Gregory was born in Rome about the year 540. His
grandfather was Pope Felix; his mother Silvia and his
aunts, Tarsilla and Emiliana, have also been numbered
among the choir of the saints by the Roman Church.
Having received a brilliant secular education, he
attained high state offices. Leading a God-pleasing
life, he aspired to monasticism with all his soul.
After the death of his father, Saint Gregory spent all
his fortune on the building of six monasteries. In
Rome, he founded a monastery in the name of the Holy
Apostle Andrew the First-Called and, having exchanged
his palaces for a narrow cell, received the monastic
tonsure there. Then, on a commission from Pope Pelagius
II, Saint Gregory lived a long time in Byzantium. There
he wrote his "Commentary on the Book of Job".
After the death of Pope Pelagius, Saint Gregory was
elected to the Roman cathedra. Considering himself
unworthy, the saint for seven months would not bring
himself to accept such a responsible ministry, and only
yielding to the entreaties of the clergy and the flock
did he accept consecration.
Wisely governing the Church, Hierarch Gregory tirelessly
planted the Word of God. Saint Gregory compiled in the
Latin tongue the order of the Liturgy of the Presanctified
Gifts (used during Great Lent), which before him was known
only in oral tradition. Confirmed by the Sixth Ecumenical
Council, this order was accepted by the whole Orthodox
He zealously struggled with the heresy
and converted to the true faith the pagan inhabitants
of Britain and the Goths, who were adherents of the
Hierarch Gregory left behind him numerous works. After the
appearance of his book, Conversations or Dialogues on
the Life and Miracles of the Italian Fathers,
(otherwise known as The Dialogues) the hierarch
began to be called the "Dialogist", that is
"one conducting a dialogue, a collocutor". His
"Pastoral Rule" (or "On Pastoral
Ministry") enjoys special renown. In this work,
Hierarch Gregory thoroughly describes the image of the
true pastor. Also, 848 of his letters of moral content
have come down to us.
Hierarch Gregory headed the Roman Church in the course of
thirteen years, taking care of all the needs of his flock.
He was distinguished by an unusual love for the poor, for
which he was vouchsafed a vision of the Lord Himself.
The Hierarch died in the year 604. His relics rest in the
Cathedral of the Holy Apostle Peter in the Vatican.
The Church of St. John the Baptist, Washington,