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A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Laurentius (15)

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Laurentius (15), surnamed Mellifluus, thought to have been bp. of Novara c. 507. A Laurentius, surnamed Mellifluus, from the sweetness with which he delivered homilies, is mentioned by Sigebert ( Scr. Eccl. c. 120 in Patr. Lat. clx. 572) as the author of a treatise de Duobus Temporibus, viz. one period from Adam to Christ, the other from Christ to the end of the world. That this Laurentius was the presbyter who instructed Gaudentius the first bp. of Novara was maintained by Cotta, an outline of whose arguments may be seen in the Acta Eruditorum (suppl. t. ii. pp. 525, 526, ed. Lips. 1696). La Bigne ( Max. Bibl. Pat. t. ix. p. 465, Lugd. 1677) suspects that Laurentius Mellifluus was bp. of Novara, and subsequently the 25th bp. of Milan who is praised by Ennodius in his first Dictio. La Bigne grounds his opinion on certain allusions of Ennodius in his second Dictio, which was sent to Honoratus, bp. of Novara ( e.g. Patr. Lat. lxiii. 269 B). Other corroborative passages have been adduced by Mabillon ( ut inf. ), as where Ennodius describes Laurentius bp. of Milan pacifying his haughty brethren by honeyed words of conciliation ("blandimentorum melle," ib. 267 A). The historians of literature usually therefore designate Laurentius Mellifluus bp. of Novara, but he is not admitted by the historians of the see, as Ughelli ( Ital. Sac. iv. 692) and Cappelletti ( Le Chiese d᾿Ital. xiv. 526). Three extant treatises are ascribed to Laurentius Mellifluus, viz. two homilies, de Poenitentia and de Eleemosyna, printed by La Bigne in his Bibliotheca and a treatise de Mulieye Cananaea, printed by Mabillon with a note on the author, supporting the view of La Bigne, in his Analecta (p. 55, ed. 1723). The homilies are in La Bigne ( Max. Bib. Pat. t. ix. p. 465, Lug. 1677) and the three treatises in Migne ( Patr. Lat. lxvi.87) with both La Bigne's and Mabillon's notices of the author. Cave mistakenly says (i. 493) that the de Duobus Temporibus is lost, for it is evidently the homily de Poenitentia, which opens with an exposition of the "duo tempora," which terms he employs somewhat in the sense of the two dispensations for the divine pardon of sin. The sin inherited from Adam is in baptism entirely put away through the merits of Christ. Christ the second Adam simply cancelled the sin derived from the first Adam. Original sin therefore corresponds, in a manner, with the pre-Christian period. For actual transgression each person is himself alone responsible and is to be released from it by penitence, with which the treatise is mainly occupied, and so has received its present title. For other notices see Ceillier (xi. 95), Dupin ( Eccl. Writ. t. i. p. 540, ed. 1722), Tillem. (Mém. x. 259, 260).


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Laurentius (15)'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. 1911.

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