Pope Gregory I  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Pope St. Gregory I (Latin: Gregorius I; Italian: Gregorio I; c. 540 – 12 March 604), better known in English as Gregory the Great, was pope from 3 September 590 until his death. Gregory is well-known for his writings, which were more prolific than those of any of his predecessors as pope.

He is also known as Gregory the Dialogist in Eastern Orthodoxy because of his Dialogues. For this reason, English translations of Orthodox texts will sometimes list him as "Gregory Dialogus". He was the first of the popes to come from a monastic background. Gregory is a Doctor of the Church and one of the six Latin Fathers. He is considered a saint in the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Immediately after his death, Gregory was canonized by popular acclaim. John Calvin admired Gregory and declared in his Institutes, that Gregory was the last good pope. He is the patron saint of musicians, singers, students, and teachers.

Sermon on Mary Magdalene

In a sermon whose text is given in Patrologia Latina, Gregory stated that he believed "that the woman Luke called a sinner and John called Mary was the Mary out of whom Mark declared that seven demons were cast" (Hanc vero quam Lucas peccatricem mulierem, Joannes Mariam nominat, illam esse Mariam credimus de qua Marcus septem damonia ejecta fuisse testatur), thus identifying the sinner of Luke 7:37, the Mary of John 11:2 and 12:3 (the sister of Lazarus and Martha of Bethany), and Mary Magdalene, from whom Jesus had cast out seven demons.

While most Western writers shared this view, it was not seen as a Church teaching, but as an opinion, the pros and cons of which were discussed. With the liturgical changes made in 1969, there is no longer mention of Mary Magdalene as a sinner in Roman Catholic liturgical materials.

The Eastern Orthodox Church has never accepted Gregory's identification of Mary Magdalene with the sinful woman.

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