GREGORY NASSIF ST. JOHN
Gregory Joseph Nassif was born 12 November 1960 in Richlands, Virginia to the son of Lebanese immigrants and a coal miner’s daughter; their only child. In the Autumn of 1970 he and two boys from his parish of St. Mary’s began training as altar boys at the 7:30 a.m. mass before going to school. For some boys this was a right of passage they neither wished for nor wanted, but not so for Gregory. He loved serving mass. Perhaps that set the stage.
The following Spring he began watching the BBC’s production of the Six Wives of Henry VIII and whether it was the story of Katharine of Aragon itself, Annette Crosbie’s perfect, insightful and sensitive performance, or a combination of both, it struck a chord with Gregory and for the next 38 years Katharine’s plight and the cruel injustice she was subjected to remained on his mind. How to help this truly holy person even though it was 475 years since her death? That was the nagging question. It was upon learning of the list of English Martyrs that the glimmer of an answer to that question appeared. He immediately began work on a position paper exploring the question of why she was forgotten among all the people who died for their faith during the English Reformation considering she was its central figure.
After consulting his parish priest who referred he and his position paper to two professors of Church history, the paper was read by an English priest, who’s expertise was on the English Recusancy, the local parish priest in Peterborough where Katharine is buried, the Bishop of East Anglia and the Archbishop of Westminster. All were encouraging and none said “don’t bother.” However, the same note came back from all: a grassroots movement was necessary to begin any cause. And from there he began exploring the process to begin the cause. It is ironic that a modern day technological tool – a website – should be the hopeful key to generate interest and awareness necessary for the grassroots movement.
For many years Gregory pursued his career as an actor under the name Gregory St. John, playing anything from the obscure and avant garde theatre of the East Village to Shakespeare on Theatre Row to his years of performing the public readings of Charles Dickens using Dickens’s reading texts. Today, he is a working actor in television and a narrator of audiobooks.
Through this website it is his sincerest hope that enough interest and support will be sufficient to officially begin Queen Katharine’s cause so that somehow she will be recognized by the Church today – the Church she was true to and who did not come to her aid when she needed it most.
E-mail Gregory: : Tudor1960@gmail.com