Spirituality for Today – December 2013 – Volume 18, Issue 5

The 88th Pope
Pope Constantine

An image of Pope Constantine, the 88th PopePope Constantine, the 88th Pope

Pope Constantine (708-715) – Like his predecessor, Pope Constantine was a Syrian. Pope Constantine experienced the vicissitudes of imperial politics and the radical changes that occur within that arena. The pope must have been a very fine diplomat and charismatic as well. He spent a year in Constantinople engaged in discussions over the troublesome decrees of the Council of Trullan. Bolstered by the masterful abilities of his deacon Gregory (a future pope), Pope Costantine was successful in healing the rift with the Eastern Church and the emperor. Pleased with the settlement, the emperor confirmed the status of the Church of Rome.

Soon after returning to Rome, the pope heard the disturbing news that the emperor had been murdered and the ragingly heretical Philippicus Bardanes had become emperor. The Monothelite heresy (Jesus had only a divine will), once again, came to the fore. As emperors of that stripe do, Philippicus Bardanes demanded that Pope Constantine affirm Monothelitism. As always, the pope refused. The bitter controversy was causing great tension when fate struck again. The heretical emperor was overthrown and, fortunately, was replaced by an orthodox emperor who assured Pope Constantine that the true faith and the decrees of the Council of Constantinople would be maintained.

Pope Constantine was interred in the Basilica of Saint Peter.

Habemus papam