Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 778
Flainus, presbyter of the local church (possibly of St. Felix) in Castrum Petrense (region of Bierzo, near Astorga, Iberian Peninsula) harasses the monk Valerius, the 7th century. Valerius of Bierzo, ''Ordo querimoniae", 2nd half of the 7th century.
Valerius narrates the very beginning of his monastic life the unfulfilled desire to retire to the monastery of Compludo (Iberian Peninsula), and then the difficulties of life in a solitary  cell "between the limits of the city of Astorga and Castro Pedroso" (inter Asturiensis urbis et Castri Petrensis confinio).
2. Cum haec omnia prolixo jam tempore, opitulante Domino, tolerarem, post aliquantorum annorum intervallo tandem Christiana videlicet miseratio pietate commota, coepit se ibidem diversa utrumque sexu vulgi caterva confluens glomerare meae quoque infelici adjutorium praebere, obsequium impendere, vel stipendia ministrare. Cumque jam summa necessitas suffragante Domini pietate verteretur in voluptate, ilico insurgens quidam vir barbarus, valde lubricus et cunctis levitatibus occupatus, Flainus nomine, ejusdem baselicule presbyter, antiqui hostis stimulis instigatus, invidiae facibus magisque succensus, sicut mos pravorum est invidere aliis quod ipsi habere non appetunt. Eiusdem invidiae facibus magisque succensus, sicut mos pravorum est invidere aliis quod ipsi habere non appetunt. Eiusdem invidiae tenebris caecatus, insaniens, coepit adversus pusillitatem meam odia machinare, atque crebra pretendere impedimenta saepeque jacturam incutere. Cum vero quandoquidem ad eundem locum conveniebat cute teterrima, sicut scriptum est, frons picea nigriore proprio depromit amictu truculentus velus saevissima bestia; frendens, magis pro contumelia subversionis meae ad eundem locum accedebat quam ut pacem caritatis aut misericordiae pronecteret pietatis. Cum haec enim diutius ageretur coepit cor meum merore atque angustiis fluctuare cogitans qualiter possim ipsius aemuli discordia vitare, atque vulgi inquietudinem declinare vel cunctas illecebras hujus saeculi impolluto calle transire.
3. Post haec itaque pietatis Domini confisus virtute in abditissima antiquae solitudinis me contuli quem quaerebam. Cumque ibidem aliquanto tempore solitarius permanerem nec sic a mea persecutione quievit ipse jam saepe dictus pseudosacerdos. Nam libros quos de lege Domini et sanctorum triumphis pro consolationem peregrinationis meae atque correptionis disciplinae vel scientiae industria ipse conscripseram mihi prius cum ingenti contumelia abstulit. Postmodum vero, si per ipsius versutissima supllantationis saevitia si autem per auctoris sui diaboli instigante peritia ille novit cui nulla latet absconsa, nam crebro latronum atrocitate vastatus, et usque ad mortem diversorum scandalorum injuriis humiliatus, cum paene extremo degerem spiritu.
(ed. C.M. Aherne 1949: 73, 75, 77)
Valerius narrates the very beginning of his monastic life - unfulfilled desire to retire to the monastery of Compludo (Iberian Peninsula), and then the difficulties of life  in the solitary  cell "between the limits of the city of Astorga and Castro Pedroso" (inter Asturiensis urbis et Castri Petrensis confinio).
2. When I had borne these things for an extended period with the help of the Lord, after an interval of some years, when at length Christian pity had been moved by dutiful affection, a varied crowd of persons of both sexes, flocking together, began to gather there, to offer help to me, the unfortunate one, to tender service, and to furnish food. And just when the greatest need was turned into pleasure through the kind help of the Lord, a certain barbarous man, Flainus by name, the presbyter of the church there, very shifty, taken up with every kind of levity, suddenly rising up, pricked by the goad of the old enemy, and greatly inflamed by the fires of envy, as is the trait of the wicked who begrudge to others what they themselves do not desire to have, he, blinded by the darkness of this envy, raving madly began to work with hatred against my weakness, to set many obstacles and often to inflict much damage. When he with his hideous skin came to that place, (as it is written: a pitch-black face appears with its own darker skin as savage as the most ferocious beast), raging he came to that place more for the sake of my shameful undoing than to bring together loving peace and kindly mercy. When these things had gone on for some time my heart began to waver under grief and difficulty, wondering how I could avoid the discord of this envious man, and how to turn away the restless crowds, and how to walk through all the seductions of this world on an unsullied path.
3. Accordingly after this, confiding in the strength of the goodness of the Lord, whom I was seeking, I betook myself to the depths of an ancient solitude. Although I remained there alone for some time, that pseudo-priest already named did not then desist from persecuting me. First he stole from me with great effrontery books on the law of the Lord and the triumphs of the saints, which as the consolation of my pilgrimage and a correction of my way of life, and out of zeal for knowledge, I myself have copied. But afterwards whether by his own very cunning and savage ruse, or by the cleverness of the one inspiring it, his patron the devil (He knows to whom nothing remains hidden), I was often attacked by cruel robbers, humiliated even to death by the injuries of divers scandals, for I was almost reaching my last gasp.
(trans. M.C. Aherne 1949: 72, 74, 76)


It is not entirely clear whether the vir barbarus connotes here the ethnic origin of Flainus. Aherne (1949: 168) conjectures that Flainus was probably a Visigoth. Gómez Moreno (1925: 132) proposed to identify Flainus with the presbyter who died during the reign of King Ecgica (687-701 AD) and whose name appears in the funerary inscription found in Quintanilla de Somoza (province of Leon, Spain) in the place called Pico del Castro (Castrum Petrense? see Avello Álvarez 1990-1991: 298), [287].
In the next part of his autobiography Replicatio sermonum (ch. 2) Valerius mentions that he lived in the neighbourhood of the basilica of St. Felix. It is possible that Flainus was a presbyter there.

Place of event:

  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Castro Pedroso
  • Bierzo

About the source:

Author: Valerius of Bierzo
Title: Ordo querimoniae, Account of my grief
Origin: Bierzo (Iberian Peninsula)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
''Ordo querimoniae" is the first part of the autobiographical trilogy written by the hermit from the region of Bierzo (Iberian Peninsula) Valerius. He relates the sufferings, attacks of the devil and conflicts he was involved in during his monastic life. The exact dates of Valerius`s life, as well as, the dates of composition of his works cannot be fixed; it can only be said that he lived and worked roughly in the second half of the seventh century. Apart from the autobiographical writings he composed six short works: De vana saeculi sapientia, Vita et epistola beatissimae Egeriae, De genere monachorum, Dicta beatum Valeri ad beatum Donadeum scripta, De Bonello monacho, De caeleste revelatione. On Valerius of Bierzo see Aherne 1949, Collins 1986, Díaz y Díaz 2006, Martín 2011.
Edition and translation:
Valerius of Bierzo, Ordo querimoniae, [in:]  C.M. Aherne, Valerio of Bierzo, an Ascetic of the Late Visigothic Period. A Dissertation, Washington D.C. 1949, 68-109
J.L. Avello Álvarez, 'Los suevos y visigodos en la provincia de León', Memorias de historia antigua 11-12 (1990), 295-316.
R. Collins, "The Autobiographical Works of Valerius of Bierzo their structure and purpose”, [in :] Antigüedad y cristianismo: Monografías históricas sobre la Antigüedad tardía, 1986, 425-442.
M.C. Díaz y Díaz, Valerio Del Bierzo: su persona, su obra, León 2006.
M. Gómez Moreno, Catálogo monumental de España. Provincia de León (1906-1908), v. 1, Madrid 1925.
J.C. Martín, "¿Valerio en Compludo? Examen crítico de los opúsculos autobiográficos (CPL 1282-1284) y las Visiones del más allá (CPL 1277-1279) de Valerio del Bierzo”, Veleia 23 (2006), 327-338.


Non-Latin Origin - Gothic
Functions within the Church - Parish presbyter
Functions within the Church - Rural presbyter
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Described by a title - Sacerdos/ἱερεύς
Relation with - Monk/Nun
Conflict - Violence
Devotion - Reading the Bible and devotional literature
Ritual activity - Liturgical books and the Bible
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER778,