He, as further appears, had disrobed the subdeacons; and his point here is, that his doing so was not an imitation of the Greeks, but a return to ancient usage.
27 The word found here is traditionem: but, because of the undoubted reference to the Lord's Prayer (dominica oratio), and of the verb composuit, it is conjectured that the reading ought to be orationem.
28 This whole passage in the original is;-"Orationem vero Dominicam idcirco mox post precem dicimus, quia mos apostolorum fuit or ad ipsam solummodo orationem oblatlonis hostiam consecarent Et valde mihi inconveniens visum est ut precem quam scholasticus composuerat super oblationem diceremus, et ipsam traditionem (Qy. for orationnem?) quam Redemptor noster composuit super ejus corpus et sanguinem non diceremus." It is to be observed that, for lack of suitable words in English, the translation does not retain the distinction in the original between precem and orationem, the former denoting the prayer of consecration in the Canon, exclusive of the Lord's Prayer, the latter the Lord's Prayer itself, which Gregory appended to it. By the scholasticus, to whom he assigns the composition of the former, is meant apparently the liturgist, whoever he might be, who had compiled the Canon of the Mass. It would thus seem that, according to the Roman use before the time of Gregory, the Lord's Prayer did not occur at all "over the oblation", or "over the Body and Blood," i.e. (as the expression must be taken to mean) between consecration and distribution, though, of course, it may have been used before or after. Such omission was undoubtedly peculiar. Among other authorities for the general usage, S. Augustine (Ep. CXLIX. ad Paulin.) affirms that nearly every Church concludes the whole petition (i.e. the prayer of consecration of which he has been speaking) with the Lord's Prayer:-"Quam totam petitionem fere omnis Ecclesia Oratione Dominica concludit." In saying "fere omnis", he may possibly have had the Roman Church in view. As to what is said by S. Gregory of the custom of the Apostles, the most Obvious meaning of which is, that they used no prayer of consecratIon but the Lord's Prayer, we have no means of ascertaining whence be derived this tradition, or what the value of it might be. It does not, of course, imply that the words of institution were not said over the elements by the Apostles, but only that they used no other prayer for the purpose of consecration. Ways have been suggested, though not satisfactory, for evading the apparent meaning ot the statement.
29 See the following Epistle XIX. For the meaning of familia here see note 3 to the same epistle. Gregory sent at the same time letters (which have not been translated) to three influential laymen in Sicily, desiring them to assist and support Romanus in the exercise of his authority. Four other letters (23, 24, 26, 27) are translated, as intimating the kind of duties devolving on Romanus in connexion with his government of the Patrimony.
30 For the meaning of Coloni, see I. 44. The body of them is called the familia of the patrimony in the preceding epistle to Romanus(Ep. Xviii.).
31 This Domitian was bishop of Melitina and Metropolitan of Armenia, being a relation of the Emperors, see III. 67. The physician Archelaus is commended in an epistle not translated (V. 32) to Cyprian, the previous rector patrimonii in Sicily, for protection in some question about property.
32 Andreas Scholasticus, so addressed V.48.
33 Cf. II. 32, note 7; V. 30, note 8. On the subject of the epistle, see III. 47, note 2.
34 This was the younger Anastasius, who succeeded the patriarch of the same name to whom previous epistles are addressed.
35 Cf VI. 14.
36 On the designation Scholasticus, see II.32, note 2; V.36, note 9. The occasion of this and the following epistle appears to have been as follows. Crementitis, who was at that time primate of the province of Bizacia in Africa, had been accused by other African bishops. The Emperor, appealed to by them, had desired Gregory to take cognizance of the case; but his interference had been objected to in Africa, where, as appears elsewhere, there was still jealousy of the claims of the Roman See. Gregory had commissioned John, Bishop of Syracuse, to investigate the matter, and to him Crementius (who now professed-though Gregory doubted his sincerity-to defer to the Roman bishop) had sent the lawyer Martin to state his case. The latter seems to have been directed to go on to Rome too, but had not done so. Both Martin and John had subsequently written to Gregory on the subject, and to them he now replies. Some three years seem to have afterwards elapsed without anything more being done : see XII. 32, where Gregory urges the bishops of the province to investigate the old charges against their primate in synod : but with what result does not further appear.