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St. Martin I

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Death: 655

Tuscan by birth, Pope/St. Martin was elected to the papal throne in 649. He had been a reader and a deacon before his election, and he was crowned without the consent of Emperor Constans II. Shortly after being elected, Martin convoked a synod at the Lateran to condemn monothelitism; the synod defied an order from the emperor to discuss the issue. Constans sent Olympius, the exarch of Ravenna, to bring the pope to Constantinople for trial. Olympius failed, and in 653, Theodore Collipas, the new exarch, invaded Rome and imprisoned the pope, who spent a year under guard on Naxos. When the party reached Constantinople in 654, Martin was charged with treason and condemned to death. Patriarch Paul II intervened on the pope's behalf, and the sentence was changed to life imprisonment. Sent to Cherson in the Crimea in 655, Martin starved and died three months after his arrival. He is the last pope to have been martyred.


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