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Pope Martin I

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Martin I
Papacy began 5 July 649
Papacy ended 653
Predecessor Theodore I
Successor Eugene I
Personal details
Birth name ???
Born ???
Near Todi, Umbria, Byzantine Empire
Died 16 September 655(655-09-16)
Cherson, the Crimea, Byzantine Empire
Other Popes named Martin (disambiguation)
Papal styles of
Pope Martin I
Emblem of the Papacy SE.svg
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Holy Father
Posthumous style Saint

Pope Martin I, born near Todi, Umbria, in the place now named after him (Pian di San Martino), was pope from 649 to 653, succeeding Pope Theodore I on 5 July 649. He was the only pope during the Byzantine Papacy whose election was not approved by a iussio from Constantinople. Martin I was abducted by Emperor Constans II and died in the Crimean peninsula. He is considered a martyr by the Catholic Church.

He was the last apocrisiarius to be elected pope.


Main article: Apocrisiarius

He had previously acted as papal apocrisiarius or legate at Constantinople, and was held in high repute for his learning and virtue.

Papacy (649–653)

One of his first official acts was to summon the Lateran Council of 649 to deal with the Monothelites, whom the Church considered heretical. The Council met in the church of St. John Lateran. It was attended by 105 bishops (chiefly from Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia, with a few from Africa and other quarters), held five sessions or secretarii from 5 October to 31 October 649, and in twenty canons condemned Monothelitism, its authors, and the writings by which Monothelitism had been promulgated. In this condemnation were included not only the Ecthesis (the exposition of faith of the Patriarch Sergius for which the emperor Heraclius had stood sponsor), but also the typus of Paul, the successor of Sergius, which had the support of the reigning Emperor (Constans II).

Abduction and exile (653–655)

Martin was very energetic in publishing the decrees of the Lateran Council of 649 in an encyclical, and Constans replied by enjoining his exarch (governor) in Italy to arrest the pope should he persist in this line of conduct and send Martin as a prisoner to Constantinople.

These orders were found impossible to carry out for a considerable space of time, but at last Martin was arrested in the Lateran on 17 June 653 along with Maximus the Confessor. He was hurried out of Rome and conveyed first to Naxos, Greece, and subsequently to Constantinople, where he arrived on 17 September 653. After suffering an exhausting imprisonment and many alleged public indignities, he was ultimately banished to Chersonesos Taurica (a city in present-day southern Ukraine in the Crimea region), where he arrived on 15 May 655 and died on 16 September of that year.

Place in the calendar of saints

13 April is the optional memorial of St Martin I.[1] He is also venerated as a saint and martyr in the Eastern Orthodox Church.


Further reading

  • Ekonomou, Andrew J. 2007. Byzantine Rome and the Greek Popes: Eastern influences on Rome and the papacy from Gregory the Great to Zacharias, A.D. 590–752. Lexington Books.

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Theodore I
Succeeded by
Eugene I