Pope Sergius I

Last updated
Pope Saint

Sergius I
Sergius I.jpg
19th century depiction of Pope Sergius I
Papacy began15 December 687
Papacy ended8 September 701
Predecessor Conon
Successor John VI
Orders
Created cardinal27 June 683
by Pope Leo II
Personal details
Born650
Palermo, Sicily, Byzantine Empire
Died(701-09-08)8 September 701 (aged 51)
Rome
Previous post Cardinal-Priest of Santa Susanna (683–687)
Other popes named Sergius

Pope Sergius I (c.650 8 September 701) was Bishop of Rome from December 15, 687, to his death in 701. [1] He was elected at a time when two rivals, the Archdeacon Paschal and the Archpriest Theodore, were locked in dispute about which of them should become pope.

Contents

His papacy was dominated by his response to the Quinisext Council, whose canons he refused to accept. Thereupon the Byzantine Emperor Justinian II ordered Sergius' arrest (as his predecessor Constans II had done with Pope Martin I), but the Roman people and the Italian militia of the Exarch of Ravenna refused to allow the exarch to remove Sergius to Constantinople.

Early life

Sergius I came from an Antiochene Syrian family which had settled at Palermo in Sicily. Sergius left Sicily and arrived in Rome during the pontificate of Pope Adeodatus II. He may have been among the many Sicilian clergy in Rome due to the Islamic Caliphate battles against Sicily in the mid-7th century. [2] Pope Leo II, ordained him cardinal-priest of Santa Susanna on 27 June 683, and he rose through the ranks of the clergy. He remained cardinal-priest of Santa Susanna until his selection as pope. [3] [4] [5]

Election

When on 21 September 687, after a long illness and a reign of less than a year, Pope Conon died, his archdeacon Paschal had already bribed the Exarch of Ravenna, John II Platyn, to make him Pope Conon's successor. However, a more numerous faction wanted the Archpriest Theodore to become pope. The two factions entered into armed combat, each in possession of part of the Lateran Palace, which was the papal residence. To break the deadlock, a group of civic authorities, army officers, clergy, and other citizens met in the Palatine imperial palace, elected Sergius and then stormed the Lateran, forcing the two rival candidates to accept Sergius. [4] [6]

Though pretending to accept Sergius, Paschal sent messengers to Platyn, promising a large sum of gold in exchange for military support. [6] The Exarch arrived, recognized that Sergius had been regularly elected, but demanded the gold anyway. After Sergius's consecration on 15 December 687, Platyn departed. Paschal continued his intrigues and was eventually confined to a monastery [4] [6] on charges of witchcraft. [6]

Sergius's consecration ended the last disputed sede vacante of the Byzantine Papacy. [7]

Papacy (687–701)

Dream of Pope Sergius (Rogier van der Weyden, 1430s). According to legend, a dream told Sergius that Lambert of Maastricht, Bishop of Tongeren-Maastricht-Liege, had been assassinated, and that Hubertus was to be consecrated in his place. Rogier van der Weyden - Dream of Pope Sergius - WGA25713.jpg
Dream of Pope Sergius (Rogier van der Weyden, 1430s). According to legend, a dream told Sergius that Lambert of Maastricht, Bishop of Tongeren-Maastricht-Liège, had been assassinated, and that Hubertus was to be consecrated in his place.

On 10 April 689, Sergius baptised King Cædwalla of Wessex in Rome. He also ordained Saint Willibrord as bishop of the Frisians. After Berhtwald was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury by Godwin, Archbishop of Lyon, he then traveled to Rome and received the pallium from Pope Sergius. [9]

He was active in ending the Schism of the Three Chapters with Old-Aquileia in 698. [4]

Sergius founded the diaconia of Santa Maria in Via Lata on Via del Corso, encompassing a city quarter that developed in the 8th century. He also "restored and embellished" the Eastern church of Santi Cosma e Damiano. [10]

Response to the Quinisext Council

Sergius I did not attend the Quinisext Council of 692, which was attended by 226 or 227 bishops, overwhelmingly from the patriarchate of Constantinople. The participation of Basil of Gortyna in Crete, belonging to the Roman patriarchate, has been seen in the East as representing Rome and even as signifying Roman approval, but he was in fact no papal legate. [11]

Sergius rejected the canons of the council as invalid [12] and declared that he would "rather die than consent to erroneous novelties". [13] Though a loyal subject of the Empire, he would not be "its captive in matters of religion" and refused to sign the canons. [13] Writers such as Andrew J. Ekonomou have speculated on which canons in particular Sergius found objectionable. Ekonomou himself excludes the anathemizing of Pope Honorius I, the declaration of Constantinople as equal in privileges but second in honour to Rome. [13] However, all popes since Leo I had adamantly rejected the 28th canon of the Council of Chalcedon, which on the basis of political considerations tried to raise the ecclesiastical status of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to equality with that of old Rome. [14] Ekonomou mentions rather the approval by the Quinisext Council of all 85 Apostolic Canons, of which Sergius would have supported only the first 50. [13]

Many of the regulations that the Quinisext Council enacted were aimed at making uniform the existing church practices regarding ritual observance and clerical discipline. Being held under Byzantine auspices, with an exclusively Eastern clergy, the council regarded the customs of the Church of Constantinople as the orthodox practice. [15] Practices in the Church in the West that had got the attention of the Eastern Patriarchates were condemned, such as: the practice of celebrating Mass on weekdays in Lent (rather than having Pre-Sanctified Liturgies); of fasting on Saturdays throughout the year; of omitting the "Alleluia" in Lent; of depicting Christ as a Lamb. Larger disputes were revealed regarding Eastern and Western attitudes toward celibacy for priests and deacons, with the Council affirming the right of married men to become priests and prescribing excommunication for anyone who attempted to separate a clergyman from his wife, or for any cleric who abandoned his wife.

In a step that was symbolically important in view of the council's prohibition of depicting Christ as a Lamb, Sergius introduced into the liturgy the chant "Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us" at the breaking of the Host during Mass, and restored the damaged facade mosaic in the atrium of Saint Peter's that depicted the Worship of the Lamb. [5] The Agnus Dei would have been chanted in both Greek and Latin during this period, in the same manner as the other liturgical changes of Sergius. [16]

Enraged, Emperor Justinian II dispatched his magistrianus , also named Sergius, to arrest Bishop John of Portus, the chief papal legate to the Third Council of Constantinople and Boniface, the papal counselor. [5] The two high-ranking officials were brought to Constantinople as a warning to the pope. [5] Eventually, Justinian II ordered Sergius's arrest and abduction to Constantinople by his notoriously violent bodyguard protospatharios Zacharias. [5] However, the militia of the exarch of Ravenna and the Duchy of Pentapolis frustrated the attempt. [4] [17] Zacharias nearly lost his own life in an attempt to arrest Sergius. [4] [18] Rather than seizing upon the anti-Byzantine sentiment, Sergius did his best to quell the uprising. [17]

Death

Sergius died on 8 September 701. He was succeeded by John VI.

Notes

  1. Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope St. Sergius I"  . Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  2. Jeffrey Richards (1 May 2014). The Popes and the Papacy in the Early Middle Ages: 476–752. Routledge. p. 270. ISBN   9781317678175.
  3. Horace Mann: The lives of the popes. Vol. I pt. 2, London 1903, p. 80
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Frank N Magill, Alison Aves, Dictionary of World Biography (Routledge 1998 ISBN   978-1-57958041-4), vol. 2, pp. 823–825
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Ekonomou, 2007, p. 223.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Ekonomou, 2007, p. 216.
  7. Ekonomou, 2007, p. 217.
  8. http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/623/workshop-of-rogier-van-der-weyden-the-dream-of-pope-sergius-netherlandish-late-1430s/
  9. Stephens, W. R. W.; Leyser, Henrietta (revised) (2004). "Berhtwald (c.650–731)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/3430
  10. Ekonomou, 2007, p. 210.
  11. Wilfried Hartmann, Kenneth Pennington (editors), The History of Byzantine and Eastern Canon Law to 1500 (CUA Press 2012 ISBN   978-0-81321679-9), p. 79
  12. Hartmann (2012), p. 82
  13. 1 2 3 4 Ekonomou, 2007, p. 222.
  14. Davis, Leo Donald, The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325–787), (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1990) p. 194
  15. Ostrogorsky, George; Hussey, Joan (trans.) (1957). History of the Byzantine state . New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. pp.  122–23. ISBN   978-0-8135-0599-2.
  16. Ekonomou, 2007, p. 250.
  17. 1 2 Ekonomou, 2007, p. 224.
  18. Ekonomou, 2007, p. 44.

Related Research Articles

Pope Gregory II 89th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church (from 715 to 731)

Pope Gregory II was Bishop of Rome from 19 May 715 to his death in 731. His defiance of the Byzantine emperor Leo III the Isaurian as a result of the iconoclastic controversy in the Eastern Empire prepared the way for a long series of revolts, schisms and civil wars that eventually led to the establishment of the temporal power of the popes.

Pope Pelagius I pope

Pope Pelagius I was Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church from 556 to his death in 561. He was the second pope of the Byzantine Papacy, and like his predecessor, a former apocrisiarius to Constantinople.

Pope Severinus pope

Pope Severinus was Bishop of Rome two months, from 28 May until his death on 2 August. He became caught up in a power struggle with the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius over the ongoing Monothelite controversy.

Pope Constantine pope

Pope Constantine was Bishop of Rome from 25 March 708 to his death in 715. With the exception of Antipope Constantine, he was the only pope to bear such a "quintessentially" Eastern name of an emperor. During this period, the regnal name was also used by emperors and patriarchs.

Pope John V pope

Pope John V was Bishop of Rome from 23 July 685 to his death in 686. He was the first pope of the Byzantine Papacy permitted to be consecrated without the prior consent of the Byzantine emperor, and the first in a line of ten consecutive popes of Eastern origin. His papacy was marked by reconciliation between the city of Rome and the Empire.

Pope John VI pope

Pope John VI was Bishop of Rome from 30 October 701 to his death in 705. John VI was a Greek from Ephesus who reigned during the Byzantine Papacy. His papacy was noted for military and political breakthroughs on the Italian peninsula. He succeeded to the papal chair two months after the death of Pope Sergius I, and his election occurred after a vacancy of less than seven weeks. He himself was succeeded by Pope John VII after a vacancy of less than two months. The body of the pope was buried in Old St. Peter's Basilica.

Pope Conon pope

Pope Conon was Bishop of Rome from 21 October 686 to his death in 687. He had been put forward as a compromise candidate, there being a conflict between the two factions resident in Rome— the military and the clerical. On his death, Conon was buried in the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Peter. He consecrated as a bishop the Irish missionary Saint Kilian and commissioned him to preach in Franconia.

Exarchate of Ravenna early medieval political territory in northeastern Italy

The Exarchate of Ravenna or of Italy was a lordship of the Eastern Roman Empire today referred to by some as the Byzantine Empire in Italy, from 584 to 751, when the last exarch was put to death by the Lombards. It was one of two exarchates established following the western reconquests under Emperor Justinian to more effectively administer the territories, along with the Exarchate of Africa.

Quinisext Council synod

The Quinisext Council was a church council held in 692 at Constantinople under Justinian II. It is known as the "Council in Trullo" because, like the Sixth Ecumenical Council, it was held in a domed hall in the Imperial Palace. Both the Fifth and the Sixth Ecumenical Councils had omitted to draw up disciplinary canons, and as this council was intended to complete both in this respect, it took the name of Quinisext, i.e. the Fifth-Sixth Council. It was attended by 215 bishops, all from the Eastern Roman Empire. Basil of Gortyna in Crete, however, belonged to the Roman patriarchate and called himself papal legate, though no evidence is extant of his right to use that title.

Theodore was a rival with Paschal for Pope following the death of Pope Conon, and thus is considered an antipope of the Roman Catholic Church.

Paschal was a rival with Theodore for Pope following the death of Pope Conon, and thus is considered an antipope of the Roman Catholic Church.

Patriarch of the West

Patriarch of the West was on several occasions between 450 and 2006 one of the official titles of the Bishop of Rome, as patriarch and highest authority of the Latin Church. The title no longer appears among the official ones, starting from the publication of the 2006 Annuario Pontificio.

John Platyn or Platinus was an Exarch of Ravenna.

John III Rizocopus was an Exarch of Ravenna (710).

Duchy of Rome

The Duchy of Rome was a state within the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna. Like other Byzantine states in Italy, it was ruled by an imperial functionary with the title dux. The duchy often came into conflict with the Papacy over supremacy within Rome. The duchy was founded by the conquest of Emperor Justinian I in 533 AD. After the founding of the Papal States in 751, the title of Duke of Rome fell into disuse.

Papal selection before 1059

There was no uniform procedure for papal selection before AD 1059. The bishops of Rome and supreme pontiffs (popes) of the Catholic Church were often appointed by their predecessors or by political rulers. While some kind of election often characterized the procedure, an election that included meaningful participation of the laity was rare, especially as the popes' claims to temporal power solidified into the Papal States. The practice of papal appointment during this period would later result in the jus exclusivae, i. e., a right to veto the selection that Catholic monarchs exercised into the twentieth century.

Byzantine Papacy Byzantine domination of the Roman papacy, 537 to 752

The Byzantine Papacy was a period of Byzantine domination of the Roman papacy from 537 to 752, when popes required the approval of the Byzantine Emperor for episcopal consecration, and many popes were chosen from the apocrisiarii or the inhabitants of Byzantine-ruled Greece, Syria, or Sicily. Justinian I conquered the Italian peninsula in the Gothic War (535–554) and appointed the next three popes, a practice that would be continued by his successors and later be delegated to the Exarchate of Ravenna.

Lateran Council of 649 Christian synod

The Lateran Council of 649 was a synod held in the Basilica of St. John Lateran to condemn Monothelitism, a Christology espoused by many Eastern Christians. The Council did not achieve ecumenical status in either East or West, but represented the first attempt of a pope to convene an ecumenical council independent of the Roman emperor.

Placidia Palace

The Placidia Palace was the official residence of the papal apocrisiarius, and the intermittent home of the Pope himself when in residence at Constantinople. The apocrisiarius held "considerable influence as a conduit for both public and covert communications" between Pope and Byzantine emperor.

The apocrisiarius or apocrisiary was the legate from the Pope to the Patriarch of Constantinople, circa 452-743, equivalent to the modern nunciature.

References

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Conon
Pope
687–701
Succeeded by
John VI