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Boniface II, Pope,

(108 words)

Author(s): Haendler, Gert
[German Version] Sep 22, 530 – Oct 532. Boniface was the son of a Goth and thus the first “German pope” ¶ (Harnack); his predecessor, Felix IV, installed him. His opposition, Dioscorus died as early as 530. Boniface cooperated with the Ostrogoth kingdom and confirmed the (semi-Pelagian) decisions of the Synod of Orange (529). In order to assure continuity, Boniface wanted to install Vigilius as his successor; Vigilius was only able to attain the honor in 537 with Byzantine assistance. Gert Haendler Bibliography CPL 1691 T. Jaffé, RPR[J] I, 21885, 111f.; RPR[J] II, 21888, 694, 737 E. Caspar…


(94 words)

Author(s): Haendler, Gert
[German Version] bishop of Rome, c.174–189. In the list of Irenaeus of Lyon, Eleutherus is mentioned as the twelfth bishop in Rome after the apostles. Irenaeus visited Eleutherus in Rome in 177 in order to hinder the condemnation of the Montanists (Montanism; Eus. Hist.eccl. V 4.1). Hegesippus also visited Rome and mentions Eleutherus (Eus. Hist.eccl. V 22.3); in Rome, Marcionites and Gnostics (Gnosis/Gnosticism) also wanted to be recognized. The relationship with England reported in the Liber pontificalis ( Vita Eleutherii) is legendary. Gert Haendler Bibliography E. Caspar, Gesc…

Boniface I, Pope (Saint),

(103 words)

Author(s): Haendler, Gert
[German Version] Dec 18, 418 – Sep 4, 422. After a disputed election, the western Roman emperor Honorius decided in favor of Boniface, whom he supported against the eastern emperor Theodosius II: Ilyria should continue to be subject to the bishop of Rome; this contributed to the development of the Peter doctrine. Boniface also intervened successfully in Gaul. He clearly opposed Pelagius (in contrast to his predecessor Zosimus). Together with Augustine, Boniface acted in the dispute concerning Apiarius and the bishop of Fussala. Gert Haendler Bibliography CPL 1576–1591; 1648f. E. Cas…

Dioscorus, Antipope

(91 words)

Author(s): Haendler, Gert
[German Version] to Boniface II, Sep 22 – Oct 14, 530. As a deacon, Dioscorus strove for the Roman Catholic Church's rapprochement with Byzantium; he was elected pope by a majority of the clergy in Rome. Pope Felix IV, who was allied to the king of the Goths, had installed Boniface II, the son of a Goth, as his successor. Dioscorus soon died and stands in the series of antipopes, although Pope Agapetus rehabilitated him in 535. Gert Haendler Bibliography E. Caspar, Geschichte des Papsttums, vol. II, 1933, 195f.

Germanic Mission

(2,478 words)

Author(s): Haendler, Gert
The Germanic Mission was a complex process extending over almost a millennium. In about 180 Irenaeus of Lyons mentions churches in Germania ( Adv. haer.  1.10.2); in the 12th century, the Germanic mission ended in Sweden. Geographically, too, the overall process was extremely broad and encompassed quite varied phenomena. 1. Individual Witnesses in Southeastern Europe (3d-4th Centuries) In the beginning of the great migration of peoples in Europe (the Völkerwanderung), Goths in about a.d. 264 carried off Christians from Asia Minor into slavery in Dacia, north of the…

Keys, Power of the

(830 words)

Author(s): Haendler, Gert
1. Systematic Introduction The power of the keys (Lat. potestas clavium) is the power to open or close entry to the kingdom of God, to bind or loose (Matt. 16:19; 18:18). It includes pastoral authority (Pastoral Care) to pronounce forgiveness of sin, or absolution (Penance), and gives validity to acts of binding, disciplining, and ordering in excommunication, the imposing of penalties or remedial measures, and church discipline (Indulgences). It underlies authoritative proclamation and doctrinal decisions (Teaching Office).…


(152 words)

Author(s): Haendler, Gert
[German Version] (bishop of Rome 251–253). In the persecution under Decius, Bishop Fabian was martyred in 250. One year later (251), a majority chose Cornelius bishop. In his community, 46 presbyters were active, caring for 1500 widows and needy persons. Novatian led a minority community. In contrast to Novatian, Cornelius espoused a community practice that permitted Christians who had fallen away in the persecution to return after appropriate penitence. Bishop Cyprian of Carthage supported Cornelius; Cyprian's anthology of letters contains two letters of Cornelius ( Ep. 49 and …