Sizergh, near Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 8AE. Sat Nav : LA8 8DZ
The gentleman pictured above sporting the trendy beard is St. Gregory Barbarigo. According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII, today is his feast day. He was only canonized by Pope John XXIII in 1960. He was the Bishop of Bergamo and of Padua. St. Gregory was noted as a distinguished churchman and leading citizen whose charities were on a princely scale. He worked for unity of the Latin and Orthodox Churches.
St. Gregory was born on September 16, 1625, and he died in 1697. His family lived in Venice and were held in high repute by the people there. He was the fourth son. He excelled in his studies at an early age and became interested in diplomacy and statesmanship. He knew Contarine, the Venetian ambassador, and went with him on at least one ambassadorial mission.
After he was ordained a priest in 1655, he organized care for the plague-stricken people of Rome. In 1657, Pope Alexander VII made him the first Bishop of Bergamo. He was a leader in promoting the reforms of the Council of Trent. He visited parishes, organizing the teaching of Christian doctrine and also worked with seminarians and clergy to raise their standards. His work was so respected that in 1660, he was made the Cardinal of Padua.
St. Gregory was extremely interested in higher education and worked for the development of seminaries and libraries. He established a printing press that printed pamphlets for Christians under Moslem rule. He was active in labouring to bring about a reunion with the Greek Church. St. Gregory took part in five papal Conclaves and was a candidate in three of them. It is recorded that his congregation thought him to be a man filled with wisdom.