Pope Victor I
Rome, Roman Empire
|Feast day||28 July|
Pope Victor I (Latin: Victor PP. I, Italian: Vittore I; died 199) was the head of the Catholic Church from 189 to his death in 199. He was the first bishop of Rome born in the Roman Province of Africa—probably in Leptis Magna (or Tripolitania). He was later canonized. His feast day is celebrated on 28 July as "St Victor I, Pope and Martyr".
Before his elevation to the Roman episcopacy, a difference in dating the celebration of the Christian Passover/Easter between Rome and the bishops of Asia Minor had been tolerated by both the Roman and Eastern churches. The churches in Asia Minor celebrated it on the 14th of the Jewish month of Nisan, the day before Jewish Passover, regardless of what day of the week it fell on, as the Crucifixion had occurred on the Friday before Passover. The Latins called them Quartodecimans. Rome and the West celebrated Easter on the Sunday following the 14th of Nisan. Victor is remembered for his decision to sever ties with bishops such as Polycrates of Ephesus who opposed his views on Easter; in response he was rebuked by Irenaeus and others, according to Eusebius. He also broke with Theodotus of Byzantium for his beliefs about Christ.
There are some who suggest that he was the first black African pope.
- Kirsch, Johann Peter (1912). "Pope St. Victor I" in The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- The Vatican cites 186 or 189 to 197 or 201. According to Rome, He was the first Pope from Africa. However, he never held knew the title of [Pope], himself. In fact Liber Pontificalis, The Oxford Dictionary of Popes, and The Original Catholic Encyclopedia list him as being native to Africa. There seems to be no original work written that list him as a Roman Citizen or native/descendant of Rome. The dates assigned to Victor’s episcopate by the ancient authorities vary greatly. Eusebius here puts his accession in the tenth year of Commodus (i.e. 189 a.d.), and this is accepted by Lipsius as the correct date. Jerome’s version of the Chron. puts his accession in the reign of Pertinax, or the first year of Septimius Severus (i.e. 193), while the Armenian version puts it in the seventh year of Commodus (186). Eusebius, in his History, does not state directly the duration of his episcopate, but in chap. 28 he says that Zephyrinus succeeded him about the ninth year of Severus, i.e. according to his erroneous De Viris Illustribus, assigns him ten years; the Armenian version of the Chron. twelve years. The Iberian Catalogue makes his episcopate something over nine years long; the Felician Catalogue something over ten. Lipsius, considering Victor in connection with his successors, concludes that he held office between nine and ten years, and therefore gives as his dates 189–198 or 199 (see p. 172 sq.). According to an anonymous writer quoted in chap. 28, Victor excommunicated Theodotus of Byzantium for teaching that Christ was a mere man. He is best known, however, on account of his action in connection with the great Quartodeciman controversy (see chap. 24). Jerome, in his version of the Chron., says of him cujus mediocria de religione extant volumina, and in his de vir. ill. chap. 34, he tells us that he wrote upon the passover, and also some other works (super quaestione Paschae, et alia quaedam scribens opuscula). Harnack believes that he has discovered one of these works (all of which have been supposed lost) in the Pseudo-Cyprianic de Aleatoribus. In his Texte und Unters. Bd. V. Heft 1, he has discussed the subject in a very learned and ingenious manner. The theory has much to commend it, but there are difficulties in its way which have not yet been removed; and I am inclined to think it a product of the first half of the third century, rather than of the last quarter of the second (see the writer’s review of Harnack’s discussion in the Presbyterian Review, Jan., 1889, p. 143 sqq.). Schaff, Philip: The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series Vol. I. Oak Harbor : Logos Research Systems, 1997, S. 3
- See the General Roman Calendar of 1954
- Eusebius Pamphilius: Church History, Life of Constantine, Oration in Praise of Constantine, Ch. XXIV
- Eusebius Pamphilius: Church History, Life of Constantine, Oration in Praise of Constantine, Ch. XXVIII
- Taryor, N. K., (1984) Impact of the African Tradition on African Christianity (The Strugglers Community Press; Chicago), p168
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|Catholic Church titles|
|Bishop of Rome