The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Leo II (682-683)
683 (I)


(1) 1. CONONE (?-687)

Birth. (No date found), Sicily?. Of Greek origin. His father was a general who had served with the Thracesian regiment in Asia Minor. He is also listed as Conono, Cononius, Conos, Cuno and Conon.

Education. He was educated in Sicily (educatus apud Siciliam). He later went to Rome, where he became a priest.

Cardinalate. Presbyter cardinalis of an unknown title in 683 (?). At the death of Pope John V in August 686, there was a heated debate over his successor. The Roman clergy wanted to elect Archpriest cardinalis Pietro, but the army favored Presbyter cardinalis Teodoro. The clerical faction gathered outside the Lateran basilica and the military occupied the church of S. Stefano Rotondo. The negotiatons between the two groups were unsuccessful. Finally, the faction of the clergy entered the Lateran patriarchium, and forsaking Presbyter cardinalis Teodoro, elected the Greco-Sicilian Presbyter cardinalis Conone as Pope John V's successor. Presbyter cardinalis Teodoro made his submission to Pope Conon I. Archpriest cardinalis Pietro was also abandoned by his supporters in favor of Pope Conon. Pope-elect Conon's ecclesiastical career had taken place in Rome, therefore, he was acceptable to the clergy and the papal bureaucracy. His family's military background made him an acceptable candidate for the army. His election was thus effected with the support of the religious, civil and military parties. Exarch Teodoro of Ravenna confirmed the election quite expeditiously. He was of an advanced age and quite ill at the time of his election to the papacy. He was unworldly, simple minded and possessed a saintly appearance.

Papacy. Consecrated Pope Conon on October 23, 686. Not many details are known of his brief pontificate. Pope Conon received a letter from the new Emperor Justinian II, dated February 17, 686, which had really been addressed to his predecessor. In the letter the emperor notified the pope that he had arranged the transport of the documents from the Sixth Ecumenical Council of Constantinople to his palace in order to assume personal responsibility for them. What the emperor really intended was to emphasize that he considered himself the true master of the Church. This was a troublesome sign for the future. In the letter the emperor also announced that all the high officers of the empire, civil and ecclesiastical, had solemnly endorsed the acts of the Sixth General Council; that he was reducing taxes levied on the papal patrimonies in Lucania and Bruzzio; and that peasants who had been sequestered by the government as security against arrears of tax were being released. His relations with the Roman clergy were damaged when he appointed a subdeacon of the church of Siracusa, Costantino, as rector of the patrimony of the Church in Sicily. The lucrative position had been usually assigned to a Roman cleric; and when the pope allowed Costantino the use of the ceremonial saddle-cloths (mappuli), which was jealously reserved for the Roman clergy, the resentment increased (1). During his pontificate, he consecrated sixteen bishops for different sees. His illness prevented him from celebrating priestly ordinations.

Death. September 21, 687, Rome. On the same day he was buried in the left nave of St. Peter's basilica, Rome. He left gold to the Roman clergy, to the monastery deaconries serving the poor, and to the mansionarii (lay personnel charged with the custody and maintenance of the sacred buildings), like his predecessor had done. His tomb was destroyed during the demolition of the old basilica and the construction of the new one in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Bibliography. Bertolini, Paolo. "Conone." Enciclopedia dei papi. 3 vols. Roma : Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2000, I, 626-629; Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1792, I, pt. 1,; Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificum Romanorum : et S.R.E. Cardinalium ab initio nascentis Ecclesiae usque ad Clementem IX P. O. M. Alphonsi Ciaconii Ord. Praed. & aliorum opera descriptæ : cum uberrimis notis. Ab Augustino Oldoino, Soc. Jesu recognitae, et ad quatuor tomos ingenti ubique rerum accessione productae. Additis Pontificum recentiorum imaginibus, & Cardinalium insignibus, plurimisque aeneis figuris, cum indicibus locupletissimis. Romæ : P. et A. De Rubeis, 1677, I, col. 486-488; Cristofori, Francesco. Cronotasi dei cardinali di Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Tipografia de Propaganda Fide, 1888, p. XXXVIII and 265; Del Re, Niccolò. "Conone, papa." Mondo vaticano. Passato e presente. Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995, p. 372-373; "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux des 10 premiers siècles". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1926. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1927, p. 145, no. 10; Kelly, John Norman Davidson. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 81; Le Liber pontificalis. Paris : E. de Boccard, 1981, 1955. 3 v. : facsims. (Bibliothèque des Écoles françaises d'Athènes et de Rome). Notes: Reprint of the 1955 edition./ Includes indexes./ Vol. 3: "Additions et corrections de L. Duchesne publiées par Cyrille Vogel ... avec L'Histoire du Liber pontificalis dupuis l'édition de L. Duchesne une bibliographie et des tables générales, I, 368-370; Montini, Renzo Uberto. Le tombe dei papi. Roma : Angelo Belardetti, 1957. Note: At head of title: Instituto di studi romani, p. 28, no. 83; Reardon, Wendy J. The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., Publishers, 2004, p. 56; Regesta pontificum Romanorum ab conditio Ecclesia. Ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII. Graz : Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, 1956. 2 v. Reprint. Originally published : Lipsiae : Veit et comp., 1885-1888. Original t.p. included : Regesta pontificum Romanorum ab condita ecclesia : ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII. Editionem secundam correctam et auctam edidit Philippus Jaffè ; auspiciis Gulielmi Wattenbach; curaverunt S. Loewenfeld, F. Kaltenbrunner, P. Ewald, I, 243.

Links. Biography, in English, The Catholic Encyclopedia; biography, in English, Britannica; his image and biography, in English; biography by Joseph Brusher, S.J., in English, Popes through the Ages; biography, in English, The Lives of the Popes in the Seventh Century, The History and the Lives of the Popes; his image and biography, in English, The Church of Santa Susanna, Home of the American Catholic Church in Rome; biography by Paolo Bertolini, in Italian, Enciclopedia dei papai, Treccani; brief biographical data, in Italian, Dizionario biografico degli italiani; biography, in German, Biographisch-Bibliographischen Kirchenlexikons; his engraving, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome; his engraving, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome; his engraving, iStockphoto; his engraving, i.ebayimg.com; engravings, Araldica Vaticana; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; another engraving from the same source; and his effigy on a medal, Numismatic collection of Olomouc archiepiscopate, Czech Republic.

(1) The new rector, homo perperus et tergiversutus (an evil and distorter man), as Pope Conon's biographer in the Liber pontificalis refers to Costantino, quickly provoked conflicts with his employees and violence and disorder followed, which ultimately brought about, not long after the death of the pope, the intervention by Byzantine authorities. Constantine was arrested and sent to the Constantinople to be remitted to the tribunal of the emperor.

Cool Archive

(2) 2. SERGIO (?-701)

Birth. (No date found), Palermo. Of a family from Antioch, Syria. Son of Tiberio. It is probable that the family had gone to Sicily to escape the Arab invasion, which had conquered Antioch in 637.

Education. He went to Rome during the pontificate of Pope Adeodatus II and studied the Lateran schola cantorum. Ca. 680, he was ordained acolyte. He was a person of notable culture and was an accomplished singer.

Cardinalate. Presbyter cardinalis of the title of S. Susanna ad duas domos in 683 (?). When Pope Conon died on September 21, 687, there was another dispute concerning the election of his successor. Part of the Roman population supported Archpriest cardinalis Teodoro, while another proposed the election of Archdeacon cardinalis Pasquale. The former's supporters were able to occupy the Lateran patriarchium, while the other group took over an adjacent oratory and the basilica. The combat that followed during which each side tried to expel the other from the places they had occupied finally ended when a group of judges together with members of the army, the clergy, and a large number of citizens proposed the candidacy of a Syrian presbyter cardinalis named Sergius. The new pope-elect was taken to the imperial palace on the Palatine hill, and from there he was led to the papal residence at the Lateran. Forcing their way into the patriarchium, the supporters of the newly elected pope succeeded in having Archpriest cardinalis Teodoro give up his cause and recognize Sergius as pope. Archdeacon cardinalis Pasquale did not abandon his quest for the papacy and was eventually imprisoned in a monastery. Since neither Archpriest cardinalisTeodoro nor Archdeacon cardinalis Pasquale were ever consecrated, it is doubtful that they should be recognized as an antipopes. Because of the money that Archdeacon cardinalis Paschal had promised to the exarch of Ravenna, Giovanni Platyna, in exchange for approval of his election, Pope Sergius had to pay the exarch to be recognized as the new pope by the exarch. Exarch Platyna had gone to Rome and abandoned Archdeacon cardinalis Pasquale when he saw that the majority of the different factions supported Sergio's election. In 700, after the Council of Pavia, which had been called by King Cuniberto of the Lombards, he received the see of Aquileia, which had been in schism since the condemnation of the Three Chapters by Pope Vigilius in 553, back into communion with the see of Rome.

Papacy. Consecrated Pope Sergius I on December 15, 687, in St. Peter's basilica. On June 8, 688, soon after his consecration as pope, he removed the remains of Pope Leo I the Great from their inconspicuous resting place and had them placed in an ornate tomb in full view of the public inside the basilica. Pope Conon received a letter, which had really been addressed to his predecessor, from the new Emperor Justinian II, dated February 17, 686. He was an able and energetic pontiff and successfully asserted the papal authority in the West. On April 10, 689, he baptized the young King Caedwalla of the West Saxons. A clash between Rome and Constantinople occurred when Emperor Justinian II, trying to emulate his namesake Emperor Justinian by presiding over a general council, convened an assembly of eastern bishops in 692, without inviting the West. The council was held it in the same place as that of 680, the Trullus, but, in order to distinguish it from the Trullian council, it was called the Quinisextum and should have completed the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils. It promulgated 102 disciplinary and liturgical canons transcribed on great parchments which were sent to Pope Sergius I in Rome to have them approved and signed by him. Since the pope had not been invited, the council was "ecumenical" solely in the emperor's mind and the pontiff refused to sign and approve its canons. Among the council's decisions were the abolition of celibacy for priests and deacons; and the attribution to the see of Constantinople of the same prerogatives as ancient Rome, which appeared to be a direct blow at the authority of the Roman see. Given the hostile reaction of the pope, Emperor Justinian II sent a senior Byzantine magistrate to Rome to arrest Bishop Giovanni of Porto, who had been one of the papal legates to the Sixth Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 680; and Priest Bonifazio, consiliarius apostolicae sedis, an adviser to the pope. Once they had been brought to Byzantium, the emperor felt he was in a strong position and sent to Rome a cruel and ferocious man, Zacharias, the protospatarius (the Byzantine chief of military staff), with orders to arrest the pontiff. Pope Sergius I was supposed to meet with the same fate as his predecessor Pope Martin I. But in 692 the times had changed. This additional insult roused the populations of the Pentapolis and neighboring provinces, as well as the citizens of Rome, for the first time all indignant over a plot considered sacrilegious. There was a rush of militiamen toward Rome to save the pope, and even the army at Ravenna believed that Christian convictions were more important than imperial obedience. Chief of Staff Zacharias did not know what to do before such a reaction, which he had not foreseen. He behaved in a ridiculous manner and, shedding all that ferocity of which he was so proud, fled to take refuge in the bed chamber of the pope. Meanwhile, the army from Ravenna entered the city through the Gate of S. Paolo, crossed the entire city and, accompanied by a huge crowd, arrived at the Lateran patriarchium. In the pope's room, the situation got worse. Zacharias hid under the bed and fainted. Pope Sergius revived him, told him not to be afraid and asked him to have confidence in him. The tiger had turned into a lamb. The gates of the patriarchium were opened and Pope Sergius I, seated on the apostolic chair, received the homage of the soldiers and of the people. He interceded on behalf of Zacharias, whose life was respected, but was expelled from the city in disgrace. In the East, this was a very negative episode for Emperor Justinian II, and in 695, a rebellion, headed by General Leontius, led to the unseating of the emperor. Justinian was dragged into the hippodrome, his nose and ears mutilated in accordance with typical Byzantine brutality, he was sent into exile in Crimea. Leontius then declared himself emperor.

A sign of recognition of the pope's authority was the fact that Archbishop Damiano of Ravenna came to Rome to receive the episcopal consecration on February 27, 693, thus ending the brief autocephaly which had lasted seventeen years. In 693, he granted the pallium to Archbishop Beorhtweald of Canterbury. In 693, he also authorized the mission to Frisia of the Anglo-Saxon priest Willibrord. Mayor of the palace Pepin of Herstal had sent him to Rome, and on November 27, 695, in the church of S. Cecilia in Trastevere, Pope Sergius I consecrated him archbishop of the Frisians, granted him the pallium, and gave him a Latin name, Clement. Around 700, he ordered Archbishop Wilfrid to be restored to the see of York. He introduced the singing of Agnus Dei at mass; following the Byzantine traditions, he strengthened the Marian cult instituting processions from the church of S. Adriano to the basilica of S. Maria Maggiore during the four principal feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Purification (February 2), Annunciation (March 25), Assumption (August 15) and Nativity (September 8); and having brought to St. Peter's basilica a relic of the Holy Cross, he instituted in the Lateran basilica the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. He restored and beautify several basilicas and churches in Rome. To the basilica of St. Peter, he donated an image of gold of the apostle, a golden paten, silver candle holders, candles to be lit around the altar, a baldachin over the cathedra, and restored the portico, the adjacent buildings and the mosaic of the façade. In the basilica of S. Paolo fuori le mura, he restored the images of the apostles and repaired the roof with beams from Calabria. He also did important restorations and made donations to the churches of Ss. Cosma e Damiano and S. Susanna, his presbyteral title (for the first time called Duas Domos), where he replaced the ciborium made of Wood with one made of marble; S. Eufemia, devotional church of the vicus patricius adjacent to S. Pudenziana; S. Aurea ad Ostia; S. Andrea in via Labicana; and the oratory of S. Paolo, next to Ss. Vincenzo ed Anastasio ad Aquas Salvias in via Laurentina. In particular, in the church of Ss. Cosma e Damiano, he built an ambo and a ciborium and restored the roof of the circular building which constituted the vestibule to access the church. He also donated arcos argenteos to the basilica of S. Lorenzo in Lucina. During his pontificate, he ordained ninety seven bishops, eighteen priests and four deacons.

Death. September 7, 701, Rome. He was the first pope to be buried St. Peter's basilica proper, not in the portico, in a most elegant tomb which was destroyed during the demolition of the old basilica and the construction of the new one in the 16th and 17th centuries (1).

Sainthood. His mention in the primitive calendar of St. Willibrord indicates that his cult started not long after his death. Inscribed in the Roman Martyrology, his feast is celebrated on September 8; and pro clero Romano on September 9.

Bibliography. Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1792, I, pt. 1, 27-28; Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificum Romanorum : et S.R.E. Cardinalium ab initio nascentis Ecclesiae usque ad Clementem IX P. O. M. Alphonsi Ciaconii Ord. Praed. & aliorum opera descriptæ : cum uberrimis notis. Ab Augustino Oldoino, Soc. Jesu recognitae, et ad quatuor tomos ingenti ubique rerum accessione productae. Additis Pontificum recentiorum imaginibus, & Cardinalium insignibus, plurimisque aeneis figuris, cum indicibus locupletissimis. Romæ : P. et A. De Rubeis, 1677, I, col. 487-492; Cristofori, Francesco. Cronotasi dei cardinali di Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Tipografia de Propaganda Fide, 1888, p. XXXVIII and 135; Del Re, Niccolò. "Sergio I, papa, santo." Mondo vaticano. Passato e presente. Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995, p. 977-978; "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux des 10 premiers siècles". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1926. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1927, p. 145, no. 2; Falkenhause, Vera von. "Sergio I, santo." Enciclopedia dei papi. 3 vols. Roma : Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2000, I, 633-637; Kelly, John Norman Davidson. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 82-83; Le Liber pontificalis. Paris : E. de Boccard, 1981, 1955. 3 v. : facsims. (Bibliothèque des Écoles françaises d'Athènes et de Rome). Notes: Reprint of the 1955 edition./ Includes indexes./ Vol. 3: "Additions et corrections de L. Duchesne publiées par Cyrille Vogel ... avec L'Histoire du Liber pontificalis dupuis l'édition de L. Duchesne une bibliographie et des tables générales, I, 371-382; Montini, Renzo Uberto. Le tombe dei papi. Roma : Angelo Belardetti, 1957. Note: At head of title: Instituto di studi romani, p. 128, no. 84; Reardon, Wendy J. The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., Publishers, 2004, p. 56-57; Regesta pontificum Romanorum ab conditio Ecclesia. Ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII. Graz : Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, 1956. 2 v. Reprint. Originally published : Lipsiae : Veit et comp., 1885-1888. Original t.p. included : Regesta pontificum Romanorum ab condita ecclesia : ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII. Editionem secundam correctam et auctam edidit Philippus Jaffè ; auspiciis Gulielmi Wattenbach; curaverunt S. Loewenfeld, F. Kaltenbrunner, P. Ewald, I, 244-245.

Links. Biography, in English, The Catholic Encyclopedia; biography, in English, Britannica; his image and biography, in English; biography by Joseph Brusher, S.J., Popes thorugh the Ages; biography, in English, The Lives of the Popes in the Seventh Century, The History and the Lives of the Popes; biography, in English, The Church of Santa Susanna, Home of the American Catholic Church in Rome; biography by Vera von Falkenhausen, Enciclopedia dei papi, Treccani; brief biographical entry, in Italian, Dizionario biografiche degli italiani, Treccani; images and biography, in Italian; images and biography, in Italian, Santi e Beati; biography, in German, Biographisch-Bibliographischen Kirchenlexikons; biography, in Norwegian, Den katolske kirke; Dream of Pope Sergius by Rogier van der Weyden and assistants, 15th century, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California; Papa Sergio I - Street Art Palermo by Lorenzo Gatto, 2009; his engraving, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome; his engraving, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome; his engraving, Biblioteca comunale dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna; his engraving, iStockphoto; engravings, Araldica Vaticana; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; another engraving from the same source; his effigy on a coin, Numismatic collection of Olomouc archiepiscopate, Czech Republic; his effigy on a coin, Numismatic collection of Olomouc archiepiscopate, Czech Republic.

(1) According to Reardon, The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs, p. 56-57, ecclesiastical historian of the 12th century Peter Mallio, gives the same epitaph for Pope Sergius I in the Codex Barbarini Latinus 2733 that Montini erroneously attributes to Sergius III in Le Tombe dei Papi, p. 150-151. This is the text of the inscription:

LIMINA QVISQVIS ADIS PAPAE METVENDA BEATI
CERNE PII SERGII EXCVBIASQVE PETRI
CVLMEN APOSTOLICAE SEDIS IS IVRE PATERNO
ELECTVS TENVIT VT THEODORVS OBIT
PELLITVR VRBE PATER PERVADIT SACRA IOHANNES
ROMVLEOSQVE GREGES DISSIPAT IPSE LVPVS
EXVL ERAT PATRIA SEPTEM VOLVENTIBVS ANNIS
POST MVLTIS POPVLI VRBE REDIT PRECIBVS
SVSCIPITVR PAPA SANCTA SEDE RECEPTA
GAVDET AMAT PASTOR AGMINA CVNCTA SIMVL
HIC INVASORES SANCTORVM FALCE SVBEGIT
ROMANAE ECCLESIAE IVDICIISQVE PATRVM


Top Consistories Catalogs Home

©1998-2014 Salvador Miranda.