▪ patriarch of Alexandria
born , Alexandria [Egypt]
died Sept. 4, 454, Gangra, Galatia [now Cankiri, Tur.]

      patriarch of Alexandria and Eastern prelate who was deposed and excommunicated by the Council of Chalcedon (Chalcedon, Council of) in 451. He was archdeacon at Alexandria when he succeeded St. Cyril as patriarch in 444.

      He supported Eutyches, a monk of Constantinople and founder of Eutychianism (an extreme form of Monophysitism (monophysite)), who was condemned by a synod at Constantinople in 448. The following year Dioscorus presided over the Robber Synod of Ephesus (Ephesus, councils of). With the support of the Eastern Roman emperor Theodosius II, he reinstated Eutyches, excommunicated Pope Leo I the Great for censuring Eutychianism, and deposed Patriarch St. Flavian of Constantinople for opposing Monophysitism.

      After Theodosius' death in 450, the Council of Chalcedon condemned all Monophysite doctrines and deposed Dioscorus, exiling him to Gangra. He was not, however, condemned as a heretic.

      The Monophysite Christian churches (Coptic, Syrian, and Armenian) venerate Dioscorus as a saint.

born , Alexandria [Egypt]
died Oct. 14, 530, Rome

      pope, or antipope, for 23 days in 530.

      A deacon in the Alexandrian Church, he clashed with the Monophysites (Christians teaching that Christ has only one nature, rather than two—i.e., human and divine) and went to Rome. Under Pope Symmachus he was papal legate at Ravenna to the Ostrogothic king Theodoric the Great.

      In 519 Dioscorus led a legation dispatched by Pope Hormisdas (Hormisdas, Saint) to Constantinople, where, with the Byzantine emperor Justin I, they concluded the Pope's resolution of the Acacian Schism, thereby reuniting the Eastern and Western churches. Hormisdas then unsuccessfully tried to have Justin make Dioscorus patriarch of Alexandria. Later, Dioscorus headed the Byzantine party at Rome during the reign of Pope Felix IV (Felix IV, Saint) (III). To avoid a dispute over the succession between the Gothic and Byzantine factions, who fought for control of Italy and the papacy, Felix appointed the archdeacon Boniface (Boniface II) (II), who was of Gothic descent, as his successor.

      On Felix's death on Sept. 22, 530, a marked majority (60 out of 67) of the Roman clergy, refusing to recognize the designation of Boniface, elected Dioscorus, and both popes were consecrated simultaneously. Dioscorus' sudden death, however, ended the schism; and his partisans then supported Boniface, who in the following December convoked a Roman synod that anathematized Dioscorus. This anathema was solemnly annulled by Pope Agapitus I in 535. According to contemporary canon law, Dioscorus' claim to the papal throne was probably legitimate.

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Universalium. 2010.

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