Zacharias of Rome
Our father among the saints Zacharias of Rome, also Zachary of Rome, was the Pope of Rome from 741 to 752. He was the last pope of the period of 537 to 752 during which popes required the approval of the emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire for episcopal consecration. Zacharias was known as a wise and subtle diplomat. His feast day is March 15.
Little is known of his early life. Zacharias was from a Greek family of Calabria whose father was called Polichrinius. He was probably born in 679. He was a deacon of the Church of Rome who had a close relationship with Pope Gregory III and had signed the decrees of the Roman council of 732.
After the death and burial of Pope Gregory in November 741, Zacharias was elected his successor unanimously and then consecrated and enthroned on December 5. Soon Zacharias became involved in the alliances of his predecessor with the Lombards. Finding the alliance with Duke Trasamund of Spoleto was not protecting the Papal cities from the actions of the Lombard king, Zacharias began dealing directly with King Liutprand with whom he had great personal influence. In his negotiations with the Lombards, Zacharias presented himself as the secular ruler of Rome and the Roman territory. Through his tact when dealing with the Lombards, Zacharias was able to save the Exarchate of Ravenna from attacks by the Lombards.
Zacharias was influential in the events that passed in France and Germany as evident in the surviving correspondence between Zacharias and St. Boniface, the Apostle to the Germans. Zacharias sanctioned the moves by Pepin the Short to depose the last Merovingian king of the Franks Childeric III when Pepin became the King of the Franks in 752.
Zacharias also was active in restoring the churches of Rome, notably the Lateran Palace, and built the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva over the ancient temple to Minerva. Also, Zacharias interjected himself in the slave trade of the Venetian merchants, when he bought the slaves who were brought to Rome for resale to the Saracens in Africa, so that Christians would not become the property of heathens.
Zacharias of Rome
|Pope of Rome