27 September 2015

#History of World Civilization Tour, Day Twenty-Seven

Medieval Catholicism

Identify the significance of Gregory I on the Medieval Catholic Church.

The baby who would become Pope Gregory I (he resisted the title himself) was born to a patrician family in Rome about 540 AD. After his father’s death, he converted his family home into a monastery. In 579 AD, Pelagius II appointed Gregory his ambassador to Constantinople, where he wrote extensively and became popular amongst the city’s aristocracy. When Pelagius died of the plague in 590 AD, although he would have preferred to retire to his monastery, Gregory was elected Pope. He immediately sought to regain papal control over church doctrine. He strongly supported the catholic confessional, and encouraged all Christians to confess their sins to the priests and receive acts of penance to atone for them. He was a prolific writer and reignited an interest in evangelism. He made extensive changes to church liturgy, and reforms to the sacraments known as the Sacrementaria Gregoriana. The plainchant form was standardized in the West under Gregory, and is still known as Gregorian chant. Gregory was known for his generosity, and encouraging others to follow his example. He established an efficient administration of alms and strongly admonished priests to not simply let the poor come to the church for help, but actively seek them out. Gregory I is also known as Gregory the Great, and is considered the apostle of England and source of their evangelization. The Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, The Church of England, and Lutheran and Episcopal churches in America all celebrate a feast day in his honor.

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