08 Nov Saint Deusdedit I, Pope
Today is the feast day of Saint Deusdedit I. Ora pro nobis.
Also known as Pope Adeodatus I. His date of birth unknown. He was consecrated pope, 19 October (13 November), 615. He was the son of a Roman subdeacon, Stephen, who was elected to succeed Pope Boniface IV in October, 615. Little is known about him other than he had already served as a priest for forty years at the time of his election. His name is translated, God has given. He was the first priest to be elected pope since John II in 533. It is known that he greatly loved the clergy and promoted them rather than members of religious orders. His love for them was apparent after his death as his will contained a sum of money to be given to them. This is the first recorded funerary bequest by a pope to his clergy. He also ordained fourteen priests, the first ordinations since the pontificate of Gregory I that had ended in 604.
While little is known about him he is thought to be the first pope to use the leaden seal, the bulla, for pontifical documents and one dating from his pontificate and bearing the inscription of his name is still preserved. One dating from his reign is still preserved, the obverse of which represents the Good Shepherd in the midst of His sheep, with the letters Alpha and Omega underneath, while the reverse bears the inscription: Deusdedit Papæ.
During his reign a violent earthquake and an outbreak of leprosy struck Rome. He set a heroic example by his efforts to relieve suffering. He also was loyal to the Emperor Heraclius (610 –641) during a time of political turmoil. He reigned in the midst of revolt, upheaval and the butchery of government officials in Ravenna to the north and rebellion in Naples to the south.
Pope Honorius I (625 – 638) described him as simple, devout, wise, and shrewd. Pope Deusdedit died on November 8, 618.
Image: Pope Deusdedit I, artist unknown, Basilica de San Paolo fuori le Mura, Roma, circa 1850 (3)
Research by Ed Masters, REGINA Staff