The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Eugenius I (654-657)
Before 655 (I)


(1) 1. VITALIANO (?-672)

Birth. (No date found), Segni, Campagna. Son of Anastasio.

Education. (No information found).

Cardinalate. Deacon cardinalis of the Holy Roman Church before 655. He was elected pope in May 657. Emperor Constans II sought to restore the good relations with the Latin Church. The new pope on his part was of a rather conciliatory temperament and encouraged the monarch on this new conduct, hastening to convey, through the apocrisiarius (ambassadors) sent to Byzantium, his desire for reconciliation. Emperor Constans II received the apocrisiarius with great benevolence, confirmed the privileges of the Roman see and sent the pope a codex of the Bible adorned with gold and diamonds.

Papacy. Consecrated pope on July 30, 657. Kept his baptismal name as pope. To strengthen this bond between the empire and the papacy, Emperor Constans II went to Rome on an official visit in 663, coinciding with a military expedition against the Lombards of southern Italy. The emperor arrived from Naples along the Appian Way and the pope went to meet him six miles from Rome with all the clergy and a delegation of citizens, crosses, flags and lighted candles. Emperor Constans II made his triumphal entry in Rome on July 5, 663. The relations of the emperor with the Church, if not openly hostile, were certainly very tense; she had suffered humiliation and insults of all kinds from the emperor and had good reason to fear him. The mutually respectful relationship, with solemn functions officiated in homage to the papal and imperial sovereignty, remained in practice an external fact. Emperor Constans II left Rome on July 17, after having taken his share of the booty, plundering what was still possible to take from the ancient pagan treasures. He went so far as to remove the iron bars from the roof of the Pantheon, which had already been enshrined as a Christian temple.

The emperor reached Siracusa and decided to establish his residence there. On May 1, 666, Emperor Constans II issued a law by which the Church of Ravenna was declared autonomous, and its archbishop from the monarch the pallium. The emperor ultimately created a schism between Rome and Ravenna. The first prelate to assume this authority was Archbishop Mauro, who not taking into account the anathema against him from Pope Vitalian, excommunicated the pontiff himself. Two years later, on September 15, 668, Emperor Constans II was assassinated in Siracusa, and the army proclaimed emperor the Armenian Mezezius, but the pope mobilized all the clerical forces so that Byzantium would recognize as emperor Constantine IV Pagonato, son of Constans II and legitimate heir to the throne. And so it happened. This behavior of Pope Vitalian, despite all the harassment against him from the late Emperor Constans II, created in the new emperor a feeling of deep gratitude toward the papacy. The new emperor did not intend to enforce the Typos, therefore, Pope Vitalian was able to reaffirm the true doctrine of Christ's two wills openly. The pope declined to accept the sinodica (profession of faith) of the new patriarch of Constantinople, John V, because it was unorthodox. His successor, Patriarch Theodore I, in view of the pope's refusal to accept his predecessor's sinodica wanted to erase Pope Vitalian's name from the diptychs, but the emperor resisted the move.For the moment there were no more benefits for Rome because the emperor was too busy in the military front trying to halt the advance of the Arabs, with whom he could only conclude a peace in 678. Pope Vitalian dedicated himself with great the zeal to the Anglo-Saxon Church, which lined up with Rome in the liturgy as well as in the orthodoxy. He supported King Oswy of Northumbria in his effort to establish in England the Roman date for Easter (the Celtic bishops had a different one) and other Roman customs and practices, which had been agreed upon by the Synod of Whitby celebrated in 664. On Mar 26, 668, the pope consecrated the Greek monk, Theodorus of Tarsus, as archbishop of Canterbury and sent him to England to reorganize the English church. Pope Vitalian also asked African Abbot Hadrian and Benedict Biscop to go to England with Archbishop Theodorus to make sure that the archbishop would not introduce Greek ideas or customs. He developed the Schola cantorum at the Lateran patriarchium, which had been founded by Pope Gregory I the Great, to train singers for the new and more elaborate Byzantine-style papal rites. Its chanters were called Vitaliani. During his pontificate, he ordained ninety seven bishops, twenty two priests and one deacon

Death. January 27, 672, Rome. Buried 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.

Sainthood. Inscribed in the Roman Martyrology, his feast is celebrated on January 27.

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. 214-216; Cristofori, Francesco. Cronotasi dei cardinali di Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Tipografia de Propaganda Fide, 1888, p. XXXVII;"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. 75-76; 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, 343-345; Longo, Uberto. "Vitaliano, santo." Enciclopedia dei papi. 3 vols. Roma : Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2000, I, 606-609; Monachino, Vncenzo. "I tempi e la figura del papa Vitaliano." In Storiografia e storia. Studi in honore di Eugenio Dupré Theseider, II, Rome : Bulzoni, 1974, p. 573-588; Montini, Renzo Uberto. Le tombe dei papi. Roma : Angelo Belardetti, 1957. Note: At head of title: Instituto di studi romani, p. 122, no. 76; Reardon, Wendy J. The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., Publishers, 2004, p. 54; 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, 234-237; Scano, Gaetana. "Vitaliano, papa, santo." Mondo vaticano. Passato e presente. Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995, p. 1088-1089.

Links. Biography, in English, The Catholic Encyclopedia; biography, in English, Britannica; his image and biograohy, in English; biography by Joseph Brusher, S.J., in English, Popes through the Ages; biography, in English, The Lives of the Popes in the Seventh Century, The History and the Lives of the Popes; biography by Umberto Longo, Enciclopedia dei papai, Treccani; biography, in Italian, Dizionario biografico degli italiani, Treccani; biography, in Italian; biography, in Italian, Santi e Beati; biography, in German, Biographisch-Bibliographischen Kirchenlexikons; biography, in Norwegian, Den katolske kirke; Festa di San Vitaliano Papa (27/01/2010), in Italian, Istituto del Verbo Incarnato, Provincia Madonna di Loreto; his engraving, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome; his engraving, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome; his engraving, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome; engravings, Araldica Vaticana; his engraving, Il Mercante in Asta; 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 his effigy on a medal, Numismatic collection of Olomouc archiepiscopate, Czech Republic.

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