St. Gregory I Dialogus, called
the Great, Pope of Rome
St. Gregory Dialogos (or the Great) was the first monk to become pope. He
was born c 540 into a Christian family; on his mother's side, he was
related to Boethius. Gregory's grandfather was Pope Felix III, and he is
supposed to have been related to Pope Agapetus I as well. In 572, Gregory
was made the prefect of the city of Rome, a position he resigned in 574.
He used his patrimony to establish the monastery of St. Andrew on the
Caelin Hill in Rome and six monasteries in Sicily. In 578, he was ordained
a deacon, and in 579, he became the papal nuncio at Constantinople, a post
he kept until 585. In 590, he was elected pope. He did not want the job
but kept it until his death in 604.
He gave his name to Gregorian chant, although questions exist about his
contributions to it. He worked on liturgical texts, and the Orthodox
attribute the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts to him. He gained repute
for his Dialogues (which contain the only extant life of
St. Benedict of
Nursia); his missionary work; and his charity toward the poor. In addition
to the Dialogues, Gregory's written works include the
Moralia on Job,
Pastoral Care, Homilies on the Gospel, Homilies on Ezekiel, and a
commentary on I Samuel. His non-written works include laying the
foundation of the papal state since he was the de facto civil
Italy during and after the Lombard invasions of 592-593; and the
centralization of the papacy since he reorganized papal estates to be more
directly accountable to him so that they had to follow his plans for
relief of the poor.
Karen Rae Keck
- Robert Godding:
Bibliografia di Gregorio Magno,
Rome: Città Nuova, 1990.
- Claude Dagens:
Saint Grégoire le Grand, (1977).
Paris: Études Augustiniennes, 1977.
- F. Homes Dudden:
Gregory the Great, (1905).
London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1905.
- Jeffrey Richards:
Consul of God, (1980).
London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1980.
- Carole Straw:
Gregory the Great -- Perfection in Imperfection, (1988).
University of California, 1988. Not a biography,
but a detailed exposition of St. Gregory's theology.
- ASSOCIATED PEOPLE:
- GREGORY IN FICTION:
- Ellen Gerhart:
Gregory the Great, (1969).
New York: Harcourt, 1969.
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