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SISINNIUS

708 AD

Sisnnius is remarkable for the shortness of his pontificate, which lasted about twenty days, and for the fact that he was so tormented by gout that he could not even feed himself. Except that Sisinnius was a Syrian, the son of John, nothing is known of his early life. It remains obscure just why a man in his ailing condition should have been elected pope. His biographer in the "Liber Pontificalis" says that he was a steady man who was solicitous for the welfare of the citizens of Rome. Perhaps it was this reputation which caused the Romans to take a chance on his health.

That Sisinnius was a man of foresight is proved by one of his first acts. He ordered that lime should be prepared so that the walls of Rome could be strengthened. The papal limekilns were ordered into full production, but, of course, Sisinnius died before much could be done. This anxiety about Rome's walls proves that Sisinnius was a man of vision. The Lombards were always a threat, and now the crescent of Islam was beginning to swell toward the full moon.

Sisinnius had time to ordain a bishop for Corsica and for nothing more. He was dead and buried in St. Peter's by February 4, 708.


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