Paul I of Rome

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Paul I of Rome was Pope of Rome from 757 to 767. He had to contend with efforts of the Lombard king to control portions of the Papal States. He was a man of noble character, noted for his charity to the poor. Often, during the night he would visit prisons and perform acts of mercy.


Paul was born in Rome about the year 700. Other than that he was educated at the Lateran palace for the priesthood, little is known about his life before he was elected pope. As a deacon in Rome he served with his brother who was Pope Stephen III and took part in negotiations for him with the Lombard kings.

During Pope Stephen's last days, a group of Romans attempted to obtain the succession of the Archdeacon Theophylact to the see of Rome. However, the convocation, after Stephen's repose on April 26, 757, elected Paul by a large majority. He was then consecrated pope on May 29.

Pope Paul had to contend with the continued attempts of the Lombard king Desiderius to control parts of the Papal States, calling on the Frankish king Pepin, the father of Charlemagne, for support. Mainly through diplomacy, Paul succeeded in holding on to the Papal States without any major war. Paul's relations with Constantinople also deteriorated especially after emperor Constantine V vigorously supported iconoclasm. He encouraged Pepin to remain loyal to the orthodox belief, a position that led to the assembly of the Frankish bishops in a synod at Gentilly, near Paris, in 767 that affirmed the veneration of holy images.

He died near Rome on June 28, 767.

Succession box:
Paul I of Rome
Preceded by:
Stephen III
Pope of Rome
757 - 767
Succeeded by:
Stephen IV
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