St Gregory III.jpg

There are several “firsts” already identified with Pope Francis’ election as the Supreme Pontiff on 13 March. He is the first pope from the Americas, the first pope formed as a member of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).

But Pope Francis is not the first non-European pope. The last pope not born in Europe was the Syrian Saint Gregory III. He was the 90th bishop of Rome who reigned 18 March 731 – 28 November 741. Gregory was elected without having been a bishop first. By acclamation the educated Syrian priest was elected the pope.

Among many things he had deal with was the iconoclast controversy.

Saint Gregory’s feast is observed by some 28 November and by others on 10 December.