Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 101
Braulio, bishop of Saragossa (Iberian Peninsula) dissuades Fronimian, presbyter and abbot, from giving up his office as an abbot, ca AD 631/645. Letter 13 of Braulio of Saragossa.
Letter 13
Domno meo Frunimiano presbitero et abbati, Braulio seruus inutilis sanctorum Dei
Non dissimili contritione afficior, dum uestram tristitiam temtationibus inminentibus esse cognosco; sed quid in talibus actionibus agendum sit melius uestra prudentia nouit quam sermo noster suggerere possit. Optime nosti, domne, uitam monasticam non egere[t] penitentiam, dum ita sit humilitati et cotidianis tristitiis apta, ut in omni cursu uite illius penitudine non habeatur aliena. Sed et melius prospicis si mercedem tanto tempore conquisitam pro tua quiete non amittis ne, dum augere meritum uis, profligatum disperdere uidearis. Graue est etenim ut curam fratrum spernas, immo caritatem delectantium preesse te uilipendas. Nam de id, quod ortum est, ego suadeo et suggero ut tu temporibus tuis illa agas, unde scandalum non habeas et tranquillitatem tanto tempore conquisitam perturbari non sinas. Quapropter expedit ut in uita tua, unde tibi ratio ante Deum constabit, curam fratrum non abicias et non illis preponas quem nolunt, ut scandalum caueas, ut sit in diebus tuis pax et fructus doctrine adque operis. Post <t>e autem quid sit futurum ne cogitaueris, cum rector uniueristatis, prout disposuerit, congregationem illam gubernabit.
Nam fateor, mi domine, non parum stupere in tantum scandalorum quacumque occasione nascentium aduersitate te ita turbari, ut ab actione senioratus tui optes discedere et malle in silentio uitam degere quam in his, que tibi conmissa sunt, permanere. Et unde erit beata perseuerantia, si defuerit patientia?
Then Braulio says that God gives the forces to overcome any trouble.
[...] melius ipse, domine, nosti inuitys neminem debere preponi, ne aut contemnatur aut odiatur et fiant minus religiosi subditi, dum student uacare contentioni, quia qui suscipiunt quem nolunt, non ei, ut debent, obediunt et oritur per inobedientiam scandalum et amittitur propositum. Sed hec omnia temperare est prudentie uestre et illis dulcedinem caritatis afferre et futura in uitam peragere et illi possint temporibus uestris deuotissime Deo seruire. Nam non possunt habere obedientiam, si fuerint prouocati ad contumaciam et erit calamitas detestanda si, cum futuris prouidere uolumus, in presentibus subiectionis ordinem perturbemus.
Braulio finishes the letter with the assurance of prayer and final greetings.
(ed. Riesco Terrero 1975: 88-90)
Letter 13
Braulio, unworthy servant of the saints of the Lord, to my master Fronimian, priest and abbot
When I learn that you are sad because of imminent trials, I, too, become equally sad, but what must be done in such a situation can be determined by your own wisdom better than any suggestions I may be able to offer in discussing the matter. You well know, my lord, that the monastic life has no need of more penance, exposed as it is to daily humility and spiritual trials, so that in all the events of life, it is constantly associated with penance. But it is better to see that you do not, for the sake of your own repose, lose the reward you have earned over such a long period, lest you completely lose the credit you have achieved in trying to increase your deserts. If is serious for you to turn away from concern for the brothers, or rather to have little regard for the fact that you are in charge of those who are fond of you. Concerning what has happened, I urge and beg you to take your time about such actions, so that you will not incur disgrace and cause to be upset that tranquillity which you have enjoyed so long. Therefore, it is fitting that in what concerns this life of yours, of which you will have to render account to God, you should not give up your concern for the brothers and should not put in charge of them an abbot whom they do not want, so that you may avoid disgrace and enjoy during your life peace and reward of your learning and labor. Do not even consider what will happen later, when the Ruler of the universe will govern that congregation according to His own dispensation.
For I confess, my lord, that I am not a little amazed that you are so upset by all these scandalous events that arise on every occasion that you wish to withdraw from the authority derived from your seniority and prefer to spend your life in silence rather than to stay in the duties which have been entrusted to you. Where will your blessed perseverance be if your patience fails? [...]
Then Braulio says that God gives the forces to overcome any trouble.
[...] you know better yourself, my lord, that none should be placed in charge of those who do not want him, lest they pay no attention to him or hate him and become less devoted to religion in trying to find occasion for strife. Those who receive one  whom they do not wish will not obey his as they should, and through their inobedeince, scandal arises and they lose their religious. It is the duty of your wisdom to temper all such acts, to display the sweetness of affection, and to place the future in the hope of God, for you should have the wisdom both to guide them and to preserve a quiet life for yourself; and they should be able, under your leadership, to serve God with utmost devotion. They cannot be obedient if they are goaded into being stubborn, and it will be a dreadful calamity if, in providing for the future, we upset the order of obedience int he present.
Braulio finishes the letter with the assurance of prayer and final greetings.
(trans. by C. Barlowe 1969: 35-38)


Fronimian is sometimes identified with Braulio's brother to whom he dedicated the Life of St. Emilian ([448]; Barlowe 1969: 35, n. 1; for the opposite view see Fear 1997: xxvii-xxviii). Moreover, Lambert (1933: 78) put forward a hypothesis that the troubles of Fronimian to which Braulio refers in Letter 13 are the consequence of the alleged reforming actions of Fronimian in the monastery of San Millán, where he might have tried to introduce the rule of John of Biclar.

Place of event:

  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Saragossa
  • San Millán de la Cogolla

About the source:

Author: Braulio of Saragossa
Title: Letters, Epistularium
Origin: Saragossa (Iberian Peninsula)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
According to Lynch (1938: 72) the letter 13 was written after 631, because the title "unworthy servant of the saints of God" suggests that Braulio is already a bishop. The letter 15 to Basilla was written in 633 and, as Lynch believes that the letters in Braulio`s collection are in chronological order, the letter 13 was probably written between 631 and 633. But it is certain that the letter 14 to Fronimian was written after 636, because Isidore of Seville is mentioned there as already dead. Lynch argued that the two letters were put together in the collection just because they have the same addressee (Lynch 1938: 72). Barlowe claimed that letter 13 was actually written some time after the letter 14, but he does not explain his assumption (Barlowe 1969: 35, n. 1). And Madoz proposed to date both letters to 640-645 (Madoz 1941: 55-56).
Riesco Terrero, Luis ed. Epistolario de san Braulio. Annales de la Universidad Hispalense. Serie Filosofía y Letras, v. 31. Sevilla, 1975.
C.W. Barlowe, Iberian Fathers, v. 2, Braulio of Saragossa, Fructuosus of Braga, Washington D. C. 1969.
C.W. Barlowe, Iberian Fathers, v. 2, Braulio of Saragossa, Fructuosus of Braga, Washington D. C. 1969.
A.T. Fear, Lives of the Visigothic fathers, Liverpool 1997.
A. Lambert, "La famille de Saint Braulio et l’expansion de la Règle de Jean de Biclar”, Universidad 10 (1933), 65-80.
C.H. Lynch, Saint Braulio, bishop of Saragossa (631-651) his life and writings, Washington, D.C 1938 (see also Spanish translation revised by P. Galindo: C.H. Lynch, P. Galindo, San Braulio, obispo de Zaragoza: (631 - 651). Su vida y sus obras, Madrid 1950).
J. Madoz, Epistolario de San Braulio de Zaragoza: ed. crít. según el cód. 22 del Archivo capitular de León, Madrid 1941.


Writing activity - Correspondence
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Described by a title - Abba
Monastic or common life - Monastic superior (abbot/prior)
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Relation with - Brother/Sister
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER101,