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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

Footnote 67 The Benedictines Vit


64: Besides the epistles of Gregory himself, which are methodized by Dupin, (Bibliotheque Eccles. tom. v. p. 103--126,) we have three lives of the pope; the two first written in the viiith and ixth centuries, (de Triplici Vita St. Greg. Preface to the ivth volume of the Benedictine edition,) by the deacons Paul (p. 1--18) and John, (p. 19--188,) and containing much original, though doubtful, evidence; the third, a long and labored compilation by the Benedictine editors, (p. 199--305.) The annals of Baronius are a copious but partial history. His papal prejudices are tempered by the good sense of Fleury, (Hist. Eccles. tom. viii.,) and his chronology has been rectified by the criticism of Pagi and Muratori.]

[Footnote 65: John the deacon has described them like an eye-witness, (l. iv. c. 83, 84;) and his description is illustrated by Angelo Rocca, a Roman antiquary, (St. Greg. Opera, tom. iv. p. 312--326;) who observes that some mosaics of the popes of the viith century are still preserved in the old churches of Rome, (p. 321--323) The same walls which represented Gregory's family are now decorated with the martyrdom of St. Andrew, the noble contest of Dominichino and Guido.]

[Footnote 66: Disciplinis vero liberalibus, hoc est grammatica, rhetorica, dialectica ita apuero est institutus, ut quamvis eo tempore florerent adhuc Romae studia literarum, tamen nulli in urbe ipsa secundus putaretur. Paul. Diacon. in

Vit. St. Gregor. c. 2.]

[Footnote 67: The Benedictines (Vit. Greg. l. i. p. 205--208) labor to reduce the monasteries of Gregory within the rule of their own order; but, as the question is confessed to be doubtful, it is clear that these powerful monks are in the wrong. See Butler's Lives of the Saints, vol. iii. p. 145; a work of merit: the sense and learning belong to the author--his prejudices are those of his profession.]

[Footnote 68: Monasterium Gregorianum in ejusdem Beati Gregorii aedibus ad clivum Scauri prope ecclesiam SS. Johannis et Pauli in honorem St. Andreae, (John, in Vit. Greg. l. i. c. 6. Greg. l. vii. epist. 13.) This house and monastery were situate on the side of the Caelian hill which fronts the Palatine; they are now occupied by the Camaldoli: San Gregorio triumphs, and St. Andrew has retired to a small chapel Nardini, Roma Antica, l. iii. c. 6, p. 100. Descrizzione di Roma, tom. i. p. 442--446.]

The pontificate of Gregory the Great, which lasted thirteen years, six months, and ten days, is one of the most edifying periods of the history of the church. His virtues, and even his faults, a singular mixture of simplicity and cunning, of pride and humility, of sense and superstition, were happily suited to his station and to the temper of the times. In his rival, the patriarch of Constantinople, he condemned the anti-Christian title of universal bishop, which the successor of St. Peter was too haughty to concede, and too feeble to assume; and the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Gregory was confined to the triple character of Bishop of Rome, Primate of Italy, and Apostle of the West. He frequently ascended the pulpit, and kindled, by his rude, though pathetic, eloquence, the congenial passions of his audience: the language of the Jewish prophets was interpreted and applied; and the minds of a people, depressed by their present calamities, were directed to the hopes and fears of the invisible world. His precepts and example defined the model of the Roman liturgy; [69] the distribution of the parishes, the calendar of the festivals, the order of processions, the service of the priests and deacons, the variety and change of sacerdotal garments. Till the last days of his life, he officiated in the canon of the mass, which continued above three hours: the

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