Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Pope Sabinianus

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The date of his birth is unknown, but he was consecrated pope probably 13 Sept., 604, and died 22 Feb., 606. The son of Bonus, he was born at Blera (Bieda) near Viterbo. In 593 he was sent by St. Gregory I as apocrisiarius or Apostolic nuncio to Constantinople; but in some respects his administration of the office did not come up to Gregory's expectations. He was not astute enough for the rulers of Byzantium. He returned to Rome in 597, and was chosen to succeed Gregory soon after the death of that great pontiff; but as the imperial confirmation of his election did not arrive for some months, he was not consecrated till September. The difficulties of his pontificate were caused by fear of the Lombards and by famine. When the Lombard danger had passed, Sabinianus opened the granaries of the Church, and sold corn to the people at one solidus (twelve shillings) for thirty pecks. Because he was unable or unwilling to allow the people to have the corn for little or nothing, there grew up in later times a number of idle legends in which his predecessor was represented punishing him for avarice. He is reputed to have restored to the secular clergy posts which St. Gregory had filled with monks. He was buried in St. Peter's.

Liber Pontificalis, ed. DUCHESNE, I (Paris, 1886), 315; Epp. Gregorii; 1, ed. EWALD (Berlin, 1891); MANN, Lives of the Popes in the early Middle Ages, I, 251 sq.

Horace K. Mann.