Gelasius I

d.496. Pope from 492. Although his birthplace and nationality are uncertain, it seems probable that he was a Roman citizen in Africa. It is clear he was one of the most able in a century of outstanding pontiffs. Coming to the office a decade after the Acacian Schism* began, he was constantly engaged in controversy in upholding the Roman primacy against Constantinople. His writings include treatises and letters on the two natures in Christ, Arianism, Pelagianism, and Manichaeism. His views on the relative places of church and state predated much later thinking on the subject. “There are two powers by which this world is chiefly ruled,” he wrote to the emperor Anastasius I, “the sacred authority of the priesthood and the authority of kings.” Each he held to be of divine origin and to be independent in its own sphere. The Decretum Gelasianum and the Gelasian Sacramentary have been wrongly attributed to him, although some scholars find traces of his thinking in the latter.