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Birth: 1210

Death: 1276

During a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Theobald Visconti, archdeacon of Liege, Belgium, learned of his election to the papacy. Arriving in Rome, he was quickly ordained a priest, then a bishop, and crowned pope with the name Gregory X in 1272. A year later, he issued an encyclical forbidding the persecution of Jews. In 1274 he convened a general council of the Church at Lyons, France, in the course of which a delegation representing the Byzantine emperor agreed to the reunion of the Greek Orthodox Church with the Catholic Church. This restoration of Christian unity (sadly to be short-lived) moved Gregory to tears as the thanksgiving hymn, Te Deum, was sung. In a letter to the Byzantine emperor, Gregory expressed his joy, writing, "Would that your ears had heard the voices, especially of the prelates, as, bareheaded and on bended knees, they praised and glorified God! Would that you had beheld their eyes streaming with tears!" Known for his holiness throughout his life, Gregory spoke of God as "him whom we must serve in this world, and to whom, should he wish to call us, we shall go with confidence, trusting in his mercy."

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