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Pope Eugene I

Pope Eugene I

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Pope Saint Eugene I or Eugenius I, was pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 from 10 August 654, to 1 June 657.

He was a native of Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, born to one Rufinianus. He was elected pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 on 10 August 654, ascended in 655, and died on 1 June 657, of natural causes.

Early life


Little is known of Pope Eugene's early life other than that he was a Roman from the Aventine, and was known for his holiness, gentleness, and charity. He had been a cleric from his youth and held various positions within the Church of Rome.

Election under unusual circumstances


On the banishment of Martin I
Pope Martin I
Pope Martin I, born near Todi, Umbria in the place now named after him , was pope from 649 to 653, succeeding Pope Theodore I in July 5, 649. The only pope during the Byzantine Papacy whose election was not approved by a iussio from Constantinople, Martin I was abducted by Constans II and died in...

 by Emperor
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 Constans II, he showed greater deference than his predecessor to the emperor's wishes, and made no public stand against the Monothelitism
Monothelitism
Monothelitism is a particular teaching about how the divine and human relate in the person of Jesus, known as a Christological doctrine, that formally emerged in Armenia and Syria in 629. Specifically, monothelitism teaches that Jesus Christ had two natures but only one will...

 of the patriarchs of Constantinople
Patriarch of Constantinople
The Ecumenical Patriarch is the Archbishop of Constantinople – New Rome – ranking as primus inter pares in the Eastern Orthodox communion, which is seen by followers as the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church....

.

Martin I was carried off from Rome on 18 June 653, and he was kept in exile until his death in September 655. Little is known about what happened in Rome after Pope Martin's departure, but it was typical in those days for the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 to be governed by the archpriest
Archpriest
An archpriest is a priest with supervisory duties over a number of parishes. The term is most often used in Eastern Orthodoxy and Eastern Catholic Churches, although it may be used in the Latin rite of the Roman Catholic Church instead of dean or vicar forane.In the 16th and 17th centuries, during...

 and archdeacon
Archdeacon
An archdeacon is a senior clergy position in Anglicanism, Syrian Malabar Nasrani, Chaldean Catholic, and some other Christian denominations, above that of most clergy and below a bishop. In the High Middle Ages it was the most senior diocesan position below a bishop in the Roman Catholic Church...

.

After a year and two months, a successor was found to Martin in Eugene.

Reign


Almost immediately after his election, Eugene was forced to deal with the heresy of Monothelitism , i.e., that Christ had only one will.

Constantinople letter affair


One of the first acts of the new pope was to send papal legate
Papal legate
A papal legate – from the Latin, authentic Roman title Legatus – is a personal representative of the pope to foreign nations, or to some part of the Catholic Church. He is empowered on matters of Catholic Faith and for the settlement of ecclesiastical matters....

s to Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 with letters to Emperor Constans II, informing him of his election, and professing his faith. The legates unfortunately allowed themselves to be deceived, or bribed, and brought back a synodical letter from Peter, the new Patriarch of Constantinople
Patriarch of Constantinople
The Ecumenical Patriarch is the Archbishop of Constantinople – New Rome – ranking as primus inter pares in the Eastern Orthodox communion, which is seen by followers as the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church....

 (656–666), while the emperor's envoy, who accompanied them, brought offerings for St. Peter, and a request from the emperor that the pope would enter into communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople. Peter's letter proved to be written in a difficult and obscure style, and avoided making any specific declaration as to the number of "wills or operations" in Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

. When its contents were read to the clergy and people in the church of St. Mary Major, they not only rejected the letter with indignation, but would not allow the pope to leave the basilica until he had promised that he would not on any account accept it (656).

So furious were the Byzantine officials at this harsh rejection of the wishes of their emperor and patriarch that they threatened, that when the state of politics allowed it, they would roast Eugene, and all the talkers at Rome along with him, as they had roasted Pope Martin I. Eugene was saved from the fate of his predecessor by the advance of the Muslims
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 who took Rhodes
Rhodes
Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

 in 654, and defeated Constans himself in the naval battle of Phoenix (655).

Later years


It was almost certainly this pope who received the youthful St. Wilfrid
Wilfrid
Wilfrid was an English bishop and saint. Born a Northumbrian noble, he entered religious life as a teenager and studied at Lindisfarne, at Canterbury, in Gaul, and at Rome; he returned to Northumbria in about 660, and became the abbot of a newly founded monastery at Ripon...

 on the occasion of his first visit to Rome (c. 654). At Rome he gained the affection of Archdeacon Boniface, a counsellor of the apostolic pope, who presented him to his master. Eugene "placed his blessed hand on the head of the youthful servant of God, prayed for him, and blessed him." Nothing more is known of Eugene except that he consecrated twenty-one bishops for different parts of the world, and that he was buried in St. Peter's.

He died in 657, and was acclaimed a saint, his day
Calendar of saints
The calendar of saints is a traditional Christian method of organizing a liturgical year by associating each day with one or more saints and referring to the feast day of said saint...

 being the 2nd of June, although, according to Anastasius
Anastasius Bibliothecarius
Anastasius Bibliothecarius was Head of archives and antipope of the Roman Catholic Church.- Family and education :...

, he died on the 1st of that month.