Pope Sergius I

Pope Sergius I (c. 650 – 8 September 701) was Pope 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.

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' abduction (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.

Pope Saint

Sergius I
Sergius I
Papacy began15 December 687
Papacy ended8 September 701
SuccessorJohn VI
Created cardinal27 June 683
by Pope Leo II
Personal details
Palermo, Sicily, Byzantine Empire
Died8 September 701 (aged 51)
Previous postCardinal-Priest of Santa Susanna (683–687)
Other popes named Sergius

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]


Papal styles of
Pope Sergius I
Emblem of the Papacy SE
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous styleSaint

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)

Rogier van der Weyden - Dream of Pope Sergius - WGA25713
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.[8]

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]


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

See also


  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. ^ a b c d e f Frank N Magill, Alison Aves, Dictionary of World Biography (Routledge 1998 ISBN 978-1-57958041-4), vol. 2, pp. 823–825
  5. ^ a b c d e Ekonomou, 2007, p. 223.
  6. ^ a b c d 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. ^ a b c d 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. ^ a b Ekonomou, 2007, p. 224.
  18. ^ Ekonomou, 2007, p. 44.


  • 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
John VI
3 Maccabees

The book of 3 Maccabees is found in most Orthodox Bibles as a part of the Anagignoskomena. Catholics consider it to be an example of pseudepigrapha and do not regard it as canonical. Protestants, with the exception of the Moravian Brethren who include it in the Apocrypha of the Czech Kralice Bible and Polish Gdańsk Bible, likewise regard it as non-canonical. It is included in the Bible used by the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Apostolic Canons approved by the Eastern Council in Trullo in 692 but rejected by Pope Sergius I cited as canonical the first three books of Maccabees.

Despite the title, the book has nothing to do with the Maccabees or their revolt against the Seleucid Empire, as described in 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees. Instead it tells the story of persecution of the Jews under Ptolemy IV Philopator (222–205 BC), some decades before the Maccabee uprising. The name of the book apparently comes from the similarities between this book and the stories of the martyrdom of Eleazar and the Maccabeean youths in 2 Maccabees; the High Priest Shimon is also mentioned.


Year 687 (DCLXXXVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 687 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 689 (DCLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 689 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 692 (DCXCII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 692 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 701 (DCCI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 701 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.

Agnus Dei (liturgy)

In the Mass of the Roman Rite and also in the Eucharist of the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran Church, and the Western Rite of the Orthodox Church the Agnus Dei is the invocation to the Lamb of God sung or recited during the fraction of the Host.

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.

Canons of the Apostles

The Apostolic Canons or Ecclesiastical Canons of the Same Holy Apostles is a 4th century Syrian Christian text. It is an Ancient Church Order, a collection of ancient ecclesiastical decrees concerning the government and discipline of the Early Christian Church, allegedly written by the Apostles first found as the last chapter of the eighth book of the Apostolic Constitutions. Like the other Ancient Church Orders, the Apostolic Canons use a pseudepigraphic form.

These eighty-five canons were approved by the Eastern Council in Trullo in 692 but rejected by Pope Sergius I. In the Western Church only fifty of these canons circulated, translated in Latin by Dionysius Exiguus in about 500 AD, and included in the Western collections and afterwards in the "Corpus Juris Canonici". Canon n. 85 contains a list of canonical books, thus it is important for the history of the Biblical canon.

Council of Austerfield

The Council of Austerfield was an ecclesiastical synod held at Austerfield, in southern Northumbria in 702 or 703.

The council was called by King Aldfrith of Northumbria to discuss whether Wilfrid should be returned to the see of York from which he had been expelled in 686. Wilfrid had appealed to the papacy around 700, and Pope Sergius I had sent the matter back to Britain to be decided locally. This resulted in Aldfrith convening the council in either 702 or 703 according to different sources. The date of the council has been calculated from two pieces of information: that it took place 22 years after the decision to expel Wilfrid from York, around 679–680, and that Wilfrid had held episcopal office for almost 40 years when Austerfield was convened. This would make the date of the council sometime before 704.The council was called at a place described as in campo qui Eostrefeld dicitur and in campo qui dicitur Oustraefelda, which has led to the site of the council being identified with Austerfield near Bawtry in South Yorkshire (formerly in the West Riding of Yorkshire). Another possible location is Nosterfield near Ripon in the North Riding of Yorkshire. The main determining factor in favouring Austerfield over Nosterfield is that Nosterfield is not attested as a location before the 13th century.The council was presided over by Berhtwald, the Archbishop of Canterbury. It was attended by bishops from the entirety of the Anglo-Saxon church, both from Northumbria and from the southern part of Britain. Besides the bishops, abbots from monasteries in Britain are recorded as attending at Austerfield, and Wilfrid's biographer records that Wilfrid was accompanied by a number of priests and deacons. Laymen were also present, including King Aldfrith, as well as some of Aldfrith's thegns.One account of the council survives, that of Wilfrid's biographer, Stephen of Ripon in the Vita Sancti Wilfrithi. Aldfrith and Berhtwald opposed Wilfrid's desire to return to York, but Wilfrid was supported by King Æthelred of Mercia, who had given Wilfrid shelter while he was in exile. Most of the bishops attending as well as some abbots appear to have opposed Wilfrid. According to Stephen, Wilfrid's opponents wanted to seize all Wilfrid's properties and offices, but Berhtwald offered a compromise that would have allowed Wilfrid to retain some monasteries but would have prevented him from performing the office of bishop. In response, Wilfrid gave a long speech that described all his career as a churchman. The main difficulty lay in Wilfrid's refusal to obey Berhtwald, who had archiepiscopal authority over him. The decision of the council was that Wilfrid should remain exiled from York and return to the monastery of Ripon and not leave and no longer be a bishop. Wilfrid disagreed with this decision and appealed to the papacy again.Wilfrid was eventually reconciled to the archbishop, bishops and laymen at the Council of Nidd in 705.

Cædwalla of Wessex

Cædwalla (c. 659 – 20 April 689) was the King of Wessex from approximately 685 until he abdicated in 688. His name is derived from the Welsh Cadwallon. He was exiled from Wessex as a youth and during this period gathered forces and attacked the South Saxons, killing their king, Æthelwealh, in what is now Sussex. Cædwalla was unable to hold the South Saxon territory, however, and was driven out by Æthelwealh's ealdormen. In either 685 or 686, he became King of Wessex. He may have been involved in suppressing rival dynasties at this time, as an early source records that Wessex was ruled by underkings until Cædwalla.

After his accession Cædwalla returned to Sussex and won the territory again, and also conquered the Isle of Wight, engaging in genocide, extinguishing the ruling dynasty there, and forcing the population of the island at sword point to renounce their pagan beliefs for Christianity. He gained control of Surrey and the kingdom of Kent, and in 686 he installed his brother, Mul, as king of Kent. Mul was burned in a Kentish revolt a year later, and Cædwalla returned, possibly ruling Kent directly for a period.

Cædwalla was wounded during the conquest of the Isle of Wight, and perhaps for this reason he abdicated in 688 to travel to Rome for baptism. He reached Rome in April 689, and was baptised by Pope Sergius I on the Saturday before Easter, dying ten days later on 20 April 689. He was succeeded by Ine.

Dona nobis pacem (canon)

"Dona nobis pacem" (Ecclesiastical Latin: [ˈdona ˈnɔbis ˈpatʃɛm]) is a song with Latin text, often sung as a canon or round (where each section starts with a new voice).

The words, which mean "Grant us peace", come from a portion of the Agnus Dei from the Roman Catholic Latin Mass. It is the invocation to the Lamb of God to have mercy and grant peace to the worshipers. It is said to have been introduced into the Mass by Pope Sergius I in 687, and is the last phrase of the Latin form:

The origin of the melody is unknown (most hymnals list it as "traditional").

John Maron

John Maron (Arabic: يوحنا مارون‎, Youhana Maroun; Latin: Ioannes Maronus) (born in 628 in Sirmaniyah or Sarmin, present Syria – died in 707 in Kfarhy, Lebanon), was a Syriac monk, and the first Maronite Patriarch. He is revered as a saint by the Maronite and Roman Catholic Churches, and is commemorated on March 2. He died and was buried in Kfarhy near Batroun, in Lebanon, where a shrine is dedicated to him.

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 Sergius

Pope Sergius could refer to:

Pope Sergius I (pope 687–701)

Pope Sergius II (pope 844–847)

Pope Sergius III (pope 904-911)

Pope Sergius IV (pope 1009–1012)

Saint Hubert Altarpiece

The Saint Hubert Altarpiece was a late 1430s altarpiece in the Chapel of St Hubert in the church of St Gudule, Brussels by Rogier van der Weyden and his studio. Its central image is lost but its side panels are thought to be The Dream of Pope Sergius (J. Paul Getty Museum) and The Exhumation of St Hubert (National Gallery, London) - In around 1623 Dubuisson-Aubenay recorded seeing a two-part painting in that church which matches the description of these two panels.

Saint Sergius (disambiguation)

Saint Sergius was a 3rd-century Roman soldier venerated as a Christian saint and martyr, almost always paired with Saint Bacchus as Saints Sergius and Bacchus.

Saint Sergius may also refer to:

Sergius of Cappadocia (died 304), Cappadocian monk and martyr

Saint Sarkis the Warrior (4th century), the Armenian form of Sergius; it is unclear if he should be identified with Saint Sergius

Pope Sergius I (died 701), pope and saint

Sergios Niketiates (died 843), Eastern Orthodox saint venerated for his role in the restoration of the veneration of icons

Sergius of Valaam (10th century), Greek monastic

Sergius of Radonezh (1314–1392), Russian spiritual leader and monastic reformer

Sergius I

Sergius I may refer to:

Sergius of Tella, Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church in 544–546

Sergius I of Constantinople (died in 638)

Pope Sergius I (died in 701), Sicilian-born pope

Sergius I of Naples (died in 864)

Patriarch Sergius I of Moscow (1867–1944)

Utrecht (province)

Utrecht (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈytrɛxt] (listen)) is a province of the Netherlands. It is located in the centre of the country, bordering the Eemmeer in the north-east, the province of Gelderland in the east and south-east, the province of South Holland in the west and south-west and the province of North Holland in the north-west and north. With an area of approximately 1,400 square kilometres (540 sq mi), it is the smallest of the twelve Dutch provinces. Apart from its eponymous capital, major cities in the province are Amersfoort, Houten, Nieuwegein, Veenendaal, IJsselstein and Zeist.

In the International Organization for Standardization world region code system Utrecht makes up one region with code ISO 3166-2:NL-UT.

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
Virgin Mary
See also

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