Pope Honorius I

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Honorius I
Pope Honorius I - Apse mosaic - Sant'Agnese fuori le mura - Rome 2016.jpg
Mosaic of Pope Honorius I - Sant'Agnese fuori le mura, Rome
Papacy began27 October 625
Papacy ended12 October 638
Predecessor Boniface V
Successor Severinus
Personal details
Born Campania, Byzantine Empire
Died(638-10-12)12 October 638
Other popes named Honorius

Pope Honorius I (died 12 October 638) was Bishop of Rome from 27 October 625 to his death in 638. [1]

Contents

Honorius, according to the Liber Pontificalis , came from Campania and was the son of the consul Petronius. He became pope two days after the death of his predecessor, Boniface V. The festival of the Elevation of the Cross is said to have been instituted during the pontificate of Honorius, which was marked also by considerable missionary enterprise. Much of this was centered on England, especially Wessex. He also succeeded in bringing the Irish Easter celebrations in line with the rest of the Catholic Church.

<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."

Campania Region of Italy

Campania is a region in Southern Italy. As of 2018, the region has a population of around 5,820,000 people, making it the third-most-populous region of Italy; its total area of 13,590 km2 (5,247 sq mi) makes it the most densely populated region in the country. Located on the south-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, with the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west, it includes the small Phlegraean Islands and Capri for administration as part of the region.

Missionary member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism

A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to promote their faith or perform ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care, and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin missionem, meaning "act of sending" or mittere, meaning "to send". The word was used in light of its biblical usage; in the Latin translation of the Bible, Christ uses the word when sending the disciples to preach The gospel in his name. The term is most commonly used for Christian missions, but can be used for any creed or ideology.

Papacy

Honorius became involved in early discussions regarding the doctrine of Monothelitism, which is the teaching that Christ has only one energy and one will, in contrast with the teaching that He has two energies and two wills, both human and divine. [2] Patriarch Sergius I of Constantinople wrote an initial letter informing Honorius of the Monothelite controversy, asking Honorius to endorse a position that Church unity should not be endangered by having any discussions or disputes over Christ’s possessing one energy or two. Sergius added that the doctrine of two energies could lead to the erroneous belief that Jesus has two conflicting wills. [3] Pope Honorius’ reply in 635 endorsed this view that all discussions should cease, and agreed that Jesus does not have two conflicting wills, but one will, since Jesus did not assume the vitiated human nature tainted by Adam's fall, but human nature as it existed prior to Adam's fall. [4]

Monothelitism Doctrine in Christian theology

Monothelitism or monotheletism is a particular teaching about how the divine and human relate in the person of Jesus. The Christological doctrine formally emerged in Armenia and Syria in 629. Specifically, monothelitism is the view that Jesus Christ has two natures but only one will. That is contrary to the Christology that Jesus Christ has two wills that correspond to his two natures (dyothelitism). Monothelitism is a development of the Neo-Chalcedonian position in the Christological debates. Formulated in 638, it enjoyed considerable popularity, even garnering patriarchal support, before being rejected and denounced as heretical in 681, at the Third Council of Constantinople.

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. He is widely regarded as the representative and spiritual leader of the 300 million Eastern Orthodox Christians worldwide. 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.

Sergius I was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 610 to 638. He is most famous for promoting Monothelite Christianity, especially through the Ecthesis.

He was apparently aware of the rise of Islam [5] and viewed this new religion's tenets as closely resembling those of Arius. [6]

Arius priest in Alexandria; founder of Arianism

Arius was a Libyan presbyter and ascetic, and priest in Baucalis in Alexandria, Egypt. His teachings about the nature of the Godhead in Christianity, which emphasized God the Father's uniqueness and Christ's subordination under the Father, and his opposition to what would become the dominant Christology, Homoousian Christology, made him a primary topic of the First Council of Nicaea, which was convened by Emperor Constantine the Great in 325.

Anathematization

More than forty years after his death, Honorius was anathematized by name along with the Monothelites by the Third Council of Constantinople (First Trullan) in 680. The anathema read, after mentioning the chief Monothelites, "and with them Honorius, who was Prelate of Rome, as having followed them in all things". [1]

Anathema, in common usage, is something or someone that is detested or shunned. In its other main usage, it is a formal excommunication. The latter meaning, its ecclesiastical sense, is based on New Testament usage. In the Old Testament, anathema referred either to something that was consecrated or to something denounced as evil or accursed and set aside for sacrificial offering.

Third Council of Constantinople synod

The Third Council of Constantinople, counted as the Sixth Ecumenical Council by the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches, as well by certain other Western Churches, met in 680/681 and condemned monoenergism and monothelitism as heretical and defined Jesus Christ as having two energies and two wills.

Furthermore, the Acts of the Thirteenth Session of the Council state, "And with these we define that there shall be expelled from the holy Church of God and anathematized Honorius who was some time Pope of Old Rome, because of what we found written by him to [Patriarch] Sergius, that in all respects he followed his view and confirmed his impious doctrines." [7] The Sixteenth Session adds: "To Theodore of Pharan, the heretic, anathema! To Sergius, the heretic, anathema! To Cyrus, the heretic, anathema! To Honorius, the heretic, anathema! To Pyrrhus, the heretic, anathema!" [7]

However, Pope Leo II's letter of confirmation of the Council authoritatively alters the Council's condemnation so as to criticize Honorius not for teaching or committing heresy, but for "imprudent economy of silence". [8] Leo's letter states: "We anathematize the inventors of the new error, that is, Theodore, Sergius, ... and also Honorius, who did not attempt to sanctify this Apostolic Church with the teaching of Apostolic tradition, but by profane treachery permitted its purity to be polluted." [1] The New Catholic Encyclopedia notes: "It is in this sense of guilty negligence that the papacy ratified the condemnation of Honorius." Persons such as Cesare Baronio and Bellarmine have challenged accusations that Pope Honorius I taught heresy. [9]

This anathema against Honorius was later one of the main arguments against papal infallibility in the discussions surrounding the First Vatican Council of 1870, where the episode was not ultimately regarded as contrary to the proposed dogma. This was because Honorius was not considered by the supporters of infallibility to be speaking ex cathedra in the letters in question [10] and he was alleged to have never been condemned as a Monothelite, nor, asserted the proponents of infallibility, was he condemned for teaching heresy, but rather for gross negligence and a lax leadership at a time when his letters and guidance were in a position to quash the heresy at its roots.[ citation needed ]

Historian Jaroslav Pelikan notes: "It is evident, as Maximus noted in exoneration of Honorius, that his opposition to the idea of 'two wills' was based on the interpretation of 'two wills' as 'two contrary wills.' He did not mean that Christ was an incomplete human being, devoid of a human will, but that as a human being he did not have any action in his body nor any will in his soul that could be contrary to the action and will of God, that is, to the action and will of his own divine nature." [11]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Wikisource-logo.svg Chapman, John (1910). "Pope Honorius I"  . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia . 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company.|access-date= requires |url= (help)
  2. Hefele, pg 25
  3. Hefele, pg 29-30
  4. Muhammad Ata Ur-Rahim; Ahmad Thomson (2003). Jesus: Prophet of Islam. TTQ, INC. p. 148. ISBN   9781879402737.
  5. Ata Ur-Rahim, Thomson 2003, p. 148., quote: "Pope Honorius was aware of the rising tide of Islam, whose tenets very much resembled those of Arius. The mutual killing of Christians by each other was still fresh in his memory, and perhaps he thought that what he had heard about Islam might be applied in healing the differences between the various Christian sects. In his letters he began to support the doctrine of 'one mind' within the doctrine of Trinity. He argued that if God had three independent minds, the result would be chaos. This logical and reasonable conclusion pointed to the belief in the existence of One God."
  6. 1 2 Percival, Henry Robert (1900). The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church. A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church (second series). XIV. James Parker & Co. p. 343. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  7. Bury, pg 252
  8. Perlant, M. Jean-Andre (June 1994). "The Sullied Reputation of a Holy Pope". The Francinta Messenger.
  9. Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1910). "Infallibility"  . Catholic Encyclopedia . 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  10. Pelikan, Jaroslav (1977-07-15). "The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700)". The Christian Tradition. 2. University of Chicago Press. p. 151. ISBN   978-0-226-65373-0.

Bibliography

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Boniface V
Pope
625–638
Succeeded by
Severinus

Original text taken from a paper copy of the 9th edition Encyclopædia Britannica (1881) and the Catholic Encyclopedia