|Papacy ended||23 May 230|
Rome, Roman Empire
|Died||23 May 230 |
Rome, Roman Empire
|Feast day||25 May|
|Other popes named Urban|
Pope Urban I (Latin : Urbanus I) was the bishop of Rome from 222 to 23 May 230. He was born in Rome and succeeded Pope 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.
Much of Urban's life is shrouded in mystery, leading to many myths and misconceptions. Despite the lack of sources he is the first pope whose reign can be definitely dated.Two prominent sources do exist for Urban's pontificate: Eusebius' history of the early Church and also an inscription in the Coemeterium Callisti which names the Pope. Urban ascended to the papacy in 222, the year of Emperor Elagabalus' assassination, and served during the reign of Alexander Severus. It is believed that Urban's pontificate took place during a peaceful time for Christians in the Empire as Severus did not promote the persecution of Christianity.
It is believed that the schismatic Hippolytus was still leading a rival Christian congregation in Rome, and that he published the Philosophumena , an attack on Urban's predecessor, Callixtus I.Urban is said to have maintained the hostile policy of Callixtus when dealing with the schismatic party.
Due to the relative freedoms the Christian community had during Severus' reign the Church in Rome grew, leading to the belief that Urban was a skilled converter.A Papal decree concerning the donations of the faithful at Mass is attributed to Pope Urban:
The gifts of the faithful that are offered to the Lord can only be used for ecclesiastical purposes, for the common good of the Christian community, and for the poor; for they are the consecrated gifts of the faithful, the atonement offering of sinners, and the patrimony of the needy.
It was believed that Urban was buried in the Coemetarium Praetextati where a tomb was inscribed with his name. However, when excavating the Catacomb of Callixtus Italian archaeologist Giovanni de Rossi uncovered the lid of a sarcophagus which suggested that Urban was in fact buried there. De Rossi also found a list of martyrs and confessors who were buried at St. Callistus', which contained Urban's name. De Rossi therefore concluded that the Urban buried in the Coemetarium Praetextati was another bishop and Pope Urban was located in Catacomb of St. Callistus. While many historians accept this opinion, doubt remains since Pope Sixtus III's list of saints buried in St. Callistus' Catacomb does not include Urban in the succession of popes but rather in a list of foreign bishops. Therefore, it is possible that Pope Urban is indeed buried in the Coemetarium Praetextati.
Urban is a saint of the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. His relic is located in Hungary in the Monok Roman Catholic Church. In 1773, Pope Clement XIV donated it to the Andrássy family.
As no contemporary accounts of Urban's pontificate exist there have been many legends and acts attributed to him which are fictitious or difficult to ascertain the factual nature of. The legendary Acts of St. Cecilia and the Liber Pontificalis both contain information on Urban, although their reliability is doubtful. Chaucer made him a character in the Second Nun's Tale of the Canterbury Tales.
A story that was once included in the Catholic Church's Breviary states that Urban had many converts among whom were Tiburtius and his brother Valerianus, husband of Cecilia. Tradition credits Urban with the miracle of toppling an idol through prayer.This event is believed to have led to Urban being beaten and tortured before being sentenced to death by beheading.
A further belief, now known as an invention from the sixth century, was that Urban had ordered the making of silver liturgical vessels and the patens for twenty-five titular churches of his own time.
Urban is found in various pieces of artwork usually in one of two forms. Often he is found sitting wearing the papal tiara, papal robes and holding a sword pointed towards the ground. Otherwise Urban may be portrayed wearing papal garb and a bishop's mitre while holding a bible and a bunch of grapes.An image of Urban is on a 12th-century fresco at Chalivoy-Milon in the Berry Art Gallery.
Other less common depictions of Pope Urban are:
|Titles of the Great Christian Church|
| Bishop of Rome |
An antipope is a person who, in opposition to the lawful pope, makes a significant attempt to occupy the position of Bishop of Rome and leader of the Catholic Church. At times between the 3rd and mid-15th centuries, antipopes were supported by important factions within the Church itself and by secular rulers.
Pope Marcellus I was the bishop of Rome from May or June 308 to his death. He succeeded Marcellinus after a considerable interval. Under Maxentius, he was banished from Rome in 309, on account of the tumult caused by the severity of the penances he had imposed on Christians who had lapsed under the recent persecution. He died the same year, being succeeded by Eusebius. His relics are under the altar of San Marcello al Corso in Rome. His third-class feast day is kept on January 16.
Pope Miltiades, also known as Melchiades the African, was the bishop of Rome from 311 to his death on 10 or 11 January 314. It was during his pontificate that Emperor Constantine the Great issued the Edict of Milan (313), giving Christianity legal status within the Roman Empire. The pope also received the palace of Empress Fausta where the Lateran Palace, the papal seat and residence of the papal administration, would be built. At the Lateran Council, during the schism with the Church of Carthage, Miltiades condemned the rebaptism of apostatised bishops and priests, teaching of Donatus Magnus.
Pope Callixtus I, also called Callistus I, was the bishop of Rome from c. 218 to his death c. 222 or 223. He lived during the reigns of the Roman Emperors Elagabalus and Alexander Severus. Eusebius and the Liberian catalogue gave him five years of episcopate (217–222). He was martyred for his Christian faith and is venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church.
Pope Callixtus III, also known as Alfonso de Borgia, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 8 April 1455 to his death. Borgia spent his early career as a professor of law at the University of Lleida; he later served as a diplomat for the kings of Aragon. He became a tutor for King Alfonso V's illegitimate son Ferdinand. After arranging a reconciliation between Alfonso and Pope Martin V, Borgia was made Bishop of Valencia. In 1444, Pope Eugene IV named him a cardinal, and Borgia became a member of the Roman Curia. During the Siege of Belgrade (1456), Callixtus initiated the custom that bells be rung at midday to remind the faithful to pray for the crusaders. The tradition of the noon bell still exists in some congregations. He was also responsible for the retrial of Joan of Arc that saw her vindicated. He appointed two nephews as cardinals, one of whom became Pope Alexander VI.
Pope Sixtus II was bishop of Rome from 31 August 257 until his death on 6 August 258. He was martyred along with seven deacons, including Lawrence of Rome during the persecution of Christians by Emperor Valerian.
Pope Felix I was the bishop of Rome from 5 January 269 to his death on 30 December 274.
Pope Anterus was the bishop of Rome from 21 November 235 to his death on 3 January 236.
Pope Leo II was the bishop of Rome from 17 August 682 to his death. He is one of the popes of the Byzantine Papacy.
Pope Paschal I was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from 25 January 817 to his death in 824.
Pope Zephyrinus was the bishop of Rome from 199 to his death on 20 December 217. He was born in Rome, and succeeded Victor I. Upon his death on 20 December 217, he was succeeded by his principal advisor, Callixtus I. He is known for combatting heresies and defending the divinity of Christ.
Pope Pontian was the bishop of Rome from 21 July 230 to 28 September 235. In 235, during the persecution of Christians in the reign of the Emperor Maximinus Thrax, Pontian was arrested and sent to the island of Sardinia. He resigned to make the election of a new pope possible.
Pope Fabian was the bishop of Rome from 10 January 236 to his death on 20 January 250, succeeding Anterus. He is famous for the miraculous nature of his election, in which a dove is said to have descended on his head to mark him as the Holy Spirit's unexpected choice to become the next pope. He was succeeded by Cornelius.
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 Mark was the bishop of Rome from 18 January to his death on 7 October 336.
The Catacombs of Rome are ancient catacombs, underground burial places under Rome, Italy, of which there are at least forty, some discovered only in recent decades. Though most famous for Christian burials, either in separate catacombs or mixed together, people of all the Roman religions are buried in them, beginning in the 2nd century AD, mainly as a response to overcrowding and shortage of land. The Etruscans, like many other European peoples, used to bury their dead in underground chambers. The original Roman custom was cremation, after which the burnt remains were kept in a pot, ash-chest or urn, often in a columbarium. From about the 2nd century AD, inhumation became more fashionable, in graves or sarcophagi, often elaborately carved, for those who could afford them. Christians also preferred burial to cremation because of their belief in bodily resurrection at the Second Coming. The Park of the Caffarella and Colli Albani are nearby.
Martina of Rome was a Roman martyr under emperor Alexander Severus. A patron saint of Rome, she was martyred in 226, according to some authorities, more probably in 228, under the pontificate of Pope Urban I, according to others. Her feast day is January 30.
Saints Marcellinus and Peter are venerated within the Christian churches as martyrs. Hagiographies place them in 4th century 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.
The Catacomb of Calepodius is one of the Catacombs of Rome, notable for containing the tombs of Pope Callixtus I and Pope Julius I, along with the eponymous Calepodius.