St. Felix IV

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When John I died in the prison where Theodoric had confined him, both the clergy and the laity were unwilling to oppose the king of the Visigoths. Theodoric's choice for John's successor, the cardinal-priest Felix of Samnium, was therefore selected as the next pope. He was consecrated in mid-July of 526. Theodoric died in late August, leaving his grandson, the minor Athalric, as his heir, and Athalric's mother Amalasuntha as regent for the boy.

Since Amalasuntha was kindly-disposed toward Catholics, the rest of Felix' pontificate was a productive one, relatively free from fear of secular powers. Felix called the second Council of Orange in 529, where he put an end to a controversy over the the nature and efficiency of grace by condemning Semi-Pelagianism. He also converted two adjacent pagan temples in Rome, given the papacy by Amalasuntha, into the Church of Saints Cosmas and Damian.

In the hopes of avoiding a disputed succession, Felix deliberately named the archdeacon Boniface as his successor. He is sometimes numbered as Felix III, due to the fourth-century antipope Felix II (who is not always counted in the papal chronology).

Excerpted from "Popes Through the Ages" by Joseph Brusher, S.J.

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