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Pope Gregory I
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Pope Gregory I

Saint Gregory I, or Gregory the Great (called the Dialogist in Eastern Orthodoxy) (circa 540 - March 12, 604) was pope of the Catholic Church from September 3, 590 until his death.

He was born to a patrician Roman family and pursued a secular political career which climaxed in the position of Urban Prefect before he entered a monastery. About fifteen years later he became pope.

Gregory's chief acts as Pope include his role in the schism of the Three Chapters, and sending Augustine of Canterbury to convert the Anglo-Saxons in Britain. He is also known in the East as a tireless worker for communication and understanding between East and West. He is also credited with increasing the power of the papacy. Before his pontificate the Pope was regarded as the foremost among other high-ranking ecclesiasts, but without any jurisdiction outside his own diocese.

Works of Gregory I:

The Gregorian Chant, a religious musical style of the Middle Ages, is named for Pope Gregory. While he is not known to have written any chants himself—the majority of chants written during this time were published anonymously—his influence in the church caused the style to be named after him.

Incest myth

A story of his origins, probably apocryphal, mentions that his biological parents were twins of noble birth who commited incest, roused by the devil. As an infant he was set to sea in a casket by his mother, later to be found and raised by fishermen. At the age of six he entered a convent, which he later left to pursue a career as a knight. He traveled to the land of his birth and married the Queen there, who was, unbeknownst to him, his mother. After discovering this double incest, he spent seventeen years in penance before ultimately being elected pope.

Preceded by:
Pope Pelagius II
- chronological list
Succeeded by:
Pope Sabinianus