He succeeded Innocent I and was followed by Boniface I. Zosimus took a decided part in the protracted dispute in Gaul as to the jurisdiction of the See of Arles over that of Vienne, giving energetic decisions in favour of the former, but without settling the controversy. His fractious temper coloured all the controversies in which he took part, in Gaul, Africa and Italy, including Rome, where at his death the clergy were very much divided.
|Papacy began||18 March 417|
|Papacy ended||26 December 418|
|Died||26 December 418|
|Feast day||27 December|
According to the Liber Pontificalis, Zosimus was a Greek and his father's name was Abramius. Historian Adolf von Harnack deduced from this that the family was of Jewish origin, but this has been rejected by Louis Duchesne.
Nothing is known of the life of Zosimus before his elevation to the Papal See. His consecration as Bishop of Rome took place on 18 March 417. The festival was attended by Patroclus, Bishop of Arles, who had been raised to that See in place of Bishop Heros of Arles, who had been deposed by Constantius III. Patroclus gained the confidence of the new pope at once; as early as 22 March he received a papal letter which conferred upon him the rights of a metropolitan over all the bishops of the Gallic provinces of Viennensis and Narbonensis I and II. In addition, he was made a kind of papal vicar for the whole of Gaul, with no Gallic ecclesiastic being permitted to journey to Rome without bringing with him a certificate of identity from Patroclus.
In the year 400, Arles had been substituted for Trier as the residence of the chief government official of the civil Diocese of Gaul, the "Prefectus Praetorio Galliarum". Patroclus, who enjoyed the support of the commander Constantine, used this opportunity to procure for himself the position of supremacy above mentioned, by winning over Zosimus to his ideas. The bishops of Vienne, Narbonne, and Marseille regarded this elevation of the See of Arles as an infringement of their rights, and raised objections which occasioned several letters from Zosimus. The dispute, however, was not settled until the pontificate of Pope Leo I.
Not long after the election of Zosimus, Caelestius, a proponent of Pelagianism who had been condemned by the preceding pope Innocent I, came to Rome to appeal to the new pope, having been expelled from Constantinople. In the summer of 417, Zosimus held a meeting of the Roman clergy in the Basilica of St. Clement before which Caelestius appeared. The propositions drawn up by the deacon Paulinus of Milan, on account of which Caelestius had been condemned at Carthage in 411, were laid before him. Caelestius refused to condemn these propositions, at the same time declaring in general that he accepted the doctrine expounded in the letters of Pope Innocent and making a confession of faith which was approved. The pope was won over by the conduct of Caelestius, and said that it was not certain whether he had really maintained the false doctrine rejected by Innocent, and therefore Zosimus considered the action of the African bishops against Caelestius too hasty. He wrote at once in this sense to the bishops of the African province, and called upon those who had anything to bring against Caelestius to appear at Rome within two months.
Soon after this, Zosimus received from Pelagius a confession of faith, together with a new treatise on free will. The pope held a new synod of the Roman clergy, before which both these writings were read; the assembly held the statements to be orthodox, and Zosimus again wrote to the African bishops defending Pelagius and reproving his accusers, among whom were the Gallic bishops Hero and Lazarus. Archbishop Aurelius of Carthage quickly called a synod, which sent a reply to Zosimus in which it was argued that the pope had been deceived by heretics. In his answer Zosimus declared that he had settled nothing definitely, and wished to settle nothing without consulting the African bishops. After the new synodal letter of the African council of 1 May 418 to the pope, and after the steps taken by the emperor Honorius against the Pelagians, Zosimus issued his Tractoria, in which Pelagianism and its authors were finally condemned.
Shortly after this, Zosimus became involved in a dispute with the African bishops in regard to the right of clerics who had been condemned by their bishops to appeal to the Roman See. When the priest Apiarius of Sicca had been excommunicated by his bishop on account of his crimes, he appealed directly to the pope, without regard to the regular course of appeal in Africa, which was exactly prescribed. The pope at once accepted the appeal, and sent legates with credentials to Africa to investigate the matter. Another, potentially wiser, course would have been to have first referred the case of Apiarius to the ordinary course of appeal in Africa itself. Zosimus next made the further mistake of basing his action on a reputed canon of the First Council of Nicaea, which was in reality a canon of the Council of Sardica. In the Roman manuscripts the canons of Sardica followed those of Nicaea immediately, without an independent title, while the African manuscripts contained only the genuine canons of Nicaea, so that the canon appealed to by Zosimus was not contained in the African copies of the Nicene canons. This mistake ignited a serious disagreement over the appeal, which continued after the death of Zosimus.
Besides the writings of the pope already mentioned, there are extant other letters to the bishops of the Byzantine province in Africa, in regard to a deposed bishop, and to the bishops of Gaul and Spain in respect to Priscillianism and ordination to the different grades of the clergy. The Liber Pontificalis attributes to Zosimus a decree on the wearing of the maniple by deacons, and on the dedication of Easter candles in the country parishes; also a decree forbidding clerics to visit taverns. Zosimus was buried in the sepulchral Basilica of Saint Lawrence outside the Walls.
|Titles of the Great Christian Church|
Year 418 (CDXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Honorius and Theodosius (or, less frequently, year 1171 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 418 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.Aeclanum
Aeclanum (also spelled Aeculanum, Italian: Eclano, Ancient Greek: Ἀικούλανον) was an ancient town of Samnium, southern Italy, about 25 km east-southeast of Beneventum, on the Via Appia. It lies in Passo di Mirabella, near the modern Mirabella Eclano.Antipope Eulalius
Antipope Eulalius (died 423) was antipope from December 418 to April 419, in opposition to Pope Boniface I. At first the claims of Eulalius as the rightful Pope were recognized by the Emperor Honorius, who sent a letter dated 3 January 419 recognizing him and pardoning the partisans of Boniface provided they left Rome.Apiarius of Sicca
Apiarius of Sicca was an African priest convicted by the Bishops of Africa of numerous unspecified crimes in the early 5th century AD, and excommunicated by Bishop Urbanus of Sicca Veneria. In 418 Apiarius appealed his convictions directly to Pope Zosimus (Term of Office: March 417 - December 418) by-passing the African Bishops appeals system. Pope Zosimus, citing the Nicene Canons, sent legates to assess the charges. The Canon citation: "When a bishop thinks he has been unjustly deposed by his colleagues he may appeal to Rome, and the Roman bishop shall have the business decided by judices in partibus"; was not of the Nicene Canons, but rather part of the Sardica Canons. The Bishops of Africa, not finding the statement in their copies of Nicene Canons, sought copies of the Nicene Canons from the Archbishops of Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch.
Pope Boniface I (Term of Office: December 418 - 423) took over the appeal by Apiarius of Sicca in 418 at the death of Pope Zosimus. In 419 the Bishops of Africa sent the copies of the Nicene Canons obtained from Alexandria and Constantinople to justify their position that the Nicene Canons did not permit Pope Zosimus actions.
The controversy over the right of a bishop to appeal directly to Rome outlasted Pope Boniface and was still the subject of correspondence during the term of Celestine I (Term of Office: 423 - 432), successor to Boniface. The disposition of the appeal of Apiarius of Sicca is not known.Aurelius Anicius Symmachus
Anicius Aurelius Symmachus (fl. 415-420) was a politician of the Western Roman Empire.Caelestius
Caelestius (or Celestius) was the major follower of the Christian teacher Pelagius and the Christian doctrine of Pelagianism, which was opposed to Augustine of Hippo and his doctrine in original sin, and was later declared to be heresy.Councils of Carthage
The Councils of Carthage were church synods held during the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries in the city of Carthage in Africa. The most important of these are described below.Ecclesiastical letter
Ecclesiastical letters are publications or announcements of the organs of Roman Catholic ecclesiastical authority, e.g. the synods, but more particularly of pope and bishops, addressed to the faithful in the form of letters.List of Greek popes
This is a list of Greek popes. Most were pope before or during the Byzantine Papacy (537–752). It does not include all the Sicilian and Syrian popes of Greek extraction from that period.List of canonised popes
This article lists the Popes who have been canonised or recognised as Saints in the Roman Catholic Church they had led. A total of 83 (out of 266) Popes have been recognised universally as canonised saints, including all of the first 35 Popes (31 of whom were martyrs) and 52 of the first 54. If Pope Liberius is numbered amongst the Saints as in Eastern Christianity, all of the first 49 Popes become recognised as Saints, of whom 31 are Martyr-Saints, and 53 of the first 54 Pontiffs would be acknowledged as Saints. In addition, 13 other Popes are in the process of becoming canonised Saints: as of December 2018, two are recognised as being Servants of God, two are recognised as being Venerable, and nine have been declared Blessed or Beati, making a total of 95 (97 if Pope Liberius and Pope Adeodatus II are recognised to be Saints) of the 266 Roman Pontiffs being recognised and venerated for their heroic virtues and inestimable contributions to the Church.
The most recently reigning Pope to have been canonised was Pope John Paul II, whose cause for canonisation was opened in May 2005. John Paul II was beatified on May 1, 2011, by Pope Benedict XVI and later canonised, along with Pope John XXIII, by Pope Francis on April 27, 2014. Pope Francis also canonised Pope Paul VI on October 14, 2018.Paulinus the Deacon
Paulinus the Deacon, also Paulinus of Milan was the notary of Ambrose of Milan, and his biographer. His work is the only life of Ambrose based on a contemporary account, and was written at the request of Augustine of Hippo; it is dated to 422.Pelagius
Pelagius (c. AD 360 – 418) was a theologian of British origin who advocated free will and asceticism. He was accused by Augustine of Hippo and others of denying the need for divine aid in performing good works. They understood him to have said that the only grace necessary was the declaration of the law; humans were not wounded by Adam's sin and were perfectly able to fulfill the law without divine aid. Pelagius denied Augustine's theory of original sin. His adherents cited Deuteronomy 24:16 in support of their position. Pelagius was declared a heretic by the Council of Carthage (418). His interpretation of a doctrine of free will became known as Pelagianism.
He was well educated, fluent in both Greek and Latin, and learned in theology. He spent time as an ascetic, focusing on practical asceticism. He was well known in Rome, both for the harsh asceticism of his public life and the power and persuasiveness of his speech. His reputation earned him praise early in his career even from such pillars of the Church as Augustine, who referred to him as a "saintly man". However, he was later accused of lying about his own teachings to avoid public condemnation. Most of his later life was spent defending his doctrine against Christian theologians who held that Pelagius was spreading novelties in the Faith unknown to the apostolic tradition.
Due to some calling him a heretic, little of his work has come down to the present day except in the quotes of his opponents. However, more recently, some non-Orthodox Christian authors have defended Pelagius as a misunderstood “orthodox”:
Recent analysis of his thinking suggests that it was, in fact, highly orthodox, following in the tradition established by the early fathers and in keeping with the teaching of the church in both the East and the West. ... From what we are able to piece together from the few sources available... it seems that the Celtic monk held to an orthodox view of the prevenience of God's grace, and did not assert that individuals could achieve salvation purely by their own efforts...Pope Boniface I
Pope Boniface I (Latin: Bonifatius I; died 4 September 422) was Pope from 28 December 418 to his death in 422. His election was disputed by the supporters of Eulalius, until the dispute was settled by the Emperor. Boniface was active maintaining church discipline and he restored certain privileges to the metropolitical sees of Narbonne and Vienne, exempting them from any subjection to the primacy of Arles. He was a contemporary of Saint Augustine of Hippo, who dedicated to him some of his works.Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienne
The Archbishopric of Vienne, named after its episcopal see Vienne in the Isère département of southern France, was a metropolitan Roman Catholic archdiocese. It is now part of the Archdiocese of Lyon.San Clemente al Laterano
The Basilica of Saint Clement (Italian: Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano) is a Roman Catholic minor basilica dedicated to Pope Clement I located in Rome, Italy. Archaeologically speaking, the structure is a three-tiered complex of buildings: (1) the present basilica built just before the year 1100 during the height of the Middle Ages; (2) beneath the present basilica is a 4th-century basilica that had been converted out of the home of a Roman nobleman, part of which had in the 1st century briefly served as an early church, and the basement of which had in the 2nd century briefly served as a mithraeum; (3) the home of the Roman nobleman had been built on the foundations of republican era villa and warehouse that had been destroyed in the Great Fire of 64 AD.Semipelagianism
Semipelagianism (Latin: Semipelagianismus) is a Christian theological and soteriological school of thought on salvation; that is, the means by which humanity and God are restored to a right relationship. Semipelagian thought stands in contrast to the earlier Pelagian teaching about salvation (in which people are seen as affecting their own salvation), which had been dismissed as heresy. Semipelagianism in its original form was developed as a compromise between Pelagianism and the teaching of Church Fathers such as Saint Augustine, who taught that people cannot come to God without the grace of God. In semipelagian thought, therefore, a distinction is made between the beginning of faith and the increase of faith. Semipelagian thought teaches that the latter half – growing in faith – is the work of God, while the beginning of faith is an act of free will, with grace supervening only later. It too was labeled heresy by the Western Church at the Second Council of Orange in 529.
Catholicism teaches that the beginning of faith involves an act of free will, that the initiative comes from God, but requires free collaboration on the part of man: "The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man's free acting through his collaboration". "Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life."The term "semipelagianism", a 16th-century coinage, has been used as an accusation in theological disputes over salvation, divine grace and free will. Theologians have also used it retrospectively to refer to the original formulation, an anachronistic use that has been called inappropriate, ambiguous and unjust. In this context, a more historically accurate term is Massilianism, a reference to the city of Marseilles, with which some of its proponents were associated.Trophimus of Arles
According to Catholic lore, Saint Trophimus of Arles (French: Trophime) was the first bishop of Arles, in today's southern France.Virgilius of Arles
Virgilius of Arles (died c. 610; Virgil, Virgile) was Archbishop of Arles in Gaul.
According to a life written in the eighth century he was born in a village of Aquitaine, became a monk, Abbot of Lérins, and Bishop of Arles, where he built a basilica of Saint Stephen and another of the Saviour. This life, accepted in its outlines by Mabillon and the Bollandists, is the scarcely modified reproduction of the Life of St. Maximus, Bishop of Riez, written by the patrician Dynamius before the death of Virgilius.
According to Gregory of Tours, Virgilius was first Abbot of the Abbey of St. Symphorian, Autun, and through the support of Syagrius, Bishop of Autun, succeeded Lizier as Bishop of Arles. In his zeal for the conversion of the numerous Jews whom trade attracted to Provence, Virgilius employed force. Gregory the Great wrote (591) to Virgilius, and to Theodore, Bishop of Marseille, praising their good intentions but recommending them to confine their zeal to prayer and preaching.
On 1 August 595, St. Gregory extended to Virgilius the title of pontifical vicar, granted to the bishops of Arles by Pope Zosimus (519); this dignity made him the intermediary between the Gallic episcopate and the Apostolic See. King Childebert was urged by the pope to assist Virgilius in exterminating simony from the Churches of Gaul and Germania. Gregory several times requested Virgilius (596, 601) to extend a welcome to Augustine of Canterbury and his monks, whom he was sending to England. On another occasion he recommended to his protection a monastery belonging to the Patrimony of the Roman Church of which Lizier had taken possession. In a letter to Virgilius and to Syagrius, Bishop of Autun, the pope complains (July, 599) of their negligence in not preventing the marriage of Syagria, a woman who, having embraced the religious life, had been violently given in marriage. In 601 Gregory advised Virgilius to assemble a council against simony and to induce the Bishop of Marseilles to reform his house.
On 23 August, 613, Pope Boniface IV sent the pallium to Virgilius's successor Florian.
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