Pope Vitalian

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Pope Saint

Vitalian
Pope Vitalian.jpg
A non-contemporary depiction of Pope Vitalian
Papacy began30 July 657
Papacy ended27 January 672
Predecessor Eugene I
Successor Adeodatus II
Personal details
Born Segni, Eastern Roman Empire
Died(672-01-27)27 January 672 (aged 72)
Rome [1]

Pope Vitalian (Latin : Vitalianus; died 27 January 672) reigned from 30 July 657 to his death in 672. [2] He was born in Segni, Lazio, the son of Anastasius. [3]

Segni Comune in Lazio, Italy

Segni is an Italian town and comune located in Lazio. The city is situated on a hilltop in the Lepini Mountains, and overlooks the valley of the Sacco River.

Lazio Region of Italy

Lazio is one of the 20 administrative regions of Italy. Situated in the central peninsular section of the country, it has almost 5.9 million inhabitants – making it the second most populated region of Italy – and its GDP of more than 170 billion euros per annum means that it has the nation's second largest regional economy. The capital of Lazio is Rome, which is also Italy's capital and the country's largest city.

Contents

Reign

After the death of Pope Eugene I on 2 or 3 June 657, Vitalian was elected his successor, and was consecrated and enthroned on 30 July. He kept his baptismal name as pope. [3] Like Eugene, Vitalian tried to restore the connection with Constantinople by making friendly advances to the Eastern Roman Emperor Constans II and to prepare the way for the settlement of the Monothelite controversy. He sent letters (synodica) announcing his elevation to the Emperor and to Patriarch Peter of Constantinople, who was inclined to Monothelitism. The Emperor confirmed the privileges of the Holy See as head of the Catholic Church and sent to Rome a codex of the Gospels in a cover of gold richly ornamented with precious stones as a good-will gesture. [3]

Pope Eugene I pope

Pope Eugene I, also known as Eugenius I, was Bishop of Rome from 10 August 654 to his death in 657. He was a native of Rome, born to one Rufinianus.

Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word consecration literally means "association with the sacred". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups. The origin of the word comes from the Latin stem consecrat, which means dedicated, devoted, and sacred. A synonym for to consecrate is to sanctify; a distinct antonym is to desecrate.

Holy See Episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy

The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, refers to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope, which includes the apostolic episcopal see of the Diocese of Rome with universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, as well as a sovereign entity of international law.

The Patriarch Peter also replied, although his answer was somewhat noncommittal as to Monothelitism, a belief he defended. In his letter, he gave the impression of being in accord with the pope, whose letter to Peter had expounded the Catholic Faith. Thus ecclesiastical intercourse between Rome and Constantinople was restored, but the mutual reserve over the dogmatic question of Monothelitism remained. Vitalian's name was entered on the diptychs of the churches in Byzantium—the only name of a pope so entered between the reign of Honorius I (d. 638) and the Sixth Ecumenical Council of 680–81. The inclusion of Vitalian's name on the diptych was seen by some as being too conciliatory towards heresy, but that charge was unfounded. [4]

Diptych two-part polyptych

A diptych is any object with two flat plates attached at a hinge. For example, the standard notebook and school exercise book of the ancient world was a diptych consisting of a pair of such plates that contained a recessed space filled with wax. Writing was accomplished by scratching the wax surface with a stylus. When the notes were no longer needed, the wax could be slightly heated and then smoothed to allow reuse. Ordinary versions had wooden frames, but more luxurious diptychs were crafted with more expensive materials.

Vitalian showed reciprocity toward Constans when the latter came to Rome in 663 to spend twelve days there during a campaign against the Lombards. On 5 July, the pope and members of the Roman clergy met the Emperor at the sixth milestone and accompanied him to St. Peter's Basilica, where the Emperor offered gifts. The following Sunday, Constans went in state to St. Peter's, offered a pallium wrought with gold, and was present during the Mass celebrated by the pope. The Emperor dined with the pope on the following Saturday, attended Mass again on Sunday at St. Peter's, and after Mass took leave of the pope. On his departure Constans removed a large number of bronze artworks, including the bronze tiles from the roof of the Pantheon, which had been dedicated to Christian worship. [2]

Lombards Historical ethnical group

The Lombards or Longobards were a Germanic people who ruled most of the Italian Peninsula from 568 to 774.

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.

Mass (liturgy) type of worship service within many Christian denomination

Mass is the main eucharistic liturgical service in many forms of Western Christianity. The term Mass is commonly used in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, as well as in some Lutheran, Methodist, Western Rite Orthodox, and Old Catholic churches.

Constans then moved on to Sicily, oppressed the population, and was assassinated at Syracuse in 668. Vitalian supported Constans' son Constantine IV against the usurper Mezezius and thus helped him attain the throne. As Constantine had no desire to maintain the Monothelite decree of his father, Pope Vitalian made use of this inclination to take a more decided stand against Monothelitism and to win the Emperor over to orthodoxy. In this latter attempt, however, he did not succeed. The Monothelite Patriarch Theodore I of Constantinople removed Vitalian's name from the diptychs. It was not until the Sixth Ecumenical Council (681) that Monothelitism was suppressed and Vitalian's name was replaced on the diptychs of the churches in Byzantium. [2]

Sicily Island in the Mediterranean and region of Italy

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 20 regions of Italy. It is one of the five Italian autonomous regions, in Southern Italy along with surrounding minor islands, officially referred to as Regione Siciliana.

Syracuse, Sicily Comune in Sicily, Italy

Syracuse is a historic city on the island of Sicily, the capital of the Italian province of Syracuse. The city is notable for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheatres, architecture, and as the birthplace of the preeminent mathematician and engineer Archimedes. This 2,700-year-old city played a key role in ancient times, when it was one of the major powers of the Mediterranean world. Syracuse is located in the southeast corner of the island of Sicily, next to the Gulf of Syracuse beside the Ionian Sea.

Constantine IV Byzantine emperor (b. 652 d. 685)

Constantine IV, sometimes incorrectly called Pogonatos (Πωγωνάτος), "the Bearded", out of confusion with his father, was Byzantine Emperor from 668 to 685. His reign saw the first serious check to nearly 50 years of uninterrupted Islamic expansion, while his calling of the Sixth Ecumenical Council saw the end of the monothelitism controversy in the Byzantine Empire.

Relations with England

Pope Vitalian was successful in improving relations with England, where the Anglo-Saxon and British clergies were divided regarding various ecclesiastical customs. At the Synod of Whitby, King Oswy of Northumberland accepted Roman practices regarding the keeping of Easter and the shape of the tonsure. Together with King Ecgberht of Kent, he sent the priest Wighard to Rome, to be consecrated there after the death of Archbishop Deusdedit of Canterbury in 664, but Wighard died at Rome of the plague. [5]

Anglo-Saxons Germanic tribes who started to inhabit parts of Great Britain from the 5th century onwards

The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited Great Britain from the 5th century. They comprise people from Germanic tribes who migrated to the island from continental Europe, their descendants, and indigenous British groups who adopted many aspects of Anglo-Saxon culture and language; the cultural foundations laid by the Anglo-Saxons are the foundation of the modern English legal system and of many aspects of English society; the modern English language owes over half its words – including the most common words of everyday speech – to the language of the Anglo-Saxons. Historically, the Anglo-Saxon period denotes the period in Britain between about 450 and 1066, after their initial settlement and up until the Norman conquest. The early Anglo-Saxon period includes the creation of an English nation, with many of the aspects that survive today, including regional government of shires and hundreds. During this period, Christianity was established and there was a flowering of literature and language. Charters and law were also established. The term Anglo-Saxon is popularly used for the language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons in England and eastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century. In scholarly use, it is more commonly called Old English.

The Synod of Whitby in 664 was a Northumbrian synod where King Oswiu of Northumbria ruled that his kingdom would calculate Easter and observe the monastic tonsure according to the customs of Rome, rather than the customs practised by Irish monks at Iona and its satellite institutions. The synod was summoned at Hilda's double monastery of Streonshalh (Streanæshalch), later called Whitby Abbey.

Ecgberht was a King of Kent who ruled from 664 to 673, succeeding his father Eorcenberht.

Vitalian wrote to King Oswy promising to send a suitable bishop to England as soon as possible. Hadrian, abbot of a Neapolitan abbey, was selected, but he considered himself unworthy to be bishop. [6] At his recommendation a highly educated monk, Theodore of Tarsus, who understood both Latin and Greek, was chosen as Archbishop of Canterbury and consecrated on 26 March 668. Accompanied by Abbot Hadrian, Theodore went to England, where he was recognized as the head of the Church of England. [7]

Ravenna

The archiepiscopal See of Ravenna reported directly to Rome. Archbishop Maurus (644–71) sought to end this dependence, and thus make his see autocephalous. When Pope Vitalian called upon him to justify his theological views, he refused to obey and declared himself independent of Rome, thus becoming a schismatic. The pope excommunicated him, but Maurus did not submit, and even went so far as to declare the pope excommunicated. [2]

Emperor Constans II sided with the archbishop and issued an edict removing the Archbishop of Ravenna from the patriarchal jurisdiction of Rome. He ordained that the former should receive the pallium from the emperor. The successor of Maurus, Reparatus, was in fact consecrated in 671. It was not until the reign of Pope Leo II (682–83) that the independence of the See of Ravenna was suppressed: Emperor Constantine IV revoked the edict of Constans and confirmed the ancient rights of the Roman See over the See of Ravenna. [2]

Authority over Eastern Church

Vitalian played a role in exonerating a bishop of the Eastern Church. Bishop John of Lappa had been deposed by a synod under the presidency of the Metropolitan Paulus. John appealed to the pope and was imprisoned by Paulus for so doing. He escaped, however, and went to Rome, where Vitalian held a synod in December 667 to investigate the matter and pronounced John guiltless. He then wrote to Paulus demanding the restoration of John to his diocese and the return of the monasteries which had been unjustly taken from him. At the same time the pope directed the metropolitan to remove two deacons who had married after consecration.

The introduction of church organ music is traditionally believed to date from the time of Vitalian's papacy.

Vitalian died on January 27, 672. Venerated as a saint by the Catholic church, his feast day is celebrated each year on January 27. [4]

Notes

  1. The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Saint Vitalian". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Kirsch, Johann Peter (1912). "Pope St. Vitalian" in The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  3. 1 2 3 Miranda, Salvatore. "The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church", Florida International University
  4. 1 2 Joseph Brusher S.J. (1959). "St. Vitalian". Popes Through the Ages. Christ's Faithful People. Archived from the original on 2006-05-13.
  5. Sir Frank Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England, third edition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), pp. 123, 130
  6. "St. Adrian of Canterbury", Catholic News Agency
  7. Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England, p. 131
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Eugene I
Pope
657–672
Succeeded by
Adeodatus II

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