Project Proposal: Gregory the Great

Kaylee Tye                                                                                                                              2/8/18

Project Proposal


  Christianity had been rising in Medieval Europe due to Constantine accepting it as the official religion of the Roman Empire. Pope Gregory I came in at a crucial moment in the development of the Catholic Church. Christianity was still a growing religion compared to other religions had been practiced for centuries. Pope Gregory I was the pope of the Roman Catholic Church in Medieval Europe. Pope Gregory I is known in many historial works as Gregory the Great. Many theologians following Gregory the Great’s death  have considered him as one of most famously written popes because of all his works since many of his letters, books and other writings that have survived and been translated. Gregory the Great was named a Doctor of the Church, which meant he somehow contributed to church theology or doctrine. This will be reflected in the different works of Gregory the Great.  This project will focus on Gregory the Great’s papacy from 540 – 604 AD in Rome. The project will focus on Gregory the Great’s life as a 6th – 7th century pope and what it entailed. This will include an analysis of Gregory the Great’s letters.

  To be a Pope in the 6th and 7th century was a challenge. Gregory the Great didn’t want to be the pope, because he content to living in monastic life, but he was given the position of pope. Gregory the Great is famous for his Gregorian Mission. The goal of this mission was to convert many of the Anglo-saxons from pagans to Christians. There had been small mission work done by the Catholic Church in local towns. Gregory took this idea of missionary work to a larger stage. This is just one example of the pressure Gregory faced as pope. Gregory the Great’s focus was not just on pagans but also the members of his church. In his letters Gregory addressed the concern of the priesthood. He wrote about their duties and what is expected as a priest. With his letters there will Gregory perspective on the matters, different challenges, and benefits to being pope.

  Many of Gregory the Great’s work survived from the medieval period and now have been translated to English. There is a collection of Gregory’s letters sent to different church and world leaders. His letters survived and were translated to English. His letters provide insight to his thoughts on the matters. The main source for the paper will be his letters. Gregory also wrote different books like Morals On the Book of Job and The Pastoral Rule. These words give an insight to what Gregory focused on in his papacy. In The Pastoral  it explained the duties for clergy members and the standards. The Catholic Church was still young at this point and structure was still being built. These books show his interpretations on church matters. An important note to notice is the belief of the Catholic Church is that the Pope is infallible on Church Doctrine. Another important source is a collection of work from Fordham University. The University has an online collection of medieval writings. There have different works either written by or for Gregory. This gave Gregory great influence in Church matters since he wrote about the church and her teachings. Two of secondary sources for the project are Gregory the Great and His World and The Earliest life of Gregory the Great. The Earliest life of Gregory the Great was written by an unnamed monk. This is a crucial secondary source because this was written in the either the 7th or 8th century and that is close to Gregory’s lifetime. This can provide insight to his legacy right after his death. The book Gregory the Great and His World gave specific insight to major points in Gregory’s life and his works.

  The significance of this proposal is that Gregory the Great helped shape the Catholic Church. He shaped religion with his leadership and many works.His ideas did not only influence the Catholic Church but also Protestantism. Another significance will be to looking at the many letters to have survived many years to see problems and events happening at the time. This is an important primary source to give light to events that happened in Medieval Europe.  



Primary Sources:


“Medieval Sourcebook: Bede: Conversion of England.” Medieval Sourcebook: Bede on the Internet History Sourcebooks Project . Accessed February 12, 2018.


“Medieval Sourcebook: Bede: Gregory the Great.” Internet History Sourcebooks Project. Accessed February 11, 2018.


“NPNF-213. Gregory the Great (II), Ephraim Syrus, Aphrahat.” Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Accessed February 07, 2018.


“NPNF-212. Leo the Great, Gregory the Great.” Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Accessed February 08, 2018.


“Pope Gregory the Great: Concerning Taxation in Sardinia, Corsica, and Sicily, c. 600.” Internet History Sourcebooks Project. Accessed February 12, 2018.


Secondary Sources:


Gregory. Morals on the Book of Job. J.H. Parker, 1844.


Markus, R. A. Gregory the Great and his world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.


Whitby, Anonymous Monk of, and Bertram Colgrave. The Earliest life of Gregory the Great. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1968.