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1. The Papacy in the Age of Gregory the Great

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Chapter Summary

The major foci can be identified in Gregory's activities as bishop of Rome: the spiritual leadership of the Church of Italy and the wider Church; and the administration both of the dioceses of Italy and the wider Church. This chapter analyses the earliest sources on Gregory's life the contemporary entry in the Liber Pontificalis (LP) and the earliest Life of Gregory from Whitby to gain a picture of how Gregory's contemporaries evaluated his leadership. It analyses the institutional structures of the papacy in the 6th to 8th centuries, looking for any innovations made by Gregory. The chapter examines what Gregory's letters tell us about his spiritual leadership and administration of the dioceses subject to Rome by using the papal letter collections of Leo I, Gelasius, and Pelagius I. It examines Gregory's relationship to the wider Church and concludes with an assessment of Gregory's style of leadership against existing Byzantine and roman models.

Keywords: bishop of Rome; Gregory's activities; Liber Pontificalis (LP); papacy; wider Church



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