Sunday, May 18, 2014

St Victor I 14th Pope

St Victor I was the 14th Pope from 189 to 199. While his exact date of birth is unknown it is thought that he was born in Leptis Magna which became part of the Roman Province of Africa and later would be in modern Libya. Pope Victor I once again addressed the Easter controversy over when it was celebrated. He called a meeting of the Italian bishops of Rome in the first known Roman synod to discuss the matter. He also requested the Bishop Polycrates of Ephesus have a similar meeting with the bishops of Asia. The ultimate decision by Pope Victor I was that the Eastern practice of observing Easter on the 14th day of Nisan should change to be in line with Rome which observed Easter on Sunday. Those that did not comply would be excluded from the church. The Pope also dealt with more heretics during his years and excommunicated Theodotus of Byzantium. 

Pope Victor I saw some peace for the Christians under the later years ruled by Emperor Commodus and the early years of Emperor Septimus Severus. The favorite mistress of Commodus thought highly of the Christians and may have been Christian herself. She requested a meeting with Pope Victor I and asked for a list of those persecuted and she used the list to free those condemned to work in the mines of Sardinia. One twist was that Marcia was one of the assassins of Commodus because she saw he name on a list of those to be executed. During the reign of his successor Severus the fifth persecution against Christians by the Romans started when he decreed that no one was allowed to convert to Christianity or Judaism. 

Pope Victor I was also the first to bring Latin to the church. He also introduced sequentes or acolytes among the clergy which were assistants to the priests and later became the alter boys.

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