A Burden of Obedience? The Diaconate of Gregory the Great as Preparation for the Papacy

Smeets, A. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentationScientific


In several of his letters, Gregory the Great regrets the loss of monastic contemplatio as a result of his ordination as deacon and, later, bishop. With hindsight, the years he served as deacon were a preparation for the papacy. This paper explores the possibility of an alternative view on the diaconate of Gregory the Great. Not only was it far from unusual for a deacon to become the next bishop, Gregory’s background and experience made him an obvious candidate for the papacy. So, was Gregory just a reluctant deacon, or can one argue that becoming a deacon was also perceived as a logical next step?
Period22 Aug 2019
Event titleXVIII International Conference on Patristic Studies Oxford : null
Event typeConference
LocationOxford, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Patristics
  • Gregory the Great
  • Deacons