St. Sergius I, Pope of Rome
St. Sergius was born into a Syrian family who live in Palermo and was
educated at the Roman choir school. Before being elected pope in 687, he
was the titular priest of Sta. Susanna. At the same time, in other places
in Rome, the archpriest Theodore and the archdeacon Paschal were elected
pope. Theodore soon acknowledged Sergius' election, but Paschal, with the
backing of the exarch, maintained that he was the pope. Sergius'
supporters stormed the Lateran to consecrate him. Paschal called on the
exarch, who came to Rome to settle the controversy. He eventually approved
Sergius' election in return for the payment of a bribe that Paschal had
Sergius refused to endorse the Quintisext Council, which he saw as
inimicable to Roman practices. He saved a representative of Justinian II
from a Roman mob. He introduced the use of solemn processions in the
feasts associated with the Theotokos, and he began the practice of singing
during the mass. He also inaugurated the feast of the exaltation
of the cross.
Sergius died in 701.
Karen Rae Keck
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