Deusdedit, a Roman, the son of Stephen, was consecrated pope on
615. He is also known as Adeodatus I.
His pontificate was filled with troubles, civil commotions, and natural
disasters. Rebels flouted the imperial authority both at Ravenna and
Naples. Up north at Ravenna the exarch John, along with other imperial
officials, had been murdered. Down south at Naples a certain John of
had risen in revolt, taken over the town, and proclaimed his independence
of the Emperor Heraclius. Heraclius, who had succeeded the weak Phocas
610, was not the man to allow his empire to fall to pieces. He sent his
able chamberlain, the Patrician Eleutherius to set matters to rights in his
Italian dominions. Eleutherius acted with vigor. First he restored order in
Ravenna. Then he marched south along the Flaminian Way. After pausing
Rome to receive a warm welcome from the loyal Pope, he marched on
stormed the city, and put the rebel John to death. Instead of letting well
enough alone, however, Eleutherius turned on the Lombards and rekindled
war which soon he was forced to end by once more buying off those tough
Pope Deusdedit had his hands full taking care of his Roman flock, for
disaster struck hard at the city on the Tiber. In August 618, Rome was
rocked by an earthquake and soon after devastated by plague. A true vicar
of Christ, Deusdedit worked hard to help his people in their troubles.
Pope Deusdedit was especially fond of his secular clergy and seems to
leaned on them rather than on monks for support. His love for his secular
clergy was manifested even after death, for in his will he left a sum of
money to be distributed among them.
Tradition has it that Deusdedit was the first pope to use the leaden seal
for pontifical documents which has given them the name of bull. The Latin
bulla means seal. At any rate there still exists such a leaden bulla or
seal dating from this pope's reign.
Deusdedit died in November 618 and was buried in St. Peter's. Like his
predecessor, Deusdedit is honored as a saint. His feast is kept on
8, the day of his burial.
Excerpted from "Popes
Through the Ages" by Joseph Brusher, S.J.