Spirituality for Today – December 2010 – Volume 15, Issue 5

The 52nd Pope
Saint Hormisdas

An image of Saint HormisdasSaint Hormisdas the 52nd Pope

Pope St. Hormisdas (514-523)
Here is a man with a heart of gold and deep pockets. His goal was to heal all the wounds inflicted on the Church both in Rome and in the East. Coming from a wealthy and aristocratic family must have proved beneficial to his diplomatic initiatives.

The task of reuniting the East with the West improved greatly with the death of Emperor Anastasius I. His successor was the Catholic emperor, Justin I. Thus, the teachings of the Council of Chalcedon were now in favor. Justin I received a delegation from the pope delivering the now familiar demands of condemning Acacius and the Monophysite heresy (Christ possessed only a divine nature) and affirming the primacy of the pope over the entire Church. In 519, the emperor and the bishops, not exactly wholeheartedly, signed the Formula of Hormisdas. The East and West were reunited, but the status of Constantinople as a coequal with Rome was a lingering issue.

The unity of the Church was an important political goal for Emperor Justin I and his successor Justinian. They entertained dreams of reuniting Italy to the Eastern Roman Empire. Their military campaign was proving successful. Except for the overwhelming financial strain in maintaining the army in the field, they might have attained their goal.

Pope Hormisdas was buried in Saint Peter's Basilica.

Habemus papam