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The Papacy - A Historical Perspective

97-136 A.D.


St. Evaristus
: 97-105 A.D.

5. Greek . Elected in 97- died in 105.

Due to the intense growth of the Christian community he sub-divided the city into parishes. He instituted the first seven deaconster made of elderly priests who were later called Cardinals; this is believed to be the origin of the Sacred College.

He decreed that weddings had to be blessed by a priest and introduced the Christians to keeping holy water in their houses.

He is the author of the rite of church consecration. He was buried near St. Peter after having been a pontiff for 9 years, 7 months and 2 days.


St. Alexander I
: 105-115 A.D.

6. Roman. Elected in 105-died in 115.

A disciple of Plutarch. He instituted the use of holy water in churches and house and prescribed that the hosts to be consecrated were to be made with unleavened dough.

He decreed that the wine for the Holy Sacrifice had to be diluted with water in memory of the chest wound inflicted on Jesus and decreed that priest could not celebrate more than one mass a day.

He was buried in the church of S. Sabina. He governed the Church for 10 years, 7 months and 8 days.


St. Sixtus I
: 115-125 A.D.

7. Roman. Elected in 115-died in 125.

He ordered that the corporal be on linen, that holy furnishing be touched only by priests and he also established that the "Trisagio" be sung before mass.

He was first buried near the tomb of St. Peter, but in 1132 Pope Innocent II granted him to the people of Alife who asked to have his remains.

It is said that during the trip from Rome to Alife, the mule that was carrying the relics stopped in Alatri and would not go any further. The people of Alatri kept the relics in the town cathedral and the people of Alife received a finger bone of Sixtus I. He governed for 9 years, 3 months and 21 days.


St. Telesphorus
: 125-136 A.D.

8. Born in Greece. Elected in 125-died a martyr in 136.

He composed the chant "Gloria In Excelsis Deo" and instituted the seven-week fast and penance before Easter in memory of the fast and penance that Jesus went through while he was in the desert, this practice is still alive and is known as "Lent".

He established that priest could celebrate three masses on Christmas Eve and he also introduced new prayers; subsequently, he is represented with a chalice and three hosts. He was buried near St. Peter’s Tomb after having governed the Church for 11 years 2 months and 21 days.


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