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The Papacy - A Historical Perspective

251-258 A.D.

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St. Cornelius : 251-253 A.D.

21. Born in Rome. Elected March 251 - died June 253.

The first schism took place during his pontificate because of the election of the Anti-pope Novatian, who was later excommunicated during a Council held in Rome.

He died in Civitavecchia were he had been exiled after refusing to offer sacrifices to the pagan gods, but he was not martyrized. At the time of Pope Cornelius the Church of Rome had 154 officers: 4 priest, 7 deacons, 7 junior deacons, 42 acolytes, 52 exorcists, readers and host givers.

He is buried in the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome. His pontificate lasted 2 years and 3 months.

Comment: Note that Eucharistic Ministers were in existence over 1,700 years ago under the name of host givers

S. Lucius I : 253-254 A.D.

22. Born in Rome. Elected June 25, 253 - died March 5, 254.

A Pope of ascetic nature, he prohibited cohabitation between men and women not related by blood and decreed that clergies could not live with deaconesses even if given lodging for reason of charity.

It seems that he was elected in Civitavecchia were he had followed Cornelius in exile. Before dying, he entrusted his supreme pontifical powers to his Archdeacon Stephen and pledge for his election as successor.

His is buried in the Church of S. Cecilia.

St. Stephen I : 254-257 A.D.

23. Born in Rome. Elected May 12, 254 - died August 2, 257.

During his pontificate, the struggle against the schismatic followers of Novatian flared up again.

He used a ring with his name and a cross on it as a seal and started the origin of the piscatory ring. He prohibited the priests from wearing liturgical clothes outside of the church.

Stephen was beheaded during a religious function in the catacombs of St. Callisto while seated on his Episcopal chair.

He is buried in the Church of San Silvestro in Capite. He was a pontiff for 3 years and 3 months.

St. Sixtus II : 257-258 A.D.

24. Born in Greece . Elected August 30, 257 - died a martyr August 6, 258.

Of gentle disposition, he settled the disputes that had arisen under Cornelius, Lucius and Stephen.

Because of another persecution of the Christian he feared for the mortal remains of St. Peter and St. Paul and hid them in a crypt along the Appian was called "ad Catacumbas", presently known as San Sebastiano. The exclamation "Deo Gratias" was pronounced for the first time during the martyrdom of St. Cypriot.

He is buried in the Vatican Grottoes. His pontificate lasted less than one year.

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Index of Roman Pontiffs


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