Prior to the disputed election, Theodore was an archpriest. According to the Liber Pontificalis partisans of Theodore and Paschal seized different parts of the Lateran, and as each were unwilling to give way to the other they were locked in combat for control of the entire basilica. Meanwhile, representatives of the garrison, the majority of the clergy and the citizens met in the imperial palace and eventually elected Sergius, a priest of the church of Santa Susanna as Conon's successor. Having thus decided on Sergius, they brought him to the Lateran and forced their way in. Theodore immediately conceded the office, and abased himself to Serigus.
Paschal remained unconvinced, and while pretending to accept Sergius, sent messengers to the exarch of Ravenna John Platyn promising gold in exchange for military support. The exarch arrived, demanded the gold, and looted Old St. Peter's Basilica, but departed after Sergius I's consecration (15 December 687).
- Raymond Davis (translator), The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis), first edition (Liverpool: University Press, 1989), p. 83
- Ekonomou, Andrew J. Ekonomou, Byzantine Rome and the Greek Popes: Eastern influences on Rome and the papacy from Gregory the Great to Zacharias, A.D. 590–752 (New York: Lexington Books, 2007), p. 216
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