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Popes of the 8th Century

History of the Roman Catholic Papacy and Church

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Below is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the eighth century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the starting and ending dates of their reigns, and finally the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read short biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they had on the course of the Roman Catholic Church.

 

84. St. Sergius I: December 15, 687 - September 8, 701 (13 years, 8 months)
Sergius I was ordered by Emperor Justinian to sign the decrees issued by "Trullan Council" of 692. Among these decrees were findings which placed the patriarch of Constantinople on the same level as the pope and decisions which would allow married men to retain their wives after becoming priests.

85. John VI: October 30, 701 - January 11, 705 (3 years)
Pope John VI isn't known for much except that he had to try and maintain a delicate balance between the power of the emperor in Constantinople and Italian leaders who were resisting imperial rule.

86. John VII: March 1, 705 - October 18, 707 (2 years, 7 months)
Pope John VII was the first pope to have been the son of an imperial official - these imperial ties seem to have been a principle reason why John was able to keep from angering the imperial officials at Constantinople.

87. Sisinnius: January 15, 708 - February 4, 708 (20 days)
Why Sisinnius was elected pope remains something of a mystery to this very day. He was so ill that he died after just twenty days as pope and his gout was so bad that he wasn't even able to feed himself. If he is remembered for anything, it is for not being memorable.

88. Constantine: March 25, 708 - April 9, 715 (7 years)
Pope Constantine managed to heal a long-standing rift between East and West when he met Emperor Justinian II at Nicomedia in 711. Here the emperor kissed the pope's foot as a sign of obedience and Constantine administered communion to Jusitinian as a sign of his readmission to the Church.

89. St. Gregory II: May 19, 715 - February 11, 731 (15 years)
Gregory II has become known for a variety of political successes and defeats. On the positive side, he managed to stave off Lombard encroachments on Rome by buying them off with 30 pounds of gold.

90. St. Gregory III: March 18, 731 - November 28, 741 (10 years)
Gregory III was the very last pope to try and get the Byzantine exarch in Ravenna (political representative of the Byzantine empire in Italy) to grant approval of the papal consecration.

91. St. Zachary: December 3, 741 - March 15, 752 (10 years)
Pope Zacharias is chiefly known for his political acumen - unlike his predecessors, he was able to reach agreements with Lombard rulers, preventing for example the exarchate of Ravenna from coming under Lombard domination.

92. Stephen II: March 23, 752 - March 26, 752 (2 days)
Stephen II was a popular candidate and he was unanimously elected to succeed Zachary. Unfortunately, Stephen died after just a couple of days and before he could be consecrated.

93. Stephen III (II): March 26, 752 - April 26, 757 (5 years)
Stephen III reigned at a time when the papacy was under severe pressure Byzantine emperors. Because of this, he turned to Pepin the short, Mayor of the Palace of the Kingdom of the Franks.

94. St. Paul I: May 29, 757 - June 28, 767 (10 years)
Pope Paul I, the younger brother of his predecessary Pope Stephen III, had some difficulty in dealing with the growing support of iconoclasm from Constantinople.

95. Stephen IV (III): August 7, 768 - January 24, 772 (3 years)
Stephen IV is not known for having done much of anything remarkable, except that he crowned and anointed Louis the Pious, successor of Charlemagne.

96. Adrian I: February 1, 772 - December 25, 795 (23 years, 10 months)
Adrian I was beset by numerous political problems, the most immediate of which was when Desiderius, king of the Lombards, invaded the Papal States right after Adrian was elected.

97. St. Leo III: December 26, 795 - June 12, 816 (20 years)
Leo III has been known to history as "Charlemagne's Pope." He came from the lower classes and, as a result, the aristocrats who formed the bulk of the Vatican hierarchy always resented him.

 

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