Pope Boniface III was elected in the year 606 but voting shenanigans prevented him from taking office for nearly a year. After a lengthy investigation to make sure he was elected properly,Boniface went to work on reforming the election process to prevent any further shady elections. Well,that didn’t work out,but give the man credit for trying. Among the election rules that he laid down was that it was now forbidden for anyone to discuss who the next Pope might be while the current Pope was still alive. This rule is still basically in effect even today and it is also why Papal elections are the least annoying elections…..as opposed to say,Presidential elections. His other major election rule was that you had to wait three days after the death of a Pope before voting to elect the new Pope could start. It’s been lengthened to around 15 days now,but this is mainly to give Cardinals enough time to get to Rome for the vote(they’re a lot more spread out nowadays).
Boniface’s other major contribution was having the emperor of Constantinople declare “The See of Blessed Peter the Apostle should be the head of all the Churches”. This lofty title was in response to the patriarch of Constantinople calling himself the “Ecumenical Patriarch”. The Popes since Gregory I had issues with this title and under Boniface III it was finally put to rest as to who was the boss of who(in relation to the West and East Churches). I based the image off of an old drawing of Boniface but it looks like I just drew an ancient version of Doctor Strange. Hmmmm,maybe Steve Ditko(creator of Dr.Strange)was a fan of ancient Papal vestments….By the Hoary hosts of Hoggoth!!
Pope Sabinian’s short Papacy had the bad luck of following Pope Gregory the Great’s. In fact,Sabinian’s legacy is directly tied to his predecessor. The Lombards had an on again/off again relationship with Rome in that they liked to show up every few years and try to starve the Romans out of their gates. They were a very “siege-y” bunch of people. When this happened under Pope Gregory(The Great. Don’t forget),he opened up the Vatican granaries and let the people have whatever they needed to keep their families fed. He did this for free. Pope Gregory was a charitable kind of guy. Probably why he’s referred to as “The Great”, but I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that or not. Now when the Lombards showed up under Pope Sabinian,he did the same thing Gregory did. Only this time he charged the people for the grain and not only that,he charged them extra. Yeah,that pretty much did it for him with the Roman people. A legacy as a profiteering cheapskate is always going to be a hard thing to shake off. When Pope Sabinian passed away suddenly,his funeral procession had to take alternate routes to St Peter’s to avoid angry mobs of apparently hungry Romans. His Papacy wasn’t a total loss though,he filled Church positions with lay people as opposed to Gregory filling them with his monk friends……so that’s….something.
Born to an extremely wealthy and powerful family,Gregory was made a prefect(a kind of governor)of Rome due to the influence of his father. He excelled at his job but once his father passed away,Gregory gave away every dime his family had and soon turned the family mansion into a monastery. He became a monk and devoted himself to an ascetic life of Christian devotion and study. His solitude was soon disturbed when Pope Benedict I came calling for his intellect and influence. Gregory was reluctantly made a deacon and brilliantly served under two Popes. With the death of Pope Pelagius, Gregory retreated back to his precious peace and quiet at his monastery. Not so fast…..the clergy of Rome knew a good thing when they saw it and unanimously elected him to the Papacy. Gregory begged them to reconsider but the Church would have none of it,and so a legendary Papacy began. He was tireless in Church reform,writings,charity and missionary work. He set in motion the re-conversion of England(after Pagans ran amok)and he helped refine the Mass which he loved so dearly. The Gregorian chant was named for him, although he had nothing to do with the music itself. He was one of three Popes referred to as “The Great”,but Gregory,being the humble monk he was at heart,preferred the title of “Servant of the Servants of God”. To emphasize what a great man Gregory was,John Calvin,a passionate Protestant pastor during the Reformation,said that Pope Gregory was “the last good Pope”. Well,we know that wasn’t the case but it’s high praise from someone who was no friend to The Catholic Church or to the Popes. Gregory the Great is a Doctor of the Church and is the patron saint of musicians, singers, students, and teachers. He is recognized as a Saint in not only the Catholic Church,but also in the Eastern Orthodox Church and in some Lutheran churches! Mister the Great’s feast day is September 3rd and of course he is buried in St.Peter’s Basilica.
Pope Pelagius II was a native of Rome and took over the Papacy during its siege by the dreaded Lombards. The Pope couldn’t fight back against them,and couldn’t talk any of his allies into helping to fight them so Pelagius basically just paid the Lombards to leave. Wow. Simple as that. With that problem solved Pelagius turned to the fine tuning of the rules for the clergy,namely celibacy. Bishops and Priests traditionally followed the celibacy rule but Pope Pelagius wanted to extend it down to singers,acolytes and readers. He was so strict on this that the next Pope,Gregory I,backed off on a lot of these rules,even though he himself was a monk. If a monk thinks you’re too strict…..
Pope Pelagius also built The Basilica di San Lorenzo fuori le Mura,(Papal Basilica of Saint Lawrence outside the Walls). This was a Church built on the site of the execution of Saint Lawrence,the deacon who was martyred in 258 by being cooked on a gridiron. As he was being roasted alive,Lawrence told the Romans to flip him over,because he was done on this side. Greatest sarcastic last words ever. This Church was more or less destroyed by Allied bombings during World War II. Damned good guys! Oh,I mean…….hooray for the good guys(with poor aim). A plague swept through Rome in the year 590 claiming Pope Pelagius II as one of it’s victims.