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E06421: A letter of Pope Gregory the Great (Register 11.26) of 601, to Rusticiana, noblewoman resident in Constantinople, thanks her for a gift of hangings (vela) for the basilica of *Peter (the apostle, S00036) and of alms (elemosina) for the monastery of *Andrew (the Apostle, S00288) on the clivus Scauri in Rome; also recounts some miracles occurring at the monastery. Written in Latin in Rome.

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posted on 11.09.2018, 00:00 by frances
Pope Gregory the Great, Register of Letters 11.26

Extract from a letter thanking Rusticiana for her concern and her gifts:

Ea autem quae ex purissimo et sincerissimo corde beato Petro apostolorum principi munera transmisistis praesente omni clero suscepta atque illic suspensa sunt. Filius enim meus uir magnificus domnus Symmachus, quia ex podagrae dolore aegrotum me et paene desperatum repperit, scripta uestra mihi dare distulit et post multum temporis, quam uela suscepta sunt, dedit. Postmodum uero in scriptis excellentiae uestrae inuenimus, ut cum letania ad beati Petri ecclesiam portari debuissent. Quod ideo minime factum est, quia, sicut praedixi, ante uela quam scripta suscepimus. Tamen praedictus uir cum omni familia domus uestrae hoc fecit, quod nos facere cum clero uoluistis. Sed etsi uoces defuerunt hominum, habet ipsa uestra oblatio apud omnipotentem dominum uocem suam.

‘But those presents that you sent over from your most pure and sincere heart to Saint Peter, prince of the apostles, were received in the presence of all the clergy and were duly hung up there. My son the magnificent gentleman, Lord Symmachus, found me sick with painful gout and almost in despair, so he put off giving me your letters and handed them to me a long time after the hangings had been received. But afterwards we found in your Excellency’s letters that they should been carried to the church of Saint Peter with a litany. And as I have just said, this was not done at all because we received the hangings before the letters. But the aforesaid lord carried out with all the servants of your household, what you wanted us to do with the clergy. And although people’s voices were missing, that offering of yours has its own voice before our almighty Lord.’

Gregory continues, thanking Rusticiana for the alms (elemosina) she sent to his own monastery of Andrew, and tells her of a series of miraculous punishments that occurred to errant monks of the same monastery.

One time, a monk stole some money when out shopping for the brethren; on his return, he was repeatedly tormented by a demon until he confessed his crime. On another, on the saint's feast day (die natalicio), a monk was struck blind. He was taken before the altar of Andrew, where, having ‘returned to himself’ (ad se reuersus), he confessed that he had planned to leave the monastery. On a third occasion, another monk planned to flee, but was seized by a demon every time he attempted to enter the oratory (oratorium); he was cured after confessing and after the brothers had prayed for him for three days.

Dicebat autem eundem se beatum apostolum, dum vexaretur, uidisse seque ab eo increpatum esse, cur uoluisset abscedere.

'He used to say that he had seen that blessed apostle while he was being tormented, and had been rebuked by him for wanting to depart from the monastery.'

The fourth and final miracles also relates to monks seeking to flees St Andrew's. Two of them secretly left, but were found hiding outside the Flaminian gate, thanks to miraculous help offered the search party which had been sent after them.

Text: Norberg 1982, vol. 2, 898-901. Translation: Martyn 2004, vol. 3, 760-3, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Peter the Apostle : S00036 Andrew, the Apostle : S00288

Saint Name in Source

Petrus Andreas

Type of Evidence

Literary - Letters



Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Rome Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Major author/Major anonymous work

Gregory the Great (pope)

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Chant and religious singing

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Miracles

Punishing miracle Miracle after death Finding of lost objects, animals, etc. Exorcism Other miracles with demons and demonic creatures

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Aristocrats Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Demons

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Precious cloths


A letter transmitted as part of Gregory the Great’s Register of Letters. This letter collection, organised into fourteen books, is large and contains letters to a variety of recipients, including prominent aristocrats, members of the clergy and royalty. The issues touched on in the letters are equally varied, ranging from theological considerations to mundane administrative matters. This collection of letters, which was possibly curated by Gregory, was originally much larger. The surviving Register comprises several groups of letters which were extracted at several later moments in history, the largest of which took place in the papacy of Hadrian I (772-795).


Rusticiana was an acquaintance and friend from Gregory's time in Constantinople; she had once resided in Rome, but was now based in the imperial capital. The vela she sent, unquestionably of precious material, unfortunately are not described.


Edition: Norberg, D., S. Gregorii Magni, Registrum epistularum. 2 vols. (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 140-140A; Turnhout: Brepols, 1982). English translation: Martyn, J.R.C., The Letters of Gregory the Great, 3 vols. (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2004). Further Reading: Neil, B., and Dal Santo, M. (eds.), A Companion to Gregory the Great (Leiden: Brill, 2013).

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