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«Inter duas potestates»: The Religious Policy of Theoderic the Great


Monika Ożóg

This book discusses Theoderic the Great’s years of political activity, which coincided with the advent of a new era and were marked by features of two distinct civilizations. From the political and cultural viewpoint, he stood at the boundary between the Roman tradition and his Germanic origin. From the religious perspective, when he came to power in Italy at the Emperor’s behest, he found himself amid the conflict embroiling Rome and Constantinople at that time. It was the so-called Acacian schism centred around the issue of the recognition of the Council of Chalcedon (451) with its teaching on the two natures in Christ as well as the acknowledgement of Constantinople as the principal see of the Church in the East. Another ecclesiastical – and strictly Roman – problem noted in the Liber Pontificalis is the Laurentian schism, named after Lawrence, who was elected Pope on the same day as Symmachus.
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Chapter IV Liber Pontificalis 52 on Anastasius II (24 XI 496–19 XI 498)


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Chapter IV Liber Pontificalis 52 on Anastasius II (24 XI 496–19 XI 498)299

“1. Anastasius born in Rome, son of Peter, [from the 5th Region, Caput Tauri], held the see 1 year 11 months 24 days. [He was bishop in the time of king Theodoric. He built the confessio of St Laurence the martyr, of silver weighing 80 lb].”300

There is very little on Theoderic in this passage, but it is noteworthy that Anastasius II had communicated the fact of his election to the emperor Anastasius301 and even the King of the Franks Clovis,302 but not to Theoderic. It should be noted, however, that the primary intent of his letter to Clovis, written in the early months of Anastasius’ pontificate, was to congratulate him on his conversion and baptism. Since there is some doubt as to the authenticity of the letter, it is perhaps better not to overrate its importance.303

“2. At that time many clerics and priests removed themselves from communion with him, because without taking advice from [the priests, bishops and clerics of the whole catholic] church, he had entered into communion with a deacon of Thessalonica named Photinus [who was in league with Acacius, and because he wanted to reinstate Acacius secretly, though in this he failed. He was struck down by God’s will].”304

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