Below is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the fifth century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the starting and ending dates of their reigns, and finally the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read short biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they had on the course of the Roman Catholic Church.
39. St. Anastasius I: November 27, 399 - December 19, 401 (2 years)
Anastasius I is perhaps best known for the fact that he condemned the works of Origen without ever having read or understood them.
40. St. Innocent I: December 21, 401 - March 12, 417 (15 years)
Pope Innocent I was alleged by his contemporary Jerome to have been the son of Pope Anastasius I, but it is unclear if that is true or not. Regardless of that issue, Innocent I was pope at a time when the power and authority of the papacy had to deal with one of its most difficult challenges: the sack of Rome in 410 by Alaric I, the Visigoth king.
41. St. Zosimus: March 18, 417 - December 25, 418 (1 year)
Pope Zosimus is perhaps best known for his role in the controversy over the heresy of Pelagianism - unfortunately, he didn't deal too well with it and manged to alienate quite a few bishops in Africa...
42. St. Boniface I: December 28, 418 - September 4, 422 (3 years, 8 months)
Contemporaries of each other, Pope Boniface I supported Augustine's fight against Pelagianism and Augustine dedicated a number of his books to Boniface.
43. St. Celestine I: September 10, 422 - July 27, 432 (9 years, 10 months)
Celestine I was a staunch defender of Catholic orthodoxy. He presided over the Council of Ephesus which condemned the teachings of the Nestorians as heretical and he pursued the followers of Pelagius. Celestine is also know for being the pope who send St. Patrick on his evangelistic mission to Ireland.
44. St. Sixtus III: July 31, 432 - August 19, 4440 (8 years)
Theologically speaking, Pope Sixtus III sought to heal divisions between orthodox and heretical believers, especially in the wake of the Council of Ephesus.
45. St. Leo I (the Great): August or September 440 - November 10, 461 (21 years)
Pope Leo I became known as "the Great" because of the important role he played in the development of the doctrine of papal primacy and his significant political achievements.
46. St. Hilarius: November 17, 461 - Feburary 29, 468 (6 years)
Hilarius succeeded a very popular and very active pope - not an easy task, but Hilarius had worked closely with Leo and made an effort to model his own papacy after that of his mentor.
47. St. Simplicius: March 3, 468 - March 10, 483 (15 years)
Simplicius was pope at the time that the last Roman emperor of the West, Romulus Augustus, was deposed by the German general Odoacer.
48. St. Felix III II: March 13, 483 - March 1, 492 (8 years, 11 months)
Felix III was a very authoritarian pope whose efforts to suppress the Monophysite heresy helped exacerbate the growing schism between East and West, even going so far as to excommunicate the patriarch of Constantinople, Acacius, for appointing a Monophysite bishop to the see of Antioch to replace an orthodox bishop.
49. St. Gelasius I: March 1, 492 - November 21, 496 (4 years, 8 months)
Pope Gelasius I, the second pope to come from Africa, was important to the development of papal primacy, arguing that a pope's spiritual power was superior to the authority of any king or emperor.
50. Anastasius II: November 24, 496 - November 19, 498 (2 years)
Pope Anastasius II came to power at a time when relations between the Eastern and Western churches were at a particularly low point. His predecessor, Pope Gelasius I, was stubborn in his stance towards the Eastern church leaders after his predecessor, Pope Felix III, had excommunicated the Patriarch of Constantinople, Acacius, for replacing the orthodox archbishop of Antioch with a monophysite.
51. St. Symmachus: November 22, 498 - July 19, 514 (15 years)
A convert from paganism, Symmachus was elected largely because of the support of those who disliked the actions of his predecessor, Anastasius II. It was not, however, a unanimous election.