Pope Gregory I

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Pope Gregory the Great wearing the pallium and the camelaucum, an early form of the Papal Tiara.

Gregory I (or Gregory the Great; ca. 540March 12, 604) was Pope from September 3, 590 until his death.


  • Non Angli, sed angeli.
    • Not Angles, but angels.
    • On seeing some beautiful boys in a slave-market and being told they were Angles. Bede, Historia Ecclesiastica, II.i
  • They are rightly named, for their faces are angelic; and such should be the co-heirs of the angels in heaven.
    • As quoted in Sir Edward Creasy History of England from the earliest to the present time, Vol. 1 (1869), p. 102
    • According to the same source, the original dialogue, as recorded in Bede, is as follows: Interrogavit utrum iidem insulani Christiani, aut paganis adhuc erroribus essent implicati. Dictum est quod essent pagani. At ille intimo ex corde longa trahens suspiria; 'Heu, proh dolor!' inquit, 'quod tarn lucidi vultus homines tenebrarum auctor possidet, tantaque gratia frontispicii mentem ab interna gratia vacuam gestat.' Rursus ergo interrogavit, 'quod esset vocabulum gentis illius? 'Responsum est, quod Angli vocarentur. At ille, 1 Bene,' inquit; 'nam et Angelicam habent f aciem, et tales Angelorum in caelis decet esse coheredes. Quod habet nomen ipsa provincia de qua isti sunt adlati 1' Responsum est, quod Deiri vocarentur iidem provinciales. At ille: 'Bene,' inquit, 'Deiri, de ira eruti, et ad misericordiam Christi vocati. Rex provinciae illius quomodo appellatur ?' Responsum est, quod Aelle dicaretur. At ille alludens ad nomen ait: 'Alleluia, laudem Dei Creatoris illis in partibus oportet cantari.'
  • Scriptura sacra mentis oculis quasi quoddam speculum opponitur, ut interna nostra facies in ipsa videatur. Ibi etenim foeda, ibi pulehra nostra cognoscimus.
    • Holy Scripture presents a kind of mirror to the eyes of the mind, so that our inner face may be seen in it. There we learn our own ugliness, there our own beauty.
    • As quoted in Cultural Performances in Medieval France (2007), p. 129

Quotes about Gregory[edit]

  • Gregory's letters are extraordinarily interesting, not only as showing his character, but as giving a picture of his age. His tone, except to the emperor and the ladies of the Byzantine court, is that of a head master-sometimes commending, often reproving, never showing the faintest hesitation as to his right to give orders.
  • Gregory is in a very real sense the last of the Romans. His tone of command, while justified by his office, has its instinctive basis in Roman aristocratic pride.

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