Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome: 12 March 2013

St. Gregory, Bishop of Rome

Little is know of Gregory’s younger years, except that Italy was in turbulence from Goth invasions.  He had three sisters who were nuns, and after the death of his parents converted the house into a monastery.  He was ordained deacon, and later served as Papal delegate to Constantinople.  He was elected Pope in 590, and immediately set down that he was not claiming St. Peter’s throne, and praised the life of the monks (he was the first Monastic bishop of Rome). 

Gregory is most well known for sending missionaries to northern Europe in a time in which the Pope had little authority over Italy, Britain or Spain. Most famous of his missions was sending Augustine to England to proclaim the Gospel to the Anglo Saxon peoples, leading to some conflict with the Celtic church, but  eventually leading to a missionary movement spreading form England to the north of Europe and extending as far east as Kiev. 

Liturgically, plain song chant, or Gregorian chant is often attributed to him, and more factually the liturgy of the pre-sanctified which is used by the Eastern Orthodox Church until this day for Lent and Holy Week.  Private penance is also attributed to him.

Alms were important to him, but most of the money received by the church went immediately to the service of the poor. 

Collect: Lord, you raised up Gregory of Rome to be a servant to the servants of God, and inspired him to send missionaries to England.  Raise up in this and every generation Bishops who will truly serve their people in imitation of Messiah, and who are willing to proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  This we ask through Yeshuah haMoshiach, who lives and reigns with you and Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting.  Amen.  (white)

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