Election of Felix IV as Pope

Election of Felix IV as Pope

Pope Felix IV
Source: Wikipedia

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Felix IV is elected pope. Technically he is only the third pope to carry the name Felix; however, there was an earlier antipope who had adopted the name Felix II in 355, and for a while he remained on the lists of official popes. Thus, this Felix has always been numbered as Pope Felix IV.

Pope Felix IV is the favored papal candidate of the Ostrogoth king, Theodoric the Great. In fact, it was because of the tremendous pressure exerted by Theodoric that Felix was ever elected in the first place. Because he enjoyed such favored status, Felix pushed Theodoric to approve of measures that enhanced and expanded the power of the Church.

There will be two significant events during the papacy of Felix IV. The first will be his conflict with the semi-Pelagians, a group which modifies the original teachings of Pelagius and proceeds to argue that while God's grace is necessary for salvation, it nevertheless requires a free act of human will to put a person in the position to receive that grace. Felix will lean heavily on the teachings of Augustine, an original opponent of Pelagius, in his condemnations the semi-Pelagians at the Second Council of Orange.

The second important event during the reign of Pope Felix IV will be his attempt to influence the choice of his successor. Ever loyal to the Goths, Felix will try to ensure that whoever follows him on the papal throne will continue both to receive their favor and to favor them in return. Thus, while on his deathbed Pope Felix IV will summon a group of his supporters and order them to elect Boniface, an archdeacon and Gothic supporter, as the next pope. Many outside the Church will reject this attempt to interfere with papal elections, but Felix's will is seen through in the end anyway.

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