Pope Gregory I writes to Severus, the patriarch of Aquileia, requesting on behalf of the emperor (Maurice) that he come to Rome with his clergy and be judged on a synod (for his unwillingness to condemn the Three Chapters and his perseverance in supporting the schism).
Gregorius Severo episcopo Aquileiensi.
Sicut gradientem per avia, carpentem denuo rectum tramitem, tota Dominus aviditate complectitur, ita demum deserentema cognitam veritatis viam maiori merore, quam gaudio, quo de convertente laetatus fuerat, contristatur; quia minoris excessus est veritatem non cognoscere, quam in eadem agnita non manere. Aliudque est quod ab errante committitur, aliud quod per scientiam perpetratur. Et nos siquidem quantum se incorporatumb te iam pridem fuisse in unitatem Ecclesię gavisi fueramus, abundantius nunc dissociatum a catholica societate confundimurc.
Pro qua re imminente latore praesentium iuxta christianissimi et serenissimi rerum domini iussionem ad beati Petri apostoli limina cum tuis sequacibus venire te volumus, ut auctore Deo adgregata synodo, de ea quae inter vos vertitur dubietate iudicetur.
a) sic B; de deserente ed. Ewald et Hartmann. b) se incorporatum] sic B: pro reincorporatum coni. Ewald et Hartmann. c) ex confidimus corr. B.
Gregory to Severus.
As, when one who walks through devious ways takes anew the right path, the Lord embraces him with all eagerness, so afterward, when one deserts the way of truth, He is more saddened with grief for him than He rejoiced over him with joy when he turned from error; since it is a less degree of sin not to know the truth than not to abide in it when known: and what is committed in error is one thing, but what is perpetrated knowingly is another. And we, from having formerly rejoiced in your being incorporated in the unity of the Church, are now the more abundantly distressed for your dissociation from the Catholic society.
Accordingly, we desire you, at the instance of the issuer of this letter, according to the command of the most Christian and most serene Emperor, to come with your adherents to the threshold of the blessed Apostle Peter, that, a synod being assembled by the will of God, judgment may be passed concerning the doubt that is entertained among you.
[the translation, slightly modified by the editor, is taken from James Barmby (trans.), From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd series, vol. 12, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (Buffalo, NY 1895), revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight, online]
Pope Gregory I was at this point prepared to end the Schism of Three Chapters by more aggressive means if necessary, but his plan ultimately failed. The bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Aquileia directed three letters to Emperor Maurice, lamenting the aggressive treatment they had been suffering and the prospect of Severus being violently taken to Rome to be judged by his enemies (only one such letter is preserved, see the edition here). The emperor heeded their words and wrote to Pope Gregory I to desist from his plan of adjudicating the schismatics in Rome (see the letter here). The entire episode belongs to a longer story-arc of the Three Chapters Controversy in the ecclesiastical province of Aquileia, on which see more here.
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