Lucius I-Pope

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Feast Day : March 4



Lucius was born in Rome, the son of Porphyrius. After Pope St. Cornelius died in exile in June 253, Lucius was elected to his place. He himself was exiled soon after his consecration, but when Emperor Valerian assumed the throne, was allowed to return to Rome. St. Cyprian declared that the banishment and return were miraculous, God’s plan to shame the heretics and bring Lucius greater authority against those “whom the Devil protects as his own”—the Novatians, whose schism had begun under Cornelius and continued under Lucius. The Novatians wanted no pardons for Christians who had forsaken their faith in the face of persecution. Lucius agreed with Cornelius and Cyprian, who held that with proper penance apostates could once again receive Communion. Lucius died in Rome on March 4, 254, after only nine months in office. The cause of his death is not known, but it is unlikely that he died a martyr. He died during a period of relative calm, the inscription on his tomb in the Catacombs of St. Callistus does not indicate martyrdom, and his name does not appear in early martyrologies. His relics were moved either by Pope Paul I (r. 757–767) to the church of San Silvestro de Capite or by Pope Paschal I (r. 817–824) to the basilica of St. Praxedes, whence they were translated once again by Pope Clement VIII (r. 1592–1605) to the church of St. Cecelia, where they now lie.

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