Eugene I, Pope, St.

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Pontificate: Aug. 10, 654 to June 2, 657; d. Rome. His was an aristocratic Roman family; he was a man of conciliatory disposition, outstanding for his sanctity. He accepted election by the Roman clergy after they had resisted pressure by Emperor constans ii for more than a year to replace martin i, who was under arrest. Eugene probably realized Martin would never be restored and feared the possibility of a Monothelite pope. In a letter of July 654 Martin had mentioned three ecclesiastical officials who were his deputies in governing the Church, but in a letter of September 655 he prayed especially "for the one who is now ruling over the Church," a statement interpreted as acquiescence or approval of Eugene's election. The Roman archives begin Eugene's reign in 654, but he cannot be considered incontestably to have been pope until after Martin's death in 655. Eugene sent representatives to negotiate about monothelitism with Constans, who immediately requested Eugene's recognition of Peter, newly appointed patriarch of Constantinople. Through these representatives Peter forwarded a synodal letter to Eugene, but it was so vague in regard to the two wills in Christ that the clergy and people, assembled to hear it read in St. Mary Major, rejected it and forbade Eugene to begin Mass until he, too, formally renounced it. This so enraged Constans that only a new Arab threat prevented him from arresting Eugene as he had Martin. Eugene was buried at St. Peter's. It was probably Eugene whom wilfrid of york met when he visited Rome, 654.

Feast: June 2.

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[c. m. aherne]

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Eugene I, Pope, St.

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