Pope Boniface III

Pope Boniface III (Latin: Bonifatius III; d. 12 November 607) was the Pope 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 organization of the Catholic Church.

Pope Saint

Boniface III
Boniface III
Papacy began19 February 607
Papacy ended12 November 607
SuccessorBoniface IV
Created cardinal15 October 590
by Gregory I
Personal details
Birth nameBoniface
Died12 November 607 (aged 67)
Rome, Byzantine Empire
Previous postCardinal-Deacon of the Holy Roman Church (590-606)
Other popes named Boniface

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]

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]

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]

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]

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


  1. ^ "Boniface III", The Holy See
  2. ^ a b c d e f g  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainOestreich, Thomas (1913). "Pope Boniface III" . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.
  3. ^ "The 66th Pope", Spirituality.org, Diocese of Bridgeport
  • Ekonomou, Andrew J. 2007. Byzantine Rome and the Greek Popes: Eastern influences on Rome and the papacy from Gregory the Great to Zacharias, A.D. 590–752. Lexington Books.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Boniface IV
1261 papal election

The papal election of 1261 (26 May – 29 August) took place after the death of Pope Alexander IV on 25 May and chose Pope Urban IV as his successor. Since Pope Alexander had been resident in Viterbo since the first week of May 1261, the meeting of the cardinals to elect his successor took place in the Episcopal Palace at Viterbo, which was next to the Cathedral of S. Lorenzo. The actual date of the beginning of the Electoral Meeting (there were, as yet, no Conclaves) is unknown. If the canon of Pope Boniface III (A.D. 607) were still in effect (and there is no reason to think that it was not), then the Election could not begin until the third day after the Pope's burial.

600s (decade)

The 600s decade ran from January 1, 600, to December 31, 609.


Year 603 (DCIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 603 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Year 607 (DCVII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 607 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

7th century

The 7th century is the period from 601 to 700 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Common Era. The Muslim conquests began with the unification of Arabia by Muhammad starting in 622. After Muhammad's death in 632, Islam expanded beyond the Arabian Peninsula under the Rashidun Caliphate (632–661) and the Umayyad Caliphate (661–750). The Islamic conquest of Persia in the 7th century led to the downfall of the Sassanid Empire. Also conquered during the 7th century were Syria, Palestine, Armenia, Egypt, and North Africa.

The Byzantine Empire continued suffering setbacks during the rapid expansion of the Muslim Empire.

In the Iberian Peninsula, the 7th century was the Siglo de Concilios, that is, century of councils, referring to the Councils of Toledo.

In China, the Sui dynasty was replaced by the Tang dynasty, which set up its military bases from Korea to Central Asia, and was next to the Umayyad's later. China began to reach its height. Silla allied itself with the Tang Dynasty, subjugating Baekje and defeating Goguryeo to unite the Korean Peninsula under one ruler.

The Asuka period persisted in Japan throughout the 7th century.

Harsha united Northern India, which had reverted to small republics and states after the fall of the Gupta Empire in the 6th century.

Altar cloth

An altar cloth is used by various religious groups to cover an altar. It may be used as a sign of respect towards the holiness of the altar, as in the Catholic Church. Because many altars are made of wood and are often ornate and unique, cloth may then be used to protect the altar surface. In other cases, the cloth serves to beautify a rather mundane construction underneath.

Byzantine Papacy

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 (liaisons from the pope to the emperor) 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.

With the exception of Pope Martin I, no pope during this period questioned the authority of the Byzantine monarch to confirm the election of the bishop of Rome before consecration could occur; however, theological conflicts were common between pope and emperor in the areas such as monothelitism and iconoclasm.

Greek-speakers from Greece, Syria, and Sicily replaced members of the powerful Roman nobles in the papal chair during this period. Rome under the Greek popes constituted a "melting pot" of Western and Eastern Christian traditions, reflected in art as well as liturgy.

Cyriacus II of Constantinople

Cyriacus (? – 29 October 606) was the thirtieth Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople (595–606). He was previously presbyter and steward, oikonomos, of the great church at Constantinople (Chronicon Paschale, p. 378). Gregory the Great received the legates bearing the synodal letters which announced his consecration, partly from a desire not to disturb the peace of the church, and partly from the personal respect which he entertained for Cyriac; but in his reply he warned him against the sin of causing divisions in the church, clearly alluding to the use of the term oecumenical bishop, which Gregory interpreted as meaning "universal" or even "exclusive" bishop (Gregory, Ep. lib. vii. 4, Patrologia Latina lxxvii. 853). The personal feelings of Gregory towards Cyriac appear most friendly.

Cyriacus did not attend to Gregory's entreaties that he abstain from using the title, for Gregory wrote afterwards both to him and to the emperor Maurice, declaring that he could not allow his legates to remain in communion with Cyriac as long as he retained it. In the latter of these letters he compares the assumption of the title to the sin of Antichrist, since both exhibit a spirit of lawless pride. "Quisquis se universalem sacerdotem vocat, vel vocari desiderat, in elatione sua Antichristum praecurrit" (whosoever calls himself universal priest, or desires to be called so, is the forerunner of the Antichrist) (Gregory Ep. 28, 30). In a letter to Anastasius I of Antioch, who had written to him to remonstrate against disturbing the peace of the church, Gregory defends his conduct on the ground of the injury which Cyriac had done to all other patriarchs by the assumption of the title, and reminds Anastasius that not only heretics but heresiarchs had before this been patriarchs of Constantinople. He also deprecates the use of the term on more general grounds (Ep. 24). In spite of all this Cyriacus was firm in his retention of the title, and appears to have summoned, or to have meditated summoning, a council to authorize its use. For in 599 Gregory wrote to Eusebius of Thessalonica and some other bishops, stating that he had heard they were about to be summoned to a council at Constantinople, and most urgently entreating them to yield neither to force nor to persuasion, but to be steadfast in their refusal to recognize the offensive title (ib. lib. ix. 68 in Patr. Lat.).

Cyriacus appears to have shared in that unpopularity of the emperor Maurice which caused his deposition and death (Theophanes Chronicle, A.M. 6094; Niceph. Callis. H. E. xviii. 40; Theophylact. Hist. viii. 9). He still, however, had influence enough to exact from Phocas at his coronation a confession of the orthodox faith and a pledge not to disturb the church (Theophanes Chronicle, A.M. 6094). He also nobly resisted the attempt of Phocas to drag the empress Constantina and her daughters from their sanctuary in a church of Constantinople (ibid., A.M. 6098).

Perhaps some resentment at this opposition to his will may have induced Phocas to accede more readily to the claims of Pope Boniface III that Rome should be considered to be the head of all the church, in exclusion of the claims of Constantinople to the oecumenical bishopric (Vita Bonifacii III, in Labbe, Acta Concil. t. v. 1615).

Cyriac died in 606, and was interred in the church of the Holy Apostles (Chronicon Paschale, p. 381). He appears to have been a man of remarkable piety and earnestness, able to win the esteem of all parties. He built a church dedicated to the theotokos in a street of Constantinople called Diaconissa (Theophanes Chronicle, A.M. 6090; Niceph. Callis. H. E. xviii. 42).

History of Rome

Roman history has been among the most influential to the modern world, from supporting the tradition of the rule by law to influencing the Founding Fathers of the United States to the creation of the Catholic church. Roman history can be divided into the following periods:

Pre-historical and early Rome, covering Rome's earliest inhabitants and the legend of its founding by Romulus.

The period of Etruscan dominance and the Regal Period, in which according to tradition, Romulus was the first of seven kings.

The Roman Republic, which commenced in 509 BC when kings were replaced with rule by elected senators. The period was marked by vast expansion of Roman territory. During the 5th century BC, Rome gained regional dominance in Latium, and eventually the entire Italian peninsula by the 3rd century BC. With the Punic Wars from 264 to 146 BC, Rome gained dominance over the Western Mediterranean, displacing Carthage as the dominant regional power.

The Roman Empire: With the rise of Julius Caesar, the Republic waned and by all measures, concluded after a period of civil war and the victory of Octavian, the adopted son of Caesar in 27 BC over Mark Antony. After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, Rome managed to hang onto the empire, still known as the Roman Empire but long centered on the eastern Mediterranean, until the 8th century as the Duchy of Rome. At this time, the city was reduced to a fraction of its former size, being sacked several times in the 5th to 6th centuries, in 546 even temporarily depopulated entirely.

Medieval Rome: Characterized by a break with Byzantium and the formation of the Papal States. The Papacy struggled to retain influence in the emerging Holy Roman Empire, and during the Saeculum obscurum, the population of Rome fell to as low as 30,000 inhabitants. Following the East–West Schism and the limited success in the Investiture Controversy, the Papacy did gain considerable influence in high medieval Europe, but with the Avignon Papacy and the Western Schism, the city of Rome was reduced to irrelevance, its population falling below 20,000. Rome's decline into complete irrelevance during the medieval period, with the associated lack of construction activity, assured the survival of very significant ancient Roman material remains in the centre of the city, some abandoned and others continuing in use.

The Roman Renaissance: In the 15th century, Rome replaced Florence as the symbol of artistic and cultural influence. The Roman Renaissance was cut short abruptly with the devastation of the city in 1527, but the Papacy reasserted itself in the Counter-Reformation, and the city continued to flourish during the early modern period. Rome was annexed by Napoleon and was technically part of France during 1798–1814.

Modern History: The period from the 19th century to today. Rome was under siege by the Allied invasion of Italy and was bombed several times. It was declared an open city on 14 August 1943. Rome became the capital of the Italian Republic (established in 1946), with a population of 4.4 million in its metropolitan area (as of 2015; 2.9 million within city limits)—is the largest city in Italy. It is among the largest urban areas of the European Union and classified as a "global city".

List of Greek popes

This is a list of Greek popes. Most were pope before or during the Byzantine Papacy (537–752). It does not include all the Sicilian and Syrian popes of Greek extraction from that period.

List of popes by country

This page is a list of popes by country of origin. They are listed in chronological order within each section.

As the office of pope has existed for almost two millennia, many of the countries of origin of popes no longer exist, and so they are grouped under their modern equivalents. Popes from Italy are in a separate section, given the very large number of popes from that peninsula.

November 12

November 12 is the 316th day of the year (317th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 49 days remain until the end of the year.

Papal apocrisiarius

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

Papal appointment

Papal appointment was a medieval method of selecting a pope. Popes have always been selected by a council of Church fathers, however, Papal selection before 1059 was often characterized by confirmation or "nomination" by secular European rulers or by their predecessors. The later procedures of the papal conclave are in large part designed to constrain the interference of secular rulers which characterized the first millennium of the Roman Catholic Church, and persisted in practices such as the creation of crown-cardinals and the jus exclusivae. Appointment might have taken several forms, with a variety of roles for the laity and civic leaders, Byzantine and Germanic emperors, and noble Roman families. The role of the election vis-a-vis the general population and the clergy was prone to vary considerably, with a nomination carrying weight that ranged from near total to a mere suggestion or ratification of a prior election.

The institution has its origins in late antiquity, where on more than one occasion the emperor stepped in to resolve disputes over the legitimacy of papal contenders. An important precedent from this period is an edict of Emperor Honorius, issued after a synod he convoked to depose Antipope Eulalius. The power passed to (and grew with) the King of the Ostrogoths, then the Byzantine Emperor (or his delegate, the Exarch of Ravenna). After an interregnum, the Kings of the Franks and the Holy Roman Emperor (whose selection the pope also sometimes had a hand in), generally assumed the role of confirming the results of papal elections. For a period (today known as the "saeculum obscurum"), the power passed from the Emperor to powerful Roman nobles—the Crescentii and then the Counts of Tusculum.

In many cases, the papal coronation was delayed until the election had been confirmed. Some antipopes were similarly appointed. The practice ended with the conclusion of the Investiture Controversy (c.f. confirmation of bishops) due largely to the efforts of Cardinal Hildebrand (future Pope Gregory VII), who was a guiding force in the selection of his four predecessors, and the 1059 papal bull In Nomine Domini of Pope Nicholas II; some writers consider this practice to be an extreme form of "investiture" in and of itself.Although the practice was forbidden by the Council of Antioch (341) and the Council of Rome (465), the bishops of Rome, as with other bishops, often exercised a great deal of control over their successor, even after the sixth century. In addition, most popes from the fourth to twelfth century were appointed or confirmed by a secular power.

Papal selection before 1059

There was no fixed process for papal selection before 1059. Popes, the bishops of Rome and the leaders of the Catholic Church, were often appointed by their predecessors or secular rulers. While the process was often characterized by some capacity of election, an election with the meaningful participation of the laity was the exception to the rule, especially as the popes' claims to temporal power solidified into the Papal States. The practice of papal appointment during this period would later give rise to the jus exclusivae, a veto right exercised by Catholic monarchies into the twentieth century.

The lack of an institutionalized process for papal succession was prone to religious schism, and several papal claimants before 1059 are currently regarded by the Church as antipopes. Furthermore, the frequent requirement of secular approval of elected popes significantly lengthened periods of sede vacante and weakened the papacy. In 1059, Pope Nicholas II succeeded in limiting future papal electors to the cardinals with In nomine Domini, creating standardized papal elections that would eventually evolve into the papal conclave.

Pope Boniface

There have been nine Popes named Boniface.

Pope Boniface I (r. 418–422)

Pope Boniface II (530–532)

Pope Boniface III (607)

Pope Boniface IV (608–615)

Pope Boniface V (619–625)

Pope Boniface VI (896)

Pope Boniface VII (984–985) (now listed as an antipope)

Pope Boniface VIII (1294–1303)

Pope Boniface IX (1389–1404)

Pope Boniface IV

Pope Boniface IV (Latin: Bonifatius IV; d. 8 May 615) was Pope from 25 September 608 to his death in 615. He is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church with a universal feast falling annually on 8 May. Boniface had served as a deacon under Pope Gregory I, and like his mentor had made his house into a monastery. As Pope, he encouraged monks and monasticism. With permission of the Emperor, he converted the Pantheon into the Church of St. Mary and the Martyrs. In 610, he conferred with Mellitus (d. 624), first bishop of London, regarding the needs of the English Church.

Seven seals

In the Book of Revelation, the Seven Seals are the seven symbolic seals (Greek: σφραγῖδα, sphragida) that secure the book or scroll that John of Patmos saw in an apocalyptic vision. The opening of the seals of the document occurs in Revelation Chapters 5–8 and marks the Second Coming. In John's vision, the only one worthy to open the book' is referred to as both the "Lion of Judah" and the "Lamb having seven horns and seven eyes".[5:5-6]The seven seals contained secret information known only to God until the Lamb/Lion was found worthy to open the book and to look on the contents.

Important scrolls being secured with seals is mentioned in earlier Bible examples including Book of Daniel 12:4 ...

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

(The prophecy was to be sealed up—not understood—to the end of the age.)

Upon the "Lamb" opening a seal from the book, a judgment is released or an apocalyptic event occurs. The opening of the first four Seals release the Four Horsemen, each with his own specific mission.[6:1-8] The opening of the fifth seal releases the cries of martyrs for the "word/Wrath of God".[6:9-11] The sixth seal prompts earthquakes and other cataclysmic events.[6:12-17] The seventh seal cues seven angelic trumpeters who in turn cue the seven bowl judgments and more cataclysmic events.[8:1-13]

1st–4th centuries
During the Roman Empire (until 493)
including under Constantine (312–337)
5th–8th centuries
Ostrogothic Papacy (493–537)
Byzantine Papacy (537–752)
Frankish Papacy (756–857)
9th–12th centuries
Papal selection before 1059
Saeculum obscurum (904–964)
Crescentii era (974–1012)
Tusculan Papacy (1012–1044/1048)
Imperial Papacy (1048–1257)
13th–16th centuries
Viterbo (1257–1281)
Orvieto (1262–1297)
Perugia (1228–1304)
Avignon Papacy (1309–1378)
Western Schism (1378–1417)
Renaissance Papacy (1417–1534)
Reformation Papacy (1534–1585)
Baroque Papacy (1585–1689)
17th–20th centuries
Age of Enlightenment (c. 1640-1740)
Revolutionary Papacy (1775–1848)
Roman Question (1870–1929)
Vatican City (1929–present)
21st century
History of the papacy
Bible and
By country
of the faithful
Early Church
Late antiquity
Early Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
Late Middle Ages
19th century
20th century
21st century

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