27 January: St. Vitalian, pope

Today is the feast of St. Vitalian, Pope (657-672), who is also a co-patron of the Suburbicarian Diocese of Velletri-Segni.  He was born in Segni (where the finest chestnuts of Italy are found). I would be remiss if I did not mention him today, which is his die natalis.

In the Basilica of St. Peter there is a proper prayer for him used with the Common of Pastors (with the Mass Suscitabo):

Deus, qui beatum Vitalianum divina caritate flagrantem,
fideque, quae vincit mundum, insignem,
sanctis Pastoribus mirabiliter aggregasti,
praesta quaesumus, ut ipso intercendente
nos quoque in fide et caritate perseverantes
eius gloriae consortes fieri mereamur.

O God, who wonderously included in the ranks of Shepherds blessed Vitalius,
burning with divine charity
and outstanding in the faith which refutes the world,
grant we beseech You, that as he intercedes,
we also, persevering in faith and charity,
may merit to become sharers of his glory.

St. Pope Vitalianus tried to put relations of Rome and Constantinople on a better footing even as he battled monothelitism (the heresy that Christ had only one will, and therefore lacked a perfect human nature).  The other day we saw Pope Benedict bless lambs, the wool of which is destined for the pallia to be given to metropolitans.  In 633 Constans gave golden pallium to Vitalian, dined with him after Mass, and then stole some of his bronzes, including some of the bronze from the Pantheon.  Beware Greeks bearing gifts, I guess. Vitalian also defended the authority of the papacy when the Archbishop of Ravenna decided it was time to go autocephalic (he mutinied). 

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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