Feast Day : July 28
Innocent, son of Innocentius, was born in Albano, a town near Rome. He grew up among Roman clergy and in the service of the Roman Church, succeeding Pope St. Anastasius I as bishop on December 22, 401. In 410, the Goths began a siege of Rome. Their leader, Alaric, declared that he would withdraw if a peace favorable to him could be negotiated, and Innocent was one of the delegation that went to meet with him. The negotiations failed, however, and the Goths resumed their siege. They had entered and sacked the city before Innocent and the rest of the Roman party were able to return to it. Innocent was zealous about the purity of Church doctrine and discipline, took actions against heretical sects, and was a strong proponent of clerical celibacy. Moreover, he believed strongly in Rome as the leader of the universal Church. He intervened in the affairs of churches outside Rome and advised all to send decisions to him for confirmation. When the Church of Constantinople removed St. John Chrysostom, Innocent stepped in and reinstated him. He commended the bishops of Carthage and Mileve for sending their condemnations of Pelagianism to him in a letter that caused St. Augustine to remark: “Roma locuta, causa finita est” (“Rome has spoken, the matter is closed”). Innocent died in Rome on March 12, 417, and was buried in the basilica above the Catacomb of Pontianus. Afterward he was venerated as a saint.