Sabinian

pope
born , Tuscany
died Feb. 22, 606, Rome

      Italian pope from 604 to 606.

      Under Pope Gregory I the Great, he served as papal ambassador at Constantinople, trying to reconcile the Roman Church with Patriarch John IV the Faster, whose claim to the title of ecumenical patriarch was regarded by Gregory to be a threat to Christian unity. Elected in 604 as Gregory's successor, Sabinian reversed the policy of his predecessor and promoted the diocesan, or secular, clergy rather than monks. His cautious administration of the papal granaries during a winter famine probably explains the later untrustworthy legend of his parsimony. His brief and generally unpopular pontificate was afflicted not only by famine but also by attacks from the Lombards, a Germanic people ruling northern Italy.

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