Feast Day : April 6 (formerly July 27 and/or August 1); April 8 (Eastern Church)
Celestine was born in Rome, the son of Priscus. He is said to have lived for a while with St. Ambrose in Milan and was a good friend of St. Augustine of Hippo. He served as a deacon in the Roman Church and on September 10, 422, succeeded Pope St. Boniface I (r. 418–422). Like his recent predecessors, Celestine acted decisively as head of the universal Church. Much of his pontificate was concerned with combating various heresies—Manichaeanism, Donatism, Noviatianism, Pelagianism, and Nestorianism—some of which the Church had been battling for centuries. He is perhaps best known, however, for one of his last official acts— dispatching St. Patrick as a missionary to Ireland around the year 430. Celestine died in Rome on July 26, 432, having reigned nine years, 10 months, and 16 days. He was buried the following day in the Catacombs of St. Priscilla in a tomb that he had had decorated with paintings representing the Council of Ephesus, at which he had condemned Nestorianism. In 820, his relics were translated to the church of St. Prassede (Praxedes). He is honored as a saint, especially in the Greek Orthodox Church. In art, Celestine is a pope with a dove, dragon and flame.