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Epistle LXXXI.

To Maximus, Bishop of Salona 53 .

Gregory to Maximus, &c.

Although to what was faulty in thy ordination at the first thou hast added serious evil through the fault of disobedience, yet we, tempering with becoming moderation the authority of the Apostolic See, have never been incensed against thee to the extent that the case demanded.  But our displeasure which thou hadst excited against thyself continued the longer in that a sense of the responsibility entrusted to us tormented us exceedingly, lest we might seem to be passing over without attention certain unlawful doings of thine that we had heard of.  And, if thou considerest well, thou wilt see that thou thyself, by deferring to satisfy us, didst confirm these reports, and thereby didst exasperate us the more against thee.  But now that, following wholesome counsel, thou hast submitted thyself humbly to the yoke of obedience, and that thy love, in doing penance 54 , has purged itself, as we directed, by fitting satisfaction, understand thou that the favour of brotherly p. 21 charity is restored to thee, and give thanks that thou art received into our fellowship:  for, as it becomes us to be strict with those who persevere in a fault, so does it to be kind in pardoning those who return to a better mind.  Now, therefore, that thy Fraternity knows that he has recovered the communion of the Apostolic See, let him send some one to us, according to custom, to receive and convey to him the pallium.  For, whilst we do not suffer unlawful things to be perpetrated, we no less refuse not what is customary.  Further, though the discharge of the duties of our position might have called upon us to concede this, yet we are greatly constrained thereto by the request of our most sweet and excellent son, the lord Exarch Callinicus, that we would treat thee with moderation.  His most dear wish we cannot resist, nor can we cause him sorrow.



See above, Ep. LXXX. and III. 47, note 2.


According to a narrative found in some few codices of the Registrum Epistolarum, and printed in an appendix by the Benedictine Editors, the penance done by Maximus at Ravenna consisted in his prostrating himself on the pavement of the city for three hours and exclaiming, “Peccavi Deo, et beatissimo papæ Gregorio.”

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