Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1662
Bishops Germanus and John, the Deacons Felix and Dioscorus, and the presbyter Blandus inform Pope Hormisdas about the case of Bishop Dorotheus of Thessalonica, AD 520. Letter 110 in the collection of the letters of Hormisdas "Reverenda vestri" (= letter 185 included in the Collectio Avellana compiled in the second half of the 6th c.).
185. [in Coll. Avell.]
In the letter, which is the response on the non-extant letter of Pope Hormisdas sent by Leo and Eulogius, the papal legates inform Hormisdas that Bishop Dorotheus of Thessaloniki, an Eutychian, has been removed to Heraclea where he is supposed to stay as long as his case will be closed. The legates tried to persuade the emperor to sent Dorotheus and his presbyter Aristides to Rome "for perceiving the doctrine of Catholic purity" (ad percipiendam doctrinam catholicae puritatis). The emperor, however, refused, and later, as the legates have just learnt, Dorotheus was allowed to leave Heraclea. Then, they inform the pope that the Easterners that year will celebrate Easter on the same date as Rome, i.e. on 19 April.
(ed. Guenther 1895: 641-642; summary by M. Szada)


The letter concerns Bishop Dorotheus of Thessalonica. The papal legates were passing through his city in their way to Constantinople in 519 and asked him to sign the libellus of faith drawn up in Rome (the pope demanded its acceptance it from the bishops wishing to enter communion with Rome; it included, among others, the condemnation of Eutyches and Nestorius, the full acceptance of the council of Chalcedon in 451, and the Tome of Leo). Dorotheus refused to sign the libellus without the gathering of the local bishops. The legates, already in Constantinople, sent one of them, Bishop John and the Presbyter Epiphanius to Thessaloniki. Dorotheus, however, resolved on not signing the libellus and disturbed the people of the city. Dorotheus sent to Bishop John and the Presbyter Epiphanius his presbyter, Aristides, with two bishops declaring that the libellus needs corrections, but the envoys refused to make any. The next day they were attacked by the mob. The case was brought to the emperor who promised to punish the guilty. When Hormisdas learnt about those events, he dispatched a letter to his legates in which he asked them to persuade the emperor to send Dorotheus and Aristides to Rome. The present letter is the response. For the legacy to Constantinople in 519, and the events in Thessaloniki see the lettters 185, 186, 225, 226 in the Collectio Avellana and Vasiliev 1950: 168-197.

Place of event:

  • East
  • Rome
  • Thessalonica
  • Heraclea

About the source:

Author: Hormisdas
Title: Collectio Avellana, Epistulae, Letters
Origin: Thessalonica (East)
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.
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.
A.A. Vasiliev, Justin the First. An Introduction to the Epoch of Justinian the Great, Cambridge, Mass. 1950.


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 - Monarch and royal/imperial family
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1662,