First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…

Conon, a native of Thrace and reared in Sicily, was elected pope. He was a pious man and well worthy of such a high office. When the Romans wanted to elect Peter the archbishop, and the army wanted to elect Theodorus, they finally unanimously elected this Conon through divine admonition; for in morals, in his knowledge of the Scriptures, in goodness, in piety and in worthiness, he was a renowned and praiseworthy man. Some called him an angelic man by reason of his venerable old age and honesty. He was a man of full understanding, of exceptional discretion and righteousness, and of more than human firmness and intelligence. But soon after he entered upon the pontificate, he became weak. Immediately, then, Paschal, the archbishop and custodian of the papal treasury, coveting the pontificate, tempted John (Ioannem), the exarch of Italy, with money, to assist him in securing the pontificate upon the death of Conon. The exarch took the money, but did not perform what he promised. Conon died in the 11th month and third day of his pontificate, and was buried in Saint Peter’s on the 11th day of the Kalends of October. The seat then was vacant for two months and 23 days.[After the death of John V, the election of a new pope was contested; the clergy, magistrates and other influential citizens supporting one candidate, and the general of the army favoring another. At length all parties agreed to reject both and to elect one Conon, an aged presbyter. He died in 687, leaving (as many of his predecessors had done) a rich legacy to the clergy and the monasteries. His archdeacon Paschal, who was charged with the distribution of this treasure did not scruple to offer it as a bribe to the exarch John, with a view to securing his election to the vacant see. John used his influence at Rome for this purpose. However, the election favored a rival candidate, Sergius, whom Paschal himself was obliged to acknowledge as bishop. At the invitation of Paschal, however, the exarch came to Rome with the view of setting aside the election of Sergius; but, finding this impossible, he secured his own interest by compelling the newly elected bishop to give him the hundred pounds of gold which had been promised him by Paschal. In order to raise this money, and to excite dissatisfaction at the proceeding, Sergius pledged the costly lamps that had previously been suspended before the tomb of St. Peter.]

Year of the World 5893

Year of Christ 694

Pope Sergius, a Syrian whose father was Tiberius (Tyberio), came from Antioch to Rome in the time of Pope Adeodatus. He was called to the Roman priesthood, and because of his knowledge of the Scriptures and of the mysteries of divine matters, he became so well known that he was elected pope after Conon; but not without dissension, for the Roman people favored Theodore the archbishop, while others named Paschal at the instigation of the exarch. But when both factions met at the Lateran, the clergy and the people united upon Sergius in the election. Later, he would not subscribe to the action of the Emperor Justinian’s council; for this reason the emperor ordered Sergius to be brought to him in chains. But the soldiers of Italy would not permit this. Having attained peace of mind, he turned his attention to the improvement of the churches, including noteworthy additions to the Basilica of Peter. He found a portion of the holy cross in a small metal trunk or chest. This pope ordained that at the breaking of the body of Christ[The body of Christ (corpus Christi), as represented by the consecrated bread used in the communion. After the communion a linen cloth, called the corporal was spread over the unconsumed portion of the bread. This was in common use in the Church in the 5th century, the purpose being to represent the body of Christ as wrapped up in fine linen by Joseph of Arimathea. According to the English Order of the Holy Communion, “When all have communicated, the minister shall turn to the Lord’s table, and reverently place upon it what remaineth of the consecrated elements, covering the same with a fair linen cloth.” ], the Agnus Dei should be sung three times. He died in the 13th year, eighth month, and 23rd day of his pontificate, and was buried, lamented by all, in the Basilica of Peter on the 6th day of the Ides of September. The seat then was vacant one month and twenty days.[Sergius, pope from 687 to 701, came of an Antiochene family that had settled at Palermo, Sicily. He was elected after a fierce struggle between two other candidates, Paschal and Theodore, as explained in the note to Conon (this Folio, above). Considering the weakness of the Greek emperors on the one hand, and the ambition of the Roman pontiffs on the other, it was not likely that a good understanding would long subsist between the Eastern and Western churches; and under the pontificate of Sergius a rupture took place. Justinian II caused a general council to assemble at Constantinople in 691 to complete the acts of the fifth and sixth councils previously held; and from this circumstance the new council is sometimes called the Quinisextine. Some of the canons of this council were highly offensive to the Church of Rome. By the 13th canon permission was given the inferior clergy to continue in a state of matrimony. The 2nd ordained that 85 apostolic canons should be received as genuine. The 36th repealed the celebrated canon of Chalcedon, and a canon of the 1st Council of Constantinople, enacting that the patriarchs of old and new Rome should possess equal privileges, but assigning superiority of rank to the former. The 56th repeated one of the apostolic canons, which provided that no ecclesiastic should fast on a Sunday or a Sabbath (except one in the holy week) under penalty of deposition, and no layman under penalty of excommunication; and this law, said the council, shall be observed in the church of Rome, in which there had previously been fasting on the Sabbath, contrary to ecclesiastical regulations. The 57th canon prohibited the use of animal blood in the preparation of food. The 82nd forbade the ancient custom of representing “Christ our God in the figure of a lamb,” declaring it more seemly to represent him as a perfect man, for the purpose of exciting feelings of devotion. The emperor sent a copy of the decrees of the council to Sergius for his subscription, but Sergius would not even permit the decrees to be read in public, declaring he would rather die than consent to these innovations. Enraged by this refusal, the emperor sent Zacharias, the commander of his bodyguard, to Rome, with orders to bring Sergius to Constantinople. The pontiff was, however, protected by the soldiers stationed at Ravenna and in the district of Pentapolis and its neighborhood, who refused to suffer him to be carried away. They even repaired to Rome, where Zacharias, in fear of his life, fell at the feet of Sergius, imploring his protection. His life was spared, but the soldiers were not appeased until they had driven him from the city with demonstrations of contempt and destation. About this time (695) the emperor was deposed, and no notice was taken of the indignity to his officer. The Quinisextine decrees were never received by the Church of Rome. Servius was succeeded by John VI as pope.]

John (Ioannes), the sixth pope of this name, a native of Greece, became pope when Theophylactus (Theophilatius) came to Italy; and he made no small amount of improvement in the houses of worship. Being a good man, he ransomed many prisoners with funds from the common treasury of the Church. He died in the third year and third month of his pontificate as, some will have it, a martyr, but by whom he was martyred is not known. Certain people state that he was buried in the Sebastian catacombs on the Appian Way. After his death the seat was then vacant one month and nineteen days.[John VI, pope from 701 to 705, was a native of Greece, and succeeded to the pontificate two months after the death of Sergius I. He assisted the exarch Theophylactus, who had been sent into Italy by the Eastern emperor Justinian II; but when the exarch arrived at Rome, the soldiers again assembled, as they had done in the defense of Sergius, and would have attacked the exarch but for the interference of John, who shut the gates, and sent some of his clergy to quell the disorder. Bower says the exarch was about to depose the pope, but the probability is that the soldiers were merely irritated by recollection of the past, and were excited by their own ungrounded fears regarding the exarch’s visit. So great was the weakness of the imperial government in Italy at this period, that it could not prevent the irruptions of the Lombards in the Greek territory. Gisulf (or Gusulf), the Lombard duke of Benevento, now plundered and laid waist Campania, and even approached Rome. John induced him to retire, and ransomed the captives whom he had taken.]

Pope John (Ioannes) the Seventh, a Greek whose father was Plato, became pope when Justinian returned to Constantinople and ordered Tiberius (Tyberium) and Leontius, by whom he had been ousted from the sovereignty, put to death in the presence of the people. This John was a well-spoken and pious man, and built a chapel in the Basilica of Peter in honor of the Mother of God; and in it the walls, on the right and left, were ornamented with the portraits of certain holy fathers in relief. He also made various improvements and beautifications in the churches. He died in the second year, seventh month and 17th day of his pontificate, and was buried on the 15th day of the Kalends of November in the Basilica of Peter before the altar of the Mother of God that he himself had built. After his death the seat was vacant three months.[John VII, pope from 705 to 707, successor to John VI, was also of Greek nationality. Justinian being now restored, sent to him two metropolitans, requesting him to convene a council, to confirm such of the Quinisextine decrees as pleased him, and to reject the others. But John was too politic to do either one or the other. He was succeeded by Sisinnus.]

Pope Sisinnius (Sysimus) or, as others will have it, Sosimus, a native of Syria whose father was John, was in his pontificate only 20 days. Although he had the gout in hands and feet, so that he could neither walk nor take any food, he was so attentive to the affairs of the Roman state and Christian matters of public concern, that he neglected nothing during his pontificate, which became a pious man; for he provided all the material with which the walls of the city and the old dilapidated churches were improved. But he was taken by a sudden death, and was buried in the Basilica of Peter on the 8th day of the Ides of November. The seat was then vacant one month and 18 days.[Sisinnus was pontiff for only twenty days. During this brief period he set about repairing the walls of Rome—a patriotic and useful undertaking by which he sought to obtain the good will and respect of the citizens, but which did not imply temporal sovereignty. The Romans had come to regard the bishop as their protector rather than the imperial general, and they had more regard for the resident bishop than the weak emperor residing at a distance. At this time the throne at Constantinople was occupied by the weak and despised Justinian II.]