26th JUNE 577 – 10th JANUARY 681 POPE/SAINT AGATHO

Facts

Feastday: January 10

Death: 681


A Sicilian cleric, Pope/St. Agatho was born c. 577 and was elected to the Roman see in 678. He had been a monk before his election and was well-versed in Latin and Greek. Although the exarch of Ravenna, Theodore, desired independence from Rome, he eventually submitted to Agatho’s rule. In 678, BishopWilfrid of York, claiming he had been unjustly deposed, appealed to the pope, who ruled that BishopWilfrid should be returned immediately to his see. Concerned about the condition of the English church, Agatho sent an envoy to teach the Britons about chant and to report to him on the state of the church. The Sixth Ecumenical Council (680-681) accepted Agatho’s definitions of the two wills of Christ, although the pope did not attend the council. Agatho died during a plague in 681.


More about St. Agatho from Wikipedia

Pope Agatho (died 10 January 681) was Pope from 26 June 678 to his death in 681.[1] He is venerated as a saint by both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Little is known of Agatho before his papacy. He may have been among the many Sicilian clergy in Rome, at that time, due to the Islamic Caliphateattacks on Sicily in the mid-7th century.[2]

Papacy

Shortly after Agatho became Pope, St Wilfrid, Archbishop of York, arrived at Rome to invoke the authority of the Holy See on his behalf. Wilfrid had been deposed from his see by Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, who had carved up Wilfrid’s diocese and appointed three bishops to govern the new sees. At a synod which Pope Agatho convoked in the Lateran to investigate the affair, it was decided that Wilfrid’s diocese should indeed be divided, but that Wilfrid himself should name the bishops.[3]

The major event of his pontificate was the Sixth Ecumenical Council (680–681), following the end of the Muslim Siege of Constantinople,[4] which suppressed the Monothelite heresy that had been tolerated by previous popes (Honorius among them). The council began when Emperor Constantine IV, wanting to heal the schism that separated the two sides, wrote to Pope Donus suggesting a conference on the matter, but Donus was dead by the time the letter arrived. Agatho was quick to seize the olive branch offered by the Emperor. He ordered councils held throughout the West so that legates could present the universal tradition of the Western Church. Then he sent a large delegation to meet the Easterners at Constantinople.[3]

Pope Agatho depicted in theMenologion of Basil II (c. 1000 AD)

The legates and patriarchs gathered in the imperial palace on 7 November 680. The Monothelites presented their case. Then a letter of Pope Agatho was read that explained the traditional belief of the Church that Christ was of two wills, divine and human. Patriarch George of Constantinople accepted Agatho’s letter, as did most of the bishops present. The council proclaimed the existence of the two wills in Christ and condemned Monothelitism, with Pope Honorius being included in the condemnation. When the council ended in September 681 the decrees were sent to the Pope, but Agatho had died in January. The Council had not only ended the Monothelite heresy, but also had healed the schism.[3]

Agatho also undertook negotiations between the Holy See and Constantine IV concerning the relations of the Byzantine Court to papal elections. Constantine promised Agatho to abolish or reduce the tax that the popes had had to pay to the imperial treasury on their consecration.[3]

He is venerated as a saint by both Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox.[1] His feast day among Roman Catholics is on 10 January.[5] Eastern Christians, including Eastern Orthodox and the Eastern Catholic Churches, commemorate him on 20 February.[6]

See also

  • List of Catholic saints
  • List of popes

References

  1. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg “Pope St. Agatho”. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
  2. ^ Jeffrey Richards (1 May 2014). The Popes and the Papacy in the Early Middle Ages: 476-752. Routledge. p. 270. ISBN 9781317678175.
  3. ^ a b c d Joseph Brusher, S.J., Popes Through the Ages.
  4. ^ Hubert Cunliffe-Jones (24 Apr 2006). A History of Christian Doctrine (reprint ed.). A&C Black. p. 233. ISBN 9780567043931.
  5. ^ Martyrologium Romanum
  6. ^ Orthodox Church in America

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