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NPNF-213. Gregory the Great (II), Ephraim Syrus, Aphrahat
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Epistle CXV.

To Syagrius, Bishop of Augustodunum (Autun).

Gregory to Syagrius, &c.

If in secular affairs every man should have his right and his proper rank preserved to him, how much more in ecclesiastical arrangements ought no confusion to be let in; lest discord should find place there, whence the blessings of peace should proceed.  And this will in this way be secured, if nothing is yielded to power but all to equity.

Now it has been reported to us that our most beloved brother Ursicinus, bishop of the city of Taurini7474    Augusta Taurinarum, the modern Turin., after the captivity and plunder which he endured, has suffered serious prejudice in his parishes7575    In parochiis suis   Though the term παροικία meant originally what we should now call a bishop’s whole diocese, it came after the third century to be applied to parishes within such diocese.  Hence here parochiis in the plural.  Cf. Bingham, Bk. IX., ch. ii., sect. 1; Ch. viii., Sect. 1., which are said to be situated within the boundaries of the Franks, even to the extent of another person being constituted bishop there in contravention of ecclesiastical ordinances, no crime of his demanding it.  And, lest this prejudicial proceeding should perchance seem to be a light matter, there has been also some hardship added in the taking from him of the property of his Church which he might have held.  Now, if these things are really so, seeing that it is a very cruel thing and opposed to the sacred canons, that the ambition of any should remove from his own altar an innocent priest who does not deserve to be superseded on account of crime, let all regard his cause as their own, and strive against the imposition on others of what they would be unwilling to endure themselves.  For if the entrance for an evil thing is not closed before it has been long open, it grows wider by use; and what is evidently forbidden by reason will be allowed by custom.  But, beyond all others, let the solicitude of your Fraternity, in consideration of our commendation and your own sense of what you owe to God, devote itself earnestly to his defence, and not allow him to be any longer removed against reason from his parishes.  But, as well in your own person as by making supplication to the most excellent kings7676    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., whom we believe to cause you no sadness in any respect, do you bring it about that this thing which has been done amiss may be corrected, and that what has been taken away by force may under the patronage of truth be restored; for, seeing that it is written, A brother helping a brother shall be exalted (Prov. xviii. 19), your Charity may know that it will receive by so much the more from Almighty God as His precepts shall have been gladly and constantly executed in helping a brother.


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