Pope Anicetus

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Pope Saint

Anicetus
Bishop of Rome
Papa Aniceto cropped.jpg
See Holy See
Papacy beganc. 157
Papacy endedc. 20 April 168
Predecessor Pius I
Successor Soter
Personal details
Birth nameAnicetus
Bornlate 1st century
Emesa, Phoenice
Diedc. 20 April 168
Rome, Roman Empire
Sainthood
Feast day20 April [1] (West)
17 April [2] (East)
Attributes Papal tiara, palm branch

Pope Anicetus (died c. 20 April 168) was the Bishop of Rome from c. 157 to his death in 168. [3] According to the Annuario Pontificio , the start of his papacy may have been 153. Anicetus actively opposed Gnosticism and Marcionism. He welcomed Polycarp of Smyrna to Rome, to discuss the controversy over the date for the celebration of Easter.

<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.

Gnosticism is a modern name for a variety of ancient religious ideas and systems, originating in Hellenistic Judaism and the Jewish Christian milieux in the first and second century AD. Many of these systems believed that the material world is created by an emanation or 'works' of a lower god (demiurge), trapping the divine spark within the human body. This divine spark could be liberated by gnosis, spiritual knowledge acquired through direct experience. Gnosticism is not a single system, and the emphasis on direct experience allows for a wide variety of teachings, which may include but are not limited to the following:

  1. All matter is evil, and the non-material, spirit-realm is good.
  2. There is an unknowable God, who gave rise to many lesser spirit beings called Aeons.
  3. The creator of the (material) universe is not the supreme god, but an inferior spirit.
  4. Gnosticism does not deal with "sin", only ignorance.
  5. To achieve salvation, one needs gnosis (knowledge).

Marcionism was an Early Christian dualist belief system that originated in the teachings of Marcion of Sinope in Rome around the year 144.

Contents

Biography

His name is Greek for unconquered (ἀ-νίκητος). According to the Liber Pontificalis , Anicetus was a Syrian from the city of Emesa (modern-day Homs). [4]

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

<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."

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 (or Passover) 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. [5]

Irenaeus Bishop and saint

Irenaeus was a Greek bishop noted for his role in guiding and expanding Christian communities in what is now the south of France and, more widely, for the development of Christian theology by combating heresy and defining orthodoxy. Originating from Smyrna, now Izmir in Turkey, he had seen and heard the preaching of Polycarp, the last known living connection with the Apostles, who in turn was said to have heard John the Evangelist.

John the Evangelist author of the Gospel of John; traditionally identified with John the Apostle of Jesus, John of Patmos (author of Revelation), and John the Presbyter

John the Evangelist is the name traditionally given to the author of the Gospel of John. Christians have traditionally identified him with John the Apostle, John of Patmos, or John the Presbyter, although this has been disputed by modern scholars.

Passover Jewish holiday which begins on 15th of the Hebrew month of Nisan

Passover or Pesach is a major Jewish holiday and one of the most widely celebrated Jewish holidays. Together with Shavuot and Sukkot, Passover was one of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals during which the entire population of the kingdom of Judah made a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem. Samaritans still make this pilgrimage to Mount Gerizim, but only men participate in public worship.

The Christian historian Hegesippus also visited Rome during Anicetus's pontificate. This visit is often cited as a sign of the early importance of the Roman See. [5]

Hegesippus (chronicler) Christian saint and chronicler

Saint Hegesippus, was a Christian chronicler of the early Church who may have been a Jewish convert and certainly wrote against heresies of the Gnostics and of Marcion. The date of Hegesippus is insecurely fixed by the statement of Eusebius that the death and apotheosis of Antinous (130) occurred in Hegesippus' lifetime, and that he came to Rome under Pope Anicetus and wrote in the time of Pope Eleuterus.

Rome Capital of Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

St. Anicetus actively opposed the Gnostics and Marcionism. [6] The Liber Pontificalis records that St. Anicetus decreed that priests are not allowed to have long hair (perhaps because the Gnostics wore long hair). [4]

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. [7] 16, 17 and 20 April are all cited as the date of his death, but 20 April is currently celebrated as his feast day. [1] Before 1970, the date chosen was 17 April. [7] The Liber Pontificalis states he was buried in the cemetery of Callistus. [4]

Lucius Verus Emperor of Ancient Rome

Lucius Verus was the co-emperor of Rome with his adoptive brother Marcus Aurelius from 161 until his own death in 169. He was a member of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty. Verus' succession together with Marcus Aurelius marked the first time that the Roman Empire was ruled by multiple emperors, an increasingly common occurrence in the later history of the Empire.

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 Martyrologium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2001 ISBN   88-209-7210-7)
  2. (in Greek) Άγιος Ανίκητος ο Ιερομάρτυρας πάπας Ρώμης Ορθόδοξος Συναξαριστής
  3. Campbell, Thomas (1907). "Pope St. Anicetus" in The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  4. 1 2 3 The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis), translated by Raymond Davies (Liverpool: University Press, 1989), p. 5
  5. 1 2 Irenaeus, cited in Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, 5.24; translated by G.A. Williamson, Eusebius: History of the Church (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1965), pp. 232f
  6. Monks of Ramsgate. “Anicetus”. Book of Saints, 1921. CatholicSaints.Info. 20 July 2012 PD-icon.svgThis article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  7. 1 2 Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 120
Titles of the Great Christian Church
Preceded by
Pius I
Bishop of Rome
Pope

154–167
Succeeded by
Soter