The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

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7th Century
(604-701)

Numerical summary of the names of the cardinals who appear in the documents of the pontificates of the 20 popes of this century.

This summary is taken from the essay of a general list of cardinals published in Annuaire Pontifical Catholique which for centuries VI to X relies almost completely on the works of Alfonso Chacón (or Alphonsus Ciaconio) Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificum Romanorum: et S.R.E. Cardinalium ab initio nascentis Ecclesiæ usque ad Clementem IX P. O. M. and Francesco Cristofori Cronotassi dei cardinali de Santa Romana Chiesa: nelle loro sedi suburbicarie titoli presbiterali e diaconie dal secolo V all'anno del signore MDCCCLXXXVIII; compilata sui manoscritti originali ed autentici esistenti nella biblioteca e negli archivi vaticani e su molteplici altre fonti storiche edite ed inedite antiche e moderne. The popes of these centuries have been listed according to the Annuario Pontificio per l'anno 1999.

Sabinian (604-606) - No new names
Boniface III (607) - No new names
St. Boniface IV (608-615) - 2 cardinals
St. Deusdedit I (Adeodatus) (615-618) - 1 cardinal
Boniface V (619-625) - No new names
Honorius I (625-638) - 3 cardinals
Severinus (640) - No new names
John IV (640-642) - 1 cardinal
Theodore I (642-649) - 1 cardinal
St. Martin I (649-655) - 1 cardinal
St Eugene I (654-657) - 1 cardinal
St. Vitalian (657-672) - No new names
Adeodatus II (672-676) - 2 cardinals
Donus (676-678) - No new names
St. Agatho (678-681) - 6 cardinals
St. Leo II (682-683) - 2 cardinals
St. Benedict II (684-685) - No new names
John V (685-686) - No new names
Conon (686-687) - 1 cardinal
St. Sergius I (687-701) - 1 cardinal
Total - 22 cardinals

Source: Annuaire Pontifical Catholique. XXIX (1926), p. 161.

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Roman synod of 607, Boniface III (607).

Celebrated in St. Peter's basilica and attended by 72 bishops, 33 Roman priests as well as deacons and clergy, it ordered that no one in the lifetime of the pontiff or bishop of his city should presume to speak or acquire supporters for himself; but that on the third day from his burial, with the clergy and the church's son then gathered together, there should be an election and anyone should have license to elect whomever he wanted to have as his sacerdos.

Source: Fanning, William H. W. "Papal elections", The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: The Encyclopedia Press, 1913, pp. 456-457.

The only other noteworthy event of Boniface's reign was his holding of a synod to regulate papal elections; this forbade, on pain of excommunication all discussion of a successor to a pope or bishop during his lifetime and until three days after his death.

Source: Kelly, J.N.D. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 68.

In addition, the principal recorded act of the new pope, Boniface III, during his eight-month reign (February-November 607) was a synod attended by seventy-two bishops and thirty-three priests and all the deacons and clergy, to make regulations about the papal electoral procedure, a fact which suggests - on the analogy of previous reigns - a disputed election.

This synod forbade simony in connection with the papal election and forbade any discussion on the succession during the lifetime of, or for three days after the burial of, the pope. It seems likely that just those things had been happening during the final illness of Pope Sabinian. There is no need to look any further than the Gregorian and anti-Gregorian parties for the rival factions in this power struggle.

The synodal attendance attests the full support of the diaconate for the new pope. But this was still the Gregorian diaconate, Sabinian having created no deacons. The priestly attendance of thirty-three was less than half the numbers attending the Symmachan synods. This implies a less than full-hearted attitude by the priesthood towards the new pope., who was very much one of Gregory's handpicked team. The former primicerius defensorum, Boniface had been promoted deacon and apocrisiarius by Gregory. His stay in Constantinople and his acquaintance with the emperor Phocas stood him in good stead, for Phocas ended the "Oecumencial Patriarch" controversy by confirming once again papal primacy.

Boniface III died in November 607 and was succeeded by an unquestionable Gregorian, Boniface IV, consecrated on 25 August 608.

Source: Richards, Jeffrey. The popes and the papacy in the early Middle ages, 476-752. London; Boston and Henley: Routledge and Keagan Paul, 1979, pp. 261-262.

Text: The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis). The ancient biographies of the first ninety Roman bishops to AD 715. Translated with an introduction by Raymond Davis. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1989. (Translated texts for historians, Latin Series V), p. 62; Jaffé, Philippus. Regesta Pontificum Romanorum. 2 vols. Graz: Akademische Druck-U. Verlagsanstalt, 1956. Reprint of Regesta Pontificum Romanorum ab condita ecclesia ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVII. Edidit Philippus Jaffé. Editionem secundam correctam et auctam auspiciis Gulielmi Wattenbach professoris Berolinensis. Curaverunt S. Loewenfeld, F. Kaltenbrunner, P. Ewald. Tomus primus (A S. Petro ed a. MCXLIII). Tomus secundus (Ab a. MCXLIII ad a. MCXCVIII). Lipsiae: Veit et Comp. 1888-1895, I, p. 220.

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Tax on papal elections abolished, Pope St. Agathon (678-681) and Emperor Constantine IV Pogonatus (668-685).

The pope obtained from this emperor the abrogation of the 3,000 gold coins tax on papal elections. The imperial placet prior to the consecration of the new pope and his possession of the chair of St. Peter was maintained as a requirement.

Source: Ortolan, T. "Election des papes". Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, contenant l'exposé des doctrines de la théologie catholique, leurs preuves et leur histoire. Paris: Letouzey et Ané, 1903-1950 [i.e. 1899-1950], column 2295-2296.

The pope succeeded in obtaining from Constantine the abolition of the tax customarily paid to the exarch at papal elections, but in return the emperor stipulated that the earlier, time-consuming practice of seeking imperial ratification from Constantinople rather than from Ravenna should be restored.

Source: Kelly, J.N.D. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 78.

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Imperial placet for papal election abrogated, Pope St. Benedict II (684-685) and Emperor Constantine Pogonatus (668-685).

The pope obtained from the emperor the abrogation of the imperial placet.

Source: Ortolan, T. "Election des papes". Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, contenant l'exposé des doctrines de la théologie catholique, leurs preuves et leur histoire. Paris: Letouzey et Ané, 1903-1950 [i.e. 1899-1950], column 2296.

The emperor agreed, in response to the pope's petition, that in future papal elections should be ratified by the exarch in Italy (at Ravenna) not by Constantinople, thereby enabling the pope-elect to assume office with the minimum delay.

Source: Kelly, J.N.D. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 80.

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First mention of monastery deaconries, Benedict II (684-685).

Text: The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis). The ancient biographies of the first ninety Roman bishops to A.D. 715. Translated with an introduction by Raymond Davis. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1989. (Translated texts for historians, Latin Series V), p. 80.

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Imperial approval for papal elections reestablished.

After the death of Pope John V (685-686), the clergy elected the archpriest Peter as pope and the army elected Theodore, a Roman presbyter. After numerous attempts to reconcile both parties, both competitors were discarded and an exemplary priest and old man, Conon (686-687) was elected. In order to reaffirm the peace among the factions and make his election uncontested, Conon sent a delegation to the exarch of Ravenna, Theodore, representative of Emperor Justinian II Rhinotmetus (685-695), to obtain the latter support. The emperor gladly agreed reclaiming the right of placet that his father had relinquished.

Source: Ortolan, T. "Election des papes". Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, contenant l'exposé des doctrines de la théologie catholique, leurs preuves et leur histoire. Paris: Letouzey et Ané, 1903-1950 [i.e. 1899-1950], column 2296.

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The imperial placet and the exarchs of Ravenna.

Successive popes obtained from the emperor permission to receive the placet from the exarch of Ravenna instead of having to send a delegation to Constantinople. This shortened the vacancies of the Apostolic See.

Source: Ortolan, T. "Election des papes". Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, contenant l'exposé des doctrines de la théologie catholique, leurs preuves et leur histoire. Paris: Letouzey et Ané, 1903-1950 [i.e. 1899-1950], column 2296.

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