New Catholic Dictionary – Pope Saint Gregory I the Great

detail of a stained glass window of Pope Saint Gregory the Great, by Syrius Eberle, date unknown; parish church of Saint Benedict in Odelzhausen, Dachau, Bayern, Germany; photographed on 17 October 2015 by GFreihalter; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Reigned from 590 to 604. Doctor of the Church; born in Rome, Italy, c.540; died there. A son of Saint Sylvia, and prefect of the city of Rome, he gave up his career and his wealth, founded six monasteries, and entered the Benedictine Order. He was appointed cardinaldeacon, and then sent to the Byzantine court to secure aid against the Lombards. The result of his six year sojourn was a conviction that Rome must not rely on the East for help. After his return he wished to convert the English, but the people of Rome would not allow him to leave. His desire was realized when he sent Saint Augustine, with a band of missionaries to England, c.590. Upon his election to the papacy, he published a work on episcopal duties, which was used for centuries. Trouble with the Lombards occupied a great part of his reign. He enforced the celibacy of the clergy, and supervised church funds. Although he strengthened the prerogatives of the papacy by demanding supreme authority over all churches, judging bishops, and hearing the complaints of prelates, he was always tactful in dealing with secular authority. He established the system of appeals to Rome, and is recognized as an administrator and lawyer. Monasteries and missionary work claimed his interest and he left many writings on these subjects. Feast, Roman Calendar, 12 March.

MLA Citation

  • “Pope Saint Gregory I the Great”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 7 October 2012. Web. 17 June 2021. <>