Pope Vigilius

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Pope

Vigilius
Vigilius.jpg
Papacy began29 March 537
Papacy ended7 June 555
Predecessor Silverius
Successor Pelagius I
Personal details
Birth nameVigilius
Born Rome, Ostrogothic Kingdom
Died7 June 555 (aged 55)
Syracuse, Sicily, Eastern Roman Empire

Pope Vigilius (died 7 June 555) [1] was Pope from 29 March 537 to his death in 555. [2] He is considered the first pope of the Byzantine Papacy.

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.

Byzantine Papacy Byzantine domination of the Roman papacy, 537 to 752

The Byzantine Papacy was a period of Byzantine domination of the Roman papacy from 537 to 752, when popes required the approval of the Byzantine Emperor for episcopal consecration, and many popes were chosen from the apocrisiarii or the inhabitants of Byzantine-ruled Greece, Syria, or Sicily. Justinian I conquered the Italian peninsula in the Gothic War (535–554) and appointed the next three popes, a practice that would be continued by his successors and later be delegated to the Exarchate of Ravenna.

Contents

Early life

He belonged to an aristocratic Roman family; his father Johannes is identified as a consul in the Liber pontificalis , having received that title from the emperor. [3] According to Procopius, his brother Reparatus was one of the senators taken hostage by Witigis, but managed to escape before the Ostrogothic king ordered their slaughter in 537. [4]

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.

A consul held the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic, and ancient Romans considered the consulship the highest level of the cursus honorum.

Procopius of Caesarea was a prominent late antique Byzantine Greek scholar from Palaestina Prima. Accompanying the Byzantine general Belisarius in Emperor Justinian's wars, Procopius became the principal Byzantine historian of the 6th century, writing the History of the Wars, the Buildings, and the Secret History. He is commonly classified as the last major historian of the ancient Western world.

Vigilius entered the service of the Catholic Church and was ordained a deacon in 531, in which year the Roman clergy agreed to a decree empowering the pope to determine the succession to the Papal See (something theologians now consider invalid). [5] Vigilius was chosen by Pope Boniface II as his successor and presented to the clergy assembled in St. Peter's Basilica. The opposition to such a procedure led Boniface in the following year to withdraw his designation of a successor and to burn the decree respecting it.

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Ordination religious process by which individuals are consecrated as clergy

Ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart and elevated from the laity class to the clergy, who are thus then authorized to perform various religious rites and ceremonies. The process and ceremonies of ordination vary by religion and denomination. One who is in preparation for, or who is undergoing the process of ordination is sometimes called an ordinand. The liturgy used at an ordination is sometimes referred to as an ordination.

Deacon ministry in the Christian Church

A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Some Christian churches, such as the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican church, view the diaconate as part of the clerical state; in others, the deacon remains a layperson.

Apocrisiariat

The second successor of Boniface, Pope Agapetus I (535–536), appointed Vigilius papal representative (apocrisiary) at Constantinople. Empress Theodora sought to win him as a confederate to revenge the deposition of the Monophysite Patriarch Anthimus I of Constantinople by Agapetus and also to gain aid for her efforts in behalf of the Monophysites. [6] Vigilius is said to have agreed to the plans of the intriguing empress who promised him the Papal See and a large sum of money (700 pounds of gold).

Pope Agapetus I pope

Pope Agapetus I was Pope from 13 May 535 to his death in 536. He is not to be confused with another Saint Agapetus, an Early Christian martyr with the feast day of 6 August.

Constantinople capital city of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, the Latin and the Ottoman Empire

Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), of the Byzantine Empire, and also of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire (1204–1261). It was the capital of the Ottoman Empire (1453–1923). In 1923 the capital of Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, was moved to Ankara and the name Constantinople was officially changed to Istanbul. The city was located in what is now the European side and the core of modern Istanbul.

Selection as pope

While Vigilius was in Constantinople, Pope Agapetus died on 22 April 536, and Pope Silverius had been made pope through the influence of the King of the Goths. Soon after Silverius was ordained, the Byzantine general Belisarius occupied Rome, which was then besieged by the Goths. Although the Goths were unable to encircle the city completely, both the Byzantine soldiers and the inhabitants feared they would be destroyed. Soon after the siege began, for example, Belisarius ordered the women, children, and unnecessary servants of Rome to leave for Naples, as well as his own army's camp followers. [7] Around the same time, Silverius was accused of offering to betray Rome to the Goths. Belisarius had him deposed, put in a monk's habit and exiled to Greece. Several other senators were also banished from Rome on the same charges. [8]

Pope Silverius pope

Pope Silverius ruled the Holy See from 8 June 536 to his deposition in 538, a few months before his death. His rapid rise to prominence from a deacon to the papacy coincided the efforts of Ostrogothic king Theodahad, who intended to install a pro-Gothic candidate just before the Gothic War. Later deposed by Byzantine general Belisarius, he was tried and sent to exile on the desolated island of Palmarola, where he starved to death in 538.

Goths East Germanic ethnolinguistic group

The Goths were an East Germanic people, two of whose branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Western Roman Empire through the long series of Gothic Wars and in the emergence of Medieval Europe. The Goths dominated a vast area, which at its peak under the Germanic king Ermanaric and his sub-king Athanaric possibly extended all the way from the Danube to the Don, and from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.

Byzantine Empire Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages

The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, is the common name given to the surviving Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are terms created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire, or Romania (Ῥωμανία), and to themselves as "Romans".

What part Vigilius played in the deposition of Silverius is unclear in the primary sources. The authors of the Liber Pontificalis, who are hostile to Vigilius, state he delivered to Belisarius the imperial orders to depose Silverius, yet are circumspect about how Silverius was elected and ordained. [9] Procopius, on the other hand, states that Belisarius appointed Vigilius shortly after Silverius was deposed. [8] It is certain that Vigilius was consecrated and enthroned Pope on 29 March 537. After the death of his predecessor Vigilius was recognized as pope by all the Roman clergy, even though the manner of his elevation was not regular.

Papacy (537–555)

Empress Theodora soon learned that she had been deceived. After Vigilius had attained the object of his ambition and been made pope, he maintained the same position as his predecessor against the Monophysites and the deposed Anthimus. A letter purported to be from the pope to the deposed Monophysite patriarchs Anthimus, Severus, and Theodosius seems to indicate that Pope Vigilius accepted the Monophysitism. This letter, however, is not regarded as genuine by most investigators and bears all the marks of forgery. [10] The pope did not restore Anthimus to his office.

Pope Vigilius Papa Virgilio 1678.jpg
Pope Vigilius

In the year 540 Vigilius took a stand in regard to Monophysitism, in two letters sent to Constantinople. One of the letters is addressed to Emperor Justinian, the other to the Patriarch Menas. In both letters the pope supports positively the Synods of Ephesus and Chalcedon, the decisions of his predecessor Pope Leo I, and the deposition of the Patriarch Anthimus. Several other letters written by the pope in the first years of his pontificate give information respecting his interposition in the ecclesiastical affairs of various countries. On 6 March 538, he wrote to Bishop Caesarius of Arles concerning the penance of the Austrasian King Theudebert I on account of his marriage to his brother's widow. [11] On 29 June 538, a decretal was sent to Bishop Profuturus of Braga containing decisions on various questions of church discipline. Bishop Auxanius and his successor, Aurelian of Arles, entered into communication with the pope respecting the granting of the pallium as a mark of the dignity and powers of a papal legate for Gaul; the pope sent suitable letters to the two bishops. In the meantime new dogmatic difficulties had been developing at Constantinople that were to give the pope many hours of bitterness. In 543 Emperor Justinian issued a decree which condemned the various heresies of the Origenists; this decree was sent for signature both to the Eastern patriarchs and to Vigilius.

Three Chapters controversy

In order to draw Justinian's thoughts from Origenism, Theodore Askidas, Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, called his attention to the fact that the condemnation of various representatives of the Antiochene school, who were said to have inspired Nestorianism, would make union with the Monophysites much easier. The emperor, who laid much stress upon winning over the Monophysites, agreed to this, and in 543 or 544 he issued a new edict condemning the Three Chapters. The "Three Chapters" concerned writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Cyrus, and a letter of Ibas of Edessa. While all three were, indeed, in error, this was due in some part to a misunderstanding of language used by Cyril of Alexandria against the Nestorians. Both Ibas and Theodoret had been deprived of their bishoprics by heretics, and had been restored by the Holy See and the Council of Chalcedon on anathematizing Nestorius. There were no good precedents for thus dealing harshly with the memory of men who had died in the peace of the Church. Such a condemnation at this point was seen by many of the bishops as potentially undermining the Council of Chalcedon itself. [12]

The Eastern patriarchs and bishops signed the condemnation of these Three Chapters, although many signed under duress. [12] In Western Europe, however, the procedure was considered unjustifiable and dangerous, because it was feared that it would detract from the importance of the Council of Chalcedon. Vigilius refused to acknowledge the imperial edict and was called to Constantinople by Justinian, in order to settle the matter there with a synod. According to the Liber pontificalis on 20 November, 545, while the pope was celebrating the Feast of St. Cecilia in the Church of St. Cecilia in Trastevere, and before the service was fully ended, he was ordered by the imperial official Anthimus to start at once on the journey to Constantinople. The pope was taken immediately to a ship that waited in the Tiber in order to be carried to the eastern capital while a part of the populace cursed the pope and threw stones at the ship. Rome was now besieged by the Goths under Totila and the inhabitants fell into the greatest misery. Vigilius sent ships with grain to Rome, but these were captured by the enemy. [13] If the story related by the Liber pontificalis is essentially correct, the pope probably left Rome on 22 November 545. He remained for a long time in Sicily and reached Constantinople about the end of 546 or in January 547.

After his transfer to Constantinople, Vigilius wrote/said to his captors: "Do with me what you wish. This is the just punishment for what I have done." and "You may keep me in captivity, but the blessed Apostle Peter will never be your captive." [14]

While in captivity, Vigilius sought to persuade the emperor to send aid to the inhabitants of Rome and Italy who were so hard pressed by the Goths. Justinian's chief interest, however, was in the matter of the Three Chapters, and as Vigilius was not ready to make concessions of this point and wavered frequently in his measures, he had much to suffer. The matter was further complicated by the fact that the Latins, Vigilius among them, were for the most part ignorant of Greek and therefore unable to judge the incriminated writings for themselves. [12] The change in his position is to be explained by the fact that the condemnation of the writings mentioned was essentially justifiable, yet appeared inopportune and would lead to disastrous controversies with Western Europe. Finally, Vigilius acknowledged in a letter of 8 December 553 to the Patriarch Eutychius the decisions of the Second Council of Constantinople and declared his judgment in detail in a Constitution of 26 February 554. Thus at the end of a sorrowful residence of eight years at Constantinople the pope was able, after coming to an understanding with the emperor, to start on his return to Rome in the spring of 555.

Death

While on the journey he died at Syracuse. His body was brought to Rome and buried in the San Martino ai Monti over the Catacomb of Priscilla on the Via Salaria.

See also

References and sources

References
  1. Mellersh, H.E.L. (1999) The Hutchinson chronology of world history. Volume 1. The ancient and medieval world: Prehistory – AD 1491. Oxford: Helicon, p. 221. ISBN   1859862810
  2. Wikisource-logo.svg Kirsch, Johann Peter (1912). "Pope Vigilius"  . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia . 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  3. Raymond Davis, translator, The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis) (Liverpool: University Press, 1989), p. 56
  4. Procopius, De bello gothico I (V).26; translated by H.B. Dewing, Procopius (Cambridge: Loeb Classical Library, 1979), vol. 3 pp. 247f
  5. Fanning, William (1911). Papal Elections. The Catholic Encyclopedia . Vol. 11. Robert Appleton Company. New York. Online transcript by Robert A. Orosco (31 August 2016). New Advent. Knight, Kevin (editor). Archived on 8 April 2016. "It is commonly held also that he is prohibited from doing so by Divine law".
  6. Davis, The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis), p. 55
  7. Procopius, De bello gothico I (V).25.1–4; translated by Dewing, vol. 3 p. 239
  8. 1 2 Procopius, De bello gothico I (V).25.13–14; translated by Dewing, vol. 3 p. 243
  9. Davis, The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis), pp. 55ff
  10. cf. Duchesne in Revue des quest. histor. (1884), II, 373; Chamard, ibid., I (1885), 557; Grisar in Analecta romana, I, 55 sqq.; Savio in Civilta catt., II (1910), 413–422].
  11. Letter translated in William E. Klingshirn, Caesarius of Arles: Life, Testament, Letters (Liverpool: University Press, 1994), pp. 118f
  12. 1 2 3 Bacchus, Francis Joseph. "Three Chapters." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 11 Oct. 2017
  13. Davis, The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis), pp. 57ff
  14. Carroll, Warren H. (1987). The Building of Christendom. Front Royal, VA: Christendom College Press. ISBN   978-0-931888-24-3.

PD-icon.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope Vigilius". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton.

Sources

Literature

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Silverius
Pope
537–555
Succeeded by
Pelagius I


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