The following is from pages 64-67 of Richard Haugh's Photius and the Carolingians. Formatting has been retained. The letter is footnoted as follows: Epistola Peregrinorum Monachorum in Monte Oliveti Habitantium ad Leonem III Pontificem Romanum (PL 129, 1257-60). Translated by Raymond Ciuba and the author. This text was published by the author in Volume VI of Transactions of the Association of Russian-American Scholars (1972), 317-319.


The Letter of the Pilgrim Monks Living On Mount Olivet to the Roman Pontiff, Leo III. (Year 807).

The Congregation of Mt. Olivet to our most holy and most reverend lord in Christ and father, Leo, supreme pontiff and universal pope of the holy apostolic see of the city of Rome.

Lord Father, the Lord has deigned to exalt you above all priests, and your holy see is exalted above all Christian sees. To you Christ has deigned to say from his mouth, "Thou art Peter" (Matt. 16:18), etc. Most benign Father, we strangers who are living in the holy city of Jerusalem, love no man on earth more than you, and as much as possible in these holy places, we your servants, prostrate on the ground with tears, pour forth our prayers to the Lord day and night on your behalf. Accordingly, we are informing you of the tribulation which we are suffering here. John, who was from the monastery of St. Sabbas, whom your servant, Iguminus Thedulus knows, is raised above us, saying that the Franks who are on Mt. Olivet are heretics. He also said to us that all you Franks are heretics, and he reproved our faith by saying that it is no better than heresy. And we said to him: "Brother, be silent. Because if you call us heretics, you are calling the holy, apostolic See heretical."

And he disturbed us so much that on the day of the birth of our Lord, in the holy place in holy Bethlehem, where our Lord the Redeemer of the human race deigned to be born for the salvation of the world, he sent laymen who wanted to throw us out, saying "You are heretics and the books which you have are heretical." But through your holy prayers and faith the Lord strengthened us. And they were not able to throw us out. We all said: "Here we wish to die, for you will not be able to throw us out." Then all we, your servants, raised our voices and said even to the priests who are in the holy city: "Fathers and brothers, look at this man who says such things and other things against us and against the holy Roman faith, because such things we have never heard about our people."

After this, on the Lord's Day, the priests with other clergy and the people gathered across from the Lord's holy sepulchre, near the holy place of Calvary, and those same priests inquired about our faith concerning the way we say the Creed. We said we believe just as the holy Roman Church does. "We have said and still say in our language what you do not say in Greek. In the Glory to the Father you do not say 'as it was in the beginning,' and in the Glory to God in the Highest you do not say, 'Thou alone art most High.' You recite the Our Father differently, and in the Creed we say more than you, 'Who proceeds from the Father and the Son,' because of which words that John, an enemy of his own soul, says that we are heretics."

We begged the men of Jerusalem saying: "Do not listen to this man, and do not accuse us of heresy. If you say that we are heretics, you impute heresy to the throne of Blessed Peter, and if you say that, you lead yourselves into sin." The priests wrote us a letter about our faith, about what we should believe. They said to us, "Do you believe just as the Church of the Holy Resurrection of the Lord does?" We said that we believe the same as the Holy Resurrection of the Lord and the Holy Apostolic Roman See. Then the archdeacon in St. Constantine's went up to the prominent place with us and read the letter to the people. All of us, your servants, anathematized every heresy and all who accused the Holy Apostolic Roman See of heresy. And now, lord and most benign Father, deign to think about us, your servants, who are your sheep although we are far away. The whole world has been entrusted to you, as your holiness knows, for the Lord said to Peter, "If you love me, Peter, feed my sheep" (Jn. 21:16). Most benign father, while I, your servant Leo, was in your holy presence, and in the devout presence of your son, the most pious Emperor lord Charles, we heard it said in his chapel in the Creed of the faith "who proceeds from the Father and the Son." And in the homilies of St. Gregory, which your son the Emperor lord Charles gave us, it says in the sermons for the octave of Easter, "But his sending forth is his procession; he proceeds from the Father and the Son." And in the rule of St. Benedict, which your son lord Charles gave us, and which contains the faith about the Holy and inseparable Trinity, it says, "I believe that the Holy Spirit is true God, proceeding from the Father and the Son." And in the dialogue, which your holiness deigned to give us, it says the same thing.

And so a great confusion has been created among us in the holy city by that same John, since he says that the Holy Spirit does not proceed from the Father and the Son. Thus, he spread a great error through all the monasteries. He demanded our profession of faith and our books, saying that lord Gregory's books must not be accepted. Whence, holy Father, again and again we ask and beseech you, prostrate on the ground with tears, through the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which is called one inseparable Trinity, that you deign to search out both in Greek as well as in Latin the holy Fathers who composed the Creed concerning that phrase where it is said: "Who proceeds from the rather and the Son." In Greek they do not say as we do, but rather they say: "Who proceeds from the rather," and they view that phrase which we say in Latin as a serious matter. Deign to give an order to your son the Emperor lord Charles because we heard the words "Who proceeds from the Father and the Son" in his chapel. Deign to inform us, your -servants here, since no form of this mystery seems as pleasant to us as your holy countenance and holy prayer and your intercession or remembrance. Whence, most benign Father, we beg of your most holy piety that you would deign to receive favorably the priest John as also these your servants, who, governed by God, have come to the dignity of your office, and direct us, your servants, with a definite order. Dominic, Theodore, Arimund, Gregory, John, Leo and the entire congregation of holy Mt. Olivet commend themselves, ' your servants, to your sacred prayers which are worthy of God. May the Lord our God, who is said to be blessed unto all ages, deign to rule over and protect you, most holy Father, and all who are with you, and may he guard you in everything, through everything, by his holy mercy, for the exaltation of his holy Church, for the salvation of your soul, and for our joy.



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