Pope Hyginus

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Pope Saint

Papa Igino.jpg
Papacy beganc. 136
Papacy endedc. 142
SuccessorPius I
Personal details
Birth nameHyginus
BornAthens, Greece
Rome, Roman Empire
Feast day11 January

Pope Hyginus (died c. 142) was the Bishop of Rome from c. 138 to c. 142.[1] Tradition holds that during his papacy he determined the various prerogatives of the clergy and defined the grades of the ecclesiastical hierarchy.

He also decreed that all churches be consecrated, he is said to have died a martyr, though no records verify this. The chronology of the early bishops of Rome cannot be determined with any degree of exactitude today.


According to the Liber Pontificalis, Hyginus was a Greek by birth.[2] Irenaeus says that the gnostic Valentinus came to Rome in Hyginus' time, remaining there until Anicetus became pontiff (On the Detection and Overthrow of the So-Called Gnosis, III, iii).

Cerdo, another Gnostic and predecessor of Marcion of Sinope, also lived at Rome in the reign of Hyginus; by confessing his errors and recanting, he succeeded in obtaining readmission into the Church but eventually fell back into heresy and was expelled from the Church.[3]

The Liber Pontificalis also relates that this pope organized the hierarchy and established the order of ecclesiastical precedence (Hic clerum composuit et distribuit gradus);[2] this general observation recurs also in the biography of Pope Hormisdas, but has no historical value. According to Louis Duchesne, the writer probably referred to the lower orders of the clergy.[2]

The ancient sources contain no information as to his having died a martyr. At his death he was buried on the Vatican Hill, near Saint Peter's tomb, his feast is celebrated on 11 January.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The chronology of these Popes cannot be determined with any degree of exactitude by the help of the extant sources. (Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope St. Hyginus) According to Eusebius (Church History, IV, xv.) Hyginus succeeded Telesphorus during the first year of the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius, i.e. in 138 or 139. Eusebius (Church History, IV, xvi) states that Hyginus's pontificate lasted four years.
  2. ^ a b c Kirsch, Johann Peter. "Pope St. Hyginus." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 13 Mar. 2015
  3. ^ Butler, Alban. "St. Hyginus, Pope and Martyr", The Lives of the Saints, vol.1, 1866

External links[edit]

  • Opera Omnia
  • Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Hyginus (pope)" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  • Fontes Latinae de papis usque ad annum 530 (Papa Felix IV)
  • Liber pontificalis
Titles of the Great Christian Church
Preceded by
Bishop of Rome

Succeeded by
Pius I