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Epistle XXI.

To Natalis, Bishop of Salona13211321    This appears to have been the formal answer to the official letter sent by the bishop of Salona to Gregory, congratulating him on his accession to the popedom, having no connexion with, and perhaps written before, the preceding Epistle XIX..

Gregory to Natalis, &c.

We have received at the hands of the deacon Stephen, whom you sent to us, the letters of thy Reverence, wherein you congratulate us on our promotion.  And truly what has been offered in the kindness and earnestness of charity demands full credence, reason having prompted your pontifical order to rejoice with us.  We therefore, being cheered by your greeting, declare in conscience that I undertook the burden of dignity with a sick heart.  But, seeing that I could not resist the divine decrees, I have recovered a more cheerful frame of mind.  Wherefore we write to entreat your Reverence that both we and the Christian flock committed to our care may enjoy the succour of your prayers, to the end that in the security of that protection we may have power to overcome the hurricanes of these times.

The month of February, ninth indiction.

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