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Laurentian Schism

(1,588 words)

Author(s): Moorhead, John
A schism within the Roman church, the Laurentian schism takes its name from Laurentius, a priest who became the rival of Bishop Symmachus when the two men were elected and ordained bishop of Rome on the same day, Nov 22, 498 CE. The schism apparently ended with the appointment of Laurentius as bishop of a rural see a few months later, but resumed when he returned to Rome, probably in 502 CE, and took up residence in the Lateran, at that time the headquarters of the Roman church. It was only term…
Date: 2020-12-17

Pope/Father

(6,239 words)

Author(s): Moorhead, John
Despite Jesus Christ’s injunction not to call anyone on earth “father” (Matt 23:9, teaching perhaps exemplified at Luke 2:48f.), his followers have often called people by this word. It has frequently been a term of affectionate respect. But one of its forms came to be widely used as a title of office, and one that eventually belonged solely to the most senior bishop in the entire church, the pope (Latin and Greek “papa").As the name by which they are known suggests, the early desert fathers were often addressed in words associated with paternity. The Life of Antony the Great ( Vita Antonii) tha…
Date: 2020-12-17

Symmachus (Bishop of Rome)

(1,500 words)

Author(s): Moorhead, John
While Symmachus (Nov 22, 498 CE–Jul 19, 514 CE), like most bishops of Rome of the time, had been a deacon in the Roman church prior to assuming office, he was an outsider in the city. He had been born in Sardinia, an island that at some time after 455 CE had been occupied by Vandals, adherents of what was seen as the “Arian” heresy (“Arianism”) and persecutors of Catholics; a century later, Sardinia was still thought of as a stronghold of pre-Christian belief. His background was unusual in a per…
Date: 2020-12-17