Patrimony is the term anciently given to Church estates or revenues. Thus we find mentioned, in the letters of St. Gregory, not only the patrimony of the Roman Church, but those likewise of the churches of Rimini, Milan, and Ravenna. This name, therefore, does not peculiarly signify any foreign dominion or jurisdiction belonging to the Roman Church or the pope.
Churches, in cities whose inhabitants were but of modern existence, had no estates left to them out of their own district; but those in imperial cities, such as Rome, Ravenna, and Milan, where senators and persons of the first rank inhabited, were endowed with estates in divers parts of the world. St. Gregory mentions the patrimony of the Church of Ravenna, in Sicily, and another of the Church of Milan, in that kingdom. The Roman Church had patrimonies in France, Africa, Sicily, in the Cottian Alps, and in many other countries. The same St. Gregory had a lawsuit with the bishop of Ravenna for the patrimonies of the two churches, which afterwards ended by agreement.