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Actual Author or Source  unknown
Source of Attribution to Julius I  Pseudo-Isidorian forgery
Text  Latin:
Other Translations
Source of Information Thompson, Correspondence of Julius I, xxxv-xxxvi, xli, 186

The letter of the most holy and blessed Julius, the Rome pontiff, sent to the eastern bishops, convicting those who prosecute the brothers and without his authority gather canons to condemn the bishops contrary to the canonical and apostolic authority and either expel them or condemn them, since the canons of course command that nothing should be decided concerning such things without the Roman pontiff:

Julius to the venerable brothers, all the eastern bishops.
2.1. It would have been fitting, brothers, for you to be instructed in other church teachings and not make allegations of such machinations, as the Lord says, “Harass no one and do not make an accusation . . .” (Lk 3:14).
2.2. Concerning this matter the Apostle Paul also instruct us, saying, “Brothers, if a man is caught in some sin, you who are spiritual instruct him in a spirit of gentleness, watching yourself lest you also be tempted . . .” (Gal 6:1).
2.3. And elsewhere the Apostle says the same thing, “Let everyone be in one accord in prayer, compassionate, loving as brothers, merciful, humble, not repaying evil for evil or curse for curse, but blessing, for you were called to inherit a blessing. For whoever wants to love life and see good day must curb his tongue from evil and keep his lips from speaking deceit. He must turn away from evil and do good, seek after peace and pursue it, for the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and his ears are on their prayers, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Pet 3:8-12).
2.4. What is worse, brothers, than the Lord’s priests, who ought to be strangers to every evil defilement and from harming all Christians—how much more from harming the brothers and the fellow bishops whom they ought to protect and assist from plots—both persecuting those whom they ought to cherish and love most and not refusing to expel them and deprive them of fellowship.
2.5. You do not remember Wisdom, which says, “For perverse thoughts separate men from God” (Wis 1:3).
2.6. Then how much more will wicked works do so!
2.7. For what is more worthless than those people striving to overthrow, persecute, and destroy someone about whom the Lord says, “Whoever touches you touches the pupil of my eye” (Zech 2:8).
2.8. But proven virtue carries, protects, and consoles the oppressed and teaches the foolish.
2.9. For God is a witness to the heart of man, and a true investigator of individual consciences and a hearer of individual tongues, for the Spirit of the Lord filled the world and that which holds all things has knowledge of what is said.
2.10.And elsewhere he says the same thing. “God is love. In this the love of God appeared on us, that God sent his only Son into the world that we might live through him. In this is love, not as we loved God but because he first loved us and sent his Son as a propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God loved us, we also ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God remains in us and his love has been made complete in us. In this we understand that we remain in him and he in us, that he gave us of his Spirit, and we see and testify that the Father sent his Son to be the savior of the world. If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God. And now we know and believe in the love which God has in us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. In this love has been made complete with us so that we may have confidence on the day of judgment, for in this world we are just as he is. Fear is not in love, but complete love sends fear away, for fear has punishment. But whoever fears has not been made complete in love. Therefore let us love God for God first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his neighbor, he is a liar. For if someone does not love his brother whom he sees how can he love God whom he does not see? And we have this command from God that whoever loves God must love also his brother” (1 Jn 4:8-21).
2.11. For also Wisdom itself says, “The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes stupidity. In every place the eyes of the Lord observe the evil and the good. A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but a disorderly one crushes the spirit. The house of the righteous is the greatest strength and panic comes to the fruits of the impious. The lips of the wise spread knowledge, not so the heart of the stupid. The sacrifices of the impious are abominable to the Lord, but the prayers of the righteous are pleasing. . .
2.12. “He who follows righteousness is loved by the Lord” (Pro 15:2-9)..
2.13. Likewise elsewhere, “The lips of the righteous consider what is pleasing, the mouth of the impious what is perverse. . . . The integrity of the righteous will direct them but the tripping of the perverse will destroy them. . . . The righteousness of the upright will free them and the wicked will be caught in their traps. . . . The righteous is freed from the narrow strait and the impious is handed over in his place. The pretender deceives his friend his mouth, but the righteous will be freed by knowledge. In the goods of the righteous the community is exalted, and in the destruction of the impious there is praising. In the blessing of the righteous the community will be exalted” (Pro 10:32; 11:3,6,8-11).
3.1. You who do not stop persecuting the brothers are not considering the kinds of things, among others which the most patient Job begins speaking, “The ear who heard of me spoke well of me and the eye who saw me gave testimony to me, because I freed the poor who were crying out and the orphan who had no one to support them. The blessing of the dying came upon me and I consoled the heart of the widow. I was dressed in righteousness and I clothed myself with my judgment as with a garment and crown. I was an eye to the blind and a foot to the lame. I was a father of the poor and diligently sought the case of the one I did not know. I crushed the molars of the wicked and snatched away their prey from their teeth” (Job 29:11-17).
3.2. And a little later he says, “I surely have not denied to the poor what they want or made the eye of the widow wait. I surely have not eaten my food by myself, but the orphan has eaten of it with me. For from my infancy mercy increased with me and from my mother’s womb it has advanced with me” (Job 31:16-18).
3.3. For if anyone rightly considers all these things with his eyes, he will by no means hurry to harm his brothers but to free them.
3.4. For there is nothing worse than citizens envying citizens and brothers plotting against or making false accusations against brothers.
4.1. For wishing to show public support against such plots, the holy fathers gathered a general synod in Nicaea. Although in the past many decrees of the holy fathers had been written down, they imposed laws because they desired to correct the life of the men who remained in the church. We call these laws holy canons. By them were decreed many things necessary for the state of the holy church of God and for supporting its pillars, that is, the bishops, who bear it on their own shoulders. Also the things which would harm them were prohibited,
4.2. such that those who attempted or dared to harm them, if they were clergy, would resign of their position, but if they were monks or laity, would be anathematized.
4.3. Armed with these examples and inspired by the almighty God, we have judged it right that we should by apostolic authority extinguish this flame of discord which has been kindled and not allow it to consume any more human souls.
4.4. For this reason we, together with all who are subject to the apostolic standard, ordain that from this point on no Christian should dare to perpetrate such things or rashly harm the bishops. For also the Teacher of the Gentiles prohibits this very thing, saying, “Do not snap at an elder, but entreat him as a father . . .” (1 Tim 5:1).
4.5. For it is no doubt good and desirable to all who fear God to confine their disagreements and disputes, to come to the aid of the brothers, and not to envy but to help each other.
4.6. Listen—he said—to said Synod in the city of Nicaea. I myself also have appropriately shown the devotion of my conscience to it, wanting nothing other than to forge concord for all, to bring charges in the presence of everyone, and to remove this dispute of those who plot.
5.1. The holy fathers, having foreseen these plots and unlawful disputes unanimously decided in said Nicene synod that no bishop shall be heard, that is judged or condemned, as having been driven out over come crimes, except in a legitimate council called by apostolic authority in his own time.
5.2. But if some people presumes to do otherwise, whatever they do will be done in vain, and they will not be considered in any way among church things.
5.3. But the rights to call general synods and to judge bishops have been granted to the first seat of the church itself as an individual privilege by the evangelical and apostolic and canonical decrees. For it has always been taught by many authorities that greater cases are to be referred to the apostolic see and in no way can a greater person be judged by a lesser person.
6.1. For greater than all and given preference to by the churches is she who obtained the individual primacy not only by the decrees of the canons and of the holy fathers, but also by the voice of our Lord and Savior, who said, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church . . . . And whatever you bind and loose will be bound and loosed in heaven and on earth . . .” (Mt 16:18,19).
6.2. Already for a long time it had been decreed by the holy Apostles and their successors in ancient statutes mentioned beforehand which the holy and universal apostolic church holds until this time that it was not proper to celebrate councils or condemn a bishop without the verdict of the Rome pontiff. For they wanted the holy Roman church to be the first of all the churches,
6.3. and just as the blessed Apostle Peter was first of all the apostles, so also this church consecrated with his name would be the first and the head of the rest, as the Lord ordains,
6.4. and the greater cases of the church and the judging of bishops run back to her as to a mother and queen and accept her just opinion as final. They also judged that none of these things should be settled apart from the Roman pontiff, so that some metropolitans would not be allowed to so rashly and according to the pleasure of anyone’s own judgment, as they were accustomed to doing, either strike down the greater cases of the church or condemn the bishops without consulting the Roman pointiff.
6.5. Rather, by the common council of the bishop of the holy see of Rome and concord of action, they arranged the things which out of zeal for Christ must be done and unanimously think correctly and they brought about the things they felt without disagreeing with themselves but in a way pleasing to God.
7.1. It was also unanimously established in the already mentioned Nicene synod that accusers and accusations which secular laws do not allow be utterly turned away from harming the priests.
7.2. “Behold!” says the prophet, “how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to live as one!” (Ps 133:1).
7.3. But those who subtract themselves from the consolation of the brothers or prepare traps for the brothers are not living as one.
7.4. Brothers, do not allow yourselves to be burdened by this foreign sin, for we must say that we fear that the anger of one whose religion is completely destroyed will be provoked.
7.5. Hold before your eyes and with all the sharpness of your mind gaze reverently on the glory of blessed Peter and the crowns which all the Apostles have in common with him and the palms of all the martyrs, who suffered in Christ not to destroy the brothers but to strengthen them and for the truth.
7.6. Therefore we who wish to be called and be disciples of the Lord should carry the cross of Christ and suffer with the brothers and not persecute them.
7.7. We ask you, carry your actions and thoughts away from such harms unless you wish to receive retribution against you. For such is deserved by the one who prepares a pit for his brother.
7.8. And know that from now on we not allow this pattern. We do not allow you to seize, without consulting us, these things which apply particularly to this holy see, such as judging bishops and the greater cases of the church, as was touched on a little earlier, without jeopardizing your position.
8.1. But if anyone from today on presumes to condemn a bishop or drive him from his seat without the verdict of this holy see, let him know that he is irrevocably condemned and he will forever be without his own office. And know that those who have been expelled or condemned without the verdict of this see receive their former fellowship and are restored to their own sees by the authority of this holy sees.
8.2. For in the past, namely, from the time of the Apostles, they were granted to this holy see here. And later in the mentioned Nicene synod, because of the infestations of depraved men and the persecutions of heretics and the great efforts of the plotting brothers, they were unanimously reinforced by everyone, so that each of them might better watch out in advance that they do not dare to perpetrate such things, and cautious of its strength and canonical retribution, they, stifled by fear and shame, may at least be held to silence—that is, with all this excess usurping being cut off—if not because of God and love for their brothers, yet because of shame before men.
8.3. For no one should presume things which do not seem to have been granted to him.
8.4. In no way could you fall this blame if you were to accept the law of total observance from the place from which you received the consecration of your office, and if the see of the blessed Apostle Peter, which is the mother of your priestly dignity, were to be the mistress of church reasoning.
8.5. Therefore, just as those things which you have done piously and rightly make us very glad, so also those which you have done incorrectly make us very sad. For it is necessary after the experiences of so many cases
9.1. to foresee these things in the future more anxiously and to guard against them more diligently to the extent that these things which have been established by the Apostles and their successors are not neglected by any laziness, not violated by any quarrel, not disturbed by any conflict.
9.2. For “just as in one body we have many members, but all the members do not have the same activity, so in Christ we who are many are one body, but each is the member of all the others” (Rom 12:4,5).
9.3. The joining together of the whole body makes one health and one beauty and indeed this joining of the whole body requires unity but it chiefly demands the concord of the priests, who have, even if not a common dignity, still a general order. For in the same office there was some distinction of power among the most blessed Apostles, and although the selection of them all was equal, it was granted to one to exceed the rest.
9.4. From this pattern a certain distinction of bishops has arisen and by this great ordering provision is made so that everyone does not claim everything for himself but that there are individuals in individual provinces whose opinion is considered foremost among the brothers, and in turn that certain men established in major cities undertake this concern more fully. Through them the care of the universal church flows together to the one see of Peter and nothing anywhere is separated from its head.
9.5. Therefore let the one who knows that he has been placed over some people not be annoyed that someone has been placed over him, but let him himself also render the obedience which he demands.
9.6. So do not wander, my dearest brothers, and do not be lead astray by different and foreign teachings. Look! You have what was instituted by the Apostles and by the apostolic men and the canons. Enjoy them. Embrace them. Delight in them. Arm yourselves in them, so that with their support you will be strong to endure against all the arrows of the enemies.
9.7. For it is sufficiently unworthy for anyone either of the high priests or of a following order to refute this standard which the see of blessed Peter sees fit to follow and teach.
9.8. It is very fitting that the whole church body is in concord in this observation which has its authority from the place where the Lord of the whole church placed the primacy, as Scripture says, “Order love in me” (Song 2:4).
9.9. And likewise, “Let all things be done with order” (1 Cor 14:40).
9.10. And again as the psalmist preaches, “Surround Zion and encircle her, count its tours. Place your hearts in its strength so that you may relate it to another generation, for this God is our God to eternity and he will rule us forever” (Ps 48:12-14).
9.11. For all of us on whom a greater zeal for the Christian religion presses do not have the liberty to hide from considering our business or the liberty to be silent, so that by maintaining silence we do not appear to either support or consent to the harming of the brothers.
Given October 1 in the year when the most noble men Felicianus and Maximianus were the consuls.

Translated by AMJ

Last updated: 8-31-2012

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