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St. Pope Zacharias

Apostolic See, Papal Authority, Prince of the Apostles, Universal Jurisdiction, St. Peter

“Zacharias, servant of the servants of God, to his very reverend' and holy brother and fellow bishop Boniface.

“When we received your letter, most holy brother, which was brought to us by your priest Denehard, and heard that you were in good health (as we hope you may always be), we gave thanks to Almighty God who has deigned to crown your labors with success. Our heart is always filled with great joy on the receipt, of your letters, because we find in them reports about the salvation; of souls and the conversion of new peoples through your preaching to our Holy Mother, the Church.

“Your latest letter tells us that you have established three bishops in three separate places to govern the people whom God, through your intervention, has brought into his fold. You ask that these episcopal sees may be confirmed by our authority. You should, however, first consider and carefully examine whether this is advisable and whether the places and the number of inhabitants warrant the establishment of bishoprics. You will recall, beloved, that the sacred canons decree that bishops should not be attached to villages and small cities lest the dignity of the episcopate be lessened.

“However, in response to your earnest appeal we hasten to grant your request. By our apostolic authority we ordain that bishoprics be fixed there and that a worthy succession of bishops shall govern the people and instruct them in the faith: there shall be one in the fortress called W-rzburg, a second in the town of Buraburg and a third in the place called Erfurt. Let no one dare to violate in the future what we have laid down and confirmed by the authority of the blessed Apostle Peter. (Letter to St. Boniface [A.D. April, 743]).

“Pope Zacharias to Bishop Boniface and through him to the abbots of the monastery built by him, in succession for ever.

“Since reasonable requests ought always to be granted, it is right that the devotion of the founder of a house of prayer should not be denied the grant of privileges. Wherefore, since you have asked for the monastery, which you have built in a place called Bochonia. on the bank of the river Fulda, to be honored by a privilege from the Apostolic See, so that being under the jurisdiction of our holy Church, of which, by God's Will, we are servants, it may be withdrawn from the jurisdiction of any other Church, we grant your pious wish and by our authority fulfil your request.

“Therefore, by this our authority, we forbid any priest of any Church except that of the Apostolic See to exercise any rights whatsoever over the said monastery. No one shall presume, except on the invitation of the abbot, even to celebrate Mass there, and the monastery shall remain for ever in the enjoyment of the rights implied in the apostolic privilege.

“By this our decree we absolutely forbid all prelates of whatsoever Church they may be, of any rank or power, under penalty of excommunication, ever to dare to violate in any way the privilege granted by us to the said monastery.” (Papal Charter for the Monastery of Fuld [A.D. November 751].

The aforesaid holy man further besought us in his letter to confirm your appointment by our apostolic authority. Wherefore, we most willingly with divine assistance and by authority of the blessed Peter, prince of the Apostles, to whom was given by God and our Savior Jesus Christ power to bind and loose the sins of men in heaven and upon earth, do confirm your episcopal sees and decree that they shall remain fixed for all time. We forbid, by authority of the same prince of the Apostles, that any person shall dare to act counter to your episcopal jurisdicition granted you by our order and by God’s favor. We forbid also, according to the tradition of the sacred canons, that any bishop shall dare to occupy your see by being transferred from another bishopric or that any¬ one, except the representative of our Apostolic See in those parts, shall appoint the new bishop after you shall have been called from this world. On the other hand, let no one of you venture to invade the diocese of another or draw away churches therefrom. If any one of you—which God forbid!—shall with rash presumption, act contrary to this our command, let him know that he will be bound in the chains of anathema by the eternal judgment of God. But whoso shall keep the apostolic precepts and maintain the standard of the true orthodox faith shall receive the grace of benediction. (Letter to Wintan).

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