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Felix IV (III)
Mosaic depicting Pope Felix IV (III)
|Papacy began||12 July 526|
|Papacy ended||22 September 530|
by Gelasius II
|Birth name||Anicius Felix|
|Born||Samnium, Ostrogothic Kingdom|
|Died||22 September 530 (aged 40)|
|Feast day||30 January|
|Other popes named Felix|
|Papal styles of|
Pope Felix IV (III)
|Reference style||His Holiness|
|Spoken style||Your Holiness|
|Religious style||Holy Father|
Pope Felix IV (III) (died 22 September 530) served as the Pope of the Catholic Church from 12 July 526 to his death in 530. He was the chosen candidate of Ostrogoth King Theodoric, who had imprisoned Felix's predecessor.
The pope, also known as the supreme pontiff, is the bishop of Rome and leader of the worldwide 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.
He came from Samnium, the son of one Castorius. He was elected after a gap of nearly two months after the death of John I, who had died in prison in Ravenna, having completed a diplomatic mission to Constantinople on behalf of the Ostrogoth King Theodoric the Great. The papal electors acceded to the king's demands and chose Cardinal Felix as Pope. Felix's favor in the eyes of the king allowed him to press for greater benefits for the Church.
Samnium is a Latin exonym for a region of Southern Italy anciently inhabited by the Samnites. Their own endonyms were Safinim for the country and Safineis for the people. The language of these endonyms and of the population was the Oscan language. However, not all the Samnites spoke Oscan, and not all the Oscan-speakers lived in Samnium.
Theodoric the Great, also spelled Theoderic or called Theodoric the Amal, was king of the Ostrogoths (471–526), and ruler of the independent Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy between 493–526, regent of the Visigoths (511–526), and a patrician of the Roman Empire. As ruler of the combined Gothic realms, Theodoric controlled an empire stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Adriatic Sea. He kept good relations between Ostrogoths and Romans, maintained a Roman legal administration and oversaw a flourishing scholarly culture as well as overseeing a significant building program across Italy.
Felix built the Santi Cosma e Damiano in the Imperial forums on land donated by the Ostrogoth regent Amalasuntha,and consecrated no fewer than thirty-nine Bishops, during his short Pontificate of four years.
The basilica of Santi Cosma e Damiano is a church in the Roman Forum, parts of which incorporate original Roman buildings. The circular building at the entrance onto the Forum was built in the early 4th century as a Roman temple, thought to have been dedicated to Valerius Romulus, deified son of the emperor Maxentius. The main building was perhaps the library of an imperial forum.
Amalasuntha ruled the Ostrogoths as regent during the minority of her son from 526 to 534 and then as queen regnant from 534 to 535. She was the youngest daughter of Theoderic the Great, and firmly believed in the upholding of Roman virtues and values. She is best known for her diplomatic relationship with Justinian I, who invaded Italy in response to her assassination.
During his reign, an Imperial edict was passed granting that cases against clergy should be dealt with by the Pope or a designated ecclesiastical court. Violation of this ruling would result in a fine, which proceeds were designated for the poor. Felix also defined church teaching on grace and free will in response to a request of Faustus of Riez, in Gaul, on opposing Semi-Pelagianism.
Saint Faustus of Riez was an early Bishop of Riez (Rhegium) in Southern Gaul (Provence), the best known and most distinguished defender of Semipelagianism.
Gaul was a historical region of Western Europe during the Iron Age that was inhabited by Celtic tribes, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg, Belgium, most of Switzerland, and parts of Northern Italy, Netherlands, and Germany, particularly the west bank of the Rhine. It covered an area of 494,000 km2 (191,000 sq mi). According to the testimony of Julius Caesar, Gaul was divided into three parts: Gallia Celtica, Belgica, and Aquitania. Archaeologically, the Gauls were bearers of the La Tène culture, which extended across all of Gaul, as well as east to Raetia, Noricum, Pannonia, and southwestern Germania during the 5th to 1st centuries BC. During the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, Gaul fell under Roman rule: Gallia Cisalpina was conquered in 203 BC and Gallia Narbonensis in 123 BC. Gaul was invaded after 120 BC by the Cimbri and the Teutons, who were in turn defeated by the Romans by 103 BC. Julius Caesar finally subdued the remaining parts of Gaul in his campaigns of 58 to 51 BC.
Felix attempted to designate his own successor: Pope Boniface II. The reaction of the Senate was to forbid the discussion of a pope's successor during his lifetime or to accept such a nomination. The majority of the clergy reacted to Felix's activity by nominating Dioscorus as Pope. Only a minority supported Boniface.
Pope Boniface II was the first Germanic pope. He reigned from 17 September 530 until his death in 532. He was born an Ostrogoth.
Dioscorus was a deacon of the Alexandrian and the Roman church from 506. In a disputed election following the death of Pope Felix IV, the majority of electors picked him to be Pope, in spite of Pope Felix's wishes that Boniface II succeed him. However, Dioscurus died less than a month after the election, allowing Boniface to be consecrated Pope and Dioscurus to be branded an Antipope.
His feast day is celebrated on 30 January.
When regnal numbering of the Popes began to be used, Antipope Felix II was counted as one of the Popes of that name. The second true Pope Felix is thus known by the number III, and the true third Pope Felix was given the number IV. This custom also affected the name taken by Antipope Felix V, who would have been the fourth Pope Felix.
Regnal numbers are ordinal numbers used to distinguish among persons with the same name who held the same office. Most importantly, they are used to distinguish monarchs. An ordinal is the number placed after a monarch's regnal name to differentiate between a number of kings, queens or princes reigning the same territory with the same regnal name.
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