Pope Honorius I

Few popes from the first thousand years of the Catholic Church retain any sort of relevance today. They are mostly anonymous and ruled for only a handful of years that most people today would not find relevant.

But Pope Honorius I is certainly an exception to that rule. His thirteen-year reign saw a controversy that is still discussed today in the halls of Catholic universities and seminaries.

Brief History

Honorius I was a pope during the early 7th century. At this time, western leaders of the Christian Church such as the popes were slowly starting to gain power and influence as opposed to their eastern counterpart in Constantinople. As pope, Honorius had to deal with the Monothelitism controversy.

This controversy arose because a certain percentage of Christians started to believe that Christ only had one will. They began to grow in number and strength throughout Europe and challenged the orthodox view that Christ had two equal wills in the same body. Honorius’s response was not to challenge this viewpoint for fear of stoking greater controversy. His decision ended up being harshly criticized in the years after this death.

– Born: Unknown

– Birth Name: Unknown

– Died: 638

– How he died: Unknown, but there is no evidence that he died violently or in a controversial way.

– Papacy began: 625

– Papacy ended: 638

– Sucessor: Severinus

Interesting Facts About this Pope

Pope Honorius is interesting for several reasons. He was one of the first popes to continue the policies of Gregory the Great. He is in a long line of popes who tried to convert the Anglo-Saxons of England and push the Celts to adopt the traditional calendar for Easter. But most importantly, his work during the Monothelitism controversy ended up becoming enormously influential during the 19th century.

Honorius’s position during that controversy was refuted at a council in Constantinople nearly 50 years after his death. This council ended up deciding that Honorius had erred and he was anathematized. Being anathematized meant that Honorius’s position was refuted and he was admonished by an official council. It did not rise to the more serious level of excommunication.

He was one of the few popes who was considered by a later council to have made a major heretical error. Therefore, his case was mentioned and discussed when the First Vatican Council was debating the doctrine of papal infallibility.

The council eventually decided that Honorius had just been giving his personal opinion on the Monothelitism controversy and had not made an official papal decree. Therefore, they were still able to pronounce papal infallibility even with this mistake.

List of Events in the life of Pope Honorius I

Oct 62540.7ElectedPope (Roma, Italy)
27 Oct 62540.8Ordained BishopPope (Roma, Italy)
12 Oct 63853.7DiedPope (Roma, Italy)