Pope Severinus

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Pope

Severinus
Severinopapa.jpg
Papacy began28 May 640
Papacy ended2 August 640
Predecessor Honorius I
Successor John IV
Personal details
Birth nameSeverinus
Born Rome, Byzantine Empire
Died(640-08-02)2 August 640 (aged 55)
Rome, Byzantine Empire

Pope Severinus (died 2 August 640) was Pope two months, from 28 May until his death on 2 August. He became caught up in a power struggle with the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius over the ongoing Monothelite controversy. [1]

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.

Heraclius Byzantine Emperor 610–641

Heraclius was the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 610 to 641. He was responsible for introducing Greek as the Byzantine Empire's official language. His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas.

Monothelitism

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.

Contents

Election and struggle with Constantinople

He was a Roman. His father was named Avienus, according to the Liber Pontificalis . The name of the father suggests descent from members of the Roman Senate. [2] A previous Avienus was Roman consul in 501. [3] Severinus was elected on the third day after the death of his predecessor, Honorius I, and the Papal apocrisiarii went to Constantinople to obtain imperial confirmation of his election in October 638.

Rome Capital city and comune in Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

<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."

Roman Senate A political institution in ancient Rome

The Roman Senate was a political institution in ancient Rome. It was one of the most enduring institutions in Roman history, being established in the first days of the city of Rome,. It survived the overthrow of the kings in 509 BC, the fall of the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC, the division of the Roman Empire in 395 AD, the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, and the barbarian rule of Rome in the 5th, 6th, and 7th centuries.

Before his death, however, Patriarch Sergius I of Constantinople had drawn up the Ecthesis in response to the orthodox synodical letter of Sophronius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and on learning of the death of Pope Honorius had convinced the Emperor to issue this document as an imperial edict in December 638, thus valid across the entire empire. Given directly to Eustachius, the magister militum , he carried it to the Exarch Isaac at Ravenna with instructions that he was to ensure the Pope’s acceptance.

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.

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

Sophronius of Jerusalem Patriarch of Jerusalem

Sophronius was the Patriarch of Jerusalem from 634 until his death. He is venerated as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches. Before rising to the primacy of the see of Jerusalem, he was a monk and theologian who was the chief protagonist for orthodox teaching in the doctrinal controversy on the essential nature of Jesus and his volitional acts.

With its declaration of Jesus Christ only possessing one will, Severinus refused to sign it. The exarch therefore refused to confirm the papal election in the Emperor’s name, a situation that endured for over eighteen months. In the meantime, Isaac was determined to achieve his aim, so he commissioned Maurice, the chartoularios , to plunder the Lateran palace and force Severinus to agree to the Ecthesis. Maurice gathered together a party of local discontented nobles and approached the local soldiers, the exercitus Romanus, and convinced them that the Pope had withheld their pay and was keeping the arrears in the Lateran. A mob soon formed and they rushed en masse to the palace.

Maurikios Chartoularios, Latinized as Mauricius Chartularius, was a Byzantine rebel in Italy.

The chartoularios or chartularius, Anglicized as chartulary, was a late Roman and Byzantine administrative official, entrusted with administrative and fiscal duties, either as a subaltern official of a department or province or at the head of various independent bureaus.

Lateran several architectural sites in Rome, once owned by the Lateranus family of the former Roman Empire

Lateran and Laterano are the shared names of several buildings in Rome. The properties were once owned by the Lateranus family of the Roman Empire. The Laterani lost their properties to Emperor Constantine who gave them to the Roman Catholic Church in 311.

Severinus managed to keep the hostile forces out of the palace. Maurice tried another tactic and three days later he was admitted into the palace with the city judges whom he won over to his side. They sealed up the treasures, and Maurice sent word to the Exarch that he was free to come to the palace and help himself to the accumulated riches. Isaac soon appeared, and after exiling the leading clergy within the Lateran, spent the next eight days looting the palace, prudently sending a share to the Emperor at Constantinople to prevent his displeasure. [4]

Meanwhile, at Constantinople, the papal envoys had continued to seek the confirmation of Severinus. Emperor Heraclius still refused to grant his confirmation unless Severinus signed his Ecthesis , a Monothelite profession of faith. At first they were clearly told that unless they would go back and persuade the Pope to accept the Ecthesis, they were wasting their time. The legates sought to persuade an unwell and slowly dying Heraclius that they were not there to make professions of faith, but to transact business. The envoys were unwilling to agree to this demand, but they were also unwilling to allow the Roman See to remain vacant indefinitely, so they offered to show Severinus the document and ask him to sign it if he thought it was correct. They made it clear that if the emperor was going to force Severinus to sign it, that all the clergy of the See of Rome would stand together, and such a route would only end in a lengthy and destructive stalemate. This offer was apparently satisfactory, and imperial recognition of the papal election was granted. [5]

The Ecthesis is a letter published in 638 CE by the Byzantine emperor Heraclius which defined monotheletism as the official imperial form of Christianity.

Papal legate a personal representative of the pope

A papal legate or apostolic legate is a personal representative of the pope to foreign nations, or to some part of the Catholic Church. He is empowered on matters of Catholic faith and for the settlement of ecclesiastical matters.

Over the following year the legates stood firm, and at last a clearly tired Heraclius backed down, broken by opposition both at Constantinople and at Rome against his Monothelite compromise. The emperor granted the envoys their request, and the legates returned to Rome with the news, and Severinus was finally installed as pope on 28 May 640. Isaac quickly withdrew to Ravenna.

Actions as Pope and death

During the short time he was pope, Severinus condemned the Ecthesis. Convening a synod, he decreed that “as there were two natures in Christ, so there were two natural operations.” [6] He also renewed the mosaics in the apse of Saint Peter’s Basilica. Unfortunately Severinus was already quite old when his election was confirmed, and his reign was only two months long when he died on 2 August 640.

In the Liber Pontificalis , Severinus was described as a kind, generous and mild holy man, a benefactor to the clergy, and a friend to the poor. [7]

See also

Notes

  1. Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope Severinus"  . Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  2. Martindale, Jones & Morris (1992), p. 155
  3. Martindale, John R., "Fl. Avienus iunior 3", Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire , Volume 2, Cambridge University Press, 1980, pp. 577–581
  4. Richards, Popes and the papacy, p. 184
  5. Jeffrey Richards, The Popes and the Papacy in the Early Middle Ages (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979), p. 183
  6. Mann, p. 349
  7. Mann, p. 350

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References

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Honorius I
Pope
640
Succeeded by
John IV