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AGAPETUS, ag´´a-pî´tus: The name of two popes.
Agapetus I.: Pope 535-536. He was the son of a Roman priest named Gordianus, who had been killed in the disturbances under Symmachus. Six days after the death of John II. he was chosen to succeed him, probably by the wish of Theodahad, king of the Ostrogoths. He began his pontificate by reconciling the contending factions among the Roman clergy and annulling the anathema pronounced by Boniface II. against the antipope Dioscorus. His decision, induced by the decrees of the North African synod, forbidding the entrance of converted Arians to the priesthood, and his defense of this measure in a letter to the emperor Justinian show him to have been a zealous upholder of orthodoxy. In 536 he was sent to Constantinople by Theodahad to try to establish peace with the emperor, and was obliged to pledge the sacred vessels of the Roman Church to obtain money for his journey. He did not succeed in the ostensible purpose of his mission, but accomplished more for the orthodox cause. Anthimus, patriarch of Constantinople, a secret adherent of Monophysitism, had, by the aid of the empress Theodora, the patroness of the Monophysites, been allowed, in defiance of the canons, to exchange the see of Trapezus (Trebizond) for the patriarchal throne. Agapetus refused all communion with him, and persisted so strenuously in his attitude, in spite of 82 threats from the court, that he finally convinced Justinian that Anthimus had deceived him, and had him deposed, and replaced by Mennas. Agapetus himself consecrated Mennas by wish of the emperor, and apparently with the assent of the principal orthodox Eastern bishops, after he had presented a confession of faith which the pope considered satisfactory. The emperor, fearing lest he himself should be accused of sympathy with the former Monophysite patriarch, placed a confession of faith in the pope’s hands, which Agapetus approved in a letter plainly showing how important he felt his triumph to be. Almost immediately afterward he fell ill and died in Constantinople Apr. 22, 536, his body being brought to Rome and buried in St. Peter’s.
Bibliography: Epistolæ, in MGH, Epist., iii. (1891) 54-57, in MPL, lxvi., and in Jaffé, Regesta, i. 113-115; Liber Pontificalis, ed. Duchesne, i. 287-289, Paris, 1886; ASB, vi. 163-180; Bower, Popes, i. 337-344; Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, Eng. transl., iv. 181-194.
Agapetus II.: Pope 946-955. He was a Roman by birth, and, like his predecessor Marinus II. owed his elevation to the papal throne (May 10, 946) to Alberic, the secular master of Rome. Though hampered at home by Alberic’s power, he asserted the claims of his see successfully abroad. He intervened in the prolonged contest over the archbishopric of Reims, from which Heribert of Vermandois had expelled the legitimate incumbent, Artold, to give it to his own son Hugh. The contest between the friends of the two prelates attained the dimensions of a civil war, Artold being supported by Louis IV. of France. Agapetus also took Artold’s side at first; but he was deceived by the representations of a cleric from Reims into reversing his decision. After Artold had succeeded in enlightening him, the affair was referred to a synod held at Ingelheim in 948, whose final verdict in favor of Artold was confirmed by Agapetus in a Roman synod (949). [When Berengar II., Marquis of Ivrea, attempted to unite all Italy under his scepter, the pope and other Italian princes appealed to Otho I., who went as far as Pavia, expecting to be crowned emperor; but Agapetus, influenced by Alberic, turned away from him.] In 954 Alberie took an oath from the Roman nobles that at the next vacancy they would elect as pope his son and heir, Octavian; and when Agapetus died in December, 955, Octavian did in fact succeed him as John XII.
Bibliography: Epistolæ et Privilegia, in MPL, iii., in Bouquet, Recueil, ix. 226-234, and in Jaffé, Regesta, i. 459-463; Bower, Popes, ii. 314-315; R. Köpke and E. Dümmler, Kaiser Otto der Grosse, Leipsic, 1876.
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