Early in the fifth century, Innocent I, bishop of Rome, wrote to three bishops in Apulia about the desire of a cleric to become a bishop. Innocent stated that since Modestus had performed penance he ought not to have been ordained a presbyter, let alone be considered for the episcopate. Innocent instructed these bishops to remove Modestus from office if his past was confirmed, avoiding the usual consideration of such matters at provincial episcopal synods. This paper argues that Innocent acted as metropolitan, where it was understood implicitly that failure to comply with Innocent's directives would result in repercussions for the three bishops. Innocent acted differently with bishops within his metropolitan jurisdiction than with bishops further afield.