Anastasius Bibliothecarius | Free Online Biblical Library

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Anastasius Bibliothecarius

c.810-c.880. Antipope. Family connections and a knowledge of Greek learned from Greek monks resident in Italy helped his early promotion to cardinal- priest by about 847. Unexplained events led to his excommunication (850), anathematization, and deposition (853). In 855 Benedict III was elected pope, but a rival group chose Anastasius, who captured the Lateran Palace and Benedict himself. The imperial legate mediated in favor of Benedict, who forgave Anastasius, and henceforward the latter remained a loyal and influential official. Abbot of Santa Maria, Trastevere (858-67), he then became papal librarian (hence “Bibliothecarius”). In 868 a cousin murdered Pope Adrian II's daughter and her mother; this was a temporary setback to Anastasius's fortunes, but by 869 he was back in papal favor and acting unsuccessfully as Louis II's negotiator in Constantinople for a marriage between his daughter Ermengard and the Eastern emperor Basil I's son. In Constantinople Anastasius successfully championed the papal claims of supremacy at the Eighth Ecumenical Council (Fourth Council of Constantinople, 869-70) which upheld Nicholas I's deposition of the Byzantine Patriarch Photius* and condemned his heretical teachings. Later Anastasius translated into Latin the Acts of this council and of the Seventh Council at Nicea (787). He also wrote a number of saints' lives, the Chronographia Tripartita (derived from Byzantine chronicles), and translated many Greek religious works.