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Information about reign: Papa Bonifatius Tertius (Pope Boniface III)

CountryHoly See
From19 February 607
To12 November 607
Personal InformationPope Boniface III (540 - 607)
Description

Pope Boniface III (Latin: Bonifatius III) was the Pope from 19 February 607 to his death on 12 November that same year. Despite his short time as Pope he made a significant contribution to the organization of the Catholic Church.

On the death of Pope Sabinian in February 606, Boniface was elected his successor, although his return from Constantinople to Rome was delayed by almost a year. There is much debate over why there was such a long interregnum. Some authorities believe that it was to allow Boniface to complete his work in Constantinople, but the more widely held belief is that there was dissension between those who supported the policies of the late Pope Gregory and those who did not. Boniface himself is thought to have insisted on the elections being free and fair and may have refused to take up the papacy until convinced that they had been. This view is given credence by his actions on being consecrated to the office of Pope.

He made two significant changes to papal selections. The first was the enacting of a decree forbidding anyone during the lifetime of a pope to discuss the appointment of his successor under pain of excommunication. The second change established that no steps could be taken to provide for a papal successor until three days after a pope's burial. This suggests that he was serious in his desire to keep papal elections free.

His other notable act resulted from his close relationship with Emperor Phocas. He sought and obtained a decree from Phocas which restated that "the See of Blessed Peter the Apostle should be the head of all the Churches". This ensured that the title of "Universal Bishop" belonged exclusively to the Bishop of Rome, and effectively ended the attempt by Patriarch Cyriacus of Constantinople to establish himself as "Universal Bishop".

Boniface III was buried in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, on 12 November 607.

Papa Bonifatius Tertius (Pope Boniface III): Some useful external links
Catholic Encyclopedia > Pope Boniface III Wikipedia: Pope Boniface III