Pope Sixtus I

Pope Sixtus I was born in Rome, Italy. His father was a Roman pastor and therefore he was brought up in a Christian family. Pope Sixtus I was the pope of the Roman Catholic Church between c.115 and c.124. His predecessor was Pope Alexander I and his successor was Pope Telesphorus. According to the chronicles of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Sixtus I was the sixth pope after St. Peter. On the other hand, the oldest documents of the Catholic Church state that the name Xystus was used for the first three popes. This has also raised some dispute about the use of the name Sixtus. In Greek, the name Xystus means “shaved” and some sources that Pope Sixtus I was also called Xystus as a reference to his unusual style of shaving his head or face. The name originated in Rome during the reign of Emperor Hadrian who brought back the fashion of full beards.

During his reign as the Roman Catholic Pope, Pope Sixtus I contributed greatly to the administrative  aspect of the church. According to the “Liber Pontificalis”, Pope Sixtus I passed the following three ordinances: The first ordinance was that none but sacred ministers are allowed to touch the sacred vessels; The second was that bishops who have been summoned to the Holy See shall, upon their return, not be received by their diocese except on presenting Apostolic letters. The third ordinance stated that after the Preface in the Mass the priest shall recite the Sanctus with the people.

 Not much is known about Pope Sixtus I especially because during his reign, there was documentation about the matters of the Catholic Church was scarce. However, it is agreed that he was among the first Roman popes who did not have any clashes with the leaders of Italy or other churches. In fact during his papacy, he made great contributions in the day to day running of the administrative matters of the church; some of these are still in use until today.

Nevertheless, some historians have argued that some of the contributions attributed to Pope Sixtus I were not really his and that they were only attributed him to complete the history of the Roman Catholic Church. They claim that the attributes were used a way of showing the supremacy of the Roman Catholic Church in the ancient days and that the information concerning Pope Sixtus I is not real or accurate.

The feast of Pope Sixtus I is celebrated on the 6th  of April. He died in c.124 and was buried in the Vatican, next to the tomb of St. Peter. His relics are said to have been transferred to Alatri in 1132 although there have been claims that the relics are still in the Vatican Basilica. On the other hand, Butler states that Clement X gave some of Pope Sixtus I’s relics to Cardinal de Retz, who put them in the Abbey of St. Michael in Lorraine.