The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Martin I (649-655)
Before 655 (I)


(1) 1. EUGENIO (?-657)

Birth. (No date found), Rome. Son of Rufinianus. His family resided in the first ecclesiastical region of Rome, regio Aventinensis.

Education. He was brought up in the Church's ministry since he was a child.

Cardinalate. Presbyter cardinalis of an unknown title before 655. He was apocrisiario (ambassador) in Constantinople. He was of an advanced age when elected to the papacy by the Roman clergy under strong pressure from Emperor Constans II and the Exarch Theodore Calliope of Ravenna, after the deposition and imprisonment of Pope Martin I (1)

Papacy. Consecrated pope on August 10, 654. Kept his baptismal name as pope. Pope Eugenius I had a duty to refuse the nomination and respect the tradition that in the absence of the pope, as Pope Martin I himself stated, the Roman see should be governed by the archdeacon, the archpriest and the primicerius. And thus, for over a year, there were both a prisoner and deposed pope, still the vicar of Christ on earth, and a pope wanted by the emperor. Perhaps the new pontiff feared the election of a Monothelite pope; but certainly the sense of power had to have subjugated him.When the news of the election of the new arrived in Chersonesus, Pope Martin I did not protest. He only regretted that no aid came from Rome to comfort him in his troubles, but prayed that God maintained the Romans in the true faith, especially, their new pastor. Perhaps the circumstances and the character of Pope Eugenius I made him fear an agreement with Constantinople on religious matters. In fact, an attempt at reconciliation took place, but without success. Since June 654, Constantinople also had a new patriarch, Peter. The Liber pontificalis says that he sent to the Apostolic See a sinodica (a profession of faith), which was very obscure and that was silent on the issue of the will of Christ. The people and clergy of Rome noisily manifested their hostility and in the basilica of S. Maria Maggiore, where the document was probably read, prevented the pope from celebrating mass until he pledged to reject the sinodica of the patriarch. But Pope Eugenius I showed to be too agreeable; his apocrisiarius in Byzantium approved a new formula invented by Patriarch Pyrrhus, who had already been declared heretical by Pope Theodore I, in which he spoke of two distinct natures of Christ, but he added a third one as a "person" . More serious still was that these apocrisiarius readmitted the patriarch into the ecclesiastical community. Perhaps this behavior was intended to save the life of Pope Martin I, who instead was strongly opposed to such a rehabilitation of the patriarch, but it is hard to believe that they acted entirely on their own. Rather, Pope Eugenius I could have come in fact to be, in the words of the Liber pontificalis, too benignus, mitis, mansuetus, omnibus affabilis (kind, affable, meek, full of gentleness), eventually making him a sorrowful figure.

When Patriarch Pyrrhus died, he was succeeded by Patriarch Peter, who in 656 sent to the pope his sinodica (profession of faith). It was very ambiguous on the doctrine of Christ's will, and the clergy and the Roman people resented it and advised the pope to reject what the patriarch had written. Pope Eugenius I was not immediately convinced; they had to force him by threatening to prevent him from reciting the mass in S. Maria Maggiore if he had not first promised to dismiss the offending sinodica. And what he did, probably knowing the risks in which he was, redeemed a pontificate that had been born of a compromise and continued in a subdued manner. Besides, death saved him from a martyrdom similar to that of his predecessor and for which perhaps had the strength. He confirmed the traditions of the monastery of Saint-Bavon, Ghent, at the request of its abbot, Adalbert. At the request of King Clovis of the Franks, he granted privileges to the monastery of Saint-Maurice d'Agaune, by the bull Igitur quia postulavit. During his pontificate, he ordained twenty one bishops.

Death. June 2, 657, 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. He left bequests to the Roman clergy and people upon his death. Thirteen centuries after his death, in 1942, a church was dedicated to him in viale delle Belle Arti, near Villa Giulia, in Rome. It was a gift from the Catholics of the world to the then Pope Pius XII, Eugenio Pacelli, in the twenty-fifth anniversary of his episcopal consecration. The church was completed and officially opened in 1951. It was established as a cardinalitial deaconry by Pope John XXIII on March 12, 1960.

Sainthood. Inscribed in the Roman Martyrology by ecclesiastical historian Cardinal Cesare Baronio, Orat., in the 17th century; his feast is celebrated on June 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. 457-460; and ; 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. 145, no. 1; Kelly, John Norman Davidson. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 75; 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, 341-342; Montini, Renzo Uberto. Le tombe dei papi. Roma : Angelo Belardetti, 1957. Note: At head of title: Instituto di studi romani, p. 22, no. 75; Petruzzi, Caterina. "Eugenio I, papa, santo." Mondo vaticano. Passato e presente. Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995, p. 467-468; 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; Sansterre, Jean-Marie. "Eugenio I, santo." Enciclopedia dei papi. 3 vols. Roma : Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2000, I, 603-606.

Links. Biography, in English, The Catholic Encyclopedia; biography, in English, Britannica; his image and biography, in English; biography by Joseph Brusher, S.J., in English, Popes through the Ages; biography, The Lives of the Popes in the Seventh Century, The History and the Lives of the Popes; biography by Jean-Marie Sansterre, in Italian, Enciclopedia dei papi, Treccani; biography, in Italian, Dizionario biografico degli italiani, Treccani; his image and biography, in Italian; biography, in German, Biographisch-Bibliographischen Kirchenlexikons; biography, in Norwegian, Den katolske kirke; his engraving, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome; his engraving, Biblioteca comunale dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna; engravins, 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; another engraving from the same source; his effigy on a medal, Numismatic collection of Olomouc archiepiscopate, Czech Republic; and his effigy on a medal, The Catholic Company.

(1) Reardon, The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs, p. 54, says that he was elected as an antipope nad recognized as a pope when Pope Martin I died in 655.

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