Eulalius, Antipope

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Pontificate: Dec. 27, 418 to April 3, 419. At the death of Pope Zosimus (417418), a small group of priests and deacons gathered in the Lateran basilica, and on Dec. 27, 418, elected as pope the archdeacon Eulalius who was a Greek like the deceased pope. The next day a sizeable majority of the clergy chose the elderly presbyter Boniface I (418422). The city prefect supported Eulalius and recommended him to the emperor Honorius (395423) at Ravenna. When a delegation of Boniface's supporters arrived at court, the emperor thought it best to have both claimants appear at a synod in Ravenna, but the synod proved inconclusive, and Honorius decided upon a second, larger one to be held in Spoleto in June of 419. In the meantime, both claimants were to stay out of Rome. Boniface complied with the imperial order, but Eulalius hoped that if he took up residence in the city while Boniface was absent, he could win popular support. The plan backfired when trouble broke out between the supporters of the two claimants. The prefect expelled Eulalius for violating he emperor's order, and on April 13, the angry Honorius decreed in favor of Boniface. Eulalius accepted defeat and withdrew from Rome. In 422, as Boniface felt death near, he told the emperor that trouble would arise if Eulalius tried to return to Rome after his death, yet, when the pope died, Eulalius did not return to the city, even though his followers urged him to do so. After the election of Celestine I (422432), Eulalius accepted a bishopric in Campania, where he died in 423.

Bibliography: h. jedin, ed., History of the Church (New York 1980), 2:261. j. n. d. kelly, Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York 1986), 3940. c. pietri, Roma Christiana (Rome1976), 452455.

[j. f. kelly]