From St. Gregory the Great to St. Leo III.
ouncils and by Fathers to the Roman Primacy may be said to be complete in the time of St. Gregory. Subsequent Councils can only add a closer precision to the testimony of the Council of Chalcedon. Subsequent acts of the Eastern empire can scarcely go beyond the submission of its episcopate, its emperor, and its nobles to Pope Hormisdas. The point of that submission consists in the solemn acceptance of the line of Roman bishops as inheriting the charge given by our Lord to St. Peter. Subsequent legislation can but apply in detail the acceptance by Justinian of the Pope's right to examine everything which belongs to the doctrine or concerns the conduct of the Church throughout the world. And force is even added to this acceptance, because it was made when the Pope, John II., to whom it was made, was not in fact his temporal subject.
I propose to treat in this volume of a period embracing two hundred years. It runs from the time of St. Gregory the Great to the founding of the holy Roman empire, in the per