Saturday, 22 February 2020


An ecclesiastical ambassador to the Byzantine Church of Constantinople whom only served a term of less than two unremarkable years after his predecessor’s impressive reign and missionary outreach work, the only appreciably certain contribution of Pope Sabinian was introducing bell ringing to peal in the canonical hours—though attributed to him by a French scholar some seven hundred years later. An equally reliable though much more fantastic account follows shortly after his enthronement with death not far ahead in the future. A famine was visited on Rome and Sabinian was either unwilling or unable to distribute grain for free to the hungry and it was going in the market for exorbitant prices, buoyed by runaway inflation and the nascent threat of Frankish invasion. For his apparent avarice according to the Golden Legend—especially in comparison to the munificence of Gregory the Great, the Pope before him (though that generosity may have just pushed off the problem to his hapless successor—the sainted pope himself returned in spectral form (like a Force Ghost) and smote Sabinian dead in the Lateran Palace (after three visitations to try to convince him to share) on this day in the year 606. Due to his universal unpopularity, Sabinian was not venerated in death