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St. Gregory The Great, Patron Saint of Musicians and Singers



St. Gregory the Great, a Doctor of the Church, is widely regarded as the founder of the medieval papacy. As Pope, he was deeply involved in both the spiritual and physical needs of Rome. He was a missionary organizer, theologian, and musician; we owe Gregorian Chant to Pope Gregory. Gregory was one of the greatest Popes, and his works and thoughts have shaped Christianity until this day.


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St. Gregory was born in 560 AD, into a wealthy Roman family. His mother Silvia was an extremely pious woman, who later became a saint. Gregory’s father was a senator. Gregory received the best education available, and became Prefect of Rome. Drawn to the religious life, he renounced his official position. Gregory used his considerable wealth to found some monasteries, and became a monk in one of them. Eventually, the Pope summoned him out of his monastery and sent him as ambassador to Byzantium. He returned and became the abbot of his monastery in Rome. After the Pope died, the people of Rome demanded that Gregory be made Pontiff, such was his reputation for holiness.

As Pope, he was zealous in seeing to both the spiritual and physical needs of the people of Rome and those of Christians everywhere. He was Pope at a time when Rome and Italy suffered from the Lombard barbarians. Gregory did much to alleviate the sufferings of the poor and refugees at this time, and rescued many Christians from slavery.

Gregory is remembered as a great organizer of missionary enterprise for the conversion of heathens and heretics. He sent St. Augustine to England, and also dispatched missionaries all over Europe to root out heresy and paganism.

Gregory was also a great theologian. Though he was not an original thinker, he helped to systematize the theology of the Church. His Dialogues are still widely read to this day. Gregory was also influential in the development of sacred music; his name has long been associated with Gregorian chant.

Gregory died on the 12th of March, 604, and was buried the same day in the portico of the basilica of St. Peter.

Gregory was believed to have been responsible for several miracles during his life. He cured several people when a plague raged through Rome.

Gregory was a brilliant and able administrator, and was particularly devoted to the poor. He saw that his role as Pope was to help the needy:
"I hold the office of steward to the property of the poor."

He believed that Love was essential both in life and in matters of faith:
"When love exists, it works great things."

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