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E04477: Gregory the Great, in his Dialogues (3.14), refers to a virgin called Gregoria who was at that time living near the church of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033) in Rome. She provides information about *Isaac, (6th c. abbot of Spoleto, central Italy S01755). Written in Latin in Rome, c. 593.

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posted on 19.12.2017, 00:00 by frances
Gregory the Great, Dialogues 3.14

Quem nostrorum multi nouerunt, et maxime sacra uirgo gregoria, quae nunc in hac romana urbe iuxta ecclesiam beatae mariae semper uirginis habitat.

‘Many of our people know of him [Isaac], especially the saintly virgin Gregoria, who now lives here in Rome near the church of the Blessed Mary Ever Virgin.’

Text: de Vogüé 1978. Translation: Zimmerman 1959, modified.

History

Evidence ID

E04477

Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033 Isaac, sixth-century abbot of Spoleto : S01755

Saint Name in Source

Maria Isaac

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Other saint-related texts

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

590

Evidence not after

604

Activity not before

590

Activity not after

604

Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Rome

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Rome Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Major author/Major anonymous work

Gregory the Great (pope)

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Oral transmission of saint-related stories

Source

Gregory the Great (Pope, 590-604) wrote his Dialogues on the Lives and Miracles of the Italian Fathers (Dialogi de vita et miraculis patrum italicorum) in Rome around 593. Organised into four books, the first three are a collection of lives and miracles of various Italian saints. The longest is the Life of Benedict of Nursia, which comprises the entirety of book 2. The final book consists of an essay on the immortality of souls after death. As a whole, the work documents and explains the presence of the miraculous in the contemporary world and the ability of saints to effect miracles both before and after death. The attribution of the Dialogues to Gregory has been disputed, most recently by Francis Clark who argued that the work was created in the 680s in Rome. Others - such as Adalbert de Vogüé, Paul Meyvaert and Matthew dal Santo - have, however, strongly argued for Gregory's authorship and it is broadly accepted that Gregory was responsible for the Dialogues. For a discussion of Gregory's devotion in writing the Dialogues, see E04383, and for the role of the Dialogues as a tract justifying the nature of miracles and theorising on the immortality of souls, see E04506. Gregory's principal aim in collecting the miracle stories of the holy men and a very few women of sixth-century Italy was to show the presence of God's power on earth as manifested through them, rather than to encourage the cult of these individuals. Indeed, though posthumous miracles at the graves of a few individuals are recorded (and also a few miracles aided by contact relics of dead saints), there is very little emphasis in the Dialogues on posthumous cult; some of the miraculous events that Gregory records (e.g. E04429) are not even attributed to named individuals. Although very few of the holy persons in the Dialogues are 'proper' saints, with long-term cult, we have included them all in our database, for the sake of completeness and as an illustration of the impossibility of dividing 'proper' saints from more 'ordinary' holy individuals.

Discussion

The Church dedicated to Mary is probably the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, although this is not explicit in the text. A community of virgins is described living here by Gregory in Dialogues 4.16 (E04586).

Bibliography

Edition: Vogüé, A. de, Grégoire le Grand, Dialogues, Sources chrétiennes 260 (Paris: Cerf, 1979). Translation: Zimmerman, O.J., Dialogues of Saint Gregory the Great, Fathers of the Church 39 (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1959). Further Reading: Clark, F.,The 'Gregorian' Dialogues and the Origins of Benedictine Monasticism (Leiden: Brill, 2003). Dal Santo, M., "The Shadow of A Doubt? A Note on the Dialogues and Registrum Epistolarum of Pope Gregory the Great (590–604)," Journal of Ecclesiatical History, 61.1, (2010), 3-17. Meyvaert, P., "The Enigma of Gregory the Great’s Dialogues: A Reply to Francis Clark," Journal of Ecclesiastical History 39 (1988), 335–81. Vogüé, A. de, "Grégoire le Grand et ses Dialogues d’après deux ouvrages récents," Revue d’histoire ecclésiastique 83 (1988), 281–348.

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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