On his death Pope Lucius I was elevated to the throne of Peter on June 25th 253 but his pontificate was even shorter, lasting only until March 5, 254. Lucius possessed an ascetical nature and forbade men and women not related by blood, in other words, not immediate family, to live together, thus establishing that deaconesses could not live with clergy even if the lodging was provided per gratis for charity sake. Lucius also died a martyr's death at the hands of Decius' successor Valerian, an even more evil ruler.
The 23rd to assume the Papal Crown was Pope Saint Stephen I who was elected on May 12, 254. During his papacy those who had followed Novatian made waves and Stephen was consumed with stopping this schism. Historians record that he was beheaded on his pontifical chair during a religious function but they are not sure whether it was the Romans or spies for Novatian. Nevertheless, Stephen earned his martyr's crown on August 2, 257.
His successor, a Greek named Pope Saint Sixtus II was elected on August 30, 257 and died a martyr as well a year later on August 6th. It was during his pontificate that he finally settled the schism of Novatian. It was also Sixtus II who identified the remains of Saint Peter and Saint Paul and had their bodies translated to the tomb on Vatican Hill. During his papacy Saint Cyprian was martyred at which the first pronunciation was uttered that would become part of the liturgy of the Church - Deo Gratias.
With the election of the 25th successor of Peter Pope Saint Dionysius or Denis, the Church finally got someone who lasted longer as the Sovereign Pontiff. He was elected on July 22, 259 during the assault of the Roman Empire by the Barbarians at the gates of Rome. This Turio-born Pope is credited with reorganizing the parishes of Rome. He had been a Roman missionary in Gaul under the persecution of Valerian and, because he knew how to deal with the Romans and they were consumed with fending off the barbarians, he was able to obtain liberty for the Christians from Valerian's successor - the Roman Emperor Gallienus. followed him.
Following him was Pope Saint Felix I on January 5, 269 as the 26th in the line of pontiffs. It was Felix who began the custom of burying martyrs under church altars and celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on their tombs, a practice that would be perpetuated with the reliquary in the altar stone. He quelled the heresy of Paul of Samosata, the proud Bishop of Antioch who taught that Christ was no more than a mere man, in Whom the Divine Word dwelt by its operation and as in its temple, with many other gross errors concerning the capital mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation. Felix called three councils in Antioch to examine the heresy and in the third council, Paul was convicted of heresy, pride, and many scandalous crimes and Domnus was appointed Bishop of Antioch. Problems still existed with Paul because of his pride for he kept possession of the bishops' house. But Felix appealed to Gallienus' successor - the Emperor Aurelian who, though a pagan, ruled that the house should belong to the Pope to whom the bishops of Rome and Italy answer. This was a major precedent that still exists today. Paul was evicted and eventually Aurelian turned against Felix, possibly because the latter had converted countless infidels and had him killed on December 30, 274.
Pope Saint Eutychian was the next pontiff elected on January 4, 275. He ruled until December 7, 283. It was this Luni-born pontiff who ordered that the martyr's remains should be covered with the Dalmatic, a cloak similar to the one worn by the Roman Emperors. Today it is a sacred vestment worn by deacons at solemn religious functions that resembles a chasuble. It was Eutychian who instituted the blessing of the crops. He died a martyr at the hands of one of the worst Roman emperors to come down the pike - Diocletian.
His successor Pope Saint Caius was born in Salona in Dalmatia and became the 28th successor of Peter on December 17, 283. His uncle, strangely enough, was Diocletian and because of that he and many Christians were spared for a time until Diocletian went off the deep end and ordered all Christians massacred with Caius being one of the first on April 22, 296. It was Caius who decreed that no one could be ordained a bishop until they had passed through the seven stages of Orders which were Hostarius, Reader, Acolyte, Exorcist, Subdeacon, Deacon and Priest.
Caius' successor was the last of the Third Century and he was Pope Saint Marcellinus. The 30th Pope to be elected reigned during the horrific persecution of the Emperor Diocletian who not only set himself up as a deity, impiously claiming divine honors, but sought to outdo Nero in sheer numbers of Christians massacred with some two million put to death for their belief in Christ. It was during Marcellinus pontificate that the persecutions reached its peak as not only were countless souls murdered including the likes of Saint Agnes, Saint Lucy, Saint Bibiana, Saint Lucian and Saint Sebastian, but churches and sacred texts destroyed as well. Marcellinus joined the ranks of martyrdom on October 25, 304.
Next Week: Installment Eleven: IN HOC SIGNO VINCES
Consider how each of my Divine Son's followers felt at that instant when Jesus was veiled from their mortal eyes. Yet, they were not alone, for He had given them His Peace, and in Peace, we became the first Christian Community in God's Plan.
There was in all of them a human sorrow, a deep longing for His Presence. Today, little children, I desire for you to imitate the Apostles and disciples, and to long for His Presence to be revealed to you. Your faith is the eye of your soul. It is thus that you may see Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, and there your soul is completely renewed, refreshed by the Divine Glance.
O, beloved little children, I desire for you to see in your soul God's Power and Glory as, at the appointed time, God called His Only-Begotten Son to sit at His right hand, where as King of Kings He would judge according to the Perfection of God Who judges the heart.
Therefore, join in prayer together, particularly in families and be of one mind and one heart through the grace of the Holy Spirit. Examine your conscience well, asking for enlightenment that every facet of your soul and heart might be revealed to you. This is necessary preparation for all who would persevere, being possessed by the Holy Spirit and desiring this possession. This is what I am asking, for the heresy, blasphemy, schism, and apostasy blanket the earth. If you would live the Gospel, which are the messages I give to you, then would my Immaculate Heart triumph, and my Son'' Sacred Heart would reign supreme. O! Pray and do not cease, for the Hour of Justice shall strike. Behold my Glorified Son, and believe in all of His words.
NEXT INSTALLMENT: Part one: The First Cenacle
The bond between Cardinal Wojtyla and Grillmeier was strong and when the former became the 264 successor of Peter he remembered his friend and colleague from those days, elevating him to the cardinalate in the Consistory of November 26, 1994 receiving the red-hat as a cardinal deacon and the titular church of St. Nicholas in Carcere, Germany. Now nearing ninety years of age, Cardinal Grillmeier lives out his days in retirement at Kaulbachstr. 31a, D-80538 Munchen, Germany. His most famous single work Jesus Christ in the Faith of the Church has been translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide and he has long been respected as one of the Jesuits' leading theologians and writers.
Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed.They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us No friend is greater than your mother, either your earthly mother if she is still with you, or your Heavenly Mother Mary who is always with you. Show your friends how much you care. Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND.
The Persians seize Jerusalem and capture the True Holy Cross that Saint Helena had placed there after finding it. It would be years before the Christians would recapture it.
Pope Gregory VI is elected the 148th successor of Peter. He is credited with forming the first pontifical army. Born in Rome, he would die a year and a half later on December 20, 1046. His pontificate was a breath of fresh air after the shameful corruption that had preceded him. He personally led his army in protecting himself from invasion and, like his predecessor Benedict IX, was forced by the people to abdicate.
The cornerstone is laid in Oxford, England for Magdalen College, named after Mary Magdalene.
Two years after discovering America, Christopher Columbus returns and arrives on the shores of Jamaica.