60. Pope Pelagius I 556-561


Born to a wealthy and noble Roman family,Pope Pelagius was the second of the Popes handpicked by the emperor of Constantinople. The previous Pope had been slowly tortured by emperor Justinian into accepting heretical positions. The new Pope decided to go along in order to get along. Pelagius himself did not believe in these heretical ideas and the Christians of Rome were not made to change their beliefs. Pelagius agreed to support Justinian in order to bring about peace and maybe get Justinian’s troops out of Rome. Rome had been the battleground for both the soldiers of Constantinople and of the Goth King of Italy. As a result,it was devastated by the fighting,which left many people homeless in the aftermath of the destruction. Pelagius hoped his compromise could help bring about peace to Rome,but instead it alienated him from the Romans,who thought he had sold out,and it alienated him from northern Italy and Gaul(present day France),who thought he was the puppet of Constantinople’s emperor. No matter. Pope Pelagius put his head down and went to work. Pelagius did his best to generate future revenue for the Church,root out abuses in the clergy and used his OWN vast fortune to build homes and clothe and feed the poor in Rome and various other lands. Pope Pelagius was known as the “Father of the poor and of his country”. He is buried in St.Peter’s basilica.
I tried to get fancy with this Pope’s picture and I inadvertently made it look like he’s made out of chocolate. D’oh! Oh well,just in time for Easter I guess…….


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