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The Papacy - A Historical Perspective

314-366 A.D.

St. Silvester I : 314-335 A.D.

33. Born in Rome. Elected January 31, 314 - died December 31, 335.

He celebrated the first Ecumenical Council at Nicea and it was at thistime that the “Credo” was composed. Silvester was the first to use a leadseal during the solemn acts: The seal had his name and the apostles’ headsimprinted on it. He instituted Sunday as a holiday dedicated to Godin memory of the creation and was the first Pope to wear the tiara.He created the “Iron Crown” with a nail from the Holy Cross. The Churchof S. Giovanni in Laterano became Rome’s cathedral and was consecratedby Silvester on November 9, 324. Emperor Constantine the Great, who wasbaptized by Silvester, started planning the St. Peter’s Basilica in theVatican. Silvester was buried in the Roman Church of S. Silvestro in Capite.His pontificate lasted almost 22 years.

St. Mark : 336 A.D.

34. Born in Rome Elected January 18, 336 - died October 7, 336.

He decreed that the Pope should be consecrated by the Bishop of Ostia.He instituted the “Pallium” which is still in use today: a white woollong scarf, made from two blessed white lambs and decorated with blackcrosses. His Pallium is preserved in a silver casket near St. Peter’stomb. During his pontificate, the first religious calendar was drawn up.He had two churches built: the Santa Balbina on the Appian way and SanMarco at Piazza Venezia. Mark was buried in the Roman Church that bearshis name. He was a Pope for less than a year.

St. Julius I : 337-352 A.D.

35. Born Rome. Elected February 6, 337 - died April 12, 352.

He ordered the Eastern church to celebrate Christmas on the 25th ofDecember instead of January 6th, the Epiphany. he is considered to be thefounder of the archives of the Holy See. The oldest portrayal of a Popeon his papal chair is the one of Julius I seated on an extraordinarilyornate chair in a blessing pose. His body is buried in the Church of SantaMaria in Trastevere in Rome. He was a pontiff for 15 years.

Liberius : 352-366 A.D.

36. Born in Rome. Elected May 17, 352 - died November 24, 366. The polemicswith the Arians continued and lead to the election of the anti-pope FelixII. Liberius started the work for the foundation of the Basilica of SantaMaria Maggiore on a perimeter that he traced after a snowfall on August15. He ordered that disputes were not to be settled and payments were tobe postponed on days of fasting. He is the first Pope without the titleof Saint. He was exiled to France because of disagreements with theEmperor Constance. He is buried in the Vatican Grottoes His pontificatelasted a little over 14 years.

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Index of Roman Pontiffs

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