The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
John IV (640-642)
Before 642


(1) 1. THEODORUS (between 607/612-649)

Birth. Between 607 and 612, Jerusalem. Of Greek origin. Son of Theodore, auxiliary bishop of the Jerusalem patriarchate, who may have fled for Rome with his son in late 638 or early 639 (1). He is also listed as Teodoro.

Education. (No information found).

Cardinalate. Deacon cardinalis of the Holy Roman Church before 642.

Papacy. Elected pope on October 12, 642. Took the name Theodore I. His election was expressly wished by Exarch Isaac of Ravenna. Consecrated on November 24, 642. By choosing a Greek, the Byzantines thought they had won the fight of the imperial ekthesi, but Pope Theodore I did not second in any way the Monothelite movement, for which Byzantium had found a good defender in Emperor Constans II, in close alliance with the new Patriarch Paul of Constantinople. Patriarch Pyrrhus having fell into disgrace with the emperor, was replaced and forced out of Constantinople, but he did not give up, and at all costs wanted to regain power and sought the support of the pope. Pretending to renounce Monothelitism in a council in Africa, where he had fled, he went to Rome as a penitent at the tomb of St. Peter to formalize his profession of faith. Pope Theodore I received him with great honor and promised all his support. The pope asked Patriarch Paul to explain his deposition and requested him to get through to the emperor his grievances in the defense of the deposed patriarch. Pyrrhus, saw that the time passed without getting any results, decided to change his tactic and tried to reconcile with the emperor. He left Rome and went to the exarch of Ravenna; there, he retracted his recantation. When Pope Theodore I found out what Pyrrhus had done, convened a council in St. Peter and condemned the apostate with a terrible official ceremony. The pope walked to the tomb of the apostle, took the cup and let a drop of the blood of Christ fall in the ink, then he dipped the pen and signed the solemn anathema. On that occasion, the pontiff also excommunicated Patriarch Paul, convinced follower of the Ekthesi, although he had hidden his true feelings at the time of the installation. Emperor Constans II realized that the theological dispute between East and West could have created intractable fractures on the political level; a negative symptom in this sense was the succession of movements of independence in Italy. One of them had been provoked by Cartulario Maurizio, who had turned against the Roman militia against Exarch Isaac of Ravenna, and the revolt failed only because of the enterprise of the exarch and because the troops of Ravenna had remained loyal to Byzantium. Italy could get out of hand for the empire for the growing military and political consistency of the Lombards; their King Rotari had promulgated in 643 a famous edict that gave the occupation of that people a legal framework. Ultimately, it was necessary to restore calm on the theological field or otherwise change tactics. Therefore, Emperor Constans II abolished the Ekthesi and replaced it in 648 by another edict, the Typus, which was concerned with theological questions, but prohibited the debate on controversial definitions threatening serious punishment for anyone breaking the imperial ban. The new edict tended in practice to silence the pope and not to pronounce anything ex cathedra; any diverse opinion, the pontiff had to reserve it for himself. It was an absurd edict destined to provoke resentment and did not reach its objective. The pope died before he even saw the Typus. He completed the work of widening and restoration of the basilica of S. Valentino iuxta pontem Molbium. Furthermore, he also completed the work of the oratory of S. Venancio in the Roman church of S. Giovanni in Fonte (Lateran baptistery), where his image is represented in a mosaic in the apse. In 648, the pope transferred the remains of martyrs Primus and Felician in 648, who were buried in sandstone in via Numentana, to the church of S. Stefano Rotondo al Celio, which at that time had been restored and reconsecrated. Pope Theodore had a small eastern apse built and decorated with the mosaics of the two martyrs, together with their didascalia, and an inscription in couplets. Another inscription remembered the intervention of the pontiff in favor of sanctorum corpora cultu. The pope also enriched, as indicated in Liber pontificalis, the confession with a tabula and arches of silver. To these works must be added the construction of a chapel dedicated to S. Euplo, which today no longer exists, presumably between the Porta Ostiense and the pyramid of Caius Cestius; and another small place of worship dedicated to S. Sebastiano at the Lateran. During his pontificate, he ordained 46 bishops, 21 priests and 4 deacons.

Death. May 14, 649, Rome. Buried in the pavement of the porticu pontificum in St. 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. The inscription on his tomb survived (2).

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. 209-210; Cristofori, Francesco. Cronotasi dei cardinali di Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Tipografia de Propaganda Fide, 1888, p. XXXVII; Del Re, Niccolò. "Teodoro I, papa." Mondo vaticano. Passato e presente. Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995, p. 1037; Ekonomou, Andrew J. Byzantine Rome and the Greek popes. Eastern influence on Rome and the papacy from Gregory the Great to Zacharias, A.D. 590-752. Lanham : Lexington Books, 2007, p. 96-100, 110 n. 161; "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. 1; Kelly, John Norman Davidson. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 73; 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, 331-335; Montini, Renzo Uberto. Le tombe dei papi. Roma : Angelo Belardetti, 1957. Note: At head of title: Instituto di studi romani, p. 121-122, no. 73; 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, 228-230; Susi, Eugenio. "Teodoro I." Enciclopedia dei papi. 3 vols. Roma : Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2000, I, 594-598.

Links. Biography, in English; biography, in English, (Britannica); his image and biography, in English; biography by Joseph Bruscher, S.J., in English, Popes through the Ages; his image and biography, in English, Greek Popes of the Roman Catholic Church; biography, in English, The lives of the popes in the seventh century, The History and the Lives of the Popes; biography, in Italian, Dizionario biografico degli italiani, Treccani; biography by Eugenio Susi, Enciclopedia dei papai, Trecani; biography, in Italian, cronologia.leonardo.it; biography, in German, Biographisch-Bibliographischen Kirchenlexikons; his image, mosaic in the chapel of S. Venanzio, in the Lateran basilica; his engraving, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome; his engraving, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome; another engraving from the same source; his engraving, Biblioteca comunale dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna; his engraving, iStockphoto; his engraving, Il Mercante in Asta; his engraving, in color; 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; another engraving from the same source; and another engraving also from the same source.

(1) According to Ekonomou, Byzantine Rome and the Greek popes, p. 96, He may have been ordained by Patriarch Sophronios of Jerusalem or by his predecessor Modestos. As a Chalcedionian, he had most likely been displace from his see by one of the uncanonical bishops ordained by Sergius of Joppa after the death of Patriarch Sophronios, and as a result, he had fled to Rome with Theodore, his son and future pope.
(2) This is the text, taken from Reardon, The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs, p. 51:

INCVBAT EGREGII THEODORI
PRAESVLIS ALMI HOC TVMVLO CORPVS


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