Popes in a Year
#68 - Pope St. Adeodatus I
Pope from October 19, 615 - November 8, 618 A.D.
Died: November 8, 618 A.D.
Aka Deusdedit or Deodatus
Give me the scoop on Adeodatus I.
Not much is known about St. Adeodatus I’s early life or his time prior to being pope. He was elected amidst turmoil in Italy, taking office on October 19, 615. He was well known as a man of “charity and zeal,” given his care for those afflicted by a great earthquake and a later outbreak of leprosy in the area. Adeodatus also dealt with fallout from even more political rebellions, at one point welcoming the imperial general to Rome from Constantinople, probably while humming “Why Can’t We Be Friends” quietly to himself. Adeodatus reigned for just over three years, dying on what’s now his feast day, November 8.
What was he known for?
St. Adeodatus was best known for being the first pope to use leaden seals on his pontifical documents, called
in Latin. This is where the term “
” comes from, since the seals were initially used to show that a document was authentically from the pope. In fact, a seal from Adeodatus’ reign is still preserved. It depicts the Good Shepherd among a flock of sheep and the letters Alpha and Omega underneath, while the opposite side reads the inscription
Both “Adeodatus” and “Deusdedit” bear similar meanings, hence the confusion with what to call Pope #68. “Adeodatus” means
given by God
, while “Deusdedit” means
God has given
. As a result, both are now considered variations on the same name.
What else was going on in the world at the time?
In 616, Aethelbert of Kent, the first Christian Anglo-Saxon king, died in England after reigning 26 years. He’s actually now known as
Aethelbert, having been highly esteemed for establishing Christianity among the Anglo-Saxon people. His feast day is February 25.
Coming tomorrow....Pope Boniface V
SOURCES (and further reading)
John, E. (1964). The Popes: A concise biographical history. New York: Hawthorn Books.
Pope St. Deusdedit -
Pope Adeodatus I -
Aethelbert of Kent -
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Wednesday, April 5 at 2:00AM