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36 [36]

is not due to an other. What can be more euident then these wordes of Pelagius, who was Bishop of Rome next before Gregory. an 583? In like maner, or more playnly, and more earnestly writeth also Gregory of this matter in his register, MarginaliaGregory agaynst the vniuersalitie of the Byshop of Cōstantinople.prouyng & disputing, that no man ought to be called vniuersall Byshop. Moreouer with sharpe wordes and rebukes detesteth þe same title, callyng it new, foolishe, proude, peruerse, wicked, prophane, and such, as to consent vnto it, is as much, as to deny the faith. He addeth further & sayth, that whosoeuer goeth about to extolle him selfe aboue other Byshops, in so doyng, foloweth the fact of Sathan, to whō it was not sufficient to be counted equall or like vnto other aungels. In his Epistles how oft doth he repete and declare the same to repugne directly agaynst the Gospell, and auncient decrees of Councels? affirmyng that none of his predecessours did euer vsurpe to him selfe that stile or title, and concludeth that whosoeuer so doth, declareth him selfe to be a forerunner of Antichrist, &c. With this iudgement of Gregory well agreeth also the wordes of S. Austen, Lib. 3. cap. 3. De Baptismo. where he reciting the words of Cipriā thus sayth: Neq; enim quisquā nostrū se Episcopū Episcoporū constituit, aut tyrannico more ad obsequendi necessitatē collegas suos adigit. &c. MarginaliaAugust. lib. 3 cap. 3 de Baptismo contra Donat. That is, for none of vs doth euer set him selfe to be Bishop of Bishops, or after a tyrannicall maner doth subdue & bring vnder his fellowes vnto the necessitie of his obedience, &c. MarginaliaTo be Byshop of Byshops forbidden, by Cyprian, & Austen.By these wordes of Cyprian & Austen, it is manifest, that in their tyme was no supremacie, or vniuersal title amōg bishops receaued, nor that any greater respect was had to the Byshop of Rome (as Pius the. 2. sayth, Epist. 301) MarginaliaEx pio secundo
Epist. 301.
before the Councell of Nice. And after in that Councell the sayd Byshop of Rome had no further authoritie to him limited, then onely ouer his prouince, and places suburbane, bordering about the Citie of Rome. MarginaliaThe Popes primacy resistedAgainst whose primacie diuerse Cities also did resist long after that, as the Church of Rauenna, Mediolanensis, and Aquilegiensis. Also all the Greeke Churches long resisted the same, so did the Churches of Asia, Rutenicæ, Molcouiticæ, Valachicæ, and other mo.

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But to returne agayne to Gregory, who confirmyng the sentence of Pelagius his precessour aboue mentioned, had no small conflictes about this title matter, both with the Patriarch, and with the Emperour of Cōstantinople, as witnesseth Antoninus, MarginaliaEx Antonino titl. 12. cap. 3. & other, &c. The history is thus: 

Commentary  *  Close
Gregory the Great and his epistle

On the issue of the papal title, Foxe's arguments were sharpened by the observation which he had found in Erasmus' letters, to the effect that the papal title 'Summis orbis pontifex' was not to be found in any of the writings from the church before 608AD. In 1570, he also concentrated his attention on one of the famous epistles of Gregory the Great to John, Archbishop of Constantinople, and how the allusion in it to being 'universal bishop' had been misconstrued. Further work is needed on Foxe's use of the epistles of Gregory in this book, including the one that he initially included in the section of the narrative in the 1563 edition (pp. 18-20) on 'The first originall of the ii. metropolitane churches of Canterbury & York. And the vaine contention betwixte the same'. Most of this section was, in fact, abandoned in the 1570 edition, although the letter from Gregory the Great to Augustine which it contains was reworked into a later section of book III.

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Mark Greengrass and Matthew Phillpott
University of Sheffield

After that Ihon being made of a Monke, Patriarche of Constantinople by his flattery and hypocrisie, had obtained of Mauritius the Emperour to be extolled aboue other Bishops with the name of vniuersall Patriarche, and that he would write to Gregory Bishop then of Rome for his cōsent cōcernyng the same: Gregory abyding still in his cōstācie, did set him selfe stoutly agaynst that Antichristian title, and would geue no place. At the same time the Lombardes had inuaded the countrey of Italy, and the Citie of Rome, the Emperour keeping then at Constantinople, and setting in Italy an ouersear called Exarchus, to rule in Rauenna: Gregory perceiuing the Emperour Mauritius to be displeased with him about the matter afore touched, writeth to Constantina the Emperice, arguyng and declaryng in hys letters, that presumption and pride of him to be vniuersall Patriarche, was both agaynst the rule of the Gospell, and decrees of the Canons, namely the vj. Canon of Nicene Councell, and the noueltie of that newfond title to declare nothyng els, but that the tyme of Antichrist was nere. Vpon this, Mauritius the Emperour takyng displeasure with him, calleth home his souldiours agayne frō Italy, & inciteth the Lōbardes agaynst the Romanes: who with their kyng Agilulphus, therupō cōtrarye to their league made before, set vpon the Citie of Rome, and beseiged it a whole yeare together, Gregory yet notwithstandyng still remayning in his former constancie. After these afflictions thus ouerpast, Eulogius Patriarch of Alexandria writeth to the sayd Gregory, in his letters namyng him vniuersall Pope, vnto whom Gregory refusing the same, answereth againe as followeth.

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¶ The letter of Gregory to the Patriarche of Alexandria.

Marginaliathe aunswer of Gregory to Eulogius Patriarche of Alexandria
Dist 99, cap. Ecce.
BEhold the preface of your Epistle directed to me, ye haue vsed a word of a proude name, callyng me vniuersall Pope: whiche I pray your holynes you will cease hereafter to do, for that is derogated from you, whatsoeuer is attributed to an other more then right and reason requireth. As for me I seeke not myne aduauncement in wordes, but in maners: neither do I account that any honour, wherein the honour of my brethren, I see to be hindered: MarginaliaGregory refuteth theFor my honour, I take to be the honour of the vniuersall Church: my honour is the whole and perfect vigor of my brethren. Then am I honoured, when to no man isdenyed the due honour, whiche to him belongeth. Marginalianame of vniuersall Pope.For if your holynes call me vniuersall Pope, in so doyng you denye your self to be that, whiche ye affirme me to be vniuersall. But that God forbyd, let these wordes therefore go, whiche do nothyng but puffe vp vanitie, and wounde charitie, &c.

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It were to long here to inferre all such letters and Epistles of his, concernyng this matter, written to the Emperour Mauritius, and Constantina the Emperice, but that shall more largely appeare hereafter (Christ willyng) in the body of the history, when we come to the yeare and tyme of Gregory, whiche was well nye about. vi. hundred yeare after Christ. In the meane season this is sufficient to declare, how the Churche of Rome with the fourmeand maner of their title of vniuersall supremacy now vsed and mayntayned, hath vtterly swarued from the auncient steppes of the primitiue Church of Rome.

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Now let vs see what the aduersary side hath to obiect agayne for the title of their vniuersalitie, or rather singularitie. MarginaliaA sophisticall cauillation vpō the wordes of Pelagius and Gregory aunswered.And first here commeth in a blinde cauillation of a certaine Sophister, who glosing vpō the wordes of Pelagius aboue recited, laboureth to coulour the playne text with a subtle meanyng, as though the sense of the Canon were this, not to deny there the state of supremacy: sed nagari ibi aliquem posse esse vniuersalem Episcopum, sub eo sensu dūtaxat, quòd esset cuiusq; Ecclesiæ proprius rector, ita quòd nullūs alius esset Episcopus. &c. That is: but to deny there, that any may be vniuersall Byshop after this sense & meaning onely, so that he should be the proper Pastor of euery Churche alone, and that there should be no other Byshop beside him selfe. &c. Thus goeth this Sophister about to dash out this text, but he cā not so discharge the mater. For neither dyd Iohn the Patriarche then seeke any such thyng, to be Byshop and proper Pastor of euery Churche alone, nor if he had, the Coūcell of Chalcedon, and the Emperour Iustinian, would neuer haue agreed thereunto. Neither is it true, that this Gloser denyeth Pelagius here to forbyd the primacy or supremacy of that Patriarch, which in deede is the onely intent of Pelagius in that Canon, witnessyng as well other Historiographers, as namely Antonin. tit. 12. cap. 3. par. 13. & also the glose ordinary vpon the same Canon. &c.

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MarginaliaAn obiection of a certaine late English writer refuted.Out of the same fountaine springeth the like or very same reason of late renued by a certaine new start English Clarke, in these our dayes, who aunsweryng to the places of Gregory, touchyng the sayd matter, laboureth to auoyde the cleare autoritie of him, by a like blind cauillation, saying that Iohn Bishop of Constantinople, by this title of vniuersall Byshop, vnderstode him selfe onely to be a byshop, and none els. And that Gregory in resistyng him, had none other meanyng but the same. And to proue this to be the very meanyng of Gregory, he reciteth the wordes of Gregory written to the sayd Iohn Archbyshop of Constantinople as foloweth: Qui enim indignum te esse fatebaris, vt Episcopus dici de buisses, ad hoc quandoq; perductus es, vt despectis fratribus Episcopus appetas solus vocari. That is to say: MarginaliaA place of Gregory examined.For thou (Iohn Byshop of Constantinople) whiche sometyme didst graunt thy selfe vnworthy the name of a Byshop, art now come to this, that thou doest seeke to be called a Byshop alone. &c. Vpon this worde Episcopus solus, this Gloser would groūde a surmise, that Gregory did find faulte with the Archbyshop, not for any primacy which he sought for aboue other Byshops, but onely, for that he coueted to be Byshop and Pastor alone in euery Churche, in such sort as there should be no other Bishop nor Pastor els but him selfe onely. But as is said, that was neuer þe Archbyshops seekyng, nor the matter of Gregories reprehension. For the sayd Archbyshop of Constantinople, went not about to be Byshop alone (which was to much absurde, and also impossible) but to be vniuersall alone: nor to take away the office from other, but the honour from other: not to depose them, but to despise them. And therfore sayth Gregory, vt despectis fratribus, not depositis fratribus, so that this word solus here noteth a despising of other, not a deposing of other, and importeth a singularitie in condition aboue other, and not the office or substaunce of ministration without other, that is, to be vniuersall among many, and not to be one alone without any, nor to diminishe the number of them, but onely to increase the honour to him selfe. For the more euident probation wherof (although the thyng of it selfe is so euident, that it needeth no proofe) what can be more playne, then the wordes them selues of Pelagius and Gregory? wherewith they charge him for runnyng before hys brethren, for chalengyng superioritie aboue them, for diminishing their honour, by takyng more honour then to him was due, for folowyng the aungell of pride in exaltyng hym selfe, in admittyng that to him, which the Bishops of Rome and their predecessours had refused, beyng offred to them

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before,
B.i.