St Gregory I, Pope, Doctor and Confessor


Pope St Gregory the Great (540 – 604)

He was born in Rome and followed the career of public service that was usual for the son of an aristocratic family, finally becoming Prefect of the City of Rome, a post he held for some years.

He founded a monastery in Rome and some others in Sicily, then became a monk himself. He was ordained deacon and sent as an envoy to Constantinople, on a mission that lasted five years.

He was elected Pope on 3 September 590, the first monk to be elected to this office. He reformed the administration of the Church’s estates and devoted the resulting surplus to the assistance of the poor and the ransoming of prisoners. He negotiated treaties with the Lombard tribes who were ravaging northern Italy, and by cultivating good relations with these and other barbarians he was able to keep the Church’s position secure in areas where Roman rule had broken down. His works for the propagation of the faith include the sending of Augustine and his monks as missionaries to England in 596, providing them with continuing advice and support and (in 601) sending reinforcements. He wrote extensively on pastoral care, spirituality, and morals, and designated himself “servant of the servants of God.”

He died on 12 March 604.





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