St Gregory the Great
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St Gregory has a special place in the story of Christianity in our country. As a monk in Gregory saw in the slave market in Rome some young men with fair complexions. Told they were Angles he is said to have remarked, not Angels, but Angels!, and he decided to go as a missionary to their country. But he was called back to Rome and it was later, as Pope, that he was able to send Augustine and his companions to England, where Canterbury became the base for their mission.
Gregory himself was born about the year 540. His family were wealthy and aristocratic and as a talented young man he entered public service in Rome, and rose to high office in the city in his early thirties. In 574, after long prayer and inner struggle Gregory gave up his career in order to give his life to God and became a monk. His talents meant that he held important responsibilities in the Church in Rome. Eventually he was the people’s unanimous choice as Pope in 590. For fourteen years Gregory used his talents and drive in organising the growing Christian Church and developing important principles for its life and worship. He died in 604 and was quickly canonised by popular acclaim. He was the first of the Popes to be called "the Great" in recognition of his outstanding gifts and ministry.
In 1954 a new parish being established in Swarcliffe was dedicated to Pope St Gregory the Great.