Zachary, Pope, St.

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Pontificate: Dec. 3, 741 to March 15, 752. Nothing is known of his early life except that he was the son of a Greek, Polychronius, of Calabria. His pontificate was marked by charity for the clergy and poor of Rome, but especially by vigorous diplomatic relations with the lombards, the Byzantine Empire, and the franks. Under Zachary's predecessor, gregory iii, the papacy had continually suffered the depredations of the Lombard King Liutprand. In line with his new political orientation, Zachary repudiated the alliance of the papacy with the duke of Spoleto against Liutprand and, instead, personally met with the king on two occasions, persuading him to return the four cities he had taken from the Duchy of Rome and to desist from attacking ravenna. Thus he achieved peace with the Lombards.

In accord with his desire to maintain friendly relations with Byzantium, Zachary immediately dispatched envoys to the church of constantinople and to the iconoclastic Emperor constantine v Copronymos to inform them of his election and to exhort the emperor to restore the use of sacred images. His envoys shrewdly withheld their letters from the usurper Artabasdus, who at that time had seized Constantine's throne while he campaigned against the Saracens. They finally presented their letters in November 743, after the rightful emperor had regained his throne; and he replied with a gift to Rome of two large estates in south Italy.

Zachary's close association with the Frankish church began immediately, as he received boniface's renewed expressions of loyalty and submission to the Chair of Peter and confirmed for him the establishment of the bishoprics of Würzburg, Buraburg, and Erfurt. He also confirmed Boniface as a papal legate to a Frankish council in 742. Until his death Zachary corresponded with Boniface and the Frankish bishops and rulers, fostering ecclesiastical and moral discipline and extending papal jurisdiction among the Franks; e.g., in 743 a Roman synod confirmed the acts of the earlier Frankish council and dealt with a question of impediments to marriage referred by the Franks to his predecessor. Again in 745 Zachary held a council at Rome in which he confirmed the condemnation for heresy of aldebert and Clement, previously condemned by a Frankish council under Boniface. Four years after carloman entered a monastery (747) and left his brother pepin iii as sole ruler in France under a figurehead merovingian, Childeric III, Pepin inaugurated a new era in church-state relations when he obtained the support of Zachary for the deposition of Childeric and for his own coronation (751). History has remembered Zachary for his part in creating the Carolingian-Papal alliance; in his own time he was noted for his Greek translation of the Dialogues of Pope gregory i the Great.

Feast: March 5.

Bibliography: Regesta pontificum romanorum ab condita ecclesia ad annum post Christum natum 1198, ed. p. ewald (Graz 1956) 1:262270. Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Epistolae (Berlin 1826) 3:479487, two letters. Liber pontificalis, ed. l. duchesne (Paris 188692) 1:426439. h. k. mann, The Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages from 590 to 1304 (London 190232) 1.2:225288. e. caspar, Geschichte de Papsttums von den Anfängen bis zur Höhe der Weltherrschaft (Tübingen 193033) 2:710740. É. amann, Dictionnaire de theéologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al. (Paris 190350) 15.2:367175. f. x. seppelt, Geschichte der Päpste von den Anfängen bis zur Mitte des 20. Jh. (Munich 1955) 2:108119. a. fliche and v. martin, Histoire de L'église depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours (Paris 1935) 5:418423. a. angenendt, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 2 (Freiburg 1994), s.v. "Concilium Germanicum (742/43)." a. beau, Le culte et les reliques de Saint Benoît et de Sainte Scholastique (Monserrat 1980). de francesco, "Considerazioni storicotopografiche a proposito delle 'domuscultae' laziali," Archivio della Società Romana di Storia Patria 119 (Rome 1996) 547. i. heidrich, "Synode und Hoftag in Düren im August 747," Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters 50 (Köln-Wein 1994) 41540. h. mordek-m. glatthar, "Von Wahrsagerinnen und Zauberern. Ein Beitrag zur Religionspolitik Karls des Großen," Archiv für Kulturgeschichte 75 (Cologne-Vienna 1993) 3364. b. sodaro, Santi e beati di Calabria (Rosarno 1996) 7580. k. wolf, "Mögliche Gründe für Karlmanns d. Ä Resignation 747. Ein kanonistischer Versuch," Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stuftung für Rechtsgeschichte. Kanonistische Abteilung 109 (Vienna 1992) 51731. j. n. d. kelly, Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York 1986) 8990.

[m. c. mccarthy]