Today is the feast day of Pope Saint Paul I. Ora pro nobis.
Pope Saint Paul I’s date of birth unknown; he died at Rome, 28 June, 767. He was a brother of Pope Stephen II. They both were educated for the priesthood at the Lateran palace.
Stephen entrusted his brother Paul with many important ecclesiastical affairs. Paul approved of the pope’s course in respect to King Pepin. These affairs included the restoration to the Roman cities which had been seized by the Lombard Kings Aistulf and Desiderius.
While Paul was with his dying brother at the Lateran, a party of the Romans gathered in the house of Archdeacon Theophylact in order to secure the latter’s succession to the papal see. However, immediately after the burial of Stephen (died 26 April, 757), Paul was elected by a large majority of cardinals anyway. Paul received episcopal consecration on the twenty-ninth of May, 757.
Pope Paul worked with King Pepin the Short to maintain the papacy‘s temporal powers. In 765 he settled an agreement with the Byzantine Desiderius regarding their boundaries.
Pope Paul built churches and monasteries in Rome. Paul showed great activity and zeal in encouraging religious life at Rome. He turned his paternal home into a monastery, and near it built the church of San Silvestro in Capite. The founding of this church led to his holding a synod at Rome in 761. To this church and other churches of Rome, Paul transferred the bones of numerous martyrs from the decayed sanctuaries in the catacombs devastated by the Lombards in 756.
Paul also built an oratory of the Blessed Virgin in St. Peter’s, and a church in honor of the Apostles on the Via Sacra beyond the Roman Forum. He died near the church of San Paolo fuori le mura, where he had gone during the heat of summer. He was buried in this church, but after three months his body was transferred to St. Peter’s.
Image: Pope Saint Paul (4)
Research by REGINA Staff