FELIX: The name of four popes and one antipope, who is sometimes counted as a fifth pope.
Felix I.: Pope 269-274. He succeeded Dionysius, becoming pope on Jan. 5, 269. The only positive fact known of his pontificate is the statement of Eusebius (Hist. eccl., VII, xxx. 19; cf. 23) that in the controversy in Antioch instigated by Paul of Samosata (see MONARCHIANISM, III.) the Emperor Aurelian decided that, the church building should be given to "those to whom the bishops of Italy and of the city of Rome should adjudge it." From this it is probable that Felix exchanged litteræ comminunicationis with Domnus of Antioch, and that he expressed his opposition to Paul of Samosata at greater length in a letter to Maximus of Alexandria. The latter document was tampered with in an Apollinarian sense at the end of the fourth century, and in this shape was considered by the Council of Ephesus (431). According to the Depositio episcoporum (354) Felix died a natural death, and was buried in the catacomb of St. Calixtus, Dec. 30, 274.
Felix II.: Pope 355-358. When Liberius (q.v.) was banished at the end of 355 by the Emperor Constantius, whose policy he had opposed, the Roman clergy took an oath not to recognize another bishop as long as Liberius lived; but the oath was soon forgotten, and the Archdeacon Felix was persuaded to become bishop. He was consecrated by three Arian bishops, including Acacius of Cæsarea, in the imperial palace, and; though not an Arian himself, he supported the policy of external union favored by Constantius and held communion with the Arians. The majority of the Roman clergy were won over by imperial favors to support Felix, but the people remained true to Liberius and refused allegiance to the former. Constantius on coming to Rome, Apr. 2S, 357, found so much discord that he expressed his willingness to restore Liberius, after he had agreed to sign the third Sirmian formula of the summer of 358 and to rule jointly with Felix. But on the approach of Liberius to the city, Felix was driven out, and, after unsuccessful attempts to regain his position, died at Porto Nov. 20, 365. From the sixth century on a curiously inaccurate legend grew up about his name which made him a venerated saint and martyr. The oldest evidences for this are the Liber pontificalis, the Acta Felicis, and the Acta Eusebii. Döllinger thinks this the result of a confusion with an African bishop and martyr of the same name, whose remains were translated to the same spot on the Via Aurelia where later the church named after Pope Felix was erected.
Felix III.: Pope 483-492. He was the son of a Roman presbyter of the same name, and was probably attached as a deacon to the Church of St. Paul when, in the beginning of Mar., 483, with the assent of Odoacer, he was chosen pope. Apparently he had been married before this and had several children, from one of whom Gregory the Great was descended. His principal importance as pope was the stand which he made against the Monophysite policy of the Emperor Zeno, from whom Felix, writing to announce his election, demanded the deposition of Peter Mongus, the moderate Monophysite set up by the emperor as patriarch of Alexandria (see MONOPHYSITES, §§ 5 sqq. ). He wrote at the same time to Acacius, boldly summoning him to appear for judgment in Rome, and declaring in favor of the Council of Chalcedon. Zeno threw the Roman legates into prison, and Acacius worked on them until they agreed to hold communion with the representatives of Peter Mongus. When Felix heard of this, he deposed both them and Acacius (July, 484). There was a thorough breach between East and West, and in the former Felix's name was stricken from the diptychs. But the Easterns repented their hasty action. Before 489 some of them had opened negotiations with Felix, and, after the death of Acacius, Zeno agreed to the elevation of an orthodox prelate of the name of Flavitas to the patriarchal throne, and the notification of his election to Felix. The pope assumed an attitude of reserve, and even after the accession of a new emperor, Anastasius, he was still obliged to maintain a firm position, requiring the restoration of the decrees of Chalcedon to their rightful position, the deposition of the opponents of Rome, and the erasure of the names of Acacius and Peter from the diptychs. With equal energy he took up the cause of the persecuted orthodox Christians in the Vandal kingdom, and showed himself in every way a worthy successor of Leo the Great. He died at the end of Feb., 492, and is commemorated as a saint on Feb. 25.
Felix IV.: Pope 526-530. He was a Samnite, the son of Castorius, elected under the influence of Theodoric after John I. had died in prison, and was consecrated July 12, 526. After Theodoric's death on Aug. 26 or 30, discontent with his high-handed methods broke out, and the senate sent an embassy to Ravenna to ascertain the attitude of the new ruler, Athalaric, toward Felix. Athalaric, however, declared in Felix's favor, and he remained in unquestioned occupation of his see until his death, the exact date of which is contested His pontificate is important only for the part which he took in the Semi-Pelagian controversy, by approving the treatise of Cæsarius of Arles on grace and free will, and sending at the same time to the bishops of Southern Gaul the celebrated capitula which were promulgated as canons by the Synod of Orange, July 3, 529 (See CÆSARIUS OF ARLES; SEMI-PELAGIANISM).
Felix V. (Duke Amadeus of Savoy): Antipope (or pope) Jan. 5, 1440-Apr. 7, 1449. He was born Dec. 4, 1383, and as ruler in Savoy and the county of Geneva proved himself mild and successful, and won a reputation for piety. He abdicated in 1434 and retired to Ripaille, on Lake Geneva, where he lived in retirement with a few friends. His wife (Maria of Burgundy) was already dead. He was elected pope by the Council of Basel, Nov. 5, 1439, after it had deposed Eugenius IV. (see BASEL, COUNCIL OF). Although he had neither a theological nor a canonical education and must now for the first time study Latin, Amadeus accepted, called himself Felix V., and selected a curia which consisted mostly of Frenchmen. The majority of those whom he tried to make cardinals declined. When, on July 24, 1440, he was consecrated bishop by the cardinal of Arles and was afterward crowned with the tiara, for want of cardinals his two sons ministered at the mass. No country promised allegiance to him. Without ecclesiastical state and without income he resided at Lausanne and Geneva. No improvement in his position followed the death of Eugenius IV. (1449), and Germany acknowledged as the latter's successor Nicholas V. In 1449 Felix voluntarily resigned the pontificate and advised his followers to acknowledge Nicholas V. as pope. For this he received the title of Cardinal of Santa Sabina, the dignity of papal vicar-general of all estates of the house of Savoy, the dioceses of Basel, Strasburg, etc. He again retired to Ripaille and died at Geneva Jan. 7, 1451, regarded as a worthy old man.