Pope Boniface III

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Pope Saint

Boniface III
66-Boniface III.jpg
Papacy began19 February 607
Papacy ended12 November 607
Predecessor Sabinian
Successor Boniface IV
Orders
Created cardinal15 October 590
by Gregory I
Personal details
Birth nameBoniface
Died(607-11-12)12 November 607 (aged 67)
Rome, Byzantine Empire
Previous postCardinal-Deacon of the Holy Roman Church (590-606)
Other popes named Boniface

Pope Boniface III (Latin : Bonifatius III; died 12 November 607) was the Pope of the Catholic Church from 19 February 607 to his death on 12 November that same year. [1] Despite his short time as Pope he made a significant contribution to the Catholic Church.

Pope Leader of the Catholic Church

The pope, also known as the supreme pontiff, is the bishop of Rome, leader of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state representing the Holy See. Since 1929, the pope has official residence in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican City, the Holy See's city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. The current pope is Francis, who was elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI.

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration is the Holy See.

Contents

Early life

The son of John Cataadioce, he was of Roman extraction. [2]

Apokrisiariat (603–606)

As a deacon, Boniface had impressed Pope Gregory I, who described him as a man "of tried faith and character" and selected him to be apocrisiarius (legate, essentially the papal nuncio) to the court of Constantinople in 603. This was to be a significant time in his life and helped to shape his short but eventful papacy. [2]

Deacon ministry in the Christian Church

A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Major Christian churches, such as the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican church, view the diaconate as part of the clerical state.

Pope Gregory I Medieval pope from 590 to 604

Pope Gregory I, commonly known as Saint Gregory the Great, was Pope from 3 September 590 to 12 March 604 AD. He is famous for instigating the first recorded large-scale mission from Rome, the Gregorian Mission, to convert the then-pagan Anglo-Saxons in England to Christianity. Gregory is also well known for his writings, which were more prolific than those of any of his predecessors as Pope. The epithet Saint Gregory the Dialogist has been attached to him in Eastern Christianity because of his Dialogues. English translations of Eastern texts sometimes list him as Gregory "Dialogos", or the Anglo-Latinate equivalent "Dialogus".

An apocrisiarius, the Latinized form of apokrisiarios, sometimes Anglicized as apocrisiary, was a high diplomatic representative during Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages. The corresponding (purist) Latin term was responsalis. The title was used by Byzantine ambassadors, as well as by the representatives of bishops to the secular authorities. The closest modern equivalent is a papal nuncio; the title apocrisiarius is also still employed by the Anglican Church.

As apocrisarius he had the ear of Emperor Phocas and was held in esteem by him. This was to prove important when he was instructed by Pope Gregory to intercede with Emperor Phocas on behalf of Bishop Alcison of Cassiope on the island of Corcyra. Alcison found his position as bishop being usurped by Bishop John of Euria in Epirus, who had fled his home along with his clergy to escape from attacks by the Slavs and Avars. John, having found himself safe on Corcyra, was not content to serve under Bishop Alcison; instead he set about trying to usurp his episcopal authority. Normally this behaviour would not have been tolerated, but Emperor Phocas was sympathetic to Bishop John and not inclined to interfere. Alcison appealed to Pope Gregory, who left the problem to Boniface to resolve. In a stroke of diplomatic genius, Boniface managed to reconcile all the parties while still retaining the confidence of the Emperor. [2]

Phocas Augustus

Phocas was Byzantine Emperor from 602 to 610. The early life of Phocas is largely unknown, but he rose to prominence in 602, as a leader in the revolt against Emperor Maurice. Phocas captured Constantinople and overthrew Maurice on 23 November 602, and declared himself Byzantine Emperor on the same day. Phocas deeply distrusted the elite of Constantinople, and therefore installed his relatives in high military positions, and brutally purged his opponents. Phocas was an incompetent leader, both of the administration and army, and under him the Byzantine Empire was threatened by multiple enemies, with frequent raids in the Balkans from the Avars and Slavs, and a Sassanid invasion of the eastern provinces. Because of Phocas' incompetence and brutality, the Exarch of Africa, Heraclius the Elder, rebelled against him. Heraclius the Elder's son, Heraclius, succeeded in taking Constantinople on 5 October 610, and executed Phocas on the same day, before declaring himself the Byzantine Emperor.

A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.

Epirus historical region in the Balkans

Epirus is a geographical and historical region in southeastern Europe, now shared between Greece and Albania. It lies between the Pindus Mountains and the Ionian Sea, stretching from the Bay of Vlorë and the Acroceraunian mountains in the north to the Ambracian Gulf and the ruined Roman city of Nicopolis in the south. It is currently divided between the region of Epirus in northwestern Greece and the counties of Gjirokastër, Vlorë, and Berat in southern Albania. The largest city in Epirus is Ioannina, seat of the region of Epirus, with Gjirokastër the largest city in the Albanian part of Epirus.

Selection as pope (606–607)

On the death of Pope Sabinian in February 606, Boniface was elected his successor, although his return from Constantinople to Rome was delayed by almost a year. There is much debate over why there was such a long interregnum. Some authorities believe that it was to allow Boniface to complete his work in Constantinople, but the more widely held belief is that there was dissension between those who supported the policies of the late Pope Gregory and those who did not. [3] Boniface himself is thought to have insisted on the elections being free and fair and may have refused to take up the papacy until convinced that they had been. This view is given credence by his actions on being consecrated to the office of Pope. [2]

Pope Sabinian pope

Pope Sabinian was Pope of the Catholic Church from 13 September 604 to his death in 606, during the Byzantine domination of the Papacy; he was the fourth former apocrisiarius to Constantinople to be elected pope.

An interregnum is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order. Archetypally, it was the period of time between the reign of one monarch and the next, and the concepts of interregnum and regency therefore overlap. Historically, the longer and heavier interregna were typically accompanied by widespread unrest, civil and succession wars between warlords, and power vacuums filled by foreign invasions or the emergence of a new power. A failed state is usually in interregnum.

Papacy (607)

He made two significant changes to papal selections. The first was the enacting of a decree forbidding anyone during the lifetime of a pope to discuss the appointment of his successor under pain of excommunication. The second change established that no steps could be taken to provide for a papal successor until three days after a pope's burial. This suggests that he was serious in his desire to keep papal elections free. [2]

Excommunication Censure used to deprive, suspend, or limit membership in a religious community

Excommunication is an institutional act of religious censure used to end or at least regulate the communion of a member of a congregation with other members of the religious institution who are in normal communion with each other. The purpose of the institutional act is to deprive, suspend, or limit membership in a religious community or to restrict certain rights within it, in particular, those of being in communion with other members of the congregation, and of receiving the sacraments.

His other notable act resulted from his close relationship with Emperor Phocas. He sought and obtained a decree from Phocas which restated that "the See of Blessed Peter the Apostle should be the head of all the Churches". This ensured that the title of "Universal Bishop" belonged exclusively to the Bishop of Rome, and effectively ended the attempt by Patriarch Cyriacus of Constantinople to establish himself as "Universal Bishop". [2]

Boniface III was buried in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, on 12 November 607. [2]

See also

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References

  1. "Boniface III", The Holy See
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Wikisource-logo.svg  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Oestreich, Thomas (1913). "Pope Boniface III"  . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton.
  3. "The 66th Pope", Spirituality.org, Diocese of Bridgeport


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Sabinian
Pope
607
Succeeded by
Boniface IV