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Sergius I  

(d. 701). Pope from 687. He was Syrian and spoke Greek. Sergius brought several liturgical innovations to the Roman Church. He introduced the Agnus Dei ("O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us"; see BCP, p. 337) to the fraction (breaking of the bread) in the Roman rite. The Agnus Dei originated in the east. It was based on Jn 1:29. Sergius also introduced in Rome the celebration of the feast of the Annunciation on Mar. 25. Celebration of this feast has been traced to the fifth century in the east. He introduced the use of a procession with candles and the singing of the Nunc dimittis for the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple on Feb. 2. The feast of the Presentation came to be known as "Candlemas." Sergius also introduced a litany that had been used for private devotions in the east. This litany included only one intercession, with the response, "We beseech thee to hear us." Its influence may be seen in the intercessions and responses of the Great Litany (see BCP, pp. 150-152). 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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