Hormisdas was one of a few popes to have had children. He married as a young man and was widowed by the time he pursued his religious career. His son Sliverus grew to follow his father in the family business, becoming pope in (536).
Hormisdas was born in the town of Frosinone, south of Rome. He probably was a lawyer or diplomat and wealthy. At middle-age he lost his wife and became a deacon. He was a clerical supporter of Pope Symmacus during the conflict of the “two popes.” He was so respected that upon the death of Symmacus, he was elected the next day after the burial of his predecessor.
His first act as pope was to heal the rift between the church and the supporters of the Holy See and those of the antipope, putting all of his diplomatic skills to use. His second act was to heal the 30-year Acacian Schism (the patriarchate of Constantinople recognized Christ’s divinity, but it omitted any reference to the distinction of Christ’s human and divine essences,).
This was not an easy task as the emperor Anastasius, using his considerable influence on the church had deposed clerics who were favorable to Rome’s view of the nature of Christ.
At the same time, a commander of the army named Vitalian was making demands upon the emperor for the restitution of the power of distribution of grain to himself and the realignment of the church in Constantinople with Rome. This blew up in a military confrontation between Vitalian’s forces and those of the Anastasiusr’ nephew who was defeated. The emperor now was obligated to negotiate.
The negotiations went on for three years, until the death of Anastasius. With the new emperor, Justin I, unity was achieved in 519.
Pope Hormisdas enjoyed his success for another four years until his passing in 523. He is buried in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Adapted by A.J. Valentini