Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1672
Bishops Germanus and John, the Deacons Felix and Dioscorus, and the presbyter Blandus write to Pope Hormisdas informing him about the end of the conflict over the ordination of the Bishop of Antioch and about the Theopaschite Scythian monks. Letter 76 in the collection of the letters of Hormisdas "Cum Dei misericordia" (= letter 217 in the Collectio Avellana compiled in the second half of the 6th c.).
217. [in Coll. Avell.]
In the letter the papal legates inform Hormisdas that they communicated in Constantinople (the events already related to the Pope in other letters) and that the issue of the disputed ordination of the Chalcedonian bishop Paul the Jew in Antioch has been resolved. Further on, they refer to the case of the Scythian monks who uphold that "the one of the Trinity was crucified" (the so-called Theopaschite heresy). They relate the conflict of the monks with the local bishops, especially Paternus of Tomi whom they accused before the magister militum Vitalianus. However, summoned by Vitalianus, the monks refused to come for a meeting in which the papal legates were supposed to participate as arbiters. Therefore, the Emperor Justin in a public gathering with the papal legates present brought Bishop Paternus and Vitalianus "back to grace" (reduxit ad gratiam). The legates warn the Pope that the monks travel to Rome where they would want to achieve the papal confirmation for their doctrine. The legates ask the Pope how should they rebuke this teaching. The letter is dated to the third day before the Kalends of July (29 July 519, as Letter 187 and 218) and was written in Constantinople.
(ed. Guenther 1895: 641-642; summary by M. Szada)


The letter refers to the so-called Theopaschite theology which was promoted by the Scythian monks in the context of the Christological debates of the 5th and 6th century. From AD 513 they advocated the formula that "One of the Trinity suffered in the flesh", which, however, led to the further controversy in Constantinople. In AD 519 the Acacian schism came to an end, and the doctrine of the Scythian monks started to be interpreted as an attack on the Council of Chalcedon and a newly established union between Rome and Constantinople. The monks proceeded to Rome in 519, but Hormisdas did not grant them an audience. They left Rome, and in response Hormisdas in August AD 520 wrote a letter to Bishop Possessor in which he criticized the theology of the Scythian monks (see Grillmeier and Hainthaler 1995: 322-327).
See also [1507].

Place of event:

  • East
  • Rome
  • Constantinople

About the source:

Author: Hormisdas
Title: Collectio Avellana, Epistulae, Letters
Origin: Constantinople (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.
A. Grillmeier and T. Hainthaler, Christ in Christian tradition, London 1995.
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.


Writing activity - Correspondence
Travel and change of residence
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Ecclesiastical administration - Ecclesiastical envoy
Relation with - Secular authority
Relation with - Monk/Nun
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1672,