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Pope Paul I

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Paul I
Papacy began 29 May 757
Papacy ended 28 June 767
Predecessor Stephen II
Successor Stephen III
Personal details
Born 700
Rome, Exarchate of Ravenna, Roman Empire
Died 28 June 767(767-06-28)
Other Popes named Paul
Papal styles of
Pope Paul I
Emblem of the Papacy SE.svg
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Holy Father
Posthumous style Saint

Pope Paul I (700 – 28 June 767) was pope from 29 May 757 to 28 June 767. He first served as a Roman deacon and was frequently employed by his brother, Pope Stephen II, in negotiations with the Lombard kings.

After Stephen's death on 26 April 757, Paul prevailed over a faction that wanted to place the Archdeacon Theophylact on the Holy See and was chosen his brother's successor by the majority that wished a continuation of the late pope's policy. The new pope's reign was dominated by relations with the Frankish and Lombard kings and with the Eastern emperor. He adopted an independent tone in informing the imperial Exarch in Ravenna of his election, but wrote to Pepin the Younger that the Frankish alliance should be maintained unimpaired, being possibly forced to this course by the Lombard king Desiderius. The Lombards held the cities of Imola, Osimo, Bologna, and Ancona, which were claimed by Rome, and in 758 seized upon the duchies of Spoleto and Benevento.

The same year he visited Rome and compelled Paul to write to Pepin asking him to concede all the Lombard Direct claims except that to Imola; another letter of exactly opposite tenor was sent by the same messenger. Pepin found it advisable to maintain good relations with Desiderius, and Paul apparently accomplished little by his double-dealing. Later, however, Pepin gave the pope some support and acted as arbiter between the Roman and Lombard claims.

In 765, papal privileges were restored in Beneventine and Tuscan territory and partially in Spoleto. Meanwhile, the alienation from Constantinople grew greater. Several times, especially in 759, Paul feared that the Eastern Roman Emperor would send an armament against the city of Rome. Paul lived in continual dread lest Eastern Roman ambitions turn the Frankish influence in favor of the Lombards. This was actually attempted, but Pepin held to his original foreign policy regarding Italy.

Paul died on 28 June 767.

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Stephen II
Succeeded by
Stephen III