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E01623: The short Life of *Severinus (bishop of Rome, ob. 640, S00852) in the Liber Pontificalis, written in Latin in Rome soon after his death, emphasises his sanctity, and records his repair of the apse-mosaic of the basilica of *Peter (the Apostle, S00037) in Rome, as well as his burial in this church on 2 August.

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posted on 2016-06-12, 00:00 authored by robert
Liber Pontificalis 73

Severinus, natione Romanus, ex patre Abieno, sedit mens. II dies IIII.

'Severinus, born in Rome, son of Avienus, held the see 2 months 4 days.'


Hic renovavit absidem beati Petri apostoli ex musibo, quod dirutum erat. Hic dilexit clerum et omnibus donum augmentavit. Fuit autem sanctus, benignus super omnes homines, amator pauperum, largus, mitissimus. Fecit autem episcopos per diversa loca numero IIII. Hic demisit omni clero rogam integram. Qui etiam sepultus est ad beatum Petrum apostolum sub die IIII non. Aug.

'He renewed the mosaic in the apse of the blessed Peter the apostle, which had become ruinous. He loved the clergy and increased the bounty for them all. He was holy, the kindliest of all men, a lover of the poor, generous, and most mild. For various places he made 4 bishops. He left an entire stipend to all the clergy. He was buried at the blessed Peter the apostle on 2 August.'

Text: Duchesne 1886, 328-329. Translation: Davis 2010, 63-64, modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Peter the Apostle : S00036 Severinus, bishop of Rome, ob. 640 : S00852

Saint Name in Source

Petrus Severinus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Rome Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Major author/Major anonymous work

Liber Pontificalis

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - crypt/ crypt with relics

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Burial ad sanctos

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body


The Liber Pontificalis consists of a series of very short lives of popes. The preface attributes it to pope Damasus (366-384), but this attribution is obviously false. According to Louis Duchesne, the first modern editor of the Liber Pontificalis, the original series of lives was written in Rome by an anonymous author, probably a member of the lesser clergy, in the 530s, and contained the lives from *Peter the Apostle to Felix IV (ob. 530). Shortly after, before 546, the text was re-edited by another anonymous author and only this edition survives. The first edition, however, can be reconstituted on the basis of its two epitomes (and the second edition). The second edition started to be continued systematically from the time of pope Honorius (625–638). It should be noted that Theodor Mommsen dated both editions of the Liber Pontificalis to the 7th century, but his opinion is widely rejected and the commonly accepted dating is that of Duchesne. For the pre-Constantinian period (before 312), the credibility of the Liber Pontificalis is very low. The chronology is confused, and details concerning the personal lives, decisions and ordinations of the bishops of Rome at best reflect what people in the 6th century trusted to be true, at worst are a pure invention of the author. The situation changes with the later lives. Already the information of 4th-century papal foundations and offerings are generally trustworthy. The early 6th-century evidence, based on the author's first hand knowledge is even better, though still imperfect.


Edition: Duchesne, L., Le Liber pontificalis. 2 vols (Paris: E. Thorin, 1886-1892) (with substantial introduction and commentary). Translation: Davis, R., The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis) (Translated Texts for Historians 6; 3rd ed.; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2010).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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