Feast Day: September 3
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Those of us involved in the arts owe a lot to Gregory!
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Gregory was born in Rome, in 540, to a patrician family. Trained as a lawyer, by the age of 30 he was Prefect. The city was, in his words,“at the mercy of the barbarians...the citadels are destroyed, the provinces are depopulated, there are no more farmers in the country....” Under his administration, Rome began to be restored.
Five years later, upon the death of his father, he resigned from office and converted his family home into a Benedictine monastery, where he himself became a monk, then founded six other monasteries.
Though he would have preferred the simple monastic life, it was not to be. He was appointed papal ambassador to Constantinople, and then in 590 he reluctantly accepted his appointment as pope. For the 14 years of his papacy, he rose to the challenges of war, famine and plague, initiating much-needed clerical and ecclesiastical reforms.
He promoted plainsong choral music which is named after him (Gregorian Chant).
He sent St. Augustine and 40 monks to England, instructing them not to destroy the pagan temples, but rather to consecrate them; and keep the old feast days, but give them a Christian connotation.
- When certain church leaders began to denounce the religious images that were beginning to emerge as artistic expressions, Gregory made clear the distinction between worship of “graven images” and the purpose of the art work: In an age of illiteracy, they were “a living reading of the Lord’s story for those who cannot read.”
Though Gregory was one of the most influential people in world history, and was awarded the title of “Magnus” (the Great), he consistently referred to himself as: Servus Servorum Dei (Servant of the Servants of God).
Our St. Gregory artwork is available as a plaque, medal, art-to-wear, greeting cards and more. Please visit PatriArtsGallery.com to view and/or purchase them.