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Benedict I
Bishop of Rome
ChurchCatholic Church
Papacy began2 June 575
Papacy ended30 July 579
PredecessorJohn III
SuccessorPelagius II
Personal details
Rome, Eastern Roman Empire
Died(579-07-30)30 July 579 (aged 54)
Rome, Eastern Roman Empire
Other popes named Benedict

Pope Benedict I (Latin: Benedictus I; died 30 July 579) was the bishop of Rome from 2 June 575 to his death.[1]

Benedict was the son of a man named Boniface, and was called Bonosus by the Greeks. The ravages of the Lombards rendered it very difficult to communicate with the emperor at Constantinople, who claimed the privilege of confirming the election of popes. Hence there was a vacancy of nearly eleven months between the death of Pope John III and the arrival of the imperial confirmation of Benedict's election on 2 June 575.[1]

Benedict granted an estate, the Massa Veneris, in the territory of Minturnae, to Abbot Stephen of St. Mark's "near the walls of Spoleto" (St. Gregory I, Ep. ix, 87, I. al. 30). Famine followed the devastating Lombards, and from the few words the Liber Pontificalis has about Benedict, we gather that he died in the midst of his efforts to cope with these difficulties. He was buried in the vestibule of the sacristy of the old Basilica of St. Peter. In a ceremony held in December, he ordained fifteen priests and three deacons and consecrated twenty-one bishops.[1]

Few of the records of transactions outside Rome that could help understand Benedict's pontificate survive, and because of the disruptions caused by the Lombards in Italy, perhaps few ever existed.[1]

He ruled the church during a period made calamitous by the invasion of the Lombards and by famine, plague, and the flooding of the Tiber River. While working to solve the resulting problems, he died during a siege of Rome by the Lombards.[2]

Papal life

Very little is known about the actions that Pope Benedict I took during his time as pope. He issued the estate called “Massa Veneris” to an Abbot Stephen with St. Mark's. This was a small territory that was in the eastern part of Italy. Benedict I spent most of his time as pope dealing with the Lombards and their threats. This Germanic group continued moving through Italy during his reign and constantly fought the Church for more land. Their battles caused a famine that lasted for years and left Roman Catholics in despair. In December of 578, the pope issued formal orders and held a ceremony to appoint 21 new bishops. The same ceremony saw the appointment of three deacons and 15 priests. That was the only bright spot during his reign. He would spend the rest of his days battling with the Lombards and trying to hold the Church together. When he died on July 30, he had been pope for 1,519 days.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainMann, Horace K. (1907). "Pope Benedict I". In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  2. ^ Benedict I, Pope. "Benedict I". Britannica. Retrieved 16 June 2005.
  3. ^ Benedict I, Pope. "Pope Benedict I". Pope History. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
Catholic Church titles Preceded byJohn III Pope 575–579 Succeeded byPelagius II