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Pope Honorius I

POPE HONORIUS I, pope from 625 to 638, was of a noble Roman family, his father Petronius having been consul. He was very active in carrying on the work of Gregory the Great, especially in England; Bede (Hist. Ecd. ii. 17) gives a letter of his to King Edwin of Northumbria, in which he admonishes him diligently to study Gregory's writings; and it was at Edwin's request that Honorius conferred the pallium on the bishops of Canterbury and York (ib. ii. 18). He also admonished the Irish for not following the custom of the Catholic Church in the celebration of Easter (ib. ii. 19), and commissioned Birinus to preach Christianity in Wessex (ib. iii. 7). It is, however, in connexion with the Monothelite heresy that Honorius is most remembered, his attitude in this matter having acquired fresh importance during the controversy raised by the promulgation of the dogma of papal infallibility in 1870. In his efforts to consolidate the papal power in Italy, Honorius had been hampered by the schism of " the three chapters " in Istria and Venetia, a schism that was ended by the deposition in 628 of the schismatic patriarch Fortunatus of Aquileia-Grado and the elevation of a Roman sub-deacon to the patriarchate. It is suggested that help rendered to him in this matter by the emperor Heraclius, or by the Greek exarch, may have inclined the pope to take the emperor's side in the Monothelite controversy, which broke out shortly afterwards in consequence of the formula proposed by the emperor with a view to reconciling the Monophysites and the Catholics. However that may be, he joined the patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria in supporting the doctrine of " one will " in Christ, and expounded this view forcibly, if somewhat obscurely, in two letters to the patriarch Sergius (Epist. 4 and 5 in Migne, Patrologia. Ser. Lat. Ixxx. 470, 474). For this he was, more than forty years after his death (October 638), anathematized by name along with the Monothelite heretics by the council of Constantinople (First Trullan) in 681; and this condemnation was subsequently confirmed by more than one pope, particularly by Leo II. See Hefele, Die Irrlehre des Honorius u. die vaticanische Lehre der Unfehl^prkeit (1871), who, however, modified his view in his Conciliengeschichte (1877). Honorius I. was succeeded by Severinus.

See the articles by R. Zopffel and G. Kriiger in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopadie (ed. 1900), and by T. Grisar in Wetzer and Welte's Kirchenlexikon (Freiburg, 1889). In addition to the bibliographies there given see also U. Chevalier, Repertoire des sources hist., etc., Bio-bibliographic, s. " Honorius I. " (Paris, 1905). (W. A. P.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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