Spirituality for Today – August 2013 – Volume 18, Issue 1

The 84th Pope
Saint Sergius

An image of Pope Sergius, the 84th PopeSaint Sergius, the 84th Pope

Pope St. Sergius (687-701) – In this native of Antioch, the Church had a strong pope who would stand his ground against Emperor Justinian II. As with a number of his predecessors, he took particular interest in the Church in England. He baptized Caedwalla, the King of the West Saxons, granted the pallium (vestment worn around the neck as a symbol of one's authority in pastoral matters) to Beorhtweald, Archbishop of Canterbury, and commissioned missionary efforts, and resolved a number of pastoral concerns affecting the English church.

The crucial matter with the emperor centered on what was known as the Trullan Council, a Council that excluded Western bishops and ignored Canon Law and some Church practices and even dragged up an old expectation that Constantinople ecclesiastically would be considered the equal of Rome. When Pope Sergius rejected the validity of the Council's decrees, imperial troops were sent to bring the pope to Constantinople. Local troops intervened and saved the pope.

Pope Sergius was a talented singer and was responsible for adding the Agnus Dei to the Mass. He refurbished numerous churches in Rome and also prepared a dignified tomb in Saint Peter's for the remains of Pope Leo the Great.

Pope Sergius is buried in the Basilica of Saint Peter.

Habemus papam