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The Papacy - A Historical Perspective

42-97 A.D.

St. Peter : 42-67 A.D.

1. Born in Bethsaida, Galilee - died June 29, 67.

He received from Jesus the supreme pontifical power to be passed on to his successors.

It has been said that after having denied his association to Jesus, he cried for the rest of his life, leaving his cheeks furrowed by the tears.

At the time of his arrival in Rome there were about sixth thousand Jews and nine synagogues. He instituted the first ecclesiastical code and the recitation of the Our Father.

He suffered martyrdom in Nero’s time and when arrested he asked to be crucifies head downwards. He was buried in a grave over which Constantine built the basilica that has become the present-day Basilica of St. Peter.

Comment: Note that St. Peter´s Pontificate is listed as officially beginning several years after the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ.


St. Linus
: 67-76 A.D.

2. Born in Volterra Elected in 67 - died November 23, 76.

He is buried beside St. Peter. He named the first 15 bishops and allowed women to enter churches and attend functions only if their heads were covered.

The evangelists Mark and Luke were martyred during his pontificate. He was buried iuxta corpus Beati Petri. [That is; "Next to the body of Blessed Peter]

A tomb with the inscription Linus was discovered during as excavation in the area where the baldachin was to be erected. He pontificated for 11 years, 3 months and 12 days.


St. Anacletus
: 76-88 A.D.

3. Roman . Elected in 76, - died a martyr in 88.

He established the rules for the consecration of the bishops, had a chapel built near St. Peter’s tomb, for the burial of martyrs and instituted the rules for ecclesiastical dress.

Anacletus divided the area of Rome in 25 parishes and appointed a deacon to each parish, creating the process of the tituli. He was the first pontiff that used a salutation with apostolic blessing. He governed the Church for 12 years, during the reign of the emperors Vespasiano, Titus and Domitian.

He is the patron of Ruvo (Puglia region) and was buried near the tomb of St. Peter.


St. Clement I
: 88-97 A.D.

4. Roman. Elected in 88 - died a martyr in 97.

The Emperor Trajan exiled him to Pontus and there he was thrown into the sea with an anchor tied around his neck. An anchor is represented on his tomb in memory of his martyrdom and he is the patron of Bruge’s watermen.

He reinstated the Sacrament of Confirmation according to the rites of St. Peter. The use of the word amen in religious ceremonies is attributed to his time as well as the Dominus Vobiscum said at the beginning of mass.

He was buried on the site were the church bearing his name now stands. He sat on the St. Peter’s chair for 9 years, 2 months and 10 days.

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