Gregory the Great

GREGORY the Great. b. probably in Rome, ca. 540; d. Rome, 12 March 604. Born into a noble Roman family, Gregory was well educated. He became a monk in Rome, having founded a monastery there as well as six in Sicily. Gregory was sent to Constantinople with a diplomatic mission where he remained as ‘apocrisiarius’ (‘ambassador’), and became very popular, from 579 to 585. He was recalled to Rome, and was elected Pope Gregory I in 590. Gregory is said to have seen Anglo-Saxon children in the slave market at Rome, and to have said ‘Non Angli, sed Angeli’ (‘not Angles [Anglo-Saxons] but Angels’); the memory of this caused him to send St Augustine (of Canterbury) in 596 to convert the people of...

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