Pope Constantine

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Pope Constantine (664 – April 9, 715) was pope from 708 to 715. With the exception of Antipope Constantine, he was the only pope to take such a "quintessentially" Eastern name of an emperor.[1] During this period, the regnal name was also used by emperors and patriarchs.

Selected as one of the last popes of the Byzantine Papacy, the defining moment of Constantine's pontificate was his 710/711 visit to Constantinople where he compromised with Justinian II on the Trullan canons of the Quinisext Council. Constantine was the last pope to visit Constantinople until Pope Paul VI did again in 1967.[2][3]


Early life

Constantine was a Syrian by birth, fluent in the Greek language, and immersed in Eastern rituals and practices.[4] By his upbringing, he would have been "fully at ease in the oriental milieu of the early-eight-century Byzantine court".[4]

Before his selection as pope, he had visited Constantinople twice.[4] He was one of the Roman legates to the Third Council of Constantinople there in 680/681.[4] He also delivered a combative letter from Pope Leo II to Constantine IV in 682.[4] He met and developed a rapport with Prince Justinian, the heir apparent to the Byzantine throne, on both occasions.[4]

Selection as Pope

Constantine's predecessor Pope Sisinnius, a Syrian, was pope for only twenty days.[5] Constantine became pope in March 708, less than two months later.[5] Constantine was one of the many Greek popes of the Byzantine Papacy, the period during which Rome was under the rule of the Byzantine Empire and popes required the approval of the emperor for consecration as pope.

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