Gregory II of Rome

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Our father among the saints Gregory II of Rome was the Archbishop and Pope of Rome from 715 to 731. He opposed emperor Leo III the Isaurian of the Eastern Roman Empire on the issue of iconoclasm, refusing Leo's demands to destroy the holy images. His feast day is February 11.

Life

Gregory was born in Rome of his parents Marcellus and Honesta, but the date of his birth is unknown. It may be about 670. At an early age Gregory showed an interest in church affairs. He attended the "school cantorum." He appointed a sub-deacon and sacellarius (treasurer) for the Church of Rome by Pope Sergius I, who reigned from 687 to 701. As a deacon Gregory accompanied Pope Constantine to Constantinople for his meeting with emperor Justinian II.

After the death of Pope Constantine, Gregory was chosen his successor on May 19, 715. After becoming pope, Gregory instituted a program of rebuilding the walls around Rome, in the face of attacks by the Lombards and fear of raids by the Saracens who were quickly assuming control of the Mediterranean Sea. He encouraged Charles Martel in his labors in the defense of Gaul against the Muslims.

He encouraged the preaching of the Gospel among the Germanic peoples, to whom he sent St. Boniface and St. Corbinian on missions of evangelization. In 722, he consecrated Boniface a bishop. He also took the initiative of restoring several Italian monasteries, notably of Monte Cassino. Pope Gregory took a stern stand against the iconoclastic edicts of emperor Leo III. He supported Patr. Germanus of Constantinople in his resistance to Leo, and opposed Patr. Anastasius after he succeeded Germanus. Gregory sent letters to the clergy throughout the West proclaiming the true doctrine concerning the question of the veneration of images and warning the people against the teachings of the emperor.

Pope Gregory II died in February 731. The date of his death is not known with accuracy, being remembered in martyrology variously as February 11, February 13, or February 28. His feast day recognizes the day of his repose as February 11. He was buried in St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome.

Succession box:
Gregory II of Rome
Preceded by:
Constantine
Pope of Rome
715-731
Succeeded by:
Gregory III
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