Bishop of Rome
ChurchCatholic Church
Papacy began15 January 708
Papacy ended4 February 708
PredecessorJohn VII
Personal details
Died(708-02-04)4 February 708
BuriedOld St. Peter's Basilica, Rome

Pope Sisinnius (died 4 February 708) was the bishop of Rome from 15 January 708 to his death on 4 February. Besides the fact that he was Syrian and had a father named John, little is known of Sisinnius' early life or career. At the time of his election to the papal throne, Sisinnius suffered from severe gout, leaving him weak. During the course of his twenty-day papacy, Sisinnius consecrated a bishop for Corsica and ordered the reinforcement of the walls surrounding the papal capital of Rome. On his death, Sisinnius was buried in Old St. Peter's Basilica. He was succeeded by Pope Constantine.

Life and papacy

Little information about Sisinnius before his election to the papal throne is extant.[1] Much of what is known about him is deduced from four lines of the Liber Pontificalis (English: Book of the Popes), a collection of papal biographies.[2] The French historian Philippe Levillain stated that, "The concision of his biography may be interpreted as the result of aversion to him on the part of the Roman clergy, or perhaps a reflection of the absence of anomaly in an ecclesiastical career that led naturally to the pontificate".[2] By birth, Sisinnius was Syrian and his father was named John.[3] Sisinnius was respected for his upright, moral disposition and concern for the people of Rome, the papal capital.[1][3] He was likely not a member of the upper-class (like many of his immediate predecessors), as indicated by the paucity of donations of gold and silver during his pontificate and the pontificates of the popes between him and Pope Honorius I in the seventh century.[4]

Sisinnius was elected to become the bishop of Rome, likely in October 707, and was consecrated on 15 January 708.[1] The confirmation of Sisinnius' election by the Byzantine Exarch of Ravenna caused delay of his consecration by nearly three months.[1] By the time of his election, Sisinnius was ridden with gout and could not feed himself using his hands.[3] He was one of many such early medieval popes who were ill and of old age.[1][5] During his reign, Sisinnius consecrated a bishop for Corsica. He also ordered the preparation of lime so that the walls surrounding the city of Rome, which by then were in poor condition due to past attacks, could be reinforced.[1] The task was never executed, as Sisinnius died in Rome on 4 February after a reign of twenty days.[3] He was buried in the left nave of Old St. Peter's Basilica; his tomb was destroyed in the seventeenth century during the Basilica's demolition.[6] The next pope elected was Pope Constantine, another Syrian,[1][3] who was consecrated on 25 March 708.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Kelly & Walsh 1988, p. 85.
  2. ^ a b Levillain 2002b, p. 1428.
  3. ^ a b c d e McBrien 2000, p. 117.
  4. ^ Richards 1979, p. 213.
  5. ^ Richards 1979, p. 250.
  6. ^ Reardon 2004, p. 58.
  7. ^ Levillain 2002a, p. 420.


Catholic Church titles Preceded byJohn VII Pope 708 Succeeded byConstantine