Pope Eugene I

Pope Saint
Eugene I
Papacy began 10 August 654
Papacy ended 2 June 657
Predecessor Martin I
Successor Vitalian
Personal details
Born Rome, Byzantine Empire
Died 2 June 657(657-06-02)
Rome, Byzantine Empire
Feast day 2 June
Other popes named Eugene
Papal styles of
Pope Eugene I
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Holy Father
Posthumous style Saint

Pope Eugene I (died 2 June 657), also known as Eugenius I, was Pope from 10 August 654 to his death in 657.[1] He was a native of Rome, born to one Rufinianus.

Early life

Little is known of Pope Eugene's early life other than that he was a Roman from the Aventine and was known for his holiness, gentleness, and charity. He had been a cleric from his youth and held various positions within the Church of Rome.[2][3]

Election under unusual circumstances

On the banishment of Pope Martin I by Byzantine Emperor Constans II, he showed greater deference than his predecessor to the emperor's wishes and made no public stand against the Monothelitism of the patriarchs of Constantinople.[4]

Martin I was carried off from Rome on 18 June 653 and was kept in exile until his death in September 655. Little is known about what happened in Rome after Pope Martin's departure, but it was typical in those days for the Holy See to be governed by the archpriest and archdeacon.[5]

After a year and two months, a successor was found to Martin in Eugene.[5]


Almost immediately after his election, Eugene was forced to deal with the heresy of Monothelitism, i.e., that Christ had only one will.

Constantinople letter affair

One of the first acts of the new pope was to send papal legates to Constantinople with letters to Emperor Constans II informing him of his election and professing his faith. The legates unfortunately allowed themselves to be deceived, or bribed, and brought back a synodical letter from Patriarch Peter of Constantinople (656–666), while the emperor's envoy, who accompanied them, brought offerings for St. Peter and a request from the emperor that the pope would enter into communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople. Peter's letter proved to be written in a difficult and obscure style and avoided making any specific declaration as to the number of "wills or operations" in Christ. When its contents were read to the clergy and people in the church of St. Mary Major in 656, they not only rejected the letter with indignation, but would not allow the pope to leave the basilica until he had promised that he would not on any account accept it.[5]

So furious were the Byzantine officials at this harsh rejection of the wishes of their emperor and patriarch that they threatened to roast Eugene, just as they had roasted Pope Martin I. Eugene's persecution was averted by the ensuing conquest of the Muslims, who took Rhodes in 654 and defeated Constans himself in the naval battle of Phoenix (655).[5]

Later years

It was almost certainly this pope who received the youthful St. Wilfrid on the occasion of his first visit to Rome (c. 654). At Rome he gained the affection of Archdeacon Boniface, a counsellor of the apostolic pope, who presented him to his master. Eugene "placed his blessed hand on the head of the youthful servant of God, prayed for him, and blessed him." Nothing more is known of Eugene except that he consecrated twenty-one bishops for different parts of the world, and that he was buried in St. Peter's Basilica.[5]

He died in 657 and was acclaimed a saint, his day being the 2nd of June, although, according to Anastasius, he died on the 1st of that month.

See also


  1. "Pope St. Eugene I" in The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909.
  2. "Saint of the Day, June 2: Eugenius I". SaintPatrickDC.org. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  3. "St. Eugene I". Christ's Faithful People.
  4. Chisholm 1911.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Mann 1909.



Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Martin I
Succeeded by
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