Gregory I, called the great, was born in Rome of a wealthy family,, members of the nobility, probably around 540. His father was a Roman senator, but he died when Gregory was small. After this his mother entered cloistral life, and gregory was reared in that deep religious atmosphere, which had a profound influence upon him. He received an excellent education in Roman classical and religious studies. However, he didn’t know Greek, and that world of learning seemed closed to him. Emperoro Justin II made him prefect of the city, but he renounced it for monastic life.
Inheriting his father’s wealth, he built six cloisters in Sicily and tunred his own home into a monastery (St. Andrews) which he entered himself in 575. Because of his unusual gifts he was persuaded by Benedict to leave the monastery and return to public service of the church. He later served as a religious diplomat to Constantinople. Gregory soon became recognised for his strong leadership ability, and in 590 he became bishop of Rome.
Gregory was an outstanding administrator. He strengthened the bishopric of Rome and laid the foundtion for its influence through the Middle Ages. Although he did not care for philosophy and the arts, he led in liturgical reform and introduced the style of singing which is known as Gregorian chant. Continue reading “Gregory the Great’s Wise Letter of Exhortation to Augustine of Canterbury”