First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…

Year of the World 5693

Year of the Christ 494

Symmachus, a native of Sardinia, was elected pope upon the death of Anastasius, but not without considerable dissension. Some of the clergy elected Symmachus; but the others elected Laurentius. In consequence there followed a great tumult and division in the Roman senate and among the people; and as a natural consequence a council was assembled at Ravenna. After considering the matter, Symmachus was confirmed in the office under a decision dictated by King Theodoric. Then, in the exercise of great kindness, Symmachus made of Laurentius a bishop of Nicotera. Symmachus drove the Manichean heretics out of Rome, and burned their books publicly. He also beautified many churches and built some entirely new from the ground up. For the poor he built houses near Saint Peter’s and Saint Paul’s, and he provided the people with necessaries; for he was a lover of the poor; and he released those who suffered in prison. He ordained that the Gloria in Excelsis Dei should be sung on Sundays or on the days of the martyrs; and he neglected nothing that pertained to the honor of the Almighty God. He died and was buried in the Basilica of Peter on the 14th day of the Kalends of August after having sat 15 years, 6 months and 22 days; and at that time the chair rested 7 days.[Symmachus, pope from 498 to 514, succeeded Anastasius II, and was himself followed by Hormisdas. He was a native of Sardinia, apparently a pagan convert, and was in deacon’s orders at the time of his election. The choice was not unanimous, another candidate, Laurentius, having the support of a strong Byzantine party; both were consecrated by their friends, one at the Lateran church, the other at St. Mary’s. A decision was obtained in favor of symmachus from Theodoric, to whom the dispute had been referred. However, peace was not established until 505 or 506, when the king ordered the Laurentian party to surrender the churches of which they had taken possession. An important incident in the controversy was the decision of the “palmary synod.” The remainder of his pontificate was uneventful.]

The Fifth Schism arose between Symmachus and Laurentius, as above stated. But four years later, some of the clergy, by the help and assistance of Festus and Probinus, the consuls, recalled Laurentius. In consequence of that the king sent Peter, the bishop of Altinum[Modern Altino.] to Rome to drive out both of them, and to occupy the papal chair himself. However, Symmachus defended himself against these accusations before a council; and he secured the unanimous decision that the aforesaid Laurentius and Peter were guilty of all the evil and should be exiled. In consequence such uproar arose at Rome that many of the priesthood, as well as the people, and holy virgins were slain. In this dissension Gordianus, the priest, was also killed. This persecution would not have ended if Faustus, the consul, had not sympathized with the priesthood against Probinus and resorted to arms.

Pope Hormisdas (Hormisda), of Campania, at the beginning of his papacy, and according to admonition of Theodoric, also held a national council, which by unanimous decision condemned the Eutychean heretics. In the same assembly many laws were passed: Firstly, that from this point on no public penitents could attend consecrations; also that weddings of Christians were to be held publicly and not privately; that no altars be erected in consecrated churches without special permission of the bishop. This man reconciled the Greeks, reduced the number of the clergy, and received from the French king a costly gift, and the same from the emperor Justinus. King Theodoric richly endowed St. Peter’s Church. And so pope, emperor, and king vied with each other in making gifts to the churches. Hormisdas died and was buried in the Basilica of Peter on the 8th day of the Ides of August after sitting (in office) nine years and 18 days. The chair then rested six days.[Hormisdas, pope from 514 to 523, a native of Campania, engineered the reunion of the Eastern and Western churches which had been separated since the excommunication of Acacius in 484. After two unsuccessful attempts under the emperor Anastasius I, Hormisdas was able to come to an understanding in 518 with his successor Justin. Legates were dispatched to Constantinople; the memorial of the schismatic patriarchs was condemned; and union was resumed with the Holy See. Hormisdas secured Dionysius Exigius to translate the Apostolic Canons and also renewed the so-called Decretum Gelasianum (‘Gelasian Decree’).]

John (Iohannes), first pope of this name, out of Tuscany (Thuscus), an industrious promoter of the Christian religion, drove out the Arians and gave their churches to the true Christians. This greatly distressed King Theodoric, who sent Pope John and others to Justinus, requesting that the churches of the Arians be restored, or he would destroy all Christian churches. But as these messengers could not move Emperor Justinus, they begged him in tears to have mercy and not cause the downfall and destruction of Italy. When John returned and reported this to Theodoric at Ravenna, he was thrown into prison; and there he died after having sat two years and 8 months. The chair then rested 58 days.[John I, pope from 523 to 526, Tuscan by birth, was consecrated on the death of Hormisdas. Theodoric sent him to Constantinople on an embassy to Justin to secure toleration to the Arians. On his return Theodoric had John arrested on the suspicion of having conspired with Emperor Justin. He died in prison on May 18 of neglect and starvation. His body was then transported to Rome and buried in the Basilica of St. Peter. John I is depicted in art as looking through the bars of a prison or imprisoned with a deacon and a subdeacon.]

Year of the World 5713

Year of Christ 514

Felix, the fourth pope of that name, cursed the patriarch of Constantinople who had wandered from the faith. As a good and pious man he erected many buildings at Rome, in particular the Church of Cosimo and Damiano, which is still to be seen there. He ordained that the sick were to be anointed before death. After he had consecrated many priests, deacons and bishops, he died and was buried in the Basilica of Peter on the fourth day of the Ides of October.[That is, October 11.] He sat four years, two months and thirteen days. At that time the chair rested three days.[Felix IV was raised to the papacy in 526 by the emperor Theodoric. The serious riots over his election led him on his deathbed to nominate as his successor the archdeacon Boniface, later Pope Boniface II. But his proceeding was contrary to all tradition and roused much opposition. Felix built the church of Saints Cosimo and Damiano, near the Via Sacra. He died in September 530.]