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Pope St. Sergius I

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(Reigned 687-701), date of birth unknown; consecrated probably on 15 Dec., 687; d. 8 Sept., 701. While Pope Conon lay dying, the archdeacon Pascal offered the exarch a large sum to bring about his election as his successor. Through the exarch's influence the archdeacon was accordingly elected by a number of people; about the same time another faction elected the archpriest Theodore. The mass of clergy and people, however, set them both aside and chose Sergius, who was duly consecrated. Sergius, the son of Tiberius, was a native of Antioch; he was educated in Sicily, and ordained by [St.] Leo II. The new pope had numerous relations with England and the English. He received [St.] Caedwalla, King of the West Saxons, and baptized him (689); and, as he died in Rome, caused him to be buried in St. Peter's . He ordered St. Wilfrid to be restored to his see, greatly favoured St. Aldhelm, Abbot of Malmesbury, and is credited with endeavouring to secure the Venerable Bede as his adviser. Finally he consecrated the Englishman [St.] Willibrord bishop, and sent him to preach Christianity to the Frisians. The cruel Emperor Justinian wanted him to sign the decrees of the so-called Quinisext or Trullan Council of 692, in which the Greeks allowed priests and deacons to keep the wives they had married before their ordination, and which aimed at placing the Patriarch of Constantinople on a level with the Pope of Rome. When Sergius refused to acknowledge this synod, the emperor sent an officer to bring him to Constantinople. But the people protected the pope, and Justinian himself was soon afterwards deposed (695). Sergius succeeded in extinguishing the last remnants of the Schism of the Three Chapters in Aquileia. He repaired and adorned many basilicas, added the Agnus Dei to the Mass, and instituted processions to various churches.

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