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Eugenius

Name of two archbishops of Toledo during the 7th century

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* Published by Encyclopedia Press, 1913.


Eugenius I, Archbishop of Toledo, successor in 636 of Justus in that see; d. 647. Like his predecessor he had been a disciple of Helladius in the monastery of Agli. He is famous as an astronomer and astronomical mathematician. As a bishop he was virtuous and intelligent. At this period, under the Gothic kings, the councils of Toledo were national diets convoked by the monarch, attended by lay lords; they regulated, to some extent, not only spiritual but temporal affairs. Of these councils Eugenius presided at the fifth, convoked in 636 by King Chintil to confirm his elevation to the throne; he assisted at the sixth, convoked by the same king to take precautions against the disorders of royal elections. This council, contrary to the principles later put in practice by St. Ildephonsus, banished all Jews who did not embrace the Catholic Faith. Eugenius attended the seventh council of Toledo, which was summoned by King Chindaswith and decreed that the bishops of Toledo should reside one month every year in that city.

EUGENIUS II (THE YOUNGER), Archbishop of Toledo from 647 to November 13, 657, the date of his death. He was the son of a Goth named Evantius, became a cleric in the cathedral of Toledo, and at the death of Eugenius I was elected his successor. The office was so little to his taste that he fled to Saragossa to lead a monastic life, but was forced to return to Toledo by King Chindaswith and take up the government of that see. Though of small stature and feeble health he was a zealous prelate. He undertook the reform of the ecclesiastical chant of the Divine Office and achieved distinction as a writer of prose and poetry. His style is natural and clear, and his exposition easy and agreeable. His poems, though lacking polish and elegance, are full of fire, spirit, and poetic movement. Piety breathes throughout, and the orthodoxy of his faith is notable. His thought is solid, fertile, and gives evidence of a well-trained mind. His feast is kept on November 13.

Eugenius left two books in prose and verse, published (Paris, 1619) by Father Sirmond, S.J., containing his poems on religious and secular subjects, his recension of the poem of Dracontius on "The Six Days of Creation" (Hexaemeron), to which he added a "Seventh Day", and a letter to King Chindaswith explaining the plan of the entire work; he also edited the metrical "Satisfactio" of Dracontius, an account of the writer's misfortunes. Of this work Bardenhewer says (Patrology, tr. St. Louis, 1908, p. 619) that it "underwent a substantial revision at the hands of Eugenius II, Bishop of Toledo, in keeping with the wish of the Visigothic King Chindaswith (642-49); not only were the poetical form and the theology of the poem affected by this treatment, but probably also its political sentiments. It is this revision that was usually printed as Dracontii Elegia (Migne, P.L., LXXVIII, 383-88), until the edition of Arevalo (Rome, 1791, 362-402, and 901-32) made known the original text". He also wrote a treatise on the Trinity probably against the Arian Visigoths. Ferrera mentions a letter of Eugenius to the king and one to Protasius, the Metropolitan of Tarragona, promising if possible to write a mass of St. Hippolytus and some festal sermons, but disclaiming the ability to equal his former productions.

MARK J. MCNEAL


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