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Saint Gregory the Great—Dialogues

Translated by Odo John Zimmerman, O.S.B.

Volume 39 of The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation

It is clear from the general preface in Book 1 that St. Gregorys chief reason for writing the Dialogues was to honor the memory of the saints of Italy and to edify and instruct his fellow countrymen. He wanted them to realize that they were living in a land of saints and that great miracles were as numerous among the Fathers of Italy as they had been among the Fathers of the Desert and elsewhere. The book was also written to comfort and encourage the people of Italy during one of the most disheartening periods of their history. [...I]n Book 4 St. Gregory endeavored to strengthen their faith in the unseen hereafter by proving that the soul does not perish with the body and can look forward to eternal happiness.


   1 Honoratus, abbot of the monastery an Fondi
   2 Libertinus, prior of that monastery
   3 The gardener of the same monastery
   4 Equitius, abbot in the province of Valeria
   5 Constantius, sacristan of the Church of St. Stephen near Ancona
   6 Marcellinus, Bishop of Ancona
   7 Nonnosus, prior of the monastery on Mt. Soracte
   8 Anastasius, abbot of the monastery of Suppentonia
   9 Boniface, Bishop of Ferentino
   10 Fortunatus, Bishop of Todi
   11 The monk Martyrius of Valeria
   12 Severus, priest of Valeria
   1 The mending of a broken tray
   2 The saint overcomes a temptation of the flesh
   3 A glass pitcher is shattered by the sign of the cross
   4 A monk is cured of wandering about during prayer
   5 At the saints word water streams down the mountainside
   6 An iron blade is recovered from the water
   7 One of Benedicts desciples walks on the water
   8 A raven carries off a poisoned loaf of bread
   9 A heavy rock is lightened by the saints prayer
   10 Benedictss disciples imagine the kitchen is on fire
   11 A young monk is crushed under a wall and then restored to life
   12 Some monks disobey the Rule by eating outside the monastery
   13 Valentinians brother is guilty of a similar offense
   14 King Totilas trickery fails
   15 The saints prophecy about King Totila
   16 A cleric is freed from an evil spirit
   17 Benedict foretells the destruction of his monastery
   18 The saint is aware in spirit that a flask of wine has been stolen
   19 A monk accepts some handkerchiefs as a present
   20 The man of God reads a young monks proud thoughts
   21 A generous supply of flour is discovered in front of the abbey during a famine
   22 Two monks learn in a vision how they are to build their monastery
   23 After death two nuns are freed from excommunication through the saints offertory gift
   24 A young monk whose body could not rest in its grave
   25 A dragon blocks a dissatisfied monks departure from the abbey
   26 The cure of a leper
   27 The miraculous discovery of some money saves an unfortunate debtor
   28 A glass vessel strikes against the rocks without breaking
   29 An empty cask overflows with oil
   30 A monk is freed from an evil spirit
   31 A glance from the saint sets a captive free
   32 A dead boy is raised to life
   33 Scholasticas miracle
   34 Benedict sees the soul of his siter on its way to heaven
   35 The whole world is gathered up before the saints eyes, and he beholds the soul of the Bishop Germanus
   36 The monastic rule he wrote
   37 Benedicts disciples are forewarned of his death
   38 A woman is cured of insanity by stopping at the saints cave
   1 Bishop Paulinus of Nola
   2 Pope John
   3 Pope Agapitus
   4 Bishop Datius of Milan
   5 Bishop Sabinus of Canosa
   6 Bishop Cassius of Narni
   7 Bishop Andrew of Fondi
   8 Bishop Constantius of Aquino
   9 Bishop Frigdianus of Lucca
   10 Bishop Sabinus of Piacenza
   11 Bishop Cerbonius of Populonia
   12 Bishop Fulgentius of Otricoli
   13 Bishop Herculanus of Perugia
   14 The servant of God Isaac
   15 The servants of God Eutychius and Florentius
   16 Martin, a monk of Mt. Massico
   17 A monk of Mt. Argentarius
   18 The monk Benedict
   19 The Church of St. Zeno in Verona
   20 Stephen, a priest of Valeria
   21 A young woman consecrated to God frees a man from the power of Satan by a simple command
   22 A thief is held captive in a cemetery by the power of a saintly priest of Valeria who lies buried there
   23 The abbot of Palestrina and his priest
   24 Theodore, a sacristan of the Church of St. Peter the Apostle at Rome
   25 Acontius, a sacristan of the same church
   26 Menas the hermit
   27 Forty Italian peasants are slain by the Lombards for refusing to eat pagan sacrificial meats
   28 Many captives are killed because they refuse to worship a goats head
   29 An Arian bishop is stricken with blindness
   30 An Arian church in Rome is consecrated for Catholic worship
   31 King Hermangild is put to death for the faith by his father Leuvigild, King of the Visigoths
   32 Some bishops of Africa, who spoke in defense of the faith, have their tongues cut out by the Arian Vandals; yet their power speech remains intact
   33 The servant of God Eleutherius
   34 The different types of compunction
   35 Amantius, a priest of Tuscany
   36 Bishop Maximinian of Syracuse
   37 Sanctulus, a priest of Norcia
   38 The vision of Redemptus, Bishop of Ferentino
   1 The spiritual truths of eternity are not accepted by the worldly minded, because they have no experimental knowledge of the truths that were explained to them orally
   2 Unbelievers do not live without faith
   3 God created three kinds of living spirits
   4 The problem raised by Solomons world: The lot of man and of beast is one lot
   5 The soul is invisible when it leaves the body: Can it ever be seen?
   6 The presence of the soul in the body is recognized by the movements of the body; similarly, the life of the soul after death is recognized by its power of working miracles
   7 Souls at their departure from life
   8 The soul of Bishop Germanus of Capua makes its way to heaven
   9 The soul of the monk Speciosus on its way to eternity
   10 The soul of a recluse
   11 The soul of the abbot Spes
   12 The soul of the priest Ursinus
   13 The soul of Probus, Bishop of Rieti
   14 The death of Gads handmaid Galla
   15 The death of the paralytic Servulus
   16 The death of Gods handmaid Romula
   17 The death of the holy virgin Tarsilla
   18 The death of the little girl Musa
   19 Heaven is closed to some children because their parents neglect to train them properly; the example of the boy who blasphemed
   20 The death of the servant of God Stephen
   21 The souls merit is sometimes not shown at the time of death but manifested later
   22 Abbot Valentios tow monks
   23 The death of the abbot Suranus
   24 The death of the deacon of the church in Marsia
   25 The death of the man of God who was sent to Samaria
   26 Our belief that the souls of the just are admitted to heaven before they are reunited with the body
   27 The manner in which the dying foretell the future; the death of the lawyer Cumquodeus; the visions of Gerontius and Mellitus; the death of the boy Armentarius who had received the gift of speaking various languages
   28 The death of Count Theophane
   29 Our belief that after death the souls of the just go to heaven and those of the unjust go to hell
   30 On what grounds we believe that a physical fire torments incorporeal spirits
   31 The death of the Arian King Theodoric
   32 The death of Reparatus
   33 The death of a city official and the burning of his grave
   34 In eternity the good recognize the good and the wicked recognize the wicked
   35 The dying monk who saw the Prophets
   36 Sometimes souls that were unacquainted before recognize each other at the time of death because of their equality before God either in blame or merit; the death of John, Ursus, Eumorphius, and Stephen
   37 Some persons are summoned to death by mistake; the summoning and recall of the monk Peter; Stephens death and return to life; the soldiers vision
   38 A dwelling is built for Deusdedit on Saturday
   39 The punishment of Sodom
   40 Some souls have a glimpse of eternal punishments even before they are separated from the body; the young man Theodore; the death of Chrysaorius and a monk of Isauria
   41 After death, purgatory
   42 The soul of the deacon Paschasius
   43 Why it is that so many truths about souls become clear toward the end of the world whereas they previously were hidden from us
   44 The location of hell
   45 There is one type of fire in hell, not several
   46 The souls confined to hell burn forever
   47 The soul does not die even though punished with death
   48 A saintly man is filled with dread at the hour of death
   49 Strength to overcome the fear of death is given through revelations; the monks Anthony, Merulus, and John
   50 The question of observing dreams; their types
   51 A man promised a long life in a dream dies soon thereafter
   52 The question of burial in church and its benefit to souls
   53 A nun is buried in the Church of St. Lawrence the Martyr; half of her body is burned
   54 The burial of the patrician Valerian
   55 The body of Valentine is cast out of the church in which it was buried
   56 The dyers body disappears after being buried in church
   57 The one efficacious means of obtaining absolution for souls after death; a poor soul begs the priest of Centum Cellae for help through the holy Sacrifice; the soul of the monk Justus
   58 The life and death of Bishop Cassius
   59 A prisoner is freed from chains while Mass is being offered from him; the boatman Varaca is saved from shipwreck through the holy Sacrifice of the Mass
   60 The power of the Mass and its mystery
   61 True contrition of heart is required during the Sacrifice; the need of guarding against distracting thoughts after compunction
   62 Forgive others their faults and yours will also be forgiven

Item Number: BKCU710
Publication Data: Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1959
Format: softcover
Number of Pages: xvi + 287
Dimensions (l × w × h): 21.0 cm × 13.7 cm × 1.6 cm
ISBN: 0813213223

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