Saint Gregory was born c. 540 into a wealthy, noble family. He followed his father's steps into the political arena, but gradually severed his worldly ties and used his considerable inheritance to found six monasteries. He was living in seclusion in one of them when he was chosen Pope of Rome. He tried to flee this honor but submitted to what was clearly God's will when a fiery pillar revealed to the people his place of hiding.
As bishop of Rome, he promoted the evangelization of England through Saint Augustine, writing to him and to other of his clergy on practical matters of pastoral care, concerns that prevail in most of his writings. These can be broadly divided into two groups: the Homilies and The Dialogues. Thanks to the latter, wherein Saint Gregory sets forth the lives and virtues of the Italian saints, he is also known as "The Dialogist.'' He compiled the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, used during the Great Lent, and, through his liturgical reforms, inspired the development of what is still known at Gregorian chant. He died in 604 and is commemorated by the Church on March 12.
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