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Confessor of the Faith is a title given by some Christian denominations.
The word confessor is derived from the Latin confiteri, to confess, to profess. Among the early church fathers, it was a title of honor, designating those individuals who had confessed Christ publicly in time of persecution and had been punished with imprisonment, torture, exile, or labour in the mines, remaining faithful until the end of their lives. The title thus distinguished them from the martyrs, who were those that had undergone death for their faith. Among writers, St. Cyprian is the first in whose works it occurs.
In the Roman Catholic Church, the title is given to saints and blesseds who were not martyred. Historically, the title Confessor was given to those who had suffered persecution and torture for the faith but not to the point of martyrdom. As Christianity emerged as the dominant religion in Europe by the fifth century, persecutions became rare, and the title was given to male saints who lived a holy life and died in peace. Perhaps the best-known individual associated with the title is the English king St. Edward the Confessor. It is possible for Confessors to have another title or even two other titles, for example, Bishop and Confessor; Pope and Confessor; or Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church, among others: St. Jerome is known as Priest, Confessor, Theologian, Historian and Doctor of the Church.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the title Confessor refers to a saint (male or female) who has witnessed to the faith and suffered for it (usually torture, but also other types of loss), but not to the point of death, and thus is distinguished from a martyr. Nikephoros I of Constantinople, who was banished to the monastery of Saint Theodore for his support of iconodules, is revered as a confessor.A confessor who is also a priest or bishop may be referred to as hiero-confessor.
Pope Urban I (175?–230) was the bishop of Rome from 222 to 23 May 230. He was born in Rome and succeeded Callixtus I, who had been martyred. It was previously believed for centuries that Urban I was also martyred. However, recent historical discoveries now lead scholars to believe that he died of natural causes.
Pope Soter was the bishop of Rome from c. 167 to his death in c. 174. According to the Annuario Pontificio, the dates may have ranged from 162–168 to 170–177. He was born in Fondi, Campania, today Lazio region, Italy. Soter is known for declaring that marriage was valid only as a sacrament blessed by a priest and also for formally inaugurating Easter as an annual festival in Rome. His name, from Greek Σωτήριος from σωτήρ "saviour", would be his baptismal name, as his lifetime predates the tradition of adopting papal names.
Pope Lucius I was the bishop of Rome from 25 June 253 to his death on 5 March 254. He was banished soon after his consecration, but gained permission to return. He was mistakenly classified as a martyr in the persecution by Emperor Valerian, which did not begin until after Lucius' death.
Pope Cornelius was the bishop of Rome from 6 or 13 March 251 to his martyrdom in June 253. He was pope during and following a period of persecution of the church and a schism occurred over how repentant church members who had practiced pagan sacrifices to protect themselves could be readmitted to the church. He agreed with Cyprian of Carthage that those who had lapsed could be restored to communion after varying forms of penance. That position was in contrast to the Novatianists, who held that those who failed to maintain their confession of faith under persecution would not be received again into communion with the church. That resulted in a schism in the Church of Rome that spread as each side sought to gather support. Cornelius held a synod that confirmed his election and excommunicated Novatian, but the controversy regarding lapsed members continued for years.
Pope Caius, also called Gaius, was the bishop of Rome from 17 December 283 to his death in 296. Little information on Caius is available except that given by the Liber Pontificalis, which relies on a legendary account of the martyrdom of Susanna of Rome for its information. According to legend, Caius baptized the men and women who had been converted by Tiburtius and Castulus. His legend states that Caius took refuge in the catacombs of Rome and died a martyr.
Pope Marcellinus was the bishop of Rome from 30 June 296 to his death in 304. A historical accusation was levelled at him by some sources to the effect that he might have renounced Christianity during Emperor Diocletian's persecution of Christians before repenting afterwards, which would explain why he is omitted from lists of martyrs. The accusation is rejected, among others, by Augustine of Hippo. He is today venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church and in the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Maximus the Confessor, also known as Maximus the Theologian and Maximus of Constantinople, was a Christian monk, theologian, and scholar.
Doctor of the Church, also referred to as Doctor of the Universal Church, is a title given by the Catholic Church to saints recognized as having made a significant contribution to theology or doctrine through their research, study, or writing.
In Christianity, a martyr is a person considered to have died because of their testimony for Jesus or faith in Jesus. In years of the early church, stories depict this often occurring through death by sawing, stoning, crucifixion, burning at the stake or other forms of torture and capital punishment. The word martyr comes from the Koine word μάρτυς, mártys, which means "witness" or "testimony".
Confessor is a title used within Christianity in several ways.
Saint Pamphilus, was a presbyter of Caesarea and chief among the biblical scholars of his generation. He was the friend and teacher of Eusebius of Caesarea, who recorded details of his career in a three-book Vita that has been lost.
Dionysius the Great was the 14th Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria from 28 December 248 until his death on 22 March 264. Most information known about him comes from his large surviving correspondence. Only one original letter survives to this day; the remaining letters are excerpted in the works of Eusebius.
Saint Felix of Nola was a Christian presbyter at Nola near Naples in Italy. He sold off his possessions in order to give to the poor, but was arrested and tortured for his Christian faith during the persecution of the Roman emperor Decius. He was believed to have died a martyr's death during the persecution of Decius or Valerian, but is now listed in the General Roman Calendar as a confessor of the faith, who survived his tortures.
Saint Blandina was a Christian martyr who died in Lugdunum during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
Alexander of Jerusalem was a third century bishop who is venerated as a martyr and saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Roman Catholic Church. He died during the persecution of Emperor Decius.
Saints Cyprian and Justina are honored in the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodoxy as Christians of Antioch, who in 304, during the Diocletianic Persecution, suffered martyrdom at Nicomedia on September 26. According to Roman Catholic sources, no Bishop of Antioch bore the name of Cyprian.
The title of New Martyr or Neomartyr is conferred in some denominations of Christianity to distinguish more recent martyrs and confessors from the old martyrs of the persecution in the Roman Empire. Originally and typically, it refers to victims of Islamic persecution.
Astius is a 2nd-century Christian martyr venerated by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. He was the bishop of Dyrrhachium. According to legend, he was arrested by Agricola, the Roman governor of Dyrrachium, and was tortured to death around 98 AD for refusing to worship the god Dionysius. He was crucified during the persecution of Christians under the Roman emperor Trajan.
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were ancient and influential Christian theologians and writers who established the intellectual and doctrinal foundations of Christianity. The historical period in which they worked became known as the Patristic Era and spans approximately from the late 1st to mid 8th centuries, flourishing in particular during the 4th and 5th centuries, when Christianity was in the process of establishing itself as the state church of the Roman Empire.
December 9 - Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar - December 11