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(d. 616)(called the Thuringian) [Chris Wickham, Early Medieval Italy (Basingstoke, 1981), pp. 33-36]

King of the Lombards (590 - 616) in Italy

Married the Catholic queen Theodelinda; converted from Arianism in 603; established a truce with the papacy in 598

Agilulf threatened Rome in 593-94. 1570, p. 16; 1576, p. 13; 1583, p. 13.

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Antoninus (St Antoninus)

(1389 - 1459) [Catholic Encyclopedia]

Dominican theologian; historian. Established the convent of San Marco, Florence, in 1436; archbishop of Florence (1446 - 59)

He is mentioned by Foxe: 1570, p. 16, 62, 65, 85, 132, 1329; 1576, p. 13, 38, 41, 59, 96, 1133; 1583, p. 13, 38, 41, 58, 73, 95, 1162, 1172.

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(d. 605) [L. Garland]

Roman empress (582 - 602). Daughter of Emperor Tiberius Constantine; married Maurice in 582. Her five sons and her husband were executed in 602; she and her three daughters were sent to a monastery and were killed in 605

Gregory I wrote to Constantine, complaining about John IV Nesteutes taking the title of universal patriarch. 1570, p. 16, 1576, p. 13, 1583, p. 13.

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Eulogius I (St Eulogius)

Patriarch of Alexandria (580 - 607) [Catholic Encyclopedia]

Friend of Pope Gregory I

Eulogius, in his letters to Gregory I, called him 'universal pope', a title Gregory refused. 1570, p. 16; 1576, p. 13; 1583, p. 13.

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Gregory I (the Great) (St Gregory)

(c. 540 - 604) [Kelly]

Monk; abbot of St Andrew's, Rome. Pope (590 - 604) Wrote Dialogues, Homilies, Pastoral Care, Moralia

Gregory objected to the title 'universal patriarch', assumed by John IV Nesteutes, and refused the title 'universal pope', used in letters from Eulogius, patriarch of Alexandria. 1563, p. 9; 1570, p. 16; 1576, p. 13; 1583, p. 13.

Gregory saw English slave children in the market and remarked on their beauty. He wished to go as a missionary to England, but was not allowed by Pope Pelagius and the Romans. 1570, p. 155; 1576, p. 116;1583, p. 115.

Gregory sent Augustine as a missionary to England. 1563, p. 16.

After Augustine and the other missionaries had set out on their journey, they turned back through fear. Gregory sent them back with letters of encouragement and help. 1570, p. 155; 1576, p. 116;1583, p. 115.

After Augustine had converted King Æthelbert of Kent, Gregory ordered that he be consecrated bishop. Augustine sent his colleague Laurence to Rome to report on their progress and to deliver a set of questions for Gregory, to which he sent back answers. 1570, pp. 156-58; 1576, pp. 117-19;1583, pp. 116-18.

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Gregory sent more missionaries, along with books, implements and letters and pallium for Augustine. He also sent letters to Mellitus and King Æthelberht. 1570, pp. 158-59; 1576, p. 119;1583, p. 118.

Emperor Maurice had granted John IV Nesteutes, patriarch of Constantinople, the title of universal patriarch. John was in conflict with Gregory I over the title. Gregory wrote to Maurice about the matter. 1570, pp. 16, 161; 1576, pp. 13, 121; 1583, pp. 13, 120.

Gregory was the first pope to use the title 'Servus servorum Dei' (servant of the servants of God). 1570, p. 161; 1576, p. 121;1583, p. 120.

Foxe says Gregory I commended Serenus for removing images from churches. 1563, p. 3.

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John IV Nesteutes (Jejunator)

(d. 595) [Gams]

Patriarch of Constantinople (582 - 95); first to take the title of ecumenical patriarch

Emperor Maurice had granted John the title of universal patriarch. John was in conflict with Pope Gregory I over the title. 1570, pp. 16, 161; 1576, pp. 13, 121; 1583, pp. 13, 120.

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Maurice (Flavius Mauricius Tiberius Augustus)

(d. 602) [W. Baum]

Cappadocian general; Eastern Roman emperor (582 - 602); he and his five sons were executed

Pope Gregory I was subject to him. 1570, p. 7; 1576, p. 6; 1583; p. 6.

Maurice granted John IV Nesteutes, patriarch of Constantinople, the title of 'universal patriarch'. 1570, p. 16; 1576, p. 13; 1583, p. 13.

He and his sons were killed by his successor, Phocas. 1570, p. 161; 1576, p. 121; 1583, p. 120.

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Pelagius II

(d. 590) [Kelly]

Pope (579 - 90); died of plague

Pelagius argued against the title of universal bishop or patriarch. 1570, p. 21; 1576, p. 17; 1583, pp. 16, 17.

Pelagius and the Romans would not allow Gregory (later Pope Gregory I) to go himself as a missionary to England. 1570, p. 155; 1576, p. 116; 1583, p. 115.

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Aquileia [Aquilegiensis]

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy

Coordinates: 45° 46' 0" N, 13° 22' 0" E

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(Mediolanum) [Mediolanensis; Millan; Millaine; Miliane; Millayne; Millen]

Lombardy, Italy

Coordinates: 45° 28' 0" N, 9° 10' 0" E

Cathedral city

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Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Coordinates: 44° 25' 0" N, 12° 12' 0" E

36 [13]

well agreeth also the wordes of S. Augustine, Lib. 3. cap. 3. De Baptismo, MarginaliaAugust. lib. 3 cap 3. de Baptism. contra Donat. where reciting the wordes of Cyprian thus saith: Neque enim quisquam nostrum se Episcopum Episcoporū constituit, aut tyrannico more ad obsequendi necessitatem collegas suos adigit, &c 

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Difference between early Church and Roman Church: citation from Cyprian quoting Augustine.
Foxe text Latin

Neque enim quisquam nostrum se Episcopum Episcoporū constituit, aut tyrannico more ad obsequendi necessitatem collegas suos adigit. &c

Foxe text translation 

for none of vs doth euer set himselfe to be Bishop of Bishops, or after a tyrannical maner doth subdue and bring vnder his fellowes vnto the necessitie of his obedience, &c.


Cattley-Pratt 1877: De Baptismo contra Donat. lib. ii. cap. 2, § 3.

. That is, for none of vs doth euer set himselfe to be Bishop of Bishops, or after a tyrannical maner doth subdue and bring vnder his fellowes vnto the necessitie of his obedience, &c. By these woordes of Cyprian and Augustine, it is manifest, that in their tyme was no supremacie, or vniuersall title among Bishops receiued, MarginaliaTo be Byshops of bishops forbidden, by Cypryan, and Austen.nor that any greater respect was had to the bishop of Rome (as Pius the 2. saith, Epist. 301. MarginaliaEx pio secūdo. Epist. 301.) before the Councell of Nice. And after in that Councell the said Bishop of Rome had no further authoritie to him limited, then only ouer his prouince, and places suburbane, bordering about the Citie of Rome. Against whose primacie diuers cities also did resist long after that, as the Church of Rauenna, Mediolanensis, and Aquilegiensis. Also the Greeke Churches long resisted the same, so did the churches of Asia, Rutenicæ, Moscouiticæ, Valachicæ, and other moe. MarginaliaThe Popes premacy resisted.

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But to returne againe to Gregory, who confirming the sentence of Pelagius his predecessour aboue mentioned, had no small conflicts about this title matter, both with the Patriarche, and with the Emperour of Constantinople, as witnesseth Antonius, MarginaliaEx Antonino titl. 12. cap. 3. & other. &c. The historie 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 Iohn beyng made of a Monke, Patriarche of Constantinople, by his flatterie & hypocrisie had obtained of Mauritius the Emperor, to be extolled aboue other Bishops with the name of vniuersall Patriarche, and that he would write to Gregorie bishop then of Rome, for his consent concerning the same: Gregory abiding still in his constancie, did set himselfe stoutly against that Antichristian title, and would geue no place. At the same tyme the Lombards had inuaded the countrey of Italy, and the Citie of Rome, the Emperor keping then at Constantinople, and setting in Italy an ouersear called Exarchus, to rule in Rauenna: Gregory perceiuing the Emperour Mauritius to bee displeased with him about the matter afore touched, writeth to Constantina the Empresse, arguing and declaring in his letters, that presumption and pride of him to bee vniuersall Patriarch, was both against the rule of the gospel, and decrees of the Canons, namely, the vj. Canon of Nicene Councell, and the noueltie of that newfound title to declare nothing els, but that the tyme of Antichrist was neere. Vpon this, Mauritius the Emperor taking displeasure with him, calleth home his souldiors againe from Italy, and inciteth the Lombardes against the Romaines: who with their king Agilulphus, therupō contrary to their league made before, set vpon the citie of Rome, and besieged it a whole yeare together, Gregory yet notwithstāding still remaining in his former constancie. After these afflictions thus ouerpast, Eulogius Patriarch of Alexandria, writeth to the said Gregory in his letters, naming him vniuersall Pope; vnto whom Gregory refusing the same, answereth againe as followeth.

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The letter of Gregorie, to the Patriarch of Alexandria.

MarginaliaThe aunswere of Gregory to Eulogius Patriarche of Alexandria. Dist 99. cap. Ecce. Gregory refuseth the name of vniuersall Pope.BEhold in the Preface of your Epistle directed to me, ye haue vsed a worde of a proud name, calling me vniuersall Pope, which I pray your holinesse you will cease hereafter to doe, for that is derogated from you, whatsoeuer is attributed to an other more then right and reason requireth. As for me I seeke not mine aduauncement in wordes, but in maners: neither doe I account that any honour, wherein the honour of my brethren I see to bee hindred: For my honour I take to be the honour of the vniuersall Church: my honour is the whole and perfect vigour of my brethren. Then am I honoured when to no man is denied the due honour which to him belongeth. For if your holinesse call me vniuersall Pope, in so doing you denie your selfe to be that, which ye affirme me to be vniuersal. But that God forbid, let these words therefore go, which do nothing but puffe vp vanitie, and wound charite, &c.

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It were too long here to inferre all such letters and Epistles of his, concerning this matter, written to the Emperour Mauritius, and Constantina the Empresse, but that shal more largely appeare hereafter (Christ willing) in the body of the history, when we come to the yeare and time of Gregory, which was well nie about vj hundred yere after Christ. In the meane season this is sufficiēt to declare how the church of Rome with the fourme and maner of their title of vinuersall supremacie now vsed & maintained, hath vtterly swerued from the auncient steps of the primitiue church of Rome.

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Now let vs see what the aduersarie side hath to obiect againe for the title of their vniuersalitie, or rather singula-ritie. And first here commeth in a blind cauillation of a certaine Sophister, MarginaliaA sophistical cauillation vpon the wordes of Pelagius and Gregory aunswered.who glosing vpon the wordes of Pelagius aboue recited, laboureth to colour the playne text with a subtile meaning, as though the sense of the Canon were this, not to deny there the state of supremacie: Sed negari ibi aliquem posse esse vniuersalem Episcopum, sub eo sensu duntaxat, quòd esset cuiusq; Ecclesiæ proprius rector, ita quòd nullus alius esset Episcopus, &c. That is, but to denie there, that any may be vniuersall bishop after this sense and meaning only, so that he should be the proper Pastor of euery Church alone, and that there should be no other bishop beside him self, &c. Thus goeth this Sophister about to dash out this text, but he cannot so discharge the matter. For neither did Iohn the Patriarch then seeke any such thing, to be bishop and proper Pastor of euery church alone, nor if he had the Councell of Chalcedon, and the Emperor Iustinian, would neuer haue agreed therunto. Neither is it true, that this Gloser denieth Pelagius, here to forbid the primacie or supremacie of that Patriarch, which in deed is the onely intent of Pelagius in that Canon, witnessing as well other Historiographers, as namely, Anton. tit. 12. cap. 3. par. 13. & also the glose ordinary vpon the same Canon, &c.

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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, MarginaliaAn obiection of a certayne late English writer refuted.who aunswering to the places of Gregory touching the said matter, laboureth to auoide the cleare authoritie of him, by a like blind cauillation, saying, that Iohn bishop of Constantinople, by this title of vniuersall bishop, vnderstood himselfe onely to be a bishop, and none els. And that Gregory in resisting him, had none other meaning but the same. And to prooue this to be the very meaning of Gregory, he reciteth the wordes of Gregory written to the said Iohn Archbishop of Constantinople as followeth: MarginaliaA place of Gregory examined. Qui enim indignum te esse fatebaris, vt Episcopus dici debuisses, ad hoc quandoq; perductus es, vt despectis fratribus Episcopus appetas solus vocari 

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Gregory the Great and his epistle
Foxe text Latin

Qui enim indignum te esse fatebaris, vt Episcopus dici debuisses, ad hoc quandoq; perductus es, vt despectis fratribus Episcopus appetas solus vocari.

Foxe text translation

For thou (Iohn bishop of Constantinople) which sometime didst graunt thy selfe vnworthly the name of a bishop, art now come to this, that thou doest seeke to be called a bishop alone. &c.

Actual text of Joannes Diaconus

P.L. Vol. Col. 0164A: Joannes diaconus: SANCTI GREGORII MAGNI VITA, A JOANNE DIACONO SCRIPTA LIBRIS QUATUOR. (C,S)* LIBER TERTIUS. Quo exponitur, quemadmodum sancti Gregorii vita doctrinae responderit.

Qui enim indignum te esse fatebaris, ut episcopus dici debuisses, ad hoc quandoque perductus es, ut, despectis fratribus, episcopus appetas solus appellari.


Accurate citation (but vocari for apellari). The translation omits 'despectis fratribus' (having looked down on your brothers).

. That is to say, For thou (Iohn bishop of Constantinople) which sometime didst graunt thyselfe vnworthy the name of a bishop, art now come to this, that þu doest seeke to be called a bishop alone, &c. Vpō this word Episcop9 solus, this gloser would groūd a surmise. that Gregory did find fault with the Archbishop, not for any primacie which he sought for aboue other Bishops, but onely, for that he coueted to be bishop and Pastor alone in euery Church, in such sort, as there should be no other Bishop nor Pastour els but himselfe onely. But as is said, that was neuer the Archbishops seeking, nor the matter of Gregories reprehension. For the said Archbishop of Constantinople, went not about to bee Bishop alone, (which was to much absurd, 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 saith Gregory, vt despectis fratribus, not depositis fratribus, so that this worde solus, here noteth a despising of other, not a deposing of other, & 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 bee one alone without any, nor to diminish the number of them, but only to encrease the honour to himselfe. For the more euident probation whereof (although the thing of it selfe is so euident, that it needeth no proofe) what can be more playne, then the words themselues of Pelagius and Gregory? wherwith they charge him for running before his brethren, for chalenging superioritie aboue them, for diminishing their honour, by taking more honour then to him was due, for following the aungell of pride in exalting himselfe, in admitting that to him, which the bishops of Rome and their predecessours had refused, beyng offered to them before, &c All which declare that he sought not to thrust out all other bishops out of their churches, and to be bishop himselfe alone. For that was neuer offered to the Bishops of Rome by the Councell of Chalcedon, that they should be bishops alone, and none other. Neither did Lucifer seeke to haue no mo angels in all heauen, but himself, but he to be aboue all other alone.

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Likewise the worde præcurrere, that is, to runne before other in the Epistle of Pelagius, MarginaliaPelagij 2. Epist. 1.declareth that Iohn sought not to be bishop alone, but Bishop vniuersall. We say not that a man runneth before another, whē he runneth alone, and no mā followeth him, that is not properly præcurrere, but solus currere. Moreouer, in seeking to be superior to other bishops, he seeketh not to take away other Bishops, but to make other bishops inferior to him. For where no inferior is, there can be no superior, forasmuch as these together are correlatiues, & inferre necessary respect mutually. And if it were true as this Gloser sayth, that he had sought to be bishop alone, how would that Councel either

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