Pope Alexander I

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Pope Saint

Alexander I
Bishop of Rome
Sanctus Alexander Papa Sancta Maria Antiqua.jpg
Eighth-century fresco of Saint Pope Alexander I from the Church of Santa Maria Antiqua in the Roman Forum.
See Rome
Papacy beganc. 107
Papacy endedc. 115
Predecessor Evaristus
Successor Sixtus I
Personal details
Birth nameAlexander
Born10 January 75
Rome, Roman Empire
Diedc. 115
Rome, Roman Empire
Sainthood
Feast day3 May (Tridentine Calendar)
16 March (Greek Christianity)
Venerated in Catholic Church
Orthodox Church
Other popes named Alexander

Pope Alexander I (died c. 115) was the Bishop of Rome from c. 107 to his death c. 115. The Holy See's Annuario Pontificio (2012) identifies him as a Roman who reigned from 108 or 109 to 116 or 119. Some believe he suffered martyrdom under the Roman Emperor Trajan or Hadrian, but this is improbable. [1]

Holy See Episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy

The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, refers to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope, which includes the apostolic episcopal see of the Diocese of Rome with universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, as well as a sovereign entity of international law.

<i>Annuario Pontificio</i> annual directory of the Holy See

The Annuario Pontificio is the annual directory of the Holy See of the Catholic Church. It lists all the popes to date and all officials of the Holy See's departments. It also gives complete lists with contact information of the cardinals and Catholic bishops throughout the world, the dioceses, the departments of the Roman Curia, the Holy See's diplomatic missions abroad, the embassies accredited to the Holy See, the headquarters of religious institutes, certain academic institutions, and other similar information. The index includes, along with all the names in the body of the book, those of all priests who have been granted the title of "Monsignor". As the title suggests, the red-covered yearbook, compiled by the Central Statistics Office of the Church and published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana, is mostly in Italian.

Martyr person who suffers persecution and death for advocating, refusing to renounce, and/or refusing to advocate a belief or cause, usually a religious one

A martyr is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, refusing to renounce, or refusing to advocate a religious belief or cause as demanded by an external party. In the martyrdom narrative of the remembering community, this refusal to comply with the presented demands results in the punishment or execution of an actor by an alleged oppressor. Accordingly, the status of the 'martyr' can be considered a posthumous title as a reward for those who are considered worthy of the concept of martyrdom by the living, regardless of any attempts by the deceased to control how they will be remembered in advance. Originally applied only to those who suffered for their religious beliefs, the term has come to be used in connection with people killed for a political cause.

Contents

Life and legend

According to the Liber Pontificalis , it was Alexander I who inserted the narration of the Last Supper (the Qui pridie) into the liturgy of the Mass. However, the article on Saint Alexander I in the 1907 Catholic Encyclopedia , written by Thomas Shahan, judges this tradition to be inaccurate, a view shared by both Catholic and non-Catholic experts. [2] It is viewed as a product of the agenda of Liber Pontificalis—this section of the book was probably written in the late 5th century—to show an ancient pattern of the earliest bishops of Rome ruling the church by papal decree.

<i>Liber Pontificalis</i> Book of biographies of popes

The Liber Pontificalis is a book of biographies of popes from Saint Peter until the 15th century. The original publication of the Liber Pontificalis stopped with Pope Adrian II (867–872) or Pope Stephen V (885–891), but it was later supplemented in a different style until Pope Eugene IV (1431–1447) and then Pope Pius II (1458–1464). Although quoted virtually uncritically from the 8th to 18th centuries, the Liber Pontificalis has undergone intense modern scholarly scrutiny. The work of the French priest Louis Duchesne, and of others has highlighted some of the underlying redactional motivations of different sections, though such interests are so disparate and varied as to render improbable one popularizer's claim that it is an "unofficial instrument of pontifical propaganda."

Last Supper Final meal that, in the Gospel accounts, Jesus shared with his apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion

The Last Supper, also known as the Passover meal is the final meal that, in the Gospel accounts, Jesus shared with his Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper is commemorated by Christians especially on Maundy Thursday. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "Holy Communion" or "The Lord's Supper".

<i>Catholic Encyclopedia</i> English-language encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, and History of the Catholic Church, also referred to as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia and the Original Catholic Encyclopedia, is an English-language encyclopedia published in the United States and designed to serve the Roman Catholic Church. The first volume appeared in March 1907 and the last three volumes appeared in 1912, followed by a master index volume in 1914 and later supplementary volumes. It was designed "to give its readers full and authoritative information on the entire cycle of Catholic interests, action and doctrine".

The introduction of the customs of using blessed water mixed with salt for the purification of Christian homes from evil influences, as well as that of mixing water with the sacramental wine, are attributed to Pope Alexander I. Some sources consider these attributions unlikely. [1] It is certainly possible, however, that Alexander played an important part in the early development of the Church of Rome's emerging liturgical and administrative traditions.

A later tradition holds that in the reign of Hadrian, Alexander I converted the Roman governor Hermes by miraculous means, together with his entire household of 1,500 people. Saint Quirinus of Neuss, who was Alexander's supposed jailer, and Quirinus' daughter Saint Balbina were also among his converts.

Quirinus of Neuss German saint

Saint Quirinus of Neuss, sometimes called Quirinus of Rome is venerated as a martyr and saint of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. His cult was centered at Neuss in Germany, though he was a Roman martyr.

Alexander is said to have seen a vision of the infant Jesus. [3] His remains are said to have been transferred to Freising in Bavaria, Germany in AD 834. [2]

Freising Place in Bavaria, Germany

Freising is a town in Bavaria, Germany, and the capital of the Freising district, with a population of 45,227.

Bavaria State in Germany

Bavaria, officially the Free State of Bavaria, is a landlocked federal state of Germany, occupying its southeastern corner. With an area of 70,550.19 square kilometres, Bavaria is the largest German state by land area comprising roughly a fifth of the total land area of Germany. With 13 million inhabitants, it is Germany's second-most-populous state after North Rhine-Westphalia. Bavaria's main cities are Munich, Nuremberg and Augsburg.

Supposed identification with a martyr

Some editions of the Roman Missal identified with Pope Alexander I the Saint Alexander that they give as commemorated, together with Saints Eventius and Theodulus (who were supposed to be priests of his), on 3 May. See, for instance, the General Roman Calendar of 1954. But nothing is known of these three saints other than their names, together with the fact that they were martyred and were buried at the seventh milestone of the Via Nomentana on 3 May of some year. [4] For this reason, the Pope John XXIII's 1960 revision of the calendar returned to the presentation that was in the 1570 Tridentine Calendar of the three saints as simply "Saints Alexander, Eventius and Theodulus Martyrs" with no suggestion that any of them was a pope. The Roman Martyrology lists them as Eventius, Alexander and Theodulus, the order in which their names are given in historical documents. [5]

Roman Missal Book used for Catholic Liturgy

The Roman Missal is the liturgical book that contains the texts and rubrics for the celebration of the Mass in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.

This article lists the feast days of the General Roman Calendar as they were at the end of 1954. It is essentially the same calendar established by Pope Pius X (1903–1914) following his liturgical reforms, but it also incorporates changes that were made by Pope Pius XI (1922–1939), such as the institution of the Feast of Christ the King, and the changes made by Pope Pius XII (1939–1958) prior to 1955, chief among them the imposition of the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary upon the universal Church in 1944, the inscription of Pius X into the General Calendar following his 1954 canonization, and the institution of the Feast of the Queenship of Mary in October 1954.

Via Nomentana street in Rome, Italy

Via Nomentana is an ancient road of Italy, leading North-East from Rome to Nomentum, a distance of 23 km (14 mi). It originally bore the name "Via Ficulensis", from the old Latin village of Ficulea, about 13 km (8.1 mi) from Rome. It was subsequently extended to Nomentum, but never became an important high road, and merged in the Via Salaria a few kilometers beyond Nomentum. It is followed as far as Nomentum by the modern state road, but some traces of its pavement still exist.

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 Encyclopædia Britannica: Saint Alexander I
  2. 1 2 Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope St. Alexander I
  3. Visions of Jesus: Direct Encounters from the New Testament to Today By Phillip H. Wiebe. Oxford University Press. p. 20.
  4. Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 122
  5. Martyrologium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2004), p. 268

Further reading

Pope St. Alexander I
Titles of the Great Christian Church
Preceded by
Evaristus
Bishop of Rome
Pope

106–115
Succeeded by
Sixtus I