Pope Sergius I

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Pope Saint Sergius I (c. 650 – September 8, 701) was pope from 687 to 701. Selected to end a schism between Antipope Paschal and Antipope Theodore, Sergius I ended the last disputed sede vacante of the Byzantine Papacy.

His papacy was dominated by his response to the Quinisext Council, whose canons he refused to accept. As a result of the dispute Justinian II ordered Sergius I's abduction (as his predecessor Constans II had done with Pope Martin I), but with the assistance of the exarch of Ravenna, Sergius I was able to avoid trial in Constantinople.


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.[1] A fellow Sicilian Pope Leo II ordained him cardinal-priest of Santa Susanna on June 27, 683 and he rose through the ranks of the clergy.[1][2] He remained cardinal-priest of S. Susanna until his selection as pope.[1]


Sergius I owed his election as Pope Conon's successor to skillful intrigues against Antipope Paschal and Antipope Theodore, the other candidates. The two armed factions entered open combat before Sergius I was chosen by a group of judges, soldiers, clergy, and citizens.[3] Sergius I was brought to the Palatine imperial palace and then the Lateran.[3] The "numerical superiority" of this new faction forced Theodore from the patriarchium, whereafter he acknowledged Sergius I as pope.[3]

Paschal remained unconvinced, and while pretending to accept Sergius, sent messengers to the exarch of Ravenna John Platyn promising gold in exchange for military support.[3] The exarch arrived, demanded the gold, and looted Old St. Peter's Basilica, but departed after Sergius I's consecration.[3] Paschal was eventually confined to a monastery on charges of witchcraft.[3]

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