Pope Hormisdas

Pope Hormisdas (450 – 6 August 523) was Pope from 20 July 514 to his death in 523.[2] His papacy was dominated by the Acacian schism, started in 484 by Acacius of Constantinople's efforts to placate the Monophysites. His efforts to resolve this schism were successful, and on 28 March 519, the reunion between Constantinople and Rome was ratified in the cathedral of Constantinople before a large crowd.[2]

Jeffrey Richards explains Hormisdas's Persian name as probably in honour of an exiled Persian noble, Hormizd, "celebrated in the Roman martyrology (8 August) but not so honoured in the East." The names of his father and son suggest he had an otherwise "straightforward Italian pedigree."[3] However, according to Iranica he was probably related to Hormizd.[4]

Pope Saint

Pope Hormisdas
Papacy began20 July 514
Papacy ended6 August 523
SuccessorJohn I
Created cardinalbefore 514
by Symmachus
Personal details
Birth nameHormisdas
Frusino, Western Roman Empire
Died6 August 523
Rome, Kingdom of the Ostrogoths
Feast day6 August[1]
Papal styles of
Pope Hormisdas
Emblem of the Papacy SE
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous styleSaint


He was born in Frusino in the moribund era of the Western Roman Empire (now Frosinone, Campagna di Roma, Italy). Before becoming a Roman deacon, Hormisdas was married, and his son would in turn become Pope under the name of Silverius. During the Laurentian schism, Hormisdas was one of the most prominent clerical partisans of Pope Symmachus. He was notary at the synod held at St. Peter's in 502.[5] Two letters of Magnus Felix Ennodius, bishop of Pavia, survive addressed to him, written when the latter tried to regain horses and money he had lent the Pope.[6]

Unlike his predecessor Symmachus, his election lacked any notable controversies. Upon becoming Pope, one of Hormisdas' first actions was to remove the last vestiges of the schism in Rome, receiving back into the Church those adherents of the Laurentian party who had not already been reconciled. "The schism had lingered on largely out of personal hatred to Symmachus," writes Jeffrey Richards, "something with which Hormisdas was apparently not tainted."[7]

The account of his tenure in the Liber Pontificalis, as well as the overwhelming bulk of his surviving correspondence, is dominated by efforts to restore communion between the Sees of Rome and Constantinople caused by the Acacian schism. This schism was the consequence of the "Henoticon" of the Emperor Zeno and supported by his successor Anastasius, who became more and more inclined towards Monophysitism and persecuted those bishops who refused to repudiate the Council of Chalcedon.

The emperor Anastasius took the first steps to resolve this schism pressured by Vitalian, the commander of the imperial cavalry, who, having taken up the cause of orthodoxy, led Thracia, Scythia Minor, and Mysia to revolt, and marched with an army of Huns and Bulgarians to the gates of Constantinople. Richards points out that there would bound to be some tentative efforts from Constantinople, "if only because there was a new man on the throne of St. Peter. Relations between Symmachus and the emperor Anastasius had been virtually non-existent".[8]

Anastasius wrote to Hormisdas on 28 December 514, inviting him to a synod that would be held 1 July of the following year. A second, less courteous invitation, dated 12 January 515, was also sent by Anastasius to the pope, which reached Rome before the first. On 4 April Hormisdas answered, expressing his delight at the prospect of peace, but at the same time defending the position of his predecessors and welcoming a synod, but believing it unnecessary. The bearers of the emperor's first letter at last reached Rome on 14 May. The pope guardedly carried on negotiations, convened a synod at Rome and wrote to the emperor on 8 July to announce the departure of an embassy for Constantinople. Meanwhile, the two hundred bishops who had assembled on 1 July at Heraclea separated without accomplishing anything.

Pope hormisdas
Pope St. Hormisdas

The pope's embassy to the imperial court consisted of two bishops, Ennodius of Pavia and Fortunatus of Catina, the priest Venantius, the deacon Vitalis, and the notary Hilarius.[9] According to Rev. J. Barmby, Hormisdas made several demands: (1) The emperor should publicly announce his acceptance of the Council of Chalcedon and the letters of Pope Leo; (2) the Eastern bishops should make a similar public declaration, and in addition anathematize Nestorius, Eutyches, Dioscorus, Aelurus, Peter Mongus, Peter the Fuller, and Acacius, with all their followers; (3) everyone exiled in this dispute should be recalled and their cases reserved for the judgment of the Apostolic See; (4) those exiles who had been in communion with Rome and professed Catholicism should first be recalled; and (5) bishops accused of having persecuted the Orthodox should be sent to Rome to be judged. "Thus the emperor proposed a free discussion in council; the pope required the unqualified acceptance of orthodoxy, and submission to himself as head of Christendom, before he would treat at all."[10]

An imperial embassy of two high civil officials came to Rome bringing one letter dated 16 July 516 for the pope, and one dated 28 July for the Roman Senate; the aim of the latter was to convince the senators to take a stand against Hormisdas. However both the Senate, as well as King Theodoric, stayed loyal to the pope. Meanwhile, Hormisdas reported to Avitus of Vienne that an additional number of Balkan bishops had entered into relations with Rome, and Bishop John of Nicopolis, who was also the archbishop of Epirus, had broken communion with Constantinople and resumed it with Rome.[11]

A second papal embassy consisting of Ennodius and Bishop Peregrinus of Misenum was as unsuccessful as the first. Anastasius even attempted to bribe the legates, but was unsuccessful.[9] Secure now that Vitalian had been defeated outside Constantinople, forced into hiding, and his supporters executed, Anastasius announced on 11 July 517 that he was breaking off the negotiations. But less than a year later the emperor died; the Liber Pontificalis claims he was struck dead by a thunderbolt.[9] His successor, the Catholic Justin I, immediately reversed Anastasius' policies. All the demands of Pope Hormisdas were granted: the name of the condemned Patriarch Acacius as well as the names of the Emperors Anastasius and Zeno were stricken from the church diptychs, and the Patriarch John II accepted the formula of Hormisdas. Some maintain that he did so with some qualifications. This argument is based on the following quote:"I declare that the see of apostle Peter and the see of this imperial city are one."[12]

However, the East continued to disregard papal demands by not condemning Acacius.[13] On 28 March 519, in the cathedral of Constantinople in presence of a great throng of people, the end of the schism was concluded in a solemn ceremony.

See also


  1. ^ "Saint Hormisdas". Patron Saints Index. Archived from the original on 2010-05-30.
  2. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg Kirsch, Johann Peter (1913). "Pope St. Hormisdas" . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  3. ^ Richards, The Popes and the Papacy in the Early Middle Ages (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979), p. 242
  4. ^ HORMOZD, A. Shapur Shahbazi, Encyclopaedia Iranica, (March 23, 2012).[1]
  5. ^ John Moorhead, "The Laurentian Schism: East and West in the Roman Church," Church History 47 (1978), p. 131
  6. ^ Ennodius, Epistulae 5.13; 6.33
  7. ^ Richards, Popes and the Papacy, p. 100
  8. ^ Richards, Popes and the Papacy, p. 101
  9. ^ a b c Raymond Davis (translator), The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis), first edition (Liverpool: University Press, 1989), p. 47
  10. ^ "Hormisdas, bp. of Rome", Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century A.D., with an Account of the Principal Sects and Heresies, edited by Henry Wace (London, 1911)
  11. ^ Epistulae 2; translated by Danuta Shanzer and Ian Wood, Avitus of Vienne (Liverpool: University Press, 2002), pp. 129–133
  12. ^ Dvornik, F., (1966) Byzantium and the Roman Primacy, (Fordham University Press, NY), p.61
  13. ^ Meyendorff 1989, pp. 215.


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Succeeded by
John I

Year 514 (DXIV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Cassiodorus without colleague (or, less frequently, year 1267 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 514 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Year 523 (DXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Maximus without colleague (or, less frequently, year 1276 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 523 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Acacius of Constantinople

Acacius (? – 26 November 489) was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 472 to 489. Acacius was practically the first prelate throughout the Eastern Orthodoxy and renowned for ambitious participation in the Chalcedonian controversy.Acacius advised the Byzantine emperor Zeno to issue the Henotikon edict in 482, in which Nestorius and Eutyches were condemned, the twelve chapters of Cyril of Alexandria accepted, and the Chalcedon Definition ignored. This effort to shelve the dispute over the Orthodoxy of the Council of Chalcedon was quite in vain. Pope Felix III saw the prestige of his see involved in this slighting of Chalcedon and his predecessor Leo's epistle. He condemned and deposed Acacius, a proceeding which the latter regarded with contempt, but which involved a schism between the two sees that lasted after Acacius's death. The Acacian schism lasted through the long and troubled reign of the Byzantine emperor Anastasius I, and was only healed by Justin I under Pope Hormisdas in 519.The Coptic Orthodox Church celebrates The Departure of St. Acacius, Patriarch of Constantinople on the 30th of the Coptic month of Hatour.

Anicia Juliana

Anicia Juliana (Constantinople, 462 – 527/528) was a Roman imperial princess, the daughter of the Western Roman Emperor Olybrius, of the Anicii, by Placidia the younger daughter of Emperor Valentinian III and Licinia Eudoxia.

She married Flavius Areobindus Dagalaiphus Areobindus, and their children included Olybrius, consul for 491. With her husband, she spent her life at the pre-Justinian court of Constantinople, of which she was considered "both the most aristocratic and the wealthiest inhabitant".Her glittering genealogy aside, Juliana is primarily remembered as one of the first non-reigning female patrons of art in recorded history. From what little we know about her personal predilections, it appears that she "directly intervened in determining the content, as well, perhaps, as the style" of the works she commissioned.Her pro-Roman political views, as espoused in her letter to Pope Hormisdas (preserved in the royal library of the Escorial) are reflected in the chronicle of Marcellinus Comes, who has been associated with her literary circle. Whether Juliana entertained political ambitions of her own is uncertain, but it is known that her husband declined to take up the crown during the 512 riots. Although she resolutely opposed the Monophysite leanings of Emperor Anastasius, she permitted her son Olybrius to marry the Emperor's niece.

Antipope Dioscorus

Dioscorus (died 14 October 530) was a deacon of the Alexandrian and the Roman church from 506. In a disputed election following the death of Pope Felix IV, the majority of electors picked him to be Pope, in spite of Pope Felix's wishes that Boniface II succeed him. However, Dioscurus died less than a month after the election, allowing Boniface to be consecrated Pope and Dioscurus to be branded an Antipope.

Collectiones canonum Dionysianae

The Collectiones canonum Dionysianae (Latin: Dionysian collections of canons) are the several collections of ancient canons prepared by the Scythian monk Dionysius 'the humble' (exiguus). They include the Collectio conciliorum Dionysiana I, the Collectio conciliorum Dionysiana II, and the Collectio decretalium Dionysiana. They are of the utmost importance for the development of the canon law tradition in the West.

Towards 500 a Scythian monk, known as Dionysius Exiguus, who had come to Rome after the death of Pope Gelasius (496), and who was well skilled in both Latin and Greek, undertook to bring out a more exact translation of the canons of the Greek councils. In a second effort he collected papal decretals from Siricius (384-89) to Anastasius II (496-98), inclusive, anterior therefore, to Pope Symmachus (514-23). By order of Pope Hormisdas (514-23), Dionysius made a third collection, in which he included the original text of all the canons of the Greek councils, together with a Latin version of the same; but the preface alone has survived. Finally, he combined the first and second in one collection, which thus united the canons of the councils and the papal decretals; it is in this shape that the work of Dionysius has reached us.

This collection opens with a table or list of titles, each of which is afterwards repeated before the respective canons; then come the first fifty canons of the Apostles, the canons of the Greek councils, the canons of Carthage (419), and the canons of preceding African synods under Aurelius, which had been read and inserted in the Council of Carthage. This first part of the collection is closed by a letter of Pope Boniface I, read at the same council, letters of Cyril of Alexandria and Atticus of Constantinople to the African Fathers, and a letter of Pope Celestine I. The second part of the collection opens likewise with a preface, in the shape of a letter to the priest Julian, and a table of titles; then follow one decretal of Siricius, twenty-one of Innocent I, one of Zozimus, four of Boniface I, three of Celestine I, seven of pope Leo I, one of Gelasius I and one of Anastasius II. The additions met with in Voel and Justel are taken from inferior manuscripts.

Dodona (see)

The former residential episcopal see of Dodona, situated in the Roman province of Epirus Vetus, is now a titular see of the Catholic Church.

Epiphanius of Constantinople

Epiphanius (died June 5, 535) was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from February 25, 520 to June 5, 535, succeeding John II Cappadocia.


The Henotikon ( or in English; Greek ἑνωτικόν henōtikón "act of union") was a christological document issued by Byzantine emperor Zeno in 482, in an unsuccessful attempt to reconcile the differences between the supporters of the Council of Chalcedon and the council's opponents. It was followed by the Acacian schism.


Hormizd (sometimes spelled Hormuzd) may refer to:

Any of the several kings of the Sassanid dynasty of Persia:

Hormizd I of Persia (272–273)

Hormizd II of Persia (302–310)

Hormizd III of Persia (457–459)

Hormizd IV of Persia (479–480)

Hormizd V of Persia (593)

Hormizd VI of Persia (631–632)

Hormizd (Constantinople) (fl. 323-363), third son of Hormizd II who escaped to Constantinople

Hormizd of Sakastan, a princeOther people with name Hormizd:

Rabban Hormizd or Mar Hormizd, 7th century Assyrian saint

Yohannan Hormizd (1760-1838), Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church

Hormuzd Rassam (1826 – 1910), Assyrian assyriologistPeople named Hormisdas or Ormisdas, the Greek form of the name:

Pope HormisdasOther uses:

Rabban Hormizd Monastery, an ancient monastery in Iraq

Mar Hormiz Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Angamaly


In classical antiquity, Illyria (; Ancient Greek: Ἰλλυρία, Illyría or Ἰλλυρίς, Illyrís; Latin: Illyria, see also: Illyricum) was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by numerous tribes of people collectively known as the Illyrians. Besides them, this region was also settled, in various times, by some tribes of Celts, Goths and Thracians. Illyrians spoke Illyrian languages, a group of Indo-European languages, which in ancient times perhaps had speakers in some parts in southern Italy. The Roman term Illyris (distinct from Illyria) was sometimes used to define an area north of the Aous valley, most notably Illyris proper.

Joannes Maxentius

Joannes Maxentius, or John Maxentius, was the Byzantine leader of the so-called Scythian monks, a christological minority.

Justin I

Justin I (Latin: Flavius Iustinus Augustus; Greek: Ἰουστῖνος; 2 February 450 – 1 August 527) was the Eastern Roman Emperor from 518 to 527. He rose through the ranks of the army to become commander of the imperial guard. When Emperor Anastasius died he out-maneouvered his rivals and was elected as his successor, in spite of being almost 70 years old. His reign is significant for the founding of the Justinian dynasty that included his eminent nephew Justinian I and three succeeding emperors. His consort was Empress Euphemia.

He was noted for his strongly orthodox Christian views. This facilitated the ending of the Acacian schism between the churches of Rome and Constantinople, resulting in good relations between Justin and the papacy. Throughout his reign he stressed the religious nature of his office and passed edicts against various Christian groups seen at the time as non-Orthodox. In foreign affairs he used religion as an instrument of state. He endeavoured to cultivate client states on the borders of the Empire, and avoided any significant warfare until late in his reign.

Macedonius II of Constantinople

Macedonius II (died c. 517), patriarch of Constantinople (495–511). For an account of his election see Patriarch Euphemius of Constantinople

Marciana (Lycia)

Marciana was a town in ancient Lycia, with a bishopric that was a suffragan of that of Myra.The author of the article in the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia used the spelling Marciane.The town is not mentioned by any author and its exact location remains unknown, but the see figures in the Notitiae episcopatuum from the 6th to the 12th or 13th centuries.

Ostrogothic Papacy

The Ostrogothic Papacy was a period from 493 to 537 where the papacy was strongly influenced by the Ostrogothic Kingdom, if the pope was not outright appointed by the Ostrogothic King. The selection and administration of popes during this period was strongly influenced by Theodoric the Great and his successors Athalaric and Theodahad. This period terminated with Justinian I's (re)conquest of Rome during the Gothic War (535–554), inaugurating the Byzantine Papacy (537-752).

According to Howorth, "while they were not much interfered with in their administrative work, so long as they did not themselves interfere with politics, the Gothic kings meddled considerably in the selection of the new popes and largely dominated their election. Simony prevailed to a scandalous extent, as did intrigues of a discreditable kind, and the quality and endowments of the candidates became of secondary importance in their chances of being elected, compared with their skill in corrupting the officials of the foreign kings and in their powers of chicane." According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "[Theodoric] was tolerant towards the Catholic Church and did not interfere in dogmatic matters. He remained as neutral as possible towards the pope, though he exercised a preponderant influence in the affairs of the papacy."

Paul (bishop of Mérida)

Paul was the metropolitan bishop of Mérida in the mid-sixth century (fl. 540s/550s). He was a Greek physician who had travelled to Mérida, where there may have been a Greek expatriate community. Certainly enough Greek clergy were travelling to Spain in the early sixth century that Pope Hormisdas wrote to the Spanish bishops in 518 explaining what to do if Greeks still adhering to the Acacian heresy desired to enter communion with the local church.At some point in his episcopate, he performed a Caesarian section to save a woman's life. In gratitude, her husband, the richest senator in Lusitania, left all his possessions as a legacy to Paul, as well as immediately giving him one half. Though canon law dictated that all gifts to bishops passed to the Church, Paul kept the legacy as his private possession.Paul's sister's son, Fidelis, was hired out as a boy to a trading vessel on its way to Spain. When the merchants arrived in Mérida, they approached the bishop for an audience, as was customary, and Paul discovered his nephew. Paul immediately took Fidelis under his wing. Contrary to canon law, he consecrated Fidelis as his successor in the bishopric and tried to force the clergy to accept his decision by threatening to withhold his vast private wealth which technically belonged to the Church. Paul offered to leave the wealth to Fidelis and after Fidelis' death to the Church, but the bishops initially refused. They were forced to relent when he threatened to remove all his wealth and dispose of otherwise; the riches made Mérida by far the richest see in Spain. Fidelis, in accordance with Paul's wishes, left the wealth to the Church at his death. Paul's later biographer, the author of the Vitas Patrum Emeritensium, justified the bishop's transgressions of canon law by saying that the ideas had been relevante sibi Spiritu sancto: "revealed to him by the Holy Spirit." The VPE, as it is abbreviated, refers to Paul as a saint.Paul is often held up by moder historians as an example of the poor image the Arian church had of Catholics on account of his illegal activities, but he is also used as proof of the close ties between the East and West which still existed for Spain, at least in the sixth century. He also demonstrates that there was little prejudice which would prevent foreigners from attaining high position in a Spanish city under the Visigothic monarchy.

Pompeius (consul 501)

Pompeius (died 532) was a politician of the Eastern Roman Empire and relative of the Emperor Anastasius I (reigned 491–518).

Saint Remigius

Saint Remigius, Remy or Remi, (French: Saint Rémi or Saint Rémy; Italian: Remigio; Spanish: Remigio; Occitan: Romieg; Polish: Remigiusz; Breton: Remig and Lithuanian: Remigijus), was Bishop of Reims and Apostle of the Franks, (c. 437 – January 13, AD 533). On 25 December 496 he baptised Clovis I, King of the Franks. This baptism, leading to the conversion of the entire Frankish people to Christianity, was a momentous success for the Church and a seminal event in European history.

1st–4th centuries
During the Roman Empire (until 493)
including under Constantine (312–337)
5th–8th centuries
Ostrogothic Papacy (493–537)
Byzantine Papacy (537–752)
Frankish Papacy (756–857)
9th–12th centuries
Papal selection before 1059
Saeculum obscurum (904–964)
Crescentii era (974–1012)
Tusculan Papacy (1012–1044/1048)
Imperial Papacy (1048–1257)
13th–16th centuries
Viterbo (1257–1281)
Orvieto (1262–1297)
Perugia (1228–1304)
Avignon Papacy (1309–1378)
Western Schism (1378–1417)
Renaissance Papacy (1417–1534)
Reformation Papacy (1534–1585)
Baroque Papacy (1585–1689)
17th–20th centuries
Age of Enlightenment (c. 1640-1740)
Revolutionary Papacy (1775–1848)
Roman Question (1870–1929)
Vatican City (1929–present)
21st century
History of the papacy
Virgin Mary
See also

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