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From The Lives of the Popes from the Time of our Saviour Jesus Christ to the Accession of Gregory VII. Written Originally in Latin by B. Platina, Native of Cremona, and translated into English (from an anonymous translation, first printed in 1685 by Sir Paul Rycaut), Edited by William Benham, Volume I, London: Griffith, Farran, Okeden & Welsh, [1888, undated in text]; pp. 118-120.

The Lives of the Popes,
B. Platina

Volume I.

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A.D. 514-523.

HORMISDA, the son of Justus, born at Frusino, lived in the time of Theodoric and Anastasius, as far as to the consulship of Boethius and Symmachus.

These two, upon suspicion of designing against his government, were by Theodoric at first banished, and afterwards imprisoned. Boethius, during his confinement, wrote several things extant to this day, and translated and made commentaries upon the greatest part of Aristotle’s works. He 119 was thoroughly skilled in the mathematics, as his books of music and arithmetic clearly demonstrate. But at length both he and Symmachus were put to death by the order of Theodoric. Some tell us that the cause of Boethius’s sufferings was the zeal he showed in opposing the Arians, who were favoured by Theodoric, but I think the former opinion to be more probable.

Hormisda, with the advice of Theodoric, held now a provincial synod at Rome, in which the Eutychians were again condemned by universal consent. He also sent letters and messengers to John, Bishop of Constantinople, admonishing him to renounce that heresy, and to believe there are two natures in Christ, the divine and human. But John continued refractory, trusting to the interest he had with the Emperor Anastasius, who not long after was struck dead by a thunderbolt, which was believed to be a just judgment upon him, both for his patronising so pernicious a heresy, and especially for his ill-usage of the legates sent by Hormisda, whom, contrary to the law of nations, he treated very contumeliously, and sent them home in a shattered leaky vessel, ordering them to return directly into Italy without touching at any shore in Greece. It is said that he bid them tell the bishop that he must know it to be the part of an emperor to command, not to obey the dictates of the Bishop of Rome, or any other. These legates were Euodius, Bishop of Pavia; Fortunatus, Bishop of Catina; Venantius, a presbyter of Rome; and Vitalis, a deacon. Anastasius, dying in the twenty-seventh year of his reign, Justin, a patron of the Catholic faith, succeeds him, who forthwith sends ambassadors to the Bishop of Rome, to acknowledge the authority of the apostolic see, and to desire the bishop to interpose his ecclesiastical power for the settling the peace of the Church. Whereupon Hormisda, with the consent of Theodoric, sends Germanus, Bishop of Capua; John and Blandus, presbyters; and Felix and Dioscorus, deacons, his legates to Justin, by whom they were received with all imaginable expressions and testimonies of honour and respect — John, the bishop of Constantinople, with multitudes of the orthodox clergy, and other persons of principal note, going forth, in compliment to meet them and congratulate their arrival. But the followers of Acacius, dreading their coming, had shut themselves up in a very strong church, and upon consultation what to do, sent 120 messengers to the emperor, declaring that they would by no means subscribe to the determination of the apostolic see, unless an account were first given them why Acacius was excommunicated. But Justin soon forced them out of the church and city, too; and Hormisda dealt in the same manner with the Manichees, who began to spring up afresh in Rome, whose books he caused to be burned before the gates of St John Lateran.

About this time Thorismund, king of the Vandals, dying in Africa, his son Hilderic, whom he had by the captive daughter of Valentinian, succeeded him in the kingdom. He inherited none of his father’s errors, but following the counsel of his religious mother, recalled all the Catholics whom Thorismund had banished, and permitted them the free exercise of their religion. At this time also several rich presents were sent to Rome for the ornament of the churches there by Clodoveus, king of France, and Justin, the emperor. King Theodoric also richly adorned the church of St Peter; nor was Hormisda himself behind these princes in bounty and munificence to the Church. Having settled things, according to his mind, and ordained twenty-one presbyters, fifty-five bishops, he died, and was buried in St Peter’s Church, August the 6th, in the consulship of Maximus. He sat in the chair nine years, eighteen days; and by his death the see was vacant six days.

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Previous Pope:  53. Symmachus I. 54. Hormisda I. Next Pope: 10. John I.

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