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E01698: The short Life of *Benedict II (bishop of Rome, ob. 685, S00887) in the Liber Pontificalis, written in Latin in Rome soon after his death, names his refurbishments at, and offerings to, churches of *Peter (the Apostle, S00036), *Laurence (deacon and martyr of Rome, S00037), *Valentinus (priest and martyr of Rome, S00443), and *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033), in and around Rome; names the feast of Valentinus; and mentions Benedict's burial at the church of *Peter (the Apostle, S00036) on 8 May.

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posted on 2016-07-09, 00:00 authored by robert
Liber Pontificalis 83

Benedictus iunior, natione Romanus, de patre Iohanne, sedit mens. X dies XII. Hic ab ineunte aetate sua ecclesiae militavit atque sic se in divinis scripturis et cantilena a puerili etate et in presbiterii dignitate exibuit, ut decet virum suo nomine dignum, in quo vere supernae benedictionis gratia redundavit, et nomine pariter et operibus ut dignus ad pontificii regimine perveniret; paupertatis amator, humilis, mansuetus et omnibus conpatientiam habens adque manu largissima.
Hic ecclesiam beati Petri apostoli sed et beati Laurenti martyris, qui appellatur Lucinae, restauravit itemque in ecclesia beati Valentini via Flamminea fecit coopertorium super altare cum clavos in fistellis et in circuitu palergium chrisoclavum pretiosissimum. Similiter in ecclesia beate Mariae ad martyres alium coopertorium porphyrum cum cruce et gammulas et clavos IIII auroclavos et in circuitu palergium de olosiricum pulcherrimum; nec non et in titulo suprascripto Lucine alium coopertorium ornatum de olosiricum. Fecit autem et calices aureos ministeriales II, pensantes singuli libras singulas.

'Benedict the younger, born in Rome, son of Iohannes, held the see 10 months 12 days. From his early youth he had served in the church. In divine scripture and in chant while he was still a boy, and then in the office of the priesthood, he showed himself as befitted a man worthy of his name: in him grace and benediction from above truly overflowed. In both name and actions he was a worthy man to reach the dignity of the pontificate—a lover of the poor, humble, mild, with compassion for all and a most bountiful hand.
He restored the church of the blessed Peter the apostle, and of the blessed Laurence the martyr called that of Lucina. Also in the church of the blessed Valentinus on the via Flaminia he provided over the altar an altarcloth with studs and thin bands, with a very precious border around it, adorned with gold buttons; similarly in the church of the blessed Mary ad Martyres another altarcloth of purple with a cross and chevrons and four goldbuttoned studs, with a very beautiful border all of silk; also at the above titulus of Lucina, another decorated altarcloth all of silk. He also provided 2 gold service chalices each weighing 1 lb.'


Huius temporibus apparuit stella noctu, iuxta vigilias, per dies, caelum serenum inter Domini et Theophania omnimodo obumbrata veluti luna sub nube. Itemque mense Februario, post natale sancti Valentini, in die, ab occasu exiit stella meridie et in partes Orientis declinavit.

'In his time there appeared a star in the clear night sky, at about vigils, for some days between Christmas and Epiphany; it was totally overshadowed, like the moon beneath a cloud. Again in February after the feast of saint Valentinus, the star rose in daytime at midday in the west and sank in the eastern parts.'


Qui etiam sepultus est ad beatum Petrum apostolum sub die VIII idus Maias.

'He was buried at the blessed Peter the apostle on 8 May.'

Text: Duchesne 1886, 363-364. Translation: Davis 2010, 77-78, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Peter the Apostle : S00036 Laurence/Laurentius, deacon and martyr of Rome : S00037 Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033 Valentinus, priest and martyr in Rome, ob. c. 257 : S00433 Benedict II, bishop of Rome, ob. 685 : S00887

Saint Name in Source

Petrus Laurentius Maria Valentinus Benedictus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Rome Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Major author/Major anonymous work

Liber Pontificalis

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Precious cloths


The Liber Pontificalis consists of a series of very short lives of popes. The preface attributes it to pope Damasus (366-384), but this attribution is obviously false. According to Louis Duchesne, the first modern editor of the Liber Pontificalis, the original series of lives was written in Rome by an anonymous author, probably a member of the lesser clergy, in the 530s, and contained the lives from *Peter the Apostle to Felix IV (ob. 530). Shortly after, before 546, the text was re-edited by another anonymous author and only this edition survives. The first edition, however, can be reconstituted on the basis of its two epitomes (and the second edition). The second edition started to be continued systematically from the time of pope Honorius (625–638). It should be noted that Theodor Mommsen dated both editions of the Liber Pontificalis to the 7th century, but his opinion is widely rejected and the commonly accepted dating is that of Duchesne. For the pre-Constantinian period (before 312), the credibility of the Liber Pontificalis is very low. The chronology is confused, and details concerning the personal lives, decisions and ordinations of the bishops of Rome at best reflect what people in the 6th century trusted to be true, at worst are a pure invention of the author. The situation changes with the later lives. Already the information of 4th-century papal foundations and offerings are generally trustworthy. The early 6th-century evidence, based on the author's first hand knowledge is even better, though still imperfect.


The church of San Lorenzo in Lucina, here mentioned for the first time in the Liber Pontificalis, is located close to the Palazzo Montecitorio, the seat of the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian parliament.


Edition: Duchesne, L., Le Liber pontificalis. 2 vols (Paris: E. Thorin, 1886-1892) (with substantial introduction and commentary). Translation: Davis, R., The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis) (Translated Texts for Historians 6; 3rd ed.; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2010). Further reading: Krautheimer, R., Corpus Basilicarum Christianarum Romae: The early Christian Basilicas of Rome (IV–IX Centuries), Vatican City 1937–1977 Brandenburg, H., Ancient churches of Rome from the fourth to the seventh century: the dawn of Christian architecture in the West, Turnhout 2005.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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