The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Honorius I (625-638)
640 (III)


(1) 1. SEVERINO (?-640)

Birth. (No date found), Rome. Son of Abieno (or Avieno, or Labieno).

Education. (No information found).

Cardinalate. Deacon cardinalis of the Holy Roman Church before 640. He was of an advanced age when elected to the papacy.

Papacy. Elected pope in mid-October 638. Took the name Severinus. The news of the election was sent to Constantinople by Roman apocrisiari. Emperor Heraclius I refused to approve his election because the pope-elect declined to accept the ekthesis (decree), which the emperor had issued in 638, at the request of Patriarch Sergius of Constantinople, in favor of the monothelist doctrine. The decree threatened with grave sanctions those, ecclesiastics or laymen, who disagreed with that position. The text of the edict was sent to Exarch Isaac of Ravenna, who in turn sent it to the pope-elect. The pope-elect considered the doctrine to be heretical. The resistance of the Roman envoys, who diplomatically chose to follow their mandate and take no position on sensitive theological issues, did not favor the resolution of the issue, that had become also politically significant, and dragged on for several months. During this period, while apocrisiari were subjected to all sorts of pressures aimed at achieving some recognition of the edict, the Byzantine authorities tried to intimidate the clergy of Rome and rise against it, the discontent of the troops stationed there. A senior official Byzantine, the chartularius Mauritius, helped by a number of troublemakers, managed to spread the belief among the soldiers that the money sent by the emperor to pay the army, rather than be distributed, was concealed in the Lateran vestiarium, where also was the treasure accumulated at the time of Pope Honorius I.The irrepressible rage of the troops was cleverly directed against the Roman clergy, and soon all the armed men in Rome laid siege to the Lateran patriarchium, but the strong resistance of the men present in the palace with the pope-elect, prevented the possibility of a brutal plunder. However, after three days of clashes, Chartularius Mauritius, supported by lay officials who had joined the revolt, entered the building together with sort of committee of inquiry, and breaking the seals affixed to the vestiarium, seized the treasure of the Roman Church, while waiting for the arrival of Exarch Isaac of Ravenna. As soon as the exarch arrive in Rome, he banished the highest clergy, relegating them in different places, and then, he entered the palace and took possession of the treasure of the Roman Church, part of which he sent to Constantinople. Finally, in early 640, after a long vacant see of nineteen months, the emperor approved the election, allowing the return to Rome of the papal delegates, who reserved the right to present the text for the approval of the new pope. The new pope was consecrated on May 28, 640. He consecrated four bishops per diversa loca (for diverse places) in his short pontificate of two months and four days. He was particularly generous with the clergy of Rome. The pope also restored the mosaic of the apse of St. Peter's basilica, which had been destroyed.

Death. August 2, 640, of old age and bad treatment from the imperial soldiers, Rome. He left the clergy a year's salary upon his death. Buried in the porticu pontificum in Saint Peter's basilica, Rome. His tomb was destroyed during the demolition of the old basilica and the construction of the new one in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Bibliography. 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. 204-206; Cristofori, Francesco. Cronotasi dei cardinali di Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Tipografia de Propaganda Fide, 1888, p. ; Del Re, Niccolò. "Severino, papa." Mondo vaticano. Passato e presente. Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995, p. 981; "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux des 10 premiers siècles". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1926. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1927, p. 144, no. 3; Kelly, John Norman Davidson. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 71-72; 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, 328-329; Montini, Renzo Uberto. Le tombe dei papi. Roma : Angelo Belardetti, 1957. Note: At head of title: Instituto di studi romani, p. 121, no. 71; Reardon, Wendy J. The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., Publishers, 2004, p. 53; 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, 227; Susi, Eugenio. "Severino." Enciclopedia dei papi. 3 vols. Roma : Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2000, I, 90-592.

Links. Biography, in English, The Catholic Encyclopedia; biography, in English, (Britannica); his image and biography, in English; biography, in English, The Lives of the Popes in the Seventh Century, in The History and the Lives of the Popes; biography by Joseph Brusher, S.J., in English, The Popes through the Ages; biography by Eugenio Susi, in Italian, Enciclopedia dei papa, Treccani; biography, in Italian, Dizionario biografico degli Italiani, Treccani; biography, in German, Biographisch-Bibliographischen Kirchenlexikons; his engraving, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome; his engraving, Biblioteca comunale dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna; his engraving, iStockphoto; engravings, Araldica Vaticana; his effigy on a medal, Numismatic collection of Olomouc archiepiscopate, Czech Republic; 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.

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