37 I.e. the rector patrimonii. The purport of this direction seems be that agents from the laity might be appointed with advantage to assist the rector patrimonii; and these must first be made clerici by receiving the tonsure, so as to be qualified to act for the Church. The rectors themselves were usually at least subdeacons.
38 Scholastici. The designation appears to have been applied generally to scholarly and learned persons. Cf. Hieron. in Catal. Scriptor. Eccles., "Serapion ob elegantiam ingenii cognomen scholastici meruit." In Gregory's Epistles it seems to denote usually men learned in the law, who might advise on legal points or sit as assessors. In I. 44 (to Peter the subdeacon) scholastici are spoken of as having given a legal opinion , Epistle 36 in Bk. IX. is addressed "Severo scholastico exarchi," and he is spoken of as one of those "qui assistant judicibus." Cf. also IX. 58, 59, for the employment of "Martinus Scholasticus,vir eloquentissimus," in a cave of disputed jurisdiction over the primate of the African province of Bizacia. Such scholastici were evidently persons of importance. Gregory addresses them by the title of "Gloria vestra" (IV. 40), and of "Magnitudo tua" (IX. 58). In IX. 12 he speaks of the form of prayer which followed the words of institution in the Canon of the Mass as having been composed by a scholasticus (precem quam schloasticus composuerat), perhaps using the term in the general sense of a scholar.
53 The Istrian bishops still held out in refusing to accept thecondemnation of "The Three Chapters" passed in the fifth (Ecumenical Council at the instance of the Emperor Justinian. Gregory, soon after his accession, had suummoned Severus, Bishop of Aquileia and Metropolitan, with his suffragans, to Rome; and this, as he alleges, by command of the Emperor, though the latter had now, it appears, forbidden further proceedings See I. 16, and note.
55 With respect to Rome Gregory has already complained that the Exarch would neither send forces for its defence nor allow peace to be made with Ariulph. So also witb regard to Naples, which Gregory understands to be now threatened by the Lombards. The Exarch, it appears, had been urgent in insisting that it should hold out against the enemy ("excellentissimo exarcho instanter imminente"), but without giving any help for the purpose. What Gregory here says is that without aid from the Exarch its defence was hopeless.
57 Viz. Aquileia, of which Severus was bishop and Metropolitan called here schismaticus because of his holding out against Rome in the matter of the Three Chapters. The bribes he is said below to have sent to Constantinople would be for inducing the Emperor to take his part against Gregory.
60 The bishop of Carthage was primate of the province of Africa Proconsularis in virtue of his See. For the custom with regard to primacy in other African provinces, see I. 74, note 2. The fact, apparent from this letter, that Dominicus had deemed sending to Gregory on his accession the congratulatory letter that had been expected, and Gregory's carefulness to assure him, in the course of the studiously courteous letter, of his desire to respect the ancient privileges of Churches, may be among the symptoms, otherwise apparent, of the authoritative claims of the Roman See being still viewed with some jealousy in the African Church. Cf. in Book VIII. Epistle 33, to the same Dominicus, in which Gregory, in praising his reverence for the Apostolic See, attributes such reverence to his knowledge of the origin of the African episcopacy, refraining from asserting in this case any prerogative of divine right belonging to the See of S. Peter. Other letters to Dominicus are V. 5; VII. 35; XII. 1.
62 This Columbus was one of the bishops in Numidia, who seems to have enjoyed the peculiar confidence of Gregory, being written to on various questions concerning the Church there, and charged with seeing to the exercise of discipline over other bishops, though not himself the primate. He is addressed (III. 68; VIII. 13) as being himself especially devoted to the Roman See. Other letters addressed to him are III. 48; IV. 35; VI. 37; VII. 2; VIII. 28; XII. 8; XII. 28.