Pope Gregory III:
Prohibition on Selling Christians to Pagans for Sacrificial Rites, 731
Despite the prohibition of the Church, certain Christians still continued to treat
their slaves as chattels, by selling them to pagans for sacrifice. This practice prompted
Pope Gregory III to write a letter to the Archbishop of Mainz forbidding it.
8. Among other crimes committed in those parts you have mentioned this, that
certain of the faithful sell their slaves to the pagans for sacrifices. Which thing,
brother, we think should be corrected, and we do not think you should allow it to proceed
further; for it is a disgrace and an impiety. To those therefore who have done these
things you should mete out the same punishment as for homicide.
J. P. Migne, ed., Patrologiae Cursus Completus, (Paris, 1850), Vol. LXXXIX, p.
578; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval
Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York:
Biblo & Tannen, 1965), p.284.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
This text is part of the Internet
Medieval Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and
copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.
Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright.
Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational
purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No
permission is granted for commercial use.
© Paul Halsall, October 1998