jeudi 7 mai 2015

Saint BENOÎT II, Pape et confesseur

Saint Benoît II

Pape (81 ème) de 683 à 685 

( 685)

Son pontificat fut très bref, un an à peine. Il appartenait à la "schola cantorum" de Rome et il sut faire respecter sa ville. Il aimait les pauvres et eut un gouvernement favorable au petit peuple, distribuant même, sans le contrôle des agents impériaux, des sommes importantes pour la diaconie. Il eut quelque difficulté avec les Églises nationales d'Espagne et d'Angleterre. Il favorisa l'unité de la foi et de la connaissance du Fils de Dieu contre l'hérésie monothélite.

À Rome, en 685, saint Benoît II, pape, ami de la pauvreté, humble, doux, remarquable par sa patience et ses aumônes.

Martyrologe romain

Saint Benoît II (684-685)

Né à Rome.

Il sut convaincre l’empereur Constantin de permettre que l’Église et le peuple de Rome puissent élire le pape sans être obligés d’en demander l’aval impérial.

Pendant son pontificat se déroula le 14e concile de Tolède, qui dura du 14 au 20 novembre 684.

Benoît II

Benedictus était romain de naissance, et attaché à l’Eglise dès l’enfance, appliqué à l’étude de l’Ecriture et du chant ecclésiastique, qu’il considérait comme l’apprentissage de ce que font les saints au paradis.

Élu au siège apostolique en 683, il succédait à saint Léon II comme quatre-vingt-unième pape, connu pour sa piété, son humilité, sa douceur, sa patience, son amour des pauvres.

Un “incident” marqua son élection, car à cette époque on devait attendre la confirmation de l’élection par l’empereur avant d’introniser le nouveau pape. Cette attente dura près d’un an dans le cas de Benoît II. C’est d’ailleurs ce dernier qui, d’entente avec l’empereur Constantin Pogonat, décida qu’il ne serait plus nécessaire d’attendre cette confirmation.

L’empereur était justement bien disposé envers le pape : il lui fit adopter ses deux fils, Iustinianus et Heraclius.

Benoît II s’employa à faire recevoir partout les décrets du concile de Constantinople contre le monothélisme. Entre autres, il demanda à l’épiscopat espagnol de s’exprimer plus clairement à ce sujet.

Le pape chercha à ramener le patriarche d’Antioche, Makarios, à la sainte union, car il avait été déposé un moment pour hérésie. Il se montra favorable à la cause de l’archevêque d’York, saint Wilfrid, pour le faire réintégrer sur son siège.

Le pontificat de Benoît II fut très bref, mais intense en œuvres diverses : réparation d’édifices, souci des pauvres, conversion des hérétiques.

Benoît II mourut le 8 mai 685, et eut pour successeur Jean V.

Pope St. Benedict II

Date of birth unknown; died 8 May, 685; was a Roman, and the son of John. Sent when young to the schola cantorum, he distinguished himself by his knowledge of the Scriptures and by his singing, and as a priest was remarkable for his humility, love of the poor, and generosity. He became pope 26 June, 684, after an interval of over eleven months. To abridge the vacancies of the Holy See which followed the deaths of the popes, he obtained from the Emperor Constantine Pogonatus a decree which either abolished imperial confirmations altogether or made them obtainable from the exarch in Italy [cf. "Liber Diurnus RR. PP.", ed. Sickel (Vienna, 1889), and Duchesne's criticism, "Le Liber Diurnus" (Paris, 1891)]. He adopted Constantine's two sons by receiving locks of their hair sent him by the emperor. To help to suppress Monothelitism, he endeavoured to secure the subscriptions of the Spanish bishops to the decrees of the Sixth General Council (see ep. in P.L., XCVI, 423), and to bring about the submission to them of Macarius, ex-Bishop of Antioch. He was one of the popes who favoured the cause of St. Wilfred of York (Eddius, "Vita Wilfridi", ed. Raine in "Historians of York", I, 62 sqq. Cf. Raine, "Lives of the Archbishops of York", I, 55 sqq.). Many of the churches of Rome were restored by him; and its clergy, its deaconries for the care of the poor, and its lay sacristans all benefited by his liberality. He was buried in St. Peter's.


The most important source for the history of the first nine popes who bore the name of Benedict is the biographies in the Liber Pontificalis, of which the most useful edition is that of Duchesne, Le Liber Pontificalis (Paris, 1886-92), and the latest that of Mommsen, Gesta Pontif. Roman. (to the end of the reign of Constantine only, Berlin, 1898). Jaffé, Regesta Pont. Rom. (2d ed., Leipzig, 1885), gives a summary of the letters of each pope and tells where they may be read at length. Modern accounts of these popes will be found in any large Church history, or history of the City of Rome. The fullest account in English of most of them is to be read in Mann, Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages (London, 1902, passim).

Mann, Horace. "Pope St. Benedict II." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 6 May 2015 <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Kryspin J. Turczynski.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.


Benedict II, Pope (RM)

Born in Rome, Italy; died March 8, 685. Not much is known of Saint Benedict's youth except that he was active in Church affairs. He became a Scripture scholar and an expert in sacred chants. Elected to succeed Leo II in 683, his consecration was delayed almost a year until June 26, 684, awaiting the emperor's confirmation. During his term, he amended the process to speed approval of papal elections by having the exarch of Ravenna confirm the election, rather than the emperor, thus eliminating long delays.

Benedict was greatly respected by Emperor Constantine the Bearded, who sent him locks of his sons' hair, making them the pope's spiritual sons. Benedict brought back to orthodoxy Macarius, the ex-patriarch of Antioch, from his Monothelitism, and restored several Roman churches. He upheld the cause of Saint Wilfred of York, who sought the return of his see from which he had been deposed by Saint Theodore. Benedict ruled for only 11 months. He is the patron saint of Europe (Benedictines, Delaney, White).
May 7

St. Benedict II., Pope and Confessor

HE was a native of Rome, and having been brought up from his infancy in the service of the church, was well skilled in the holy scriptures, and in the ecclesiastical chanting, or church music, of which he was a devout admirer. To sing assiduously the divine praises on earth is a kind of novitiate to the state of the blessed in heaven, and an employment the most sweet and comfortable to a soul that truly loves God. 1 Benedict was always humble, meek, patient, mortified, a lover of poverty, and most generous to the poor. Being ordained priest, he had a share in the government of the Roman Church under the pontificates of Agatho and Leo II. Benedict was chosen pope upon the death of the latter, in 683, but to obtain the emperor’s consent, it was necessary to wait almost a year, till the return of messengers sent to Constantinople. On which account the see remained vacant all that time, and Benedict was only ordained on the 26th of June, 684. The emperor Constans II., grandson to Heraclius, had endeavoured to establish in the East the Monothelite heresy during an uneasy reign of twenty-six years: but being slain by an Armenian servant at Syracusa in Sicily, in 668, his son Constantine Pogonatus, or the Bearded, ascended the throne, and put to death the man who had murdered his father, and who had been saluted emperor by the army in Sicily. Constantine was a most religious and orthodox prince, and reigned seventeen years with great glory. He concurred with Pope Agatho in assembling the sixth general council at Constantinople, in 680. Pope Leo II. sent the decrees of the synod into Spain. After his decease Benedict II. pursued the same affair, and the Spanish bishops in a council at Toledo, approved and received the definition of faith published by the sixth general council. They despatched to the pope a copy of their decree and confession of faith with their subscriptions annexed, wherein they acknowledge two wills in Christ. Pope Benedict, however, observed in their confession certain obscure expressions, of which he desired a clearer explanation. For this purpose the fifteenth council of Toledo was held, in which they were expounded in a sense entirely orthodox. The bishops of Rome were anciently chosen by the clergy and people of Rome, according to the discipline of those times; the Christian emperors were the head of the people, on which account their consent was required. But whilst they resided in the East, this condition produced often long delays and considerable inconveniences. Pope Benedict represented this to Constantine, and that pious prince readily passed a law addressed to the clergy, the people, and the army at Rome, allowing that the person by them elected should be forthwith ordained, as Anastasius relates: nevertheless, some emperors still required to be consulted. Such was the veneration of this good prince for the holy Pope Benedict, that he sent to him a lock of the hair of his two sons, Justinian and Heraclius, as a token of their adoption by him, according to the custom of those times. This religious emperor overcame the Saracens in a war of seven years’ continuance both by sea and land; he recovered from them several provinces, and obliged them to pay him an annual tribute. He died in peace, in 685. Pope Benedict laboured much for the conversion of heretics, and in repairing and adorning churches. He did not complete eleven months in the pontificate; but filled this short term with good works. He died on the 7th of May, 686, and was buried in St. Peter’s church. See his letter, and Anastasius Biblioth. t. 6 Concil.

Note 1. The Cistercian Breviary calls this the principal end and function of that holy Order; from an affectionate regard to which several monasteries take their name, as that of Laude, or De Laude Dei, &c. In the cathedral of Tours there is this epitaph of Ouvrande, a pious master of music:

Laus divina mihi semper fuit unica cura:
Post obitum sit laus divina mihi unica merces [back]
Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume V: May. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.


San Benedetto II Papa

m. 685

(Papa dal 26/06/684 al 8/05/685)

Romano, durante il suo pontificato l'imperatore rinunciò al privilegio di confermare l'elezione del pontefice.

Martirologio Romano: Sempre a Roma, san Benedetto II, papa, che fu amante della povertà, umile e mansueto e rifulse per la pazienza e per le elemosine.

E' un prete di famiglia romana, conosciuto come profondo studioso della Sacra Scrittura e cultore del canto sacro. Viene eletto al soglio pontificio succedendo a Leone II, greco di origine ma nato in Sicilia, che ha governato la Chiesa per soli undici mesi. L’elezione di Benedetto, fatta secondo l’uso del tempo dai tre corpi elettori (clero, esercito e popolo romano), deve poi ottenere la conferma da parte dell’imperatore di Costantinopoli, che è sovrano di Roma e di una parte d’Italia. Ricevuto l’assenso, l’eletto viene consacrato dai tre vescovi suburbani di Porto, Ostia e Velletri. E la pratica per la ratifica dell’elezione, data la lentezza delle comunicazioni del tempo, dura sempre molto a lungo: può persino accadere che il riconoscimento imperiale arrivi quando il nuovo Pontefice è già morto. 

Benedetto II aspetta dal luglio 683 fino al giugno 684, governando tuttavia la Chiesa da subito. Ma questa usanza ormai è avviata al declino. L’imperatore d’Oriente, Costantino IV detto Pogonato (“barbuto”), manda la conferma, decidendo però che d’ora in poi non si ricorrerà più a Costantinopoli: l’assenso imperiale sarà comunicato semplicemente dal governatore dell’Italia bizantina, l’esarca che risiede a Ravenna. 

Il breve pontificato di Benedetto II è importante anche perché vede migliorare i rapporti tra Papato e Costantinopoli: l’impero d’Oriente, rudemente minacciato dall’espansionismo arabo, comincia a riaccostarsi alla Sede romana (almeno momentaneamente) e a riconoscerne meglio l’autorità. Anzi, Costantino IV manda al neo-eletto Pontefice alcune ciocche di capelli dei suoi figli, Giustiniano ed Eraclio: e con quel gesto simbolico li dichiara figli adottivi di Benedetto II. 

Durante questo breve pontificato viene attuata un’importante riforma nella struttura ecclesiastica dell’Urbe. Le “diaconìe” cittadine, ossia le sette circoscrizioni ecclesiastiche romane, stabilite già nel III secolo, diventano per un certo periodo una struttura organizzata secondo il modello dei ministeri, per assicurare in modo permanente l’assistenza ai poveri e ai più deboli.
E prendono infatti il nome di monasteria diaconiae, ricevendo dal Papa le forti donazioni necessarie alla loro attività. 

Durante questo pontificato si inizia a Roma anche la costruzione di nuove chiese: Benedetto II si impegna in particolare per i necessari restauri nella basilica di San Pietro, che era stata fatta costruire dall’imperatore Costantino sul colle Vaticano. E in essa il Pontefice verrà sepolto, dopo aver governato la Chiesa per meno di due anni, morendo l’8 maggio 685.

Domenico Agasso