Theodore, a Greek from Jerusalem, was elected to succeed John IV. He
consecrated on November 24, 642. He proved to be a father to the poor and
zealous caretaker of the churches in Rome.
Once more the story of a pope's life is taken up with the One Will heresy.
Once more a supreme pontiff has to cope with an imperial meddler.
did not shirk the difficulties he faced. He fought continually to bring
back all to Christian unity. And he was kept busy. Letters poured in from
Cyprus and from Africa to ask the Pope's protection against heresy. At
Constantinople the patriarch Pyrrhus had been deposed and replaced by
The Pope insisted that Pyrrhus should have a fair trial.
A great consolation was afforded Pope Theodore when the Abbot Maximus, a
hard-working champion of the Catholic faith, brought to Rome none other
than the deposed patriarch of Constantinople, Pyrrhus. In 645 Pyrrhus
recanted his errors before the Pope, but later he seems to have relapsed.
Meanwhile a new storm had been gathering in the palaces of Constantinople.
The patriarch Paul, though enraged at Pope Theodore's insistence on a fair
trial for Pyrrhus, was no fanatical Monothelite. Like many Byzantine
statesmen of the period, he wanted to restore a sense of union and
solidarity in the shaken empire. Together with the energetic but unfeeling
Emperor Constans II the Patriarch concocted a new formula, the Type of
constans. This Type pretended to teach no doctrine, whether orthodox or
heretical; it merely forbade any more discussion on the whole matter of the
will of Christ. Christian teachers could not allow the Emperor to stop
their mouths on a question of faith, and so the stage was set for a tragedy
in which Constans played the villain and the pope the hero, but it was not
to be Pope Theodore. Theodore's reply to the Type was to declare the
patriarch Paul deposed, an act which caused violent repercussions in
Constantinople. Theodore died in May 649. His successor was to feel the
full force of the imperial wrath.
Excerpted from "Popes
Through the Ages" by Joseph Brusher, S.J.