John VII, Pope
JOHN VII, POPE
Pontifcate: Mar. 1, 705 to Oct. 18, 707; d. Rome. John was of Greek ancestry, the son of that Plato whose epitaph records his restoration of the imperial palaces at Rome. John's own building activity at St. Peter's, St. Eugenia's, and S. Maria Antiqua is noted by the Liber pontificalis. During his reign King Aribert II (701–712) of the Lombards restored to the Roman Church its patrimony in the Cottian Alps. Emperor justinian ii, probably in 706, dispatched two bishops from Constantinople to request a Roman synod that would indicate which of the 102 canons decreed by the quinisext synod in 692 were objectionable to the Holy See. Pope sergius i (687–701) had earlier rejected all of them, but John returned the canons without emendation. His contemporary biographer censured him for this; but the papal action may well have been an indication that the question was no longer open. Two contemporary likenesses of John are extant: one in mosaic, in the Grotto of St. Peter's, Rome; the other in a painting in S. Maria Antiqua, Rome.
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[h. g. j. beck]