Sub-Saharan Africa, 03 September, 2023 / 11:15 am (ACI Africa).
St. Gregory the Great, a central figure of the medieval western Church and one of the most admired Popes in history, is commemorated in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Catholic liturgy today, September 3.
Born near the middle of the sixth century into a noble Roman family, Gregory received a classical education in liberal arts and the law. He also had strong religious formation from his devout family, particularly from his mother, Silvia, also a canonized saint. By around age 30, Gregory had
advanced to high political office in Rome, during what was nevertheless a period of marked decline for the city.
Some time after becoming the prefect of the former imperial capital, Gregory chose to leave the civil administration to become a monk during the rise of the Benedictine order. In reality, however, the new monk's great career in public life was yet to come.
After three years of strict monastic life, he was called personally by the Pope to assume the office of a deacon in Rome. From Rome, he was dispatched to Constantinople, to seek aid from the emperor for Rome's civic troubles, and to aid in resolving the Eastern church's theological controversies. He returned to Rome in 586, after six years of service as the Papal representative to the eastern Church and empire.
Rome faced a series of disasters caused by flooding in 589, followed by the death of Pope Pelagius II the next year. Gregory, then serving as abbot in a monastery, reluctantly accepted his election to replace him as the Bishop of Rome.