Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 592
Pope Benedict II (684-685) served the Church from his youth as a lower cleric and presbyter, and was generous towards the clergy. Account of the “Life of Benedict II", written in Rome shortly after his death, as a part of the “Liber Pontificalis”.
83. Benedictus II.
Natione Romanus [...]. Hic ab ineunte aetate sua ecclesiae militavit, atque sic se in divinis Scripturis et cantilena a puerili etate et in presbiterii dignitate exhibuit ut decet virum suo nomine dignum, in quo vere supernae benedictionis gratia redundavit, et nomine pariter et operibus, ut dignus ad pontificii regimine perveniret; pauperitatis amator, humilis, mansuetus et omnibus conpatientiam habens. […].
Hic una cum clero et exercitu suscepit mallones capillorum domni Iustiniani et Heraclii filiorum clementissimi principis, simul et iussionem per quam significat eosdem capillos direxisse. [...]
Clerum videlicet diversis ordinibus in diem sanctum Paschae honoribus ampliavit. […] Hic dimisit omni clero, monasteriis diaconiae et mansionariis auri libras XXX.
(ed. Duchesne 1886: 363-364)
83. Benedict II.
He was born in Rome [...]. He served the Church from a very early age. He distinguished himself in the Holy Scripture and in chanting since the time when he was a boy and he showed himself a man worthy of his name when he was a presbyter; in that dignity he abounded in the truly superior grace of blessing, both in name and in deeds, and so he came deservedly to the pontifical reign; the lover of the poor, humble, mild, and compassionate towards all. [...]
 Together with the clergy and the army he received the locks of hair of the lords Justinian and Heraclius, the sons of the most clement prince, and the mandate that explained the meaning of that hair. [...]
 He granted honours to the clergy of different grades on the day of Holy Easter. […] He gave to the entire clergy, to the monasteries of the charitable service, and to the church wardens, thirty pounds of gold.
(trans. S. Adamiak)


Benedict II, as opposed to many other popes of the 7th century, was neither a monk nor a foreigner, but he advanced through the ranks of the Roman clergy. It is interesting how Benedict distributed his gifts among the "omnis clerus", that is the entire secular clergy, and among the "monasteria diaconiae", i.e. only those monasteries who performed some charitable deeds. The exact meaning of the "mansionarii", rendered here as "church wardens", is unclear.
 The positive description of Benedict's activities refers also to his time as a presbyter, presenting us with a model of both a presbyter and a bishop.

Place of event:

  • Rome
  • Rome

About the source:

Title: Liber Pontificalis, The Book of Pontiffs, Gesta Pontificum Romanorum
Origin: Rome (Rome)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Liber Pontificalis is a major source for the history of the papacy in the first millenium. It is a collection of the lives of popes, starting from St Peter and kept going through to 870. Liber Pontificalis is prefaced by two apocryphical letters of Pope Damasus and Jerome, but it cannot be dated to that period. Although Mommsen tended to put the date of the actual compilation as late as the seventh century, nowadays Duchesne`s view is generally accepted that there were two editions made in the 530s-540s. The first, presumably completed soon after 530, has not survived as such, though we have two epitomes made from it (known as “Felician” and “Cononian” from the names of the popes at which they end). Duchesne tried to reconstruct it in his edition, but we follow the second edition presented by him, which was completed by the siege of Rome in 546. The work was then left aside for some time, and taken up again probably under Honorius (625-638) or shortly afterwards; hence the additions were written shortly after each pontiff`s death.
Liber starts to provide some more reliable information with the times of Pope Leo I (440-461), and becomes very well informed with the end of the fifth century. The lives of earlier popes cannot be considered as a valid source of information about their lifetime. However, those notices are a precious source for the sixth century: we learn what was considered an old tradition at the time, and how the past of the Roman church was being seen and constructed then. It is especially important when we deal with the liturgy.
 L. Duchesne ed., Le `Liber Pontificalis`, vol. 1., Paris 1886.
 T. Mommsen ed., Liber Pontificalis pars prior, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Gesta Pontificum Romanorum 1, Berlin 1898.
 The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis). The ancient biographies of the first ninety Roman bishops to AD 715, revised edition, translated with an introduction by R. Davis, Liverpool 2000.


Former ecclesiastical career - Lower clergy
Former ecclesiastical career - Unspecified clerical grade
Further ecclesiastical career - Bishop
Further ecclesiastical career - Unspecified clerical grade
    Economic status and activity - Gift
      Relation with - Monarch and royal/imperial family
        Relation with - Monk/Nun
          Former ecclesiastical career
            Further ecclesiastical career
                Theoretical considerations - On priesthood
                Pastoral activity - Helping the poor and needy
                Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER592,