When we think about history, we rarely think about the role of the Faith in that history. Gregory gave us so many things, and helped to steady the ship of Church and state.
The music we appreciate and take for granted today has roots in the chant of the Church sanctioned and popularized by Gregory. It is hard to quantify this gift but it is all around us. He supported and offered sanctuary to Athanasius and others. The structure of Europe benefits from his efforts of Faith when working with the Lombards, a Germanic/Scandinavian people who took over Italy in the wake of the collapsing Roman Empire.
He was obviously a humble, patient, and thoughtful man and it shows in his many letters.
The Hebrews dwelling in Terracina have petitioned us for license to hold, under our authority, the site of their synagogue which they have held hitherto. But, inasmuch as we have been informed that the same site is so near to the church that even the sound of their psalmody reaches it, we have written to our brother and fellow-bishop Peter that, if it is the case that the voices from the said place are heard in the church, the Jews must cease to worship there. Therefore let your Fraternity, with our above-named brother and fellow-bishop, diligently inspect this place, and if you find that there has been any annoyance to the church, provide another place within the fortress, where the aforesaid Hebrews may assemble, so that they may be able to celebrate their ceremonies without impediment. But let your Fraternity provide such a place, in case of their being deprived of this one, that there be no cause of complaint in future. But we forbid the aforesaid Hebrews to be oppressed or vexed unreasonably; but, as they are permitted, in accordance with justice, to live under the protection of the Roman laws, let them keep their observances as they have learnt them, no one hindering them: yet let it not be allowed them to have Christian slaves.
Joseph, a Jew, the bearer of these presents, has informed us that, the Jews dwelling in the camp of Terracina having been accustomed to assemble in a certain place for celebrating their festivities, your Fraternity had expelled them thence, and that they had migrated, and this with your knowledge and consent, to another place for in like manner observing their festivities; and now they complain that they have been expelled anew from this same place. But, if it is so, we desire your Fraternity to abstain from giving cause of complaint of this kind, and that they be allowed, as has been the custom, to assemble in the place which, as we have already said, they had obtained with your knowledge for their place of meeting. For those who dissent from the Christian religion must needs be gathered together to unity of faith by gentleness, kindness, admonition, persuasion, lest those whom the sweetness of preaching and the anticipated terror of future judgment might have invited to believe should be repelled by threats and terrors. It is right, then, that they should come together kindly to hear the word of God from you rather than that they should become afraid of overstrained austerity.
-- Epistle 10 and 35, To Bacauda and Agnellus, Bishops.
Things to Think About