Agatho of Rome

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Our father among the saints Agatho of Rome was the pope of the Church of Rome from 678 to 681. He was remembered as a man of amiable disposition who got along well with people. His letter, that explained the traditional belief of the Church that in Christ there are two wills, divine and human, was the basis for the condemnation of the Monothelitism at the Sixth Ecumenical Council. His feast day is February 20.


Little is known of the early life of Pope Agatho. He was of Greek ancestry, born in Sicily toward the end of the sixth century. Based on a letter written by St. Gregory the Dialogist to the abbot of St. Hermes Monastery in Palermo, in which he mentioned that the abbot could accept a person named Agatho if his wife was willing to enter a convent, there are reasons to believe this monk was Pope Agatho. However, that would mean he was over a hundred year old when he was elected pope.

In 678, Agatho succeeded Pope Donus. Among the first issues presented to the new pope was that of Wilfrid, Archbishop of York, who had come to Rome to protest his deposition by Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury who had divided up Wilfrid's see into three dioceses. A synod, convened by Agatho to investigate the complaint, decided that the diocese should be divided, but that Wilfrid himself should name the new bishops.

The main event of Pope Agatho's pontificate was the Sixth Ecumenical Council held in Constantinople in 680. Started as a conference called by emperor Constantine IV to settle religious disagreements over the nature of Christ, the letter to Pope Donus arrived after the pope had died, and Agatho quickly seized the offer by the emperor. The council, which convened on November 7, 680 with Agatho's legates present, ended the heresy of Monothelitism, and restored harmony between Constantinople and Rome. The decrees of the council, which ended in September 681, reached Rome after January 10, 681 when Pope Agatho had died.

Pope Agatho was buried in St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome. St. Agatho has been styled Wonderworker (Thaumaturgas) for the many miracles he has wrought.

Succession box:
Agatho of Rome
Preceded by:
Pope of Rome
Succeeded by:
Leo II
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