Marey Elena

"Disciplina clericorum" on VI century Sardinia according to the letters of Gregory the Great

Marey Elena (2018) ""Disciplina clericorum" on VI century Sardinia according to the letters of Gregory the Great ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia II : Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoy Pravoslavnoy Tserkvi, 2018, vol. 80, pp. 29-44 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturII201880.29-44


This article deals with church life in Sardinia in the 6th century and is based on material from the letters of Gregory the Great. Metropolitan of Sardinia, Januarius, was not able to keep the island in order and to control his subordinate clerics; moreover, he himself was involved in crimes several times. The article studies various examples of violation of church discipline by clerics of Sardinia and their negligence of ordinances of church councils. Thus, priests often behaved in an improper and corrupt manner, did not obey the metropolitan, baptised incorrectly. The provincial council was rarely convened; several sees remained without a bishop due to Januarius’ negligence. All this much upset St. Gregory the Great, who did his best at trying to strengthen church discipline in the island. In his letters addressed to Januarius, the Pope scrutinised mistakes and faults of the latter appealing to the Bible and ordinances of conciliar canons. Typically, St. Gregory always provides arguments for his position. At the same time, he tried to raise Januarius’ authority in the eyes of the clergy, which he regarded as the base for order and stability. The letters of St. Gregory the Great demonstrate that church life in the region directly depended on metropolitan’s personality and character. This conclusion accords with the Cura pastoralis by St. Gregory which describes the epitome of a bishop: the bishop is able to manage his community and set his fl ock and clergy on the right path only on condition that he possesses certain moral standards.


Gregory I, letters of Gregory the Great, Sardinia, canon law, image of bishop, church discipline, crimen


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Information about the author

Marey Elena

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in History;
Place of work: National State University “Higher School of Economics”; 20 Miasnitskaia, Moscow 101000, Russian Federation;
Post: Associate Professor;
ORCID: 0000-0002-1482-7098;
Email: elena.fontis@gmail.com.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.


The article is written in 2018 within the framework of the project "Interpretation of Roman legal concepts in the works of Gregory the Great and the formation of the legal culture of the middle Ages" supported by Presidential Grants Foundation.