Translation of P. Jaffé and F. Kaltenbrunner, Regesta Pontificum Romanorum Ab Condita Ecclesia Ad Annum Post Christum Natum MCXCVIII, 2nd ed. Leipzig, 1885. pp. 32-35.
The first edition of Jaffe-Kaltenbrunner used a different numbering system than the second edition, translated here. Extant letters considered genuine were listed in one numbering system, and letters considered false were listen in another. In the second edition of the Regesta, both genuine and spurious letters are included in one numbering system. A dagger (†) before a letter number indicates that the letter is considered false by Jaffe-Kaltenbrunner.
In addition, an Arabic numeral in parentheses following the letter number indicates the letter’s number in the first edition’s list of extant genuine letters, e.g., Letter 209 (40). A Roman numeral in parentheses following the letter number indicated the letter’s number in the first edition’s list of false letters, e.g., Letter †207 (CLI).
Record of the Roman Bishops Liberius (352-366)
Liberius was preceded by Julius. Jun 21st He assumed the bishopric on the “11th day before the Kalends of June [Friday May 22] in the 5th consulate of the emperor Constantius and [the first consulate] of Caesar Constantius [Gallus]” according to the Liberian Catalogue (Mommsen, p. 637). [note is that of Jaffe-Kaltenbrunner:] But according to Lipsius, p. 262, it was the custom at that time to ordain only on Sunday, and so we emend the text to read “on the 11th day before the Kalends of July [Sunday June 21].”
In Rome, a council was held dealing with Athanasius (see letter 212 below, Hefele, vol. 1, p. 652).
Letter †207 (CLI). Incipit: Studens paci et. [Thompson no. 8; CPL 453, 1630]
To the bishops throughout the East. Liberius notifies them that, after receiving their letter to Julius, he has sent a letter to Alexandria via the priests Lucius, Paul, and Helianus, summoning Athanasius; and that upon Athanasius’s refusal to come to Rome, he has excommunicated him, in accordance with their letter. Hilary, Frag. hist. B.3.1.
Letter 208. not extant. To Emperor Constantius. Through bishops Vincent and Marcellus, Liberius requests the emperor, who is staying at Arles, to call a council at Aquileia (see the following letter).
Letter 209 (40).
Incipit: Quia in nullo. [or Inter haec; Thompson no. 2; CPL 457, 1630]
To Hosius, bishop of Cordoba. He reports to Hosius that Vincent, the bishop of Capua, who was sent to Emperor Constantius along with Marcellus a bishop of Campania, was not only unable to gain permission to hold a council at Aquileia, but also, at an assembly held by the emperor’s order at Arles, he signed a condemnation of Athanasius against his will. (Fragment) Hilary, Frag. hist. B.7.6
Letter 210 (41).
Incipit: Nolo te factum. [Thompson no. 1; CPL 457, 1630]
To Caecilian, bishop of Spoleto. Liberius warns Caecilian to take care not to be corrupted by the example of Vincent, bishop of Capua. (Fragment) Hilary, Frag. hist. B.7.4.
Letter 211 (42).
Incipit: Me frater carissime [Thompson no. 3; CPL 1628]
To Eusebius, bishop of Vercelli. He informs Eusebius that, because after Vincent’s defection “the bishops throughout all of Italy have been forced in public assemblies to obey the rulings of the Easterners,” now Lucifer, bishop of Cagliari, is going to approach the emperor, seeking permission to hold a council; and Liberius encourages Eusebius to be present at that council. Baronius, year 353 no. XX; Coustant, p. 421; Mansi, 3:204; PL, 8:1349. [The manuscript has since been lost and the editions listed are our only record of the letter.]
Letter 212 (43).
Incipit: Obsecro tranquillissime or Opto tranquillissime. [Thompson no. 4; CPL 444, 1630]
To Emperor Constantius. Liberius is grieved that the emperor has not been prompted by his “repeated pleas” to return his favor to Liberius, and agree to the calling of a council, not only for the Athanasius affair, but also because of many other matters. He denies that he has hidden any letters. He affirms that he “has read to the church, read to the council” the letters from the Eastern and Egyptian bishops about Athanasius. But eighty Egyptian bishops had made a ruling in favor of Athanasius, more numerous than the opinions of those who were against him. All these things were recorded and sent along with Vincent to Arles. What had the Easterners done to show they wanted to be united in peace with Liberius? How much hope could he place in people whose representatives had refused eight years earlier to condemn Arius at the Council of Milan? He commends his messengers, Lucifer (bishop of Cagliari), Pancratius the priest and Hilary the deacon, and seeks the power to summon a council. Hilary,
Frag. hist. A.7.
Letter 213 (44).
Incipit: Remeante filio meo. [Thompson no. 5; CPL 1628]
To Eusebius, bishop of Vercelli. He commends Bishop Lucifer of Cagliari, Pancratius the priest and Hilary the deacon for exerting great effort in defense of the church. The letter was delivered by Calepius. Baronius year 354, no. VI; Coustant, p. 427; Mansi, 3:205, PL, 8:1355. [The manuscript has since been lost and the editions listed are our only record of the letter.]
Letter 214 (45). To Fortunatianus, bishop of Aquieia. Liberius instructs him to work along with his legates to convince the emperor to allow them to hold a council (see the following letter [and letter 18 below]).
Letter 215 (46).
Incipit: Sciebam, domine frater. [Thompson no. 6; CPL 1628]
To Eusebius of Vercelli. Liberius praises Eusebius because he showed the highest regard for Liberius’s legates, Lucifer, Pancratius, and Hilary, and he has decided to approach the emperor with them; this mission Liberius had also commended to Fortunatianus, bishop of Aquileia, in a letter. Baronius, year 354, no. VII; Coustant, p. 428; Mansi, 3:205, PL, 8:1355. [The manuscript has since been lost and the editions listed are our only record of the letter.]
Letter 216 (47).
Incipit: Quamvis sub imagine [Thompson no. 7; CPL 457, 1630]
To Eusebius of Vercelli, Dionysius of Milan, and Lucifer of Cagliari. Liberius consoles the three exiled bishops. He writes that he faces a similar fate. He wants to be informed of what happened “in that meeting” (i.e. the Council of Milan). Hilary,
Frag. hist. B.7.2;
Lucifer’s Works (Diercks p. 320-22); Also found in the Expanded Dionysiana. At Rome: Liberius is urged by the eunuch Eusebius, the legate of Emperor Constantius, to condemn Athanasius and enter into communion with the Arians, but Liberius refuses to do so. Liberii dicta ad Eusebium: Athanasius, Hist. Ar. 35-37
At Rome: “Ordered by Constantius to leave Rome under escort, Liberius reluctantly agrees, fearing for the Roman populace whom he dearly loved, and so was stolen away in the middle of the night.” Ammianus, 15.7. Cf. Athanasius, Hist. Ar. 37-39 (PG, 25:738-39).
At court (at Milan): Liberius, although he was ordered by the emperor himself to condemn Athanasius, continued to refuse. Dialogue between Liberius and Constantius three days before Liberius was sent away into exile. Theodoret, Hist. eccl. 2.16 ; Coustant, p. 433; PL, 8:1360. Cf. Athanasius, Hist. Ar. 39 (PG, 25:739).
Beroea in Thrace: Liberius is sent into exile. Theodoret, Hist. eccl. 2.16-17 [13-14]. In Beroea (Thrace) Letters †217-219:
Letter †217 (49).
Incipit: Pro deifico [Thompson no. 11; CPL 457, 1630]
To the Eastern Bishops. Liberius writes to the Eastern bishops, that indeed he had himself previously defended Athanasius, as had Julius his predecessor. But now, he understands that Athanasius had been lawfully condemned. He has considered their actions, and can now approve of their previously passed judgment. He announces that he has sent a letter to emperor Constantius through Fortunatianus, bishop of Aquileia, about this very matter. He praises the (first) creed of Sirmium, as it was explained to him by Demophilus. He entreats them to procure his return to Rome. Hilary, Frag. hist. B.7.8 (PL, 10:689); Baronius, 357 n. XLII; Coustant, p. 441; Mansi, 3:207; PL, 8:1365. For this and the two letters which follow, see also Hefele, 1:685.
Letter †218 (50).
Incipit: Quia scio vos [Thompson. no. 9; CPL 457, 1630]
To Ursacius, Valentius and Germinius. He indicates to the three bishops that he had condemned Athanasius even before he had sent the letters of the eastern bishops to the emperor. He writes that he has asked Fortunatianus to deliver his letter to the emperor. He is overcome by a longing for Rome, and he is now at peace with Epictetus and Auxentius. Hilary, Frag. hist. B.7.10 (PL, 10: 693); Baronius, 357 n. XLIII; Coustant, p. 443; Mansi, 3:209; PL, 8:1368.
Letter †219 (51).
Incipit: Non doceo, sed [Thompson no. 10; CPL 457, 1630]
To Vincent of Capua He tells Vincent, bishop of Capua, that Urbicus the deacon has been taken from him, and that he has confirmed to the Eastern bishops his condemnation of Athanasius. He asks that the bishops of Campania convene, in order to petition for Liberius’s return to Rome by letters to the emperor. Hilary, Frag. hist. B.7.11 (PL, 10:695); Baronius, 357 n. XLIV; Coustant, p. 447; Mansi, 3:210; PL, 8:1371.
At Sirmium: He is called to a council by Constantius, who had promised the Roman people that he would return Liberius (Theodoret, Hist. eccl. 2.17 ). There he signs the (third) Creed of Sirmium, Sozomen, Hist. eccl. 4.15). At Rome: He returns and lives in the cemetery of St. Agnes (Lib. Pontif. ed. Vignoli, 1.116). Faustinus and Marcellinus say that this occurred in the third year after he was sent into exile (Coll. Avellana, 1.3; PL, 13: 81), and Theodoret, Hist. eccl. 2.17 ) and Athanasius (Hist. Ar. 41 and Apol. contra Ar. 89) agree. The two passages of Athanasius also lament the weakness of Liberius. Rome: He enters Rome “as if a victor” (and the antipope Felix is expelled). Jerome, Chronicon, ed. Schoene, p. 194. Cf. Lib. Pont. l. l, and the Life of S. Eusebius the priest (a friend of Felix) ed. Baluzius, Misc. 1: 33.
Letter 220 (52). not extant. To the provinces. He sends a letter “to the provinces after the annulment of the general decrees of the Council of Rimini,” in which he opposes the rebaptism of those who had been baptized by Arians. Cf. Siricius’s letter to Himerius (below Letter 255), Coustant, p. 623.
Letter 221 not extant. He assents to the decrees of a council in Alexandria which was convened by Athanasius. The letter from Athanasius to Rufinianus was read at the second Council of Nicaea (cf. the Acta in Mansi, 2:1029).
Letter †222 (CLIV)
Incipit: Olim et ab initio
He grieves that Athanasius and all the bishops of Egypt who had assembled and held the correct faith of the Trinity were troubled, and he praises their faith, which was set forth in the canons of the Council of Nicaea. Hinschius, Ps.-Isid. p. 476; Mansi, 3:221; PL, 8:1406.
Letter 223 (53).
Incipit: Imperitiae culpam [Thompson no. 12; CPL 452, 1630]
He commands the catholic bishops in Italy to forgive those who confess the sins they committed unknowingly at the council of Rimini, and to renounce the teachings of the Arians; but he wants that the originators of these errors be condemned. Hilary, Frag. hist. B.4.1 (PL, 10:714); Coustant, p. 448; Mansi, 3:210; PL, 8:1372.
Letter †224 (CLIII)
Incipit: In nichilum (Nihil) est, quod
He warns all bishops that they should bear injustice patiently, and not abandon their parishes in order to retire to a monastery. Hinschius, Ps.-Isid. p. 494; Mansi, 3:216; PL, 8:1399.
Letter †225 (CLV).
Incipit: In his ieiuniorum
He commands that “during the days of fasting, there should be no quarrels and no contentions.” Ivo, Decr. 4: 46; Mansi, 3:229; PL, 8:1408.
Letter †226 (CLVI).
Incipit: Abstinendum est
He orders that “during the most holy days of lent, married couples must abstain, and those days are to be spent living chastely and piously, and in this manner arrive at the day of Holy Easter.” Ivo, Decr. 4.47; Mansi, 3:230; PL, 8:1408.
Letter 228 (54).
Incipit: Τὴν εὐκταιοτάτην; Optatissimum nobis; [Optabile nobis] [Thompson no. 14; CPL 1629]
To the bishops Euethius, Cyrillus, Hyperechiu, Uranius, Hero, Elpidius, Maximus, Eusebius, Eucarpius, Heortasius, Neo, Eumathius, Faustinus, Proclinus, Pasinicus, Arsenius, Severus, Didymio, Brittanius, Callicrates, Dalmatius, Aedesius, Eustochius, Ambrose, Gelonius, Pardalius, Macedonius, Paulus, Marcellus, Heraclius, Alexander, Adolius, Marcian, Sthenelus, John, Macer, Charisius, Silvanus, Photinus, Antony, Authus, Celsus, Euphranor, Milesius, Patricius, Severianus, Eusebius, Eumolpius, Athanasius, Diophantus, Minodorus, Diocles, Chrysampelus, Neo, Eugenius, Eustathius, Callicrates, Arsenius, Eugenius, Martyrius, Hieracius, Leontius, Philagrius and Lucius and all the orthodox Eastern bishops. Liberius says that he has received their most gracious letter brought by the bishops Eustathius, Silvanus, and Theophilus. From reading their letter he recognizes that they, like the Italians and other Western bishops, approve of the rulings of the Council of Nicaea. This shows that they have now condemned the creed of the Council of Rimini, which they had previously been cunningly deceived into accepting. He writes that those who persist in Arian errors “after this council” are to have no part in the church, along with Arius, the Sabellians and the Patropassianists. Socrates, Hist. eccl. 4.12; Coustant, p. 457; Mansi, 3:213 and 377; PL, 8:1381.
Letter †229 (CLII)
Incipit: Est igitur; Ἔστιν οὖν
To Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria. Liberius points out what he has decided about the incarnation and the undivided Trinity. He anathematizes the doctrines of the Sabellians and the Arians. Coustant, Appendix p. 98; Mansi, 3:211 and 226; PL, 8:1396. Liberius dies on “the 8th day before the Kalends of October, in the consulship of Gratian and Dagalaisus.” Faustinus and Marcellinus, Coll. Avellana 1.4 (we think that the reading in the Liber Pontificalis, ed. Vignoli, 1:118 “on the 8th day before the Kalends of May” is a scribal error [note is from Jaffe-Kaltenbrunner]).
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