Online Encyclopedia

VIGILIUS

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 60 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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VIGILIUS, pope from 537 to 555, succeeded Silverius and was followed by Pelagius I. He was ordained by order of Belisarius while Silverius was still alive; his elevation was due to Theodora, who, by an appeal at once to his ambition and, it is said, to his covetousness, had induced him to promise to disallow the council of Chalcedon, in connexion with the " three chapters " controversy. When, however, the time came for the fulfilment of his bargain, Vigilius declined to give his assent to the condemnation of that council involved in the imperial edict against the three chapters, and for this act of disobedience he was peremptorily summoned to Constantinople, which he reached in 547. Shortly after his arrival there he issued a document known to history as his Judicatum (548), in which he condemned indeed the three chapters, but expressly disavowed any intentions thereby to disparage the council of Chalcedon. After a good deal of trimming (for he desired to stand well with his own clergy, who were strongly orthodox, as well as with the court), he prepared another document, the Constitutum ad Imperatorem, which was laid before the so-called fifth " oecumenical " council in 553, and led to his condemnation by the majority of that body, some say even to his banishment. Ultimately, however, he was inducedto assent to and confirm the decrees of the council, and was allowed after an enforced absence of seven years to set out for Rome. He died, however, at Syracuse, before he reached his destination, on the 7th of June 555•
End of Article: VIGILIUS
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