Spirituality for Today – July 2010 – Volume 14, Issue 12

The 47th Pope
Saint Simplicius

An image of Saint SimpliciusSaint Simplicius

Pope St. Simplicius (468-483)
His pontificate was witness to a profound and singular event– the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. As Romulus Augustulus, the last emperor, faded into history, the empire was carved into various kingdoms ruled over by barbarian kings. The shadows of the Dark Ages were stretching over Europe and a new and momentous role for the Church was unfolding.

Besides the uncertainty of societal changes in the West, Pope Simplicius wrestled with events in the East. The heresy of Monophysitism held that Jesus possessed only a divine nature. The Council of Chalcedon (451) defined the dual nature of Christ's divinity and humanity. The pope attempted in vain to stay current with– and to provide guidance regarding the events happening far to the east. He was most concerned with the handling of Monophysite bishops by the patriarch of Constantinople.

Back in Rome, Pope Simplicius was busy with building projects. One work of note was the adoption of a public edifice for use as a church: San Andrea in Catabarbara. This was the first time such a transition occurred. He also promoted the use of papal vicars in different parts of the Western Church.

Pope Simplcius is buried in the Basilica of Saint Peter.

Habemus papam