The following comes from Fr. Steve Grunow at Word on Fire:
St. Gregory the Great was born in Rome around the year 540 AD. He was the member of a privileged family and, as such, had many opportunities available to him. However, young Gregory eschewed all this and entered monastic life, accepting the spiritual way of poverty, chastity and obedience. Gregory might have intended to withdraw from the world, but Providence would have none of this. Gregory was named the Pope's legate to the imperial court of Constantinople. The Rome of Gregory's day was a mere vestige of its former glory so the intrigues and wonders of the New Rome, Constantinople, must have made quite an impression on this papal ambassador.