Dioscorus, Antipope

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Pontificate: September 20 or 22 to Oct. 14, 530. Following the death of Pope Felix IV (III), the majority of the Roman clergy elected the Alexandrian deacon Dioscorus, who had fled to Rome from the Monophysites and had long resided there. He was consecrated in the Lateran basilica, apparently on the day of Felix's death. Dioscorus had taken a leading part in the negotiations under Popes symmachus and hormisdas that brought the ac acian schism to an end, and Hormisdas had attempted to persuade Emperor justin i to appoint Dioscorus Patriarch of Alexandria. A minority of the clergy had voted for boniface ii, in accordance with the wishes of Pope Felix. The fact that no biography of Dioscorus was included in the Liber pontificalis appears to have been decisive in excluding him from the list of popes. His early death and the rallying of the clergy to Boniface II, whose chancery would not permit acknowledgment of a rival, were undoubtedly the ultimate determining factors. The Annuario Pontificio 2001 considers him an antipope, but with the qualification that "perhaps the legitimacy of Dioscorus can be sustained." If one judges by the Canon Law of the time, he could be regarded as a legitimate pope. The burial place of Dioscorus is unknown.

Bibliography: l. duchesne, Liber pontificalis, 1:46, 108, 273, 282, 287; 3:91. h. marot, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart, et al. (Paris 1912) 14:507508. Annuario Pontificio (1964) 10*. h. jedin, History of the Church (New York 1980), 2:626. j. n. d. kelly, Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York 1986), 5657. j. richards, Popes and Papacy the Early Middle Ages (London 1979), 123125. g. braga, Dictionnaire de biographie française, 40 (Paris 199091). g. schwaiger, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, 3d. ed. (Freiburg 1995).

[j. chapin/eds.]