Pope St. Innocent I

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Pope St. Innocent I (died 417) was the bishop of Rome from 401 to his death in 417.  From the beginning of his papacy, he was seen as the general arbitrator of ecclesiastical disputes in both the East and the West.  The Roman Apostolic See was seen as the ultimate resort for the settlement of all ecclesiastical disputes, as shown through Pope Innocent’s various communications with prominent names such as  Victricius of Rouen, Exuperius of Toulouse, Alexander of Antioch and others, as well as the appeal made to him by John Chrysostom against Theophilus of Alexandria.  Pope Innocent I defended the then exiled John Chrysostom. He also took a decided view against the Pelagian heresy, confirming the decisions of the synod of Carthage in 416, confirming the condemnation which had been pronounced in 411 against Cælestius, who shared the views of Pelagius. He also wrote in the same year in a similar sense to the fathers of the Numidian synod of Mileve who had addressed him to help settle their dispute. Soon after this, five African bishops, among them St. Augustine, wrote a personal letter to Innocent regarding their own position against Pelagianism.  Among Innocent I’s letters is one to Jerome and another to John II, Bishop of Jerusalem, regarding annoyances to which the former had been subjected by the Pelagians at Bethlehem.  In 405 A.D. Pope Innocent sent a list of the sacred books to a Gallic bishop, Exsuperius of Toulouse, which was identical to the canonical list put forth by the Council of Rome, Council of Carthage, and Council of Hippo, as well as  identical with the Biblical Canon put forth by the Council of Trent 1000 years later.  All of these lists included the Deuterocanonical books or “Apocrypha” such as I and II Maccabees.

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