Gregory The Great Essay

Submitted By linzmarie
Words: 367
Pages: 2

Gregory the Great (c.540–604), pope, apostle of the English, one of the most important popes and influential writers of the Middle Ages. Gregory was the son of a Roman senator and entered the service of the State as a young man. But in 573 he sold his enormous properties, founding six monasteries in Sicily and a seventh in Rome, and giving generously to the poor. The next year he entered his own monastery of St. Andrew's on the Celian Hill as a monk and was distinguished for his austere life, which both filled him with nostalgia in later years and caused some of the ill-health which he suffered so constantly. Pope Benedict I, however, called him out of the monastery to become one of the seven deacons of Rome, and his successor, Pelagius II, made him apocrisiarius (ambassador) in Byzantium. After six years of distinguished service Gregory returned to Rome to become abbot of St. Andrew's, seemingly convinced that the future of Christianity lay with monasticism rather than with the declining Eastern Empire. But his own choice of monastic life was destined to be frustrated. He had hoped to lead some missionaries to bring the Gospel to the Anglo-Saxons—he had been specially impressed by some Anglo-Saxon slaves on sale in the Roman market—but he was elected pope during an outbreak of plague. Reluctantly he accepted and was confirmed by the emperor.

He was at once faced with a state of crisis. Floods, famine, plague, a Lombard invasion, all called for urgent attention, while in…