Pope Gelasius I

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Pope Saint Gelasius I (died November 21, 496) was pope from 492 until his death in 496. He was the third and last bishop of Rome of African origin in the Catholic Church. Gelasius was a prolific writer whose style placed him on the cusp between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages.[2] Gelasius had been closely employed by his predecessor, Felix III, especially in drafting papal documents. His reign was characterized by his call for strict orthodoxy, a more assertive push for papal authority, and increasing tension between the churches in the West and the East.


Struggle with Anastasius I and Acacius

Gelasius' election on March 1, 492 was a gesture for continuity: Gelasius inherited Felix's struggles with Eastern Roman Emperor Anastasius I and the patriarch of Constantinople and exacerbated them by insisting on the removal of the name of the late Acacius, patriarch of Constantinople, from the diptychs, in spite of every ecumenical gesture by the current, otherwise quite orthodox patriarch Euphemius (q.v. for details of the Acacian schism).

The split with the emperor and the patriarch of Constantinople was inevitable, from the western point of view, because they had embraced a view of a single, Divine ('Monophysite') nature of Christ, which was a Christian heresy. Gelasius' book De duabus in Christo naturis ('On the dual nature of Christ') delineated the Western view. Thus Gelasius, for all the conservative Latinity of his writing style stood on the cusp of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages.[2]

Powers of Church and State

During the Acacian schism, Gelasius went further than his predecessors in asserting the primacy of Rome over the entire Church, East and West, and he presented this doctrine in terms that set the model for subsequent popes asserting the claims of papal supremacy.

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