Although little is known of his early life, Zachary descended from a Greek family living in Calabria, in what is now southern Italy. He was a deacon of the Church in the 730's and was elected Pope in December 741.
At the time Zachary came to power, the Church, along with the rest of the world, was in great turmoil. Disputes over ideological doctrine, political borders and law were overtaking the secular and religious societies.
In fact, when Zachary's envoys arrived in Constantinople to inform Emperor Constantine V of his election, a coup was in progress that had temporarily deposed the emperor. Rather than worsen the situation with expressions of force, the new Pope chose to reduce tensions by leading with conciliation and diplomacy.
Throughout his tenure, Zachary worked to unite the empire, strengthening ties between the East and West. Because of his persuasive skills, for example, Emperor Constantine returned a wealthy province to the Church that had been taken away by Constantine's predecessor.
Zachary also personally made peace with kings who had been in rebellion, and the Pope intervened to prevent the outbreak of wars throughout the Western world. While he negotiated worldwide matters, he also quelled internal dissent within the Church and secured the papal territories from attack.
For 11 years, Zachary was an affable, gentle pope. Always seeking peace and negotiation rather than war and confrontation, Zachary died in March, 752.
who gave St. Zachary
the wisdom to rule with peace
and harmony as his soldiers.
In our own harsh times
please aid our competing leaders
to find the same spirit of
negotiation without rage,
diplomacy without fear,
without threat of war or violence.
From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives
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