Pope Martin I

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Pope Saint Martin I, born near Todi, Umbria in the place now named after him (Pian di San Martino), was pope from 649 to 653, succeeding Theodore I in 5th July 649. The only pope during the Byzantine Papacy whose election was not approved by an iussio from Constantinople, Martin I was abducted by Constans II and died in the Crimean peninsula.

He was the last apocrisiarius (a high diplomatic representative, the title being used by Byzantine ambassadors as well as by the representatives of bishops to the secular authorities) to be elected pope.



He had previously acted as papal apocrisiarius or legate at Constantinople, and was held in high repute for his learning and virtue.

Papacy (649–653)

One of his first official acts was to summon the Lateran Council of 649 to deal with the Monothelites, whom the Church considered heretical. The Council met in the church of St. John Lateran, was attended by 105 bishops (chiefly from Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia, with a few from Africa and other quarters), held five sessions or secretarii from October 5 to October 31, 649, and in twenty canons condemned the Monothelites, its authors, and the writings by which Monothelitism had been promulgated. In this condemnation were included, not only the Ecthesis (the exposition of faith of the patriarch Sergius for which the emperor Heraclius had stood sponsor), but also the typus of Paul, the successor of Sergius, which had the support of the reigning emperor (Constans II).

Abduction and exile (653–655)

Martin was very energetic in publishing the decrees of the Lateran Council of 649 in an encyclical, and Constans replied by enjoining his exarch (governor) in Italy to arrest the pope, should he persist in this line of conduct, and send Martin as a prisoner to Constantinople.

These orders were found impossible to carry out for a considerable space of time, but at last Martin was arrested in the Lateran on June 17, 653, along with Maximus the Confessor. He was hurried out of Rome and conveyed first to Naxos, Greece, and subsequently to Constantinople, arriving on September 17, 653. After suffering an exhausting imprisonment and many alleged public indignities, he was ultimately banished to Chersonesos Taurica (a city in present-day southern Ukraine in the Crimea region), where he arrived on May 15, 655, and died on September 16 of that year. His feast day is April 13.

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