Papacy - A Historical Perspective
St. Eleutherius : 175-189 A.D.
13. Born at Nicopolis in Epirus Elected in 175 - died a martyr in
King Lucius of England and his people
were converted to
Christianity, through baptism,
by Fugazius and Damian who were sent by Eleutherius upon request of the
dispensed the Christians from following several dietary laws of Jewish
He is buried
in the Vatican Grottoes. His pontificate lasted more than 14 years.
St. Victor I : 189-199 A.D.
14. Born in Africa. Elected in 189, he died in 199.
He established that any kind of
water could be used for the celebration of baptism in a case of an
emergency. He fought
against the bishops of Asia and Africa to establish the celebration of
Easter on Sunday,
according to Roman rights and without any Jewish customs.
He succeeded, with regard to
the day, to establish Sunday as the celebration day and never to have
it on the same day as
the Hebrew Easter. During the third century, all the Christian
churches adhered to these
newly established days.
The Ghirlandaio painted his portrait, dressed in his pontifical
attire, in the Sistine Chapel.
He was buried in the Vatican Grottoes after having
pontificated for 10 years.
St. Zephyrinus : 199-217 A.D.
15. Born in Rome. Elected in 199 - died a martyr in 217.
He decreed that from the age of
14 everybody had to receive the Holy Communion on Easter Sunday.
His pontificate was
characterized by bitter theological struggles. He excommunicated
the use of the paten and forbade the use of the wooden chalice,
replacing it with a glass
chalice. Later on, the glass chalice was replaced with a chalice made
of precious metals.
At the beginning of the third century , the symbol of sanctity, "the
halo", around the heads
of angels, saints and the Blessed Virgin started to appear on every
representation of these
His body rests in the Roman Church of San Silvestro in Capite. He
was a pontiff
for over 18 years.
St. Callistus I : 217-222 A.D.
16. Born in Rome. Elected in 217 - died a martyr in 222.
Callistus was the conceiver of the
famous Catacombs on the Appian Way, where 46 popes and about 200,000
Imprisoned and exiled to Sardinia, by the Jews, he was condemned to
work in the
He apparently forbade matrimony between relatives.
He was beaten to death and
thrown into a well where the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere now
stands. He was
buried in the cemetery of Caledopius on the Aurelian Way. His
pontificate lasted a little
over 5 years. Fra’ Diamante painted his portrait in the Sistine Chapel.
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