St. Gregory Dialogus (601 A.D.) – Baptize those Baptized by Heretics? And Apostolic Succession in Heretics? (Letter to the East)


Pope St. Gregory the Great

” We have learned from the ancient institution of the Fathers that those who, in heresy, are baptized in the name of the Trinity, when they return to the Holy Church, are to be recalled to the bosom of Mother Church either by anointing with Chrism, or by the imposition of the hand, or by a profession of faith alone…because the Holy Baptism, which they received among heretics, re-engages in them the powers of cleansing at that time when…they are united to the faith in the bowels of the holy and universal church. But as to those heretics who are baptized not in the name of the Trinity…when they come to the Holy Church, they are baptized, because that was not Baptism, which situated in error, they received not in the name of the Trinity. Nor can this be called a repetition of a Baptism, which, as was stated, was not given in the name of the Trinity.

Your Holiness may without any hesitation receive into your assembly, their own orders preserved for them…any who return from the perverse error of Nestorius, so that, while..through gentleness you make for them no opposition or difficulty about their own orders, you may snatch them from the jaws of the ancient enemy” (Letter of Pope Gregory I to Bishop Quiricus and other catholic Bishops of Georgia [Asiatic Iberia]. June 22, 601 A.D. [Quia Caritate nihil])

That last paragraph is difficult to interpret. I am curious if by “orders” is meant Episcopal orders. Secondly, whether those who are returning are Bishops who were once Catholic and then turned Nestorian in their life, or if it is Nestorian bishops who return and have their orders recognized. Any feedback would be helpful.

1 thought on “St. Gregory Dialogus (601 A.D.) – Baptize those Baptized by Heretics? And Apostolic Succession in Heretics? (Letter to the East)

  1. Good one. So, it can be both ways. Bishops that once were ordained by the Church and came back, and also those who are “ordained” by heretics/schismatics. In this lefter I think IT is about the second way, those who are “ordained” by heretics can receive The Power of The Holy Spirit when they come to The True Church. St. Gregory’s practice is also in accordance with practice of the ancient Church of recieving the non-Catholic laymen. There are other sources that used the same practicing of layng hands for those “ordained” by heretics. I
    know at least two sources:
    1. Canon 8 of the First Council in Nicaea(325), and
    2. Canon 68 of Council of Cartaghe(419), where that the Donatists clergy are to be received into the Catholic Church as clergymen. The Church thru Bishops has this power.

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