Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1642
The bishops of Epirus inform Pope Hormisdas about the ordination of John as the bishop of Nicopolis, AD 516 and mention the papal legacy consisting of Bishops Ennodius of Pavia and Fortunatus of Catania, the Presbyter Venantius, the Deacon Vitalis, and the notary Hilarus to Constantinople in AD 515. Letter 16 of Hormisdas "Si dignis proemiis" (=letter 119 included in the Collectio Avellana compiled in the second half of the 6th c.).
119. [in Coll. Avell.]
DOMINO NOSTRO CUNCTA SANCTISSIMO AC BEATISSIMO PATRI PATRUM COMMINISTRO AC PRINCIPI EPISCOPORUM HORMISDAE SYNODUS UETERIS EPIRI IOHANNES MATTHAEUS CONSTANTINUS CHRISTODORUS HILARIUS PHILIPPUS IULIANUS ET CHRYSIPPUS. Si dignis proemiis uti temptemus, necesse est multis fletibus horum depromptiones efficere. plurimi namque ex nobis in regnante fuere Constantinopoli, cum uestri sanctissimi uicarii Ennodius et Fortunatus episcopi, Uenantius presbyter, Uitalis diaconus, Hilarus notarius degerent, pietatis agona susceptum tenentes. nobiscum autem fuit et inter sanctos factus pater atque archiepiseopus noster Alcison, qui cum omni praesumptione supplicibus utens libellis apud uestram beatitudinem dignus effectus est apostolicae sedi uestrae communicare nobiscum. sed quia repente, qui cunctorum retinet potestatem, hunc ad se euocauit, nos inrefrenabili fletu retenti peruenimus tamen ad patriam nullo modo errorem propter dei gratiam sustinentes sed ubique uestra decreta sectantes. [...]
In what follows, the bishops of Epirus announce that after coming back from Constantinople they decided to stay in communion with Rome. They chose as their metropolitan bishop a certain John who was raised in the service of the church. They ask Hormisdas to accept their choice. Eight bishops sign the letter.
(ed. Guenther 1895: 526-528)
119. [in Coll. Avell.]
TO OUR LORD, THE MOST SAINT IN EVERYTHING AND THE MOST BLESSED FATHER OF THE FATHERS, OUR FELLOW SERVANT AND THE FIRST OF THE BISHOPS, HORMISDAS, THE SYNOD OF THE [PROVINCE OF] EPIRUS VETUS, JOHN, MATTHEW, CONSTANTINE, CHRISTODORUS, HILARY, PHILIP, JULIAN, AND CHRYSIPPUS. To make a proper preface we shall season our words with tears. Many of us were in the ruling Constantinople in the same time as your most holy envoys Bishops Ennodius and Fortunatus, the Presbyter Venantius, the Deacon Vitalis, and the Notary Hilarus, taking part in the fight. There was with us then our father and archbishop Alcison, who is now among the saints. He ventured to sent to You the petitions through which he became worthy to communicate together with us with your Apostolic See.
In what follows, the bishops of Epirus announce that after coming back from Constantinople they decided to stay in communion with Rome. They chose as their metropolitan bishop a certain John who was raised in the service of the church. They ask Hormisdas to accept their choice. Eight bishops sign the letter.
(trans. and summary by M. Szada)

Place of event:

  • Rome
  • East
  • Constantinople

About the source:

Author: Hormisdas
Title: Collectio Avellana, Letters, Epistulae
Origin: Rome
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Hormisdas was a bishop of Rome from 514 until his death in 523. During his pontificate he managed to resolve the Acacian Schism (see the discussion in [1581]) in 519. The present letter was sent by the bishops who gathered at the council in Epirus (called "the Old Epirus" to distinguish it from "the New Epirus", i.e. Illyria Graeca in the north (today`s Albania)) in 516. The bishops refer to the papal legacy to Consantinople in 515 (see [1639] and [1640]) sent in an effort to restore communion between Rome and Constantinople. Some Epirotes were also there, and the letter speaks about their communion with Rome and the lack of communion with Constantinople. The letter is carried to Rome by the Deacon Rufinus.
Collectio Avellana is a collection containing 244 letters issued by emperors, imperial magistrates and popes. The earliest item is dated to AD 367, the latest to AD 553. Hence, the compilator worked most probably in the second half of the 6th century. Two hundred documents of the Collectio are not known from any other collection. The editor of the Collectio, Günther noticed that it can be divided into five thematic parts (Gunther 1896: 3-96; Steinacker 1902: 14-15; Blaudeau 2013: 4) :
1) no. 1-40 is an independent collection making use of the records of the prefecture of the city of Rome concerning two episcopal elections;
2) no. 41-50 that are derived from the records of the bishopric in Carthage, and consist of the letters of Innocentius I and Zosimus;
3) no. 51-55, the late letters of Leo I not known from any other source, regarding the exile of Bishop Timothy II of Alexandria;
4) no. 56-104 the group of letters from the pontificates of Simplicius, Gelasius, Symmachus, John, Agapet, and Vigilius;
5) no. 105-243 the letters from the records of Hormisdas.
The modern name of the collection derives from the codex Vaticanus Latinus 4961 copied in the monastery Sancti Crucis in fonte Avellana that was considered the oldest by the brothers Ballerini who edited the Collectio in 1787.
O. Guenther ed., Epistolae Imperatorum Pontificum Aliorum Inde ab a. CCCLXVII usque DLIII datae Avellana Quae Dicitur Collectio, Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 35/1, 35/2, Prague, Vienna, and Leipzig 1895
A. Thiel ed., Epistolae Romanorum Pontificum genuinae et quae ad eos scriptae sunt a s. Hilaro usque ad Pelagium II, vol. 1, Brunsberga 1868
P. Blaudeau, "Un point de contact entre collectio Avellana et collectio Thessalonicensis?”, Millennium Yearbook / Millenium Jahrbuch 10 (2013), 1–12.
O. Guenther, Avellana-Studien, Wien 1896.
O. Guenther, "Zu den Gesta de nomine Acacii”, Byzantinische Zeitschrift 3 (1894), 146–149.
D. Moreau, "Les actes pontificaux comme sources des historiens et des chroniqueurs de l'Antiquité tardive", in: L'historiographie tardo-antique et la transmission des savoirs, ed. P. van Nuffelen, P. Blaudeau,  Millenium-Studien 55, Berlin, Boston 2015, 23-54.
H. Steinacker, "Ueber das älteste päpstliche Registerwesen”, Mitteilungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung 23 (1902), 1–49.


Travel and change of residence
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Ecclesiastical administration - Ecclesiastical envoy
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Relation with - Deacon
Relation with - Lower cleric
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1642,