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Pope Theodore I

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Pope from 642 to 649; the date of his birth is unknown. He was a Greek of Jerusalem and the son of a bishop, Theodore. His election as pope was promptly confirmed by the Exarch of Ravenna, perhaps because he was a Greek, and he was consecrated 24 Nov., 642. Engaged throughout all his pontificate in the struggle against Monothelitism, he at once wrote to the Byzantine Emperor Constans II to inform him that he could not recognize Paul as Patriarch of Constantinople, because the deposition of his predecessor (Pyrrhus) had not been canonical. He then urged Constans to withdraw the Ecthesis. He also wrote to Paul and to the bishops who had consecrated him, to impress upon them the importance of securing the legal deposition of Pyrrhus, if the accession of Paul was to be recognized. If Theodore's vigorous action produced no result at Constantinople, it elsewhere excited strong opposition to Monothelitism. The Bishops of Cyprus, Palestine, and Africa expressed their loyal submission to his teaching in very striking language. Even the deposed patriarch Pyrrhus recanted his heresy before Theodore (645), but soon relapsed into his old errors, and was excommunicated by the pope (648). Meanwhile, urged by the bishops of Africa, Theodore made another effort to reclaim Paul, but only succeeded in drawing from him an express declaration of his belief in the doctrine of one Will in our Lord. This brought upon him sentence of excommunication and deposition from Rome (649). To this Paul replied by barbarously ill-treating the papal apocrisiarii (or nuncios ) at Constantinople. He also prevailed upon Constans to issue a new decree known as the Type (Typus) . This document ordered the Ecthesis to be taken down, and enjoined that in future there was to be no more discussion on the doctrine of one or two Wills or Operations. The Type was promptly condemned "by the whole West" in general, and specifically by Theodore's successor ( St. Martin I ), but it is not certain whether Theodore lived long enough to anathematize it. This energetic pontiff, who was good to the poor of Rome, and a benefactor of its churches, was buried in St. Peter's, 14 May, 649.

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