Gregory II


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(d. 731),

pope. Born in Rome, Gregory became a subdeacon under Pope Sergius; later he was treasurer and librarian and, in 710, now a deacon, accompanied Pope Constantine to Constantinople to help settle certain doctrinal and disciplinary difficulties. On Constantine's death Gregory was chosen bishop of Rome. He proved an energetic and apostolic ruler. In Rome he held synods to enforce discipline and morality, he rebuilt old churches and established new hospitals and monasteries, including St Paul's-outside-the-Walls, and encouraged the revival of Monte Cassino under Petronax. He fought constantly for the independence of Rome from the emperors, the Saracens, and the Lombards. He vigorously opposed the iconoclasm of Emperor Leo III, but at the same time insisted that the Italians keep their allegiance to the emperor. His interest in the Anglo-Saxons was shown by his encouragement and direction of Boniface, whom he consecrated bishop and to whom he gave both name and mission; he also helped Nothelm with his researches in the papal archives to provide material for Bede's Ecclesiastical History. He received at Rome the Wessex king Ina, who became a monk there in 726. Feast: 11 (or 13) February.

AA.SS. Feb. II (1658), 692–705; Liber Pontificalis (ed. Duchesne), i. 396–414; W. Levison, England and the Continent in the Eighth Century (1956), pp. 72–4; O.D.P., pp. 86–7.

Subjects: Christianity.

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