1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Symmachus (Pope)

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SYMMACHUS, pope from 498 to 514, had Anastasius II. for his_ predecessor and was himself followed by Hormisdas. He was a native of Sardinia, apparently a convert from paganism, and was in deacon's orders at the time of his election. The choice was not unanimous, another candidate, Laurentius, having the support of a strong Byzantine party; and both competitors were consecrated by their friends, the- one in the Lateran Church and the other in that of St Mary, on the 22nd of November 498. A decision was not long afterwards obtained in favour of Symmachus from Theodoric, to whom the dispute had been referred; but peace was not established until 505 or 506, when the Gothic king ordered the Laurentian party to surrender the churches of which they had taken possession. An important incident in the protracted controversy was the decision of the "palmary synod." The remainder of the pontificate of Symmachus was uneventful; history speaks of various churches in Rome as having been built or beautified by him.