Pope Symmachus I
A convert from paganism, Symmachus was born in Sardinia
and was an archdeaon when elected to the papacy in 498.
A minority favored another candidate, Laurentius, and both
pope and antipope were consecrated on the same day. The following
year, a synod at Rome upheld the principle and practice of majority
rule in papal elections. Laurentius' supporters accused the pope of
assigning the date of Easter arbitrarily, despoiling the church,
and fornicating. The emperor called a council in 501 to investigate
the charges and took Symmachus' failure to appear as an admission of
guilt. The two faction fought for four years in the streets of Rome.
When the emperor intervened to end the unrest, he supported Symmachus,
who provided refuge in Rome for North Africans fleeing the Arians.
Symmachus died in 514.
Karen Rae Keck
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