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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

Footnote 79 The tolerating system of his reign Ennodius


of the conqueror. [79] The people,

and the Barbarians themselves, were edified by the pomp and order of religious worship; the magistrates were instructed to defend the just immunities of ecclesiastical persons and possessions; the bishops held their synods, the metropolitans exercised their jurisdiction, and the privileges of sanctuary were maintained or moderated according to the spirit of the Roman jurisprudence. [80] With the protection, Theodoric assumed the legal supremacy, of the church; and his firm administration restored or extended some useful prerogatives which had been neglected by the feeble emperors of the West. He was not ignorant of the dignity and importance of the Roman pontiff, to whom the venerable name of Pope was now appropriated. The peace or the revolt of Italy might depend on the character of a wealthy and popular bishop, who claimed such ample dominion both in heaven and earth; who had been declared in a numerous synod to be pure from all sin, and exempt from all judgment. [81] When the chair of St. Peter was disputed by Symmachus and Laurence, they appeared at his summons before the tribunal of an Arian monarch, and he confirmed the election of the most worthy or the most obsequious candidate. At the end of his life, in a moment of jealousy and resentment, he prevented the choice of the Romans, by nominating a pope in the palace of Ravenna. The danger and furious contests of a schism were mildly restrained, and the last decree of the senate was enacted to extinguish, if it were possible,
the scandalous venality of the papal elections. [82]

[Footnote 76: See the life of St. Caesarius in Baronius, (A.D. 508, No. 12, 13, 14.) The king presented him with 300 gold solidi, and a discus of silver of the weight of sixty pounds.]

[Footnote 77: Ennodius in Vit. St. Epiphanii, in Sirmond, Op. tom. i. p. 1672--1690. Theodoric bestowed some important favors on this bishop, whom he used as a counsellor in peace and war.]

[Footnote 78: Devotissimus ac si Catholicus, (Anonym. Vales. p. 720;) yet his offering was no more than two silver candlesticks (cerostrata) of the weight of seventy pounds, far inferior to the gold and gems of Constantinople and France, (Anastasius in Vit. Pont. in Hormisda, p. 34, edit. Paris.)]

[Footnote 79: The tolerating system of his reign (Ennodius, p. 1612. Anonym. Vales. p. 719. Procop. Goth. l. i. c. 1, l. ii. c. 6) may be studied in the Epistles of Cassiodorous, under the following heads: bishops, (Var. i. 9, vii. 15, 24, xi. 23;) immunities, (i. 26, ii. 29, 30;) church lands (iv. 17, 20;) sanctuaries, (ii. 11, iii. 47;) church plate, (xii. 20;) discipline, (iv. 44;) which prove, at the same time, that he was the head of the church as well as of the state. * Note: He recommended the same toleration to the emperor Justin.--M.]

[Footnote 80: We may reject a foolish tale of his beheading a Catholic deacon who turned Arian, (Theodor. Lector. No. 17.) Why is Theodoric surnamed After? From Vafer? (Vales. ad loc.) A light conjecture.]

[Footnote 81: Ennodius, p. 1621, 1622, 1636, 1638. His libel was approved and registered (synodaliter) by a Roman council, (Baronius, A.D. 503, No. 6, Franciscus Pagi in Breviar. Pont. Rom. tom. i. p. 242.)]

[Footnote 82: See Cassiodorus, (Var. viii. 15, ix. 15, 16,) Anastasius, (in Symmacho, p. 31,) and the xviith Annotation of Mascou. Baronius, Pagi, and most of the Catholic doctors, confess, with an angry growl, this Gothic usurpation.]


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