Pope Felix I

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Pope Saint
Felix I
PopeFelixI.jpg
Pope Felix I fresco in Sistine Chapel
Papacy began5 January 269
Papacy ended30 December 274
Predecessor Dionysius
Successor Eutychian
Personal details
Birth nameFelix
Born Rome, Roman Empire
Died30 December 274
Rome, Roman Empire
Sainthood
Feast day30 December
30 May (1960 Calendar)
Other popes named Felix

Pope Felix I (died 30 December 274) was the Bishop of Rome or Pope from 5 January 269 to his death in 274.

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 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.

Contents

Life and works

A Roman by birth, [1] Felix was chosen as Pope on 5 January 269, [1] in succession to Pope Dionysius, who had died on 26 December 268. [1]

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.

Pope Dionysius pope

Pope Dionysius served as the Bishop of Rome or Pope from 22 July 259 to his death in 268. His task was to reorganize the Roman church, after the persecutions of the Emperor Valerian I and the edict of toleration by his successor Gallienus. He also helped rebuild the churches of Cappadocia, devastated by the marauding Goths.

Felix was the author of an important dogmatic letter on the unity of Christ's Person. He received the emperor Aurelian's aid in settling a theological dispute between the anti-Trinitarian Paul of Samosata, who had been deprived of the bishopric Antioch by a council of bishops for heresy and the orthodox Domnus, Paul's successor. [2] Paul refused to give way, and in 272 the emperor Aurelian was asked to decide between the rivals. He ordered the church building to be given to the bishop who was "recognized by the bishops of Italy and of the city of Rome" (Felix). See Eusebius, Hist. Ecc. vii. 30. [3]

Aurelian Roman Emperor

Aurelian was Roman Emperor from 270 to 275. Born in humble circumstances, he rose through the military ranks to become emperor. During his reign, he defeated the Alamanni after a devastating war. He also defeated the Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and Carpi. Aurelian restored the Empire's eastern provinces after his conquest of the Palmyrene Empire in 273. The following year he conquered the Gallic Empire in the west, reuniting the Empire in its entirety. He was also responsible for the construction of the Aurelian Walls in Rome, and the abandonment of the province of Dacia.

Trinity Christian doctrine that God is one God, but three coeternal consubstantial persons

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity holds that God is one God, but three coeternal consubstantial persons or hypostases—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—as "one God in three Divine Persons". The three Persons are distinct, yet are one "substance, essence or nature" (homoousios). In this context, a "nature" is what one is, whereas a "person" is who one is. Sometimes differing views are referred to as nontrinitarian. Trinitarianism contrasts with positions such as Binitarianism and Monarchianism, of which Modalistic Monarchianism and Unitarianism are subsets.

Paul of Samosata was Bishop of Antioch from 260 to 268. He was a believer in monarchianism, a nontrinitarian doctrine; his teachings reflect adoptionism.

The text of that letter was later interpolated by a follower of Apollinaris in the interests of his sect. [4]

The notice about Felix in the Liber Pontificalis ascribes to him a decree that Masses should be celebrated on the tombs of martyrs ("Hic constituit supra memorias martyrum missas celebrare"). The author of this entry was evidently alluding to the custom of celebrating Mass privately at the altars near or over the tombs of the martyrs in the crypts of the catacombs (missa ad corpus), while the solemn celebration always took place in the basilicas built over the catacombs. This practice, still in force at the end of the fourth century, dates apparently from the period when the great cemeterial basilicas were built in Rome, and owes its origin to the solemn commemoration services of martyrs, held at their tombs on the anniversary of their burial, as early as the third century. Felix probably issued no such decree, but the compiler of the Liber Pontificalis attributed it to him because he made no departure from the custom in force in his time. [4]

<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."

Mass (liturgy) type of worship service within many Christian denomination

Mass is the main eucharistic liturgical service in many forms of Western Christianity. The term Mass is commonly used in the Catholic Church and Anglican churches, as well as some Lutheran churches, Methodist, Western Rite Orthodox and Old Catholic churches.

Death and veneration

The acts of the Council of Ephesus give Pope Felix as a martyr; but this detail, which occurs again in the biography of the pope in the Liber Pontificalis, is unsupported by any authentic earlier evidence and is manifestly due to a confusion of names. According to the notice in the Liber Pontificalis, Felix erected a basilica on the Via Aurelia; the same source also adds that he was buried there. [5] The latter detail is evidently an error, for the fourth-century Roman calendar of feasts says that Pope Felix was interred in the Catacomb of Callixtus on the Via Appia. [6] The statement of the Liber Pontificalis concerning the pope's martyrdom results obviously from a confusion with a Roman martyr of the same name buried on the Via Aurelia, and over whose grave a church was built. In the Roman "Feriale" or calendar of feasts, referred to above, the name of Felix occurs in the list of Roman bishops ( Depositio episcoporum ), and not in that of the martyrs. [4]

<i>Via Aurelia</i>

The Via Aurelia is Roman road in Italy constructed in approximately 241 BC. The project was undertaken by Gaius Aurelius Cotta, who at that time was censor. Cotta had a history of building roads for Rome, as he had overseen the construction of a military road in Sicily connecting Agrigentum and Panormus.

Catacomb of Callixtus catacomb in Rome

The Catacomb(s) of Callixtus is one of the Catacombs of Rome on the Appian Way, most notable for containing the Crypt of the Popes, which once contained the tombs of several popes from the 2nd to 4th centuries.

According to the above-mentioned detail of the Depositio episcoporum, Felix was interred in the catacomb of Callixtus on 30 December, [4] "III Kal. Jan." (third day to the calends of January) in the Roman dating system. Saint Felix I is mentioned as Pope and Martyr, with a simple feast, on 30 May. This date, given in the Liber Pontificalis as that of his death (III Kal. Jun.), is probably an error which could easily occur through a transcriber writing "Jun." for "Jan." [4] This error persisted in the General Roman Calendar until 1969 (see General Roman Calendar of 1960), by which time the mention of Saint Felix I was reduced to a commemoration in the weekday Mass by decision of Pope Pius XII (see General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII). Thereafter, the feast of Saint Felix I, no longer mentioned in the General Roman Calendar, is celebrated on his true day of death, 30 December, and without the qualification of "martyr". [7]

According to more recent studies, the oldest liturgical books indicate that the saint honoured on 30 May was a little-known martyr buried on the Via Aurelia, who was mistakenly identified with Pope Felix I, [8] an error similar to but less curious than the identification in the liturgical books, until the mid-1950s, of the martyr saint celebrated on 30 July with the antipope Felix II.

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Annuario Pontificio 2012 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2008 ISBN   978-88-209-8722-0), p. 8*
  2. "St. Felix I". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  3. Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Felix (Popes)". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope St. Felix I". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  5. "Hic fecit basilicam in Via Aurelia, ubi et sepultus est"
  6. "III Kal. Januarii, Felicis in Callisti", it reads in the Depositio episcoporum.
  7. Martyrologium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2001 ISBN   88-209-7210-7)
  8. Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 125
Titles of the Great Christian Church
Preceded by
Dionysius
Bishop of Rome
Pope

269–274
Succeeded by
Eutychian