The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Hormisdas (514-523)
515 (I)


(1) 1. FELICE (?-530)

Birth. (No date found), Benevento, Sannius. Son of Castorio dei Fimbri.

Education. (No information found).

Cardinalate. Presbyter cardinalis of the title of S. Silvestro nelle Esquilie ca. 515. Immediately after the tragic death of Pope John I, imprisoned in Ravenna by order of Ostrogoth King Theodoric of Italy, and following the explicit designation by the dying king, Presbyter cardinalis Felice was elected pope. This act of the king represented a dangerous precedent for the autonomy of papal elections. Although it was unanimously disapproved, it was at the end willingly accepted by the clergy and people of Rome, who acknowledged that the new pontiff had significant ability and virtue for the papacy.

Papacy. Consecrated Pope Felix IV (III) on July 12, 526 (1). After the death of King Theodoric on August 20, 526, Pope Felix IV (III) enjoyed the protection of the court of Ravenna under the regency of Queen Amalasunta, mother of King Athalaric, who was a minor. The pope obtained the issuing of an edict which recognized the right of the bishop of Rome and of the ecclesiastical authority designated by him to pass judgement in disputes of a layman against a cleric. This privilege initiated the exemption of the clergy from the secular courts and constituted the basis of its future political strength. The involvement of Pope Felix IV (III) was considerable in the final stage of the dispute on the grace, when he supported Bishop Caesarius of Arles in rejecting Semi pelagianism that in the Gaul continued to have a large following. The pope sent to the bishops of Gaul a doctrinal letter of twenty-five propositions defining the church's teaching on grace and free-will, which, while recognizing the compulsory nature of grace, was meant to affirm the value and irreplaceable role of free will, even if tainted by original sin. These were adopted by the Second Council of Orange in July 529, and when approved by Pope Boniface II on January 25, 530, effectively put an end to the controversy over grace. The pope skillfully succeeded with his actions between the two parties which divided the city of Rome: one favorable to the Goths and the other to Byzantium. The policy of benevolence of the court of Ravenna toward the papacy also took shape in the donation to Pope Felix IV (III) of two old buildings: the Temple of Romulus, son of Maxentius, and the temple Sacræ Urbis on the via Sacra. These buildings were converted by the pope in a large Christian basilica dedicated to Ss. Cosma e Damiano and decorated with splendid mosaics,which because of their precious style antiquity are counted among the most illustrious of Rome. They include images of the Apocalypse, the figure of the Redeemer, of Saints Peter and Paul, Cosmas and Damian. Next to them is placed the image of the white-haired pontiff Felix IV (III), wrapped in cloaks of gold, the first portrait of a living pope. Probably, in deference to the Eastern Church, the pontiff had the basilica built and dedicated to Ss. Cosma e Damiano, the first one in the city honoring Eastern saints. The pope also restored the basilica of S. Saturnino, in via Salaria, which had been destroyed by a fire. During the lengthy illness which eventually caused his death, Pope Felix IV (III) wanted to avoid possible disorders which might occur at his death. The idea of a new schism within the see of Rome worried him, and as a result he decided to take advantage of what had been decided by Pope Symmachus in the Synod of 499, that is, the possibility for a pope to designate his own successor. Therefore, in the presence of the clergy and the Senate, he consigned his own pallium to the Archdeacon cardinalis of the Holy Roman Church Bonifacio (on the condition that it be returned if he recovered), nominating him his successor. In addition, the dying pope gave notice in writing of his personal choice, which was affixed in all the titular churches in Rome, threatening to excommunicate whomever might disturb the peace of the Church. For its part, the Senate threatened to confiscate the property and exile anyone who instigated disorders of a political nature while the pope was still alive. In these years in Italy, monasticism spread thanks to Benedict from Norcia, future saint, who founded the famous monastery at Monte Cassino and developed his Rule under the motto "Ora et labora" (Work and pray), in a spirit of brotherly understanding, contrasting in a positive manner with the violence of the social and ecclesiastical ambience of those days. The monastery, which gathered adherents in the entire peninsula, naturally became a center of prayer, but also a nucleus of economic and cultural organization, extremely characteristic of a great part of the Middle Ages. During his pontificate, he ordained three bishops, fifty five priests and four deacons.

Death. September 22, 530, Rome. Buried under the pavement of the atrium of St. Peter's basilica, Rome (2). His tomb was destroyed during the demolition of the old basilica and the construction of the new one in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Sainthood. Inscribed in the Roman Martyrology, his feats was celebrated on January 30 until 1922, when it was transferred to September 22.

Bibliography. Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1792, I, pt. 1, 6; Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificum Romanorum : et S.R.E. Cardinalium ab initio nascentis Ecclesiae usque ad Clementem IX P. O. M. Alphonsi Ciaconii Ord. Praed. & aliorum opera descriptæ : cum uberrimis notis. Ab Augustino Oldoino, Soc. Jesu recognitae, et ad quatuor tomos ingenti ubique rerum accessione productae. Additis Pontificum recentiorum imaginibus, & Cardinalium insignibus, plurimisque aeneis figuris, cum indicibus locupletissimis. Romæ : P. et A. De Rubeis, 1677, I, col. 353-356; Cristofori, Francesco. Cronotasi dei cardinali di Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Tipografia de Propaganda Fide, 1888, p. XXXVI; Duchesne, Louis Marie Olivier. "La succession du pape Félix IV", Mélanges de archéologie et d'histoire, III (1883), 239-266; "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux des 10 premiers siècles". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1926. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1927, p. 140, no. 1; Enciclopedia dei papi. 3 vols. Roma : Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2000, I, ; Kelly, John Norman Davidson. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 55-56; Le Liber pontificalis. Paris : E. de Boccard, 1981, 1955. 3 v. : facsims. (Bibliothèque des Écoles françaises d'Athènes et de Rome). Notes: Reprint of the 1955 edition./ Includes indexes./ Vol. 3: "Additions et corrections de L. Duchesne publiées par Cyrille Vogel ... avec L'Histoire du Liber pontificalis dupuis l'édition de L. Duchesne une bibliographie et des tables générales, I, 279-280; Montini, Renzo Uberto. Le tombe dei papi. Roma : Angelo Belardetti, 1957. Note: At head of title: Instituto di studi romani, p. 107, no. 54; Petruzzi, Caterina. "Felice IV, papa, santo." Mondo vaticano. Passato e presente. Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995, p. 487-488; Reardon, Wendy J. The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., Publishers, 2004, p. 43; Regesta pontificum Romanorum ab conditio Ecclesia. Ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII. Graz : Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, 1956. 2 v. Reprint. Originally published : Lipsiae : Veit et comp., 1885-1888. Original t.p. included : Regesta pontificum Romanorum ab condita ecclesia : ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII. Editionem secundam correctam et auctam edidit Philippus Jaffè ; auspiciis Gulielmi Wattenbach; curaverunt S. Loewenfeld, F. Kaltenbrunner, P. Ewald, I, 110-111.

Links. Biography, The Catholic Encyclopedia; biography, in English (Britannica); his image and biography, in English; biography by Joseph Brusher, S.J., Popes through the Ages; biography by Jean-Marie Sansterre, Eniclopedia dei papi, Treccani; brief biographical entry, in Italian, Dizionario biografico degli italiani, Treccani; his image and biography, in Italian; images and brief biographical entry, in Italian, Santi e Beati; images and biography, in Italian, Città Nuove; biography, in German, Biographisch-Bibliographischen Kirchenlexikons; biography, in Norwegian, Den katolske kirke; his image, mosaic, church of Ss. Cosma e Damiano, Rome; his engraving, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome; his engraving, Biblioteca comunale dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna; his engraving, in color, ebayimg.com; engravings, Araldica Vaticana; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; another engraving, from the same source; and another engraving, also from the same source.

(1) Annuario Pontificio per l'anno 2010 (Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2010), p. 9*, note 10, says that a pope listed as Felix II (355 - 22-XI-365) was erroneously confused with a saint, Felice Martyr of Rome, and given a place as Felix II in the series of Roman Pontiffs, determining erroneous numerals for the legitimate popes of that name who followed: Felix III and IV and for the Antipope Felix V, who should be II, III and IV respectively.
(2) This is the text of his epitaph, taken from Reardon, The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs, p. 43:

CERTA FIDES IVSTIS CAELESTIA REGNA PATERE
ANTISTES FELIX QVAE MODO LAETVS HABET
RAELATVS MVLTIS HVMILI PIETATE SVPERBIS
PROMERVIT CELSVM SIMPLICITATE LOCVM
PAVPERIBVS LARGVS MISERIS SOLACIA PRAESTANS
SEDIS APOSTOLICAE CRESCERE FECIT OPES

Cool Archive

(2) 2. LORENZO (?-?)

Birth. (No date or place found).

Education. (No information found).

Cardinalate. Presbyter cardinalis of the title of S. Prassede in 515 (?).

Death. (No date or place found). Buried at an unknown place.

Bibliography. Cristofori, Francesco. Cronotasi dei cardinali di Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Tipografia de Propaganda Fide, 1888, p. 61; "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux des 10 premiers siècles". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1926. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1927, p. 140, no. 2.

Top Consistories Catalogs Home

©1998-2014 Salvador Miranda.