Pope John VII

Pope John VII (Latin: Ioannes VII; c. 650 – 18 October 707) was pope from 1 March 705 to his death in 707.[1] The successor of John VI, he was (like his predecessor) of Greek ancestry.[2] He is one of the popes of the Byzantine Papacy.


John VII
Byzantinischer Mosaizist um 705 002
Byzantine Mosaic of John VII, from about 705
Papacy began1 March 705
Papacy ended18 October 707
PredecessorJohn VI
Personal details
Rossano in Calabria, Byzantine Empire
Died18 October 707
Other popes named John


John was a native of Rossano in Calabria.[2][3] His father, Plato (c. 620 – 686), was imperial cura palatii urbis Romae, or curator of the Palatine Hill. This makes John the first pope to be the son of a Byzantine official.[4] His mother was called Blatta (c. 627 – 687).[4] His paternal grandfather was Theodorus Chilas (c. 600 – aft. 655), a Senator in 655.[5]

John VII had good relations with the Lombards, who then ruled much of Italy. However, his relations with Justinian II, the Byzantine Emperor, were far from smooth. Papal relations with Byzantium had soured over the Quinisext (or Trullan) council of 692. Scholarly debate contests John VII's stance on the Canons.[6][7][8] He did not ratify the Canons, which were deeply unpopular in Italy. Nonetheless, he was criticized, most unusually, by the Liber Pontificalis for not signing them:

He [Emperor Justinian II] despatched two metropolitan bishops, also sending with them a mandate in which he requested and urged the pontiff [John VII] to gather a council of the apostolic church, and to confirm such of them as he approved, and quash and reject those which were adverse. But he, terrified in his human weakness, sent them back to the prince by the same metropolitans without any emendations at all.[9]

Several monuments in Rome are connected with John. The most notable is the Church of St. Maria Antiqua at the foot of the Palatine Hill. Traces of an episcopal palace Episcopium associated with John have been discovered upon the Palatine.[10] John VII also constructed an Oratory dedicated to the Theotokos, located within the old basilica of St. Peter. Fragments of the mosaic decoration can be found in the Vatican grottoes. Furthermore, a sizeable icon, known as the Madonna della Clemenza and housed in Santa Maria in Trastevere, is believed to have been commissioned under the patronage of John.[11] He also restored the monastery of Subiaco, destroyed by the Lombards in 601.

John VII died 18 October, 707 and was buried in the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary which had been added on to St. Peter's.[12] He was succeeded by Sisinnius.

See also


  1. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope John VII" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  2. ^ a b Murzaku, Ines Angeli (2009). Returning home to Rome: the Basilian monks of Grottaferrata in Albania. Analekta Kryptoferris. p. 47. ISBN 9788889345047. Rossano, a town in southern Italy, which is probably the birthplace of another well-known Greek figure, Pope John VII who reigned in the See of St. Peter for two years (705–707)
  3. ^ Hare, Augustus J. C. (2007). Cities of Southern Italy and Sicily. READ BOOKS. pp. 344–345. ISBN 9781406782127. Pope John VII. (705–707) was a native of Rossano.
  4. ^ a b Kelly, J. N. D. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 84.
  5. ^ Bernd Josef Jansen Genealogy. RootsWeb.com.
  6. ^ Breckenridge, J. D. "Evidence for the Nature of Relations between Pope John VII and the Byzantine Emperor Justinian II". Byzantinische Zeitschrift, Vol. 65, 1972.
  7. ^ Nordhagen, P. J. "Constantinople on the Tiber".
  8. ^ Smith, J. M. H. (ed.). Early Medieval Rome and the Christian West. Leiden, 2000.
  9. ^ Davis, R. The Book of Pontiffs: the ancient biographies of the first ninety Roman bishops to AD 715. Liverpool University Press, 2000, p. 91.
  10. ^ Augenti, A. Il Palatino nel Medioevo. Roma, 1996.
  11. ^ Nordhagen, J. P. "Icons designed for the display of sumptuous votive gifts". Dumbarton Oaks Papers, Vol. 41, 1988.
  12. ^ Richard P. McBrien, Lives of the Popes, (HarperCollins, 1997), 117.


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John VI
Succeeded by

Year 707 (DCCVII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 707 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 708 (DCCVIII) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 708 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.


An Episcopium (Latin for an episcopal palace) is an ecclesiastical figure and their administration. Episcopium emphasizes “an essential unity between his [the bishop’s] person, power and place.” In medieval Italy Episcopium were frequently part of a complex connected to the Baptistery and Cathedral.In Rome the Basilica of St. John Lateran housed the Lateran Palace. This was the principal Episcopium of medieval Rome. Although Pope John VII (705-07) built an Episcopium upon the Palatine Hill.

George II of Antioch

George II of Antioch was Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch in the 7th century. Little is known about him except that he attended the Quinisext Council in 691–692. It is speculated that he died of heat exhaustion caused by a long period of being outdoors. After his death the period of Arab tolerance that had allowed the continued existence of Christianity in regions under their domination ended. George II of Antioch's reign was one well known for peace, due to his love of many religions. The Byzantine Empire, it is thought, worked alongside him to be able to better the Empire altogether.

John VII

John VII may refer to:

Pope John VII, Pope from 705 to his death in 707

Patriarch John VII of Constantinople (died prior to 867), Patriarch from 837 to 843

John VII of Jerusalem, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem from 964 to 966

John VII Palaiologos (1370–1408), Byzantine Emperor for five months in 1390

John VII of Werle (c. 1375–1414)

Johann V-VII, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1558–1592)

John VII, Count of Nassau (1561–1623)

List of Coptic Orthodox Popes of Alexandria

The following is a list of all of the Coptic Orthodox Popes of Alexandria who have led the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and have succeeded the Apostle Mark the Evangelist in the office of Bishop of Alexandria, who founded the Church in the 1st century, and therefore marked the beginning of Christianity in Africa.

The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is one of the Oriental Orthodox churches (not to be confused with the Byzantine Orthodox group of churches) and is presided over by the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria who is the body's spiritual leader. This position is held since 2012 by Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of all Africa on the Holy See of St. Mark.

The Oriental Orthodox believe that they are the "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic" Church of the ancient Christian creeds.

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.

Madonna della Clemenza

The Madonna della Clemenza is an Icon painting on canvas and wood, dated back to late 7th or early 8th century CE. The Madonna della Clemenza, or Icon of the Virgin and Child as it is also known, is located at the Basilica Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome, Italy. The origins of the painting are debated among scholars, but it is most often attributed to a commission by Pope John VII. The Madonna della Clemenza is one of the five oldest existing Marian Icons from the medieval period. Its proximity to the rise of Christianity is one of the reasons it was believed to be a divine image. It is the largest of the five at 64.5in by 45.5 in.In the painting, Mary is depicted in the "Regina Coeli," style unique to Rome in late antiquity. In this and many other early icons, Mary is formulated in the Maesta style. Maesta is a popular style for Marian iconography in which Mary is depicted as the Queen of heaven, in regal style seated on a throne and complete with a crown covered in pearls. The Christ Child is dressed in purple robes similar to Mary's which were once covered in gold. Both Mary and Christ have golden halos. Mary is seated cradling the Christ child in one arm, and holding a cross staff in the other. This style of Mary holding Christ is unique, as the usual style is Mary holding Christ in the crook of her arm, but with this Icon, Christ is placed on Mary's lap with her arm placed just in front of him.It one of the first known donor portraits. Although the painting is badly worn, kneeling at the feet of the Virgin Mother is an image of what is believed to be Pope John VII. In 1593, during the Counter-Reformation, the Icon was reframed and placed on the central Capella Altemps inside the Basilica Santa Maria di Trastevere as a means to display the power of this Marian cult image. The idea behind the re-framing, was that if you framed an Icon, it would be transformed from a divine object into a piece of art, thereby removing the stigma of it being considered a false idol.In 1988, there was an exhibition held at the Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. All five of the oldest Marian Icons were represented, however, the representation of the Madonna della Clemenza was not the original but a photographic copy due to the delicate state of the original painting.The Icon can still be seen over the Capella Altemps in the Basilica Santa Maria di Trastevere in Rome.

Pope Athanasius III of Alexandria

Pope Athanasius III of Alexandria, 76th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark.

He was known as Athanasius ibn Kalil (البابا أثناسيوس الثالث ابن كليل). His episcopate lasted for eleven years, one month and 18 days from Sunday 9 October 1250 (12 Babah/Paopi 967 AM) to 27 November 1261 AD (The first of Kiahk/Koiahk 978 AM).

The See of St Mark remained vacant for one month and 5 days after his death and he was succeeded by Pope John VII of Alexandria. He was buried in Saint Mercurius Church in Coptic Cairo (كنيسة مرقوريوس أبو سيفين).

In his time, the Papal Residence was at the Church of The Holy Virgin Mary & St Damiana known as The Hanging Church (الكنيسة المعلقة) in Coptic Cairo.

Pope Gabriel III of Alexandria

Pope Gabriel III of Alexandria, 78th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark.

He was originally one of the candidates for the Papal post when Pope John VII was elected. With support from some of the Bishops, Gabriel III replaced John VII and reigned for three years until his death, when John VII was reinstated. This is the only occasion in history when the Coptic Orthodox Church had two Popes at the same time.

Pope John

Pope John may refer to:

Pope John I (523–526)

Pope John II (533–535)

Pope John III (561–574)

Pope John IV (640–642)

Pope John V (685–686)

Pope John VI (701–705)

Pope John VII (705–707)

Antipope John VIII (844)

Pope John VIII (872–882)

Pope John IX (898–900)

Pope John X (914–928)

Pope John XI (931–935)

Pope John XII (955–964)

Pope John XIII (965–972)

Pope John XIV (983–984)

Pope John XV (985–996)

Antipope John XVI (997–998) (no longer recognized as a legitimate pope)

Pope John XVII (1003)

Pope John XVIII (1003–1009)

Pope John XIX (1024–1032)

Pope John XX (not an actual pope)

Pope John XXI (1276–1277)

Pope John XXII (1316–1334)

Antipope John XXIII (1410–1415)

Pope John XXIII (1958–1963)Another 19 Popes John in the List of Coptic Orthodox Popes of Alexandria

Pope John VI

Pope John VI can also refer to Pope John VI of Alexandria.Pope John VI (Latin: Ioannes VI; 655 – 11 January 705) was Pope 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 John VII of Alexandria

Pope John VII of Alexandria, 77th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark.

With support from some of the bishops, Pope John VII was replaced for three years by Pope Gabriel III, who was originally one of the candidates for the post. He was restored as pope after the death of Gabriel III. This is the only occasion in history when the Coptic Orthodox Church had two popes at the same time.

Pope John of Alexandria

John has been the papal name of several Coptic Popes.

Patriarch John II (I) of Alexandria (496–505)

Patriarch John III (II) of Alexandria (505–516)

Pope John III of Alexandria (677–688)

Pope John IV of Alexandria (776–799)

Pope John V of Alexandria (1147–1166)

Pope John VI of Alexandria (1189–1216)

Pope John VII of Alexandria (1261–1268, 1271–1293)

Pope John VIII of Alexandria (1300–1320)

Pope John IX of Alexandria (1320–1327)

Pope John X of Alexandria (1363–1369)

Pope John XI of Alexandria (1427–1452)

Pope John XII of Alexandria (1480–1483)

Pope John XIII of Alexandria (1483–1524)

Pope John XIV of Alexandria (1573–1589)

Pope John XV of Alexandria (1621–1631)

Pope John XVI of Alexandria (1676–1718)

Pope John XVII of Alexandria (1727–1745)

Pope John XVIII of Alexandria (1769–1796)

Pope John XIX of Alexandria (1928–1942)

Pope Sisinnius

Pope Sisinnius (c. 650 – 4 February 708) was Pope from 15 January to his death in 708.A Syrian by birth, Sisinnius' father's name was John. The paucity of donations to the papacy during his reign (42 pounds of gold and 310 pounds of silver, a fraction of the personal donations of other contemporary pontiffs) indicate that he was probably not from the aristocracy.Sisinnius was selected as pope during the Byzantine Papacy. He succeeded Pope John VII after a sede vacante of three months. He was consecrated around 15 January 708.Sisinnius remained pope for just twenty days. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "although he was so afflicted with gout that he was unable even to feed himself, he is nevertheless said to have been a man of strong character, and to have been able to take thought for the good of the city". Among his few acts as pope was the consecration of a bishop for Corsica. He also ordered "that lime be burned in order to restore portions" of the walls of Rome. The restoration of the walls planned by Sisinnius was carried out by Pope Gregory II.Sisinnius was buried in Old St. Peter's Basilica. He was succeeded less than two months later by Pope Constantine. Constantine, also Syrian by birth, was probably the brother of Sisinnius.

Queen of Heaven in Catholic art

The depiction of the Virgin Mary as the Queen of Heaven has been a popular subject in Catholic art for centuries.

Early Christian art show Mary in an elevated position. She carries her divine son Jesus in her hands, or holds him. After he ascended into heaven to reign in divine glory, Mary, his mother, assumed into heaven and participates in his heavenly glory. One of the themes in the depiction of the Virgin as queen is Coronation of the Virgin, often built on the third phase of the Assumption of Mary in which following her Assumption, she is crowned as the Queen of Heaven. Narrative pictures of the Coronation of the Virgin may often be distinguished from allegorical pictures of the Queen of Heaven by the appearance in them of events from the last days of the Virgin on Earth, such as the deathbed and the Apostles and friends weeping for her.The earliest known Roman depiction of "Santa Maria Regina", depicting the Virgin Mary as a queen, dates to the 6th century and is found in the modest church of Santa Maria Antiqua (i.e. ancient St. Mary) built in the 5th century in the Forum Romanum. Here the Virgin Mary is unequivocally depicted as an empress. As one of the earliest Roman Catholic Marian churches, this church was used by Pope John VII in the early 8th century as the see of the bishop of Rome. Also in the 8th century, the Second Council of Nicaea decreed that such pictures of Mary should be venerated.The Virgin as queen was a recurring theme in many books composed in her honor in 13th century France. In the Speculum beata Maria she was at once queen of Heaven where she was enthroned in the midst of angels, and queen of Earth where she constantly manifested her power. The concept was carried over to art that decorated churches, e.g. the west porch of Chartres Cathedral and in the Porte Sainte-Anne at Notre Dame, Paris where she is seated in regal state, as well as in a window at Laon Cathedral.

In the early 16th century, Protestant reformers began to discourage Marian art, and some like John Calvin or Zwingli even encouraged its destruction. But after the Council of Trent in the mid-16th century confirmed the veneration of Marian paintings for Catholics, Mary was often painted as a Madonna with crown, surrounded by stars, standing on top of the world or the partly visible moon. After the victory against the Turks at Lepanto, Mary is depicted as the Queen of Victory, sometimes wearing the crown of the Habsburg empire. National interpretations existed in France as well, where Jean Fouquet painted the Queen of Heaven in 1450 with the face of the mistress of King Charles VII. Statues and pictures of Mary were crowned by kings in Poland, France, Bavaria, Hungary and Austria, sometimes apparently using crowns previously worn by earthly monarchs – a surviving small crown presented by Margaret of York seems to have been that worn by her at her wedding to Charles the Bold in 1463. A recent coronation was that of the picture of the Salus Populi Romani in 1954 by Pius XII. The veneration of Mary as queen continues into the 21st Century, but artistic expressions do not have the leading role as in previous times.


Rossano is a town and frazione of Corigliano-Rossano in the province of Cosenza, Calabria, southern Italy. The city is situated on an eminence c. 3. km from the Gulf of Taranto. The town is known for its marble and alabaster quarries.

The town is the seat of a Catholic archbishop and has a notable cathedral and castle. Two Popes have been born in the town, along with Saint Nilus the Younger.

Santa Maria Antiqua

Santa Maria Antiqua (English: Ancient Church of Saint Mary) is a Roman Catholic Marian church in Rome, Italy, built in the 5th century in the Forum Romanum, and for a long time the monumental access to the Palatine imperial palaces.

Located at the foot of the Palatine Hill, Santa Maria Antiqua is the oldest Christian monument in the Roman Forum. The church contains the earliest Roman depiction of Santa Maria Regina, the Virgin Mary as a Queen, from the 6th century.

Thomas of Maurienne

Thomas of Maurienne (died before 720) was the first abbot of the Abbey of Farfa, which he founded between 680 and c.700. Although the sources of his life are much later, and he is surrounded by legends, his historicity is beyond doubt.Thomas is said to have hailed from Maurienne, where he was a monk before he travelled to Italy. According to the twelfth-century Chronicon Farfense of Gregory of Catino, Thomas was on a pilgrimage when in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, he had a vision of the Virgin Mary, who told him to go to Italy and re-establish an abandoned basilica that had been founded in her name. With a small group of disciples and divine guidance, Thomas found the ruins of a basilica in a deserted region in the Sabina. The reliability of this story is thrown in some doubt by the extensive use of topoi, such as the vision, the pilgrimage, the desert and "the reoccupation of an earlier Christian site". It was believed in Thomas's day that the basilica had been founded in the sixth century by a certain Laurence of Syria, about whom nothing concrete is known. The church certainly stands on a terrace excavated in Late Antiquity and archaeological digs by the British School at Rome (1978–85) have uncovered a late antique wall enclosure on the site, although the church itself has not been excavated.During Thomas's abbacy, three monks from Farfa established the monastery of San Vincenzo al Volturno. According to San Vincenzo's historian Ambrosius Autpert, in his Chronicon Vulturnense, it was Thomas who directed the monks to "the oratory of Christ's martyr Vincent [where] on each side of the river is a thick forest (silva densissima) which serves as a habitation for wild beasts and a hiding-place for robbers." Also during Thomas's tenure the abbey received a privilege from Pope John VII in 705, which also recognised that the abbey was founded by "Bishop Laurence". This Papal privilege (privilegium) included a confirmation of the abbey's first (undatable) grant of land, from Duke Faroald II of Spoleto. The charter refers only vaguely to lands which were apparently demesne, quoting a letter the Pope had received from Faroald. (Gregory made an effort to identify the extent of this donation by looking to oral sources, and he quoted "very old venerable elders, with true testimony related to them by their predecessors" who equated Faroald's donation to eleven curtes of about 11,000 modia in total.) Through his donations Faroald claimed to have "restored that place through Abbot Thomas and your [Papal] recommendation (commenditum)", thus placing the initiative in the original land grant with the Pope. Faroald seems to have desired the Pope to confirm—or "strengthen" (firmare) by exercise of his spiritual powers, namely, the "chain of anathema"—Faroald's own conditions of the grant. The Pope went further, he "established and decided" (statuimus et decernimus) that nobody should place any exactions on the abbey and he severely limited the role of the "neighbouring bishop" (vicinum aepiscopum). Thomas was ordered to put the Papal privilege on display.According to the eleventh-century martyrology of the abbey, the Martyrologium Pharphense, Thomas was buried at the thirtieth milestone, as later was Abbot Hilderic (died 857). Thomas had been succeeded by Aunepert by 720.

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

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