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Pope Sixtus I

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Saint Sixtus I
Papacy began 117 or 119
Papacy ended 126 or 128
Predecessor Alexander I
Successor Telesphorus
Personal details
Birth name Sixtus or Xystus
Born 42
Rome, Italy
Died 126 or 128
Rome, Italy
Sainthood
Feast day 6 April
Title as Saint Martyr
Other Popes named Sixtus
Papal styles of
Pope Sixtus I
Emblem of the Papacy SE.svg
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Holy Father
Posthumous style Saint

Pope Saint Sixtus I was bishop of Rome from about 117 or 119 to 126 or 128 C.E., succeeding Pope Alexander I and succeeded by Pope Telesphorus. In the oldest documents, Xystus is the spelling used for the first three popes of that name.

The Holy See's Annuario Pontificio (2012) identifies him as a Roman who reigned from 117 or 119 to 126 or 128. According to the Liberian Catalogue of popes, he ruled the Church during the reign of Hadrian "a consulatu Negro et Aproniani usque Vero III et Ambibulo", that is, from 117 to 126.

Eusebius states in his Chronicon that Sixtus I was pope from 114 to 124, while his Historia Ecclesiastica, using a different catalogue of popes, claims his rule from 114 to 128. All authorities agree that he reigned about ten years.

Sixtus I is credited as having instituted several Roman Catholic liturgical and administrative traditions, but historians believe that these were attributed to him by later writers who were interested in bolstering the papacy's claims to ancient supremacy. Like most of his predecessors, Sixtus I was believed to be buried near Saint Peter's grave on Vatican Hill, although there are differing traditions concerning where his body lies today.

He was a Roman by birth, and his father's name was Pastor. According to the Liber Pontificalis (ed. Duchesne, I.128), he passed the following three ordinances:

  • that none but sacred ministers are allowed to touch the sacred vessels;
  • that bishops who have been summoned to the Holy See shall, upon their return, not be received by their diocese except on presenting Apostolic letters;
  • that after the Preface in the Mass the priest shall recite the Sanctus with the people.
Bust reliquary of the Pope, made in 1596, exhibited at The Permanent Ecclesiastical Art Exhibition "The Gold and Silver of Zadar" in the St. Mary's Church, Zadar, Croatia

Regarding the dates of Sixtus I, according to the Liberian Catalogue of popes, he ruled the Church during the reign of Hadrian "a consulatu Negro et Aproniani usque Vero III et Ambibulo," that is, from 117 to 126. The 4th century church historian Eusebius, however, states in his Chronicon that Sixtus I was pope from 114 to 124, while his Historia Ecclesiastica, using a different list, claims that Sixtus' rule was from 114 to 128.

Alban Butler (Lives of the Saints, 6 April) states that Clement X gave some of his relics to Cardinal de Retz, who placed them in the Abbey of St. Michael in Lorraine. The Xystus who is commemorated in the Catholic Canon of the Mass is Xystus II, not Xystus I.

His feast is celebrated on 6 April.

References

  • Benedict XVI. The Roman Martyrology. Gardners Books, 2007. ISBN 9780548133743.
  • Chapman, John. Studies on the Early Papacy. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1971. ISBN 9780804611398.
  • Fortescue, Adrian, and Scott M. P. Reid. The Early Papacy: To the Synod of Chalcedon in 451. Southampton: Saint Austin Press, 1997. ISBN 9781901157604.
  • Jowett, George F. The Drama of the Lost Disciples. London: Covenant Pub. Co, 1968. OCLC 7181392
  • Loomis, Louise Ropes. The Book of Popes (Liber Pontificalis). Merchantville, NJ: Evolution Publishing. ISBN 1889758868.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope St. Sixtus I". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. 

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External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Alexander I
Bishop of Rome
Pope

115–125
Succeeded by
Telesphorus


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