Aug 7 – Pope St Sixtus II, d. 258 AD, Martyr


-Pope Sixte II, Sandro Botticelli, ~1480, fresco, Sistine Chapel, Vatican

Adult convert to Catholic Christianity and Pope from Aug 30, 257 to Aug 6, 258, Sixtus, who was Greek by birth, is shared with you primarily because he points to another saint, Lawrence, whom, much to your dismay :), I am sure, I will share with you in three days time.

Sixtus dealt with the controversy concerning Baptism by heretics. He believed that anyone who was baptized with a desire to be a Christian, even if the Baptism was performed by a heretic, was truly baptized into the Faith, and that the validity of that faith was based on the person’s own desire and actions to be a Christian, not the errors of the person who performed the sacrament.

While celebrating Mass at the tomb of Saint Callistus, he was arrested as part of the persecutions of Valerian. He was beheaded with six deacons and sub-deacons, and was buried in the same catacomb where he had been celebrating Mass when he was arrested.

“Where are you going, my dear father, without your son? Where are you hurrying off to, holy priest, without your deacon? Before you never mounted the altar of sacrifice without your servant, and now you wish to do it without me?”

St Lawrence, Archdeacon of Rome, to Pope St Sixtus II, 258A D, calling out to the soon to be martyred Successor of St Peter, as the Pope was being led to his execution.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ed/PopesixtusII.jpg

The tomb of Sixtus was enscribed thus, by Pope St Damasus I, whom we shall also hear about again later this month:

“At the time when the sword pierced the bowels of the Mother, I, buried here, taught as Pastor the Word of God; when suddenly the soldiers rushed in and dragged me from the chair. The faithful offered their necks to the sword, but as soon as the Pastor saw the ones who wished to rob him of the palm (of martyrdom) he was the first to offer himself and his own head, not tolerating that the (pagan) frenzy should harm the others. Christ, who gives recompense, made manifest the Pastor’s merit, preserving unharmed the flock.”

Love,
Matthew

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