Today, June 18th, we celebrate the feast of *St. Gregory Barbarigo*, a noted scholar, who served as the Bishop of Bergamo and later as the Bishop of Padua.
St. Gregory Barbarigo was born in 1625. His mother died while he was very young. His father instructed him in philosophical studies and in mathematics and he also learned Latin and Greek; he also received the rudiments of music. He excelled in his studies at an early age and became interested in diplomacy and statesmanship.
Barbarigo obtained a doctorate in both canon law and civil law and was ordained a priest on 21st December 1655.
He was consecrated as the first Bishop of Bergamo by Pope Alexander VII. He was a successful bishop and his fame spread through the ranks so much to the point that he was elevated to the rank of Cardinal and also given authority over the diocese of Padua.
He guided his flock with pastoral wisdom and deep understanding. He was a strong supporter of the work of the Council of Trent. Gregory worked unceasingly toward the Counter-Reformation.
Pope Innocent XI in 1676 asked Barbarigo to remain in Rome until 1679 as his counsellor and entrusted Rome’s education to him and the reunification of the Eastern Churches. He celebrated a diocesan synod from 1–3 September 1683 and wrote the “Regulae Studiorum” in 1690 for ecclesial studies. He also visited all 320 parishes in his diocese.
St. Gregory was extremely interested in higher education and worked for the development of seminaries and libraries. 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.
His compassion to the poor was well known for he gave his household goods and his clothes to the poor for their comfort. He even sold his bed on one occasion to help them.
Barbarigo died after a brief illness on 18 June 1697 in Padua and found to be incorrupt on exhumation in 1725. Pope Clement XIII beatified Barbarigo in 1761 while Pope John XXIII canonized Barbarigo in mid-1960.
*St. Gregory Barbarigo, pray for us.*