He at once excommunicated Henry and the antipope and, under Norman protection, was able to return to Rome in July; but the disturbances of the imperialist party, especially of the Frangipani, who attacked the pope while celebrating mass in the church of St Prassede, compelled Gelasius to go once more into exile.
The caution of Gelasius was not long preserved; Gregory of Tours, for example, asserts that the saint's relics actually existed in the French village of Le Maine, where many miracles were wrought by means of them; and Bede, while still explaining that the Gesta Georgii are reckoned apocryphal, commits himself to the statement that the martyr was beheaded under Dacian, king of Persia, whose wife Alexandra, however, adhered to the Christian faith.
If we set aside the heretical books condemned by the early councils, the earliest known instance of a list of proscribed books being issued with the authority of a bishop of Rome is the Notitia librorum apocryphorum qui non recipiuntur, the first redaction of which, by Pope Gelasius (494), was subsequently amplified on several occasions.
As to the blessing of candles, according to the Liber pontificals Pope Zosimus in 417 ordered these to be blessed, 8 and the Gallican and Mozabaric rituals also provided for this ceremony.9 The Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, known as Candlemas, because on this day the candles for the whole year are blessed, was established - according to some authorities - by Pope Gelasius I.
This was ratified by Pope Gelasius (492-496), and independently confirmed for the province of Africa by a series of Synods held at Hippo Regius in 393, and at Carthage in 397 and 419, under the lead of Augustine.
The emperor drove Gelasius from Rome in March, pronounced his election null and void, and set up Burdinus, archbishop of Braga, as antipope under the name of Gregory VIII.
In February 1119 he was chosen pope at Cluny in succession to Gelasius II., and in opposition to the anti-pope Gregory VIII., who was in Rome.
The only ancient writers who mention him are Gennadius, presbyter of Massilia (end of 5th century), in his De scriptoribus ecclesiasticis, and Pope Gelasius in De libris recipiendis et non recipiendis, in which his works are classed as Apocryphi, probably on account of certain heterodox statements contained in them.
The new pope, Gelasius II., and also his successor, Calixtus II., espoused the cause of the stubborn archbishop, and in October 1119, in spite of promises made to Henry I., he was consecrated by Calixtus at Reims. Enraged at this the king refused to allow him to enter England, and he remained for some time in the company of the pope.
The 8 th-century Gelasian Sacramentary, which embodies a much older tradition, mentions it under the title of Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which has led some to suppose that it was ordained by Pope Gelasius I.