|Saint Gregory the Great,
Pope - 540-604
The Golden Legend tells a number of episodes from the life of Pope St. Gregory I that influence the narrative images.
One of these involves his gift of a silver plate to a poor fisherman. Later, St. Gregory learns that the fisherman was actually an angel of God.
In another episode a woman laughs incredulously when, in giving communion, St. Gregory says the traditional words, "May the body of Christ protect you unto eternal life." He thereupon prays that God will confirm the truth of the Real Presence, and the host which he had offered to the woman takes on the appearance of a piece of real flesh. Subsequent tellings and images of this episode make the miracle more explicit: the host becomes the entire body of Christ (example), along with the instruments of his passion (Flemish, German, and Bolivian examples).
Another episode involves St. Gregory's prayer for the Emperor Trajan, who was known as a just man even though a pagan. In response to the prayer, God grants that Trajan will not suffer the pains of hell. In Dante Purgatorio 10 (cached) Trajan is actually in Purgatory as a result of St. Gregory's prayer, undergoing the cleansing that prepares him for Heaven.
In portraits, St. Gregory's attributes include his papal garb, a scepter topped by a cross (example), and (as at left, above his right hand) a dove.
Feast day: September 3
At left, Sebastiano Ricci, The Altar of St. Gregory the Great
Among other saints:
Ivory binding plaque
Portrait from 1508
In a Coronation of the Virgin, 1594