Feast Day : March 10 (formerly March 2 or 3)
Simplicius, son of Castinus, was born in Tivoli (Italy). He succeeded St. Hilarus as bishop of Rome on March 3, 468. During his pontificate, the Roman Empire came to an end. In 476, Odoacer of the Heruli, a Germanic tribe, deposed the last emperor of the West, Romulus Augustulus, occupied Rome and proclaimed himself king of Italy. Since Christianity had for some time been the official religion of the empire, this could have spelled trouble for the Church, but fortunately Odoacer was favorably disposed toward the Vatican. In the East, however, the Church was in greater danger, threatened by the Monophysite heresy. Monophysitism was popular in the Eastern Church and in Africa and had support among the secular authorities as well. The controversy, concerning the true nature of Jesus, was a longstanding one. Simplicius struggled to uphold the authority of the Roman Church, not always successfully. He died on March 10, 483, after a long illness, and was buried in St. Peter’s on Vatican Hill. Afterward he was venerated as a saint. Simplicius was the first pope to be depicted with a square nimbus in a contemporary mosaic.