John VII of Rome

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John VII of Rome was the Archbishop and Pope of the Church of Rome from 705 to 707. He returned the canons from the Quinisext Council of 692 without reviewing let alone ratifying them.


John was born about the year 650, probably in Rossano, Calabria, to Blatta and Plato. He was of Greek origin. His father was the curator of the Palatine Hill in Rome. His paternal grandfather was Theodorus Chilas, a senator. John was known as a learned and eloquent man.

John was elected pope on March 1, 705 as John VII. As pope he maintained good relations with the Lombards who ruled most of the Italian peninsula at the time, but his relations with Constantinople became soured over his handling of the canons from the Quinisext Council of 692. The council, also called the Council of Trullo after the name of the hall where the Sixth Ecumenical council had met, was convened to draw up disciplinary canons that were omitted during the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils. No official legate from the West was present at the council sessions.

After the council ended, emperor Justinian II sent the canons of the council to John VII by the hand of two metropolitan bishops requesting that Pope John confirm what he approved and reject that which he disapproved, as many of the articles affected the see of Rome. Upon receipt of the canons, Pope John rejected them without review because the council was held without the presence of any papal legates. Since then, commentators have debated his actions, noting that many of the canons were good and that John could well have approved them while taking exception to those that were not.

While he was pope, John was involved in the construction of a number of ecclesiastical structures in Rome, including the Church of St. Maria Antiqua and the oratory to the Theotokos in the old basilica of St. Peter. He also had rebuilt the Monastery of Subiaco that had been destroyed by the Lombards in 601.

During his papacy of just under three years, John VII conducted many ordinations and consecrations. In one case he consecrated fifteen bishops and ordained nine priests and two deacons.

Pope John VII died on October 17, 707. He was interred in the oratory that he built in old St. Peter's Cathedral in the Vatican.

Succession box:
John VII of Rome
Preceded by:
John VI
Pope of Rome
Succeeded by:
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