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Gregory of Utrecht

Gregory of Utrecht

Frankish bishop and saint
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Frankish bishop and saint
Countries Germany
Occupations Priest
Gender male
Birth Trier
Death Utrecht
The details
Biography

Saint Gregory of Utrecht (c. 700/705 – 770s) was born of a noble family at Trier. His father Alberic was the son of Addula, who in her widowhood was Abbess of Pfalzel (Palatiolum) near Trier. (Because of the similarity of names and also because of a forged will, Addula has been frequently confused with Saint Adela of Pfalzel, daughter of Dagobert II of Austrasia, thus wrongly imputing to Gregory membership of the royal house of the Merovingians).
He received his early education at Pfalzel. When, in 722, Saint Boniface passed through Trier on his way from Frisia to Hesse and Thuringia, he stayed at this convent. Gregory was called upon to read the scriptures at the meals. Saint Boniface gave an explanation of them and expanded upon the merits of an apostolic life, by which Gregory was inspired to accompany him.
He now became the disciple and later the helper of the Apostle of Germany, accompanying him in all his missionary tours. In 738 Saint Boniface made his third journey to Rome; Gregory went with him and brought back many valuable additions for his library. About 750 Gregory was made Abbot of St. Martin's, in Utrecht. In 744 Saint Willibrord, the first Bishop of Utrecht, had died but had received no successor. Saint Boniface had taken charge and had appointed an administrator, Saint Eoban. In 754 he started on his last missionary trip accompanied by Eoban, who was to share his martyrdom. After this, Pope Stephen II and Pippin the Younger ordered Gregory to look after the diocese. For this reason he is sometimes called bishop, though he never received episcopal consecration.
The school of his abbey, the Martinsstift, a kind of missionary seminary, was now a centre of learning for many nations: Franks, Frisians, Saxons, even Bavarians and Swabians. England too, though it had splendid schools of its own, sent scholars. Among his disciples, Saint Ludger is perhaps the best known, later to be the first Bishop of Münster and author of the Life of Gregory, in which he describes his virtues, his contempt of riches, his sobriety, his forgiving spirit and his deeds of alms [1].
Some three years before Gregory's death, paralysis attacked his left side and gradually spread over his entire body. At the approach of death he had himself carried into church, where he died.

Veneration

His relics were kept at Utrecht, and in 1421 and 1597 were examined at episcopal visitations. A large portion of his head is in the church of Saint Amelberga at Susteren, where an official recognition took place on 25 September 1885 under the supervision of the Bishop of Roermond [2]. A letter written by Saint Lullus, Bishop of Mainz, to Saint Gregory is still extant [3].

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