St Gregory

To celebrate the 1400th anniversary of Gregory's death on 12th March 604 a brief history of his life and work has been displayed in St Gregory's Minster, Kirkdale.

These pages are extracted from this display.

Mission to England

Gregorian Chant

Pope and Pastor


Saint Gregory displayed in a stained glass window

Gregory: Lawyer,Administrator and Monk

Born in 540, Gregory was the son of the wealthy Roman Senator, Gordianus. His mother was the highly venerated Saint Silvia and he was nephew of both Saint Emiliana and Saint Tarsilla.

He was educated by the finest of teachers in Rome and trained to he a lawyer. By the age of 30 he had become prefect of Rome.

Gregory writes of his time as prefect in the following terms:

"Rome is at the mercy of the barbarians. The citadels are destroyed, the provinces are de-populated and there are no more farms in the country..."

Under Gregory's administration, however, Rome began to be restored.

Five years later, upon the death of his father, Gregory resigned from office and converted his family home into a monastery, where he himself became a monk. He lived a life of great austerity there and went on to found six more monasteries

Although not a member of the Benedictine Order, Gregory revered Benedict (480-550) and found in his Rule, a kindred spirit. Gregory's Life of Benedict ranked highly as an exemplar for hagiography (the lives of saints).

Gregory was an extensive and prolific writer and most pictures of him show him at his writing with the Holy Spirit hovering in the form of a dove, dictating to him what he should write. He was also a dedicated man of prayer.

In England, some 32 churches, (both ancient and modern), are dedicated to Gregory.

Text by Bill Smith. Page provided by Ryedale Christian Council Updated 8th May 2004