Saint Sergius I (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: During his reign as pope, Sergius greatly strengthened relations between Rome and the churches in the Anglo-Saxon west and maintained the Western church’s independence from the emperors of Constantinople. He introduced the Agnus Dei into the Mass and was responsible for the restoration and embellishment of churches throughout Rome.
The father of Sergius, a merchant named Tiberius, migrated from the Syrian town of Antioch to Sicily. It was on this island, in the town of Palermo, that the young Sergius received his early education. Little else is known of this part of his life, except that he journeyed to Rome and entered the priesthood under the papacy of Adeodatus II. During his training for the priesthood, Sergius revealed an enthusiasm for music and was allowed to study under the head cantor. His interest in music would persist throughout his papacy. In either 682 or 683, he was ordained by Pope Leo II and became the titular priest of the town of Santa Susanna, located on the Quirinal. As a priest he developed a reputation for his love of saying Mass in the catacombs, a practice which, though once common, had become rare by his time. In 687, Pope Conon died after a long illness, and a bitter struggle for the papal successor ensued. It was out of this struggle that the humble priest from Santa Susanna emerged as leader of the Church.
(The entire section is 2249 words.)
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