Quotation by Gregory the Great, Pope

Not Angles, but angels.
[Non Angli sed Angeli.]
Gregory the Great, Pope (c. 540–604). Attributed.

Probably an oral rendition of words that appear in Bede's History of the English Church and People (bk. 2, sct. 1; completed 731), in which Gregory—before he was Pope—was presented with some slaves in the market-place in Rome, with "fair complexions, fine-cut features, and beautiful hair." On being told they were Angles, he said, "That is appropriate, for they have angelic faces, and it is right that they should become joint-heirs with the angels in heaven." According to Bede, this encounter led him to take in hand the conversion of Britain immediately on succeeding to the Papacy.
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