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Symmachus (Bishop of Rome)
(1,503 words)

While Symmachus (Nov 22, 498 CE–Jul 19, 514 CE), like most bishops of Rome of the time, had been a deacon in the Roman church prior to assuming office, he was an outsider in the city. He had been born in Sardinia, an island that at some time after 455 CE had been occupied by Vandals, adherents of what was seen as the “Arian” heresy (Arianism) and persecutors of Catholics; a century later, Sardinia was still thought of as a stronghold of pre-Christian belief. His background was unusual in a period when almost all popes …

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Moorhead, John, “Symmachus (Bishop of Rome)”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 29 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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