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3. Gregory the Great, the Empire and the Emperor

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Chapter Summary

Many of Gregory's letters to the emperor, the empress and other members of the imperial court at Constantinople confirm his view that the emperor, and, indeed, the Christian empire that he ruled, played an indispensable part in the "economy", structure or dispensation, that God in his mercy and wisdom had established for the salvation of the human race. For Gregory, the emperor was "the most pious of princes", "our most serene Lord of all things", whose office was inseparably bound up with the purposes of God. The Gregory enjoyed the confidence of the imperial family was displayed in 584 when Emperor Maurice chose him as godfather for his son, Theodosius, the first imperial prince. It was once alleged that Gregory, through his careful re-organization of the Church's patrimony or landed estates, laid the foundations for the fiscal base of the independent papal state of the Middle Ages.

Keywords: Christian empire; Constantinople; Emperor Maurice; Gregory's letters; Theodosius



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