February 17, 2011

The Humility of Saint Gregory the Great

St. Gregory the Dialogos (Feast Day - March 12)
By St. John Moschos

We encountered Abba John the Persian at the Lavra of Monidia and he told us this about Gregory the Great, the most blessed Bishop of Rome:

"I went to Rome to pray at the tombs of the most blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul. One day as I was standing in the city-centre I saw that Pope Gregory was going to pass by. I had it in mind to prostrate myself before him. The attendants of the pope began saying to me, one by one, 'Abba, do not prostrate yourself', but I could not understand why they had said that to me; certainly it seemed improper for me not to prostrate myself. When the pope came near and perceived that I was about to prostrate myself - the Lord is my witness brethren - he prostrated himself down to the ground and refused to rise until I had got up. He embraced me with great humility, handed me three pieces of gold and ordered me to be given a monastic cloak, stipulating that all my needs were to be taken care of. So I glorified God Who had given him such humility towards everybody, such generosity with alms and such love."

From The Spiritual Meadow, Cistercian Publications, 1992, p. 124.