#87 - Pope Sisinnius
Pope from January 15, 708 - February 4, 708
Died: February 4, 708
Give me the scoop on Sisinnius.
Little is known of Pope Sisinnius other than being the son of a man named John and having been born in Syria. He was consecrated on January 15, 708, but was already very elderly and suffering from a nasty case of gout at the time of his election. The illness was bad enough that Sisinnius couldn’t feed himself, but he nevertheless remained a man of strong character. His key accomplishment as pope was ordering the restoration and fortification of Rome’s walls, which was later carried out by Pope St. Gregory II. The effort came in handy years later during attacks by both the Lombards and the Saracens. Sisinnius died on February 4 and was buried in St. Peter’s Basilica.
What was he known for?
Sisinnius is best known for being No. 5 on the list of shortest papacies, having only been in office for 21 calendar days. On the Top 10 list of shortest reigns, Sisinnius is the earliest by nearly 200 years. Next is Boniface VI, who was pope for just 16 days in April of 896.
It’s thought that Pope Sisinnius’ successor, Pope Constantine, was, in fact, none other than his own brother. It marked the first of three instances of popes coming from the same immediate family, with the second occurring just 50 years later with Stephen II (752-757) and Paul I (757-767). The third instance would come three centuries hence, with Popes Benedict VIII (1012-1024) and John XIX (1024-1032).
What else was going on in the world at the time?
In 708, the
magnificent French island
St. Michael's Mount
) was first dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel.
Coming tomorrow....Pope Constantine
SOURCES (and further reading)
John, E. (1964). The Popes: A concise biographical history. New York: Hawthorn Books.
Williams, G.L. (2004) Papal Genealogy: The Families and Descendants of the Popes. McFarland.
Pope Sisinnius -
Pope Sisinnius -
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