Pope Vigilius was Pope from 29 March 537 to his death in 555. He is considered the first pope of the Byzantine Papacy.
He belonged to an aristocratic Roman family; his father Johannes is identified as a consul in the Liber pontificalis, having received that title from the emperor.
While Vigilius was in Constantinople, Pope Agapetus died on 22 April 536, and Pope Silverius had been made pope through the influence of the King of the Goths. Soon after Silverius was ordained, the Byzantine general Belisarius occupied Rome, which was then besieged by the Goths. Although the Goths were unable to encircle the city completely, both the Byzantine soldiers and the inhabitants feared they would be destroyed. Soon after the siege began, for example, Belisarius ordered the women, children, and unnecessary servants of Rome to leave for Naples, as well as his own army's camp followers. Around the same time, Silverius was accused of offering to betray Rome to the Goths. Belisarius had him deposed, put in a monk's habit and exiled to Greece. Several other senators were also banished from Rome on the same charges.
What part Vigilius played in the deposition of Silverius is unclear in the primary sources. The authors of the Liber Pontificalis, who are hostile to Vigilius, state he delivered to Belisarius the imperial orders to depose Silverius, yet are circumspect about how Silverius was elected and ordained. Procopius, on the other hand, states that Belisarius appointed Vigilius shortly after Silverius was deposed. It is certain that Vigilius was consecrated and enthroned Pope on 29 March 537. After the death of his predecessor Vigilius was recognized as pope by all the Roman clergy, even though the manner of his elevation was not regular.