An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Gregory the Great

(c. 540-Mar. 12, 604). Sixth-century Pope and Doctor of the Church. He was born in Rome. After serving as prefect of Rome, c. 572-574, Gregory entered the monastery of St. Andrew on the Caelian Hill around 575. He was consecrated Bishop of Rome on Sept. 3, 590, and served until his death. He was very successful in the struggle against the Lombards in Italy and in the administration of the church and its benevolent activities. He was also very active in extending papal authority. Gregory is remembered for sending Augustine to Canterbury in 597 to do missionary work among the Anglo-Saxons. Gregory’s book, Pastoral Care (c. 591), is one of the classics of pastoral theology and sets out his view of the bishop as the shepherd of souls. He described himself as “servant of God’s servants.” Gregory is one of only two popes to be given the title, “the Great,” and is one of the four great Doctors of the Western Church. He died in Rome. Gregory is commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on March 12.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.