Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ID
ER 1667
Pope Leo the Great writes to Bishop Dioscorus of Alexandria and forbids the ordination of presbyters and deacons on the day other than Sunday; he permits to repeat the Eucharist on the major feasts; the letter is carried by the Presbyter Possidius. Letter 9 of Pope Leo the Great "Quantum dilectioni", written in Rome, probably AD 445.
Letter 9
 
Leo says that the churches of Rome and Alexandria should be in agreement on everything.
 
1. Quod ergo a patribus nostris propensiore cura novimus esse servatum, a vobis quoque volumus custodiri, ut non passim diebus omnibus sacerdotalis vel levitica ordinatio celebretur; sed post diem sabbati, eius noctis quae in prima sabbati lucescit, exordia deligantur, in quibus his qui consecrandi sunt ieiunis, et a ieiunantibus sacra benedictio conferatur. Quod eiusdem observantiae erit, si mane ipso Dominico die, continuato sabbati ieiunio, celebretur, a quo tempore praecedentis noctis initia non recedunt, quam ad diem resurrectionis, sicut etiam in Pascha Domini declaratur, pertinere non dubium est. Nam praeter auctoritatem consuetudinis, quam ex apostolica novimus venire doctrina, etiam sacra Scriptura manifestat, quod cum apostoli Paulum et Barnabam ex praecepto Spiritus sancti ad Evangelium gentibus mitterent praedicandum, ieiunantes et orantes imposuerunt eis manus: ut intelligamus quanta et dantium et accipientium devotione curandum sit, ne tantae benedictionis sacramentum negligenter videatur impletum. Et ideo pie et laudabiliter apostolicis morem gesseris institutis, si hanc ordinandorum sacerdotum formam per Ecclesias quibus Dominus praeesse te voluit, etiam ipse servaveris: ut his qui consecrandi sunt numquam benedictio nisi in die resurrectionis Dominicae tribuatur, cui a vespera sabbati initium constat ascribi, et quae tantis divinarum dispositionum mysteriis est consecrata, ut quidquid est a Domino insignius constitutum, in huius diei dignitate sit gestum. In hac mundus sumpsit exordium. In hac per resurrectionem Christi, et mors interitum, et vita accepit initium. In hac apostoli a Domino praedicandi omnibus gentibus Evangelii tubam sumunt, et inferendum universo mundo sacramentum regenerationis accipiunt. In hac, sicut beatus Ioannes evangelista testatur, congregatis in unum discipulis, ianuis clausis, cum ad eos Dominus introisset, insufflavit, et dixit: Accipite Spiritum sanctum; quorum remiseritis peccata remittuntur eis; et quorum detinueritis, detenta erunt. In hac denique promissus a Domino apostolis Spiritus sanctus advenit; ut coelesti quadam regula insinuatum et traditum noverimus, in illa die celebranda nobis esse mysteria sacerdotalium benedictionum, in qua collata sunt omnia dona gratiarum.
2. Ut autem in omnibus observantia nostra concordet, illud quoque volumus custodiri, ut cum solemnior quaeque festivitas conventum populi numerosioris indixerit, et ea fidelium multitudo convenerit, quam recipere basilica simul una non possit, sacrificii oblatio indubitanter iteretur; ne his tantum admissis ad hanc devotionem, qui primi advenerint, videantur hi, qui postmodum confluxerint, non recepti, cum plenum pietatis atque rationis sit, ut quoties basilicam, in qua agitur, praesentia novae plebis impleverit, toties sacrificium subsequens offeratur. Necesse est autem ut quaedam pars populi sua devotione privetur, si unius tantum missae more servato, sacrificium offerre non possint, nisi qui prima diei parte convenerint. Studiose ergo dilectionem tuam et familiariter admonemus ut quod nostrae consuetudini ex forma paternae traditionis insedit, tua quoque cura non negligat: ut per omnia nobis et fide et actibus congruamus. Propter quod remeanti filio nostro Possidonio presbytero, hanc ad fraternitatem tuam epistolam dedimus preferendam, qui nostris processionibus atque ordinationibus frequenter interfuit, et toties ad nos missus, quid in omnibus apostolicae auctoritatis teneremus, agnovit. Data XI kalendas Julias.
 
(Patrologia Latina 54, 624-627 = Ballerini 1753: 628-632)
Letter 9
 
Leo says that the churches of Rome and Alexandria should be in agreement on everything.
 
1. That therefore which we know to have been very carefully observed by our fathers, we wish to be kept by you also, viz. that the ordination of priests or deacons should not be performed at random on any day: but after Saturday, the commencement of that night which precedes the dawn of the first day of the week should be chosen on which the sacred benediction should be bestowed on those who are to be consecrated, ordainer and ordained alike fasting. This observance will not be violated, if actually on the morning of the Lord's day it be celebrated without breaking the Saturday fast:  for the beginning of the preceding night forms part of that period, and undoubtedly belongs to the day of resurrection as is clearly laid down with regard to the feast of Easter. For besides the weight of custom which we know rests upon the Apostles' teaching, Holy Writ also makes this clear, because when the Apostles sent Paul and Barnabas at the bidding of the Holy Ghost to preach the gospel to the nations, they laid hands on them fasting and praying: that we may know with what devoutness both giver and receiver must be on their guard lest so blessed a sacrament should seem to be carelessly performed. And therefore you will piously and laudably follow Apostolic precedents if you yourself also maintain this form of ordaining priests throughout the churches over which the Lord has called you to preside: viz. that those who are to be consecrated should never receive the blessing except on the day of the Lord's resurrection, which is commonly held to begin on the evening of Saturday, and which has been so often hallowed in the mysterious dispensations of God that all the more notable institutions of the Lord were accomplished on that high day. On it the world took its beginning. On it through the resurrection of Christ death received its destruction, and life its commencement. On it the apostles take from the Lord's hands the trumpet of the gospel which is to be preached to all nations, and receive the sacrament of regeneration which they are to bear to the whole world. On it, as blessed John the Evangelist bears witness when all the disciples were gathered together in one place, and when, the doors being shut, the Lord entered to them, He breathed on them and said:  "Receive the Holy Ghost:  whose sins ye have remitted they are remitted to them:  and whose ye have retained, they shall be retained". [John 20: 22-23] On it lastly the Holy Spirit that had been promised to the Apostles by the Lord came: and so we know it to have been suggested and handed down by a kind of heavenly rule, that on that day we ought to celebrate the mysteries of the blessing of priests on which all these gracious gifts were conferred.
2. Again, that our usage may coincide at all points, we wish this thing also to be observed, viz. that when any of the greater festivals has brought together a larger congregation than usual, and too great a crowd of the faithful has assembled for one church to hold them all at once, there should be no hesitation about repeating the oblation of the sacrifice: lest, if those only are admitted to this service who come first, those who flock in afterwards, should seem to be rejected: for it is fully in accordance with piety and reason, that as often as a fresh congregation has filled the church where service is going on, the sacrifice should be offered as a matter of course.  Whereas a certain portion of the people must be deprived of their worship, if the custom of only one celebration be kept, and only those who come early in the day can offer the sacrifice. We admonish you, therefore, beloved, earnestly and affectionately that your carefulness also should not neglect what has become a part of our own usage on the pattern of our fathers' tradition, so that in all things we may agree together in our beliefs and in our performances. Consequently, we have given this letter to our son Possidonius, a presbyter, on his return, that he may bear it to you, brother; he has so often taken part in our ceremonials and ordinations, and has been sent to us so many times that he knows quite well what Apostolic authority we possess in all things. Dated 21 June [AD 445?].
 
(trans. Ch. Lett Feltoe 1895: 7-8)

Place of event:

Region
  • Rome
  • East
City
  • Rome
  • Alexandria

About the source:

Author: Leo the Great
Title: Letters, Epistulae
Origin: Rome (Rome)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Leo the Great was the bishop of Rome from AD 440 to his death in AD 461. We have the collection of 173 letters of Leo. Dioscorus of Alexandria, the addresee of the present letter, was a bishop between 444 and 454. The dating of the letter to AD 445 is proposed on the basis of the place of the letter at the beginning of the collection after the letters from AD 444 and before other letters surely dated to AD 445 (Letter 11).
Edition:
P. and G. Ballerini eds., Sancti Leoni Magni Romani pontificis opera, vol. 1, Venice 1753
Patrologia Latina, vol. 54
 
Translation:

Categories:

Travel and change of residence
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Act of ordination
    Ritual activity - Eucharist
      Ecclesiastical administration - Ecclesiastical envoy
      Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
      Theoretical considerations - On priesthood
        Equal prerogatives of presbyters and deacons
          Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1667, http://presbytersproject.ihuw.pl/index.php?id=6&SourceID=1667