Antipope Eulalius

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Antipope Eulalius (died 423) was antipope from December 418 to April 419, in opposition to Pope Boniface I. At first the claims of Eulalius as the rightful Pope were recognized by the Emperor Honorius, who sent a letter dated 3 January 419 recognizing him and pardoning the partisans of Boniface provided they left Rome.


Upon the death of Pope Zosimus on December 26, 418, Symmachus, the Praefectus Urbis, directed the people to proceed to a new election without disturbance. Eulalius, the archdeacon, had been taken to the Lateran church by the clergy and people, duly elected, and ordained. Meanwhile, certain presbyters, accompanied by a crowd, went with Boniface, a presbyter, to the church of Theodora, and, though warned to do nothing rashly, had ordained him in the church of St. Marcellus, and thence took him to St. Peter's basilica. Symmachus sent a letter to Ravenna on December 29 requesting instructions from the Emperor Honorius.[1]

Honorius responded on January 3, 419 and ordered Boniface to be expelled from the city, and the troublemakers punished, as it appeared that Archdeacon Eulalius had been duly appointed. Symmachus ordered the supporters of Boniface not to hold a planned procession, but they beat the messenger and held the procession nonetheless. They then attempted to forcibly entered the city, but had been driven out by an opposing mob. All this happened while Eulalius was celebrating the Epiphany service at St. Peter's. Boniface and his supporters remained at St. Paul's-outside-the-Walls.[2]

But Boniface's supporters refused to concede defeat, and petitioned the Emperor, claiming irregularities in the election. In response, Honorius suspended his previous order on 15 January, and summoned both parties to appear before him, along with other Italian bishops, on 8 February. At that hearing, a final judgment was deferred to a second synod that would meet at Spoleto on 13 June. Honorius sent private letters to several of the more important prelates, e.g. Paulinus of Nola, Augustine, and Aurelius of Carthage, and circular letters to the bishops of Africa and Gaul.[1] All parties had been ordered to stay out of Rome, with the Easter services to be conducted by Achilleus, Bishop of Spoleto."[3] However, events superseded and the synod at Spoleto was never held.

Despite this reversal Eulalius' position appeared to be the stronger, for he had the support of the Empress Galla Placidia and her husband Constantius, because he had been elected first. However, Stewart Oost believes this very strength led Eulalius to overconfidence.[4] He returned to Rome 18 March to celebrate Easter Sunday, but this flouting of the Emperor's orders lost him the support of these two powerful individuals; the inhabitants of Rome rioted, and the Urban prefect, Aurelius Anicius Symmachus, had his police occupy the Lateran, where Eulalius had made his base, and escort Eulalius out of the city to a house and kept under guard. On 3 April, the Emperor officially recognized Boniface as the rightful Pope.[5]

Eulalius is said to have subsequently become bishop of Napete.[1] According to the Liber Pontificalis, Eulalius was deposed by a synod of 52 bishops and sent to Campania (a statement rejected by Baronius as inconsistent with contemporary documents);[1] then, when Boniface died in 422, the people and clergy of Rome petitioned him to be the new Pope, but Eulalius refused their offer. The same source states he died one year later.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Barmby, J., "Eulalius, an antipope", A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography, (Henry Wace, ed.), John Murray, London, 1911
  2. ^ Stewart Oost, Galla Placidia Augusta: A biographical essay (Chicago: University Press, 1968), p. 157
  3. ^ Oost, Galla Placidia Augusta, pp. 157f
  4. ^ Oost, Galla Placidia Augusta, pp. 167f
  5. ^ Oost, Galla Placidia Augusta, pp. 161f
  6. ^ Raymond Davis (translator), The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis), first edition (Liverpool: University of Liverpool Press, 1989), pp. 33f

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWace, Henry; Piercy, William C. (eds.). "Eulalius (1)" . Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century (3rd ed.). London: John Murray.