|Papacy began||3 December or 5 December 741|
|Papacy ended||15 March 752|
|Birth name||Zacharias son of Polichronius|
Santa Severina, Calabria, Byzantine Empire
|Died||15 March 752 (aged 72–73)|
Rome, Kingdom of the Lombards
|Feast day||15 March|
|Papal styles of|
|Reference style||His Holiness|
|Spoken style||Your Holiness|
|Religious style||Holy Father|
Pope Zachary (Latin: Zacharias; 679 – 15 March 752) reigned from 3 December or 5 December 741 to his death in 752. A Greek from Santa Severina, Calabria, he was the last pope of the Byzantine Papacy. Most probably he was a deacon of the Roman Church and as such signed the decrees of the Roman council of 732, and succeeded Gregory III on 5 December 741.
Zachary built the original church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, forbade the traffic of slaves in Rome, and negotiated peace with the Lombards. In response to an inquiry forwarded by Pepin the Short, Zachary rendered the opinion that it was better that he should be king who had the royal power than he who had not. Shortly thereafter, the Frankish nobles decided to abandon the Merovingian Childeric III in favor of Pepin, who then reigned as King of the Franks from 751 to 768.
Historians such as J.P. Kirsch and Peter Partner have viewed Pope Zachary as a capable administrator and a skillful and subtle diplomat in a dangerous time.
His predecessor's alliance with the Lombard Duke of Spoleto put papal cities at risk when the Dukes of Spoleto and Benevento rebelled. Zachary turned to King Liutprand the Lombard directly. Out of respect for Zachary the king restored to the church of Rome all the territory seized by the Lombards and sent back the captives without ransom. The contemporary history (Liber pontificalis) dwells chiefly on Zachary's personal influence with Liutprand, and with his successor Ratchis. At the request of the Exarchate of Ravenna, Zachary persuaded Luitprand to abandon a planned attack on Ravenna and to restore territory seized from the city.
Zachary corresponded with Saint Boniface, the apostle of Germany. He counseled Boniface about dealing with disreputable prelates such as Milo of Trier. "As for Milo and his like, who are doing great injury to the church of God, preach in season and out of season, according to the word of the Apostle, that they cease from their evil ways."
At Boniface's request, the Pope confirmed three newly established Bishoprics of Würzburg, Büraburg, and Erfurt. In 742 he appointed Boniface as papal legate to the Concilium Germanicum, hosted by Carloman. In a later letter Zachary confirmed the metropolitans appointed by Boniface to Rouen, Reims, and Sens. In 745 Zachary convened a synod in Rome to discourage a tendency toward the worship of angels, forbidding the worship of angels whose name was not found in scripture.
He sanctioned the deposition of the last Merovingian King of the Franks, Childeric III. In response to a question by Pepin the Short, the Pope said that in these circumstances, the de facto power was considered more important than the de jure authority, an endorsement Pepin was later able to present to an assembly of the Frankish nobles and army. Pepin was subsequently crowned King of the Franks by Boniface at Soissons in 752.
Zachary built the original church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva over an ancient temple to Minerva near the Pantheon. He also restored the decaying Lateran Palace, moving the relic of the head of Saint George to the church of San Giorgio al Velabro. Also in Rome, some Venetian merchants bought many slaves in the city to sell to the Muslims of Africa; however, Zachary forbade such traffic and then paid the merchants their price, giving the slaves their freedom.
Pope Zachary died on 15 March 752 and was buried in St. Peter's Basilica. Zachary was succeeded by Stephen, who died soon before his consecration and is not considered a valid pope. He was then followed by another Stephen who became Stephen II. The letters and decrees of Zachary are published in Jacques Paul Migne, Patrolog. lat. lxxxix. p. 917–960.
Church historian, Johann Peter Kirsch said of Zachary: "In a troubled era Zachary proved himself to be an excellent, capable, vigorous, and charitable successor of Peter." Peter Partner called Zachary a skilled diplomat, "perhaps the most subtle and able of all the Roman pontiffs, in this dark corridor in which the Roman See hovered just inside the doors of the Byzantine world."
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- Wansbrough OSB, Henry. "St. Boniface, Monk and Missioner", Prayer and Thought in Monastic Tradition: Essays in Honour of Benedicta Ward SLG, (Santha Bhattacharji, Dominic Mattos, Rowan Williams, eds.), A&C Black, 2014, p. 133, ISBN 9780567082954
- "Assigning Names to Angels – ZENIT – English". zenit.org. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
- Stefan K. Stantchev (3 Jul 2014). Spiritual Rationality: Papal Embargo as Cultural Practice. Oxford University Press. p. 28. ISBN 9780191009235.
- Partner, Peter. The Lands of St. Peter: The Papal State in the Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance, University of California Press, 1972, p. 17, ISBN 9780520021815
- Baronius, Cesare (1867). Augustinus Theiner, ed. Annales ecclesiastici denuo excusi et ad nostra usque tempora perducti ab Augustino Theiner... (in Latin). Tomus Duodecimus. Barri-Ducis. pp. 466–562.
- Davis, Raymond (1992). The Lives of the Eighth-century Popes (Liber Pontificalis): The Ancient Biographies of Nine Popes from AD 715 to AD 817. Liverpool University Press. ISBN 978-0-85323-018-2.
- Delogu, Paolo (2000). "Zaccaria, santo", Enciclopedia dei papi Treccani. (in Italian)
- Duchesne, Louis, Le Liber Pontificalis: texte, introduction et commentaire par L. Duchesne Tome I (Paris: E. Thorin 1886), pp. 426-439. (in Latin)
- Hallenbeck, Jan T. (1982). Pavia and Rome: The Lombard Monarchy and the Papacy in the Eighth Century. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society. pp. 39–55.
- Noble, Thomas F. X. (1984). The Republic of St. Peter: The Birth of the Papal State, 680-825. University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 49–60. ISBN 0-8122-1239-8.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zacharia.|
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:|
- Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope St. Zachary". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "St. Zacharias". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
|Catholic Church titles|
3 December or 5 December 741 – 15 March 752