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St. Gregory III, Pope of Rome

VIII Century
Born in Syria, Pope/St. Gregory III was acclaimed pope by popular demand in 731. He was the last pope to seek imperial approval from the Byzantine exarch. In response to Emperor Leo III's iconoclastic edicts, Gregory asked him to return to the truth. When the emperor refused, the pope convoked a synod to condemn iconoclasm and to excommunicate iconoclasts. When word of his excommunication reached Leo in 733, he sent a fleet against the pope. When the fleet was destroyed, Leo tried a more subtle plan: he kept the papal patrimony in Calabria and Sicily; he also transferred jurisdiction over Sicily and Illyricum to the Patriarch of Constantinople. When Ravenna fell to the Lombards the same year, Gregory helped the exarch Eutychius regain the city. When the Lombards invaded Rome in 739 and 740, Gregory appealed to Charles Martel for aid. Gregory supported the missionary work of St. Boniface in Germany and appointed Boniface archbishop. Gregory died in 741.

Karen Rae Keck


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