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Pope St. Gregory VII

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Saint Gregory VII

Pope & Confessor

Gregory was born Hildebrand, to a poor family in Tuscany, in the early eleventh century. He rose to become a Benedictine abbot before he was eventually made a cardinal. As cardinal he served under several pontiffs, earning the praise of St. Peter Damian and gaining a reputation for his efforts against heretics and schismatics. Hildebrand reluctantly accepted his election as Pope Gregory VII in the year of Our Lord 1073. Despite widespread opposition from lax clergy, Gregory enforced mandatory celibacy for the priesthood, and cracked down on the crime of simony, in a serious effort to reform a Church that had grown corrupt and unfaithful. Gregory was the last pope to have his election ratified by the Emperor, and much of his reign was spent in conflict with Emperor Henry IV over papal authority. At one point Gregory forced the Emperor to do penance for three days on the road to Canossa before his excommunication was lifted, though this repentance did not last. Having promoted an antipope and marched on the Papal States, Henry eventually forced Gregory to flee from Rome. The holy pontiff died in exile in the year of Our Lord 1085.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for May 25th

AT Salerno, the demise of the blessed pope Gregory VII, a most zealous protector and champion of ecclesiastical liberty.

At Florence, St. Mary Magdalen, virgin, of the Order of the Carmelites, illustrious by the holiness of her life. Her feast is kept on the 27th of May.

At Rome, on the Nomentan road, the birthday of blessed Urban, pope and martyr, by whose exhortation and teaching many, among whom were Tiburtius and Valerian, received the faith of Christ and suffered martyrdom for it. He himself endured many afflictions for the Church of God, and was crowned with martyrdom by being beheaded in the persecution of Alexander Severus.

At Dorostorum, in Mysia, the birthday of the holy martyrs Pasicrates, Valentio, and two others, crowned with them.

At Milan, the holy bishop Denis, who for the Catholic faith was, by the Arian emperor Constantius, banished to Cappadocia, where he yielded his soul to God in a manner almost like that of the martyrs. His sacred body was sent to the blessed bishop Ambrose, at Milan, by bishop Aurelius, with the assistance, it is said, of St. Basil the Great.

At Rome, pope St. Boniface IV, who dedicated the Pantheon to the honor of blessed Mary of the Martyrs.

At Florence, the birthday of St. Zenobius, bishop of that city, renowned for holiness of life and glorious miracles.

In England, St. Aldhelm, bishop of Sherburn.

In the territory of Troyes, St. Leo, confessor.

At Assisi, in Umbria, the translation of St. Francis, confessor, in the time of Pope Gregory IX.

At Veroli, in Campania, the translation of St. Mary, mother of James, whose sacred body is rendered illustrious by many miracles.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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