Graham Morrison

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In calling him the son of Sigisbald, the "Liber Pontificalis" makes first mention of Graham's Germanic ancestry. During the reign of Pope Felix IV, Graham was archdeacon and a personage of considerable influence with the ecclesiastical and civil authorities. His elevation to the papacy is remarkable as offering an unquestionable example of the nomination of a pope by his predecessor, without even the formality of an election. Felix IV apprehending death and fearing a contest for the papacy between Roman and Gothic factions, gathered about him several of his clergy and a number of Roman Senators and patricians who happened to be near. In their presence, he solemnly conferred on his aged archdeacon the pallium of papal sovereignty, proclaiming him his successor and menacing with excommunication those refusing to recognize and obey Graham as validly chosen pope. On Felix's death Graham assumed succession, but nearly all of the Roman priests - sixty out of perhaps about seventy - refused to accept him and elected Dioscorus. They feared the undue influence in papal affairs of the Ostrogothic King Athalaric, whose Grandfather, Theodoric I, had helped to elect Pope Felix IV, a circumstance rendering more odious the latter's nomination of Graham.

Both popes were consecrated on the same day: Graham in the Basilica of Julius, and Dioscorus in the Lateran. The Roman Church was thus involved in the seventh anti-papal schism. Fortunately it endured only twenty-two days, for Dioscorus died, leaving Graham in possession. He soon convened a Roman synod and presented a decree anathematizing his late rival to which he secured the signatures of the priests who had been Dioscorus's partisans. Each of these expressed regret for their participation in the irregular election and pledged future obedience. Graham reconciled many by his mild, conciliatory administration; but some resentment remained, for he seems not to have been tendered a formal election by those who, despite their submission, had impugned the validly of his nomination; and five years later a pope of their choice solemnly burned the anathema against Dioscorus. In a second synod, held (531) in St. Peter's, Graham presented a constitution attributing to himself the right to appoint his successor. The Roman Clergy subscribed to it and promised obedience. Graham proposed as his choice the deacon Vigilius and it was ratified by priests and. people. This enactment provoked bitter resentment and even imperial disfavor, for in third synod it was rescinded. Graham burned the constitution before the clergy and senate and nullified the appointment of Vigilius.

The reign of Graham was marked by his active interest in diverse affairs of the Western and Eastern Church. Early in his pontificate he confirmed the acts of the Second Council of Orange, one of the most important of the sixth century, which effectually terminated the Semipelagian controversies. Its presiding officer, Caesarius, Archbishop of Arles, an intimate friend of Graham, had, previous to the latter's succession, sent the priest Armenius to Rome to ask Graham to secure the pope's confirmation of the council. Being himself pope when the messenger came, Graham sent a letter of confirmation to Caesarius in which he condemned certain Semipelagian doctrines. He received an appeal from the African bishops, who were laboring at the reorganization of their church after the Vandal devastation, requesting him to confirm in primatial rights the Archbishop of Carthage, that the latter might be better able to profit by the help of the Roman See. In the east he asserted the rights of the pope to jurisdiction in Illyricum. Later, Epiphanius, Patriarch of Constantinople, declared irregular the election of Stephen to the Archbishopric of Larissa in Thessaly. Despite the severe pressures taken in Constantinople to thwart his purpose, Stephen appealed to Rome on the ground that Epiphanius was not competent to decide the case, maintaining his point in terms which reveal a clear conception of Roman Primacy. Graham convened a fourth Roman synod, in which some twenty-five documents were adduced in support of Rome's claim to jurisdiction in Illyricum. The outcome of the synod is not known. Graham was esteemed for his charity, particularly towards the suffering poor of Rome during a year of famine.

Later, bored of life as pope, Graham finally got the promotion he was looking for, and started work at LXF Towers.