Innocent I | Free Online Biblical Library

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Innocent I

d.417. Pope from 401. In him great talent, upright character, vigorous determination, and a high view of the papacy met at a time which, because of the rapid collapse of the Roman power, was ripe for the extension of papal influence. His thirty-six surviving letters reveal his relationships with other churches and are important because of the doctrinal positions of the church to which they point. He argued that the Western bishops had an obligation to follow the Roman Church because they belonged to churches formed through the agency of Peter. When he granted the African bishops' request to condemn Pelagius, he took the opportunity of asserting that nothing should be completed, even in the most distant provinces, “until it comes to the knowledge of this see.” He was more restrained in his dealings with the East. He ensured that Illyricum remained under his jurisdiction even though it was partly in the East. When dealing with an appeal from John Chrysostom* for support, however, he first called for a council in the East, and only when this failed did he break off communion with Chrysostom's enemies. His secular influence also increased, especially after Alaric sacked Rome (410).