De sinu patris

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De sinu patris
by Urban IV or Clement IV, translated by Wikisource
De sinu patris was an undated letter written by either Pope Urban IV or Pope Clement IV to an unnamed nobleman in the 1260s. The letter urged him to return to his wife. Another letter, sent to an unnamed noblewoman, is Audi filia et.— Excerpted from De sinu patris on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
He warns and urges the count, who is married to an eastern woman, to restore his marriage with the woman whom he has repudiated.

Reg. Vat. 29 A fol. 1 n. 1. -- Vat. Lat. 6735 n. 7. -- Jordan, n. 866.


To the noble man count J<ohn>[1]

From the bosom of the Father[2] sprout forth seeds, spreading to produce a bountiful crop for you, if you are ready to accept them and desire to prepare your mind to purge the world of its vices, just as a field is purged of its thorns and spikes. Therefore, we ask, lend your ears attentively to our apostolic warnings, and devote yourself to the understanding of filial promptness, so that the seeds that have been spread may be fruitful, and that what we write may not seem harsh or bitter, but considering the affection of their author, they may soften a hardened mind, and become sweet in consideration of our warning for your salvation.

Consider, O son, consider, the result of our paternal warning, and indeed submit to these paternal warnings, for the charity of the father cannot be restrained, but rather it brings a stumbling son back from the ruin into which you, it is said, exceeding the bounds of reason, are willingly rushing, and you fall away from the grace of your Creator by gravely offending him. And indeed by doing this you are guilty of not fearing or revering God, you reject salvation, and you are proven to have fully neglected your own reputation, with which you are said to be especially prodigal, setting yourself up as a remarkable spectacle for the people, so that you are rightly denounced as a criminal by all, particularly because you have set aside your own wife, that is the sister of our dearest son in Christ the illustrious king of Armenia...[3] and joined together with the noble woman[4]...as it is said, in nefarious embraces, not abhorring the crime of adultery prohibited by divine and human law, abominable to God, horrible to men, whose charity he divides.

Thus, stained by this blot, as it is claimed by many, you have become odious, sad to say, in the scandals of men and in the sight of God. Therefore, since, according to the pastoral office assigned to us, we are obliged to tend to the care of souls, we, who will come to a decision about these matters on the day of the last judgement, desire with all diligence that you do not approach that day as one who is undeserving, lest, God forbid!, you are presented as such before the tremendous judge, and rejected along with the others who have been rejected, you obtain the fate of those who are perpetually burned by fire. And for that reason we ask your nobility and urge it attentively, ordering that, completely abhorring the horror of such a crime, you send away the aforementioned woman, and that you take back your own wife and your children, and that you treat her with marital affection and your children with paternal affection, as you are held to do; thus displaying your path in the sight of the Lord, because you should humbly return with a steady heart to him from whom you are accused of having detestably receded. And certainly you should know that if you disdain from fully carrying out our warnings and commands, which we do not believe you will do, we will direct our writing to the legate of the Apostolic See[5], so that he may carry out your correction on our behalf, if necessary.


On the right-hand margin is written: who is accused of incest which he was said to commit with the queen of Cyprus.

This letter was directed, also in the opinion of others (cf. Jordan 1. c. not. 2), to John of Ibelin, count of Jaffa, who was married to Maria, sister of Hethum I, king of Armenia, but had rejected her, and, it seems, lived incestuously with Isabella of Ibelin, widowed queen of Cyprus, whose husband, Hugh II, died 5 December 1267, at the age of only 14.


  1. Of the Ibelin family, but who according to Sanuto and Joinville is thought to have died in 1266. Cf. Ducange. Les Familles d'outremer, p. 349. Cf. animadv. N. 28a. [Tautu]
  2. John 1:18. (Douay-Rheims)
  3. Hethoum I; Maria was the daughter of Constantine the regent of Armenia and therefore followed the eastern rite. [Tautu]
  4. Isabella, widow of Hugh. [Tautu]
  5. Probably still William, bishop of Agen. [Tautu]
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