Feast day: December 10
Saint Gregory III was not intending on taking over the papacy when Saint Gregory II passed away. He was part of the crowd that was mourning the loss of the Pope during his funeral procession, when someone recognized him as a renowned holy man. Suddenly, Gregory was whisked away by the crowd and declared the next Pope!
After he was pronounced Pope Gregory III, he was faced with his first problem. Emperor Leo III condemned the adoration of holy images because he believed it to be idolatry. Gregory III promptly sent a letter to Leo III, but it went undelivered because his messenger was frightened to deliver it. Since his letter was not effective, Gregory III called a synod instead that imposed harsh consequences on anyone who tried to destroy images of Jesus, Mary, or the saints. The emperor countered this decree by sending ships to kidnap Pope Gregory. However, God had other ideas. A severe storm destroyed the emperor's ships, foiling his plans.
Pope Saint Gregory III lived out his vocation as Pope from 731–741.
(Image in public domain-70)