Gregory the Great (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: By example and direction, Gregory set the basic patterns for the medieval church of Central and Western Europe in the areas of pastoral administration, interpretation of the Bible, and liturgical usage. He was directly responsible for sending missionaries to England and the consequent organization of the medieval English church. This evangelistic effort was to serve as a model for later missionary activity.
Gregory was born in Italy near the city of Rome. Rome, once the center of the political and cultural world of Western civilization, no longer held that position. About two centuries before the birth of Gregory, the capital city of the Roman Empire had been moved eastward to Constantinople. Although Rome at first remained an important city, its role continued to diminish as the years went by. During this time, invaders and migrating peoples made their way into Italy and other sections of the old Roman Empire, cutting the western half away from Constantinople and the eastern portions of the Mediterranean world. As a result, it was difficult for many people—merchants, political leaders, churchmen, and others—to maintain contact and communications with the East. Since the invaders were pagan or Arian Christians (a heretical sect of Christianity), there were unusual tensions in the Church in Gregory’s homeland. These factors tended to separate further the leaders of the eastern and...
(The entire section is 2083 words.)
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