(1) 1. AGATONE (ca. 577/578-681)
Birth. Ca. 577/578, Palermo, Sicily. Of Greek origin.
Education. He was a monk before entering the Roman clergy (1). He was well versed in Greek and Latin.
Cardinalate. Presbyter cardinalis of an unknown title; or deacon of the Holy Roman Church in 676. His election to the papacy was rapidly ratified by the imperial exarch of Ravenna.
Papacy. Consecrated pope on June 27, 678. Kept his baptismal name as pope. Shortly after his election, he received the submission of Archbishop Teodoro of Ravenna, who put an end to the autocephalous state proclaimed of his seat by his predecessor Archbishop Mauro at the instigation of Emperor Constans II in 666. Archbishop Teodoro went to Rome to pay homage to the pope and later, at the pope's invitation, actively participated in the works of the synod convoked by Pope Agatho in Rome. The pope, who was an experienced administrator, in view of the difficult financial situation of the Church, acted as treasurer (arcarius) of the Holy See until ill health made him delegate the office. He obtained from Emperor Constantine IV Pagonato the abolition of the tax that had been customarily paid to the imperial exarch of Ravenna at papal elections. To compensate, the emperor stipulated that the earlier, time-consuming requisite of seeking imperial ratification of the new pope's election from Constantinople rather than from Ravenna, should be restored. Concerning England, Pope Agatho took advantage of the fact that because of the dismemberment of the diocese of York and the removal of Bishop Wilfrid, the bishop had appealed to Rome and traveled to the city together wit Adeodatus, bishop of Toul, who accompanied him on behalf of King Dagobert II of Austrasia. The representatives of his opponent (who was Theodore of Tarsus, archbishop of Canterbury) was Benedict Biscop, abbot of St. Peter of Wearmouth. The issue of Bishop Wilfrid was discussed in Roman synod celebrated in October 679, in the Lateran basilica, with the participation of sixteen bishops. The decision was to restore the bishop to his see, while confirming the dismemberment of the diocese of York. The issue of Bishop Wilfrid was discussed in Roman synod celebrated in October 679, with the participation of twelve bishops. The decision was to restore the bishop to his see, while confirming the dismemberment of the diocese of York. Furthermore, Abbot Benedict Biscop, was given the task of conducting an investigation into views of the English in matters of faith, especially with regard to the problem of two wills of Christ. The mission of the abbot was carried out successfully. The Council of Hatfield, which meet on September 17, 680, under the presidency of Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury, in fact approved the decisions of the Roman 649, confirming the complete alignment of the positions held by the English Church with Rome in matters of faith. But Abbot Benedict was not to bring to Rome the acts of this council, because he died during the journey. Later, the pope also sent Arcicantore Giovanni, abbot of the monastery of S. Martino, next to St. Peter's basilica, to England to spread the Gregorian chant and the Roman liturgy and to report on the condition of the English Church.
The most significant event of the pontificate of Pope Agatho was the Third Council of Constantinople (also called Trullo I, by the name of the hall of the imperial palace where he was held, which had a dome or trullo), Sixth in the series of Ecumenical Councils, which marks the end Monothelitism and the reconciliation between Rome and Constantinople. The initiative to end the schism had been taken by Emperor Constantine IV Pogonato. On August 18, 678, he had written a letter to Pope Donus, whom he believed was still alive, urging him to send competent delegates invested with full powers to participate in a conference with the patriarchs of Constantinople and Antioch in order to restore the peace between the Old and the New Rome. Pope Agatho gladly welcomed the request of the emperor. To prepare to respond to the imperial initiative, the pope held preparatory synods in the West to formulate a united response to the heretical doctrine of monothelitism. One of those synods was celebrated at Hatfield, England, on September 17, 680, presided over by Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury.The largest and most important was held at the Lateran basilica in Rome on March 27, 680, Easter Sunday, presided by the pope himself. The synod, which should had involved representatives of all of the Latin episcopate but actually recorded the presence of only Italian bishops. From beyond the Alps, only three French bishops and an English one, attended. The participation, however, was significant by the total number of bishops. The synod drew up a profession of faith that was signed by all the 125 bishops. It formally condemned the doctrine of Monothelitism. Then were chosen the delegates of the pope and those of the synod to the Council of Constantinople. During the devastating epidemic of 680, he very generously assisted the Romans. The Third Council of Constantinople lasted from November 7, 680 until September 17, 681. It was presided by the papal legates Teodoro and Giorgio, Roman priests, and Deacon Giovanni, future Pope John V (as papal legates, they sat and subscribed ahead of the patriarchs of Constantinople and Antioch). Bishops Abundanzo of Partenia, Giovanni of Regie and Giovanni of Porto, attended as delegates of the Roman synod of 680. The council condemned the Monothelist heresy and solemnly recognized the supremacy of the bishop of Rome in the sermon addressed to the emperor in the conclusive session, in which it was explicitly affirmed that through Pope Agatho it was Peter who spoke. The pope died in Rome while the work of the council in Constantinople was at its height. Unaware of the pontiff's death, the council addressed the pope a letter begging him to confirm its decisions. He confirmed the privileges of the monastery of St. Paul of Londo by the bull "Auqae ad securitatem", at the request of Bishop Erkenwald of London. He also confirmed the privileges of the monastery of St. Peter in Chester, on the river Thames, by the bull "Quae ad securitatem" at the request of Bishop Erkenwald of London and its aboot. He was a kind and peaceful man, who was loved by all because of his cheerful good humorous (his biography in Liber pontificalis, says Tantum benignus et mansuetus futi ut etiam omnibus hilaris et iocundus comprobaretur).
Death. January 10, 681, of an epidemic, at a very advanced age, Rome. He left his clergy a generous amount of money at his death. The pope also made gifts to the church of Ss. XII Apostoli and to the basilica of S. Maria Maggiore. Buried in St. Peter's basilica. His tomb was destroyed during the demolition of the old basilica and the construction of the new one in the 16th and 17th centuries (2).
Sainthood. Inscribed in the Roman Martyrology, his feast is celebrated on January 10 in the West. His feast is also celebrated in the Eastern Church on February 19 or 20.
Bibliography. Arnaldi, Girolamo. "Agatone, santo." Enciclopedia dei papi. 3 vols. Roma : Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2000, I, 612-166; Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1792, I, pt. 1, 26-27; 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. 469-476; Cristofori, Francesco. Cronotasi dei cardinali di Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Tipografia de Propaganda Fide, 1888, p. XXXLVII;"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. 77-78; 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, 350-358; Montini, Renzo Uberto. Le tombe dei papi. Roma : Angelo Belardetti, 1957. Note: At head of title: Instituto di studi romani, p. 123, no. 79; Morello, Giovanni. "Agatone, papa, santo." Mondo vaticano. Passato e presente. Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995, p. 33-34; 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, 238-240; Sacrorum conciliorum nova, et amplissima collectio : in qua praeter ea quae Phil. Labbeus, et Gabr. Cossartius S.J. et novissime Nicolaus Coleti in lucem edidere ea omnia insuper suis in locis optime disposita exhibentur, quae Joannes Dominicus Mansi lucensis, congregationis matris dei evulgavit. Editio novissima ab eodem Patre Mansi .... Paris : H. Welter, 1901-1927. 54 v. in 57, col. 175-1024.
Links. Biography, in English, The Catholic Encyclopedia; biography, in English, Britannica; his image and biography, in English; biography by Joseph Brusher, S.J., 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 English, Greek Popes of the Roman Catholic Church; his image and brief biography, in English, Orthodox Church in America; Agatho the Wonderworker Pope of Rome, Letter of Agatho and the Roman Synod, in English, Monachos.net, M.C. Steenberg; biography by Girolamo Arnaldi, in Italian, Enciclopedia dei papai, Treccani; biography, in Italian, Dizionario biografico degli Italiani, Treccani; images and biography, in Italian, Santi e Beati; 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; engravings, Araldica Vaticana; his engraving, i Stockphoto; 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; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; another engraving from the same source; and another engraving also from the same source; and his statue in front of the cathedral of Palermo, Sicily.
(1) Some sources say that he entered the Order of Saint Benedict (Benedictine) at the monastery of St. Hermes in Palermo.
(2) This text of his epigraphy, which was recorded, taken from Montini, Le tombe dei papi, p. 123, no. 79:
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