Vitalian of Rome

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Our father among the saints Pope Vitalian of Rome was the Pope of the Church of Rome from 657 to 672. Pope Vitalian succeeded Pope Eugene who had strongly opposed emperor Constans' Typos that forbade discussion of the monothelite question, an issue that Pope Vitalian down played. He is commemorated on July 23.

Life

Pope Vitalian was born in Segni in Campagna, part of the Duchy of Rome, at an unknown date. His father's name was Anastasius. Otherwise, nothing is known of his life before his elevation to the cathedra of Rome.

After his election, Vitalian was consecrated and enthroned on July 30, 657. Coming to the see of Rome in the middle of the monothelite controversy, Vitalian sought to restore relations with emperor Constans II and Patriarch Peter of Constantinople by avoiding condemnation of Constans' Typos. In his replies, Patr. Peter appeared to express the same opinion as that of Vitalian. Thus, ecclesiastical relations between Rome and Constantinople were restored. When Constans visited Rome in 663, he was also received cordially. When he departed, however, he took with him a large number of bronze works of art, taking even the bronze tiles from the roof of the Pantheon that had been dedicated to Christian worship. After Constans was assassinated in 668, his son Constantine IV, who succeeded to the imperial throne with the support of Vitalian, was not inclined to aggressively enforce the monothelite Typos.

His policies in England were more cordial. Supporting the desires of the English after the acceptance of the Roman practices in regard to the keeping of Pascha and the shape of the tonsure during the Synod of Whitby, Vitalian consecrated Theodore of Tarsus, an educated monk who understood both Latin and Greek, on March 26, 668 as Archbishop of Canterbury. In England, Theodore was recognized as head of the Church of England by both the Saxon and British clergy that led to Vitalian conferring on Theodore all the privileges that had been granted to Archbishop Augustine by Gregory the Dialogist.

Pope Vitalian died on January 27, 672 and was buried at St Peter's Cathedral.

Succession box:
Vitalian of Rome
Preceded by:
Eugene I
Pope of Rome
657-672
Succeeded by:
Adeodatus
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