Spirituality for Today – November 2011 – Volume 16, Issue 4

The 63rd Pope
Pelagius II

An image of Pelagius II the 63rd PopePelagius II the 63rd Pope

Pope Pelagius II (579 – 590)
Although born a Roman, he was the second pope of Gothic heritage. Because of the intense siege of Rome by the Lombards, the customary affirmation by the emperor was waived and Pelagius was consecrated immediately. Pope Pelagius made continuous appeals to the emperor and to the King of the Franks for aid against the Lombards but to no avail. The Franks did make a half-hearted effort. There was, however, a short truce negotiated with the Lombards. During that time, the pope tried, with limited success, to strengthen relationships with other northern Italian dioceses.

On a positive note, the conversion of the Visigoths occupying Spain was accomplished. An issue arose with the Patriarch of Constantinople John IV over the use of the title "ecumenical patriarch." The pope broke communion with John IV until he rescinded the use of that title.

Within the city of Rome, Pope Pelagius II was involved in many building projects. One such was the church of Saint Lawrence Outside the Walls. In the church there is a portrait of the pope in mosaic.

A plague, occasioned by the flooding of the Tiber River, broke out in Rome. Pope Pelagius was an early victim. He is buried in Saint Peter Basilica.

Habemus papam