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Confessional Lutheran theology, hagiography, philosophy, music, culture, sports, education, and whatever else is on the fevered mind of Orycteropus Afer

03 September 2016
  + Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church +
Consecrated Bishop of Rome on 3 September AD 590

Gregory I Living at a time when political and religious leadership in Europe often depended upon force of arms or strength of will more than the rule of law, Gregory became one of the continent's greatest leaders in both the secular and sacred arenas of his era. Born around AD 540, he became Prefect of Rome. In this capacity, he restored economic vitality to his native city following years of political upheaval and invasions by various Germanic tribes.

He later sold all his properties, donated the proceeds to help the poor, he entered into full-time service in the Church as a monk. Although he seemed content with the monastic life, his intellectual abilities and theological acumen led him on to ordination, which finally climaxed with his election on 3 September 590 as Bishop of Rome.

In this office, he oversaw growth in church music and liturgical development; the style of liturgical music known as Gregorian Chant is still used in much of Western Christendom. He also established a church-year calendar still used by many churches in the western World today. His concern for the poor continued and he oversaw the construction of a hospital that served dinner to the underprivileged next to his home.

A chance encounter led to his championing of missionary outreach to northern Europe: After meeting English prisoners in a Roman slave market, he directed a monk and prior of the Monastery of Saint Andrew named Augustine to begin mission work in the British Isles. This man, later known as Saint Augustine of Canterbury (not to be confused with the better-known Augustine of Hippo), did much to spread Christianity throughout Britain.

Gregory was the first pope of the Roman Church to come from a monastic background. His book Liber Regulae Pastoralis (The Book of the Pastoral Rule) was a standard text until the 20th Century. Church historians consider Gregory to be the last of the Latin Church Fathers and count him among the Doctors of the Church (see the commemoration of Saint Ambrose for the list of the eight great doctors). The Eastern Church remembers him as Gregory Dialogus in honor of the Dialogues he wrote.

Gregory died on 12 March AD 604. Rather than keeping the commemoration on his death date (or "heavenly birthday"), the LCMS moved it to the date of his consecration in order to avoid its observation during the penitential season of Lent.

Lection

Psalm 57:6-11 or 33:1-5, 20-21
1 Chronicles 25:1a, 6-8
Mark 10:42-45

Collect

Almighty and most merciful Lord, who raised up Gregory of Rome to be a servant of the people 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 he confessed, 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, now and forever.

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