Boniface III, Pope

views updated


Pontificate: Feb. 19 to Nov. 10, 607. A Roman in the service of the Holy See as primus defensor, Boniface was appointedaposcrisiarius to the court of the Byzantine Emperor Phocas in 603 by gregory the great. Boniface was a more successful diplomat than sabinian, who had preceded him as apocrisarius as he was to precede him as pope, and he won the support of the imperial court for the papacy and obtained from Phocas a decree repeating the Novella (Corpus iuris civilis, Novellae 131.2.14) of Justinian, whereby the Roman pontiff was recognized as head of all churches. This pronouncement contradicted the title "ecumenical partiarch" then recently assumed by the Partriarch of Constantinople,john iv the Faster, and his successor, Cyriacusa title Pope Gregory had felt challenged the unity of the Church under the pope. The most noteworthy legislation of Boniface's short pontificate was the decree of a Roman council whereby anathema was pronounced on anyone who would propose the successor to a pope or bishop before the third day after his death.

Bibliography: Liber pontificalis, ed. l. duchesne (Paris 18861958) 1:316. Gregori Registrum epistolorum XIII, 41, ed. p. ewald and l. m. hartmann, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Epistolae 12. c. j. von hefele, Histoire des conciles d'après les documents originaux (Paris 190738) 3.1:247. h. k. mann, The Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages from 590 to 1304 (London 190232) 1.1:259267. Cambridge Medieval History 4.1:440. p. jaffÉ, Regesta pontificum romanorum ab condita ecclesia ad annum post Christum natum 1198 (Graz 1956) 1:220; 2:698. a. fliche and v. martin, eds., Histoire de l'église depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours (Paris 1935) 5:71, 393. j. n. d. kelly, Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York 1986) 68.

[p. j. mullins]