Bishop Gregory, servant of the servants of God, sends greetings and apostolic blessing to Vratislav, duke of Bohemia.
We have preserved the custom of our greeting, that is, the apostolic blessing, sending it to you, but not without hesitation, because you yourself seem to communicate with those having been excommunicated: for whoever usurps the goods of the church, that is, takes them away without a firm license from the bishops or abbots, or receives them from any person, not only from the apostolic see in these days, but also from many holy Fathers, just as we find in their writings...
Truly no matter how the matter is held, not only are we moved to provide for your internal salvation by ancient goodwill towards you, but we are certainly also compelled by admiration of the honour you have received, indeed even by admiration of your labour, all the moreso because your highness can be an example for the progress of many people. And it does not remain for you to say or to think this: "It is not for me to seek out or deprive another's life or customs in spiritual matters." No doubt you are guilty of such things, as much as you were able to willingly reflect upon the roads from the precipice of destruction. It is also necessary that you undertake this with a careful mind, so that you do not place your own honour before divine honour, or money before justice, nor, should you, with an even mind, dare to presume that you are similar to your creator and the creator of all men, because it is not without severe punishment that you would suffer yourself to be killed by one of your subjects who dared presume to be similar to you. For undoubtedly the followers not of God but of the Devil, and false Christians, are conquered, who follow through with their injurious actions until blood is spilled, and ignore the affronts to God until their own destruction.
The riches which you have by your power should not be thought to have been given to you out of merit, but rather out of concern. In fact poverty does not seem as great a burden to secular men as riches are to spiritual men, which seem even as great a burden as diffuse power. Indeed they consider that if that man to whom one sheep is committed, under condition of his own death, did not want to return not only one hundred by the same agreement, but also that he is careful to watch it, by no means without fear, lest that one sheep somehow perishes, because as much as he should watch attentively, and moreover be afraid, that is how much he accepted care or power over many men.
Thus, having said these things, the fleetingness of the present age invites you towards greater vigilance of the mind; and since that which is beloved more in this light, that is the present life, stealthily hastens us to the end, surely as much as you approach the day of the final judgement, so does sound reason send you to the eternity which should be sought and obtained. Therefore we wish, or rather command, that your excellency heed these warnings or mandates of ours, more often before the eyes of your mind, and more frequently reflect on them by reading and listening, not because you are unable to find more elegant writings in the pages of the saints, but because these things were sent to you specially by us, or rather from St. Peter, and by thinking about them more frequently, with God's help, you will be able to rise up to recognize better things.
But because your nobility asked that we assent to the divine Office being celebrated in the Slavonic language in your country, you should know that we are in no way able to give favour to this petition of yours. Certainly about this matter it is often proven to those who ask that it was pleasing to God Almighty, and not undeservedly, that the Sacred Scripture should be obscure in certain places, lest, if it were freely open to all, it would perhaps become worthless and would be subject to scorn, or it would perversely lead the mind into error due to mediocre translations. Nor is helpful as an excuse that certain religious men have patiently produced this translation simply because the people asked for it, or that they have dismissed it as incorrect, since the primitive church concealed many things which were later corrected with subtle examination by the holy Fathers, which made Christianity strong, and allowed the religion to grow. Thus, we prohibit by the authority of St. Peter that which is requested imprudently by your people, so that it does not actually occur, and we order you to resist, for the honour of God Almighty, this vain temerity in all men.
Concerning our legate, whom your devotion asked to be sent to you, you should also know that at present we are hardly able to carry out your prayers advantageously: nevertheless in this year, with the favour of divine clemency, we will take care to find such persons who will both be able to be assigned to your affairs, and explain your needs more fully in our presence. Therefore, so that we may be able to direct our legates to you safely, we think and wish it necessary that you should try to send our son Frederick and this man Felix to us again, or another of these men, so that they will be able to go safely where we send them.
Issued at Rome, on the fourth day before the Nones of January, in the third indiction.
- Lacuna in the text?
- The Latin is confusing, but the reference is to the Parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15:4.
- January 2, 1080.