Pope Zachary

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Pope Saint

Zachary
91-St.Zachary.jpg
19th century depiction of Pope Zachary
Papacy began3 December or 5 December 741
Papacy endedMarch 752
Predecessor Gregory III
Successor Stephen (elect)
Personal details
Born679
Santa Severina, Calabria, Byzantine Empire
Died15 March 752(752-03-15) (aged 72–73)
Rome, Kingdom of the Lombards
Sainthood
Feast day15 March
Venerated in Catholic Church
Papal styles of
Pope Zachary
Emblem of the Papacy SE.svg
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous style Saint

Pope Zachary (Latin : Zacharias; 679 – March 752) [1] reigned from 3 December [1] or 5 December 741 [2] to his death in 752. A Greek from Santa Severina, [3] Calabria, he was the last pope of the Byzantine Papacy. Most probably he was a deacon of the Roman Church and as such signed the decrees of the Roman council of 732, and succeeded Gregory III on 5 December 741. [2]

Santa Severina Comune in Calabria, Italy

Santa Severina is a town and comune in the province of Crotone, in the Calabria region of southern Italy.

Calabria Region of Italy

Calabria, known in antiquity as Bruttium, is a region in Southern Italy.

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.

Contents

Zachary built the original church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, forbade the traffic of slaves in Rome, and negotiated peace with the Lombards. In response to an inquiry forwarded by Pepin the Short, Zachary rendered the opinion that it was better that he should be king who had the royal power than he who had not. Shortly thereafter, the Frankish nobles decided to abandon the Merovingian Childeric III in favor of Pepin, who then reigned as King of the Franks [4] from 751 to 768.

Santa Maria sopra Minerva church in Rome

Santa Maria sopra Minerva is one of the major churches of the Roman Catholic Order of Preachers in Rome, Italy. The church's name derives from the fact that the first Christian church structure on the site was built directly over the ruins or foundations of a temple dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Isis, which had been erroneously ascribed to the Greco-Roman goddess Minerva.

Lombards Historical ethnical group

The Lombards or Longobards were a Germanic people who ruled most of the Italian Peninsula from 568 to 774.

Pepin the Short King of the Franks

Pepin the Short was the King of the Franks from 751 until his death. He was the first of the Carolingians to become king.

Historians such as J.P. Kirsch and Peter Partner have viewed Pope Zachary as a capable administrator and a skillful and subtle diplomat in a dangerous time.

Life

His predecessor's alliance with the Lombard Duke of Spoleto put papal cities at risk when the Dukes of Spoleto and Benevento rebelled. Zachary turned to King Liutprand the Lombard directly. Out of respect for Zachary the king restored to the church of Rome all the territory seized by the Lombards and sent back the captives without ransom. [5] The contemporary history ( Liber pontificalis ) dwells chiefly on Zachary's personal influence with Liutprand, and with his successor Ratchis. [4] At the request of the Exarchate of Ravenna, Zachary persuaded Luitprand to abandon a planned attack on Ravenna and to restore territory seized from the city. [2]

Kingdom of the Lombards former country

The Kingdom of the Lombards also known as the Lombard Kingdom; later the Kingdom of (all) Italy, was an early medieval state established by the Lombards, a Germanic people, on the Italian Peninsula in the latter part of the 6th century. The king was traditionally elected by the highest-ranking aristocrats, the dukes, as several attempts to establish a hereditary dynasty failed. The kingdom was subdivided into a varying number of duchies, ruled by semi-autonomous dukes, which were in turn subdivided into gastaldates at the municipal level. The capital of the kingdom and the center of its political life was Pavia in the modern northern Italian region of Lombardy.

Duchy of Spoleto

The Duchy of Spoleto was a Lombard territory founded about 570 in central Italy by the Lombard dux Faroald. Its capital was the city of Spoleto.

Ratchis Italian noble

Ratchis was the Duke of Friuli (739–744) and King of the Lombards (744–749). His father was Duke Pemmo. His Roman wife was Tassia. He ruled in peace until he besieged Perugia for reasons unknown. Pope Zachary convinced him to lift the siege, and he abdicated and entered the abbey of Montecassino with his family. After the death of Aistulf in 756, he tried once again to reign over the Lombards, but he was defeated by Desiderius and retired to a cloister.

Zachary corresponded with Saint Boniface, the archbishop of Germany. [4] He counseled Boniface about dealing with disreputable prelates such as Milo of Trier. "As for Milo and his like, who are doing great injury to the church of God, preach in season and out of season, according to the word of the Apostle, that they cease from their evil ways." [6]

Saint Boniface 8th-century Anglo-Saxon missionary and saint

Saint Boniface, born Winfrid in the Devon town of Crediton, England, was a leading figure in the Anglo-Saxon mission to the Germanic parts of the Frankish Empire during the 8th century. He organised significant foundations of the Catholic Church in Germany and was made archbishop of Mainz by Pope Gregory III. He was martyred in Frisia in 754, along with 52 others, and his remains were returned to Fulda, where they rest in a sarcophagus which became a site of pilgrimage. Boniface's life and death as well as his work became widely known, there being a wealth of material available—a number of vitae, especially the near-contemporary Vita Bonifatii auctore Willibaldi, legal documents, possibly some sermons, and above all his correspondence. He became the patron saint of Germania, known as the "Apostle of the Germans".

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Milo of Trier was the son of St. Leudwinus and his successor as Archbishop of Trier and Archbishop of Reims. His great-uncle Saint Basinus had preceded his father as Trier. He was the great-grandson of Saint Sigrada and Saint Leodegarius was his great uncle.

At Boniface's request, the Pope confirmed three newly established Bishoprics of Würzburg, Büraburg, and Erfurt. In 742 he appointed Boniface as papal legate to the Concilium Germanicum, hosted by Carloman. In a later letter Zachary confirmed the metropolitans appointed by Boniface to Rouen, Reims, and Sens. In 745 Zachary convened a synod in Rome to discourage a tendency toward the worship of angels. [7]

Würzburg Place in Bavaria, Germany

Würzburg is a city in the region of Franconia, northern Bavaria, Germany. Located on the Main River, it is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk of Lower Franconia. The regional dialect is East Franconian.

Büraburg castle ruin

The Büraburg was a prominent hill castle with historic significance, on the Büraberg hill overlooking the Eder river near the town of Fritzlar in northern Hesse (Germany). Only foundation walls remain, and a church dedicated to St. Brigida.

Erfurt Place in Thuringia, Germany

Erfurt is the capital and largest city in the state of Thuringia, central Germany.

He sanctioned the deposition of the last Merovingian King of the Franks, Childeric III.

Childeric III King of Francia

Childeric III was King of Francia from 743 until he was deposed by Pope Zachary in March 751 at the instigation of Pepin the Short. Although his parentage is uncertain, he is considered the last Frankish king from the Merovingian dynasty. Once Childeric was deposed, Pepin the Short, who was the father of emperor Charlemagne, was crowned the first king of the Franks from the Carolingian dynasty.

In order to legitimize his planned usurpation of the throne, Pepin the Short makes the Pope a compromising consultation charged in the guise of a naive search for orthodox conduct. In response to his question, the Pope said that in these circumstances, the de facto power was considered more important than the de jure authority, an endorsement Pepin was later able to present to an assembly of the Frankish nobles and army. Pepin was subsequently crowned King of the Franks by Boniface at Soissons in 752. Zachary is stated to have remonstrated with the Byzantine emperor Constantine Copronymus on the part he had taken in the iconoclastic controversy. [4] [2]

Zachary built the original church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva over an ancient temple to Minerva near the Pantheon. He also restored the decaying Lateran Palace, moving the relic of the head of Saint George to the church of San Giorgio al Velabro. Also in Rome, some Venetian merchants bought many slaves in the city to sell to the Muslims of Africa; however, Zachary forbade such traffic and then paid the merchants their price, giving the slaves their freedom. [5] [8] [9]

Pope Zachary died around 15 March 752 (it may also have been the 12th or 14th) [1] and was buried in St. Peter's Basilica. Zachary was succeeded by Stephen, who died soon before his consecration and is not considered a valid pope. He was then followed by another Stephen who became Stephen II. The letters and decrees of Zachary are published in Jacques Paul Migne, Patrolog. lat. lxxxix. p. 917–960. [4]

Assessment

Church historian, Johann Peter Kirsch said of Zachary: "In a troubled era Zachary proved himself to be an excellent, capable, vigorous, and charitable successor of Peter." [2] Peter Partner called Zachary a skilled diplomat, "perhaps the most subtle and able of all the Roman pontiffs, in this dark corridor in which the Roman See hovered just inside the doors of the Byzantine world." [10]

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Miranda, Salvador. "The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church" . Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Wikisource-logo.svg Kirsch, Johann Peter (1912). "Pope St. Zachary"  . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia . 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  3. "Itineraries - Le Puzelle - Natural Farmhouse in Southern Italy". Le Puzelle - Natural Farmhouse in Southern Italy. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Zacharias, St"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 20 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 950.
  5. 1 2 Butler, Alban (1866). "Zachary, Pope and Confessor". The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints. III. Dublin: James Duffy.
  6. Wansbrough OSB, Henry. "St. Boniface, Monk and Missioner", Prayer and Thought in Monastic Tradition: Essays in Honour of Benedicta Ward SLG, (Santha Bhattacharji, Dominic Mattos, Rowan Williams, eds.), A&C Black, 2014, p. 133, ISBN   9780567082954
  7. "Assigning Names to Angels – ZENIT – English". zenit.org. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  8. Stefan K. Stantchev (3 Jul 2014). Spiritual Rationality: Papal Embargo as Cultural Practice. Oxford University Press. p. 28. ISBN   9780191009235.
  9. Annali d'Italia: Dall'anno 601 dell'era volare fino all'anno 840, by Lodovico Antonio Muratori, Giuseppe Catalani, Monaco (1742); page 298.
  10. Partner, Peter. The Lands of St. Peter: The Papal State in the Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance, University of California Press, 1972, p. 17, ISBN   9780520021815

Sources

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Gregory III
Pope
741 – 752
Succeeded by
Stephen II