Pope Celestine I

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Pope Saint

Celestine I
Coelestinus I.png
Papacy began10 September 422
Papacy ended1 August 432 [1]
Predecessor Boniface I
Successor Sixtus III
Personal details
Birth nameCelestine
Born Rome, Western Roman Empire
Died1 August 432
Sainthood
Feast day
  • 6 April (Catholic)
  • 8 April (Greek Orthodox)
Venerated in
Attributes
  • Dove
  • Dragon
  • Flame
Other popes named Celestine
Papal styles of
Pope Celestine I
Emblem of the Papacy SE.svg
Reference style Our Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous style Saint

Pope Celestine I (Latin : Caelestinus I; died 1 August 432) was Pope from 10 September 422 to his death in 432. According to the Liber Pontificalis , the start of his papacy was 3 November. [2] However, Tillemont places the date at 10 September. [3]

Pope leader of the Catholic Church

The pope, also known as the supreme pontiff, is the Bishop of Rome and ex officio leader of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church. Since 1929, the pope has also been head of state of Vatican City, a city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. The current pope is Francis, who was elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI.

<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."

Contents

Celestine's tenure was largely spent combatting various ideologies deemed heretical. He supported the mission of the Gallic bishops that sent Germanus of Auxerre in 429, to Britain to address Pelagianism, and later commissioned Palladius as bishop to the Scots of Ireland and northern Britain. In 430, he held a synod in Rome which condemned the apparent views of Nestorius. He also opposed the Novationists who refused absolution to the lapsi, arguing that reconciliation should never be refused to any dying sinner who sincerely asked it. [1]

Germanus of Auxerre Saint, Bishop of Auxerre

Germanus of Auxerre was a bishop of Auxerre in Late Antique Gaul. He abandoned a career as a high-ranking government official to devote his formidable energy towards the promotion of the church and the protection of his 'flock' in dangerous times: personally confronting, for instance, the barbarian king, "Goar". In Britain he is best remembered for his journey to combat Pelagianism in or around 429 AD, and the records of this visit provide valuable information on the state of post-Roman British society. He also played an important part in the establishment and promotion of the Cult of Saint Alban. The saint was said to have revealed the story of his martyrdom to Germanus in a dream or holy vision, and Germanus ordered this to be written down for public display. Germanus is venerated as a saint in both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, which commemorate him on 31 July.

Pelagianism, also called Pelagian heresy, is the Christian theological position that the original sin did not taint human nature and mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special divine aid or assistance. This theological theory is named after the British monk Pelagius, although he denied, at least at some point in his life, many of the doctrines associated with his name. Pelagius was identified as an Irishman by Saint Jerome. Pelagius taught human will, as created with its abilities by God, was sufficient to live a sinless life, although he believed God's grace assisted every good work. Pelagianism has come to be identified with the view human beings can earn salvation by their own efforts.

Palladius was the first bishop of the Christians of Ireland, preceding Saint Patrick; the two were perhaps conflated in many later Irish traditions. He was a deacon and member of one of the prominent families in Gaul. Pope Celestine I consecrated him a bishop and sent him to Ireland "to the Scotti believing in Christ".

Biography

Celestine I was a Roman from the region of Campania. [2] Nothing is known of his early history except that his father's name was Priscus. According to John Gilmary Shea, Celestine was a relative of the emperor Valentinian. [1] He is said to have lived for a time at Milan with St. Ambrose. The first known record of him is in a document of Pope Innocent I from the year 416, where he is spoken of as "Celestine the Deacon". [4]

Ancient Rome History of Rome from the 8th-century BC to the 5th-century

In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed. The Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants ) and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117.

Campania Region of Italy

Campania is a region in Southern Italy. As of 2018, the region has a population of around 5,820,000 people, making it the third-most-populous region of Italy; its total area of 13,590 km2 (5,247 sq mi) makes it the most densely populated region in the country. Located on the Italian Peninsula, with the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west, it includes the small Phlegraean Islands and Capri for administration as part of the region.

John Gilmary Shea American historian

John Dawson Gilmary Shea was a writer, editor, and historian of American history in general and American Roman Catholic history specifically. He was also a leading authority on aboriginal native Americans in the United States. He is regarded as the “Father of American Catholic History”.

Various portions of the liturgy are attributed to him, but without any certainty on the subject. In 430, he held a synod in Rome, at which the teachings of Nestorius were condemned. The following year, he sent delegates to the First Council of Ephesus, which addressed the same issue. [1] Four letters written by him on that occasion, all dated 15 March 431, together with a few others, to the African bishops, to those of Illyria, of Thessalonica, and of Narbonne, are extant in re-translations from the Greek; the Latin originals having been lost.

Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a communal response to and participation in the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication or repentance. It forms a basis for establishing a relationship with a divine agency, as well as with other participants in the liturgy.

Nestorius Archbishop of Constantinople

Nestorius was Archbishop of Constantinople from 10 April 428 to August 431, when Emperor Theodosius II confirmed his condemnation by the Council of Ephesus on 22 June.

Nestorianism is a Christian theological doctrine that upholds several distinctive teachings in the fields of Christology and Mariology. It opposes the concept of hypostatic union and emphasizes that the two natures of Jesus Christ were joined by will rather than nature. This Christological position is defined as radical dyophisitism. Nestorianism was named after Christian theologian Nestorius (386–450), Patriarch of Constantinople from 428 to 431, who was influenced by Christological teachings of Theodore of Mopsuestia at the School of Antioch.

St. Celestine actively condemned the Pelagians and was zealous for Roman orthodoxy. To this end he was involved in the initiative of the Gallic bishops to send Germanus of Auxerre and Lupus of Troyes travelling to Britain in 429 to confront bishops reportedly holding Pelagian views.

Lupus of Troyes christian bishop, saint

Saint Lupus was an early bishop of Troyes. Around 426, the bishops in Britain requested assistance from the bishops of Gaul in dealing with Pelagianism. Germanus of Auxerre and Lupus were sent.

He sent Palladius to Ireland to serve as a bishop in 431. Bishop Patricius (Saint Patrick) continued this missionary work. Pope Celestine strongly opposed the Novatians in Rome; as Socrates Scholasticus writes, "this Celestinus took away the churches from the Novatians at Rome also, and obliged Rusticula their bishop to hold his meetings secretly in private houses." [5] He was zealous in refusing to tolerate the smallest innovation on the constitutions of his predecessors. As St. Vincent of Lerins reported in 434:

Ireland Island in north-west Europe, 20th largest in world, politically divided into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (a part of the UK)

Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.

Saint Patrick Primary Christian patron saint of Ireland, a 5th-century Romano-British missionary and bishop

Saint Patrick was a fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Known as the "Apostle of Ireland", he is the primary patron saint of Ireland, the other patron saints being Brigit of Kildare and Columba. He is venerated in the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran Churches, the Old Catholic Church, and in the Eastern Orthodox Church as equal-to-the-apostles and Enlightener of Ireland.

Rome Capital city and comune in 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.

Holy Pope Celestine also expresses himself in like manner and to the same effect. For in the Epistle which he wrote to the priests of Gaul, charging them with connivance with error, in that by their silence they failed in their duty to the ancient faith, and allowed profane novelties to spring up, he says: "We are deservedly to blame if we encourage error by silence. Therefore rebuke these people. Restrain their liberty of preaching." [6]

In a letter to certain bishops of Gaul, dated 428, St. Celestine rebukes the adoption of special clerical garb by the clergy. He wrote: "We [the bishops and clergy] should be distinguished from the common people [plebe] by our learning, not by our clothes; by our conduct, not by our dress; by cleanness of mind, not by the care we spend upon our person" [4]

St. Celestine died on 26 July 432. He was buried in the cemetery of St. Priscilla in the Via Salaria, but his body, subsequently moved, now lies in the Basilica di Santa Prassede.

In art, Saint Celestine is portrayed as a Pope with a dove, dragon, and flame, and is recognized by the Church as a saint.

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Shea, John Gilmary. "Celestine I", Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894
  2. 1 2 Loomis, Louise Ropes (1916). The Book of the Popes (Liber Pontificalis). New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 92f.
  3. Tillemont, Louis Sébastien Le Nain de (1709). Memoires pour servir a l'histoire ecclesiaástique des six premiers siécles. Paris: Charles Robustel. pp. 14:148.
  4. 1 2 Murphy, John F.X. "Pope St. Celestine I." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 15 September 2017
  5. "Ecclesiastical History 7:11" . Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  6. Lerins, St. Vincent of. "Commonitory 32" . Retrieved 12 July 2011.
Titles of the Great Christian Church
Preceded by
Boniface I
Pope
422–432
Succeeded by
Sixtus III