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Bishop of Rome
ChurchCatholic Church
SeeHoly See
Papacy began13 September 604
Papacy ended22 February 606
PredecessorGregory I
SuccessorBoniface III
Personal details
Bornc. 530
Blera, Eastern Roman Empire
Died(606-02-22)22 February 606 (aged 76)
Rome, Eastern Roman Empire
Previous post(s)Cardinal-Deacon of the Holy Roman Church (15 October 590 - 13 September 604)

Pope Sabinian (Latin: Sabinianus, died 22 February 606) was the bishop of Rome from 13 September 604 to his death. His pontificate occurred during the Eastern Roman domination of the papacy. He was the fourth former apocrisiarius to Constantinople to be elected pope.


Sabinian was born at Blera (Bieda) near Viterbo. He had been sent by Pope Gregory I, who had a high opinion of him, as apocrisiarius to the imperial court in Constantinople. In 595, Gregory was angered by Sabinian's lack of resolution in discussion with Emperor Maurice about the disputed assumption of the title "ecumenical patriarch" by John IV of Constantinople. Sabinian was then recalled and sent on a mission to Gaul the same year.[1] He returned to Rome in 597.[2]


Sabinian was elected to succeed Gregory probably in March 604, but had to wait for imperial ratification before being consecrated in September.[1] During his pontificate, Sabinian was seen as a counterfoil to Gregory I. The Liber pontificalis praises him for "filling the church with clergy", in contrast to Gregory, who tended to fill ecclesiastical positions with monks.[2][1]

Sabinian incurred unpopularity by his unseasonable economies,[3] although the Liber pontificalis states that he distributed grain during a famine at Rome under his pontificate. Whereas Gregory distributed grain to the Roman populace as invasion loomed, when the danger had passed Sabinian sold it to them. Because he was unable or unwilling to allow the people to have the grain for little or nothing, there grew up in later times a number of legends in which his predecessor was represented punishing him for avarice. Sabinian died 22 February 606. His funeral procession through the city had to change course to avoid hostile Romans.[4]

Onofrio Panvinio, in his 1557 Epitome pontificum Romanorum, attributes to Sabinian the introduction of the custom of ringing bells at the canonical hours and the celebration of the Eucharist.[3] The first attribution of this was in Guillaume Durand's thirteenth-century Rationale Divinorum Officiorum.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Attwater, Aubrey (1939). A Dictionary of Popes: From Peter to Pius XII. p. 65. ISBN 0199295816.
  2. ^ a b c Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope Sabinianus" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  3. ^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Sabinianus" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 23 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 966.
  4. ^ "The 65th Pope",, Diocese of Bridgeport


  • Duffy, Eamon. Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes, Yale University Press, 2001, p. 72–73. ISBN 0-300-09165-6
  • Ekonomou, Andrew J. 2007. Byzantine Rome and the Greek Popes: Eastern influences on Rome and the papacy from Gregory the Great to Zacharias, A.D. 590–752. Lexington Books.
  • Maxwell-Stuart, P. G. Chronicle of the Popes: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Papacy from St. Peter to the Present, Thames & Hudson, 2002, p. 54. ISBN 0-500-01798-0.

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Gregory I
Succeeded by
Boniface III
This page was last edited on 30 March 2021, at 09:28
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