Bonifacius II., pope
Bonifacius II., pope, successor to Felix IV., of Roman birth but Gothic
parentage, son of Sigisbald or Sigismund, was elected bp. of Rome on Sept. 17, 530,
and consecrated five days later in the basilica of Julius (Jaffé, Regesta Pont.).
At the same time a rival party in the basilica of Constantine elected and consecrated
Dioscorus. The Roman church was saved from schism by the death of Dioscorus a few
weeks afterwards; but Boniface carried his enmity beyond the grave, and anathematized
his dead rival for simony (cf. Cassiodorus, Var. 9, Ep. 5). This anathema
was subsequently removed by Agapetus I. It has been conjectured (by Baronius, Labbe,
Cave, etc.) that the double election was brought about by Athalaric the Gothic king,
that he might have an opportunity to intervene after the example of Theodoric, and
place a partisan of his own upon the papal throne. [Theodoricus
(3); Felix III. (cf.
Gieseler, Eccl. Hist. i. § 115, p. 340 Eng. trans. and reff.).] The pontificate
of Boniface is chiefly remarkable for the bold measure proposed and carried by him
at a council at St. Peter's, by which he was empowered to nominate his own successor.
Accordingly he nominated the deacon Vigilius (subsequently pope, 537), and obtained
the consent of the clergy thereto. Shortly afterwards, however, another council
met and annulled the previous decree as contrary to the canons. Boniface acknowledged
his error and publicly burned the document with his own hands. Some (e.g.
Bianchi-Giovini, Storia dei Papi, ii. 165) have conjectured that Boniface
acted throughout as the tool of the unprincipled Vigilius; others (e.g. Baronius,
Milman, etc.) that the object of Boniface was to prevent for the future the interference
of the Gothic king, and that it was the Gothic king that compelled him to rescind
the decree. It would have been equally difficult, however, to have brought the clergy
and people of Rome to tolerate such a scheme. Of the pontificate of Boniface there
is little else to record. A petition was presented to him (in which he is styled
"Universal Bishop") by Stephen, archbp. of Larissa, metropolitan of Thessaly, complaining
of the encroachments of the patriarch of Constantinople, who had suspended Stephen
from his office. The result of the council held is unknown, but there can be little
doubt that Boniface followed the policy of his predecessors in this matter and asserted
the authority of the Roman see over the whole of the province of Illyria (see documents
in Labbe, Conc. iv. 1690 seq., also Bonifacius
I.). He died in Oct. 532, and was buried on the 17th in St. Peter's. He was
succeeded by John II. (see generally Anastasius, Lib. Pont.; Labbe, Conc.
iv. 1682 sqq.; Baronius, sub annis; Migne, Patr. lxv.).