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Saint Gelasius I

Gelasius I, Saint (jĭlāˈshēəs) [key], d. 496, pope (492–96); successor of St. Felix III (also known as Felix II). He was a firm upholder of the papal supremacy in a dispute with Anastasius, the Byzantine emperor. This contest was an opening wedge in the struggle between Constantinople and Rome. In a letter to Anastasius, Gelasius argued that priestly authority ( auctoritas ) was weightier than royal power ( potestas ) because priests will be held accountable even for kings at the Last Judgment. This argument was used frequently by both sides in the church–state controversies of the Middle Ages. Although both the Gelasian Sacramentary and the Decretum Gelasianum have been erroneously attributed to him, he was a prolific writer. He left hundreds of letters, 6 theological treatises, and 18 mass formularies in the Leonine Sacramentary. Feast Day: Nov. 21. He was succeeded by Anastasius II.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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