St. Gregory I, also known as the Great, was the Pope of the Catholic Church between 590 and 604 AD.
Gregory was born around 540 in Rome. The exact date of his birth is unknown. Although the Western Roman Empire had collapsed long before his birth, many ancient Roman families still commanded great wealth and influence in the city. Gregory was born into one such family.
Because of his great respect for the poor, it was Pope Gregory and the Church that became the most respected and obeyed force in Rome and across Italy. From the time of Gregory onwards, the people looked to the Church for government rather than the distant and indifferent emperors in Constantinople.
Pope Gregory suffered from arthritis in his last years. He died on March 12, 604 AD. He was immediately proclaimed a saint by means of popular acclaim. Saint Gregory’s relics remain in St. Peter’s Basilica to this day.
In 1969, the Second Vatican Council moved Saint Gregory’s feast day from March 12 to September 3 so it would not fall during Lent. During Lent, there are no obligatory memorials. The Eastern Orthodox Church also venerates Saint Gregory, honoring him on March 12.
Both Anglican and Lutheran Christians also venerate Pope Saint Gregory. He is the patron saint of musicians, singers, students, and teachers.