Pope St. Gregory the Great

Pope St. Gregory the Great was prefigured in the Old Testament by King Hezekiah. The story comes from the Book of 4 Kings, chapters 18, 19 and 20. For a video that gives the Scriptural and historical references, see the below video at the bottom of this page. Directly below, select the corresponding numbered tabs for a summary of the parallels.

Old Testament

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New Testament

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King Hezekiah’s father was King Ahaz, and his mother was Abijah, daughter of the high priest Zechariah. At a young age, he served as co-regent with his father, as they ruled the Kingdom as father and son. King Hezekiah was well born and was groomed to take over the kingdom, gaining experience at a young age.

An Angel Ends the Threat

The Assyrian King, Sennacherib was on a war campaign throughout the region, defeating foreign kings and mocking the God of Israel, saying that He didn’t have the power to protect Jerusalem. His field commander walked right up to the aqueduct leading into the city of Jerusalem and threatened invasion and destruction. He called up to the Jews on the city walls to not trust in their God and King. King Hezekiah went before the Ark of the Covenant and prayed to God that this enemy would be defeated. That night, an angel went out into the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 soldiers.  The Assyrians retreated, and the threat was over.

Payoff Invaders and Strengthen Authority

When King Hezekiah learned of the impending invasion and siege by the Assyrians, he emptied the Temple treasury, and his personal wealth, even taking the Temple doors, in order to pay the Assyrian King not to attack Jerusalem.

God Ends the Illness

King Hezekiah developed a fatal illness and was on the point of death. He called out to God, and was subsequently told by the prophet Isaiah that God heard his prayer. He was miraculously cured, and reigned for another 15 years.

Knocked Down Pagan Altars

King Hezekiah was a good king of Israel, and as soon as he took his reign, he had all the pagan high places and altars knocked down. He was serious about directing all worship to the True God, and devoted his energies and talents to that end.

Liturgical Enrichment

King Hezekiah brought many musical instruments and prayers into the Jewish Temple liturgy. He celebrated the sacrifice in the way of King David, with his instruments and prayers, and ordered the priests to recite the words of King David and the prophets.

Clerical Renewal

King Hezekiah gathered all the priests of Jerusalem together and spoke to them about their noble office before God. He instructed them to clean out all the filth from the Temple and to purify it for worship of the True God. Under Hezekiah, the priests were encouraged to fulfill their lofty roles, and to avoid corruption.

Aqueduct for the Great City

King Hezekiah ordered the construction of the Siloam tunnel, that brought much more water into the city of Jerusalem. This was done to keep water away from enemy armies besieging the city, but also to provide the city of Jerusalem with more water, which was needed due to the swelling population of the city.

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Pope St. Gregory the Great was born into a wealthy aristocratic Roman family. His family had very close connections with the Church, and his great great grandfather was Pope Felix III, and had saints in his family tree. At an early age, he held the position of Prefect of Rome, the same position that his father held before him.

An Angel Ends the Threat

The Plague of Justinian was reeking death and destruction all over the region of Italy and beyond. The flooding of the Tiber River in 589 greatly increased the severity of the plague in Rome. Because of the plague, many Christians were reverting back to pagan worship, not trusting the God of the Church to be able to save them from this threat. Pope St. Gregory made a solemn procession with a painting of Our Lady, done by St. Luke, through the streets of Rome. During that procession, he had a vision of an Angel that landed on the walls of castle Sant’Angelo, wiping his bloody sword. He was given to understand that the plague would soon end, and the threat would be over.

Payoff Invaders and Strengthen Authority

Pope St. Gregory the Great regularly paid the Lombards not to attack the city of Rome. Pope St. Gregory the Great gave so much to the poor,  coupled with his paying off the Lombards, that at the end of his pontificate, the Church treasury was bankrupt.

God Ends the Illness

Pope St. Gregory the Great started his reign during a very severe outbreak of the Plague of Justinian. He called out to God, and prayed for the plague to end. God heard his prayer, and the plague ended after he saw the angel on the castle wall.

Knocked Down Pagan Altars

Pope St. Gregory the Great reigned during a time when Rome was surrounded by Pagan and Arian Tribes. The plague was causing the Christians that were in Rome to revert back to pagan worship.  Pope St. Gregory went around Rome knocking down pagan temples and altars, and directed his energies and resources to True Worship and belief, as taught by the Catholic Church.

Liturgical Enrichment

Pope St. Gregory the Great added much richness to the Holy Mass. It was Pope St. Gregory that added the material to the Hanc Igitur of the Roman Canon and established the nine Kyries at the beginning of Mass. It was also Pope St. Gregory the great that is attributed with the Roman Plainchant, which would later develop into the rich musical tradition of Gregorian Chant.

Clerical Renewal

Pope St. Gregory the Great purged the clerical office of Rome of corruption and complacency. He brought back the lofty role of a priest, and brought back the priests into contact with the poor and needy in society.

Aqueduct for the Great City

Pope St. Gregory the great repaired the ancient aqueducts of Rome, after decades of neglect by the Barbarian tribes after the fall of Rome. The city of Rome, once with a swelling population, saw gigantic drop in population due to the lack of water coming into the city.


Watch the full length video below for Scriptural and historical references, and for the complete context of the parallels displayed above.