St. Gregory III, Pope of Rome
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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