Bishops of Rome under Constantine I
Constantine I's relationship with the four Bishops of Rome during his reign is an important component of the history of the Papacy, more the history of the Catholic Church. The legend surrounding Constantine I's victory in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge relates his vision of the Chi Rho and the text in hoc signo vinces in the sky and his reproducing this symbol on the shields of his troops; the following year Constantine and Licinius proclaimed the toleration of Christianity with the Edict of Milan, in 325 Constantine convened and presided over the First Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical council. None of this, has much to do with the popes, who did not attend the Council. Moreover, between 324 and 330, he built Constantinople as a new capital for the empire, and—with no apologies to the Roman community of Christians—relocated key Roman families and translated many Christian relics to the new churches; the Donation of Constantine, an 8th-century forgery used to enhance the prestige and authority of popes, places the pope more centrally in the narrative of Constantinian Christianity.
The legend of the Donation claims that Constantine offered his crown to Sylvester I, that Sylvester baptized Constantine. In reality, Constantine was baptized by Eusebius of Nicomedia, unlike the pope, was an Arian bishop. Sylvester was succeeded by Julius I during the life of Constantine. Although the "Donation" never occurred, Constantine did hand over the Lateran Palace to the bishop of Rome, begin the construction of Old Saint Peter's Basilica; the gift of the Lateran occurred during the reign of Miltiades, Sylvester I's predecessor, who began using it as his residence. Old St. Peter's was begun between 326 and 330 and would have taken three decades to complete, long after the death of Constantine. Constantine's legalization of Christianity, combined with the donation of these properties, gave the bishop of Rome an unprecedented level of temporal power, for the first time creating an incentive for secular leaders to interfere with papal succession. In spite of the Diocletian Persecution, Christians constituted one-tenth of the population of the Roman Empire at the time of Constantine's rise to power.
Christianity was legalized by Galerius, the first emperor to issue an edict of toleration for all religious creeds including Christianity in April 311. Eamon Duffy characterizes the church in Rome before Constantine as "not one congregation, but a loose constellation of churches based in private houses or, as time went on and the community grew, meeting in rented halls in markets and public baths, it was without any single dominant ruling officer, its elders or leaders sharing responsibility, but distributing tasks, like that of foreign correspondent. By the eve of the conversion of Constantine, there were more than two dozen of these religious community-centers or tituli"; the Roman church was a small community, its bishop exercised little influence outside its members in the time of Constantine. Constantine was the first Roman Emperor to embrace Christianity, although he continued in his pre-Christian beliefs, he and co-Emperor Licinius bestowed imperial favor on Christianity through the Edict of Milan promulgated in 313.
After the Edict of Milan, the church adopted the same governmental structure as the Empire: geographical provinces ruled by bishops. These bishops of important cities therefore rose in power over the bishops of lesser cities. Whatever his personal beliefs, Constantine's political interest in Christianity was as a unifying force and his policy of "the imposition of unity on the churches at all costs" soon set him on a "collision course with the popes." Miltiades was pope at the time of Constantine's victory, Constantine gifted to Miltiades the Lateran Palace, where he relocated, holding a synod in 313. Constantine designated Miltiades as one of four bishops to adjudicate the case of the Donatists, but he had no authority to decide the case or publish the result without the approval of the emperor himself. Customarily, the African bishops may have gone to the bishop of Rome as a respected, neutral figure, but it was well known that Miltiades would not agree with the Donatist position that ordination by a "traitor" bishop would invalidate the sacrament.
Turning to Constantine was a strange move because he had not yet been baptized, word of his budding conversion may not yet have reached Alexandria. Constantine therefore referred the matter to Miltiades, requiring him to collaborate with three bishops from Gaul. Eamon Duffy calls this the "first direct intervention by an emperor in the affairs of the church." When Miltiades invited fifteen additional Italian bishops to participate in the synod and ruled against the Donatists, they appealed to Constantine again, who called for a new synod in Arles, this time headed by the bishops of Arles and Syracuse. Miltiades died, his successor, Sylvester I, did not travel to Arles; the Arles synod gave Silvester I somewhat of a nod by asking him to circulate their decisions to the other bishops, although he had no part in the process. During Silvester I's reign, construction began on the Lateran Basilica, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, St. Peter's. Silvester did not attend the first ecumenical council, the First Council of Nicaea, but sent two priests as his representatives.
Silvester would have viewed Arianism as a heresy.
Pope Zephyrinus was Bishop of Rome or Pope from 199 to his death in 217. He was born in Rome, his predecessor was Pope Victor I. Upon his death on 20 December 217, he was succeeded by his principal advisor, Pope Callixtus I, he is known for defending the divinity of Christ. During the 17-year pontificate of Zephyrinus, the young Church endured persecution under the Emperor Severus until his death in the year 211. To quote Alban Butler, "this holy pastor was the support and comfort of the distressed flock". According to St. Optatus, Zephyrinus combated new heresies and apostasies, chief of which were Marcion, Praxeas and the Montanists. Eusebius insists that Zephyrinus fought vigorously against the blasphemies of the two Theodotuses, who in response treated him with contempt, but called him the greatest defender of the divinity of Christ. Although he was not physically martyred for the faith, his suffering – both mental and spiritual – during his pontificate have earned him the title of martyr, a title, repealed 132 years after his death.
During the reign of the Emperor Severus, relations with the young Christian Church deteriorated, in 202 or 203 the edict of persecution appeared which forbade conversion to Christianity under the severest penalties. Zephyrinus's predecessor Pope Victor I had excommunicated Theodotus the Tanner for reviving a heresy that Christ only became God after his resurrection. Theodotus' followers formed a separate heretical community at Rome ruled by another Theodotus, the Money Changer, Asclepiodotus. Natalius, tortured for his faith during the persecution, was persuaded by Asclepiodotus to become a bishop in their sect in exchange for a monthly stipend of 150 denarii. Natalius reportedly experienced several visions warning him to abandon these heretics. According to an anonymous work entitled The Little Labyrinth and quoted by Eusebius, Natalius was whipped a whole night by an angel. A feast of St Zephyrinus and Martyr, held on 26 August, was inserted in the General Roman Calendar in the 13th century, but was removed in the 1969 revision, since he was not a martyr and 26 August is not the anniversary of his death, 20 December, the day under which he is now mentioned in the Roman Martyrology.
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Pope Sixtus I
Pope Sixtus I, a Roman of Greek descent, was the Bishop of Rome from c. 115 to his death c. 124. He was in turn succeeded by Pope Telesphorus, his feast is celebrated on 6 April. The Holy See's Annuario Pontificio identifies him as a Roman who served from 117 or 119 to 126 or 128. According to the Liberian Catalogue of popes, he served the Church during the reign of Hadrian "from the consulate of Niger and Apronianus until that of Verus III and Ambibulus", 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. Sixtus I instituted several Catholic administrative traditions. Like most of his predecessors, Sixtus I was believed to have been buried near Saint Peter's grave on Vatican Hill, although there are differing traditions concerning where his body lies today. In Alife, there is a Romanesque crypt, which houses the relics of Pope Sixtus I, brought there by Rainulf III.
He was a Roman by birth, his father's name was Pastor. According to the Liber Pontificalis, he passed the following three ordinances: that none but sacred ministers are allowed to touch the sacred vessels. Alban Butler 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, commemorated in the Catholic Canon of the Mass is Xystus II, not Xystus I. In the oldest documents, Xystus is the spelling used for the first three popes of that name. Pope Sixtus I is the sixth Pope after Peter, leading to questions as to whether the name "Sixtus" might be fictitious. List of Catholic saints List of popes Image of Pope Saint Sixtus as seen on a fresco at Chalivoy-Milon in the Berry. Pope St. Sixtus I Sixtus I. in the Ecumenical Lexicon of Saints Collected works in Migne Patrologia Latina
The Mausoleum of Hadrian known as Castel Sant'Angelo, is a towering cylindrical building in Parco Adriano, Italy. It was commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family; the building was used by the popes as a fortress and castle, is now a museum. The structure was once the tallest building in Rome; the tomb of the Roman emperor Hadrian called Hadrian's mole, was erected on the right bank of the Tiber, between AD 134 and 139. The mausoleum was a decorated cylinder, with a garden top and golden quadriga. Hadrian's ashes were placed here a year after his death in Baiae in 138, together with those of his wife Sabina, his first adopted son, Lucius Aelius, who died in 138. Following this, the remains of succeeding emperors were placed here, the last recorded deposition being Caracalla in 217; the urns containing these ashes were placed in what is now known as the Treasury room deep within the building. Hadrian built the Pons Aelius facing straight onto the mausoleum – it still provides a scenic approach from the center of Rome and the left bank of the Tiber, is renowned for the Baroque additions of statues of angels holding aloft instruments of the Passion of Christ.
Much of the tomb contents and decorations have been lost since the building's conversion to a military fortress in 401 and its subsequent inclusion in the Aurelian Walls by Flavius Honorius Augustus. The urns and ashes were scattered by Visigoth looters during Alaric's sacking of Rome in 410, the original decorative bronze and stone statuary were thrown down upon the attacking Goths when they besieged Rome in 537, as recounted by Procopius. An unusual survivor, however, is the capstone of a funerary urn, which made its way to Saint Peter's Basilica, covered the tomb of Otto II and was incorporated into a massive Renaissance baptistery; the use of spolia from the tomb in the post-Roman period was noted in the 16th century – Giorgio Vasari writes:...in order to build churches for the use of the Christians, not only were the most honoured temples of the idols destroyed, but in order to ennoble and decorate Saint Peter's with more ornaments than it possessed, they took away the stone columns from the tomb of Hadrian, now the castle of Sant'Angelo, as well as many other things which we now see in ruins.
Legend holds that the Archangel Michael appeared atop the mausoleum, sheathing his sword as a sign of the end of the plague of 590, thus lending the castle its present name. A less charitable yet more apt elaboration of the legend, given the militant disposition of this archangel, was heard by the 15th-century traveler who saw an angel statue on the castle roof, he recounts that during a prolonged season of the plague, Pope Gregory I heard that the populace Christians, had begun revering a pagan idol at the church of Santa Agata in Suburra. A vision urged the pope to lead a procession to the church. Upon arriving, the idol miraculously fell apart with a clap of thunder. Returning to St Peter's by the Aelian Bridge, the pope had another vision of an angel atop the castle, wiping the blood from his sword on his mantle, sheathing it. While the pope interpreted this as a sign that God was appeased, this did not prevent Gregory from destroying more sites of pagan worship in Rome; the popes converted the structure beginning in the 14th century.
The fortress was the refuge of Pope Clement VII from the siege of Charles V's Landsknechte during the Sack of Rome, in which Benvenuto Cellini describes strolling the ramparts and shooting enemy soldiers. Leo X built a chapel with a Madonna by Raffaello da Montelupo. In 1536 Montelupo created a marble statue of Saint Michael holding his sword after the 590 plague to surmount the Castel. Paul III built a rich apartment, to ensure that in any future siege the pope had an appropriate place to stay. Montelupo's statue was replaced by a bronze statue of the same subject, executed by the Flemish sculptor Peter Anton von Verschaffelt, in 1753. Verschaffelt's is still in place and Montelupo's can be seen in an open court in the interior of the Castle; the Papal state used Sant'Angelo as a prison. Another prisoner was goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini. Executions were performed in the small inner courtyard; as a prison, it was the setting for the third act of Giacomo Puccini's 1900 opera Tosca. Decommissioned in 1901, the castle is now the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant ` Angelo.
It received 1,234,443 visitors in 2016. Cardinal-nephew Concordat of Worms List of castles in Italy Stand of the Swiss Guard Via della Conciliazione Official website Site describing arrangement of the original mausoleum. Mausoleum of Hadrian, part of the Encyclopædia Romana by James Grout Platner and Ashby entry on the tomb on Lacus Curtius site Roman Bookshelf – Views of Castel Sant'Angelo from the 19° Century Hadrian's tomb Model of how the tomb might have appeared in antiquity
Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto II, called the Red, was Holy Roman Emperor from 973 until his death in 983. A member of the Ottonian dynasty, Otto II was the youngest and sole surviving son of Otto the Great and Adelaide of Italy. Otto II was made joint-ruler of Germany in 961, at an early age, his father named him co-Emperor in 967 to secure his succession to the throne, his father arranged for Otto II to marry the Byzantine Princess Theophanu, who would be his wife until his death. When his father died after a 37-year reign, the eighteen-year-old Otto II became absolute ruler of the Holy Roman Empire in a peaceful succession. Otto II spent his reign continuing his father's policy of strengthening Imperial rule in Germany and extending the borders of the Empire deeper into southern Italy. Otto II continued the work of Otto I in subordinating the Catholic Church to Imperial control. Early in his reign, Otto II defeated a major revolt against his rule from other members of the Ottonian dynasty who claimed the throne for themselves.
His victory allowed him to exclude the Bavarian line of the Ottonians from the line of Imperial succession. This strengthened his authority as Emperor and secured the succession of his own son to the Imperial throne. With domestic affairs settled, Otto II would focus his attention from 980 onward to annexing the whole of Italy into the Empire, his conquests brought him into conflict with the Byzantine Empire and with the Muslims of the Fatimid Caliphate, who both held territories in southern Italy. After initial successes in unifying the southern Lombard principalities under his authority and in conquering Byzantine-controlled territory, Otto II's campaigns in southern Italy ended in 982 following a disastrous defeat by the Muslims. While he was preparing to counterattack Muslim forces, a major uprising by the Slavs broke out in 983, forcing the Empire to abandon its major territorial holdings east of the Elbe river. Otto II died in 983 at the age of 28 after a ten-year reign, he was succeeded as Emperor by his three-year-old son Otto III, plunging the Empire into a political crisis.
Otto II was born in 955, the third son of the King of Germany Otto I and his second wife Adelaide of Italy. By 957, Otto II's older brothers Henry and Bruno had died, as well as Otto I's son from his first wife Eadgyth, the Crown Prince Liudolf, Duke of Swabia. With his older brothers dead, the two-year-old Otto became the Kingdom's crown prince and Otto I's heir apparent. Otto I entrusted his illegitimate son, Archbishop William of Mainz, with Otto II's literary and cultural education. Margrave Odo, commander of the Eastern March, taught the young crown prince the art of war and the kingdom's legal customs. Needing to put his affairs in order prior to his descent into Italy, Otto I summoned a Diet at Worms and had Otto II elected, at the age of six, co-regent in May 961. Otto II was crowned by his uncle Bruno the Great, Archbishop of Cologne, at Aachen Cathedral on May 26, 961. While Otto I had secured succession of the throne, he had violated the Kingdom's unwritten law that succession rights could only be granted to a child who has reached the age of majority.
He was motivated by the high-risk associated with his expedition into Italy to claim the Imperial title from the Pope. Otto I crossed the Alps into Italy, while Otto II remained in Germany, the two Archbishops and William, were appointed as his regents. After three and a half year absence in Italy, Otto I returned to Germany early in 965 as Holy Roman Emperor. In order to give the hope of dynastic continuity after his death, Otto I again confirmed Otto II as his heir on February 2, 965, the third anniversary of Otto I's coronation as Emperor. Though Otto I was crowned Emperor in 962 and returned to Germany in 965, the political situation in Italy remained unstable. After two years in Germany, Otto I made a third expedition to Italy in 966. Bruno was again appointed regent over the eleven-year-old Otto II during Otto I's absence. With his power over northern and central Italy secured, Otto I sought to clarify his relationship with the Byzantine Empire in the East; the Byzantine Emperor objected to Otto's use of the title "Emperor".
The situation between East and West was resolved to share sovereignty over southern Italy. Otto I sought a marriage alliance between the Eastern Macedonian dynasty. A prerequisite for the marriage alliance was the coronation of Otto II as Co-Emperor. Otto I sent word for Otto II to join him in Italy. In October 967, father and son together marched through Ravenna to Rome. On December 25, 967, Otto II was crowned Co-Emperor by Pope John XIII, securing Otto II's succession to the Imperial crown following his father's death. Otto II's coronation allowed marriage negotiations to begin with the East. Only in 972, six years under the new Byzantine Emperor John I Tzimiskes, was a marriage and peace agreement concluded, however. Though Otto I preferred Byzantine Princess Anna Porphyrogenita, daughter of former Byzantine Emperor Romanos II, as she was born in the purple, her age prevented serious consideration by the East; the choice of Emperor John I Tzimisces was his niece Theophanu, the soldier-emperor's niece by marriage.
On April 14, 972, the sixteen-year-old Otto II was married to the fourteen-year-old Eastern princess, Theophanu was crowned empress by the Pope. After his coronation, Otto II remained in the shadow of his overbearing father. Though the nominal co-ruler of the Empire, he was denied any role in its administration. Unlike his earlier son Liudolf, whom Otto I named Duke of Swabia in 950, Otto II was granted no area of responsibility. Otto II was confined to northern Italy during his father's time
Pope Anicetus was the Bishop of Rome from c. 157 to his death in 168. According to the Annuario Pontificio, the start of his papacy may have been 153. Anicetus opposed Gnosticism and Marcionism, he welcomed Polycarp of Smyrna to Rome, to discuss the controversy over the date for the celebration of Easter. His name is Greek for unconquered. According to the Liber Pontificalis, Anicetus was a Syrian from the city of Emesa. According to St. Irenaeus, it was during his pontificate that the aged Polycarp of Smyrna, a disciple of St. John the Evangelist, visited Rome to discuss the celebration of Passover with Anicetus. Polycarp and his Church of Smyrna celebrated the crucifixion on the fourteenth day of Nisan, which coincides with Pesach regardless of which day of the week upon this date fell, while the Roman Church celebrated the Pasch on Sunday—the weekday of Jesus's resurrection; the two did not agree on a common date, but St. Anicetus conceded to St. Polycarp and the Church of Smyrna the ability to retain the date to which they were accustomed.
The controversy was to grow heated in the following centuries. The Christian historian Hegesippus visited Rome during Anicetus's pontificate; this visit is cited as a sign of the early importance of the Roman See. St. Anicetus opposed the Gnostics and Marcionism; the Liber Pontificalis records that St. Anicetus decreed that priests are not allowed to have long hair. According to Church Tradition, St. Anicetus suffered martyrdom during the reign of the Roman Co-Emperor Lucius Verus, but there are no historical grounds for this account. 16, 17 and 20 April are all cited as the date of his death, but 20 April is celebrated as his feast day. Before 1970, the date chosen was 17 April; the Liber Pontificalis states. List of popes Quartodeciman Campbell, Thomas Joseph. "Pope St. Anicetus". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Duff, Eamon. Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes, Yale University Press, 2001, p. 13. ISBN 0-300-09165-6 Maxwell-Stuart, P. G. Chronicle of the Popes: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Papacy from St. Peter to the Present, Thames & Hudson, 2002, p. 19.
ISBN 0-500-01798-0. Anicetus in the Ecumenical Lexicon of Saints Collected works of Migne Patrologia Latina
Pope Urban I
Pope Urban I was Bishop of Rome or Pope from 222 to 23 May 230. He was born in Rome and succeeded Pope Callixtus I, martyred, it was believed for centuries that Urban I was martyred. However, recent historical discoveries now lead scholars to believe. Much of Urban's life is shrouded in mystery, leading to many misconceptions. Despite the lack of sources he is the first Pope whose reign can be dated. Two prominent sources do exist for Urban's pontificate: Eusebius' history of the early Church and an inscription in the Coemeterium Callisti which names the Pope. Urban ascended to the Chair of Saint Peter in the year of the Roman Emperor Elagabalus' assassination and served during the reign of Alexander Severus, it is believed that Urban's pontificate was during a peaceful time for Christians in the Empire as Severus did not promote the persecution of Christianity. Urban is a saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church, it is believed that the schismatic Hippolytus was still leading a rival Christian congregation in Rome, that he published the Philosophumena, an attack on Pope Urban's predecessor Callixtus.
Urban is said to have maintained the hostile policy of Callixtus when dealing with the schismatic party. Due to the relative freedoms the Christian community had during Severus' reign the Church in Rome grew, leading to the belief that Urban was a skilled converter. A Papal decree concerning the donations of the faithful at Mass is attributed to Pope Urban: The gifts of the faithful that are offered to the Lord can only be used for ecclesiastical purposes, for the common good of the Christian community, for the poor, it had been believed that he was buried in the Coemetarium Praetextati where a tomb was inscribed with his name. However, when excavating the Catacomb of Callixtus Italian archaeologist Giovanni de Rossi uncovered the lid of a sarcophagus which suggested that Pope Urban was in fact buried there. De Rossi found a list of martyrs and confessors who were buried at St. Callistus', which contained Urban's name. De Rossi therefore concluded that the Urban buried in the Coemetarium Praetextati was another bishop and Pope Urban was located in Catacomb of St. Callistus.
While many historians accept this opinion, doubt remains since Pope Sixtus III's list of saints buried in St. Callistus' Catacomb does not include Urban in the succession of Popes but rather in a list of foreign bishops. Therefore, it is possible, his relic is located in Hungary in the Monok Roman Catholic Church. In 1773 XIV. Pope Clement donated it to the Andrássy family; as no contemporary accounts of Urban's pontificate exist there have been many legends and acts attributed to him which are fictitious or difficult to ascertain the factual nature of. The legendary Acts of St. Cecilia and the Liber Pontificalis both contain information on Urban, although of doubtable accuracy. Chaucer had him a character in his Second Nun's Tale in the Canterbury Tales. A story, once included in the Catholic Church's Breviary states that Saint Urban had many converts among whom were Tiburtius and his brother Valerianus, husband of Saint Cecilia. Tradition credits Saint Urban with the miracle of toppling an idol through prayer.
This event is believed to have led to Saint Urban being beaten and tortured before being sentenced to death by beheading. A further belief, now known as an invention from the sixth century, was that Urban had ordered the making of silver liturgical vessels and the patens for twenty-five titular churches of his own time. Urban is found in various pieces of artwork in one of two forms, he is found sitting wearing the Papal Tiara, Papal robes and holding a sword pointed towards the ground. Otherwise Urban may be portrayed wearing Papal garb and a Bishop's Mitre while holding a bible and a bunch of grapes. An image of Pope Saint Urbanus is on a 12th-century fresco at Chalivoy-Milon in the Berry Art Gallery. Other less common depictions of Pope Urban are: after his beheading, with the papal tiara near him; as idols fall from a column while he is beheaded. List of Catholic saints List of popes