Archive for the ‘St. Proclus of Constantinople’ Tag

Feast of St. Sixtus III (August 19)   1 comment

Above:  St. Sixtus III

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT SIXTUS III (DIED AUGUST 19, 440)

Bishop of Rome

Alternative feast day = March 28

Five Supreme Pontiffs of the Roman Catholic Church have borne the name “Sixtus.”  Extant information about St. Sixtus I (in office circa 116-circa 125) has proven to be unreliable.  St. Sixtus II (in office 257-258) died as a martyr.  Sixtus IV (in office 1471-1484) founded the Spanish Inquisition and practiced simony.  Sixtus V (in office 1585-1590) admired Sixtus IV, encouraged King Philip II of Spain to invade England in 1588, and presided over a repressive regime in the Papal States.

St. Sixtus III is therefore the second of two Sixtuses I choose to add to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Xystus, son of Xystus, was a Roman by birth.  Our saint had been a Pelagian, but had changed his mind in 418.

Pelagianism was the heresy named after Pelagius, an English or Irish monk who had moved to Rome circa 400.  He was optimistic about human nature, arguing that it was inherently good.  People could therefore save themselves via free will from damnation, the monk asserted.  His propositions aroused a great controversy in the Church.  St. Augustine of Hippo, for example, replied to those propositions in writing for years.  Eventually the Church declared Semi-Pelagianism (salvation results from the combination of divine grace and human free will) orthodox teaching, but Pope St. Celestine I (in office 422-432) preferred the answer of St. Augustine of Hippo:  we mere mortals are powerless to save ourselves, for Original Sin has corrupted our natures.

St. Sixtus III also opposed NestorianismNestorius, the Archbishop of Constantinople from 428 to 431, made  a distinction between Christ and the Logos.  St. Mary of Nazareth, he argued in his sermon for Easter 428, was the mother of Jesus, but not of God; she was not the Theotokos.  The Patriarch thought that the Logos dwelt within Jesus, as in a temple.  St. Sixtus III, at the Council of Ephesus (431), helped to draft the Formula of Reunion, which asserted the doctrine that, in Christ, there was the union of God and man in one person; that Christ was fully human and fully divine.

St. Sixtus III, elected Pope on July 31, 432, succeeding the late St. Celestine I, contended with the Pelagian and Nestorian heresies as the Supreme Pontiff.  St. Cyril of Alexandria had been engaged in a dispute with John of Antioch (d. 441), a Nestorian.  St. Sixtus III ordered John of Antioch to renounce Nestorianism; he did, and reconciled with St. Cyril.  In 439, with the influence of deacon Leo (the next pope, as St. Leo I “the Great,” in office 440-461), St. Sixtus III refused to permit the Pelagian bishop Julian of Eclanum (d. 454), exiled from the see of Apulia since 418, return.  As St. Sixtus III oversaw rebuilding projects in Rome, to repair damage from and replace structures destroyed in the Visigothic sack of Rome in 410, he had anti-Pelagian and anti-Nestorian inscriptions added to churches and baptistries.

St. Sixtus III asserted his authority against encroachment by St. Proclus of Constantinople, the Archbishop of Constantinople from 434 to 446.  In 434 St. Proclus tried to pry the dioceses in eastern Illyricum (in the Balkans) away from the Bishop of Rome.  St. Sixtus III resolved the situation with a carrot and a stick.  As the Pope requested that St. Proculus not receive any bishops disloyal to Rome, St. Sixtus III ordered all bishops in eastern Illyricum to remain loyal.

St. Sixtus III also founded the oldest known monastery at St. Sebastiano on the Appian Way.

St. Sixtus III died on August 19, 440.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 22, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALBAN, FIRST BRITISH MARTYR

THE FEAST OF DESIDERIUS ERASMUS, DUTCH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, BIBLICAL AND CLASSICAL SCHOLAR, AND CONTROVERSIALIST; SAINT JOHN FISHER, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC CLASSICAL SCHOLAR, BISHOP OF ROCHESTER, CARDINAL, AND MARTYR; AND SAINT THOMAS MORE, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC CLASSICAL SCHOLAR, JURIST, THEOLOGIAN, CONTROVERSIALIST, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF GERHARD GIESCHEN, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAULINUS OF NOLA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF NOLA

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Saint Sixtus III,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock.

We pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace attain our full maturity in Christ,

through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Sts. Proclus of Constantinople and Rusticus of Narbonne (October 25)   1 comment

Above:  Orthodox Cross

SAINT PROCLUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE (DIED 446)

Archbishop of Constantinople

His feast transferred from October 24

contemporary of

SAINT RUSTICUS OF NARBONNE (DIED CIRCA 461)

Bishop of Narbonne

His feast transferred from October 26

This is my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’s Days and Holy Days, so I get to assign feast days.  Usually I follow the leads of ecclesiastical calendars.  Yet today I follow another pattern:  moving and merging feasts.  These two saints opposed the same heresy:  Nestorianism.  And, since their feast days are so close to each other on the Roman Catholic calendar, I have decided to combine them and place them on the day which separates them on that calendar.

Nestorius was Archbishop of Constantinople from 428 to 431.  His theology led to his ouster from that position.  His great heresy was to make a distinction between the human Jesus and the divine Christ, claiming that the two natures were separate and conjoined.  Thus, he argued, one ought to call St. Mary of Nazareth  the Christotokos (‘Christ-bearer”), not the Theotokos (“God-bearer”), for a mere mortal could not have given birth to the Logos of God.  In other words, according to Nestorius, Mary gave birth to the human nature of Jesus only.

Official Church teaching, developed more fully to refute Nestorianism, argues a different position.  Historical accounts tell us of the Council of Ephesus (431) and the more detailed repudiation of Nestorianism which the Council of Chalecedon (451) issued.  According to Chalecedon, the human and divine natures of Jesus Christ are

…without confusion, without change, without division, without separation….

–quoted in Linwood Urban, A Short History of Christian Thought, Revised and Expanded Edition (New York:  Oxford University Press, 1995), page 74

Most of us who call ourselves Christians in 2012 are heirs of the formulas of Ephesus and Chalcedon, even if we do not know it.  Theology did not fall from Heaven or grow on trees so that people saw it, recognized it immediately, and accepted it universally; no, theological doctrines which many of us (including the author of this post) accept as truth emerged from debates, synods, and councils. And today’s saints were present at creation and enunciation.  They also did their share of enunciating.

St. Proclus (died 446), a native of Constantinople, studied under St. John Chrysostom , Archbishop of Constantinople.  Archbishop Atticus, whose secretary St. Proclus was, ordained him to the priesthood.  The saint opposed Archbishop Nestorius and succeeded the heretic’s immediate successor, Archbishop Maximian, in 434.  St. Proclus, the author of theological treatises, maintained his opposition to perceived heresies while retaining tact, something many other defenders of orthodoxy have failed to do.  He also functioned as a humanitarian and a good pastor, ministering to the people of Constantinople after an earthquake.

St. Rusticus of Narbonne (died circa 461) was a Gallic contemporary of St. Proclus.  The Bishop of Narbonne was the son of a bishop, one Bonosus.  The former monk became Bishop of Narbonne in 427.  During his tenure he resisted the spread of Arianism through his diocese, built a cathedral, and approved Pope St. Leo I (“the Great”)‘s  denunciation of Nestorianism.

We Christians of today stand on the shoulders of giants–foundational figures–such as these.  May we give them the attention they deserve.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 10, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN LEONARDI, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF THE MOTHER OF GOD OF LUCCA; AND SAINT JOSEPH CALASANCTIUS, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAULINUS, ARCHBISHOP OF YORK

THE FEAST OF VIDA DUTTON SCUDDER, WRITER

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people,

we thank you for your servants

Saint Proclus of Constantinople and Saint Rusticus of Narbonne,

who were faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;

and we pray that, following their examples and the teaching of their holy lives,

we may by your grace grow into the full stature of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

or

Almighty God, you have raised up faithful bishops and leaders of your church.

May the memory of their lives be a source of joy for us

and a bulwark of our faith,

so that we may serve you and confess your name before the world;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), page 38