Eugene I of Rome
Pope Eugene I of Rome was the Pope of the Church of Rome from 654 to 657. He came to the papal throne fourteen months after his predecessor Martin I had been exiled over his opposition to Monothelitism espoused by emperor Constans II.
Little is known of the early life of Pope Eugene. He was a Roman from the Aventine, born to one Rufinianus, and was known for his holiness, gentleness, and charity. He had entered an ecclesiastical life from his youth and held various positions within the Church of Rome.
Eugene became pope on August 10, 654, fourteen months after Pope Martin I was arrested in June 653 for having condemned the imperial Typos (Pattern of Faith) in violation of its prohibition on discussing the subject of the one or two wills of Christ. In view of the circumstances of his accession to the papal throne, Eugene showed greater deference than his predecessor to the emperor's wishes and made no public stand against the Monothelitism of the patriarchs of Constantinople.
As the new pope, Eugene sent papal legates to Constantinople with letters to emperor Constans advising him of his election and professing his faith. Unfortunately the legates allowed themselves to be deceived, or bribed, and returned to Rome with a synodical letter from Patriarch Peter of Constantinople, and accompanied by an envoy of the emperor who brought offerings for St. Peter and a request from the emperor that the pope enter into communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople. Peter's letter proved to be written in a difficult and obscure style that avoided making any specific declaration as to the number of "wills or operations" in Christ. When in 656 it was read to the clergy and people in the Basilica of St. Mary Major they not only rejected the letter with indignation, but would not allow Eugene to leave the basilica until he had promised that he would not on any account accept it. The harsh rejection of the wishes of the emperor and patriarch so enraged the Byzantine officials that they threatened to roast Eugene, just as they had roasted Martin I. Eugene was saved from the fate of his predecessor by the advance of the Muslims, who had taken the island of Rhodes in 654 and defeated Constans himself in the naval battle of Phoenix in 655.
Eugene I of Rome
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