Sunday, March 12, 2006

March 12: Remembering Gregrory the Great

In addition to being the Second Sunday in Lent, today is also the day we give thanks to God for the ministry of Gregory the Great, the first pope of that name and the last of the four doctors of the Latin Church. He was born in Rome about the year 540 and died in 604.

English-speaking Christians remember Gregory for sending a party of missionaries headed by Augustine of Canterbury (not to be confused with the more famous Augustine of Hippo) to preach the Gospel to the pagan Anglo-Saxon tribes that had invaded England and largely conquered or displaced the Celtic Christians previously living there. Gregory had originally hoped to go to England as a missionary himself, but was pressed into service elsewhere, first as apocrisiarius and then as bishop of Rome. He accordingly sent others, but took an active interest in their work, writing numerous letters both to Augustine and his monks and to their English converts. Here is one of the prayers the Church lifts up to God in thanksgiving for giving us Gregory's Christian witness:

Almighty and merciful God, who raised up Gregory of Rome to be a servant of the servants of God, and inspired him to send missionaries to preach the Gospel to the English people: Preserve in your Church the catholic and apostolic faith they taught, that your people, being fruitful in every good work, may receive the crown of glory that never fades away; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Blogger Mason Smith said...


Readers of the Dan Brown novel will want to know that Gregory the Great is the pope who characterized Mary Magdalene as a prostitute.

He apparently conflated Mary Magdalene with an earlier (unnamed) woman in the Gospel of Luke who was identified as a harlot. The text, however, doesn't say that.

All of this will come out in May when the movie version of "The Da Vinci Code" comes to the big screen.

Best wishes,
Mason Smith

Wednesday, 22 March, 2006  

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