(Saint) Pope, Doctor of the Church (March 12) (7th century) The most commanding figure in the world history of his age. Born in Rome (A.D. 540) of patrician parents (the Senator Gordian and Saint Sylvia), and a collateral descendant of Pope Saint Felix (whether II, III, or IV, is uncertain), he was early in life made Praetor or Governor of Rome by the Emperor Justin II. Relinquishing, however, his prospects of a brilliant future in the world, he retired to the monastery into which he had converted his family mansion on the Ccelian Hill (San Gregorio). But Pope Benedict I soon appointed him his Apocrisiarius or Legate to Constantinople, where he remained for seven years. At the death of Pope Pelagius (A.D. 590), Gregory, after vainly trying by flight to avoid the dignity, was elected his successor. During his thirteen years of Pontificate, his untiring energy (despite continuous ill-health) enabled him to accomplish a very thorough Reform of Church discipline, both among the Secular clergy and in Religious Houses. His work in Liturgy and Church music has proved lasting. He dealt successfully with the yet existing debris of the old heresies, as is proved by his voluminous correspondence with Spain, Gaul, Ireland, and with the Eastern Patriarchates. He strenuously upheld the rights of the Roman See against the pretensions of the Patriarchs of Constantinople; but treated so wisely with the Byzantine Emperor and other Christian Princes as to avoid all conflict with them. His sending of Saint Augustine with his forty monks, as first missionaries to the Anglo- Saxons, has earned him the title of Apostle of England. He saved Rome from oppression by the Lombards, who at that time were devastating Italy, and showed himself a most sagacious administrator of the Patrimony of Saint Peter. His loving-kindness to the poor, whom he delighted in ministering to with his own hands, has remained proverbial. His 128 letters, Homilies, Exegetical and Ascetical works take up several folio volumes. He rested from his labours, March 12, A.D. 604, and was buried in Saint Peter’s.
- Monks of Ramsgate. “Gregory the Great”. , 1921. CatholicSaints.Info. 26 July 2013. Web. 10 February 2016. <>