Pope Anastasius II

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Pope

Anastasius II
Anastasius II.jpg
Papacy began24 November 496
Papacy ended16 November 498
Predecessor Gelasius I
Successor Symmachus
Orders
Created cardinal494
by Gelasius II
RankCardinal-Deacon
Personal details
Birth nameAnastasius
Bornunknown date
Rome, Italy
Died(498-11-19)19 November 498
Rome, Ostrogothic Kingdom
Other popes named Anastasius

Pope Anastasius II (died 19 November 498) was Pope from 24 November 496 to his death in 498. [1] He was an important figure in trying to end the Acacian schism, but his efforts resulted in the Laurentian schism, which followed his death. Anastasius was born in Rome, the son of a priest, [2] and is buried in St. Peter's Basilica. [3]

Pope leader of the Catholic Church

The pope, also known as the supreme pontiff, is the Bishop of Rome and ex officio leader of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church. Since 1929, the pope has also been head of state of Vatican City, a city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. The current pope is Francis, who was elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI.

Acacian schism schism (484–519) between the Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople

The Acacian schism, between the Eastern and Western Christian Churches lasted 35 years, from 484 to 519 AD. It resulted from a drift in the leaders of Eastern Christianity toward Miaphysitism and Emperor Zeno's unsuccessful attempt to reconcile the parties with the Henotikon.

St. Peters Basilica Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City

The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, or simply St. Peter's Basilica, is an Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City, the papal enclave within the city of Rome.

Contents

Acacian schism and conciliation

The church had been in a serious doctrinal dispute since 484, between the Eastern and Western churches of Christianity, known as the Acacian schism. Pope Felix III (483–492) and Pope Gelasius I (492–496) had generally taken hardline stances towards the Eastern church and had excommunicated many of the major religious figures including Acacius, the Patriarch of Constantinople. Efforts at reducing the problem by Zeno were not recognized by Felix III or Gelasius I and so there was a large schism between the churches. Upon the death of Gelasius I, Anastasius II was named pope largely with support from a faction that wanted to improve relations between the West and the Eastern churches and end the schism. [3] [4]

Pope Felix III pope (483-492)

Pope Felix III was Pope from 13 March 483 to his death in 492. His repudiation of the Henotikon is considered the beginning of the Acacian schism. He is commemorated on March 1.

Pope Gelasius I pope

Pope Gelasius I was a Pope from 1 March 492 to his death in 496. He was probably the third and last Bishop of Rome of Berber descent in the Catholic Church. Gelasius was a prolific writer whose style placed him on the cusp between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Gelasius had been employed by his predecessor Felix III, especially in drafting papal documents. His ministry was characterized by a call for strict orthodoxy, a more assertive push for papal authority, and increasing tension between the churches in the West and the East.

Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople position

The Ecumenical Patriarch is the Archbishop of Constantinople–New Rome and ranks as primus inter pares among the heads of the several autocephalous churches that make up the Eastern Orthodox Church. The term Ecumenical in the title is a historical reference to the Ecumene, a Greek designation for the civilised world, i.e. the Roman Empire, and it stems from Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon.

Upon being named pope, Anastasius II immediately sent two bishops to Constantinople to meet with the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I, who had the same name as the pope, and work on an agreement to end the Acacian schism. [4] Anastasius II indicated in a letter that he was willing to accept the baptisms that had been performed by Acacius and to let the issue be decided by the divine rather than by church authorities [4] and Anastasius I seemed similarly willing to cooperate but wanted acceptance of the Henotikon , the compromise position developed by Zeno. [3] As a signal of attempting to reduce the tension, Anastasius II was rumored to have given communion to Photinus of Thessalonica, an associate of Acacius. [3]

The Henotikon was a christological document issued by Byzantine emperor Zeno in 482, in an unsuccessful attempt to reconcile the differences between the supporters of the Council of Chalcedon and the council's opponents. It was followed by the Acacian schism.

Photinus of Thessalonica was a disciple of Acacius, Patriarch of Constantinople (471–489) and a deacon in the Church.

The result of these conciliatory gestures was to outrage many of the bishops and clergy in Rome and to create a clear division between those who supported moderation toward the Monophysites in the Byzantine Empire and those who opposed such moderation. [4] Because of the communion with Photinus, many in Rome refused to receive communion from Anastasius II and the situation grew to a crisis point. [3]

Monophysitism is the Christological position that, after the union of the divine and the human in the historical incarnation, Jesus Christ, as the incarnation of the eternal Son or Word (Logos) of God, had only a single "nature" which was either divine or a synthesis of divine and human. Monophysitism is contrasted to dyophysitism which maintains that Christ maintained two natures, one divine and one human, after the incarnation.

Death and legacy

At the peak of the tension created by these attempts to improve relations between the East and the West, Anastasius II unexpectedly died. [4] For those who opposed his attempts at remedying the schism his death in 498 was seen as divine retribution. [3] The factions that had formed during his rule as pope split decisively from one another and each appointed a rival pope. The faction against conciliation was able to name Symmachus as the pope to follow Anastasius II. However, the important Roman Senator Rufius Postumius Festus, who had been a major instigator for the conciliation attempts of Anastasius II and may have led to his naming as pope, supported a rival papal claim of Laurentius. [3] The Roman church then had its own schism between different factions which made efforts at reducing the schism between the church in Rome and the church in Constantinople impossible. [5]

Pope Symmachus Pope from 498 to 514

Pope Symmachus was Pope from 22 November 498 to his death in 514. His tenure was marked by a serious schism over who was legitimately elected pope by the citizens of Rome.

Rufius Postumius Festus was a Roman aristocrat who lived during the Late Roman Empire. Festus was the last consul appointed by an Emperor in the West. The next consul appointed in the West was Caecina Decius Maximus Basilius, whom king Odoacer appointed in 480, eight years after Festus.

Laurentius was Archpriest of Santa Prassede and later antipope of the Roman Catholic Church. Elected in 498 at the Basilica Saint Mariae with the support of a dissenting faction with Byzantine sympathies, who were supported by Eastern Roman Emperor Anastasius, in opposition to Pope Symmachus, the division between the two opposing factions split not only the church, but the senate and the people of Rome. However, Laurentius remained in Rome as Pope until 506.

During the medieval period, Anastasius II was often considered a traitor to the Catholic Church and an apostate. The writer of the Liber Pontificalis , supporting the opponents to Anastasius' efforts, argued that Anastasius II's death was divine retribution and that he had broken with the church. [6] Similarly, the Decretum Gratiani writes of the pope that "Anastasius, reproved by God, was smitten by divine command." [7] This medieval view is described by modern commentators as a "legend", [6] a "misinterpretation", [6] a "confused tradition", [8] and "manifestly unjust." [3]

<i>Liber Pontificalis</i> Book of biographies of popes

The Liber Pontificalis is a book of biographies of popes from Saint Peter until the 15th century. The original publication of the Liber Pontificalis stopped with Pope Adrian II (867–872) or Pope Stephen V (885–891), but it was later supplemented in a different style until Pope Eugene IV (1431–1447) and then Pope Pius II (1458–1464). Although quoted virtually uncritically from the 8th to 18th centuries, the Liber Pontificalis has undergone intense modern scholarly scrutiny. The work of the French priest Louis Duchesne, and of others has highlighted some of the underlying redactional motivations of different sections, though such interests are so disparate and varied as to render improbable one popularizer's claim that it is an "unofficial instrument of pontifical propaganda."

<i>Decretum Gratiani</i>

The Decretum Gratiani, also known as the Concordia discordantium canonum or Concordantia discordantium canonum or simply as the Decretum, is a collection of canon law compiled and written in the 12th century as a legal textbook by the jurist known as Gratian. It forms the first part of the collection of six legal texts, which together became known as the Corpus Juris Canonici. It was used by canonists of the Roman Catholic Church until Pentecost 1918, when a revised Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope Benedict XV on 27 May 1917 obtained legal force.

Dante placed Anastasius II in the sixth circle of hell: "Anastasio papa guardo, lo qual trasse Fotin de la via dritta" ("I guard Pope Anastasius, he whom Photinus drew from the straight path"). [3] However, modern Dante scholars consider this to be a mistake: the person Dante intended to put at that level was the Byzantine emperor of the time, Anastasius I. [9] [10] [11]

Anastasius II is, with Pope Liberius, [12] one of only two of the first 50 popes not to be canonized. [3] However, Liberius is mentioned in the Greek Menology and is recognized as a saint within the Eastern Orthodox Church. [13]

See also

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References

  1. Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope Anastasius II"  . Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  2. George L. Williams (2004). Papal Genealogy: The Families And Descendants Of The Popes. McFarland. ISBN   978-0-7864-2071-1 . Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Richard P. McBrien (1997). Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to John Paul II. HarperCollins. pp. 82–83. ISBN   978-0-06-065304-0 . Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Morehead, John (1978). "The Laurentian Schism: East and West in the Roman Church". Church History. 47 (2): 125–136. doi:10.2307/3164729. JSTOR   3164729.
  5. John W. Barker (1966). Justinian and the Later Roman Empire. Univ of Wisconsin Press. ISBN   978-0-299-03944-8 . Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  6. 1 2 3 Gratian; Augustine Thompson; Katherine Christensen (1993). The Treatise on Laws (Decretum DD. 1–20) with the Ordinary Gloss. CUA Press. ISBN   978-0-8132-0786-5 . Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  7. Christopher I. Beckwith (2012). Warriors of the Cloisters: The Central Asian Origins of Science in the Medieval World. Princeton University Press. ISBN   978-0-691-15531-9.
  8. Schadé, J.P. (2006). Encyclopedia of World Religions. Foreign Media Group. ISBN   978-1-60136-000-7 . Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  9. Alighieri, Dante (1995). Dante's Inferno. Translated by Mark Musa. Indiana University Press. ISBN   978-0-253-20930-6 . Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  10. Hudson-Williams, T. (1951). "Dante and the Classics". Greece & Rome. 20 (58): 38–42. doi:10.1017/s0017383500011128. Dante is not free from error in his allocation of sinners; he consigned Pope Anastasius II to the burning cauldrons of the Heretics because he mistook him for the emperor of the same name
  11. Seth Zimmerman (2003). The Inferno of Dante Alighieri. iUniverse. ISBN   978-1-4697-2448-5 . Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  12. Earliest Pope not yet canonized by the Catholic Church. Liberius is revered as Saint Liberius the Confessor in Eastern Christianity, with a feast day of 27 August.
  13. "St. Liberius the Pope of Rome". oca.org. Orthodox Church in America. Retrieved 2015-04-14.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Gelasius I
Pope
496–498
Succeeded by
Symmachus