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41 [41]

The state of the primitiue churche compared with his latter church of Rome.

to be vniuersall, least he take from hym selfe the honour due to hym, while they geue that which is not due to an other. What can be more euident then these woordes of Pelagius, who was bishop of Rome next before Gregorye. an 583? In lyke maner, or more playnlye, and more earnestly wryteth also Gregorye of thys matter in hys register, MarginaliaGregorye against the vniuersality of the bishop of Constantinople.prouyng and disputing, that no man oughte to bee called vniuersall Byshop. Moreouer with sharpe wordes and rebukes detesteth the same title, callyng it new, foolyshe, proude, peruerse, wycked, prophane, and such, as to consent vnto it, is as much, as to denye the fayth. He addeth further and sayth, that whosoeuer goeth aboute to extolle hym self aboue other byshops, in so doing, followeth the facte of Sathan, to whom it was not sufficient to be counted equal or lyke vnto other Angells. In hys epistles how oft doth he repete and declare the same to repugne directlye agaynst the Gospell, and auncient decrees of councells? affyrming that none of hys predecessours dyd euer vsurpe to hym self that style or title, and concludeth that whosoeuer so doth, declareth him selfe to be a forerunner of Antichrist, &c. With thys iudgemēt of Gregory wel agreeth also the wordes of S. Austen, Lib. 3. cap. 3. De Baptismo. where he reciting the wordes of Ciprian thus sayeth: Neq; 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

Neq; 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 him selfe to be bishop of bishops, or after a tyrannical maner doth subdue & bring vnder his fellowes vnto the necessitie of hys obedience, &c. To be bishop of bishops forbidden, by Cyprian, and Austen.


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

MarginaliaAugust. li. 3 c. 3 de baptismo contra Donat. That is, for none of vs doth euer set him selfe to be bishop of bishops, or after a tyrannical maner doth subdue & bring vnder his fellowes vnto the necessitie of hys obedience, &c. MarginaliaTo be bishop of bishops forbidden, by Cyprian, and Austen.By these words of Cyprian & Austen, it is manifest, that in their tyme was no supremacie, or vniuersall title among byshops receaued, nor that any greater respect was had to the bishop of Rome (as Pius the. 2. sayth, epist. 301) MarginaliaEx pio secūdo
Epist. 301.
before the councell of Nice. And after in that councell þe sayd bishop of Rome had no further authoritie to hym limitted, then onely ouer his prouince, and places suburbane, bordering about the citye of Rome. MarginaliaThe Popes primacy resistedAgainst whose primacie diuerse cities also did resist long after that, as the church of Rauenna, Mediolanensis, and Aquilegiensis. MarginaliaEx tyrico contra primat.Also all the Greke churches long resisted the same, so dyd the churches of Asia, Rutenicæ, Molcouiticæ, Valachicæ, and other moe.

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

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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 flatterye and hipocrisie, had obtayned of Mauritius þe Emperour to be extolled aboue other bishops with the name of vniuersall Patriarche, and that he would write to Gregory bishop thē of Rome for his consent concerning þe same: Gregorye abyding still in his constancie, did set him self stoutly against that Antichristian title, and would geue no place. At the same tyme the Lombardes had inuaded the country of Italye, and the citie of Rome, the Emperour keeping then at Constantinople, & setting in Italye an ouersear called Exarchus, to rule in Rauenna: Gregory perceauing the Emperour Mauritius to bee displeased with him about þe matter afore touched, writeth to Constantina the Emperice, arguing and declaring in his letters, that presumption and pryde of hym 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 nothing els, but that the tyme of Antichrist was nere. Vpon this, Mauritius the Emperour taking displeasure with him, calleth home hys souldiours againe from Italye, and incited the Lombardes against the Romanes: who with their King Agilulphus, therupon contrarye to theyr leage made be-fore, set vpon the citie of Rome, and beseiged it a whole yeare together, Gregorye yet notwithstanding still remayning in hys former constancie. After these afflictions thus ouerpast, Eulogius Patriarche of Alexandria writeth to the sayd Gregory, in his letters naming him vniuersall Pope, vnto whom Gregorye refusing the same, answereth agayne as followeth.

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¶ The letter of Gregory to the Patriarche of Alexandria.

Marginaliathe answer 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, calling me vniuersall Pope: which I praye your holynes you will cease hereafter to do, for that is derogated frō you, what soeuer is attributed to an other more then right and reason requireth. As for me I seke not myne aduauncement in wordes, but in maners: neither do I account that any honour, wherein the honour of my brethren, I see to bee hindered: For my honour, I take to be the honour of the vniuersall church: my honour is the whole and perfecte vigor of my brethren. Then am I honoured, when to no man is denyed the due honour, which to him belongeth. MarginaliaGregory refuteth the name of vniuersal pope.For if your holines call me vniuersall Pope, in so doing you denye your self to be that, which ye affirme me to be vniuersall. But that God forbyd, let these wordes therefore go, which do nothing but puffe vp vanitie, & wound charitie, &c.

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It were to long here to inferre all such letters and Epistles of his, concerning thys matter, writtē to the Emperour Mauritius, and Constantina the Emperice, but that shal more largely appeare hereafter (Christ willing) in the bodye of the historie, when we come to the yeare & tynme of Gregory, which was about. v. hundred yeare after Christ. In the meane season this is sufficient to declare, how the church of Rome wyth the fourme & maner of their title of vniuersal supremacy nowe vsed and mayntayned, hath vtterlye swarued from the auncient steps of the primitiue church of Rome.

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Now let vs see what the aduersarye side hath to obiect agayne for the title of their vniuersalitye, or rather singularity. MarginaliaA sophisticall cauillation vpon the words of Pelagius and Gregorye aunswered.And first here commeth in a blynde cauillation of a certaine Sophist, who glosing vpon the words of Pelagius aboue recited, laboureth to coulour þe plain text with a subtile meaning, as though that sense of the Canon were thys, not to denye there the state of supremacy: sed nagari ibi aliquem posse esse vniuersalem Episcopum, sub eo sensu duntaxat, quod esse cuiusq; ecclesiæ proprius rector, ita quod nullums alius esset episcopus. et c. That is: but to deny there, that any maye be vniuersall byshop, after thys sense and meaning onelye, so that he should be the proper Pastor of euery Church alone, and that there should be no other byshop byside himselfe. &c. Thus goeth thys Sophister about to dash out this text, but he can not so discharge the matter. For neither dyd Iohn the Patriarche then seeke any such thyng, to be bishop and proper Pastor of euery church alone, nor if he had, the councel of Chalcedon, and the Emperour Iustinian, would neuer haue agreed thereunto. Neither is it true, that thys Gloser denyeth Pelagius here to forbyd the primacy or supremacy of that Patriarch, whych in dede is the onely entent of Pelagius in that Canon, witnessyng as well other Historiographers, as namely Antonin. tit. 12. cap. 3. par. 13. and also the glose ordinary vpon the same Canon. &c.

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MarginaliaAn obiectiō of a certain late ēglish writer refuted.Out of the same fountayne spryngeth the lyke or very same reason of late renued by a certayne newe start Englysh Clarke, in these our dayes, who aunsweryng to the places of Gregory, touchyng the sayd matter, laboureth to auoyde the clere autoritye of hym, by a lyke blynde cauillation, saying that Iohn byshop of Constātinople, by thys tytle of vniuersal Bishop, vnderstoode hym selfe onely to be a Byshop, and none els. And that

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