Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1962
Presbyter Stephanus from Toscany (Italy) is allowed to continue to exercise his office despite being emasculated as the result of the barbarians` incursion. Gelasius I, Fragment 9, Rome, AD 492/496
Gelasius papa Palladio episcopo.
Praecepta canonum, quibus ecclesiastica regitur disciplina, sicut ad sacerdotium debiles corpore non patitur pervenire, ita et, si quis in eo fuerit constitutus ac tunc fuerit sauciatus, amittere non potest, quod tempore suae sinceritatis accepit. Stephanus siquidem presbyter petitorio nobis deflevit oblato, quod habetur in subditis, olim sibi ante annos plurimos collatam presbyterii dignitatem, quam revera immaculatam corporis vitio suscepisset. Sed nuper propter provinciae vastitatem, quam Thusciae prae omnibus barbarorum diversa sectantium et ambiguitas invexit animorum, quum imminentes gladios evadere fugae praesidio niteretur, acutis sudibus occurrentia sibi septa transiliens, inferiores partes corporis inservisse suggessit, quae vix adhibita curatione biennio potuissent abstergi. Et ideo, frater carissime, supradicto locum suum dignitatemque restitue, quatenus sacrosancta mysteria sicut consuevit exerceat. Neque enim convenit, ob hoc auferri ante susceptum ordinem, in quo postmodum in invaletudinem corporis casu probatur faciente collapsus.
(ed. Thiel 1868: 488)
Pope Gelasius to Bishop Palladius
The canons that regulate the ecclesiastical discipline forbid the weak of body to access the priesthood. Therefore, if someone was made a priest and then hurt, he cannot be admitted [to the service] which he had once taken in all sincerity. Accordingly, the Presbyter Stephanus presented to us with tears his petition; he was given the presbyterial dignity which he undertook with full reverence, absolutely free of any defect of body. Now because of the devastation of the province, caused by the upheaval which made the soul of everyone in Tuscany trembling, while everyone struggled to find escape from the threatening swords, when jumping over a fence he grafted the sharp endings of stakes on the lower parts of his body. Although immediate cures were applied, it could be healed only after two years. Therefore, my most dear brother, please restored him to his place and dignity, and let him exercise the holy mysteries as he used to do it. It is not appropriate that he should be taken away from the order he has accepted, and in which, as has been proven, he fell into the weakness of body.
(trans. S. Adamiak)


See [1960] for the regulation prohibiting those who castrated themselves from exercising the clerical office.

Place of event:

  • Rome
  • Italy north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia
  • Rome

About the source:

Author: Gelasius I
Title: Epistulae, Letters
Origin: Rome (Rome)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Gelasius I was the bishop of Rome between AD 492 and 496.
Thiel A. ed., Epistulae Romanorum pontificum genuinae et quae ad eos scriptae sunt a S. Hilario usque ad Pelagium II, 1, Braunsberg 1868, 287-510.
B. Neil, P. Allen edd.,  The Letters of Gelasius I (492-496): Pastor and Micro-Manager of the Church of Rome, Turnhout 2014.
B. Neil, P. Allen edd.,  The Letters of Gelasius I (492-496): Pastor and Micro-Manager of the Church of Rome, Turnhout 2014.


Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Impediments or requisits for the office - Physical incapacity
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1962,