Gregory the Great's Prayer for Trajan

Jeffrey A. Trumbower

in Rescue for the Dead

Published in print October 2001 | ISBN: 9780195140996
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834747 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Historical Theology

 Gregory the Great's Prayer for Trajan

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The eighth and final chapter briefly surveys the history of posthumous salvation after Augustine. Central is a story told about Pope Gregory the Great (sixth century), who supposedly uttered a prayer for the salvation of the pagan Roman emperor Trajan, who had lived in the second century. In Eastern Orthodoxy, this prayer is often combined with that of Thecla for Falconilla as two examples of God's mercy even upon dead pagans. In the west, because of Augustine's influence, the story is retold to include the resurrection of the body of Trajan, since without physical baptism, no one who lived after Christ can be saved.

Keywords: baptism; Eastern Orthodoxy; Falconilla; Gregory the Great; pagan; Pope; posthumous salvation; resurrection of the body; Thecla; Trajan

Chapter.  6409 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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