From The Lives of the Popes from the Time of our Saviour Jesus Christ to the Accession of Gregory VII. Written Originally in Latin by B. Platina, Native of Cremona, and translated into English (from an anonymous translation, first printed in 1685 by Sir Paul Rycaut), Edited by William Benham, Volume I, London: Griffith, Farran, Okeden & Welsh, [1888, undated in text]; pp. 134-135.
The Lives of the Popes,
BENEDICT I, a Roman, the son of Boniface, lived in the time of Tiberius the Second, whom Justin had adopted, and appointed his heir to the empire — an honour which he well deserved, as being a person adorned with all the princely accomplishments of clemency, justice, piety, religion, wisdom, resolution, and unshaken fortitude. Among his other virtues he was eminent for his bounty and liberality towards all, especially the poor, and God supplied him in an extraordinary manner for it. For walking once hastily in his palace, and spying the figure of the cross upon one of the marble stones in the pavement, that it might not be trampled under foot, he devoutly caused it to be removed from thence, and laid up in a more decent and honourable place. At its taking up there was found under it another stone with the same figure on it, and then a third, under which he discovered such a vast heap of gold and silver as was requisite to furnish and maintain his large bounty, a great part of which treasure he distributed to the poor. It is said also that he had brought to him out of Italy a great estate which Narses had got there, which in like manner he employed in liberality and munificence. To Childebert, the French king, who had sent ambassadors to him, besides the other presents that he made, which were very considerable, he sent certain medals of gold, of very great weight, on the one side of which were the effigies of the Emperor, with this inscription, “Tiberii Constantini perpetuo Augusti;” on the other side was a chariot with its driver, and this inscription, “Romanorum Gloria.” And to complete his successes, the army which he had sent against the Persians, returning victoriously, brought away with twenty elephants so vast a booty as no army had ever done in any expedition before. Thus signally was he rewarded for his good services to mankind in general, for his religion towards God, our Saviour, and for his beneficence, particularly to the people of Rome, whom he not only protected and defended from their enemies as much as could be by his arms, but also at the prayers and intercession of our bishop, Benedict, whom he had a wonderful love and esteem for, he delivered them from dearth and famine by sending a supply of corn out of Egypt. For 135 the Lombards, by a long and tedious war, had so harassed Italy far and wide that from their devastations there arose a great want and scarcity of all things. While things went thus in Italy, John, Bishop of Constantinople, by reading, disputing, writing, admonishing, and teaching, kept the Oriental Church as much as might be right in the faith, though he met with many opposers therein. The same did also the equally learned and eloquent Leander, Bishop of Toledo, or as others think, of Seville, who wrote several treatises both to confirm the orthodox doctrine and to confute the Arian heresy, which, like a contagious pestilence, the Vandals, driven out of Africa by Belisarius, had brought with them into Spain. As for Benedict, some write that he, laying sadly to heart the calamities which now befell Rome and all Italy, died of grief, after he had been in the chair four years, one month, twenty-eight days. The see was then vacant two months, ten days.
Previous Pope: 63. John III. 64. Benedict I. Next Pope: 6. Pelagius II.