Early Church Fathers
73 Augusta Taurinarum, the modern Turin.
74 In parochiis suis. Though the term paroiki/a<\ meant originally what we should now call a bishop's whole diocese, it came after the third century to be applied to parishes wlthln such diocese. Hence here parochiiss in the plural. Cf. Bingham, Bk. IX., ch. ii., sect.I ; Ch. viii., Sect. I.
75 Viz. Theoderic and Theodebert (see VI. 58, note 1), to whom a letter on the same subject was sent at the same time, viz, Ep. CXVI., which follows. The former would be in this year (a.d. 598-9) about ten, and the latter about thirteen years of age.
76 Who this Hilarius was, and what were his grievances, does not appear.
77 This Claudius appears to have been a person of influence in the court of King Reccared, and no doubt a good Cathoilic, of whose virtues Gregory may have heard from his friend Leander of Seville. The object of this very complimentary letter to him was to commend to his favour the abbot Cyriacus, who, as appears from preceding epistles, had been sent into Gaul to bring about the assembling of a synod there, and who appears from this epistle to have been sent on into Spain, though for what particular purpose does not appear. Cf. Proleg., p. xi.
78 In English Bible, lxxiii. 18.
79 In English Bible, lxxiv. 5,6, differently
80 li. 14, in English Bible.
81 Reccared, the Visigoth king of Spain, previously an Arian, had declared himself a Catholic a.d. 587, and had formally adopted Catholicism as the creed of the Spanish Church at the council of Toledo, a.d. 589. See I.43, note 9. Tliis is the only extant letter addressed to the king himself by Gregory, its date, if rightly placed, being a.d. 598-9, and thus as much as ten years after the council of Toledo. Gregory had been long informed of what had been done at Toledo, as appears in his epistle to Leander (I.43), written, if correctly placed, a.d. 590-1; and it may appear strange that his letter to the king himself had been so long delayed. He may have waited for a letter to himself from Reccared; and, if Ep. LXI. in this book (see note thereon) be genuine, it would be in reply to it that the letter before us was written. But in Ep. LXI. only three years are said to have elapsed since Reccared's conversion, and gifts spoken of sent at that time to Rome are acknowledged in the Epistle before us. Hence the dates assigned to the Epistles by the Benedictine Editors are open to suspicion.
82 In English Bible, lxxvii. 10, differently.
83 See IX.61.
84 What follows is preceded by "Item in anagnostico." (The word is thus explained in D'Arnis' Lexicon Manuale; " Graecis id omne est quod legitur aut recitatur. Unde Gregorius Magnus pro epistola out quovis scripto vocem hanc usurpat.") The whole is absent from many mss., and in one of those preserved in Bibliotheca Colbertina it is given, without the heading Item in anognostico, as a separate epistle, entitled "Secunda ad Recharedum." and concludes thus : "Furthermore we have received the gifts of your Excellency, which have been sent for the poor of the blessed apostle Peter, namely three hundred cocull( (cowls): and, as much as we can, we earnestly pray that you may have as your protector in the tremendous day of judgment Him whose poor you have protected by abundance of clothes. Our not sending at once a man of ours to your Excellency has been owing to the want of a ship: for none can be found that can proceed from these parts to the shores of Spain."The fact of a second key containing filings of St. Peter's chains being referred to as sent to Reccared in this concluding portion of the epistle confirms the probability of its having been part of a subsequent letter. For two such keys were not likely to be sent st the same time.
85 See I.34, note 8.
86 See III.47, note 2, and IX.. 81.
87 See IX. 80, VI. 27, note 6; VII. 17, IX. 80.
88 This epistle of the Irish saint Columbanus to Gregory was added to the Reigistrum Epistolarum by the Benedictine editors, having been first published, with other writings of S. Coluumban, by Patrick Fleming in Collectanea sacra; Lovan. a.d. 1667. (See Galland. Bibliotheca veterum partum. S(c VI. circ. a.d. 589.) It is assigned by the Benedictines to a.d. 598-9, and hence placed at the end of Book IX. of Gregory's Epistle.
At this time St. Columban was at the monastery founded by him at Luxovium (Luxueil) among the Vosges mountains in Burgundy over which country Theoderic II. was now king. He had already given offence in Gaul, not only by his protest in life and teaching against prevalent laxity, but also by his continuing to observe and uphold the custom of his own Celtic Church with regard to the time for keeping Easter, which differed from what had now been adopted by Rome atid prevailed in the West generally. The main purpose of this epistle is to pIead with pope Gregory for approval of the Celtic tradition. Subsequently, a synod being held in Gaul for considering the question, he addressed the bishops there assembled in a letter which is also extant, defending, as in this epistle, the Celtic usage, and pleading for being allowed at any rate to follow it himself in peace (S. Columbani, Ep. II. in Collectan.sacr.)
It may be observed in the epistle before us, as also in subsequent one to pope Boniface IV. with reference to the same subject (S. Columbani, Ep. V.; Collectan.sacr), that, though addressing the bishop of Rome in language of the utmost deference, and recognizing his high position, he shews no disposition to submit to his authority; telling him on the contrary that should he declare himself so as to contradict the supposed teaching of St. Jerome, he would be rejected as heretical by all the Celtic churches. And throughout the letter there runs a vein of sarcasm. There is no extant reply from Gregory to the letter. Probably none was sent. Possibly the letter never reached its destination : for in the subsequent letter, above referred to, to Boniface IV. Columban says, "Once and again Satan hindered the bearers of our letters written formerly to pope Gregory of good memory, which are subjoined below."
The point at issue, and Columban's argument, as it appears in this letter, may be briefly stated thus. Apart from any differences in the cycles for calculating the true day of the Paschal full moon in successive years, there was this difference between the Celtic and Roman usages. While all agreed in keeping Easter on a Sunday, the Celtic use was to keep it on the day of the Paschal full moon itself (i.e. the calculated 14th day of the moon falling on, or next after, the Vernal Eqiunox), in case of such a day falling on a Sunday; whereas the Roman was, in such a case, to defer their Easter celebration till the following Sunday, so as to avoid coincidence with the actual day of the Jewish Passover. Hence, in Bede's account of the controversy on the subject between the British and Scottish (i.e. Irish) Churches on the one hand and the Roman on the other, he speaks of the former keeping their Easter between the 14th and the 20th days of the moon inclusive, but the latter between the 15th and the 21st (Bede, H.E. II. 2; III. 25). In Gaul however, as appears from the letter before us, it was the rule to defer Easter for a week in case of the day of the Paschal full moon (i.e. the 14th) falling on a Saturday, so as to avoid coincidence even with the 15th day of the moon. Hence, agreeing with Bede as to the Celtic usage being to keep Easter between the 14th and 20th days, he speaks not of the 15th and 21st, but of the 16th and the 22nd being the extreme limits according to the Gallic usage. The reason of this difference was, that it had once been the Latin use, as against the Alexandrian, to keep Easter from the 16th to the 22nd days, thus avoiding the 15th; and this rule had been retained in the cycle of Victorius (as to whom see below, note 7),which was still received in Gaul.
The arguments of St. Columban in defence of the Celtic usage may be thus summarized. 1. It had been sanctioned by Anatolius (see below, note 5), whose view had been approved by St. Jerome. 2. To defer Easter to the 22nd, or even the 21st day was incongruous, seeing that the moon then entered last quarter, rising so late as to give darkness preponderance over light; and the solemnity of light should not be celebrated under the domination of darkness He quotes Anatolius as having insisted on this principle, of which (we may here observe) we find an intimation in Philo with reference to the Jewish Passsover:-"That not only by day but also by night the world may be full of all-beauteous light, inasmuch as sun and moon on that day succeed each other with no interval of darkness between." (De Sept. et Fest. 1191. ) 3. The alleged objection to keeping Easter on the day of the Jewish Passover was unfounded and futile. 4. The Mosaic Law enjoined seven days, beginning with the 14th, as the duration of the Passover festival; and within the same limits should he kept the Easter festival. [This argument, it may be observed, whatever its worth in other respects, appears to be founded on an error. For the Passover, having been killed before sunset on the 14th of Nisan, is believed to have been after sunset, i.e. after the 15th day, reckoned from evening to evening, had begun; and from the latter day inclusive the seven days of unleavened bread were reckoned thus ending with the 21st, which was a special day of "holy convocation." Cf . below, note 5.]
89 Theoria utpote divina castulitatis potito. The word castulitatis may possibly have been in use among the Irish monks as an endearing diminutive of castitas (i.e. chastity or purity), regarded as the object of their affections in the contemplative life. Their writers appear to have been given to the use of such diminutives, not only of the names of people, but of other words also.-" In the following pages (sc. in Adamnan's Life of St. Columba) the reader will observe the liberal employment of diminutives, so characteristic of Irish composition; and he will find them, in many cases, used without any grammatical force, and commutable, in the same chapters, with their primitives." (Reeve's Adamnan. Appendix to Preface, Ed., 1857 p. lxi.).
90 Perhaps an error for Barjona, meaning '`son of a dove,0'' in allusion to his name, Columba, or Columbanus. He afterwards calls himself "vilis columba". Cf. "Pauperculus pr(potenti (mirum dictu! nova res !) rara avis scribere audet Bonifacio patri Palumbus:" "Sed talia suadenti, utpote torpenti actu, ac dicenti potius quam facienti mihi, Jon( Hebraice, Perister( Gr(ce, Columb( Latine, potius tantum [al.tamen]) vestr( idiomate liogu( nancto [al. nuncupato], "(S. Columbani Ep. V. ad Bonifaciumn papam IV. Collectan. sacr. Patr.Fleming. Galland. s(c. VI. C. a.d. 598). Cf. "Vir erat vit( venerabilis et beat( memori(, monasteriorum pater et fundator, cum Jora propheta homonymum sortitus nomen ; nam licet diverso trium diversarum sono linguarum, unam tamen eandemque rem significant huc quod Hebraice dicitur Jona, Gr(citas vero PERISTERA vocitat, et Latina lingua Columba nuncupatur." (Adamnan's Life of S. Columba; Secunda Pr(fatio.) Du Cange suggests a corruption of Barginna, said to be a low Latin word, equivalent to peregrinus.
91 The meaning of this word is obscure. Patrick Fleming (Collect. Sacr.) suggests an error for compte pictam: Du Cange for comptam, or acu comptam, some artificial arrangement of the hair being supposed to be referred to. The intended point of the comparison seems to be, that Gregory will still be admirable, though the writer may set him off unskilfully.
92 Anatolius, an Alexandrian by birth and bishop of Laodicea, a.d. 269, is referred to by Eusebius (H. E. VII. 32) as distinguished for learning, and the writer of a work on the Paschal question, which he quotes. A "Canon Paschalis," purporting to be this work, was published by Bucherius in a Latin Version (Doct. Temp. Antv. 1634); but its genuineness is doubted. Anatoluis was adduced by Colman at the Synod of Whitby (Bede, H.E. III. 25), as an authority for the 14th and 20th days of the moon being the limits for Easter. But Wilfrid replied that Anatolius had been misunderstood; for that, having in view the Egyptian mode of reckoning days from sunset to sunset, he had meant the day which began after sunset on the 14th day, i.e. really the 15th. And so also wiht regard to the 20th day. His language, as quoted by Eusebius, supports this explanation of his meaning:-"Given that the day of the Passover is on the fourteenth of the moon after evening (meth esperan)." See above, end of note .
93 "Forte sic dictos, quod obscura et fifficilia rimarentur." Benedictine edit. Migne.-"Nostri rimeurs vocant poetastras, sed an ea sit hic notio non defino." Du Cange.
94 The original here, being probably an incorrect citation, is obscure. It is "Pascha, ed est solemnitas dominic( Resurrectionis, ante transgressum vernalis (quinoctii 16 initiam non potest celebari, ut scilicet (quinoctium non antecedai."
95 Pope Leo I. referred the question between the Roman and Alexandrian Churches as to the computation of Easter to his archdeacon (afterwards pope) Hilarius for investigation; and he referred it to Victorius of Aquitaine, who consequently (a.d. 457) drew up a cycle, which was accepted first in the Gallican Churches (Concil. Aurel. IV., an. 541), and continued to be observed there after it had been superseded in Italy by that of Dionysius Exiguus (a.d. 527). See above. note I.
96 "Schyntencum Gr(cam vocem scoinotenh/j putat Editor, id est, tanquam si rectum et legitimum esset." Du Cange. This interpretation appears probable from the fact that the Irish writers of the period were given to air their Greek learning by the rise of such words.-"He (Adamnan) occasionally employs Greek or Gr(co-Latin words" (Reeves's Adamnan. p. lxi. See also p. 158, note, for other evidence of this Irish tendency). The meaning in the text would thus be, "I wonder that this error should be tolerated by thee as though it were right and legitimate."
97 Hermagoric( novitatis; the epithet heing apparently formed from the name of Hermagoras of Temnos, a distinguished Greek rhetorician of the time of Pompey and Cicero. He devoted peculiar attention to what is called the invention. Quintilian refers to him and approves his system : Cicero (De Invent. i. 6) was opposed to it. The use of a word like this is again characteristic of the Irish writers.
98 i.e. pope Victor in his opposition towards the end of the second century to the Asiatic Quarto-decimans who kept their Pasch on the day of the Paschal full moon, whatever the day of the week might be. Colman at the synod of Whitby had alleged St. John to whom the Asiatics had traced their tradition, as an authority for the Scottish usage. But Wilfrid truly alleged in reply that the question at issue between the Scots and Romans at that time was a different one, since both parties agreed in keeping Easter on a Sunday only. Still, Columban's argument here is to the point as shewing that the Easterns had not objected to keeping Easter on the actual day of the Jewish Passover. It may be noted here how the authority of Victor, as well as of other popes is set at naught by S. Columbanus.
99 Sed hoc soporansi spina Dagonis, hoc imbibit bubum err oris. On these obscure expressions it may be observed that spina Dagonis evidently means what was left to the fish-god (r0a/cij in LXX.), after his head and hands had been severed. Gregory, in his comment on I Sam v., interprets it as denoting heathenism prostrate, and at length deprived of even the semblance of rationality, in the presence of the Gospel. which was represented by the ark. Columban may possibly have got the idea from Gregory's own intreptation of the incident, and been pleased to use it against him. Bubum according to Du Cange is a late Latin word denoting senium, or languor, the noun bubula also being used in the sense of fabula. The idea seems to be that pope Victor's view was a figment , worthy only to be received (or, as we might now say, swallowed) by senseless heathenism or wandering dotage.
100 Meaning Gildas.
101 Cum clientelis: meaning perhaps living with females of their own households as concubines, in distinction from open transgression. The word can hardly denote, as suggested by the Benedictine Editors, wives lawfully married before ordination.
102 De ultimis Heulini, litoris finibus.- "Loco Heulini esse legendum Hualini, vel Huelini constat ex contextu Hieronymiano. Est vox Gr(ca, a rad.u!aloj, sive u!eloj, vitrum, crystallus. Sic mare vocatur (Apocal. iv.) qa/lassa u0ali/nh. In Hieronymo hic legimus; De ultimis Hispaci( Gallarumque finibus" (note in Benedictine Edition). See above, note 8, as to the fondness of the old Irish writers for the use of Greek words.
103 Candidus had been sent by Gregory to Gaul as rector patrimonii there. See previous Epistles.