Monday, 26 September 2011

"The last good Pope" (according to Calvin)

There is little doubt that Pope Gregory I (Gregory the Great) was a truly great Pope and leader of the faithful.
His reign was from 590 AD to 604AD, 14 glorious years in which time he wrote copiously leading to him being dubbed "The Father of Christian worship"

He cultivated art within the Church at a time where there was considerable dissent as to whether Catholic churches should be adorned with paintings and statues - but this Pope stood firm and was responsible for the beginning of a rich history of artists, sculptors, architects and, of course, musical composers.

The thought of a Catholic church without statues is almost impossible to consider but here is an account of how Pope St Gregory I  handled the matter....

"On one point nearly all Early Christians agreed - that there should be no religious statues. So recently in their memories lived the idea of the worship of images that no reminder on this plane could be tolerated.

Many went further and would have no pictures either. Here the Pope saved the cause of sacred art for all time.
He reminded those who were against all  art that there were many people who could neither read or write, and for them pictures were of the greatest assistance.
Painting can do for the illiterate what writing does for those who read...."

Pope Gregory's heritage,
7th Century Basilica of today's Saints,
Cosmas and Damian - Rome

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