Sunday, October 30, 2005

Syrian Popes in the Umayyad Period

On page 97 of his The Formation of Islam, Jonathan Berkey notes that five Syrians became Pope of the Roman Catholic Church during the period of the Umayyad caliphate. This surprised me, and overcome with curiosity, I went pope-hunting on wikipedia. The results:

1. Pope John V, who reigned from 685 to 686 and was ill for most of his pontificate.

2. Pope Sergius I, who belonged to a Syrian family which had actually settled in Sicily and was pope from 687-701.

3. Pope Sisinnius, a native of Syria who was pope for about three weeks in 708.

4. Pope Constantine, whose pontificate from 708-715 was taken up mainly with diplomacy involving the Byzantine emperors.

5. Pope Gregory III, who reigned from 731-41, sought Charles Martel's intervention in the iconoclast controversy, and promoted the growth of the church in northern Europe.


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