Papacy - A Historical Perspective
St. Peter : 42-67 A.D.
1. Born in Bethsaida, Galilee - died June
He received from Jesus the supreme
pontifical power to be passed on to his successors.
It has been said that after having denied
his association to Jesus, he cried for the rest of his
life, leaving his cheeks furrowed by the tears.
At the time of his arrival in Rome there
about sixth thousand Jews and nine synagogues. He instituted
the first ecclesiastical code
and the recitation of the Our Father.
He suffered martyrdom in Nero’s time and
arrested he asked to be crucifies head downwards. He was buried in a
grave over which
Constantine built the basilica that has become the present-day Basilica
of St. Peter.
Comment: Note that
St. Peter´s Pontificate is listed as officially beginning several
years after the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
St. Linus : 67-76 A.D.
2. Born in Volterra Elected in 67 - died
November 23, 76.
He is buried beside St. Peter. He
named the first 15 bishops and allowed women to enter churches and
attend functions only
if their heads were covered.
The evangelists Mark and Luke were
martyred during his
pontificate. He was buried iuxta corpus Beati Petri. [That is;
"Next to the body of Blessed Peter]
A tomb with the inscription Linus
was discovered during as excavation in the area
where the baldachin was to be erected. He pontificated for 11 years, 3
months and 12
St. Anacletus : 76-88 A.D.
3. Roman . Elected in 76, - died a martyr
He established the rules for the
consecration of the bishops, had a chapel built near St. Peter’s
tomb, for the burial of
martyrs and instituted the rules for ecclesiastical dress.
Anacletus divided the area of
Rome in 25 parishes and appointed a deacon to each parish, creating the
process of the
tituli. He was the first pontiff that used a salutation with
apostolic blessing. He governed
the Church for 12 years, during the reign of the emperors Vespasiano,
Titus and Domitian.
He is the patron of Ruvo (Puglia region)
and was buried near the tomb of St. Peter.
St. Clement I : 88-97 A.D.
4. Roman. Elected in 88 - died a martyr
The Emperor Trajan exiled him to
and there he was thrown into the sea with an anchor tied around his
neck. An anchor is
represented on his tomb in memory of his martyrdom and he is the patron
He reinstated the Sacrament of
Confirmation according to the rites of St.
Peter. The use of the word amen in religious ceremonies is
attributed to his time as well
as the Dominus Vobiscum said at the beginning of mass.
He was buried on the site were
the church bearing his name now stands. He sat on the St. Peter’s chair
for 9 years, 2
months and 10 days.
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