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Vitalianus (* approx. 600 in Segni (Latium) , Italy; † January 27, 672 ) was Pope from 657 to 672 . From the time before his accession to the throne , nothing is known apart from his birthplace Segni and the name of his father, Anastasius . After the death of his predecessor Eugene I on July 2nd or 3rd, 657 Vitalian was elected Pope and enthroned on July 30th.

An important topic of Vitalian's reign was the relationship to the Eastern Churches and to the Eastern Roman Emperor. Vitalian took the position that a conflict with the East would be of no use and therefore tried to restore a friendlier relationship between West and East. One problem was that in the East the movement of monotheletism , which Rome regarded as heretical, had initially spread to the highest places (later it was also rejected in the East); among others, the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine II and the Patriarch of Constantinople Petros adhered to this doctrine. In several letters Vitalian succeeded in re-establishing a basis for mutual contact, although the dogmatic conflicts remained unsolved. The mutual exchange reached its climax when Constans II visited Rome from July 5th to 7th, 663 , in order to fight the Lombards from there . Among other things, he was a guest at two church services in the Basilica of St. Peter and dined with the Pope. Vitalian secured contact by keeping discreet silence about the political and dogmatic disputes and not even protesting when Konstans carried numerous stolen works of art from Rome with him after his departure. After Konstans' assassination in Syracuse in 668 Vitalian supported his son Constantine IV in the struggle for the succession to the throne and was rewarded when Constantine withdrew the support that his father had given this movement from monotheletism. Vitalian took advantage of this and was now able to represent the Roman dogmas more strongly in the east, as he was now under imperial protection - much to the displeasure of the patriarch.

Another topic under Vitalian's pontificate was the striving for autonomy of Archbishop Maurus of Ravenna , who no longer subordinates himself to papal power. H. wanted to become autocephalous . Constans II actively supported Maurus and issued an order that withdrew Ravenna from the papal sphere of influence. This even led to a mutual excommunication of the Pope and the Archbishop. It was only under Pope Leo II that that diocese could be reintegrated into the Roman Church.

Vitalian is also known to have been able to expand papal influence in England and Crete . In England he managed to resolve the religious conflicts between the British and the Anglo-Saxons , and appointed the monk Theodore of Tarsus as the new Archbishop of Canterbury . On Crete, which was already in the territory of the Eastern Church, Vitalian was also able to assert himself in several personal and legal issues.

Vitalian died on January 27, 672 and was buried in St. Peter's Basilica. His feast day is January 27th.


Web links

Commons : Vitalian  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. See Rudolf Schieffer : Kreta, Rom und Laon. Four letters from Pope Vitalian dated 668. In: Hubert Mordek (Ed.): Papacy, Church and Law in the Middle Ages. Festschrift for Horst Fuhrmann on his 65th birthday. Tübingen 1991, pp. 15-30, here pp. 20-23.
predecessor Office successor
Eugene I. Pope
Adeodatus II.