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March 15

St Zachary, Pope - March 15

Saint Zachary

Pope and Confessor

(Unknown – 752)

“As for Milo and his like, who are doing great injury to the Church of God, preach in season and out of season, according to the word of the Apostle, that they cease from their evil ways.”

Saint Zachary correspondance to Saint Boniface, Archbishop of Mainz, about dealing with disreputable prelates such as Milo, Bishop of Reims

Saint’s Life Story

His Early Life 

Zachary’s birth data is unknown, although some speculate that he was born in 679. He was born in Santa Severino, Calabria, Italy. Nothing is known of Zachary’s his early life, except that he was the son of a Greek, Polychronius of Calabria. Zachary was most probably a Deacon of the Roman Church and as such, signed the Decrees of the Roman Council of 732.

91st Pope

On December 5, 741, Zachary was selected to succeed Saint Gregory III as Pope.  He was the first pope after Saint Gregory the Great to not seek imperial confirmation on his election. Zachary was known for his learning and sanctity. His holiness was so great that, instead of seeking revenge, he heaped benefits on those who had persecuted him before his promotion to the pontificate. 

Peacemaker

When King Liutprand of the Lombards was about to invade Roman lands at Terni because of the rebellion of the dukes of Spoleto and Benevento, Zachary risked his own life in order to meet with the King. Through his persuasion, Zachary won the freedom of all prisoners of war without any ransoms.  In addition, the Roman territory and church of Rome King Liutprand had occupied during 30 years, was returned. It is said that the Lombards were moved to tears at the devotion with which they heard him say Mass. Another time, he dissuaded Liutprand from invading Ravenna and to restore territory seized from the city. He negotiated peace between the Lombards and Greek empire.

Archbishop Saint Boniface

Zachary consecrated Saint Boniface, Archbishop of Mainz, through his missionary zeal helped the Church made vast strides in the realm of the Franks in Germany. At Saint Boniface’s request, Zachary confirmed three newly established bishoprics of Würzburg, Büraburg, and Erfurt in Germany.

His Works

Zachary was also responsible for restoring Montecassino under Saint Petronax and himself consecrated its abbey church in 748. Zachary was known for aiding the poor and provided refuge to nuns driven from Constantinople by the iconoclasts. When Venetian slavers bought slaves at Rome to sell to Saracens in Africa, Zachary bought them all so that Christians should not become the property of heathens. He forbid the selling of Christian slaves to the Moors of Africa.  Zachary translated Saint Gregory the Great’s Dialogues from Latin to Greek. In addition, he also restored the Lateran palace and many churches around Rome.

His Death

Zachary died of natural causes on March 22, 752, in Rome, Italy. He was buried in St. Peter’s Basilica. His elected successor, Stephen, died within days, and Zachary was finally succeeded by Stephen II. Zachary embraced and cherished all people like a father and a good shepherd, and never allowed even the smallest injustice to happen to anyone, so he was venerated as a saint immediately after his death. Zachary is depicted sometimes having a dove and olive branch over him.

Born:                  Unknown (maybe 679) in Santa Severino, Calabria, Italy

Died:                   March 22, 752, in Rome, Italy

Beatified:           Pre-Congregation

Canonized:        Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:          March 15 (formerly March 22)

Patron Saint:     None

Source:

Reflection

Pope Saint Zachary risked his life to meet with a barbarian King. He negotiated with him to release the prisoners of war without any ransoms (which was the usual custom). In addition, Saint Zachary persuaded the King to return Roman territory that the King had occupied for 30 years. Saint Zachary bought Christian slaves so that they would not become property of heathens. Thus, in a troubled era, Saint Zachary proved himself to be an excellent, capable, vigorous, and charitable successor of Saint Peter. 

Do you need a “peace treaty” with any family members or co-workers? While you may not ever become a Pope negotiating release of prisoners, you can always pray to God to help you “free” any people from any grudges you may hold towards them. 

Prayers

Dear Saint Zachary, we pray that you will intercede for our dear Pope, Francis. Like you, he is a gentle and wise soul. We are so thankful for this holy Vicar of Christ. Please pray for him, Saint Zachary, that the Lord will protect him and that he will have a long and healthy life. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

St. Zachary, pray for us. Amen.

Adapted from Pope Saint Zachary (catholicexchange.com)

Saint Links 

AnaStpaul – 15 March – Saint Pope Zachary (Died 752)

Bartleby.com – Rev. Alban Butler Volume III: March. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. March 15 St. Zachary, Pope and Confessor

Catholic Exchange – Pope Saint Zachary

Catholic Online – St. Zachary

CatholicSaints.Info – Pope Saint Zachary

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Zachary I, Pope by Katherine I Rabenstein

Catholic Saint Medals – St. Zachary

ChristianApostles.com – The Life of St. Zachary

New Advent – Kirsch, J.P. (1912). Pope St. Zachary. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

PopeHistory.com – Pope St. Zachary

Sanctoral – Saint Zachary Pope († 752)

The Fatima Center – St. Zachary – Pope

Wikipedia – Pope Zachary

Video Link