Early Church Fathers

Biography St. Gregory, born at Rome about the year 540, was the son of Gordianus, a wealthy senator, who later renounced the world and became one of the seven deacons of Rome. He is also known as St. Gregory the Dialogist in Eastern Orthodoxy because of his Dialogues. The Pope, recognizing his talent, was named as one of the seven deacons of Rome and then sent him on a diplomatic mission as papal legate to the imperial city of Constantinople where he remained for five years.

Upon the death of the pope in 590, St. Gregory was elected to succeed Peter, he was the first monk ever elected as the Successor of Peter. II. Contribution to the Church Gregory is credited with re-energizing the Church’s missionary work among the non-Christian peoples of northern Europe. He is most famous for sending a mission, often called the Gregorian mission, underAugustine of Canterbury, prior of Saint Andrew’s, where he had perhaps succeeded Gregory, to evangelize the pagan Anglo-Saxons of England.

The mission was successful, and it was from England that missionaries later set out for the Netherlands and Germany. The preaching of the Catholic faith and the elimination of all deviations from it was a key element in Gregory’s worldview, and it constituted one of the major continuing policies of his pontificate. III. Personal Reflection St Gregory the Great who wanted nothing else but to be a simple monk had undergo a profound interior struggle before accepting this election as the will of God.

He is known for one of the four greatest Latin-speaking Fathers and Doctors of the Church. He was one of the few men in the history of the church who was name as “The Great” and also as the “Gregorian Chant”. IV. References http://www. catholic. org/saints/saint. php? saint_id=54 http://www. crossroadsinitiative. com/library_author/13/st. _gregory_the_great. html 2. St Hilary of Poitiers I. Brief Biography Saint Hilary was a native of Poiters in Aquitaine, Born and educated and also a pagan.

It was not till near middle age that he embraced christianity, he moved thereto mainly by the idea of God presented to him in the Holy Scriptures He entered Holy Orders, and in 353 was chosen bishop of his native city. Arianism, under the protection of the Emperor Constantius, was just then in the height of its power, and St. Hilary found himself called upon to support the orthodox cause in several Gallic councils, in which Arian bishops formed an overwhelming majority. He was in consequence accused to the emperor, who banished him to Phrygia.

He was sometimes referred to as the “Hammer of the Arians” (Malleus Arianorum) and the “Athanasius of the West. ” He spent his three years and more of exile in composing his great works on the Trinity. In 359 he attended the Council of Seleucia, in which Arians, semi-Arians, and Catholics contended for the mastery. With the deputies of the council he proceeded to Constantinople, and there so dismayed the heads of the Arian party that they prevailed upon the emperor to let him return to Gaul.

He traversed Gaul, Italy, and Illyria, wherever he came discomfiting the heretics and procuring triumph of orthodoxy. After seven or eight years of missionary travel he returned to Poitiers, where he died in peace in 368. II. Contribution to the Church Among Hilary’s earliest writings, completed some time before his exile in 356, is his Commentarius in Evangelium Matthaei, an allegorical exegesis of the first Gospel. This is the first Latin commentary on Matthew to have survived in its entirety.

His expositions of the Psalms, Tractatus super Psalmos, for which he was largely indebted to Origen, were composed some time after his return from exile in 360. He wielded a keen sword when he defended apostolic truth against heretics, or vindicated the prerogatives of the Church against the encroachments of the civil power. Yet, when the differences concerned non-essentials, he displayed a conciliatory disposition. His power lay essentially in his thorough acquaintance with the Scriptures. III. Personal Reflection St. Hillary of Poitiers had a great interest in theological concerns.

He became a preacher, and was chosen Bishop of Poitiers. He seemed to be a man of a kindly and charitable disposition, but this did not keep him from vigorously defending the Church against Arianism. He visited many eastern part churches and learning new things about the Church.

IV. References

http://www. catholic. org/saints/saint. php? saint_id=55

http://www. catholic-saints. info/roman-catholic-saints-h-l/saint-hilary-of-poitiers. htm

http://doesnotwisdomcall. blogspot. com/2009/01/feast-of-st-hilary-of-poitiers. html

http://www. newworldencyclopedia. org/entry/Hilary_of_Poitiers

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