Pope St. Gregory and the River of Prayer

From Pr. Barrett’s personal blog:

Hopping Hadrian's Wall

Robin Stott [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Today is the memorial of St. Gregory the Great, the Benedictine monk and Pope who was responsible for the establishment of the Benedictine monastic tradition in western Europe. The most common form of plainsong chant bears his name (Gregorian), but was not actually set down until centuries after he lived. It is also thanks to Gregory that we know anything about the life of St. Benedict himself, although much of what Gregory wrote is surely legend.

As for the connection to my own Presbyterian tradition: the reformer John Calvin, as anti-catholic (i.e. “Romophobic”) as he was, he nevertheless referred to Gregory as “the last good Pope.” High praise from an unlikely source that highlights the natural affinity I’ve noticed between the Presbyterian and Benedictine traditions:

  • The unaccompanied singing of psalms in worship
  • An inclination toward visual simplicity
  • The conviction that all of life…

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