Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1489
An abbot from Preneste fosters a young monk which he orders to become a presbyter. After their death, they are buried together. Account in Gregory the Great, "Dialogues", Rome, AD 593/594.
1. Gregorius. Praenestinae urbi mons praeeminet, in quo beati Petri apostoli monasterium situm est uirorum Dei. Quorum relatione adhuc in monasterio positum audisse me contigit magnum hoc quod narro miraculum, quod eiusdem monasterii monachi se nosse testabantur. In eo namque monasterio fuit pater uitae uenerabilis, qui quendam monachum nutriens usque ad reuerendos prouexit mores. Cum que eum in timore Domini uideret excreuisse, in eodem sibi monasterio tunc presbiterum fecit ordinari.
2. Cui post ordinationem suam, quia non longe abesset eius exitus, reuelatione indicatum est. A praedicto autem patre monasterii petiit, quatenus ei concederet, ut sibi sepulcrum pararet. Cui ille respondit: "Ante te quidem moriturus sum, sed tamen uade, et sicut uis praepara sepulcrum tuum". Recessit igitur et praeparauit. Cum non post multos dies senex pater, febre praeuentus, ad extrema peruenit, atque adsistenti presbitero iussit, dicens: "In tuo sepulcro me pone". Cumque ille diceret: "Scis quia ego modo secuturus sum. Vtrosque capere non potest," abbas protinus respondit, dicens: "Ita fac ut dixi, quia sepulcrum tuum ambos nos capit".
3. Defunctus itaque est atque in sepulcro eodem, quod sibi presbiter parauerat, positus. Mox quoque et presbiterum corporis languor secutus est, quo languore crescente citius presbiter uitam finiuit. Cumque ad sepulcrum, quod sibi ipse parauerat, corpus illius fuisset a fratribus deportatum, aperto eodem sepulcro, uiderunt omnes qui aderant locum non esse ubi poni potuisset, quia corpus patris monasterii, quod illic ante positum fuerat, omne illud sepulcrum tenebat. Cumque fratres, qui presbiteri corpus detulerant, factam sibi sepeliendi difficultatem uiderent, unus eorum exclamauit, dicens: "E, pater, ubi est quod dixisti, quia sepulcrum istud ambos uos caperet?"
4. Ad cuius uocem subito, cunctis uidentibus, abbatis corpus, quod illic ante humatum fuerat et supinum iacebat, sese uertit in latere et uacantem sepulcri locum ad sepeliendum corpus presbiteri praebuit, et quia utrosque ille locus caperet, sicut uiuus promiserat, mortuus inpleuit.
5. Sed quia hoc, quod praedixi, apud Praenestinam urbem in beati Petri apostoli monasterio gestum est, uisne aliquid etiam in hac urbe de eius ecclesiae custodibus, ubi sacratissimum corpus illius est positum, audire?
(ed. de Vogüé 1979: 358-360)
1. GREGORY. Above the city of Preneste there is a mountain, upon which standeth an abbey of the blessed Apostle, St. Peter: of the monks of which place, whiles I lived in an abbey myself, I heard this miracle: which, those religious men said, they knew to be very true. In that monastery they had an abbot of holy life, who brought up a certain monk, that became very virtuous, whom he perceiving to increase in the fear of God, he caused him in the same monastery to be made presbyter.
2. Who, after his taking of orders, understood by revelation that his death was not far off; and therefore desired leave of the abbot to make ready his sepulchre, who told him that himself should die before him: "but yet for all that," quoth he, "go your way, and make your grave at your pleasure." Away he went, and did so. Not many days after, the old abbot fell sick of an ague, and drawing near to his end, he bad the foresaid presbyter that stood by him, to bury his body in that grave which he had made for himself: and when the other told him that he was shortly to follow after, and that the grave was not big enough for both, the Abbot answered him in this wise: "Do as I have said, for that one grave shall contain both our bodies."
3. So he died, and according to his desire, was buried in that grave which the presbyter had provided for himself. Straight after, the presbyter fell sick, and lay not long before he departed this life; and when his body was by the monks brought to the grave, which he had provided for himself, they opened it, and saw that there was not any room, because the abbot's corpse filled the whole place: then one of them, with a loud voice, said: "O father, where is your promise, that this grave should hold you both?"
4. No sooner had he spoken those words, than the abbot's body, which lay with the face upward, did, in all their sight, turn itself upon one side, and so left place enough for the burial of the presbyter: and so after his death he performed what he promised alive, concerning the lying of both their bodies in that one grave.
5. But because we have now made mention of St. Peter's Abbey in the city of Preneste, where this miracle happened, are you content to hear something of the keepers of his church which is in this city where his most holy body remaineth?
(trans. Gardner 1911: 145-146)

Place of event:

  • Italy north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia
  • Praeneste

About the source:

Author: Gregory the Great
Title: Dialogues, Dialogorum Gregorii Papae libri quatuor de miraculis Patrum Italicorum, Dialogi
Origin: Rome (Rome)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Gregory the Great wrote his Dialogues` between 593 and 594 in Rome when he was the Bishop of this city. They were written in order to present lives and miracles of Italian saints, many of them contemporary to Gregory, and the greatest of them, saint Benedict of Nurcia. The `Dialogues` are divided into four books in which Gregory tells the stories of various saints to Peter, who was a deacon and a friend of Gregory, and is also known from the Gregory`s private correspondence.
Grégoire le Grand, Dialogues, ed. A. de Vogüé, Sources Chretiennes 251, 260, 265, Paris 1978-1980.
Translation: The dialogues of Saint Gregory, surnamed the Great; pope of Rome & the first of that name. Divided into four books, wherein he entreateth of the lives and miracles of the saints in Italy and of the eternity of men`s souls, trans. E.G. Gardner, London 1911.


Education - Monastic education
Burial/Funerary inscription
Functions within the Church - Monastic presbyter
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Monastic or common life - Cenobitic monk
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Reasons for ordination - Monastic superior`s orders
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1489,