pelagius ii

Pope Pelagius II

Pope Pelagius II was pope from 579 to 590.

He was seemingly a native of Rome, but he was of Gothic (Ostrogothic) descent, as his father's name was Winigild.

The most important acts of Pelagius relate to the Lombards, or to the Schism of the Three Chapters. Pelagius appealed for help from Emperor Maurice against the Lombards, but the Byzantines were of little help, forcing Pelagius to initiate the practice of "buying" a truce. The pope therefore turned to the Franks, who invaded Italy, but left after being bribed by the Lombards.

Pelagius labored to promote the celibacy of the clergy, and he issued such stringent regulations on this matter that his successor Pope Gregory I thought them too strict, and modified them to some extent.

He ordered the construction of the Basilica di San Lorenzo fuori le Mura, a church shrine over the place where Saint Lawrence was martyred. During his reign, the Visigoths of Spain converted, but he also faced conflict with the See of Constantinople over the adoption of the title of "Ecumenical Patriarch," which Pelagius believed to undermine the authority of the papacy.

Pelagius fell victim to the plague that devastated Rome at the end of 589.

References

  • Duffy, Eamon. Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes, Yale University Press, 2001. pp 62–63. ISBN 0300091656
  • Maxwell-Stuart, P. G. Chronicle of the Popes: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Papacy from St. Peter to the Present, Thames & Hudson, 2002, p. 47. ISBN 0500017980.

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