Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 296
Braulio, bishop of of Saragossa (Iberian Peninsula) sends a commentary on the Pauline letters to Fronimian, presbyter and abbot in an unidentified monastery, and asks him to copy it. He answers his questions concerning the liturgy of Good Friday and Easter Vigil; Letter 14, written after 636.
Membrana nec nobis sufficiunt et ideo ad dirigendum uobis deficiunt; sed pretium direximus, unde si iusseritis conparare possitis. Istum Apostoli commentarium, quem direximus, diligenter legite prius et in ordine constituite et, quia diuersorum opiniones etiam ad aurem habet conscribtas, unumquodque, ut fidei catholicae congruum esse prespicitis et ordo se afferet, in corpore contexite et ita diligenter conscribite, ut per singula capita conmenta sequantur et non per paginas diuisum ipsut opus abeatur sicut stut est, ut iterum nos de uobis debeamus nobis retra<n>scribere.
Tu autem, domine, more tuo ea que obtime nosti a nobis petis scire, ut, dum humilitatem tuam insinuas, nostram nescientiam probas. Set queso ut, si quid in hoc neclegenter dixero, ad te respiciat causa, quia ultra iubes quaerere quam dedisti et magis uis exigere quam informasti. Consulis enim utrum sexta feria Pasce per lectiones singulas Amen respondi debeat uel consueto modo decantari Gloria, quod neque aput nos fit, neque ubicumque fieri uidimus, nec aput prestantissime memorie domnum meum Isidorum, denique nec Toleto quidem uel Gerunda. Rome autem, ut aiunt, nullum eo die celebratur officium, [...].
Braulio gives different theological interpretations of the Roman custom.
Ecce que sensi, citatim, ut occurrit, quanta potui breuitate suggessi. Uestrum est inde, si quid melius probaueritis, eligere adque, si qua offenderint, uestro iudicio aut corrigi aut amputari.
De uestiendo autem altari seu uela mittenda hoc usus abet eglesiarum, ut iam declinante in uesperam die ornetur eclesia et lumen uerum ab inferis resurgens cum adparatu suscipiatur quo et ille uirgines, qui lampades suas coabrauerunt, in resurrectionis ilaritate sponsi prestolarunt aduentum. Unde ipsa nocte eo usque celebrantur festa, quoadusque nox transeat media, qua ora et nos credimus resurrecturos et Dominum uibos et mortuos iudicaturum; hoc enim sequetur in membris quod precessit in capite. [...]
Follow the final salutations.
(ed. Riesco Terrero 1975, 90, 92)
Letter 14
We do not have enough parchment for ourselves and so I have none to send you; but I have sent you the price, with which you will be able to buy some if you order it. As for the Commentary on the Apostle which we have sent you, first read it through carefully and put everything in order. Since the manuscript has the opinions of various authors written in the margin, incorporate them in the text as you find them to be in agreement with the Catholic faith, and in the proper order; then, copy them so carefully that the commentary will follow through each chapter, rather than having the work split up on separate pages as it is now; otherwise, we shall write it over again after you send it.
After your fashion, my lord, you send to inquire from me about matters which you know very well; in trying to display your humility, you but show up our ignorance. If the answer which I am about to give proves careless in any respect, look to yourself for the cause, for you ask me to give more than you gave and you try to get out of me more than you put in while training me. You ask me whether on Good Friday after each lesson the response should be an Amen, or whether, in the ususal fashion, a Gloria should be chanted. Now, this is not the custom with us, nor have I seen it done anywhere, nor was it done by my lord Isidore of most blessed memory, not even at Toledo nor at Gerona. In Rome, they say, no office is celebrated that day. [...]
Braulio gives various theological interpretations of the Roman custom.
You see I have mentioned the various things that have occurred to me and as briefly as possible. You have the right to use your own judgment in selecting anything of which you approve and in correcting or deleting anything that has displeased you.
Concerning the covering of the altar and the veils to be used, the custom of the churches is that as evening approaches the church is decorated and the true light, arising from below, is received with pomp, because those virgins who kept their lamp trimmed awaited the arrival of the Bridegroom in the joy of the Resurrection. Thus, the feast is celebrated during the night until midnight, at which hour we believe that we ourselves shall arise from the dead and that the Lord 'will judge the living and the dead'; for what has already occurred in the Head will follow in the members. [...]
There follow the final salutations.
(transl. by C. Barlowe 1969: 38-40)


Fronimian is sometimes identified with Braulio's brother to whom he dedicated the Life of St. Emilian ([448]; Barlowe 1969: 35, n. 1; for the opposite view see Fear 1997: xxvii-xxviii). Moreover, Lambert (1933: 78) put forward a hypothesis that the troubles of Fronimian to which Braulio refers in Letter 13 were the consequence of the alleged reforming actions of Fronimian in the monastery of San Millán, where he might have tried to introduce the rule of John of Biclar.

Place of event:

  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Saragossa
  • San Millán de la Cogolla

About the source:

Title: Letters, Epistularium
Origin: Saragossa (Iberian Peninsula)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
According to Lynch (1938: 72), Letter 13 was written after 631, because the title "unworthy servant of the saints of God" suggests that Braulio is already a bishop. Letter 15 to Basilla was written in 633 and, as Lynch believes that the letters in Braulio`s collection are in chronological order Letter 13 was probably written between 631 and 633. But it is certain that Letter 14 to Fronimian was written after 636, because Isidore of Seville is mentioned there as already dead. Lynch argued that the two letters were put together in the collection just because they have the same addressee (Lynch 1938: 72). Barlowe claimed that Letter 13 was actually written some time after Letter 14, but he does not explain his assumption (Barlowe 1969: 35, n. 1). And Madoz proposed to date both letters to 640-645 (Madoz 1941: 55-56).
Riesco Terrero, Luis ed. Epistolario de san Braulio. Annales de la Universidad Hispalense. Serie Filosofía y Letras, v. 31. Sevilla, 1975.
C.W. Barlowe, Iberian Fathers, v. 2, Braulio of Saragossa, Fructuosus of Braga, Washington D. C. 1969.
C.W. Barlowe, Iberian Fathers, v. 2, Braulio of Saragossa, Fructuosus of Braga, Washington D. C. 1969.
 A.T. Fear, Lives of the Visigothic fathers, Liverpool 1997.
A. Lambert, "La famille de Saint Braulio et l’expansion de la Règle de Jean de Biclar”, Universidad 10 (1933), 65-80.
C.H. Lynch, Saint Braulio, bishop of Saragossa (631-651) his life and writings, Washington, D.C 1938 (see also Spanish translation revised by P. Galindo: C.H. Lynch, P. Galindo, San Braulio, obispo de Zaragoza: (631 - 651). Su vida y sus obras, Madrid 1950).
J. Madoz, Epistolario de San Braulio de Zaragoza: ed. crít. según el cód. 22 del Archivo capitular de León, Madrid 1941.


Writing activity - Correspondence
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Described by a title - Abba
Monastic or common life - Monastic superior (abbot/prior)
Ritual activity - Celebrating feasts
Economic status and activity - Buying & selling
Economic status and activity - Gift
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Relation with - Brother/Sister
Writing activity
Devotion - Reading the Bible and devotional literature
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER296,