Pope Severinus

Pope Severinus (d. 2 August 640) was Pope two months, from 28 May until his death on 2 Aug. He became caught up in a power struggle with the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius over the ongoing Monothelite controversy.[1]


Papacy began28 May 640
Papacy ended2 August 640
PredecessorHonorius I
SuccessorJohn IV
Personal details
Birth nameSeverinus
BornRome, Byzantine Empire
Died2 August 640 (aged 55)
Rome, Byzantine Empire

Election and struggle with Constantinople

He was a Roman. His father was named Avienus, according to the Liber Pontificalis. The name of the father suggests descent from members of the Roman Senate.[2] A previous Avienus was Roman consul in 501.[3] Severinus was elected on the third day after the death of his predecessor, Honorius I, and the Papal apocrisiarii went to Constantinople to obtain imperial confirmation of his election in October 638.

Before his death, however, Patriarch Sergius I of Constantinople had drawn up the Ecthesis in response to the orthodox synodical letter of Sophronius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and on learning of the death of Pope Honorius had convinced the Emperor to issue this document as an imperial edict in December 638, thus valid across the entire empire. Given directly to Eustachius, the magister militum, he carried it to the Exarch Isaac at Ravenna with instructions that he was to ensure the Pope’s acceptance.

With its declaration of Jesus Christ only possessing one will, Severinus refused to sign it. The exarch therefore refused to confirm the papal election in the Emperor’s name, a situation that endured for over eighteen months. In the meantime, Isaac was determined to achieve his aim, so he commissioned Maurice, the chartoularios, to plunder the Lateran palace and force Severinus to agree to the Ecthesis. Maurice gathered together a party of local discontented nobles and approached the local soldiers, the exercitus Romanus, and convinced them that the Pope had withheld their pay and was keeping the arrears in the Lateran. A mob soon formed and they rushed en masse to the palace.

Severinus managed to keep the hostile forces out of the palace. Maurice tried another tactic and three days later he was admitted into the palace with the city judges whom he won over to his side. They sealed up the treasures, and Maurice sent word to the Exarch that he was free to come to the palace and help himself to the accumulated riches. Isaac soon appeared, and after exiling the leading clergy within the Lateran, spent the next eight days looting the palace, prudently sending a share to the Emperor at Constantinople to prevent his displeasure.[4]

Meanwhile, at Constantinople, the papal envoys had continued to seek the confirmation of Severinus. Emperor Heraclius still refused to grant his confirmation unless Severinus signed his Ecthesis, a Monothelite profession of faith. At first they were clearly told that unless they would go back and persuade the Pope to accept the Ecthesis, they were wasting their time. The legates sought to persuade an unwell and slowly dying Heraclius that they were not there to make professions of faith, but to transact business. The envoys were unwilling to agree to this demand, but they were also unwilling to allow the Roman See to remain vacant indefinitely, so they offered to show Severinus the document and ask him to sign it if he thought it was correct. They made it clear that if the emperor was going to force Severinus to sign it, that all the clergy of the See of Rome would stand together, and such a route would only end in a lengthy and destructive stalemate. This offer was apparently satisfactory, and imperial recognition of the papal election was granted.[5]

Over the following year the legates stood firm, and at last a clearly tired Heraclius backed down, broken by opposition both at Constantinople and at Rome against his Monothelite compromise. The emperor granted the envoys their request, and the legates returned to Rome with the news, and Severinus was finally installed as pope on 28 May 640. Isaac quickly withdrew to Ravenna.

Actions as Pope and death

During the short time he was pope, Severinus condemned the Ecthesis. Convening a synod, he decreed that “as there were two natures in Christ, so there were two natural operations.”[6] He also renewed the mosaics in the apse of Saint Peter’s Basilica. Unfortunately Severinus was already quite old when his election was confirmed, and his reign was only two months long when he died on 2 August 640.

In the Liber Pontificalis, Severinus was described as a kind, generous and mild holy man, a benefactor to the clergy, and a friend to the poor.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope Severinus" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  2. ^ Martindale, Jones & Morris (1992), p. 155
  3. ^ Martindale, John R., "Fl. Avienus iunior 3", Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, Volume 2, Cambridge University Press, 1980, pp. 577–581
  4. ^ Richards, Popes and the papacy, p. 184
  5. ^ Jeffrey Richards, The Popes and the Papacy in the Early Middle Ages (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979), p. 183
  6. ^ Mann, p. 349
  7. ^ Mann, p. 350


  • Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope Severinus" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  • Martindale, John R.; Jones, A.H.M.; Morris, John (1992), The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire – Volume III, AD 527–641, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-20160-5
  • Maxwell-Stuart, P. G. Chronicle of the Popes: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Papacy from St. Peter to the Present, Thames & Hudson, 2002, p. 57. ISBN 0-500-01798-0.
  • Mann, Horace K., The Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages, Volume 1: The Popes Under the Lombard Rule, from St Gregory I (the Great) to Leo III, Part 1 (London, 1912)
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Honorius I
Succeeded by
John IV

An officer-elect refers to a person who has been elected to a position but has not yet been installed. For example, a president who has been elected but not yet installed would be referred to as a president-elect (e.g. President-elect of the United States).

Analogously, the term -designate (e.g. prime minister-designate) is used in systems without direct elections of executive politicians, such as in parliamentary systems, and for appointed officials who have not yet taken office.


Year 640 (DCXL) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 640 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.


The 640s decade ran from January 1, 640, to December 31, 649.

== Events ==

=== 640 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

February 27 – Pepin the Elder, Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia, dies and is succeeded by his son Grimoald. He becomes the head of the Frankish household, and the most powerful man in the Frankish Kingdom (approximate date).

King Chintila dies of natural causes after a 3-year reign, in which he permitted the bishops wide authority in Hispania, Septimania and Galicia. He is succeeded by his son Tulga, who becomes ruler of the Visigothic Kingdom (approximate date).

At the request of Porga of Croatia, one of the first dukes or princes (Croatian: knez) of Dalmatian Croatia, the Byzantine emperor Heraclius sends Christian missionaries to the Croatian Provinces (approximate date).

The French city of Lille (according to the legend) is founded by Lydéric. He kills Phinaert in a duel to avenges his parents' deaths (approximate date).

====== Britain ======

King Eadbald of Kent dies after a 24-year reign. He is succeeded by his sons, Eorcenberht and Eormenred, who jointly rule the Kingdom of Kent (now South East England).

Hartlepool Abbey in Northumbria (Northern England) is founded. Wooden huts surrounding a church are built in Saxon style.

====== Africa ======

May – Siege of Babylon Fortress: The Rashidun army lays siege to Babylon Fortress in the Nile Delta (near Cairo). The next two months' fighting remain inconclusive, the Byzantines having the upper hand by repulsing every Muslim assault.

July 6 – Battle of Heliopolis: The Muslim Arab army (15,000 men) under 'Amr ibn al-'As defeats the Byzantine forces near Heliopolis (Egypt). Amr divides his troops into three parts, surrounding the Byzantines.

December 21 – Muslim Arabs capture Babylon after a seven-month siege; during a night assault Arab warriors open the city gates. The Thebaid region (Upper Egypt) is annexed by the Rashidun Caliphate.

December 22 – On orders of the Saracen leader, Amar, the Serapeum of Alexandria, containing works that had survived the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, is burned down, along with its collection of 500,000 manuscripts.

====== Asia ======

Emperor Taizong of Tang begins the military campaigns against the Western Regions states in the Tarim Basin. General Hou Junji captures the kingdom of Gaochang, to solidify Chinese rule in Central Asia.

Nestorian missionaries build the Daqin Pagoda in Chang'an (Shaanxi). Daqin is the name for the Roman Empire or the Near East.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Disibod, Irish monk and hermit, arrives as a missionary in Francia. He begins his religious work in the Vosges and Ardennes.

May 28 – Pope Severinus succeeds Honorius I as the 71st pope. He dies in Rome only two months after being consecrated.

December 24 – Pope John IV succeeds Severinus as the 72nd pope. His election is accepted by the Exarchate of Ravenna.

=== 641 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

February 11 – Emperor Heraclius, age 65, dies of dropsy at Constantinople after a 31-year reign. He reorganized the imperial administration, but lost Armenia, Egypt, Palestine, Syria and much of Mesopotamia to the Muslim Arabs. Heraclius is succeeded by his sons Constantine III and Heraklonas.

May – Constantine III, age 29, dies of tuberculosis after a four-month reign, leaving his half-brother Heraklonas sole emperor. Rumors spread that Constantine has been poisoned by Heraclius's second wife (and niece) Martina.

September – The Byzantine Senate turns against Martina and her son Heraklonas, who are both mutilated and exiled to Rhodes. Supported by general Valentinus, Constantine's son Constans II, age 10, succeeds to the throne.

Constans II establishes a new civil-military defensive organisation, based upon geographical military district. Byzantine forces maintain the frontier along the line of the Taurus Mountains (Southern Turkey).

====== Europe ======

Aega, Mayor of the Palace and regent (alongside of queen mother Nanthild) of Neustria and Burgundy, dies during the reign of King Clovis II. He is replaced by Erchinoald, a relative of Dagobert I's mother.

The Lombards under King Rothari conquer Genoa (Liguria) and all remaining Byzantine territories in the lower Po Valley, including Oderzo (Opitergium).

Arechis I, duke of Benevento (northeast of Naples), dies after a 50-year reign and is succeeded by his son Aiulf I.

====== Britain ======

Prince Oswiu of Bernicia conquers Gododdin (or "The Old North") as far north as Manau (modern Scotland), on behalf of his half-brother, King Oswald (approximate date).

King Bridei II dies after a 5-year reign, and is succeeded by his brother Talorc III as ruler of the Picts.

====== Africa ======

November 8 – Siege of Alexandria: Muslim Arabs under 'Amr ibn al-'As capture Alexandria after a fourteen-month siege. Byzantine officials formally capitulate to Amr, turning the city over to Arab hands.

The city of Fustat (later Cairo) is founded in Egypt. It becomes the first capital of Egypt under Muslim rule.

====== Asia ======

Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty (China) instigates a civil war in the Western Turkic Khaganate, by supporting Isbara Yabghu Qaghan.

November 17 – Emperor Jomei of Japan, age 48, dies after a 12-year reign.

Uija becomes the last king of the Korean kingdom of Baekje.

=== 642 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Emperor Constans II marries Fausta, daughter of Valentinus, a general of Armenian origin. He proclaims her Augusta, and appoints his father-in-law to commander-in-chief of the Byzantine army. Valentinus is allowed to wear the imperial purple, and becomes the most powerful man in the Byzantine Empire.

====== Europe ======

April 30 – Chindasuinth, a Gothic warlord (already 79 years old), commences a rebellion and deposes King Tulga in Toledo, Spain. He is proclaimed king by the Visigothic nobility and anointed by the bishops. Tulga is tonsured and sent out to live his days in a monastery.

Radulf, a Frankish aristocrat, revolts against King Sigebert III of Austrasia and defeats his army, taking the title of rex or king of Thuringia.

====== Britain ======

August 5 – Battle of Maserfield: King Penda of Mercia defeats and kills King Oswald of Northumbria, age 38, at Oswestry (West Midlands). He commands a united British and Mercian force, which includes the Welsh army of Kings Cadafael Cadomedd of Gwynedd and Cynddylan of Pengwern. The Mercians become dominant in the English Midlands.

Oswiu succeeds his half-brother Oswald as king of Bernicia. He strengthens his position by marrying Eanflæd, daughter of King Edwin of Northumbria, then in exile in the Kingdom of Kent. This marriage takes place between 642 and 644.

====== Persia ======

Battle of Nahāvand: The Rashidun army (30,000 men) under Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas defeats the Persians at Nahāvand (modern Iran). The Persian cavalry, full of confidence, mounts an ill-prepared attack. The Arabs retreat to a safe area, where they outmanoeuvre and destroy the Persians in a narrow mountain valley.

====== Africa ======

Battle of Dongola: 'Amr ibn al-'As sends an Arab expedition of 20,000 horsemen, under his cousin Uqba ibn Nafi, to Makuria (Southern Egypt). The Nubians strike hard against the Muslims near Dongola with hit-and-run attacks. The Arab incursions into Nubia are temporarily halted.

====== Asia ======

Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty issues a decree throughout China, that increases the punishment for men who deliberately inflict injuries upon themselves (most commonly breaking their own legs) in order to avoid military conscription. This decree is an effort to eradicate this practice that has grown as a trend since the time of the rebellion against the Sui Dynasty.

Taizong supports a revolt by Turkic tribes against the rebellious Tu-lu Qaghan of the Western Turkic Khaganate.

Empress Kōgyoku ascends to the throne of Japan, after her husband (and uncle) Emperor Jomei's death in 641.

Winter – Yeon Gaesomun seizes power over Goguryeo (Korea), and places King Bojang on the throne.

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and sciences ======

The earliest surviving dated Arabic-language papyrus (PERF 558), found in Heracleopolis (Egypt), and the earliest known Arabic text with diacritical marks is written.

====== Architecture ======

Arabs begin construction of the Mosque of Amr at Cairo, the first mosque built in Egypt and in all of Africa.

====== Religion ======

October 12 – Pope John IV dies after a 2-year reign. He is succeeded by a Jerusalem-born cleric of Greek descent, Theodore I, as the 73rd pope of Rome.

A monastic settlement is founded in Hampshire (England) which later becomes Winchester Cathedral.

=== 643 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Emperor Constans II recognises Theodore Rshtuni as ruler of Armenia, after his successful campaign against the Muslims. He names him commander (nakharar) of the Armenian army.

Maurikios names himself dux of Rome, and revolts against exarch Isaac (Exarchate of Ravenna). He declares Rome's independence from the Exarchate and from the Byzantine Empire.

====== Europe ======

King Rothari of the Lombards issues the Edictum Rothari, which is the first codification of Lombard law (written in Latin). The edict guarantees rights only for Lombard subjects.

Duke Leuthari II has Otto, mayor of the palace of Austrasia, murdered. He is succeeded by Grimoald the Elder, the eldest son of Pepin of Landen.

====== Britain ======

King Cynegils of Wessex dies after a 32-year reign, and is succeeded by his son Cenwalh (who is still pagan); he marries the sister of King Penda of Mercia (approximate date).

====== Persia ======

Peroz III, son of Yazdegerd III, the last Sassanid king of Persia, flees to territory under the control of the Tang Dynasty in China (approximate date).

====== Africa ======

Arab–Byzantine War: Arab armies continue their military expansion into North Africa and lay siege to Tripoli. The city is captured after one month.

'Amr ibn al-'As sends a detachment to Sabratha (modern Libya). The city puts up feeble resistance, but soon surrenders and agrees to pay Jizya.

====== Asia ======

Chinese prefectural government officials travel to the capital of Chang'an, to give the annual report of the affairs in their districts. Emperor Taizong discovers that many have no proper quarters to rest in, and are renting rooms with merchants. Therefore, Taizong orders the government agencies in charge of municipal construction to build every visiting official his own private mansion in the capital.

A Chinese embassy is sent to the North Indian Empire. They are invited by Emperor Harsha, who holds a Buddhist convocation at the capital Kannauj, which is attended by 20 kings and thousands of pilgrims.

Taizong commissions artist Yan Liben to paint in the Lingyan Pavilion the life-size portraits of 24 government officials, to commemorate their service and contributions to the founding of the Tang Dynasty.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Æbbe establishes a monastery at Ebchester, known as Kirk Hill at St Abb's Head near Coldingham (Scotland).

=== 644 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Valentinus, Byzantine general, attempts to usurp the throne of his son-in-law Constans II. He appears at the gates of Constantinople with a contingent of Byzantine troops, and demands to be crowned emperor. His claim is rejected, and Valentinus is lynched by the populace.

====== Britain ======

Oswine, son of the late king Osric of Deira, manages, despite armed objections from King Oswiu of Bernicia, to establish himself as king of Deira (Northern England). His succession, probably the choice of the people of Deira, splits the Kingdom of Northumbria.

====== Arabian Empire ======

November 6 – Caliph Umar, age 65, dies of wounds inflicted on November 3 by the Persian slave Piruz Nahavandi at Medina, after a 10-year reign. On his death bed he appoints a committee to determine his successor. They select Uthman ibn Affan, who becomes caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate.

====== Asia ======

Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty sends a Chinese expeditionary force, to invade and annex the Tarim Basin kingdom of Karasahr in Xinjiang, a vassal of the Western Turkic Khaganate. The oasis state is conquered, and Western Turks sent to assist Karasahr are defeated by the Tang forces.

=== 645 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Alexandria revolts against Arab rule at the appearance of a Byzantine fleet, (300 ships) and Byzantine forces recapture the city. Abdullah ibn Sa'ad, Arab governor of Egypt, mounts an assault and retakes it. He begins building a Muslim fleet.

====== Europe ======

Plato, exarch (imperial governor) of Ravenna, invades the southern Po Valley. The Lombards under King Rothari defeat him on the banks of the Panaro River (near Modena); 8,000 imperial troops are killed.

====== Britain ======

King Cenwalh of Wessex (according to Bede) is driven from his kingdom by his brother-in-law, King Penda of Mercia. He flees to the court of king Anna of East Anglia, and is baptised while in exile. Penda overruns Wessex.

Gwynedd and much of Wales is in the grasp of famine. Would-be king Cadwaladr Fendigaid flees to Brittany. Civil war continues in his kingdom (approximate date).

====== Japan ======

July 10 – Isshi Incident: Prince Naka-no-Ōe and Fujiwara no Kamatari assassinate Soga no Iruka, during a coup d'état at the imperial palace.

Empress Kōgyoku is forced to abdicate the throne in favor of her younger brother Kōtoku, age 49, who becomes the 36th emperor of Japan.

Naka-no-Ōe becomes crown prince and prime minister. Supporters of the semi-legendary regent Prince Shōtoku gain supremacy in Japan.

Emperor Kōtoku establishes the Taika Reform: a land reform based on Confucian ideas and philosophies from China (approximate date).

Kōtoku creates a new city at Naniwa, and moves the capital from Yamato Province. The capital has a sea port, establishing foreign trade and diplomatic relations.

====== China ======

Goguryeo–Tang War: A Chinese expeditionary army under Emperor Taizong crosses the Liao River into Goguryeo (One of the Three kingdoms of Korea).

July 18 – Tang forces under Li Shiji heading southeast, toward the Yalu River, put the strategic fortress city of Ansi (Liaoning) under siege.

September – Taizong is unable to capture Ansi fortress defended by Korean general Yang Manchun. Food supplies running low, he withdraws his forces.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Xuanzang, Chinese Buddhist monk, returns to China after a 16-year pilgrimage to India. He is greeted with much honor by Emperor Taizong.

The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda at Ci'en Temple, Xi'an (Shanxi) is first erected during the Tang Dynasty (approximate date).

=== 646 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Arab-Byzantine War: Alexandria is recaptured by the Muslim Arabs after a Byzantine attempt (see 645) to retake Egypt fails, ending nearly 1,000 years of Greco-Roman civilization.

Gregory the Patrician, Byzantine exarch of Africa, begins a rebellion against Constans II and proclaims himself emperor. The revolt finds broad support among the populace.

====== Arabian Empire ======

Caliph Uthman ibn Affan founds the city of Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) on the coast of the Red Sea. He establishes a port for Muslim pilgrims making the required Hajj to Mecca.

====== Africa ======

Battle of Nikiou: The Rashidun army (15,000 men) under Amr ibn al-'As defeats a smaller Byzantine force, near the fortified town of Nikiou (Egypt).

Amr ibn al-'As builds fortifications in Alexandria and quarters in the vicinity a strong garrison, which twice a year is relieved from Upper Egypt.

====== China ======

Summer – Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty destroys the Xueyantuo state, during the campaign against the Xueyantuo (Central Asia).

====== Japan ======

Emperor Kōtoku makes a decree about the policies of building tombs. He discontinues the old customs of sacrificing people in honor of a dead man, and forbids ill-considered rituals about purgation.

A Great Reform edict changes Japan's political order. It will lead to the establishment of a centralized government with Kōtoku ruling from his palace, Naniwa Nagara-Toyosaki Palace, in Osaka.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Xuanzang completes his book Great Tang Records on the Western Regions, which becomes later one of the primary sources for the study of medieval Central Asia and India.

=== 647 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Arab–Byzantine War: An Arab army (20,000 men) under Abdullah ibn Sa'ad invades the Byzantine Exarchate of Africa. It conquers Tripolitania and the city of Sufetula, 150 miles (240 km) south of Carthage.

Self-proclaimed emperor Gregory the Patrician is killed during the Arab invasion at Sufetula. Africa returns to imperial allegiance after his death, but the foundation of Byzantine rule is fatally undermined.

====== Asia ======

Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty sends a Chinese mission to study Indian techniques of sugar manufacturing, at Bihar in the Ganges Valley.

Taizong establishes a Chinese military government to pacify the former territory of Xueyantuo, which extends to the Altai Mountains in the west.

Emperor Harsha, ruler of northern India, dies after a 41-year reign. His kingdom disintegrates into smaller states.

Jindeok becomes queen of the Korean kingdom of Silla.

==== By topic ====

====== Astronomy and science ======

A stone tower astronomical observatory (named Cheomseongdae) at Gyeongju is constructed in Silla (South Korea) around this time.

====== Religion ======

Hilda of Whitby, age 33, is persuaded by Aidan, bishop of Lindisfarne, to enter the monastic life at Hartlepool Abbey (Northumbria).

=== 648 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Emperor Constans II, to quiet the intense controversy caused by the Monothelete doctrine, issues an imperial edict forbidding the subject to be discussed. This edict, distributed by patriarch Paul II in Constans' name, is known as the Typos.

====== Europe ======

King Sigebert II of Austrasia is advised by Remaclus to establish a double-monastery at Stavelot and Malmedy. As a missionary bishop he founds an abbey on the River Amblève (modern Belgium).

====== Britain ======

King Cenwalh of Wessex returns from a 3-year exile in East Anglia to reclaim his kingdom. He gives 3,000 hides of land around Ashdown to his nephew Cuthred, possibly sub-king of Berkshire (England).

Cenwahl invites bishop Birinus to establish under his direction the Old Minster in Winchester. Together they have a small stone church built.

====== Asia ======

Tang general Ashina She'er re-establishes Tang control of Karasahr, and leads a military campaign against the Tarim Basin kingdom of Kucha in Xinjiang, a vassal of the Western Turkic Khaganate.

====== Americas ======

In an early skirmish in the run up to the Second Tikal-Calakmul War, B'alaj Chan K'awiil scores a military victory, apparently over his half-brother, who had galled him by using the same royal emblem (or emblem glyph) as he did.

Dos Pilas breaks away from Tikal and becomes a vassal state of Calakmul.

==== By topic ====

====== Literature ======

The Book of Jin is compiled in China during the Tang Dynasty. Its chief editor is the chancellor Fang Xuanling, who dies in this year as well.

====== Religion ======

Pope Theodore I excommunicates Paul II of Constantinople.

=== 649 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Arab–Byzantine War: Arab naval forces under Abdullah ibn Saad conquer Cyprus, sacking the capital Constantia after a short siege, and looting the rest of the island. The Cypriots agree to pay the same revenue as they have done to Emperor Constans II.

Constans II orders Olympius, exarch of the Exarchate of Ravenna, to arrest Pope Martin I on the ostensible grounds that the pope's election has not been submitted to the emperor for approval, but in fact because of the Lateran Council of 649's condemnation of Monothelitism and the Type of Constans. Olympius attempts to gain the support of the citizens of Rome and the bishops, with little success, and perhaps considers the assassination of the Pope.

====== Europe ======

January 20 – King Chindasuinth, at the urging of bishop Braulio of Zaragoza, crowns his son Recceswinth as co-ruler of the Visigothic Kingdom.

====== Arabian Empire ======

Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan, governor of Syria, develops an Arab navy in the Levant and uses it to confront the Byzantine Empire in the Aegean Sea. It is manned by Monophysitise Christian, Coptic and Syrian Christian sailors.

====== China ======

January 19 – The Tang campaign against Kucha ends after the forces of Kucha surrender, following a 40-day siege led by general Ashina She'er, establishing Chinese control over the northern Tarim Basin (Xinjiang).

July 10 – Emperor Tai Zong dies after a 23-year reign, in which he has restored the civil administration in the Chinese Empire. He is succeeded by his son Gao Zong, age 20, who becomes ruler of the Tang dynasty.

====== Japan ======

Emperor Kōtoku has Soga no Kurayamada accused of treason. He strangles himself at the temple of Yamada-dera. Other relatives of the Soga clan are captured and executed.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

May 14 – Pope Theodore I dies after a 7-year reign, in which he has shown generosity to the poor. He is succeeded on July 5 by Martin I as the 74th pope.

October 5 – The Lateran Council of 649, summoned by Theodore and carried forward by Martin, opens. It strongly condemns Monothelitism and the Type of Constans.

August 2

August 2 is the 214th day of the year (215th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 151 days remain until the end of the year.

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.


The Ecthesis (Greek: Ἔκθεσις) is a letter published in 638 CE by the Byzantine emperor Heraclius which defined monotheletism as the official imperial form of Christianity.

Isaac the Armenian

Isaac the Armenian was an Exarch of Ravenna hailing from the Kamsarakan clan. The chronology of the Exarchate in this period is uncertain: either he succeeded Euselnus and served c. 625 – 644; or he succeeded Eleutherius, and served 620 – 637.

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.

Maurikios Chartoularios

Maurikios Chartoularios (Greek: Μαυρίκιος ὀ χαρτουλάριος), Latinized as Mauricius Chartularius (died 643 at Ravenna), was a Byzantine rebel in Italy.

In 638 the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (r. 610–641) demanded that the newly elected Pope, Severinus sign his assent to the Ecthesis, a document which defined monotheletism as the official imperial form of Christianity. When Severinus refused, Heraclius in turn refused to recognise him as Pope, and sent his chartoularios (secretary) Maurikios to Rome to obtain the Pope’s agreement to the Ecthesis.

After his arrival, Maurikios, with the support of the local Roman militia, occupied the Lateran and plundered the papal palace. The Exarch Isaac also rushed to Rome and seized the Lateran treasure for the emperor, although he and Maurikios retained a significant portion for themselves. As a result, for almost two years Severinus was denied access to his office.

In 643, Maurikios, now the dux of Rome, attempted to repeat his successful action, but this time he was determined to not share any of the plunder with anyone. He revolted against Isaac, and declared Rome’s independence from the Exarchate and from the emperor, Constans II (r. 641–668). In response, Isaac dispatched his magister militum Donus, who crushed the revolt. Maurikios sought sanctuary in the church of Saint Maria ad Praesepe, but he was dragged from the church and sent in chains to Ravenna and beheaded.


Monothelitism or monotheletism (from Greek μονοθελητισμός "doctrine of one will") is a particular teaching about how the divine and human relate in the person of Jesus. The Christological doctrine formally emerged in Armenia and Syria in 629. Specifically, monothelitism is the view that Jesus Christ has two natures but only one will. That is contrary to the Christology that Jesus Christ has two wills (human and divine) that correspond to his two natures (dyothelitism). Monothelitism is a development of the Neo-Chalcedonian position in the Christological debates. Formulated in 638, it enjoyed considerable popularity, even garnering patriarchal support, before being rejected and denounced as heretical in 681, at the Third Council of Constantinople.

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.


Severinus is a name held by multiple people.

Severinus iunior

Severinus (consul 461), Roman consul

Severinus, Exuperius, and Felician, saints

Severinus of Bordeaux, saint

Severinus of Cologne, saint

Severinus of Noricum, saint

Severinus of Sanseverino, saint

Severinus Boethius, Roman consul and philosopher,

Pope Severinus, pope

Severinus of Saxony, prince

Severinus Desiré Emanuels


Saint Ségéne (also called Segein, Segeni, Segeno, Seghene, Segin, Segine, Ségíne, Segineus, Segini, Seighin) b. c. 610 - d. 24 May 688, was the Bishop of Armagh, Ireland from 661 to 24 May 688.

Ségéne mac Fiachnaí

Ségéne mac Fiachnaí (or Ségéne of Iona) (died 12 August 652) was the fifth abbot of the Iona Abbey in Scotland (623–652).

Ségéne was of the Cenél Conaill, the same kindred as Columba, and he was the nephew of a previous abbot, Lasrén. It was during Ségéne's long abbacy that the famous controversy regarding the dating of Easter first made itself properly felt. Ségéne is known to have vigorously defended the Gaelic dating, and put his name to a letter written by the Gaelic clergy to Pope Severinus in 638.

Ségéne also established the first Gaelic missionaries amongst the English, sending Corman and then Áedan, the latter of whom, with the help of King Oswald of Northumbria (who himself had spent time in exile at Iona), established a daughter house and bishopric at Lindisfarne. It is not known if Ségéne ever met Columba, but he was a vital collector/transmitter of stories about the saint.

He died on 12 August 652.

Type of Constans

The Type of Constans (also called Typos of Constans) was an imperial edict issued by Byzantine Emperor Constans II in 648 in an attempt to defuse the confusion and arguments over the Christological doctrine of Monotheletism. For over two centuries, there had been a bitter debate regarding the nature of Christ: the orthodox Chalcedonian position defined Christ as having two natures in one person, whereas Monophysite opponents contended that Jesus Christ possessed but a single nature. At the time, the Byzantine Empire had been at near constant war for fifty years and had lost large territories. It was under great pressure to establish domestic unity. This was hampered by the large number of Byzantines who rejected the Council of Chalcedon in favour of Monophysitism.

The Type attempted to dismiss the entire controversy, on pain of dire punishment. This extended to kidnapping the Pope from Rome to try him for high treason and mutilating one of the Type's main opponents. Constans died in 668. Ten years later his son, Constantine IV, fresh from a triumph over his Arab enemies and with the predominately Monophysitic provinces irredeemably lost, called the Third Council of Constantinople. It decided with an overwhelming majority to condemn Monophysitism, Monotheletism, the Type of Constans and its major supporters. Constantine put his seal to the Council's decisions, and reunited such of Christendom as was not under Arab suzerainty.


Saint Tómméne (also called Thoman, Thomanus, Thomenus, Thomian, Thomianus, Thomienus, Toimen, Toimene, Tóiméne, Tomiano, Tómíne, Tomini, Tomméin, Tommene,Tommine, Tomyn, Comméne, Comyn, Terenannus) b. c.580 - d.10 January 661, was the Bishop of Armagh, Ireland from 623 to 10 January 661.

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