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Of the first Pontiff who bore the name of Benedict practically nothing is known. The date of his birth is unknown; he d. 30 July, 579. He was a Roman and the son of Boniface, and was called Bonosus by the Greeks ( Evagrius, Hist., V, 16). The ravages of the Lombards rendered it very difficult to communicate with the emperor at Constantinople, who claimed the privilege of confirming the election of the popes. Hence there was a vacancy of nearly eleven months between the death of John III and the arrival of the imperial confirmation of Benedict's election, 2 June, 575. He reigned four years, one month, and twenty-eight days. Almost the only act recorded of him is that he granted an estate, the Massa Veneris , in the territory of Minturnae, to Abbot Stephen of St. Mark's "near the walls of Spoleto " ( St. Gregory I, Ep. ix, 87, I. al. 30). Famine followed the devastating Lombards, and from the few words the Liber Pontificalis has about Benedict, we gather that he died in the midst of his efforts to cope with these difficulties. He was buried in the vestibule of the sacristy of the old basilica of St. Peter. In an ordination which he held in December he made fifteen priests and three deacons, and consecrated twenty-one bishops.


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