BENEDICT XVI: UDIENCE, GREGORY THE GREAT, "A GUIDE FOR OUR TIME" (2)

Unlike the Byzantine Emperor, for whom Lombards were "uncouth people, predators, to be defeated or exterminated", Saint Gregory the Great – explained the Pope – "saw these people with the eyes of the good shepherd, concerned of announcing to them the word of salvation, establishing with them fraternal relations, with a view to a future peace based on mutual respect and the serene cohabitation of Italian, imperials and Lombards". Along this route, which "he rightly considered the only one that could lead to effective peace in Rome and in Italy", the Pope "did all he could", starting "tight negotiations" with the Lombard King Agilulph, which "resulted in a truce" followed by "a more stable armistice", not least "due to parallel tactics that the Pope held in the meantime with Queen Theodolind, a Bavarian and a Catholic". "Three", in short, were Gregory’s "goals": "containing the Lombard expansion in Italy; taking Queen Theodolind away from the influence of schismatics and strengthen her Catholic faith; mediating between the Lombards and the Byzantines, with a view to an agreement that would ensure peace in the peninsula and at the same time would evangelise the Lombards". "Twofold" was therefore his "consistent aim": "promoting diplomatic and political agreements, spreading the announcement of true faith among the populations".

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