Weninger’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Gregory, Martyr

Saint Gregory of SpoletoArticle

The relics of the holy priest, Gregory of Spoleto, are preserved and duly venerated at Cologne, in the Cathedral. Saint Gregory lived at Spoleto, at the time of the two emperors Dioclesian and Maximian. During the cruel persecution of the Christians, which took place under the reign of these emperors, he encouraged the Christians to remain constant, and converted many to the faith. He continued with undiminished zeal, until Dioclesian sent to Spoleto an officer named Flaccus, with orders to search for Christians and to make away with them. Gregory was one of the first who was accused as an enemy of the gods and a corrupter of the people. Flaccus asked him: *• Is it true that you are an enemy of the gods and a despiser of the imperial commands?” “From my youth I have worshipped the true God,” replied Gregory, “and nobody will be able to prevent me from doing so.” “Who is your God?” asked Flaccus. Gregory answered: “My God is He who created heaven and earth, and will reward every one according to his works.” “Do not use so many words,” said Flaccus; “but goto the temple, sacrifice to the great Jupiter, and you will gain the favor of the emperor, and make yourself happy for the rest of your life; while by refusing it, you have nothing to expect but the most terrible tortures. The brave confessor of Christ replied: “Of what use would be the favor of a mortal monarch, if I lost the favor of the immortal God? and of what avail is the short happiness which you promise, if after it I shall be eternally unhappy? I desire not such favors nor such happiness.” When Flaccus perceived that all his words had no effect, he ordered the torture to begin. Gregory was at first most terribly whipped, with knotted scourges, upon the back, then upon the stomach; after which he was laid, bound hands and feet, upon a red-hot gridiron. The holy priest called unto God for aid, and at the same moment a fearful earthquake took place which destroyed many houses, and killed and buried alive more than four hundred of the inhabitants. Flaccus, greatly frightened, fled, and another judge sent the holy priest into a dungeon. In the following night, an Angel, sent by the Almighty, visited the Saint, and, after healing all his wounds, encouraged him to bear fearlessly his further martyrdom. The tyrant continued the torture on the following day. He ordered the Saint’s knees to be broken with iron clubs, and then his whole body to be burnt with torches. Seeing that all this cruelty was of no avail, he at last sentenced him to be beheaded. The Saint went joyfully to the place of execution, exhorted all those who had come to witness his death, to become converted to the true faith, and in prayer received the death-stroke. The tyrant had commanded that his body should be given as a prey to wild beasts, which were accordingly let loose; but when they came to the martyr’s holy body, not one of them would touch it. Lowering their heads they all crept back to their dens. At this miracle many cried aloud: “Truly, the God of the Christians is the only true God!” Abundantia, a pious matron, bought the holy body for thirty-five pieces of gold, anointed it with precious ointment, and buried it with great reverence. In the course of time it was taken to Milan, and thence to Cologne.

MLA Citation

  • Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “Saint Gregory, Martyr”. Lives of the Saints, 1876. CatholicSaints.Info. 3 June 2018. Web. 23 September 2018. <>