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Pope Saint Martin I, born near Todimarker, Umbria in the place now named after him Pian S. Martino, was pope from 649 to 653, succeeding Theodore I in July 649. The only pope during the Byzantine Papacy whose election was not approved by an iussio from Constantinople, Martin I was abudcted by Constans II and died in the Crimean penninsula.

He was the last apocrisiarius elected pope.


He had previously acted as papal apocrisiarius or legate at Constantinoplemarker, and was held in high repute for learning and virtue.

Papacy (649-653)

Almost his first official act was to summon the Lateran Council of 649 to deal with the Monothelites, whom the Church considered heretical. It met in the church of St. John Lateranmarker, was attended by one hundred and five bishops (chiefly from Italymarker, Sicily, and Sardinia, with a few from Africa and other quarters), held five sessions or secretarii from October 5 to October 31, 649, and in twenty canon condemned the Monothelites, its authors, and the writings by which it had been promulgated. In this condemnation were included, not only the Ecthesis or exposition of faith of the patriarch Sergius for which the emperor Heraclius had stood sponsor, but also the typus of Paul, the successor of Sergius, which had the support of the reigning emperor (Constans II).

Abduction and exile (653-655)

Martin was very energetic in publishing the decrees of his Lateran synod in an encyclical, and Constans replied by enjoining his exarch or governor in Italy to arrest the pope, should he persist in this line of conduct, and send him as a prisoner to Constantinople.

These orders were found impossible to carry out for a considerable space of time, but at last Martin was arrested in the Lateran on June 17, 653, along with Maximus the Confessor. He was hurried out of Rome and conveyed first to Naxosmarker and subsequently to Constantinople by September 17, 653. After suffering an exhausting imprisonment and many alleged public indignities, he was ultimately banished to Chersonmarker in the Crimeamarker, where he arrived on May 15, 655, and died on September 16 of that year. His feast day is April 13.


  • Ekonomou, Andrew J. 2007. Byzantine Rome and the Greek Popes: Eastern influences on Rome and the papacy from Gregory the Great to Zacharias, A.D. 590-752. Lexington Books.

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