We come once again to the letter H, and today’s saint, Saint Hormisdas:
Pope Hormisdas (450 – 6 August 523) was Pope from 20 July 514 to his death in 523. His papacy was dominated by the Acacian schism, started in 484 by Acacius of Constantinople’s efforts to placate the Monophysites. His efforts to resolve this schism were successful, and on 28 March 519, the reunion between Constantinople and Rome was ratified in the cathedral of Constantinople before a large crowd.
A few facts about Saint Hormisdas from his wiki:
- Prior to becoming a deacon he married, and had at least one son, who later became Pope Silverius. At this time the Western Church ordained married men so long as they married before first taking holy orders. Also, unlike the present day Eastern Church, there was no bar to married clergy rising above the office of Presbyter as long as they met the requirements of 1 Timothy 3.
- Much of the effort of his papacy was devoted to ending the schism between Rome and Constantinople.
- He was a staunch defender of orthodoxy, and despite his desire to end the existing schism, wouldn’t tolerate heresy.
- When the Eastern emperor Anastasius proposed a discussion on the schism, Hormisdas responded with a list of demands. Anastasius tried to encourage political leaders in Rome to oppose Hormisdas, but they refused. Ultimately Anastasius died and his successor Justin acceded to nearly all the demands.
One of the fascinating things I’ve learned from studying the early history of the church is how there were a number of breaks between the Eastern and Western churches well before the final schism between them. Fortunately, men like Hormisdas were able to heal those breaks, at least for a time. While we cannot know for certain, it is possible that without him the split between East and West might have been in full force five centuries earlier than when it finally occurred.