Spirituality for Today – February 2011 – Volume 15, Issue 7

The 54th Pope
Saint Felix IV

An image of Saint Felix IVSaint Felix IV the 54th Pope

Pope St. Felix IV (526-530)
Heresy appears to be a concern of nearly all of the pontiffs so far. For Pope Felix it is the Semi-Pelagians who believed that grace is necessary for the salvation of man, but man himself initiates the process and grace follows as an aid. Pope Felix provided much support to Bishop Caesarius of Arles in his struggle against the Semi-Pelagians. The Second Council of Orange (529) addressed the error of the Semi-Pelagians. The theological writings of Saint Augustine formed a basis for the Council's work.

The relationship between the pope and the imperial family often played an important role in the Church's progress. Such was the case in the reign of Pope Felix. The queen-regent was a supporter of the pope and assisted him in the founding of the Church of Cosmas and Damian. Two pagan temples were converted into the new church. One point of interest: There is a mosaic in the apse of the church that bears the likeness of Pope Felix. As of now, this is the first known portrait of a pope created during the lifetime of the pope.

Recognizing that his life was nearing its end, Pope Felix broke the rule forbidding the naming of a successor. In truth, he was afraid of strident factionalism occurring with the election of a new pope. What he was afraid of did come to pass, but nature resolved the issue quickly with the natural death of the anti-pope (22 days after his consecration) who would challenge his favorite- Boniface who would become Pope Boniface II.

Pope Felix was buried in Saint Peter's Basilica.

Habemus papam