Sergius I, Pope, St.

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Pontificate: Dec. 15, 687 to Sept. 7, 701; b. Palermo, Sicily; d. Rome. Sergius, born of a Syrian family from Antioch living in Palermo, went to Rome under Pope ad eodatus, was ordained, and under Leo II became titular priest of St. Susanna. After Pope conon's death, a triple election of the archdeacon Paschal, the archpriest Theodore, and Sergius, was resolved in Sergius's favor (December of 687). Theodore submitted but Paschal died in prison five years later, unrepentant. The exarch John Platyn demanded the gold promised him by Paschal if elected, and Sergius was forced to pay before Platyn would permit his consecration. Sergius rejected the reforming decrees of the quinisext or Trullan council (692) that opposed Roman practices and laws: canons 3, 13, and 30 sanctioned a married clergy; canon 36 called for the exaltation of Constantinople as had the Councils of Constantinople I and Chalcedon; and canons 52 and 55 differed sharply from western Lenten practices. Papal legates in Constantinople signed the acts, but Sergius disavowed their action. Emperor Justinian II arrested two councilors of the pope and tried to capture the pope himself, but the militias of Ravenna, the Pentapolis, and Rome prevented this. Schismatic Aquileia, alienated by the three chap ters controversy, was restored to unity through the Lombard King Cunipert and the pope. Sergius baptized King caedwalla of wessex (689), sent the pallium to Abp. brithwald of canterbury, ordered wilfrid of york restored to his see, and granted the privileges aldhelm had requested. He wrote to jarrow abbey asking that a learned monk (bede?) be sent to aid the curialists in Rome. Sergius was also on good terms with the Frankish kingdom, and it was he who blessed and encouraged wil librord's mission to the Frisians. Sergius added the Agnus Dei to the Mass and introduced processions on the four great feasts of Our Lady.

Feast: Sept. 9.

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[c. m. aherne]