Today is the memorial of Pope Saint Gregory the Great!
Born in Rome around the year 540 A.D., Gregory lived up to the meaning behind his name, leading a life of dedication to God and showing diligence in following His commands.
Born into a wealthy family, well-educated, and very intelligent, Gregory was part of a clerical lineage that included a previous pope and parents who both ended up being canonized.
His father was a Roman senator and he served as a Prefect of Rome, the highest civilian rank in the city, at the age of 33.
He converted his family's home into a monastery after his father died, and entered the religious life. He developed a heartfelt connection with monastic life, carrying on the tradition of his three paternal aunts, who were all nuns.
In time, Gregory was selected to a combined lay and clerical diplomatic mission to Constantinople, to ask for Byzantine military aid for Rome. After his time there, he returned to Rome with the intent of settling into a life of monastic prayer and retreat—only to be elected to the Papacy, a position that he bemoaned, by all accounts. He is known to have written, praising the quiet life of monks and decrying ambitions to the Chair of Peter, along with over eight hundred letters on various topics.
He is credited with collecting the various local chants from around Europe into a unified collection meant to be used for specific liturgies throughout the Western Church. This is why Gregorian Chant bears his name.
Saint Gregory the Great also made many changes to the Mass including moving the Pater Noster (Our Father) to its current place in the liturgy. He is also credited with being the primary influence in the creation of the Eastern Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts which is celebrated during Lent.
For more about the teachings and theology of Pope Saint Gregory the Great, Aquinas and More read Church Fathers and Teachers . Learn about many of the strongest and most important Church fathers and their lives, including Saint Gregory!