St Gregory the Great

Our next Saint is St Gregory whose death we commemorate on 12th March each year. The Second Vatican Council revised the General Roman Calendar in 1969, moving his Feast Day to 3rd September, which was the day of his consecration in 590AD, as of course 12th March falls during Lent.

Pope Gregory 1, also known as Gregory the Great was born around 540AD and died in 604AD

It was Pope Gregory the Great who sent Augustine on a mission to England to convert pagans to Christianity following King Ethelbert’s marriage to a Christian wife – Bertha. Gregory went on to become a very important figure in church history and Augustine became the first Archbishop of Canterbury.

Although Gregory suffered from chronic indigestion and slow fevers, caused by a lifetime of prolonged fasting, he had a huge influence on the doctrine, discipline and organisation of the early Catholic Church.

Gregory is also the Patron Saint of of musicians, singers, students, and teachers.

During his final years, he was also a martyr to gout, a most unpleasant disease of the foot.

St Gregory’s Day used to be remembered as ‘Farmer’s Day’ when the clergy went into the fields to bless the Spring crops.

Depictions of Saint Gregory can be seen in many churches local to Kent such as Wye,, which is dedicated to both St Gregory & St Martin. Gregory is depicted in the West window together with St Martin of Tours either side of Christ in Majesty.

Canterbury Cathedral has two figures on the handsome pulpit in the Nave, with cope and mitre, which represent Augustine of Canterbury shown here on the left and Pope Gregory 1 on the right hand side.

Immanuel Giel, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The relics of Saint Gregory are enshrined in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.


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